Sonoma and Babies

So I wrote this post last week (because I planned to be up to my eyeballs in adorableness today and have no time for blogging) but due to shitty weather basically everywhere except St Louis, all flights to the Bay Area were canceled/sold out/outrageously expensive. Still, the irony of it all was too heartbreaking-ly perfect not to still share. Sending my nephew wishes for the happiest of first birthdays from half a country away!

(Original post):

A year ago, our nephew was born in sunny California. He’s beautiful and rambunctious and perfect in every way — he’s the first of the next generation of our families, so he’s quite special.

As such, we are using my husband’s spring break to fly out to Cali and celebrate this little munchkin turning 1. It’s a quick trip, because while he has 2 weeks off, I have a limited number of vacation days. I plan to soak up the sun and the delight of my nephew for the few days we have out there, and cross my fingers for another snow day.

See, last year around this time, our flight home was delayed due to bad weather on the east coast. We ended up staying an extra day, one of the nicest days of our trip, and got to experience California Wine Country for the second time (we’d previously been to Napa over Thanksgiving).

The first thing I liked about Sonoma was its sass. As we arrived, a sign let us know we were in the “REAL wine country” and I knew this was my kind of place. The town of Sonoma was very cute. We had a delicious lunch and wandered around the square, reading about the historical sites.

The vineyards also had more of a look and feel that my husband and I are used to, similar to Virginia wine country: rolling hills and acres of grape vines. The wine was delicious, and of course enjoying a glass with such awesome views is always a plus.

This year, if we do happen to get an extra day, we’ll probably spend it with the family rather than another road trip adventure, but I wouldn’t complain about that at all.



February Fashion: Part 2

To see where this started, check out this post.

The second half of this month, I’ve tried to be good about re-wearing pieces I love to maximize the number of outfits I can get out of them. I also tried to get a grip on the athleisure trend (why can I not figure out how to look uber-casually glam? probably because I try too hard)…that’s one I’m still working on.

Basically just outfits with leggings…

The weather has been a little crazy…going from 70s to 30s in the space of a day (sometimes in the space of a few hours). Virtually nothing was off-limits in my closet this month. Lightweight cardigans and ankle pants to heavy sweaters and knee-high boots, I’ve worn it all!

2/15-2/19 (minus the attempt at athleisure over the weekend)

While challenging, the crazy weather also made outfit planning more fun, forcing me to get a little more creative than usual.


Now for a couple of shameless plugs: most of my wardrobe comes from either ThredUp or Stitch Fix. Shop either site using those links and we both save some dollars! I love that I can find great prices for (gently used) quality clothing from ThredUp — most recently, that dusty pink sweater I’m obsessed with came from ThredUp for about $10. And Stitch Fix is a great service that helps me push my fashion boundaries and try new trends in pieces that are flattering on my body (that mustard shirt is one I never would have thought to try for myself). Look for my follow up post tomorrow with more details about each site!


2/26-2/28 — Not my favorites


Reflections on an Okay, Terrible Month

So if you remember towards the end of January, I wrote about how February is the bane of my existence each year. Maybe that was the opposite of a self-fulfilling prophecy — a jinx, if you will. Because this February has flown by, so quickly the usual misery didn’t have time to latch onto me.

I have several theories for why. Firstly, not exactly a jinx, but writing about it, being honest rather than hiding my fears, liberated me to face February in a way I haven’t been able to before. In a way, the demons were warned: I’ve sounded the alarm, and others are watching for the attack.

Partially, in an attempt to reaffirm to readers that I am okay, I’ve been better about writing and posting this month. It’s kept me distracted with a creative outlet to reenergize me every few days. Also, little things like my style challenge increased the distractions — keeping me focused on little, life things so the dull, boring February days couldn’t leave room for despair to fester.

I’ve been taking a bit better care of myself this year. Things like going for walks, hikes, and doing yoga with both more regularity and less rigidity than I would have in the past. And, without going into *too* much detail, this month for medical reasons I was taken off the oral contraceptives I’ve been on for the past thirteen years, and I think the lack of synthetic hormones has helped mellow out at least some of my more temperamental moods. Also, eating more vegetarian meals (and a lot less red meat especially) all probably helps in a healthy-body, healthy-mind kind of way. You know, because science.

And of course, I have to give credit to my current situation. My husband warns we’re still in the honeymoon phase of living in this new city, but after seven months I am still so in love with Saint Louis. More than the physical city, the feeling I have here — like I belong in a way I never felt in the DC area — is beyond comforting. Gone is the tension and stress of a life measured against every designer handbag and luxury vehicle rolling down the street. There are lovely, wonderful people in DC, but the people of the midwest have been so welcoming, I truly believe it’s a little bit magical. It’s soothed my soul in a way that has certainly helped me approach this season with a calmer spirit.

The struggle continues, but it’s becoming easier to cling to the edge of the precipice rather than give up and tumble into darkness.

Stealing Song Lyrics

Do you ever notice a particular line in a song that describes you exactly? Or you’re mindlessly listening to music when a lyric slaps you across the face with its poetry?

It happens to me all the time. I know I’ve written before about songs capturing the essence of “me” perfectly, but this post is about what I’ve started to do with those lines. It started at work — meaningless doodles scattered with jotted down song lyrics. Next thing I knew, a storm had erupted across the page, snippets caught in a hurricane.

I noticed a trend on Pinterest — or maybe it just seems like a trend because I’ve been pinning more and more about it — of hand-lettering. I love the idea of turning words into visual art, especially when the words themselves already provoke a visceral, art-like-response in me.

When I had a writing corner, I’d tack these up around me for encouragement or commiseration.

Sometimes I’d dedicate whole projects to a story, the playlist for inspiration bleeding across a page.

img_3429-1 Spotify: Writing – Beast playlist

Now that we’ve moved and my student-husband has taken over the desk, I keep the scraps of paper tucked into my planner or a favorite book, waiting to surprise me when I open to the right page.

Magic of Home

So as I was driving home the other day, I was trying to think of the right words to explain the love I feel for where I am. Every time I try to simply say “I love Saint Louis,” it doesn’t capture what I mean. My husband is able to make it smaller, explain away the magic with rationalities like the convenience of city living or the newness of this environment for us.

And he’s right, but he’s also so very wrong. When I say how much I love it here, I mean so much more than the architecture or stores or restaurants or people. They’re all fantastic, sure. But there’s something…more. Deeper. More pure. It’s a knowledge in my bones that I belong in the world. It’s magical. It’s home.

And as I reached my exit, I glanced up at the bridge that spans the highway like I always do — there’s often someone standing up there, just watching the cars pass, and for whatever reason, it makes me smile. Today, though, was more magic.

Someone had written a marriage proposal in painted cups wedged into the chain link barricade. Whoever Jonna (Ionna? Tonna?) is, I hope they say yes.

And for all the other people dating other Jonnas who take 44E home, tonight may get a little awkward.


Castlewood State Park

I am in love with this place.

As a lover of all things princess-y, the name is what made me choose this park to begin my foray into the world of hiking. We hiked here for the first time on our 2nd anniversary, and we keep coming back.

Probably the worst thing about winter is how hard it is to find enjoyable outdoor activities that don’t cost much — if anything at all. That’s why when we had a weekend of 60 degree weather, my husband and I grabbed a couple of friends and seized the chance to hit the trail one more time.

We always do the Lone Wolf Trail. It’s a relatively easy trail, with a couple steep up-hills and a very long, winding staircase down to the banks of the Meramec River. The views from the top are breathtaking every time.

I’ve never been big on hiking, so I don’t know if it’s some idea of a Midwestern spirit that drove us out to the trails the first time, but now I can’t wait for the warmer weather, when exploring even more of the endless trails and parks around us will be more feasible.

Until then, I’ll keep looking through my pictures of Castlewood and hope for another spring-preview weekend to hit the trail again.