Thursday, May 31, 2012

road trip

photo via

Heading out of town on a road trip for the weekend in a few short hours.  I downloaded interesting podcasts on my phone, filled the cooler with water and soda, loaded the front seat with essential road trip food (BBQ Krunchers, Sour Patch Kids, Twizzlers and Luna bars), picked up a TripTik and guidebook from my local AAA, pumped as much gas as my tank could hold, and double-checked that my sunglasses are in the car.

How do you prepare for a road trip? What essentials do you bring?

Happy weekend!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Last Friday, I got to go to my second baseball game of the season.  It was so helpful to have learned many of the rules beforehand.  I also loved being able to see the whole field at one time, and watch the ball fly into the outfield.  TV only captures so much.  The Cardinals lost to the Phillies in extra innings, but it was a really fun game to watch.

Monday, May 28, 2012

send something good reveal

A few months ago I came across a project called send something good.  the premise was that bloggers from all over the world would sign up, be assigned a secret blog pal to get to know on the Internet (and particularly through blogging) and send this blog friend a package full of things you know s/he would like.  I liked the idea of getting to know more people with similar interests, so I signed up for the project.  I've had more fun as a result of send something good, and would definitely do it again.  Today, all participants are writing about the project and displaying the photos of packages sent and received.

Dani's gift to me

Dani, the blogger who sent me a package, is the sweetest.  She was bang on about sending me a package with things I love.  And she was on the ball; out of all the participants, I think I was probably the first one to get my package.  And I got it a few days before my birthday, which was a great surprise.

what I sent to Esther

I was given Esther's name and blog info so that I could get to know her and send her a fun package.  Esther has a beautiful blog and makes gorgeous things out of paper.  I had a blast coming up with different things to send in her care package.

See below for more send something good stories.

Friday, May 25, 2012

out and about in st. louis: memorial day weekend

photo by Gus Van Zant, via

There's a lot of fun stuff going on this weekend in St. Louis.  Here are a few things to check out if you're in the area:

The Red Hot Chili Peppers are playing at Scottrade Center tonight as part of their "I'm with You" tour.  You can still order tickets here. 

photo via

Cinema at City Garden kicks off tonight.  Winning shorts from St. Louis-area filmmakers will play on a loop from 6 - 11 p.m. daily on Citygarden's Video Wall at 9th & Chestnut Streets through the end of June.  The filmmakers were asked to create films using nature as a central element.

photo via
The Bluesweek Festival goes on all weekend at Soldiers' Memorial.  Free, family-friendly fun downtown.

photo via
On Monday at UMSL the Gypsy Caravan is back. A fundraiser for the St. Louis Symphony, the Gypsy Caravan is one of the largest antique, craft and flea markets in the Midwest and has raised over $3.4 million for the Symphony since its inception in 1973.  Vendors come from all over the United States to sell their wares.  There will be a children's area with activities and entertainment for families.  Get your tickets early, since they go for $10 until the day of, when the price jumps to $20.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Thursday, May 24, 2012



When it comes to the every day, I often find myself in the less is more camp (make-up, stuff, technology, hair product).  But when it comes to swimsuits, I am all about more.  More material, that is.  I don't want to worry about sitting a certain way, sucking in or flashing someone when I jump to make a killer spike during a game of beach volleyball.  While I do own a two-piece, I find myself reaching for my one-piece more often than not.

Above is a round-up of one-piece and tankini swimsuits that are stylish, flattering and under $75.  I have #7 in peach.  What kind of swimsuits do you gravitate toward?  Feel free to share links to your favorite suits in the comments.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


party bags and dessert treat
Joe's birthday is this week, and his family and I decided it would be fun to surprise him.  We invited his friends, picked baseball as a loose theme and orchestrated a foolproof surprise plan.  Joe's dad organized a "family meeting" at a local restaurant, and Joe's sister and I went ahead to set up for the party. 


In keeping with the baseball theme, I made baseball centerpieces with glass rectangle vases, green paper grass and small vinyl baseballs from the party store.  I filled two smaller square vases with peanuts in their shells, and made a few mini-balloon centerpieces to put between them.  Always a fan of party favors, each guest received a bag with Cracker Jacks, a bag of peanuts, a Baby Ruth bar and a baseball cookie pop with "Joe #26" written on it.

cookie pops

Joe was completely surprised, and it took a little while for it to sink in that his friends and family were all there to celebrate him. 

Have you ever surprised someone for their birthday?  What did you do?  Was it hard to keep it a surprise? This is the longest I've ever kept a surprise a secret.  I was so afraid I was going to blow it.

Monday, May 21, 2012

letters from Dusty

This weekend, Dusty felt the need to update Joe on the events of his Sunday, via (one incredibly long) text message.  It went a little something like this:
Hey Joe!
I had a big adventure in the car today!  I got to ride in the front seat since all of the clothes you are donating to Goodwill are in the back of the car.  Thanks, buddy. 
First, Mom took me to get my nails clipped in preparation for all the obedience training we’re doing tomorrow.  I was hoping you had forgotten about those training videos.  Oh well.  I really hated getting my nails trimmed and gave the groomer lady a pretty hard time.
Then, we stopped by Goodwill to drop off the clothes, but they weren’t accepting any donations.  I guess that means more opportunities for me to call shotgun!  We started driving home when mom remembered she had to swing by the store.  She left me in the car for a few minutes and that’s when the real fun began!

I had been pretty curious about the contents of your Goodwill bags.  I kept a low profile when mom was in the car, but when I had a few minutes to myself, I just couldn’t resist.  So I broke open a few bags to investigate.  Man, you have a lot of t-shirts!  I hope you don’t mind, but I “re-sorted” them for you.  They aren’t folded quite as nicely as they were before, but I did the best I could without opposable thumbs.
Hope your day has been as fun as mine (sans nail grinding).

Thursday, May 17, 2012

out and about in st. louis

one of Jackie Saccoccio's paintings
photo via

 Here are a few of the things that I'm looking forward to this weekend:

Bark in the Park. The festival includes a dog walk, contests and dog performances, and is sponsored by Purina One and the Humane Society of Missouri.  Tickets are $25/adult, $5 for children 3-15 and free for children under three.  Proceeds benefit the Animal Cruelty Fund.  The event runs from 10:00am-3:00pm this Saturday in Forest Park.  If we decide to go, I may have to whip up a Cardinals headdress of sorts for Dusty that looks something like this.  Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is less de-moralizing than this, if only slightly.

Mayfest.  This three-day weekend music and arts festival featuring R&B band War, local musical talent, artists and food truck vendors.  $5 gets you access all weekend.  Head down to Ballpark Village (by Busch Stadium) anytime after 6:30 on Friday night.

Phillip Stein Gallery Opening in the CWE.  The gallery is opening its doors for the first time in its new location on McPherson tomorrow night. Several paintings by Jackie Saccoccio will be on display.  The opening reception goes from 6-8 in the evening.

Making a green salad with Old Bay shrimp for a Preakness Party this weekend.  And concocting a non-alcoholic alternative to mint juleps. (In addition to not drinking alcohol, the idea of drinking something that reminds me of mouthwash or combines mint with another flavor is not appealing to me.  Say what you will about my lack of cultural refinement).

What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

lake of the ozarks

photo via

Going for a long weekend to the Lake of the Ozarks in a few weeks.  On our list of possible activities to experience:

at least one cave (Jacob's or Bridal)
sandcastle building contest (watch, or if brave, participate)
horseback riding at Lake of the Ozarks State Park
batting cages & bumper cars at Bagnell Dam
Town & Country market at Camden County Museum
lake and pool time
Blues & BBQ night

Have you ever been to the Lake of the Ozarks?  Any recommendations?  What do you like to do when you're on vacation?

food truck friday

A few pictures from our first Food Truck Friday.  We had a blast, Dusty behaved like a champion and the food was great.  But, the lines were long and some trucks sold out of food quickly.  So next time we plan to head down early so we can check out more trucks and avoid long waits.

Friday, May 11, 2012

this is water

photo via

Since graduation is right around the corner for many, I thought I'd share a favorite commencement speech of mine.  David Foster Wallace delivered this speech to graduates of Kenyon College in 2005.  He is one of my favorite writers and arguably one of the greatest thinkers to emerge on the scene in the last fifty years.  The commencement speech focuses on life and work, two topics that graduates and non-graduates alike will find relevant.

Do you have a favorite commencement speech or words of wisdom for almost graduates?  Feel free to share below.

*audio version of the speech can be found here.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

out and about in st. louis

some of Todd's work
 This weekend I'm excited about:

My friend Todd's art exhibit at SOHA Studio & Gallery.  It opens on Friday and runs through June 2nd.  He painted me a few times in the fall and is exhibiting one of those paintings at SOHA.

Food Truck Friday. 18 guerrila food trucks selling crepes, cupcakes, sushi, gyros and more.  Enough said.
Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair.  Over 700 artists nationwide apply to be vendors at the fair and 150 are selected.  The park expects 14,000 visitors Friday-Sunday and hopes to entertain them with food, art and music.  While the park normally allows pooches, dogs cannot come to this event.

The Central West End Home and Garden Tour.  So I have a thing for home and garden tours.  Especially ones in beautiful old neighborhoods.  The one in Lafayette Square is my favorite so far, but I have yet to do the Central West End tour.  It would make for a good Mother's Day present if you have a mom into such things. The tour runs Friday-Sunday.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  If you're in a larger city, this movie may have already come to your area, but it was just released for St. Louisians.  I love all the actors in this movie and it just looks like its going to be so good.  Another fun Mother's Day activity.

Sorting cans at a local food bank.  Joe recruited me to help his bosses's wife organize the cans this weekend. I'm convinced he did it for the beef brisket they are offering to all volunteers.  And maybe because he knows I enjoy volunteering.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

life lately

grilled onions, peppers, tomatoes | handmade colorful dot earrings | settlers of catan games | pineapple cake with cream cheese frosting with family
I just started documenting my little life adventures over on instagram after some prompting from a few friends.  Do you use instagram?  Do you like it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

dusty the destroyer: escape artist edition

A few weeks ago, Dusty mastered the art of opening my apartment door.  Consequently, this meant you could find him roaming around freely in the front yard area, meandering into unsuspecting neighbor's apartments on their lunch breaks and positioning himself under other patient neighbors' cars, uninterested in any amount of dog treats used in an attempt to coax him out (I have the nicest, sweetest, best neighbors on the planet).  After two jailbreak days, I got him to stay in the apartment by locking my screen door from the inside, which took some creative maneuvering (aka breaking into my own apartment) to get back into my house at the end of the day. While the problem of him exploring the great outdoors all day seemed to be solved, he still insisted on opening the wooden door to my apartment each morning after I left for work.  Any hopes of having a cool apartment went out the window, and while I live in a very safe area, the idea of having my apartment door open all day did not thrill me.

However, what it did do was prompt me to get down to business with obedience and crate training.  This weekend, I dusted off Dusty’s latest crate (in true Dusty form, he bent the first one be) and got to work devising how to fix it/lock it/jury rig it in such a way as to prevent the successful Houdini moves he's been known to perform.  Joe had the genius idea of placing locks in two places I hadn’t thought of before and we led Dusty into the crate for a test.  We put the crate in my bedroom and shut the bedroom door. If he managed to wrestle free from the crate, at least he would be contained to the bedroom.  I have a knob on my bedroom door, so his tricks with the door handle will not work on that door.  We left for a few hours and returned to find Dusty, worn out from break-out attempts, but still in the crate.  It’s been three days since our first successful crate time and he shows no signs of escaping yet.  Little victories!
Have you had any little victories (with pets or otherwise) recently?  I'd love to hear them!

Monday, May 7, 2012

25 while 25

photo via
      In honor of turning a quarter of a century old this week (yikes!), I made a list of 25 things I'd like to do or accomplish this year.  I think most of them are do-able.  What's on your list of things you'd like to take a stab at this year?

1.       Learn to play guitar (at least 3 songs)
2.       Garden successfully
3.       Run a 5K
4.       Read the Bible
5.       Go to a shooting range
6.       Master the art of cleaning
7.       Learn to throw pottery (and maybe porcelain)
8.       Figure out if I want to go to grad school
9.       Travel to Israel
10.   Volunteer regularly, in an organized way
11.   Get some of my artwork into a retail store featuring local artists
12.   Learn to dance (really dance)
13.   Watch the dog obedience training DVDs my parents gave me, and implement the ideas shared (this one has to be achievable, right?)
14.   Advance spiritually (grow in my understanding of God and my relationship to Him)
15.   Go on a road trip to some place I’ve never been
16.   Re-connect with college friends
17.   Learn to sew
18.   Devote more time to art and my Etsy shop
19.   Join a book club
20.   Learn to appreciate sports more than I do right now/ Be able to understand Joe when he talks about Fantasy Baseball
21.   Stay-cation round two—explore more of St. Louis
22.   Take a Bible course
23.   Find another place to live
24.   Eliminate butter and sour cream from my shopping list (part of my effort to slowly eat vegan while at home)
25.   Write the lyrics and music to a few songs

Sunday, May 6, 2012

alphabet pizza

This Friday, I went to a Hawaiian Luau-themed birthday party.  Each guest was instructed to bring a Hawaiian snack.  I made a vegetarian Hawaiian pizza (read: pineapple pizza), but wanted to jazz the presentation of it up a little bit.  I got the inspired idea to try my alphabet cookie cutters out and spell out "Happy B-day Megan" in pizza.  It was a hit with the birthday girl and other guests and made it easy for people to eat bite-sized pieces of pizza.

If you try this yourself, I'd recommend going a bit lighter with the amount of sauce you spread on the pizza.  I'd also advise cutting out each letter after you rolling the dough.  I thought of the idea late in the game, so I ended up using the cookie cutters after baking the pizza.  It was much messier, and resulted in a lot of "scrap pieces" of pizza (which I had no trouble eating before the party).

Have you thought of any fun ways to use baking tools for something other than their intended use?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments.

Friday, May 4, 2012


birthday bounty (cake pops not pictured)
dear friends, I didn't realize how obvious it was that I like cake pops until a few of you presented them to me at different times throughout my birthday yesterday.  you guys are so thoughtful.  dear technology, thank you for making it possible to talk to my brother, who is in South Korea.  I haven't talked to him since he left in December, and for most of the conversation, it felt like he was in the next room. dear Cardinal's jersey, you are so great and i can't wait to wear you to the next game.  I also may have to figure out an excuse to wear you before then.  dear farmer's market, tomorrow is your opening day. woohoo! can't wait to check you out and stop by the whisk booth for a breakfast cupcake and info on the sustainable bake shop that the booth's owner, Kaylen, is trying to establish. so cool.


Thursday, May 3, 2012

make it: water globe

This gardening thing can be tough day in and day out. Remembering to water, watering enough but not too much and the like can have a newbie gardener wondering what to do. So I went looking for tips or tools that promise to make watering easier. Enter water globes. These brilliant inventions can be filled with water and planted in pots or the ground alongside your seedlings and plants. The globes release water slowly and when the soil around your plant needs watering. The downside to these globes is that they are not super cheap, especially when you have a pot for every day of the week and then some.

Luckily, some crafty women got the inspired idea to make their own globes on the cheap. I followed their instructions and modified a bit to suit my needs. If you're interested in making your own globes, read on!

the goods

several bottles with their lids ( I used clear, glass soda bottles because I liked their look the best, and I had a bunch. But you could also use milk bottles, canning jars, water bottles, etc)
nail or screw
kitchen sponge


1. select bottles and empty contents.
2. remove lids and soak bottles with labels in warm, soapy water for 10-15 minutes.
3. while bottles soak, hammer 4-5 holes into each lid (for canning jars, make more holes). holes allow the water to drip out less quickly, allowing for more controlled watering and longer periods between refilling the bottles.
4. remove bottle labels. submerge kitchen sponge in soapy water and rub against outer wall of bottles to remove any glue residue from the labels. make sure to also wash the inside of the bottles thoroughly.
5. fill bottles with water and dissolvable plant food and screw caps back on the bottles.
6. dig a hole next to each plant, deep enough for half of the bottle neck to be buried in the soil. place bottle in the soil, cap down and press soil against it do the bottle is secure in the soil, either at an angle or upright. you can also use the outer edge of the pot to help support the bottle.

sit back and admire your handiwork. enjoy not having to water your plants daily anymore. monitor the water levels in the bottles, and refill when the water gets low.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

lip-smacking good: stuffed lemon cupcakes

Last week, my friend Sarah and I made some amazing cupcakes.  Knowing my love of all things cupcakes, and stuffed muffins, my mom gave me a gaget from Crate and Barrel that removes part of the innards of your cupcake or muffin, enabling it to be stuffed with frosting (or jam, peanut butter, nutella, marshmallow fluff, etc).  Eager to try this out, I suggested to Sarah that we make stuffed lemon cupcakes.  Andshe indulged me.  This is not really a recipe persay since we used yellow cake mix and store-bought frosting, but it lives up to its lip-smacking good title.

the goods

1 lemon cake mix & extra ingredients to make lemon cake as described on box
1 container vanilla frosting
1 orange 1/2 c orange juice

the tools

a zester or zesting-like tool
ziplock bag for frosting dispensement or fancy frosting tools
cupcake innards removal tool (could probably use a knife)

the directions

mix lemon cake batter as described on box, and pour into regular sized cupcake tray.

bake lemon cupcakes and let cool. while cupcakes bake, zest the orange. combine 1/3 container of frosting, 1/2 orange juice and orange zest to make the cupcake filling.  add more orange juice or frosting to get the right orange intensity.

remove part of the cupcake innards.  to do this, use your knife to make a small circle in the middle of the cupcake and remove a depth of 1/3 of the cupcake in the circle. 

pour the cupcake filling into each cupcake.

frost the cupcakes with the remainder of the frosting.  if your filling was extra goopy, refrigerating the cupcakes for a bit helps make eating them less messy.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

etsy finds: mother's day

Moms are the best.  This Mother's Day, I'm getting my mom a drawing of me, by my extremely talented artist friend, Nick Trapp.  I had given my parents a drawing Nick did of my brother earlier this year, and my mom asked me if she thought he would do one of me, too so she could hang them side-by-side.  If I hadn't come up with the drawing for Mother's Day, I'd be thinking about getting my mom one of the gifts above.
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