Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Eat!

"Sounds good...we'll meet you at 10. But NOT at First Watch," I said, trying to hide my disdain for what was once a favorite eatery, but had sunk low on the list with the introduction of so many great local spots. Thank goodness we Kansas Citians like to eat...

And so it came to be that we arrived at Room 39, a venue that had made me blush on the love scale a time or two when I grabbed coffee with girlfriends for it's fresh, every-changing menu, unique blend of foods and familiar sides that had proven tasty each time.

This morning was extra special in that we were spending some quality time with the bro and SIL, free of food flinging, desperate cries for the iPad and 10 trips to the bathroom (read: sans kids). After much contemplation and moans over our delicious mimosas and espressos, we each landed on something delectable:

The mister got the Carbonara, described as fresh spaghetti, bacon, brown butter, greens, poached eggs, basil and pesto. Sis got the goat cheese blueberry pancakes while I indulged in the brioche french toast. Mom delighted in the quiche of the day containing spinach and ham, while the brother did the huevos rancheros. Each dish tasted as if we were getting it fresh in another country, the service attentive and kind and the company like none other.

In short: it was an absolute treat. I HIGHLY recommend it. And each item is less than $15 - not bad for top of the line yet still having to keep up with the IHOP fans of the city. Yum!

The evening before we also had an enjoyable dining experience, despite the chaos of being restaurant week. Each evening, Avenues Bistro runs a special where they offer half-price food and wine after 8 p.m., an excellent idea to build business before the kitchen closes at 10. And although we were seated in the newly extended bar area next to a party of bachelorettes (older and poised I might add), creating decibels that made bonding tough, we still had a good time. From the meatballs to the bacon wrapped dates, humus, knocci, macaroni and cheese and so much more - each bite was as tasty as the last. Top it with an array of their mixed drinks and moscow mules and you're having a pretty nice night. Particularly for those that an evening out consists of McD's, Chipolte or Fritz's. It's an extra golden evening when you realize you paid only $110 for six adults to overeat specialty food and allowed them two drinks a piece as well. Cha ching!

So get your grub on in KC today and make these stop, plus a long list of other delicious holidays - and enjoy!

Monday, January 12, 2015

In Stitches Over My Fixes

"Oh my geeeee - I gotta go. It's here two whole days early!" I half-shout into the phone, my girlfriend understanding the abruptness of having to depart over a UPS box that sat on our still frost-laden step.

It had been less than two weeks since I had broken down in a moment of weakness and fear of turning 35 that I had finally wandered onto the Stitch Fix site, a bandaid for my current emotional state. Taking only about 10 minutes to complete the profile on their clean, easy-to-use site, I typed of my love for sparkle, disdain for key wobbly bits and the threat that no pant in the universe fit me well. And lo and behold, the SF goddesses delivered this:
Rhonda Knit Back Faux Leather Jacket: the kind of piece you search your whole life for and feel like the best version of your dream alternative ego in. Comfortable, buttery soft and perfect for over that little knit dress or paired with jeans. I die.  Over and over again I die. $78

Ohara Faux Wrap Tie-Waist Dress: um, hello my fav colors and pattern, plus an appropriate length for work, a little curves around the curves and soft as a baby's behind for comfort and ease of wear. $68

Leroy Graphic Print Blouse: perfect for throwing on for work or for one of those birthday parties on the weekends. Washable, flawy to hid the mid section and easy to maneuver in with fabulous pops of color. Tuck into a dressy skirt for work. $44

Mayven Abstract Print Blouse: though this one isn't staying home with me, I adore the buttons and flow of the material paired with the buttons. It almost knocked my socks off, but with the leather jacket as the baseline,
it didn't make the cut. $58
Not pictured: Liverpool Collen Straight Leg Jean ($78). Ok Stitch Fix, you win - you found a pair of pants that fit me! Perfect in length, enough room in the wide hips and comfy in the waist. Score! They were black though, and that portion of my closet is currently full, so we're gonna have to pass on that of enow to make way for the rest of the goodness.

Had money been no object (and believe you me, those bills are an object -just as my husband who glared at me as I whisked my box upstairs), I would've kept them all.

And because I am a marketing geek, I must share that in this box came two lovely pieces: a handwritten note describing what inspired Tish from my Pinterest board to pick what she did, and a clean list of what she used to style me to the nines. Not to mention a small fold-out brochure that showed you two ways to style each piece given your profile. Plus a bag, signed sealed and delivered to return the clothes to the big blue box near you with no hassle. Genius.

Bottom line: if you have once thought you could use a little sumpin' from Stitch Fix, I vote you do it. Today. Because if it can bring a sinus infected, long-day at work, one kid is still sick mama the amount of glee it did for this one today, gah help you on a good day.

Here's how it works:
1. Visit stichfix.com and complete your simple profile so the stylists get to know you - I highly recommend linking to your Pinterest board or send pics of outfits that inspire you
2. Choose how often you'd like to receive a package of five pieces (every other month for me)
3. Choose price ranges you're comfortable with to spend per type of piece (they'll do their best to match)
4. Pay $20 online
5. Get your box and practically melt from the awesomeness
6. Choose the items you want and the $20 fee goes toward them
7. Toss the rest in the mailbox and go about your day
8. Wow your friends with your fabulousness

So simple. So chic. So delightful. So treat yourselfish. So YES.

May your fix have you in as many stitches as this gal is in -happy styling!


Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Monday Momfessions: The Sick Version, Week of January 5

1. When I pictured accessories I'd sport on NYE, they did not include any bodily fluids, but alas, this is what I was adorned in. Please remind me to email my Stitch Fix stylist and request this not be in my first box that is to arrive on Jan. 14.

2. Similar to the cat and dog, it's always the white rug, never the tile or wood floors.

3. Whenever I clean a humidifier for days on end, I feel a bit like Cinderella. Maybe next time I should wear my favorite sparkly heels when I'm doing this chore.

4. Sleeping on the floor is not for those over 24.

5. Sharing a twin bed is not for those over 24.

6. Similar to the airlines, pediatrician and urgent care centers should offer frequent flyer miles, perhaps in the form of Wendy's Frostys.

7. Though mostly sad, there's a small sense of awesomeness in the incredible stillness and cuddliness that comes from a sick little boy.

8. Blood should be clear and easily cleaned with a Clorox wipe. This may make life simpler for all kinds of people.

9. The McDonalds drive through lady is beginning to learn my car and name. Barely making it here people - don't judge.

10. Now with two kids, I'm not even a little bit ashamed to contort my face away from those little coughs and sneezes they try to directly aim into your mouth. Someone's gotta keep the circus running.

The last three weeks have meant strep, fainting, a head laceration, ear tubes, three colds, two ear infections, a sinus infection, tear duct infection and a week-long nasty stent of croup.

Pass the Airborne please. And the Prosecco. And return their darling smiles.

May your family be a bit more on the up and up and flu free with the start of the new year!


'Twas the Season

"But I'm not ready to take them down," I whined, a glittery ball sprinkling the floor with its magical dust, tissue paper scattered near my bare feet.

This year the holidays passed all too quickly. Not in a "holy cow I missed my whole bucket list for this time of year" kind of way, but the way in which all of your methodical planning and living in the moments were so enjoyable, you literally delighted that everyday felt like Christmas.
















Starting a new job and having zero time off actually ended up a good thing...the moments of togetherness with holidays being extra special, thoughtful and easy as we spent time at home and with those we love the most. And we hit it all: making gingerbread houses, decorating the house to the nines, girls' ornament and cookie exchange, taking in the Plaza lights, date night, school concert and so much more.

It was nothing short of magical. And I'm incredibly grateful. Thank goodness for this marketing queen being largely responsible for a company rebrand in February to keep my mind off of missing all the joy. And here's to the attitude for creating much more.

May your holidays have filled your souls in ways you never imagined and cheers to 2015!

Listening Ears

"WHAT?! Ear tubes for Christmas?!"
"Ok Mom and Dad: so we'll have Nurse J take him back and Dr. E will be out to see you in about 15 minutes to let you know how he's doing," she said, her gaze warm and consoling given her gift in working with patients' families, even at the early hour of 6:45 a.m.

With that came the dreaded last kiss and embrace, the awareness of how minor a surgery ear tubes can be but how major a love is for such a small child. Major enough to fill an entire universe twice over. And that was felt with every footstep the nurse took, his small frame bobbing in her arms as she whispered animatedly to him, his brow beginning to furrow as he couldn't quite anticipate what was next. With that he was gone, and we were surrounded by white walls, monochromatic beeps and the soothing instructions of a care coordinator pointing us to the front of the building.

Knowing the drill, the mister and I grasped palms and did the quick walk to the waiting room, awkwardly pretending we were carefree and calm about our child going under anesthesia and emerging with two new pieces of plastic in his ears. From all the cases I'd seen over the years, the experiences friends have been through, the horrifying news headlines and my father's own experience in neonatal care over decades, this still felt big. Thank goodness in this eight minutes one of my best friends seemed to understand I needed to learn in those very moments the gender of her baby to be, keeping me light spirited and distracted.

Three "Today Show" clips later, the reassurance that wasn't our child screaming behind closed doors, two families exiting the surgery center and we were whisked back to speak to the doc. His fourth surgery on one of our children, we were immediately calmed with his soothing voice, quiet confidence and his ability to headline the report with:

"Everything went great. He's recovering well and you'll be able to see him in a few minutes."

Did I mention our anesthesiologist was none other than one of the kindest, brightest mothers of a kindergarten peer?! You know, the same one I had called about the week before to grill the scheduler on the amount of experience each of their anesthesiologists had? Total bonus. Total. I can't think of one we'd trust more. The combo of her and the doc? Priceless. Phew.

Moments later he's fitful in my arms, finding comfort in the warmth of my well worn elbows to his shape, chugging his beverage of choice and cradling his "dog dog." Doting nurses (they all love the youngest patients of the day), a set of instructions, another watchful 15 minutes and we were cleared.

You know what else cleared?

Those ears.

Day two meant six new words in his once limited vocabulary for a 19 month old. Day six contained three two-word sentences. And all the days to follow have meant words we never even knew he'd been exposed to before.

In other words, Santa delivered listening ears. Just in time for Christmas. And although they are already filled with infection three weeks later (tis the season), it's easier to fix, less painful and there's nothing better than watching his face glow from discovering the new world around him without a mute button.

Welcome, listening ears. We look forward to your stay. Even if there seems to be an "off" button when it comes to gentle reprimands.

We can't wait to see what you'll hear and say next!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

On the List

"A COMPUTER?!" Santa repeats, his voice booming with slight belief over the perfectly white walls prepared just for this event as our son justifies his wish at a decibal only a FBI agent could pick up with special tools.

I'm not sure what the little one asked for but I'm certain it had something to do with food.

So yes, the Big wants a computer for typing and a fort. Already having heard the wish of a computer the month before despite flipping through hours of ads of shiny new toys, we were lucky to find the grandparents were ready to part with their laptop, the perfect gateway into typing for a Kindergartner. Does it have a mouse and Word? Check. Check. Oh and in pristine condition along with its original box? Even better. See, there IS a reason Mom keeps all those boxes and instructions...

Now the fort, that's another story. True if I was one of those fabulous moms that shopped for the perfect sized sheets and hardware and made blueprints to rig up the ideal hideaway, this would be a breeze, but instead I'm the type of parent who shops on Amazon. Thanks to our awesome friends who gave the Big an army fort for his birthday, I knew there was a market and wa-la, this little number showed up on our front door. Move over, Pinterest.

In addition to his Santa stash, we're bringing it back old school style with a Spirograph and Light Brite. Fun for everyone, huh? In complete disclosure, we got him through a Children's Mercy visit the other day by letting him open one early. Ahem - the Spirograph is a huge hit. And don't forget his favorite late night reading: an encyclopedia.

And though the little one will only be enamored with whatever his brother gets, where the elf is and the tissue paper, he will find a Scuttlebug, pop-up toy, stuffed dog and some Go Go action gear under the tree.
The Mister has the Ninja blender something or under on his wish list (he turns up the volume when the infomercial is on to make a point), a GoPro, some fancy coffee maker, a Fuji camera that costs more than our mortgage and a variety of other items that require a small loan. Gah knows what we can pull off here, but he certainly deserves it.

The parents are very finicky and request nothing or simply return it. Easy enough?! Dad desires a FitBit and luckily my MIL is a woman who knows what she wants (smart TV and some warming items), so is easy to shop for. DIL only requests a family pic, brother wants some headphones, and SIL adores almost anything you snag her. Done and done.
As usual, my list is a mile along and features a diversity of items in various price ranges, from anything from R&F anti-aging products (hello-I am turning 35 soon), to perfume, workout gear, mommy-worship items, to anything with a monogram. The more surprising, the better!

There's a few days left - what's under your tree and share your wishes this year!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Crazy for Ol' Navy

They're back at it, with darling stuff at next to nothing:

Some bright fair aisle for celebrating the holidays
Some sassy leggings for under a long tee or LBD

Comfy vest that also keeps you warm

Soft sleepwear for your lady of leisure moments

Pixie pants to modernize any top - pair with flats or heels

A sweater almost so ugly it's cute - and comfy
Workout gear you can sweat in time and time again
Some of these items came home in a plastic sack at just six dollars! And none of the above were more than $20. So if ensems are on your list for next week, whether it's for that family photo or stuffing yourself on Christmas ham, swing on in to your nearest location. I can almost guarantee you'll find a few items there that will make you crazy for Old Navy!