Roadtrip: Kansas City and Lawrence

I mentioned in an earlier post that we’d planned to fly out to California recently, but that trip was canceled. To make the most of my time off from work, my husband and I decided to cross off one of the “long weekend” trips we’ve been wanting to take. We hit the road and traveled across the state to beautiful Kansas City.

On the way, we stopped for coffee in Columbia, MO (home of Mizzou). We only took a quick walk around the block, but we loved the “college town” vibe — great looking restaurants and bars — and the architecture is par for the course in Missouri. Beautiful old brick buildings and interesting monuments everywhere you look.

Our first stop upon arriving to KC was the River Market. Despite the name, we could not find a way to access the river on foot — much to my husband’s dismay. However, we did have amazing lunch at Bite (I had the Sloppy which was a soy chorizo sandwich and probably one of my favorite things I’ve ever eaten). The market itself is really cute, with lots of local shops and a huge pavilion for their famers’ market. They also have a river boat museum with a giant river boat wheel churning through water — we power-walked past in our search of the restrooms.

A trip to Kansas City wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Power and Lights District. I’m pretty sure that should include the words “at night,” but even during the day we grabbed a drink and enjoyed outdoor day-drinking (one of my favorite activities) in the courtyard of Kansas City Live. I’m sure that area is bumpin’ at night, and we definitely want to check it out with a group of friends sometime in the future. For this trip, we were satisfied with the epically large cups of beer and a little sun on our faces.

Got a little sun on my ankles, too!

We spent the night in Westport, which is my favorite of the areas we saw. It reminded me a lot of the Columbia Pike area we used to live in back near DC. Every block had several bar and restaurant options, and almost all of them seemed to have some form of outdoor seating (the biggest thing I’m missing living in St. Louis: rooftop bars!). Our dinner was — of course — barbecue. Char Bar had some of the best pulled pork butt, and our waiter was hilarious. After dinner, we went out to their beergarden to enjoy the firepit. Then we wandered down the street to Julep, a cocktail bar with delicious, imaginative drinks and one of those shelves with a sliding ladder (like the one Belle uses toward the beginning of Beauty and the Beast. A fact I pointed out to my husband at least twice while we were there).

Westport also boasts a lot of coffee options, but what wowed us was the tea. Tea Drops is a cute little tea shop (soon to be restaurant as well!) with walls lined with tea canisters for customers to smell and pick their preferred brew. The owner is extremely knowledgeable and very friendly. He answered my husband’s questions about Mate and got him to try a cup — which he loved! He also gave us a lot of advice about places to visit and things to do in the area.

One of his suggestions was the Plaza district, which we’d already planned to visit but it’s always nice hearing a local confirm. This is where the major shopping is done. It felt like King Street in Charleston, SC — but so much more. The buildings are all the southwestern, mission-style, and they seem to have every upscale shop imaginable.

Because we were so close, we decided to cross the border into Kansas and check out Lawrence (home of KU). Similar to Columbia, it is a really cute college town with some awesome-looking food and drink options. We hit the Burger Stand for lunch, and even though it’s Yelp-famous for its burgers, we each tried a vegetarian option. My husband got the black bean burger, while I tried the Garbo (chickpea patty with citrus-garlic aoli, sweet relish, and cheese). Oh em gee was it mouthwateringly good. I also had the Free State Marchtoberfest beer, which was pretty tasty.

Maybe I put too much emphasis on food when I travel, but I always judge a trip a success if I ate well. Safe to say, this trip was hugely successful.



Lou Brew Reviews: Civil Life

Civil Life is possibly my husband’s favorite of the local breweries — but more for the atmosphere than anything. We found Civil Life because it is one of the few breweries that has (or at least advertises) outdoor seating. (Some, like 2nd Shift and Modern, have huge warehouse doors so you can still enjoy the sun and warmth even if not technically sitting outside). It reminded him of a beer garden we liked to frequent back in Virginia, with its picnic tables and no-fuss environment.

I only had the Oktoberfest beer, which was good but a little heavy. My husband had both the Oktoberfest and the Brown Ale, which is their most popular beer.

The weekend we went was their anniversary, so it felt in some ways like we were crashing a party — most everyone else seemed to be regulars who all knew each other.

It’s a small brewery with picnic tables outside and a few tables inside, but they do let you wander around and see the tanks and their actual brewing process. We’ll have to go back in the spring so I can try more of their beers.

Mom Knows Best

I’m a sucker for those Buzzfeed lists of tumblr posts and tweets. When the title is something like “20 tweets guaranteed to make you laugh,” I’ve gotta click on it and see just how funny this article is (or is not). Usually, I’m surprised if one or two make me laugh — and I have to share it myself if most of them do.

I really like the ones collecting tweets about adulthood or marriage or being a woman. But the inspiration for this post came from a comment on one list of adulthood posts. A woman said her kids always text her asking how to do stuff, and she wonders why they don’t just Google the answer. Don’t they realize she’s just Googling it herself?

My mom says the same thing to me. It would take the same amount of time (or less) to type the question into Google than into a text, and the answer would probably be faster and more accurate.

I can’t say why my first instinct when faced with something I don’t know is to ask my parents, but I think it’s kind of beautiful. In this technological age where Google settles fact-based discussions far too early and the need to logic out an answer for oneself is practically non-existent, kids still think of their parents as the be-all, end-all in terms of wisdom.

Sure, sometimes it’s because there was a specific way I remember my mom doing something when I was little, or a certain home remedy she had. Sometimes it’s something my dad tried to teach me a dozen times, so it’s practically a joke at this point to say “hey dad, I’m trying to do X, which tool should I use again?”

But a lot of the time, something will come up and immediately I’m grateful to have a wise adult in my life to run the question by. Even if it’s something like “the right way to boil a hotdog”, I know my mom will have the answer. Now that I’m older, I’m figuring out that parents don’t have all the answers — like most adults, they’re just winging it and hoping no one catches on. Still, I like that there’s still something magical about parenthood that makes kids reach for their phones and ask Mom or Dad before even considering Google.

Lou Brew Reviews: 2nd Shift

2nd Shift has a similar “stay for a while vibe” as most of the breweries here. Located in a warehouse, it has the long, family style tables as well as a few smaller tables, and lots of board games to choose from if you so desire.

Plus, unlike any other brewery, this place has CATS. The one that hung out with us reminded me of my fat cat growing up, although this lady was even bigger. Of course, she went straight for my husband, since he’s allergic and therefore is not a fan. Somehow, he attracts them like the bird-lady in Home Alone 2 attracts pigeons.

I am not pleased with your lack of affection, good sir.

As far as beers go, he liked their Czech Pilsner, and I enjoyed both the Hibiscus Wit and the Blondie. My husband also tried the Act of Neurosis IPA, but he didn’t like it as much as the Pilsner.


Sonoma and Babies

So I wrote this post last week (because I planned to be up to my eyeballs in adorableness today and have no time for blogging) but due to shitty weather basically everywhere except St Louis, all flights to the Bay Area were canceled/sold out/outrageously expensive. Still, the irony of it all was too heartbreaking-ly perfect not to still share. Sending my nephew wishes for the happiest of first birthdays from half a country away!

(Original post):

A year ago, our nephew was born in sunny California. He’s beautiful and rambunctious and perfect in every way — he’s the first of the next generation of our families, so he’s quite special.

As such, we are using my husband’s spring break to fly out to Cali and celebrate this little munchkin turning 1. It’s a quick trip, because while he has 2 weeks off, I have a limited number of vacation days. I plan to soak up the sun and the delight of my nephew for the few days we have out there, and cross my fingers for another snow day.

See, last year around this time, our flight home was delayed due to bad weather on the east coast. We ended up staying an extra day, one of the nicest days of our trip, and got to experience California Wine Country for the second time (we’d previously been to Napa over Thanksgiving).

The first thing I liked about Sonoma was its sass. As we arrived, a sign let us know we were in the “REAL wine country” and I knew this was my kind of place. The town of Sonoma was very cute. We had a delicious lunch and wandered around the square, reading about the historical sites.

The vineyards also had more of a look and feel that my husband and I are used to, similar to Virginia wine country: rolling hills and acres of grape vines. The wine was delicious, and of course enjoying a glass with such awesome views is always a plus.

This year, if we do happen to get an extra day, we’ll probably spend it with the family rather than another road trip adventure, but I wouldn’t complain about that at all.


February Fashion: Follow Up

For most posts on the actual “style challenge” go here and here.

My favorites from the month:

A lot of the pieces that make up my favorites have come from either ThredUP or Stitch Fix.

I’ve mentioned ThredUp in the past, but I’ll talk about it again now. It’s an online consignment shop where you can both buy and sell gently used clothing. They’ll send you a “cleanout bag” to ship your clothes to them, and you can decide if you want anything they don’t keep to be returned to you or to be responsibly recycled. The amount they pay for your clothes varies (there’s a link on their website to give you a general idea), and the amount shows in your account as a credit — after 14 days you can have it sent to you as a Visa gift card if you prefer not to use it in the store. Purchasing clothing is also pretty low-risk. You can return anything you don’t like within 14 days, with the option of free return shipping and store credit or a refund to the original form of payment (the return shipping label is deducted from the refund amount). I’ve found numerous gems through ThredUp and highly recommend it, especially for anyone shopping on a budget. If you use this link to shop, we both get $10 off!

Top I just got from ThredUP and pants from Stitch Fix


Stitch Fix is another site I’m obsessed with. Disclaimer: it’s the only clothing subscription service I’ve tried, but I love it. For a $20 styling fee, you receive 5 pieces carefully picked out just for you. You have several days to try everything on and coordinate the pieces with your current wardrobe (you can extend your time if necessary, too). The styling fee is credited towards your purchase, and if you keep all 5 items you also get 25% off! You decide how frequently you want your fixes (anywhere from every 2-3 weeks to every 3 months), or you can just manually request a fix whenever you feel like it. You fill out a style profile to help your stylist get to know you, and — now this is very important — set up a Pinterest board so they can understand what styles you really like. The only time I’ve heard of friends hating their fixes, they haven’t utilized Pinterest. They style men, too, so if you or a guy in your life could use a fashion upgrade, check out Stitch Fix. If you use this link to sign up, your first $20 styling fee is waived (plus, full disclosure, I get a credit on my account, too)!

Finally an athleisure outfit done right! Shirt from ThredUp, jacket from Stitch Fix (and mud on my shoes courtesy of Castlewood Park)


February Fashion: Part 2

To see where this started, check out this post.

The second half of this month, I’ve tried to be good about re-wearing pieces I love to maximize the number of outfits I can get out of them. I also tried to get a grip on the athleisure trend (why can I not figure out how to look uber-casually glam? probably because I try too hard)…that’s one I’m still working on.

Basically just outfits with leggings…

The weather has been a little crazy…going from 70s to 30s in the space of a day (sometimes in the space of a few hours). Virtually nothing was off-limits in my closet this month. Lightweight cardigans and ankle pants to heavy sweaters and knee-high boots, I’ve worn it all!

2/15-2/19 (minus the attempt at athleisure over the weekend)

While challenging, the crazy weather also made outfit planning more fun, forcing me to get a little more creative than usual.


Now for a couple of shameless plugs: most of my wardrobe comes from either ThredUp or Stitch Fix. Shop either site using those links and we both save some dollars! I love that I can find great prices for (gently used) quality clothing from ThredUp — most recently, that dusty pink sweater I’m obsessed with came from ThredUp for about $10. And Stitch Fix is a great service that helps me push my fashion boundaries and try new trends in pieces that are flattering on my body (that mustard shirt is one I never would have thought to try for myself). Look for my follow up post tomorrow with more details about each site!


2/26-2/28 — Not my favorites