Kimmswick Capers

Beyond the bustling suburbs of St. Louis is a historical town called Kimmswick. Jackie, Shelby, and I decided to spend an afternoon of our Spring Break staycation here. There are many shops that sell garden furnishings and trinkets. But I think it goes without saying that we were there to eat at a famous little restaurant called The Blue Owl. So without further ado, here was our afternoon

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At The Blue Owl, the three of us ordered trios of food. My trio consisted of a cup of Canadian Cheese soup, 1/2 slice of Quiche Lorraine, and a dessert, i.e. pie. The Canadian Cheese soup was rich and sharp, as it was basically a sharp cheddar bisque. The quiche (pictured above) was beautiful. It was creamy and the cheese was stringy and soft and melty. The only downside was that it was a little oily, but I mean, it happens when you put bacon, cream, and cheese in the same dish. The bacon is great in here too; smoky, meaty, and luscious. The crust was not all that flaky, rather doughy actually, but I kind of liked it like that.

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We were really there for the pie though. The entrees were just a formality to get to the pie. The caramel apple levee high pie was enormous. I could have had a slumber party inside that pie. I kept hearing waitresses say that it took 18 apples to make one pie. The definition of culinary ridiculousness is this pie. It was tasty too. The crust was flaky, the apples tender and crisp, and the caramel gooey and sticky.

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I also snapped a picture of the back of the pie for you because I thought it was just gorgeous with its shiny caramel speckled with pecans and sugar that graces the edges of the crust. At one point I started peeling the caramel off the back and chewing on it like candy.

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Jackie decided to delight in a specialty pie- the shamrock pie. This is a silk pie that has mint cream on the top and chocolate cream underneath. She didn’t like it very much, considering she just carved the chocolate out of the bottom, but I liked it. The mint was slightly like that of toothpaste, but for some reason, I found the mint and chocolate here really intriguing.

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Shelby ordered the German chocolate pie and she liked it, as did Jackie and I. It was soooo rich. It was one of those pies where you take two bites and you’re napping on the floor. It was rich, but also luxurious.

After lunch, we walked around to the different shops that line the streets in Kimmswick. We found some cute, vintage items.

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It really is a cute town, filled with homes from the 1800s that have been revamped into shops. However, it is a little creepy. Every now and then I felt like I was in an episode of Pretty Little Liars walking around abandoned sheds and whatnot. It does have a little bit of a ghost town appeal to it, but it is an old-world town and that makes it an exciting day trip.

My First Kiss Went a Little Like This…

…and by first kiss, I mean first crush. Before I move forward with this article, and my inspiration for this one, let me quickly state that I am Micki Wagner, I am eighteen years old, and I have never been kissed. On the lips. By a romantic interest. I know, you expected more of me, but really I’m pretty clean as far as that stuff goes, including the fact that I have never had a boyfriend. First let me point out that I go to an all-girls Catholic school (not to say I’m 100% with the religion stuff, but I will enlighten you with that in another post), and that I have been in a committed, albeit slightly confusing, relationship with two very important men for a little over two years now: Ben and Jerry. If you are wondering what makes our relationship complicated, it’s that there are so many different flavors I get overwhelmed and we go months on end without seeing each other. It’s complicated, but I digress.

That whole spiel was leading up to telling you about the story of my first crush. I just began reading the book “Man Up” by the fiercely fabulous Ross Mathews, and he recounts his first “relationships” (they were in the fifth grade, so I’m not sure how legit that really is, but anyway). I thought Well, that would make an interesting article, so I here I am at the beginning of my story.

Now let’s get to the actual story. I was in the second grade when I experienced my first crush. A puppy love, if you will. His name was Paul and he lived down the street from me. Actually, he still does live down the street, which makes things all the more awkward. Anyway, I remember we became fast friends and hung out on my swing set in my backyard, and on the swing set in his. We played pirates, I was quite the guys’ girl back in the day. I remember the day I found out we were each other’s crush. We were walking around our charming little suburban neighborhood when I, very innocently, even naively, asked him “Who is your crush?”

And you want to know what he said? He said this girl in my class named Jess *dramatic pause* and me. I was dumbfounded. Like what? you’re into me? I thought we were just friends. After he very courageously professed his crush for me, we went into his house and he taught me how to play the Game of Life.

The Hasbro board game, ya nasty. Get your mind out of the gutter.

The Words

I don’t know how it started or what prompted it, but for the last couple months, I have been going through my very first writer’s block. Even now, I am having difficulty figuring out what to say. I have just been writing so much that, at some point, it stopped being fun. It became work, like math or anything else that is systematic. All of a sudden, it was like there was no room to explore. I felt cornered. Like I was just some machine manufacturing paper after paper, article after article.

It has been to the point that I forgot one of the most important aspects of writing-the words. Crazy as it sounds, I forgot words had meanings. Sometime even multiple meanings. I know, I know; how does one forgot something so obvious? But that’s the thing, for some reason, it was not obvious the way it had once been. All the words I used just seemed so shallow. They seemed meaningless. No word seems powerful enough in my usage as it does in other writer’s. The way to beat this, I have read, is that I have to have fun with my writing again, I have to write a lot, but not systematically, when I can avoid it.

The hardest part in all of this is remembering how to go back to that. How to keep being inspired and keep writing things that are meaningful, funny, or at least relevant. That’s in part why I started this blog; so that I could have a place to experiment with my writing.

That’s all I have to say for now, I could go on and rant for a little longer, because I’m one chatty girl, but I will leave it here for today and I will place the quote that has been inspiring me to get out of this writer’s block.

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, are most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” Dumbledore

The Icons

Lately, I have really been considering who my icons are. Since I am about to embark on this crazy journey called college, I have been thinking about who I want to be in my career and who I want to be for myself.  The people I am about to list are the celebrities, or icons in my opinion, that I really look to in emulating certain qualities such as their work ethic or their humility. Without further ado, here are my icons.

Marilyn Monroe in New York

Marilyn Monroe is the first on my list. I feel like this was probably expected, but allow me to elaborate on why I think she is iconic. Not only is she the ideal blonde icon, but she worked so hard. She enrolled herself in school in New York, after she was already a well known actress, so she could become more educated and continue to excel further as an actress. She also was an avid reader, which is not something people would think about her if they did not know otherwise. And after all she had been through, she had a difficult and fleeting life, she still believed in love so strongly. What’s so sad is that I don’t know that she ever found the true love she so desired. I love her for her unending belief in love. That and I believe she truly was a great woman, albeit she made some mistakes, but who doesn’t?

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Even though I am a girl, I love having men as icons. Particularly, I think Walt Disney is one of the most inspiring people to have ever walked the planet. His animations bring people to tears and make them laugh. He has created a legacy, something more than just a brand. I could be wrong, but I don’t think he was in this for the money, I think he was in this because he really did believe in entertaining people in a wholesome way. That is really inspiring within itself because it shows a dedication and passion to what he did, and in so many ways continues to do, even if he is no longer alive, his passion is what fuels arguably the most recognizable company in the world.

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A couple weeks ago I started getting a cold. Like most people, I took some medicine and went to lay down, deciding that it would be nice to put on a movie while I tinker off to sleep. The movie I chose was Coco Before Chanel, and was one of the best movies I have seen in a while. It was about the iconic designer’s life leading up to her success, in some ways documenting her journey. I had known idea she was so cutting-edge or that she had really broken boundaries. I was shocked and amazed and awe-inspired by this woman. She is the definition of sophistication and rebellion, and menswear-inspired womenswear, which I love.

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Lady. Gaga. She is a pop-rockstar/gay rights, be-who-you-are activist in the best way. Her songs are artistic and have a deeper meaning than most pop songs, and she uses her platform for to shed light on issues such as LGBTQ matters and the importance of becoming and being who you are. If that is not what makes someone an icon, than I’m not sure what does.

Photo courtesy of shaunwhite.com

I had to throw Shaun White in here, not because he is one of my celebrity crushes, but because I think his work ethic is incredibly determined. I mean that is a little obvious considering he literally has an Olympic work ethic. Either way, I think the way he is determined to always be the best is inspirational.

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Forget Oprah, Ellen is the new Queen of Talk Shows. While I like Oprah, I love Ellen DeGeneres’s realness and her humor. She is seriously hilarious, but also honest. She is an inspiration because she is so much herself, and while she faced backlash when she came out, she is better than ever and doing good for others wherever and whenever she can. The underlying moral she teaches is not to underestimate the impact of making someone smile.

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Lea Michele is a new addition to my list. With everything she has been through over the last couple of months with losing her boyfriend, Cory Monteith, to an unexpected drug overdose. She has dealt with all the attention in such a positive and strong way. Aside from that, she is also incredibly talented and has enviable drive.

Photo courtesy of glogster.com

Photo courtesy of glogster.com

Rounding this out is the adorable Darren Criss. I admire how talented he is, but also how happy he is. He is such a happy-go-lucky guy. He is also so excited to be himself which is not something easily found both in Hollywood and the real world. On top of all of that, he is super passionate about theatre and music. He is just a nice guy, and we can all learn something from that

So, those are my icons. Who are yours?

Can We Talk About the Oscars? Best Moments from Oscars 2014

Last night was, in short, crazy. Ellen DeGeneres hosted, and she was phenomenal. From her opening monologue to her waving goodbye, and all the crazy, chill, and OMG-did-that-really-just-happen moments in between. Let me take you through what I thought were last night’s greatest moments.
Let’s start with Ellen.

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Photo courtesy of dailymail.co.uk

She had asked if anyone would want pizza about half-way through the night, and most of the celebrities raised their hands. It seemed like it was a joke, until she guided a pizza delivery man through the audience handing out cheese, veggie, and what looked like sausage pizza. Martin Scorsese, Jonah Hill, Brad Pitt, Kerry Washington, Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts were a few who sampled a slice. Important Update: the pizza delivery man’s name is Edgar and Ellen collected a $600 tip from the celebrities in the audience at the Oscars for him, and added $400 of her own, totaling a $1000 tip. That is how to be a pizza delivery person.

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Photo courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres’s Twitter

Naturally, if we are talking about Ellen, we have to talk about the record she broke last night. Let me just say, Ellen is the only person who could take a selfie at the Oscars and shut down Twitter. This selfie (pictured above) received almost 3 million retweets. That’s some serious star power.

Aside from the hilarity generated by Ellen, Pharrell’s performance of his song ‘Happy’ from Despicable Me 2 was dance-y and managed to get even the most uptight A-list stars dancing along with him.

However, not all of the night’s best performances were songs. Some of the best performances of the night were acceptance speeches. Matthew McConaughey gave a wise and insightful speech in his heart-melting Southern drawl after winning Best Lead Actor for Dallas Buyers Club. Lupita Nyong’o also gave such a sweet, heartfelt speech after winning Best Supporting Actress for 12 Years a Slave. I actually saw 12 Years a Slave and she was evocative, raw, and hauntingly good. She deserved that Oscar. Even her acceptance speech was on-another-level. You go girl!

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Photo Courtesy of Ellen DeGeneres’s Twitter

All of the night was exciting, and surprisingly relaxed. From the set pieces used at the Oscars to Pink’s Wizard of Oz Tribute (which was so emotional and so well done, and that dress? Flawless) and everything else that the night had in store, this year’s Oscars were truly iconic.

Naturally, Oscars 2014 Best Dressed!

This year marks the 86th Academy Awards and an amazing year in film. The red carpet, packed with some of the world’s best movie actors, actresses, directors, and production crews, was full of sophisticated gowns and million-dollar accessories. Here are a few of these tantalizing lookscos-17-lupita-oscars-2014-mdn

Lupita Nyong’o stunned in a Nairobian blue Prada dress, complete with a frog ring in honor of her family’s totem.

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Charlize Theron was also gorgeous in a black dress by Dior. I was not too keen on this look at first, but the disappearing straps have really grown on me. I think the dress is amazing.

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Even if the Fashion Police did not like her, I thought Emma Watson was so classy in this Vera Wang number. Aside from the dress, the clutch and her nails are killer. The British belle always knows how to work an outfit.

Anne Hathaway

There was a lot of black on the red carpet last night, and Anne Hathaway was no exception. She was blinding in Gucci. While she was very shiny, I loved the armor-like nature of her dress. It made a simple black dress much more interesting than it otherwise might have been.

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All photos courtesy of Cosmopolitan

Completely opposite of the black trend of the night was Naomi Watts in a white Calvin Klein dress, and a stunning silver and diamond necklace. I absolutely adore her clutch. It is very Gatsby and I love her for that.

All of the nominees, presenters, and winners looked stunning last night and makes me so anxious to see the fashions at next year’s Oscars.

Gatsby: The Tale of an Illustrious Man and His Quest to Recover the Past

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.” These words end the glamorous yet beautifully tragic book and new movie, The Great Gatsby. I have seen Gatsby twice at this point, and I am in love with its glittering depiction of the roaring ’20s as well as its infatuated and tragic romanticism. The Great Gatsby is the epitome of the great American novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald in 1925. The story is told by Nick Carraway, a Midwestern-born man who moves to West Egg in New York. Nick lives in a small, shack sort of home next to a veritable palace, owned by Jay Gatsby. Nick narrates the tale of Jay Gatsby and his infatuation with his love interest of five years, Daisy Buchanan. The story tells of Gatsby and Daisy’s forbidden love, and of a man who built his life from the ground up, fulfilling the American Dream, who believed that anything is possible in love. He believed in a love that could not be, and this was the death of him.

Photo courtesy of cinenthusiast.wordpress.com

Photo courtesy of cinenthusiast.wordpress.com

Words, in this case, cannot suffice to say how truly magical this movie is. So often when I go to the movies I am overly excited to see a movie that cannot live up to my expectations. I had hoped Gatsby would be good, but I was unsure of how it would be managed. When the movie ended, I was genuinely sad as well as equally infatuated with it. I have never had a love affair with a movie such as this. I have loved movies in the past, but none can match the astonishing level of magic and imagination and glamour and romanticism as this. I have never witnessed anything quite as beautiful as this, cinematically speaking.

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Photo courtesy of telegraph.co.uk

Let me explain. What makes this movie so great is the well-thought out aspects that contribute to the bigger picture, as well as the major things, like acting, were also really good. The sets in this movie were beautiful and over the top. Gatsby’s mansion was most likely CGI, but it was still beautiful. The party scenes at Gatsby’s were also very elaborate. Aside from the sets, the costumes were gorgeous. I was in awe with whatever Daisy (Carey Mulligan) was wearing. In particular, there was a lavender dress she wore and a champagne colored dress with crystals all over the outside. Both were absolutely stunning (and by Prada, I might add). Gatsby (Leonardo DiCaprio) also had some very gentlemanly outfits. The standouts for me where a white suit with a golden tie and a light pink suit with a light pink and burgundy striped tie. Another cool element to this movie was the music. I have never heard anything like this in a page-to-screen film. The music is much more hip-hop than anything, which is no surprise considering Jay-Z produced the soundtrack. Hands-down the standout song was “Young and Beautiful” by Lana Del Ray. I should mention I do not particularly like Lana Del Ray’s music. However, when I heard this song in the movie it fight so perfectly and made the movie so much more emotional. “Will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful/ Will you still love me when I got nothing but my aching soul/ I know you will” the song goes. It just has such a unique message; Will you love me for me, forever? Will you love me in my darkest moments? I know you will. How powerful. The best way I can describe what this song was like in the movie is by saying that it was like the song “When She Loved Me” from Toy Story 2. It stirred that kind of uneasiness in me. It made me uneasy because of its hauntingly romantic power, however you know in the end that kind of love cannot be.

Photo Courtesy of popmatters.com

The acting was also great. Leo so deserves that elusive Oscar for his part as Jay Gatsby. I cannot imagine anyone else playing Gatsby as greatly as he did, honestly. The most surprising actor for me was Carey Mulligan. I have never see her in a movie before, and she was such a great Daisy. She nailed it. Tobey Maguire was also very good as Nick Carraway. Leo and Tobey have been friends for quite some time, and that chemistry could be seen in the movie.

This movie is so luxurious and indulgent, but underneath the beautiful façade is a truly tragic love story. The story of a love so strong, yet so confused. Gatsby so loves Daisy. He said he felt “wed to her” in his heart. However, Daisy is married to another man, yet she loves Gatsby as well, but she also loves her husband. Mr. Gatsby’s story ends in his murder. He never does get the chance to give Daisy the life he had planned for her and himself. His story is so powerful, so captivating, yet so unfortunate. In this life, people so often chase the dream of a never-ending love. Sadly, a good amount of people end up settling because of the ever-fleeting concept of time. The biggest lesson Gatsby teaches is that we should not settle for a life that we do not want because of time, money, or the like. In a way, I think a lot of women want a Gatsby. A gentleman, who is willing to give the love of his life everything he can, and all he expects in return is her love. However, Gatsby’s fatal flaw was his belief in the past. He believed that one could recreate the past, so much so that he was chasing a memory in Daisy. He loved her as much as he had before, but she had changed. He was in love with the way things were before, and was trying to erase the present circumstances so as to race back into the past. After Gatsby’s death Nick concludes his account of one Mr. Jay Gatsby by saying,” So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”cos-12-love-quotes-de