A Bit-O-Local Flare

The latest subscription box to hit the Midwest market is close to my heart…literally! Because it’s based in St. Louis and each quarter sends a box of goods curated from local makers in the St. Louis area. It’s called Bit-O-Local. And really, what better way to get to know new products, handmade in our hometown?


I just received my first subscription box and it was filled with fun Fall surprises: tassel earrings by CR Jewels,  a bar of (all natural pet) soap by sammysoap, stationary and pencils from the Curio Press and a Cinnamon Sticks candle from Wash Ave. Candle.   I am ashamed and a little embarassed to say that I had never heard of any of the companies represented in this box. One highlight, sammysoap, is an all-natural skin care and home goods company based in Kirkwood, MO that also creates jobs for adults with disabilities.

The founders of Bit-O-Local, Jen Singleton, Carmen Ramirez and Alicia Underwood, have backgrounds in PR and Marketing, so often crossed paths with these local artisans and craftsman. They see the local subscription box as a way to spread the word on St. Louis brands and help increase awareness for their handmade products.


You can subscribe to the box for $25/quarter (a ~$25 value as opposed to buying the items separately) or buy the items individually. All are available thru their website, www.bitolocal.com.

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define art


A vintage desk littered with a sticker book and keys- what looks random and haphazard is really carefully thought out art in Fort Gondo.

On the Westernmost section of Cherokee Street, between Michigan and Compton, sits a very tiny and very unassuming gallery called Fort Gondo. It’s right next to its sister space, Beverly Gallery. Open since the early 2000’s, both are original fixtures on the street and somewhat responsible for the movement of the art scene to Cherokee, as we know it today. When I stopped in last Thursday (you have to plan your visit strategically, as they are only open Thursdays and Saturdays from 12-4) I found the most unusual exhibit that is most definitely worth sharing.


The space reads very much like a residence: exposed brick, small rooms, a bathroom visible from the entry.  The exhibit is called Time and Fragments and is on display until October 1st. It showcases new sculptures by Chris Thorson surrounded by the handwritten poems of Joanna Mc Clure.  Inspired by McClure’s poetry, Thorson created a space full of common place objects, strategically arranged and organized. I think the gallery brochure says it best, in describing the exhibit as “poetic jottings and uncanny replicas of ordinary stuff.”

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worth the wait


On New Year’s Eve, I had this great idea to buy Chinese wishing lanterns and release them on the beach in a peaceful, beautiful ceremony to ring in 2016. It turned out to be (thanks to a very windy evening) a chaotic, unsuccessful attempt at serenity that left my brother with a few less eyebrow hairs and nearly set the northern half of Miami Beach on fire. We walked back to our house physically defeated, my children screaming “are we going to be sent to jail?!” and with a pack of unused lanterns in tow.

Which is exactly why, when I saw that there was a Lantern Fest coming to St. Louis, I knew I had to check it out. I envision it being like our New Years eve jaunt, but only successful and stress free because someone else is doing the dirty work (i.e. ensuring the surroundings are safe for flaming, flying objects…)

The festival is Nov. 5th in Eureka. Come and enjoy food, live music, a stage show, familiar princesses, face painters, s’mores, balloon artists and more. Then, at dusk, every adult sets off a lantern and boundless photo opps and ooo-ahh moments begin (as is evidence from these photos from Lantern Fest events around the country). Buy your tickets HERE and use code CARADISEFOUND at checkout to recieve 20% off your purchase. See you there!


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like chan luu, but cheaper


If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen me wearing my Boho Betty wrap bracelet. I like to think of these guys as Chan Luu at a price. Most are under $50 but look like their more pricey competitor. I wear mine like a watch – meaning always. They are having a great sale so thought I’d share. Shop thru THIS link and get 30% off and free shipping with code LOVE30. Above is the one I currently own and below are some that I have in my bag. Happy Monday!

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a little dabble do ya


Last Tuesday night me and 8 other people met in a small record shop on Cherokee Street with a common mission: to learn how to cross-stitch. And we were brought together by Dabble. Dabble, founded in 2011, is an online marketplace for DIY classes that teaches everything from soap making, to beer brewing, to how to install wainscoting. Classes are a few hours in length and cost about 40 dollars, with the idea that you get everything you need to know in just one class. One and done. Sign me up.


The inside of Kismet Records – a record store and gallery space that also hosts concerts (and is it me or does it look like the set of High Fidelity?)

And so that’s just what I did. I learned the basics of cross-stitching in person by Sonia, creative director of Kismet Creative Center and also an avid cross-stitcher. Sure I could have gone about learning this skill via You Tube video or found a book at the library, but there was something about trekking to this new space and meeting these new folks to simultaneously learn this new skill that was cool and communal. It’s also part of Dabble’s mission: to help raise awareness of local vendors and venues while creating community involvement. Sonia feels it too, saying a huge reason she teaches these classes is to see the community come together for the sake of art. It was a real kumbaya moment.

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Fiddle Leaf: The sequel

If you’ve been with me since the beginning, you know my love/hate (but mostly hate) relationship with the fiddle leaf fig tree that resides in the southeast corner of my living room (the saga is here). These trees are gorgeous when they come off the delivery truck, then within weeks in my care, turn to this.

If you’re counting, I’m on my second tree in less than two years and it’s recently hit rock bottom. When we came back from vacation, there were 12 (exactly one dozen) leaves scattered on the ground around my tree. I unlocked the door and screamed so loud upon seeing the carnage that my husband thought we’d been robbed. And as such, said tree currently stands in my living room. A brown, twig-like form that is definitely bringing down the mojo of my entire first floor. It’s got to go.

But as this buy/kill/buy/kill routine is getting to be a very expensive habit, I’m rethinking getting another live tree and instead considering a faux option. Tacky I know, but I really need something green in my house, this corner in particular. Below you have the best options I’ve found. They are not the cheapest, but the most attractive and real-looking in my mind (plus, I’d have spent this anyway in roughly 36 months given the current pace at which I’m killing the live ones). The second option below is a bar cart I’ll top with vase and fiddle leaf limbs that I think could serve the same purpose and also add some utilitarian value. Whatdayathink? I suppose I could also crowdsource and try to muster up funds to replace a new, live one every 9 months. Are you feeling generous?

Fiddle Leaf Final


Clockwise from top:

1 // 2 (cart  ($239!), vase, leaves) // 3 // 4

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Illuminating the Night


We stumbled upon the St. Louis Artists’ Guild this winter when I read that they offered free art projects for kids the first Saturday of every month. In need of a cold weather weekend activity, we became regulars at the Guild (which is somewhat of a hidden gem in town, and has been cultivating the arts and artists for over 125 years). Last week, the Guild had an opening for their new photography exhibit: Illuminating the Night. The idea: how photographers use natural and/or artificial light to take pictures after the sun goes down. The concept especially resonated with me, as taking pictures for this blog has taught me the importance that light plays in making or breaking a photo. Taking a good picture at night is particularly difficult.

The artists in the show were from all over the country and their photographs ranged from sunsets in St. Louis to the people at Mardi Gras illuminating by the street’s artificial neon lights.



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a weekend in nashville? totes y’all


above image courtesy of http://www.draperjames.com


We were in Nashville for Memorial Day weekend.  It was my first time there, even though St. Louis is an easy 4.5 hour drive away. If you’re headed that direction anytime soon, I’d highly recommend the following: Barista Parlor for coffee, Pinewood Social for a lazy Sunday reading the newspaper and noshing on a boozy brunch, and Bastion for before- dinner drinks. But since this is more of a fashion blog than a food blog, thought I’d share some details about Nashville’s most famous export and her clothing line. Yes, I’m talking Reese Witherspoon and Draper James. The brand has it’s only brick and mortar store in Nashville’s hip 12 South neighborhood. The clothing felt a little drunk-on-sweet-tea to me, with lots of seersucker and eyelet…like together on an article of clothing (example is here). Don’t know about you, but I’ll take either seersucker or eyelet, but usually not both at once. That said, there were adorable things for the home…like these melamine plates and these guest towels.

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Green Air


Maybe you remember the last time I wrote from the Contemporary Art Museum (CAMSTL) ?  There was a living sculpture in their courtyard by New York designers, Nomad Studio. And now, Nomad studio is back with another living installation. This time, instead of on the ground, the plants are hanging from the museum’s trellis, mimicking the wavy shape of it’s predecessor. The installation is comprised of air plants –  real plants (that look like succulents to me) that can survive without water or soil…they live off of the oxygen in the air and receive enough water from rain and dew that is naturally occurring in nature.

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This post is Rated R

The MFA Thesis Exhibit runs thru July 24th at the Kemper Art Museum at Washington University in St. Louis.  There are installations, videos, sculpture and painting –  a little bit of something for everybody. But since I write this blog, here you get my highlights:

The inkjet prints of Holly McGraw. 48″ x 36″ each. The prints themselves are cool, but the striped walls they’re hung on that match the background of the photo make them even cooler. Pretty sure if you buy these, you’d also have to paint your walls to match.


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