How Does She Do It: Brooke Yoder

*How Does She Do It is a recurring feature where I interview fabulous women I know.*

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Today I’m sharing a little bit about my friend Brooke Yoder. If her name sounds familiar it’s because her husband is a Congressman running for re-election. Many of you know I have a background in politics, which has afforded me a peek behind the curtain at what running for office is like for candidates’ families. Often they are judged harshly and unfairly. I actually met Brooke at the NFL 101 Awards about 7 years ago before her husband won Dennis Moore’s old seat. She instantly struck me as an elegant, timeless, independent woman with a quiet self-assurance that hints that she is always gracious by choice, but she notices everything. Over the years I’ve seen her at fundraisers, baby showers, and parties, and I think the Brooke I love the most is the one in her KU T-shirt holding a beer bottle and lighting up when she sees her friends walk into the room so she can embrace them in a big hug. So politics aside: if you’ve ever been curious what it’s like to be a Congressman’s wife, here’s a little background you might find interesting.

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EK: You’ve always had a lil Southern Belle vibe I love. Where are you from originally?

BY: I was born and raised in western Kentucky near a town called Morganfield, located in Union County. (Every place in rural Kentucky is known by its county.) I attended the University of Kentucky and graduated with a degree in Agriculture.

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EK: How did you meet your hubby (Congressman) Kevin Yoder?

BY: Kevin and I met in Washington DC. He was a law clerk at the Pentagon and I was working in the US Senate.

EK: What are the best and worst things about being a campaign wife?

BY: Best is all of the interesting people you meet along the way. Our country is full of amazing people with great stories to tell. The worst is the judgment you receive from people who don’t know you. I also fear for my children as they are exposed to all of the negative attention.

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EK: Yes. I think the mom thing would be the hardest part. Speaking of that, I hate to sound sexist because people never ask men this, but you’re a hot mom, so I’m curious, how do you stay in shape/practice self care?

BY (laughing): I have NEVER been called that. I wish I could say I worked out and ate the way I should. I do the best I can. I eat lots of vegetables and clean protein. I do enjoy working out, especially spinning and yoga, but I never make the time for it anymore.

EK: Who’s your favorite character from Scandal?

BY: ALL OF THEM! I am obsessed with this show right now. I just started watching it this summer as a recommendation for something to keep my mind off the campaign. The show is completely unrealistic, but I love every second of it. Is it just me or does every Shonda Rhimes show make you want to drink wine?

EK: How have you JUST NOW STARTED SCANDAL?? *remembers you’re way busier than me, then changes subject before launching into ode to Kerry Washington and accidentally telling a million spoilers while contemplating pouring a glass of red wine. PS Crate and Barrel has Olivia Pope wine glasses and they are on sale right now.*  Do you want your daughters to go into public service someday?

BY: Sure. I want my girls to be gracious and care about their community. Public service can take many forms so whatever path they choose, I want them to take pride in making the world a better place.

EK: Do you ever have moments where you feel like people define you by your husband’s job? As an accomplished woman in your own right, how does this make you feel?

BY: I came to terms with my husband’s success years ago, but when we were first married, I would get jealous when people didn’t recognize my success. It took me a lot of time to figure out that his successes are mine as well and our marriage isn’t a competition. Also, my husband is the most supportive partner anyone could ask for, so I am pretty lucky.

EK: Favorite mom/life-hack?

BY: Red lipstick when you feel crappy!

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EK: Yesss. Mine is extra eyeliner, but same principle. Most comfortable pumps you own?

BY: For me, you cannot beat LK Bennett! I can wear those all day every day. And I do most days right now.

EK: *Immediately googles LK Bennett. Drools over Fern Grey Glitter Closed Courts.* What are you most proud of about yourself?

BY: I am the first person in my family to go to college. The law degree I earned from the University of Kansas is one of my proudest achievements. At the risk of sounding completely cheesy, I’m proud of the parents Kevin and I are. I never knew how incredibly difficult and rewarding parenting can be. On the days you “get it right” there is no better feeling in the world.

EK: Even though you’re name isn’t on the ballot, you have an integral role and unique position to influence politics in our state and country at a time where a lot of us feel like we are walking on eggshells. Do you have any aspirations to have “Brooke Yoder” on the ballot? 

BY: There is 0% chance I would ever run for office. I admire the women who do run, but that isn’t me.

EK: Ending on a light note, what’s a little tidbit people wouldn’t expect about you and Kevin? 

BY: Kevin and I are total nerds and we geek out over the silliest things. One of our favorite date night is to sitting at a bar during March madness, eating wings and competing at Trivia. (I’m better, but he’s funnier.) Actually what attracted to me about him in the first place is how smart his sense of humor is. What’s not to love!

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Holding It Together: Getting Your Head Straight Without A Head Injury (Preferably)

Yesterday I had six staples removed from the back of my head. (I am going to spare you the gross “before” pictures but let me just say, getting them pried out was no picnic either.)

About a week and a half ago, I was scooting a chair out when I fell backwards onto my neighbors’ stone tile floor. Being one half of a military couple, my neighbor quickly got a first aid kit, applied pressure while keeping me calm, and then determined we’d better call an ambulance. You know how sometimes you don’t realize how bad you look until you see someone else’s expression when they see you? It was like that. I was like, well if this American hero and combat veteran is spooked, then I’m probably screwed.

Turns out it was just a very bloody laceration. (Remind me to tell you about my idea for a CT scanner that releases confetti on the way out if you’re not facing immediate certain death.) Nothing broken, no concussion, and the best part, they didn’t even have to shave my head.
Side note: you know you care about your hair a little too much when you start telling friends you had to get staples in your head and more than two follow up with, *well thank GOD they didn’t do anything to your hair! *wipes tear* You guys just know me so well.

So without getting into too many boring details, this was just one of several things that occured simultaneously, making me feel like I was caught in some sort of blood-soaked porta potty hurricanado.

I recently had a bunch of upgrades done on my kitchen and master bathroom (which I am overdue to share with you, I know, but I digress.) My tile guy has basically become a roommate over the last few months. He’s a very kind, very spiritual man who talks a lot about Jesus and his faith. He constantly testifies and generously gives random words of encouragement, which if I’m being honest, makes my cynical heart squirm a little. But the other day as I bent over to unload the dishwasher, with the searing pain of six staples holding my head together and my life seemingly falling down around me, I was startled by a bald man in a sweat-soaked t-shirt bounding through my kitchen with a handful of tile and the biggest grin in the world, enthusiastically shouting, “HEY! YOU’RE WORTH IT!” before disappearing up the stairs and out of sight.

And while it’s never “fun” to feel like you’re being tested, it can still prove rewarding. Somehow through injury and the various other drama that ensued, I remembered a very important thing; I like myself. I am grateful to be here. I have many things left in this lacerated head of mine to say. And I shall.

So I will leave you with this lesson today: Be they staples in your skull, or an evangelical bursting through your door shouting unsolicited praise, sometimes the things in life that make you uncomfortable at first are ultimately what help you heal.

Alternate Titles:
I Need Another Bad Day Like A Hole In My Head
Heavy Metal
Staples Of The Cross
Jesus Shaves Saves
Floorthumping (I get knocked down, but I get up again)

KC Live: Pop Up Pinterest Worthy Spread for Busy Moms and Flower Arranging Tips for Beginners

How to make a pop-up, pinterest-worthy party spread

Catch my segment here for details on some fantastic products and a few tips:

TableVogue – Don’t we all agree I need to order one of these for my future segments?? Also how cute would these be for a neighborhood cookout or tailgate party? Very easy to wash and no ironing required, just toss in the dryer with a damp towel for 5 minutes. My kind of effortless elegance.

Buddeez Party Top Beverage Dispenser – This is a much more versatile option than most of the styles of drink dispensers you typically find, and half the cost. It’s got a streamlined design, practical features, and it’s light-weight and shatterproof without sacrificing the pretty wow factor.

So to me the funniest (and funnest) parts of getting to go on live tv are usually the circumstances leading up to it.

My family has been on a dream vacation  until yesterday (IG @MrsKansasMommy) but it left us all exhausted. Nothing is unpacked. I can’t find any of my hair appliances. This, for me, is a very big deal; I was the weirdo who brought hot rollers to college in the early 2000s at age 17 just so I could rock smooth, voluminous, over-teased curls for class everyday. You can imagine my horror at going on tv with a head full of flyaways like one of those white dandilions children make wishes on. All of my makeup is the complete wrong color for my burnt, crispy face. (Side note: does anyone know what makeup shade Kurt Russell wore in Captain Ron, because that’s what I needed this morning.) I was also without an assistant today so I had to carry everything myself, in new high heels killing off whatever nerve endings I have left in my toes after walking miles at disney and the beach. On the way out of the house I shattered one of my DIY china teacup candles all over the kitchen floor. Smooth move, ex lax. It was also white-hot under the studio lights, so as I was telling you about the elegance and simplicity of fresh flowers, I had beads of sweat pooling up on the back of my neck and cascading down my back onto my microphone which had to later be removed from my sweat-soaked bra by a crew member I have never met before. We’re having dinner tomorrow night.

Kidding! He declined.

As a spokesperson, part of my job is getting to tell you about new or award-winning products from various companies with which I have the honor of partnering. This is great because it allows me to kid/mom-test a lot of game-changing products, but it doesn’t often leave a lot of time for me to show you much of my personal hobbies. Today was so much fun because I got to show you something I’m really passionate about, which is easy entertaining, particularly, setting up a focal point and making custom flower arrangements. If you’d like to incorporate flowers into your decor here are my tips:

  1. Skip the florist, buy whatever is on sale at Trader Joe’s, Costco, or Sam’s Club. If you’re unsure where to begin, buy Hydrangea or Gladiolus. Stick with one color palette to give yourself more pairing options.
  2. If it’s more cost effective to buy a big bouquet full of different colors, when you get home, take the whole bouquet apart and separate them all into color families. Chic-micro arrangements all around the room are much more impactful than one thrown-together multi-colored bouquet.
  3. Choose vases that have a tighter bottleneck shape at the top. This will save you time and money because you don’t need as much filler and you won’t need to fuss with floral tape or rubber bands to keep the blooms nice and tight.
  4. When in doubt, add more greenery. Eucalyptus is one of my favorites. You can see a bunch of my floral arrangements HERE and many of them include eucalyptus, basil, and just plain old branches trimmed from various trees or shrubs in my yard. Don’t overthink it. Just don’t confuse dramatic with messy.
  5. When grouping your flowers and stems, use odd numbers. For some reason it just always turns out better.

I didn’t have time to tell you about my Farmer’s Market Appetizer Spread trick today, but I will try to incorporate it into a future segment or post, as it is so easy and saves so many dishes.

Thank you always to KC Live for having me!

Thank you for being here. I hope you all enjoyed the segment and getting to see a little bit more of my personal, creative outlet side.

If you have an easy party tip, please do share. Cheers to us and to no-fuss entertaining!

KC Live: The COOLEST Bath Toys for Toddlers (And gerbils?)

“So there I was, alone in a Ritz Carlton, crying into my used/hotel-issued ‘luxury’ bathrobe”….is a way I could start more than one story. But for now,  I’ll stick to Monday night. It was my own fault, in that I drank a bunch of white wine and turned on Mamma Mia on Netflix. If you have a little girl and think you could watch Meryl Streep sing this song without drunk-crying, fight me. Continue reading

KC Live: Screen Free Entertainment

(Spoiler alert: I HAVE A CODING ROBOT AND HE’S ADORABLE AND HE SCARES MY DOG AND IT’S AWESOME.)

Join me today at 10am on KSHB 41 for my segment on KC Live. As always, I’ll post pictures after the segment, but I wanted you to have the links to the toys and gifts I’m showing and where to get them! Hoping my big brother will make a cameo as my on-camera assistant. Because really what kind of little sister would I be if I didn’t make inconvenient, last-minute demands. *Boss baby since 1984 (TM)

Tune in!

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Roostcrate.com Gorgeous custom and monthly gift boxes.

Botley™ the Coding Robot Amazon.com

Sculptapalooza Amazon.com

Doorway Puppet Theater HABAUSA.com

Highlights Write On Wipe Off Books Amazon.com

 

 

6 Easy Ways To Hide Your Inner Garbage Person

6 Ways To Look Put Together

Ditch the ponytail/messy bun for a side bun. Spray your side part with dry shampoo, then pull all your hair loosely to one side, secure the non-bun side with a single bobby pin to keep from having fly-aways, and do the usual messy bun on the other side, just below your ear. Add dangly earrings. Quick. Chic. Wear it on a date. Wear it to work. Wear it to church. Go crazy.

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Same amount of time and effort. Perfect for those of us in denial about our root situations.

 

 

Put self-tanner on your face, neck and chest. It’s fast, makes your skin look healthier, your teeth look whiter, and you can get dressed right away. My favorite.

 

Line your lips. This is a must for me, but I’ve noticed that a lot of my friends don’t bother with it. TRUST me. Lipliner is the new eyeliner. I buy the cheap ones in nude tones so I can keep one in my makeup drawer and one in my purse and they will work with any color lipstick or gloss (think Rimmel, Wet’n’Wild, etc.) Resist the temptation to buy the ones that don’t need sharpening. They’re convenient, but they don’t last nearly as long as the ones you have to sharpen.

 

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That’s a scab in my nose from having to blow it so much due to allergies. But I love you so I’m keeping it real and posting what appears to be a picture of me with an enormous booger. Could I go back and crop it out? Yes. Do I have the time or energy for that? Nope.

 

 

Don’t rely on your workout clothes as a go-to if you’re not actually working out. It’s so tempting to put on yoga pants and a zip up when we’re feeling blah, but that’s actually when you should toss on your favorite jeans, a button down, and some booties. I own exactly two button downs. One is from Old Navy and one is from Forever 21,  both are older than my 2nd daughter.

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Add a scarf. It makes you look instantly put together. Stella and Dot scarves are THEE best scarves ever. You can wear them tons of ways, including as a dress or pool cover up. True story, once I was wearing a beautiful silk white shirt with a scarf and I spilled red wine all over my white shirt so I just took it off in the bathroom and wrapped my scarf around me like a top. (This also allowed me to rinse the shirt before the stain set. Bonus.) Shop my favorites HERE and HERE. Wear them all year round. (Don’t forget you can always shop with me through http://www.StellaDot.com/emilykuhlman – DM me if you’d like my two cents!)

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Rethink baseball caps. I have tons of them. You will most likely find me in my KC Royals cap. When I got it my bestie had blinged out the logo with crystals, but they fell off over the years so now it’s just my plain, perfectly-broken-in, goes-with-anything, covers-my-greasy-roots, makes-me-look-like-I-care-about-the-sports cap. *I prefer hair-down to ponytails. Efficient on windy days, and doesn’t require ANY hairstyling.

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I urge you to resist the workout clothes and messy top-knots and tell me if it improves your day! There’s no need to feel frumpy just because you haven’t washed your hair in five days or gone shopping in five years. It might even boost your mood or score a compliment. Just know that no matter what you wear, you’ll always be the same beautiful garbage person in my eyes.

(You can find me on IG @MrsKansasMommy)

The Hootie Diaries: A #MomFail

My daughter’s preschool periodically sends home the class owl named “Hootie.” He comes with a notebook and instructions to please add photos and a journal entry about all of the fun he has with your family. Since my daughter is 4 and cannot read, write, or pick up pictures from Walgreens, Hootie, while a fun concept, is largely just a homework assignment for me and pressure to look like we are “having fun” and “doing things.”

The first time Savannah brought Hootie home, we lost him. For like a week. I eventually found him hidden under the couch with several dog toys. I was just grateful that he still had eyes. Most of Hootie’s journal entries are lovingly crafted recaps of family leisure time with pictures of smiling children taking Hootie to church or posing with a fishing pole at their grandpa’s pond. ‘Here we are sharing an organic banana milkshake after a long day of helping the homeless!’

Savannah ended up with this:

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KC Live: The Show Goes On

So you know when you have that feeling like there’s something looming in the back of your brain you keep meaning to follow up on but you don’t? And it turns out to be that you’re supposed to be on live television in less than 24 hours? That was my Tuesday afternoon.

For one thing, I had no segment prepared. For another thing, not to get into details, but  I’d spent the past 48 hours depression-eating chinese food and chocolate ice cream and I wasn’t in the ol’ razzle-dazzle frame of mind. To say I was disheveled and bloated is a given, but it was so bad that after I put on my Spanx in the morning, my 4 year old poked my stomach and said “Why do you have a baby in your tummy?” And I sweetly told her it was just an IUD in a bunch of Hyvee Chinese and Haagen-Dazs, then I stuffed her Elsa lunchbox full of loose kale and black jelly beans and sent her off to Preschool.

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