Saturday, December 30, 2023

27 Favorites of 2023

As you might know if you know me well, I enjoy a lot of New Year’s rituals. In the past, I’ve made a video capturing 1 second of each day of the year, and my goal setting date with Austin is an annual highlight. This year, I thought I’d do something fun in addition and share a list of my favorites of…well, anything I feel like sharing. No matter the category, these were my tippity-tops of 2023.

1. Book: Atomic Habits. So good! Planning a reread for January.

2. Household chore: Laundry

3. Hometown restaurant: Ariake. If you live it Springfield and haven’t been yet, I highly recommend it for a special occasion meal.

4. At-home recipe: Slow-Roasted Salmon with Green Olive Salsa Verde by Craving California.

5. Meal I ate out: Via Carota. Absolutely divine!

6. Concert: The Eras Tour. Probably will be my top concert of all time, tbh.

7. Song: It only feels right to pick a Taylor song, so I’ll go with I Can See You or Is It Over Now? from the vault tracks we got this year.

8. Budget Purchase/Deal: This Rag&Bone dress I got for, like, $15 in a sample sale.

9. Splurge Purchase: Our new Fellow kettle

10. Photo from my camera roll: This one

11: Something I thought was over that I returned to: My pumpkin spice tour with Stephanie! (Maybe also blogging in general?)

12. TV series: Ted Lasso

13. Movie: Barbie

14. Pet: Boris

15. Trip: NYC! Went 3 times this year, but it still wasn’t enough.

16. Math problem I solved: Using tennis balls to spell “Shine” on a wall! iykyk, haha

17. Workout: Barre high at The Studio

18. Routine: Skincare — also Sunday sheet washing

19. Nail Color: Essie’s ‘Wicked’ is the color I kept returning to

20. Drink: Oat milk latte (the year I fully converted to oat milk)

21. Home Scent: Aromatech Santal (Le Labo duuuuupe)

22: Personal Scent: I just can’t quit Glossier ‘You

23. Gift I received: A Vogue coffee table book Austin got me for Christmas

24. Little luxury: Silk pillowcases

25. App: Lapse

26. Trend: Bows! 

27. Word: Brave

Thanks for being here. Wishing you all the best and a year of ultimate favs for 2024. xx

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Our Holiday Home Decor

Happy holidays!! Man, do I love this time of year. One of the best parts, in my opinion, is decorating the house for Christmas and leaving it up until after New Years. Let's let the cozy season last as long as it possibly can!

I haven't shared as many photos of the house on here as I thought I would have by now — so is this an official home reveal?? For a little trip down memory lane, here's the house when we started our renovation and 6 months later. Four years later, I'm happy to look back on these posts as a reminder of the progress we've made! (We even have that mantle I was talking about).

Most of our holiday decor has been collected over the years; I've picked up a bit more in the last couple of years now that we have a house. I'm a huge sucker for beautiful tablescapes, so I'm hoping to find a full set of Christmas dishes once our kitchen renovation is complete. I looooove these holiday plates from Anthropologie and hope they continue carrying a version of these when I'm ready for a set.

We affectionately refer to our huge Santa canvas as "glitter Santa", and I've been toting this guy around from dorm rooms to apartments to home. It's so extra, I love it haha. I found this adorable mushroom candle this year, and it fits the vibe perfectly.

Another thing we've been collecting over the years are holiday vinyls! We have a few now, but we're always looking to add to our stash. My favorites of the ones we own are David Bazan's Dark Sacred Night and Kacey Musgraves' A Very Kacey Christmas. I'd love to hear if you have a favorite Christmas album that comes on vinyl. 🎄

For our gift wrap this year, we're going the 'brown paper packages tied up with string' route. It's cozy & cute! Our stockings are old from Anthropologie (similar here), and our little red stocking is for Boris's (our cat)!

I'm also happy to report we have a great place to display *part of!* Austin's nutcracker collection. He's been receiving these from his grandmother since he was little, and they're incredibly special to us. We're having to keep a close eye on Boris to make sure he's not trying to play with them - ha.

Ending this year feeling grateful and looking forward to a few slow-paced days as we approach 2024. Happy holidays to you & yours; thanks for reading. xx

Monday, December 4, 2023

My Favorite Cherry Red Accessories for Winter 2023

You know you’ve been properly influenced when something you’ve never liked becomes instantly and magnetically appealing. You begin to see it everywhere, and you absolutely have to have it. That’s me this season with the color red. But it’s not just any red. More specifically, it’s cherry red. It’s fire engine red. It also happens to be the Central High School home-of-the Bulldogs’ red.

A photo of cherries overlaid with a woman's feet wearing red shoes

Now, I’ve been putting on clothes for long enough to know that this color will always remind me of popping on a polo and khakis for a high school choir concert. It’s a bold color, and louder than I typically like to dress. Others can rock this red; personally, I’ll always feel like I’m swallowed by it. I’m sure this color doesn’t play well with my skin tone or it’s not part of my ‘color season’, that’s probably part of it. It’s also just, bluntly, never really been my jam.

I’ve avoided this color my whole life, but suddenly I can’t get enough of it. Or, rather, I can’t get enough of other people wearing it on the internet. That’s the thing with an “it” trend — exposure to the trend causes it to grow on you. It’s how skinny jeans started out as a walking meme and then had a good 10-year run in the fashion cycle.

Is cherry red going to be the color for 10 years? Certainly not. But sources point to it as the color right now, so I’m into it right now. It doesn’t hurt that this trend is rising during the holiday season, either, so I’m associating it with all the warm, nostalgic Christmas iconography. I’m not going to go nuts and buy a red luggage set or anything because this color has never been — and likely will never be — core to my personal style. But, while it’s here, I have my eye on some subtle ways to show my appreciation for the season’s hottest hue.

I love integrating a trend in more subtle ways, which is why this edit consists of beauty products in addition to accessories. A cherry red lip? Love it (and love that my favorite lipstick is 50% off right now). A red nail? Couldn’t be more classic. Check out my top picks for this color before some FAQ’s at the end of the post.


Image links: lipstick, shoulder bag, hair bows, sweater jacket, socks (I'm obsessed with the heat tech line from Uniqlo), hat/scarf set, "not red-y for bed" nail polish

Why is red trending?
Tbh, I’m not sure I’m the best person to answer this question, but I’ll take a stab at it. Personally, I see it as a natural evolution from the Barbie pink we went mad over this summer. There’s also plenty of evidence that fashion trends mimic our economy. This color is affordable to source and create — it’s readily (see what I did there) available in thrift stores, and it’s easily found in most brands of dye or paint.

How long is cherry red going to trend for?
Nobody can predict the future, but it’s possible cherry red sticks around as the ‘it’ color until fall of 2024. Since this trend is simply a color nonspecific to an item, it can command some staying power, unlike the viral dresses of microtrends passed. Another thing going in cherry red’s favor is that most people are styling it as a ‘pop of color’ rather than a full-on ensemble, which gives it more leeway to evolve in new and interesting ways. And seeing as we’re all Chiefs fans now, I think it could be here to stay for a bit.

Thanks for reading! xx, Ana

Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Who Makes the Best Pumpkin Spice Latte in Springfield, MO? Let's Find Out.

Once upon a time, my friend Stephanie Anderson and I embarked on an energizing journey to try all of the pumpkin spice lattes in Springfield. I can’t say we made it to every single shop, but we did try most of them, and we hailed Kingdom Coffee as the winner of that first round.

Five years and a pandemic later, we’re back, baby. These days, we have a lower tolerance for caffeine and dairy (😅), but our taste buds are still trustworthy — thank God. A few weeks ago, we did a little takeover on the Love Springfield Instagram account as we toured a handful of shops on the Ozarks Coffee Trail and sampled their fall offerings. Below are some of my thoughts on what we tried! Similar to our last round, each shop is listed alphabetically with winning PSL (*insert drum roll sound here*) revealed at the end.

Also, I’m gonna go ahead and get in front of this here: Merriam Webster doesn’t define “pumpkiny” as a real word, but imo, they’re slacking on adding that one. For the purpose of this post, we’re giving pumpkiny the respect it deserves and considering it a valid adjective. You know what it means!

Brick & Mortar Coffee

I hadn’t been to Brick and Mortar since a latte art throwdown in, like, 2015?, but I’ve seen their posts pop up on my Instagram and figured it was time for a stop-by. This creamy, subtly sweet, pumpkin-pie-in-a-cup really hit the spot. Also, a reminder that you pay on your way out vs. when you order the drink, which feels like an invitation to stay a while.

Try this one if: You’re in for the pumpkin and less for the spice

Echelon Coffee

This was my first time at Echelon and I was impressed with their menu selection and the quality of their latte. The P.S. I Love You was well-balanced, had an obvious coffee flavor to it, and was less pumpkiny than some others.

I also recommend: The Salted Maple Cold & Foamy. Out of all the cold foam coffees we tried, this one was my favorite. The foam had hints of salty and sweet (as the name suggests), which is an elite combo.

An overhead image of a pumpkin spice latte from Echelon Coffee in Springfield, MO

El Cafecito

I went for the coffee; I stayed for the food. No shade to El Cafecito’s coffee, either! Their food is just. that. good. At El Cafecito we tried the Pumpkin Spice Horchata, which was a fun take on the classic PSL. It was tasty, and I bet you could order it without the espresso shots for a decaf option and still get the general vibe of a PSL.

I also recommend: The build a tostada off of their food menu. One of the yummiest & most budget-friendly breakfast items you can get around town! They’re the real deal, and I loved trying something new to me.

Eurasia Coffee Co.

You can always count on Eurasia’s menus to have a little global twist, which I love. Their PSL offering is the Masala Pumpkin Spice Latte. Toward the end of the drink, the masala spice becomes a bit more obvious, but I’d like even more of it since it’s a more unique take on the standard! This was a goodie.

I also recommend: Their apple clove tonic (pictured below). Stephanie and I both raved about this drink: A complex blend of apple cider and cold brew, which reminded us of notes you’d expect from a cocktail more than a coffee.

The apple clove tonic from Eurasia Coffee Co. in Springfield, MO

Greenhouse Coffee + Affogato Bar

The espresso shots they pull at Greenhouse remind me of European espresso shots, like they might taste a touch stronger & more bitter than some others I’m used to? Not quite sure how else to explain it, but I was into it. This made their Pumpkin Spice Latte more espresso forward and less sweet than the others, which provided a nice depth.

Try this one if: You want your PSL to taste like coffee, first & foremost

An overhead image of a pumpkin spice latte from Greenhouse Coffee in Springfield, MO

Kingdom Coffee

Kingdom was the winner last time we tried our town’s PSLs, and it continues to impress. The top is sprinkled with a blend of autumn spices (think cloves, cinnamon, etc.) and they really add to the experience. The drink itself isn’t overly sweet, but it’s well-balanced, and it tastes the same throughout the entire drink which is appreciated.

Try this one if: You’re in for the spice and less for the pumpkin

An overhead image of a pumpkin spice latte from Kingdom Coffee in Springfield, MO

Urban Grounds Coffee + Plant Lab (Ozark, MO)

I hadn’t been here before either, and I’m glad I made the drive. Tbh, we explored a lot of things on this little adventure that we may not have otherwise tried, including the Hocus Pocus latte (if you know, you know), which was surprisingly very tasty for being purple and green. Back to the Stick Season Latte (their PSL), it was good while a bit sweeter than the others.

I also recommend: The Serrano Spice Mocha (pictured below). I’m not sure what they have up their sleeves with their upcoming winter menu, but I wouldn’t be mad about seeing that mocha stick around.

An overhead photo of a serrano spiced mocha from Urban Grounds Coffee in Ozark, MO

The Workshop (at Finley Farms, Ozark, MO)

While not technically a Springfield coffee shop, this is one of my absolute favorites. It’s located in Ozark, and the 15-minute highway drive from my house to this shop always makes me feel like I’m driving to Oz, if you could do such a thing. Their version of the PSL is the Pumpkin Butternut Latte, and the butternut comes out in the flavor as the name suggests. As butter is my favorite condiment, this one gets a yes from me.

I also recommend: Their Lavender Tea Latte, which is available year-round

An overhead image of a pumpkin spice latte from The Workshop in Ozark, MO


The Coffee Ethic

This PSL took home gold in each category: flavor, mouth feel (yes, this is an official category) and presentation. I mean, look at it — it’s adorable. But beyond the cute-factor, The Coffee Ethic is known for an exceptional coffee program, and it’s obvious from this experience. The perfect blend of pumpkin, spice, espresso, and milk!

I also recommend: Their Cider Daze Soda, BIG YUM

An overhead image of a pumpkin spice latte from The Coffee Ethic in Springfield, MO

These menus will likely stick around just a couple weeks longer, depending on when each coffee shop makes the switch to their winter specials. Get ‘em while you can, pumpkins!