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Showing posts from 2017

Black Eyed Peas Tradition

Yesterday, December 30, Mike & I decided we would have Black-eyed Pea and Quinoa Croquettes with Mushroom Sauce from “Vegan with a Vengeance” by Isa Chandra Moskowitz for dinner.  (It's one of my favorite cookbooks and super delicious.  Do not skip on the sauce, it makes the whole dish.) 

We were out running errands and stopped at our first grocery store to find them sold out of black eyed peas.  We both thought it was odd until we remembered some people eat them on New Year's Day for good luck.  Apparently there are many stories behind this tradition: feel free to read some here.

We found some at the next grocery store, but there were quite a few people grabbing them and I had to sneak in and grab a can before heading to the register.  

We ate them last night, hopefully it's close enough to count for 2018!

New Home: Decorating - Tiny Step

Decorating a new to me space was overwhelming when I thought of the big picture and much more achievable when I focused on one room at a time.  For me, I picked the next room based on when I was inspired for the space.  Say what you will, but that's my process.

Step 1 that made me feel incredibly better.  Filling in holes with putty and painting over it.  WOW!  The biggest wow for me was this little space in our kitchen (which I think is meant for a TV - we will not be putting a TV there - how many TVs do people expect you to have!).  After I filled in the massive holes there and painted over them I couldn't stop looking at it and smiling.  I did not take a before and after picture because I had no idea how happy it would make me.  Here's the after though!

Note: we were very lucky and the previous owner left behind gallons of paint, which isn't too old to still use.  Hooray!

I can't even tell you how great it made me feel.  

I filled in the hole in the bathroom, hung u…

We Bought A House!

Do you feel like we have too many big life changes in the last 4 months to follow along?  I'm not going to disagree.  It's been a bit of a whirlwind to say the least.

Remember we started looking at houses in June and made several trips to St. Louis during the summer to see what was available.  We kept looking and looking.

Until Friday the 13th.  Yep.  We met our realtor in the morning to look at a few houses that caught our eye and revisit one we were still considering (this is after yet another one of our offers was not chosen earlier that week).  We were still looking in 4 different neighborhoods of St. Louis: Shaw (ultimately we decided this may be where we want to be with the next house, but it's a bit slow for us right now), Tower Grove South (my favorite), Tower Grove East (my second favorite), The Grove (Mike's favorite and spoiler: where we ended up buying).  Side story.  When we first started looking at houses and we were doing lots of walking around different n…

New City

I just got back from spending a few days back in Chicago and I'm ready to share a quick post on my initial comparisons of Chicago and St. Louis.

St. Louisans seem to grow up faster.  Luckily, Mike & I look young since so many St. Louisans our age are at a different stage in their lives.  In Chicago we fit right in with our peers.

Oh how I miss the liberal bubble of Chicago.  I went to my favorite gym class Wednesday morning before I left town and we all celebrated the Doug Jones Alabama win together, including our instructor on the microphone.  That would not happen in St. Louis.  

I do not miss traffic.  I do not miss it at all.  

I do miss the bus.  I still need to learn St. Louis public transportation options.  Yes, Mike & I plan to use it.  

I MISS STANLEY'S!  Stanley's, come to St. Louis please.  I purchase a bag of groceries every time on my way out of town.  Yes.  For a 5 hour drive.

I left Chicago today when it was 30 degrees.  I got to St. Louis and it was 60.  …

I Miss Books

One of the first things on my list to do after we move is get a library card and I am so excited!  I didn't set one up for our temporary housing because I didn't even think I'd have enough evidence to prove I was living there.  It was temporary.

When I was in Chicago a couple weeks ago, I picked up a few books with my still valid library card and it was wonderful!  So wonderful!  (My sister is graciously returning them for me.)

Both books I selected were quick reads and they were so good.  The one that is really sticking with me is The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.  I cannot stop thinking about it.  It's historical fiction based on what French women did during WWII.  It's incredibly inspiring and incredibly sad.  I did a lot of crying during the book.  I guess I'm a pretty crier because Mike came downstairs, said hello, had a small conversation.  Then he touched my face and asked, "Why is your face wet?"  "Because I'm crying."

I highly rec…

Shop Small

With Thanksgiving next week and the ensuing holiday shopping that comes with the holiday.  Maybe you've already started?  I want to take a second and remind you to shop small.  Our small businesses are more in jeopardy than ever.  It's a result of several things: our current administration, growing online companies which I won't name but personally try to avoid buying from.

If you skipped that paragraph: shop small!  It's where the creative gifts are anyway.

Are you confused on where to start?  Below are a few of my favorites in Chicago since I'm still discovering new favorites in St. Louis.

A great place to start is one of the many holiday bazaars around Chicago: Renegade (be prepared for crowds), Show of Hands was already last weekend!

Books: Unabridged (Lakeview), City Lit (Logan Square)
Children's Toys: Play (Logan Square)
Posters, Ornaments, Lotion, Fun Stuff: Inkling (Lakeview), FourSided (Lakeview), Shop 1021 (Logan Square)
Coffee: Coffee & Tea Exchange (La…

Using Pumpkins After Halloween

We carved our pumpkins, Halloween came and went.  Then it's time to cook the pumpkin!  Pumpkins are food after all.  They're a squash.

I should note before this year I haven't had outdoor space so I only cooked tiny pumpkins, usually for pumpkin bread or something.
This year though, we had two big pumpkins!  And I had no idea how much pumpkin you get from one.  I was planning to use both for a pumpkin mac and cheese.  After one the crockpot was overflowing...
I might use the other for a pumpkin soup or something.
I cut off the carved part and threw that away, cleaned out the inside and worked on cutting off the skin, just like any squash.  Be careful when you do this, I slice my thumb a bit, which was unfortunate.
For pumpkin #1 I ended up combining these recipes a bit: Crockpot Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese Recipe and Creamy Crock Pot Butternut Mac & Cheese.  Essentially I wanted to use spices that make sense with pumpkin, but I liked some of the other ingredients with the b…

Interesting Dialects

Happy Halloween!  Just for fun!

This NYT quiz made it's rounds before, but all the sudden people are passing it around again.

After splitting my life between a small town south of St. Louis and Chicago, I got Overland Park, Kansas, St. Louis, Missouri, and Grand Rapids, Michigan....


Give it a try!

Farmer's Market Boxes

Last weekend we went to visit my brother and his family for my nephew's 6th birthday!  They moved a week before the visit so they were a bit overwhelmed with life.  They soon asked if I wanted to take the last box and 1/2 of their farmer's market boxes home with me.  It's the last of the summer boxes they signed up for and they were just tired of the creativity required to cook with vegetables they're not used to.


First, you may be wondering what a farmer's market box is.  While I have not signed up for one, what I understand is you sign up for weekly boxes through a season, in their case summer.  You'll get assorted items from a local farmer, but you won't know what you're getting.  They did receive an email each week highlighting a few of the vegetables with a recipe suggestion or two.

I was so excited to try out a few things I haven't cooked with before.

Creamy Crock Pot Butternut Mac & Cheese - I substituted delicata squash for the butternu…


For the past year, I've essentially been watching my succulent die. 

We moved to St. Louis and clearly Mike & I aren't the only ones who like this weather more.  I looked over at my succulent the other day and saw it was sprouting!  SPROUTING!  I literally changed nothing but the climate.  And it made me feel so proud of myself (for no reason at all). 

I also looked up at my aloe plant and it has all kinds of new sprouts too.  I also changed nothing. 

More sunlight?  Maybe.  I think they just like the climate though.

Note:  I did kill my mums.  Please say they're supposed to die.

New Jeans

When we set out to develop denim, we were
told we couldn’t do it all. That commercial denim
destroys the environment. That only super-stretchy sells.
That designer jeans need a designer price tag.
Good thing we don’t do what we’re told.via Everlane
I heard about a new jean that was environmentally friendly with ethical factories and I was almost all in.  Then I found out they were selling for $68.  Jeans you can feel good about?  Yes.

And this is me.  I've moved over to almost exclusively purchase jeans from Madewell (which is so expensive), but I love how they look and feel.

I figured I would save some money and take a chance.

They even let you go inside the denim factory!

I love when you purchase them online you can choose from different sizes and heights for the model to have a better idea how they will fit on you.  I'm 5'4" and I never know if I should get regular length or ankle length (and they turn out to be regular for me).  I was able to choose a 5'6" model a…


In honor of our 1 month-i-versary, we're married!  Today Mike wore the shirt he wore on our first date, which I oddly remember and he doesn't wear often.  I said, "You're wearing our first date outfit and it's our month-i-versary!" :)

It has been quite the month.  We celebrated my sister's birthday (always quite the affair), packed, moved, took a little trip to Nashville, went to LouFest!  (Mike drove back and forth from Chicago-St. Louis 4 times.  (3 times in one week.)

I'd love to share some of our wedding photos, if you're interested, with a couple big call outs first.  We loved our photographer, both in personality and photo quality (Jenn Shaffer) and our flowers (Stems).  We also got a great cake from Weber's Bakery.


The Best Thing That Happened To Me This Week

Anyone listen to "It's Been a Minute with Sam Sanders?"  

They have a series where people call in with the best thing that happened to them this week.  I love it.  So.  Much.  

I want to try.  Maybe I can try every Friday?

This week I loved spending three days in Nashville.

What's the best thing that happened to you this week?

Nashville - Honeymoon Part 1

A couple weeks ago we sat around and decided the find a cheap flight for a Labor Day trip likely was not the best tactic since we're watching our pennies a bit through transitioning into having a full-time student (Mike) and our move to St. Louis.  We just want things to balance out a bit before we start spending.

So we had been taking an informal poll from people we talked to: Nashville or Memphis.  (Both a reasonable drive from St. Louis.)  It was actually really close!  We decided on Nashville for this trip, but I'm sure we'll make our way to Memphis at some point.

I clicked around on and hotwire because this is a budget trip after all!  We ended up getting a great deal on a 4-star hotel downtown that we were really excited about: 21c Museum Hotel.  Two floors of the hotel are a museum!

When I had a spare moment I started looking for places for us to visit in our 2 night, 3 day stay.  I knew right away I wanted to go to Hatch Show Print.  I had it on my list whe…

New St. Louisans

Here we are.  A couple of new St. Louisans.  

I think it's fair to say we both feel a bit lost right now, especially surrounded by boxes.  The tricky part of these boxes is we are currently in temporary housing so we're not sure how much to unpack and how much to set aside for when we move again...

I arrived yesterday and Mike helped me carry in the big furniture once he got home from class.  As I looked at the puddle of sweat I was dropping, I walked up to the shower to see all the bruises appearing on my legs.  Honestly, my dad moved all the boxes in the truck into the townhouse during the day all on his own.  Let's all pause to give a round of applause for my dad!  Aside from the fact that it was above and beyond what we could have asked, I was beat after packing my car (to capacity), cleaning our place in Chicago and driving to St. Louis.  (Also, it's a good thing he was there because apparently the copy of Mike's key that we made in Chicago did not work...)



How often do you tell someone you live in Chicago and they reply, "The traffic!" followed by a grimace.

My standard response is, "It's one thing you don't get used to."  

Or I didn't anyway.  

I am excited to have less traffic in St. Louis.  Although the rest of this post is contradicting that fact.  It is usually true.

Sunday we made our way to my parents little Missouri town, Ste. Genevieve.  It was right on the line for the solar eclipse and Mike had school orientation on Wednesday.  Getting out of Chicago was one of the lightest traffic we've experienced.  The rest of the ride, not so much.

Apparently lots of people were on the same route as us.  

Wednesday I made myself comfortable at a coffee shop near St. Louis University campus to work and it turned out to be SLU's move in day.  It was in the 70s Wednesday so I settled in outside until the tension between the cars and traffic directors got to be too much (and I needed to charge my computer).  

Happy Hour

Hey, friends, happy "Thirsty Thursday".  I feel like I haven't used that phase since college.  Oh college.... I guess I'm getting older.  Mike & I are having a date night tonight since we're both having our respective bachelor/bachelorette parties this weekend.  Wahoo!

Let's pretend, instead, you & I are sitting down for Happy Hour, "Thirsty Thursday," if you will.  It's one of those happy hours where the bar isn't insane, the wait staff is somewhat nice, and we feel like sharing real events in life, not just how upset we are with our country and talk of TV shows (which I can never really contribute to).  And, hey, let's say they have solid specials too.  Why not?  So here we go.  

How's your summer been?  Mine has been a bit crazy.  Here's what I'd tell you:

-At the surface we're planning a wedding, house hunting and moving out of the city I've lived in for 12 years and away from all my friends.

-Wait.  You'r…


Zucchini is back and strong and I'm so excited!

I went to Stanley's for my weekly vegetable run and saw they were $.69/lb.  $.69/lb!  Half my basket was zucchini.

Every time zucchini season rolls around I make this delicious, easy, and quite healthy zucchini soup.  I'm sure I've mentioned it here before, but we all have a lot going on and a reminder never hurts. ;)

So here it is courtesy of Food & Wine: Silky Zucchini Soup.

I plan on making it at least once more before zucchini season ends.

Fun tip:  if you have an immersion blender, the recipe is even easier!  I got mine from groupon years ago and it's still trucking along.


Over the weekend I ran my third half marathon.  Friends, it did not go well.

These pictures were taken after the race when I decided I was not dead.

My stomach was upset pretty much the whole run, but especially the first half and I have a cold.  (Summer colds, eh?)

I still did it though.  I ran the whole thing and crossed the finish line.

Feel free to read on if you're interested.

It took me forever to settle in, pretty much half the run.  It usually only takes me 3 miles to settle in during a marathon.  So that was annoying.  The stomach issues were likely the cause.  I really thought cheese and I were becoming better friends, but that does not seem to be the case.  

Around mile six, when I started to settle in, my body was like, 'oh hey, you've been neglecting me for six miles.  now you're going to be in pain.'

So I was in pain the rest of the run.  In fact, today my knee still hurts.

So, we'll mark this down as my worst half marathon, I finished in 2 hours.  Damn, …

Hopes and Dreams

What are your hopes and dreams today?

When Mike and I are at dinner or just hanging out and have honestly run out of things to talk about, Mike asks me what my hopes and dreams are.  He asks sarcastically and mostly making fun of me because I ask questions along these lines probably too much for his liking.

(I'm banking on him not reading this...he's not a big fan of any blogs not about city planning or cars...)

I roll my eyes a tiny bit (oh how the tables turn).  And then I always answer.  If Mike is always game when I pester him with questions like these, I definitely have to ask when he asks, even if it's sarcastically.  

I really like it.  It makes me think of goals for the day/week/month and it's really good for me.

So happy Tuesday, get at 'em!


I said when I turned 30 in January I was going to start using moisturizer.  Now, 6 months later, I can say I've kind of achieved the goal, but not really...

I have a moisturizer from several years ago, which I received as a Christmas gift.  I used it off and on over the years, mostly off.  I've probably used it more this year than ever before, granted the bar was very low.

I don't like it though.  I don't like the smell or really how it feels either.

Then I heard True Botanicals released a lower-priced Basics collection designed for younger skin, technically for people in their 20s, but whatever.  I decided to try their hydrating oil (the smallest one) to see if I am able to be consistent with use.

First impression: I'm still figuring out how much to use, but I love the smell.