10 Things I’ve Learned: Janelle

March 9, 2014 by Ali

Today I’m happy to introduce you to one of the first friends that I was introduced to when I moved to KC nine years ago — Janelle!

Janelle and I met when we were both working down the hall from one another in the basement of a local megachurch. There were a zillion people on staff, but I remember singling Janelle those first few weeks as someone I really wanted to meet because she (a) liked changing her hair color as often as I did (b) was the only person I knew who had decorated her office with all sorts of stylish natural lights to ward off the Big Bad Florescent Lighting (c) had a reputation as being generally awesome and hilarious. Sure enough, all of those proved true, and we became fast friends.

Whether it was pulling up a chair in each other’s offices for one of a thousand conversations about work and life, or driving an unsteady U-Haul for 26 hours together to and from New Orleans to do flood relief, or stalking The Civil Wars concerts (and then freaking out together when they broke up, and moving on to stalking The Lone Bellow concerts), facing off at Settlers of Catan — we’ve walked through a lot of life together, and I’ve been grateful to have her as a friend through many different seasons. I even had the honor of bridesmaiding for her wedding, after watching her fall in love with a boy from Florida who she met on a message board (remember those?) for fans of Over The Rhine. (Which I must point out that they had their wedding in a historic local theater and Over The Rhine came there to sing for the wedding — crazy cool!) And then a few years ago, our entire community was beyond excited when Janelle and her husband fostered and then adopted a really cool 9-yr-old boy, which she shares about candidly in a parenting column for the Kansas City Moms Blog.

As you can imagine, a lot of life has happened in 9 years. Janelle ended up earning her HR certification and now helps manage hundreds of staff for the church, and I transitioned from music ministry into being a full-time blogger. So sadly, our days of passing by in the hallways have moved into memory-territory. But my respect for Janelle and the way she lives her life with such authenticity, creativity, bravery, faith, perseverance and laughter – so much laughter — is as strong as always. So grateful to have had this girl as a friend this past decade, and hopefully for many to come.

Here are 10 things Janelle has learned!

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10 Reasons To Attend The True/False Film Fest

March 9, 2014 by Ali

For years, I’ve heard rumors about the True/False Film Festival in Columbia, Missouri.

Rumors that it’s hands-down the best curated documentary film festival around. Rumors of epic parades. Rumors of smart and quirky and hilarious events galore. Rumors of a college town and even some of the most unexpected organizations joining forces to celebrate and support this festival. Rumors of rockstar volunteers often dressed in crazy costumes. Rumors that even those who didn’t formerly love documentaries come away loving these documentaries. Rumors that this is one festival you simply don’t miss.

So this year, I finally went for the first time with a group of friends. And it turns out, the rumors were not false, but true. ;)

(Couldn’t resist.)

Quite simply, the festival was completely awesome, and I already have the dates penciled in my calendar to return next year. So I thought I would share 10 reasons why I think you should come too…

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10 Things I’ve Learned: Kerry & Nathan

March 2, 2014 by Ali

Actually the title for today’s post should be 10 Things We’ve Learned, as my good friends Kerry and Nathan are tag-teaming this one.

I met these two lovebirds at church maybe five-ish years ago. But I’m still a bit in awe of the fact that they met each other more than a decade earlier at age 12. (Oh yes, imagine your future spouse’s first impression of you being from those spectacular middle school years.) Sparks flew though, and they eventually began dating at 18, got married at 20/21, and are now coming up on their 10th wedding anniversary. Incredible! I think it’s safe to say they win the award for the couple who have known one another the longest out of all our thirty-something friends.

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The Blogging Blues

February 24, 2014 by Ali


Blogging can be a total roller coaster.

Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re down. Sometimes your traffic spikes and grows, sometimes it plateaus and declines. Sometimes you have tons of new ideas and stories to share, sometimes you have total writer’s block and nothing to say. Sometimes you feel confident, sometimes you feel discouraged. Sometimes you achieve the goals you want, sometimes it seems like everyone else gets there first. Sometimes you feel like you’ve been given the best job in the world, sometimes you start to wonder if this is where you’re supposed to be.

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10 Things I’ve Learned: Cate

February 23, 2014 by Ali

It’s no secret that I love my neighbors. For these past two years that I’ve lived in downtown KC, they have made this place feel like no less than home. And one of the people I have most to thank for that is this great girl — Cate.

Cate was one of the first people I met when I moved to the River Market, and I have a hunch that many others can say the same. Everyone knows Cate!!! (And her fiance, her famous dog, and her extra-famous Photo Bus that can almost always be found nearby.) Without a doubt, Cate is one of our neighborhood’s best connectors, never hesitating to introduce herself with that winning smile of hers, and naturally helping facilitate introductions between friends she thinks should meet. But Cate is also one of those people who takes the time to listen and be present and get to know people well, which why she is so well-loved as a photographer all over town and back at home at our neighborhood coffee shop. (Which we joke feels like our own Central Perk from Friends, where Cate is one of the people I somehow always cross paths with when I go to get my morning pour-over.)

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10 Things I’ve Learned: Liz

February 16, 2014 by Ali

I feel like our next guest-poster in the “I’ve Learned” series hardly needs an introduction, because it seems like the whole world already knows and loves Liz from The Lemon Bowl! (Or as her name fondly pops up in my phone, Liz Lemonbowl.) ;)

People who’ve had the chance to spend time with Liz love her. People who read her inspiring blog love her. People who get to watch her cooking segments on tv love her. Her husband and two adorable little boys love her. Even people who have never met Liz love her! Case in point — just last night I was telling my friends to tune into the blog today for a great post from a blogger named Liz, and my friend Cass responded without missing a beat, “Oh, Liz from the Lemon Bowl? She leaves the nicest comments on your blog!”

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February Stitch Fix Review

February 16, 2014 by Ali

I’m back with another Stitch Fix review! Sadly, I ran out of time to snap and post photos of my January fix from Stitch Fix. (Yes, my success rate with mailing those darn packages back in time is mirroring my track record with returning library books = not good.) But this month I was on it. And I happened to receive my package on Valentine’s Day, and even ended up wearing one of the pieces out that evening. So it was at least somewhat of a success!

Unfortunately, I only ended up keeping 2 of the 5 pieces this month, mostly due to fit. I feel like my stylist is really nailing the “style” side of things for me. She even read my notes and sent in a different size of a blazer I adored from my December fix. But sadly, the blazer and some of the other pieces just didn’t fit well, especially around the hips. I still wish that they offered an easier option for swapping sizes, but hopefully that will come soon.

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10 Things I’ve Learned: Jeff

February 10, 2014 by Ali

Many of you may not recognize that guy up there, but if you’ve visited this blog, you’ve seen a glimpse of his many (many) talents. That’s right, today I’m happy to be introducing you to Jeff — the guy who designed this blog and has been my faithful web designer (and tech-support-with-the-patience-of-a-saint) for the past 4 years.

He also happens to be my brother-in-law. But since I only have a sister (his lovely wife), I happily claim him as my bro. ;)

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