Sunday, March 23, 2014

Adventures in not-so-healthy eating

Yesterday I wrote about my attempts to step up my healthy eating game. But before I made the decision to eat more fruits and veggies, I had quite the culinary adventure in St. Louis.

Matt was home on spring break last week, and it was great seeing him after work. We made plans to go to trivia with some friends and made a night of it by finally trying Pappy's BBQ in downtown St. Louis. It did not disappoint. It's got all the hole-in-the wall barbecue staples —checkered tablecloths and Styrofoam everything, and it's just got a great atmosphere.

And then we got our food ...

... And it was divine!! To me, it says a lot when meat has such good flavor that you don't need to add sauce. This was definitely the case for Pappy's pulled pork. But, I am a huge barbecue sauce fan, and all four flavors are unique to each other and completely delicious. My pork was complemented with fried corn and the best sweet potato fries of my life. Yes, I totally broke my no-fried-food lenten promise and my diet, but I have absolutely no regrets.

After dinner, we had a little time before trivia, so we checked out the Flying Saucer right by Busch Stadium. It had a huge craft beer selection, so I knew Matt would love it, but it certainly was not what I expected. The space was gorgeous — wood paneling, cool decor and nice lighting. And I loved the beer selection. I had a raspberry beer, an old favorite from Belgium. So so good and such a fun night!

Adventures in healthy eating

This week, I really started to become frustrated with my weight-loss progress. Yes, I've lost seven pounds and kept them off for about 3 weeks, but I really need to keep losing. Now that I've got some motivation to keep running (I've run six more miles and lifted since my last post), I'm going to add to that by kicking healthy eating into gear.

I'm relatively healthy for breakfast and lunch. I eat LOTS of spinach and fruit, but dinner is hard and the weekends are almost impossible. I eat out and drink lots on the weekends. I decided that limited drinking and eating out on the weekends will help me shed pounds faster.

I also had a ton of motivation to head to the store and plan meals in advance for the week.

 We bought some amazing chicken sausage that went great with whole-wheat pasta and red sauce. I also stocked up on fruits and veggies, Skinny Pop and hummus. I had never really had it before, but it's great with carrots!

It's 9 p.m. Sunday and lunch is totally ready for tomorrow and breakfast should be a snap. We also have a breakfast and dinner schedule hanging on the refrigerator. This will really help me stay focused on eating healthy throughout the week. Today I also spent three hours cooking for the week.

This cup of green beans should last for two lunches. I cooked them in olive oil, salt and pepper.

I divided this chicken into three, 3.5-ounce servings. It's cooked in olive oil, fresh garlic and lemon pepper. It's 122 calories per serving.

Fruit salad, yummy yummy. This mid-morning snack is about 65 calories. 

I'm very excited about my Monday lunch. I cooked quinoa for the first time, and it's pretty good. I mixed it with a serving of chicken and a half-cup of fresh green beans. Obviously I had to sample it, and it tasted great! Can't wait for lunch. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Am I becoming a runner?

The past few days have been pretty exciting! It was a beautiful weekend in St. Louis, and I got to spend a lot of it outside. On Saturday Matt and I hung out in the city all day to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. We munched on awesome Mexican (festive, I know) and had one, two or maybe three too many cocktails, and just spent the day enjoying the weather walking around and hanging out outside most of the day.

However, our weekend started with a nice five-mile St. Patrick's Day run. Well, run/walk. Matt and I had talked a little about getting into running together, but this was our official debut as runners, and I was very nervous. I've done a few 5Ks, and I've done okay. There were lots of walking breaks, but I always finished. So I agreed to doing this one. I've been working out pretty regularly since January after all. Then we found out it was five miles, not a simple 3.1. And the nerves followed right away. I really didn't feel like I was in that good of shape yet, and I didn't think I would have the attention span to run that long. I was wrong.

The race went great! I ran the first three quarters of a mile, which might have been a new personal best. I really am a true beginner! At a little over a mile, I started having some tummy trouble and we had to take a bathroom break. I felt a lot better after that, so after Matt had a beer mid-race, we were back to pounding the pavement. We finished in a little over an hour and ran way more than half of the race. The high I felt as I crossed the finish was so worth the nerves and the stomach ache. I suddenly had so much confidence in my abilities and I could tell that my hard work was paying off, even if I haven't seen much evidence on the scale. And I got to enjoy an ice cold beer after. What could be better than that?!

When I say hard work, I mean it. Breakfast smoothies have become a way of life for me. It's a long way from breakfast sandwiches on the way to work.

Then, today, Matt and I decided that we are going to run a half marathon this October. I really did gain a lot of confidence this past weekend! I was so so motivated all afternoon and started doing research on training. I couldn't wait to get home, change and hit the Katy Trail for a three-mile run/walk. I expected to run maybe half the route, and hoped that maybe, just maybe I would run a full mile without stopping. At 3/4 a mile, I was feeling awesome and started to smile as Fleetwood Mac came on Pandora and I knew I was going to run a full mile. Not only did I run a mile, but I ran a whole quarter mile past that and only needed to walk the next tenth a mile before I was off again. I ended up running 2.8 of my three-mile run. I'm so sore and tired, but so so so proud of myself and feeling more confident than ever about the fact that I might actually run a half marathon in the foreseeable future.
I had to share my accomplishment with my Instagram friends, obviously.

I just can't believe I ran a full mile for the first time ever. This might seem minor to most, but my god it's an accomplishment for me!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Looks of the Irish

Happy St. Patrick's Day weekend! I love this holiday and my family has done it big for St. Paddy's day the past couple years. My Irish relatives, the McNultys, walk in the Dogtown Parade on March 17 every year regardless of the day of the week. Dedication. The parade is made up almost exclusively of "clans" from around the area. Each group decorates the float the morning of the parade, and it's so fun to get the whole family together, be creative and have a few beers before the real fun begins.

Once the parade gets going, you don't want it to end. It might be the quickest hour of the entire year for me. My family gets cases and cases of green beads to throw out while we're walking, and there's really nothing like having thousands of people waving and yelling at you for your beads. It's quite the confidence boost.

Long story short, I am a huge St. Patrick's day fan – mostly because of the fun and family but I also love to wear green and love having an excuse to wear entirely too much of it for one day.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Direct Quote

When I lived and worked in Brussels, I was feeling inspired by all I was doing and learning. When I had a slow day at work, I'd scroll through Tumblr and stumble upon the best quotes. I made sure I wrote them down on a sticky note so I would see them everyday.  I still have that sticky note, and I love reading through it. Although I'm in a much different place two years later, I feel like a lot of the quotes still apply to me. Here are some of my favorites:

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Wanderlust Wednesday: Beaufort, S.C.

This past October my parents and I went on vacation in South Carolina, and I absolutely fell in love. The beach was so refreshing in the fall, the mossy oaks lining the roads were so romantic and the cities were unbelievable. Savannah was so unique and Charleston was unbelievable. If I found the right job, I would move there tomorrow.

One unexpected stop on our trip was Beaufort, S.C. I applied and interviewed for a job there over the summer and needed to see it in person. It's so much more beautiful than I imagined. Beaufort is everything I pictured when I thought of a sleepy, southern beach town. Gorgeous plantations, quiet streets, fun restaurants with locals drinking and laughing on any given night. I was so in love, and I think I might still be. Tell me again why I didn't get that job?

 Low Country Produce was a must visit. The natural light and the color scheme of the store are incredible.

 The day ended with the most perfect sunset. How could you not fall in love?

If you're in the low country, I would definitely recommend a visit to Beaufort. It will be a quiet and relaxing day of sightseeing compared to the hustle and bustle of Savannah and Charleston.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Jonathan Adler's Happy Chic for JCPenney

I stumbled upon Jonathan Adler's Happy Chic line on a Christmas shopping trip. I walked around the store pointing out every item "I just had to have" for my nonexistent apartment. The name of the line is a pretty accurate description of the items you'll find. It's hard to be anything but happy while browsing. What's even happier? A lot of the line is on CLEARANCE!

This headboard is everything.


Spring is here!

After what felt like an eternity of snow and ice and bitter cold, the weather finally got its act together just in time for daylight saving. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. And I couldn't be happier.

I think I spent more time outside Sunday than I have in the past two months. I embarrassed myself at the driving range, went for a three-mile run and soaked in every single second of chill-free air and glorious sunshine.

And work when the weather is nice is just great. Everyone is so happy and silly and talkative. It's so hard not to be happy the past few days. And then, at 5 p.m. Monday, with the sun still shining like it's early afternoon, I took off my jacket, rolled down the windows and cranked my Postelles Pandora station all the way home. That night I even took a trip to Target just to drive with the windows rolled down.

I could seriously get used to this and it better stick around for at least the next ten months. Now that snow days are a thing of the past, this girl will never wish for snow again — except for December 25 of course.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Loving lately

There is the cutest little t-shirt shop in Columbia that I loved passing while walking around downtown. I would gawk and giggle at the clever and sassy shirts hanging on the wall, and I've even designed a few shirts of my own at the store.

One of my favorite parts of the store was the Columbia or Missouri-centric shirts the store sold. I was so tempted to buy every single one of them. Today I saw the cutest Como shirt while scrolling through Instagram. It's below with a few other Show-me-state shirts.

This one if from my sorority sister, Robyn's, Etsy page. She is really cranking out some great monogrammed goods. This is one of my favorites.


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Making business formal fun

Eight to five for me means slacks or a skirt and a jacket. It's far from my college uniform of jeans and riding boots or even leggings and sneakers. Going from super casual to super dressed up was intimidating at first. Not only did I have no idea where to start, but buying suits is expensive! Luckily I figured it out by my first day of work (with a lot of help from mom).

Since my first day of work, my wardrobe has expanded quite a bit and I've added my own flair to the classic skirt and jacket.

Here are a few ways I add a little fun to my business formal wardrobe.

1. Mix & Match
On mornings when I hit snooze one too many times, throwing on my black skirt and jacket and a simple shirt makes getting ready for work a breeze. But, when I do have a little more time on my hands, I like to build an outfit for work. Usually this is done by mixing and matching tops and bottoms. Gray jacket, black skirt, polka dot shirt. Black pants, stripe jackets, white sheer shirt. And one of my new favorite pieces is a blue blazer I got recently from The Limited (my go-to suit store). Mixing and matching is an easy way to get out of a black and navy rut. 

2.  The Business of baubles
Statement necklaces are one of my favorite pieces to add to a suit. They make a classic suit pairing a little more exciting. They're an instant way to add fun to your most serious suit. But beware: keep the statement simple. Too much color or sparkle might not be appropriate for the office. A pearl cluster necklace from The Limited is my favorite. 

3. Wrap it up
This seemingly never-ending polar vortex has been a downer in many ways. The silver lining to it all might just be the opportunity to wear scarves to work for the past five months. I've been a huge scarf fan since I bought my first lime-green one in Paris in 2008. And I've racked up quite the collection. Adding one to a suit is another instant way to add a little personality to your regular eight to five wardrobe. 

4. In her shoes
Black pumps run rampant around my office. They're simple, classic and match with everything. But wearing them with a black suit can get boring. Purchasing a pair with some flair can add some fun to your outfit in no time. And who doesn't want an excuse to buy some new shoes? Some of my favorites include patent with cream bows, grey suede heels and camel suede wedges.

Why "Twenty Two in St. Lou?"

There are two things you can easily deduce about me based on the title of my blog. I'm 22 and I am indeed from St. Louis.

It didn't take very long for me to come up with this title —just a few hours of spacing out on a Friday morning at work. The title describes where I'm at right now, though I have no idea what I'll do in four months if I'm still blogging. Twenty Three in St. Louee? Maybe.

Anyway, twenty two has been a big year for me —even from day one. I met a very special person on my birthday who has made life so much fun for the past seven months. And he's partly responsible for my blog title. Without him I don't think I would spend as much time in St. Louis and appreciate it as much as I do now. He has a knack for discovering fun restaurants and events in the city, and he gets lots of tickets to Cardinals games. I've never had as fun in St. Louis as I've had with him over the past few months. I can't wait to keep discovering more about my hometown with him.

Since my birthday, I've also gone from an intern at my company to a full-fledged, benefits-receiving employee. It's not your traditional, sleuthy, super creative journalism job, but it allows me to write pretty often. Besides that, my job gives me a great opportunity to learn about my city. That's one of my favorite things about it!

There is so much good in St. Louis and so many things are happening in the city. My job not only gives me the opportunity to learn about it but to also make a difference in my own small way.

This twenty-two-year-old has learned a lot about herself and her city in the past few months and I really can't wait to learn more and to discover even more new places. My favorite thing so far? SOULARD. Whether it's Mardi Gras or just a regular Friday night. There are lots of cool bars and buildings. It has a great neighborhood feel in the middle of the city. It's definitely on my list of potential places to live when I'm finally ready to move out!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Back to blogging


I have to admit, this is not my first attempt at blogging. I created my first blog my freshman year of college to document my time in the dorms, all my new friends and how much I was learning in my classes. Little did I know that classes and friends take up a lot of time. Blogging took a back seat to absolutely everything, and eventually I stopped posting all together. 

Then, I had to blog for my reporting class. I was a bit more dedicated to that because I was being graded on my posts. I gushed and gushed about how much I loved Journalism and reporting and writing stories. I think I would be embarrassed if I read that now.  Don't get me wrong, I enjoy Journalism and adore writing. I'm just not quite as enamored with it as my 19-year-old self was. 

My third blog ended pretty much the same way as the first. I started a Wordpress to document the ten weeks I spent living in Europe, but between working and classes and going out and falling deeply in love with traveling and exploring new places, I just couldn't find the time to keep up with my blog. And honestly, it's difficult to find enough words to describe that time in my life.

Then, there was Tumblr. I'm actually pretty proud of my Tumblr. I had some clever posts, reblogged some great photos and gifs and obtained quite a few followers. I was a very dedicated Tumblr-er (?) until Pinterest came around and it was much easier to use and served relatively the same purpose. 

My most recent blogging adventure was as part of my Journalism curriculum. I wrote weekly posts for a magazine's blog. These were probably the best blog posts I've written, but they weren't personal at all. They were newsy posts about the goings on in Columbia, Mo. sprinkled with my attempt at snark. These posts were supposed to be "Buzzfeedy," but no one on that staff will ever live up to the snark and humor I find on Buzzfeed. And to the best of my knowledge, there are exactly zero quizzes matching your personality to a TV or movie character. 

Now I've brought you completely up to speed on my ghosts of blogging past. This is my most recent attempt and I think it will be my most successful. This time I have one thing on my side that I've never had with any of my past attempts — time.

As hard as it is for me to say, I am no longer a college student. I no longer take a full class load, work at a magazine and go out four nights a week. My day runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. with workouts sprinkled in. This transition from student to full-time, working adult has been the biggest change I've ever gone through, and I think it's going well. But with this change and the abundance of time I now I have, I have a lot of thoughts. This is my new platform to share them. 

So, if anyone is out there reading, follow me on this journey as I figure out how to survive the real world, have a real relationship and fall back in love with the place I grew up.

I will warn you that I have quite a bit of jealousy for those girls who blog about their fabulous lives and wardrobes and get paid to do it, so there will be style posts in here at some point. Maybe cooking ones. Maybe fitness. We'll have to see. As long as I get to keep writing, I'll be happy.