As described in the Willie Nelson song “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys”, I’ve had “things” for all-things ranching since an early age.
While other girls were playing with Barbies and wearing tutus, I spent my time tending a Breyer horse herd and clambering around in fringed cowboy boots. There was always only one thing I wanted to grow up to be: a cowgirl. Not a poufy hair rodeo queen cowgirl (I ended up doing that briefly, due to my need for scholarships), but a real-life, cowpoke with land, cattle, and horses to her name.
Hence, one of the first places I’d longed to see since we received orders to move to Kansas was the legendary Wild West town of Dodge City.
If you’ve ever met me in person, it’s no secret that I’m not a native Kansan.
I drop way too many “y’all’s”, own way too many sundresses, and spend too much time researching the ultimate fried chicken recipes to be considered a natural born child of the Sunflower State.
So how’d I end up living on a recently revived homestead nestled in the Flint Hills? By quite the circuitous route.
It all started in Memphis, TN – our nation’s most dangerous city. I was raised in the shadow of Elvis, half a dozen Evangelical (or Fundamentalist, depending on your political leanings) cult leaders, and the ultimate sweet sauce BBQ. Continue Reading…
Chase County, Kansas is one of my favorite places on earth.
It tops the list of places I’d like to live.
While it may not look like much according to its Census Bureau stats (less than 3,000 people, miles away from the closest grocery store, terrible cell reception, almost no infrastructure), Chase County is a community with a whole lot of heart.
Hailed as one of the crown jewels of the picturesque Flint Hills, Chase County’s strategically situated as a quiet hamlet along the Flint Hills Scenic Byway (K-177), nestled up against the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve and its impressive buffalo herds. Chase County has a ton of history, a gorgeous Courthouse, and lots of unique cultural events (ever heard of the Symphony in the Flint Hills? It’s amazing.).
Forget Black Friday and Cyber Monday – let’s talk Giving Tuesday.
A relatively new campaign, Giving Tuesday was introduced by the 92nd Street Y and the United Nations Foundation as a response to holiday themes of non-stop consumerism.
By shifting the focus from buying stuff to helping others, Giving Tuesday provides an awesome opportunity for people just like you and me to donate resources (time, money, food) to organizations dedicated to making our world a better place.
I’ve sworn off the post-Thanksgiving shopping activities for the past five years. Instead of standing in line for more stuff, I’ve made it a priority to support at least one organization on Giving Tuesday.
Oh, how I love the Kansas State Fair.
For ten days in September, the little town of Hutchison welcomes hundreds of thousands of visitors from all around the Sunflower State. The roadways become packed, restaurants overflow, and “No Fair Parking” signs crop up in hastily manicured terraces. A city best known for its Cosmosphere and salt mine evolves into the state hub for pretty much everything for ten epic days of all-things-Kansan.
The Kansas State Fair is an annual festival that’s been going on for over 100 years. Thanks to a multitude of helpful volunteers and supporting organizations, the state fair provides both educational and entertainment opportunities for all ages. Some of the exhibits are predictable, like the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Fisheries mobile aquarium (super cool), while others breathe new life into the annual event, like a surprise visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales (the 2015 fair rocked).
Remember Raymond Tusk from House of Cards?
The Koch-inspired billionaire who headquartered his company in Missouri (of all places), lived in a modest house with his wife, and spent his free time roaming the Ozarks bird watching? Despite living thousands of miles away from politic power houses and industry hubs, Tusk’s enterprises extended their reach into international markets from the Show Me State, all the way to China.
While I’m not much like Gerald McCraney’s House of Cards character (we exist in totally different tax brackets), we do have one similarity – running a business from the middle of nowhere.
Throughout business school, I carefully researched up and coming metro areas and startup communities, trying to identify the “perfect” place to headquarter my consulting firm. Continue Reading…