When I woke up yesterday, I saw the alerts for a one alarm warehouse fire. At 10:00am that's not something I'm really thinking will affect my evening shift. So I continued making calls and planning on other story ideas. But as the day went on, the alarms went up, and the smoke rising above the city make me realize, this was big, and would probably be my story for the night.
That's probably the number one question I get asked, do I know what I'm going to be reporting on. And the answer is no. Sometimes I have an idea. Sometimes I have something set up, but breaking news can happen at any moment and throw that whole plan out the window. This was one of those days. And this was a story that affected so many people. Not only the businesses who lost everything inside. But also the fire fighters who've battled the fire for more than 24 hours. The people who live anywhere near this fire have been breathing in this smoke and wondering when it will go away. It's a huge story. One that needed multiple reporters to cover multiple angles.
And even within the day, the plan changes. I was covering the angle of the authors who's books went up in flames. The publisher, Reedy Press, stored books in the warehouse. It's a St. Louis based press with mostly local authors. Authors who were planning on selling those books during the busy holiday season. It's a huge loss. But at 8:00 we learned that the toys for the Shriner's Hospital Christmas party were also inside the warehouse. So at 8:00 we had to switch gears again. We shortened my author story, and got in the car to drive out to Creve Coeur to get an interview. We put it together in the car and made it to the warehouse for our 10:00 live shot. During breaking news, you just have to go with the flow, because often times your plan is going to go up in smoke.
The other big question we've had since yesterday, is how can we help?
Right now we are still learning so much about this fire, but here are a few ways you can help.
Happy Friday Eve friends! Usually today is my Friday but I am filling in tomorrow, but that means I have Sunday off, a rare treat! This is going to be a great weekend to witness all the fall colors, we're planning on getting out for a hike on Saturday and then a fun filled weekend of events!
Well it has finally gotten COLD in St. Louis. This week makes me realize just how unprepared for winter I am. I was shivering in my live shot last night so bad! Part of the problem of course is that I'm not dressing warm enough yet. And that is because I have only half way unpacked the winter clothes. But while putting sweaters and scarves and winter things away in closet, I realized some of the clothes from last season aren't exactly fitting... And if I'm being honest, I realized that I have definitely overindulged the last few months. So for the last week I have gotten back onto Weight Watchers. It really worked for me in college and is the best way to eat a more balanced diet. It's not about restrictions but making better choices. And let me tell you this enchilada bowl is making it easy as can be.
The recipe was inspired by this post on Inspiralized (which is for healthy recipes!). I'm obsessed with all things butternut squash lately and as noodles they made a really hearty dish for very few WW points. With black beans, kale and avocado, it all felt very filling. A few days I added some chicken when I wanted a little more protein. But the thing that made the dish was thanks to another favorite food blogger, Gaby of What's Gaby Cooking. I used her smokey chipotle salsa from William Sonoma for the sauce, and it was PERFECT. I didn't love the salsa with chips, but as a sauce it was pretty life changing. You could also make your own enchilada sauce, but this girl does not have the time.
This also reheats really well, so it's perfect to bring for dinner at work. It also taste good at room temp, so on those crazy breaking news filled nights, I can still have a healthy meal and avoid picking up something quick. The biggest part of succeeding for me in getting back to a healthier life style is eating out less. You guys know how much I love to eat out and explore new restaurants so it's a real struggle. But if I can really stick with WW during the week and use the weekends for a few indulgences, I think I will be happier over all. Anyone else working on being a little healthier ahead of the holiday season? I'd love to hear your stories! Thanks for always listening to mine.
Butternut Squash Noodle Enchilada Bowl
Inspired by Inspiralized
Happy Friday eve friends! We are so close to Halloween and I am all kinds of excited. I started planning out my costumes today (yes plural) and plan to start making one of the this weekend. I am also super excited to carve pumpkins and get in some serious girl friend time since Matt is out of town this weekend. Here's our weekly #ToDoInTheLou with all the fun happenings around town!
I guess it's because I have spent a lot of time on airplanes this month but I have read a lot more than usual. I'm excited I am that much closer to hitting my goal of reading 17 new books in 2017. I've really loved the books I read this month and several of them are very October-y so I thought I would put together a little book list!
Thrillers are my favorite books and during Halloween time they feel even more fitting. Although of course sometimes I freaked myself out reading late at night and then can't sleep! But I also love books dealing with magic and after visiting Salem a few weeks ago, I have been itching to re-read one of my favorite witchy books. Here is my list of favorites this month!
I couldn't put this one down. It has a Salem Witch trials vibe to it, but is about a small suburban town where the teenage girls starting getting sick. It's told from three different perspectives which I always like. Here is the synopsis from Goodreads: The Nash family is close-knit. Tom is a popular teacher, father of two teens: Eli, a hockey star and girl magnet, and his sister Deenie, a diligent student. Their seeming stability, however, is thrown into chaos when Deenie's best friend is struck by a terrifying, unexplained seizure in class. Rumors of a hazardous outbreak spread through the family, school and community.
As hysteria and contagion swell, a series of tightly held secrets emerges, threatening to unravel friendships, families and the town's fragile idea of security.
The Woman In Cabin 10
If you are a fan of The Girl on the Train and Gone Girl, this is your next thriller read. It's another example of a book where you don't really love the protagonist. I'm not sure why this has become so popular, but you care enough to find out what happens to her. Towards the end it becomes a roller coaster where you don't know what will happen next. Goodreads synopsis: In this tightly wound story, Lo Blacklock, a journalist who writes for a travel magazine, has just been given the assignment of a lifetime: a week on a luxury cruise with only a handful of cabins. At first, Lo’s stay is nothing but pleasant: the cabins are plush, the dinner parties are sparkling, and the guests are elegant. But as the week wears on, frigid winds whip the deck, gray skies fall, and Lo witnesses what she can only describe as a nightmare: a woman being thrown overboard. The problem? All passengers remain accounted for—and so, the ship sails on as if nothing has happened, despite Lo’s desperate attempts to convey that something (or someone) has gone terribly, terribly wrong…
A Discovery of Witches
Just fair warning, this is a trilogy, but it's one that I love. Magic, romance and adventure, what more could you want? If I didn't have so many other books I want to read, I'd re-read it right now. Goodreads synopsis: Deep in the stacks of Oxford's Bodleian Library, young scholar Diana Bishop unwittingly calls up a bewitched alchemical manuscript in the course of her research. Descended from an old and distinguished line of witches, Diana wants nothing to do with sorcery, so after a furtive glance and a few notes, she banishes the book to the stacks, but her discovery sets a fantastical underworld stirring, and a horde of daemons, witches, and vampires soon descends upon the library. Diana has stumbled upon a coveted treasure lost for centuries--and she's the only creature who can break its spell.
Six Women of Salem
This is the book I am about to start. I picked it up in Salem and can't wait to read it. From reviews it sounds like there are a lot (maybe too many) facts and details, but I find this period of time so fascinating in our country's history. Goodreads: Six Women of Salem is the first work to use the lives of a select number of representative women as a microcosm to illuminate the larger crisis of the Salem witch trials. By the end of the trials, beyond the twenty who were executed and the five who perished in prison, 207 individuals had been accused, 74 had been "afflicted", 32 had officially accused their fellow neighbors, and 255 ordinary people had been inexorably drawn into that ruinous and murderous vortex, and this doesn’t include the religious, judicial, and governmental leaders. All this adds up to what the Rev. Cotton Mather called "a desolation of names."
I'd love to know what books you're loving this month! Tell me in the comments and I'll add them to my ever growing list of books to read!
It finally felt like fall this week in St. Louis. In fact I was pretty cold the other night during my live shot! But I'm loving all the Halloween decorations around town. The pumpkins in the City Garden were especially fun. It was a busy week of work and trying to get a lot of things done around the apartment. Boston was such a blast last weekend and today I am heading to Los Angeles with my dad. It'll be my first visit back in years and I can't wait to see all that's changed at USC (where I went to college). I hope everyone has an wonderful weekend. Here's a few things this week that made me smile.
P.S. Scroll down for an abbreviated #ToDoInTheLou since I forgot to post yesterday!
I'll be in Los Angeles this weekend but there's a lot going on in St. Louis, And the warm weather is coming back with a vengeance. Get in the Halloween spirit with the Witch's Brew Crawl on Cherokee Street Friday night or grab a cold beer at Brew in the Lou on Saturday at Francis Park. On Sunday it may not feel like fall but celebrate the season with all the local eats and drinks at Sauce Magazine's Harvest Festival on Sunday in Laumeier Sculpture Park.
One of the things I love about St. Louis is how many great weekend getaways are within a quick drive. You can get to Chicago or Louisville or Nashville in just a short drive. Or you can stick closer and explore the beauty of Missouri. Biking to wine country along the Katy Trail has been a bucket list item for me for ages. And fall is the best time to do it!
Missouri has several different spots to explore wine country. You can take a drive down to St. Genevieve or hop on the train to Herman, we opted to get a little workout in without wine drinking and ride part of the Katy Trail to Augusta. The Katy Trail stretches 240 miles across Missouri and is a beautiful way to see the Show-Me state. We decided to take it easy since we planned on spending several hours at the wineries. (Wine + biking can lead to some cuts and scrapes FYI). So here is our advice for the perfect day trip to the wineries.
We started in Defiance which is just about 40 minutes from St. Louis. We brought our bikes but there's a great place - Katy Bike Rental - where you can rent bikes, pick up gear or chat up the helpful employees about your trip. Our route from Defiance to Augusta was about 8 miles, a little under 45 minute one way. The trail is beautiful. The crunch of the leaves under your wheels, the views of the Missouri River and fields. Its the perfect way to take in the beauty of the area. Plus the trail is flat and easy to ride. On the way to Augusta, there's a winery a few miles in - Sugar Creek Winery. You can stop there, but decided to keep going.
Along the route is also Klondike Park. It's a gorgeous park with hiking, biking and fishing. We stopped to take in the views of the river and grab a drink of water. The park is for another visit. We finally turned the corner and spotted the sign welcoming us to Augusta. Our booties were ready to hop off our bikes and ready for wine.
Our first stop was Augusta Winery. Heads up, the town is HILLY. So if you are biking, be prepared to hoof it, or hop off your bike and walk up the hills. For $5 at Augusta, we got a tasting of five wines. I am not a fan of sweet wine which for the longest time made me think I couldn't drink Missouri wine because so many of them are very very sweet. But there are a lot of great dry options. We tried some white and some red, my favorite red was the Norton, a full bodied red with berry notes. But given we were still a bit toasty from the bike ride, we opted to get a full glass of the Chardonel. It was crisp and light and perfect for sipping on the outdoor patio.
Next stop, we headed up another very steep hill to Holy Grail Winery. It's housed in an adorable little shed like building with a shaded garden area. This was by far the most hospitable stop - mainly because it wasn't crowded. The husband and wife team who own the winery walk us through their wines and their background. They even offered us some of their homemade sausage and venison to try. We sampled all reds, some heavy, some light, ended with a raspberry chocolate port. They were all delicious. Plus they sell chocolates that they import from Ireland. The smell inside the shop was intoxicating. We loved the Pinot Noir and purchased a bottle. The tasting was 5 wines for $5, but that charge is waved if you purchase a bottle. Across the street were a couple of darling antique shops.
Third stop was Mount Pleasant Winery. This is the biggest and most popular winery in Augusta and was packed on a Saturday afternoon. There as a wedding, a party and a live band, so the lines were a bit long, plus the tasting room was a bit crowded so I didn't feel we got a good description of the wines we were trying. We loved the Brut Imperial, a dry sparkling wine. After our tasting ($10 for 4, you get to keep the glass) we purchased a bottle of the Brut and headed to the patio. There's a restaurant onsite and we purchased a cheese and sausage plate and listened to the live band. It was a fun crowd on a beautiful day.
Our final stop was Augusta Brew Haus. Located on a hill overlooking the Katy Trail, they too had live music. We got a flight, sampling the blonde, IPA, Oktoberfest and Hefeweizen. The beers were tasty but we could tell if we had anymore we wouldn't be able to make that 8 mile ride back. We got back on our bikes and hit the trail. The ride back was quicker than the ride there, I think because we were pedaling quickly to get it over with. The soreness had set in and the wine only helped so much.
Back in Defiance if you're ready to keep drinking there are several other spots, including the Yellow Farmhouse Vineyard and Winery and Chandler Hill. Overall it's the perfect spot to spend a day that feels like a mini-vacation. Check out the little video we made of the day! I'd love to know, what's your favorite Missouri winery?
I cover a lot of sad stories. I've never cried on live TV, but I have come close. And those have always been stories about children caught in the crossfire of violence. But this story brought tears to my eyes because of happiness. Sure, it comes from a sad story, but it's now one of resilience and faith.
I am not a religious person. I don't really talk about religion and I don't plan to get into that now, but I am a big believer in faith. The power of faith can do incredible things. Whether it's faith in your religion, faith in something bigger than you, or faith in yourself. It's a powerful thing. Yesterday I got to see that power in action.
In June, a 7-year-old girl was shot in a drive-by shooting. Her mother, father and uncle were shot as well. They all died. She was declared dead, but she started improving. Four months later I watched that little girl walk, talk and most importantly smile. Of course much is that is due to the incredible medical care she received from Children's Hospital, but I also believe much credit is due to her family, church and the little girl herself who never gave up.
I don't always get to share stories that make me cry tears of happiness, but this was one of them, and it's a story, and a family, and a belief in the something bigger that will stay with me long after the newscast. I hope this inspires you to start your week with a little George Michael quote, you've gotta have faith.
It FINALLY feels like fall in St. Louis and we are taking full advantage and spending all weekend outside. Saturday we are riding the Katy Trail and hitting up some Missouri wineries, but on Friday we'll be heading to Tower Grove Park for a beer garden pop-up. Here are some of the other fun things happening around the city this weekend!
Today marks Day 11 of protests in St. Louis. Unless you really have been living under a rock, you’re aware that our city is once again under the spotlight after a white police officer killed a black man and was found not guilty. It’s been a tiring week for many – for those beyond frustrated with a legal system they do not feel will bring justice, for police officers working 12 hour shifts and for those of us in the newsroom who are doing are best to bring the most accurate coverage of everything happening on the streets of St. Louis.
The majority of the protests in our city have been peaceful. Disruptive, but peaceful. But some nights have turned violent. Windows have been shattered, officers have been hit with bricks, our crews have been threatened at gun point, spit on and called every name in the book. But we are committed to being on the ground, showing the viewer what’s happening.
Many people have said “just stop covering the protest, they’ll go away.” Well sorry to break it to you but that is simply not true. Whether our local news cameras are recording or not, someone is. Livestreamers, citizen journalists and anyone with a phone will continue to record what’s going on. But we as professional journalists believe we need to document and record and work to provide context. You may not agree with what you’re seeing on the TV – whether it’s police allowing protesters in the street or maybe you don’t like how police are wearing riot gear – but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And I believe we as journalists owe it to our community to bring them information.
Sometimes that information changes, and in breaking news situations things are happening fast. We do our best to only state facts, what we personally witness or what we are given from officials. But officials get it wrong too. I’ve had more hate emails, tweets and nasty Facebook comments than I can count. And they’re coming from “both sides.” Which in my opinion usually means I’m telling it down the middle... But I’ve also had strangers stop me at the grocery store, at the park, and on the street to thank me, and my coworkers for bringing them the coverage. Again they may not agree with it all, but those kind words, and their concerns for our safety mean a whole lot.
So thank you to the viewers, to those following along on Twitter, and for my mom’s friends who text her about my live shots. We do this for you. And I’ll end on this: Instead of typing something mean or hateful on Facebook, or making a judgment, try to make conversation instead. Real conversation. Ask a protester why they’re out there. Ask a police officer why they serve despite a tense climate. You just might learn something.
Here’s a look at some of my coverage throughout the last week of protest.
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 a bit more about my passions.