Hot Spots

Visit: Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn, Cottages & Spa (+ recipe!)

Ever feel like you need to get away? Life has gotten the best of me lately, so I was well-aware I needed a break. Cue Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn, Cottages and Spa.

Hermann, MO, located about 90 minutes from Saint Louis, is famous for the Hermann Wine Trail, a stretch of highway featuring wineries, breweries and distilleries. I’ve heard great things about them all, but the gem of the city is Hermann Hill.

When you check into the Inn, you’ll find yourself with the one-on-one service you’d expect to see in a quaint town. The Inn directors make sure you’re aware of all of the amenities (you know, fresh soup in the afternoon, a Margarita bar, homemade pizza, turn down service…), along with welcoming you to your room with a tray of wine, cheese, fresh baked bread and grapes.

My room, the Port, overlooked the small vineyard, and featured a fireplace, jacuzzi tub and steam shower with a rainforest head. Can you see why I didn’t leave the room?

If the coziness of the room isn’t enough for you, maybe the hand delivered, homemade cookies, ice cream and famous raspberry port sauce will be.

Still not convinced? Wait until you wake up to breakfast in bed. Pick from six delicious, fresh options the night before to be delivered to your room between 9-10. I got the savory scrambled egg casserole with potatoes and an orange marmalade muffin, and holy cow was it delicious. PLUS – the recipe for these amazing orange marmalade muffins is below!

It wouldn’t be a true getaway without a visit to the spa. I enjoyed a 60 minute massage and 30 minute facial (a first!) after checking out. It’s a bit pricey, but sometimes you have to just treat yo’ self.

Every single person needs to take 24 hours to themselves and visit Hermann Hill. Then, come back with your man. Or your girlfriends. Or your dog, because they’re welcome, too!

Orange Marmalade Muffins (via Hermann Hill Inn & Village)

  • 2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1-1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 c. granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 c. (16oz) dairy sour cream
  • 1/2 c. orange marmalade
  • 2-1/2 tbsp. Butter, melted
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla

Mix flour, baking powder and sugar together in a large mixing bowl. Combine eggs, sour cream, orange marmalade, butter and vanilla. Pour egg mixture over flour mixture; mix until smooth. Spoon batter into well-greased 3-inch muffin cups, filling cups 2/3 full. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 20 minutes or until lightly brown. Remove from pan. Yield: 2 to 2 1/2 dozen muffins.

st. louis

SoCo Living

One of the best things about St. Louis is our diverse neighborhoods. Soulard boasts one of the largest Mardi Gras celebrations outside of NOLA; the Hill has some of the best Italian food you will ever taste. In the county, however (the city of St. Louis and county are separated, in case you didn’t know) these “neighborhoods” tend to have a much more varying split of opinions. Ballwin and Rock Hill are both ranked highly in “best areas to live in polls.” Clayton, Ladue and even Chesterfield can be seen as snotty. South County is seen as hoosierish (oh yeah, we also use the word “Hoosier” in place of “Redneck”).

bucket list st. louis

St. Louis Bucket List

We may not have the popularity of Chicago or the pizzazz of Nashville, but St. Louis is an outstanding city. From our rich sports history to our flavorful communities, it’s a city all it’s own. And sure, maybe we’ve got a few quirks (as outlined by the What High School Should We Call Me tumblr), but that’s what makes it unique. As spring awaits it’s arrival, it’s time to remember just what we love about this city. Some of these items are on my own 2013 bucket list, some are  tradition, but all are meant to highlight what this city has to offer.


  1. Attend a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium. I have tickets to my second straight home opener against the Cincinnati Reds!)
  2. Visit the St. Louis Zoo at Forest Park and make sure to see the new Sea Lion exhibit, although the Penguins are my personal favorite.
  3. Get your custard served upside down at Ted Drewes.
  4. Take a Brewery Tour. And I don’t necessarily mean Budwesier. St. Louis is home to many craft breweries, including Schafly, O’Fallon, Urban Chestnut & 4 Hands.
  5. Eat, drink and be merry at Food Truck Friday in Tilles Park. Sarah’s Meltdown (grilled cheese), Sarah’s Cake Stop (cupcakes) and Zia’s (Italian) are my favorite.
  6. Stop and smell the flowers at the Missouri Botanical GardenBonus points for going on Wednesday nights during the Whitaker Music Festival.
  7. Head on over to Fast Eddies. This is top of my bucket list this summer!
  8. Watch a concert on the lawn at Verizon Wireless Ampitheater
  9. Soak up the humidity and see a show at The Muny in Forest Park. It’s incredibly hot, but totally worth it.
  10. See the city from the Rooftop bar at 360Sadly, I have not had this pleasure yet.
  11. Grab a root beer at Fitz’s Bottling Company in the Loop. Then pop across the street for a burger at Blueberry Hill.
  12. Brush up on your French and visit the annual Jour de Fete in Ste. Genevieve. 
  13. Head to Live on the Levee under the Arch. Don’t miss the fireworks, either!
  14. Load up on carbs at the HillYou won’t regret it.
  15. Take your bets at Fairmount ParkI need to make it to a Party in the Park on Friday nights this year!

Of course, I could go on for days, but instead, I invite you to add your Must-Do in St. Louis! What is your go-to when the weather gets nice?

*Yes, I left off the oh-so-popular ride in the Arch. It’s definitely a must-do if you’ve never been to the city! 

Getting Personal

Greek Pride


Sitting in my graduate class at a small, not very Greek college, I overhear a few students talking about Greek life, and who hazes and what they went through and how their chapter at another school (my alma mater, no less) were “totally snobby.” The room got quiet, and the guy laughed it off and spoke much quieter about his opinions. Good idea, bro.

I was a sorority girl. I am proud that I was a sorority girl. The friendships I made in Alpha Phi are deeper than any I had formed before, and on any given day you’ll see my O Ring, symbolizing my Omicron chapter at the University of Missouri. So yes, I get I credibly offended when I hear others bad mouth Greek life. So let’s clear some things up:

Do sororities and fraternities haze? I don’t know. Mine did not – as new members, we were treated like princesses. But all it takes is one screw up to ruin it for the rest of us.

Didn’t you just pay for friends? Maybe. I paid for a community to belong to; for the confidence to walk around a campus of 30,000 and know I wasn’t alone. I paid to live in a mansion with 80 of my closest friends. I paid for sisterhood events, socials and homecoming decorations (that I also spent hours on). And I promise, not a dime was wasted or regretted.

Well, all you do is party. Yep, partied so hard I graduated with honors a semester early from the best journalism school in the country. Oh, wait…

Look, I’m not going to tell you to join Greek life. It’s not for everyone. But for the lucky few, it’s more than a few Greek symbols on a sweatshirt, or hours spent pomping a house dec(oration). It’s a history of tradition, community and pride.

Would you walk into the Big House talking about how Michigan is overrated? No? Then don’t speak badly about Greeks – you never know when one is down the aisle.


Branson, MO: Billboard Capital of the World

As we roll down 65 south, I see the (hideous) billboards for Branson, MO – Vegas for the 65+ crowd. However, as this is my destination for the weekend, I felt it was necessary to take advantage of the, um scenery.

Every city has billboards for local attractions whether it be theme parks in Orlando, sports teams or museums, they are all put to shame by the display Dixie Stampede, White Water and the thousand country jamborees in southern Missouri. And the best part? 90 percent have not been updated since Apple released their first computer in 1984.

“The best show in Branson” may have been true in 1990, but in 2011, you have to wonder if the people featured in the ad are even alive anymore. While attractions such as Silver Dollar City continue to improve with new rides, the shows on the strip are 100 percent original: aka, they are using the original script from 1967.

If ad agencies got ahold of some of these boards, Branson traffic could be through the roof. But until then, it will be reserved for crazy church groups, red hat ladies and the few 20-something’s looking to get away for the weekend. Sorry I’m Not Sorry.