A Weekend in St. Louis

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Back in November, I flew to St. Louis for the weekend to visit my friend, Meg! I know, I know. I’ve waited a long while to blog this trip but I’m really excited to share a little bit about St. Louis with you! But listen, I was all about enjoying this time with my friend so these few cell phone photos are going to have to suffice!

I had never been to Missouri before and when Meg moved there for her job with USTRANSCOM last year, I promised to come visit. When I landed on a crisp late-fall weekend, she greeted me at the airport with a hand-drawn map to better acclimate myself with the spots we’d be visiting and her dog, HOAGIE!!! I had missed them both so much!

We went right from the airport to St. Charles, just north of St. Louis. St. Charles, a charming little riverfront town, was Missouri’s first state capital. We walked the cobblestone streets closest to the Missouri River and there were so many adorable little shops. I definitely want to go back and explore this old little town more!

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From here, we did a lot of eating and a lot of dog snuggling. We debated heading out to the wine bar in her neighborhood on both nights but opted to stay in, watch Netflix and snuggle Hoagie instead. I deeply appreciate my fellow introverted extrovert friends who don’t judge me for just wanting to sit in my PJs with their pup.

FUN FACT: A lot of the buildings in St. Louis were built for when they hosted the World’s Fair in 1904. The original site of the fair is now a massive, beautiful and very regal-looking park. I knew that the World’s Fair was a thing but admittedly I actually knew nothing about it. The Fair celebrated the centennial of President Thomas Jefferson’s fantastic real estate deal with Napoleon Bonaparte of France: $15 million for 600 million acres of the Louisiana Territories. The deal was struck in 1803, but it took until 1804 for the word of the transaction to reach St. Louis. That same year, Jefferson’s exploration team, led by Meriwether Lewis and William Clark, departed St. Louis to map the newly minted U.S. lands. {source} What I never realized about these fairs was that they lasted… almost an entire year. Needless to say I’m completely fascinated now. The fair was a way for more than 60 countries to come together, learn about advancements in science and technology, educate each other about their cultures and cultivate peace. If you no nothing about the World’s Fair, like me a few months ago, start researching and you’ll be totally obsessed. OB.SESSED.

Meg and I talked about how hard it might be to get a great taste of St. Louis as a tourist. Luckily for me, I had some inside information! I can say, the restaurants we visited were all incredible… seriously, so good… and they should be on your St. Louis MUSTS list!

Everything at Grace Meat + Three was freaking delicious. I’m kinda drooling right now just thinking about that biscuit and the sweet potatoes. The atmosphere was great - it felt local, welcoming and community oriented.

Meg took me on a drive around some of the nicest residential parts of St. Louis to see the old, yet lovingly cared for mansions and we walked Hoagie through Shaw, her neighborhood. See, that’s something I learned that I never would have picked up if I was a normal tourist. St. Louis is all about its neighborhoods! Each one has distinct style, unique restaurants and a different feel. I love how neighborhoods distinguish themselves with little things like the neighborhood name painted in the cross walks, banners on the light posts and special tiles in the sidewalks.

We also hit up Salt + Smoke for dinner (the sides… oh my, the sides! Just give me all the hushpuppies and potato salad!!!) and Rooster for an amazing brunch (I wish I could have ordered every crepe on the menu!).

Ever the gracious and thoughtful host, the St. Louis experiences didn’t stop with the food. She treated me to a St. Louis Blues game, a tour of the Anheuser-Busch brewery, a visit to The Gateway Arch (though we did not take the little cars up to the top because the thought of them terrifies me) and a tour of the base where Meg works! Trust me, I know that I’m super lucky to have such awesome friends.

If you’re visiting St. Louis, I highly recommend learning like a tourist but experiencing like a local!

A Pink Pittsburgh Winter Wedding | Tara + Mike

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I’ve been a Pennsylvania resident for my entire 27 years and I’ve never been to Pittsburgh until this past weekend. It was so special to see this city through the eyes of Tara and Mike. I met Tara in college at Penn State where we were both involved in THON (the world’s largest student run philanthropy that culminates in a 46 hour, no-sitting, no-sleeping, dance marathon) as dancers and captains. I have been involved with Penn State THON since my brother was diagnosed with cancer when I was 11. This was the first time I missed being at THON weekend in many, many years. BUT. There is no one else I would want to spend that time with. Tara is such a loving and selfless woman, teacher and friend. And Mike is her perfect match.

Their perfectly designed, pink and rose-gold wedding was the perfect way to kick off my 2019 wedding season! Can you tell that Tara was born to be an SSP Bride?! PINK EVERYTHING. Her pink details throughout the day had me swooning!

Mike shed a few subtle tears during their first look and it was the sweetest to be a witness to their love. There was a lot of anxiety and wedding-nerves floating through the air up until this point but once they saw each other, that all totally melted away as they settled into each other’s arms. That’s what marriage should be, friends.

… but Buddy totally stole the show. Tara and Mike have a one-eared rescue cocker spaniel who is just the sweetest, floppiest little mama’s boy. Of course, I was missing my own little nugget this weekend so having Buddy to snuggle was a personal perk for me too. He was the best “best dog”. Their faces lit up every time they saw their fur baby!

After their sweet ceremony, they danced the night away with fantastic views of the Pittsburgh skyline. Enjoy some of my favorites from Tara and Mike’s fabulous, winter, Pittsburgh wedding!

WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY: Savannah Smith Photography | SECOND PHOTOGRAPHER: Cait Kramer Photography | WEDDING PLANNING AND COORDINATION: Courtney Drahovsky with Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square | VENUE, BARTENDING AND CATERING: Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square | OFFICIANT: Pastor Doug Rehberg with Hebron Church | VIDEOGRAPHY: Locke Creations | CEREMONY AND RECEPTION FLORALS: Bettis Floral Event Design | CAKE AND DESSERTS: Bethel Bakery | DJ: Joe Costa | HAIR STYLING: Marissa Julin | MAKEUP ARTISTRY: See Jane Blush | BRIDAL SHOES: badgley mischka and Kate Spade Keds | CUSTOM CREST: Tiny Shindigs | INVITATIONS: Minted | DECOR AND RENTALS: Eventioneers | BRIDAL AND BRIDESMAID FLORALS: Kate Said Yes | FAVORS: Sip Sip Hooray