I am not a St. Louis native. I spent the first 16 years of my life living throughout the Kansas City metro area. After my freshman year in high school, I moved to St. Louis with my mom and brother. I had never driven more than around the block when I moved to St. Louis and in my new home in bustling “South City” I had a daunting task in front of me when it came to learning how to drive. After a couple of times of going around the neighborhood, my stepfather’s dad told me to turn onto Grand Blvd., a main street. Once I was outside of the neighborhood I had no clue of where I was anymore and I was now surrounded by other drivers. My stepfather’s dad told me where and when to turn. Basically driving blind throughout South City I began to notice how immensely confusing it was. After this pivotal driving lesson, I earned my driving license and began to hit the roads every day. I was fascinated with how thorough the city of St. Louis was and was extremely inclined to go exploring. Most days after school, I would go exploring throughout the city on my own. I got lost a number of times but always managed to find my way back home without any GPS or directions. Throughout high school I met a variety of people who lived in every stretch of the St. Louis metropolitan area. I had been to Wellston, Old North City, Kirkwood, Northwoods, Lemay, The Grove, Dittmer, Ferguson, Ladue, Ritenour, Clayton and Downtown so I was convinced that I had a good majority of the city memorized like the back of my hand by the end of high school.
Once high school ended, I began to not have much interest in exploring new places anymore. Once you do something a couple of times it can begin to seem a little monotonous and not be that exciting anymore. Now that I go to school and work in Clayton I have been stuck in this community primarily for the past 7 months. About a month ago my friends and I were sitting in my dorm room with friends and we were bored out of our minds with nothing to do on a Friday night. It was about midnight and I could tell most of us were ready to call it a night. Finally I decided that maybe it would be a good time to go out and explore a bit for the first time in what felt like forever. However, there wasn’t a whole lot left for me to explore from all the exploring I did in high school on my own. I began to take my friends around the city and soon realized the more places we visited they became even more interested in our journey. Some of my friends were not from St. Louis so it was a little obvious they would take interest in their new surroundings but even those who were from the area were still as interested as those not native. I asked one of them if they had been out exploring since coming to Fontbonne and astonishingly he responded with, “No, this is the first time I’ve been outside of Clayton.” I was amazed by this. He even had a car too. Our adventures that night stretched from the Mississippi River to Tower Grove to the Central West End. We stayed out exploring until 5 the next morning. At our final stop at a 24/7 coffee shop, my friends kept telling me how great of a time they had going out and seeing new places. I had a great time too. Even though I had been to the places that we went to that night, it was a whole new experience getting to feed off of the excitement from my friends.
As some of you have heard, Fashion Week was last week in Saint Louis. Many designers showed their newest collections and new designers faced off in several competitions. ALIVE Magazine and SIBA put on amazing events and the whole week was a success. I wanted to take a moment to discuss how important fashion is, not just in all of the big cities who have their own fashion weeks.
Fashion is everywhere and in everything that we wear. If you want to wear something exactly as a store has it on display, go for it. If you want to wear stripes and polka dots, go for it. You should wear what makes you feel good and gives you the most confidence. If you feel your most successful in leggings and an oversized sweater, or a tight skirt and a tailored jacket, wear what makes you the best version of yourself.
The worst thing is feeling uncomfortable in your own clothes, or trying to make something your own just because it is the latest trend. As I have said before and will continue to say, trends are not investment pieces. You should buy trend pieces from places like H & M and Forever 21 for a lesser price before deciding to spend the big bucks. For example, you may love the look of a suede skirt, but you’re not sure if it’s the right look for you. Buy the cheaper version and if you fall in love with it, make it a staple in your wardrobe and go spend the proper amount of money on a good quality suede skirt. Always give things a test drive before you spend a great deal of money on a single item.
As my father always says, “If you buy quality, you won’t be disappointed.” By spending the money later on a piece you really enjoy, you will be able to ensure that the piece lasts enough time for you to get all the wears out it before you decide to sell or re-purpose it; hello suede jean patches.
Remember, you do not have to be walking in or attending Fashion Week in New York, London, Milan, or even Saint Louis to be the Fashionista that you want to be. Wear what makes you happy and makes you feel beautiful.
Maybe I’m broaching a subject that has already been done, or perhaps more than a bit stereotypical? But it’s near and dear to my heart. St. Louis offers up some awesome local coffee shops to fulfill the caffeine needs of any student. If you’re looking for something relatively close to Fontbonne I would have to recommend either Kaldi’s on Demun, just off Clayton Rd., or Foundation Grounds on Manchester, just off Big Bend. Both shops have great coffee, breakfast and lunch items, baked goods, and a relaxed atmosphere perfect for doing homework or hanging out with friends.
If you’re willing to explore the city a bit more, there are a few different neighborhoods with great shops. The Tower Grove neighborhood has Mokabe’s and the Gelateria on South Grand, Hartford Coffee House on Hartford St., and the lesser known, Sweet Art Bakery and Cafe (a personal favorite of mine) just north of Tower Grove Park on 39th St.
In the Delmar Loop neighborhood there’s Meshuggah Cafe and Blueprint Coffee. In the Central West End there’s the Coffee Cartel, Palate Coffee Bar, and Cafe Ventana. Also, in random places around the city, you have Park Avenue Coffee in Lafayette Square, Benton Park Cafe on Arsenal and Lemp, The Mud House on Cherokee Street, and Comet Coffee on Oakland. Each establishment has something a little different to offer its patrons. I would highly recommend taking some time out to try the different, local coffee shops that St. Louis has to offer.
On September 19, 2015, the school had organized a trip to famous places in St. Louis and all students were welcome to join. Most international students were present and surely had a lot of fun.
The first stop of the trip was Forest Park. The view inside is just breathtaking.
A group of Vietnamese and Japanese students
The following stop was the New Cathedral Church. The sun was bright but the wind was soothing.
A Vietnamese student enjoying the immensity of the church
Highlights of the trip was the Old Court House and the Arch.
Yes we’re in the sky!
The trip ended with a late lunch at McGurk’s Irish Pub and Garden.
Grilled chicken sandwich with onion rings. Yum yum!
We had so much fun and good memories. Hopefully there will be more of these events.