Sunday, October 23, 2011


It's that time of year again when we take our annual family trip to Eckert's! Although we neither picked apples (they wouldn't let us pick today for some reason) nor plucked pumpkins (ran out of steam by the end) we did ride all the rides and hit up the general store for all those yummy Eckert goodies.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Book Review: Summer Reading 2011

Normally, I like to whip up a personalized review for each book that I read. However, I've decided to skip the written review and use an asterisk rating system instead. Like the Goodreads star rating system, it goes like this:

5*'s = It was amazing
4*'s = I really liked it
3*'s = I liked it
2*'s = It was okay
1* = I didn't like it

1. The Zen of Zombie, Better Living Through the Undead by Scott Kenemore. Two*'s feels a little too generous but whatev.

2. Freedom by Jonathan Franzen. There were a few flaws but I'm still going to give it 5*'s.

3. Bossypants by Tina Fey. She is amazingly creative and funny but this book wasn't so 2*'s.

4. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling. 4*'s.

5. A History of the World in Six Glasses by Tom Standage. 4*'s.

6. NurtureShock, New Thinking About Children by Po Bronson. 4*'s. Interesting read.

7. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling. 4*'s.

8. An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken. 4*'s Mesmerizing memoir about loss.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Festival of Nations

The International Institute of St. Louis holds its annual Festival of Nations celebration on the last weekend in August in Tower Grove Park. It's usually super hot and super crowded but always worth the effort! As it turned out though, it wasn't very hot today, only about 85. And, as expected, it was such a great experience: food, entertainment, and vendors selling gifts from around the world. By chance, we happened to see a performance by an all-girl taiko drum & tap group from Japan (via NYC) called Cobu. They played and danced for like 30 minutes and, I gotta tell you, it was so, so exciting! And, what high energy! I'm not sure when/where you might get to see them around St Louis but, if you happen to see that they're performing, go see them!

A very attractive but not so tasty coconut drink.

The souvenir that got away! I so should have brought this. So, so sad that I didn't. It was from the Russian Booth at the Festival.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Last Photo from MOBot

I'm trying to get my desktop cleared off and I realized that I forgot to post this photo of Willa from our recent trip to the Missouri Botanical Garden. I love that she's still an agreeable model!

Summer 2011 Part II - Colorado Trip

In addition to the huge amounts of eating out that we did this summer, we took in some non-eating activities too. I'll recap the St. Louis ones next post but, for now, here are a few photos of our July trip to Colorado. I LOVED Colorado and took a million photos, most of which are not posted here. If you'd like to see more, click HERE and HERE.

Rocky Mountain National Park
Jerky shop near Rocky National National Park
Willa getting a henna tattoo in Estes Park, CO
Rocky Mountain National Park
Zapata Falls, near Sand Dunes National Park
At a cowboy concert at park in Estes Park, CO
Lucky penny at Colorado National Monument
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park
Rocky Mountain National Park

Monday, August 15, 2011

Summer 2011 (aka Avoiding Reality, Part I)

It's that time of year again when I head back to school. Of course, it is always accompanied by that disappointed, sick, guilty feeling about having been too lazy or disorganized to do the things that I really wanted to do this summer. You know, all those house repairs and projects that were left untouched, those books that went unread, those art/craft projects that were put off, those people, places, and things that I wanted to see left unvisited. And, don't even let me get started on all the professional things that I should have done so that I was better prepared for the beginning of the school year! Ugh and double ugh. So, in an effort to make myself feel better, I'm going to do what I do best: avoid reality and blog instead :) Think of this as my version of the quintessential, "What did you do during your summer vacation?" essay. For ease, I'm going to answer this essay question in a series of blog entries. Part I, this entry, will focus on a few St. Louis eateries that I've frequented this the summer. You might find if you visit this blog again, down the road, that I've added to this entry. But, here it is, off the top of my head. Enjoy!

Old Favorite: Apollonia. What to say about Apollonia? Love the Greek food here! Plus, it's inexpensive. And, the service is terrific. My only request if you go there: don't ask the owner, who is Greek, to go "talk Greek" to your table. Poor guy never gets to enjoy his meal for all the requests for "Greek speak." (google images)

Old Favorite: City Diner. We end up here a lot because it's within walking distance from our house, inexpensive, and kid-friendly. Plus, the food is decent, the milkshakes are great, and the atmosphere is diner-y. (google images)

Old Favorite: Local Harvest Cafe. Haven't eaten a terrible meal at this green cafe yet (see their website for details regarding their greenness). And, you can't beat half price wine by the glass on Wednesday and half price wine by the bottles on Thursday. (google images)

New to Me: Jimmy's on the Park. Had a delicious salad (greens, marinated pears, honey-sugared walnuts, blue cheese, and raspberry vinaigrette), vegetarian entree (spinach and artichoke cake with marinated mushrooms and aspargus), and dessert (triple chocolate with strawberry drizzle and whipped cream). Delish! (google images)

Old Favorite: Pappy's Smokehouse. Best. BBQ. Ever. But, you better get there early or order it to go because: #1 You might have to wait for a LONG time to order and to find a place to site, and #2 Selling out of those smokey meats is always a real possibility. (google images)

New to Me: After having heard a lot of positive reviews over the years, we finally made it to Banh Mi So earlier this summer. While the Vietnamese food wasn't awful, it wasn't super great either. (google images)

New to Me: Basil Spice on South Grand Avenue. Order the Pad Thai (heat 3) and follow it with the Khao-Nuea Ice Cream, which is steamed sweet sticky rice with coconut milk and served with ice cream. Delish! (google images)

Old Favorite: Gelato at Gelateria del Leone. My current favorite flavor is the salted caramel. Also, in the same photo (building to the right), you can see Pho Grand. I love Vietnamese food and Pho Grand serves up some of the best in St. Louis. My go-to order is Vietnamese iced coffee, an order of eggrolls, #2301 Vegetarian Special (stir fried tofu and vegetables served with rice or noodles (I always get the rice), with or without curry (I always get the curry). (google images)

Old Favorite: I love the Shaved Duck. First, I love that everything here is tasty. And, second, I love the beer menu. Third, I love the atmosphere. Fourth, I love that we can walk here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Missouri Botanical Garden

Okay. Can't decide if I should maintain my blog using Tumblir or Blogger. Opinions anyone? I guess it doesn't matter when you don't post often. Gotta get better about doing that! In the mean time, here are some photos that I took at the Missouri Botanical Garden today. Our great St. Louis weather today made this visit possible. Love going here.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Tumblir Thing

Instead of doing Blogger recently, I've been doing the Tumblir thing. Don't know if I like it better or not. But, if you'd like to check it out, CLICK HERE! Thanks!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dancing to the Bob Kuban Band at Carondelet Park

On Sunday nights this summer, you can go listen to bands play at Carondelet Park in South St. Louis. A couple of Sundays ago, we went to hear the Bob Kuban Band play. Yes, this is the same one hit wonder Bob Kuban Band that had the big hit "The Cheater." But, the Bob Kuban Band is also a popular local band that's been around forever! My Mom and Dad told me that when they were in their late teens/early twenties that they and their friends would go to dances and different venues to hear Bob Kuban play. Anyway, we had a great time people watching, music listening, and, of course, dancing! Oh, and btw, terrible news! Shortly after this concert, the historic bandstand at the park burned to the ground! Unfortunately, it was a total loss.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Book Reviews: Sloan Wilson and J.K. Rowling

I've fallen behind on book reviews mostly because the end of the school year totally sucked all my energy. But, with a whopping 3 days of summer vacation under my belt, I'm ready for a few quick book reviews.

First, I have finally started, like 10+ years too late, the Harry Potter series. I've only read the first two, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Since it seems like most of the world has already read these books (or watched the movies) I won't give a full review of either. But, I will make two observations though: #1 I am impressed by the author's imagination and the sophistication of the books' plots. Very enthralling stuff! In fact, on several occasions I caught myself thinking about Harry & the gang and wondering when I'd be able to sneak in some reading time, and #2 I have been surprised by the level of my own frustration when I encounter those moments in the book (and I don't have a good example ready for you) when it becomes really obvious that these books are meant for elementary school kids. Nonetheless, good series though. And, while they were not as good as the books the Harry Potter movies #1 and #2 were pretty good too.

The other book is Sloan Wilson's The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit. Wilson's book is the like millionth one that I've read recently that falls into the post WWII, 1950's disillusionment genre; I suspect it might just be the last one for awhile too. I'm getting a little burned out! Anyway, in The Man we meet Tom Rath, a WWII veteran, who returns home to his wife, Betsy. For no particular reason, so it seems, Tom won't speak to anyone about his war experience. His silence allows for a kind of rejection of responsibility for his past actions. Consequently, he seems unable, or even unwilling, to connect to anyone or anything in the present. So, Tom remains passive, detached, disinterested, without purpose. When he accepts a new job, it challenges Tom to find his place not just in the job but, ultimately, in life. Thus, Tom is forced to confront his past in order to reclaim his future. Great story. Didn't care for the ending. But, still, a great story. I haven't seen it but I've heard that the movie version of this, starring Gregory Peck I think, is supposed to be really good too.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Unblogged Photos from Around the Lou

These photos have been hanging around on my desktop for awhile now. Guess it's time to post them so that I can move them to their permanent home.

(Above 3 Photos) Suson Park, STL

(Above 2 Photos) ST Louis Science Center

(Above Photo) Willa with a Chocolate Ice Cream Mustache at The Fountain on Locust

(Above Photo) Willa at the Boathouse

(Above Photo) Bill on Eric's new Motorcycle

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Cinco de Mayo on Cherokee Street

"Little Mexico" on Cherokee Street - Annual Cinco de Mayo Festival, May 7, 2011.