Book Review: Hurt People

The COVID-19 pandemic for all the fear it brings, has also given many of us some much needed time to concentrate on hobbies or projects that have fallen to the wayside. For me, I was finally able to finish “Hurt People” by Cote Smith and it seems that I finished it at just the right time as the overarching theme seems to fit perfectly with what we are dealing with right now.

So what does a coming of age tale about two brothers who meet a man who is not what he seems while growing up in Leavenworth, KS have to do with COVID-19? Well initially nothing.

Continue reading

Why Now is the BEST Time to Transition to Shopping (Mostly) Local

photo: American Express

In the words of Deon Cole, “Welp!” Covid-19 is stateside, more importantly, it has hit the Midwest and forced all bars, restaurants, and local shops to either close for an indeterminate amount of time or restrict business to curbside pick up. While larger corporations are likely feeling the blow in a society where people are being temporarily laid off, those that are feeling the impact of this change the most are small business owners.

I’ve seen so many posts of small business owners struggling, some of them posting GoFundMe pages in addition to transitioning sales to either an online or Instagram format. And while all of this is heartbreaking to hear and even write, there is a pivotal opportunity for all of us to “flatten the curve” that is effecting the small businesses and owners we have come to know and love: transition to shopping mostly or only local.

Continue reading

Indie Bookstores: the Resurrection of Print?

I love reading. It’s in part, how I ended up as an English major. My dad instilled the virtues of reading within my sister and I from a very young age. From reading bedtime bible stories to Curious George to Miss Spider, I loved the time my dad and I shared at exploring new worlds together. As I got older, my dad and I would spend hours either at the library or at Waldenbooks inside Metro North Mall (if any of you remember that little slice of nostalgia). I consumed books as if my life depended on it and that didn’t really change until I got to college.

During my college career, I noticed there was a bit of a shift in how I looked at reading, I was an English major and I was in love with being an English major. But the problem with taking four English classes a semester is…that you’re taking four English classes in a semester. I was still enjoying what I was reading, but by the time I had graduated, I realized that I had no desire to read at all. I guess you could say I went through an academic burn out.

About a year ago, that itch to read came back. I just woke up one day hungry to read. Perhaps, you could say it was a slow shift in mindset that did it or you could say it was just a feeling. Either way, I was ready to dive into a book, seek inspiration and explore new worlds and realities. But I didn’t just want a book, I wanted a book. One that I could physically hold in my hand, feel the slight roughness of the page brush against my fingertips, and, of course, release that familiar book-y musk that has come to remind me of my childhood.

Continue reading

My Skincare Routine

Despite the old adage that “black don’t crack”, black does still age and a high performing skincare regain is important to maintaining the acid mantle of your skin, regardless of your skin color.

Late last year, I attended a skincare 101 class, hosted by The Soap Bar and taught by Elevate Esthetics owner, Sara Rieman. While I was already privy to a lot of the higher points–physical vs chemical exfoliants, the skin mantle, the importance of moisturizing–I still walked away realizing there were a few key things that were missing in my skincare routine.

Back when I was an earlier 20 something, I was able to get away with just washing my face, occasionally exfoliating, applying my prescribed acne medication and a little bit of moisturizer. Then, sometime in the last year, I noticed that my skin wasn’t getting enough moisture, to the point that I was able to literally pull pieces of skin off my face. Gross, I know, but this discovery combined with what I learned in the Skincare 101 class, made me wonder if I was missing a toner and oil-based cleanser.

With the addition of a new cleanser, toner, and a few product switches, I believe I have created the perfect, mostly local skincare regimen.

Continue reading

Chocolate: A Girl’s REAL Best Friend

Diamonds? Nah. We all know the song made popular by Marilyn Monroe telling us that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but I think we all know the truth: Chocolate is a girl’s real best friend. It’s good for break ups when all your friends are out happily eating dinner with their significant others, it’s the perfect aphrodisiac when you are wanting to get busy, it’s also there for you when Mother Flow comes out to play. Chocolate is versatile and is usually included in every girl’s valentines day gift. Whether you bought it for yourself or not, you’re probably eating chocolate on the day of “corporate love” as I heard someone on a podcast say.

And sure, we’ve all had the chocolate routlette boxes from the store, but is that really what you want? Roulette chocolate? I don’t think so. You want delicious, fresh, interesting, unique chocolate. And lucky for you there are plenty of chocolatiers in the KC area that have created some of the most delectable, whimsical chocolates that won’t leave you shell shocked because you got the “coconut one”. Continue reading

4 Local & Healthy(ish) Snacks to Satisfy the Continuous Grazer

National Snack month is coming up soon. And next month as we celebrate love in the way of consuming pounds of chocolate, ice cream or both, I thought it would be a good idea to suggest a few healthier snacking options. If you are an office dweller, you know the struggle of mindless eating. I am constantly snacking while I’m at work. And it’s because of my “munchy” ways that I usually try to go for something healthy. And of course, in the spirit of trying to contribute more to the local economy, I managed to find a few healthy snacks made right here in Kansas City. Continue reading

2019: A Year in Review

Happy new year! We have officially survived a full decade and the first full week of 2020. In just ten short days I have been a busy bee, laying down some intense groundwork. Groundwork that I have either neglected or never thought to do before (perhaps a combination of both), to make sure that 2020 is a year that propels this blog, and your experience as the reader, forward. But before I get ahead of myself, I have to address 2019.

So 2019 was a year of highs, a year of lows and a year of breakthroughs: I experienced a break up that, for the first time, resembled a divorce more than your usual break-up, I got into the habit of posting more consistently on the blog, I did my first collaboration with a blogger I absolutely admire, I also did my first giveaway with said blogger, I attended some of my first networking events for my blog, and I became a brand ambassador for a local business I adore.

Despite my painful break-up, one thing I remember my ex telling me was if blogging was my passion, I needed to feed it, not starve it. It was remembering that conversation that I had an aha moment: Why wasn’t I investing in my passion? Was I not as passionate about my blog as I thought? What was I afraid of?

So a bit of thought journaling, a weekend getaway to California, and a vision board later I realized that I would have to put aside my fears and put in the work if I want to create a better Keeping Up with the City. Continue reading