Peach Picking

I love finding out about new businesses, restaurants and attractions in our community and surrounding area and giving them a try. It’s probably part of the reason I love my job so much, we tend to be in the know of the latest and greatest where we live. Combine that with my love of fresh peaches…and you get this week’s blog post. I generally refuse to buy peaches at the grocery store. In my experience, you buy them when they’re hard as rocks, and in a random 15-minute window they go from rock hard to mush. As a busy human being…I don’t have time to try and fit in that window. So I don’t bother. However, I WILL bother buy farm stand peaches or picking my own.

I happened upon Meadowlark Farm when I got the itch a couple weeks ago to pick peaches or apples. Happy me…Meadowlark Farm had both. They’re located in Rose Hill…about a half hour drive or so from Wichita. Hubby and I loaded up the kiddos Saturday morning and ventured out. Meadowlark Farm has both a large peach orchard and a large apple orchard. They handed us a few buckets, a wagon/cart and showed us what we were looking for when it comes to ripe peaches and apples. With peaches – you’re good if there’s no green showing. Surface brown spots are ok…it just means a branch has rubbed on the peach. The apples we were looking for at that particular time, they told me – an important part of the story for later on – should be all yellow…a creamy yellow they said. Easy enough! We had a great time – there were so many perfectly ripe peaches on their trees! Hudson loved pulling them off the tree and dropping them in our buckets. Maybe next year we’ll have mastered the art of “gently placing them in the bucket.” No time for that this year! Ha! We easily filled two buckets when I decided that was all the peaches I had time to pit, peel and freeze so we moved on to apples.

Meadowlark Farm has several varieties of apples and we were looking for the in-season yellow ones. Though as my husband tried to show me…”We can pick these half red ones!” No, hubby dear. They specifically told me to look for yellow creamy apples, I explain as he picks one of said reddish apples. Take a bite of that dear, I say to him. “Yup. Not ripe. Need to find the yellow creamy apples.” Who’da thought?! Love that man. We found the famed yellow, creamy apples and picked a bucket full. Hudson is big into eating apples and saying apple now…so he happily chattered away as we explained our apples needed to come from the tree, and not be picked up off the ground! In addition Meadowlark Farm also sells a variety of garden grown produce…and much to Hudson’s delight they had goats and a playground! It was well worth our trip out there.
Again – I don’t get any kickbacks from Meadowlark….I’m just sharing what was a really fun family experience for us in the hopes you might enjoy a visit too. And if you have any favorite family outing activities…please share them with me! I’m always looking for a new place to visit or a new activity to try!

P.S. Meadowlark Farm is supposed to have pumpkins this year, too. Just a heads-up!

Dress for the job you want

How I, or any other reporter/anchor/on-air TV person, dress for work is an important part of my/our job. Television is a visual medium, therefore how I look is important. You can think it’s shallow or judgemental, but it’s a fact. What I wear and how I look will affect what you hear come out of my mouth and the way you hear it. Having worked in TV for over a decade now, I’ve worn a lot of bad…and learned. I’ve seen other people wear bad….and learned. It’s so frustrating to me to see people start out in this business with so much potential, only to be held back by what they wear. Or people who’ve been in the business awhile and choose to not maintain the upkeep of their professional appearance. It’s easy to get comfortable, but keeping an updated, professional appearance is something that must be done if you want a career in TV to thrive.
That said, there are a lot of elements I could include in this post and it would be pages long and no one would ever read it all. I’ll be flattered if they read all of this post, or any post here. Ha! But seriously – I’ll touch on a few of the bigger points today and probably revisit the topic here and there. My first and maybe most important point:

Dress appropriately for the story you’re covering. If you’re covering wildfires, it’s best to not wear a suit with stiletto heels. Pull out your station polo….or a collared shirt and khaki capris or pants with tennis shoes. (Shorts, IMHO, are never appropriate in a professional place of work.) If you’re covering a memorial for a police officer killed in the line of duty, your hot pink suit is not the best option. Has it been a stretch of 100+ degree days like it’s been here in Kansas? Sure, wear a tank top and capris….but have a suit jacket or change of clothes ready for when you go on the air. All of this can be executed by thinking about what you’re covering…and how you can blend into the story….not stand out. I know sometimes we don’t always know what we’ll end up covering for the day…that’s why you should always have a spare suit jacket, tennis shoes, polo and khaki pants on stand by both at home and at your desk at work, or in your station car. Those four items can help you look appropriate in any situation.
Your undergarments should never ever show. Whether you’re in the studio or out covering a story. This includes: bra straps, underwear through pants or skirt, a bra through a shirt. Nude undergarments are best. Keep your bra straps covered – so spaghetti-strap tank tops are a no-go. I have breastfed both my boys and shortly after returning to work post-Hudson, I had a bra strap sneak out during our noon newscast. Gasp! You can bet a couple viewers called the station to let people know. Thankfully our receptionist kindly had my back…told those viewers I was a breastfeeding new mom and they should show some grace…but when it comes down to it, that little wardrobe faux pax distracted viewers from what I said. I’ve made sure it hasn’t happened since.

My final point for this blog before everyone shuts me out: Skirts should always be knee-length…or at least an inch or two PAST fingertip-length. This allows you to do all the un-graceful movement being a reporter/MMJ/anchor requires without showing something that would cause a viewer to take you less seriously. This is the most violated rule I see. There’s a fine line between long-enough and too-short….and once you cross it…it can’t be unseen. Does your skirt have a slit? Be aware how high it goes. If it’s more than 4”…you probably shouldn’t wear it for work. Does your skirt look like it fits…or does it look like you might have trouble breathing? Don’t get me wrong – a skirt can be form-fitting without taking away everyone’s imagination.

Recipe for Brazillian cheese rolls

I love “entertaining.” I love making a good meal and sharing it with good friends. However – these days with a couple of little ones around…these events need to be planned out and kept simple. I’m not losing my sanity over hosting dinner. Therefore – I love a recipe that comes across as fancy and delicious but is also simple and easy. Enter: Brazilian cheese rolls. These were shared with me by friends a couple years ago and they always come through to round out a meal with a homemade treat that can be made quickly. They have a unique texture…they’re chewy – in a good way. They’re made with tapioca flour which can easily be found in your flour/grain section. Bob’s Red Mill is carried in most any grocery store and they make tapioca flour…a picture is included to try and make it easy for you. The catch is – they don’t store well. So once you make them, eat them. They won’t be the same the next day. This is rarely an issue for my family because, sadly, between my husband and I – we can eat an entire batch. So for a group – devouring these rolls should be easy. You’ll be using a mini muffin tin, filling them ¾ the way full. Also – I’ve had the best luck getting uniform, rounded rolls by leaving two of the muffin “tins” filled with water. I think the slight humidity in the oven helps. But you can obviously experiment on your own too.

Ingredients
1 egg
1/3 c. cooking oil
2/3 c. milk
1 ¼ c. tapioca flour
½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
1 tsp. salt

Instructions
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease a mini-muffin tin. Put all the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. (I used a hand blender) Your batter will be liquid. Pour batter into greased mini-muffin tin about ¾ full and bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the bread puffs up and is a light brown color.

That’s it! Any other secretly simple recipes out there I should know about? Tell me!

Snapseed

I won’t take much of your time today – just wanted to let you know about a cool app I’ve been using lately. I’ve always considered myself a “documenter.” I’m often the one trying to document life events by offering to take a photo. I love creating and preserving memories and photos are the main way I accomplish this. However, not all my photos turn out to be masterpieces worth of saving. However – I was recently turned on to an app that is helping more of my photos be display-worthy and I thought I’d pass it along. It’s an app called Snapseed. First – I again remind you that I’m not paid to mention any companies or products on my blog – it’s just me telling you what I like and why. Second – I love posting photos on Instagram (follow me: NewsAnchorKT) because their fun photo editing options and filters make my average photos look amazing. However, I don’t like sharing Every. Single. Photo on there….but I’d still like to be able to use the awesome photo editing options. Enter Snapseed. It’s a FREE(!!!) app that has all kinds of cool photo editing options and you can just edit a photo and save it. No need to post it to a social media site…just keep your awesome (edited) photo and do what you like with it! I’m sure there are other photo editing apps out there…so if you use one that you really love, let me know! I’m all about making my average photos look as above average as I can make them. If you’re like me and wanted an option outside Instagram, then Snapseed is worth exploring.

So many new places to check out in Wichita

Is it just me or have you noticed dozens of new places opening around town? I love the bustling vibe that the Wichita area is putting out. People are taking pride in our city and supporting local businesses. I am all about that. We’re growing so much that I’m having a hard time keeping up! I love checking out new places. People always ask me, “What’s your favorite restaurant in town?” I can’t really answer because I don’t have one favorite. I would rather try all kinds of new places than have one place we always frequent. I realize others may disagree – I’m just sharing the philosophy of the Taube household! Wichita has not disappointed. Ever since moving here 5+ years ago now…we are always finding new and interesting places to eat and things to do. I like knowing what’s available and what’s going on around town, which is probably just one reason I became a journalist, so we’re always trying to get to the latest and greatest. Having two little boys in the past two years has made this more of a challenge, but we’re still trying! We probably get to the family-friendly places before the date night places – but we eventually get there! Most recently we tried a new local place…Oak and Pie, located in the ever-developing Greenwich and 21st area. They specialize in pizza which we ordered and it was great! Ask my HH, I NEVER eat pizza crust…which he usually likes because HE gets to eat it. But the crust was so yummy at Oak and Pie that I ate every bite. Sorry, hubs. Last weekend we checked out the Bramble Café at Elderslie Farm. SO. GOOD. BTW – I’m not endorsed by any of these places…I’m just sharing where we’ve been and how we liked it. I also highly recommend dinner at Elderslie Farm. It’s pricey, but worth every penny. It’s also in high demand so reservations are a MUST. Again – totally worth it. We’ve tried Meddy’s, Freebirds World Burrito, Dempsey’s, Picasso’s, the list goes on. We haven’t made it there yet but Piatto Neapolitan Pizzeria and the Biscuit Company are on my list. I’ve focused mainly on restaurants but there’s also neat places to check out around town I haven’t gotten to yet. My hope in sharing these is that you’ll share YOUR favorite places that I need to check out. Let me know – where have you eaten lately that you loved? Where have you shopped or tried something new that others should know about? I want to know!!

Power of a hand-written thank you

 

I was raised to write thank you notes. I mean, it was engrained in me. ANYTIME we received a gift…you can guarantee the day would soon come when our play time outside or on the computer would be held hostage until we handed over those handwritten notes in their addressed envelopes. As a kid I thought it was a painful process that was extremely annoying. However as an adult I’ve come to really appreciate them. Sure – a text or e-mail can more conveniently express gratitude for one’s thoughtfulness…but it really doesn’t fill the void of a sincere, hand-written note. Plus, with all the affordable and adorable stationery out there these days…who wouldn’t want to send or receive colorful prettiness?! It makes me happy to find something in my mailbox that isn’t a bill or junk mail…so I try to take advantage of any opportunity to send a little joy to someone else’s mailbox!

What I didn’t realize…is how well the art of writing thank you notes translates to the professional world. I got a fabulous education at the University of Illinois (OSKEE-WOW-WOW!!!) that prepared me well for the world of television journalism…however this little tidbit was left out. Or I skipped class that day. Whichever. I really do try to write a thank you note to anyone who takes time out of their life and spends it with me telling me what I need to know. Or maybe it’s a photographer who goes out of their way to make my story great. Or the receptionist who’s greeted a gazillion guests for me. A thank you can go a long way in making someone feel appreciated. And whether you do it for this reason or not…it most likely will always come back to you in good ways. So anytime I finish a story…I pull out my trusty “thank you stationery” and get to work. It doesn’t have to be long. A greeting, statement of appreciation followed by a statement of why it’s appreciated and a closing. That’s it! You can be sure that any future time you need said person’s assistance they’ll be guaranteed to want to help you. It will make you stand out against your competition. It will make people remember you. (I always include a business card in the envelope!) The return far outweighs the little effort it takes to write the note. I highly recommend it. Both personally and professionally. It’s the write thing to do. See what I did there? J

30 minutes that will save you hours

This fall will round out my 14th year (Gulp! How am I even typing that?!) working in television news. This business has taught me a lot – both about television and life in general. I’ve done some really smart things…and more really stupid things. My goal here is to share some insight on various topics to try and make your lives better some way…whether it’s offering perspective, a dose of PMA, a laugh, an easier way, or just a window into the life of a fellow journo. Some will read that and chuckle….because I’m now offering the words of wisdom that I NEVER LISTENED TO 10+ years ago. I already admitted I did more stupid things. And if you can benefit from that….then those stupid things I did were well worth it. Worst case scenario I’ll give you a reason to laugh.

I’ll start with a change in my life I recently made that has made huge improvements to my personal time. OK it’s not earth shattering – don’t get too excited. But it is one of those ideas an insultant (light-hearted joke used by TV folk to refer to CONSULTANTS) suggested many moons ago that I thought was stupid at the time. HA! One thing we learn working in TV – time is valuable. Anyone working in TV knows that A LOT can get done in 2 minutes. Heck, a lot can get done in 30 seconds. So we like to make the most of our time. As a mom of two little boys who is working mornings – my hours of shut-eye are priceless and this little change, perhaps, has helped me not only feel better with earlier bed times…but also look better. Here is my life change. Ready for it? Plan out your daily outfits ahead of time. That’s it. Let the idea settle in a bit. As a news anchor…we try to have a consistent, polished and professional look. Every. Single. Day. Figuring out what shirt to wear with which pants? Skirt? Jacket? Jewelry? It’s exhausting…especially when trying to make these decisions at 2AM. First world problems, right? But it’s part of the job. So. I started blocking out a half hour each Sunday, usually when my sons are napping. I pick out a top, bottom, jewelry for each day of the week and lay out unmentionables. If I take (usually less than) a half hour to do this on Sunday – it saves me probably 2-3 hours throughout the week, and also helps me be more punctual getting to work and even maximizes my sleep time. I also don’t disturb handsome hubby by rummaging around our bedroom at 2AM. That way, during the week – I can enjoy putting my boys to bed, or having a conversation with HH with one less item on my To Do list before bed. It’s a small change that’s made a huge difference. And so what if you’re not a news anchor…this can benefit anyone. Stay at home moms – you have enough to do without figuring out what to wear. Lay it out days ahead of time and it’s one less thing to deal with. Maybe you’re focused on getting to the gym….lay out your gym clothes in advance. You’ll look better, feel better – and take less time achieving it. I’ll point out that said “insultant” suggested writing out my outfits on a calendar (in TV news we have the hurdle of not wearing the same outfit too frequently)…but for me I find physically laying them out a week in advance is more effective. So advice given 8 years ago…has now been taken and passed on to you. Wish I would have listened back then.