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.

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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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How to Save Money (And Still Shop Local)

By now, I’m sure all of you know that I love shopping local, but I would be lying if I said I’m made out of money. Because I’m totally not. I feel like I make a decent income for someone my age, but I still think like a broke college girl when it comes to shopping: I try to avoid paying full price for anything and have various rebate apps on my phone. Unfortunately, these rules don’t always apply when you’re trying to shop local, but it’s certainly not impossible to save a buck here and there. And I–or should I say we–are going to show you how.

I collaborated with my dear friend and fellow blogger, Annie Austen to put together the most comprehensive guide we could to help you save money while still shopping local and just in time for the holidays! There are a lot of amazing makers and businesses out there that are pretty affordable and if you can beat the big box prices while putting money back into your local economy it’s a win win. Hope you enjoy our picks! Continue reading

Back from the Dead Part 3: On Shifting my Focus

NOTE: This is the final installment of my “Back from the Dead” series but if you haven’t read part 1 or part 2, it might help so get a little bit of back story.

So this blog post feels a little bit like a cop out. At least it does for me. I had content that I actually wanted to blog about and believe me it is coming, but I feel like this post is really important to get out of the way before we go any further.

This blog is actually pretty old. Like, I made it 5 or so years ago, old. And if you scour the meager archives, you’ll see how few posts I made during the first few years of my blog. And there are a lot of reasons for that: I had severe Generalized Anxiety Disorder and I wasn’t dealing with it, I went through a very tough break up in the midst of the beginning stages of my therapy, and truthfully, I wasn’t nearly as motivated to see my blog succeed as I am now.

Getting my Anxiety settled and shifting my blog focus helped tremendously with that. The truth is: I’m not an influencer. Yet, when I started my blog, that’s what I thought I wanted. But, I don’t like the pressure of always being “on”, I’m not super social and I HATE taking pictures of myself (which is a self image issue I know I have to work through). I thought I wanted to be someone who got exclusive invites to soft openings of businesses so I could share the juicy details with other locals, but I quickly learned A. How much work goes into getting to that point and B. How much I prefer doing things a little more on my own terms, at my own pace and would rather not be the “blogger that breaks news”.

The truth of the matter is, I love local businesses and I love developing a connection with every maker and business owner I meet. I like learning how they got started and where they want to take their business next. The local scene is filled with passionate people that want to disrupt the “big box” industry by developing a better product/business model or developing a better product/business model at a more budget friendly price point. It was all the makers that I connected with that inspired me to create this blog in the first place so when I decided that I was going to get serious about my blog, I wondered why my blog wasn’t about them all along.

I want to live a completely local lifestyle and that sounds like a radical mission, but I found that when I was really serious about my blog, I was already doing it anyway. I recognize that there are some cases when it’s not always possible to shop completely local, but the ultimate goal at the end of the day is to be a more conscious consumer: What am I putting in my body? What am I putting on my body? Is there a reason for buying this product or has blind consumerism struck again?

We as a society are in a minimalist fad; We love Marie Kondo and her idea of keeping only that which sparks joy. And while I’m not 100% onboard with this philosophy, there is a very important point that I took away from this concept. In Marie Kondo’s show, “Tidying Up” on Netflix, she makes the family she is working with participate in a ritual where the family is meant to thank their home for all the memories and protection it has provided. And if we are meant to honor our home in such a way, why shouldn’t we implement that same concept when we are making a purchase whether it be something as small as a bar of soap or a piece of furniture? There should be a level of conscious choice when making a purchase. We do it with big purchases, but the small things are often overlooked, but it’s the small purchases that build up the quickest.

It was all of these thoughts swirling around in my head, and my ultimate desire to this full time, that lead me to the conclusion that it was time to shift my blog focus to blogging about and lifting up local—primarily KC local, but there will hopefully be some other local feature from my travels—businesses, how I incorporate their products into my daily life, or how I look for local businesses to fulfill a need or want in my life. The fact of the matter is, Kansas City’s local-ecosystem is strong enough to where it is totally possible to stop buying things from companies that pump our products full of things that we know are bad for us, but we still keep buying it and we can’t always pinpoint why. It’s time to get back to basics, shop small and support local businesses.

Have you ever felt similarly when you’re at Wal-Mart or perusing Amazon? Do you have a favorite local business that inspired you to stop buying a product from big box stores? Do you want shift away from buying big box brands and shop small? Tell me everything.

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