Fade To Black

Dress: Forever 21; Tights: Hue; Necklace & Hat: Vintage heirlooms; Choker: Rue 21
I tend to avoid wearing solids, as they inexplicably make me feel plain. Black, however, is exempt from this opinion. Wearing an all-black ensemble has something inherently cool about it that is irresistible. The midnight black shift dress ("non-maternity," I must add - notice the absence of any telltale ruching) provided the perfect incognito-ish look for a tour of the Thaxton Speakeasy. For the finishing touches, I donned my grandmother's 1920s sparkly hat and my trusty Luichiny 1970s-inspired platforms.

The Thaxton Speakeasy, for those of you who have yet to experience it, is described as a modern-day, underground lounge. True to the days of prohibition, the Thaxton is only open to the public on weekends, and a secret password is needed for admission. I was recently treated to a tour of the historic building and a mini-cocktail lesson. (Out of respect for my daughter-to-be, I declined to sample anything, but they looked extremely tasty.) The building has 3 levels prime for unique pictures and private events. (And, any time a bar's owner rocks a zoot suit, you know it's a fun place.)
Thaxton Speakeasy, 1009 Olive St., St. Louis, MO
Photo c/o Judd Demaline
On the upper level, they have a bathtub-turned-bar. Gives a new meaning to "bathtub gin."


Frozen Lunch at Eckert's Farm

What could be better than sleigh ride accompanied by a snowman?
Have you seen the movie Frozen? I've only seen it once and my daughter Ruby has never seen it. Yet, that didn't stop us from having a blast at Eckert's Farm in Belleville, IL for the "Dine With Anna and Elsa" lunch! While my family and I attempted to dine together in the Country Restaurant (with an extremely active 2-year old, that lasted for about, oh, 5 minutes), the two glorious sisters entertained guests with popular songs from the movie. While she sat obediently in her booster seat, Ruby munched on the snowball-like powdered donut holes and the blue ice cream float. She was enchanted by Anna and Elsa's costumes, but after she realized it wasn't a show just for her, she pulled me out of the restaurant into the lobby to play with the multitude of toys. Luckily, we could still hear the music. And the nice workers gave us a box to bring home whatever we were unable to eat.

After lunch, we reluctantly skipped the massive line to take a picture with Anna and Elsa, and instead headed to the Country Store and Garden Center to have a photo shoot with Olaf and Sven. The old-time store was so cute that I wanted to do some shopping, but of course Ruby made a beeline for the impressive toy section. While my husband kindly stood in the reasonably-long line for photos, Ruby and I got a kick out of the small petting zoo. Our photo op with Olaf bordered on disastrous until Ruby's mood inexplicably shifted and she sat in the sleigh long enough for the photographer to snap a pic. (She created such an initial fuss that I was surprised the rest of the people in line didn't clap for us after our photo was done!) 

We saw some kids getting their faces painted which looked fun, but the excitement proved too much for Ruby and we took her home. Despite the mini-meltdowns, the squeals of delight as Ruby saw the animals, princess, and queen assured us that she had a wonderful time. And, despite spending much of it running after her (par for the course with an adventurous daughter), so did we. The entire experience was chock-full of opportunities to make joyful family memories.   

Want to bring your little ones to join in on the fun? Register here. Have you been to Eckert's Farm? What did you think?
My lil' princess.
Blue jello is always a hit.
All photos by Ashley Jewels Kuenstler
P.S. Thank you to Eckert's Farm and the Midwest Influencer Network for sponsoring this post.

New Year, New Baby

Dress & Cardigan: H&M; Boots: Luichiny
Happy New Year, lovelies! I promised you a major announcement to start 2016, and I've got one. Ruby will officially be a big sister this summer! So, it's back to semi-maternity outfits curated from a mix of resale, thrift, and specialty maternity clothes for moi. In true Carmen fashion, I was so sick of my mommy-to-be clothes after giving birth to Ruby that I quickly donated them all, save for a random skirt or top, allowing me the freedom to start from scratch. For this little one, I'm planning to make a few tweaks to my baby bump wardrobe: