Happy almost Friday friends! So last weekend was a bit of a wet one, crushing my pool plans, but this weekend looks gorgeous. So I am definitely getting in some needed sunshine in my life. We're definitely going to head down to Schlafly for Art Outside and I can't wait for the pop-up brunch at Juniper. On a less fun note, I do need to figure out my website situation. I spent all morning trying to migrate this site over to Wordpress because Weebly says they're going to shut it down unless I pay more and if I'm going to pay more I'd rather use Wordpress...so this might all disappear in a day or two. I did migrate most of my posts to Wordpress but I can't get the domain to move over...so if anyone has advice, I'm all ears! Otherwise, enjoy the weekend!
There are so many things I love about summer, but the return of farmer’s markets and fresh fruits and vegetables is definitely at the top of my list. Our garden is in full swing, the Tower Grove Farmer’s Market is officially back on our weekend must-list and my kitchen is filled with all the fresh berries, lettuce and asparagus. The fresh berries I even picked myself! Because strawberry season is on at Eckert's in Belleville.
If you’ve never been to Eckerts you are seriously missing out. It’s a quick drive over the river into Illinois and all year long you can pick your fruits and vegetables. I’ve been apple picking in the fall and pumpkin picking. But I’ve never picked my own strawberries and it’s been on my summer bucket list the last two years. So when Eckert’s reached out last weekend to come out for a visit on opening weekend of strawberry season Matt and I jumped in the car and headed east.
You grab a basket and hop on the tractor that takes you to the strawberry fields (and yes singing the Beatles is encourage). Remember you’re looking for fully red strawberries. Leave the ones with white or green alone because they do not ripen off the vine. My tipis to head towards the back of the fields, most people go with their kids and they don’t walk all the way to the back, so we got lucky and found some big beautiful strawberries. But remember! Even the ugly strawberries taste delicious. We got some crazy looking strawberries and they are sweet as can be.
Once you fill your basket with as many berries as you want, hop back on the tractor and head to the general store. It’s only $2.99 for pound of fresh picked strawberries. Plus $1 to go to the field. Back at the general store there’s so much to do, we walked around and sampled all the locally grown and made products. If you have kids there’s all kind of fun stuff like carnival rides. I also really want to go back for a cooking class sometime.
Speaking of cooking...I’ve been topping my morning yogurt with my berries but I really want to make jam! I’ve never done it before so I’m thinking of taking a stab at that next week (if there’s any strawberries left!). What’s your favorite way to eat strawberries?
Head to Eckert's website for all the info on times and seasons for strawberries and what comes next! Peach season, I'm already looking at you.
Sorry for being so MIA on the blog lately! Between our Governor going to court and a whole lot of craziness in the news business, I've found little time to write on the blog. But summer is in full swing here in St. Louis (yes we went straight from February to July it feels like) and that means filling the longer days with all the fun. This weekend I can't wait to take a dip in the pool, spend time with friends and of course watch the Royal Wedding! Anyone else waking up super early to watch the love story of Harry and Megan? If not, here's a look at other fun around town!
The last few weeks have been a whirlwind! Between craziness at work (a lot of breaking news and the impending trial of our Governor have kept us busy) and diving into the wedding planning, I feel like I have been going, going going. Throw in trips to Ireland and Portland and I feel like I haven't slowed down.
But that's what I do. I over schedule myself, work hard and then treat myself. Even if that treat involves an ambitious 48 trip cross country to see my best friends. That's why seeking out those little moments is so important. For me that's trying to find at least one morning a week where I don't schedule three meetings before work or run a bazillion errands. Last week that meant checking out the new smoothie bowl spot in the Central West End.
Now I will be the first to say I'm not a big smoothie or smoothie bowl person. I like to eat my food. I don't feel like a smoothie which can be more calories than a donut sometimes ever fills me up. But the thing I liked about Rush Bowls is that with toppings like fresh cut fruit and granola, it felt like a more fulfilling meal. And the owner who was great at helping guide us through the menu said they're not nearly as calorie laden as one might expect.
There's a wide variety of more fruit forward bowls and those that teeter towards dessert. I ordered the Power Bowl, a mix of blueberry, raspberry, bananas, oats and frozen yogurt. I topped mine with granola, fresh strawberries and a drizzle of honey. With an addition of whey protein, it was clear it would fill me up. My mom went with the Chai's Mystique, which was delicious. It felt decadent without feeling overly sweet. Bananas mixed with frozen yogurt, chai and milk and then topped with almonds, honey. But there is a wide array of things on the menu and they are all about customization and helping you make your perfect bowl. At almost $8 a bowl, they're not cheap for a snack, but as a meal it's not a bad price.
You can dine at their little bar inside or even better, grab your bowl to go and grab a bench outside in the Central West End and enjoy this beautiful weather. I know I'm going to take a little time today to soak in this sunshine and let my to-do list just sit for a little bit.
Today is the Go! St. Louis marathon and I am so proud of all the runners who participated! I can't believe three years ago that was me, crossing the finish line after 13.1 miles through Downtown St. Louis. Looking back on those photos I'm inspired to get back into running.
While I've been doing really well with my workouts this year at Fitness Formula, we don't usually run more than a mile and a half and I realized that while I don't love to run, it's such a great workout. I've never been a runner (I used to try to fake sick on the day we ran the mile at school), but I found when I was training for the half marathon and running fun 5Ks like the Color Run, I actually had a pretty good time. The Color Run comes back to St. Louis on April 21 and I'm excited to use that as my kick start into running again.
If you've never done the Color Run, or even run a 5K, this is probably the best way to ease in because it's more about having fun (it's called the #Happiest5K for a reason) and they don't worry about times. Everyone wears white and throughout the race you get blasted with colorful dust and finish the race in head-to-toe rainbow. I am so excited to partner with the folks at the Color Run to offer up a chance to get a free entry into the race. Go here to sign up! or head to my Instagram for a chance to win (@alexiszotos).
My best advice for the race is to have fun, wear shoes you don't care about and put your phone in a zip lock baggie so you can snap all the pics without worrying about ruining your phone. I'll be a total slow poke at the race, but I'm excited to try to find the fun in running.
Well guys...I'm definitely going to let Matt do more planning for our weekends from now on. If you caught my last #ToDoInTheLou post, I mentioned how I was letting him plan the weekend. Well his plan included a staycation at the Four Seasons and dinner at Sidney Street Cafe.
Oh, and a proposal!
It was so perfect and I still can't believe we're engaged. Sometimes I find myself just staring at my hand and my beautiful ring he picked out and just can't believe I get to marry this man. Anyone else feel like that?
So of course everyone asks, how did he propose. We had just checked in at the Four Seasons and it was raining. He really wanted to take Ellie on a walk in Forest Park all afternoon (and now I know why - that had been his original plan). So at the hotel we decided we would go spend some time at the spa in the hot tub and just relax. As I was putting our swim suits in our bags in the room he apologized for the weather and then said something along the lines of "But it doesn't matter how gross it is outside, it's always perfect with you." Which I thought was sweet but I didn't know why he was saying it. And that's when all of a sudden he said "and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you," and proceeded to get down on one knee. I was so surprised that it was happening right then and there in the hotel room, all I could say was "oh my gosh, is this happening?!" I was laughing and tearing up. He was so nervous I could tell and I was just so surprised, I finally said yes haha and he finally managed to get the ring on my finger.
It was so perfect because it was just us. Our little moment that we get to cherish forever. Of course my mom asked if anyone took pictures of videoed it, but I said it was nice to have something not on camera for once in my life and have it be so personal and special.
We then proceeded to call our families and our best friends. Matt had asked my dad's permission a long time ago and did not let either him or my mom know this was happening (rightly so, since they would have 100 percent have given it away). It was so special to see the excitement on their faces on FaceTime and I don't think I stopped smiling for days. We celebrated with champagne at the bar at Cielo and we're so thankful the bartender came out to take a few photos of us (in the rain) on their rooftop. Dinner at Sidney Street was perfect and will forever hold a place in my heart.
The rest of the weekend was a blur of celebrations, and hugs and retelling this story. We went to brunch, had a couple's massage at the Four Seasons (which is the BEST) and went to Schlafly Stout and Oyster Festival. I can't wait to see where our life takes us and I know it will always be filled with adventure and laughter. This weekend was just the beginning.
Happy almost weekend friends! So if you couldn't tell by this weekly post, I'm a bit of a planner. I'm the one who always comes up with our weekend plans, usually picking out where we go to eat and what fun events we do. But this weekend...I'm going in blind. My boyfriend said he wanted to make plans, so I'm letting him. I did make sure he knew that we must go to one of my all time favorite events, Schlafly's Stout and Oyster festival! So stayed tuned to Instagram to see how I cope with putting my weekend agenda in someone else's hands...
Is Tuesday too early to be thinking about Sunday brunch? I think not.
Last month we got to check out the first beer brunch at Center Ice Brewery. It was a collaboration between the brewery, Coma Coffee and Chef Alex Salkowiski of Sydney Street. And they're getting ready to do another one this weekend and I'm here to tell you, go get your tickets. This was such a fun morning, filled with great food, full pours of some delicious beers and owner and brewer Steve Albers takes the morning to explain why certain beers pair well with certain foods. Walking your taste buds through the beer as you start with a fruit and cheese plate, explaining the flavors you get when biting into creamy brie verses tart blood orange.
We started off with the American Golden which was really delicious. It was refreshing with hints of citrus. But my favorite beer of the brunch had to be their coffee stout they made with my friends at Coma coffee. The brunch was held in the back part of the brewery where you can see their brewery equipment. And if you haven't been back there, the equipment is surrounded by a wall like at a skating rink. If you're a Blues fan, you'll definitely want to check out all their hockey memorabilia. The gorgeous bar is built from wood from the old arena. Even if you can't make the brunch it's a great spot to grab a beer before a game, with friendly staff. Normally the Midtown brewery doesn't serve food but you can order from neighboring Pappy's or Southern.
The next brunch is this coming Sunday and tickets are on sale. The menu isn't posted but they have teased ahead to a raspberry picker cream ale paired with a parfait made from local goodies. There will also be a new beer released. Find tickets here.
Grab your green and get ready for one of St. Louis' best parades! The Dogtown St. Patrick's Day parade is second only to Mardi Gras in my opinion. It's no where near the crazy of Mardi Gras, but it's always fun to see the local Irish families and of course drink some beer. Because St. Patrick's Day falls on Saturday, both the Dogtown Parade and Downtown parade are on the same day, so if you're feeling extra motivated you'll go to both, for me, I'll stick with Dogtown and finish the afternoon at Pat's!
Happy International Women's Day!
One of my favorite things to see is the incredible movement of support on social media and online. Let's be real. The internet can be a mean place. But recently there has been this trend of empowering and supporting one another. And I love it. You'll see women sharing their favorite Instagramers, the idea of collaboration over competition and T-shirts that say 'You CAN sit with us.' On Instagram people are competing for likes and shares just like in the real world we're all competing for jobs and promotions, but I think we can do that without tearing each other down.
I'll be the first to admit I was a bit of a mean girl in high school. Part of it I think stemmed from being bullied myself, but I've found being mean gets you nowhere. But being kind does. I try to take that mindset into the workforce where I still run into my fair share of mean girls. The news business is becoming more and more female (except maybe in management...) which is awesome, but it does mean there is that element of competition and even some cattiness. I am so proud to say that our newsroom at KMOV has so many incredible female journalists (many of which are my dear friends) and I think right now we are all about lifting each other up, helping each other make our stories better and working as a team.
While that hasn't always been the case, I know that I can only control my actions. It's hard when you see others getting the stories you want (or maybe for you the it's project or the promotion) and I think as women we have a tendency to take that personally. It makes us think 'why can't I be like her,' 'what does she have that I don't?' Those feelings are especially exasperated by social media where everyone's lives look so darn perfect. (Remember, Instagram is a highlight reel). But for me I have really try to squash down those feelings, both at work and while scrolling through Instagram. I know I can only work to make myself better, take chances that might get me those stories I want, and remember you can't have something unless you go for it. Instead of feeling down on myself or tearing down the person who has what I want, compliment her, seek her advice, support her. Because we won't get anywhere without supporting and collaborating together.
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.