Homes + Gardens + Beekmen

(Is Beekmen the plural for Beekman Boys?)

Johnson County Home & Garden Show
Overland Park, Kansas Convention Center, 6000 College Blvd.
January 22-24, 2016

It’s January. It’s cold. It’s Kansas City. There’s no football that matters left. So it’s the perfect time to spend a day indoors at the beautiful Overland Park Convention Center, filled with home and garden vendors, design inspiration, and lots of free pens and candy.

The highlights for me were the presentations on the Ikea Main Stage (thank you, Ikea!). You may remember the Beekman Boys, Josh Kilmer-Purcell and Brent Ridge, from their “Amazing Race” win, but I’ve been a fan of the Beekmen since their original show “The Fabulous Beekman Boys,” which chronicled their adventures moving from corporate NYC to rural upstate New York, where they purchased an 1802 farmhouse (and farm!) and transformed their lives and the small town they live in. Hard work, smart marketing, Farmer John, and a bunch of really cute goats turned into Beekman 1802 “one of the fastest-growing lifestyle brands in the country” (Nasdaq). They tell their story honestly and adorably, and give me hope for a post-corporate life filled with genuine people, fresh air, and fun.

Josh & Brent talked about buying their million-dollar “weekend”  farm at the peak of the real estate boom, then losing their high-profile, high-paying jobs within 30 days of each other the following year. Their presentation was based on the “7 Lessons We Learned From Goats.” It turns out that goats are pretty smart. And super-cute.


Change your perspective.


And so are the Beekman Boys. They were funny, sweet, interesting, and genuinely embraced (literally) the fans at the show, spending time talking to everyone who wanted to meet them after the show, signing books, and posing patiently for the obligatory selfies. A bright ray of sun in January!


Matt Muenster, host of HGTV‘s “Bath Crashers,” is a fun, charismatic speaker. Originally a Wisconsin interior designer, he reluctantly accepted the host position on an unknown HGTV show, and hasn’t come out of the bathroom since. Takeaway: Don’t be afraid to put the unexpected in your bathroom...a fireplace, a $3,000 espresso machine, a state-of-the-art sound system, a motorcycle vanity. AND…USE YOUR BATHROOM FAN — It will eliminate moisture in the air and reduce mildew and mold. If he and his crew approach you at your neighborhood Lowe’s…say YES as quickly as you can.


My favorite booth…(the word “booth” doesn’t seem to do it justice…it was a full-on kitchen and bath) (and full-on adorable)…from Cook + Cline Design & Build Company…


PLUS…all the usual Home & Garden suspects…


My favorite candy bowl…


I don’t know who these women are. And they’re definitely not related to me…

This is exactly how I felt at the end of the day…



MORE West Bottoms!

West Bottoms Antique District
Kansas City, Missouri

I came away junk-drunk from my first First Friday in the West Bottoms, and Day Two was equally intoxicating. The vendors there are creative, clever, and passionate. It’s a big party where you get to buy really cool old stuff. If you like architecture, history, antiques, or food trucks…you’ll like the West Bottoms — it’s just plain fun! My Day Two finds…

Bella Patina
1320 W. 12th Street (directly across the street from the 12th Street Bridge)
Open only on Warehouse Weekends (first Friday/Saturday/Sunday)
A long-time West Bottoms shop with 3 floors and over 25,000 square feet of vintage and antiques. Lots of design inspiration here, and really cool hand-made Kansas City gear.


Really cool cafe on the third floor…


1101 Mulberry Street
Open every weekend and many Wed/Thursdays
Don’t be fooled by the store’s name. It’s chock-ful of fun home decor items, some vintage items, fun hand-made stuff, cool local stuff (including Charlie Hustle shirts) and creative lighting…as well as painted furniture. Their Christmas store was FABULOUS…


1300 Liberty Street
Open First Friday weekends + Tuesday-Saturdays for Boutique
Vintage, antique, farmhouse, and urban-inspired decor in an ultra-cool historic building. These West Bottoms pioneers have accumulated 3 floors of fun…


1222 W. 12th Street
This market re-opens on February 5, with many of the same wonderful vendors as Studio 1404.


1107 Hickory Street (get it???)
Open First Friday Weekends only
Cool vendors in an ultra-cool building…(I know I say “cool” a lot, but it’s the West Bottoms…it’s cool…).


And there are STILL MORE cool West Bottoms shops — guess this is going to have to be a 3-part blog post!!!



Perpetually waiting…

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I love this sad little guy! I’m not sure he knows what he’s waiting for, but he seems to still have hope. And his hair is stylin’!

When art inspires stories, that’s when you take it home. There’s nothing more inspiring to me than original folkart. I found this wonderful piece at Prize Antiques in the Bottoms Up Antique Market. West Bottoms in Kansas City, Missouri.




The Long Road Home… or…Mid-Life Evolution, part 2

Why??? That seems to be the universal question when I tell people I’m leaving California’s central coast to move to Missouri. But they all understand the answer: for family. What they don’t know is that Missouri is a beautiful state, the people are nice…I mean really nice. My parents are getting older and I want to spend time with them while I can — I left Missouri for California 34 years ago, so…it’s time.  The worst thing about Missouri is the winters. When I first moved to Los Angeles in 1981 I thought…what took me so long? And…if everyone has a choice, then why doesn’t everyone live in California? And it was a blast…33 years in Los Angeles, and the last year-and-a-half in Pebble Beach. Pretty good. (Someday I’ll insert a link here with more details).

And now I’ve really done it. I’ve quit a perfectly respectable job in a beautiful coastal town, and am packing up my car… (You can’t ride in my little red Prius…my camera and my dog and my car will free us) (sorry, Miranda) …and hitting the road.  But you’re only middle-aged once, and since it’s so easy for a pudgy middle-aged woman to find a job…why not??? (Oh, yeah…I need a job when I get to Kansas City). But first…a roadtrip…Carmel to Seattle, then across to the Palouse, then…???