Happy Valentine's Day friends! I hope it's filled with lots of love and of course chocolate. That is unless you are giving up chocolate for Lent. Because for the first time since 1945, the two fall on the same day, making this quite the dilemma for some. Now for me, while I was raised Catholic in the loosest sense of the terms, it is not something I practice, but I have always enjoyed participating in Lent. Partly because I think it's a good practice to give up something you love to see that you can. So this year, I'm not giving up my favorite food, but instead something even more important to me. My phone.
So now let's be real. I'm obviously not giving up my phone in totality. I can't even give up social media because of work. But where I can give it up is in the bedroom. If you're like me, you get into bed and instead of going straight to bed you scroll through Instagram or answer a few more work emails. In the middle of the night if I wake up and can't sleep, I always reach for my phone. And basically every study ever says the worst thing to do. Then come morning, my phone is alarm so the first thing I do is scroll through Twitter to see what's up, check my notifications and before I know it, I've wasted a solid 30 minutes. So for 40 days I am saying goodnight to my phone, allowing my bedroom to be a peaceful and phone free space.
I set up a little charging station in the kitchen a while back and already kept my work phone out there. (It would take something like the St. Louis Arch falling down for me to get called into work in the middle of the night and if that happened, well they'd be calling all my phones.) So I will put my ringer up on the phone in the case there is an emergency. I'm a pretty light sleeper so I think I will hear it in the kitchen (just ringer, notifications are muted at night).
I'm excited to take that time before bed and focus more on reading my book, snuggle with Ellie or simply going to be a little earlier. I do think it's going to be a challenge. I will be the first to admit that I am addicted to my phone. When I try to shut it off for an hour to get some work done, I get antsy and find myself constantly reaching for it. So I am hopeful this will help with that addiction and provide a little more balance in my life. Have you banished your phone from the bedroom? What are you giving up for Lent? Let me know!
Valentine's Day is a week away, and that means reservations are booking up for the romantic spots around the city. There's a lot to be said about Valentine's Day (yes it's a corporate made up holiday), but I've always been a fan of celebrating love. Whether it's with a significant other or a best friend, a sister or your puppy, why not spread a little love? Last month a friend asked for recommendations for a romantic night out for his girlfriend's birthday and I turned to my trusty friends on Twitter and got so many great responses, so I figured this would be a great time to share the list!
Happy First Day of February friends! In St. Louis that means one thing...the start of Mardi Gras festivities! If you didn't know, St. Louis has the second largest Mardi Gras (second of course to New Orleans). It's been a tradition in our family since we were kids (parts are very family friendly!). And given St. Louis crazy weather, you never know if it's going to be a snow storm or a balmy 50 degrees. I'm of course hoping for the later. But this weekend kicks of the Taste of Soulard and Pet Parade. It'll be cold so bundle up. For me, it's also Matt's birthday and my best friend's going away party, so it will be packed with lots of fun and probably a tear or two. But here's a look at what's going on around town!
Today is Matt and my two year anniversary. It's crazy how fast it flew by. We sort of celebrate two anniversaries, our first date and the day we made things "official." Anyone else do that? So while Matt and I went to the same high school and actually grew up a few blocks from each other, we met on Tinder. Yes, I'm not ashamed of it! I think it's the way most people meet their significant others now a days and we should normalize it. I work crazy hours and meeting people at a bar when I get off work at 11pm was not ideal... I'll never forget reading this article in Vanity Fair about Tinder hook-up culture. For me it was never like that and I never met any of those kinds of guys on it (thank god). But I was often so surprised to hear horror stories from friends.
I think like anything -- meeting dates through Tinder, a bar or the grocery store aisle, it's all about taking risks. You never know who you're going to fall for. With Matt it was pretty instant and I was surprised how fast he convinced me to be his girlfriend. But two years and counting, things seem to be working out. I'll never forget just a month or so after our first date it was his birthday. His dad was throwing a surprise party for him and invited me to come. I hadn't met any of his friends and definitely not his family. I panicked when I saw the email from his dad, but I knew it would mean a lot to Matt that I be there. So I put aside those feelings of apprehension and went! I think that says a lot about making a relationship work, doing things that you might not initially love but you do it for your partner and taking that leap of faith past your comfort zone. Because stepping outside of that comfort zone is what's going to make things change.
I keep thinking back to what my trainer said at the gym last week. She said if you really want to change this year, why would you keep doing the same things you did last year and expect anything to be different. Now she was talking about upping my weights and adding some miles to the treadmill but it's crazy how many other parts of my life I've been applying it to. I think about that with Matt and our relationship. I had dated a lot of guys in the year before we met, most were really nice, but it just felt like we were going through the motions of dating. While it was scary to jump into that relationship with Matt just a month or so after meeting, I realize it was what made us really grow as a couple and turn it from just another Tinder date to a real relationship. So if you're thinking of taking that jump, whether putting yourself out there on Tinder or committing to the person your dating, I say go for it! What do you have to lose?
Happy Friday friends! It's my first Daily Delights post of the year and it's been a good week filled with great moments. The whole idea of this series is to share the little things that make me smile during the week. This week that included sneaking in some reading in the mornings, a Blues game and the perfect pumpkin bread (besides my mom's). I also got my first facial in a year this morning and it was such a wonderful treat. My skin has been acting crazy lately and I am really trying to take better care of it. So I scheduled another facial in the hopes of making it a more regular part of my beauty routine.
I also want to start including a few of my favorite articles I saved during the week in this series. So scroll on down for a little link love. I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
Now for a few of my favorite things on the internet this week:
Did this week feel extremely long to anyone else? I kept thinking it was the day after it actually was. I am SOO excited for this weekend. My mom and I are finally going to Privado (check out what Food & Wine wrote about it last month). We're also heading to the Fox for School of Rock which is always a treat. I was hoping to get some relaxation time in this weekend after a busy week but it doesn't seem like that will be happening. Good news is it's another spring like weekend here in St. Louis. As always, let me know what fun activities you're getting into this weekend and what I need to add to the list!
RFT United We Brunch: Who doesn't love brunch? (If you don't, well...we can't be friends) And who doesn't love brunch at a St. Louis landmark? This weekend is RFT's United We Brunch event. Bottomless drinks and bottomless brunch treats at Union Station. We went last year and had a blast. Tickets at $40 in advance. Saturday 11am-2:30. Tickets here.
Succulent Planting Class: My girl Macy at COMA is hosting a succulent planting class with LoKey Designs. It would be the perfect to make a little Galentine's Day gift, or just make something for yourself. Tickets are $35. Saturday 1pm. Details and tickets here.
School of Rock at The Fox: Ok, I have to admit something...I've never actually seen the movie School of Rock...I mean, I'm just not a very big Jack Black fan. But everyone says the musical is amazing and I we're going to a matinee which for me is always like a little treat during the day.
Beer Brunch at Center Ice: Speaking of brunch. I'm so excited for this collaboration between COMA, Center Ice and Alex from Sidney Street. It's a four-course brunch paired with beer. But hurry tickets are going fast! Sunday 10am. Tickets here.
Madagascar Release: And to finish off the weekend with more beer, the much anticipated release of 4 Hands Madagascar is this Sunday. Release begins at noon, but there will likely be a long line.
Looking back at 2017, I would say it was my busiest year yet in terms of travel. Miami (twice!), Madrid, Lake Tahoe, New York City, a dream vacation in Italy, Cape Cod, Los Angeles and Boston, plus a staycation here in St. Louis. The number one question I get is, how do you get so much time off to travel, followed quickly by how do you afford to do that! I think especially when we're in our 20s, those are the two most daunting things - money and time. So I thought I’d share a little insight into my travel philosophy.
First off, and this is the biggest thing. Travel does not have to be expensive. Sure, a trip to Italy is not going to cheap, but it doesn’t have to be extravagant. I stalk travel deals almost daily (it’s relaxing for me) and really plan things out. Here are some of my best tips for saving on travel.
Airfare: This is probably one of the best ways to cut back on price. Airfare is expensive but there are a lot of ways to save. First off, if you can, start building miles using a credit card. Most offer enough free points when you sign up for a free flight. Set up an alert on Kayak and plan your travel around when flights are cheaper. Book your flights separately. For example, flights to Europe are much cheaper from New York than St. Louis. So often times I will find a cheap flight to Europe from NYC and then look up a cheaper deal on Southwest to get me to New York. This takes time. I spend several hours figuring out the best deals, making notes and checking different airlines and cities.
Hotels: I rarely stay at hotels anymore. AirBnB or VRBO are way cheaper and frankly a much better way to feel more like a local in a city. I’ve had a few bad experiences, but overwhelmingly our experience at AirBnBs have always been wonderful. I definitely feel like I have aged out of the hostel life. (I stayed in lots in my early 20s) It's by far the cheapest way to travel but I've found I am willing to pay a bit more for my own space.
Saving: It sounds simple but you can’t go on trips unless you plan for them. For me, traveling is a priority. I am very lucky that I don’t have a mortgage or children or other major expenses and that I can spend my money on travel. I know that won’t always be the case and that’s why I’m taking full advantage of it now. I try to save $100 a week from my paycheck to put towards my travel fund. Sometimes it’s more, sometimes it’s less. But I always try to think about how I am spending my money and how it will impact future travel. Maybe try making your own coffee at home for a week? Or bringing your lunch every day. Do what it takes to build up that travel fund.
Prioritize: When I travel, eating out and experiencing the local cuisine is my biggest priority. That is where I know I want to spend money. Because of that I know I will have to cut back elsewhere. Perhaps that means walking a little farther instead of taking a cab, or not going to one of the museums and instead experiencing the city’s history through a free walking tour. And remember you don’t have to eat out at every meal. Stop at a grocery store and pick up some easy things for breakfast so you don’t spend another $10 on a pastry from the coffee shop. Unless you're in Paris, then absolutely splurge on a daily croissant.
The second thing I get asked about is time off. There’s a crazy stat out there that half of Americans do not use all their vacation days. Let me tell you, I am not one of them. I am fortunate to get three weeks vacation after working for my company for several years and I use every last one of them. And I have learned that three weeks vacation can go a long way (so can two! Which is what I had when I first started).
First off plan out your vacations. Would you rather take one long vacation with a few weekends here and there, or would you rather take several shorter vacations? Last year I took several shorts vacations. I spent about 8 days in Italy but everything else was a three or four day trip. You would be amazed how much you can get out of a three day trip. Yes, it can be exhausting and usually isn’t the most relaxing if you’re flying, but for me, I would rather take adventure over relaxation. If relaxing is your thing, think about taking a few days more, or using that long weekend for a staycation. This coming year I am taking longer trips so I know I won’t travel as much because I will give up some of those long weekends to ensure I have more time in France and Greece (can’t wait!). Also don’t be intimidated by the idea of going to Europe for a shorter trip. Last year I found an insane $400 round trip ticket to Madrid from St. Louis and because I didn’t have much vacation left, I essentially went for a long weekend! It was exhausting and I’m pretty sure I fell asleep at work on that Monday back, but it was 100% worth it.
Traveling is all about finding balance. Finding balance to fund the trips, finding balance between knowing what is worth the splurge and what isn’t and finding balance in seeking adventure and taking some time to relax and recharge. So if traveling more in 2018 is on your New Year’s Resolution list, I hope this helps! And I’d love to know, what’s on your travel bucket list this year?
Looking for inspiration, check out my new travel section at the top of the blog! You'll find my guides to New York, Miami, Lake Tahoe, Madrid and more!
So who's throwing a pool party this weekend? Kidding, but seriously, this warm up is going to feel like a heatwave after the brutal cold. 40s and 50s, yes please! I plan on getting outside, maybe hit up a brewery or go on a hike. We're also going to the Blues game Saturday so let's hope the boys can pull off a win! It will be perfect weather for the Women's March on Saturday.. What will you be doing to take advantage of these spring like temps?
So apparently this week is when people start to give up on those resolutions. I don't know about you but the cold weather this week almost made me one of those people...I feel like 0 degrees is a solid excuse to skip the gym. But I'm really glad that other part of my brain won out and I forced myself to tie up my tennis shoes. As I mentioned in this post about my work goals for the year, I love setting resolutions/goals/intentions. I really do better when I have a list and can work my way through it, or use it to keep myself in check. I think it's important to write out specific goals, and also attainable goals. I want to start saving this year, but I know it's not realistic to say I will stop spending money on coffee shops (hello? Do you know me?) But there are other steps. So on that note, here are my (hopefully) attainable personal goals for the year.
Personal Goals for 2018
A snow day seems like the best kind of day to snuggle up in bed with a good book. I have to work today (snow days in the news biz? Yeah, that's a no.) I just finished my first book of 2018 and I could not put it down. It was the kind of book that had me thinking about it all day, pulling it out in every free moment. And I have a big stack of books I just bought that I can't wait to dive into. I've mentioned in the past my sister is a voracious reader. She read somewhere near 80 books last year...I know she's crazy. But she always has the BEST recommendations. Here are the books on my reading shelf this month.
All The Ugly and Beautiful Things: This was my first read of the year. It's an unusual (and provocative) love story set in a Midwestern meth lab. It's a book that makes you redefine what's comfortable and challenges your viewpoints. But it's also touchingly beautiful.
Sing, Unburied, Sing: This is my current read and our book club's pick this month. It journeys through the past and present in Mississippi "examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power - and limitations - of family bonds."
Marlena: I love a coming of age story and the description of this book quickly captured my interest. It takes a look at female friendship in those critical years of adolescence. A younger girl infatuated with her older, cooler and yet troubled neighbor. It's told between the past and the present and that is always a fascinating narrative structure to me.
Sourdough: This one I picked up on a whim because it was on sale, but I've read great reviews so far. A software programmer turned baker explores the underground world in the San Fransisco fusing food and technology. I love a good food book so this is right up my alley.
Manhattan Beach: This has mixed reviews but I was intrigued by the plot. Set in Brooklyn during war time, a women working at the Naval Yard is the first female diver, repairing ships. But the historical novel dives into family dynamic and explores a world "populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers and union men."
2018 Reading Challenge: So I'm never going to match my sisters reading but my friend Elle is doing a challenge of reading 18 books in 2018 and that I think is definitely doable! I'm excited to put my phone down at night, pause Netflix and really enjoy these books. There are so many good ones on the shelves right now. I'd love to know what's one your reading list and if you want to join our challenge!
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day life of a TV news reporter. I have a love for food, traveling and all things St. Louis. This is a place for me to write about my passions.