REVIEW: Drunken Pig from The Sweet Divine

Sorry to cut to the chase, but… Redemption at last! That’s right, The Sweet Divine FINALLY has redeemed itself as a bakery! I didn’t think the day would come, but lo and behold, it did.

Let me backtrack. A couple weekends ago, my friends and I graced #FoodTruckFriday at Tower Grove Park. If you’ve never been to #FTF, go. Once a month, almost all the STL-based food trucks set up for several hours on a Friday evening in the park, making it super easy to sample a few trucks at a time rather than attempt to track them down in the metro area.

After a delicious meal of inconspicuously spicy chicken tacos from Taco Truck STL, my mouth was on fire. I was ready for something sweet to cool things down. We ventured over to Pie Oh My, and I got a slice of peach pie. Let’s just say the pie left some (OK, a lot) to be desired, but that’s another review in itself. More to come in a future post.

Our #FTF camp was set up across from The Sweet Divine truck, so I spent much of the evening baffled as to why the line was always so darn long. I mean, come on people — Don’t you know their cupcakes aren’t that great? Alas, my insatiable sweet tooth and curiosity led me to walk up to the truck to peruse the menu. They had their usuals (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel, Red Velvet and the like), but it was their mainstay that caught my eye: the Drunken Pig. That’s right, the Drunken Pig, as in the cupcake that propelled them to a “Cupcake Wars” win and launched them into confectionery fame. After much internal debate, I caved and decided to give The Sweet Divine one more chance. If they couldn’t do the cupcake that started it all any justice, there’d be no hope for them and we’d be dunzo forever.

The Sweet Divine's Drunken Pig

The Sweet Divine’s Drunken Pig (Image courtesy of FeastMagazine.com)

The Drunken Pig is described on the menu as such: Newcastle beer and sharp cheddar cheese cupcake, sharp cheddar cream cheese frosting, topped with BACON!! Now why they need two exclamation marks after “BACON” (the all caps also is mysterious) is beyond me, but like before, that’s another review all together. Obviously they’re in the market for a copy editor.

OK, enough bashing on The Sweet Divine. They’ve already taken an ample beating from me. Simply put, the Drunken Pig is outstanding. Its combination of flavors is exquisite. The cupcake’s texture was moist yet firm to stand up to the thick, creamy frosting. The smoky bacon crumbles were impeccably crisp, adding a nice crunch to the otherwise soft, spongy mouth feel of the cake. The frosting-to-cake ratio was a bit askew (more cake than buttercream), but if you’re like me and not a big icing person, it’s not a deal breaker.

The Drunken Pig wasn’t overly sweet or overly salty, striking a perfect balance on the flavor scale. While devouring this treat, I couldn’t decipher one flavor over another. Rather, the beer, cheddar and bacon blended seamlessly together for a cupcake experience like no other. Despite the Drunken Pig not being a decadently rich cupcake, it washes down well with a glass of ice-cold milk.

I really, really love this cupcake. I think I inhaled it in less than two minutes. It is that good. If you find yourself in the vicinity of The Sweet Divine’s bakery or truck, do yourself a favor and order this instant classic. The Drunken Pig won’t disappoint.

If you go…

Catch their truck, which the owners affectionately call “Georgie,” on the STL streets. Follow @TheSweetDivine on Twitter to learn about Georgie’s whereabouts.

Or visit their storefront in Soulard.
The Sweet Divine
1801 South 9th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
(636) 942-2900
www.thesweetdivine.com

RECIPE: Sweet and Salty Cupcakes

Up until a couple weekends ago, it had been far too long since I’ve had time just to play around in the kitchen. Real life gets so darn busy that sometimes I can barely find time to even cook for myself and thus resort to eating a Cliff Bar for dinner. Talk about the ultimate #PostGradProb.

So when I had to come up with a dish to bring to a trivia night, my mind darted to my favorite thing in the entire world: Baking, duh! Finally, I could spend some time in the kitchen baking the afternoon away. You see, not only is baking a hobby for me, it’s also quite therapeutic. I get a lot of good thinking done in the kitchen, plus it also serves as a creative outlet.

This time, I didn’t want to bake something I’ve made a hundred times before. No, this called for something new. Something different. Something I could create myself and call my own. So I started sifting through recipes for inspiration.

My mind continued to wander when I found myself toying with sweet and salty flavors. Some days, the biggest dilemma I face is whether I want a sweet or salty snack. I know what you’re thinking… #FirstWorldProb. (OK, the hashtagging ends here. Promise!) But you have to agree that it’s a really tough decision! Since sweet and salty is one of my favorite flavor combinations, right behind peanut butter and chocolate, I came up with a genius idea. Why not transform those tastes into a cupcake? Enter what I’m dubbing as the Sweet and Salty Cupcake.

After much more thought and research, I decided on the elements: a fairly neutral-flavored butter cake (so that the toppings could really shine), salted caramel buttercream (foaming at the mouth at this point), chocolate ganache and pretzels. I couldn’t wait to start experimenting in my lab!

The cake was a breeze to mix together. If you’ve never made a cake from scratch before, do so. It’s not nearly as difficult or time-consuming as it sounds. I don’t believe in boxed cake mixes. They’re simply pre-mixed dry ingredients with a handful of preservatives tossed in. Yuck! Please, please, please make your cakes from scratch, people! The batter was fluffy and airy. How do I know this? A girl’s gotta taste test! The batter was so delicious I could have eaten the whole bowl. But alas, there were cupcakes to be made!

Warning: This cake batter is so good, it's tempting not to devour it all with a spoon!

Warning: This cake batter is so good, it’s tempting not to devour it all with a spoon!

Moving on to the frosting. Never have I ever made my own caramel. I’m not going to lie — I was slightly hesitant initially about making candy. Cooking sugar to 240 degrees just sounds like an accident waiting to happen! Fear was not going to get the best of me today though. One noteworthy tip: NEVER. EVER. walk away from the stove when cooking caramel. It’s a fine line from caramelized sugar to burnt sugar, and trust me, nobody wants to eat burnt sugar. The caramel only took about 10 minutes or so to cook. It was so cool to see the ingredients transform into that ooey gooey candy-like syrup. I felt like a mad scientist watching the caramel bubble away.

Watch the caramel go from this...

Watch the caramel go from this…

...to this...

…to this…

...to this in just a matter of minutes.

…to this in just a matter of minutes.

The finished product was TO DIE FOR. It was so good I didn’t even want to continue with the rest of the buttercream, but thank heavens I did. The caramel was then mixed with even more butter (read in your best Paula Deen voice, “And a stick of butter, y’all!”), flaky sea salt, snowy confectioner’s sugar, a splash of cream and a bit of vanilla just to kick it up a notch. Man oh man, this stuff is good. Try to contain yourself from eating the entire mixing bowl of buttercream before frosting your cupcakes. Easier said than done.

You guys, this stuff is DIVINE.

You guys, this stuff is DIVINE.

Even I'm surprised all the buttercream made it onto the cupcakes.

Even I’m surprised all the buttercream made it onto the cupcakes.

Now you could stop here if you wanted to, but we’re going all out with these cupcakes. So I chopped up some bittersweet chocolate and melted it with some cream. If you can stand it, wait about 10 minutes for the ganache to cool down before drizzling it over the cupcakes. Finally, chop up some pretzels and sprinkle over the top.

Make sure to use a good quality chocolate for your ganache.

Make sure to use a good quality chocolate for your ganache.

Mmm... warm, rich, chocolaty ganache!

Mmm… warm, rich, chocolaty ganache!

Serve to your friends and prepare to be amazed.

That's one fine-looking cupcake.

That’s one fine-looking cupcake.

“You really made these?”

“Wait, these are from scratch? How do you even do that?”

Or the best one yet… *Silence* while devouring the cupcake in just a few bites. The best compliment someone can pay a baker.

Just a heads up: These cupcakes do take a long time to prepare, so be aware you’ll be spending a decent amount of time in the kitchen. But if you’re like me, that’s a wonderful thing.

Enjoy!

Sweet and Salty Cupcakes

Sweet and Salty Cupcakes

SWEET AND SALTY CUPCAKES (Recipe adapted from Add A Pinch.)
Yellow butter cake frosted with salted caramel buttercream, drizzled with chocolate ganache and topped with chopped pretzels

For the Butter Cake:
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
4 eggs, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla

For the Salted Caramel Buttercream:
First Stage
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon baking soda

Second Stage
½ cup butter
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup heavy cream or half-and-half

For the Chocolate Ganache:
4 oz. semisweet chocolate (61 percent cacao)
½ cup heavy cream (if using half-and-half, use a bit less)
Pinch of sea salt

For the topping:
Handful of pretzels

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place 24 liners into muffin tins.

Prepare the cake: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt with a whisk in a large bowl. Set aside. Cream butter until fluffy and then add sugar, creaming together for about eight more minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, creaming together after each. Add flour mixture and buttermilk, alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Combine each addition of flour and then turn mixer on high to add air into the batter. Add vanilla and beat well, turning the mixer to high for about 10 seconds to lighten batter. Divide batter among liners, filling ¾ of the way. Reduce the oven temp to 325 degrees and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until set. Turn out of tins onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.

Whip up the frosting: Add all ingredients from the first stage of the buttercream recipe in a 3 or 4-quart pot. Stir ingredients with a wooden spoon while cooking over medium-low heat. Cook to the soft-ball stage (235-245 degrees on a candy thermometer, as well as using the cold water test). The caramel should be dark amber in color. Remove from heat and pour into a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Using a whip attachment, whip the caramel until it has cooled enough to touch lightly. Add the butter and salt from the second stage of the buttercream recipe to the mixing bowl and whip. Add powdered sugar in ½-cup increments, stopping after each to scrape sides of mixing bowl. Turn mixer to high for about 10 seconds after each addition to incorporate air into the frosting. Adjust the amount of confectioner’s sugar to result in a frosting that will hold its shape. Frost the cupcakes once they have completely cooled.

Toppings time: Chop the pretzels and sprinkle over the frosted cupcakes.

Last but not least, make the ganache: Coarsely chop the chocolate. Set aside in a medium-sized bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over the chocolate and add the salt. Let stand for 10 minutes — do not touch, or the ganache will become grainy! Whisk until smooth and shiny. Drizzle over the frosted-topped cupcakes.

REVIEW: Cupcakes from Sweet Art

Another Friday, another lunch outing with my co-workers. This time, we headed over to Nora’s, a cute little deli in the Dogtown neighborhood. It was a chilly, dreary day, so a grilled cheese sandwich and cup of tomato soup was just the ticket. For a deli, Nora’s has a decent variety of brownies and cookies. I had no intention of getting dessert due to splurging on a gigantic slice of chocolate-peanut butter cake à la mode the night before at our Purina suite during the Blues game. (I know, I have a REALLY rough life. Ha!) So, I said no to the desserts. I was going to stand my ground.

We leave Nora’s and squish back into the car when my co-worker Ruth (who’s a self-proclaimed chocoholic) suggests we visit a bakery. That’s it. Game over. I’m SO there. So much for having willpower, right? Whatever. I shrugged it off as having deserved an extra treat for giving up sweets for two and a half months pre-cruise. Besides, I also needed to keep trucking through my review list for this blog. Totally justifiable.

We decide on Sweet Art in the Shaw neighborhood. Sweet Art isn’t just a bakery; It’s also a cafe (known for their vegetarian and vegan options) and an art gallery. This alone sets Sweet Art apart from other St. Louis-area confectioneries. We walk into the small and cozy yet calm and inviting space. One of the first things I notice is the “From Scratch” sign proudly displayed behind the counter. I’m a firm believer in making as much as I can from scratch in my own kitchen, so I’m instantly a fan of this place. Sweet Art uses ZERO artificial flavors, preservatives, trans-fats and high-fructose corn syrup. They also source local and organic ingredients as much as possible. What’s not to love?

If it's made totally from scratch, it has to be delicious, right?

If it’s made totally from scratch, it has to be delicious, right?

Every single item in the baker’s case looks fantastic. Vegan fudgy brownies, Elvis bundt cakes, nine different varieties of cupcakes… You name it, I wanted to try it. I think it’s only fair to adequately review a bakery after having tried a couple samples of what they offer, so I decided on the Sweet Potato Pie and Fauxstess cupcakes.

Sweet Potato Pie Cupcake

Sweet Potato Pie Cupcake

Sweet Potato Pie Cupcake
With a description of “our signature sweet potato cake (perfectly spiced!) topped with cinnamon cream cheese frosting and graham cracker crumbs,” choosing the Sweet Potato Pie cupcake was a no-brainer.

Initial thoughts: LAWD HAVE MERCY. I can really taste the love put into this one, y’all. The cake was incredibly moist and fluffy. It was sponge-like, meaning it had a slight spring when you sank your fork down into it. The sweetly spiced Thanksgiving-esque flavor was to die for. The cream cheese frosting was creamy and tangy with just a hint of cinnamon. The cream cheese did overpower the cinnamon, but if you’re as cream cheese-obsessed as I am, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. The graham cracker crumbs nicely contrasted the soft textures of the cake and icing. Unfortunately, I did not get crushed grahams in every bite, so I would have preferred the cupcake to be sprinkled with more.

Dish: Sweet Potato Pie Cupcake
Price: $2.75 for regular size; $1.25 for mini size
Verdict: Fantastic cupcake all around. The sweet potato, cinnamon and nutmeg flavors were well-balanced without one overpowering another. Not overly rich yet not bland, this cupcake fell in the middle of the sweetness scale so that you weren’t sent into a sugar-induced coma immediately afterward. Good combination of textures with the spongy cake, velvety frosting and crunchy topping.

Fauxstess Cupcake

Fauxstess Cupcake

Fauxstess Cupcake
Paying homage to the signature Hostess Cupcake, the Fauxstess’ description is simple and to-the-point: “Our take on the ‘Hostess’ cupcake. A classic!” Well geez, could you get any more basic? Had I not already been familiar with what Hostess Cupcakes consist of, I  might not know what I’m getting myself into.

Speaking of Hostess snack cakes, quick back story on that: My dad and I LOVE Hostess cakes. Like, embarrassingly love them. In the world of snack cakes, nothing else compares. So whenever we’d be at the grocery store or the Wonder/Hostess outlet store with my mom, we’d casually sneak a box or two of Cupcakes or Ding Dongs into the cart. Sometimes she noticed, other times she didn’t. Regardless, we still managed to make it home with a stash. It was only a matter of minutes after carrying in all the bags before we would sink our teeth into that rich, chocolaty goodness. And if you’ve never tried them frozen, you should. Frozen Hostess cakes give room-temp ones a run for their money!

Anyway, back to the Fauxstess. Sweet Art totally nailed this one. The Fauxstess does the Hostess Cupcake proud. From the luscious chocolate ganache frosted with those signature squiggles to its perfectly rich chocolate cake with creamy core, everything about this cupcake tasted like the original. The creme in the middle tasted a leeeeeettle bit too marshmallow-y, but the keyword here is little. I have no major complaints about this cupcake. Bravo, Sweet Art!

Dish: Fauxstess Cupcake
Price: $2.75 for regular size; $1.25 for mini size
Verdict: Outstanding! Cake was flavorful and moist. The creme filling complemented the dark chocolate cake well and had the ideal consistency. The chocolate ganache was heavenly. Appearance wise, the Fauxstess looked almost identical to the Hostess Cupcake. No major faults here.

The Bottom Line
Sweet Art is on top of their game. I couldn’t really find any flaws in the two cupcakes I sampled, and I can’t wait to try more of their flavors.

The bakery also offers two vegan and two gluten-free cupcake varieties each day, if you’re into that sort of thing. I think it’s awesome. From what I heard, the GF cupcakes were very similar to the those of the normal variety: Moist, light and airy, which is quite the contrary from the normally tough, dense sans-gluten cakes. It’s one thing to be creative in terms of flavor combinations for your cupcakes, but it’s a whole other ballgame to recreate equally delicious treats for those who are gluten-intolerant or for those choose to go on a vegan diet. Props to Sweet Art for accommodating those folks so that they too can enjoy the sweeter things in life!

If their cupcakes alone aren’t enough to sell you (though they should!), Sweet Art offers some pretty sweet perks to get you into their bakeshop. For starters, they have a cupcake club. After 12 visits (one punch on your card per visit, not per cupcake), your next cupcake is free.

All day on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Sweet Art has a cupcake happy hour. Or I guess technically it would be hours, but aren’t most happy hours plural, anyway? I digress. During cupcake happy hour, regular cupcakes drop in price to $1.95, while minis go for $0.85. Not a bad deal.

Still a customer who pays in cash? Sweet Art will give you a 10 percent discount if you do.

However, the only downside to the bakeshop is Sweet Art’s packaging techniques. Their boxes don’t have dividers, and the worker who boxed mine put the two cupcakes too close to each other, meaning I got a bit of chocolate ganache mixed in with the cinnamon cream cheese frosting. By the time we made it back to the office, the Sweet Potato Pie cupcake had toppled over. Aside from getting boxes with dividers and not placing the cupcakes too close to each other, another trick of the trade is to put a dab of buttercream on the bottom of each cupcake so that they stick to the box. Just a *hint.* It’s certainly not the end of the world that my two cupcake flavors collided, but it’s still something that could be improved.

To wrap up, the bakers at Sweet Art have perfected their craft, and it definitely shows in their work. Simple (but not boring!) cupcakes baked with a lot of love. I highly recommend this one!

If you go…
Sweet Art
2203 S 39th Street
St. Louis, MO 63110
(314) 771-4278
www.sweetartstl.com

REVIEW: Cupcakes from The Sweet Divine

Let me preface this review by saying I can outbake The Sweet Divine. And no, I’m not saying that in a pretentious sort-of way. It’s the truth.

I’ve tried The Sweet Divine before and had their Red Velvet cupcake. Needless to say, it left some (OK, a lot) to be desired. It wasn’t anything special. Fast-forward to a few months later. I found myself at their adorable storefront in the Soulard neighborhood again with some co-workers after lunch the other day. I figured maybe Red Velvet just wasn’t their strong suit, so I decided to give them another shot. I went with the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough and Banana Cream Pie cupcakes.

Photo courtesy of Brian M. from Yelp

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake (Photo courtesy of Brian M. from Yelp)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake
I sampled the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough first. Their menu touts the cupcake as such: chocolate cupcake with chocolate chip cookie dough baked inside and vanilla buttercream, topped with chocolate chips. Hands down, the best part of this cupcake was the buttercream. That’s saying A LOT considering the frosting usually is my least favorite. The chocolate chips on top were a nice touch — their miniature size was perfect and the cake was sprinkled with just the right amount. The ratio of cake to frosting was quite good.

However, the cake itself was bland and dry. It should have been moister considering the ample amount of partially baked cookie dough in the center. Although dark, the cake did not give off a strong chocolate flavor. It actually didn’t have much flavor at all and, frankly, could use a boost on the sweetness scale. The cake was so blah that for a split second I actually considered eating only the frosting and throwing out the rest. But for the sake of this review, I decided to keep plunging ahead. Needless to say, it didn’t sway me in a positive direction.

Now, the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough cupcake is not a terrible treat by any means, but as any cupcake connoisseur will tell you, there are way better versions out there.

Dish: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcake
Price: $3
Verdict: An average-at-best cupcake.The buttercream was superior to the other elements. While some may consider the frosting to be a bit too sweet, I appreciated the sugar rush to compensate for the lack of it in the cake, which could have been needs to be moister. There were a few chocolate chips in each bite, so the amount of toppings was appropriate. The cookie dough baked into the center was just alright. I would have liked to see it a bit more underbaked, which also would have helped the consistency of the cake.

Banana Cream PIe

Banana Cream Pie Cupcake

Banana Cream Pie Cupcake
Now, onto the Banana Cream Pie. It’s described on the menu as a banana cupcake with banana pudding filling, meringue frosting with a dollop of whipped cream frosting, topped with a sliced banana and dusted with graham cracker crumbs. Whew, that’s a mouthful! Anyway, this cupcake is EVERYTHING. I felt as if I were devouring a slice of banana cream pie in cupcake form. The cake boasted an excellent, but not too overpowering, banana flavor, the banana pudding was top notch, and that meringue frosting? Oh, lawd. On point.

However, this cupcake isn’t all smiles and rainbows. I found two major flaws. (1) Again, the cake was a little on the dry side. Had the banana pudding filling not been present, I would imagine eating this cupcake would sound similar to the scene in Christmas Vacation when Clark and the rest of the Griswold gang gnawed on that painfully dry turkey. You’d definitely need a second mug o’ milk to wash that bad boy down. However, the cake was not nearly as dry as the Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough. Perhaps this was due to the banana present in the batter, which provided the cake a tad more moisture. (2) Speaking of banana, where was my sliced banana?! Because I definitely did not get any bites of straight-up banana in any part of that cupcake. It brings me back to the time when my family and I got a Tippins banana cream pie and there were ZERO banana slices in the entire pie! And let me tell you, that was not a good time to reminisce on. To me, banana cream pie (and its cupcake counterparts) are incomplete without real banana slices.

Despite its weak points, this was a fantastic cupcake overall. I inhaled it in just a few bites and would order it again in a heartbeat. It is, by far, the best cupcake I’ve sampled from The Sweet Divine.

Dish: Banana Cream Pie Cupcake
Price: $3
Verdict: An oh-so-delicious cupcake with an outstanding flavor profile. The banana is the star of the show here — its flavor shines without overpowering the cupcake. The banana pudding filling saved the cake from being overly dry. The meringue buttercream was excellent — it had the perfect consistency and wasn’t too sweet. I would have liked to see the cupcake topped a small pie crust round or a vanilla wafer rather than graham cracker crumbs, but that’s just me being picky. I would have also liked a sliced banana topper. That’s not me being picky, that’s me being a customer who wants the cupcake exactly as the menu states.

The Bottom Line
In sum, the biggest issue I have with The Sweet Divine lies within their cake recipe. From what I’ve heard, the cakes in their other cupcake flavors are equally, if not more, dry. How again did they win Cupcake Wars? Clearly they were being judged on flavor and creativity rather than fundamentals. I’ve got some advice for you, The Sweet Divine: If you want to keep up with the big dogs in the St. Louis confectionary business (Jilly’s, The Cup, and the like), start tweaking your cake batter recipe NOW. You’ve more than perfected your buttercream recipe, but you cannot sell cupcakes on buttercream alone. The cake is as basic as it gets when it comes to cupcakes. No matter how creative or tasty your flavor combinations may be, without a good cake base, your cupcakes are nothing. So, get it together. It’s called a cupCAKE for a reason.

If you go…
The Sweet Divine
1801 South 9th Street
St. Louis, MO 63104
(636) 942-2900
www.thesweetdivine.com

 

 

M-I-Z S-E-C!

It’s officially official. Mizzou is in the SEC, y’all!

I took in my first football game on Saturday after Mizzou’s move to the Southeastern Conference earlier this year. That day seriously felt like Christmas. I’d been waiting for it since, well, the end of last football season.

Mizzou commemorated the SEC move by replacing the “M”s on the overhead bridges on Providence (that connects the Athletic Training Complex to Memorial Stadium) and College Avenue (that connects College Avenue and Hatch residence halls to Plaza 900) with the oval tiger head. They look awesome (and even better in person!).

Unfortunately, the week leading up to the big game was also plagued with threats of heavy rainfall (thanks, Hurricane Isaac!). It seemed like everyone and their mom were selling tickets either due to the rain, it being Labor Day weekend or the fact that we were playing a non-conference team, the Southeastern Louisiana Lions.

My friends and I still had a great time, regardless. We tailgated all afternoon, indulged in Columbia’s famous Trops and had a great time catching up on each other’s post-grad lives. Luckily, the rain didn’t put a damper on our tailgate at all.

My bestie Michelle and I

The gang, minus the parents

Once we got to the stadium, just one glimpse of the new field took my breath away. Corny, I know, but it seriously looks so good. I also got to sit in the student section with my friends and my boyfriend, who’s still a grad student at MU. I should’ve known I wouldn’t be able to stay away too long ;)

Carter and I right before kickoff

We watched a thrilling blowout game with a final score of 62-10 Tigers. It rained off and on, but of course that didn’t stop us from staying until well into the third quarter. After all, we come prepared — ponchos and all!

Alexa and I weathering out the rain

I’m already anxiously awaiting attending my next Mizzou game —  we have tickets to the ‘Bama game on Oct. 13 and Homecoming vs. Kentucky on Oct. 27. You can take the girl out of college, but you can’t take college out of the girl. M-I-Z!

 

Let the funployment begin!

In college, I always imagined employment immediately following graduation. I thought that those unemployed college grads who were out of work was due to their lack of trying. Then, “funployment” (a term that will be used from here on out; unemployment sounds too harsh!) hit home. While I was fortunate enough to score a full-time freelancing job with Redbook for the summer, all good things eventually come to an end, and my gig unfortunately didn’t lead into a full-time in-house position. Enter my life as I know it: I’m now a full-time job hunter.

I had to move out of my college apartment last week, so rather than making the big move to NYC right away, I moved back with my parents (I know, I know…THE WORST!) to figure out what I really want to do with my life (well, that and save up some more money). Also, let it be known that this move is purely temporary. So for now, it’s job hunting/applying until I can’t job hunt/apply anymore, and then probably some more job hunting/applying. Easier said than done. At least funployment has allowed me more time to do the things I love, like baking, reading and watching the Olympics (which have only inspired me to want to quit the job hunt and become a full-time athlete…hmmm, new career path maybe?)

Resume tips are welcome/greatly appreciated. For other post-grads out there, what’s your advice for enduring funployment and finding a job?

Summer reading list

One of my favorite things about summer is reading for fun. Curling up in bed or laying out by the pool with a great book that can hold your attention for hours is pure bliss. Throughout my college semesters, my reading repertoire mainly consisted of boring textbooks accompanied by the occasional novel I reviewed for Vox. Now that I’m working 9-5 and don’t have any school work on top of that, I finally can indulge in pleasure reading once again! I made a reading bucket list at the beginning of the summer — check it out below:

1. Calico Joe by John Grisham (loved it!)
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (amazing — can’t wait to read the rest of the series!)
3. Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
4. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James
6. Fifty Shades Darker by E.L. James
7. Fifty Shades Freed by E.L. James
8. The Help by Kathryn Stockett
9. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
10. The Red House by Mark Haddon
11. Heading Out to Wonderful By Robert Goolrick
12. Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Suggestions on what else I should add? What are your summer must-reads?