Tag Archives: Moon Kansas City

End-of-year meme: 2010, a year of win!

Starting out the year in Las Vegas. Maybe I'll get to the real Paris in 2011!

I’ve been writing this meme since I met Rob and “borrowed” it from his site. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year, although every time I fill it out, I vow to keep better records of the next year – it’s so hard to remember the early months! I hope you enjoy the look back on 2010, and I’d love for you to fill it out on your own site. If you do, be sure to let me know or link back so I can check out your thoughts!

01. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?

*Published a book.

*Became a full-time freelance writer.

*Welcomed my niece into the world!

*Celebrated my 10-year high school reunion.

*Went on a business trip.

*Attended a bachelorette party in Las Vegas.

*Danced with Backstreet Boys impersonators.

*Drank (and enjoyed) wine.

*Attended a Jewish wedding.

It seems like there was something else . . .

*Oh, yeah … I got married!

02. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more?

I’ve been known to make incredibly intimidating lists of resolutions that are virtually impossible to keep. In recent years, I’ve pared down the list to just a few accomplishments to which I devote myself throughout the year. Having my first book published was a huge part of that. I did also plan to have my first national magazine clip published, but I’m still working on that. On to 2011!

03. Did anyone close to you give birth?

2010 was certainly a baby boom! My brother, Adam, and his wife, Danielle, welcomed the beautiful Brileigh Ann on November 8. My best friend Jamie and her wonderful husband, Andy, welcomed the gorgeous Lucy Gregory in July, and Jessica and Travis welcomed the incredibly handsome Carter Grant in August. Dear friends of the family, Marie and B.J., welcomed their second son in September. If I overlooked anyone, my sincere apologies!

04. Did anyone close to you die?

Fortunately, this was a year of no funerals. Can’t they all be like that? To those who did experience loss this year, please accept my condolences.

05. What countries did you visit?

U S of A, baby! Although, let’s be honest … Chicago is like a different country. A country that should be called AWESOME.

06. What would you like to have in 2011 that you lacked in 2010?

*A published clip in a national magazine.

*An iPad.

*A feasible and interesting idea for a second book.

*An out-of-country vacation. What you know about a cruise??

*A passport.

07. What date from 2010 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

November 6, the day I married my best friend. Our wedding was beautiful, meaningful and simply perfect. So many people approached us after the event and told us that the venue, the decorations, the ceremony/reception – everything felt like “us.” And that’s the best compliment ever. I will remember our wedding for the rest of my life and am so excited to see what the coming years bring!

Honorable mention: March 30, 2010: My first book, “Moon Kansas City,” was officially published! My wonderful stepmom and several friends planned a party at one of my favorite Kansas City eateries, Happy Gillis, and we had a blast.

08. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Surviving! Between several close friends and family members giving birth, to the book, to planning my 10-year high school reunion, to THE WEDDING, to growing my freelance business, it’s been an incredibly challenging, sometimes stressful, yet always exciting year. I’ve said many times that I don’t know how 2011 can live up to the wonderful madness, but I’m excited to see what’s in store!

09. What was your biggest failure?

Probably personal finances. I’m not the world’s greatest saver, and that trend continued throughout 2010. The hubby and I have formulated a plan for the next year, however, so I feel confident that this failure will be transformed into an achievement by the end of next year.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?

Several minor kitchen injuries – it’s the high price of my ongoing culinary education, I suppose!

11. What was the best thing you bought?

I’d say my wedding dress, but that was actually thanks to my amazing mom! One of the things that immediately comes to mind is the gifts that we bought and Rob made to say thank you to our families for all they did to help with the wedding. Rob created four large watercolor paintings of a picture of the two of us, and he matted and framed them. They turned out beautifully, and it meant a lot to us to be able to give them an original gift that showed the depth of our appreciation.

Oh, and Backstreet Boys tickets. Duh.

12. Whose behaviour merited celebration?

Monkey and Korma continue to be a wonderfully furry support system – best cats ever! This is a hard question to answer because so many friends and family stepped up throughout the year to celebrate so many wonderful things — the book party, wedding showers, the wedding. A special thanks to my matron of honor, Jamie Young, who juggled a large number of duties during the latter part of her pregnancy (and right after giving birth). She also attended a Backstreet Boys concert with me while almost 8.5 months pregnant – that qualifies her for rockstar status!

Also, Jason Preu served as the officiant for our wedding, and it was truly an honor to have such a wonderful friend stand with us to unite us in marriage. Thank you, Reverend P!

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?

Mayor Mark Funkhouser, you depress me on a daily basis. Also, Conde Nast’s decision to kill “Gourmet” magazine was incredibly dumb. The brand is currently being revived, but without Ruth Reichl? It’s a shadow of its former self.

14. Where did most of your money go?






15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

The wedding, the book, my niece, baby Young, the direction of my career, writing.

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?

“You’re All I Need To Get By” by Marvin Gaye. Kind of obvious, since it was the song that Rob and I first danced to at our wedding. But it’s a beautiful song with an even lovelier message, and I can’t think of more perfect lyrics to symbolize our relationship and what we mean to each other.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:

i. happier or sadder?


ii. thinner or fatter?

The same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?

Working out, cooking, knitting, querying, networking, saving.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

Procrastinating, crying, ignoring my laundry.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

With my husband, our cats, good food and any others lucky to have us in their company 😉

22. Did you fall in love in 2010?

On November 6, I fell in love with my husband, and he’s as wonderful as I could have imagined.

23. How many one-night stands?


24. What was your favourite TV program?

Mad Men, Friday Night Lights and, as always, Veronica Mars.

25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

I try not to hate, but there are a couple of people with whom I’ve severed ties due to extreme disappointments that occurred around the wedding. C’est la vie.

26. What was the best book you read?

“The Magicians” by Lev Grossman. This was an unexpected jewel in my personal library, and I’m so unbelievably excited for the sequel. I describe this as “Harry Potter” for adults, and it’s an enchanting and haunting read.

27. What was your greatest musical discovery?

The merger of New Kids on the Block and Backstreet Boys is a day for which I’ve waited for DECADES. I also deepened my love for The Bird and the Bee, thanks to their album of Hall & Oates remakes. I now view music with a heightened sense of appreciation after choosing songs for the wedding. I will never listen to “Wouldn’t It Be Nice,” by The Beach Boys, “Trouble” by Ray LaMontagne, “The Blower’s Daughter” by Damian Rice, “Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis and “What Is Life” by George Harrison in the same way again!

28. What did you want and get?

A kick-ass wedding, a published book, more freelance work and tall boots.

29. What was your favourite film of this year?

NOT “Sex and the City 2” – what an obscene disappointment.

I enjoyed the heck out of “Scott Pilgrim vs. The World.” Such ingenious filming techniques and casting. I also discovered, through multiple viewings, that one of my new all-time favorites is “Juno.” I know, I know – it didn’t come out this year. Whatever.

31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

28. This was a tough year – my birthday completely snuck up on me, and since my best friend had recently given birth, I had to pick an activity that was family-friendly. The solution? Bowling! Rob, David and I continued the celebration in Westport with a couple of drinks at one80. Low-key yet enjoyable!

32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

It’s hard to top this year, but a couple more freelance jobs — and a national clip — would have been the icing on an incredibly delicious cake.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2010?

Mostly the same – I stick to basics and get crazy with accessories. I did fully embrace a new color palette this year, namely grey and shades of purple. I’ve also jumped on the skinny jeans bandwagon and FINALLY found an adorable jacket and tall boots. Oh, yeah … and I own jeggings, too. They kinda rule.

34. What kept you sane?


Monkey and Korma.

Sex and the City re-runs.

Good friends and family.

Retail therapy.


A new love of wine.

35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Jon Hamm, better known as Mad Men’s Don Draper. Rowr.

36. What political issue stirred you the most?

The state of Kansas City: earnings tax, development, incentives, crime, school, (lack of) public transportation. I’m carefully tracking the mayoral election and hope that 2011 brings some positive changes for the city.

37. Who did you miss?

Grandpa, family and friends outside the area.

38. Who was the best new person you met?

Timothy Dahl. I’ve actually worked for him and the blog he founded, Charles & Hudson, since 2007, but we met for the first time this year during a media trip to Indianapolis. He’s an amazing entrepreneur and has given me so many opportunities for which I’m thankful. We’re on an exciting journey with the site, and I know the early part of 2011 is going to be BIG!

39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.

A LOT can happen in a year. I went from being laid off to being self-employed, a rollercoaster of a journey that continues every day. The few negative events of the year were balanced by the pure joy of the wedding, which was incredible in itself — after being engaged for two years, it finally happened! I continue to learn that you must put out into the world what you expect to receive. Sure, it’s expected to have moments of sadness, anger, even depression. Yet continuing to live your life with an optimistic view, and be grateful for what you have, will result in a happy, fulfilled experience no matter what happens. And another thing? Don’t wait for a sad or traumatic event to express your love for your friends and family. Hug them, thank them, tell them how you feel – you don’t need a reason or an occasion. In fact, I think those sorts of sentiments mean more when they’re unexpected and not tied to any significant event.


Exciting book news!

I’m back with a bang, people, and just in time to deliver some happy, Moon Kansas City-related news!

If you’re so inclined, please hop over to Moon.com and read my just-released author Q&A, during which I extol my love of Kansas City and provide numerous travel tips and recommendations.

Once you’re done reading the Q&A and are simply overflowing with enthusiasm for all things KC, won’t you be so kind as to save the date for my first book appearance? I’ll be at the North Kansas City Library at 6:30p next Thursday, June 24, to discuss the book, some of KC’s best-kept secrets and more. Psst – there may even be a game. With prizes.

I’ll return later tonight with all sorts of bloggy goodness – we have a lot to catch up on, and I’ll also have photos from tonight’s book signing with a great friend and fellow author, Ink magazine’s own Monica Watrous, for her crafty tome Procreate: Easy Projects To Transform Your Home And Wardrobe. Stop over and see her at R Bar tonight (4:30-6p) and while you’re there, try my new favorite cocktail: the Monk’s Cup. No, it’s not on the menu, but just ask Arturo–he’ll know.


Moon Kansas City release recap

As you may or may not know (since I cannot seem to talk about anything else right now!), Moon Kansas City was scheduled to publish Tuesday. Accompanied by two of my best friends, Jamie and Naina, we made the rounds of Kansas City bookstores, eagerly searching for copies only to be told that a delay with the distributor meant the books wouldn’t be arriving for several days.

Despite the setback, our celebratory mood couldn’t be deterred, and we commemorated Tuesday’s significance with a delightful lunch at Kona Grill.

Philadelphia roll, Kona Grill

Macadamia nut chicken, Kona Grill

Later that day, my friends and family “surprised” me with a book release party at one of my most favorite Kansas City restaurants: Happy Gillis. I use the term “surprise” loosely because I knew there was to be some sort of gathering, and thanks to a Facebook error the day before, I discovered the party location. Despite those two hints, Lisa, Jamie and Rob managed to conceal the biggest surprise of all: they arranged for one of my best friends from childhood, Naina, to fly in from New Jersey the Sunday before and stay until Wednesday. Needless to say, when I walked into Latteland at Briarcliff on Sunday and saw her, I was stunned into silence, which was followed by shrieking, laughing, and, of course, crying.

Jamie, me, Naina

Having almost all of the people I love in the same room was an experience I can’t quite put into words. The months of hard work, anxiety and sleep deprivation instantly melted away when I stepped into Happy Gillis. I feel privileged to be able to share my favorite Kansas City venues and landmarks with others around the country and know that this is only the beginning of this crazy ride. As we were leaving the coffee shop on Sunday, Naina said to me, “You should write books more often so I can come into town and surprise you!” That’s inspiration enough for me, which leaves only one question: What in the heck do I write about next?

Reasons I love Kansas City, #4: Cocktails

Bomb pop martini, Harry's Country Club

I love a good cocktail. Especially one that’s slightly sweet and/or fruity and made with vodka. My Kansas City cocktail experience began the night of my 21st birthday. The night before our flight to Las Vegas, my stepmom and I stopped at Kelly’s Westport Inn so I could legally order an amaretto sour and Jell-O shot. From there, I’d like to think my cocktail tastes have grown more sophisticated, but I will never be able to resist the lure of Kelly’s Jell-O shots, especially when they’re topped with a dollop of whipped cream.

Jolly Rancher, Harry's Country Club

Some of my best Kansas City memories involve cocktails–post-work happy hours over La Bodega’s sangria, Firefly’s raspberry limeade with which to toast birthdays, a bottle of Prosecco at Czar Bar purchased to commemorate my book proposal’s acceptance. Cocktails generally lead to some sort of revelry, and my experiences have been no exception.

Ace Pear Cider, McCoy's

The best part of Kansas City’s cocktail scene is its diversity. Want a reasonably priced glass of beer? Try a dive bar like Buzzard Beach. Prefer a cocktail that’s part liquid libation, part work of culinary genius? Head to the mixologists at Firefly or Manifesto (although during Manifesto’s sabbatical, follow Ryan and Beau to various Kansas City locations as part of the traveling cocktail club). Craving an icy, salty margarita? Check out Baja 600 and be sure to grab a seat on the patio. No matter your preference, Kansas City has a cocktail for you. Raise a glass, sip, enjoy, and don’t be afraid to order seconds. Cheers!

“Moon Kansas City” in the media!

Happy day! Lucas Wetzel of KCFreePress.com wrote a fantastic Q&A about “Moon Kansas City” and the behind-the-scenes process. Check it out, and don’t forget to stop back by later today for the third “Reason I Love Kansas City!”

Reasons I love Kansas City, #2: The Kansas City Chiefs

OK, admit it. Did you groan a little when you read the post title? Roll your eyes, maybe? Well, I hear you. But stay with me and find out why I just can’t quit the second reason I love Kansas City.

I was born a Kansas City Chiefs fan. Seriously. I think my dad would have disowned me if I chose to follow any other NFL team. As long as I can remember, Sundays (and select Monday nights) with my dad were spent in front of the TV as we cheered, cursed, screamed at or utterly melted down because of the Chiefs.

I can’t remember my first in-person Chiefs game, but I do recall an occasional wintry Sunday spent at Arrowhead Stadium, shivering under a Chiefs blanket and desperately sipping hot cocoa as my dad sat engrossed in the game, seemingly impervious to the seasonal elements. As I got older and later moved to Kansas City, I made it a personal goal to attend at least one game each season with the far-off dream that one day I would be a season ticket holder.

But the Chiefs haven’t made it easy. I’ve suffered more heartbreak and disappointment with this team than I could have imagined, yet I’ve also experienced some unforgettable highs. There’s nothing quite like walking into Arrowhead Stadium on game day, the constant roar of the crowd thundering around you as your eyes adjust to a sea of red. There’s a reason they say Arrowhead Stadium is one of the most difficult environments in which to play, and each time I’m there, I feel privileged to be a part of the palpable dedication shown by Chiefs fans.

I can’t lie. Last season left me with a bitter, bitter taste in my mouth. But as the weeks pass, the bitterness fades and my optimism blossoms, growing stronger in the days leading up to NFL preseason. “This could be it,” I think. “This could be the season where we go all the way.” And even if it’s not, I know I have a healthy supply of Sundays during which I can meet my football-loving friends (special shout-out to A-Yarn) and we can cheer and curse and groan and high-five with each other. Because in the larger sense, that’s what I love about the Chiefs. Good or bad, win or lose, we’re all in it together. And there’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

Reasons I love Kansas City, #1: The Plaza

After all the fanfare, I’m a day late. Sigh. My computer had a near meltdown yesterday, but everything seems to be in working order today (knock on wood!) So, without further ado, I present you with the first reason I love Kansas City:

The Country Club Plaza began as a vision of famous Kansas City developer J.C. Nichols, who wanted to create a retail district away from the downtown area. And more than eight decades later, the Plaza remains not only a premier example of new urbanism, but also a favorite spot for Kansas City residents and visitors alike.

My Plaza experience began seven years ago. As college students, my friends and I would frequently roadtrip to Kansas City, spending most of our time on the Plaza as we browsed the stores (including the couture department at Halls, which seemed almost ethereal in its luxury). At the time, KC Masterpiece was one of my favorite Plaza eateries (thank goodness my tastebuds have matured!) and I also spent an ungodly three hours to get into The Cheesecake Factory.

In August 2004, the Plaza took on new significance for me. After moving to Kansas City to begin an unpaid internship, I also happily found myself with an unexpected roommate. My best friend, Jamie, opened the door of her Plaza apartment to me, and for the next three years, we had a blast in our airy, spacious digs that were ideally perched on the corner of Roanoke and Ward Parkway. We quickly carved out several Plaza-centric traditions, including our annual Plaza lighting ceremony parties, snow day celebrations and frequent trips to Latteland for coffee and The. Best. Cookies. In. The World. (or wedding cake cookies, as they’re more commonly known).

My departure from the Plaza to the Northland (and later downtown) was bittersweet, but I still frequent the coffeeshops and boutiques on a regular basis. One of my favorite Kansas City scenes unfolds as you walk along Ward Parkway; on one side, the Plaza beckons, and on the other, the towering Intercontinental and Raphael hotels, along with several apartment buildings, stand as gracious sentinels that steadfastly observe Brush Creek and the larger Plaza district.

It’s on the Plaza that I found my first true home in Kansas City and began a career that would eventually lead me to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to write a tribute to the city I love so much. Take the time to explore one of the city’s crown jewels, and you just may find a similar sense of belonging among the Spanish-style architecture that seems at once incredibly exotic and quintessentially Kansas City.