Pretty, Polished, Perfect.: August 2012

Friday, August 31, 2012

Social KC: Fashion's Night Out

The Country Club Plaza, the Power & Light District and Zona Rosa are the shopping centers in Kansas City that will be participating in this year's Fashion's Night Out.

What is Fashion's Night Out?  It was a "movement" started several years ago to help boost the declining sales in retail (at least, that's what I remember reading last year......)  Taking place on the Thursday during New York Fashion Week, cities across the globe celebrate their own version of Fashion's Night Out.  

On to the good stuff.  Last year, my sister and I visited the Country Club Plaza and had such a good time (I even considered flying her in for this year's festivities.)  Let's just say that the CCP captured my heart (and my loyalty) that night, and it is my destination for next Thursday night.  A quick run-down on just a few of my favorite stores and what they have planned:

First stop, 

Helzbergs Diamonds - receive a free pair of pearl earrings (free pearls? yes, please!) just for coming to Helzberg Collections, (one pair per customer while supplies last) plus, 10% of all sales donated to the local Make-A-Wish Foundation 

Halls - from 5-10 p.m., see hot fall styles (come see how I styled an Oscar de la Renta top!) DJ Mike Scott, score gifts-with-purchase (from Habitual Denim, Rag & Bone and more), and register-to-wins (from Marc by Marc Jacobs, Mulberry, Frye, Laundry, Persol, Eileen Fisher and more!)

J. Crew - shop, eat, and a free FNO surprise when you spend $100 or more

H&M - DJ (because when does H&M not have a DJ?), giveaways, get 30% off your favorite item, enter to win a chance to attend a private performance by Lana Del Rey

Burberry - champagne (oh wait, I don't drink!) appetizers and a free gift with purchase.

Kaplan's Fabrics - If I can make it in time, a 7pm fashion show with designs by local designers, seamstresses and students of Cherry Barthel. After the show, discuss how to turn your fashion ideas into a reality with seamstresses and designers. Create your own scarf - choose fabric, hem it in the store and take it home. Drawings for a giveaway.

Kate Spade - complimentary Mini Indulgences from Seasons 52, plus great giveaways and discounts (and come on, shopping!)

Michael Kors - a handbag giveaway? don't mind if you do!

N Valentino - they had me at cupcakes, plus 20% off contemporary men’s and women’s collections, plus custom fittings from Paige Premium Denim, Joe's Jeans, Hudson, Rich and Skinny and AG

Panache Chocolatier - Chocolate samples, iced tea, coffee (the BEST European Truffles, ever!)

And if you plan to stay for the eateries......

Gram & Dun - (the best meatballs ever!) After Party 9pm-midnight. Get your invitation at Standard Style for one glass of complimentary champagne and Happy Hour Prices.

The Melting Pot - $5 chocolate fondue (from 9-10:30pm)?  How could anyone refuse??

For a complete listing of CCP events, visit

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rules Of The Game.

Fall is in the air (even though today's high is in the upper 90s - Fahrenheit for any of the metric readers.)  So yes, I am trying to squeeze in the last of my summer colors, including yellow.

Dress: Suzi Chin (via Saks Off Fifth)
Necklace: Forever21 (similar here)
Belt: Forever21
Bracelet: Derng + Banana Republic Factory
Shoes: Daisy Fuentes (via Kohls)

About that rule.  The rule about white?  When I was young girl, there were rules.  And you did not break them.  There were also monstrous shoulder pads and pleated pants a-plenty.  Ah memories.  

Regardless of whether the monarchs of fashion have done away with the rule, it seems that as the seasons start to change (however subtly,) my choices of daily outfits naturally gravitate towards fall colors.  It also helps that magazines, blogs and retail stores are fully advertising the fall collections.  I've already pulled my boyfriend jeans out of their summer resting place.  My cardigans and jackets are front and center in my closet now.  And I can't remember for the life of me where I put those darn white pants!

p.s. Kansas City Fashion Week starts exactly one week from today.  There is too much information for me to give you in one post, let alone the p.s., so go visit their site for information and to buy. those. tickets.  You wont' be disappointed, trust me!

p.p.s.  And the winners of the JUNIEblake giveaway are......... Shelley Z and Sabrina B.  Congratulations!

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Mellow Yellow

Bright lemon-neon-yellow shorts are basically awesome, right?

Shirt: Madewell
Necklace: c/o The Mr
Belt: Forever21 (similar here)
Bracelets: Thrifted, Banana Republic Factory
Shorts: Candies
Shoes: Forever21 (similar here)

In all seriousness though, I read some news the other day that brought back a memory from when I was a young girl.  The memory's stage is set at the park behind our family home, where a small creek runs through and ends at a grove of ancient trees.  Standing near this creek, about to cross, I look up at her and though my memory is not exact, the impression I have is that she is beautiful, kind and totally cool.  Maybe she was walking me home from piano lessons, maybe she was babysitting me, or maybe our paths just happened to cross that day.  I will never forget adoring her in that moment, for whatever she had just said or done.

That teenage girl that I looked up to lost her husband unexpectedly this past weekend.  I don't even think she's 40 yet.  She has several younger children.  My memory of that awesome teenager (whom I would have gladly traded any of my older sisters for) leaves my heart aching for her.

I held The Mr a little bit tighter this weekend.  I will always hope that I still have a good sixty years left with him - the last ten might be a bit full of dentures, walkers and endless disagreements - but I could never imagine losing him.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Social KC: KCFW Kick-Off Party

This past Thursday, Kansas City Fashion Week had their kick-off party at Saks Off Fifth Avenue.  Several of my fellow bloggers and I were asked to style models in Saks Off Fifth Avenue fall fashions.  And so, for the first time since I've started my blog, I finally get to have a professional model "my" outfit, by a professional photographer!

 Love these shoes (one pair left, size 8.5.....additional 50% off makes them $60!)

Meet Lauren Burke, a 23 year old ASL expert by day, model by night.  She has beauty and brains.  She was great to work with, exerting her opinion while still letting me have free reign (hallelujah!)  I was going for the menswear look, and couldn't resist adding this Micheal Kors fur number, which we aptly dubbed "the Pimp vest."  Seriously, I bet Cee Lo Green has one of these in his closet, lol!  We couldn't find any boyfriend  jeans in the women's department, so we looked in the next best place - the men's department.  We thought we knew how to tie a tie.......and were fortunate enough to find someone to help us (the caterer no less!)

Makeup provided by Mieisha Chaney (she is so friendly - and has a great sense of humor!)
Hair provided by Katherine Summers (she is so patient and sweet!)
Clothing provided by Saks Fifth Avenue Off Fifth, Legends Outlets Kansas City
Photography by Kris Hanke (you can't help but love him!)
Food provided by Clear The Plate (so good - and our emergency tie expert!)
Drinks provided by Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey
Music courtesy of DJ Leonightus (same great entertainer from this post)

The styled models, styled (from left to right) by Kim, Jess of Mimi and Chichi, me, Meggy and Kristina (see more links below.)
Cocktails provided by KCFW Sponsor Kansas Clean Distilled Whiskey, winners of the KCFW tickets (you can get yours here) and gift cards, and the delicious appetizers.

Model Lauren Burke in a Diane Von Furstenberg vest, bloggers Meggy of Chasing Davies, me, Kristina of Simply Bold and Kim of KimberyLoc.  These girls are fun to work with!

Kansas City Fashion Week will start on Wednesday, September 5 and will run through Sunday, September 9.  Visit for a detailed calendar of events, sponsors, tickets, news and more!

p.s. Have you entered the JUNIEblake giveaway yet?

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Mosquito Bites and Spanx

In a series of unfortunate events, I found myself debating between baring my mosquito-bitten legs or hiding them beneath a love-handle-hugging maxi skirt.

The maxi-skirt (love-handles) won.  I couldn't keep a straight face so I took a headless shot:

Skirt: Forever21 (similar here)
Belt: Forever21 (kinda but not really similar here)
T-shirt: Target
Necklace + Earrings: Jene DeSpain
Bracelets: Banana Republic Factory

I didn't really want to blog about this outfit (it's an oldie from last summer.....and again: love handles!) but I had to blog about these great earrings from Jene DeSpain.  I love them - there isn't any outfit I haven't tried to wear them with.  Same goes for the necklaces (the Rockefeller with the Savoy Plaza) as they seem to go with whatever I'm wearing these days, but especially my v-necks.  

(and there's my ear.)

Don't forget to enter the JUNIEblake giveaway!

p.s. It wasn't the skirts fault.  The MomGut has gained a little bit of weight (a tire or two) this year.  Time to get back to the gym (or stop eating Oreos.)

pleated poppy

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Triple P Giveaway: JUNIEblake

That's me, rushing my son to his soccer practice, heels in purse.  

Jacket: Hydraulic 
T-shirt: Forever21 
Skirt: c/o JUNIEblake
Shoes: Converse & Enzo Angiolini
Purse: Target (old)
Bracelet: Target (old)

It's time for another Triple P Giveaway.  JUNIEblake is the latest online retailer offering affordable, trendy (but classic) modest clothing to the masses, and to kick-off their grand opening, they would like to offer you a chance to win one of two $30 gift cards.  Entering is simple, just follow the Rafflecopter options below!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Camouflage Pants + Pre-Conceived Notions

No really, this was our weekend camping trip.  

Several things led me to this blog post:

Lisa Murie of Peridot Skys once asked a few of us bloggers, " What is one thing we wouldn't know about you after reading your blog?"

My Aunt told me to bring clothes my kids could get dirty in (do they have anything they can't get dirty in?) 

My sister snapped a picture of me and said, "Proof that Erin goes camping!"

 I'm wondering if you might have some misconceptions about me.  

I camp (only in the mountains, if I can help it.)  I wear camouflage pants (only in the mountains, if I can help it.)  I wear sweatshirts (only in the mountains, if I can help it......just kidding.)  
I can rough it (sort of - there was running water after all, in limited supply.)
I love being outdoors. 
I hike.  I even took the climbing rocks and road-less-traveled with my brother.  Who, incidentally, always comes out of these things with gashes and bruises.  On the hike back, my 9 year-old niece followed along, exclaiming, "This is like an adventure!"  She is so much fun.  I did not, however, jump into the freezing cold pool at the end of the waterfall (but my son did.)  I have to draw the line somewhere.
Friday night we had a "Family Dance."  With party essentials.  I love to dance, though I don't do it well.
Last but not least, we got a little 4-wheeling action in (and a little bit of dune buggy action too.)  My nephew fist-pumping his awesome ride!  Oh, and don't worry, we didn't take our un-seat-belted children off road.  We have to draw the line somewhere.

The beautiful sunsets.  I was too tired to wake up early for the sunrises.  Line drawn.
I didn't shower for nearly three days. And it was one of the best vacations of my life (though not because of the whole un-showered thing.)

Anyway else like to camp?

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Polka Dots, Peplum and Hearts.

This week it's been pointed out on every blog (even the home decor blogs!) that Old Navy has an inexpensive version (Rip-off?  Knock-off?  Replica?  what is the politically correct term for this?) of this Alice + Olivia sweater:

Old Navy's less expensive (and non-sequin) version:

Forever21, not wanting to feel left out, also knocked-off last years' uber-popular - even I bought it - J. Crew original (available this fall in a lighter-weight Merino wool) :

Forever21's version:

Old Navy's version:

Now, polka dot sweaters?  Over-sized Graphics? I don't know that I feel like a designer or brand can really trademark that.......

Looking for a different version of polka dots?  I love this peplum polka-dot top (say that quickly, three times.)

What do you think of mass retailers' ripping-off/knocking-off/replicating designer's ideas?

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Savers. Good Deeds. Great Deals. + 50% Off Today Only!

First (and most importantly):

Today only (August 15th), Savers Club Members (sign up for free here or sign up in stores - still free) who spend $50 on clothing, shoes, accessories and bed & bath will get 50% off those items (you read that right, 50%!)

I was invited to attend a VIP Grand Opening event at the new Savers in Shawnee, KS.  Of course, it appeared that the rest of the KC Metro area received the same invitation (which severely deflated my blogger ego, haha.)  There were thrifters of every size, shape, age and character.  There were gift card giveaways.  And for the first time ever, I didn't need to bring my own food and drink to go thrifting.......

I had an opportunity to interview a rep from Savers' spokesperson:

Q.  Are the store’s contents from area donations, or do you have a distribution method to disperse donated items between your stores?

Every item in our stores comes from community donations – whether given directly to our nonprofit partners or at the Community Donation Centers located at our stores. So, what is donated in your community, stays in your community.
Q.  Goodwill recently started selling their jewelry exclusively online.  How do you handle luxury goods?

Savers does not sell goods online, so it is absolutely possible to find high value and designer items at Savers stores!  Each of our stores stock an ever-changing selection of about 100,000 items on the sales floor, and around 10,000 quality pieces are added daily. We frequently hear from shoppers that they’ve found pieces like a vintage Chanel scarf, designer jeans or an awesome Coach purse. You can always look for valuable jewelry in the case at the front of the store too.
Q.  How do you determine the value of donated goods?  Do you have a specialist (even in each department) in each store that determines the value of the items?

Our team members are trained on how to sort, select, value and price items, as well as keep abreast of new market value for the items we receive.  It is our goal to provide great value for our customers, and we typically price merchandise placed on our sales floors between 10% and 30% of an item’s original price. The average price of an item sold at Savers is around $4.
Q.  Does Savers merchandise its’ stores according to the Retail Industry’s standards (i.e. fall items merchandised in July, Winter in August/September?  Resortwear in November?)

We maintain a full stock of items throughout the year. Unlike traditional retailers, you can find a winter coat in the middle of the summer or a spring dress in the dead of winter. However, we do merchandise our sales floor to be seasonally relevant, so during the winter you will find more coats, and during the spring/summer, you will find more short-sleeved shirts and dresses.
Q.  I personally have volunteered at my local Salvation Army shelters (providing food and beds.)  I know what the Salvation Army does in the community.  I have no idea what Savers does.  What does Savers do and how can I become more aware of their presence in the community (it seems that all the advertisements in the store are for coupons, sales and rewards cards)?   

We’re glad you asked! Savers is proud to work with more than 150 nonprofit organizations. Every Savers store chooses to purchase its merchandise from at least one nonprofit in its community and every item sold in our stores comes from community donations. In Shawnee, we partner with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City. We’ve partnered with this terrific organization for nearly 15 years.

All year round, each store pays its nonprofit partner for donated items, which include clothing, housewares, furniture and more. Our partners are paid for donations collected by their home pick-up services, or dropped off at the Community Donation Centers located at Savers stores. These partnerships turn otherwise unused goods into sustainable funding that supports their vital programs and services.

Last year alone, we purchased more than $150 million of goods from our partners and have paid more than $1.5 billion to nonprofit organizations over the past 10 years. This structure allows our partners to depend on a predictable, unrestricted source of revenue for their important work.
Q.  The comment I hear most often about Savers is that it is a “bit pricey.”  I shop at the Goodwill across the street from a Savers.  There is definitely a huge price difference (between like items.)  However, the selection is usually better at Savers.  How do you feel you achieve this better selection advantage, and does it affect how you choose your pricing?

We’re happy that you have found a great selection at Savers. We have a long-standing commitment to providing our customers with high-quality merchandise and have developed an effective quality control system to ensure that only the best products reach our sales floors.
Q.   What do you offer people to donate their items to Savers?   What is one difference or way that Savers stands out, that might convince a person to donate their items to Savers, rather than the Goodwill across the street?

We find that people choose to donate at Savers to make a difference in their own community; their goods are given a second life while also helping to support a deserving local nonprofit.
Simply put, the more people who donate at the Community Donation Center located on-site at Savers or though Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Kansas City’s home pick-up service, those they serve benefit. As mentioned on their website, revenue earned through Big Brothers Big Sisters’ partnership with Savers contributes to approximately one-third of their annual budget. In the current economy where many aren’t able to give funds or their time, donating is a simple, convenient, yet valuable way residents in the area can support their mission.

More broadly, Savers also works very hard to keep all donated items out of local landfills; items not suitable for store shelves are shipped to developing countries for resale and to material wholesalers to be recycled into new materials such as mixed rags, car insulation and much more. In fact, Savers is one of the largest recyclers of used clothing in the world.

Q.  Lastly, what tips can you offer my thrifting readers (i.e. best time of day to shop, best day of the week, contacts, etc.?)
Great question— the number one piece of advice we have is: have fun! We put together the below list of tips which are useful for people who are curious about shopping thrift but might be intimidated by not knowing where to start, as well as the most frequent second-hand shoppers.  
1.       Go often. With thousands of new items added daily (every hour), you never know what treasures you will find.

2.       Give yourself enough time to shop the store.

3.       It’s important to touch the clothes and feel the quality and craftsmanship. Be on the lookout for timeless and luxurious materials like silk and cashmere.

4.       Try everything on and don’t limit yourself to size. Interesting fashions can easily be found by taking something in a larger size and adding a belt, or transforming a beautiful skirt into a dress.

5.       Have fun with shopping second-hand. Bring friends and make it a treasure-hunt adventure!

 And, to get the most from your Savers shopping experience, sign up for the club card ( to get great deals, and follow us on Facebook ( and Twitter (@SaversVVillage). 

Happy Thrifting!

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Social KC: KCFW Kick Off Event + Saks Off 5th

Need I say more?  I hope to see you there! 

p.s. latest press release for all of you brides-to-be, pinterestaholics and dreamers-of-all-things-wedding.......

Tickets for Kansas City Fashion Week are on sale now!  For more information, visit

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

SugarLips and Sun Spots

New dress from SugarLips + experimenting with sun spots (flares?) in photography:

Dress: SugarLips
Cardigan: Old Navy
Necklace: Forever21
Shoes: BCBGeneration
Ring: Banana Republic

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Sea Horses and Summer

Necklace: JCrew (on sale!)
Ring: gift c/o The Mr
Bracelets: Derng, Banana Republic Factory Outlet

pleated poppy

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Saturday, August 4, 2012

Social KC: KCFW + First Friday

KCFW held it’s first-First Friday promotional event.  Their purpose was to invite the community in to see the behind-the-scenes working of a photo shoot, a glimpse of what backstage will look like this fall.  There was.......

Clothing (it was nice to meet many of the designers in a casual atmosphere without the crazy rush, excitement and anxiety of a pending runway show):
Christian Micheal from 2012, Brittany of BMDesigns with Michelle of Little Shell Designs and Kris Hanke - photographer, Justin Callaghan - hair stylist

Palettes and instruments of Jennifer Sullivan Cassidy
Model (from start to finish): 
Model Angela Faith in BMDesigns, Hair Stylist Evyn Fulkerson, Layne - photographer
And of course, Photographers:
Ike, photographer

I was lucky enough to snag the President of KCFW, Phil Willoughby for an interview  If you want a well-written PR statement, you can read his bio here.  Reading a bio is never the same as meeting someone in person:

As he is listing off his many *accomplishments, including local political positions, I can’t help but wonder if he’s ever stopped, or if he ever sleeps.  It appears that he has a love of knowledge and life that drive him to keep going, to keep making things better – whether it’s a client’s way-of-life or a city’s commerce. 

He’s intelligent and likable, and I can’t help but wonder if he has ever not succeeded in winning a person over.  He was, after all, the captain of the baseball team.

I begin to understand why Teisha (pronounced Tee-sha) was the first person he thought of to lead KCFW.  Teisha is personable and down-to-earth.  At one of the model castings months ago, I asked her to give us an example of how a model should walk.  She didn’t hesitate, and she did it without haughtiness or arrogance.  She also never hesitates to answer my numerous questions (which I appreciate.)  Kris is the same way – oh, he will fool you with his little swagger walk and the way he carries himself – but he’s also smart, funny and down-to-earth (and has the cutest curly-haired daughter!) 

After spending time with Phil, Teisha, Kris, Layne and the rest of the team, I am positive that KCFW will continue to be more and more successful as it grows.  Good luck and congratulations!

*“But can he sing?”  The one question I failed to ask......

For more information or to buy tickets for KCFW, please visit

These photographs and more can be found here.

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Left Fielder.

That's where this post is coming from.

Retailers are merchandising their fall looks, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale has come and gone, and everyone is over the heat of summer.

What isn't over yet is strawberry season; cheap strawberries abound.  Behold:

Strawberry Freezer Jam (the easiest thing in the world.)

Buy instant pectin, follow the directions.  I do add slightly less sugar than it calls for, I triple the recipe, and it isn't thick like jelly.  Do you know what the difference between jam and jelly is?  There is a difference.

Yes, I know.  How cliche of me to add Strawberry Fields as the soundtrack to my short film.  The Mr is out of town (one word: football,) and I've dubbed this week Potty Training Week.  My imagination has been diminished.......

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

An Asylum

*Please note, additional photos can be found on facebook.

I arrive with barely enough time to take a seat, catching the tail-end of young boys and girls break-dancing to the encouragement of DJ Leonightus;  a young girl crying over her lost chance to dance.  The DJ’s reply? “Yeah, I cry too when I don’t get to dance.”

The show starts with Ginger Bow Tie, complete with modern-day pantaloons, updated capes and a bomber vest worthy of Mrs. Captain America.

Not to be beaten, Jessy Bergman sends out her first model; images of Miss Hannigan in all her pearl-and-lingerie-wearing, bathtub-water-drinking glory come to mind. 

Little Shell Designs steps up to the plate with feminine details that could rival Kate Spade (that’s a compliment.)

We take a short break to learn about KRUMP from Silent Empire; Kingdom Radically Uplifted Mighty Praise, but it means so much more – and only by dancing or watching it can you begin to understand it’s purpose. Be sure to adjust your volume accordingly.....

Embracing the urban feel, Sablu “ka-pows” the spectators with denim cut-offs, replete with patches including my own favorite: the infamous Rolling Stones tongue.  And the jacket I would purchase straight off the runway:

and yes, I somehow feel un-patriotic loving this jacket during the Olympics. Alas, fashion waits for no man....

*Michelle Kleineweber of Little Shell Designs brings us back to earth with femininity and yes, macramé.

* These photos were incorrectly attributed to Linda Pop, but they are the work of Michelle Kleineweber of Little Shell Designs.

WM Couture steps it up with feathers and see-through shrugs:

No Human Intentions wows us with incredible detail and threatrics:

Ziaha Marie competes with Donna Karan (another compliment) with her easy-to-wear pieces that convert from shirtdress, to a Marilyn Monroe-worthy halter dress:

Inner Hippie inspired our own inner hippie with tie-dyed denim and wowing us with a show-stopper of a dress:

And saving the best for last, we have House of Cochon, designed by the talented Amanda Burkhart.  I love her collection for not only the pieces, but the theatrics – we are being told a story – and it is a great story.  Whimsical, alluring, lovable.  You could see that the models loved what they were wearing.  Isn’t that the point?  Shouldn’t we all love what we are wearing.  The love continued after the show – they are the last models to change (and in fact, they may not have even changed at all!)

It’s the end of the evening, and I follow Kat down below where models are changing and leaving for the night (did I mention the air conditioner isn’t working?)  Kat and I talk for a few minutes, take some snapshots of the models who are most reluctant to relinquish their runway items, and I head back upstairs in search of more “press” material. 

As I sit on the outside stoop of this amazing (and ancient) building, surrounded by people of every age, race, size and shape, I fall in love with Kansas City all over again.  This feels like home.  I could’ve stayed all night.  A piece of my heart now lies on the stoop of the Arts Asylum building.   

If you like what you see here or you were in attendance at any of the shows, please go to and write your own reviews or simply rate the show(s) you attended.  I thoroughly enjoyed this show and hope to see it get bigger and better every year – something you can help with!  Visit for more information. 

I'm looking for names to go with these faces - contact me if you can help!

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