Giving Back Party 2017

5th Annual “Giving Back” Holiday Party

Five years ago, 6-year-old Lucy begged me to host a holiday party for her little friends. I am not exactly a “party person,” so I was not thrilled with this request, but she had an adorable lisp and it was impossible to say no. Therefore, a tradition was born. The now named “Lulu + Tate Holiday Party” has become an annual event each December, where we invite way too many kids over to our house and set them loose with cookies to decorate, a holiday movie and general mayhem. This year we added virtual reality in the garage and a service project to the agenda…it was the best!

Giving Back Party 2017

This year we were extremely grateful to Qdoba for offering to provide the food for all the kids! Qdoba has an awesome catering menu, and we found it was perfect for a group of somewhat picky eaters. I even received messages from the moms afterward wondering what we had served to eat, because their kids loved it so much they were talking about it at home. And it made the party infinitely easier for me, because all I had to do was set it up in the kitchen, and let the kids go at it!

Giving Back Party 2017

But the best part about Qdoba providing the food, was that it left us with money leftover to do even more good in the world. This party was initially created as a way for my kids to give back to our community…each child who attends brings an unwrapped gift and then we donate the gifts to a local charity. This year, we donated two wagons full of presents to Operation Breakthrough, an incredible organization that provides education, stability and assistance to children and families living in poverty in the Kansas City area. But on top of that, we were able to spend our leftover money on supplies to make “Care Kits” for children living in foster care, who may be transitioning to a new home with little notice and no belongings of their own. The kits were decorated and put together by the kids at the party, and then we delivered them to Kansas KVC, an organization that provides case management, therapy, family education and support, transportation and aftercare services, impacting thousands of children and family members each day.

Giving Back Party 2017

I love how this sweet request by my former 6-year-old has turned into a holiday tradition that highlights the importance of giving back to our community in a very real way. While the party itself is a lot of fun, my favorite part is when we get to take the toys and other items to the donation locations. The kids are always so proud of what they have done, and I know that showing them how wonderful it feels to give back will stay with them as they grow up. So while I’m still not a “party person,” I’ll keep making an exception this time of year!

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Holiday Gift Guide for Teachers

My kids’ teachers are some of my heroes. They often spend more time per week with my kids than I do, and I’m so appreciative of everything they have done to shape the amazing little people in my life. Being a teacher, especially in Kansas, is not always easy. With budgets being constantly cut, salaries stagnant and long hours, many teachers don’t get the recognition they deserve. So over the holiday season I like to do whatever I can to make them feel special. I pulled together some of my favorite products from local, Kansas City-based retail stores and brands that would make awesome gifts for a teacher this year!

*While gifts are always appreciated, I have polled my teacher friends, and they are just as grateful when they get a thoughtful note or handwritten card from a child. Just remember, it’s not about the money spent, but about the sentiment behind it!*

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Huglife KC T-Shirts (created by a teacher!) | Penguin Ornament from Pink Antlers Studio | Kansas City Ornament from Restoration Emporium | All Natural Lip Treatment Set from Handmade Holidays

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Andre’s Confiserie Suisse Gift Box

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

Kansas City You’re My Favorite Tumbler from J. Lynn Designery | Terrarium Ornament from Pink Antlers Studio

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

School of Sock Kansas City Socks from Best of Kansas City | Andre’s Cookies and Hot Cocoa | Handmade Soap Gift Set from Restoration Emporium

KC Teacher Gift Guide 2017

2018 Refresh Planners from J.Lynn Designery | CST Sweets Dark Peppermint Toffee and Yummylicious Cookie Company Cookie Mix from Handmade Holidays | Pink Peppermint Candle from Pink Antlers Studio

KC Small Biz Holiday Gift Guide

Kansas City Small Business Holiday Gift Guide!

KC Small Biz Holiday Gift Guide

I am so excited to share a few of my favorite items from local, Kansas City-based shops this holiday season! As a small business owner myself, I love to support shops that represent everything I love about my city. Being small during the craziness of the holiday season can be difficult, so to help out, instead of dropping a ton of money on Black Friday, why don’t you hit up some of these great places on Small Business Saturday?

Pink Antlers Studio
– Kansas City-themed wine glasses (by local designers Ampersand Studio)
– Beautiful cards and paper products
– Marble cheese tray

Hand & Land
– Mr. B’s Wax Candles (KC-based brand)
– Roasted Garlic Salt by Wood + Salt (created in KC, and garlic was harvest from New Roots for Refugees, a KC-based charity that helps refugees resettle in KC and gives them work in agriculture and farming, more info here)
– Native Atlas Muscle Rub and Lip Treatment (KC-based brand)
– Convivial Dish (made and designed in KCMO)

Sweet Kiss Brigadeiro
– A 12-piece custom box with gorgeous holiday-themed Brazilian candies (made by a mother-daughter team in KC)

KC Small Biz Holiday Gift Guide

Handmade Holidays Popup Shop at Park Place
The “Handmade Holidays” pop-up shop at Park Place is a curation of Kansas City locals that craft their goods right here in our beautiful city. From jewelry to specialty food to home décor, these skilled craftsmen and makers bring unique hand-made gift ideas to your home for the holidays. The pop-up shop will be open for the holiday season through December 31st.

Cookie Mix:
Yummylicious Cookies makes great-tasting baked goodies from organic whole-grains and sweeteners. When we say our products are natural, we mean the ingredients we use are minimally processed. They are not sprayed with pesticides or herbicides, or processed with petroleum distillates (Yuck!!!) This means we use basic ingredients like organic whole grains, sweeteners, butter and good ‘ol eggs! No white flour, white sugar, preservatives or oils! We’re not pretending to sell you broccoli, but if you’re in the market for a great treat made with more nutritious ingredients, Yummylicious is the first, and only, place you should look. Everything we make is small-batch, hand crafted at our facility in Lenexa, KS.

Community is at the heart of what makes Kansas City amazing. The individual passions that we share with others is what brings us together. We create, we craft, and we partner with our community…We, like you, are the heart of KC. Enjoy apparel, accessories, jewelry, hats, tees, home décor and more.

KC Small Biz Holiday Gift Guide

Restoration Emporium Holiday Pop Up
Restoration Emporium, a family-owned business curating vintage and vintage-inspired, farmhouse and urban home decor and more! RE: is proud to be a premier vintage and farmhouse inspired shop rich in creativity and heritage.
– Kansas City Home plus Map Wall Art
– “I Can’t Adult Today” Mug

The Learning Tree
– Wooden Fast Flip Racetrack (for 18+ months)
– Bloxels Build Your Own Video Game Set (ages 8+ years)

Ash Street (where Pink Antlers, Hand & Land, Learning Tree Toys, and both pop-ups are located) is hosting a ‘Small Business Saturday Block Party on Saturday, November 26, which should be such a fun day of shopping!

Sierra Winter Jewelry
Mariposa Earring – $149
Tucson Necklace – $129

Sierra Winter Jewelry is celebrating Small Business Saturday with a pop-up at Coveted Home on the Country Club Plaza from 10am – 8pm.

HOOPLA Nail Salon
Holiday 3-Pack Mini Polish Set Featuring ‘Peacock Blues, Mojo & Mamacita’ – $28

HOOPLA is hosting a Small Business Saturday event at their Leawood studio. They’ve partnered with local makeup artist, LOVER Cosmetics for complimentary mini makeovers.

Bar Method KC

Fitness Solutions for Mamas

Here’s the thing, you guys, I have a hard time sticking with a fitness plan. There are a million reasons (excuses?) why that is, but mostly it’s because I don’t have the time! As a working mom of two who likes her television probably a little too much, I struggle to choose fitness over other things….like Netflix. But I’m getting older and these days I can feel my body start to fight back when I don’t take care of it. So in the past year I’ve started trying to make fitness more of a priority in my life, but I have to keep mixing it up a bit, or I can get bored quickly. If you’re local, you may have seen me this morning on the Fox 4 Morning Show sharing about some of my favorite ways to stay fit, even when I’m “too busy.” I definitely mix it up between local classes and online workouts, and I’ve tried a TON of different programs. After lots of starts and stops, these are the top four that have really worked for me this past year:

Bar Method KC

1. Bar MethodThis is by far my favorite workout…I’m grateful that Bar Method has two locations in Kansas City and tons of classes to choose from! The hour-long class targets specific muscles and improves balance and core strength. I’ve never looked or felt stronger than I have since I started taking Bar Method classes. Plus, the classes are fun, the teachers have so much energy and the community is always encouraging. An additional bonus…they offer childcare while you take class! Score for all the mamas out there! Bar Method is celebrating 5 years in Kansas City with an awesome anniversary event on November 5th, which will include tons of giveaways, freebies, different classes and more! But if you can’t wait until then, they are also running a great deal right now where you can sign up for 45 classes in 45 days for only $75…which is a total steal! Just use the code “Fall into Bar” when you purchase your classes.

2. Yoga Glo –
This app (which you can download for Android or iPhone) is basically like having a yoga studio in your pocket! It was recommended to me by a yoga teacher friend of mine, and has hundreds of classes by a ton of incredible teachers. Plus, it’s portable, so you can fit in your yoga time anywhere! Yoga Glo is free for the first week, but then you pay $17.99 per month to continue the service.

3. The Balanced Life with Robin Long – I heard of Robin earlier this year when I saw a Facebook ad for one of her 30 days of pilates challenges…and I never looked back! She provides so much amazing fitness content, like free online video workouts, recipes and more that are tailored toward busy moms. With her Balanced Life Sisterhood program ($13 per month) you get even more content, including meal planning, workout calendars and an incredible community of women who support each other as they get fit together.

4. The Fitness Marshall – If you haven’t heard of these amazing dance workouts on You Tube, get your booty over there and try one! The Fitness Marshall videos are incredibly fun, and even if you’re not the best dancer (ahem…me!) you will get your heart rate up and your blood pumping while dancing to hit songs. My kids even love doing this with me!

CommunityAmerica Ballpark Dinner and a Show!

A few weeks ago our little family was fortunate enough to work with the crew from the Kansas City Star on an advertisement for CommunityAmerica Ballpark! The home of the T-Bones baseball team, the ballpark is running a fun special this summer where you can enjoy “dinner and a show” on Saturday nights. And I can tell you, we taste tested just about EVERYTHING that the stadium had to offer for this short ad spot, and it was all Peters family approved! The atmosphere at T-Bones games is so fun, and it’s a great, budget-friendly alternative when you want to get out to a pro baseball game, but don’t necessary want to drop a ton of cash. We had such a good time working on this ad and spending time out at CommunityAmerica ballpark! We will definitely be headed back again before summer is over!

Fun Fact: When we shot this ad, we had just flown into Kansas City from a few days away in Tennessee for a memorial service, so we were totally exhausted. I was worried about the kids keeping it together (even though the spot is short, the filming took a few hours) for the entire time, but the crew did such a great job keeping them excited and engaged. The production assistant even taught Tate how to beatbox, and he’s been running around doing it ever since! Thanks to the team from the Kansas City Star for such a wonderful experience!

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