My Favorite Dancer : A Birthday Photoshoot

I’ve talked a little bit before about my talented niece, Sloan, who has been studying dance for many years. Well, my not-so-tiny dancer is turning 13-years-old tomorrow (!!!!) and for her birthday, she asked that I take some dance photos of her and her best friend. Both Sloan and her friend Caitlyn are serious dancers, and their talent blows me away. Sloan has spent the last few years working spectacularly hard on her craft, and I’m so proud of her dedication and grace. She loves dancing so very much, and her goal is to attend Julliard some day. I don’t know much about the art of dance, but I know when I watch her, I am constantly amazed by how easy she makes it look, when I know for a fact it’s incredibly difficult. And it’s pretty fun to watch someone you love do something they love to do. There isn’t anything better in my book.

We decided to do the shoot at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City, because it is such a versatile location with the museum and the gardens surrounding it. We had a blast at the shoot, since the girls came equipped with tons of ideas and lots of enthusiasm. I feel grateful I was able to capture these two doing something they enjoy so much, and that I was able to contribute to a rad 13th birthday!

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Happy Weekend : Little Free Library

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Happy Friday, everybody! If you’re looking for something fun to do with the kids this weekend, why not see if there’s a Little Free Library in your town? The Little Free Library project began to promote literacy and free books for everyone, and it has taken off! You take a book with you (or a monetary donation) and you can trade for whatever book you’d like in the library. We found this one in our town using this map, and made it in to a bit of a scavenger hunt. The kids were so excited, and already want to go back and check out another book. There are a few more in Kansas City, so we’re going to try and visit them all. We have even discussed hosting a Little Free Library of our own! So fun!

For more info, check out the Little Free Library website!

The Color Run

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Last year was the first time the Color Run came to Kansas City, and I wanted to go more than anything! Have you heard of the Color Run? It’s the happiest 5K on the planet! Basically it’s a 5K fun run, and at every kilometer you run through a tunnel where people throw colored powder all over you. By the end you’re a multi-colored mess, but it’s such a blast! When the race is over, you run across the finish line and straight into a huge dance party, where everyone throws more colored powder up in the air during countdowns led by the Color Run DJ. Here’s a video explaining the whole, crazy thing:

Last year the race filled up so fast, we didn’t get in. But this year they decided to do two Color Runs in one weekend, so there were a few more spots and we snatched them up. My sister and her whole family decided to run, so we joined up with them and ran as a team. The dads and older kids all ran together, while my sister and I stayed back with Lulu and Tate (who was riding in our jogging stroller). We definitely did more walking than running, but it was still super fun. Here are some pics from race day (all taken with the iPhone since I didn’t want to bring the fancy Canon 60D in to that mess):

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Some tips for running the Color Run with kids:

- Make sure the kids and adults know who they are sticking with during the race. It’s a bit chaotic and since everyone is wearing the same thing, it can be scary if someone gets separated from the group.
- Plan on bringing your cell phones both to take pics and keep in communication, but be sure to wrap them up in a plastic ziplock bag. Since we had the jogging stroller, we threw our phones and other items in there, but people (like my sister) were rocking fanny packs and armbands to carry their essentials as well.
- At two-years-old, Tate is a bit sensitive to big crowds and got pretty upset during parts of the run. He didn’t like the colored powder being thrown on him at all, so the jogging stroller was a godsend. We just put down the sun canopy and he was mostly protected. You’ll notice he’s quite a bit cleaner in the photos, and that’s why :)
- Bring a change of clothes or something to cover up your car seats so you don’t get the colored powder all over on the ride home.
- Speaking of the colored powder, it’s just corn starch and food coloring, so it’s non-toxic and won’t hurt you if you accidentally swallow some. Wear sunglasses or another eye covering to keep the dust out of your eyes (we even saw some younger kids wearing swim goggles). The color washes out, but if you’re blond, like myself, my sister, both my kids and her daughter, it was recommended to cover up your hair. I had someone who ran last year warn me it took six weeks to wash the color out of her blond hair, so we pulled out all the stops, with bandanas, hats and sweatbands. We still did end up with some in our hair, but it washed out within a few days.
- Before you leave, find the guys with the giant leaf blowers that will hose you down and get a bunch of the loose colored powder off you before you get to your car.
- You will get a t-shirt to wear for the race, but make sure the other clothes you are wearing are ones you don’t mind being ruined. I ended up buying a pair of $10 shorts from the Color Run shop and wearing old sneakers. Not great for running, but it didn’t matter if that were gross after it was over.

The Color Run will be back in the Kansas City area for a race in Lawrence in September. If you’re available, you should totally do it! Such a fun race, and something both the kids and the parents really enjoyed. Happy Color Running!

Happy Weekend : Story Restaurant

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Last night I was lucky enough to have dinner at Story, a Kansas City restaurant, located in Prairie Village. I hadn’t been before, but I will be back for sure! I went with my supper club, and pretty much everything we ordered was fantastic. I had the goat cheese salad and braised short ribs. Holy crap, those short ribs were amazing. Not to mention the gnocchi that came with them. I highly recommend it!

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We were so stuffed, we almost skipped dessert, but thank goodness we didn’t! Our plate of freshly made doughnuts with salted caramel passion fruit syrup were insanely good. I willingly admit that I ate the majority of our shared plate (sorry supper clubbers, don’t get between me and my doughnuts!).

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Story is open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner and Wednesday through Saturday for lunch. You can get a three course lunch for $18! Or on Sundays they have great specials on dinner too. You can read more about them at Story’s website.

(All photos taken with an iPhone 4S and edited using the Afterlight and A Beautiful Mess apps…I think the big DSLR camera would’ve been frowned upon at supper club)

Happy Weekend : The Kansas City Zoo

This year we were fortunate enough to be gifted a membership to Kansas City Zoo, and man oh man, are we wearing that thing out! It’s funny, I’ve lived in Kansas City for nine years now, but until this spring, I think I’d only gone to the zoo once or twice. Horrible! Now that we can go whenever we want for no cost, we have been going as much as possible. This week I decided to spend a one-on-one day with Mr. Tate before summer starts and his schedule is thrown for a crazy loop. After a breakfast of Starbucks at the park, we headed for the zoo, where we spent the day growling at polar bears and laughing at monkeys. It was a fantastic day.

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In fact, my day with Tate was so fantastic, that Miss Lulu got a tiny bit jealous. So yesterday, after school let out for the summer (ahhhh!), I took Lu and a friend back to have a fun day to themselves. We are officially zoo addicts.

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I hope everyone has a fantastic holiday weekend, and if you’re in KC, check out our fabulous zoo! You won’t be disappointed!

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