For the first time since they joined the NHL in 1967, we can say that St. Louis Blues are Stanly Cup champions. Fifty-two years without winning and forty-nine years since they last appeared in the finals, where they coincidentally also played the Bruins with a different result. What makes this even more wild is that the Blues were in last place in the league just six months before winning the whole thing which is absolutely absurd. To kickstart this march to the Stanley Cup, they put in a rookie goaltender (BINNINGTON!) who helped them go on a 15 game winning streak. The team rallied and they clearly couldn't be stopped as evidenced by bringing the Stanley Cup to St. Louis for the first time EVER. To celebrate, the city of St. Louis held a parade on June 15th where I got to live my best street photographer life capturing all the excitement in the city that day. Hope you enjoy and play Gloria!
Written by Megan Biddix
Photography by Brooke Van Groningen
Moving to Chicago was an easy decision for us and we’ve loved it more and more in the three years that we’ve lived here. One of the things that we didn’t realize until living here is how different each neighborhood is, making them so enjoyable to explore.
I work as an event coordinator, so it’s not only my job to keep up with all of the hot, new things to do in the city, but is also a joy for my personal life. When Brooke asked me to put together a winter guide to Chicago my first reaction was “of course, I’d love to!” but the more I considered it the harder it seemed because there is truly so much this city has to offer.
Here’s just a glimpse of my favorite Chicago winter-inspired activities, experiences, and good eats.
Whisk | West Town
A Ron Swanson-inspired bacon enthusiast's dream, offering breakfast, lunch, and dinner – but you must come for the brunch. Be prepared to wait for up to two hours and BYOB, but the variety of savory and sweet breakfast selections are just too decadent to miss!
Bro Bagel | Bucktown
This tiny storefront is the best cure to the winter blues boasting the best, freshest bagels in town! Stop in to grab-and-go, or, wait for one of the four spots at the counter. Open only for breakfast and lunch with unbeatable prices! We like to grab our everything bagel breakfast sandwiches to go and take them to our favorite coffee shop, Ipsento, to sit and enjoy them with a latte in hand.
Ramen | West Loop, Fulton Market
It’s hard to choose between the many ramen options in the city, but here are two favorites. High Five is a hidden, intimate space serving, as most would agree, “the best ramen in the city.” Opening at 5pm, the line begins forming two hours prior just to put your name in since the space only accommodates around 20 people. If you can’t handle the 2-3hr wait, head on over to Ramen-San. Ramen-San is a neighborhood noodle joint that slings hot broth, ice-cold beer, and ‘90s hip-hop music.
Damn Fine Coffee | Logan Square
My favorite oatmilk vanilla latte in the city and conveniently located only four blocks from our home. The natural light and hanging plants make this fresh space so homey. Get there early for a selection of locally made pastries.
Sprout Home | West Town
The cutest plant shop with large varieties of types and sizes, as well as locally made artisan pots. You’ll forget all about the freezing temperatures outside when you’re inside this house-plant oasis. Put your name in at Whisk and walk over and pick out a new plant while you wait!
Garfield Park Conservatory | Garfield Park
One of the two conservatories in the city with free entry and wifi – you can stay for hours exploring and relaxing. The desert room is a personal favorite with its neutral colors and warm climate.
To leave the drab outdoor weather behind, enjoy watching the Bulls or Blackhawks at the United Center and engage in the thrilling and lively atmosphere of a local sports game. We had the best time and it didn’t hurt the Bulls pulled out the W!
Good Eats: Lula Café, Beatrix, Bongo Room, Parlor Pizza, Daisey’s, Three Arts Café
Activities: Penguin Foot Pottery, Ace Bounce, Bad Ax Throwing, Scratch Goods, Le Labo Perfume
Experiences: Second City, Magic Lounge, Chicago Architectural Boat Tour
Megan resides in Chicago, IL with her husband Chris and goldendoodle, Millie. She is an event planner who loves coffee, barre and exploring new cities in her free time. Follow her on Instagram.
It’s a new year. It’s a fresh start. And if you’re like me, you’ve been binging Marie Kondo’s new show on Netflix, “Tidying Up,” and feeling inspired.
I am definitely pro decluttering because I’ve personally felt the benefits of living with less after reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up in 2016. At the same time, I’m writing this post to share how I’ve felt convicted to declutter my home and life more thoughtfully, and to challenge you to think about how you can do the same – to see decluttering closer, if you will.
While it’s easy and convenient to donate to Goodwill, clothes are ending up in landfills and there are plenty of other options that are better for the environment.
I would absolutely love it if you share how you’ve decluttered thoughtfully in the comments. I know I’m just scratching the surface and I would love to learn from you all! I’m also aware that the whole topic of decluttering is a privileged conversation. We have more than we need. Let’s work together to use our privilege for good and donate to those less fortunate.
Note: This post might feel geared towards those local to St. Louis, but my vision is that it will inspire you to look up comparable non-profits and organizations in your own town or state.
Host a clothing swap
This is a great option for giving your clothes a second life and making a party out of it! Invite a few friends over, open up a bottle of rosé, and encourage everyone to bring a few pieces of clothing to exchange.
3340 Morgan Ford Rd. Saint Louis, MO 63116
“Remains Inc. reuses and recycles used clothing and textiles. From clothes to bed linens to coffee bean bags, we’ve recycled and repurposed items giving them new life as usable clothing, fiber products, paper products and more!” For a list of items they accept, read this list.
Remains has a drop-off bin outside, making it very convenient even if you can’t make it there during business hours.
Outside of St. Louis? Look for a nonprofit in your area that recycles materials responsibly and reuses them. There are lots of other places like Remains Inc. outside of St. Louis.
Donate to ThredUp
ThredUp is an online secondhand clothing site, and they have an option to either sell your clothing or send it in to be recycled responsibly. I’ve found I don’t get a lot of money for the clothing I send in so I’ve started just choosing the donate/recycle option when using ThredUp. Most of all, I appreciate that they don’t send their clothing to a landfill.
Donate to a non-profit
There are so many great nonprofits that could benefit from your clothing, such as a homeless shelter reusing your coats, gloves, etc. or a foster/adoption agency in need of children’s clothing. One of my favorites is Dress for Success for your women’s business attire.
Donate to Dress for Success
Dress for Success is a non-profit that “provides interview-appropriate attire to women in challenging situations, helping to level the playing field as other women seeking employment”. They have branches all across America, so search for a branch near you and donate any professional business attire that you might not be wearing anymore to a women in need. It is such a great way to give purpose to your donating!
Recycle with H&M
Believe it or not H&M has drop-off bins in their stores for old jeans and most clothing. What’s more, you even get a 15% off coupon to use in their store in exchange for recycling with them.
Since the goal of Marie Kondo’s method is to bring items back into your home thoughtfully, I usually use this option as a last resort, so I’m not tempted to just repurchase more with the coupon. But, I do appreciate them recycling responsibly.
Host a book swap party
This is another great option for giving your books a second life and making a party out of it at the same time. Invite a few friends over and have everyone bring a book or two to exchange. I especially love the idea of writing why you loved the book on a post-it note on the front to let the person know what you loved about it.
Give to friends/family
Similar to the book swap (with maybe a little less swap involved), give your books a second life by asking your friends or family if they’d like any titles you’re getting rid of.
Donate to your neighborhood library
Whether a physical library or a little library mailbox (have you seen those popping up in neighborhoods? So Hallmark), consider giving your books to a library. School libraries are always in need of books, so don’t be afraid to call your local school or teacher friends and ask.
Recycle/Sell with Half Price Books
If you still have books left after these ideas, Half Price Books has become a good friend in our decluttering process. You can bring in books, DVDs, board games, unopened stationary, records and more and they will give you cash back. How much depends on the location of the store and their inventory but I typically leave with $20 or more, which I’m not mad about!
I should also note that we sold our CDs as well and started an Apple Music Family plan with two other couple friends. This allowed us to keep our music obsession going without having to find a place to store it, as well as starting to read our non-coffee table books via an e-reader. I love my iPad Mini (so I can watch Netflix and read while traveling) and Aaron loves his Kindle.
Host a photo scanning party
The guys over at The Minimalists have such a great idea for turning a boring task into a party (yes, if you can’t tell by now, I do love a good party).
Invite your friends over for a scanning party! Use this time to scan important documents (looking at your tax papers pre-Turbo Tax days), apartment leases, etc. and then shred them! No need to have a whole file cabinet full of documents when we have the cloud, right? I think I was the most shocked by how much this simple concept freed up the most space.
This is really my only suggestion here because we have really worked on keeping everything in the cloud these last two years. But if you have some papers you are struggling to come up with a solution for that I haven’t thought of, comment below and we can brainstorm!
4. Komono (miscellaneous items)
Let go of old electronics
Technology can demand a lot of space in your home if you let it. I recently sold my desktop computer and old iPhone that I no longer needed on Facebook Marketplace, and I also recycled an old laptop through Apple GiveBack. I highly recommend taking your old electronics to Apple or Best Buy to clear off your data and then sell it.
Donate your office supplies
Many schools will accept donated office supplies, musical instruments, or children’s toys. Homeless shelters often take clothes, unused food, and the like. Do some digging into local organizations and send some items their way.
Get creative with reusing materials
Perennial Community Workplace + Store is a non-profit that teaches people creative skills to reuse materials and live a sustainable and self-sufficient life. I love their ideas for random items such as office supplies that you might not otherwise know what to do with. You can read their list of acceptable items here.
This post from RecycleBank about donating trophies and medals was so good I’m going to source it all below.
“Old trophies and medals are often made from recyclable materials, but they also hold value in their current form, and many can be reused. A number of companies have programs dedicated specifically to the art of refurbishing trophies. The best-known of these include Total Awards & Promotions in Madison, WI, and Lamb Awards & Engraving in Westminster, MD. These programs break unwanted awards down for parts, rebuilding new trophies and plaques with whichever parts are usable and recycling the rest. The rebuilt items are then donated to non-profit organizations or resold. Both programs will allow you to ship trophies that are in sufficiently good condition for nominal processing and shipping fees (please note their restrictions).
While medals are accepted by these programs, there are also options dedicated specifically to giving medals new life. Sports Medal Recycling, a Massachusetts-based organization, contributes the proceeds from recycling donated medals to fundraising for charity runs. The medals are removed from their ribbons and sorted for scrap recycling, while the ribbons are sent to cloth/textile recycling. Sports Medal Recycling even makes sure that all the packing materials you use to send them the goods are recycled as well, from bubble wrap to cardboard boxes. Medals4Mettle accepts old marathon, half-marathon, or triathlon medals to bestow upon kids and adults fighting serious illnesses, in recognition of their bravery.
Can’t afford to ship your awards or looking to skip the carbon footprint of shipping? Check with your local awards shop to see if they have a refurbishing program of their own. If you have a good sense of what materials your trophy contains, you can speak with your local recycling program directly to see if they will be able to process it and how they’d like you to break it down.”
5. Mementos (items with sentimental value)
This category is the hardest for lots of people. As Marie suggests, leave the category for last once you have honed your skill for saying yes or no to an item and whether it sparks joy or not.
You should also feel permission to keep some of your sentimental items. Only you can know if it sparks joy. But, we have become very selective of what we allow to come into our home now. No more Broadway playbills or movie ticket stubs and very few greeting cards. We take photos and allow our memories to keep the rest.
As you begin Marie Kondo’ing your home and have “just in case items” that you want to keep, I will share another tip from The Minimalists. If the item can be rebought for $20 or less, get rid of it (responsibly, of course). And, if there are items you’d like to get some money back for, I encourage Facebook Marketplace for household items and furniture (secondhand at its finest!) or Poshmark for clothing. I’ve had great success with both. Giving our items a second life is one of the best thing we can do for our planet.
I hope this was helpful and educational! Together, we can do so much. I can’t wait to hear how you Marie Kondo Thoughtfully and which non-profits you discover along the way. Best of luck!
St. Louis! Knead Bakehouse + Provisions is turning one...can you believe it?! If you’re like me, you might be surprised because it feels like Knead has already been a part of the community forever but it's true, they’ve only been around for a year and they have for sure made their mark. It has quickly become a favorite of ours for breakfast and especially a place to bring out-of-town guests to as well.
The first time I ate at Knead, I felt transported to Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. I was swept straight back to when I visited Aaron’s hometown for the first time when we were dating. It was that good. I love it when food transports you to a certain place and makes you forget you’re in your hometown. That's why I am so passionate about trying new things, both when you’re traveling and when you’re exploring your own town (#seethingsclosercityfind).
I was even more excited when I learned that AJ, one of the owners of Knead, went to culinary school in Lyon, France. Are you kidding me?! I’ve only been to two cities in France (Lyon and Paris) and one of them is where he studied at culinary school? The coolest. Another reason I must have felt transported to a different place.
If you have yet to try Knead out, you must go. Knead sells loaves of its sourdough Rustic Loaf and its brioche to go. My first few visits were for breakfast because I could not turn down their kolache, but I recently tried their lunch menu and it was to die for. I can not believe I have been missing out on an amazing lunch spot this last year. I tried their butternut squash soup and grilled cheese and holy moly. You just have to go and try it for yourself.
And speaking of trying it for yourself...you should go this weekend! Knead is celebrating their first birthday BIG! Both on Saturday, November 17th, and Sunday, November 18th, from 8am to 3pm! They will be offering 10% off as a thank-you, @rudysflowertruck will be selling flowers from 9-1 on Saturday and Sunday, and @redletteredgoods will be selling hand-lettered products from 9-1 on Saturday. And I hear they will have ridiculous amounts of birthday cake, too! ;)
I hope you will pay them a visit soon (this weekend?!) for breakfast or lunch and come back and share what you got. But have no fear, it's all good so you can’t choose wrong. And be sure to tag your photos with #seethingsclosercityfind, as I would love to see you out exploring our city and trying something new!
Knead Bakehouse & Provisions, 3467 Hampton Ave., Southampton, St. Louis, Missouri
*this post is sponsored by KNEAD Bakehouse, an amazing cafe in St. Louis, MO. #seethingsclosercityfind
After I’d been living in St. Louis for about three years, I suffered a stomach infection in 2016 and then again in 2017. I’ve been rebuilding my gut health ever since, and an unexpected result of this journey is that it has changed the way I live my life here.
Right around 2016, so many great healthy options started popping up all over St. Louis. If there was any time when I needed to rebuild my gut health, then I’m glad it happened when the health and fitness lifestyle was becoming so trendy. In this post, I’m excited to share some of the places that are not only helpful if you struggle with food allergies or other related health issues, but will also allow you to still get out and explore this awesome city.
Here's a complete guide to all my favorite healthy things to eat, see, and do in St. Louis!
Favorite Healthy Restaurants + Cafes
Revel Kitchen has two locations, one in Brentwood and one in Clayton, and they have kombucha on tap. Whattttt?! Oh, and they have great fresh pressed juice, salads, bowls, and smoothies too.
Visit Wicked Greenz for all your L.A. lunch needs. I love their fresh ingredients and the beautiful lighting in there.
Clover & the Bee
This beautiful new brunch spot opened in early 2018 in Webster Groves and it’s 100% worth the drive outside the city. Any spot that combines gorgeous design with tasty food is a win in my books. Oh, and their fresh juices are a must when you visit.
Hello Juice is almost too cool for St. Louis. Jk. We can hang. It is so cool, delicious, and healthy for all your smoothie bowl and avocado toast needs. Get there stat!
To start your weekend off caffeinated, I highly recommend any of Kaldi’s Coffee shops, which are each beautiful and cozy in their own way. If I had to pick a few favorites, the Demun, Laclede Ave, and City Garden locations would be my top three. City Garden feels like you’re in NYC, Demun is like a second home in a darling neighborhood, and Laclede Ave’s location is just stunning. But no matter which location you go to, their vanilla latte can’t be beat.
Blk + Mkt
Did you know sushi burritos are a thing? Well, now you do. Bulk + Mkt is killing the game. And the poke bowl game.
It’s not often you can find Pho and Ramen in the same place. Look no further. Nudo House is definitely worth the drive out to Creve Coeur (until they open their second location on the Loop in 2019).
Pure Vegan Cafe + Yoga
I’m not 100% vegan, but I try to eat that way a few times a week. Vegan Cafe does it so well you forget you’re eating vegan. They do such a good job and their carrot smoothie tastes like carrot cake — what more could you ask for? Their yoga classes are also great, and most are drop-in and donation-based.
Knead makes the most amazing sourdough bread and pastries from their sourdough. Eating here truly made me feel like I had been transported to San Francisco. I also love their homemade juices and that they serve delicious Blue Print coffee. They’ve got it going on!
Favorite Health Destinations
Tints | A non-toxic nail salon
Tints was everything I didn’t know I needed. Not only is it beautiful and clean, but they have a selection of polish that is five-free (free of five of the most hazardous ingredients typically found in nail polish, that is).
I love getting my nails done as a guilty pleasure, but I also try to use “clean beauty” products. Before Tints, I had even stopped getting mani/pedis. I love their online reservation system, no tipping policy, and self-serve coffee and wine selection. Oh, and while you’re there, pop over to The Juice Bar next door!
I joined Palm Health in January for medical assistance with the stomach issues I mentioned earlier. In March, I took the plunge and joined their wellness side as well, to take advantage of their work-out classes, gym, steam/sauna/salt room, and cafe. It has added so much value to my life. If you are in need of functional medicine, I couldn’t recommend Palm Health enough - it has totally changed my life for the better.
Flowers and Weeds
Flowers & Weeds is probably my favorite plant store in St. Louis, with Bowood Farms coming in a very close second. It’s perfect for city dwellers. Not only do they have brilliantly healthy plants and beautiful pots for sale at affordable prices, but they also have a potting station in the back, in case you don’t have a patio or yard for potting at home. There are giant bins of soil that you can scoop into your pots right there in the store. Oh, and they have a terrarium-making station—what more could you want from a plant store?
Holistic Fitness - Massage with Emmy
Who doesn’t love treating themselves to a massage every so often? I found Emmy at Holistic Fitness and am never turning back. She specializes in scoliosis and has been such a gift!
I’ve been hearing about “Floating” from friends for a few years and my husband even tried it before me last year, but I finally took the plunge (pun very much intended) in February and danggggg, it was incredible.
Here’s how Sean Lavery from Float-Toronto has described the experience:
“You are floating in 850 pounds of epsom salt so you won’t be fighting gravity and the water is kept at 93.5 degrees which is skin-receptor neutral, which means you lose track of where your body ends and the water begins. Your ears stay just below the water, and the tanks are insulated against sound. After you shut the door and turn off the light, you float in total darkness. During your float the outside world is gone, and amazing things happen. It turns out that when you’re not fighting gravity or constantly taking in information, your body has a lot of extra resources at its disposal. Your mind is free to mull things over without distraction, your brain pumps out dopamine and endorphins, and your body gets to rest, de-stress, and heal.”
Needless to say, Floating is 100% worth the hype. I have literally never experienced something where you can truly escape from being overstimulated. No sound, no gravity, no light. For living in such a tech-heavy world, the gift of disconnecting from all the stimulation is really surreal.
And, if you’re in St. Louis, I loved my experience at Float STL and they will give you $10 off with this code: pb-640692.
Favorite Fitness Studios
I love the low impact yet high intensity workout that Pure Barre offers. No ballet experience needed, we all just meet at the barre ;) The instructors are so talented and make you feel so known. They make working out fun, which is no easy feat.
Vegan Cafe + Yoga (see above)
Palm Health (see above)
If you don’t mind heights, take the day to drive out to Creve Coeur and do the ropes course at Go Ape! This brand knows how to do it. It’s so much fun and will make you forget to check your phone.
Creve Cour Kayaking
While you are climbing the tree tops at Go Ape! go rent a kayak or paddle board at Creve Coeur Lake. It’s $10 an hour and is such a great escape from city living.
Forest Park Paddle Boarding
If you don’t want to drive out of the city to get your paddle boarding on, check it out at Forest Park at the Boat House. You will never feel more like a St. Louisan than paddle boarding in front of Art Hill.
After becoming obsessed with curling this past Olympics, I did some research and found out that there is a curling club in Creve Coeur where you can take beginner lessons and play a game. They even have beginner leagues that my husband and I hope to join in the future. In the freezing temps of winter, it’s so fun to find escapes to have fun indoors. This is definitely our newest favorite.
Rent a Limebike + Scooter
You’ve most likely seen the bikes and scooters taking over the city. I love seeing how they are helping us city folk be more active and spend more time outside, away from our phones. I hope these are here to stay.
City Garden + Kaldi’s Coffee
If you need a getaway but can’t actually leave town, may I recommend City Garden? The Kaldi’s location in the garden makes you feel like you’ve been transported to Madison Square Garden in NYC and all the sculptures scattered around are so much fun to admire while sipping your favorite coffee or tea. It’s a must-see.
I would love to hear of any of your “healthy” St. Louis stops below! What am I missing?! :)
Today I’m excited to share some ethical fashion brands you all might have not heard of, or maybe you have and just want to know more about them. Whenever I have a “hole” in my closet, I often try to find an ethical fashion brand that could fill it.
Quality over quantity is the key in this post.
$ - $5-50
$$ - $55-$100
$$$ - $100+
I recently learned that Athleta was a B Corp, which is a responsible, accountable way of doing business, so it’s been so fun to know that a store that you can shop at in the mall is making strides to do better business — not to mention their sale section is where it’s at!
If you are ever shopping for quality, sustainable swimsuits (one pieces, bikinis, mom & me, they have it all!), Albion is your place. Their suits are handmade in Guatemala, and they are so well-made and stylish. I love all the patterns and how confident they make me feel.
I heard about Patagonia’s business practices on NPR’s podcast, “How I Built This,” and I was blown away by what I learned. Not only do they use fair-trade business practices, they care so much about the environment that they are trying to change the fast-fashion industry by offering a lifetime warranty on all their clothing.
You can ship your Patagonia (even if bought second-hand and you don’t have a receipt) to them and they will patch it, fix a zipper, etc. on your items and then ship them back to you just to extend the life of your products. Talk about amazing. That will definitely keep me coming back, and I also just love how timeless their pieces are.
P.S. They have a great 50% off sale twice a year and it’s usually when I make my Patagonia purchases.
I found Marine Layer via Google while searching for a fun, unique gift for my husband. I was first drawn to their charity T-shirts that change a few times a year, but they also have great staples for men and women. They have many locations around the U.S. and I even got to visit them in Chicago — I highly recommend finding a store to see their quality for yourself.
I have yet to purchase anything from Amour Vert but I have a serious crush on them. If you ask me, they are the Zara or Anthropology of the sustainable fashion industry. Their pieces are stunning and so well designed. When I have a need for a quality, well-made dress, Amour Vert will be the first place I look.
For my last recommendation, I wanted to share about Faherty. Even though I have also yet to personally purchase from them, a friend of mine has and raves about them. They have great flannel and outdoor pieces. If there is a specific piece you like but it’s not in your budget, I recommend signing up for their email newsletter — you can find out about sales and promotions, like the great deals they had this past Christmas.
Tried & True
I’ll never tire of writing about Everlane. They have brought so much value to me, I can’t write an ethical fashion post without mentioning them. From my personal wardrobe to work attire, they have everything, including underwear that I am currently loving. And, all of their products are so well made and the quality is great.
I’ve posted about Frank & Oak a few times before, but just like with Everlane, they are so worth bringing up again. Like most of the brands I’ve mentioned, they carry men and women’s clothing and are an Ontario-based brand. I love the pieces I have from them — they are made with such care and have lasted me many seasons already. My newest favorite pieces are a crop top blouse and a green cargo jacket for fall. They also have lots of locations around the world that you should for sure check out if you are ever near one. :)
ABLE has recently been renamed from FashionABLE, for those who know that name, but they are a longtime favorite of mine. They are a Nashville-based company that got started with making beautiful leather purses, but they now have recently started lines of clothing, shoes and jewelry. Their mission is to empower women to believe they are capABLE. I’ve had their black bucket purse for 3+ years, as well as their flats for work and their sandals, and they all still look incredible — so I highly recommend ABLE for yourself or for gifts.
Nisolo is a handmade shoe company also based in Nashville, TN, and their shoe makers are based in Peru. I loveeee my Nisolo shoes and when you have a need for a new pair of quality shoes, definitely check them out. Their shoes cost more than I would typically spend, but I put them on my Christmas list last year (I’ve found that my birthday or Christmas list is a great time to invest in a bigger ticket item). Their black leather Oxfords have been so comfortable and such a good fit into my lifestyle for both personal needs and for my work wardrobe. Every few months I visit my local shoe shiner and he makes them look good as new ;)