Guest Banana: Romantic New Years Playlist by Michelle

I’ve asked some Guest Bananas to help me out over this holiday week so I could take a little break from the blog (my first in over a year and a half, yikes!) Today features totally fantastic blogger extraordinaire, Michelle Peters (no relation) from So Wonderful, So Marvelous. Thanks, Michelle!


Why hello there Crazy Bananas peeps!  My name is Michelle and I blog at So Wonderful, So Marvelous.  I met Megan through an online Alt class this summer and was instantly smitten with her blog… well, you’re here, so you know already the depths of her awesomeness.   Turns out we both have Tates the same age, mine is the female variety.  Needless to say, I’ve been hooked ever since and I am THRILLED about her new adventure with Design for Minikind, they are lucky to have her.  This summer Megan and Trent were kind enough to share their marriage thoughts on my blog, so when Megan asked if I’d like to post for you, I jumped at the chance. 

My husband and I had a rocky start to our New Year celebrating.  It involved him vacating the contents of his stomach into my sink after too much drinking.  It was not pretty.  After that first highly disastrous celebration, we decided that we would start staying home.  Our tradition has evolved a bit now that we have kids, but it usually involves a fancy dinner, most often fondue, champagne and spending time cuddled up on the couch.  If we make it to New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, we’re lucky.  {Toddlers are early risers!} 

I thought I’d use Megan’s space to share with you a great, romantic, stay in for New Year playlist.  Maybe you’ll stay in too?

  • Wicked Way – Ben Taylor
  • You’re What I’m Looking For – Rooney
  • Sort Of – Ingrid Michaelson
  • Collide – Howie Day
  • Fade Into You – Mazzy Star
  • Sweet Thing – Van Morrison
  • Something – The Beatles
  • A Thousand Years – Christina Perri
  • I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie
  • With or Without You – U2

Guest Banana: Public Displays of Creativity by Kristen

I’ve asked some Guest Bananas to help me out over this holiday week so I could take a little break from the blog (my first in over a year and a half, yikes!) Today features Kansas City-based stitching artist, former roller derby girl, and all around awesome chick, Kristen from Hey Paul Studios. Thanks, Kristen!


I first started my quest to find Kansas City’s most unique and inspiring spaces after I sacrificed a lunch break in the name of checking out a new interactive art exhibit, near my office.


As I was floating in the field of hammocks, I made a goal to begin seeking unconventional lunch spots near work, as a way to practice a little self-care. Because I always carry an embroidery hoop with me, I began to eat less on lunch breaks and stitch more. I quickly found that these public spaces provided an incredible amount of inspiration and it had a positive impact on my work. I now seek out every opportunity to grab a park bench or spot under a shade tree to get my creative groove going.

Me Stitching

Here is my list of favorite creative spaces around KC. Depending on the weather, you can spot me at one of these favorite spots, stitching away. I hope this guide inspires you to find your own public space to sketch, draw, write, and beyond.

K Park

Kauffman Legacy Park: There are so many spots within this six-square-mile area to spread out a blanket, your supplies, and work away. My favorite location is within the Memorial Gardens. The aroma from the flowers, the soothing sounds of the fountains, and the pleasant landscaping sparks plenty of creative energy. There is a general respect for noise level and although I am easily distracted, I have never struggled to remain on task in the garden. During the cold months, there is an indoor area where tropical plants are guarded by the friendly resident cat.

Sculpture Park

Nelson-Atkins Sculpture Park
: A sculpture of three giant bowls bowls and a striking metal tree provide lots of nooks and crannies to nestle into for shade and surroundings. Looking out across the Nelson-Atkins lawn and onto Theis Park gives me a sense being a tiny creator in a vast landscape.

Union Station

Union Station
: Now that the temperature has dropped, I have my eye on a workspace in the Grand Hall at Union Station. The architecture, people watching, and energy of the space gives me a boost of creativity. There are benches located along the walls where you can discretely work and take in the movement around you.

Dr Sketchy's

Dr. Sketchy’s: The anti-art school–sketch fest. I have been to several of these events in the past and hope to start going again. I use inspiration from the live models for stitching inspiration. It’s a great way to get out of your studio and out amongst other artists.


Art Exhibits (Photo Credit: KC Star): We all experience art in a variety of ways. Being surrounded by creative work stimulates my imagination. Without taking the focus off of the featured art, I like to take the opportunity to reap the benefits of the creative energy. I most recently attended the Picnic Project on the lawn of The Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. The textile art and excitement of the people made for a great picnic and embroidering opportunity.

I hope this short list gives you a little inspiration to take a break from your typical work environment and to get out and about into all of the creative spaces your city has to offer!

Guest Banana: DIY Vanilla Honey Bubble Bath by Lane

I’ve asked some Guest Bananas to help me out over this holiday week so I could take a little break from the blog (my first in over a year and a half, yikes!) Today features my amazing friend, and totally awesome blogger, Lane from Misc. Thanks, Lane!


I don’t know about you, but after the mad dash of the holidays, I could use some pampering. Like a lot. Soaking in a tub of bubbles seems pretty perfect right now.

Making your own beauty products can be a lot of fun, so I did some searching for an easy bubble bath recipe. I found this one and thought the combination of vanilla and honey was right up my alley.

It’s easy to put together, inexpensive and smells incredible. I had to keep reminding myself not to eat it. Really, it smells that good.

Stored in a beautiful glass container like this one from Crate & Barrel,* it looks so pretty sitting on the edge of your tub or left out for guests at your house. Adding a custom tag with a note on how to use, gives it a personal touch. But, beware. If you treat your guests this well, they may never leave.

Vanilla Honey Bubble Bath

1 cup light oil (almond, sunflower, or canola)
½ cup honey
½ cup mild liquid hand or body soap
1 tablespoon vanilla extract.


Combine all of the ingredients in a bowl with a spout. It will look kind of gloppy, but should come together. The smell is incredible. Don’t eat it. To use, shake gently to remix and pour ¼ cup under running bath water.


*Can you believe that container only costs $5? It’s so pretty and would be perfect filled with water on a table or used to infuse vodka. The possibilities are endless.

Guest Banana: Ginger Molasses Cookies by Jessica

I’ve asked some Guest Bananas to help me out over this holiday week so I could take a little break from the blog (my first in over a year and a half, yikes!) Today features one of my favorite bloggers (and she who has the best blog name ever!) Jessica of Gin and Juiceboxes. Thanks, Jessica!


Umm…so I have this problem with sweets. And that is if I have them around the house, I eat them. Like all of them. Good eating habits….BE GONE! And so I spend much of the year not baking and not buying sweets from the store.

But….I give myself a break for the holidays because December just calls for cookies. (Especially if you live somewhere cold and dreary. Gosh, if I had to deal with a cold winter I’d just start eating cookies in November and carry on right through February. We’re trudging along through a San Antonio December with it’s sunny 70 degree days. Give me some snow!).

My favorite cookies have always been chocolate chip. My grandma makes the BEST chocolate chip cookies – just the right amount of chewy and crunch. These cookies have been consumed at just about every family function we have ever had.

Sadly, mine never turn out as good as hers. So this year I decided to make something different. I’m not a huge molasses fan but something about these Ginger Molasses Cookies from Food 52 caught my eye. Maybe it was their beautiful picture (seriously, go look at it – I’m not much of a photographer). Maybe it was the fact that I had a piece of fresh ginger sitting on my counter (although you don’t use fresh ginger in these cookies. Umm. yeah. I realize there is no fresh ginger in these cookies but I didn’t realize that until I started making them). Whatever. Whatever it was that prompted me to make these cookies did me a serious favor because these guys are seriously delicious.

We are going to set some of these out for Santa to munch on this year. Whatever we have left, anyway.

Santa’s Favorite Gingerbread and Molasses Cookies
adapted from Food 52

Serves 24

What you need:

  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 3/4 cups unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cups packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsulfured molasses
  • 1/3 cup finely diced candied ginger (optional)
  • granulated sugar for rolling

What to do:

  1. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, ground ginger, allspice, salt and cloves in a bowl and mix well.
  2. Beat butter and sugar together in bowl of electric mixer until light and fluffy, 3 minutes.
  3. Add egg and molasses. Mix to combine well. Stir in dry ingredients. Stir in candied ginger if using. Refrigerate batter 1 hour.
  4. Preheat oven to 375 F. Roll dough into 1 1/2″ balls. Roll balls in granulated sugar. Arrange on baking sheets lined with parchment paper and gently flatten. Bake in oven until set and crinkled on top, about 12 minutes. Remove and cool.


Some Final Tips: I made these cookies twice – once with the dough cold and once with the dough room temperature. Both batches turned out fine but my husband and I both thought the cold dough turned out a better cookies so if you have the time, don’t skip refrigerating it. Also, I used light brown sugar worked fine.

Happy Holidays!

Guest Banana: Natural Cosmetics and Your Health

Today’s post is by Sara Streeter of D Street Wellness. Sara is an Internet friend that I met back in 2010 when she asked me to photograph her wedding. Since then, she has become a Certified Health Coach on a mission to free women everywhere from the shackles of yo-yo dieting, emotional eating, shame, and guilt related to their bodies and lifestyles. I love Sara’s outlook on living a healthful life and am so pumped she is guest posting today! Take it away, Sara!


October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month, so in honor of healthy breasts and healthy bodies, I’m going to get real about the ingredients found in cosmetics and beauty products. Frankly, our health and beauty industry can do better.

Just like the food we put in our mouths, what we put on our skin becomes a part of our cells and bodies. As a passionate advocate for holistic health, I wholeheartedly embrace all natural skin care products. Let’s face it, not everyone can get away with the no poo look (including me), but there are good options out there that use natural and safe to use ingredients.

Have you ever counted how many cosmetic or beauty care products you use as you’re getting ready for your day? Some women may use as many as 10-12 different products in their bathroom. Have you ever wondered what is in each of those products? Thanks to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database, we all have the ability to see what those profit-driven cosmetic manufacturers are putting in our products.

I am a label reader by nature, so I was always aware of the long list of scientific ingredients found on my shampoo bottles. Since I didn’t know what any of the words meant, I never thought much about it. That all changed about 10 years years ago when I was introduced to the Environmental Working Group’s Cosmetic Database. The Cosmetic Database is an online safety cosmetics database that was created by the Environmental Working Group, a non-profit organization whose mission is to “use the power of public information to protect public health and the environment.” In their database they have over 60,000 cosmetic products that have been analyzed for safety based on their ingredients. Search for a product by brand name to learn about each of the ingredients – including their toxicity level and what effect they could have on the body. Each product gets an overall score that tells you how “safe” it is considered for use. It was an eye opening experience to learn about harmful the ingredients; even more shocking was that my beloved beauty products were full of toxic ingredients that were known or suspected to harmful to the body when absorbed through the skin.

Over the past 10 years I have been slowly switching out my regular cosmetic products with less chemicalized alternatives. One of the first things I changed many years ago was my underarm deodorant. I ditched the clinical strength antiperspirant and started using all natural deodorant. I never really fell in love with all the options I had for all natural deodorant – they were either too expensive or totally ineffective– but I also wasn’t willing to use regular stuff. When I realized how simple it is to make my own deodorant at home, I quickly made my first batch and haven’t bought a stick of regular deodorant since.

I still use some products that contain ingredients that aren’t totally natural, but I have learned to check the database and read the labels. I know what I’m putting on my body, and I stick to natural as much as possible. Knowledge is power!

If you’re looking to eliminate some chemicals from your morning beauty routine, try out this all natural deodorant. It’s easy to make, smells delicious, and it’s made with all natural ingredients that are fairly easy to find. And the best part? It totally works.


Lavender Vanilla (All Natural) Deodorant

2 Tablespoons shea butter*
2 Tablespoons of coconut oil
1 Tablespoon (or ½ ounce) cocoa butter*
2 Tablespoons baking soda
3 Tablespoons corn starch (organic is best!)

Optional Fragrance: 10 drops lavender essential oil and 10 drops of vanilla*

Melt all ingredients together. I melted mine in a glass pyrex mixing bowl over a pot of boiling water.
Stir until oil/butters are melted and the baking soda and corn starch are dissolved.
Add the essential oils and give it another stir.
Pour in a jar and allow to cool.

To use, scoop up a small (pea-sized) amount in your fingers and rub it on your skin until dissolved.

*Find these at a health store or order online



Editor’s Note: I have totally used the above natural deodorant, thanks to Miss Sara, and I LOVE IT! Trust me, I’m about as far from a granola loving hippie as you can get, so I was skeptical, but this stuff works wonderfully and smells so good. A definite game changer for me, and I highly recommend it! Also, it seems the Cosmetic’s Database is currently down, but it should be back up soon! Until then, try out the above recipe and be sure to contact Sara if you feel like making your life a little healthier.

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