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books

Kansas City/ Musings

Current Obsessions: March

March 3, 2020
skillshare kansas city ballet nespresso susanna kearsley

Currently Reading: The Winter Sea

I recently discovered Susanna Kearsley’s books, and I’ve been moving through them at record speed since. As with the rest of her books I’ve read so far, I couldn’t put The Winter Sea down. A beautiful story flipping between modern-day and early 18th-century Scotland, it transported me across oceans and back in time (and quickly boosted Scotland to the top of my travel bucket list). I’ll admit I’m a sucker for a good love story, but this one didn’t feel cheesy at all, and the writing itself paints a stunning portrait of the story and setting.

Currently Creating: If Walls Could Talk newsletter

Ok, so this one is slightly cheating (but if you don’t promote your own projects, who’s going to, right?). If you hadn’t guessed by the above recommendation, I’m a bit of a history nerd. Since I don’t have school anymore, I needed an excuse to dive into centuries past — so voilà, a new project. Essentially, If Walls Could Talk blends my wanderlust, obsession with Pinterest, and inner history nerd. Each week(ish), I dig into the history behind a cool place or building and post the story on social media and via newsletter. (Hint, hint: Follow @javajournalist on Instagram and Twitter and sign up for the newsletter here).

Currently Watching: the Kansas City ballet

As a kid, I was obsessed with the cartoon movie The Swan Princess. Until recently, I wasn’t aware that this was actually based on the classic Tchaikovsky ballet Swan Lake — or for a more likely reference, the movie Black Swan. Anyway, I recently saw the Kansas City Ballet‘s performance of Swan Lake, and it was incredible. Though this particular show is over, I highly recommend checking out the KC Ballet if you’re in the area — I make it a point to see nearly all their shows, and they’re always amazing. It kind of makes me wish I hadn’t quit ballet in third grade …

Currently Sipping: Nespresso espresso

This one should be more like: item I can’t survive without. At one point, I spent a rather mortifying amount of money on lattes (which also speaks to my coffee addiction, but that’s another story). I’ve since upgraded my home espresso machine to the Nespresso Evoluo, which creates a surprisingly delicious espresso for a home maker. It’s also ridiculously easy — pop a pod in, press start, and you have espresso in a few seconds — which suits my lazy self perfectly. Mine came with a milk frother, so I can even make my own lattes at home. Not exactly the gorgeous latte art of the pros, but it saves me a fortune in coffeeshop runs.

Currently Learning: Creative Transformation with Skillshare

If you want to learn a new skill, chances are Skillshare has a class on it. I recently signed up for a monthlong free trial (kind of cheating, I know) and tried to cram as many classes in as I could. All the ones I tried were interesting, but I especially enjoyed Mari Andrew’s “Creative Transformation: 9 Exercises to Draw, Write, and Discover Your Future.” Sounds a bit woo-woo, but I promise it’s not. Even if you’re not trying to launch a creative career, the lessons were enlightening and inspiring, sparking the type of introspection that I think everyone needs.

Musings

Current Obsessions: January

January 18, 2020
Obsessions January

Currently reading: Aimée Leduc books

I’m a sucker for a good mystery. Add to that the fact that these novels are set in Paris, and I’m sold. I came across this series thanks to one of my aforementioned favorite podcasts, and I’m now officially hooked. With a blend of history and high-stakes drama (all amidst the magic of the City of Lights, of course), these books following a plucky female detective are always a can’t-put-down pick.

 

Currently wearing: Unique Vintage Flapper Capelet

What are the holidays without a bit of glitter? I bought this sparkly little capelet to top off my holiday outfit, and now I’m a little bit obsessed. Art Deco flair and gold glitz — what’s not to love?

 

Currently watching: Anne with an E

Anyone else remember Anne of Green Gables with nostalgia? (If not, what have you been doing?) This Netflix remake strays from the books a bit, I have to admit, but it’s so good that I really don’t care. The characters are colorful and charming, the scenery is breathtaking, and there’s a compelling mixture of sentimentality, drama, and, humor. The third and final season was just released, and I’m not at all ashamed to admit I binge-watched it in record time. Definitely a must-watch, even if you’re (somehow) not already an Anne of Green Gables fan.

 

Currently sipping: Hot cocoa

What really needs to be said about this one? Coffee will always have my heart, but this winter I’ve been getting into a steaming mug of cocoa when I’m looking for a chocolate fix. I even made my own mix over the holidays, and Santa brought a decadent Christopher Elbow tin for my stocking (thanks, Santa). Bring on the chilly winter weather — I’m prepared.

 

Currently baking: Gingerbread Sandwich Cookies with Eggnog Buttercream

In the search for a holiday-flavored treat to bake for gifts, I might have gone a bit overboard (is that possible?). In any case, these soft and chewy gingerbread cookies with rich eggnog frosting ticked all the boxes. I may or may not have eaten some of the cookie dough myself.

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Our Daily Nada

August 1, 2019
Coffeeshop exploration Our Daily Nada in Kansas City

 

Our Daily Nada

304 Delaware Street, KCMO

When I first heard about a bookstore/café opening in Kansas City, I knew this was going to become my spot. It’s basically my favorite things all in one charming package: coffee, books, cozy urban hideaways. Spoiler alert: that turned out to be a very accurate prediction. After peeking hopefully in the windows almost daily for months, I happily made it my coffee haunt/workspace of choice to the point where the baristas knew my order the minute I stepped through the door (we’ll credit that to their attentiveness rather than my boring predictability/coffee addiction). In the art of full disclosure, I should mention that I now work at Our Daily Nada — so clearly I’m wholly unbiased here — but hey, that’s how much I love it! You could say I strategically wheedled my way into the behind-the-scenes of the place.

A self-proclaimed “boozy bookstore” — they get points there for both the genius of the idea and the alliteration — Our Daily Nada is nestled in KC’s historic River Market neighborhood in a late-19th/early-20th-century brick building. Think exposed brick walls, wood floors, and tall loft ceilings. The cozy space is decorated with a smattering of colorful vintage furniture, Art Deco-esque globe lights, and cheeky touches (one of my favorite bits is a Frida Kahlo pillow on the couch). There’s even a grand piano in the corner — feel free to sit down and tap out a tune.

The name “Our Daily Nada” is a nod to a Hemingway short story, “A Clean Well-Lighted Place,” which the owners say is “a story in part about everyone needing a place to escape.” And that’s what ODN is. It’s the type of place where drinks come in real cups and the modus operandi is browsing, meandering, gathering together and chatting with friends. Take a moment to thumb through the carefully curated selection of tomes — fiction, nonfiction, used, classics, local authors. Settle into a rose-pink armchair or the increasingly Instagram-famous emerald green couch and lose yourself in conversation or another world (or both). There’s an air of cozy camaraderie and whimsy that feels rare in most places these days. People come in to work or study at the little tables, meet up with friends over lattes (or just as often, a glass of wine or cocktail), or gather for a book club discussion. Come on a Tuesday night, and you can join in on game night —games from Monopoly to Trivial Pursuit are there for the playing. Every weekend they host a kids’ story time, and for Halloween a suitably spooky Edgar Allen Poe reading went down. You never know what the owners — two lovably kooky KC women who are usually around overseeing the shop — might cook up next.

And speaking of cooking, there’s plenty of that literally as well. In addition to coffee and cocktails, Our Daily Nada offers a small but tasty menu of bites and nibbles. Toasts are the main feature — avocado, prosciutto, smoked salmon, or ham and cheese — plus a killer Cobb salad and other small bites. Handmade to order, these aren’t for anyone in a hurry, but they’re carefully crafted and as pretty as they are delicious. (Shoutout to our amazing cooks, Stephan, Tori, and Elana!) And then, of course, there’s the main focus for many: the drinks. Coffee and lattes from local Broadway Roasters, and for happy hour (every night, by the way) and beyond, a good selection of wines and beers and an inventive cocktail menu. Half-Blood Prince, anyone? Yes, drink themes include Harry Potter andGame of Thrones. Cheers!

Ok, so I’m hardly an impartial party here. But really, a book wonderland, tasty coffee and booze, yummy homemade bites, cozy colorful charm, a local woman-owned business — what’s not to like? Come in on a Wednesday or Friday, and you can even say hi to little ol’ me!