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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KC Live: Sweet Must-Haves For Baby

I got my favorite viewer comment yet this week from a stranger, but through the magic of Facebook it got forwarded to me. He said: “Local morning shows: I’ll never get over the possible train wreck of them. A woman called “Mrs. Kansas Mommy” just mentioned the “cutest little breast pump I’ve ever seen”….”Guncle” (google it)…. and “craft beer” within 3 minutes of air time.. I want to have this woman over for a dinner party. She can work it.”

I sound even more insane than I realized!

Here are all the adorable things I featured on KC Live on Wednesday with some outtake pictures per usual:

Sweet Must Haves for Baby! (3)

Hello Magazine for Babies by Highlights

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They have put so much thought into the details of this product from the design and construction to the way it helps parents bond with their babies while building a foundation for early-reading skills. The magazines are even dishwasher safe! I love this subscription as a non-traditional  baby-shower gift or 1st birthday gift!

Haakaa Silicone Breast Pump

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This cheerful, portable breast pump does the work for you by pumping your milk through the power of suction. It comes with a super cute little stopper that looks like a flower to prevent spills. Perfect to toss in a purse or diaper bag and it’s completely free of BPA or any other harmful materials.

Marcus and Marcus Amusemat and Organic Teething Bibs

This is the cutest solution for a picky eater. Marcus and Marcus have made this plate called an “Amusemat” that can keep little ones enjoying meal time and focused on food. This would also make an excellent gift for a toddler birthday. My kids are 4 and 6 and they totally want one.

The Organic Bibs feature little teethers on the bottom, which are perfect for catching the extra drool when the little chompers start breaking through, and you don’t have to worry about them dropping it on the floor!

Gigglespots entertain your baby’s brain.

These sophisticated little spots were created by a mom to be a versatile way to entertain baby anywhere with black and white patterns that help develop the sense of vision. They come with Velcro stickers so you can easily have them on the changing table or stroller. You can use them as a focal point for tummy time or even make a mobile. (Check out the one I made with straws in the segment) See all the patterns on GiggleSpots.com and order here.

Hi Little One Love Rules Collection

You have to check out this fabulous company with the chicest clothing for kids. My two girls live in their Hi Little One t shirts because they are the softest thing ever.

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Strasburg Children Heirloom Christening Set

This keepsake Christening set is such a perfect Godchild gift and elegant way to protect a family baptismal gown. This is a great place to turn for special occasion clothes, think weddings and family portraits. I love how Southern everything looks! It’s all made with hand-embroidery and French seams so it’s intended to be passed on for generations. I have my girls’ dresses set aside for their hope chests.

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On Camera face..

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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)

Let’s Hear It 4 The Boys: Joining the #MeToo Conversation

Alternate Title: Decency Saves Lives.

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This is about four men I haven’t talked to in well over fifteen years. They were never particularly close friends of mine, but each played a pivotal role in my life.

The first three are Dan, Steve, and “Toga” Greg. It was the summer after I graduated high school and some girlfriends and I drove 45 minutes to attend one of Toga Greg’s house parties, as we’d done many times before. I helped myself to a solo cup of Captain Morgan and 7 Up. I left my drink with a girl when I went to use the bathroom, as you’re told to do for safety. The problem is, she didn’t watch it. It was pretty obvious to my best friend Tori that something had happened when all of a sudden I couldn’t move or speak coherently. She called our high school friend Steve who picked up our other friend Dan and drove quite a ways to come to our rescue. Most of the memories of that night are lost to me forever, except for the relief I felt looking up and realizing I was safe in Dan’s arms as he carried me out of that house party to Steve’s car. I have a few mental screen grabs of Tori, Dan, and Steve’s scared faces as I intermittently vomited and passed out on the floor of someone’s parents’ basement. I woke up the next day and went home as if nothing happened. I never said anything to Dan or Steve about it, and they never said anything about it to me or anyone else, to my knowledge.

Months  later, I was a 17 year old Freshman at Millikin University heading to class in Shilling Hall when my cell phone rang. It was Toga Greg. Class was starting and the hall was emptying, but I was compelled to answer.  I could barely get out an incredulous ‘Hello?’ before he said, “I have to tell you something, I’m so sorry. A couple months ago when you got sick at that party, it was because someone drugged you. It was actually a guy I know. I just found out. He didn’t know you were my friend, and…I’m just so sorry. For what it’s worth, you were safe the whole night and I’m never talking to him again.” I was stunned and relieved at the same time. Part of me had forced myself to remember that night like you would remember a nightmare: vague and shadowy, but hearing his words all of a sudden it was over for good. When I think of the integrity it took that 20 year old boy to call me up months later to apologize and give me the gift of peace of mind, I’m still overwhelmed with gratitude. We never saw each other or spoke again; but if he hadn’t had the courage to call me that day, I’d have wondered about that night forever.

The next story is about my sophomore year of college and a boy named Matt. He’s actually the second boy I ever kissed; I was a Junior in high school and it ended up being a somewhat awkward experience so we decided to be friends. Cut to a few years later when we attended the same college…I’d had too much to drink at a wild costume party at his fraternity house. In the middle of kissing in his room, I suddenly realized I was about to pass out so I crawled onto his bed, curled up and immediately fell into a deep sleep. What he could have done in this moment: anything. What he did: put his hoodie on me over my somewhat scandalous theme-party costume, locked me safely in the room so no one could find me compromised and went to find my best friend to take me home. About a year ago I watched the documentary The Hunting Ground about the prevalence of rape on college campuses. As the credits of the documentary rolled, with tears in my eyes I looked up Matt on Facebook and sent him a very random and overdue thank you message. He replied modestly, reassuring me not to worry about it.

My point in sharing these unflattering stories of myself is that all four of these men had the capacity to destroy my life; I unwittingly gave them that option. But they chose to protect me. They were just acquaintances who put themselves between me and the types of guys who could have done me indelible harm, for no other reason than it was the right thing to do. It bears repeating; anyone that has a #MeToo story is entitled to exactly as much blame as I’m entitled to my good fortune in these situations: which is none. Sometimes all it takes to be a hero is to do what is decent. Decency can save lives.

So here’s to the heroes in my life and the heroes in yours. If you’re reading this and part of the #MeToo movement, I hope that for every horrible man that happened to you, there’s a good and decent man who was there for you a different time. If you’re a young girl reading this, do as I say and not as I did; Blackout is a fantastic Britney album, but never a good look for a lady.

If you’re Dan, Steve, Greg or Matt: thank you so much for your decency, it may very well have saved my life.

KC Live: Modern Mommy Essentials (Pills, Boobs, Booze + More)

The greatest thing happened to me today. Right before we went live, I was asked to “say something” for the mic check and I got to utter the epic words, “The arsonist has oddly shaped feet…what is your name, Lanolin?” in a real life TV studio.

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Here’s my girl-talk with the amazing Michelle Davidson. Everytime I see her I love her more and today was no exception:

 

Here are the innovative modern mommy essentials from the segment and where to find them:

The Innovation award-nominated mifold is more than 10x smaller than a regular booster seat but just as safe. It’s literally small enough to fit in your purse and therefore perfect for travel and ideal for times when you need to fit three booster seats across!

mi fold Booster Seat

Order the mifold Booster Seat HERE

Nanobébé Breastmilk Bottle. Launching in the US now and also up for an Innovation Award, this is the first bottle specifically designed to protect breastmilk nutrients and allow the baby to start self-feeding at an earlier age. This bottle cools breastmilk 7x faster than standard bottles, preserving more nutrients. It also warms 2-3 times faster so you can quickly feed your crying baby without destroying any of the good stuff you worked so hard to pump!

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Order the Nanobebe HERE

Vitasome’s Curcumin-C & Glutasome have energy-boosting turmeric which is a natural anti-inflammatory and promote healthy skin, diminishing the signs of aging (YES!) What’s so different about these supplements is the patented liposomal delivery system. Liposomes surround the nutrients until they penetrate your cells where they’ll have the most benefit so the nutrients are never mistaken for waste.

 

 

Order Vitasome HERE

The Nugeni Steva + is an all in one, easily interchangeable handheld vacuum (cordless and upright), steam mop and a mobile steam cleaner. You can even use it to steam clothes! The steam kills 99% of bacteria so you don’t need to use any harsh chemicals.

Nugeni Steva Accessories

Order the Nugeni Steva + HERE

 

Kansas City Live: Autism Awareness Month

Approximately 24 hours before I was supposed to go on live television for a segment, I woke up with a horrendous sinus infection and no voice…not even a sultry  Scarlett Johansson voice, just little raspy squeaks between hacking coughs. But the show must go on (as we “in the biz” say) so I pumped myself full of a dangerous amount of cold medicine, drank a vat of tea, and painted up my face like a french streetwalker. Because I’m a professional, dangit.

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Kansas City Live host Joel Nichols

I was in the large news studio today rather than the morning show set so there was no live audience.  I had an overwhelming urge to sit at the anchor desk and say things like, “How now brown cow. Unique New York. What is your name, Lanolin?” I resisted.

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