A tale of three cities; or, how I work

Confession: There are few things I love more than getting a glimpse into someone’s home and/or work space. Not in a creepy, voyeuristic way, mind you. That’s why I read so many home design and shelter blogs (one of the reasons, any way!)

So I thought I’d share a glimpse of my late-night workspace. The lovely lavender candle I have burning is courtesy of Urban Dwellings Design. If you haven’t been to this amazing home interior boutique in the River Market, what the heck are you waiting for? I’ll be going back for more candles, some jewelry and, coming soon, new Jonathan Adler items just in time for the holidays!

You might also notice my Paris snow globe, which has already made its blog debut. And my latest acquisition is a nifty desk organizer that’s also an homage to the NYC skyline. I picked it up at CB2 during my trip to New York last week (more on that soon!) and am in. love. So now, as I type into the wee hours, I can stare at things that remind me of my three favorite cities: New York, Paris, and, out my window, a lovely view of downtown Kansas City. That’s the sort of trifecta that makes this city girl smile.

Manifesto: Delicious cocktails and enviable ambiance

Manifesto Kansas CityI’m a little embarrassed to confess to you that, until last night, I hadn’t yet been to Manifesto.

I know, I know … shameful, right? I can’t say what took me so long to head to this modern-day speakeasy, especially when my husband pointed out yesterday that I “talk about the place once or twice a month!”

After a busy Saturday spent running errands (and napping — duh!), the hubs and I joined the lovely Louise LeMans and her dapper husband, David, for cocktails in a belated celebration of L’s birthday.

If you haven’t yet been to Manifesto, I suggest you go — immediately! The cozy, dimly lit bar beckons from beneath The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange (an equally fabulous place at which to start your evening with happy hour or an unforgettable dinner.) Manifesto is an intimate enclave that begs for an evening of long conversations punctuated by the most deliciously inventive cocktails.

After an informative tour of the cocktail menu led by our adorable waitress, Candy, I also solicited suggestions from Louise. I contemplated the Stay Wet, Winter in Bueno Aires or Jessie A.’s favorite, Beautiful Red Bell. After some internal debate, I opted for Anyone For Tennis?, a delightfully refreshing Pimms concoction topped with strawberry, cucumber and mint. Actually, I had three. Yes – they’re THAT good!

If an evening at Manifesto is in your near future, I suggest texting ahead to make reservations: 816.536.1325. Seating is limited, so having a reservation will ensure your party can be accommodated.

Once you’re there, sit back, relax and let the glamour of old Kansas City wash over you as you imbibe. And when you leave, prepare for a lasting craving that will persist until your next visit. I’m already dreaming of another Anyone For Tennis? and maybe, just maybe, I’ll try something new, too. Cheers!

A letter to Detroit

Dear Detroit:

Congratulations on your depiction in Chrysler’s ongoing series of commercials that highlight the longtime contributions of the Motor City. Heck, the debut ad during the Super Bowl even made me tear up! And on another note? Best use of an Eminem song EVER.

But I’ve got a little problem with your most current ad in which your fair city is identified as the Paris of the Midwest. See, here in Kansas City, we’ve long been called the Paris of the Plains thanks to our abundance of scenic boulevards, our hundreds of fountains and a rich jazz history that permeates the core of Kansas City’s roots.

Now, don’t worry. I’m not one to step on a soapbox without doing a little research first. And I see that your booming industries in the 1920s prompted publicists to coin your European-inspired moniker. It’s a connection that makes perfect sense when tied to your recent ad campaign that strives to portray Detroit not as a desolate, struggling, industrial wasteland, but instead as a city that again teeters on the brink of massive change and inspiring redevelopment.

For now, I’ll refrain from making snarky comments when the aforementioned commercial airs. Because I also live in a city that’s been fighting to overcome decades of damage and isolation. And I can appreciate an all-consuming sense of regional pride that was likely poured into this advertising campaign.

Paris, je t’aime. And Detroit? You’re not so bad yourself.

Photo: Flickr.com/mk_b

Saturday in the City

One of my favorite things about living in the River Market is being a short walk away from the City Market. On Saturday I began my weekly tradition of stocking up on produce, bread, spices, flowers and whatever else catches my fancy–or appetite!

Combine that with one of my other favorite things, taking photos with the Instagram app for iPhone, and you’ve got the makings of a great day.


There are no words for how much I love this city. What a gorgeous skyline!

Imagine my delight when I stumbled across my favorite flower, the incredibly fragrant lilac! I told the cheerful vendor that I thought it was way too early for lilac blooms, but he said the recent warm weather had encouraged their growth. These will be on my must-purchase list until they’re out of season!

Other than that, R. and I attended an amazing wedding on Saturday night (congratulations C&J!) and spent the weekend planning–and implementing–our Great Loft Reorganization of 2011. It’s going to be a lot of work, but the results will be worth it — and we’ll have an excuse to throw a party!

Hope you had a great weekend, too – isn’t springtime in Kansas City the best?!

City Style: Retro Vixen

At the end of a fantastically busy week, I decided a little dose of retail therapy was in order. A must-stop on my list? The adorable Retro Vixen boutique on 39th Street.

Have you been? It’s amazing. Retro Vixen’s gorgeous owner, Melissa Evans, has created a boutique that caters to the pin-up and vintage lifestyle. Sky-high heels, curve-hugging dresses, sassy lingerie — you’ll find it all at Retro Vixen, plus accessories, including whimsical shoe clips from the talented Louise LeMans.

I’m waiting for some apparel and wedges to arrive next week, but in the meantime, I couldn’t leave empty-handed. My purchases are below — and yes, that’s a HAIR DRYER necklace. Appropriate, no? I’m just a little hair-obsessed.

Head down to Retro Vixen and inject some vintage glamour in your spring wardrobe ASAP! Be sure to check out all of the fabulous creations from Monkey Wrench Clothing, too. Isn’t retail therapy the greatest?

Big news: Google Fiber picks KCK

I spent the better part of yesterday afternoon being teased by several e-mails about a “HUGE” announcement taking place today in KCK that would feature, among other highlights, a catered lunch from Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ. *cue drooling*

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or in a blissful, Internet-free existence), you probably already know the news. Google has picked KCK out of more than 1,000 cities to be the first city included in its groundbreaking Fiber Project.

In a nutshell? KCK’s getting some crazy fast Internet. But the Google Fiber Project is much, much more than Internet connection speed. Schools, businesses, local government and residents will all be able to benefit from this technology, and the opportunities and outcomes that could result from this designation are nearly limitless.

As for my two cents? I’ll be strongly advocating for any and all downtown KCK opportunities that may come of this announcement. Sure, I’m biased, seeing as I’m a board member for the Downtown Shareholders, a membership-based downtown advocacy group. And this doesn’t mean I want to shun the western half of the county–Google Fiber means great things for Cerner, Sporting Kansas City, Kansas Speedway and the Legends.

Yet within this project that perfectly encapsulates forward growth and progression, I hope that momentum will translate to KCK’s urban core as it becomes a more vibrant, thriving downtown, echoing a similar renaissance that’s taken place across the river.

Congratulations, KCK!

Where I’ve been (a pictorial recap)

So, that “write a blog post every day in 2011″ thing? Yep. I rocked it out, didn’t I? Sheesh. How’s about a fresh start? We have so much to catch up on, I thought it would be easier to share some photos with you. So, without further ado, here’s what I’ve been up to (besides writing, and deadlines, and a smidge of shopping, and new hair, and bridesmaid duties and, you know …. life.)

At the end of January, I flew to Las Vegas to cover the SURFACES 2011 tradeshow for Charles & Hudson. While there, I ate some incredible surf ‘n turf sushi at Rick Moonen’s RM Seafood restaurant. Although I found him quite cranky on “Top Chef Masters,” the man is a seafood genius.

And then I came back and it was, you know, winter. It was a brutal one in KC, wasn’t it? But despite the snowstorms and cold, I found beauty in nature during a stroll on the Plaza. That being said, I’m still beyond ready for spring!

My amazingly talented husband, Rob Schamberger, exhibited his art during March First Fridays at Gallery 2010, a fantastic space in a great Crossroads location. Even better? He’s secured a solo show there in September, so mark your calendars. He’ll be featuring all-new art, and I’ll have more details in the coming months.

On to one of my favorite holidays, St. Patrick’s Day. This year I enjoyed VIP parade access thanks to the amazing Jamie Young (and her uncle, Kevin Bundy, parade co-chair.) Unfortunately, the Real World called and I had to depart early for a meeting, but it was still a fantastic day.

That weekend, I slipped on my fishnets and feathers for the bachelorette festivities of my dear friend, Dana Hill (also known as Louise LeMans.) We dined at Blue Grotto and then went on a mini bar crawl; first The Drop, then R Bar. Excellent cocktails, even better company … and how can you have a bad time when there’s a video jukebox involved? Here’s the lovely bachelorette:

And that about takes us up to today! Stay tuned for more Kansas City adventures, including my trips to Hickok’s Bar & Grill and Dog Nuvo. In the meantime, I’d love to know what you’ve been up to!