Tuesday, September 28, 2010

3 Years

Almost 2 months after the date, Alan and I decided that we could not miss celebrating our 3rd anniversary with our traditional dinner at The Melting Pot. We were excited to find out that St. Louis actually has 2 locations, and we went to the one in Town & Country. They had a brand new Big Night Out menu highlighting French cuisine: it was wonderful! Even though we have had the chance to do a lot of fun things together since our "real" anniversary in July, taking a night just to celebrate 3 years of marriage was really special for us both. It was also fun to see how we have grown over the past 3 years and see where God has brought us individually and as a couple. I am continuously amazed and humbled by God's graciousness to us.

Saturday, September 18, 2010


Alan and I went to Forest Park to see the Balloon Glow. It is a beautiful scene of inflated hot air balloons lighted by their burners. We had to walk quite a ways since traffic was so bad, but getting to Central Field and walking through all the beautiful balloons was awesome! Every 5 minutes or so, an air-horn would sound and all the balloons would light up in unison. Tomorrow, Energizer presents the 38th Annual Great Forest Park Balloon Race. All the hot air balloon contestants will "chase" the Energizer bunny balloon. We will not be at the race since we will be cheering on the Vols, but still-it sounds pretty cool! After the Glow, Alan and I wandered through the Central West End and had a wonderful dinner on the patio of the Drunken Fish, a great Sushi place! The variety of great activities in St. Louis amazes me!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Alan's 27th Birthday!

Alan and I began celebrating his birthday on Friday night with dinner at Hacienda's. It's a great little Mexican place that Alan found about 5 minutes from our house, and we enjoyed dinner, a few coronas, and a fried ice-cream birthday treat!

On Saturday, the festivities continued with breakfast at Companion Bread which it a cute place in Clayton that had wonderful egg quiches and breakfast sandwiches. From there we explored the Clayton Farmer's Market and then headed to the annual St. Louis Art Fair in downtown Clayton. It was really fun to walk through all the tents and see the art. They had everything! I think Alan's favorite part was smelling all the good food, and peeking into the little bars that lined some of the streets to check in on the football games (does that really surprise you...) That afternoon, we headed to Chesterfield which is about 30 minutes west of where we live to watch a Polo match. Sadly, when we got there we found out that the match had been cancelled due to the rain the night before. Hopefully we'll be able to make it to a match at some point this fall. Saturday night we stayed in to cheer on the Vols from our couch. I surprised Alan with a cookie cake, but his excitement was not enough to bring home a win for the volunteers. We are keeping our fingers crossed for next week when they play Florida!

Sunday was ALAN'S BIRTHDAY! We started the day off right with donuts from a local donut shop called Ray's, and then headed to church at The Kirk of the Hills. This was our second Sunday visiting this church, and we think that this is where we'll settle. We have met several great couples there and we are going to visit a Small Group this Thursday night. After church, we celebrated some more with lunch at Whole Foods Market (thanks Patrick and Elizabeth for the tip) It was really good, the only problem was there were so many good things we both had trouble deciding what we wanted to eat. When we got home, Alan opened up his cards and presents! We then spent the remainder of the afternoon watching football and spending some time out by the pool. All in all it was a pretty successful weekend, the only thing that could have been better is if we got to share the day with all of you! Love from St. Louis- we miss y'all!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Labor Day in Chicago

With Alan and I both having a 3-Day weekend for Labor Day, we thought it would be a great opportunity to take a quick road trip. We considered going home for the first UT football game, and then decided that it would be fun to do something a little bit closer to St. Louis. So, we decided to visit Chicago: The Windy City!

The weather could not have been better! We arrived on Saturday afternoon after a 4 hour drive, checked into our hotel, and headed out to explore the city. Our first stop was Millennium Park where we had fun taking pictures of the big "bean" :) We then went to Navy Pier where we ate lunch, had a drink at the Beer Garden, and just walked around people watching. In the Family Pavilion, Alan spotted one of his favorite things...Garrett Popcorn! We waited in a 20 minute line to get the famous "Chicago Mix" of cheese and caramel popcorn-it was worth the wait! We then headed to Grant Park where the annual Jazz Festival was taking place this weekend. We also stopped by some of the major sites in Chicago: Buckingham Fountain, Field Museum, and Shedd Aquarium. Next we headed back to our hotel to get ready for our dinner reservation!

We had dinner Saturday night at The Signature Room which is on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. Even with a reservation, we had to wait an hour for a window table, but if you're going to eat at The Signature Room- you must have a window table! We both got the surf n turf which was excellent!

On Sunday, our main plan for the day was to go to the Chicago Cubs game. I asked Alan if I could get a Cubs t-shirt at one of the little places selling them in Wrigleyville, and his response was, "Erica, wearing a Cubs shirt is worse than wearing a Florida Gators shirt!" So needless to say, we remained neutral in white that day. Alan and I met up with my friend, Lindsey, and her boyfriend, Cody, at Cubby Bear which is a little bar in Wrigleyville and had a few drinks before the game. We then went to the game which was a lot of fun! Wrigley Field is one of the oldest stadiums in the country, so it was really cool being at a place that had so much character. The Cubs lost (which Alan was happy about) and we had a terrific time.

That night we met up with Lindsey and Cody again and had traditional deep dish Chicago style pizza at Giordano's. It was really good, but Alan and I agree that we both like Stefano's in Knoxville better. After eating way to much pizza, we took a walk down by the riverwalk and the Magnificent Mile and window shopped all the designer stores. I think Alan was relieved that they were all closed so I didn't have the option to drag him into them and shop, but it was fun just to look and see everything. Monday morning Alan took a run and ran to Soldier Field to see it, and then we headed back to St. Louis. It was a quick trip, but a really fun time to get away for a couple days and see a really great city.

Wine Country

Alan and I have been so pleasantly surprised by all the things to do in St. Louis. A guy that Alan met at Wash U recommended the St. Charles Wineries for us to go see, so a couple of weekends ago that is just what we did. We headed out around 11:00am and about an hour later (after getting lost twice) we arrived at our first stop. The first winery we visited was Augusta Winery which is one of the oldest wineries in the area. We tried several different wines here and ended up getting a bottle of the Norton which is a somewhat famous wine in the area and was featured on the Today Show. The next stop was Mount Pleasant Winery which was probably the most "touristy" of all the wineries but still very fun. The next winery was Montelle which has the same owners as Augusta, and it is beautifully situated on a hillside overlooking the vineyards. We ate lunch at a cafe here, and relaxed while listening to live music and enjoying the sunshine. Our next stop was Sugar Creek Winery which was a little more laid back, and not quite so much going on. The last stop of our little tour was Chandler Hill which is a newer winery in the area, and overlooks a lake on the property. We really enjoyed the tastings here, but were not able to stay as long as we probably would have liked because the place was being set up for a wedding reception. One thing that we thought was interesting was that there were a lot of Bachelorette entourages out at the different wineries. While bachelorettes go out at night in Knoxville, apparently visiting the wineries on a Saturday afternoon is the thing to do in St. Louis. In addition to tasting good wines, Alan and I really enjoyed driving through the countryside and just seeing more of the area around us.