mutigers

So I’ve got a funny story for you on this lovely Monday.  (Itz a short one, no worries.)  When I was in college at Mizzou, my parents occasionally came up for football games.  Well one particular afternoon, my mom was reading the big screen and asked if I’d ever been to, “Mutigers.”  I hadn’t heard of it, so I peered in the direction she was looking and realized she was reading MUtigers (MU tigers) as one word.

mizzou

My dad and I got quite the laugh and we still tease her to this day.  (Love you, Mom!)  Anyway, this past weekend Jonny and I went to Mizzou with our best friends Diana and Andy.  Diana and I were people watching (aka paying really good attention to the football game) and Diana asked, “What’s O-B-E-Y?”  Again, I was confused so I glanced in the direction where she was looking.  I replied, “You mean ‘obey?'”  Instantly, we busted out laughing as it was just one of those moments.  So funny.  Diana definitely won’t live that one down for quite some time.  😉

As we headed to Mizzou, we packed our bags, filled the coolers, and attached the tiger tail.

tiger tail

A tiger tail is a must when driving to Columbia and we saw tons of other cars with them.  We had such a fun day and night at Mizzou.  Diana, Andy, and I all went to Mizzou for school and Jonny has always been a fan just being from St. Louis.  Not only did the Tigers win, we had a blast, as always, with DiAndy.  We had a wonderful dinner at Sophia’s followed by frozen custard at Andy’s.  It was marvelous indeed!

Marvelous in my Monday hosted by Healthy Diva Life!

Itz awesome being in Columbia on game days because literally 99.9% of the people are sporting their black and gold.  The only thing that’s different now compared to when we went to Mizzou, is that now a lot of people get really dressed up for games.  Like, heels or boots and dresses, something we would have never worn to a football game in our days (yes, a mere five years ago!).  Apparently itz because Mizzou is now part of the SEC.

Diana Andy

Diana & Andy

We all still dressed pretty casually to the game.  Plus, it was 95 degrees outside under the blazing sun, so wearing anything remotely nice was not appealing whatsoever.

jonny mizzou

What’s your alma mater?  Did/do you tailgate and go to the football games? MIZ!

Eating in Columbus

Itz Wednesday which means itz time to link up to the What I Ate Wednesday party over at Peas and Crayons hosted by the lovely Jenn.  Itz Eating in Columbus!

Breakfast:  The hotel where we stayed (the Hyatt Place in Worthington/Columbus) provided a continental breakfast every morning which was very convenient.  It was adequate and did the trick.  Most mornings looked the same with fresh fruit, an oatmeal bar, sausage links, eggs, and egg sandwiches.

hotel breakfast

I’m so not a sausage eater usually, but I did have some each morning while in Columbus.  Food always tastes differently while out of town, am I right?  A couple mornings I ate fruit and coffee while Stephanie ate breakfast, then she left so I worked out and went back for breakfast #2. 🙂 I may have snagged some apples and yogurts to eat throughout the day.

Lunch: There was only one day where I ate an actual lunch.  Saturday was when I went to the Worthington Farmer’s Market, so I noshed my way through and that sufficed for lunch.  I brought a ton of snacks which were definite lifesavers as were my second breakfasts. On Sunday, Steph and I went to the mall and grabbed a quick bite in the food court.  The options were limited and I ended up going to some Japanese place and getting teriyaki chicken, fried rice, and vegetables.  It was less than stellar and exactly what you’d expect from the mall food court.  Blech.

Dinner: Dinner felt like the only real meals while we were in Columbus.  Sunday night was spent at J. Alexander’s.  I would have preferred to go to a local spot, but J. Alexander’s was within walking distance to the hotel and we went with a couple of photographers who were attending Stephanie’s newborn photography workshop.

J Alexanders

Fire grilled asparagus for an appetizer and a salad with grilled chicken, tomatoes, field greens, cucumbers, fried croutons (ridiculous. good thing there were only 4), cheese, avocado, and honey mustard on the side.  It was a great salad and I was pleased.

Other dinners included an airport dinner on the way to Ohio where I built my own salad. It was actually really good and totally loaded with goodness.  On Saturday night, we went out to a sushi dinner.  I started with a seaweed salad and we ordered a huge plate full of sushi to share between three people.  Monday night dinner was eaten at the airport at Chili’s To-Go. We split the southwestern eggrolls (so good!) and then I got the grilled chicken salad (nothing to write home about).

dinner

Dessert: If you know me, you know that getting ice cream is a must on vacation (ok, at home, too).  Everyone in Ohio raves about Graeter’s so you better believe we went there to see what all the hype was about.  This should tell you:

Graeter's

Yes, I feel like I’m 5 years old cheesing at the camera holding my ice cream cone.  But for reals, Graeter’s is legit.  Itz real, rich, and creamy.  After tasting several flavors, I went with the blueberry pie and seriously it didn’t just taste like blueberry.  It was blueberry pie and I even licked the melted drops off my shirt hand.  Graeter’s needs to come to St. Louis.

Jeni’s is another local ice cream joint that I wanted to visit, but there was not one close to the hotel.  Instead, we found a nearby frozen yogurt place called Josie’s.  I combined four flavors: cake batter (obviously), cookies n cream, raspberry (not good – tasted like chapstick), and peanut butter.  Topped it with sprinkles and a couple chunks of cookie dough.  I’m not going to lie: after having real ice cream the night before, this just couldn’t compare.  Real ice cream is so much more satisfying than frozen yogurt.  However, Josie’s did have a fun statue to pop my head in, so it made up for it.  Kind of.

Josie's froyo

Which do you prefer: real ice cream or frozen yogurt?  Ever had Graeter’s?

Sisters in Columbus

Hey there friends and happy Monday to you!  Today I’m blogging from Columbus, Ohio during our “Sisters in Columbus” weekend.  My sister (and pro newborn photographer) is teaching workshops this weekend and wanted a travel buddy.  Actually, I think she just wanted to use my suitcase space as she filled my entire bag with blankets and props.  Itz a miracle I was able to fit in my toothbrush and clean underwear!  Our adventure began Friday evening just before the terrible storm hit St. Louis.

steph me airport

I don’t think Stephanie and I look anything alike.  Do you?

Actually, an hour after we left ALL flights out of St. Louis were cancelled.  We got out of there just in the nick of time and my thoughts and prayers go to everyone affected.

Itz a shame Stephanie and I hate spending time together…

sisters

We may not look alike, but we sure act the same!

I’m linking up to Katie’s Marvelous in my Monday today as a sisters weekend in Columbus is most definitely a marvelous thing!

We pretty much hit the hay right when we got to the hotel, since Steph had a big day ahead of her.  As we laid in our respective beds that evening, Stephanie asked me to please not forget to wake her up in the morning.  We laughed as I asked her why else would I set my alarm for 5:45 in the morning while on vacation?

So it turns out, I did not forget to wake her up and I headed downstairs with her to visit the continental breakfast (love those!).  I ate a mini-meal while Steph ate breakfast and waited for her ride.  Once she left for the day, I changed into workout gear and checked out the fitness center in our hotel.

hotel gym workout

It left a lot to be desired, but it did the trick as I knocked out thirty minutes on the elliptical.  Then I headed back to the continental breakfast (don’t judge!) to eat my real breakfast.  I had the whole day to myself, so I went to the cutest farmer’s market in Worthington.

farmer's market oh

I kind of wish I lived here just so I could actually buy some of the local goodness, but I had to make do with just the samples (oh darn!).  I tried honey, cheese, sausage, bread, coffee, pie, brownie, and more!  Ok that sounds like a lot, but they were seriously teeny tiny bite sizes.  The coffee was my favorite as I sampled Chocolate Cherry; I would have bought a bag, but I don’t drink coffee that often while not on vacation.

The rest of the day was a lazy one as I waited for Stephanie to return.  I tried to lay out by the pool, but that lasted about ten minutes as it was windy and cloudy.  I napped, took a shower (be impressed), and hung out on the computer.  It was lovely. 🙂

We ended up going out for a delicious sushi dinner before taking really great pictures…

handstand

In the middle of the street.  You know I can’t pass up a handstand opportunity!  Ok, we took some normal pictures, too.

steph me

We clean up nicely, eh?  Sunday entailed a coffee date at Starbucks with my roommate from freshman year of college.  (Fun fact: I went to Miami of Ohio for one year before transferring and graduating from Mizzou.)  It was great to reconnect and catch up!  Then, Steph finished up work for the day and we did a bit of shopping.  I bought a new headband (shocker!) and a couple new tops.

We head back to St. Louis this evening and itz back to the grind (well, not really since I’m on summer break – but, my one summer school class that I’m teaching starts today).  Our sisters weekend in Columbus has been so much fun.  I think we need to plan a sisterly trip every year.  What do you think, Steph?

Do you think we look alike?  Do you look like your siblings?  Ever been to Ohio?  Do you take trips with your siblings?

Blend Retreat 2013

Wow.  Blend Retreat 2013 was the best time ever!  Seriously.  I’ll recap today (try not to be too jealous) and I have a few other more specific posts lined up for the later part of the week.  Blend Retreat was held in Park City, Utah which is about 30 minutes outside of Salt Lake City.  We stayed at the Hyatt Escala Lodge and it was gorgeous.  The staff was so incredibly kind and helpful (and tolerable… I mean there were 100+ squealing women there all weekend!), and the rooms were comfortable – I could move in.  Oh, and the views?  Well, the suite I stayed in had not one, but two patios.  The view:

Hyatt Escala Lodge

I could wake up to the mountains everyday.  (This picture is a bit misleading as it rained the majority of the trip, but you better believe I snapped this pic during the few moments of sunshine!)  I arrived at the Escala Lodge around 5:30 Friday evening and had about an hour to kiss and hug my blends and get ready for the cocktail party sponsored by Silk.  Following the cocktail party, we had a delicious dinner.  A lot of goofiness ensued.  Here’s a good summary of the evening:

photobooth1

On the left: me, Annette, and Lindsay.  On the right: me, Lauren, Paige, Annette, and Meg.  Oh photobooths, you’re so much fun!  The prettiest picture up close:

photobooth blend

We’re beauties, I know! 😉  Saturday morning we woke up bright and early to attend a GPP Fitness workout.  We had a thirty minute break afterwards before eating a delicious breakfast sponsored by  Muesli Fusion and The Laughing Cow.  Shortly after breakfast we were supposed to hike, but due to the rain some people opted to stay in the hotel and do a zumba class instead.  I would have loved to hike, but going out there in the cold rain and getting muddy didn’t really appeal to me.  Next time, Utah.

Annette taught an awesome booty-shakin’ zumba class and when we were done, I learned the pretty girl next to me was Miss United States 2012!  No joke!  Annette was talking to her and asked what her Instagram name was (because that’s obviously very important during a blogger event!), and she replied ever so casually, “Miss United States 2012.”  Uhhh really?  YES!  Whitney Miller – just as sweet as she is gorgeous!

Miss US 2012

Sidenote: Whitney founded Women Against Mediocrity and attended Blend with the sponsor Onnit.

When zumba finished, we showered (yes, be impressed) and headed out to do some shopping at the outlet malls!  Everyone obviously knows my love of headbands, and I found another great one at the Old Navy outlet.  I also turned Annette and Meg on to my little headband obsession:

Annette Meg headband

Heh heh.  We visited Lululemon afterward and helped Annette make her very first Lulu purchase!  Glad we could be there for you, girl!  What are blends for? 😉  The rest of the day and evening was pretty low key as we ate dinner and went out for ice cream.  Oh, I guess I should mention we did ride a cow…

ride a cow

Riding cows in Utah… who knew?!  We woke early on Sunday to do our second GPP Fitness bootcamp workout before breakfast sponsored by Chobani.  Before we knew it, it was time to pack and get ready for the closing ceremony.  Our sponsors were totally awesome and provided tons of product for giveaway.  I won a $50 gift certificate to Bob’s Red Mill!  All too soon I was at the airport on my way back to St. Louis.  The weekend flew by and I was sad to leave.  While Blend Retreat 2013 may be over, I know there are many friendships just beginning…

Blend Retreat

photo credit Christine at Love Life Surf

Thanks again to Janetha, Lindsay, and Katie who put the entire weekend together.  Blend 2014, here we come…!

What’s the most fun blogger event YOU have attended?  Ever been to Utah?

Nashville Eats

Today’s WIAW party is heading to Nashville!  Yesterday, I recapped my recent Nashville trip, and today you get to see what I ate.  Lots of good eats!

One place that was a “must” when visiting Nashville was Marché Artisan FoodsMarché is a European-style cafe and marketplace serving breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner in the heart of Historic East Nashville.  It was super busy on Saturday morning (an hour-long wait), so instead we brunched there on Sunday.  I ordered the Migas Hash which had scrambled egg, potato, tortilla, cheddar, and pico de gallo.

marche hash

Great decision!  It was so tasty, I did not want it to end.  The tortilla bits were thrown in there and cooked with the eggs and potatoes.  I need to try this at home.

Lunch on Saturday was eaten at Calypso where their motto is, “Eat Better, Be Better.”  Calypso Cafe offers fast, affordable meals that are good for you!  For over 24 years, their restaurants have been serving up Cuban black beans, bountiful salads, rotisserie chicken, island burgers, and vegetarian side items in the Nashville area.  Their mission is simple: high quality, hearty, healthy dishes at a reasonable price in a fun, relaxed, and efficient setting.  Plus, I loved the style of the restaurant!

Calypso

For lunch I ordered their “beans & three” where I got to choose my three sides alongside my Cuban black beans.  Here’s what I went with:

  • Martinique Callaloo: mustard greens with tomatoes and onions
  • Boija Muffins: Carribean sweet corn bread topped with coconut
  • Bean & Corn Salad: mix of various beans and corn in a cilantro vinaigrette

Calypso lunch

The entire plate was just six bucks and absolutely delicious!  The muffins were a tiny bit dry, the greens were almost a little sweet, and the black beans and corn salad were awesome!  I would definitely recommend this place for not your typical lunch!

For our big night out on Saturday, we went to Cabana for dinner.  I kept it simple and substantial with a burger and fries for dinner since we had a long night ahead. 🙂

Cabanas dinner

The burger and fries were good, but nothing to write home about.  However, the actual ambiance at Cabana is what made the evening!  We had our own cabana where we could draw a sheer curtain around us to make for a private dining experience.  It was cool because we could even plug our phone in to play our own music.  Eating with ten people can be tricky, but not with the cabana. We were all close without being squished.  Great place for a large party!

Cabanas group

That’s it! Those were my Nashville eats!

What were some of your tasty eats as of late?

Bachelorette in Nashville

My best friend Diana is getting married in June, so this last weekend a group of ten girls headed to Nashville for her bachelorette party.  To say it was “fun” is a total understatement.  While it was way too short of a trip, we made the most of it while we were there.  Itz definitely a weekend never to forget!

bachelorette

We didn’t end up leaving St. Louis until 6:00 pm on Friday evening.  The drive was supposed to take approximately four and a half hours.  It took closer to seven…  There were torrential downpours literally the entire way there.  One of the other bridesmaids, Amy, gave Diana a “Bachelorette On Board” flag for the car, so we hung it out the window for the first hour or so.  When we pulled it in, we laughed at how quickly it became tattered from the terrible weather.  It was like the flag partied too hard before the weekend even began!

bachelorette on board

Fast forward seven rainy hours later: We finally arrive in Nashville!  At this point itz close to midnight and we’re exhausted.  We run into Aloft Hotel where we had reservations for the past two months and were told they overbooked and had no rooms available!  Uhhh what?!  We absolutely could not believe it.  They explained that they would put us up in a room elsewhere, on them, and then tomorrow night they would have a room ready.  The “other” hotel ended up being a less than stellar (and pretty dingy, dirty, and all around gross) Holiday Inn Express.  Not cool, Aloft Hotels, not cool.

We managed to get a few hours of a shut-eye after grabbing a bite to eat of greasy (yet delicious) grub at Tavern, got ourselves together, and headed out to explore Nashville!  One of the first stops was at The Bluebird Cafe which, apparently, is a big deal for those who love and follow the show Nashville (I had never heard of it…).

bluebird cafe

It was closed, so a picture under the awning had to suffice.  🙂  After The Bluebird, we did a little shopping downtown.  My favorite store was called Festivity.  It was trendy, super cute, a little hippie, and reasonably priced.  I ended up purchasing a headband and a tank top perfect for the summer.  While it continued to rain throughout the day, it definitely didn’t detour us from any stores.  We took another group shot outside a boot shop for a classic Nashville picture.

Nashville girls

I’m wearing my new headband from Festivity!

Around two o’clock we started becoming concerned that we had not yet heard from Aloft Hotel.  They had told us they’d call us first thing in the morning as soon as someone checked out and they got a room cleaned, so we could come check-in early.  Regular check-in was at three, so a little after two we headed to the hotel to see what was up.  Unfortunately, the two new desk people had no idea what we were talking about when we explained the situation.  It was beyond frustrating, especially when we had received room confirmation just a couple days before.

Long story short, we ended up getting a room comped.  It was a nice gesture as the rooms are $250 per night, but the hassle we dealt with was not worth it at all.  I would not recommend this hotel because of the inconvenience, lack of communication, and no guarantee that your reservation actually holds a room.  Itz very unfortunate because the rooms were awesome and enormous.

aloft hotel

My picture doesn’t do the room justice.  On the opposite side of the tv, there was a pull out couch.  There were two huge bean bags for lounging on, as well (you can kind of see one of them leaning against the wall).  Plus, I loved the artwork as there were several pieces hanging in our room, bathroom, and many more throughout the hotel.

Aloft hotel art

After a day full of fun (and rain), it was time to shower, get dolled up, give fun presents to Diana, and spend a night on the town! Since Diana is seriously my best friend ever, I let her borrow my bachelorette dress I wore to my own bachelorette party.  I wouldn’t have wanted (or let) anyone else wear it, and it was fun to see her in my special dress.

Diana Bachelorette

Reversed roles!  Amy gave Diana a custom sash that was covered in bling and read, “Future Mrs. _____.”  (Obviously, it said her actual future last name, but for privacy purposes I’m keeping it blank.)  In case anyone is interested, Amy ordered the sash from The House of Bachelorette – it makes the perfect present and is gorgeous too!

After gifts and drinks in our hotel room, we headed to the lobby to wait for a cab and take a group shot before leaving.  Gotta love the sorority kneeling pose!

Nashville bachelorette

We went to dinner before hitting up Rippy’s.  Rippy’s is a large bar with several rooms; there were two bands playing great music – mostly country, but not all.  Tons of dancing was done as we were moving and grooving and a great time was most definitely had!

Diana bachelorette 1

All in all, it was a totally awesome weekend.  Diana, I love you and cannot wait for your wedding day!  I’m glad I got to experience Nashville for your bachelorette party!

Where was your (or a friend’s) bachelorette party?  Mine was in St. Louis in July 2010 and a total blast!  I kind of want to relive it…