Monthly Archives: February 2012

Meet Me In St. Louis

My friends are coming back to St. Louis for our 3rd annual girl’s weekend.  This annual convergence is proving to be the necessary kick in the ass to complete my spring cleaning.   This means cleaning out every room, closet, and drawer plus the cabinets and fridge.   Not to mention sprucing up the yard, getting the windows washed, and cleaning out the car for sightseeing trips. 

As the centrally located gal in the group (they come in from Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and California) it makes sense for everyone to come here.  And, I love hosting my friends.  Along with getting my spring cleaning Totally Completed (I’m pretty much done with closet and drawer cleaning until next spring) we get to take in the awesome things there are to do in St. Louis. 

It is so true that you don’t really appreciate what you have in your own city – I was somewhere in Tuscany waiting to go into yet another church when a lady in front of me asked me where I was from.  When I said St. Louis, she immediately started raving about the Cathedral Basilica and how it was one of the most beautiful churches she had ever seen.   At the time, I had never been there even though I’d easily been to more than 100 churches in Italy (seriously – 5 trips = lots of churches!!)  So, the first girl’s weekend we went to the Basilica (and it truly is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve ever been in) and walked around the park at the St. Louis Arch which I hadn’t been to since I was a kid.  

Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis

Last year, we went to the Washington University / Forest Park area of town because Michaela had been reading about the 1904 World’s Fair and wanted to see the buildings that were donated to the city after.  The architecture of the buildings was amazing (I beg you to take the virtual tour provided in the link – it takes you building by building and you can see why Michaela wanted us to go).  I used to golf every week at Forest Park and I’m embarrassed to say that I still have never been into one of the museums which are now housed in the World’s Fair buildings.  We also went back to the Arch and toured the Museum of Westward Expansion.  Walking around the area made me appreciate how very pretty the waterfront park is. 

This year the group has already made their list – it will be the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery tour.  You guessed it.  Never been to the Botanical Garden (can’t wait after looking on the Garden’s internet site) and even though I worked for A-B for years, have never gone on the brewery tour. 

Missouri Botanical Garden

So, again this year during girl’s weekend I will get to visit two more spots that visitors come to St. Louis to do but I’ve never done.  I’m thinking I need to have a lot more girl’s weekends in St. Louis as there is a lot to see and do.  Maybe we need to up the weekends to twice a year.  YIKES – that would mean spring cleaning again in the fall.  I love my friends but spring cleaning once a year is enough for me …….  

 ~ Susan

A few of my recent favorites

When I find something I like, I tend to OD on it.  So I thought I’d share what I’ve been OD-ing on lately. Beware, these items are very random 🙂

Pinterest.  Have you heard of it?  It’s the scrapbook of 201x.  And it’s amazing.  Looking for somewhere to save recipes? Pin them.  Looking to redecorate a room in your house? Do some online research and pin different ideas.  You can store images and/or links to ideas through images to pretty much anything online.  Check it out  🙂

The Capri Blue Jar Candle – Volcano scent from Anthropologie has been burning in my house every night since before Christmas.  Anthropologie has a bunch of other great scents too, but right now this is it for me.  And while it’s expensive, it lasts a VERY long time, especially for someone that burns candles every night. 

Neuma hair products – organic, animal friendly and they pay attention to their impact on the earth.  That, and my hair is 100% healthier since I started using their products late last year.

Butternut squash everything – not lying.  I’ve been baking it, putting it on pizza, making my own soup, and more.  I’m not sure why it took me 30 years to find butternut squash, but consider me hooked.

Trader Joes organic split pea soup.  Filling, delicious, vegan and gluten free for those who look for that sort of thing.  Right now it’s my lunch at least 2 times a week.

So thats it – random, just like I warned you 🙂  I’m always looking for new things to try – how about you? Anything you’ve been OD-ing on lately?

Escape artists

Sometimes you just need to escape… without leaving the house.  Enter the DVR (how did we live without it?!).  Here is a taste of what the Sheality girls are escaping to these days.

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Since revealing my dirty little secret, I’ve actually cut down on the amount of TV that I watch… just not on the amount of TV that I record.  That continues to grow.  These days, in addition to The Bachelor and other nonsense that I watch, I’ve been overly into anything Alaska… meaning I search by keyword on my DVR, and record almost everything that shows life in Alaska. 

Full.  Blown.  Obsession.  A few of my favorites include:

Not only do I love the landscape and wildlife shots that they show in these shows, the lifestyle in the remote towns and villages of Alaska is so far from what I’ve ever seen, it’s fascinating to me. 

And, because I have a serious travel addiction (update: my passport arrived home safe and sound with 24 new pages!), I’m obviously planning a trip.  If you’ve been there, suggestions are appreciated 🙂

– Erin

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When I examined my DVR for something surprising, I thought, there is nothing surprising there, I DVR the same thing as everyone else – The Daily Show, Happy Endings, Californication, etc. Then I scrolled down past the Children’s Hospital episodes that I will never watch and two Woody Allen movies and there it was – 31 episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer – my DVR security blanket.

I actually own all seven seasons on DVD but I like knowing in an emergency (I’m not sure what a television emergency would be?) that I can watch a Buffy episode on a dime. To try to explain Buffy to those who don’t know it is difficult.

Television has never been the same for me since it went off the air. Long before Edward and Bill Compton there was Angel and Spike. Before all the anti-heroes that are everywhere now on television (House, Jack Bauer, Nurse Jackie) there was Buffy. Most people dismissed Buffy simply because of the name of the show. But it was meant to be ironic, because under the flaky name lies unexpected substance.

A consistently well told allegory whose science fiction world makes for so many more narrative possibilities than your average teen TV show. Everything was examined through the Buffyverse – fate, destiny, free will, love, good vs. evil – all the great literary themes. There have been countless academic studies on the show. And it was hilarious. They had me at the very first episode when Buffy explains to a vampire that his outfit made him look like DeBarge. 

So while I may never actually watch an episode, as they take up valuable space on my DVR, I rest easy, knowing that there will always be something amazing to watch on TV.

– Jen

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I saw Nora Ephron on a talk show recently.  One thing she said stuck with me because it is so true:  As soon as you get a DVR, you will never again be totally caught up because you will always have recorded shows that need to be watched. 

What’s on my DVR?   Everything I may possibly want to watch.  Why? Because I refuse to watch commercials.  The only recent exception is the Super Bowl and those commercials bored me silly this year. 

It’s much more telling to explain what’s NOT on my DVR.  Real Housewives of Anywhere, The Bachelor, The Voice and Selling New York.  The reason these shows are not on my DVR is because they rarely, if ever, finish recording before I start watching them. 

When I’m traveling for work, reality shows on my DVR is my reward when I come home. If my flight arrives in STL at midnight and I get home at 1 am, I still watch the Housewives before I can sleep.  And BTW, it totally pisses me off that the Bravo channel is not carried by the cable companies who provide service to any of the major hotel chains.    Marriott, Hilton, Sheraton — why do you do this to me?

– Susan

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Lately, I’m not motivated to leave the house for exercise.  That means my DVR is currently overflowing with either exercise shows or things to distract me enough that I’m willing to use my treadmill. 

My biggest diversion for the treadmill is Dr. Oz.   The man is amazing with having a show, a family, and an actual surgical practice.  I could definitely learn some time management from him. 

His shows are so interesting to me.  Just last week he gave a shopping list for 99 things to buy at the grocery store so you have quick, healthy, tasty alternatives ready to go.  And a lot of the items on his list were regulars on my shopping list, so I’m looking forward to trying the rest.  And he told foods to eat to reduce your risk for certain cancers at bay (apricots, limes, lima beans) and to keep your brain sharp (avocados, cashews, beets).  He even had a session on the newly approved non-invasive body sculpting Liposonix

You just gotta love Dr. Oz!!

– Lori

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Peak offsite season

It is the new year, which means it is high season for the corporate offsite. Be they sales or strategy related, it’s the time of year when corporate employees across the world find themselves gathering in exotic locations, but in basically the exact the same hotel conference center in each of those exotic locations. So far this year –and yes it is only end of January – I’ve been to Buenos Aires and Paris… Glamorous travel it is not.. I’ve literally experienced almost 4 hours at most outside of the hotel in each location.

In Buenos Aires it was to see a historical show that featured singing, horses and some dancing and tonight in Paris we board a boat for a river Seine tour (Never mind that the forecast is for –17 tomorrow).

While I feel strongly that corporations are the biggest abuser and offender of ignoring the carbon footprint by sending loads of suited corporate droids on planes across the world at the drop of the hat, I do have to admit that there is no better way to improve working relationships… BUT…it has nothing to do with the actual offsite, typically, and everything to do with who you sit next to at any meal, on the plane, in the cab or while taking a break.

So let’s try something different – what about reconceptualizing the offsite as a planned series of global meeting that don’t have to be product/group or solution specific, but more of an all call for various levels with people being randomly selected for locations. I imagine our productivity would increase greatly by being able to know (with more than 2–3 weeks advance notice) where you were going to go and actually having much more planned interaction vs set agenda.

Probably won’t work… but I have to say that 16 hour and 10 hour flights for 2 days of meetings just doesn’t allow me to feel like I’m doing my best work. In fact, I am mostly just jet lagged with a tinge of regret as to the red wine I drank last night. But c’est la vie.. Hope the coffee break comes soon.

~Michaela