If you’re looking for something fun to do in Kansas City on a Friday night, consider heading over to the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. We started out with the $5 happy hour in the Bloch building lobby.

Then we had dinner in Rozzelle Court. The food — though delicious — is a bit pricey so we each ordered large salads and split an order of crab cakes. The atmosphere is the real show stopper. You feel like you are dining in a courtyard in old world Italy. If you look up, you can see about a dozen Rodin sculptures on the second floor balcony. Free music is also featured. We listened to a jazz duo as we ate dinner. 

On occasional Fridays, the Nelson hosts artist walks by recipients of the Charlotte Street Foundation awards. On March 8, fashion designer Peggy Noland shared slides of her wearable graffiti-type clothing and the ever-changing art installations on the exterior of her shop. One week, a cheshire cat adorned the front door of her Crossroads District shop Peggy Noland Kansas City; the next week featured a giant pink hand with purple nails. She has designed clothing for numerous music groups and is creating the costumes for a yet-to-be-named movie. Rihanna’s stylist discovered Noland on Instagram and hired her to create the costumes for the singer’s upcoming world tour.

Noland finished off the evening by taking us on a walking tour of five pieces in the gallery that influenced her work in some way. Abstract painter Mark Rothko was a major force, while Thomas Hart Benton was not. In the midst of the tour, she discussed creativity, ownership of an artist’s inspiration and where she found her ideas.

If you are looking for a similar evening of fun, check out the next Charlotte Street Artist Walk. Poet Glenn North will be featured on April 12 at 6 and 7 pm. The event is free but tickets are required. Include the happy hour and dinner in Rozzelle Court, and you will have a memorable night.

 

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Aimee Mullins was born without tibias, but that hasn’t slowed her down a bit. This para-Olympian has inspiring words to share such as …

We think that success means moving through a challenge unscathed but adversity isn’t an obstacle we must get around. It’s just a part of ourselves …

Our challenge is not to shield our loved ones from adversity but to help prepare them. We do a disservice to our kids when we don’t equip them to adapt …

The only true disability is a crushed spirit. You must see beauty, to keep hope, to be curious and imaginative. We are then able to create new realities and possibilities.

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As women, I believe we are part of a sisterhood that spans the generations. No matter if we are 20 or 60, we can learn a lot from each other’s stories. We can breathe deeply into each others lives and fill our lungs with fresh air for our own journeys. My own refreshing wind showed up in the pint-sized package of a Pakistani neighbor. But don’t let her size fool you, she is the powerhouse of inspiration.

I was having one of those weeks (okay, months) where I was seriously wondering just who I was in life and what’s next for me. It’s a sentiment that each of us feels as varying times — moms home with toddlers, young career women pushing at break-neck speed, women whose nests have emptied who are reigniting their careers and dreams …

I decided to drag myself around the block on a walk, though my lower lip was so low I was sure I’d trip over it. As I trudged along, a perky woman walked up beside me. I plastered on a smile and forced myself to be cheery. It didn’t work. She smiled warmly and asked if I was having a hard day.

I don’t know what possessed me to pour my heart out to a stranger, but I did. Rather than bolting away from me at a fast clip, she placed a hand on my arm empathetically. After listening to my tale, my walking companion, Moona, commented that it was never too late to pursue your dreams. She had a dream of becoming a translator.

She was from Pakistan and had lived and worked part-time in the U.S. for a few years. Now  she wanted to return to college full time to get a degree in linguistics. She already has a PhD in economics from a Pakistani university, but since her home country’s government was so precarious, she couldn’t get the necessary documentation to start school in the U.S.

I looked over at Moona’s smooth skin, trim physique and determined expression. This woman, was not dissuaded however. After numerous fruitless phone calls to the dean of the linguistics program at the local university, she had planted herself in his office and told him she wouldn’t move until he admitted her into the program. Perhaps fearing this woman would use his office as her new home, he admitted her into the program. Moona was on her way to becoming a Chinese translator.

I admired this spunky woman. “Good for you, Moona,” I said. Moona looked to be in her late 40s, perhaps 50. If she could go for it, perhaps I could too. “Moona,” I said. “Do you mind if I ask how old you are?”

Without hesitating, Moona replied, “I’m 72.” I nearly fell out of my Nikes!

Moona is 72! Okay, I’m having what Moona is having! For the next 30 minutes, I picked Moona’s brain as we nearly walked around the county and back.

Here are Moona’s tips for being young and vivacious at any age:

  1. Growth is not optional. If you want your second half of life to be even more dynamic than the first half, never stop learning, growing or changing.
  2. It is never too late to be the person you want to be. Monna said her family came to the U.S. because this is one of the few countries where you can build the life you want based on hard work and perseverance. There is no date of expiration on that fact.
  3. There will always be obstacles, as there are at any stage of life. Just keep going and keep stretching for what you want.

Who has shown up in your life lately to inspire you? Go on that walk with them and listen carefully to their story. You might be surprised how their experience intersects with your own.

 

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Bridgette Won Our Giveaway!

by Cathy on November 6, 2012 · 1 comment

in Giveaway

Bridgette won our giveaway — the Sweet Tooth Soap Gift Package from Foam on the Range. Bridgette wrote in her comment:

Oh…..I love it! So many awesome choices too!!!! Any of the fruit flavored ones would probably be my favorite – Apple Orchard (sounds like a great Fall one), Apricot Freesia, Asian Pear Lily, and Black Raspberry Vanilla (definitely one I would want to try)! The Detangling Spray, Foaming Soap and Eye Serum would be neat to try too! :)

Thanks for the giveaway, looks like there is a lot of amazing products!!!

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Cool Kansas City Events: November

by Cathy on November 2, 2012 · 0 comments

in Kansas City,Travel

Proving that once again Kansas City is NOT a flyover state, there’s plenty to do around town in November. Check out these fun, frivolous festivities:

Friday, November 2, 2012
First Friday -
Excerpts from Kansas City Ballet’s The Nutcracker
6–7:30 p.m. FREE Family Fun Night, no reservations required
The Frost Studio in Kansas City Ballet’s Bolender Center
You and your family will experience the unique opportunity to peek behind the curtain of Kansas City’s favorite holiday tradition for a 90 minute Open Rehearsal.  Enjoy different sequences of The Nutcracker as you move throughout the Bolender Center, visiting multiple studios where the ballet is being worked on by the professional company, plus dancers from the Kansas City Youth Ballet. It’s a casual, come as you are, stay as long as you’d like evening.

Sunday, November 4, 7 pm
Rock legend Lindsey Buckingham performs at Johnson County Community College as part of the Performing Arts Series.

Wednesday, November 7, 6-9 pm
Kansas City’s Got Talent: Corporations from around the metro will be competing for top honors in the second annual corporate talent show at Boulevard Brewing Company, 2501 Southwest Boulevard. Proceeds benefit the Women’s Employment Network.

Saturday, November 10, 4-7 pm
Second Saturday in Weston
Stroll into Unique Shops & Galleries for late night shopping and enjoy in-store specials, local wine and beer, food samples and live entertainment. Have fun with every Second Saturday…shops open late in downtown Weston.

Thursday, November 29, 6:30  pm
Last Bite Cookbook Dinner at Story’s Restaurant in Prairie Village
Featuring Special Guests Pete Dulin and Roy Inman Dinner includes signed copy of Last Bite: 100 Simple Recipes from Kansas City’s best chefs and cooks and four courses from Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen based on recipes from the book.

Ongoing

KC Strip – KC Trolley Tours: For only $10, you can hop a trolley and visit up to eight entertainment districts, as well as 100 restaurants and bars with exclusive specials. An easy way to experience Kansas City’s nightlife.

Howl at the Moon, “The World’s Greatest Rock ‘N Roll Dueling Piano Show“, is partying five nights a week in the heart of Downtown at the Kansas City Power and Light District. Howl at the Moon’s talented musicians will have you singing and clapping along to everything from Barry Manilow to Lady GaGa.

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Looking for some decadent indulgence without any subsequent guilt? Foam on the Range offers luxurious handmade soaps to satisfy your cravings. With Almond, Black Raspberry Vanilla, Blueberry Crumble, Caramel Mocha, and Hot Fudge Sundae, you are sure to find a sweet treat that makes bath time a spa experience. The best part? We’re giving away a gift set to one lucky reader!

Each of Foam on the Range’s soaps is made in the Sunflower State with at least 50% sunflower oil, which helps contribute to a rich, skin-pampering lather. All of the company’s bar soaps are hand-stirred, hand-poured, hand-cut, and hand-wrapped, with TLC all along the way.

To register for the giveaway, simply go to the Foam  on the Range Etsy page. Then leave a comment on this blog post, noting your favorite product on the site (other than the Sweet Tooth soaps). Registration for the giveaway closes on Monday, November 5 at 7 pm Central. The winner must be a US resident. I’ll announce the winner, who will be randomly selected, shortly after that. Good luck!

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I work as a freelance consultant, which means that my office is my home or a good coffee shop. I’ve sampled my share of coffee shops in Kansas City and my favorite is … The Roasterie in Brookside. This is also a locally owned company with an interesting story.

The most important criteria for judging a coffee shop is the coffee and the brew rocks. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee here — my favorite is the Vanilla Latte. While you’re at it, order one of their amazing pastries. The cinnamon or blueberry scones are particularly good.

Best of all, the atmosphere is conducive to getting a lot of work done. One wall is entirely windows so the light is terrific, and if you are particularly lucky, you can snag a table on their outdoor patio. You’ll find a laptop on nearly every table because this is a favorite haunt of both the self-employed and the students at nearby UMKC. I’ve written half an e-book at this place! Judging by my lagging work output in recent weeks, I need to visit the Roasterie again soon! 

If you need to take a break from work, visit the cute shops right around the corner … The Dime Store, World’s Window, the Reading Reptile and the best gift shop/artist emporium in Kansas City — STUFF.

Leave a comment and tell me YOUR favorite coffee shop in Kansas City. I need to find some additional work locations!

(Photos courtesy of Man Seeking Coffee.)

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Three Healthy Dinners

by Cathy on October 16, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food

We spent the weekend at Iowa State visiting our youngest and realized that Ames, Iowa has some very decent restaurants. We ate, went to the football game, ate, went shopping, went to a pancake feed at her sorority and … ate. And I don’t regret a single bite. This week, however, we are paying the piper. But eating healthy doesn’t have to be a sacrifice. Here are three healthy meals to prove my point. I’ve also included the source for each healthy recipe.

Dinner #1

Foil Baked Fish With Black Beans and Corn from Pink-Parsley

 

Baked Parmesan Cheese Tomatoes from Eat Well

Tossed Salad

Dinner #2

Turkey Ranch Club Wrap from Skinny Mom’s Kitchen

Zucchini Boats with Roma Tomatoes from Proud Italian Cook

Fresh sliced fruit

Dinner #3

Tandoori Chicken Burgers from Baked Bree

Quinoa Salad with Black Beans, Avocado and Cumin-Line Dressing from Eating for England

Sliced Melon

Dinner is served!

 

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Five Favorite Foods for Fast, Healthy Meals

by Cathy on October 10, 2012 · 0 comments

in Food

The cooking situation has changed quite a bit at our house. With our two girls in college, we spend many weekends at one campus or another watching football games. Weeknights often find us getting in a late-night bike ride, going to the gym or meeting with friends. So big, fancy dinners that require lots of time and even more dirty dishes? Not so much! These five favorite foods provide several meal options that go (mostly) easy on the waistline.

Trader Joe’s Marinated Grilled Eggplant and Zucchini. Tonight, we rolled out some whole wheat pizza dough (Trader Joe’s refrigerated dough that comes in a bag), topped with a thin layer of olive oil flecked with minced garlic. We thawed the veggies in the microwave, placed them on the dough along with canned mushrooms and topped them with grated Kraft Italian Three Cheese. Bake it at 350 degrees for 12 minutes, add a salad and dinner is served. The veggies can also be topped with marinara sauce, grated Parmesan cheese and heated in the microwave for a few minutes. Place the goodies on top of whole grain spaghetti and you have Eggplant Parmesan.

Kirkland’s Grilled Chicken Strips from Costco. I created white chili in minutes using these strips. First I sauteed 1/2 cup of chopped onion and 1 tsp. of minced garlic. Then I added diced chicken strips, two cups of chicken broth ( buy the carton of Swanson’s broth), a can of navy beans (drained) and one can of Old El Paso chopped green chilies (drained). Simmer for 10 minutes, then dig in. These chicken strips will work in place of any recipe requiring diced chicken.

Tyson’s Grilled Steak Strips. I make fast fajitas by sauteing one orange pepper cut in strips and one small onion cut in strips. Add the steak strips and heat on medium heat for ten minutes. Serve on flour tortillas topped with guacamole, sour cream, grated cheese and salsa. Yum! Again, you can make anything that requires steak strips (stroganoff, steak soup …) with these goodies.

Shady Brook Farms Turkey Meatballs. Warm the meatballs in a skillet with marinara sauce. Then place on a bed of whole grain spaghetti or on top of a wholegrain hot dog bun for a meatball sandwich. Top with some grated Italian cheese and viola!

For dessert? (Okay, this is supposed to be “healthy” eating but work with me here!) Trader Joe’s Apple Blossoms. These are like individual apple crisps. Top with a bit of vanilla ice cream and you have a winner! 

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Cool Kansas City Events: October

by Cathy on October 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in Kansas City

Kansas City has slowly moved beyond its “fly-over-state” status to become a fairly interesting place to live. With that spirit in mind, here is the first monthly calendar of interesting things coming up in and around Kansas City. I plan to roll this out at the beginning of each month, with occasional updates. Check back often and send me any additional “cool kid” activities.

Oct. 2, 11:30-1:30: The Culinary Institute of KC’s “Staff” Lunch – Join the Culinary Institute on the first Tuesday of every month from 11:30-1:30 for a “open to the public” Staff Lunch where you get an incredible lunch at a great price. You eat whatever the chefs want to make (and they are VERY competitive!) It’s a full lunch including drink and dessert. They  serve until the food is gone and don’t take reservations.

Oct 5, 2-8:30 pm, First Friday at the Crossroads District – the granddaddy of all art districts. In addition to the usual gallery open houses, the night includes the Contemporary Autumn Showcase that highlights new artists Nina Irwin, Jeff Robinson and PMK. There will also be new works by returning artists. The showcase will play with the swirling light of dreams, the dark fantasies of humanity and the blending of reality with the surreal.

Oct 5, Owl City, the Beaumont Club — The doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 8 pm.

Oct. 6, Noon – 9 pm, Parktoberfest — October festival at English Landing Park in Parkville, Mo. featuring food, drink, music and family fun.

Oct. 12, 3Oh!3, the Beaumont Club — Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

Oct. 12, Seinfeld Live, the Midland Theater – Doors open at 6 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

Oct. 13, 12-2 pm, Farm to Table Kitchen Cooking Class at the City Market (River Market area): The Culinary Institute will teach a cooking class that uses the abundance ingredients found in the City Market including imported spices, Italian products and winter produce. Sign up early to ensure your spot. The price includes the cooking class, recipes and a market bag filled with produce.

Oct. 14, 7 pm, District Rhythyms: The Sequel — Free concert on the KC Live Stage in the Power & Light District

Oct. 26: Final Fridays, Art in Downtown Lawrence: Art, music and performances by hundreds of artists all over the downtown area as well as the new Warehouse Arts District. Maps can be found the evening of Final Friday at The Lawrence Arts Center, the Warehouse Arts District and many local galleries and venues. Events are free and open to the public from 5 until 9 pm, so pick up a map and start walking!

Ongoing Fun:

La Bodega Happy Hour ( two locations: Southwest Boulevard and Leawood): 50 percent off tapas, sangria, wines by the glass, well drinks, draft beer and domestic bottles. Monday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 2-4 p.m.. The Leawood location has a lovely outdoor seating area with fireplaces, cushy seating, and plenty of tables.

Homer’s Coffee House Weekend Live Music Live music every Friday and Saturday night, 7:30-9:30, no cover charge. Oct. 6: Moon City Big Band; Oct. 12: Charles David Smart; Oct. 13: Hallelujah Cowboys; Oct. 20: Sky Blue; Oct. 26: Brent Lee.

Leave a comment and let me know of other things going on around town. We’ll add it to the page. Thanks!

 

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