Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 - A Year in Review

Miss last year’s Year in Review? Catch up on 2011 here.

Had fun turning 31 at Mosaic.

Got artsy at the first annual Arty Party at the Four Seasons St. Louis with artist Jeff Kapfer.

For the first time in years, I celebrated Soulard Mardi Gras by not celebrating. I stayed in, stayed warm, and “Laissez les bons temps rouler” by watching Whitney Houston’s funeral. And for the record Whitney, crack is whack. 

Flew south for a work conference in Orlando and met these two reality show cuties:
Tenley Molzahn, Kiptyn Locke, & me.
Surprised Laura with a birthday party at her new home in the ‘burbs.

Took in a fashion show with Sylvia benefitting the Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition at [RE]Fresh – A Fashion Coalition in Brentwood.

Organized our first ever book club with this steamy read:

Beat the heat to watch my oldest nephew graduate from high school.

Kicked off The Year of The Wedding with a St. Louis Shower for Stessie.

Ate, drank, and celebrated Jessica and John’s engagement with a shower at Montelle Winery.

Not every bride-to-be gets two St. Louis celebrations in one month – but Jessica did with a night out in Soulard.

Headed West for my first trip to Sin City. We ate here, drank a $36 cocktail here, and danced the night away here…all without gambling a penny!

Met sweet baby Charlotte for the first time.

Ate here and closed 360 down with a red and black themed Bachelorette Party for Jessica.

Celebrated one wedding shower and one wedding reception on the same day for these two cute cousins:

After a two year hiatus, I re-started my classes towards a MA in Marketing here and all social life came to a screeching halt.

With a Rehearsal Dinner here and their wedding festivities here, we celebrated Stessie & Brian’s wedding in true St. Louis style.

Welcomed Billy to St. Louis with drinks here and dinner here during Downtown Restaurant Week.  

Took in a free concert by the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on Art Hill.

Said adios to our St. Louis senorita, Erin, with a Going Away Party here.

Celebrated Donna’s 30th birthday with a surprise party here.

Spent the weekend in Overland Park celebrating Lauren and Andrew’s wedding – Kansas style!

Ended The Year of The Wedding on the campus of West Point with the marriage of Jessica and John.

Headed to the Lone Star State twice this month for work and saw a Texas rodeo in San Antonio and one of the most haunted streets in America, Hell’s Half Mile, in Ft. Worth.

Took in a night of theatre with Les Mis at the Fabulous Fox.

Satisfied my inner Twihard by seeing this movie. After a year's wait, it did not disappoint!

Met with fellow social media gals at the STL Social Girls Holiday Happy Hour organized by Danni at Plush.

Celebrated the impending birth of the Royal baby here. Long live the King…or Queen!

Won the first annual Ugly Sweater Party hosted by Laura and Jacob. When I play, I play to win! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Winter Reads

Despite the weather reports predicting snow on Christmas night and all of the forecasters in “Storm Mode”, it remained cold in the St. Louis metro area, but with nary a snowflake in site. From my city to yours, I hope you had a fabulous holiday season – with or without snow.

During the cold winter months, there’s nothing I like better than to stay home, sip my favorite tea (or wine, who am I kidding?), and curl up with a good book. I’m always on the hunt for my next great literary escape and I definitely found it with these three Winter Reads:

Of all the books I’ve read in the past year, Lunch in Paris: A Love Story with Recipes has been one of my absolute favorites. Author Elizabeth Bard is an American girl living in London when she meets the beau of her dreams, gets married, moves to the City of Lights and begins a love story with her husband, Paris, and fabulous French food. Lunch in Paris is similar to Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love but with less praying and a lot more eating. Need to escape the dreary winter days? Elizabeth Bard proves there’s no better place to do it than Paris.  

I bought The Weird Sisters while on a long layover at JFK. Pushing the People Magazine and US Weekly aside*, I bought this debut novel from author Eleanor Brown and headed for my gate. Based on three sisters who return to their childhood home all for different reasons, The Weird Sisters follows Cordelia, Rose, and Bianca Andreas as they follow life paths as different as their personalities.  What’s in a name? The title, The Weird Sisters, comes from a line in Macbeth and each of the sister’s names comes from a different Shakespearean character. From the plural narrative, to Shakespeare’s quotes woven throughout the storyline, The Weird Sisters shows that all roads, no matter how weird, lead home.

I found The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club last winter in the sale section of Barnes & Noble. The cover alone was enough to entice me in and I’ve enjoyed reading it this winter just as much as last. From British author Gil McNeil comes the story of Jo Mackenzie, a television producer who’s forced to move from London to the seaside town of Broadgate Bay. Going from high-powered television producer (or “telly”, if we’re being British) to the manager of a small-town yarn shop proves an interesting adjustment for Jo, her two young sons and the cast of characters who loop their way through the yarn shop door. ** Whether you’re an anglophile like I am or not, you’ll love hunkering down this winter with The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club.       

Any good Winter Reads on your bookshelves lately? If so, let me know!          

*Unrelated: I spotted both Montel Williams at the airport and three cast members from The Jersey Shore on a night out in Manhattan on this trip. D-List Celebrity sightings FTW!
**Loop. See what I did there? Any knitters in the audience? Anyone?

Friday, December 21, 2012


It was one week ago today that our world was turned upside down by the events that took place in Connecticut. I was late getting into work that day and it was my boss who first told me of the news. From 1,000 miles away in a sleepy suburb of St. Louis we watched the terrible events unfold in a little town called Newtown. We were silent that day, not sure what to say. We sat in our cubes and our offices as the ages of the little victims became public. Five and six years old. Teachers, a special education aid, a principal. Who would do such a thing and why? Like so many (too many) of these cases, we know the who, but we may never know the why.

I was a senior in high school when two students entered Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado killing thirteen of their classmates, injuring countless others, and changing the way we view school safety forever. I watched the Breaking News in utter awe and disbelief. The kids I saw running out of the classrooms, their hands held high as if they were criminals, and the student falling from the library window in a desperate attempt to survive were my age. Exactly my age. “School shooting” and “mass shooting” hadn’t yet become a part of our public lexicon. We hadn’t yet wearied of another story of killings in places like movie theatres and school campuses. We hadn’t yet become immune to the innocents lost and the devastation left in their wake. 

But there was something different about the events at Sandy Hook School. Perhaps it was the age of the victims. Perhaps it was the setting – Neil Heslin, father of six year old victim Jesse Lewis, referred to Sandy Hook School as “Mayberry.” Perhaps, as Americans, we had just had enough. As President Obama said in his speech on Sunday, December 16, “Surely, we can do better than this.”

We can do better than this and we are better than this. People the world over have wondered what they can do in the aftermath of such devastation. I have personally been inspired by the 26 Acts of Kindness Campaign and of reading Ann Curry’s re-tweets of average Americans going out of their way to be kind to a teacher, a friend, or a complete stranger. Sarah is blogging about her twenty-six acts – one for every victim at Sandy Hook.

We can become angry for what happened in Newtown, and the other sites of mass shootings, or we can do something each day to make the world a kinder, better place. In honor of all victims of senseless violence. In tribute.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Lovely Lafayette Square

San Francisco has the Painted Ladies. Miami has the art deco hotels of Ocean Drive. And St. Louis has the French-style row houses of Lafayette Square. Last Sunday, many of these stunning homes were dressed in their holiday best for the 2012 Holiday Parlor Tour.

Erin & I dressed in our best Bohemian chic. We had to stay warm somehow!

After brunch at Rue Lafayette, Erin and I braved the spotty rain and chilly weather to walk the historic streets of Lafayette Square. Named after the Marquis de La Fayette (1757 – 1834), a general in the American Revolutionary War, the neighborhood and park have gone through many incarnations since it was founded in 1836. It’s been a livestock pasture, a “pocket ghetto”, and had fallen under years of neglect and disrepair. Thanks to the Lafayette Park Conservancy and the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee, Lafayette Square is now a thriving neighborhood home to families, businesses, and popular restaurants (Bailey's Chocolate Bar and Square One Brewery & Distillery are two of my favorites.)

The shops on Park Avenue.

Declared a historic district in 1972 and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, Lafayette Square is the oldest city park in St. Louis and one of the first parks west of the Mississippi. In the summer and fall months, it’s bustling with walkers, runners, and an outdoor concert and movie series. 

Napoleon's Retreat Bed & Breakfast

Whether you’re from St. Louis or visiting our fair city, make sure to visit Lafayette Square and all that it has to offer. I’m sure you’ll find it…lovely.  

*I had written this post prior to the tragic events in Newtown, CT. People Magazine put together a beautiful tribute to the victims. To donate to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund through the United Way of Western Connecticut, please click here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

New Restaurant Wednesday - The London Tea Room

Diva’s, I’ve missed you! In between re-starting grad school (note to self: this will take over your life) and losing my Internet at home (don’t ask, but it’s been the ultimate first world pain), I’ve neglected my corner of the Internet for far too long.

What could bring me out a self-imposed blogging break? The impending birth of the World’s Most Famous Fetus, of course. In case you’ve been living under a rock for the last few weeks, my two best friends are expecting! Minus a few Aussie radio hosts, it seems that the whole world is excited for the two young Royals and naturally, I wanted to celebrate too.

Fellow anglophile, Katie, and I headed for the center of all things British in St. Louis – The London Tea Room. Founded in 1997, The London Tea Room serves imported teas, scones, quiche, and sandwiches fit for a Queen (or a commoner, as so many of us are.) Need a little sophistication in your life? They serve Afternoon Tea, a quintessential English tradition started by Anna, the seventh Duchess of Bedford, in 1840. Brits have been enjoying this mid-afternoon snack ever since and The London Tea Room gives St. Louisans a chance to eat like Royalty, too.

Lori, Jeremy, & I at The London Tea Room
{October 2011}
If you’re looking to enjoy a spot of tea just like Duchess Catherine or need the perfect place to pretend you’re British for a day, head to the London Tea Room. Whether you're there for the Creamy Tomato Soup (a staple on the menu and perfect for a chilly fall day), a pot of tea from their extensive Tea Catalogue or a traditional Mcvities Digestive, you'll find The London Tea Room unpretentious, welcoming, and frightfully British. Pinky up!

Think The London Tea Room is brilliant? Like their Facebook page or follow them on twitter.

{Bottom photos taken with my iphone, using the Instagram app and the Sierra filter}