Lifestyle

I am so excited to share some insider tips on all things STL! As many of you know, I love to get out and about and explore my native St. Louis and I believe you can have a blast in your own backyard. You don’t have to stray far from the Lou to find adventure.

Recently I took the boys for a St Louis staycation.   I want to share with you all the inside scoop on what to do with your kids for a fun St. Louis trip. This is a roundup of sorts. From fairytale carriage rides to rooftop cocktails by the Arch, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy in this awesome city! Here are a few of my favorite spots and activities.

Getaway near the Gateway

For our recent weekend trip downtown, we stayed in the Drury Inn and Suites situated in the heart of St. Louis. TripAdvisor named Drury as the number one hotel downtown and it’s easy to see why! Only steps away from the Gateway Arch grounds, this hotel is the perfect place to stay with family when you’re looking to plan a little getaway that offers both convenience, history and value. The Drury attracts both locals and tourists for its many unbeatable amenities. It’s in a great location for going to a Blues or Cardinals game, attending a show downtown, or simply for taking in the sites. With a recent historic renovation, Drury Inn and Suites offers a few unique architectural touches that make you feel as if you were on a luxurious vacation. For the best view in town, simply take the elevator up to the 8th floor to their new observation terrace where you can enjoy a glass of wine from the daily kickback hour and take in the sites.  Location!  Location!  Location!  

Historic Drury showing arch proximity

Speaking of wine, what really sets Drury apart from other hotels in the area is their amazing dining options. From 5:30-7pm, enjoy Drury’s Kick Back Hour with 3 free drinks (yes 3 per adult) and “snacks.” These “snacks” include chili, salad, loaded baked potatoes, hot dogs, nachos and their main dish of the night which is chicken, tacos or pasta. This is perfect for traveling with kids who aren’t great at sitting still in restaurants for too long. Just grab your food and dine in style in their elegant dining space or head to the terrace.

Drury terrace kickbackIn the morning before a big day of sightseeing, start your day off right with a healthy and delicious breakfast downstairs. At Drury, you don’t have to worry about mediocre continental breakfasts. This truly is the breakfast of champions with a massive variety of options. Indulge your sweet tooth with a stack of fresh pancakes or fuel up on something hearty likes eggs and potatoes. We made our own waffles and I enjoyed some oatmeal and yogurt with a cup of freshly brewed Kelso Bros coffee.

Drury also has a state of the art fitness center to work off those pancakes. 😉 You don’t have to miss your daily workouts while traveling.

 

If you want to save 15% off your next Drury hotel stay use the code:  HAPPY at checkout.

STL must-see sights

The St Louis Arch

Now, I’m sure if you’ve lived in St. Louis for long enough, you’ve probably been to the Arch at least more than once, but you may not be aware of some of their new and improved features.

Arch museum

Their recently renovated high-tech museum is filled with rich Lewis and Clark history and has lots of interactive, educational exhibits for kids. It’s a great place to learn the story of the Native Americans, explorers, pioneers, and rebels who made America possible. They also offer private tours which is definitely something to try if you haven’t already.

The tram ride itself takes about 4 minutes to the top and 3 minutes down.

Arch to the top

Tips to know before you go:  The best way to buy tickets is online at http://www.gatewayarch.com/buytickets. Tram rides sell out early and often, so online is the best option for purchasing.

Be prepared to go through security.

For a discount, check out the coupon here

 

The Riverboats

The St. Louis Riverboats are a great way to sightsee in a relaxing setting. It offers spectacular views of the Arch, Old Courthouse, and city skyline from the Mississippi on a replica 19th-century paddle-wheel boat. You can travel day or night.

St Louis Carriage Company

This was definitely a favorite activity with my boys, Logan and Mason! We cruised the streets of downtown in a cozy carriage led by our magnificent horse, Jett! Check him out on Facebook…he’s pretty awesome.

Drury and carriage

We made advance reservations and were picked up right outside our hotel. It was so convenient! It was a chillier day, so we were given cozy blankets upon arrival. Logan asked if he could sit up with our driver, Gina who was super friendly. She even let him take the reins for a bit!  #wesurvived lol.  

This is such a fun way to explore downtown and your kids will absolutely love it. Keep this in mind for date night too. It’s a romantic and charming way to see the sights.

Tip: You can request the Cinderella carriage too.

 Brookdale Farms

You can spend the day at Brookdale Farms.  They have events year round.  We love going in the Fall.  You buy a wristband that gets you unlimited access to the corn maze, bounce houses, hayride, kids zip line and play area, pumpkin patch, animals and more.  For an additional fee, you kids can slingshot pumpkins or do Logan’s favorite the Pumpkin chunkin!

Brookdale Farms

During the summer months, you can take a float trip or reserve a private hayride and bonfire for up to 20 people year round.

Brookdale Farms is also the home for the lantern fest along with rodeos, light shows, a balloon glow and so much more.

Mom tip:  Have your kiddos wear their old shoes so they can run free on the farm.

Brookdale pumpkins

City Museum,

If you have limited time in St. Louis, add this to the top of your list! This is a MUST for kids. This is no boring museum. The entire place is made of recycled materials including the gigantic bus on the rooftop — it’s the ultimate playground. Your kids will be begging you to stay. Mason’s favorite was the rooftop Ferris wheel and the bus and Logan’s favorite was the TEN…yes ten story slide.

City museum rooftop

 

Tip: Make sure you establish a meeting space with your kids no matter how old they are. There are so many nooks and crannies in this amazing space, so you will need it just to check in.

What to wear: I’d highly recommend wearing shorts or pants and comfortable shoes. When I took my boys, I had a dress on and flip flops…the worst possible idea because I think I flashed some kids below me on the airplane while climbing up to help Mason!

Parking: I’d recommend parking in the City Museum parking. The cost is $10 and cash only, but it’s worth it.

Children’s Garden and Botanical Gardens

I absolutely love the Botanical Gardens for its natural beauty and outdoor fun for kids. In the garden, kids can learn about plants, nature, and sustainability through hands-on activities. The park is open April-October and in the warmer months, there are plenty of opportunities to cool off in the Splash Area. Make sure in the cooler months to check out the Climatron for a toasty tropical experience.

Mo bot garden climatron

Tips:

-St Louis city and county residents get in free on Saturday and Wednesday mornings. It’s a little more crowded on these days, but it’s worth it!

-There is also an indoor kids area if it gets too hot or cold with interactive things for kids.  

-There are also splash pads during the summer months for kids who love to get in the water.  Come prepared with swimsuits and towels.

Magic House:  

This place is fun from top to bottom. My boys love the 3 story slide and the ball that makes your hair stand up. It’s also great for birthday parties!  

Tip: On the first Friday night of each month, they have family fun nights where you can get in free. For a discount coupon check out the link here

 

Big Joel’s Safari

This place is worth the trip if your kids love animals. My boys got a kick out of riding the camel and feeding the birds. You can buy a stick with peanut butter and the birds will eat it off!

Myseum

Myseum is an indoor play place perfect for rainy/extreme hot or cool days when your kids get restless. The great thing about Myseum is it’s a manageable size place to keep an eye on your kids without wondering where they ran off to. My boys favorite attraction is the Spaceship.

Tips:

-Don’t forget your socks.  Everyone must have socks or you can buy them for $2.00

-You can bring in your own food and drink.  They have an area of tables you can relax while the kids play so stock up on snacks!

Boathouse at Forest Park with paddle boats

The boathouse is a must if you are visiting St Louis. You can rent paddle boats, canoes, paddle boards or kayaks and cruise through the canals of Forest Park seeing the world’s fair museum, all kinds of birds and turtles and end up on the grand basin looking up at the beautiful art museum.  

Tip:  You can get fish and turtle food out of a coin cranked vending machine. This kept my boys entertained while we were waiting for the boats.

St Louis Zoo:  

My kids would go to the zoo every weekend if they could.  This place is a MUST.

Tip:  For parking all the local park on the street outside the zoo.  Even near turtle playground and walk over the highway bridge to save the parking fee.  If you can find Oakland and Tamm avenues, you’ll save some $$ and get to walk across the bridge above the highway.  You can also drive past the South parking entrance and past the stop sign there is free parking on the street but get there early.  

The early bird gets the worm. Tip 2: The zoo opens at 8:00. If you can get there when they open, you can go to the children’s zoo, pet the stingrays and ride the carousel for FREE. These are all typically paid exhibits. This is a hidden gem, so make sure to set your alarm and make the most of the freebies.  This is also for the last hour the zoo is open each day.  

Don’t miss the Tiki Fruiti hut with cored out pineapple with Pineapple whip.  Sooo refreshing. One of the only places besides Disney World that serves this tasty treat.  

Tip: One of our favorite spots to picnic in all of St Louis is Art Hill so after you leave the Zoo I recommend picnicking on Art Hill and you can watch the paddle boats cruise around the grand basin.

 

Eckert’s Family Farm

My family loves going to Eckert’s. It’s across the river in Belleville IL, but totally worth the trip. Our favorite activity is taking the tractor to the fields to pick fruit. Depending on the season, you can pick strawberries, blackberries, peaches, vegetables, flowers, apples, pumpkins and more. They have a massive market where you can buy produce and many other food items already made.

We also LOVE going to the country restaurant.  They serve fried biscuits with fresh apple butter that are off the charts amazing.  They are worth the trip alone!!! (Promise)

Grant’s Farm

This is a must for animal lovers! On the tram ride, you’ll see bison, deer, geese, and ostrich.

Once your at the end, you can walk through animal shows, ride the carousel and feed the baby goats.  You can get a fun pass for your kids: 2 goat bottles or food, carousel ride, and a snow cone for $6.  

The courtyard transports you to a German town center. There are free Anheuser Busch samples at the food and drink pavilion.  I tried the Golden Light and it was perfection.

This attraction offers free admission, but you pay $12 for parking unless you want to park at Gravois and McNary and take a 5-10 minute walk to the entrance. On nice days this is a good option since there’s a lot of traffic waiting to get into the parking lot.

 

St Louis Science Center

The Science Center is fun and educational experience for kids (and adults) of all ages and many of the exhibits are free! We love seeing shows at The Imax Theatre. It’s such a treat. My boys especially love the outdoor Grow exhibit where they can climb in an actual combine, see chickens, and get an idea of what it’s like to milk a cow. Important life skills, people.

My boys also like to walk across the bridge that goes over highway 40.  You can wave at cars below and see how fast they are driving.

Admission is free but some special exhibits have a fee.  In the discovery room, your kids can play and explore in a room full of fun hands-on attractions to keep them entertained. They only allow a limited number of kids in at once and have all sorts of exhibits.

For discounts check out the link here

Laumeier Sculpture Park

This park is an exciting treasure hunt. There are so many interesting sculptures to check out. My family loves the trails and all the interesting gems to see along the way.  

Tip: Print out a map of the trails and a scavenger hunt here

City Garden

This city garden has so many unique and fun sculptures the kiddos can climb on.  My boys loved the waterfalls and walking over the water path…never mind Mason put his foot in the water and completely submerged his foot.  

If you want to get a description of the sculptures and do a fun audio tour, you can get the info here.

St Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium,

At Centerfield, there is a family pavilion for kids 12 and under where they have a massive jungle gym to climb on, a virtual reality game to play, Yadi bobblehead to get some pics with, radar guns, and a soft play area for little kiddos.  

Fred Bird photo ops are in the Family Pavilion from 1st pitch to the bottom of the 2nd.  

The family pavilion also has their own kid meals with milk, apple juice and kid-friendly food that you will not get at other parts of the park, so make sure you get your kids the food at this concession stand if they are picky eaters like my boys.  

Tip: If it’s not a busy game and if you don’t mind sitting separate or if there are only two of you, you can get 1st pitch tickets through the ticket lottery the day of for $5.50 for TWO tickets. This could be fun if you just want to take your kids for the experience but don’t plan on sitting in the seats.

Here’s the scoop:  The ticket window opens at 9:00 am. You buy two tickets for $5.50 and then come back at first pitch and are handed an envelope to see where your seats are.  They can be anywhere in the arena.

For other discount, promotions check out the link here.

The Muny

The Muny is an iconic outdoor theatre in Forest Park that offers amazing Broadway shows from mid-June to mid-August. I love exposing my kids to the arts and The Muny is a pressure-free way as a mom to kids

Tip: You can always picnic around the theatre, bring icy towels to stay cool,

If your not sure how your kids will like it try the free seats first to test it out but bring binoculars.  

Transportation Museum

This museum is super fun if your kids are into all things trains, planes, and automobiles. They even have a little room called Creation Station filled with train tables. You must purchase tickets for this and times fill up fast, it’s best to book ahead.  

My boys love the miniature train outside that lets you ride around the property.  Check out groupon.com for discounts. 

Where to get good grub in the Lou:

Sugarfire at the Boathouse in Forest Park

Fitz’s Root Beer in the Loop

The Fountain on Locust

Bailey’s Range

Dewey’s Pizza

St Louis foods you must try while in St Louis.  

Imo’s St Louis style pizza

Toasted Ravioli

Gooey Butter Cake

Ted Drewes Frozen Custard

These are all our favorite spots.  Tell me what you love in St. Louis.
We want to say a huge thanks for all the businesses who partnered with us to bring you this post.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.

XOXO  Sarah~

To see other fun trips with kids check them out here:
Branson Mo
Cape Girardeau, MO
Nashville TN
Gulf Shores AL

So, I have this thing with wall murals. I drive around the city during the work day and love stumbling upon big, bright and colorful works of art. There are so many unique murals in St. Louis and it’s always a fun surprise to come across new ones. Here are some of my favorites along with where to find them next time you’re in the city in search of some great street art!

Peacock pianist 

The Grove.  Manchester Avenue St. Louis, MO

St. Louis wall mural in The Grove

Greetings from St Louis

The Garcia Properties building at 3537 Kingshighway St Louis Mo  63139

Greetings from St. Louis wall mural

 

Psychedelic vibes on Cherokee 

STyLe House Cherokee and Compton 3159 Cherokee St. St Louis Mo 63118

Colorful wall mural in St. Louis

This way to antiques

 The Little Shop Around the Corner 4474 Castleman  St Louis Mo 63110

Antiques in St. Louis

 

Color me happy

SOHA Art gallery 4915 Macklind Ave St Louis Mo 63109

Soarin’ in STL

Koho Boutique 5433 Hampton Ave St Louis MO 63109

Nashville wings in St. louis

Little birdie

The intersection of Macklind and Sutherland in SOHA neighborhood. 

A true triumph

In between The moto museum and Triumph Grill. 3441 Olive St. St Louis MO 63103

Pantone perfection

Right by SLU and FOX. Turn right down the alley before getting to The Best Steakhouse 516 N Grand Blvd.  63103

Catch ya later in the Lou!

Lou Realty Group, 4600 Loughborough Ave. 63116

I’ll keep you in the loop

THe Loop.  Delmar Blvd, University City, MO 63130

 

Groovy murals in The Grove

Rad robo

‘Nest’led in the grove

Bird mural in St. Louis

Cute cardinal 

Cardinal mural in the grove

Grab some grub in the groove

Life’s a beach

 

 

 

Back in the day, I was all about taking trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic with my girlfriends. Now, I’m lucky if I can break away for one afternoon. That’s why I was over the moon with excitement when I discovered Ameristar in St. Charles. I immediately called my girlfriends.  

The goal was simple: find a spot with a pool, spa, good food, tasty cocktails, shopping and nightlife. What we stumbled upon exceeded our expectations with the hidden gem Ameristar. Now, I know Ameristar is really no “secret” to St. Louisans…I mean everyone knows it’s there. It’s hard to overlook the glitzy building stationed across the St. Charles river. The reason I call it a “hidden gem” is because of the unexpected surprises offered to visitors. I would have never considered going to a casino for the weekend, but Ameristar is the perfect destination for fun girls getaway with everything you could ever possibly want and need for a stress-free St. Louis staycation.

I’m going to be sharing my experience staying at Ameristar and my top recommendations for a carefree and luxurious getaway. Just grab your girls, your favorite pair of shades, and a bathing suit. Get dad to take the kids on for a couple days and get ready to have some fun. No passport necessary.

Ameristar St Charles

 

Unwind at the Ara Spa

Ara spa

Named by St. Louis Magazine as one of the best spas in Missouri, Ara spa is truly a magical place that creates a personalized experience for each one of its guests. Ara offers VIP treatments, a luxurious steam room, sauna, hydro-pool, fitness center, Vichy Shower, spa boutique and two pools which we’ll touch on in a bit. You don’t have to book a room at the Ameristar in order to enjoy a day at the spa. Just book a treatment, and you’ll have open access to all spa amenities and pool for the entire day.

Ara spa

Ara flip flops hydropool

There are several relaxing treatments to choose from at Ara spa, but I decided to go with the soothing Dream Weaver and Seasonal Body Treatment. The Dream Weaver was a calming 25-minute hot oil head and face massage. The nourishing oils were used to gently massage my forehead, temples, and scalp relieving me of some tension and congestion I was experiencing earlier that week. The oil used contained keratin which is great for dry hair (which I have) and helps to smooth and bring out a healthy shine. A cooling eucalyptus towel was placed on my forehead as well which I learned can easily be made at home when you need a little zen time to decompress. Simply take a clean cool towel and apply 10% oil and 90% water and voila!

Shortly after the dreamy Dream Weaver, I went in for my Seasonal Treatment in the Vichy Shower. The treatment is broken up into three steps. First, you receive a scrub which is like a facial, but for your entire body which is then rinsed with the Vichy’s seven relaxing shower heads. In the second phase, a mask is applied and then covered with a warming blanket. A foot massage is also offered. Finally for the third step, you’ll receive a moisturizing treatment for your whole body. The whole experience took about 50 minutes and was absolutely amazing. 

My girlfriends opted for facials and massages.  They have so many options.

For lunch at the spa, we had some refreshing champagne, an assortment of fine cheeses, crackers, sausages, fresh fruits, a variety of hummus and veggies with grilled pita, yogurt parfait, a grilled chicken salad and a platter of chocolate covered strawberries and homemade banana bread. We enjoyed our mid-day meal inside the spa and our healthy and delicious treats were delivered by Falcon Diner, one of the many restaurants inside Ameristar.

Spa lunch

To make a day out of it, I recommend arriving early before your appointment and utilizing the state of the art fitness facility to squeeze in a little workout before heading into full on relaxation mode. Then, slip into your robe and slippers and unwind in the steam room, sauna or hydrotherapy tubs. You can also sit and relax in their waiting room and chat with friends, read or just decompress with a cold eucalyptus towel. They seriously smell like heaven.

Pamper yourself by the pool

When I first caught glimpse of the Ameristar pool, I thought for a moment that I might be at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. It was as if I had stepped into a European courtyard, only it was hot and I couldn’t wait to catch some rays and sip on some frozen cocktails.

Ameristar Pool

 

Pool side couch

Ameristar offers two gorgeous pools, one indoor and one outdoor and both are heated so that you can treat yourself to a swim rain or shine, summer or fall. There are no kids allowed after 6 pm or on weekends so, if you plan to make this getaway a truly relaxing occasion, worry not. Screaming babies and frequent cannonballs are replaced with adult conversation and tropical beverages. If you’re feeling adventurous and fancy a dip in the deep end, you can jam out to your favorite tunes underwater with the pool’s advanced speaker system or doggy paddle back and forth between the indoor and outdoor sections.

STL Staycation at the Ameristar

Ameristar pool #poolside

On Sundays, Ameristar hosts something called Liquid Society during summer months which is as big and bougie as it sounds. Liquid Society is essentially a giant Las Vegas-esque pool party where you can hang out with friends and enjoy the pool amenities. It’s fabulous.

If it’s full-on luxury you crave, you can rent a poolside cabana for the day starting at $100 which includes a fridge to store pina coladas, complementary sparkling fruit infused water, and those heavenly eucalyptus towels. You can also order from the spa and pool’s enormous menu with specialty dishes prepared by Chef Josh and Chad who we got to meet on our trip. Some of their most popular items include the Impossible Burger, a 100% vegan treat that’s quickly becoming one of the trendiest modern dishes in the food industry. I am not a vegan and this was just downright delicious. The menu also includes flatbreads, wraps, salads and dessert items. The bar offers lighter bites for poolside snacking. The Fruit Platter drizzled in decadent honey sauce was a favorite of mine as well as their savory Chicken Spinach Salad with homemade strawberry vinaigrette. And what native St. Louisan could pass up Gooey Butter Cake for dessert? Yum!

Poolside lunch in bento boxes

Girls pool side much Ameristar

 

 

Stay the night in one of Ameristar’s dreamy hotel rooms

Hotel ameristar

I would highly recommend booking a reservation for one of the casino’s beautiful hotel rooms even for just a night. The standard room is spacious and elegant. Walk in and to the left, you’ll see a full sized bathroom with a tub, shower, double vanities and a TV…yeah a TV in the bathroom to watch your favorite shows while you get ready for a night out! There’s also a living room complete with a mini fridge, cute seating area and a window with full view of the Ara pool. Upon arrival, we were brought bottles of chilled wine and chocolate covered strawberries which was a nice touch.

One of the best reasons to stay a night (or two) at Ameristar is the opportunity to enjoy the sites around St. Charles in the most convenient way. The hotel offers a trolley service which makes several stops around the area including Main Street, St. Charles where you enjoy a day of shopping and sightseeing around the historic and charming little town. You can also spend a few hours riding bikes on the famous Katy Trail if you’re looking for a little outdoor fun. Across the highway, there’s a movie theater and tons of restaurants and boutiques at the Streets of St. Charles. You’ll never run out of things to do!

Ameristar hotel #vacay #hotel

Wine (or sake) and dine in one of Ameristar’s fabulous restaurants

I cannot begin to tell you how impressed I was with the dining options at Ameristar. Everything was simply exquisite. St. Louis foodies will love the artistry and complexity of each carefully prepared dish. While there are endless delicious options to choose from, I’m going to highlight what I ate on the trip.

Asia Ameristar

To say the chefs at Ameristar are passionate about great food, would be an understatement. Each dish is inventive and modern and incorporates high-quality ingredients that are both locally sourced and nutritious. For our first dinner at Ameristar, we choose Asia, a restaurant that takes you through a culinary excursion with exceptional dishes from all around the far east. Everything from the wok-tossed noodles to the fresh sushi rolls are made authentically. Asia takes pride in their sous chef who spent years mastering his culinary craft in several Asian countries like Japan, China, Korea and Thailand.

We began our trip through Asia with some bubble tea followed by what they call a “Sake Flight” where we were able to sample three different kinds of sake which was super fun. One of their most popular sakes is called The Wandering Poet. I preferred a smooth blend called The Snow Maiden which incorporated a unique and flavorful combination of honey dew and pumpkin. We then moved on to some tasty appetizers. From their extensive menu, we opted for the famous must try Wonton Wrappers, Crab Rangoon and Eel Sushi Rolls. For our main entrees, we went with Hong Kong Noodle Lemongrass Chicken, Szechaun Style Beef, Salt and Pepper Shrimp and a sea bass dish that looked like a piece of art on a plate. We were offered warm hand towels before and after our incredible meal and the atmosphere and ambience was both pleasant and exciting.

Asia Bubble tea

 

Asia appetizers

Side note on Asia: The restaurant is open until 2am on weekends so if you’re looking for a five star quality meal late at night, this is the place to go!

Asia Ameristar

sake flight

Start your day right with a memorable breakfast at Falcon Diner

As a busy working mom who spends most of her mornings sipping a smoothie on the go, indulging in a big breakfast is a real treat for me. The Falcon Diner offered more than just great grub. It was an experience. This isn’t your typical side of the road pit-stop. It is a bit retro, but it’s elevated and somewhat elegant in both its chic Art-Deco interiors and presentation of food. We were excited to get a visit with Chef Chad.  

We decided to go all out with the Chicken and Waffle Tower which included cheddar bacon waffles, fried chicken, and a yes, you guessed it, a tower of onion rings topped with a sweet bourbon maple syrup. To complement this hearty meal, I also ordered a power bowl (I’m obsessed with granola) and a decadent salted caramel oatmeal brulee. Is your mouth watering yet? While I would have liked to try everything on the menu, I was stuffed to say the least, but their farm fresh quiche and loaded skillets definitely caught my eye.

chicken and waffle tower Falcon diner

power bowl Falcon diner

Chef Chad stopped by our table for a quick chat where he made sure that we were having a great time. With mouths stuffed with bourbon maple waffles, we simply smiled and nodded our heads in delighted appreciation. Chad’s determined to make every visitor’s experience memorable and I don’t think he needs to worry.

 

If you’re looking for a place within driving distance of St. Louis where you can just get away for a bit, Ameristar is the destination for you. It’s Disneyland for adults combining three of my favorite things: amazing food, shopping and relaxing with friends! You can also make it a romantic getaway for two.  It’s a great way to vacation without getting on a plane or dropping thousands of dollars on a Mexico beach trip. My younger globe-trotting self is nodding in approval. I was able to save more money and enjoy myself without the guilt of being away for too long from my kids.

***I was thrilled to partner with Ameristar on this post but all thoughts and opinions are my own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life gets busy and it’s easy to get overwhelmed especially now that lazy days by the pool are being replaced with manic mornings getting the kids ready for school. But, for some moms, September is the silent savior they’ve been patiently waiting for. Instead of biting your nails with anxiety like you did in junior high, you now sigh with relief when you hear the words, “back to school.” It’s different for every mom depending on your lifestyle, work, and the age of your kids, but chances are, no matter what situation you’re in, you could use a little time for more self-care.

walking-in-the-forest

Being Mindful

Fall is a great time to practice positive habits and daily rituals that give us the zest for life we crave and deserve. It’s important to stop and be mindful of what’s going on in our day to day and develop an awareness. In order to spend more time doing the things you love and less time being overwhelmed, you have to know what causes unhealthy stress and what makes you feel happy and fulfilled.

A few months ago, I hosted a Mother’s Day fundraiser brunch for first grade moms at my son’s school where we talked about work- life balance and the ongoing juggle struggle between kids and self-care. As part of a fun exercise, I had each mom write a letter to themselves with a summer goal (all self-care related) and I collected them all up to send back at the end of August. I partnered with Gladly Designs to create some pretty note cards the moms could use to jot down their personal goals. This could include anything from restorative yoga to MNO happy hour.

I decided that this summer, I would commit to some “me” time since it is so hard to find time to yourself when the kids are out of school. I made a plan to meet regularly with my health coach, try out a new yoga class (I love the quiet zen time!), float in a float tank, and get at least one facial for some much needed pampering and relaxation.

This exercise was challenging for some of the moms since it had been a while since they had the time to do something for themselves. Moments of downtime for busy moms are few and far between so, it’s tempting to take those rare hours of solitude to get ahead on work and cross off other housekeeping to-do’s. Rarely does float tank session make the list. As summer comes to an end, it’s important to prioritize health and well-being in order to feel restored and revitalized for the beginning of a new season.

Putting the ‘self’ back in self-care

Self-care is word that’s often overused nowadays with it being such a trendy topic on social media. Remember, self-care is about doing what’s right for you. Sometimes self-care can be as simple as quieting your mind for a few minutes with a glass of wine away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. It doesn’t necessarily have to involve a high-energy fitness activity or stressing out over a complicated vegan recipe you found on Pinterest. For me, journaling is a quick and easy way to find some peace. I like to reflect on my day and write down what I’m grateful for and looking forward to in the coming weeks and months. If your self-care routine ends up feeling more like a chore, it’s not fulfilling its purpose. Find activities that make you feel good!

relaxing spa in STL

Mom to mom: a few self-care routines to add to your autumn bucket list

As a working mom with a hectic schedule, I’m here to suggest some self-care activities that won’t leave you feeling even more exhausted than before you started them! Find some calm in your busy life and embrace Fall with open arms as a new and refreshed you!

yoga blogger

Try a meditation app or podcast

Meditation can do wonders for the brain and soul. It’s no easy task to empty the mind completely, but once you get into a flow, you’ll find just how restorative it can be. Apps like Rituals and Headspace are great for those of us with things to do and places to be. Simply pop in some headphones during your morning walks or even on your commute for a guided, easy to follow stress-free session. For those who struggle with meditation, opt for a new audiobook or binge-worthy, inspirational podcast. I love listening to Goal Digger, How I Built This, and The Influencer Podcast while I’m working out, taking a walk, tidying up the house or driving in the car. For busy bookworms, I recommend Girl Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis.

Wake up earlier than the kids to do something you love!

I’m not suggesting that you wake up at the crack of dawn to get work done or get in that mile run before the sun comes up. Wake up a little bit earlier so that you have some time to yourself to simply ‘be.’ Sit in bed with some morning coffee, make a delicious breakfast or flip through the pages of St Louis magazines you never have time to read. Take a brisk walk as the weather gets chillier and enjoy the quiet morning calm before the storm.

Take a mini vacay with friends

Now, this one might be a bit harder to do with kids and busy schedules, but I highly recommend doing this at least once a year! Plan a mini solo vacay or getaway with friends over a weekend where you can decompress and indulge in a little R&R. It can also be incredibly empowering to go solo and do things your own way. You call the shots, you create the itinerary. You don’t have to travel too far either! Make it a staycation by staying local. Plan a spa weekend, an outdoor adventure or simply a couple nights in nice hotel with room service and a kid-free evening to enjoy a Netflix binge-a-thon. I recently took a little weekend trip to Ameristar with one of my girlfriends where we lounged by their luxurious pool and relaxed at the spa.

float tank #selfcare #spa

Try something new

I always look forward to new things I have not experienced before! Experiencing new things is a major thrill for me. Try something unique and unforgettable like a trapeze exercise class, sipping on a new drink from a coffee shop you’ve never been to or detoxing in an infrared sauna.

In a world where we’re always “on”, it can be difficult to slow down and just breathe. Add kids, work and other adult responsibilities to the mix and we’re left with very little time to focus on ourselves, but holding yourself accountable and making a real commitment to self-care will prove worth it in the long run. What commitments will you make this Fall?

 

The ultimate packing list when renting a beach condo 

 

Beach Items:

Beach Bag
Beach Towels
Sunscreen
Hat
Sunglasses
Kid glasses
Swimsuits, a couple in case they need to dry
Soft cooler
Snacks
Goggles
Beach shoes/flip flops
Waterproof pouch for your phone.
Beach Balls/Toys/Sandcastle supplies/water guns/nets/mask and snorkel
Magazines
Water bottles
Scarfs to tie as a sarong
Boogie Board

 

Kitchen Supplies

Paper Plates and Cups
Dishwasher pods, one for each day
Trash Bags, one for each day
Coffee and supplies

 

Rainy Day Activities

Games, cards, legos, art supplies
Travel Booking information and contact numbers

 

The evening’s on the beach

Flashlights or headlamps (hands-free),  nets, buckets

 

Staying accountable to self-care over the summer.

Hey ladies.  I feel like I need a vacation from my vacation after being with my boys non-stop for 10 days.  We had so much fun but I’m exhausted.  Since a vacation is not possible my goal this week is all about self-care.  Can anyone relate?

Beach Vacay, Gulf Shores

A few weeks back I co-hosted a brunch for some other 1st-grade mom friends.  I wanted to have an activity that encouraged these moms to engage in a little self-care over the summer. As hectic as mom life is all year ‘round, somehow the summer months always seem to be the most frantic of all. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, you’re suddenly tasked with entertaining your school-aged kids all day, every day—no easy task! And if you’re a working mom, it’s a challenge; I literally made a spreadsheet of what camps Logan will be at each week. You’ve got to schedule camps, sitters, and activities to fill all those hours your kids used to be in school while you’re at work so they are not plugged into the TV all day!

Gladly designs

With all that madness going on, it’s so easy to put ourselves last. Many of us can’t remember the last time we took five minutes to decompress and just, well, think our thoughts. With that in mind, I partnered with Gladly Designs to create a stack of beautiful note cards for my event. Then, at the brunch, I handed a card to each mom and asked her to write down at least one personal goal she wanted to complete over the summer or a self-care task that she’d like to accomplish. Maybe that’s meeting up for a summer MNO happy hour, going to yoga, or getting a pedicure; whatever their goal was, I asked the moms to write it on their card, address it to themselves.

Gladly designs

Gladly designs

The activity was a challenge for some and fun for others.  I loved hearing what they are willing to commit to doing for themselves. At the end of the summer, I’ll mail each of the moms her card so she’ll get a chance to check in with herself and see if she completed her task. I can only hope that they all do.

My question for you is:  What self-care do you want to commit to doing for yourself this summer?  You deserve it.  Here are a few of mine:

Meet with my health coach
Try a new yoga class
Float in a float tank
Get a facial

Thank you to Gladly designs for partnering on this activity.  To see all her amazing design work check out the Etsy shop here and be sure to sign up for a discount coupon on your first order.

Below are a few things she designed for the party and if you missed the brunch details check them out here.

Gladly Designs

Gladly Designs

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Stikwood focal wall

Looking for an easy way to spruce up a boring wall?  Stikwood tiles is the perfect solution!   This easy DIY Stikwood Tile Focal Wall tutorial is the perfect way to transform a blank wall into a masterpiece.

A couple weeks ago I reached out to Stephanie Pohlman @stephniepohlmandesigns to discuss some spring updates for my home.  I definitely wanted to paint my front door, but also wanted Stephanie’s suggestions for a few more updates. Stephanie had made an Instagram post about these amazing wood focal walls she had done.  So, I asked her to bring some samples. As soon as I saw them in-person, I became obsessed, and knew this was the perfect product for my spring refresh!

Check out the before and after photos.

Before photo:

Living room before

After photos with the Stikwood tiles.

Stikwood wall

Stikwood is a peel-and-stick wood plank product that’s made from reclaimed lumber.  The company was started by Jerry and Laura McCall of Sacramento, California in 2012.  Jerry is a master woodworker, so the couple wanted to combine his skills with Laura’s creative vision to make an eye-catching décor product that also reuses natural resources.

Most U.S. family rooms have large flat screen TVs that dominate a wall.  While our family room has a mantle and fireplace directly under the TV, I still wanted another element that would direct visitor’s eyes away from the entertainment component.   

Stikwood was the perfect product!

Stikwood wall

While paint and wallpaper can add a perceived texture to walls, what I like best about Stikwood, is it adds physical texture which can’t be achieved with other products.  Monochromatic is very popular now in interior design, so that’s why I chose white to go with our mantle, and a herringbone design to make a big statement.  Go to Stikwood’s website to check out the wide variety of colors and textures available, all of which will add a lot of “wow” factor to your living space.  Stikwood has also been featured on HGTV’s show Property Brothers.  Stikwood products can only be purchased on the company’s website http://www.stikwood.com

Stikwood wall

While Stikwood is a D.I.Y. product, my obsession with herringbone required professional help to make it happen.  I chose to hire a local contractor to install it because I herringbone requires a lot of precise cutting, especially around windows and mantles.  If you live in the St. Louis metro area, I highly recommend One and Done Contracting. Their customer service and attention to detail were amazing!  Check out the time lapse video below to see the crew work their magic.

I was ecstatic with how everything turned out!  Plus, Stephanie helped me add some small details like new pillows, blanket ladder, ottomans and a fun chair that updated and pulled the room together.  It’s totally magazine-worthy room by my favorite designer Stephanie Pohlman.

Stikwood wall Stikwood wall

If you’re building or remodeling a home in the St. Louis area contact Stephanie to schedule a consultation.

Stephanie Pohlman Design: Phone: (314) 954-5095 

DEAL ALERT–Stephanie is offering a special for you to update any of your rooms with a:

1-hour consultation, mood board and links to items to purchase for your room for $125, just mention SarahOutandAbout

IG: @StephaniePohlmanDesigns | FB: StephaniePohlmanDesigns

If you want to get to know Stephanie better check out my mom to mom post on Stephanie.

One and Done Contracting: Phone: (314) 743-6657 | FB: OneAndDoneContracting

   

 

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Meet Stephanie Pohlman from Stephanie Pohlman Designs.
Stephanie has helped me design my entire home.  I love working with her because she designs for spaces that need to be, not only beautiful, but functional for my entire family.  Having two boys doesn’t mean I have to sacrifice on style.

Stephanie Pohlamn Designs

My name is Stephanie Pohlman, and I grew up in Saint Charles, MO!  Ever since “Trading Spaces” and “While you were out” aired on TLC in 2000, I have been obsessed with interior design. I went to Mizzou to follow my passion to be a designer and graduated in 2012. I worked for another designer and a builder before having my baby girl in January of 2017, which led me to start my own business.  After having my daughter, I realized I needed to have more flexibility and control my work hours.  I am married to my best friend, Matt and we have one little girl, Rey who is 15 months old!

Social handles:

IG: StepaniePohlmanDesigns
FB: Pohlman Designs on Facebook
Email: spohlmandesigns@gmail.com

Why/When did you start your Stephanie Pohlman Designs?

In 2016, I was working for a custom home builder part time and decided to start Stephanie Pohlman Designs on the side for some extra cash. After having my baby girl in January 2017, I decided it was the right time to start my business full time to allow for more flexibility with my work schedule. I gave it a shot in May of 2017, and it’s thrived ever since!

What are your favorite things about designing client homes?  

I love to see their reaction when my vision comes to life. My favorite is when my clients let me design while they are gone for the day and come home to a finished product. Receiving a text saying how much they love it, makes all the hard work so worth it! I can easily say I never dread a day of work. I mean I get to shop for a living, it’s pretty much a dream!

What’s the biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge is the very beginning of a job, trying to pinpoint my client’s style exactly. Everyone has something different they want for their own home, and it’s my job to figure that out!

Where do you get your inspiration?

I follow a lot of interior designers on Instagram and love to browse Pinterest. A lot of times, I will be walking through the aisles of Home Goods before I come up with my ideas.

Who are your favorite designers?

Ahh, this is a tough one! Of course, I love Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. Who doesn’t? On Instagram, I am obsessed with Studio McGee. Her style is probably more modern than my own, but I love it!

Mom Questions:

How do you balance work and family? 

I try to remove myself from work after 5 and on the weekends, but of course, that isn’t always easy with owning a business. Luckily, my clients are all very understanding and let me choose family first if anything ever comes up. Otherwise, I just make time in the evenings and weekends to spend time with her and my husband.

What are qualities you try and role model for your kids?

I want her to see that you can follow your dream and make a living doing what you truly love!  I also try to live a healthy lifestyle by exercising and staying active.

What would you tell your younger self? 

To take more business classes! Haha

Who inspires you?

My mom, she’s my biggest cheerleader!

The advice you’d give to other working moms?

To try to remove yourself from work while you are with your kiddos, even though I am guilty of this sometimes. We need to embrace every second with them because time flies!

Personal Questions:  

What is your guilty pleasure? 

Reality TV, especially Big Brother and the Bachelor/Bachelorette!

What do you put in your coffee?  

Natural Vanilla Creamer.

Favorite beauty tip?

Drink lots of water. 😊

Favorite beauty product?

Anyone who really knows me, knows I am not very good with makeup or beauty products.  So any advice here is welcome! Haha

What is one thing you cannot go to bed without doing?

Brushing my teeth and washing my face.

Best place in the world you have been?  Bucket List travel spot?

Jamaica for my honeymoon was absolutely beautiful. Australia is on my bucket list!

 

Read the other mom to mom questions here.

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Mom’s night out, Fashion talk

After the selfie scavenger hunt we went to the bistro at Nordstrom for a special spring trends presentation by Amber Kemp, the Nordstrom personal stylist.

Amber discussed two topics:

  • Spring trends and pieces to add to your wardrobe
  • A wardrobe staple checklist everyone should invest in.

Amber Kemp Nordstrom personal stylist

If you have not shopped with Amber, you’re missing out.  Her services at Nordstrom are totally free.  She’s a major time-saver because when you work with her she’ll find out what you’re looking for ahead of time, and have everything ready for you in the fitting room.

If you love to shop (but don’t have the time), hate shopping or need help putting outfits together…Amber is your girl.  I’d highly suggest booking an appointment.  She assists people shopping for:

  • Special events
  • Weddings,
  • Finding seasonal updates,
  • Entire wardrobe overhauls
  • Work Trips
  • Vacations
  • Even help to find the perfect pair of denim.

You can even bring in pieces from home you don’t know how to wear, and she’ll help you.  If you’re in the St Louis area, just call her to schedule an appointment:  (314) 452-6589.  Or you can reach her via email: Amber.R.Kemp@nordstrom.com

Amber talked about runway trends for spring that can be turned into wearable pieces for busy on-the-go moms.  When added to a wardrobe, these items make for some fresh updates.  In addition, she shared a short list of wardrobe staples everyone should invest in.

Here’s what’s hot for spring:

  1.  Monochromatic- wearing the same color head-to-toe (all white, all black or all denim), and accessorizing with color.
  2. Pattern mixing- mixing up florals, gingham plaids, and stripes.
  3. A dramatic sleeve
  4. Sheer pieces

My favorite spring trends

 

Staple wardrobe pieces everyone should have:

  1. Classic blazer- perfect for work with a skirt or weekends with distressed jeans and pumps.
  2. White T-shirt- fitted so you can layer or a loose one if wearing alone.
  3. White jeans- lighter wash denim for spring, (try different pairs on to get a good fit and thickness).
  4. Long sleeve basic reversible t-shirt
  5. Bermuda shorts- substitute for what you would wear pants with.  Also try with pumps in summer, or with a blazer.
  6. Denim jacket- always good to have both a fitted and loose one, depending on what you’re wearing.

Here are some of my favorite wardrobe staples here:

While Amber was updating us on spring trends and wardrobe staples we were sipping wine and indulging with our Bissingers gummy pandas. A big thank you to Nordstrom and Amber for orchestrating a fantastic talk and for the beauty bag and for Bissinger’s spoiling us with amazing sweet treats.

Nordstrom spring trends

Nordstrom spring trends

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The winner of the selfie scavenger hunt were these two teams.  Congratulations ladies!  You win Nordstrom gift cards to do some shopping and Bissinger’s truffles.  Enjoy.

Nordstrom spring trends

Selfie Scavenger Hunt

What a fun night.  I had so much fun meeting you all.  What was your favorite part of the night?  Who is ready for another Mom’s night out?

A big thanks to Amber Kemp for putting together an amazing presentation and our sponsors Nordstrom and Bissinger’s.  I appreciate your generosity.   All thoughts are my own.  XOXO

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