#STL66: Do The Coffeeshop Hop!

Waking up and getting on the go can be especially challenging some mornings. Two weeks ago, I started a new job that requires me to be at work at 8am. That means I am currently rising almost before the sun even comes up! And let me tell you, there are often weekends (more frequently than should be allowed) that I am up until the sun rises… But that’s what happens when you’re a DJ - you often lead a double life of day-walker status and night owl tendencies. And that is where the delicious liquid gold called coffee comes in.

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As the Phillips66 #STL66 contest rolls on, you still have plenty of time to check out and check  into all the local highlights of our city on the 66 Reasons to Love Saint Louis list! One of the stops you can visit is Blueprint Coffee in the Delmar Loop

Blueprint is a pretty neat space in one of the most happenin’ parts of town. The coffee served there is roasted in-house, and you can watch the workers handle the large machines from one of the furthest-back tables. The shop itself is almost open-format, with a low glass bar enclosing pastries and offering the baristas their workstation. I personally like the fact that the baristas deliver your drinks to you! There’s no yelling of names or confusing of drinks. The shop itself can be pretty busy, so if you come alone, be prepared to squish in with a stranger-soon-to-be-friend. Because of its bustling interior, I often pop in for only a short while to meet a friend for a coffee.

If you’d like to know where I settle in, curl up on a couch, and stay for hours, look no further than Rise in The Grove.

I have called Rise my “home away from home” before. You might remember seeing this post from back in January. It offers a cozy, amazing space to get away and enjoy an incredible cup of coffee. It is also closer to my neighborhood, and that is one of the reasons I love it - it feels like a neighborhood spot. One you are always welcome in. The baristas smile and ask your name, and will ask again if they forget. I see them out and about in The Grove while I’m there. It feels kind of like being in a weird little spread-out family.

I’m also a big fan of their quiche. It’s never let me down, and I feel like that can be hard to live up to! In a hurry a few weeks ago, I had tried Rise’s fall spice latte, so I was ready to take the time to enjoy one more slowly while at the shop with my photographer Abby. It’s just the right amount of sweet and spicy. Rise makes a damn good latte!

What is your favorite coffee spot around STL? Do you have a home away from home too? Have you been following along on the #STL66 hashtag? It’s your best way to see who your competition is. You have to join in the fun if you haven’t! Head on over to 66reasonsstl.com to learn more about the contest. It will give you a map of Saint Louis and a list of all of the locations that are participating in the contest. Race to check into as many locations as possible, and hashtag #STL66 and #contest to enter.  Don’t forget to geo-tag yourself there as well! Learn more about the contest and the fabulous prizes you can win (66 months of free gas, hello!) by clicking here: http://66reasonsstl.com/contest.html.

Photos by Abby Gillardi.

Rise Coffee in The Grove

I often find that I go through phases of establishing a "home away from home." This is usually a coffeeshop in the neighborhood that caters to my needs when I just NEED to get out of the house, or meet up with a beloved friend. This has recently become Rise Coffee in The Grove.

 This little spot has a lot of character and personality. I prefer to sit on the second level, either in one of the mismatched chairs or the plush, green velour couch. The coffee here is incredible, and I typically order the Kenya pour over, a latte (as an ex-barista I do appreciate a perfectly foamed, gorgeously decorated latte), or my new favorite - the iced toddy. Guys. Let me tell you about this toddy. It tastes of chocolate and is sweet even with no sugar added. It really is a delight. Their quiche is another reason I keep coming back. Fluffy, full of flavor, and with a flaky crust - this baby does not disappoint. 

On days that I come to work, and I happen to forget my headphones, it's never a problem. Rise's music selection remains eclectic yet familiar enough to keep me engaged and bopping my head while slapping away on my keyboard. I can't argue with Chet Faker, What So Not, Flight FacilitiesFleet Foxes, and Blitzen Trapper. And without fail, I always see a familiar and friendly face at Rise. One time, I ran into Wesley Hoffman of Treehouse Networkshop. Today, I bumped into Jen and Chris of The Clover. I love having a common stomping ground with people I have had great connections with, whether it be work or friendship related. 

Do you have a favorite coffeeshop to hit in STL? Or do you prefer to work at home? What makes your personal workspace cozy to you?

Saturday Ladydate at Tower Grove Farmer's Market

One of my favorite things to do during summers in the Lou is to visit the Tower Grove Farmer's Market on Saturdays. I live in the Tower Grove area, so it's fantastically easy for me to pop by. I used to be able to make it to the Market every single Saturday, but now that I work retail, it's almost impossible to make it there more than once a month. This makes me pretty sad, but I suppose I gotta make that money.

I don't mind attending the Market alone, but, as with most activities, it's much more fun to have a buddy! I knew I had the opportunity to take some outfit photos this past Saturday, so I invited my friend Lara along to join in. Lara works at Avalon Exchange in the Delmar Loop, so she's always dressed awesomely. We met at the Market and grabbed coffees from the Kuva Coffee booth before Miles showed up to snap some pictures!




It's always nice having friends along for photos, and having a friend as the photographer. The experience takes on a more natural feel, and I think that translates in the images. 








High-fives for a heavily-thrifted outfit! This romper jumped off the rack at me one day while browsing at Avalon Exchange in the Loop. I'm glad I wore it this day because I like that I bought it before I ever became friends with Lara. Small world! It fits like a dream. My earrings, bracelets, necklace, boots, and handbag are all also thrifted. 





Miles' gorgeous girlfriend, Elizabeth, came along for the ride and also came in handy. Accidental photo shoot assistant? Totally cool. What do assistants typically do? Hold all the extras and take selfies. Right? 

 

Miles also snapped a great close-up of the progress on my tattoo. She's a custom piece by the incredibly, super-duper talented Lauren Busiere. You can find her tattooing at Ragtime Tattoo in Tower Grove. You may also find her work on her Instagram, and she just fired up a Pinterest page with her line work. I strongly advise you to check her out next time you need ink!

Thanks to Miles for the photos and for Lara for being my buddy!

Photography: Miles Gaudet



Outfit Details:
Jill
Sheer Duster Jacket: eBay
Pixie Boots: Ages ago, probably Value Village
Sunglasses: Leopard Boutique, Webster Groves
Bracelets: Revive Thrift Shop
Necklace: Value Village, Fenton
Earrings: Savers, Crestwood
Rings: Various - maurices, thrifted, Celtic Ranch, etsy, eBay
Handbag: Value Village, Fenton
Nail polish: ORLY's Gumdrop - read all about it on my post HERE!
Lara
Tank: Ziezo (no longer open)
Shorts: Avalon Exchange
Platforms: Avalon Exchange
Headwrap: Handmade
Sunglasses: Pitaya

Late Brunch Last Sunday

If you live in the Midwest, you know the weather here has been totally bizarre. The "Polar Vortex" just about nearly killed me, and I'm not joking. We had a couple days in a row of -7 degree weather in broad daylight. I wasn't even aware that an occurrence like that was possible here. Digging your car out from under 11 inches of snow (I measured with a ruler!) is no easy task, especially when you're wearing three pairs of gloves and your fingers still are in pain from the cold. 


When the weather starts heading upwards and flatlines out for a few days at 35 degrees, I suddenly and magically forget to wear a real coat. I honestly do believe that I only wore my leather jacket over sweaters the entire 2012-2013 winter season. This year, I've mostly forsaken good looks for the safety of my serious ski coat. But last Sunday was warm enough I was able to pull off a few layers and bring my leather baby back out of the closet. 

I'm a fan of layers whenever possible, because they can add interest to an otherwise boring outfit. In this case, I have two sleeveless layers and one with sleeves. It was almost warm enough... Taking these photos on my tripod was not necessarily easy or fun due to the cold and the fact that the ground you see there is NOT snow - it is a sheet of pure ice cleverly disguised as snow. And so let me say that although the name of this blog refers to wearing stilettos (which I do frequently), I refuse to try to wear any kind of heel when the ground is covered by three inches of pure ice. Sorry, y'all. So, vintage boots it is. 

But let me give a shout out to this pair of jeans from Urban Outfitters. They're the Twig High-Rise Jeans with a button fly. These lovelies make me feel like a damn rockstar. They're sexily skin-tight, and actually fairly high-rise on me! If you have a long torso like me, these might be a good choice for you. A lot of high-rise jeans and shorts barely make it near my belly button. These get pretty close, and have enough stretch that they don't feel like they're squeezing the life out of my "athletic" legs. Thank you, years of sports.  


Last Sunday, I met up with a relatively new friend of mine and my now hairstylist, Emily, for brunch. We caught up and got to know each other a bit better at Sasha's on Demun. I've been to Sasha's on Shaw a few times, but have never ventured into Sasha's on Demun. It's small and quite cozy. The bartender was friendly and my Bloody Mary was pretty tasty. We had a funny exchange over how I didn't think the ingredients (apples, brie, and mango chutney) in the Triple Crème D’affinois crepe were unusual enough to warrant the description "This is for the more daring." I would suppose that is because I already tend to be a bit of an adventurous eater. The crepe was very good, and withstood the test of heated-up leftovers for a snack later. 



After crepes and girl chat, I headed just down the street to Kaldi's and grabbed a pick-me-up-latte before heading to a local printing shop to assist my tattoo artist (the AMAZING Lauren Busiere of Tower Classic Tattooing) in making copies of her and her fellow Cammeron's work. She recently tattooed an incredible outline on my left arm for my soon-to-be-finished  custom half-sleeve. I can't wait to have it shaded in. 




Outfit Details:
Hat: Macy's
Wilson's Leather Jacket: Thrifted
Scarf: Gift
Crop Sweater: Thrifted
Leopard-Trim Button-Down: Leopard Boutique, Webster Groves
Jeans: Urban Outiftters
Justin Boots: Thrifted 
Sunglasses: DrJays.com