Friday, March 26, 2010

Laura comes to town...

This is Laura. We've gone to school together since the 1st grade and we actually knew about each other since the 3rd grade. We have proof - since we both crossed out the other's face in our respective yearbooks. Apparently, we weren't on good terms at the time. Then 7th grade band rolled around and we've been close friends ever since.

We've kept in touch through the years, sometimes only talking once every couple of months to talking every week. What never changed was how much I love having her in my life and how rich our long friendship has become. So, to celebrate 20 plus years of friendship and to just plain old hang out, Laura drove all the way over to St. Louis from Tulsa last weekend and we had us a grand ol'time.

I promised Laura a long time ago that when she visited, we would go on a ghost tour. Now, ghost tours are actually more like historical walking tours and can be super fun. Unfortunately, March is still considered iffy weather-wise for outdoor walking tours, so I came up with the next best thing - a haunted tour of St. Louis' Lemp Mansion. It's actually very well documented as a haunted house and I was excited if somewhat apprehensive about seeing an actual ghost.

Well, we really didn't need to be worried. The mansion itself is, of course, super spooky and full of creaking boards, creepy paintings and stuffy rooms. The "orb" above is the only ghost-ish thing we caught on camera. Now, we photographed a ton of them though, so make of that what you will. Apparently, the guides didn't think much of it since they just shrugged when we showed them.

So, while we didn't actually see anything scary it was fun nonetheless to walk around a dark creepy house for a few hours!

Potential visitors be warned: I will fill your entire day with kitschy tourist activities, since that is pretty much what we have to offer in St. Louis. Starting with the fabulous (and non-kitschy) Soulard Farmer's Market. It's the oldest Farmer's Market west of the Mississippi, having been established in 1779. And it is just so much fun!
It's still a traditional market, with a butcher's shop, spice shop and cute grocery in the interior.

And the produce! Oh my, everything looked delicious!

We met a local soap maker and had a great time picking out various bars. I bought a "shampoo" soap, which I have yet to try but have high hopes for.

Laura and I most enjoyed this tiny, adorable little spice shop. I bought a large bottle of imported extra virgin olive oil (for $11!!) and some chicory coffee. Laura nabbed some chicken spices and some coffee as well.

Many of the sellers informed me that the best shopping days are Saturdays and Sundays, so I will be making another visit very soon!

After our visit to the market, I dragged Laura to the St. Louis Arch. She had never been and is scared of heights...PERFECT! Apparently, rides to the top are much in demand since they were sold out for the next two days. Meh, that was fine with us.

After lunch at Laclede's Landing, we decided to visit a wax museum. I had only ever been to a Ripley's Believe It or Not museum and so I was curious what this one would be all about.

Apparently not much. It was quite the kooky place.

After relaxing a bit from our day, Laura and I met went out to Sasha's with my sister, Caroline and her friend Lauren. Sasha's is a lovely little wine bar that offers tappas to go with the wine...

like this delicious "cheese from around the world" plate. The cheese was gone in about 5 minutes.

We spent the rest of the evening relaxing and just talking with friends. The following day Laura I spent hanging out with my family and enjoyed a very low-key evening.
Laura, I love you lots! Thanks to Brent and Avery for letting you go for a few days and I hope that we can make this a yearly tradition!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

7 reasons to go to the Zoo

1. Holding hands with a 20 month old while crossing the street.

2. Watching Meerkats watch you.

3. Seeing sea otters swim.

4. Hello, funnel cake!

5. Long, meaningful talks.

6. Riding the train.

7. Coming home with new, stuffed friends.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Away in a manger

My 4 year old niece, Mara, created an impromptu manger scene last Sunday. In case you were wondering, Mary is the Lizard sitting on top of the mouse and Joseph is the caramel horse in the middle. Also pictured, my favorite purple haired My Little Pony - she came with the ice cream shop I received as a birthday gift when I was 10 years old. I had no idea it was still here. I suppose children can sniff out toys like bloodhounds!

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Meh. I'm going to apologize for not blogging much - I've been busy and uninspired to take out the camera. It's been a good friend to me, but we're hitting that part of winter where I just don't think I can take any more cold days and I was beginning to feel like a zombie. Thankfully, it's 57 degrees today and I've been reading outside and enjoying the sunshine. Which made me remember warmer days...vacation days and I decided to photograph the mementos I have bought or received as gifts and displayed in my home from various trips, large and small.
Below is a photo in my hallway of a huge family trip to Costa Rica. We are posing beneath to the entrance of a church in the town my grandmother grew up in.

Above is a series of postcards I collected on my first (as in completely self-funded) mini-vacation with my best friend, Shalyn. We visited New Orleans and stayed the French Quarter for a few days over spring break. Goodness, I miss beignets and coffee.

Above is a series of watercolors my sister bought for me while she lived in Germany for 6 months. These were from a visit to Venice and were painted by an artist she met on the street.

These tiny tea cups are from China. My dad spent six months there for his job and he brought back some truly lovely things for his myself and my sisters.

This is probably one of my favorite mementos. It's a small replica of one of Rodin's sculptures that I bought at the Rodin Museum in Paris. Don't let its diminuitive size fool you, it weighs a ton, at least 10-13 pounds which will feel like 75 when you carry it around for about 15 hours while walking around Paris. I also had to hand carry it home, since adding it to my luggage made it too heavy and would have added a $150 fine. So, yeah, it's my favorite - since it's covered in my blood, sweat and tears. ha!

What kind of mementos do you have?