Just about three years ago when we decided to move to Saint Louis for Bob's job, I realized I knew nothing about Saint Louis and didn't know a single person. I started googling and searching Twitter, and my friend, Suzanna, sent me a stack of local magazines so I could read about local places and happenings. In one of those magazines, I read about a local woman named Brooke Pratt with an Etsy shop selling cute stamped wooden utensils. I started following her on social media (@sucreshop). About a year later, we met at an event and collaborated through my job at West Elm. I've watched as her business has grown (check out her fun party items) and she's appeared in numerous publications. So, it's exciting to see her work represented on the August 2015 cover of Better Homes and Gardens magazine. Last week we celebrated with Brooke at a fun rooftop party.
I've been reading and trying recipes from The Good Gut by Erica and Justin Sonnenburg. The Sonnenburgs are PhDs working at Stanford University School of Medicine, and have made their research on gut microbiota the focus of this book. Now, this might not sound remotely interesting, but it should be required reading. If we all knew more about what actually occurs in our bodies - or cared to know - then we'd be more successful at reversing (and warding off) our rates of disease. This book is filled with scientific information regarding the biology of our gut, but the Sonnenburg's are also parents to young children, and they share valuable tidbits of how they've taught their kids to eat healthy.
One of the recipes I tried was for this easy and healthy snack of taking Medjool dates and stuffing them with cultured cream cheese, a sprinkle of cinnamon, and topping with a walnut half. This makes a great healthy dessert alternative and is reminiscent of eating carrot cake. Trust me. When you try it, you'll see what I mean.
If you're looking for a good summer read, I can recommend this book. It has the right ingredients to keep you entertained and engaged - yet, not overpower your summer chill vibe.
If you buy lots of healthy products and would like to save money when you do - or, perhaps you'd buy more healthy products if the prices were less - check out online marketplace, Thrive Market. We've already used the site a couple of times and the prices are good. Plus, they get more and more healthy products added all the time, so if you don't see your favorite item now - chances are it will be available soon.
Okay, this is the last of my posts from the Southern Accents Style Guide - but it was too good to keep to myself. Susan Hable Smith is one half of the sister-duo behind Hable Construction - the New York City-based design and textiles company. They founded the company in 1999 when I was living in New York City, and that's when I first remember hearing about them. They create such fun patterns; You should definitely visit their website. Susan now lives with her family in Athens, Georgia while her sister lives in Brooklyn. Susan and her husband renovated an old cottage and infused it with charm and personality. Again, I apologize for the pics taken from a magazine, but it's all I got...
This is another inspiring pic from the Southern Accents Style Guide I shared earlier this week. This is a new-build in Rosemary Beach, Florida and this room was made into a bunk room for extra guests; However, I know many older homes with this type of "attic room" and this is a great use of space. I especially love the Schumacher bird print wallpaper.
The construction of this amazing cathedral in Saint Louis was started in 1907. The installation of the more than 41 million mosaic tiles was begun in 1912 and finished in 1988. Pope John Paul II visited in 1999 and proclaimed it a basilica. With what is likely the largest collection of mosaic tiles in the world inside this structure - it is pretty amazing. Photos cannot begin to do it justice. If you are visiting, this is a must-see.
I've hung onto a copy of a publication called Southern Accents Style Guide because it contained a few interior gems that I wanted to remember and share. Here is the SoHo loft of a southern couple who now live in New York City. Courtney Daniels Hayden, the sister of the couple, who is based in San Francisco, helped them create a space that felt like home. I love the mix of traditional with some modern flair. And that bathroom...it's otherworldly. The couple's young daughter received a very sophisticated, yet perfectly appropriate little girl's room, don't you think? My apologies for the scanned magazine photos; I couldn't find them anywhere online.
I'm a fan of Brendan Ravenhill's designs. I bought his dustbin at West Elm and actually use it to store fresh cat litter in the litter box closet. It's perfect.
While flipping through the latest copy of Elle Decor, Ravenhill's Church Chandelier was mentioned. He designed it for the Bethlehem Baptist Church in Los Angeles - a Modernist structure designed by architect Rudolph Schindler in 1944. The church had been vacant for over a decade, but was recently purchased to be the church of a small African-American congregation in South Los Angeles.
We spent a couple days in Chicago last week and got to see friends, explore, and eat some good food. Even better, the rainy/cloudy weather we've been experiencing so far this summer decided to subside while we were there. One of our favorite places was Floriole - near Lincoln Park. This café was rated by Food & Wine magazine as one the best bread bakeries in America. Everything was made from scratch using the highest quality ingredients. It's important to us to eat healthy, and that can be tricky while you're traveling. This is why we seek out juice bars and places serving high quality health food - because traveling usually involves a bit of indulging. We stumbled onto Stan's Donuts (speaking of indulging) and wanted to go in mainly because the shop design caught my eye. We ordered an iced herbal tea and a gluten-free donut (so, we weren't too bad), but look at that cute interior (see below)! The Hotel Lincoln is a boutique hotel across from Lincoln Park, and we wanted to check it out since we were right by it getting juice at Real Good Juice Co. It was really charming with a cute coffee shop just off the lobby and a farm-to-table restaurant - plus, we're told, a nice rooftop bar overlooking the park. We had a nice late lunch at Parson's Chicken + Fish with a bunch of other people playing hooky from work. The weather was perfect and this is the place to sit outside with an adult beverage and eat good food - or play ping pong. I will say the interior is awesome as well, for those days when it happens to be raining, or snowing, or minus two degrees. A little wandering around Wicker Park and we got to stop in Gather Home + Lifestyle - a home store if you like simple, well-made items. Her shop is a bit off the main drag, but her selection is well-curated and her dog, Abby, will do yoga stretches to keep you entertained. We were headed to Big Star for dinner, but a thousand people got there before we did and wait times were something like three hours (that's like eating tomorrow). So, we ate next door at sister restaurant, Dove's Luncheonette, which is also Mexican - but not chips-and-salsa Mexican rather, vintage luncheonette setting with good cocktails, flavorful food, and a record player. We headed into the heart of the city to check out Broken Shaker - the bar in the new Freehand Hotel/Hostel that was designed by one of my favorites, Roman and Williams. A cool '70's living room vibe with some truly unique house cocktails (and games!) makes for a fun night - especially with a group. We checked out another juice bar on my list, Owen + Alchemy. I really liked their juices and the packaging, but felt their shop was too dark and they were trying too hard to be like an exclusive night club. From the outside you couldn't tell if the place was still in business (perhaps they were going for a speakeasy vibe). Either way, I prefer places with curb appeal that make you feel welcome from the outside - even though the people inside were very nice. For someone who has never drank coffee, I L-O-V-E coffee shops. The ones that invite you to linger, perhaps they are part general store - or, in this case, part general store, part bike shop. Heritage Bicycles General Store in the Lakeview neighborhood is just the type of place I'd love to have in my neighborhood - anywhere. We got to spend time with a good friend and have dessert at Mindy's Hot Chocolate. It seems there aren't enough places open late with good dessert - this place is it - and the hot chocolate is crazy good. No weekend trip would be complete without me dragging Bob through an antiques market. I find the biggest one in town (just kidding) and that's where we go. Broadway Antiques Market was recommended by a friend- and it's a good one. While waiting for me, Bob found a Starbucks made from shipping containers. I'm obsessed with creative uses for these things and loved seeing this in person. I shouldn't tell you that we stopped in the 3rd largest Whole Foods in the world - but we did. A fitting way to end our trip. Just when I thought I had knocked a few more places off my list, I added more to it for next time. Until then, Chicago...
Here's what I've been pinning lately...
Brooklyn-based, Joinery, is a shop that sells a unique assortment of women's clothing and accessories, along with quality staples for the home...well, and a beautiful tambourine - which probably should be a staple.
GAIA for Women is an organization that employees resettled refugee women in Dallas. They use vintage, sustainable, and re-purposed materials to make jewelry, pillows, clutches, key chains, and baby items. The colors and patterns are fantastic - very inspiring.
Swedish designer, Anki Spets, started AREA in New York City in 1990 to continue the Scandinavian tradition of good design for everyday. The main offerings are the bed linens, but Anki has designed a few furniture, clothing, and kitchen pieces that caught my eye.
I'm silly over these teardrop campers, and this morning I found out about one that is made in Australia (via Cool Hunting). It's called Gidget, and is a modern take on a classic design with a queen size bed and a solar power system - to name a few perks. There are a few different models, and they're also working on smaller ones for bikers and cyclists.
The following is part of a collection of moments I will share as it relates to dealing with the grief and loss of my dad...
Hopefully, you had a nice holiday weekend. We spent time with friends and family, but my mind was filled with images from one year ago. If you read the "About" section of this blog - or you already know me - then you know my father passed away last year. One year ago on the 4th of July, I was leaving Florida - where I had been visiting my parents - to fly back to Saint Louis. Now, here's one of those things that always occurs, yet you don't really think twice about it until it doesn't happen anymore, but...Whenever I left their condo, whether it was when I lived across the street, or when I had to get on a plane, my dad would always come outside and wave goodbye (or watch me walk across the street to make sure I got there safely). Sometimes, my parents would wave from the kitchen window, but waving goodbye was always involved. On this last visit it was noticeably different because I could tell he was feeling pain. When he wasn't napping, he was now sitting with his eyes closed because of the pain, but also they say that for people suffering from dementia - closing the eyes helps them handle the confusion. So, as I was kissing him goodbye at the kitchen table to catch my cab to the airport, I worried that it might be the last time I see him. However, I couldn't actually grasp him not being around, so the reality was hard to accept. As I closed the door of the cab and started waving goodbye, I noticed he wasn't even looking outside. He was staring straight ahead. He might have already forgotten that I had left, because the pain became the focus. I'll never forget that image of him staring straight ahead, sitting in his chair at the kitchen table. That was the last time I saw him alive. And probably deep down I knew it would be.
Farrah Sit is a woman after my own heart. Someone who believes in buying fewer, but better things. The Tetra hanging planter was what caught my eye first, but I'm also enjoying the rest of her collection. Even better - a favorite photographer, Nicole Franzen, snapped the images for her Lookbook. See the design studio known as Light + Ladder for more products from Farrah and her design partners.
West Elm collaborated with another Brooklyn-based brand, Pelle Designs, on a collection of newly released lighting that I'm really loving. You definitely need to check out Pelle's original work on their site - it's fantastic. In fact, I posted their signature bubble chandelier as my Etsy Pick of the Day back in 2011. They've come a long way...
Athleta was having a swimsuit sale recently and I picked up this tank in black. I believe in getting healthy sun exposure as it is so good for the body, but I also want to protect my skin if I'm outdoors for an extended period. Even though I don't look quite like this model when I'm wearing mine, I still felt comfortable and confident. It's great for the pool, the beach, exercising - or simply active lifestyles.
Girls are powerful beyond measure, and too often we lack the confidence to fully embody our talents, our strengths, what makes us unique, and to achieve our true destiny. We are labeled (too emotional, too pretty, too loud...), pigeonholed, paid less than men for doing equal work (and often, better work), and made to feel that we should never be too successful because it might hurt the ego of a man. We are lacking significantly in the number of female leaders that populate the ranks of our top companies, organizations, and government. This video gives me hope. It will take a village, but we all need to put our efforts toward guiding girls toward math, science, and coding. They can change the world, but not without our support. A big thumbs up to these girls, and to the people who support them. #codelikeagirl