Archive for the ‘Kansas City Tips’ Category

I have said many times on my blog:

I love people that

a) get over their fear
b) to follow their passion
c) which helps and inspires others

I venture to guess that most of the people reading this post are not pursuing the heart’s desire. Usually the excuses are centered around time, security, failure, and risk. But all are about FEAR. The fear of failure. The fear of the unknown.

When you let go of the fear, magic happens

I sat down to interview Darby Brender, founder of Fusion Fitness, and was struck by her passion and energy. Just like us, she had a dream. Her passion was to open her own boutique fitness studio in a time when big box fitness centers dominated the scene. For years, Darby had designed and followed her own workouts, blending high energy moves with poses from yoga and pilates. She would even hold her own “classes” for people on vacation to help scratch her passion itch. She knew the kinds of classes she wanted to take, and there was nothing out there like them.

(Yes, this is her actual body. Come on, stop looking at it and keep reading.)

Finally, in 2008, with a one-year-old daughter and still being relatively new to Kansas City, 28-year-old Darby took the plunge with friend and partner, Shandy Rooney. The two of them worked tirelessly on innovative workout routines, performing them over and over for each other until they were flawless. After finding the perfect spot in Overland Park, Kansas, the two invested their own money and opened the doors on May 5th.

Just four years later, and Fusion Fitness is THE fitness studio in Kansas City. If you see a good body walking around town, Darby probably had something to do with it. Her classes are intense, results-oriented, and FUN. As she says,

If you want to see a transformation, you have to work hard. I want my clients to see results and strive to give them the best work-outs I can. I am constantly changing the routines so the body doesn’t plateau from getting used to it. I always want to keep Fusion Fitness cutting-edge.”

Something special is going on over there, that’s for sure, because classes are packed and they studio has already had to expand twice. Business is booming and it has been virtually all by word of mouth.

That is what happens when you follow your dreams.

The Universe conspires to assist you along the way. And your passion is contagious…better than any magazine add money could by.

After taking over the business when her partner moved, she went right back into innovating. Her next dream was an exercise video. Not just another exercise video…something that has not been done before. Where you feel like you are actually in the classroom. Clients across the country wanted to be able to take her classes anywhere they went.

Darby says deciding to make the video was

One of the scariest things I have done. Much scarier than opening the studio. I really had to work through that fear and ask my supporters to help me keep on track

The project had a huge time committment and much greater financial risk. But, she followed her dream, got over the fear, and went for it.

As with any intention you put out there, if you focus on it, things start falling into place. Darby serendipitously realized a client had a film production company and would be able to produce the video, a friend hooked her up with the perfect music producer, and actual Fusion Fitness customers agreed to star in it. The results are magical.

The first 500 videos have already flown off the shelves, and you can see why…

Not only is this exercise video amazing enough to go crazy viral, I venture to guess it won’t be the last one you’ll see from Darby. She has “trainer to the stars” quality, and that, coupled with her passion, is contagious. She is truly a special spirit who wants nothing more than to help women’s health.

When you follow your heart’s desire, success is inevitable

Check out her website and blog, and if you want a reall a$$-kicking, treat yourself to her video! (disclaimer: every time I have taken her class, I can barely move for 2 days. You won’t be disappointed!)

Start following your dreams, readers! And while you are, let Fusion Fitness get you into shape!

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Here is an awesome DIY project for you this holiday season: make your own wreath from recycled materials!

If Dalai can do it, anyone can.

(Can you believe it is December ALREADY?)

My good friend and artist, Tess Hawes, and I were asked to create a Christmas decoration benefitting KVC, a nonprofit corporation providing social services to children and families.

Designers from across the city brought their unique creations…but there was only one GREEN decoration. (Ours, silly)

For weeks we collected aluminum cans, cut off the tops and bottoms, and made “leaves” from the sheets of aluminum.

Then, we attached over 100 leaves onto a used bicycle tire rim with the help of a hot glue gun.

Spray painted bottle caps became holly berries, attached bow, and

Voilà! A perfect DIY wreath that is GREEN and beautiful.

The auction? Oh, it broke a fundraising record. Kama Moseley, the Gala Chair, rocked it. Congratulations.

Our cute wreath made us proud, going for quite a bit over what we expected.

And, equally important, the event was a blast. A night out with girlfriends never disappoints.

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I have been on the food committee at the kids’ school this year, trying to make little changes in the school lunches…things like sourcing local natural milk, local freshly baked breads, less desserts, more home made meals. You get the idea. Our goal is to get as much of our ingredients from local farmers as we can – and preferably naturally or organically grown and raised. We keep plugging away. Inch be inch.

On Thursday, November 10th at 6:30, St. Paul’s is hosting a public screening of Food, Inc. followed by a a panel discussion with a great list of community experts. So, not only can you see this thought provoking movie, you get an opportunity to ask questions from people like:

  • Beth Low, Director of the Greater Kansas City Food Policy Coalition
  • Joe Bichelmeyer, owner of local meat processing company and butcher, Bichelmeyer Meats
  • Kim wells, fitness and nutrition expert and speaker
  • Leigh Wagner, Integrative Medical Nutrition Therapy at KU Med Center
  • Katie Nixon, small farm specialist, consultant and advocate
  • Chef Joy, chef of Bistro Kids, a local company that provides organic/natural school lunches to participating schools
  • Shane Hanson, Director of Door to Door Organics Kansas City office

Wondering which foods you should be most concerned with? Interested in understanding how the meat processing industry really works? Don’t know how to access local, natural ingredients? How about getting a few ideas about how to make small changes at home?

Not only can you ask these questions, you can WIN gift certificates to some super awesome restaurants. Yum.

If you don’t come, I get them all. And I won’t invite you to come and share it with me…so you better join me Thursday or here is where I’ll be going without you…

Cafe Sebastian
The Farmhouse
Eden’s Alley
Cafe Europa
Blue Bird Bistro
Westside Local


Hope to see you there!


St. Pauls Episcopal Day Scool

4041 Main Street

Kansas City, MO

6:30-8:00 movie

8:00 discussion

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So, I have this cool club of women. Freaky amazing women. I have penned it “Karma Club” and it entails Dalai (me) organizing events where we all come together and get exposed to something new. (Here is another Karma Club meeting)

No, not new like Tupperware or cooking utensils. Lordy.

New like a Shaman, Medium, Reiki energy worker, essential oils…THAT kind of stuff.

Stop reading now if you think we are crazy. Because we are. Crazy cool and fun.

Anyhoo, last night we had Barbara Criswell from Aquarius Book Store come and take pictures of our auras. HOW NEET IS THAT?

Well, it was SO neet.

Meet my aura:

Every Aura is Unique

What does yellow mean? Well, there are many interpretations, but generally speaking: happy, enthusiastic, optimistic, humor and laughter.

The most interesting thing about the night is how each of the eleven women had very different auras. Only one other woman had yellow in her aura at all. There were shades of green, blue, orange, purple and pink. There were different patters and shapes. Everyone was unique.

It was particularly intruiging to do this in a group and hear everyone’s aura reading and see how they fit the person we already know.

For example, one friend was lamenting about how crazy and pressured work has been.  When her aura came back, it was bright green which was explained can often have a career/work meaning.  Fun fun.

Kirlian Photography

The history of auras goes back as far as we know.  There are references in the bible as well as depictions of it in art at “halos.”

The first Aura photo was made by the genius scientist Nicola Tesla in 1891 and the technology was improved with the Kirlian electrophotography system in the 1930s.

Electrophotography is taking a “photo” of your electromagnetic energy through acupuncture points in the hands.  Your unique energy at that point will reflect in your aura.

Still with me?  Rolling your eyes?

Really, I wanted to share this with you NOT so I could educated you on electrophotography.


I just wanted to show off my aura.

Or maybe get you thinking about:

1.  Starting your own Karma Club?  More fun than book clubs, I promise!

2. Checking cool people in your city.  There are fascinating people out there.  Go get them!

Question:  Are you guys interested in this kind of stuff? I can give you more. I’m from San Francisco, for Christ Sake.

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Kansas City has a new landmark in town. September 17 marked the grand opening of the Kauffman Performing Art Center which has been in the works for YEARS.

It is a truly stunning work of art, designed by internationally acclaimed architect Moshe Safdie and tuned by the best acoustician in the world, Yasuhisa Toyota.

We were out of town in Napa on the grand opening weekend. I’ve been dying to get a look inside, so I had a brilliant idea of taking my two youngest, Dalai Daniel and Pissy Missy to the world premiere of Tom Sawyer ballet.

Let’s just say, I overestimated.

Not the awesomeness of the structure. My kids ability to act like humans.

I kind of forgot they don’t talk or sing in ballets.

I couldn’t be too hard on them for thinking it was over and asking to leave after the first NUMBER. Not ACT. Five minutes. Done. Because they didn’t know what the hell was going on. And neither did I. Can you put some Cliff notes in the Playbill, people?

Not all was for naught. Annabelle got a solid nap and hydrated my arm with her drool. Daniel learned a good lesson in the perils of wiggling after hitting his head so hard on the chair’s sponsorship plaque it drew blood. (“You see mom, I told you why I hate this place!”)

And I remembered I’m not a ballet lover either.

So shoot me. I like words. Duh.

Call me Philistine but I prefer to eat popcorn when I’m sitting in uncomfortable chairs.

Whatever, so the people behind us decided to move seats. Worse things have happened. I’m just trying to culturalize my pups, fellow citizens, have pity on me.

(And them. They asked where the popcorn machine was. The apple doesn’t fall…)

p.s. The building is magnificent. Beautiful. Simply beautiful.

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I have always hated asking for help. It was a sign of weakness. Proof that there is something wrong with me – something that I couldn’t do.

I have worked through a lot of those old beliefs, but there is a shadow of them still lurking in the recesses of my childhood brain. There is still part of me that doesn’t want to admit I can’t do it all myself. Sound familiar?

What a crock! Everyone needs support! As a matter of fact, most successful people have had support in the form of a mentor at least one time in their lives. Life Coaches have become so mainstream in Hollywood that just about every actor, director, producer and executive has one.

The turning point for me came 4 years ago. I was feeling lost. Unfulfilled. I had a great life – everything you could want – yet, I felt confused and lacking. I was yearning for more in my life, but couldn’t articulate what “more” was. I knew that traditional counseling wasn’t what I needed, but what then? Who do you turn to when you need help sorting things out and getting back on track?

For me, the answer was a life coach.

A personal life coach helps identify specific goals as well as develop strategies and action plans that will help you achieve the highest level of happiness and success. A good coach helps you envision your future AND gives you the tools to attain that vision. They encourage you to stretch yourself beyond old, dysfunctional beliefs and patterns so you can accomplish your wildest dreams.

So, I finally gave up trying to solve all of my problems and decided to schedule a meeting with a local life coach, Jill Tupper. My first thoughts were, “OMG, am I REALLY doing this? What are people going to think? I’m crazy? Lame? Maybe just a little weird? And, what am I gong to say to her???”

Well, 4 years later and not a day goes by that I am not thankful I asked for help. When I compare where I was 4 years ago to where I am now, it is remarkable.

Before seeing a life coach, my life was centered around a bunch of “shoulds” that kept me busy doing things that were sucking me dry. My path was being decided by what I thought others wanted me to do, not what fed my spirit.

Through her incredible intuition, life experiences, training, and a wide range of tools, Jill was able to get to the heart of the matter in one sitting. Her sessions are like “working meetings” where you leave feeling like you got a lot done and you have a plan in hand. Without her, who knows how long it would have taken me to realize some simple truths that transformed my life’s path.

Since then, I emptied my plate of uninspiring volunteer work, started my own blog, and write almost every day. I have never looked back. I have never felt guilty. And I have thrived.

What do you need? H-E-L-P? Think about getting a mentor. Maybe start your own business support group? (I’m actually interested in starting a local blog support group if anyone is interested) Or, treat yourself to your very own life coach. It is SOOOO nice to have the support.

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I can’t tell you how excited I am that we FINALLY have something like this in Kansas City: prepared vegan meals that can be delivered right to your door.

For the past couple weeks I have been trying Conveniently Natural’s meals so that I could get a really good sense if they were high quality and tasty before saying anything to you.

Well, they have been delicious!

I have tried 13 different menu items and have liked them all and LOVED most of them. Being vegan, all the menu items are dairy-free, but you can also order them gluten free! They come to your door at no extra charge if you order 4 or more meals. Delivery is on Monday, and if you are not around, you leave a cooler on your front porch. And here is the best part: there are no contracts. You can buy what you want when you want.

They come beautifully packaged with instructions on the containers:

Most need to be heated. I opted for warming mine in a small frying pan. It is quick and you avoid zapping the nutrients out of this beautiful food with a microwave.  I thought the meals had great flavor, and many had some kick to them!  And when I felt like they needed something extra, I didn’t shy away from adding sea salt or pepper.

They have been a Godsend to have around for quick, easy, healthy meals. I can see them being used in many different ways:

  • to have on hand for busy days so you don’t grab unhealthy options
  • to help with an “elimination” diet if you are wanting to see if a wheat/gluten intolerance may be causing you problems
  • to fill in meals when on a cleanse and you are already spending a lot of time preparing juices/smoothies
  • to help with a diet, supporting healthy eating with quick options
  • to simply help you eat healthier!!!

There are a few different options to try these meals, from $97 for 13 containers, to $55 for 4 meals.  You can even buy less if you don’t mind picking the meals up.  I froze some of mine and have since used them.  Many of these meals freeze great!
For more information, check out their website:  convenientlynatural.com

Greek Cavatappi Pasta (SO tasty)

Maple-Roasted Root Vegetables with Couscous

Zesty Shiitake Medley with Asparagus and Pumpkin Seeds over Brown Rice (knocked it out of the ballpark!)

Steamed Baby Carrots in Cilantro Cream Sauce

Faux Chicken Salad (LOVED this!)

Warm Chipotle Potato Salad (this had some KICK – yummy!)

Summer Roots with Broccoli and Navy Beans with Blackened Smoked Tofu and Cajun Sweet Potatos (amazing – the cajun spice was delish!)

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