Can we just talk about how I realize how old I'm getting when I stay out after work and have two beers and feel like death the next morning? Anyone else? College me would be so disappointed. Well this morning was especially rough because I woke up bright and early for a 7am yoga class. I almost silenced the alarm and went back to bed, but I am SOO glad I didn't. It was a free yoga class at the brand new Kiener Plaza. (If you haven't been yet, go, it's gorgeous.)
The organization Yoga Buzz put on the free sunrise yoga class and it was so amazing to see so many people wake up to do a little good for their bodies. Have you ever heard of Yoga Buzz? It's an organization working to make yoga accessible for all. I recently did a story about their latest endeavor on KMOV. I mentioned it in my Daily Delights post last week but wanted to share more.
They are creating a living yoga studio at Earth Dance Organic Farm School in Ferguson. (Another awesome community treasure, check out their gorgeous produce at the Ferguson Farmer's Market). They are revamping a green house into a yoga studio with a "carpet" of plants and herbs. How fun does that sound!?! They will have a couple of work days to help create the space throughout the summer, you can find info here (and donate!), with the hopes of it being completed by fall.
BUT in the meantime, don't fret, they are helping get our minds and bodies ready for summer for FREE several times a week, They will be doing the Kiener Plaza yoga classes once a month this summer and the last two weeks I've been going to their free lunch class at the Cortex Commons. It was a perfect mid-day escape. A half hour of yoga on the lawn, surrounded by sunshine, the smell of coffee roasting at Ronnoco, and the sound of the Metrolink whistle blowing. They also have a free class at Ballpark Village on Wednesday evenings. But so far the early morning class has been my favorite. There is nothing like watching the sun rise over the Arch.
Thanks to Yoga Buzz, I checked off the first item on my Spring Bucket list! With summer quickly approaching I need to step up my game to check off all my goals!
Summer has officially arrived in St. Louis. We've had the heat, the humidity and the crazy storms this week. While I don't love being sweaty at work, I honestly love the blanket of humidity that hits you when you walk outside in St. Louis. Yes...I realized I am probably alone in this this. But Monday night we went for late night drinks after work and I love that it's still 80 degrees at night. I'm also one of those people who waits until its completely unbearable to turn the AC on. I just love have the windows open! Anyone else with me on that? I know once my boyfriend gets home this weekend that will change, he does not like to be hot. So this week I have totally been taking the time to enjoy the sunshine and warm weather, whether it was a meeting outside at the new Kaldi's in the CityGarden or savoring every bite of the most amazing ice cream sandwhich from ChaCha Chow. My friends and I also went to an outdoor yoga class (for free!) at the Cortex Commons. Speaking of free yoga, one of my favorite stories this week was about the collaboration between Yoga Buzz and Earth Dance Organic Farms. They creating a Living Yoga Studio in a greenhouse! How cool is that? Watch the story here.
Happy Friday friends, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!
"I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world's greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance." - Nora Ephron.
Nora Ephron so perfectly sums up New York for me. It's a city that steals a little bit more of my heart every time I visit. It's a city I'm not sure I could live in, but it's one of my absolute favorite places in the world to visit. And you don't need a long visit to become swept away in the sights and sounds of the city. I've never been to New York for more than four days at a time, so I always divide and conquer. Don't try to see everything in a few days, pick a part of the city and really experience it. It wasn't until my fourth visit that I ever saw the Statue of Liberty. This trip, the focus was Lower Manhattan.
My dad and I arrived Friday morning for our whirlwind 48 hour visit to see my sister. She lives in Brooklyn so we often spend a lot of time over there when I visit (which I LOVE), but this time, we stayed in Union Square and only once went above 59th Street. We dropped off our bags at our hotel, W Union Square, and feeling famished after an early morning flight we were thrilled to see the farmer's market in Union Square filled with amazing options. We opted for some sweet pastries to hold us over before lunch and then headed straight for the High Line. The High Line is an elevated train track turned park and it is one of my favorite things to see. This trip was the first time seeing it in the spring and the landscaping and flowers made it even more beautiful. We started at the end near the Standard Hotel. (Last time we ended there, and the beer garden at The Standard is a MUST.) We walked to 27th street to meet my sister for lunch at the Hotel Americano. The restaurant inside the hip boutique hotel features French food with a Latin twist. High ceilings, modern decor, the space was gorgeous, and with a glass of wine for lunch, we were officially kicking off our New York weekend.
My sister works at an art gallery so after we walked her back to work we peeked our heads in a few of the galleries in Chelsea including the David Zwirner Gallery. You could spend a whole afternoon just seeing galleries.
But we wanted to see more of the city. Note about my dad, he's an old school guy, so armed with a printed out copy of the New York Time's walking tour of Greenwhich Village, we headed back south to Bleecker Street. The walking takes you up and down the streets of the Village, pointing out history of the buildings and hidden gems like the entrance to Chumley's, a prohibition era bar that was popular with famed writers like Steinbeck and Ginsberg. You'll pass by the new and the old, cute boutiques alongside famous restaurants, eventually ended up in Washington Park. Watch a round of chess in the park, or find a grassy spot to sit and rest your feet.
We walked back to our hotel, where we were greeted with complimentary prosecco in the lobby. We grabbed a seat at the bar of the restaurant inside the hotel, The Irvington, for a drink. A DJ was already spinning in the lobby area.
Dinner Friday night was at Gramercy Tavern. The Danny Meyer classic has long been on my list. The dining room is a prix-fixed menu, but the bustling bar area has tables and you can order a la carte off the menu. I was slightly disappointed in the service, but the food was exceptional. I wanted to lick every last drop from my shrimp and carrot stew. And the beignets for dessert were a dream. We tried to go to Dear Irving (a gorgeous bar with rooms based on historic time periods) for cocktails after dinner but it would have been a crazy long wait. Tip for the future, make a reservation. So instead we went to a wine bar next door and met up with two of my sorority sisters. Doesn't matter where you're drinking when you're catching up with old roommates.
Saturday morning we woke up to a monsoon. Not just rain, but a drenching downpour. Instead of hitting the farmer's market like we planned, we went to Covina for breakfast and then hopped in a cab to the Met. The museum was obviously everyone's rainy day activity, but the line outside moved quickly. It's been more than 10 years since I was in the Met and I didn't remember just how massive it was! We picked a few exhibits to hit including the Impressionists and European paintings. We also saw the incredible Temple of Dendur. Egypt gifted the temple to the US after we helped save it from the rising waters of the Nile, so it's a full temple in the middle of an incredible room in the Met. And I was so excite we were there for the Rei Kawakubo exhibit. Its the Costume Institute spring exhibition featuring the fashion designer's work (it was the theme of this year's Met Gala). It was incredible, the pieces demonstrate the balance of the "inbetween." It's a must-see.
The rain definitely squashed our plans for Central Park so instead we decided to check out the cookie dough place started by a St. Louis native that's been hugely popular since it opened. DŌ is right next to NYU, so we caught a cab back to the hotel and then walked over. There was a line but it moved quickly. Word of warning, the cookie dough is SWEET. I got the chocolate chip and sugar cookie and those were probably the best. My sister got peanut butter cookie and brownie batter and could barely have three bites. But good news is, you can take it home and bake it into cookies! Its all safe to eat since they use pasteurized eggs and heat treated flour.
To get out of the rain for a bit we walked down Bleecker to the Blind Tiger, a cozy craft beer bar with excellent selection. Then back to the hotel to change for dinner. We went to a new restuarant called Pig Bleecker, a modern take on southern food. It was small and packed, but in a good way. I had the brisket filled ravioli and it was perfection. Don't missed the grilled oysters with spicy garlic butter or the candied bacon. After dinner we headed uptown to a caberet! We usually always go to a Broadway show when we're in New York, so we wanted to try something different. We went to Feinstein's/54 Below. It was INCREDIBLE. The hour and fifteen minute show featured four signers performing Broadway hits from over the years. It was in a basement room with cocktail tables. We ordered Manhattan's (because duh.) and were delighted by the performance. My only complaint was that it wasn't long enough! I could have had three more hours of Broadway songs. A nightcap at the St. Regis hotel was the perfect way to end our New York night.
You can take in a lot in 48 hours, but don't forget to give yourself time to just experience a city, grab a coffee or a cocktail and just watch the city go by. My advice, pick a must-see for you (for us this trip it was the Met) and base your trip around that. What's your favorite part about New York? Tell me below and I'll add it to my list for next time!
When you walk through the doors of Vicia in the Cortex District in the Central West End you feel like you are instantly transported to some place much cooler. Don't get me wrong. you all KNOW I'm obsessed with St. Louis, and for those of us that know, we're well aware our food scene can rival that of many major metropolitan cities, but lots of people still underestimate us. We're the David of the story (as in verses Goliath...).
Well they shouldn't. And they definitely shouldn't after they eat at Vicia. I'm splitting this into two posts (at this writing I still haven't yet been for dinner) because the lunch service verse dinner service has a different vibe. Lunch is counter service and meant to get the busy tech folks of the Cortex District (and everyone else coming to dine at the most anticipated restaurant of the year) in and out quick. I went to one of the pop-ups hosted by husband and wife duo behind Vicia so I was excited to see it all in action once they opened. Tara Gallina is the general manager, while her husband and St. Louis native, Michael Gallina is the master mind behind the incredible food coming out of the open kitchen. And let me just say, you could not ask for a nicer couple, every time I've been to a pop-up or the restaurant, they have both been beyond gracious and you can tell they have a passion for what they do. Some people could easily be intimidated by their concept of "vegetable-forward" cuisine, but they (as well as the rest of the wonderful staff) will walk you through everything.
The food is simple, yet stunningly creative. A simple carrot soup is illuminated with a multitude of flavors, each dish bursting with surprises in texture and taste. On the lunch menu you can pick two or three of the five items on the menu. It rotates with ingredients, and let me be the first to say, do not be overwhelmed by the idea of a more vegetable-centric menu. I am a burger girl through and through but the way Vicia treats and handles vegetables is an art. But for your meat fill. do not miss the sandwich on focaccia bread made in-house, topped with salami, mustard and a spicy touch of arugula.
To end an already delicious meal, do not miss the pastries. More specifically, do not miss the chocolate chip cookie. The perfect ratio of crunchy outside, with a soft and almost gooey inside, sprinkled with the perfect amount of sea salt Its truly heaven in dessert form.
The space is as equally stunning as the food, simple yet elegant. There's a patio with a huge wood-fired grill that I can't wait to spend many summer nights on sipping cocktails. This is a restaurant that many could say wouldn't do well in the ole' Midwest, it's too froofroo (sp?), not enough meat, blah blah blah. But let me tell you, from the looks of the crowds, this place is a hit and I can't wait for everyone to see the cool factor they are adding to the neighborhood.
Have you been to Vicia? I'd love to hear what you had! And what you thought! Let me know in the comments.
Mother's Day is right around the corner and if you haven't bought mom a present yet, don't fret! Luckily, there are so many cute local shops with the bunch of adorable stuff mom will love. (Hey, my mom, stop reading now, k thanks).
I feel terrible that I will be out of town this Mother's Day. I'm heading to New York to see my sister but I will definitely be making it up to mom. For the last two years my present to my mom has been to weed and plant the vegetable garden at her house. I've threatened to not do it this year because she is not the best gardener and if I don't come by weekly she will let it get out of hand. I mean we're talking zucchinis that grow to the size of my calf...BUT she said she definitely wants it again this year so that's my plan. Bowood Farms of course is where it's at when it comes to plants in St. Louis. They've got an incredible selection and are so helpful if you have questions on what to grow. But if you don't want to spend hours planting a garden, (my arms already hurt thinking about the work...) here's my list of other great gift ideas! All local to St. Louis.
-picks for mom-
1. I am obsessed with these prints from Red Lettered Prints featuring local chefs, this one is the buttermilk biscuit recipe from Yolklore. Shop here.
2. Lemon Gem in The Grove is perfect for creating little gifts, everything from kitchen gadgets to mini cook books, featuring your mom's favorite ingredient. Check out their Instagram here.
3. My mom and I love to take cooking classes together. I'm more of an activities gift-giver than a material one, and a bread baking class at Companion's Teaching Kitchen would be a great way to spend quality time together. Find their calendar of classes here.
4. You can't go wrong with a cute kitchen towel from Urban Matter. I bought my mom the cardinal one for Christmas. Check out their Instagram for hours here.
5. Again on the line of activities, tickets to the Muny are another great way to gift your mom some quality time together. We will definitely be seeing The Little Mermaid this summer. Find tickets here.
6. Mother's Day brunch is almost a given. And if you're looking for the perfect brunch with a view, check out Cielo at the Four Seasons. From fresh made donuts to an epic raw bar, mom will be happy. Reservations here.
7. My mom loves her Birch Box (a beauty subscription box), and I'm obsessed with the St. Louis version. Bit-O-Local features all St. Louis made products delivered right to your door. Order here.
8. If your mom is anything like mom, she can't start her day with out coffee. With the cute mugs from Arch Apparel she can drink her coffee while showcasing her love for St. Louis. Shop here.
9. You of course can't go wrong with jewelry for mom. But why not get her something unique like these gorgeous stone earrings from Union Studio. Check out their Instagram here.
For other local gift ideas, check out my shopping guides to the Central West End and Cherokee Street.
Usually I write these posts on what is the start to my weekend, but because of the historic flooding in the St. Louis area, I will be working extra this week. Everyone is putting in long hours this week, everyone at the station, but more importantly, all the first responders and emergency officials are working to keep everyone safe from the floods. Its easy to find myself complaining of exhaustion and the long rain-filled days, but then I think about all the people who are fighting to keep their homes and businesses safe and I find myself shutting my mouth real quick. And even during the tough weeks, there's so much beauty and good around us. From the stunning field of wild flowers I stumbled upon the other day, to the amazing spirit of the volunteers, to the just how amazing coffee has tasted this week. I'm looking forward to savoring my one day off tomorrow, celebrating Cinco de Mayo and seeing friends and family who are in town this weekend. I hope everyone gets to enjoy some much needed sunshine this week.
On the first day of college orientation I met two girls that would become my best friends. Sometimes I pinch myself because I feel so lucky to have found two girls that just get me. The sad part is though we all live hundreds of miles apart. That's why our annual girl's trip is so vital. This year we chose Lake Tahoe!
I had zero idea of what to expect of Lake Tahoe in April. We sort of just chose it on a whim, and let me tell you, BEST DECISION EVER. I've been fortunate to travel to some pretty incredible places in my life, but Lake Tahoe was honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Because of the insanely wet winter California is having we got to experience all of the snow in Tahoe, which made our stay in our little cabin AirBNB all the more perfect.
If you're planning a trip to Tahoe there a few things to know before you decide where to stay. The lake is straddled by Nevada and California on either side. There is North Tahoe which is in California and is about a 45 minute drive from Reno airport (about two and a half hours from Sacramento). This is the more quaint part of the lake. We stayed in Carnelian Bay. It's close to Sqaw Valley and North Star ski resorts and lots of great bars and restaurants. South Tahoe is known as the more party side of the lake. That's where all the casinos are located. We never made it down there because we were going for a more chill trip.
We stayed in the most adorable Air BnB cabin. It was the guest house for Suzanne and Stuart and while it doesn't have a view of the lake, the cabin could not have been any cozier. And our hosts were so wonderful! They even offered to cook us a home-cooked meal . With a hot tub out back, it was the perfect place for our weekend girls trip.
Once we got settled in to our cabin on Thursday, we went to Garwoods for happy hour. It was the restaurant recommended by nearly every person I talked to and they are known for their strong tropical drinks. Now I don't know about you but I can't think of any better way to watch the snow falling that with a pink drink with an umbrella. We got the infamous 'Wet Woody,' a strong and tasty frozen cocktail made with rum. There are tons of variations, all with names that will make you blush. Go for happy hour! We ate an early dinner there as well. And ended the night (an early one since we had traveled all day), with a glass of wine at Uncorked, a wine bar down the road.
Our trip was in mid-April, right around when normally the ski resorts are closing up for the season but because of the wet winter some of the resorts say they will be open for skiing until mid-summer! I am by no means a skier, but since we were in Tahoe, I felt I had to give it a go! We decided on Squaw Valley because it was near our Air BnB (we were initially planning on going to Heavenly). Squaw Valley is one of the biggest ski areas in the country and the site of the 1960's Winter Olympics. It was stunning. There were tons of slopes for beginners (like me!) and a lot of intermediate ones that I worked my up to. But pay attention to the signs and grab a trail map! Otherwise you might end up on a Black Diamond (also like me...I survived, but spent a lot of time in the snow). The weather couldn't have been more perfect, not a cloud in the ski and temperatures in the mid-40s. We skied all day, taking breaks for a cold beer at the bar. There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the resort area as well, plus shopping!
FUN FACT! If you fly in through Reno, you can ski for FREE the day of your flight. You just need to show your boarding pass at the concierge at the airport.
After a long day on the slopes, we hit up the hot tub at our cabin and headed for burgers and beers at Bridgetender.
A bit bruised and battered from the slopes, we headed out to breakfast for some much needed sustenance and Bloody Mary's! We went to Log Cabin for breakfast in Kings Beach. Everything is pretty close together along this part of the north side of the Lake but you definitely need a car to get around. After breakfast we went on a fantastic hike. Eagle Rock is a dormant volcano and only about a 20 minute hike up to the top. However, we were dealing with four feet of snow so it definitely took longer. But worth every second! The views from the top were incredible. You can see the entire lake, plus the mountains. We spend a long time taking pictures and playing in the snow. It's steep in parts so make sure you wear good shoes. There's not much in ways of a sign, so to get to it, park along West Lake Boulevard. It's just across from Idylwild Way. In the snow, there's not much in terms of a trail, but it's a popular spot so you're bound to run into other hikers if you're confused, just start heading up and you'll find your way!
The great part of Lake Tahoe is how accessible it is for others in California! Not so much for St. Louis girls like me... But our friend from San Francisco came up for the day and my boyfriend who's working in Fresno right now joined us as well! Saturday afternoon we headed up to North Star Resort for the day. Its another great ski resort but we were ready to just relax. We went to the Ritz for afternoon cocktails. If you're heading to Tahoe and are looking to splurge, the Ritz at the North Star is definitely worth it. It was stunning. The weather was gorgeous again, sunny and nearly 50 degrees, so we sat outside and watched the skiers.
For our last night, we wanted to go to a bit nicer of a dinner and got lucky with getting a table at Christy Hill in Tahoe City. There was a bit of a wait, so we walked down to the dock by the lake and watched the sun set. Christy Hill is beautiful California cuisine with an incredible view of the lake. A bottle of wine with my favorite people and a plate of incredible hamachi crudo, and I was a happy girl.
One thing I love about my friend Julianne is her spontaneity. We had a rough plan for our trip, but we were playing a lot of it by ear. On our way up to North Star resort, Julianne spotted a sign for snowmobiling. She got on the phone and found they had open spots for Sunday. I was a little hesitant, I've never been on a snowmobile, but I said yes. BEST decision ever. We fueled up with breakfast at Fire Sign Cafe and headed to the meet up spot. I have no idea what the place was called but it was right off of 267. We rode in pairs, and the guides were wonderful. They walked us through everything, and then took us on a two-hour ride. We got to go down these beautiful and serene trails. There was a frozen lake that we got to let loose and use like a track. I was a nervous wreck, so I let Matt drive ours for the most part. We then took them up the mountain for another incredible view of the lake. That's a view that would never get old to me. It was easily one of the most fun things I've done in a while, and worth every penny.
We wrapped up our trip at a cute coffee shop, Java Hut. Chatting about our weekend, and looking over photos with a delicious mocha was the perfect way to spend the last hour with my best friends.
Overall Lake Tahoe was such an incredible trip. It was the perfect place for a long weekend getaway. I cannot wait to visit again in the summer time and do all of the fun lake activities!
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.