Thursday, May 30, 2013


I got a new camera a few weeks ago and have been slowly figuring out how to use it.  I stress the slowly part, because the first morning I took it out I immediately got frustrated when the pictures weren't turning out as marvelous as I expected.  I was about ready to claim that I had received a defective piece of crap, when Wade reminded me that this will be a learning experience and I need to just take my time and read the manual.  He's always good at calming me down and making sure I listen to reason.  We did figure out how to do a few things, but I felt like I struck gold when my cousin’s husband was able to teach me a TON about the camera and what all the features meant.  Just being able to know how to adjust the settings in different situations has helped me so much. 
But the best part was that he offered to take some pictures of us after my other cousin's vow renewal.  Why can’t we have a professional photographer following us around all the time, instructing us to go into perfect lighting situations?

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Sorry it’s been so quiet around these parts.  We’re on our way back from an extended weekend in Minnesota visiting family.  It was a non-stop whirlwind trip with lots of celebration—a vow renewal, a baptism, and a stop in the little town where my great grandparents lived. 
Stepping in to my aunt and uncle’s home brought back so many wonderful childhood memories.  It was as if I could hear the soft echo of all the stories that had been told, the secrets that were sworn to be kept, and the constant laughter amongst my siblings and cousins.  I’m fortunate to be so close with my cousins, and it’s amazing to see them all grown up with their own amazing lives and families now. 
As a fun addition to my usual OUT AND ABOUT series in Kansas City, the next few posts will be about the fun places we visited in Minnesota.  First up is the cute neighborhood of Linden Hills.  My cousin just bought a beautiful condo there that is walking distance from the nearby lake and next to a still functioning trolley line.  After looking around her new place, we walked down to the lake and then over to the adorable little shopping area in the neighborhood.
What did you do over Memorial Day weekend?  Any fun adventures?

Friday, May 24, 2013


In preparation of a fun road trip we're taking this weekend to visit family, I had to make sure I brought along a little fun pack. Does anyone else do this? I guess it's still ingrained in me from my childhood road trips where we got to bring one backpack full of toys and things to do during the ride. I'd pack my backpack to the brim, squeezing everything I could in. Inevitably I would only use one item from the pack, but at least I knew I had options.

Such was the case today when I filled a tote with all the craft supplies I could fit. Now, as we're almost to our destination, I have yet to actually complete anything. At least I had options, though.

Speaking of packing, I'm embarrassed of how much I bring on trips. Thank goodness we're driving, so I could load up the car. Each trip I tell myself that I'm going to be really good and only pack the bare essentials. I think about exactly what I'll wear each day, pack just that, but then come back hours later and throw in everything in my closet just in case. Then I fill another bag full of stuff for good measure. My worst fear is that I get to my destination only to realize I've forgotten my underpants. Oh, the horror! Is anyone else an over packer?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013


This weekend we celebrated our 5 year wedding anniversary.  5 years?! Crazy how time flies.  On our honeymoon in Jamaica we had visions of going back there to celebrate our 5th wedding anniversary.  Well, that didn’t quite work out, but we did have a great time exploring parts of Kansas City that we haven’t been to before as well as some old favorites that bring back a lot of memories.  First things first, though, time to enjoy delicious margaritas in our backyard.
There is a cool new district in Kansas City called Westside.  Our friends just bought a house over there, and I’m so glad they did because it made us aware of this up and coming neighborhood.  I’d dare to say that it is the new hipster gathering place.  It’s on the west side of downtown KC, and I’d add it to your list of places to go if you’re ever in the area.  While the neighborhood is cute, the real reason I was drawn to the area was to visit a shop called Little Freshie.  The lady who owns it used to travel around KC in the summer in a renovated airstream serving hand crafted snow cones.  The flavors always sounded so interesting, but I never made it to buy one last summer.  So when I looked her up I found out that she had opened her own little shop.  It’s adorable inside and delicious!  We tried the lemon prickly pear snow cone and a macaron.  (Ok…I have to digress from the story for a minute.  Is it macaroon or macaron?  The store had them labeled macarons, but every time I write that spell check pops up and says it should be macaroon.  Never mind, just looked it up in Google, and macaroon is something completely different.  We had a macaron.  Either way, it was delicious.)  This was my first macaron.  I felt that it was a right of passage, because I have seen them all over the blogosphere.     
The next place we went was in the Crossroads area of KC.  It’s just down from Union Station amongst all the train tracks.  It’s called The Manifesto and is modeled after a Prohibition-era speakeasy in the basement of an old hotel.  It only has one entrance, which is through the back alley via a call button.  When we went to the back of the hotel, we thought we were in the wrong place.  There was a cook from the bar and grill in the upstairs part of the hotel that was enjoying his cigarette break.  He was not very helpful, and we almost turned to leave until another couple walked up behind us and buzzed the back door.  I’ve read online that this place is really difficult to get into, but we happened to squeeze into two seats at the bar.  It only seats about 40 people!  When the hostess led us down the steep stairs to the underground bar, I couldn’t believe how dark it was.  They really took the atmosphere seriously, because there were no electric lights anywhere.  They depended only on candle light.  It took forever for our eyes to adjust, but this was a truly unique experience.  The drinks are very interesting.  Not a flavor I’d crave regularly, but the experience could not be beat. 
After our drinks, we walked across the street to the old freight building that has been renovated into restaurants.  We actually had our rehearsal dinner at Lydia’s.  We really wanted to go there, but it was all booked up for the night.  We hadn’t counted on it being that popular.  So we went next door to Jack Stack, one of the more upscale barbecue dining options in Kansas City.  Kansas City is known for its barbecue, and there are many options to try if you ever visit.  Jack Stack has a few locations around the city, and is really good if you want more of a sit down nicer dining experience with a good drink menu.  However, my favorite barbecue place in KC would have to be Oklahoma Joe's.  The original restaurant is in a gas station, but it is so good you won’t notice the ambience. 
It was a great night.  We had a lot of fun just exploring our city and visiting old haunts and new to us places.  Maybe next year we’ll head to Jamaica…

Monday, May 20, 2013


Five years ago I stood nervously behind two giant doors in a beautiful botanical garden, clutching my dad’s arm.  The doors swung open, and I immediately saw Wade standing at the end of the altar waiting for me.  During our rehearsal, everyone kept warning me not to walk too fast.  I’d say I ended up taking my sweet time walking down the aisle.  I wanted to savor everything; to remember this moment and burn the images of my family and closest friends into my mind permanently.  As the words of Van Morrison’s “These Are the Days” wafted into the air, I looked up at Wade.  He was the man I would be going on this wonderful adventure with. 
I love thinking back on our wedding day, and Wade and I talk about it often.  We joke now about how shell-shocked we both were right after we left the chapel as the photographer followed us around telling us to do some crazy pose.  Weddings are whirlwinds and wonderful celebrations to bring all of your loved ones together to share in your special day, but marriages are something even more special.  They don’t get as much of the limelight since they’re not as flashy or finite, but if you’re lucky they’ll keep going and going. 
Not every day is perfect.  I’ve been annoyed and angry at times.  However, I can honestly say that in the past 5 years, I’ve never been happier.  I love how I have this one person to share all my thoughts and dreams with.  A best friend to go on adventures with, to make my life so fulfilling and fun.  When I think about how we met by happenstance in a crowded bar, I know that there is something greater than us out there that guided us towards each other.  Who would have guessed we’d be where we are on that day so long ago when I first spotted him and thought that he was way too cool for me.  He was wearing a blazer after all. 

I don’t have many words of wisdom, but something I think about a lot is that you can’t force anyone to do anything.  They have to do it on their own accord.  Sometimes that is the hardest thing to accept.  We are separate individuals, but we’ve come together to form a wonderful partnership.  Acceptance, compromise, and an understanding love are important.  I admire Wade for his support in everything I do and his ability to read me so well.  Also, he makes dinner for me most nights.  That is worth its weight in gold.
I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings us and the new adventures we have in store.

Friday, May 17, 2013

PEICD (projects even I can do): STREAMER POLES

So I was at The Dollar Store the other day in search of some cheap pens, when I saw a big bin of tall bamboo poles.  They were almost as tall as me and only a dollar each!  I didn’t know what I would do with them, so I left the store.  I kept thinking about these sticks, though, and all of a sudden, BAM!  Lightbulb!  I could attach crepe paper to them and make some colorful streamer poles for our Mother’s Day picnic. 

I already had a ton of left over crepe paper from my birthday party in December, so I was happy to finally be able to put this big bag of paper shoved into the back of my closet to good use. 

I just cut long sections of crepe paper and hot glued them to the bamboo poles.  I didn’t have a plan, but just overlapped each piece and placed at various heights so all the colors could be seen well.  Really simple project, but produces a great colorful effect.  Then just stick them in the ground, and you’ve instantly made the outdoors more festive!  I’m going to try to get Wade to let me keep these up permanently in our backyard.  Who doesn't love colorful streamers?

Thursday, May 16, 2013


Sunday was another full day of Mother’s Day goodness.  We took some pictures in our Sunday finery and then headed to our favorite local pizza place.  We sat outside and drank up the sun along with a beer or two.  It was another relaxing day full of good food and great company.  I made my mom this bracelet and a special handmade card.

Then we went to see The Great Gatsby.  I thought it was fantastic.  All the scenes and colors were intoxicating.  I liked how they used current music throughout the movie.  There seemed to be one song that was played multiple times throughout the movie from different singers with the line, “will you still love me when I’m no longer young and beautiful?”  I think that best captured the theme of the movie.  Money, along with youth and beauty, will not last forever nor fulfill you.  Despite Daisy’s realization in the beginning of the movie that she hopes her daughter grows up to be a fool so that she isn’t disenchanted by what the real world is like, Daisy is unable to leave the security and money of her unfaithful husband.  I noticed a few places where the movie deterred a bit from the book, but overall I thought it was really good. 
Has anyone else seen Gatsby?  What did you think?