Waiting for the Fog to Roll Out

“I’ve been in love with love, and the idea of something, binding us together. You know that love is strong enough, I’ve seen time tell tales about that systematic drug. That heart beats as one. It’s collectively unconsciously composed.

I lost my head in San Francisco, waiting for the fog to roll out. But I found it in a rain cloud. It was smiling down.” -San Francisco, The Mowgli’s

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-02-45-pmThis month we took our first trip to Northern California to visit San Francisco, another bucket list city and another pin to add to our map. Albeit foggy, and much chillier than Southern California, it was beautiful. I can’t say that it tops my list of favorite cities, NYC and Chicago still hold out strong in the top spots, and of course STL for obvious reasons, but I would say that SF makes the cut of top 5. It’s a very unique city, in my opinion, very vibrant, very Liberal, very bright. It’s neat. I definitely want to go back. While we live so close, that’s a definite possibility.

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The main reason we went when we went was for the baseball game, of course. The Cardinals were playing the Giants this month, so we tacked this on to our ‘West Coast Cardinals Tour.’ Since moving out here, we’ve seen the Cards play this season vs. the Padres in San Diego, the Angels in Orange County, the Dodgers in LA and now the Giants in San Francisco. The stadium was beautiful. No Busch Stadium, but I still loved it. PLUS, they had really delicious garlic fries! The stadium sits right on the water so the views are pretty fascinating too, but being right on the water made it that much cooler. We were pretty cold that night and unfortunately, the Cards didn’t bring home a win until after we left SF. Sigh. Still glad we got to see our boys another time on the west coast though.

screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-02-57-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-03-25-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-5-47-33-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-5-47-47-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-02-06-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-02-18-pm screen-shot-2016-09-24-at-6-02-32-pmAlthough we were only in SF for a quick weekend, we still squeezed in a lot and did and saw a lot of musts in those couple of days. We walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (and of course took a selfie, because you basically didn’t go to San Francisco without doing that). We went to Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39 and had clam chowder from Boudin in a sourdough bread bowl (well, Tim did, I had chili which was also delicious and warm in the chilly NorCal weather…I’m worried I’m turning into a Southern Californian talking like this. Ha!). We rode the cable cars through the city and made sure we got a spot right on the ledge (I think this was the highlight. So much fun!). We saw the Painted Ladies from Alamo Square and watched the cars drive down Lombard Street, the crookedest street, and walked up and down the city’s hills. My oh my those hills. We had lunch at a little place called Street Taco in Haight-Ashbury and of course made our way to another bar arcade for a game of Ms. Pacman on Friday night called Brewcade. And, we even braved a very early morning waiting in line (4am wakeup call!) for tickets to Alcatraz, and it was worth it too. Even the boat ride over was worth the views of the city and the Golden Gate Bridge. If you’re planning on going, though, I highly recommend grabbing your tickets online early, as in, weeks early. We grabbed a cup of Philz Coffee while we waited for our Uber back to the airport. We still didn’t get to make it to all of the places on our list including Sausalito, Chinatown, Muir Woods and more. There’s so much to see out here. So much in Southern California, the entire state of California and the west coast. So much to take in every single day. It’s fascinating. We loved what we did get to see of San Francisco this time around though. The public transit there is definitely very prominent, but even for being such a small (radius-wise, anyway) city, we found that Uber was our easiest, most convenient option. We typically take public transit everywhere we go when we travel, Chicago and NYC still proving to be the best, most streamlined, user-friendly transit systems, even for the non-locals. SF has a variety of options from buses to cable cars to subway tracks, but for timing and ease, Uber ended up working out best for us, but there were Uber drivers everywhere, we rarely had to wait, and since the city’s radius is is so small and there is not much traffic (not like down here, that’s for sure!), the fares were inexpensive so this ended up working out great for us. We also love to walk a lot but we were bouncing around from one side of the city to the other, and those hills…(insert wide-eyed emoji here…).

Next up on our list? Potentially Vegas. Can you believe we’ve still never been to Vegas, and now we’re just a short drive away? But the trips I’m looking forward to most to finish out the year? Home 🙂 We’ll be back home for the holidays during both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I absolutely can. not. wait. I can’t imagine spending a holiday without family. But in the meantime, we’ve got a busy work and life season ahead of us as fall kicks off and we jump into the holiday season! It’s been weird feeling like we’ve got a bit of a breather right now, but I keep telling myself to enjoy it, because the end of this year is going to fly on by. We welcome October this weekend (and maybe even cooler temps too?!). I put up the fall wreath, but I’m hoping to get the rest of the fall decor out, light fall candles, bake pumpkin bread, you know the drill. I love fall. It would be pretty basic of me to write a post about how much I love it, as I’m sure I’ve likely already done in the past, but if I get around to it, you can expect one in the weeks to come.

Xo.

St. LouIS (Read: St. Lou-is)

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{Here we go again with another way too long lull of no writing…I swear I’m constantly writing in my mind (or in my Notes on my phone for that matter), but by the time I open up WordPress at night, I’m always exhausted and ready for bed. Gah! Anyway, jumping right back in here…}

Last week we spent a few days back home for the first time in five months. To some, this may sound like nothing, but to me, five months is the longest amount of time I’ve ever been away from home. We’ve been living in California for almost 9 months now (can you believe it!? Already!? I can’t…and in my head, nine months instantly equates to nearly one year. Whoa!), and we’ve been home twice. We went back home in March to meet our new nephew, and we went home last week for a wedding, but itching to spend some time in STL, we made it an extra long weekend and spent time with family, with friends and visiting some of our favorite STL places. Those few days went by SO quickly, and we attempted to squeeze as much as possible in such a short amount of time which was no easy feat yet we still managed to squeeze a lot into such a short amount of time. My heart is so full after being home for a few days. My heart was also reminded, though, just how in love I truly am with that city and so many of the people in it. Being across the country from home and loved ones sure does pose its challenges, but being away also makes you realize how great home really is. Not that we didn’t already love everything about the city that we call home, but when you’re away from it for months at a time living in a place so different than what you know, you are simply reminded of all those good things. As much as we’ve always wanted to go and experience some place new, and as much as we’ve always expressed so much love for our ‘rival city’ of Chicago, we’ve always shared how much we also love St. Louis, our city. It’s such a special place for so many reasons, but there is so much culture, so much vibrancy, such a strong sense of community. We went back into our church doors and felt right back at home with the overwhelming feeling of love from others, so many others who care so much about the heart of the city and its people. That city has a story to tell, and it makes my heart smile. I oftentimes share with people here that they may not understand my love for that city because they’ve never been, but that’s ok. I feel like it’s my own little secret. One that I feel like maybe you only truly understand if you immerse yourself in it. You become a part of it and its community. If you’re in St. Louis or planning a trip to St. Louis (or maybe haven’t ever considered planning a trip to St. Louis) and don’t quite see what’s so attractive to many, I encourage you to look a little deeper, because there is so so much there. St. Louis has been getting so many good remarks from Thrillist lately, but read this post in particular which almost perfectly describes so much of the good, so much of what so many are simply missing. There are people who call the city home, and there are people who only seem to want to claim it as theirs when the Cardinals are well on their way to the World Series or when the talk of crime isn’t quite so high. For those on all ends of that spectrum, it’s a city with a story to tell. A really good story.

It’s fun out here, for so many reasons, but no matter what, that city is home. It may not have a beach, it may not have a steady 75 + sunny weather pattern, but I can name a whole lot more that it does have, I can assure you of that. And for the record, our favorite street tacos aren’t in California, they are from Mission Taco in STL. Who would have thought?

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Loving our adventures and all there is to here on the west coast and truly soaking up every bit that there is to do in this SoCal life, but I’m already counting down to the holidays to be back in the Lou again for a few more days. 🙂

Xo.

We’re from Missouri

Kasey Lucas St Louis Palm Trees

The tall, skinny palm trees along the coastline are my absolute favorite; I think they have their own quirky sense of character. I’m still in awe that these surround us everywhere here every single day.

Whoa. I can hardly believe that we have already been living in California for a month and a half now. SO many things have happened in just a month and a half! I have been meaning to write since we got here and just haven’t quite found the time to do so yet (but I update Instagram frequently with #stltosocal adventure updates so feel free to follow me there!) I started my job out here with an amazing University of California school a week after we arrived. So thankful for the way that God has provided for us on this journey. There are definite reasons as to why we are here. We’ve both been busy with our jobs and spending any and all free time exploring all things Southern California. And let me tell you. There is so much to explore in Southern California. We still haven’t quite finished unpacking yet either, but when you’re across the country in a brand new place exploring so many brand new things, that tends to fall lower on the list, even for the perfectionist. Enjoying what we can of this adventure is what’s most important right now. (I never even got to share our full travel story with you, but we left the day after New Year’s Day, drove two very long days across the country with the dogs, waited two weeks for all of our belongings to arrive and are still trying to get settled in, but hey, it’s all a part of this adventure, and it’s teaching me to let go of the things that aren’t always in my control.)

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Just a few hours into our road trip from Missouri to the West Coast! Had to make a pitstop for Starbucks. Bentley and Emma did amazing on the two day trek.

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Day 2 of the trip. Once we started to see signs for LA, we knew we were finally getting ‘closer.’

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And once we crossed the California border we had to stop at a vehicle inspection to ensure we didn’t bring any ‘foreign objects’ into the state (just another reason why I feel like this place is a country of its own). Once we crossed the state line, we still had a long way to go. California is a massive state.

So, now to the important stuff. Everyone wants to know about California. It’s definitely quite the change from St. Louis, I will say that. It’s amazing out here, yet so different in so many ways. But do I miss home? Oh yes. The Midwest is absolutely home, and always will be so if you’re asking whether or not we will be back, the answer is definitely yes. While I don’t want to ‘plan’ too much too far ahead (and like I’ve said before, this was never particularly in our ‘plan’ either, as our plans aren’t always ours), I do know that at some point, that is definitely where we want to be. But for today? This is a fun adventure that we fully intend to take full advantage of.

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Or, as I like to say, our home sweet home AWAY from home, because of course, St. Louis is definitely home.

It’s only been a little over a month, so this will change as time goes on, but in this short period of time we have already learned quite a bit about this state. The one thing that I tell just about everyone here is that I feel like California is its own country. It’s just so different and strange in a lot of ways; this state has a lot of its own quirks that I don’t fully understand, and I’m not sure that I ever will, but maybe I will start to more so as time goes on, but I’m pretty sure I will forever hold onto my Midwest ways. But a couple of thoughts right off the bat:

1. Traffic. Is. Horrible. We’re in Orange County, so we thought that maybe being a little south of LA meant that traffic would be less frequent. Wrong. A drive to work in the morning that should take me no more than 15 minutes takes an hour. Or more. I cannot seem to wrap my head around the fact that people spend so much of their lives sitting in traffic here. I don’t love that. The plus side, though, is that I use my commute to either A.) listen to podcasts, B.) listen to sermons from the Journey or C.) call my mom and dad and other family and friends so at least I am able to put all of my car time to good use.

2. I don’t see Cardinals anything anywhere like I’m so used to at home. I LOVE our Cardinals. They are of course not so well loved around here. I have spotted a couple of STL Cards license plate covers since we’ve arrived though (and I get ridiculously excited when I do!!), and I recently added a STL sticker to my car. I have so much pride over that team and refuse to ever let that go.

3. There is quite a mix of people here who are either born and raised SoCal/Orange County or who are transplants from other cities. When I meet someone who is from across the country, I instantly want to become their best friend. Everywhere I go I also find it necessary to tell everyone around me that I’m from the Midwest (not sure if I’ll ever stop sharing this fact with strangers during our time here). What I’ve quickly learned, though, (and no, I am not speaking for everyone here) is that many of the people who are born and raised here seem to take all of amazingness that surrounds them for granted, and I don’t want that to become me. Sure, there are things that are bothersome like the traffic and the higher gas prices and other little California quirks that I’m sure I will at some point share, but the fact that I drive to work and see snowcapped mountains in my rearview mirror or the fact that I can drive 5 minutes away during lunch and stare at the ocean is so surreal to me. If you know me you know my love for all things city (and yes, I am longing for that I will not lie, but luckily LA is so close), but the beauty of God’s creations that are right in front of us, in conjunction with this amazing weather, are things that I never want to lose sight of. It’s snowing back home, and here I am at the beach after church then having iced coffee outside in 75+ degree sunshine. I don’t even feel like I deserve this so I don’t want to become one who complains at 60 degrees or who sits inside during lunch or on the weekends when there’s so much to go see and do.

I’m excited to see where this adventure takes us. While I sit here with a million and one ideas and visions and dreams and goals in my mind (I swear my brain never shuts off!), I still want to work to enjoy each and every day and take this all in. Our first month and a half here has gone by so quickly, but we’ve already done so much like explore LA, hike Peter’s Canyon, visit several beaches (and even take the dogs to the beach!), visit San Diego, enjoy the Farmer’s Markets in February and so much more. So yes, although I’m currently sitting outside writing, a piece of me misses St. Louis (and of course a huge piece of me misses my family and friends) and maybe even a little bit of the snow (gasp!), but this is us today, and it’s pretty incredible. There is so much more to experience, and this is what life is all about. I think that there is something to be said about experiencing an environment and a culture so incredibly different than what we’re used to.

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I had ironically found this saved in my random things box (I save a lot of random things) while we were packing. The perfect, subtle reminder.

“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.” – Mark Twain

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The west coast is the best coast? Nah. I was conveniently wearing my favorite ‘Midwest is Best’ tee when we passed this one day and clearly had to stop to take a quick pic.

Here’s to exploring and adventure. But don’t worry, as much as I love visiting and exploring other places, the Midwest is definitely still the best. But for today, California is pretty amazing too.

XO

KaseyLucasStLouis

Focusing on what the west coast has in store

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(Photo taken from above Orange County as we were about to land in Santa Ana last night (not the best quality but look at that sunset and all of the city lights!). Thoughts written from yesterday’s plane ride, post actually made from cute little coffees  shop marketplace thing today.) *If this post is formatted funny, I apologize in advance…sometimes these come out weird when I post from my iPad.
Last week was my last week working with The Covering House, an amazing non-profit organization in St. Louis. If you haven’t heard of The Covering House, visit their website HERE to learn more about their mission and what they are doing in St. Louis. It has been an incredible year (or just about) with this organization and group of people. The job itself has humbled me in so many ways, taught me so many things and introduced me to some truly incredible people that I otherwise would never have met. This role was such a great transition for me for so many reasons, both personally and profssionally. My last event for TCH was on Thursday evening, and although my heart felt sad to leave, I am really ready to fully focus on what the west coast will have in store. Did you miss our moving (yet again, but BIG move this time around) announcement? You can read more about it in my last post.
As I sit here on this airplane leaving home to travel to our soon-to-be new home, so many thoughts are racing through my head, as they have been for the last few months as we’ve been working through the details of making such a big life change. And boy are there ever so many details. I’m going to miss so many things about home (as in home home, St. Louis home), but gosh this is just going to be such an incredible opportunity for us in so many ways. We’ve got big goals this next week as I fly out to meet Tim in Orange County, CA. We need to find a place to live. I’ve got job interviews lined up (prayers and good vibes are so greatly appreciated). You know. Just the minor details that moving across the country entails.
I think that this whole thing is a really good challenge for me. If you know me, you probably know two things about me. I’m a perfectionist. And I’m a planner. (A blessing and a curse I tell you.) But at the same time, I crave adventure, and although terrifying, I do actually like to take risks every once in awhile and just see what happens. I say all this as I continue to mentally plan our entire next year, next five years, next ten years. Will we still be living on the west coast? Will our family finally start to grow (as in with humans)? How old will our dogs be? Will they love our future children? Where will we be working? Whoa whoa whoa. Seriously people. This is how my brain works. This can truly make someone crazy. I want so badly to take things one day at a time. I will say that right now, I have never been so unplanned in my entire life, so unknowing as to what our future holds (no home to live in in CA yet, no official moving date on the calendar (we’re looking at shortly after Christmas or the New Year as of now for those who have been asking…hoping to know for sure real soon!), and I’m currently unemployed at the moment, if you will (gasp, that sounds SO weird!). But, somehow, deep down (like really deep down here), I also feel ok. I’m freaked out, yes. But I also feel ok. Something in the back of my mind (well, basically God here) is telling me that everything’s going to be OK, and things will soon fall our way. Slowly but surely, but they will. And slowly but surely, they have been. Maybe not quite as ‘planned,’ but you get my point.
One thing that life has really taught me, especially recently, is that no matter how much we plan, there are likely other plans out there waiting for us. Just a few weeks ago, I heard this quote…I can’t remember where I heard it, but it goes like this:
“You just give up the life that is planned to get the life that has been waiting for you,” Joseph Campbell
Boom. In my face. I needed to hear that. So badly. (It’s killing me that I cannot remember where I actually heard this though…was in in church? Did I read it in one of the ten different books I’ve started in the last several months that I’ve yet to find the time to finish? Huh.) I’ve been getting small signs such as that coming my way.
So, I can sit here and plan all I want. Every single step along the way. And of course I do still think that plans and goals are good. So so good. But, I also think it’s important to go where life leads us sometimes too. Will the timing always be right? Probably not. We’ve owned our house in St. Louis for a year, and our first nephew is on his way into the world in a few short months (yay! I’m already so excited to go back home and meet that tiny new human in the spring!). But can we always let things stop us? The unknown? The what ifs? I really don’t think so. (Coming from the girl who is having an internal anxiety attack thinking about what the future may or may not hold right this very moment.) I’ve always admired the people who have the courage to make such big and exciting new changes, and I always thought at some point I too could, would, be that person, yet it always felt so far away, and I never quite knew In what capacity something like that may actually look like. And here we are.
Life is a beautiful and bold adventure. I’d be lying if I sat here and told you I’m not going to plan a dang thing anymore because, let’s just be honest here, but I am going to continue to challenge myself to take each day one day at a time and to live life for what it’s worth. I can’t wait to see what the west coast has in store for us. But in the meantime, feel free to send good vibes our way 😉
Xo.
Kasey

side note – I am finding that dogs can seemingly go just about everywhere around here. Bentley and Emma will love it! 

another side note – again, sorry if formatting of this post is weird (it’s driving me crazy); sometimes I think that WordPress has a mind of its own…will fix when I am no longer on a mobile device. 

 

New Plans and Palm Trees

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Life sure has a way of giving us its full share of unexpected surprises, does it not? If you haven’t realized yet, we love adventure, and we value and cherish experiences above many many things. Late this summer, a new kind of adventure came our way. Tim was offered a new job opportunity that is full of potential growth for the career path that he has been dreaming of. The thing is, the job is not in St. Louis, but it’s a bit further away…like west coast further. Talk about a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions! We love our city in ways that I cannot even begin to describe, but we’ve also had a heart for wanting to explore other cities at some point too. Not just traveling to them, but living in them. Experiencing cultures and lifestyles so different than what’s comfortable to us. No, going this far from home was never really on our radar (if you know us well, you know that Chicago was definitely up there on that list), but when opportunity comes to you, you sometimes just have to take it. God is continuing to do big things in our lives and is calling us to places that I never even dreamt imaginable, but I know that he’s got big plans in store for us.

Tim officially started his new job a few weeks ago, spent some time in SoCal, and I went out to visit. He’s currently working from home for a few weeks before heading back before the holidays, then in January, we’ll officially make the move to the west coast (California sunshine in January doesn’t sound too shabby). In the meantime, I’m busy searching for the next step for my career in California. Many things are definitely so much different there than they are here, which will take quite a bit of getting used to, but this will be an experience like none other.

As the pieces of this big move slowly but surely fall into place (finding someone to rent our home, someone to replace me at my job, finding a new job, a new place to live, a new church…) it still all just feels so right. Will it be easy? No, not at all. But this is a challenge that we’re willing to take. We’ve experienced every single emotion possible (really) over the course of these last several weeks. We’re scared, we’re excited, we’re anxious, we’re overwhelmed, we’re thrilled, we can’t wait. Yes, we’ve got so much good here – our family, our friends, our church community – but we know that there’s still so much more to be explored, and this will still always be home. If there’s a time in our lives that we’re going to take advantage of an opportunity such as this, now is it. Life certainly doesn’t always go as we plan, but as I grow older and dream more and more of growing our family, I learn that it’s alright to not actually plan every single step and to just take things day-by-day (easier said than done, sure, but I’m learning). We’re going to take this next step (ahem, leap) and see where life leads. I’m certain that there are many new experiences in store. God’s seemingly working on some pretty big plans for us, and I can’t wait to see what He has in store on this next part of our journey. So instead of the Arch, the river and Tower Grove Park, our daily views will soon consist of the Pacific Ocean, palm trees and mountains. Bittersweet? Absolutely. But we can’t wait to see what else this new adventure will consist of.

Side note – I know, I’m pointing to Oregon in this photo (imagine how long it took us to get this photo), but right around where Emma’s nose is is right about where we will be living 🙂 More to come as this adventure continues to unfold. Stay tuned.

Xo.

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Wanderlust

imageWanderlust is a very real thing, and I’ve got it bad. We just got home from vacation last weekend and jumped right back into a very full work week this week. My family goes on vacation to Destin, FL every summer. There’s a big group of family and family friends that has been going ever since I was a little girl. I am so grateful for the opportunity to get to do this. For the opportunity to spend a week away, to spend quality time with family, to have this view right in front of our eyes when we wake up every morning and sit out on the balcony eating breakfast while listening to the sound of the waves crashing and the sea gulls soaring by.

imageEach day is is filled with a very subtle schedule of walking on the beach, sitting on the beach, enjoying a drink or two and going out to dinner. A schedule like this for an entire week is something that I am far from used to. This vacation, more so than most, has made me realize more and more the importance and beauty of what surrounds us, what truly lies right in front of us. It’s so hard to unplug in today’s say and time. I try to, I really do. I’ve done a social media free weekend , and it was amazing. When Tim and I went on our honeymoon to Jamaica four years ago we locked our phones in the safe and didn’t even turn them back on until we got back in the U.S. I didn’t miss my phone one bit. But now, even with an out of office reply, I can’t help but still consistently and obsessively check emails and check all of the social media business pages that I manage (this is really important regardless, in my opinion). I want to make sure that I’m still pleasing everyone, that even though I’m taking a break that everyone so deserves every so often, I’m still there for anyone’s needs, even if it is something that could truly wait a few days until I was back in the office and could give it my full, undivided attention.

Last week’s vacation was honesty the first full week that Tim and I have both had off since our honeymoon. Four years ago. Sure, we take the occasional long weekend, and we’ve been able to explore some amazing new cities and take frequent weekend trips to Chicago, but for the first time in four years we were off work, out of the office, for an entire week. That seems like quite some time. It seems like some people are constantly on vacation, and it seems like others never have the opportunity at all. I truly believe, despite my struggle to unplug and my workaholic mentality that I know I inherited from my father (not that this is a bad thing, but for one’s self worth, it’s certainly a challenge), I think that vacations should be far longer and far more frequent. Although it’s easier said than done, case in point, I think it’s import for us to escape reality, to escape the mundane, and to truly revel in what surrounds us. Last week was an amazing getaway, but being just a few months into my new job, I especially felt like I needed to stay as tuned in as possible even from afar, even when my coworkers told me not to. I am truly so grateful that even for being there just a few short months I was still able to take this week away with my family. Although I didn’t fully unplug, it was still an amazing escape, and today, all I can think of is the amazing views that we had all week long. Only God can make a something look this good. Seeing things like this make you truly think about the most important things in life.

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I love to travel more than a lot of things, even if it’s the same place I’ve had the opportunity to visit every single year. Every day, I dream of visiting new places and seeing new things. I want to see the cityscapes, the architecture and the beach and the sea. I want to travel the world, I really do. Maybe one day, this will be true. There is so much in this world to see. In the same way that time away refreshes the soul, exploring places that are different than home helps us to learn and grow too. All of these tags are such important key aspects in life.

imageIn the meantime, I will continue to dream, already anticipating whatever our next adventure will be.

KaseyLucasStLouis

 

 

 

 

It’s Been Awhile

imageHi there! Long time, no write. So, over the course of the last few months, life has certainly been happening for us with so many amazing new things. I finally, officially finished grad school in May, and shortly before that, I started a new job on the next step of my career path! I officially have a Master of Arts in Marketing, and I am currently working in partnership development for an amazing non-profit organization in STL. I just did my last big wedding for the time being in June, and it feels really good to finally be starting to really narrow my focus down to a couple of things as opposed to a million so that I can truly devote myself to what I am doing (although I still haven’t quite been able to eliminate the ‘busy’ that I’ve been trying  so hard to do, and I’ve still got a lot of things on my plate, but for today, it’s ok). With my new full time position, I am finally really feeling like I’m on mission, and truly doing something that matters, which is what I’ve been seeking, and I get to utilize my passion and skills in doing so (plus, I’m still planning a lot of events!). It’s amazing, it’s challenging, it’s so many things, but I’m excited to see where this next step in my career path leads.

Tim’s now officially got less than a year to go in grad school himself, and we’re taking this time to determine what the best next steps will be for us and our little (four-legged) family. So many exciting things to think about and ideas and opportunities to explore. A big part of me wishes that I wasn’t such a planner and so goal-oriented all the time, but at the same time, it’s what truly drives me and inspires me each day. As usual (while trying to really focus on living in the present), I’m exited to see what lies ahead for us. Our favorite thing to do as of late is sit down in our favorite local coffee shops and dream (real) big dreams. I heard a quote in a service a couple of weeks ago that really stuck with me that went something along the lines of, ‘Find your purpose in life, and find it well.’

In the meantime, while we’re over here dreaming big dreams, we’re also being inspired by two of our favorite couples, one who just made the move to KC, and the other who is NYC bound. For a couple that wants nothing more than to see the world, we’ve got a lot of work to do, but that’s an inspiration to me in and of itself. We finally found this perfect cork board map to hang in our home to start pinning some of our favorite places we’ve been, and the places we want to be.

Happy Fourth of July weekend, America. Hopefully I’ll be able to find more time to write again soon, but at the very least, I’ll be doing some dreaming and a little bit of travelling and taking a lot of notes along the way.

Cheers!

Kasey

 

 

 

Goods That Do Good

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I’ve written or talked about TOMS a time or two before. I’ve read Blake Mycoskie’s book, “Start Something That Matters,” and I’ve done research and presentations on TOMS throughout grad school. My bio itself reads, ‘I have a passion for branding and meaningful missions.’ This very sentence is inspired by brands like TOMS.

I was excited to learn of TOMS latest mission, coffee. For every cup of coffee sold at a TOMS Roasting Co. or for every pack of coffee sold, water is provided for those in need. You can learn more about this particular mission here. I knew I just had to visit a TOMS Roasting Co. When we went up to Chicago a couple weeks ago, I did a little research to find that the newest TOMS store and Roasting Co. was located in Wicker Park. Perfect. Naturally, we went.

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What I love so much about this brand is that it’s becoming more than just a product or a service, even more than a mission (which is what I love most about the brand), but TOMS is providing an experience, a sense of community, and what I recently read which describes it so perfectly, a lifestyle.

We walked in to find the perfect coffee shop setting in the front of the store. Wooden stools lined window seats, and a group of early twenty-somethings sat at a table drinking coffee and playing games. There were USB outlets everywhere perfect for a quick phone or iPad charge break. A few steps in, and you’re prepared to shop. Men and Women’s shoes line shelves to the left while eyewear (both optical and sunglasses) line the wall to the right. In the middle sits a large wooden table lined with boutique designer accessories for sale (not TOMS products). In the back of the store is the coffee bar serving delicious coffees and coffee drinks of all sorts. You can also purchase coffee mugs, packaged coffee and TOMS apparel.

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Tim and I shopped (looked, but didn’t buy) and got ourselves a cup of coffee. While we sat in the store/coffee shop and sipped our coffee, we watched as we took in this experience. I was truly in awe and fascinating by what I was surrounded by. So much community taking place in one small space in different forms was taking shape. Girls with their mothers were sipping coffee and talking to the sales representatives as they shopped for shoes, twenty-somethings in the front of the store laughed and chatted, couples sat and sipped their coffee. How amazing. So many different groups of people, all in one spot, doing different things, for one particular mission. Goods that do good. A lifestyle. I’ve been in love with this brand since my first pair of TOMS Shoes in its early stages, and I continue to be fascinated by how it continues to grow before our eyes. I’ve always thought TOMS would be such an amazing and fulfilling brand to work for. I’m anxious to see what they’ve got up their sleeve next. In the meantime, I hope we can take another trip to Chicago soon (of course), but especially because I want another cup of that coffee 😉

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KaseyLucasStLouis

I’m in a New York State of Mind

Everything about this summer happened so quickly, and suddenly, we’re nearly in fall (well, everyone has said it’s fall since Labor Day, but it’s not officially fall yet…more on that later). Anyway, I shared part 1 of our Boston/NYC adventure last month but never got around to sharing part 2, the NYC part. I’ve had a draft saved for a few weeks now, photos uploaded and all, but hadn’t gotten around to actually writing.

I always miss the big city. Any big city. If you haven’t yet realized, I’m beyond obsessed with all things city, New York and Chicago being my absolute favorites. When we were visiting Boston this summer, our new adventure place to visit, I just knew that we had to somehow incorporate New York into this trip as well. Yes, we’ve already done NY together, but once is not enough. I want to go back again and again. Since we’re rarely in the Northeast, I knew we needed to take full advantage. (If we had all the money and all the vacation days in the world, we would have spent a good two weeks touring the entire Northeast/New England if it were up to me.) On our last full day of our trip, we took a bus from Boston down to NYC (I legitimately never realized just how far NE Boston really is on the map. Wow!). It was only about 4 1/2 hours or so on the bus down to NYC, so it wasn’t bad at all. About equivalent to our trips from home to Chicago. We got into NYC late morning, giving us a good full day after getting checked into our hotel (in Times Square! Tim did so good as usual 🙂 ) to explore the city. We did a lot of big things last time we were in New York like tours, Times Square and we were on the TODAY Show (HUGE bucket list check right there), so this time we didn’t have a lot of big things planned, we just wanted to enjoy our day in the city. It was so perfect, especially since last time we were in New York, it was New Year’s Eve weekend, and it was bitter bitter bitter cold. Almost unbearable (but we made it bearable, nonetheless). This NY summer weather was the exact opposite of that.

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We tried to do a few of the things we didn’t have time to do the last the we were here. First stop, we had lunch at Shake Shack. I felt like I was in a movie eating outside in the park on a New York summer day. It was so fabulous. And, their food was pretty awesome too. Sometimes you just need a good burger and fries, you know? Gluten and all (more on that later, if you don’t follow me on IG and Twitter and know about my gluten sensitivity issues…yes, I’m one of those, and yes, it’s annoying, I know.).

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Following lunch, we needed to walk off our food. When we travel, we love to walk. We’re pretty active when time allows. Living in a city, any city, you have to know that walking will be involved, even if it’s just your usual walk from the car to your doorstep. We walked our way through New York’s finest shopping (shopping, my other love), and visited a few of my favorite places including Tory Burch and Kate Spade’s Madison Avenue flagship store. It was just as beautiful as I had ever imagined it would be. I bought one little thing with a gift card that I had been saving up just because I wanted just one of my KS pieces to really be from NY 🙂 The flagship store was several stories tall, each floor being dedicated to its own Kate Spade department…shoes, homegoods, wedding. It was some form of Kate Spade New York Heaven I’m sure.

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One thing that we didn’t have time to do last time we were there was see the view of New York City from above. We decided to do the Top of the Rock tour, and it was amazing. New York City was even more beautiful from up above. 

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That evening, we explored SoHo which I absolutely loved, especially the building structures on each block. We also stopped in the Kate Spade and Jack Spade stores in SoHo to make sure there wasn’t anything we were missing out on, and we checked out the Kate Spade Saturday store too. If I were to ever have the opportunity to live in this city, I would love to live in this neighborhood. Even if $3,000 a month in rent got me something the size of a cardboard box. I still think it would be totally awesome. 

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Finally, we got to visit our friend, Carson, who lives in Brooklyn. We finally got to walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, and Brooklyn itself, what a neat place! I wish that we could have stayed and explored it more. Next time I would like to spend a full day there. 

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It was an amazing end to our trip. I dream of being in this city all the time. I need to figure out how more of it can be in our lives. And next time we go on a visit, we still need to do an NBC Studio Tour (obsessed with all things NBC!), see a real Broadway show and we absolutely must get tickets to see Jimmy Fallon live. New York City is like its own country. There are never ending things to do. I can’t wait until we can go back again! In the meantime, we’re already trying to plan where our next adventure trip will be. We’re really thinking about California because it’s been up there on our list (right up there with NYC actually) for a very long time, and neither of us have been any further west than Phoenix, AZ. There are so many options when it comes to California though. Talk about a state being like its own country. Phew. In the meantime, we’ve got to plan ourselves another weekend trip to Chicago, though. It’s quick, it’s easy, its (relatively) inexpensive (as compared to some of these other trips we take anyway), and we’re just all around in love with that city. I’m hoping we can get back up there this fall. I have a feeling big changes are to come in the spring, whether that be career moves, real life moves (our lease ends in five months!) or something of that sort. Only time will tell so we shall see! The countdown to that Masters degree is less and less each day.

KaseyLucasStLouis

 

 

I think I’ll go to Boston

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When Tim and I got married, one of our vows to each other was to keep adventure in our lives. One thing that we both really love to do is to travel, and one thing that we really wanted to promise to each other is that we would travel to new places and see new things together. Every year, we are lucky enough to be given the opportunity to take short weekend road trips with each other or with friends to places close be like Chicago (our very favorite!), Kansas City, Nashville and Memphis. These places are a short drive away and are perfectly suited for bachelor/bachelorette parties or just a quick weekend away. We also have our annual family beach vacation in Florida that we look forward to every year too. As much as we love these places, we also have a really big passion for seeing the world and exploring new places too so each year, we try to plan a trip to someplace new. Being young and just a few years out of college, it’s especially helpful that we have friends living in other places too that we can go visit. Our first year married, we did NYC (during NYE and Christmas time mind you!) (a very big dream come true and check off the bucket list for me), last summer we did New Orleans with friends and this summer we visited Tim’s cousin who lives in Boston (and seeing as how much I obsess over New York and being so close, we included a day back in NYC in this trip too).

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Boston was a very cool city. A lot like I had expected, but a like I like I didn’t particularly expect either. So many things in the Northeast and in New England are just so different than what we’re used to in the Midwest. I could really really see myself living in the northeast. I’ve always dreamt this and thought this since I was a little girl, but having finally made the commitment to going there once we were married, I can see it in our future more and more. I don’t see us living in Boston, per se, but New York? Now that’s a different story.

This post in particular, though, is about our experience in Boston (don’t worry though, the next post will be all about our day in NYC). I’m currently writing this post from my ipad on a plane ride to Florida. Isn’t that ironic?! Anyway. Back to Boston. In Boston, we walked a lot. Good thing Tim and I are walkers. We tend to walk a lot, living in the city, but even more so when we travel. It’s to be expected. (We also just became a part of the Fitbit club last month, so now we’re even more into getting our steps in every day). As soon as we met up with Tim’s cousin after we got off the train (or subway, or trolly, or Charlie or whatever it actually is that they call it there…I could never actually figure this one out…) we started to explore the city of Boston. I was really trying hard the three days that we were there to get an explanation as to what was considered ‘downtown’ Boston or what neighborhood or part of the city that we were in. I tend to always compare everything to St. Louis. I need to stop that. Nothing is setup the way St. Louis is, and although I love stl, there are some much bigger and brighter cities out there. (I’m obsessed with all things city if you haven’t figured that out just yet.). We explored so many different pieces of the city of Boston from downtown (I think), the financial district to Beacon Hill and Newbury while also getting to explore areas outside of what most of the tourists see too, like the outer neighborhoods and the area where Tim’s cousin lives and has lived.

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Public transportation is something that we are always so fascinated by. We wish it was more prevalent at home, but it’s just not aside from large downtown events and travel. The public transit system was a little different than that of what we’re typically used to in NY and Chicago, as it moved at a big of a surprisingly slower pace, but we still enjoyed experiencing it, and it seems that a majority of the city uses the public transit system. Apparently driving is pretty risky around those parts (I could totally see why). One of the Bostonians that we were with while we were there kept referring to Boston drivers as ‘mass holes’…this made me laugh.

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Boston also has so much history. We were lucky enough to have a couple of locals as our tour guides for the weekend, but also did one of the guided tours too, and with history not being one of my strong points, I learned so much.

We explored Harvard, and I was surprisingly not nearly as impressed as I thought I would be. It was a beautiful campus, and I was excited to get to experience it, but I guess I expected a bit more ‘Elle Woods’ while we were there. I was, however, uber impressed by the train stop at Harvard and Harvard Square itself. So much diversity, so eclectic, so many awesome shops, restaurants and bars. I definitely would have enjoyed spending a bit more time there.

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We also got to experience a game at Fenway. Being from a baseball town, we love our baseball, but it was no Busch Stadium, and certainly no Cardinals game (Boston Red Socks vs. KC Royals), but it was still a lot of fun, and they sure do have some loyal fans in Boston.

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Boston also has a whole lot of beer, something that Tim absolutely loves, being a big craft beer fan and home brewer himself. I, being unable to drink beer (thank you gluten), was a big fan of the fact that cider and gluten free options were offered at a lot of places. Plus, Angry Orchard, once of my favorites and first ciders I ever fell in love with, is made in Boston, so that was pretty great too. We went on the Sam Adams brewery tour which was neat. My take from the tour, though, and it’s nothing even remotely related to beer? They rock their social media!

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We also went to a neat place called Hopster’s, a restaurant/bar where you can brew your own beer (and they had cider too of course!). Despite not being the biggest beer fan (mainly because I can’t drink it), I’m still pretty intrigued by everything about it, especially seeing how much work Tim puts into his brewing, and I’m especially in love with the way different companies brand and market their products (because, whey wouldn’t I be?!). Everything that Hopster’s had to offer to their patrons, down to the design and style of their storefront was pretty spectacular. I was incredibly impressed.

Other than all the awesomeness we experienced while we were in this city, there were a few strange culture shocks that I think would be a little tough to get used to, the biggest one being the use of public bathrooms. All up public restrooms everywhere in downtown Boston require a passcode to enter. I see where this is good for the stores and restaurants because you must be a patron to get said code, so this prevents a lot of ransoms from coming in and out just to use the facilities, but for one who has to frequent public restrooms more often than she would ever like (major germaphobe over here), this would take some major getting used to.

Overall, I loved visiting this new city though. We did so much exploring. We ended the trip with a bus ride to NYC for a day before heading back home. More to come on that soon. But in the meantime, I’ve really done some rambling in this short flight. Time to head to the beach (my other love) for a couple of days with the Fam.

Cheers!

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KaseyLucasStLouis