NYC or My Evening with Adam Levine

I thought that title might pull a few of you in…..to be honest, I visited NYC for work last week and Maroon 5 was the featured event at the conference I attended.   I really did get to spend the evening with Adam it just happened to be along with about 5000 of the other conference attendees.  Since I had never been to New York City before, I had my hubby tag along so we could take in a few of the sites together.

Our first stop was a visit to the 911 Memorial which was worth the entire trip in itself.  We paid for a guided tour of the memorial and visited the museum on our own.  It is a very humbling experience and meant to be a remembrance and place of quiet reflection.  At one point I saw a guard stop a lady who was jogging through the park and told her she could only walk through the memorial.

911-Memorial

The memorial itself consists of two square pools on the site where the twin towers stood.  Names of the victims from that day and the 1993 World Trade Center bombing are inscribed in the border around the pools in what is described as “meaningful adjacencies.”  Our tour guide told us that meant people with connections to each other had their names close together.  As we walked around the pools our guide told us personal stories of victims and their families from that day.  He also pointed out that on a victims birthday a white rose is placed in their name.  It was an extremely overwhelming and emotional tour.

White-Rose

The museum is seventy feet underground and includes many, many artifacts from the day such as burned out firetrucks, pieces of papers found in the ruins, pictures of all the victims, 911 calls and many pieces of twisted metal from the buildings.  The picture below is a piece of metal from the initial entry of the plane into the north tower.

 

Twisted-metal

Another favorite stop of mine in NYC was the Chelsea Market, taking up an entire block in the Manhattan Meat Packing District.  It is an indoor food court and specialty shopping mall.

Chelsea-Market-directory The shops were amazing and I could have spent an entire day there.   There are artisanal cheese makers, multiple bakeries, a donutery and a chocolate shop selling a weakness of mine, peanut clusters for $38 per pound.  I may or may not have bought just a couple.

chocolate

In addition there was a spice vendor, a german sausage maker, craft beer vendors and way too many more to list.  One in particular I could just not get my thoughts around, Takumi- Japenese Inspired Mexican, say what????

Chelsea-Market-2

Our hotel, the Intercontinenal, was right in the middle of Times Square and all I can say to that is I have never seen so many people in my life.  The sidewalks were packed at 7:00 a.m. and at midnight.   It was sure fun to people-watch though and boy did we see some interesting things.  There was a large police presence everywhere you looked with MANY carrying large rifles.

Times Square

And of course I cannot forget to share a few pics of Adam…..

AL

AL-with-background

New York City is a must on your travel list, so many things to do.  However, it made me really appreciate my little hometown of Lee’s Summit, Missouri!

 

Trip Report – Magnolia Market

If you follow me on facebook then you know that on our last trip to Houston we stopped in Waco, Texas to visit the Magnolia Market, the retail establishment of Chip and Joanna Gaines of Fixer Upper fame.

airel view

Source

I had heard that on the weekends the area was very crowded and that you need to stand in line to get into the store.  We planned our visit for a Thursday afternoon and although I was surprised at how many people were actually visiting during the week in the middle of the afternoon, we did not have to stand in any lines.

Magnolia Market

The store was awesome and pretty much as I expected, you could almost envision Joanna walking around with her creative eye adjusting each display until it was perfect.

Shop

source

Next to the actual store is a large play area complete with yard toys for children and adults to enjoy.  There are several picnic tables around and even a row of permanent food trucks.

Food-Trucks

On one corner of the property is the little cottage that will soon be the Magnolia Garden Store.   The raised bed plantings are very structured and vibrant causing a little green thumb envy on my part.  There are even fairy gardens scattered throughout.

Garden-Shop

Fairy-Garden

There are also goats to pet and a wooden teepee sitting area for children complete with children’s books.  In another corner of the property is an under-construction bakery shop.  Overall it is a very family friendly area.

Had the hubby not been with me I probably would have spent much more time in the store and subsequently much more money, however  I did manage to pick up a few treasures.  My daughter had requested a specific metal wall sign and a tee shirt for her husband.

Product_Magnolia_26_of_127_1024x1024[1]

source

Magnolia_Tees_Edit_6_of_17_1024x1024[1]

source

The #shiplap shirt was especially appropriate for my son-in-law since they live in a 100 year old renovated Texas house and on their backporch is a stack of authentic shiplap waiting for a project.

For myself, I bought a candle, a US Map that you will see later in the grandkids room I am working on, plus this gorgeous bud vase.  I had to go right out and pick up some flowers from our new Sprouts Market to complete the look.

Bud-Vase

This will be a good excuse to have fresh flowers all spring and summer.  In case you can not make it down to Waco, Magnolia Market has an on-line store with many of the same items that were in the physical store.

The Magnolia Market was a really nice stop on our drive to Houston.  We did not have much time to spare  in order to check out other parts of town, but I do know that the Gaines also recently opened a bed and breakfast in Waco.  What a great girl’s trip  that would be!!!

I already know what the hubby and mine’s next side trip will be on our next drive to Houston, Pioneer Woman’s Mercantile Store in Oklahoma scheduled to open this fall.  Good thing I have an accommodating husband!

 

 

 

 

 

Field Trip to Missouri Star Quilt Company

A few weeks ago by sister, brother-in-law, Dave and I took a day trip about an hour or so north of Kansas City to a small town called Hamilton, Missouri.  Prior to 2008, this small town was best known for it’s most famous son, J.C. Penney, a retailer and philanthropist.

Mural

In late 2008, a phenonomon was starting when some kids got together and bought their mom a long arm quilting machine.  They had no concept of what was to come.

Storefront

I had become acquainted with the Missouri Star Quilt Company by one of the many free quilting tutorials Jenny Doan showcases on YouTube.  The name “Missouri Star” is an old quilt pattern so I assumed that is where the name came from and did not realize their retail store was actually in Missouri and not far from my town.  My sister and I were very excited about finally getting to visit the retail store in person, but after walking through it I have to admit I was a little disappointed.  It was a nice store but very similar to other quilt stores I had been to even in my own town of Kansas City.

quilt-shop-1

quiltshop2

As we were paying for the fabric and notions we had bought,  the clerk mentioned that we need to walk down the street and check out another store.  Since we made the drive we figured it would not hurt to see what else was in the town.  We were flabbergasted…….there are about 15 different store fronts, all fabric stores.  One devoted to solid fabric, one devoted to licensed sports fabrics, one with modern patterns, and the list goes on.  And yes, these are all part of the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  There are a handful of other stores in town, but ninety percent of Davis Street, Hamilton’s main drag, belongs to the Missouri Start Quilt Company.

chevron

solid-colors

When I say it is a mecca for quilters throughout the world, I am not exaggerating.  This sleepy town of about 2000 citizens hosts thousands of on-site visitors each year.   Missouri Star Quilt Company employes 180 people who sew, staff stores and ships thousands of packages a day.  The company is now in the publishing business, food service and is currently planning a “man’s land” to give the husbands of their customers something to do.

bakery

What a story this small town now has!  And for me is it exciting to know that success stories can happen even in the most unlikely of places.  Hamilton is a fun day trip from Kansas City especially if you like to sew or quilt.  I can not wait to go back!

<a href=”http://www.bloglovin.com/blog/5193605/?claim=dj4bqqynark”>Follow my blog with Bloglovin</a>

 

Investigative Shopper|At Home

Our little town of Lee’s Summit will soon be getting a new store called ‘At Home.’  This national chain of stores used to be known as Garden Ridge.  Although there were Garden Ridge stores in our metropolitan area, I had never visited one so when I noticed an ‘At Home’ store during my stay in Omaha I decided to check it out for all my hometown friends.  Before going in the store my assumptions were that it would be similar to the HomeGoods chain of department stores and I was not completely wrong, but there are some differences.

storefront

The At Home store is much bigger than any Home Goods store I have been in and with a definite warehouse feel.  I would say 30% of the store I visited was devoted to patio and garden merchandise.  I am not sure if that is a nod to their former namesake or if it was just because we will soon be in spring mode and this was just their seasonal offerings.  I would definitely recommend this store if you are looking for outdoor furniture or miscellaneous outdoor décor.  I have never seen this many aisles devoted to outdoor furniture cushions alone.

cushions1

The store also had a VERY LARGE collection of throw pillows, again aisle after aisle of cushions displayed by color, as well as this entire side wall.  Quite an impressive collection.

pillows

 

If you are in the market for an occasional or side table you should definitely visit At Home.  I would guess there were ten aisles alone crammed with small tables representing all types of décor styles.

tables

The other item I noticed that the store devoted a large amount of real estate to was area and throw rugs.  I would estimate a good 20 percent of the store was dedicated to rugs of all sizes, colors and designs.  I would definitely visit again just for the rug collection.

Rugs

 

The store also offered the expected candles, lamps, picture frames, wall décor and other miscellaneous knick knacks that you would find in any home décor store.  These items reminded me of what I would see at Hobby Lobby and overall, the prices were fairly good.  I suspect that most items have a “made in China” tag on them and the quality would be what you would expect given the price.   I did enjoy seeing this touch of spring on the cold, snowy day I visited.

touch-of-spring

One thing I do like about HomeGoods that I did not see in the At Home store is the occasional brand name items.  This past fall I purchased a few pieces of Spode Christmas dishes from HomeGoods at a much reduced cost to finish out my collection.   I would probably visit this store again if I were looking for a specific item and it will be interesting to see how their seasonal offerings change.

 

 

AK-SAR-BEN VILLAGE

I have mentioned before that I travel to Omaha, Nebraska once a month for work. This year I am spending much more time than normal in this chilly town so the Mr and I have rented a small apartment for a few months. The apartment is nice as apartments go, but it’s  best feature is its location, just 10 minutes from work and in a great new mixed use development called AK-SAR-BEN village.

apartment

If you lived in the center of the country in the 1980’s you probably would have heard of AK-SAR-BEN race track in Omaha (AK-SAR-BEN is Nebraska spelled backwards). Built in 1919 for thoroughbred horse racing, on it’s busiest weekend days it would host up to 25,000 people betting up to $2 million dollars per day. The racetrack closed in 1995 like many in the country when casinos and other forms of entertainment began showing up.

Since that time, the race track and an accompanying arena have been demolished. A large portion of the land was donated to the University of Nebraska – Omaha campus and the rest is being developed into a great area encompassing businesses, apartments, retail stores, a cinema and food and drink establishments.

street-scene

There is also a nice park that includes an outdoor ampitheatre, walking trails, benches and a children’s play area.  At night the tower is lite up with hundreds of light.  I am not sure if this is a seasonal thing or if the lights stay on all year.

light-tower

Also n the park there is a monument to “Omaha” the 1935  Triple Crown winner, who retired to a farm close by and made promotional appearances at the race track in the 1950’s. Upon his death in 1959, Omaha was buried in the race track’s Circle of Champions.

omaha

Last weekend we walked and walked and walked all over this little village. I love the idea of having entertainment and restaurants within walking distance. We ate lunch at an interesting place called VooDoo Tacos where Dave tried the alligator selection. I was not quite that brave.

voodoo-taco2

I kept eyeing the Jones cupcake store next door, but somehow managed to walk away.

jones-cupcakes

We then stopped by the cinema and watched “American Sniper.”  What a great movie that was!  It was a fun afternoon on an unusually warm January day and an easy way to get 10,000 steps on my fitbit!

 

 

P is for Piropos

Over three years ago a group of long time friends decided to start the ABC Dinner Club which is a structured approach to discovering new restaurants and branching out from our old favorites.  We are eating our way across Kansas City one alphabet letter at a time.

Provolone-salad

Every few months we select a restaurant at which the majority of us have not eaten.  If you would have told me three and a half years ago that it would have taken this long to get to the letter “P” I would have thought you were crazy given how much we eat out, but travel, weddings, children, grandchildren and even surgeries have sometimes made it difficult for this now group of twelve to get together.

373edit

We are far from professional restaurant reviewers, just a group of friends who like to socialize over a good meal.  Given the company we are with and our propensity to eat out, we are fairly generous with our reviews but have had a few we definitely would not frequent again.  Our bottom line is “Will we go back?”

Jaspers-2

To see our latest review check out “P is for Piropos” here.  Below is our list of reviewed restaurants to date:

Anthony’s

Beer Kitchen

Café Trio

Domo Sushi & Grill

En Chamas

Farmhouse

Gaslight Grill

Harry’s Country Club

Ixtapa Mexican Restaurant

Jasper’s

Kope Japenese Steakhouse

Lidia’s

Martin City Brewery

New Theatre Restaurant

Osteria IL Centro

Piropos

 

Pumpkins and Mums

The Mr and I had a goal of cleaning out our basement storage area this weekend so of course we tried to think of as many things as possible to do in an effort to prolong the start of that fun task.  I did manage to drag out my bins of fall decor and looked through them but I just did not have the motivation I needed to start decorating.  At a minimum I wanted to purchase some pumpkins and mums thinking that would inspire me. As I was contemplating our shopping destinations I remembered the Fahrmeier Farm produce stand that we visited a couple of years ago.  A road trip on this beautiful fall day was just what I needed.

Pumpkins-Farhmeier Farmsa

Fahrmeier Farms is located about 45 minutes east of Kansas City in Lexington, Missouri where my parents grew up and where I spent several weekends and summers when I was young.  Fahrmeier Farms is a family run farm started almost 70 years ago and currently operated by three generations of the family.  Although they do provide produce to farmers markets and deliver weekly CSA shares  in the Kansas City area, they also host many regular events at the farm as well as run a produce stand.  When we visited two years ago we stopped in for some wine tastings at the vineyard.  I wrote about that visit here.  Today was all about the mums and pumpkins.

One thing I LOVE about Fahrmeier Farms is their heirloom pumpkins, so much more interesting than the orange globes available everywhere.

Pumpkins-at-farhmeier

pumpkins2-at-farhmeier

We had a wonderful conversation with Farmer Brett who told us about several of the unique varieties of pumpkins and squash and gave us a tour of the mum selection.  I was enjoying myself so much I only took a few pictures.

mums-at-farhmeier

Here are the pumpkin varieties I brought home.

heirloom-pumpkin

squash

bloodshot

orange

Fahrmeier Farms is located on Highway 24 between Lexington and Wellington.  During the month of October they have events each weekend including a “press your own cider” day.  That sounds like my kind of day!   See these vines below?

blackberry

 

Next July they will be bursting with blackberries, ready to be picked.  This is your notice to mark your calendars to visit Fahrmeier Farms next summer.  They have also recently planted 9000 strawberry plants for a late May or early June harvest.   No doubt that I will return!

A Day in Denver

We had a very quick trip to Denver this past week to help our daughter move.  We spent a day driving there, a day to play and a day driving home.   The hubby and I listened to a book tape the entire eight and a half hours it took us to get there and surprisingly enough the drive went by pretty fast.  That is a good thing when driving across Kansas because there is not much to see except for the occasional wind farm.

windmil-sfwl

On our play day, Molly showed us all her and Taylor’s favorite hang outs.  We started with a delightful outdoor brunch at the Eggshell Restaurant which included the cutest coffee bar.  Makes me wish I liked coffee….

coffee-bar2-sfw

coffee-bar-sfw

I had an awesome frittata (surprise, surprise) with sheepherder potatoes and sourdough toast!  It was so good.

my-breakfast-sfw

We then made an expensive trip to Costco to fill Molly’s freezer and pantry.  At least I know she will be eating well for the next month or so.  While Molly and I repackaged freezer items and attempted to get everything to fit in her small freezer, her Dad used his best McGyver skills to re-glue one of her wooden kitchen chairs that had seen better days.  I sure wish I would have gotten a picture of how he improvised without clamps, let’s just say it consisted of a bicycle intertube and a tie down strap.  He was pretty proud of himself!  We told her not to sit on it for a few days so we will see if this did the job or not.

After all of this shopping and exhausting labor we worked up an appetite so off we went to a local favorite, VooDoo Donuts.  Located in the heart of downtown Denver, we were lucky to be visiting in the middle of the afternoon and only had to wait in line with about 15 people ahead of us.  Molly said she has seen the line out the door and down an entire city block.

vd-donuts-sfw

VooDoo Doughnuts is fairly new to Denver, having originated in Portland, Oregon.   I am almost at a loss of words on how to describe their handmade, very tasty, highly unique donuts.  Only pictures will tell this story…..

Doughnuts1-sfw

Doughnuts2-sfw

The picture above features their signature VooDoo doll doughnut complete with a pretzel knife.  Our selections below included a few “safe” traditional doughnuts plus a Bacon Maple Bar(maple frosting with real bacon strips), Diablos Rex Bar (chocolate cake with chocolate icing, red sprinkles and a pentagram), Old Dirty Bastard (yeast doughnut with chocolate frosting, oreos and peanut butter), Butterfinger doughnut (chocolate cake doughnut with vanilla frosting and butterfinger crumbles) and a Neopolitan (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting and strawberry dust.)

Our-VD-selection-sfw

We loaded up our pink voodoo doughnut box and traveled a few blocks to the Great Divide Tap Room, a highly regarded microbrewery.

great-divide-sfw

We found an outdoor table and had ourselves a little afternoon snack.  Don’t judge!!!

beer-and-donuts-sfw

ice-cream-truck-sfw

molly2-sfw

As we left the downtown area I just had to snap a picture of one of the many storefronts supporting Colorado’s new commerce venture.

Cannabis-care-center-sfw

We topped off the day with a movie, “Million Dollar Arm” (which is very good by the way) and dinner at a Mexican restaurant.  Although the day was very fun, saying good-bye to Molly that evening was very sad.  It is hard to leave your baby 600 miles away from home, even if she is almost all grown up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip to Houston: Levi, Ikea and Food Trucks

The hubby and I took off a couple of weeks ago and headed south to visit  our daughter, son-in-law and this precious baby.  (I am not at all biased!)

Levi-in-carseat

We had so much fun watching Levi crawl and pull up on anything he could find, including Percy his dog.  Speaking of Percy, she has found a new favorite place to hang out, right under Levi’s high chair….there is always something to snack on!

Percy-with-cracker

While in Houston I had the opportunity to visit IKEA, something I have wanted to do for a long time.

Ikea

What a fun place……walls of dishes, candles, frames and about anything else you can think of.

Dishes

I need to find a place for these baskets in my house, love them!!

baskets

I may have found a couple of items that I could not live without and therefore had to bring home with me!  So excited for the Kansas City store to open this fall.

Our trip included an evening of music under the stars while enjoying dinner from Houston’s multitude of  food trucks. Our fare included Lobster Mac and Cheese, Tofu Enchiladas, Catfish Bites and Fish Tacos. Yum!

food-truck

food-truck-1

A really fun part of our trip was joining Levi while he attended the first birthday party of one of his friends.  I was able to capture him in a RARE moment of stillness.  I think he was watching the birthday boy walk all over the place and dreaming of the day he could do that!  I can guarantee it will not be long.

rare-moment

We had a great trip and I can’t wait to go back!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the air there’s a feeling of Christmas.

Name that song!   I think I have finally found my Christmas spirit this year and I am ready for the festivities to begin including non-stop Christmas music.  Usually I have started my shopping and thought about my Christmas decorations well before Thanksgiving, but this year I am a little behind.  Last night we went with a group of friends to dinner on the Country Club Plaza and a limo ride to look at the Christmas lights.  With the temperatures plunging into the 20’s and all the beautiful light displays I could not but help to get into the Christmas mindset.

plaza4

Plaza2

We topped off our night with a drive through Christmas in the Park which is an antimated Christmas light display only about a mile from our house.  The Jackson County Parks department transforms a camping ground next to Longview Lake into a spectacular drive-thru attraction featuring 175 displays and 300,000 lights.  The display is free but donations are accepted for local charities.

CIP1

These pictures do not capture how amazing these displays are, but to get some perspective, the teddy bear above soars 20 feet high.

cip2

Each year new displays are added and this year a lighted birthday cake celebrates 26 years of this event.  We have attended each one of those years and watched the display grow larger and larger.

cip3

cip4

cip5

The skates below were just added a couple of years ago but have become my personal favorite.

cip6

cip7

A few corporate sponsors help defer the cost of powering these displays from Thanksgiving night through New Year’s Eve.

cip8

The following sponsor is a favorite of many since they provide a handful of candies when you donate to charity at the end of display

cip9

It would not be Christmas at our house without driving through Christmas in the Park.  If you live in the area I highly recommend a visit.  Here is a tip….DO NOT GO ON THE WEEKEND unless you enjoy sitting in your car for a couple of hours winding your way on dark roads just to get to the entrance.  We have found the best time to go is on a weeknight, the later the better.  We drove through at 9:00 pm last night and there was very little traffic.   This display is open from 5:30 until 10 pm, Sunday thru Thursday.  On Friday and Saturday it is open until 11 pm.

By the way, do you know what song includes the title phrase of this post?