muse moments

Summer is finally in full swing, here in the Midwest… Despite weeks & weeks of rain, the sunshine is out in full force & the dog days of summer are finally happening. We’ve been enjoying the hot days with pool parties & city events. Here’s some of the highlights from our summer adventures:

lemon wedge jello shots

Our friends recently held a housewarming, & this little addition to the shindig was a wild success! Our lovely hostess made these wickedly delicious lemon jello shots.

geek chic workout tank

I’ve been getting into good habits as of late, from walking to the local grocery store, & grabbing lunch for the week, to doing 50 burpees five out of the seven days. This geek chic tank top has been one of my go-to items for workout gear.

Jaws cupcake

Saint Louis Art Museum hosts movie nights one month each summer on its gorgeous front yard. Jaws was this week’s feature. The classic thriller by Steven Spielberg is as entertaining as ever. Food trucks line the hill before showtime, offering tempting cuisine, including this completely edible themed cupcake.

braided ponytail

I’m updating a classic hairstyle with a braided ponytail. I love the versatility of long hair, but when the heat is in the hundreds, an updo is the only way to go!

classic movie night

My darling friend, Liz, & I enjoyed a day of classic movies, starring Marilyn Monroe. The twinning hashtag refers to the fact that Liz (of no relation to me) just so happens to look exactly like moi. As we happen to share a few things in common, including our looks, we happily refer to each other as twins. We poured some pink champagne, nibbled on French Dip Croissants, & popped in great films like Gentlemen Prefer Blondes and Some Like It Hot. Feel free to share some of your summer adventures with me in the comments below. & remember, only 4 days left to enter in my giveaway contest for a free dance lesson!

muse moments

As the heat of summer finally begins to roll in, the outdoor festivities are in full swing. From food trucks in the city parks to the Renaissance Faire & outdoor theatre, the city comes alive with vibrant activity this time of year. All this & more is keeping my calendar filled to the brim, but I love every minute of it. Hope the longer days are as joy-filled for you as they have been for me! Here’s some #MuseMoments of late that have put a smile on my face:

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An oversized ring wrapped in gold & topped with a pale pink rose.

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I was thrilled to hear Jimmy Fallon’s announcement on the The Tonight Show when he introduced Ben & Jerry’s newest creation, The Tonight Dough. Combining chocolate cookie swirls, & chocolate chip & peanut butter cookie dough, it was as tasty as I’d hoped it be.

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I fell in love with this enormous disco ball at a nearby nightclub.
Equal to the size of three of me, I sadly could not take it home.

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This wine drinker loves her some sangria, especially come summertime.
This light, zesty white wine concoction cools you off on a humid evening.

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Saint Louis Art Museum hosts a delightful shindig the last Friday of every month, known as SLAM Underground. The extended happy hour gives you an up-close experience with one of the exhibits, & celebrates the art with a DJ on hand & activities, like this distinctive photo booth.

hot spots: Cocoa Dolce in Kansas City

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While I currently call St. Louis home, my roots are found in Kansas City.  Home of barbeque, Harry Truman & much more, it seems only right to feature such a swanky town on this travel blog.  I’ve discovered plenty of places worth a visit in both cities & wish to share them with you in my new series, “Hot Spots.”  I hope you enjoy this first feature from Kansas City.

A new upscale shopping plaza opened up in Overland Park called Prairiefire featuring a unique museum (more on that at a later date) among shops, restaurants & a movie theater.  One delightful chocolate shop made an impression on me: Cocoa Dolce.

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Cocoa Dolce creates scrumptious artisan chocolates alongside other chocolate-infused concoctions.  The chocolatiers utilize ingredients from around the world.  One such ingredient came from Peru, an extremely rare chocolate called Fortunato No. 4.  This nutty sweetness can be found in truffles & the cake-like treats known as macarons.  The shop offers up samples of gelato flavors & morsels that melt in your mouth.  Greg & I fell in love with macarons in Paris, so we stocked up on our visit.  We enjoyed flavors like Nutella, Champagne, Cocoa Buzz & Orange Dreamsicle.  He asked for a “Black Eye,” which is simply a shot of espresso added to one’s coffee, & I chose the shop’s version of “Pumpkin Spice Latte” stirred with white chocolate.  Find rich indulgent goodies galore in Kansas City that are worth melting for at Cocoa Dolce.

mapped it: Downtown St. Petersburg, Florida

One of my favorite things to splurge on while away from home is food.  One of my favorite types of cuisine is seafood.  Take a girl who loves seafood to the coast & don’t you dare judge her for how much she consumes.  I mean, come on…you’d be hard-pressed to pass up such savory meals!  So dive in & dine in with me on our foodie exploration of St. Pete’s Beach.

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First stop: a midnight meal at Papa Angelo’s.  We drove into St. Petersburg late, which left very few options for dining since most kitchens were closed.  That led us to a pizza joint & bar in the heart of downtown.  Angelo’s surprised us with its’ giant pizzas & chummy owner.  He & I hit it off right away when I asked for his wine options & he revealed his love of vino to us.  Jen asked for a porter & he was clearly caught up in someone to talk wine with that he thought for sure she meant “port.”  As I’m usually outnumbered by beer-drinkers, this left me grinning ear-to-ear.  My eyes lit up however when I spotted the shrimp alfredo.  We enjoyed this place so much that we made sure to come back for another visit during our short stay.

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The next day, we woke up later than intended (but hey, it’s vacay!) & needed to find a place for lunch. Rather than search online for a decent review of the local fare, I suggested we just venture out & hope to stumble upon greatness. & we so did. Allow me to introduce you to The Oyster Bar. This tavern appealed to our adventurous side & promised more food than we could hope to consume. I’m setting down a rule for all you fellow food-lovers: when in an oyster bar, you must have an oyster shooter. We each tried a unique drink: the Classic included vodka, tabasco & lemon juice. The Hangover had pale ale & cocktail sauce, & I tried the Texan, which consisted of vodka, zing-zang & horseradish. We dumped the shucked oyster shots down our throats, hoping for the best. Everyone appreciated their concoction while I was left scrounging for a chaser. Still proud I tried it!  We opted for the parmesan crusted oysters covered with a yummy herb butter and chipotle crab cake to share.  I managed to snag a picture of Jen’s scrumptious ahi tuna with wasabi & soy dipping sauce before we dug in, but the rest of our meals disappeared too quickly to capture (including my filet mignon…oops).

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We stopped in for a midday snack at a nearby chocolate shop, Schackolad.  It was impossible to look in the display cases and not immediately want to sample a little of everything.  Aaron & Jen bought a box of assortments with the best of intentions but those souvenirs made it as far as the car ride home.  Greg & I bought a handful (okay, maybe two) & went to town.  Imagine chocolate-dipped Oreos, creamy white chocolate seashells, crispy chocolate bites & peanut butter cups.  Salivate over deep chocolate truffles & mocha creamy nuggets.  It is heaven in your mouth.

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The creme de la creme to our downtown St. Pete’s Beach visit was an indulgent dinner at Cassis American Brasserie.  Erin, our old college roommate, came as our dinner guest.  (She hit it off quite well with #BeachBoundBob.)  Erin was the only one of us who exercised some self-control that night.  The rest of us ordered dinner & one elaborate appetizer.  Allow me to introduce you to our seafood extravaganza:

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The mack daddy of seafood trays included freshly shucked oysters, succulent jumbo shrimp, plump little mussels & two crabs (because, y’know, one is clearly not enough).  For real, I still dream about this platter.  We had to pack up our dinners in to-go boxes because there was just.  no.  room.

Stop in on Friday for my #MuseMoments & be sure to catch up with me on Monday to read about our last hurrah before we headed north for home!