Archive for "Things to Do"
Posted on January 27, 2017 by Ching under Things to Do.
Due to my current work assignment, I’ve missed my Rotary Club meetings over the last few months. This month hasn’t been too bad, however. I was actually fortunate enough to be able to attend two consecutive club meetings. And I’m so glad that I was present for them because they were both amazing meetings.
Last week Geri Appel, Dr. Fred Heismeyer, Joyce Heismeyer, Greg Sullivan, and DeAnn Sullivan talked about their visit to Russia last summer as part of the Open World Program. In Fall 2015, local Rotarians had the opportunity to host seven Russian business people through the Open World Program. In summer 2016, it was their turn to visit. The group has been visiting local Rotary Clubs to share their FABLES (tales from their trip) and promote the Open World Program.
FABLES stands for Food Adventure Beauty Lore Entertainment and Surprise and is kind of a fun way to recall one’s travel adventures. I thought it was pretty clever anyway and will probably talk about my own trips in the same manner in the future.
I was completely enthralled as they talked about the food (and drinks) they tasted, the place they visited and all of the beautiful architecture they saw, interesting things they learned and did, and shared stories from the trip. Their Open World experience has been so overwhelmingly positive that I would actually consider being one of the hosts for the next delegation of Open World visitors to Wichita.
Geri even brought samples of her homemade horseradish vodka, which they first tasted during their visit. She’s learned how to make it and has never run out.
For the record, I did not try the vodka because I went back to work after the meeting. I wasn’t concerned about missing out because I’m sure there will be another opportunity to try it.
Yesterday our speaker was Barry Style, all the way from Zimbabwe. Barry Style serves as Director of the Chiredzi River African Wildlife Trust (CRAWT) and his family also operates the Buffalo Range Safari. CRAWT not only helps through their anti-poaching and preservation efforts but they also support the community. One of the projects that they have undertaken is a school, which did not have running water until recent upgrades were made with financial help from the Andover Rotary Club. This project has not only made a positive impact on the lives of the students, but the community as a whole.
The efforts on behalf of the Andover Rotary Club have been spearheaded by Dr. Ron Kutter and Lori Kutter, who have traveled there on a number of occasions to help. Let me know if you want to learn more and I’ll be happy to put you in touch with Ron and Lori. They are picture below next to Barry Styles.
Pictured above: Warrick (Barry’s nephew), Ron, Lori, Barry, and Troy
I am so grateful that my work schedule over the last two weeks allowed me the opportunity to attend both meetings. I’m hoping that, once the dust settles, my schedule will return to normal and I’ll be able to start attending Rotary Club meetings regularly again. Connecting with my fellow Rotarians and listening to our wonderful speakers always rejuvenates me.
Posted on December 29, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink, Things to Do.
Oeno closed last week after ten years of business. It made us so sad because it’s our favorite place for salsa and Latin dancing.
Well, we used to go to Suede. I remember when we used to go there religiously on Friday nights, even when it’s cold and snowing outside. That was our regular Friday night thing.
Then Suede closed and there wasn’t a fun place for us to go for dancing (at least the type of dancing we enjoy). That is, until we discovered Oeno. Naturally, we had to go on the final night. We didn’t care if it was just the two of us. We had to go to close out this chapter.
Whenever we are at Oeno, we usually get the lavash.
We also like their charcuterie (meat and cheese board).
They were doing 50% OFF bottles of wine that night and discounted wines by the glass but Brian couldn’t drink (he can’t drink for a few more days – until after his follow up appointment with the doctor) so I ended up getting a pitcher of sangria. I don’t usually drink entire bottles of wine but I’ve been known to put away pitchers of sangria without remorse. LOL.
Anyway, it’s not as fun drinking by yourself. And, Brian gave me a look of disapproval each time he refilled my glass. I was hoping some of our friends would show up and help me finish the pitcher but everyone else either already had plans or they were too tired to come out. Christmas shopping and preparing for Christmas in general can take a lot out of you so it’s completely understandable.
At least Hideki and Amy came by. They were down the street, having dinner at the Anchor. And then they had a show at Public. They stopped by for a bit, though.
The rest of the sangria did not go to waste!
Here’s the four of us on the very last night of Oeno being open. It was so very sad.
So that’s it then. Now it’s time to look for a new place for salsa night. I sure wish we had a place like Cuba Libre here.
Posted on December 12, 2016 by Ching under Family, Things to Do.
We had a super quiet Thanksgiving lunch this year. It was just Brian, grandma, and me. Brian’s parents usually do their own Thanksgiving in Oklahoma. I invited my parents but they were still both recovering from illness and feeling antisocial. They didn’t feel like joining us. I even offered to bring them some food but mom declined. I also invited Jenni via text but never heard back.
All of our friends were doing their own Thanksgivings. Initially, our friend Chad said he would swing by but he ended up canceling last minute. We ended up with way more food than three people could eat. It worked out great though, because then grandma was able to take some food home with her.
This was our first year without Fresh Market. We ended up getting food from Dillons. The food was okay but definitely not as good as the quality of the Thanksgiving meal we get from Fresh Market. Most of the items were off the shelf rather than prepared fresh like the Thanksgiving dinner we get from Fresh Market. This is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for” except Fresh Market is no longer an option since they closed their store.
Brian and I agreed that we will need to figure out a better plan for next year because we are definitely not going to order the Dillons Thanksgiving dinner again.
Brian had to work on Black Friday this year so I was pretty much on my own. In years past, we’ve both had the day off so we’ve braved the Black Friday mobs and have actually gone shopping. We switched gears the last few year and have done most of our shopping online so I didn’t really feel an urge to go Black Friday shopping this year. Besides, it’s not as much fun without Brian.
Instead of shopping, I decided to spend the day with my little sister.
We started with breakfast at Doo-Dah Diner. I love that they give you free monkey bread while you wait for your meal. It’s my most favorite part of eating there.
Doo-Dah was busy that day so we just sat at the counter.
Nickira originally wanted pancakes but then she saw chicken and waffles on the menu so she switched to that instead. I was worried that the meal would be too big so I convinced her to split it with me. I’m glad we split it because it was not quite what Nickira expected.
She was not a fan of the chocolate dipped bacon. She actually gave me hers. Oh, and you can tell which half is which by the egg. Nickira wanted a runny yolk on her egg, while I wanted mine fried hard.
It was just the right amount of food for me.
After breakfast we were off to Winter Art Mania at the Wichita Art Museum.
And then after doing all of the activities inside, we decided to go for a stroll through the art garden and take some photos. I just love the Wichita Art Museum!
This hasn’t been our typical Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Actually, this hasn’t been our typical year. Yet, despite all of the obstacles and challenges, we managed to find joy in everything. I’m so grateful for the love of our family and friends and for all that we have. We are truly blessed.
Posted on December 10, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do, Travel.
Brian wanted to see what my Kansas City routine was like so we spent a few days in Kansas City over Thanksgiving break. At first he was bummed that I didn’t have us staying at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown, which is the hotel I normally stay at, but after I explained that I reserved our room at the much nicer Courtyard Kansas City Downtown/Convention Center just a couple of blocks away he finally settled down. Of course, I had to agree to walk him over to my office building, the other hotel, my favorite coffee shop, etc. etc.
Here’s the lobby of the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. It definitely looks better with some Christmas decorations. It has looked the same for several years.
But, I have to admit, I kind of like this piece of furniture. It’s perfect for just hanging out with a bunch of friends.
We also walked over to my office building where we have the ping pong table in the “Recharge” area at the lower level.
Brian actually indulged me with a brief ping pong match.
After getting coffee across the street at Kaldi’s, a coffee shop that I’ve grown fond of because of the delicious coffee and its close proximity to the office, we went around the corner to One Light Luxury Apartments.
This is Brian checking out the balcony of one of the units we toured.
I’m not sure what Brian is pondering here but I just love the floor-to-ceiling windows. I think that crane you see on the left is where they’re building Two Light.
Here’s the rooftop pool. They keep the fool filled year round, though you can’t actually swim in it, because it’s prettier to look at than a pool cover.
We walked over to the Two Light Leasing Office around the corner after touring One Light. They have a 3D model of the all-glass, high-rise apartment complex there. We were told they created the model so people could more easily visualize the concept, which is the first of its kind in downtown Kansas City.
Of course, there’s now such a great demand for places to live downtown that they’re already planning to develop Three Light after Two Light is completed.
Here’s a video of the renderings. It looks pretty amazing.
Here are some pictures of the demo one-bedroom unit at the leasing office.
I took a ton of pictures because they did a fabulous job of staging the demo.
Do you see Brian in this pic?
This is the bed room.
Don’t mind the street outside. I was really taking a picture of the bedroom door, which is a pocket door. A regular door just takes up too much space.
Space is a premium and their smart design choices give you space where it counts. Like in the bathroom (pictured below).
The bathroom doesn’t feel tiny and cramped.
Here’s how the kitchen looks from the hallway.
This picture is viewing the same hallway from the opposite end.
I’m not a huge fan of the upper cabinets, which feel a bit too contemporary/modern for me but overall the kitchen feels spacious and well-designed. Not that I spend a lot of time cooking in the kitchen but, for what it’s worth, the kitchen functioned well. I really liked the island in the middle.
If we were to move to Kansas City, our ideal situation would be to get a two bedroom but, if we couldn’t stretch our budget enough to make it work, then we could make a one-bedroom work.
We would just have to get rid of a bunch of stuff first. LOL.
Because we’re nerds, we walked over to where we could see the Two Light construction. Even though it was drizzly that day, I really wanted to see how much farther of a walk it is from the office building. One Light is literally across the street (if you go through the parking garage underneath instead of coming out of the lobby) so it’s super convenient.
Here’s a picture of Brian in the fancy, One Light lobby.
If I sound kind of obsessed with downtown living and, more specifically, these apartments, it’s probably because I kind of am. I am enamored with the idea of being able to get up in the morning and walk to work.
Here’s a video of what it’s like to live at One Light. They really do a great job of selling the lifestyle and making it look glamorous and cool.
I’ve been to One Light a few times now (wine night at Allison’s, their open house event) and I’ve even brought Brian over to check things out and get his feedback, these folks have me completely convinced that this is where I want to live if/when I move to Kansas City.
The floor plans at Two Light are a smidge bigger but Brian and I cannot get over the convenience that One Light offers. One Light is attached to an amazing gym and a grocery store. If you go through the parking garage underneath, you don’t even have to go outside to get to both.
Brian and I were like, “Can you imagine times when you’re in the middle of cooking something and you realize that you’re out of something and you can just put the heat on low and run to the grocery store real quick and come right back and finish cooking?” Not that this happens often. Heck, we don’t even cook that much. I love the idea, though. Maybe it will even get us cooking and eating at home more?
The biggest selling point for me is how close it is to work. Here’s a view of the apartment and pool from work. It’s that close!
I’m not sure if you can tell, but there’s also green space on the roof for dog owners to take their dogs. There will be plenty of room for Saki and Molly to run and play.
The corner grocery store is amazing. They have everything you could possibly need. They even carry wine. Brian and I already did price comparisons of how much we normally pay for certain wines at Grove’s. The prices are comparable on some brands and about $1-2 more on others. I suppose that’s the price of convenience.
But they also have a wide selection of craft beers and they even do this thing where you can mix and match to create your own six-pack.
Although, my most favorite part of Cosentino’s is their delicious cakes and pastries.
We’re doing a potluck Christmas party at work next week where everyone is encouraged to bring either a dessert or side dish of some sort and my plan is to just buy a cake from Cosentino’s and bring it. LOL.
They usually have a different assortment each time. All fabulous. The time we were there they had these java cups. Of course we had to try it.
Brian gave it two thumbs up!
I also took Brian to the Flying Saucer, catercorner from the apartment building, where they have fun trivia on Tuesdays. We only stayed long enough to enjoy a pizza and some drinks. We didn’t stick around for the trivia.
You can create your own pizza for about $10. Above is the one like to get. It consists of prosciutto, bacon, and artichoke hearts. I really like the Flying Saucer because the food is pretty good and it’s cheap. And the best part is, if you live at One Light then the walk home is only a minute or two.
Bottom line, downtown Kansas City is amazing. I love not having to drive anywhere. And, even though I’ve only explored a small portion, I can really see us living here and I can’t wait to explore more of the area.
If work makes me move, it will not be the end of the world but the beginning of new adventures. I can’t wait to explore Kansas City with Brian.
Posted on November 30, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do, Travel.
Here are some pictures from our Boulevard Brewery tour last week.
The gift shop.
Beers available for purchase at the gift shop.
Brian’s favorite Boulevard beer.
The Smokestack Room.
My handsome husband.
The Beer Hall.
Beer Hall selfie.
Beer Hall menu.
Here’s what the pretzel dogs looked like.
Cute little photo both trailer at the Beer Hall.
Our awesome tour guide.
The original brewhouse.
The stuff that beer is made of.
Not much going on. They shut down production early for the holidays.
The iconic Boulevard smokestack.
The have a pretty great outdoor terrace.
Our final stop.
Cheers for free beer.
Tank 7 induced beer happiness.
This pretty much sums it up.