03 September 2014

Colchester Flea

There's a small Illinois town, not too far from home, that hosts an annual flea market. For all the years that I remember, it was organized among their state park pines. We'd wander the rows of trees, haggling for bargains on handmade brooms and antiques that peaked my parents' interest. The black globe in this post, and our all too familiar pizza stone came as gifts from Colchester. Last year or so, they decided the roots of those pines were enduring too much foot traffic, so it's now held in a empty field. Harrumph! with that, it lost a host of whimsy but we took Philly last weekend, anyway.  Here's what I have to show for it.

10 August 2014

Water-Propagating a Philodendron

Maybe a month or more ago when I was drumming up the plan, of sorts, to extend our kitchen, I got it in my head that I needed a philodendron plant. Its toxic (to pets) greenness would sit upon the top shelf among our orange-y coppers, our warm wood butcher block browns, softening our contrasting blacks/whites, cleaning the air and only desiring of an occasional drink and indirect light. I could see it there. It was settled.  As overstated as it sounds, no other plant could take its place. That's the madness of my method. So on a city market Saturday where all I set out for were tomatoes, we met a gardener with philos aplenty and came home with this healthy guy, too. But it doesn't end there... I want more. Did you know philodendrons propagate well in pain ole water? They re-root and stem new parts like an earthworm or a starfish. My uncle used to keep a handful of them growing in old glass battery jars. That kook has flair. I'm craving my own roots, spindly and flowing around the apartment, and as I've said before- sometimes the stems are just as stunning.It can't be that hard, right? Right. Below, I've listed a few ultra simple steps to get yours growin'. 1. Pick a jar you like, and make sure it's clear so you can monitor the water and gawk at root growth. Duh. I'm using a cider jar from our trip to the Louisburg Cider Mill. Tap water is fine, with 1 inch of room below the rim, just leave it to sit overnight so chlorine and other impurities can dissipate.  2. Snip 6 inches of stem, just below a leaf node.
3. Pinch off a set or so of leaves, leaving the bottom few inches bare.

4. Create a mini-greenhouse by tucking the jar, water, and stem within a plastic bag and place in a warm area away from direct light. Our fridge worked perfectly, well off the daily path of our plastic-licking cat. Change the water every few days. After ten, move to a brighter space. Lucky for us, philos love north and west facing windows! 5. Use a touch of liquid indoor plant fertilizer, if you feel like it.  I don't love the one shown above. I was expecting it to be clear like flower food, but this one is brown... and smells bad.
This stem has sloooooowly sprouted a few inches from different nodes in a couple weeks. After rooting in water, most houseplants are transferred to potting soil, but hey- philodendrons can continue to thrive in water.  I love that! So, we'll see on this one... wish me luck!

25 June 2014

Our Open Kitchen

We didn't expressly mean to start house hunting, but I suppose we have, indeed. A precious Tudor landed for sale in my Facebook feed. I've got a friend returning to the real estate world, and a overwhelming curiosity about the interior decorating decisions of the general public. One house led to 10 more, then signing ourselves up to a portal of new-to-the-market notifications, and now we're hunting... leisurely.... but the truth is, the more homes we see; the more bedrooms, more garages, more lawns with garden potential that we see, the more I'm falling for what we already have. And the harder it is for me to picture those gingerbread Tudors without peppermint candy windows and saccharine frosting "icicle" drips from their peaked entrances. The Cape Cods look like Lego houses, no more interesting than a pill-box. I like our cozy arts district and the short walk downtown. I like that we enter the front door and you've no idea what unit we nest in. My Philly says he does his best designs when he has to work around limitations- that's when your creativity is forced to bloom. I guess that's the same with anything, and any house we'll end up in... I believe that's why our apartment feels so right.  We've really made it work for us. Each corner's been curated based on our needs and what the space was lacking. No wall division besides the bedroom? We threw up some Manfroto floor-to-ceiling photography poles and a blank canvas, literally.  Not so kitchen endowed? We just shot it out into the hallway. Enter, industrial open shelving!
We bought a 6-shelf pack at Home Depot for a fraction of the price I later noted in one of those affluent home decor magazines. To be frank, the actual shelving unit was a pain in the ass-embly for a perfectionist. But, BUT! Once we got it together, throwing our things on the shelves is, sort of, what I live for. I think it came together pretty well aesthetically, not to mention it's incredibly functional for us.  Cool. We're fine right here for now. ;) 

22 May 2014

shorts || shoes || sunnies || market tote

It's been near ninety all week. Cheers to that and the long weekend ahead! We're bound for my parents' to hang like kids for a few days. I swapped out my seasonal wardrobe last week and realized that summer has pared itself down to jorts and tees for me.  So in the spirit of denim cutoffs and the ceremonial summer approaching, I mashed up a little summer inspiration in the name of the most classic breed of shants - Levi's 501 shorts.

What are your Memorial Day plans?
Get wild. Take care. :) 

15 May 2014

Sporting KC Day Date

I grew up in a state with a Major League nothing. It's been such a blast to root for our home teams since moving to Kansas City. We've dressed in ketchup & mustard colors for the Chiefs and experienced Americana with the Royals. Two weeks ago, Phil snagged gratis tickets for a Sporting KC game. That's right, Kansas City has a Major League Soccer team... and a stadium thanks to my Phillytect's firm.  It was initially christened "Livestrong Sporting Park" until the world learned that Lance is a big fat liar. Now, it's simply Sporting Park and our players are just plain "Sporting," I  guess. So distinguishably nondescript, methinks. Good going on the branding, KC.

My brother and sister played soccer in high school and I don't really remember giving a hoot about it, but I'm all for why-the-heck-nots and our tickets timed well with the most gaawrgeous Sunday afternoon yet this year. Our MLS team is actually really great; defending national champions sort of  great. I'm serious when I say that the blue confetti clouds above the goal are reason alone to return. I'd gladly fork it over for tickets again soon, and Grandpa Phil said he'd even spring for a seat. Not me, I'm a cauldron kind of roam-about. I like the freedom to wander and not worry about wasting my designated seat if I choose to duck out... or drink my beer in the air conditioning.  I sort of surprised myself with what a fun day we had watching soccer. Locals, have you been?? What do you know? If not, it's incredibly simple to follow- I promise, such a treat. 

03 May 2014

Guilt-Free on the Go

With the new baby in my nanny family, zipping back to my loft for lunch is a whole different story.  The story is that I can't do it... for now anyway while I'm flexing for her mama's maternity leave schedule.  I have been forced to dive into preparedness head first when it comes to packing snacks... and food in general while caring for my mini-fella, that hangry little weed.

So here it is, the healthy fuel you'll find in my bag on any given day.
     + Water, water, water. No-brainer.
     + Some type of citrus for the vitamin C in hopes of battling the bacteria on grubby boy paws.
     + Almonds for the protein (iron and magnesium, too).
     + Raw veggies for the snap!
     + Gluten-free popchips to fool my brain and satiate my need for a crispy chip, without the junk food hangover. They're not fried (too greasy) nor baked (too cardboard-y) and come in potato, tortilla, and veggie versions- I'm hooked. And actually as I type this, I'm realizing what a game changer the original popchips flavor would be crumbled as a healthier chip breading for our favorite spicy aioli cod sandwich. Recipe to come, perhaps!

popchips bought me a bag with "15% more to love", but they didn't write my lovestory. The kiddo and I have been crunching on these since a Whole Foods grocery run sometime last summer. So thank you, popchips for reinforcing my (healthy) chip addiction. 

13 April 2014

Go Blog Social 2014

The Go Blog Social team hosted their second annual social networking conference at the lofty and ever-so naturally lit Berg Event Space here in good ol' downtown Kansas City. You'd think I'd be quicker on the draw blog-posting about a blogger event that I attended last weekend but alas, it's been a really full week getting back to the grind. Fueled with inspiration, but lacking the time of day to execute... now that's pull-your-hair-out frustrating for the creative force within me. We've had our windows wide open all week, though, so I'll take that as consolation.

I was really only able to pop in and out over the weekend, but have no fear! I made the best of it, gathering good-natured conversations and business cards galore from tons of lovely ladies with the shared interest of creating, connecting, and truly caring about something. We were all there trying to better ourselves... and to me, that's inspiring alone.
The Go Blog Social team made some huge improvements from last year's already informative kickstart, and I know in my heart these talented gals will continue to up the ante year after year. If you have the opportunity to attend next GBS, do it! If not for the information or the summer camp vibe (Rachael, you're spot on there), sign yourself up because I love my city a whole heck of a lot, and I know you will too. Attending this weblog conference in KC makes for a really well-rounded weekend with plenty of time to explore. We've got a small city vibe with big city eats and activity. I will, without a doubt, be taking time away from work next year to soak up GBS in its entirety. It's that good, folks. 

Feeling like I missed loads of quality content this year, it's been ultra satisfying to read the handful of fantastic recaps floating around the blogosphere. To name a few:          •Chasing Happy's tweet take-aways from afar          •Cedar and Rush on "Networking Like a Boss"          •Top 10 Things Blue 11 Interiors Learned at GBS          •The Live-In Kitchen on GBS and some KC love :)
Thanks again to Kat and Sarah, and all the knowledgable speakers that invested time and thought into building such a great event!

03 April 2014

Battle of the Ginger Brews!

I know what you're thinking. "Would someone, please, drink all the ginger beers and blog about it." Well, here you have it, friends. Battle of the ginger brews.

It all started with a few spunky fresh sips of Gosling's ginger beer while waiting for our meals at Genessee Royale, and I've been hooked ever since (fun fact: that's where I fell into my love for curry chicken salad, as well. Read the menu online first, though. They change it seasonally.)  Let's be real- I'm a soda gal. I know it's like tar on your insides, or something to that appalling degree, but it's not so bad when sweetened with cane sugar instead of that dastardly high fructose corn syrup villain. We make big efforts to tame our HFCS intake around here, so I will share with you the devastating news that I just announced to my apartment of one human/one feline: Of the five g-brews we taste-tested, good ol' Gosling's is the only one sweetened with the nasty nasty. That's great news for the rest, but sort of a sad trombone for what I would have probably deemed the winner...  Gosling's: The best balance of "snap" factor without overwhelming herb tones. We've had a surprisingly hard time finding Gosling's for purchase outside the restaurant scene. One day, though, it sang to us from the new corner market on 39th. Ever since, we've been buying from the back stock piled in the corner and still packaged in sixes or flats. Save a duck, snip those plastic rings!  I brought this to work for lunch one day and split it with the little guy (who couldn't get enough). Him- "So... this is beeyewr I'm dwinking?"  Me- "Wellllll, it's soda. It's like root beer. A soda. For kids." Him- "Okay, soooooo... beeyewr."  Sure. Bundaberg: First of all, isn't that sawed-off bottle novel compared to your average brown boozey vessel? I feel like I should be drinking it in the woods with close friends, a fire, and a buffalo check blanket. They sell it with a neck, too, but nah. Bundaberg seems to be really popular, and for good reason. It's good. The "beer" in ginger beer rings truer here than with any of the others shown. Its aftertaste is quite malty. I'm a bit on the fence about that and it lacks the snap of Gosling's, but aside from that it's close to the happiest medium... plus(!) it's sweetened with cane sugar.Reed's: Sold everywhere, it seems, but easily the worst in the bunch. It reminded us of ginger ale with a weird twang. If I want to drink a tainted blend of Pepsi/Sprite, I'll do so.  Go home, Reed's! You totally missed the mark.The Ginger People: Mild. Truly not terrible, but lacking that zip I crave in a ginger beer.Fentimans: There's a very present "herbs and spices" bite about Fentiman's. Potentially too intense and probably best alone, rather than paired with anything too flavorful.   
So there you have it, the great ginger beer round up from my humble "tasting buds", as the nannychild calls them.Like I said, Reed's is, unfortunately, the most common here in Kansas City. World Market sells a nice variety of specialty soda (and booze, too, if a "dark and stormy" is up your alley). That's where we found the Bundaberg, The Ginger People, and Fentiman's. The Better Cheddar is really well soda-stocked, too, as I'm sure many many other places are. Fill me in locals! Try some ginger beer and tell me about it!

01 April 2014

Yes Very Little. Yes to the Max.


In honor of the first day of April, I present to you the fat fattiest sunflowers Trader J's had to offer. When the first rounds of these sunny blooms hit the market in spring, it seems to me there's always a bouquet that stands behemoth beside the rest; and here one with the stem of a silver dollar diameter! In that case and the case that winter wore out her welcome, I have no other choice than to haul these monsters home with me.  But not without fielding a checkout counter inquisition as to whether it's one bunch or more (rather, how it feels: whether I'm sheisty or not, as if I'm pulling a fast one... because I take everything too personally).  

The arrival of April, in my head, means two months -ish. The West 18th Street Fashion Show is mid-June and fittings a month sooner. Why yes, I momentarily lost my mind and accepted the invitation to walk for a local clothing designer. I am a crazy person who says YES to things that'll challenge my social anxiety and help to overcome it, no matter the discomfort Future Sarah takes on. Defeat what defeats you, or something of that nature. I've got two months to shed my winter skin and to find my way into the type of earth suit that'll make having all eyes on me something less than horrific. Horrific it will be, no doubt. I've thrown myself in at the deep end on this one, but life is about saying YES, right? Yes to sunflowers and scary new experiences, and all the shades  between.