Just a tad late on…JUNE 2017 JUNK RANCH!

Oh, friends, you and I haven’t talked in so long. I am so disappointed in myself — this blog is eight years old, and I don’t want to let it go! I’m so impressed with folks like Shara who post on a regular basis — I don’t even have time to keep up with my old favorite blogs, much less post on my own. I know there have been gaps before, though, and I’ve come back to regular posting, so I’m hoping I can do that again. Lately, it’s been one thing after another, and June was so full that I have spent most of July catching up on the things that I put off doing in June. There was the Junk Ranch, then we had friends come in from Los Angeles to stay with us for a week, and I took a small space in Daisies and Olives for my prints an designs. OH. I haven’t mentioned yet that I regretfully gave up my booth in Daisies and Olives around February — almost four years, exactly, after I moved in. It was a sad, sad transition for me, but Martha ended up with a small space that she thought would be perfect for my prints and signs, so I moved those in at the beginning of June. Shara and I split up (sob) and no longer share a booth at Fayetteville’s Funky (don’t worry, it was a totally amicable split!) and, instead, we each have our own booth, so I have a bit more space there now, but not as big as my space was at D and O.

So.

A lot of shifting, a lot of action, a lot of changes. I hit the year anniversary of my newspaper job, and am grateful for the opportunity to use my writing skills in such a creative way, but it does keep me very busy.

Essentially, I’m giving you a long list of excuses as to why I’ve been away for so long! But I’ll try to do better. I promise.

Now, on to the June Junk Ranch!

I left ordering my large format prints to the last minute because of my hectic schedule, so, of course, there was a hitch — they were confused by some of my orders and had sent me a question via email that went to my spam folder. My booth was about 60% prints, 40% painted signs, and it looked like those prints weren’t going to make it in time. Luckily, my good friend Kristie came to the rescue, and said she would bring enough stuff to sell to help fill my tent — she really saved my bacon, thank goodness. I made a last-minute shopping trip to Home Depot and brought home a bunch of lumber to make more signs, staying up to 2 and 3 am for about three days in a row. So I was pretty tired by the time Junk Ranch rolled around. Luckily, the adrenaline helped carry me through.

Friends, I know I always say the same things about the Junk Ranch. All the wonderful treasures to hunt. The fun atmosphere. The tasty food. The excellent music. It just keeps getting better. This year, I was honored to be asked by Amy and Julie to do several remote interviews the first morning of the sale — it meant getting to the grounds at 4:30 am, which I had never done before, but it was so lovely and peaceful, seeing it all set up and ready to go, but being one of only five or six people on the premises. We did around four or five interviews over the course of about two-and-a-half hours, and once the first or second were over, I felt a little bit more comfortable, but it was pretty nerve-wracking to be doing live interviews that early in the morning! However, talking about one of my favorite things made it a bit easier. By 8 a.m., it was all over, and filtering in for about an hour. Soon, the grounds were hopping, and Shara, Kristie and I were putting the finishing touches on our booth.

Shara was on my right, but there was a large, two-lot spot on my left that stayed empty until right before we opened at 10 am — around 9 am, the folks that had been my neighbors last October pulled up and started unloading. Last time around, they had awesome vintage, rusty junk (I think Shara and I both bought something from them, actually), but my heart sank as they started assembling their booth and it was all, totally, completely…painted signs. Not hand-painted signs, though, but mass-produced ones in a more traditional vein than mine, so I thought, eh, no big deal. There’s room enough for both of us here! But the problem became immediately obvious when they started erecting eight-foot walls and hanging up hundreds and hundreds of signs.

I was not prepared for a competition of this magnitude! I was…ill-prepared. I just had my signs leaning up against tent poles and odds and ends of furniture Kristie was selling. Nothing was displayed professionally, or even in a way that made it easy to see all of the different styles I had to offer. It kind of looked like this, all over my booth.

I only sold a few signs the first day, which was unusual, because usually my over-sized signs sell within the first couple of hours of the show. The second day, I brought a ladder in, and figured out that the signs could stack and display really well that way.

So that helped a bit, but this next shot kind of gives you an idea of what I was up against — you can see their signs looming above mine in the background. It kind of cracks me up to look at this picture. It was a little like having a booth next to Hobby Lobby. 🙂

Yeahhhhh…so not the greatest time to have had to make my booth mostly painted signs and nothing else!

(Let me say that these are lovely folks. They were more organized and prepared and savvy with presentation than I was. I was bummed at myself for not putting more planning time in.)

It wasn’t just next door to me, either — the sign craze has spread to several other booths, so I’m going to have to do some thinking between now and October to figure out how I can make mine different from the pack. I just love making them so much — I find designing them and the actual painting of them to be so relaxing. It’s the perfect thing for me to do while I’m watching TV, so I don’t feel like I’m being lazy or wasting time! So I want to figure out a way to make selling them more viable. Stay tuned!

And now for some other booth pictures…

Shara did her usual, majestic set up — I’ve said it before, but she essentially sets a whole store right down on that field. She packs ten times more into her 10X10 booth than anyone else can even imagine. And she always gets such interesting customers who have such emotional reactions to her items.

I wanted this cow. Sadly, it sold before I could lay claim to it.

Look at that amazing wreath.

And now some shots from around the show…

The next three shots are the work of Tiffany Foster Smith of The Painted Jackalope. I love her work so much. She has a new booth in the Southern Mercantile on Buchanan Ave. in Prairie Grove. And if you haven’t been THERE yet, you must get there ASAP. I need to take my camera there sometime soon and do a post about it.

I loved this dress!  It was at a beautiful booth called Postmark Vintage. The woman whose booth it was said that she bought the dress from a lady who told her she wore it to her very first dance. She even had a photo of herself in it. Love.

The next photo is from East to West, a mobile art gallery. The woman who painted these is so young to be so talented. I wish I could remember her name! She and her family took her grandfather’s hunting trailer and turned it into a showcase for her art. They were such a sweet family.  She also had portraits as well, and I am so mad at myself for not getting some shots of those. They were incredible. Her cows sold out so quickly.

Ranch hands, working hard as always!

 

This beauty was sitting across from us for two full days, so I had to gaze at its gloriousness for 48 hours. I didn’t even check the price tag. I didn’t want to tempt myself!

This woman has a booth down from us. She started coming to the Junk Ranch a year or so ago, and when I first saw her I immediately recognized her as a woman who had outbid me (and everyone else) time and time again at an Oklahoma auction about four months before. MY NEMESIS. But she has such great stuff with such great prices that I completely forgave her her transgressions. 🙂 I really wanted both of these shelves.

One of my favorites — Lynette from Okies and Indies! All of this is hand lettering. She does custom work during the show so you can see her as she’s working. Justin read about my adoration for her on the blog and commissioned her to make a necklace for me — her work tends towards the religious, so he shyly asked her if there were any quotes that she wouldn’t feel comfortable using. I can’t imagine what she thought he was going to ask her for! But all he wanted was a phrase from Green Day’s “She’s a Rebel”. It turned out so beautifully.

How most shoppers feel about the Junk Ranch, in photographic representation:

So another one is in the bag! And the next one will be here before you know it…lots to think about. In the meantime, I promise to try and post more often.

Hope your summer has been happy and full of great junk!

 

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…

It’s time for the Annual Daisies and Olives Holiday Open House!

(Pause for fanfare.)

This is one of the biggest days of the year at D and O. Martha closes down for a couple days before hand and everyone comes in and spruces up their booth to the nines. It’s truly a day that brings out the best in all of us.

As a vendor, I practically have to put blinders on to get out of there without buying half the store.

Let’s not dilly dally: on with the photos!

Four Funky Friends BROUGHT IT, as usual.

My Mom wants that gold Christmas tree. I can see why.

This is Sweet Salvage…I think. I took these pictures at 10:30 p.m. after five hours of booth work.

I have coveted that mirror for a long, long time.

My friends Max and Lisa’s booth, Helena Handbasket.

Look at my friend Paula’s knee-hugging elf tree in her booth, Emma’s Back Porch.

I popped into the store at about 2 p.m. and the tree was almost bare.

Her daughter designs these adorable t-shirts.

You can find the beautiful artwork of The Painted Jackalope towards the back of the old part of D and O now. Such beautiful work.

I’m a little obsessed with this booth, and I’m not sure of the name of it, so sorry, but it’s easy to find in the store — just look for this awesome cuckoo clock.

That chair. That chair! It might end up coming home with me if it’s there for much longer.

Linda at Possum Valley Vintage has her usual wonderful selection of AMAZING storage options…like this beyond-cool drawer set made with cigar boxes.

Can you even IMAGINE have this in your craft room?

My friend Carrie’s beautiful booth, Vintage White Rose…

Figgy Pudding had the prettiest little plates for sale.

And forgive me — I can’t remember whose booth this was in, but it was such a sweet vignette.

This is Maison Home, right across the way from me. She has the cutest pillows in her booth.

And…my booth! Ta da!

The wooden signs don’t sell so well in the booth — they sell much better at the Junk Ranch, for some reason. But I find them so soothing to make — it’s almost like meditation for me…and it’s been a bit of a rough couple of weeks (cough, cough) so I have been looking for something to pre-occupy my brain. And I made them a little…large, don’t you think?

I had very little Christmas to put out — no problem, my friend Shara to the rescue! Most of the Christmas touches you see are things she brought for me to put in the booth.

This year, the Open House fell on Veteran’s Day, so Martha asked that we all recognize veterans in our booths in some small way. My nod was this gorgeous red white and blue wreath Shara made…

And this series of patriotic prints.

All of the food was patriotically themed, thanks to Carol, who coordinated the buffet. What a daunting task!

As always, the staff and volunteers of D and O gave 150% to make things run smoothly.

Paula, keeping up with posting sales in the books as fast as she can!

Judy, getting people through the line as fast as possible..

…and one of our littlest volunteers, helping her Mama out for the afternoon.

Another Holiday Open House comes to a close! If you didn’t make it on Friday, by all means, get down there this week. With the booths as packed as they were, there’s lots still to see (and don’t forget: I can do custom signs, especially great for the holidays!) and vendors will be re-stocking frequently from now until Christmas.

Which is right around the corner.

Ye Gods and little fishes, where does the time go???

 

Junk Ranch, October 2016: Junkers Unite!

The Fall 2016 Junk Ranch was on the last day of September and the first day of October, and I’m JUST NOW getting the post done…life is moving along so quickly these days, peeps. My new job has weekly deadlines, and I can’t believe how fast it makes time go. I’m holding on to the part time job, too, and still have the two booths, so adding the Junk Ranch into the mix was really pushing the boundaries of my sanity! Luckily, I enlisted the help of my friend Laurie from JunqueRethunque to fill half of my booth, so the pressure was off, to a certain extent.

My booth this year was, almost exclusively, prints and wooden signs. All the big stuff went to the Daisies and Olives booth — which I forgot to take a picture of. (But the Christmas Open House is coming up in November, so I’ll be sure to get a ton of pictures then.)

 

 

I had three pie signs, and all but one sold…I’m seriously considering keeping this one for myself. 🙂

 

Laurie’s side of the booth looked SUPER COOL.

She hand made those cute Halloween pillows and those bags, made out of vintage sheets.

That’s her cute self there, with her little Converse tennis shoes on.

Laurie is a GREAT GAL and a wonderful booth partner but I would by lying if I didn’t admit that one of my favorite things she brought with her was…her adorably sweet mini wiener dog Lulu.

Y’all, I am in love with this dog. She is the SWEETEST and the CUTEST.

My partner-in-junk Shara brought her usual mastery to her incredible booth, which is more like an entire store underneath a tent.

As always, I’m obsessed over her vintage Christmas manger pieces. She has a sign on these that says, “Ask me about Jesus.”

Because she separates the little Jesus figurines as they have a habit of disappearing! 🙂

 

Shara is meticulous when she sets up her booth. This side had cubbies and each cubby was a perfect little scene of Christmas goodies.

 

 

Pigtails and Pumpkins brought a pumpkin-patch worth of the most beautiful pumpkins and gourds. Lynette of Okies and Indies  was hand-lettering these for $8 — you could get a stack of four like you see in the photograph, personalized with your family’s name, for under $30!

LOVED the patina on this old cupboard.

 

 

This was a cooler! Is that the cutest thing you’ve ever seen?

This is Lynette’s sign. I am pretty much totally obsessed with her stuff. I have a giant oil landscape out in the garage I’m planning on having her write on. Just have to figure out the quote I want.

She incredibly sweet and gracious, along with being talented. She may have a stalker (spoiler: it’s ME).

Someone bought this chalkboard at the Junk Ranch and she took it home and did this overnight, brought it back on Saturday.

 

 

Love everything she does!

 

 

 

I had a GREAT time hanging out with Shara and Laurie. The weather was glorious, and things seemed to go so smoothly this year — I even saw Julie shopping and Amy taking pictures, which they have NEVER had the time to do before! It’s a well-oiled machine at this point. A glorious, junk-filled, well-oiled machine with beautiful musical accompaniment! Now’s the long stretch of time between now and the next one…I always have such BIG PLANS for the next seven months, and then find myself scrambling to get ready at the last minute…some things never change.

Locals, put November 11th on your schedule for the Daisies and Olives Open House! It’s right around the corner. HOLY COW it’s right around the corner. Gotta get busy.

Take me back to Tulsa…PLEASE.

Hello, dear friends. It’s been a while. And the gaps in posting might continue because…

I have a job. Like, a real job, that requires me to go to a real office.

Sob. 

I guess it had to happen at some point; the kids went to school, officially, this year — not this twice-a-week-for-four-hours pre-school, either, but real, 8-3, 5 days a week school. So when my friend, Becca, who’s the features editor for the local paper offered me a job, I thought I might better take it. Who knows what nonsense I could get up to, left to my own devices for seven hours a day. I write three or four stories a week, two of them fairly long — one of them, a weekly profile, verrrrrry long — so that’s keeping me pretty on my toes. I haven’t been able to bring myself to get out of bed early for a single Saturday since starting on July 5th. My vintage stash has been dwindling as a result and I have been feeling SUPER stressed about filling my booths. So when my friend Kristie suggested we go to Tulsa yesterday, I jumped at the chance.

Despite the laundry, cleaning, and writing that I SHOULD have been doing. Sometimes, you just have to throw caution to the wind and let things go for a day.

You guys know my friend Kristie, because I write about her often on the blog. She has never met a stranger — in fact, we became friends because she called me up one day, when I lived in Chicago, out of the blue. We had never met before. I just suddenly got this voicemail on my phone, saying “you don’t know me, but I shop at your booth at All My Treasures all the time, and my friend Barb knows your sister-in-law, and I just know we would have a lot in common. Please don’t think I’m crazy, but give me a call if you get a chance.” I called her back, and we became fast friends. She and her family came up to visit us in Chicago when I was pregnant with the twins, and we went vintage shopping for two glorious days. She knows just enough about just about everything vintage and antique to make her a priceless resource on vintage jaunts.

We left at 6:30 and — this was a new twist to vintage shopping trips! — a 5.6 magnitude earthquake hit at 7 a.m.,  while we were on the road to Tulsa! We didn’t feel a thing, but it was the talk of Tulsa town as well as in Fayetteville, where the tremors were also felt. I guess if you’re driving on a bumpy highway, earthquakes aren’t that detectable.

We fit in A LOT of shopping. We went to yard sales and thrift stores until about 3, then hit the monthly Tulsa flea market AND the Tulsa Vintage Show until 6 p.m. THEN we hit Trader Joe’s and had dinner at The Charleston. It was a really relaxing, enjoyable day.

Take a look at the loot.

There are a few Thursday/Friday finds in there as well — I managed to hit one or two yard sales and thrift stores prior to Saturday. That yellow cart, for example, and the little cow pitcher and the red drawer — that came from a yard sale on Thursday. The lady was so nice — she was running it for her sister, who had recently purchased the house it was held at. She said her sister bought it with most of the items from the previous owner still intact — she had been a hoarder, she said, and the family didn’t want most of the stuff so they just left it. She wasn’t sure how much to price stuff and thought it was crazy that any of us wanted any of that old stuff! I pulled the red drawer out of the trash, in fact. I hit it pretty late — I hate to think what I might have missed.

Let’s talk about that table made out of the cistern that you can barely see in the photo.

It was at the first yard sale we hit, which was an EXCELLENT yard sale. The woman had a ton of stuff and it was all cheap — so cheap that things were getting scooped up left and right and that definitely lent a frantic feeling to the proceedings. I narrowly missed a perfectly chippy white kitchen cart that went for $10 so when the lady quoted me a crazy low price for this table and then tried to walk away I quickly peeled off the bills from my stash and pressed them into her hands before someone else did. I thought it was a repro piece, but when we carried it to the car I realized it was a legit watering barrel from a farm — totally heavy and perfectly rusty. The top is also authentically old, chippy beadboard.

I love it, and finding it first thing made the day so much less stressful, because I was consumed with the need to find things to fill up the booth for Junk Ranch weekend and this thing is HUGE so will take up a lot of room. It was a nice way to start the day.

This little lady is not so little — about two feet tall — and is coming to live with me. I bought her from my favorite booth at the Tulsa flea market. The seller was lovely and funny and I adored everything she was selling. And her prices were extremely reasonable.

The photo on the left is from the thrift store — I paid $10, which is a lot for me, but I’m keeping it. The one on the right was from a yard sale with the nicest people who were raising money for a sick grandma. 🙁

(I should have wiped off the price on poor Chopin’s face before taking the picture.) This is one of my favorite finds, also from the thrift store. Their faces are so beautiful. Pretty sure they’re hand painted. They just have a number on the bottom, no identifying marks. I knew my husband would adore these, so even though the other three were marked $7 (highway robbery!) I went ahead and bought the set. Don’t know why Chopin is valued so little, as compared to his peers!

Here’s a close up of hairy Mr. Brahms.

Both of these items were purchased at the first yard sale.

I have no idea what these little things are! But they are so tiny and cute and were only fifty cents so I bought them! Please tell me what they are so I know what to write on the price tag when I put them in the booth.

That is an enormous enamel wash basin sitting in that red drawer…from my first and favorite yard sale of the day. That roll of vintage wrapping paper came from the scariest yard sale of the day — as we were getting out of the car Kristie said “turn your rings around and get ready to run.” The people were SUPER nice, but as the lady was opening up a box in the garage to bring out, she screamed and jumped away and when her husband asked her what happened she said “there’s a family of baby mice in there!” and I was all THAT’S IT LET’S GO but Kristie continued to dig through the boxes and THAT’S how she ended up with a vintage mini Santa blow mold and I DIDN’T.

Box of Christmas goodness from the same sale: MICE NOT INCLUDED. I bought this box with Shara in mind — I think she can use some of this for her adorable Christmas mini snow globes.

Oil floral painting to add to my growing collection.

That’s about it, aside from a few other odds and ends. SUCH a fun trip. You know I’ll be back soon.

 

 

 

 

 

No Blues in Kansas City for ME!

YOU GUYS. I have a new obsession.

Justin and I have been wanting to take a weekend trip with the kids — our first ever family vacation — and my niece, Alex, is doing an internship in Kansas City, which is a quick three-and-a-half hour trip away from us, so it seemed logical to make KC our first destination. I wasn’t particularly excited about it; prior to going, I hadn’t read much about the city, but I did know it had some kind of antique mall district that opened up on the first weekend of every month, so I figured the first weekend in July was a safe bet to schedule our trip. Once I started researching the West Bottoms Antique District, I started getting ridiculously excited…and had to repeatedly remind myself that this was a trip for the FAMILY, not a trip for ME. Dadgummit.

Antiquing. 

West Bottoms is the warehouse district located to the west of the city — once home to thriving stockyard businesses  that were shut down long ago. For a long time, it was a forgotten part of town, active only during Halloween, when some of the warehouses were used for haunted houses. In the past five or ten years, its renaissance as a major center of antique stores and flea markets has continued to flourish, and right now there are 30+ different stores open on the first weekend of each month — and some of those are starting to open every weekend.

We pulled into town on Friday, at about 3 pm, checked into our hotel (more on that later), and had a quick, late lunch (more on that later as well!). Then we zoomed over to West Bottoms to see what we could find. If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I had put together two scavenger hunt lists to try and coerce the kids into being willing participants of this shopping trip…they were met with mixed results. First of all, if it weren’t for my endlessly patient husband, they wouldn’t have been useful at all, because they needed a lot of guidance (and of course they needed supervision to make sure their zeal for finding items on the list didn’t lead them to knock fragile things over). It is a miracle that I have such a patient husband because the second I stepped out of the car, all of my focus and attention was on the shopping: we parked in a paid parking lot by The Red Shed, and it was just awesome vintage treasures as far as the eye could see — right out of the gate. (By the way, I happily paid $10 for parking, because I had no idea where I was going and I needed to get to shopping ASAP. When I went back on Saturday and Sunday, I was already familiar enough with the geography that I easily found street parking and didn’t pay a second time). Classic country and western tunes were piped into the streets and there are apparently no open container laws, as most stores were handing out free wine and beer and happy customers were roaming from store to store with cups in hand. PEOPLE, it was heaven. There was a huge variety of price points: some treasures to be found for not a lot of money (on the whole, I found the furniture to be outrageously affordable) and some treasures to be found, priced as TREASURES. I would not say that there was a lot of opportunity for purchasing things for re-sale (except for the furniture — some of it was so reasonably priced, I probably could have flipped it for a profit if it weren’t such a pain to get it home). If you’re going to look for your own collection, though, you will be in heaven.

I took a TON of photos, of course, but neglected to institute a system by which I would remember which photos were from which store. The best I can do is give you a list of the stores that I liked the most (keeping in mind that I didn’t hit them all).

  • Bella Patina was definitely one of my favorites and the only one I returned to twice (once on Friday and once on Sunday).  Three floors, multiple vendors, mostly very good prices, and well-curated booths.
  • Top Hat was GORGEOUS and so different — it was the type of flea market set-up where different vendors were in each booth, but there was a shared aesthetic that was very different from the other stores. Spent a lot of time looking around in there (and don’t miss their basement, which has a ton of supply-type of stuff for those of us who are on the crafty side).
  • Good Juju is full of color and fun. Great store.
  • Stuffology  is a FANTASTIC resource for Art Deco-era lighting. I saw some STUNNING fixtures in here, reasonably priced, and the man who owns it could not be nicer.
  • Speaking of nice men, the guy running The Red Shed was lovely and could not have been friendlier, even after he saw the two five-year-olds trailing behind me. His store is chock full of treasures and the kind of store you get to dig into, which are my favorite kinds of stores! His furniture prices were AMAZING. There were several pieces I totally would have snatched right up if we only had had a way to get them back home.
  • Nook and Cranny is three (maybe four?) floors of awesomeness. Lots of different vendors, lots of different merchandise and price points.
  • There were two sides to Bottoms Up (I think), and one side (the right, as you’re facing the front door) is much more conventional antique mall than the left, which I found to be more interesting. Definitely worth a trip in.
  • Hello Sailor was GORGEOUS and INTERESTING and…EXPENSIVE. Too rich for my blood, but I would definitely recommend going in to see what you can find.

OKAY. PICTURES.

Some of these I will be able to identify…this was taken outside of The Red Shed.

Still Red Shed.

This was the BEST worktable — metal, with a great patina. $85!

This spinner was chock full of little treasures.

This is The One That Got Away for this trip. I should have bought it. I love everything about it. So unusual.

These next few are from Nook and Cranny, I think.

Oh, man, I wanted this so badly. Not sure why I didn’t get it. It could have so many uses and if I remember correctly, wasn’t priced that expensively.

Another thing I almost bought…I just couldn’t justify another tchotchke purchase when I have NO shelf room left.

Loved the patterned paper they used on this little dresser.

This little tricycle would have been ideal for photo shoots!

Oooooh if I could only have this I am CERTAIN I would be totally organized for the rest of my life!

So many pretty light fixtures there.

This was from Good Juju. What a fun store. Really happy vibe. Good prices, too, for the most part (there are a variety of different vendors and price points there).

I think the horse/globe photo was from Hello Sailor. That globe was 5 or 6 feet across!

Loved this original art…it may have been in Top Hat? Maybe? Not sure.

The best blue velvet couch EVVVVVVEEEERRRRRR. Seriously thinking of changing my blog name to “The Velvet Couch” and JUST posting pics of vintage velvet couches.

I’m telling you, KC is the PLACE TO GO if you need vintage lighting. All of the chandeliers I saw (and there were many) were VERY reasonably priced. I think this one was around $125, maybe?

Soooooo many metal vintage file drawers. And we ALL KNOW how much I love those.

Here, have some baby doll heads.

These last three pictures were from, I think, the left-hand side of Bottoms Up.

I found Little Red Riding Hood’s dress!

This is from Bella Patina, I believe. One of my favorite stores.

Oh my golly gee. These photos do not even begin to capture the magic that I saw. I have really, truly, never seen so much gorgeous vintage all in one place. Well, maybe at Round Top? If you have a chance to go to KC, fellow junk lovers, TAKE IT.

Of course, as I wasn’t the only person on this trip, we couldn’t stay down in West Bottoms for three solid days (UNFORTUNATELY). Which leads me to my next section…

For the Kids. 

The big draw for our kids was going to be Legoland, where they’ve wanted to go for over a year now. Of course, they’ve seen lots of pictures of the Legoland in CA, which is a true theme park, but when they found out KC was closer, they started asking to go to that. They were THRILLED with their experience there, I’ll say that, though Mom and Dad were less so. It was expensive, to start out with: around $100 for all of us to go. It’s all indoors, and close quarters, at that, with what seemed like MILLIONS of kids and their parents all crammed in. It smelled like dirty socks.  The two “rides” they have took forever to wait in line for and were underwhelming. It was kind of like a souped-up McDonald’s Playland, if you ask me, and I was thrilled that the kids enjoyed it but less thrilled with how much bang for our buck we received. Our plan was to go Saturday morning, which was foolhardy of us, given the holiday and the fact that it was raining cats and dogs and it was one of the only indoor attractions in the area. We arrived to a line winding around the building and waited (me, grumpily, I will admit, because all I could think about was FLEA MARKETING) for about fifteen minutes until an employee came out and told us that 1. we were in the wrong line (in line for the aquarium instead) and 2. Legoland was sold out until 3:15. Harumph. So my first bit of advice for you is to order your tickets online (it’s a timed entry).

While we were trying to figure out how to while away the time, we realized that Kaleidoscope, Hallmark’s free art studio, was in the same complex and we popped over and got four tickets for the next entry, which was about twenty minutes away. Then we shopped around in the Crown Center, a an oddly engaging mall with all-Hallmark store merchandise. I would give Kaleidoscope a thumb’s up, though on a holiday weekend, it was terribly loud and crowded. There are a variety of different art stations in which the kids can use all kinds of paper and markers to create masterpieces — the highlight is the black light room where glow in the dark markers are employed. The fact that it’s free was a big selling point as well.

All the Nom Nom Noms.

Holy Tamales, we had the BEST food in KC. When we first got there, we got some appertizer-y things at Seasons 52 in the shopping center across from our mall — delicious. We kind of touristed out and ate at Jack Stacks for our BBQ meal, instead of going to any of the older, more authentic spots (Gates or Arthur Bryant’s) but it was right across from our hotel on Friday night, we were tired, and it was DELICIOUS. Like, food coma delicious. I ate to the point of discomfort, which is never advisable but sometimes unavoidable. Breakfast on Saturday morning was a major disappointment — we ended up at an IHOP because were were kind of in an out-of-the-way place due to an estate sale detour I insisted we take (AHEM) and the kids were behaving atrociously that morning and we sat next to a person conducting a job interview which made me SO NERVOUS. For lunch on Saturday we ate at the hotel restaurant, Chaz On the Plaza, which was far too fancy for the likes of us yet they were still just as kind and sweet as they could be and the food was delicious. They had these little rooms for just one table that they put us in, so I didn’t feel so terrible about the way my children were behaving (they were continuing their reign of terror they started in the morning). And dinner was probably the highlight — Chez Elle. This is a charming, unassuming place where you place your order at the counter. It’s tucked back in a residential area (across the street from Bluebird Bistro, which was also on my list but which we did not make it to) and it is quite possibly one of the tastiest restaurants I’ve ever eaten at. In fact, Justin is still angry I didn’t let him go back to it on Sunday. We had the Suisse and Pollo Verde crepes for dinner (both delicious) and, for desert, the Au Chocolat and the Pomme Tarte. THE POMME TARTE WAS HEAVEN IN A CREPE. The Au Chocolat was a little weak, I have to say, but the Pomme Tarte more than made up for it. Because we are gluttons, we also ordered one of their glazed donut muffins (as tasty as it sounds) and their cinnamon roll croissants, which, I’m pretty sure, Justin would happily have traded one or both of our children for seconds of. Sunday breakfast at Eggtc. was solid, if underwhelming, but lunch came roaring back in the success lane with Char Bar  a totally fun, totally delicious BBQ joint (if you’re there on a Sunday, order the fried chicken: you will thank me). And then, finally, we hipstered it up by going to the Doughnut Lounge in a VERY hip neighborhood — where we were VERY out of place — and though I am in love with the concept (decadent donuts served in a bar-like atmosphere) I was not blown away by their donut selection or quality. Sorry, Doughnut Lounge, maybe you’re just TOO hip for this old lady.

Glory hallelujah, if you’re still reading this, you may have gotten the idea that I loved KC. I DID. LOVED IT. LOVE the idea that it’s so close. All I can think of is…when do we get to go again???