A Very New Orleans Holiday Recap

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Over Thanksgiving weekend, my family opted to do something a little non-traditional and head out of town for the holiday. Rather than my sister, Kelly, coming back to St. Louis from her current city of Baton Rouge, my mother, father and I headed down South to celebrate with her there. After a night in Baton Rouge catching up with Kelly over a stitched together Thanksgiving dinner and a bottle of rosé, we headed even further South to New Orleans.

We were incredibly lucky to have 65-degree weather days the entire weekend, with lots of street musicians to keep us company, a fabulous tour guide to keep us laughing and informed, and plenty of NOLA liquid hospitality to keep us feeling good. One night resulted in accidentally ending up onstage at a drag show, 4:30am diner hangs, and the hangover of the year. Nothing a little drunken brunch couldn't help, of course.

I really enjoyed making my Portland recap, so I continued the tradition with our Thanksgiving weekend. Thanks again for watching!

Locations Featured:
French Quarter: (0:00-:22) (:40-:44) (:53-1:00) (2:38-3:22) (3:41-3:50)
Jackson Square: (:23-:39) (2:38-3:40)
Garden District: (:45-:52)
Place d'Armes Hotel: (1:01-1:10)
Cafe du Monde: (1:11-1:21)
City Park: (1:22-1:35)
AllWays Lounge: (1:36-1:53)
Hi-Ho Lounge: (1:54-2:08)
Clover Grill: (2:16-2:28)
The Court of Two Sisters: (2:29-2:37)
Joey K's: (4:05-4:12)
Lit Pizza: (4:13-4:16)

 

Holiday Shopping Vibes: Philomena & Ruth

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Holy cow, y'all. It's December. This year simultaneously felt like it crawled by and also vanished within hours. Luckily, the end of the year brings the holidays, and for a lot of people, that means SHOPPING. Shopping for others, shopping for yourselves, shopping for Secret Santas in the workplace. I really strive to support local shops when picking up goodies for people, and St. Louis has a huge variety of places for you to hit. Today, we're gonna talk about Philomena + Ruth!

Just across the river in Waterloo, IL, Philomena + Ruth is an eclectic store in a 100 year old building, complete with a pair of shop kitties that will keep you company as you browse. It's a favorite stop for accessories, household items, and more. From hand-rolled incense to eye-catching pins and patches, they've got just about something for everyone. Try to go in that store and not leave with your gift-giving game on point this holiday season, I dare ya. If you can't get to the store, you can order online, and now through December 15th, you can get free shipping on your order with the code NEWFREE at checkout!

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Now, when I say that this sweatshirt from Philomena + Ruth is the softest sweatshirt I've ever owned, I'm not exaggerating one bit. Considering I don't wear a lot of, um, athleisure... I don't have a ton of things to compare it to, except maybe my 8 year old band sweatshirt that I refuse to give up. But this blue, bleach-dyed number takes the cake. I slipped it on and woke my dog up from her nap with a "WHOA." 

I love that it's a little longer in length because my DNA played a cruel joke on me and left me with super short legs and a long torso. This size medium is the perfect amount of snug and roomy, and I'm looking forward to basically vibin' in it all winter long.

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I've been feeling all over the place lately with style and wardrobe choices, and that also bleeds into my makeup and beauty choices. I waffle between wanting to dress in an androgynous manner all the time, but also bend all the "rules" society set in place for presentation choices. I haven't worn nail polish in probably six months, but if I'm gonna go in, I'm gonna go ALL IN. Black nail polish calls for black lipstick, too. If you haven't heard about Lipsense yet, you might be living under a beauty rock because this brand is getting a lot of attention. This lipstick stays on for a long time, and when you want to wear wild colors like black, that's important. My friend Emily is a rep for Lipsense, and hosts a fun Facebook group here that you can join if you'd like more info as well!

Thanks to Philomena + Ruth for sending me along the comfiest sweatshirt in the world! 
And thanks to Allan Crain for the photos. 


Outfit Details: 
Sweatshirt: c/o Philomena + Ruth  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Dr. Martens: Secondhand
Hat & Sunglasses: Red Fox Vintage, Portland  |  Necklace: May's Place  |  Lipstick: Lipsense

This post was sponsored by Philomena + Ruth. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

On Breaking My Own Big Rules

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The only thing constant about St. Louis' weather is that it's forever, always unpredictable. We just saw a wild November with both cold and warm temperatures, and I had a hell of a time keeping up with my wardrobe. One thing that made it even more difficult: I've officially sized out of a whole lot of my clothes. 

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Jeans are my safe zone, but finding denim that feels good on my body right now can be difficult. I've mentioned a bit of weight gain before on the blog, but I've officially hit my heaviest yet. The thing is: I love my body. I just don't love dealing with finding clothes that feel good on it. Most of my closet is thrifted and vintage clothing, but I'm having a hard time drumming up the right sizes on secondhand shopping trips. 

A rule I've basically lived by for nearly two years is this: I try to, within reason, only purchase secondhand, vintage, or USA-produced clothing, shoes, and accessories. 

The issue, however, is that eventually there comes a breaking point. 
And that breaking point is here. 

A few weeks ago, I was sitting at work and realized the waistband of my jeans was cutting into my middle so badly that I couldn't focus. I kid you not - I unbuttoned those suckers and went about my day. But it had become painfully clear I could no longer depend on my trusty, stretchy Agave skinnies to carry me through whatever the sweet heck my body is doing. 

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Because I'm still ballin' on a budget and desperately needed a pair of jeans FAST, I drove out to the county and purchased a brand new pair of jeans from Levi's at Simon Premium Outlets. I've mentioned the Outlets on the blog before here and here, and since I'm familiar with them, I felt confident I'd find what I needed. This shirt was also picked up new while visiting a Wildfang shop in Portland. I especially knew it was likely I'd find something to fit me at Wildfang as their brand is created for ladies like me. 

But, I try to stick to my guns as much as possible. Most of my closet is still secondhand. And living an eco-friendly life is still always a main focus. In fact, this perfectly granda-chic cardigan is a vintage gem from a brand spankin' new shop in town over on Cherokee. Thrift Gold has a great little space, with a pleasant variety of clothing and accessories to sift through. I even picked up a ridiculously neon Doritos-branded scarf. 

Being kind to yourself is always important. And while I take my commitment to being kind to my planet seriously as well, being happy and comfortable is just a smidge more important right now. 

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Photography by Dave Moore Photography
Fresh Haircut by Amy Sin at Union Barbershop.

Outfit Details: 
Jacket: Goodwill  |  Sweater: Thrift Gold  |  Shirt: Wildfang
Bolo Tie: Pop & Pop Vintage  |  Jeans: Levi's  |  Shoes: Coach, found at Avalon Exchange

Back At It: JORD's Wood Watches (Contest!)

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I've never been the best with accessories. I typically stick to the same earrings, several necklaces, and a bandana here and there, but I know there's always room to up the ante on my accessory game. Everyone seems to be jumping on the smart watch train, but for me, I've decided to stay a little more traditional. A couple years ago, I teamed up with JORD for the first time, but they've since expanded their offerings, and have even more stylish options. I'd been thinking about looking into a dark or black watch to wear, and with perfect timing, JORD reached out to see if I'd like to do another collaboration! This time, I'm also able to offer a little contest, so that you could win a gift card towards your own watch as well. 

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The watch I'm wearing here (and will have more photos to share of soon!) is the new edition of the Frankie watch. You can find more about it and get a closer view HERE.

With JORD's help, I'm sponsoring a little contest! One lucky winner will receive a $100 gift card to spend on JORD's site, and all other entries receive an automatic $25 off. Enter from now until 11:59pm on 10/22! Contest link: https://www.woodwatches.com/g/bl128906ig

Both the $100 and the $25 codes will expire on 11/30/2017.
Best of luck! 

Photo c/o Roach x ReprsntSTL

Video Recap: First Trip to the PNW!

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At the end of September, I visited Portland, OR for the very first time, which also marked my first time ever further west than the Grand Canyon. A goal of mine always remains to travel more - and when you have friends that have scattered themselves across the country, destinations become easier to choose. People have told me that I'd really enjoy Portland, and they weren't wrong. 

Outside of visiting the city, my friend Elizabeth (who played the most gracious and warm host!) and I headed to Mount Hood National Forest to camp, hike, and check out Bagby Hot Springs. I also ate my weight in tacos, sushi, pizza, and drowned in local coffee and bagels. I worked remotely, wandered about on my own, and took in all the delightful quirks Portland folks have. For instance, people park on whatever side of the street they feel like, regardless of which direction they were driving. Also, there are a lot of four-way streets with only two stop signs. There's no such thing as the "Saint Louis roll" through intersections in the PNW.

Instead of detailing every moment, stop, and location of the trip in a blog post, I opted to take some video while there. It was a fun challenge trying to fit everything into a short enough recap to not only set properly to music, but also not bore friends with! It also kept me from trying to capture "perfect photos" the entire time.

I hope you enjoy, and thanks for watching! 

Locations Featured: 
Portland International Rose Garden (:13) (4:10)
Mount Hood National Forest (:31) (3:24-3:34)
Bagby Hot Springs Camping Ground (:39-:50),  (2:35-3:23)
Bagby Hot Springs Hiking Trail (:51-1:31) 
Bagby Hot Springs Bath Houses (1:32-2:34)
Robo Taco (3:40)
Spielman Bagels (3:56)
Portland International Airport (4:16)

A STL Night Out: The Grand Experience

If you've followed my blog for a bit, or you know me personally, you know that I really do love my city. Saint Louis has been my home since birth, and although I've been tempted to move away, I never have. This city just always has more to discover, and I'm forever grateful for opportunities that come my way to explore it more deeply!

Saint Louis is home to a thriving, diverse arts scene. One of the driving forces behind our artists is the Kranzberg Arts Foundation. I recently had the privilege of visiting several of the Foundation's locations throughout Saint Louis's city center, such as the Kranzberg Arts Center, the .ZACK, the Grandel Theater, and The Dark Room at The Grandel. A group of influencers and their guests were invited by Socially Jen to explore, taste, and enjoy a few our way through a lovely summer evening - and I've been dreaming of the night since! Follow along with us below! 

My darling friend Ellie joined me for the evening, and you can find her blogging over at Eudaimonia. We began the evening meeting up with the other influencers at .ZACK, where we sipped cocktails at Sophie's Lounge and learned the Foundation's mission. From programs that give proceeds directly back to artists (Sophie's, for example, puts any profits from its bar directly back into the artist scene), to maintaining multiple venues and galleries, and supporting emerging creators, the Foundation has its hands in just about every aspect of the arts community. 

After we sipped cocktails on Sophie's rooftop patio, we were treated to a tour of .ZACK, which houses Music Record Shop, the .ZACK Theatre, a wedding venue, small business offices, and more. I had a little too much fun climbing into the tub featured in the wedding venue's suite. 

Photo courtesy of We Eat Stuff STL.

Photo courtesy of We Eat Stuff STL.

After peeping .ZACK, we took a stroll through Grand Center over to the Grandel Theater. This gorgeous theater is inside an old church, and we were invited to not only view the theater's seating area (which I've seen productions within when the space used to house the St. Louis Black Repertory Co.), but also climb all the way up into the bell tower. I was already fairly hungry, but we all certainly worked up an appetite on a 90+ degree day traipsing around in the belly of a church - luckily, dinner was next. I'd heard some pretty stellar reviews of the Dark Room, but this was my first time eating there. I have to say I was delightfully surprised with the quality and flavor of everything! Add in an expansive wine menu and a stunning charcuterie board, and you know I'll be back soon.

After filling up on some phenomenal food, we walked a little further south to the Kranzberg Arts Center. The group checked out the "Variations and Adaptations" exhibition, which is brought to the Center by Artists First - a non-profit that nurtures and cultivates the talents of artists with disabilities. We then sat down in the Center's cozy black box theater for a production of "Tangled," a feisty tale of three women vying for power, money, and attempting to maintain a friendship in the face of their struggles. With the perfect amount of drama and comedy, and perfect pop culture references, "Tangled" kept me engaged and was a perfect end to a fun evening. I have to admit that prior to this Friday night, I didn't even know there was a theater inside the Center! I'll be keeping their show calendar in mind for future entertainment. 

Thanks again to Socially Jen for the invitation to such a art-ful evening, and to the Kranzberg Arts Foundation for being wonderful hosts!

Photos (unless otherwise attributed) courtesy of Socially Jen

Find Kranzberg Online: 
http://www.kranzbergartsfoundation.org
www.twitter.com/KranzbergArts
www.instagram.com/KranzbergArts
www.facebook.com/Kranzbergartscenter

Not A Socialite: An Ode to Misconceptions

Social media makes it all too easy for you to think something is something that it isn't. It can give you false ideas about people, places, and events. It's especially dangerous when it comes to only sharing the highlights and shiny parts of your life (FOMO, anyone?). For the most part, we all want to be liked. We want everyone else to think that we're enjoying our lives, succeeding at our dreams, and having a grand old time. Social media can lead us to believe all sorts of incorrect stories and identities. We start constructing how we perceive others to be by putting them in boxes that make sense to us: nerd, workaholic, partier, homebody, socialite. Since grade school, I've been a person that greatly dislikes being put into boxes. And at one point last year, someone referred to me as a socialite in a negative manner and they couldn't be further from the truth.

Do y'all know about the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test? It's been a fad for several years now, and it's almost as pervasive as astrology when it comes to people trying to put you in a box. You meet someone new these days and they automatically want to know what your Myers-Briggs type is. Between being told by others what they thought I was, and taking the test once, I was pegged as an ENFP at first, and then later, an ENFJ. The only important part (for the purpose of this post) to remember out of this acronym is the E - because it stands for Extraversion. Being extraverted generally means that you pull energy from that of others, you enjoy being in group settings, and you feel comfortable being in or near the center of attention. 

People might assume that I'm a socialite or an extravert because I am "out" while DJing and go to events here and there around the city. For the most part, I consider DJing to be a job (that I love), so just because I'm up until 3am some weekends doesn't mean I want to be out amongst the stumblers, ramblers, and generally tipsy type. DJing doesn't mean you are or want to be the center of attention, either. I spin for the love of music and to help others enjoy themselves while out. Nothing is more satisfying than a full crowd at a bar, bumping along to the music you're playing. In addition to DJing, many of the events I have attended in the past few years around Saint Louis have been connected to blogging, which I too consider a job. 

Toss in my friendly charisma, and you have a strong case for this whole socialite/ENFJ gibberish.

Enter my therapist. Recently, we talked about how I have felt that my energy had been completely sapped by this past year. She asked if I preferred one-on-one time with people and partners rather than in big groups, and I answered yes. She asked if I feel like I need to recharge by being at home, and if I hit "a wall" while being in busy environments for too long. I also answered yes to these. And then she said, "So, you must be an introvert." 

I replied, "Wait. I've always thought I'm an extravert."
She said, "Are you sure?" 

Surprise! I'd been beginning to wonder this myself. Over the last several months, I would fall apart after being over-stimulated at busy bars while not DJing/working. Being in groups of people might make me feel neglected or alone because I thrive on those one-on-one interactions. Everyone seemed to constantly assume I could go, go, go until the sun would rise, when in fact you might discover me clutching the edge of the bar whispering aloud to no one, "I just want to go home." But how could I be what seemed like such the opposite of who I (and apparently many people who knew me) thought I was? 

I was temporarily beyond confused. You could find me hiding in my bed for nearly two weeks on end every second that I wasn't at work. The realization that I had been trying conduct myself as an ENFJ while I was most likely not one opened floodgates of accidental understanding. Suddenly, a whole lot of the mess I was sifting through while healing made quite a bit more sense. 

I talked with a friend a weeks ago about losing yourself. A sense of self-loss can be brought about by many things, and although her situation and mine are not equal - because every human experiences different journeys - they are similar in response to grief and healing. I wouldn't say that right now I don't know who I am, because I have worked throughout my life to "know" me. I know where my morals, ethics, dreams, and passions lie. Even in my darkest moments, I can remind myself what makes me "me." I'm very proud of not changing for the worse, when it would have been so easy to lash out at those who have hurt me. If you work to know your true self, doesn't that mean that you ARE your best self?

If you spend a good chunk of time trying to fit into a box that is mislabeled, eventually things may get a little muddy. I still not 100% certain about this Myers-Briggs hullabaloo, but I do now further grasp how it can help you evaluate how you relate to others. I won't fully ever subscribe to this idea that your assigned letters describe you completely. Thanks to therapy, and a little self-reflection, however, I'm much closer to understanding the parts of myself that have largely been ignored or dismissed due to a silly box with a sticker that says ENFJ. 

And now? I'm looking forward to getting to know my introverted self better. 


Photo: A. Gillardi Photo

OOTD: Lil Plants and Ripped Pants

Last month, I had the opportunity to host an amazing shopping party at one of my favorite places, May's Place. In conjunction with May's Place and Hex STL, I spent a Sunday afternoon hanging out with friends, drinking local tea from Big Heart Tea Co, and supporting sustainability in Saint Louis (and beyond). I wrote a blog post before the event, if you'd like to check that out!

Since I focus a lot on sustainability in my personal life, I knew that when it came time to decorate my apartment, I'd want to curate my space accordingly. I found a fun set of vintage barrel mugs at May's Place before our event, and knew they were perfect to use as planters! Why buy new, boring pots for your green babies when you can repurpose something with a lot of character?

I don't mind a mono-chromatic look in my outfits - if you know me, I'm regularly guilty of wearing denim on denim. This soft, lightweight top I found at May's Place is perfect for transitioning into summer. I look forward to wearing it with my cutoff shorts and sandals all season long. Recently, local shop Living Collective had a sidewalk sale that I scooped a few new items up at. I've mentioned before that my figure is currently a bit more curvy than it has been in the past... and when you wear jeans constantly, you find that you need a couple pairs that have a lot of stretch and wiggle room. I also found these cute beige flats at the sidewalk sale, which are perfect for just about everything. My footwear game used to be loud and wild, but I've become a lot more function-focused in my old age (ha!). 

I hope you'll visit some of my favorite shops this summer while searching for your warm-weather wear! May's Place is on Ivanhoe near Lindenwood Park. Living Collective in just over in the Central West End. That amazing bolo tie is from a Manmade pop-up shop, and they'll be hosting another one soon in Alton, IL! 

Photos: Lily Voss Photography


Outfit Details: 
Top: May's Place  |  Jeans and Shoes: Living Collective  |  Bolo Tie: Manmade

Music Video Monday: The Weeknd, "Secrets"

Having just been added to Forbes' list of highest paid celebrities, it's not a surprise to see The Weeknd drop another stunning video. If you've got the money, you best be poppin' out pretty pictures. I almost wanted all of the videos from Starboy to reflect the treatment that "Party Monster" received, but I'm glad in the end that they didn't. I understand that all that wild '80s nostalgia is a bit overwhelming. However, if you're a fan of music from the '80s, you probably will jive with "Secrets" - it rips lyrics from the Romantics' Eighties hit "Talking in Your Sleep" and also features samples from Tears for Fears' "Pale Shelter."

Although the video for "Secrets" isn't anything brand new concept-wise, it's shot well, and I am in love with the scenery (apparently part of it was shot at the University of Toronto). I'm a sucker for anything that's reminiscent of the morphing castle scene in the movie Labyrinth, or might nod its head to A-ha's mind-bending "Take On Me" visuals

If I can't get the '80s treatment on "Secrets" too, I can at least appreciate the fact that the album's cross/crucifix motif appears in this video as well. 

If you like The Weeknd and his work, you can also find another new song/music video he's been featured in from Lana Del Rey: she and Abel get a little illegal by climbing around on the Hollywood sign for her song "Lust For Life."

Love Your Mother (Earth) at May's Place

Hi, friends! If you're in the Saint Louis area and are looking for weekend plan ideas, I've got something for you to do! You might remember me posting about May's Place before on the blog (here) because I'm a huge fan of its mission and lovely, curated vintage finds. In collaboration with Hex STL and May's Place, I'm hosting an afternoon of shopping, socializing, and supporting charity this coming Sunday, May 7th. We will have tea to sip from local favorite Big Heart Tea Co., and we're inviting everyone to bring in an item to donate to Support the Girls as well. Read on below!

With Mother's Day right around the corner, and Earth Day just passing us by, we knew we wanted to tie these two elements to our event. May's Place's slogan is "Be Green, Buy Vintage," and you're probably familiar with my goal to live a sustainable lifestyle. Think of our original mother, Earth, when shopping for your mamas! Buying vintage is the ultimate green option. Supporting local pours funds back into our own communities. Change your mindset, change the world. 

May's Place not only offers a hand-selected variety of vintage goods and clothing, but also carries local items. Lonesome Traveler (pictured above) has built a huge following in our city with their darling hand-crafted accessories for both men and women. Also found in-shop are candles poured just for May's Place. I suggest you sniff the Egyptian Amber because it's absolutely heavenly. If you're looking for a sweet, easy way to liven up your home, you can snatch up an embroidered hoop by local maker, The Wind and the Sun, like the one below!

We're looking forward to hanging out with you this Sunday! We're even more excited to offer you 10% off your purchase with a donation of gently used bras or new feminine hygiene items like tampons, pads, and other menstrual hygiene products to benefit Support the Girls - a local charity that distributes these items to homeless women in the St. Louis community. See you soon!

Love Your Mother (Earth)
When: Sunday, May 7th, 12 - 4pm
Where: May's Place, 3249 Ivanhoe Ave

RSVP on Facebook Here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1760429714286395/