There is a long list of things I love about having four true seasons in St Louis. It’s remarkable what a little bit of Vitamin D in April can do for my mood! But grilling out on a regular basis comes close to topping the list. After doing so the last two weekends, I’ve tried to get creative with our grilled veggies. This past weekend, we picked up corn and asparagus from the farmer’s market and I adapted this version of Martha Stewart’s asparagus sauce. I replaced 3/4 of the mayo with greek yogurt and used canola oil mayo instead of regular. I also used honey dijon mustard but that’s really only because I’m a big advocate of using what I already have in the house (read: I’m lazy).
This should come as no surprise to those who know me since I gab about it constantly but I dream daily of my fictitious at-home office where I spend all of my make-believe time creating lovely things. Wouldn’t that just be nice? Naturally, this career path would require a pretty little office to spark inspiration for those pretty little things I would be making. While I’ve shifted my overall home decor vision to be a more gender-neutral style ever since living with a boy (as I’ve mentioned a million times), this is the exception where I can girl out carefree. I never even used to be a fan of pink but now I obsess over pops of pink in both fashion and home design. So my perfect dream office would be a clean space with modern white furniture to set the backdrop for accents of gold and pink to glam it up- the biggest pop of pink being an incredibly girly velvet fuchsia desk chair. I mean, why not?
Ikea Shelves || Couch || Stapler || SS Print (love all of her prints!) || Pencils || Letter Opener || Fuchsia Chair || Desk (as seen in our apartment here) || Coffee Table || Rug ||
Not pictured: My beloved Zebra bench that Andy has been trying to hide since moving in together (similar here)
Confessions of a total weirdo: I have a highly abnormal obsession with grapefruit. It’s to the point where my favorite item on our wedding registry is the $4 grapefruit spoons from Crate & Barrel and not because I don’t currently own any but because I don’t have enough for my daily grapefruit. I will order any and every item on a menu that involves grapefruit from salads to cocktails. And ever since I experienced one specifically phenomenal grapefruit cocktail at Drumbar Chicago last summer, I’ve desperately wanted to recreate it, especially since they no longer serve it. After one failed attempt a few months ago with a grapefruit/gin combination, I successfully created this concoction over the weekend and plan to mix it up repeatedly this spring.
Honey Grapefruit Cocktail:
Makes 2 servings
Note: I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to mixed drinks so if you like yours stiff, double the vodka
- 1 Grapefruit
- 1 shot of Vodka
- ½ shot of simple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of honey
- Sparkling wine (I used about 3-4 ounces of bon affair sauvignon blanc here)
- Juice grapefruit halves by hand or from extractor
- Add vodka, simple syrup, honey, and juice to shaker and shake well with ice
- Divide evenly over ice in two glasses
- Top off with sparkling wine
I found that it’s best enjoyed outside on your balcony on a beautiful spring evening!
The humorous part about my new found outdoor adventure fixation is that I’m highly allergic to pretty much everything outside. I use two different nasal sprays daily along with a dosage of zyrtec every morning and in case of allergy-induced emergencies, I have two different rescue inhalers along with an EpiPen. One humid August night spent in a tent a couple of years ago brought on such a severe sinus infection that I couldn’t even talk the next morning. Are you getting the picture yet?
But this 7 mile hike was so much fun this past weekend that I can’t wait to go back. And the hives that started creeping up my arms and legs in the car ride home were totally worth it. It helped that we had hilarious hiking companions that made the burning sensation in my quads as we hiked up the hills (that I swear seemed like mountains) a little less painful. And because I find it so difficult to find information online about trails in the area, I wanted to share my tidbits on the Chubb from the West Tyson trailhead (read about round one from the opposite end here). If you’re like me and know you’re not going to make the entire 14 miles from one point and back, I highly recommend sticking to this end of the trail.
The terrain was much more rugged on this end of the trail making it a more challenging hike and the scenery stayed interesting throughout the entire trip- we turned around halfway through the trail making our total trip 7 miles. The natural stone ‘stairs’ (above) along the trail were such a beautiful spot although my hamstrings weren’t seeing the beauty when we climbed up them. The creepy abandoned house above was oddly one of my favorite things from the hike as I went back through the pictures. Of the hikes we’ve gone on so far, this was by far my favorite trail and I will certainly be going back soon.
A visit to a friend’s new
bachelor pad house this past weekend had my wheels turning about decor I’m crushing on with a masculine twist. I love an excessive amount of raw materials like steel, wood, or iron to create a rugged space meant for the boys. When filling the walls of our own home, I tend to lean towards more neutral or ‘girly’ accents but a picture of old Busch Stadium would fit perfectly in a space geared more towards men. While I was pulling together some of the pieces below, I realized they’re also things I love to incorporate in our home but are typically balanced with a splash of pink or gold to represent my touch of femininity.
What better way to fill the silence on Fifty Five South than with a nearly failed recipe? Even though they look unappealing to the eye, the crisp, light taste of these kale chips were impossible for my taste buds to resist and the perfect snack to indulge on during a busy week. I’m pretty sure these went wrong with the amount of time I left them in the oven but luckily, they didn’t actually taste burnt (I’ve read that if you burn them, you’ll definitely know by how bitter they are). After lightly coating the bite-size pieces of kale with olive oil, I
sprinkled doused them in garlic salt and Parmesan cheese (you can never skimp on cheese). They roasted for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees so next time around, I’ll probably shoot for 18 minutes or less. I’ve always been an advocate of sweet and salty combos so I’m already brainstorming the ways to sweeten it up.
St Louis was kind enough to give us one decent day this past weekend prior to being pummeled by snow all day Sunday. I didn’t hesitate to take advantage of this opportunity to get my workout in outdoors. I often take our location and access to Forest Park for granted so this was the perfect day to use the World’s Fair Pavilion staircase for some butt burning action. The entire workout that started and ended with a walk/jog between our front door and the pavilion took a little over an hour and in total I burnt about 550 calories. Scroll for the details on each exercise.
2x Up & Down all stairs: This was the only time I used all stairs from top to bottom at the entire pavilion. For the other exercises, it was easier to work near the top where the stairs were closer together but for a warm-up, it was fitting to climb up and down all staircases twice at a jogging pace with no rests.
4x Step & Squat: I used 2 sets of stairs for this exercise (approximately 25 stairs) and each step & squat increased by 1 stair and 1 squat. So step up one step and squat once; step with the other leg two steps (i.e. your top leg should be two steps above the bottom leg) and two squats; step up with the first leg three steps and squat three times and continue up starting back at one. Anything more than three steps was a stretch even for my long legs and takes away from the form of the squat.
3x Suicides & Dips: I used 2 sets of stairs for this exercise following the same concept as a normal suicide sprint except up and down the stairs, going further with each sprint. Starting at the bottom, sprint halfway up the first staircase and touch the ground then sprint back to the bottom and touch the ground. Without resting, continue to sprint up and down to the top of the first set of stairs and back down, halfway up the second set and back down, and finally to the top of the second set then back down, touching the ground each time you get to the top or bottom. This was one set and in between each set, do 8-10 tricep dips at the bottom of the staircase.
Staircase laps: I used 4 sets of stairs for this exercise. Starting at the bottom, sprint up all 4 sets hitting every stair and jog back to the bottom. The next sprint hit every other step and then jog back to the bottom. For the final sprint, hit every 3 steps and jog back to the bottom.
With this simple pop of color added to our kitchen counters, I think our kitchen is on its way to being ‘complete’ in my book. All that’s missing is a runner in front of the kitchen sink and something to fill wall space near our fridge. HGTV has me dreaming of whiter kitchens (that blue and green hues would compliment well) some day in the future but I’ll settle for our hodge-podge of black and brown in the meantime. With a full day of snowfall yesterday, I had plenty of time to catch up on some small five-minute projects like this one. And in case you’re wondering why the utensils were mummified with tape, I decided to prime them with white spray paint first.
This post would be more accurately titled with ‘How NOT to Hike’ since not pictured here is the large sign we came across five minutes into our hike stating “trail closed”. And of course, we clearly didn’t think this applied to the trail we were on (note: there were no other trails nearby) and continued on our blissful way.
I chose Chubb Trail because I’ve heard it’s one of the more challenging trails in the Valley Park area with rougher terrains, consistent inclines, and views overlooking the Meramec. I was looking forward to “the steps” in this trail to really challenge us but we unfortunately didn’t make it that far.
About a mile into the trail, we run into the river and quickly realized that the “trail closed” sign did in fact apply to us and that may be why we had run into less than five other people on the trail thus far. It was clear that the Meramec had taken over the flatter terrain of the trail and left debris and mud in its path. Lots and lots of mud. I was actually so focused on not getting stuck in the mud that I didn’t get a picture of the worst part but you can see some of the debris from the river below (this is pre-mud attack).
On our way back, I snapped some pictures of the mud that we thought was the worst of it (below) until we ran into the river and realized it didn’t even compare. All in all, it was a nice way to enjoy five miles of the outdoors (albeit rather freezing outdoors) and I even tried to give myself a heart attack with a mini run near the end. Uphill. Lots of bad choices involved this day.
I will definitely be heading back once the temperatures climb a little bit since I am determined to try out the infamous limestone steps along the trail.
I am beyond done with this winter and all of its dreary days that won’t seem to go away. It feels like I’m stuck in a cartoon and can’t escape the gloomy cloud of rain hovering over me. While I should be thankful that we at least had one awesome day this past Friday with temperatures reaching 73 degrees, instead I’m just going to whine about the bleak days that seem to be here for the unforeseeable future (or at least the next 10 days according to the Weather Channel). In the meantime, I’ll just visualize the heater blowing on my feat under my desk is actually the warm winds on the beach in Grand Cayman. Bah humbug Monday, indeed.
image via my lovely photographer of a mother in the Cayman Islands