Self-care: You know you need it too

When I was going through my rebrand, I realized how much I really loved naturally made beauty and skincare products. That passion eventually radiated out to wanting to be more conscious of how I was not only impacting my body, my community and the environment as a whole. I knew that in doing this, I wouldn’t always do this perfectly, but I was eager to do my very best to not only support small and local businesses but also support those businesses that resonated with my ethos and pursuit to be a more conscious, holistic and intentional consumer. And it’s for all of these reasons that made attending the soft opening of Almeda, Taochemy and Hand and Land, located in the Gillham Plaza, so easy.

Coupled with, you know, a global pandemic, civil unrest, massive layoffs, and the steady atrophy the economy, I felt long overdue for some pampering and I bet it’s safe to say that you haven’t really been taking that great of care of yourself either. But, at least after reading this, you’ll have some ideas on where to go to get yourself right.

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Local Spoils for your Fur-children

Stella and Charley

You love your dogs. Of course you do. If they walk funny for two paces, you’ve already called the Vet to make an appointment, you go absolutely overboard on the food you buy (only the best for your little prince/princess), and you consistently allow them to break rules you’ve set like, “you’re not allowed on the couch” and “you can only come on the bed if you’re invited.”

I get it. Your dogs are the real masters of the house. Mine are too, but despite my efforts to shop mostly local, I often neglect shopping local for the poochies. In an effort to rectify this, I have put together a list of products made especially for your pups (sorry cat lovers).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Planners: Prepping for the New Year

2019 is coming to an end, which means it’s time to refocus on those goals you’ve thrown to the wayside in preparation for the new year. The number one way I like to get ready for the new year by picking up a brand new planner. Something about a fresh planner just gets me excited for what the new year will bring. However finding a planner has always been difficult for me because, most planners are set up with the same weekly or monthly format and leaves little room for a daily to-do list (and I LOVE a good list).

The truth is, mass produced planners will always have pitfalls. It’s hard to cater to the masses when everyone is so different and has their own organization method that works best for them. On the other hand, if I were able to combine all the features of every planner I did like, I might still run into the problem of whether I would use every feature i said I wanted.

The planner that I used last year which has brought the most success for me organization-wise, has been the Day Designer planner by Whitney English. And I really love that planner. But, in the pursuit of looking local first, I decided 2020 would be the year I would look for a new planner to see if there really is a better planner system that works for me.

Day Designer

DD Planner Photo 1

Featured planner pages

DD Planner Photo 2

Sample of daily page layout

Pros:
  • Provides a daily planner option in addition to a weekly planner option
  • Daily page spread with a to-do list section for each day (my dream!)
  • Provides yearly intention prompts with ideal year, month, week and day charts which I really liked because it allowed me to think about what I would like my routine to look like so that I could establish good habits for myself.
Cons:
  • Not every section on the daily spread was useful to me so I ended up wasting a lot of space on the daily spread. I would sometimes use the “Due” box to write down when I had a bill coming up, but more often than not, I just ended up writing it down in my top-do list because I forgot the box was there half the time.
  • I didn’t like that the daily schedule took up a separate column on the page. I don’t have a daily schedule where I am always having “appointments” and I’m not so anal retentive that I have to write down EXACTLY what I’m doing at every moment. As a result, this section being so big was rendered a little useless.
  • It’s a daily planner and so is a little bulky, which made it hard to carry my planner from place to place and ultimately effected how often and useful my planner was

Easy, Tiger

Easy, Tiger has it’s roots in Kansas City but has since moved to New York to give the Yankees a taste of Midwestern snark. I have always been in love with Easy, Tiger’s glassware, but they have truly grown into a novelty home goods store and has even added partner stores, Level 9 and J.C. and Rollie.

ET planner photo

Photo courtesy of the Easy, Tiger website.

Pros:
  • Offer a weekly and daily planner option
  • Better price point for a similar product. ($35 vs. $49-$59)
  • This planner serves snark on every page and doesn’t take itself so seriously, which is kind of nice when you’re stressed out about life.
Cons:
  • No monthly overview, at least not from what I can see in the product preview on the website. The monthly overview is really important for me when I am scheduling appointments and provides a long term look at what’s ahead in the month. I don’t think I could live without a monthly overview page.

Workspacery

Workspacery is kind of like Day Designer in the sense that it’s owner, Jenna Murillo is focused on creating a product that will spark productivity as well as providing personal tips as to how her products can be used in your personal life. I’ve been aware of the Workspacery for a few years now, but wasn’t particularly interested in the Refresh Planner as it was a weekly set up, which wasn’t what I was looking for at the time. However Workspacery recently released the enneagram planner collection, a different planner layout carefully crafter for the nine enneagram personalities.

Upon taking a few different enneagram test, I found that I was either a 1, 4 or 5. One test did definitively tell me that I am a 1 wing 2, but I actually found myself gravitating more towards the 4 and 5 planner layout the most.

PicsArt_12-13-02.02.41

Top: Type Four planner Bottom: Type Five planner (photos courtesy of the Workspacery website)

Overall, I like that both planners have a lot of room for notes, still has a top three priorities section like my current planner and extra space for expanding to-do lists as needed, However, 4 grabbed me a little bit more because the commitments section, where I would list appointments, meetings, etc., only takes up a little bit of space on the spread and there is a dotted section to write out any project I’m currently working on.

There are also guided prompts for self reflection which is something I really appreciated about my Day Designer planner and am glad to have that here to reflect on as I go throughout the year. I will miss having stickers to label things, but honestly, I have so many from previous planners that not having more stickers isn’t much of a loss. I don’t love having to fill in the dates on this planner; I’d prefer them to be pre-filled so that I am constantly reminded to use my planner to ensure that I don’t double book myself or forget anything important throughout the week (I guess it just means that those stickers of mine will get used after all.) Conversely, this is a nice feature if you’re more of an “as-needed” planner user. Also, it’s kind of nice that the enneagram planners are only six months long so that you can switch planners if you find that one layout isn’t really for you or your organization method changes.

Utilmately I bought the 4 enneagram planner for the new year. I went ahead an bought a 12 month set to give this layout a good honest try for the whole year.

Which planners are you looking at the start the new year right? Which of the three planners would you have gone with? Tell me everything.

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