Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Quirky Way I Met My Husband

Set the timer: 7 minutes. No, we’re not about to bake cookies… I’m sharing the weirdly cute way I met my husband.

Ana Elliott and Austin Elliott Springfield, MO

I’ll paint the picture for ya. It was Valentine’s Day, 2015. A chilly, windy night when my friend, Nick Warnock was having a Valentine’s Day soiree. He didn’t call it a soiree — I did, just now. And that’s probably a compliment to the event. If Austin (spoiler: my husband) was telling this story he would call it a “singles party”.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand. I show up at this party. Austin is also at this party. We’ve never met, and I notice he has a pretty large beard. So naturally, I walk up to him and ask him if he would play a homeless person in a video I was helping produce for my job. I might have introduced myself first... I don’t really remember.

What I do remember is that I was wearing a black romper with patterned tights underneath. Austin was wearing a striped shirt and a man bun. Aw. Oh, and tattoos. He was wearing tattoos.

To my surprise, Austin says yes, he would play a homeless person in the video, and he’s already played a homeless person in a video before. Never did I assume I would find an Academy Award-winner to act in this promotional video, but hey, it was a lucky event.

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Ana and Austin Elliott Wedding Springfield, MO

Hours pass by, and Austin is still hanging out with his friends while I’m talking to other people. Then, someone approaches me and tells me I’m supposed to go into the closet with this Austin guy because they were already playing 7 minutes in heaven before I got to the party and yes, this game is a joke but yes, you actually have to go into the closet with that guy.

So, being the agreeable person that I am, I went into a closet with a man who I’ve nearly never met, but he’s agreed to be in this video. I guess we’re “yes” people.

7 minutes. Set the timer.

So there we are, awkward as can be, making small talk in a cramped closet and discussing his work, my work, his tattoos and music. Later I found out it was a set up, and Austin’s friend Chris dumped out all the names but ours.

Fast forward to now, and we’re married (!!!), he’s my best friend, biggest encourager, and truest love. It’s a little gushy but it’s real.

So, the lesson here is this: If somebody tells you to go into a closet with someone you’ve barely met, you should listen to them. Because you might marry the person! (Disclaimer: Follow your instincts and don’t go into a closet with anybody who seems like they might be a weirdo.)

P.S. Kinsey Mhire took our wedding photos and I am obsessed with every single one of them. You'll probably be seeing more of them around here!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Queen City Gems, Vol. 5: Valentine's Edition

I'm a big fan of Valentine's Day. And it's not just because I met my husband on the holiday (more on that tomorrow), I have always just enjoyed the "Hallmark" holiday. Yeah, yeah, I know.. Cynics say it's a made up holiday so the card and chocolate industries can survive, but hey — can ya blame 'em?! It's probably hard to make it as a chocolatier in February following all those New Year's resolutions.

So, here's a few themed things from my hometown that I'm pretty excited about this Valentine's.

1. Don't Forget to 'Gram Eurasia's Bouquet Latte
You guys. Eurasia Coffee & Tea's Bouquet Latte is SO "instagood" that you may forget to snap a photo before the first sip. I'd seen the drink on a few of my friends' Instagram feeds and I knew I had to try it (shoutout @kaitpalmquist), and it was even better than I expected it to be. They're serving it up with edible flowers from Ozark Mtn. Flower Truck until February 18, so if you haven't yet, you've still got time to try it!

2. The Bravery Board's Relationship-Driven Podcasts
The Bravery Board doesn't always talk about relationships, but when they do, it's something you don't want to miss. A few of my personal friends started and run this organization, and I am so incredibly proud of Michelle Houghton, Jenn Fortner, Kate Alsup and Lindsay Donaldson for what they're bringing to the Springfield community. Their most recent episode is titled "Intention with Friendships: Get out of Your Own Way to Make (& Keep!) Friends", and I've got intel that their next two will be about relationships, as well. So if you haven't subscribed yet, now is a good time.

3. "A Design Kit" Will Take Your Valentine's Cards Digital
A Design Kit is the new app from the team at A Color Story, and they've knocked another one outta the park. A lot of people have been using the app to make cute story highlights on Instagram, but I think it's a cute way to send an e-card to your sweetie. (Are e-cards still a thing? Let's just say they are. 😘)

Finally, Askinosie is hosting a special Valentine's Day factory tour tomorrow at noon. I say take your Valentine, Galentine or Palentine and have some chocolate! YOU DESERVE IT. Happy day!

Friday, February 9, 2018

Galentine's Day LaCroix Mocktail

Who's got big Galentine's Day plans? Thanks to Leslie Knope, this holiday has been a "thing" since 2010. All about women celebrating women, the tradition occurs on February 13th — Valentine's Day Eve. Or, really, whenever you want to party with your gal pals... and I say celebrate 'em early and often!

So, here's a toast to my girlfriends:
I love you more than LaCroix
And more than most boys
You make my life sweet
Let's have some treats 🍕🍔🥂

What are we toasting with? Thought you'd never ask! It's time for ...drumroll, please... LACROIX MOCKTAILS! (Or you can put alcohol in it if you want, but I'm accommodating all my #whole30 friends and my pregnant friends and my non-drinking friends and.. well, everybody.)

I have to give recipe credit to my husband on this one. We each made a mocktail with orange LaCroix, and his was much better than mine. In fact, he spit mine out on the first taste. I guess I got a little too adventurous...

Anyway, here it is:

- Orange juice (make sure it doesn't have any added sugar or ingredients if you're following whole 30)
- Cranberry juice, unsweetened
- Orange LaCroix
- Sea salt
- Cara Cara pink navel oranges — read how to dehydrate them here.

1. In a pitcher or mixing glass, pour 4 ounces of orange juice
2. Add 2 ounces cranberry juice
3. The secret ingredient — just a dash of sea salt
4. Pour an entire 12 oz. can of orange LaCroix into the glass
5. Garnish with a dehydrated pink navel orange. It looks pretty, and it ups the flavor game.
6. Serve 'em up! This recipe serves two 8 oz. glasses

And there ya have it! A fun, easy (and guilt free!) drink for your Galentine's party. If you're up for a serious girls night, you could even make a craft from those leftover orange slices. So pretty!

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Oven-Dried Orange Slices

Did you know winter is typically considered citrus season? Whether you're drying citrus at home for crafts or cocktails (or mocktails!), I highly recommend taking the time to preserve oranges, lemons and more. It's super simple — just make sure you're at home for a few hours because you'll have to leave 'em in the oven for a bit.

- Citrus (I dried oranges, but you could use lemons, lime or even grapefruit)
- Baking sheet
- Parchment paper or baking rack
- Sharp knife

Oven-Dried Citrus
1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Slice your citrus into thin rounds, about a quarter inch wide. You can use any sort of sharp knife, but I used a serrated knife to ensure the citrus didn't squish as I was cutting it.
3. You can either line your baking sheet with parchment paper or place a baking rack on top of the sheet to make sure the citrus doesn't stick to the sheet.
4. Cook in the oven for about 3 hours, or until dry to the touch.

That's it! Easy as pie — err.. easy as an orange?

Monday, February 5, 2018

SLT Bookclub: February

Here's a thing you might not know about me: I graduated from college with a B.A. in English and a B.S. in psychology. While I was a double major, I more often identified with the English degree — which is probably why I work as a writer now and not a psychologist. 😉

That being said, I chose my second book for the year both in awe and curiosity for how widespread Rupi Kaur's work has become. To my knowledge, Kaur is the only modern day poet (maybe the only poet ever) to sell out arenas, and she currently has 2.2 million followers on Instagram. Her work focuses on themes of love, relationships and feminism, but she also dives deeper to talk about abuse and racism. The New York Times has named Kaur and her peers the most popular poets in the world, but her work has been met with criticism, too.

Nayyirah Waheed, another Insta-poet, accused Kaur of producing work that was a little too similar to Waheed's salt, published in 2013, after Kaur named Waheed one of her inspirations. Kaur's work has been tweeted, pinned and turned into memes on Twitter. All of that being said, Kaur has made a name for herself in the lit world (and the real world) that's surpassed Instagram fame... so now I'm checking out the hype.

You can see my selection from last month's book club here. Have you read the sun and her flowers or Kaur's first book of poems, milk and honey? Let me know what you think!

Friday, February 2, 2018

6 More Weeks of Winter

Let's get this straight. A fluffy animal "saw his shadow", as his caretaker translated, and now we all have to suffer through 6 MORE WEEKS OF WINTER?? Cool.

In case you haven't gathered, this post is about groundhog day. Because I think it's hilarious, and pretty ridiculous. So, the O.G. groundhog has a name — Punxsutawney Phil. You probably already know this, but if he sees his shadow it means six more weeks of winter, and if he doesn't it means we get an early spring. This unlikely tradition has been going for 132 years, by the devotion of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club. They claim there has only been one groundhog this whole time who "drinks a punch" and has eternal life. The average lifespan for a groundhog is 6-8 years tho, so... you do the math.

Drama ensues when a competing groundhog starts making his own predictions. Yep, now there's Phil and Milltown Mel. Mel lives in New Jersey, and when the first Mel died in 2015 he was replaced with a new groundhog by the same name — I appreciate Milltown's transparency. Kinda reminds me of my childhood goldfish: Pocahontas, John Smith, Pocahontas 2 and John Smith 2.

This year, Mel predicted an early spring, but Phil predicted six more weeks of winter. Honestly, Mel sounds like a cooler guy. New on the scene, he's only had this groundhog job for 10 years. I wonder if Phil is feeling threatened? I mean, he's the Al Roker of groundhogs now, but that could all change if he keeps predicting long winters. On that note, USA Today reported that Punxsutawney Phil has called for more winter more than 100 years out of the 132 this thing has been going. So.. I think I'm going to cast my vote for Milltown Mel and get a spray tan. P.S. Here's a video of a groundhog biting a mayor in Wisconsin (I guess they have one too)?

OK, onto normal blogger things: I'm obsessed with this coat... and I guess I'll still be wearing it for a few weeks. This is the first year I've bought a down jacket, and I'm not sure why I waited so long! I wore it throughout our whole honeymoon in Iceland (brrr ❄️), and it's super nice that it's lightweight and warm. And fits in a cute little bag. So I highly recommend those squishy down coats — tested and approved.

Outfit details: Hat (from The Market last year, here's a similar one), Coat, Pants are ancient from J.Crew, Shoes

That's all. What do you think about groundhog day? Hopefully Phil's wrong and we get an early spring!