5 Out-of-the-Box Kansas City Shops to Buy Your Gifts in 2016

KC Shops

As we start the New Year, maybe we can actually follow through on our resolution to plan ahead for birthdays, holidays and especially Christmas in 2016. And even when we don’t, discovering new, local, personalized shops is always a solid goal to fulfill when gift-giving throughout the year–last minute or otherwise.

Peppermint Twist

Photo cred: Images West Photography via Peppermint Twist

In order to make our lovely KC lives a little easier this upcoming year, I’ve compiled a list of my top 5 out-of-the-box local shops to purchase all your gift-giving wonders from. And the best part is all of these stores are unique to Kansas City and contain personalized, handmade and/or restored items.

Peppermint Twist

Photo cred: Images West Photography via Peppermint Twist

Peppermint Twist. This shop is my absolute favorite local retailer for personalizing just about anything. What’s great about it is the unique items available that go along with specific holidays, events, locations, clothing or seasons that you can’t generally find at most other shops. For example, the Christmas bags pictured (that I plan to order for next year), personalized with a last name when delivering gifts to a family event or child’s name if you want to present “Santa’s bag of gifts” on Christmas morning, is one of my favorite items in the shop. I originally discovered Peppermint Twist when I received an address pillow as a gift for our first house, which I am in love with. It resembled the one pictured on the top, left–except, of course, representing a KCMO zip!

Artistic Works by Lu

Photo cred: Artistic Works by Lu

Artistic Works by Lu. If you’re looking for upscale clothing and unique jewelry, Lu is where you want to be. This studio-boutique is best defined as country roots meets urban soul, and their mission is to help women feel beautiful and confident every day. They carry a variety of jewelry designs, unique stones and material along with vintage-inspired tops, sweaters, coats, tights, scarves and boots. Lu’s is the perfect place to check out for that trendy friend or family member in your life … and even for yourself when it’s time for a little wardrobe pick-me-up.

Restoration Emporium

Photo Cred: Restoration Emporium

Restoration Emporium. Ever heard of First Fridays? If the answer is ‘no’ then I don’t know if you can consider yourself a true Kansas Citian just yet. Although this shop is open throughout the week, the first place I discovered it was in the West Bottoms on First Fridays. RE:’s motto is “re: purpose re: finish re: new” and when you enter their store, you feel like there’s a clear purpose: their furniture and decor feels beautifully meaningful and full of new life. To top it off RE: will be partnering with The Home Show of Greater Kansas City, which is one of the most awesome events of the Spring in KC–promising the return of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s Fixer Upper in March!

Jowler Creek. If you’re from Kansas City, there are few towns on the outskirts you probably haven’t heard of, but this could very well be one of Jowler Creekthem: Dearborn, Missouri, just 30 minutes North of downtown KC, houses a wonderful, personable winery with an awesome outlook. They use green technologies to make their wine, sheep to keep their weeds low and chicken to bring down the insect count at this 6-acre vineyard started by a couple who were brought together by Kansas City and their love of wine. Their story is as beautiful as their boutique vineyard and winery, and if you’re looking for a great couples’ gift or wine to bring to your next event, check them out!

Westside Storey

Photo cred: Westside Storey

Westside Storey. “LOCAL GOODS and LOCAL MAKERS with ANTIQUES SPRINKLED” is their short description on Facebook, and if that doesn’t make you love this shop already, the handmade, wine-scented candles inside a restored wine bottle candle holder definitely will. Even if you don’t have any gifts to purchase just yet, this shop is well worth a visit for the quality and unique KC themed items, clothing and accessories available that you KCreally can’t find just anywhere else–perhaps a #TreatYoSelf gift? Not to mention the unique foodie selection is on point–my favorite so far being the bacon jam from Our Sassy Pantry, locally made, of course.

As you enjoy the new year and continue loving Kansas City, keep in mind local shops to make your gift giving unique and personal. Do you have any go-to local shops that you enjoy or suggest? Comment and let everyone know below!

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12 Reasons to Love Your Kansas City Roots

KC Roots

Kansas City is, literally, too much city for just one state. There are too many things to count that make the city great, but only if you’re a part of Kansas City do you truly understand why it’s so outstanding. For those who aren’t a part of Kansas City, here’s why our roots run deep, and to those who are locals, here are 12 reasons you should be proud to call Kansas City your home.

1. Contrary to Lorde’s belief, we will always be Royal. The Kansas City Royals may have their ups and downs throughout the years, but Kansas Citians always stay loyal. And it has paid off, royally. Last season, after coming back from trailing 7 to 3 in the eighth inning of a game that merely put them into the playoffs, the Royals ended up one big hit away from winning the entire World Series.

2. Because parties at Paul Rudd’s mom’s house. Paul Rudd loves himself some Kansas City Royals, too, and after the Royals won the ALCS last season, he told a local news station, “Kegger at my mom’s house!” He may have been kidding, but of course, Kansas Citians aren’t going to let him off that easy. He did redeem himself on one of David Letterman’s final shows by promising that if the Royals win the World Series this season, there will be two kegs at his mom’s house. We’ll hold you to that, Paul. For now, drinks bought by Royals’ players at Power & Light will suffice.

3. The Love Longer KC Project. If you live in Kansas City, and even if you don’t, it’s very likely you know local radio personalities Lazlo, Afentra, Jeriney, Danny Boi and the rest of the crew. The radio station, 96.5 The Buzz, is well-known for The Big Fat Morning Buzz and The Church of Lazlo, while also recently starting an amazing movement called The Love Longer KC Project. The whole movement started when Lazlo saw a billboard off I-70 that was hateful, and instead of responding negatively, 96.5 The Buzz took it upon themselves to turn to Kansas Citians via Kickstarter. Their goal was $7,000, but together, the radio station and Kansas City raised almost $20,000 to create billboards that encourage others to be kind and accepting. “Be Kind” and #LoveLonger is the message they display.

4. We take our art with a side of GIANT badminton. If you haven’t been to the Nelson-Atkins Art Museum, well, you just wouldn’t understand, but that’s just one instance of Kansas City’s passionate love of art. We also have the Plaza Art Fair, Kauffman Performing Arts Center, Starlight Theatre, Union Station, Brookside Art Fair, the Midland and the Kansas City Art Institute to culture ourselves. Creativity thrives in this city.

5. The Plaza lights at Christmas. As Christmas nears, so many communities decorate their homes, streets and buildings. It’s a warm and fuzzy time, but the plaza lights take it to a whole new level. What began as one single strand of lights in 1925 has easily become one of the greatest Christmas lighting displays in the nation. To top it all off, there’s a traditional lighting event on the Plaza every Thanksgiving, and tens of thousands of people show up to watch the kid who’s chosen at random hit the switch. Could it get any warmer and fuzzier?

6. Boulevard Brewing Company’s craft beer. Wine’s not the only thing we drink with our pinky in the air. Now one of the largest craft breweries in the U.S. and the largest specialty brewery in the Midwest, Boulevard Brewing Company is a local brewery dedicated to the production, craft and deliciousness of unique beers and brewing techniques. We don’t settle for just any old beer around Kansas City; instead, we drink the best of the best.

7. First Fridays. A seriously impressive compilation of local artists and crafty, unique goodies located in the West Bottoms of Kansas City. On the first Friday of each month, Kansas Citians gather for a great cultural, musical and thrift-ful experience. For many people, the draw isn’t just the artistry but also the history of the area, old buildings and gorgeous architecture.

8. This performance of “Kansas City” by the The New Basement Tapes and Marcus Mumford.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-X3hdFWmerQ

9. We know how to get LOUD. Baseball isn’t our only strong suit–the Chiefs’ fans know how to bring it, too. Kansas City’s very own Arrowhead stadium is officially the recorder holder for loudest outdoor stadium in the world. The Chiefs received their Guinness world record spot when the noise level at Arrowhead reached a booming 142.2 decibels. Go CHIEFS!

10. We really love fountains. Every city as its own thing and Kansas City’s is fountains. They’re gorgeous, they’re unique, and they’re everywhere. When in Rome… No, actually, when in Kansas City–the city of fountains–do as the Kansas Citians do. It was profound locals like George Kessler, August Meyer and J.C. Nichols that originally envisioned and created a beautiful city with “more boulevards than Paris, more fountains than Rome.” Today, some of the most famous Kansas City fountains include J.C. Nichols Memorial Fountain, Henry Wollman Bloch Fountain, Northland Fountain and Crown Center Square Fountain.

11. Kansas City BBQ. Arthur, Jack, Joe and Gates are all great friends of ours and for delicious reasons. According to Carolyn Wells, executive director of the Kansas City Barbecue Society, “The beauty of Kansas City barbecue is that you can ask ten different people to define Kansas City barbecue and you get ten different answers and they are all correct.” As any Kansas Citian will tell you, if you want to try real BBQ, come visit us.

12. Jazz music is our jam. We even have an entire Jazz District to prove it. As Kansas City Jazz took over in the 1920s, it filled the streets of 18th & Vine and made the area an essential pillar for Kansas City throughout the Depression. A few decades later the area began to decline, but eventually, Kansas Citians breathed new life into the Jazz District and nearing the 90s, it was reborn again. Now, the Jazz District maintains and represents a historical musical legend that can be heard throughout Kansas City.

Go Blog Social: Three Things I Learned

1. I’m a true awkward loner when not accompanied by a comrade, and nothing brings it out like networking. I think Zooey Deschanel “Jess” in this clip encompasses me fairly well…

I just do not possess the personality or vibe that draws people in. I’ve got to try–really hard, and that’s okay. I like a challenge, and as one of our awesome speakers pointed out, “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.”

2. I need to invest in a jean jack. Seriously. I think at least half of the people I saw had some sort of jean jacket on during the two day event.

3. There are some amazing bloggers and experts out there and so many of them shared their success tidbits in Kansas City this weekend. I learned more than I could have ever imagined from being able to attend Go Blog Social. Keep scrolling to learn all about it!

Sign

“Go Blog Social ahead”

This past weekend, I had the awesome opportunity to attend the Go Blog Social conference in Kansas City via Visit KC and the Midwest Influencer Network.

Inspiration

Creators and inspirers behind Go Blog Social. Pictured above (from left to right) are Katelyn Herlein, Samantha McClelland, Sarah Ruhlman and Kathryn Snellen.

Go Blog Social is a conference created and put into action by six lovely ladies–four of whom are pictured above–who’ve designed the conference to “inform, educate and inspire” by bringing together bloggers and brands along with social media and business experts to share their expertise.

Day one speakers

Day one speakers included Alissa Circle of Diary of an Addict (top left), Andra Barkey and Kelly Zugay of With Grace and Gold (bottom left), Alea Bębenek of Alea Lovely (bottom middle), Kilee Nickels of One Little Momma and Nickel & Suede (bottom right) and Laurie Davis of eFlirt Expert (top right).

Day one included five wonderful presentations from Alissa Circle, Andra Barkey & Kelly Zugay, Alea Bębenek, Kilee Nickels and Laurie Davis. Each one of these women talked about their personal story in the blogging/career world and what it takes to be noticed. Mostly, be authentic. There may be thousands of bloggers and creatives out there, but there’s only one you. People can appreciate that.

Day two speakers

Day two speakers included Mandy Beveler of Sugar Bee Crafts (top left), Enza Ketcham of Enza’s Bargains (bottom left), Landon & Meggan Wood of Lily Jade (bottom right) and Callie England of Rawxies (top right).

Day two included more amazing tips but with an emphasis on personal businesses. Speakers included Mandy Beveler, Enza Ketcham, Landon & Meggan Wood and Callie England sharing their inspiring stories on persistence and passion.

The Crowd

Socializing at Go Blog Social

I left this conference feeling empowered and happy to be on the right track. So many people think blogging is simple–like we sign on whenever we feel like it and spend five minutes throwing together a post–but the truth is it takes a lot of time and a ton of effort. Whether that time and effort be from taking photos, talking to people, researching, linking, social media-ing, being consistent, interacting, the list goes on and on. Blogging is a full time job for many. I hear you non-bloggers snickering and rolling your eyes, but really, it’s an investment to create something–truly–and do it well, whether it be writing, designing, taking photos or having an online presence, and blogging encompasses them all.

GBS

Stay connected at #GBS2015 #goblogsocial #MWINetwork or @VisitKC

During and after the two-day Go Blog Social event, I was able to bask in the wonder that is my home town. Yes, that’s right, I’m a KC lady at heart. Here are some of the LOVEly places I was able to enjoy while at home:

P&L

Always a little too much fun had at Kansas City’s Power & Light District.

Ambassador Hotel

A gorgeous and relaxing place to rest my head at night with Ambassador Hotel–courtesy of Visit KC.

Royals

Seated at Kauffman Stadium watching my boys in blue [Royals] win, yet again.

 #HE is proud to team up with MWIN in promotion of Go Blog Social!

Bootleggin’ BBQ Grand Opening

A new Kansas City style BBQ joint opened up in downtown St. Louis. Being from Kansas City, of course I had to try it out at their grand opening last night. They were packed, there was bluezy music and the menu’s unique and delicious. I’d recommend Pigs on a Roll. The best part: Boulevard beer.

There’s more music to be played, beer to drink and BBQ to demolish throughout the weekend.

Bootleggin’ BBQ is located at 1933 Washington Ave.

BBQ

Pigs on a Roll