Weekend in St. Louis

So, more about that wedding I gave you a peek at earlier:

Last weekend, we headed back to our old stomping grounds in St. Louis for the fantastic wedding of Ben & Beth, two of Will’s friends from law school.

Highlights included:

  • Laying around our hotel room on Friday morning by myself (Will had to go to court for work), catching up on blog reading and posting photos on Instagram. So relaxing. The only bad thing was waking up to the horrible news from Colorado.
  • A fun rehearsal dinner at Vin de Set that included darts, shuffle board, pool and the coolest cake ever made to look like a record player.
  • A delicious lunch and catching up with an old friend at Bailey’s Range (my lamb burger and espresso milkshake were phenomenal)
  • A hilarious and touching wedding ceremony at the old St. Louis courthouse. Ben and Beth each wrote vows–for the other person to read. Awesome idea, and seriously the most entertaining ceremony I’ve ever witnessed.
  • A unique and very St. Louis-y reception on a riverboat that cruised the Mississippi. SO much fun.
  • A quick brunch with Will’s parents that was way too short.
  • A couple of hours in the airport fighting our hangovers.

That last photo of the record featuring The Hulk was thrown in out of order and I don’t feel like trying to figure out how to fix it. The groom is obsessed with collecting records and gave his groomsmen and ushers vintage records that reminded him of them. The whole wedding was full of funny, personal touches like that.

Wedding season is in full swing, and the only bad thing about that is sometimes you get double-booked. Unfortunately, we had to miss another wedding in St. Louis last weekend that sounds like it was a blast. So congrats Ben & Beth AND Julie & Roger!

Looking forward to our next wedding… this Saturday! Love is in the air…

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Standby

We are currently experiencing internet connectivity issues. Please enjoy these pictures I took at an awesome riverboat wedding in St. Louis last weekend while I try to restrain myself from ripping our wireless router apart with my bare hands, setting it on fire and dancing on its ashes.

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More on this wedding to come (and my post about Positano, Italy!) once I can actually use my computer to post instead of my phone. (Although I must say, this is quite convenient.)

A dog never forgets

When we were in St. Louis last weekend, we took a day to go back to our old neighborhood. We’ve only been gone 8 months, but for some reason I was thinking it might have changed since then. It totally hasn’t. It’s exactly the same – just the way I liked it.

We met some friends for lunch at Katie’s Pizza, an old standby for us. Then we walked around the ‘hood, past our old apartment. It was at this point that Gatsby experienced temporary amnesia and ran up the steps of our old place with a look on his face like “come on guys, we’re home!”

We had to drag him back down the steps and tell him that it might be weird for us to walk up there with him since we do not, in fact, live there anymore. He was confused for a minute until he found something exciting to pee on and forgot about the whole thing.

Our literal walk down figurative memory lane made us a little thirsty, so we stopped at our all time favorite place, Sasha’s, for a drink. Sasha’s might be the place I miss the most in St. Louis. We still haven’t found a wine bar in Chicago that quite measures up – but we of course plan on continuing our meticulous research and field work until we do.

Movin’ on up

Tomorrow is moving day!

I’m packing up the Stratus (and Will’s Honda) and moving on up to Chicago from St. Louis. I’ve been packing my stuff since Monday and am only about 1/4 of the way done. So today might suck a little.

As much as I’d love to keep procrastinating, I really don’t have much time, so I’ll provide you with some of my thoughts on this whole moving situation in the form of a numbered list. (I love lists. Oh, you want proof? Check it: here, here, here, and here.)

1. Everything about moving to Chicago is exciting and great, nay – GREAT!, except that Will and Gatsby can’t come with me right away. Major sad face. Will has to finish up his job in St. Louis (and subsequently find a new one in Chicago), so I’ll be husbandless and dogless and traveling back and forth between Chicago and St. Louis for the next month and a half. I’m officially in a long distance relationship. Ew. Thank God it will be holiday season or I might be seeking a subscription for Xanax right about now.

2. I’m moving in with my parents for the next month and a half. This is good because my parents love to spend time with me and do things for me (I’m spoiled). This is bad because my parents love to spend time with me and do things for me (I’m not 10 years old anymore). We’ll see how it goes. My major concern? I may need to cut down on some of the TV shows I watch because their DVR is full of crime dramas and weird Sci-Fi shows that my dad loves but I’ve never even heard of. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills might have to be put on hold. Oh man, now I really might need that Xanax…

3. I’m so excited to start my new job! SO excited. I’ll be working as an editor/copywriter for an ad agency downtown. Waaaaayyy cooler than working on nursing textbooks at a publishing company in the middle of nowhere across the street from a landfill.

4. I’m a bit nervous to start my new job. Mostly because I’ll probably have to take a bus from the train station to get there, and I don’t think I’ve ever ridden a bus in Chicago before. I’ve taken the El pretty much everywhere you can take it, but the bus and I have yet to be acquainted. I think I’m going to go downtown on Friday and ride it somewhere. For practice. I’m serious.

5. Ooh, here’s another thing I’m really excited about: I know people in Chicago! A lot of people! We have friends and family out the wazoo up there. If you want to hang out with me, you better get on the schedule now – my social calendar is filling up! (Actually, no. It’s not. The only plans I have so far is to see a play. With my parents.) But still. I’ll miss my friends in St. Louis and the family we have there, but it will be nice to be have a wide variety of friends hang out with. I tire of people easily. (That’s not true either – I just wanted to say that. It’s delightfully snobby.)

6. I got STUCK in a heavy winter coat at Nordstrom Rack the other day. Wait- this is related. I decided that I need to get one of those massive puffy down coats that make you feel like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from Ghostbusters because people actually need to wear those things in Chicago. I’m cold just thinking about it. Anyway, I was out shopping and decided to try on an especially puffy and warm one last weekend. I hastily zipped it all the way up to my chin, checked myself out in the mirror, yelled out “Hey everyone, come see how good I look!” (ok, no, I didn’t do that), and when I went to remove the coat, the unthinkable happened. The zipper got stuck! Like MAJORLY stuck. As panic set in, I yanked, and twisted and pulled with all my might, but to no avail. I WAS TRAPPED IN A GIGANTIC FURNACE OF A COAT IN THE MIDDLE OF A CROWDED STORE ON A BALMY 75-DEGREE DAY!! More panicking. Once I became certain that I was in the beginning stages of heat stroke, I ran up to the nearest employee and pleaded for her help. Long story short, she couldn’t get it, her manager couldn’t get it, and I was rushed to the alterations department where they had to literally cut the coat open to free me from its hellish, sweaty grip. I’m still a little traumatized by the situation. And I now have an intense appreciation for buttons.

7. Packing is the worst. Just the worst. If you’ve ever moved, I’m sure I don’t need to elaborate on this.

8. Even though I’ve been wanting to move back to Chicago pretty much since I decided to move to St. Louis, I’m actually going to miss this cute little city. It’s got some things going for it. There are 8 things in particular that I am especially going to miss, as evidenced by my recent Girls Guide post. (I love lists and shameless plugs!)

So those are my thoughts on moving at the moment. I think they can best be summed up with these words: Excited! Husbandless! Xanax! So excited! Nervous! HOT!

Moving day is tomorrow. My first day at the new job is Monday. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Home is in my chest cavity

Home is where the heart is.

So…my home is in my chest cavity? Sounds warm and cozy enough! I hope I have cable in there. And WiFi.

Yes, I know I’m being too literal. But I have an issue with that saying. While it is a lovely sentiment, what if you don’t know where your figurative “heart” is?

If you read this blog regularly and don’t space out while you’re reading or carelessly skim the words because you’ve got more important things to do, you know that Will and I spent a few days in Miami this past weekend. The trip was lots of fun. South Beach is a beautiful, sunny place filled with loose women, crack heads, members of the Jersey Shore cast, and American Apparel stores. We had a blast! I’ll tell you more about it in my next post when I have a chance to upload my pictures.

Anyway, as the end of our vacation neared, I found myself thinking about going home. I hate when vacations end, but it’s always nice to get back to good ol’ familiar Illinois – land of Cubs fans, deep dish pizza, and Walter E. Smithe (you dream it, we build it!).

But WAIT! Hold the phone! Insert the sound of a vinyl record screeching to a halt here!

That lovely place I was envisioning myself returning to? I don’t live there! That was Chicago, or more specifically Wheaton (land of 1,000 churches and even more religion-based judgements! (Sorry Wheaton, I love you. Muah!)).

So that was weird. For a split second, I had actually forgotten that I now live in St. Louis. It seems that when I think of going home, going back to what is familiar and what I envision my daily life to be, I still think of my hometown.

So I guess whoever wrote the home is where the heart is saying would conclude that my “heart” and therefore my “home” is in Wheaton. But that’s so far from where I actually live – from my job, my cute apartment, my husband, and – dear God – my dog! It doesn’t seem right that my “home” isn’t where those things are.

Basically, myself and my heart are homeless. My physical self is happily living in St. Louis, but my heart is in Wheaton, probably rubbing it in by going to the Popcorn Shop every day and taking the train downtown to take walks by the lake and go out to nice restaurants. No fair.

Thus, I’m not a fan of the home is where the heart is saying. If it was on Facebook, I would not “like” it. I would be one of those people commenting on why there isn’t a “dislike” button.

I like to think that I just take my “home” with me wherever I go – that way, I’m always there! So for now, I’m going to go with the literal interpretation and say that my home is inside of me…possibly in my chest cavity, but I’d have to have an X-ray to positively determine that.

Our place

Do you have a local restaurant or bar that you like to think of as “your place?”

I haven’t exactly been bowled over by the vast array of unique and affordable eating and drinking establishments in St. Louis since I’ve moved here. It’s not that there aren’t any. Let’s just say I can’t throw a stone out my apartment door and hit two Irish pubs, a wine bar and a cute little Italian place, as was the case when I lived in Chicago.

I can, however, walk for 25 minutes (or drive for 5) and get to Sasha’s. This is “my place.” Actually, I’m pretty much always with Will when I go there, so I like to think of it as “our place.”

Sasha’s is a cute little wine bar in a cute little neighborhood next to a cute little park. It has charm and character, good wine, and a great outdoor seating area. It also has Sofia sparkling wine that comes in a cute little can with a cute little straw. What’s not to love?

Niebaum-Coppola Winery

Apparently being cute and little will get you far with me. Take my dog, for example.

But back to Sasha’s. Will and I have been regulars ever since I became an official St. Louis resident. We’ve made some great (albeit fuzzy) memories there.

There was the unusually warm November night when we were sitting outside and got caught in a thunderstorm. (This was more fun than it sounds. We didn’t get that wet. And we were drunk.) There was the sunny summer day we decided to walk over with Gatsby and I ate my salad with him sitting in my lap. Then there was the time that we went for an early dinner and promised each other we would only get two drinks, but we ran into Will’s aunt, cousin and grandma and ended up staying and drinking with them until the wee hours of the night. I think we probably quadrupled our self-imposed drink limit for that night.

The thing about Sasha’s, and the reason we always make a pact not to drink too much when we go there, is that we end up enjoying ourselves so much that we don’t want to leave. So we stay. And we drink. And we get sloshed. And until the hangover sets in the following day, we have a really, really great time.

We love the place so much that we actually have a sketch of it hanging in our dining room. The picture was a thoughtful wedding gift from Sarah, one of my bridesmaids, and if we ever move from St. Louis, at least we’ll have a cool-looking piece of art to always remind us of “our place.”

One early summer evening, we were sitting outside at Sasha’s when another young couple sat down next to us. With a baby.

Now, we were also accompanied by our pseudo-child Gatsby, but bringing a real human child to a wine bar is a different story. However, after recoiling a little at the site of the tiny stroller troll at “my place” (my very adult place), I took another sip of wine and pretty much forgot that he/she/it was there. A little while later, I glanced over, and the couple was enjoying their wine just as much as we were, with their baby happily and silently looking on. Heck, with Gatsby nearly choking himself after winding his leash around a table leg, having a dog was almost more trouble than having an infant in this case!

So, I don’t know. Maybe babies don’t cramp your style quite as much as I think. Not that I want to find out any time soon…

Here’s the part where I shamelessly promote myself.

I was inspired by my love for Sasha’s (and my desire for a free trip to San Francisco) to enter a writing contest on trazzler.com. I whipped up a cheesy little blurb about the wine bar, and if I get enough votes, I can win a trip to San Fran (my second favorite American city after Chicago)!

If you want to check it out, click here:

http://www.trazzler.com/trips/sasha-s-wine-bar-in-clayton-mo#

If you feel like voting, you just have to sign up for Trazzler (they don’t send any annoying emails, I promise), go to my trip and hit “save.”

I don’t think I’m going to win at this point, but you never know! And if I do get to go to San Francisco…I will think of you all fondly while I’m there. And maybe take a few pictures and post them on this blog. Exciting, right?!?!?

Random question of the day

Ok, how many of you girls out there (or guys, I don’t judge) had this awesomely nineties pastel radio/cassette player when you were growing up?

I had it in purple and my best friend Debbie had it in pink. And I feel like every other girl my age had it too. I’m just curious if I’m right. I heard Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” on the radio at lunch today and the image of my old girly boom box immediately popped into my head. I made some purely magical mix tapes by recording songs off the radio with this bad boy.

Spring fever!!

They say when the weather gets warmer, all the crazies come out. Yesterday, it was 72 degrees and sunny in St. Louis, and I’m now convinced that this theory may hold some water.

Apparently three months of below-normal winter temps and general bleakness have turned us all into depressed, gray, withering Smigel/Gollum-like creatures who crawl out of the woodwork at the hint of a warm breeze or ray of sunshine.

Everyone and their mom (including myself) was in a good mood yesterday and looking for an excuse to get outside. Now there is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but come on people, let’s get a hold of ourselves! You can lay out in a bikini top in Forest Park all you want, but you are NOT going to get a tan at 5:00 pm on March 10 in St. Louis. It’s just nature.

Yes, spring fever season is upon us. Those of us who aren’t lucky enough to get a vaccination (aka, escape for a week to somewhere tropical during the winter months to temper the warm weather craving) are extremely susceptible to oftentimes irrational behavior. The fresh air makes us high as a kite.

If you experience any of the following symptoms, fear not – you will be instantly cured when the temperatures inevitably plunge and the icy hand of cruel winter bitch slaps you across the face. It’s March. Let’s face it, snow is still not out of the question.

10 Signs You Have Spring Fever

1. You decide to go running. You don’t normally exercise. You make it half way down the block.

2. You break out the flip flops. Forget that you don’t have a pedicure and your feet are the color and texture of drywall – these toes need to breathe!

3. You are that girl who I actually saw in Forest Park in a bikini top yesterday. She had apparently contracted a very acute case of spring fever, and I’m not sure there’s any hope for her. Ever. In life.

4. You take your dog for an extra long walk. If you don’t have a dog, you try it with the cat. If you don’t have any pets, you borrow a neighbor’s animal so you can take it for a walk. That’s just what people do in warm weather.

5. You make a special trip to the grocery store to get ground beef, hamburger buns and charcoal so you can bust out the grill. Sadly, many of those hamburger buns will succumb to mold before it’s warm enough to use them again.

6. You drive with the windows down, even on the highway. Warm air is so worth the harsh wind and hair in your mouth and eyes and the jarring sound of speeding semi-trucks.

7. You go to Dairy Queen. Nothing screams ice cream like 68 degrees. If this was July, you’d be drinking hot chocolate.

8. You go out for lunch just so you can get out of the office to enjoy the nice weather. Warm days like this don’t come around too often! Wait – yes they do. It’s called summer, and it lasts three months.

9. You go to happy hour at any bar you can find with an open outdoor patio. At least the alcohol will help keep you warm when the sun goes down and it’s 55 degrees and you’re outside in short sleeves.

10. The 5-day forecast on the 10:00 news sends you spiraling into a deep depression. A high of 45 degrees tomorrow???