Let's say we're all bees. Each and every one of us is buzzing about-
buzz buzz buzz.
The honey that we make is our lives. Experience has taught me two things...


...and LIFE is only as yummy as you make it!

Are YOU a Killer Bee?

bee my guest?

bee my guest?
Howdy Beezers! I'm excited to share something new with you... Over the upcoming months, most of the content you'll be seeing here will be from special guest contibutors! This is sure to add a new texture to this thing we've been weaving over the years. I know that many of my readers (yes, you!) are writers, artists, musicians and filmmakers. PLEASE feel free to contact me if there's something you'd like to contribute! I'd be most honored to pollinate... send me a note: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

please be seated

January 30, 2009

To Comfort You

In the dead of a cold midwestern Winter, there's nothing like a piping-hot pot of homemade soup, or your Mother's best-bubbly casserole to soothe and comfort the soul.

Why does it feel so good to indulge yourself with the tasty morsels that often conjure childhood memories? Because food is so, so much more than just the fuel our bodies run on.
Food is a gift. And yes, it's often how we say I love you.

Over the next month, Stacey will be featuring several guests on his blog, who will be sharing their favorite comfort food dishes with him, and you.

But this is what we want to know: What dish comforts you?
From now until the end of February, we invite YOU to share your
"killer comfort food" recipes with the WORLD!
Simply email your recipe to: m.mckinley@rocketmail.com

You can include a picture if you like, but it isn't necessary. All recipes recieved by February 28th will be posted in Our Recipe Box.
Be sure to visit Stacey's Hot Dish in February, and see who's sharing their dishes with him!

January 26, 2009

Mimi's Potato Chip Cookies

Whenever I'm in my friend Ken Ludwig's showroom in Chicago, I look forward to having Mimi's Potato Chip Cookies. And, if there aren't any around, it's still good to see Ken anyway!

Seriously though, these cookies are one of my all time favorites, so I asked Mimi if we could share the recipe here, with all of you. She was kind enough to oblige, and the recipe, which she attributes to her beloved Aunt Katy, is now posted in Our Recipe Box (link on the right).

Make a batch for someone you love this weekend. They'll be so happy you did!

January 24, 2009

Newbee: Cassandra McShepard!

I was about 15 minutes into my chat with Cassandra McShepard ( Bee Our Guest#1, January 4th ) when I knew in my heart that she just had to be a part of this blog adventure.

Her warmth, wit, and wisdom seem almost custom tailored, a perfect fit to what we want to do with our little slice of cyberspace. The woman is undeniably, a killer bee.

And so today we launch a 4th "Killer Bee Production":
This Is What I Know So Far with Cassandra McShepard
You can click on her link at the right, and start sharing her bread.
Served with honey, of course!

Here's a little intro she wanted me to share with you....

In the Spring of 2004, I was reunited with an old friend.
I had met Pat Evans some 20 years earlier at a wedding reception.
After a brief conversation, she asked me what I did. Having designed the bridal gown, I pointed to the bride and said "I do that". Pat looked at me smiling and said, "Yes I know, but what else do you do"?She told me she thought that I should be in media. Be it radio, or television.

So I looked at her and said "then tell somebody". Well, that's exactly what she did.
I was back at home in Oakland when I received a phone call from her informing me that she had approached a radio station in Milwaukee, and had set up an interview for me!
I was nervous, having no experience, but I followed her lead and made the call to the GM of the station. Long story short. I flew to Milwaukee, went to the interview, but didn't get the job.

But little did I know that a seed had been planted. In me, and in the universe.
Now here again was Pat.
This time she told me that "it was time". In less than one month we would be on the radio!

I did not know how to believe her, but I decided not to dampen her enthusiasm with my lack of knowing, or faith. I have found that life has a wonderful way of blessing us, if we are only willing to receive it. And so it was. In less than one month from the day I saw her again, we were guest host of a radio show.

We instantly became the go-to-girls.
As media does not stop, we were called upon as the fill-in for another host.
After about 6 months, we were offered a temporary spot while the station sought a replacement show for the newly opened time slot. The listening audience gravitated to our"positive talk", and we were offered the spot. This lasted for another 6 months, and then as was foretold to me some twenty-ish years earlier, I took the spot on- by myself.

I called the show " That's What I'm Talking About".

It was an invitation for the listening audience to meet me in this fictitious place called the "Community Cafe", where we dined on soul food for thought. My guests were items on my menu, and at the opening of every show, I served the daily bread.

These loaves that I will share with you were baked with love, and what I know so far.I am a firm believer that we are what we eat, and I pray that the bread I'll be sharing with you here, will nourish, and encourage you.

Now I've got a question for you. What do you do?

January 23, 2009

Kicking Butts Part One: Smoking is NOT Sexy

We all know that smoking is a filthy disgusting habit, so I won't bore you with allot of propaganda about how smoking ruins your life. If your a smoker, and you haven't figured it out yet that it makes everything in your life stink, and is likely to shave many years off your LIFE ( in sometimes really horrible ways ), then your in complete denial.

I on the other hand, have always been aware of the aforementioned.
And yet, I too am a smoker.
People always say to me, "You smoke, really? I would have never pegged you for a smoker".
Like being a smoker somehow is a habit reserved for the un-savory types who prey on little children, or who are permanently fused to a bar stool.

I managed to quit in 1999 for 3 1/2 years, but then I had ONE.
Since then I've probably attempted to quit 2 dozen times.
For as little as a week, and as long as 8 months. But I want off the rollercoaster.
Off the stick, if you will. Because in addition to everything else that's wrong with it,


Have you ever been flirting with someone in a bar or at a party, only to see the look of intense disappointment in their eyes when they see you light up?

Well it's happened to me, and I swear I might as well have wrapped my lips around a tail pipe.

So in short, I'm ready to do it.
I've already bought my first box of patches, and have start date of February 1st.

I'm ready to toss out my nasty ashtray, and my banished moments outside in the cold, huddled at the curb with all the other dirty little smokers...and consequently, be a little sexier!
Besides. How can I be a killer bee, if I'm killing myself?

If you've been considering kicking the habit yourself, I encourage you to do it with me.
After all, there's no time like the present! Feel free to leave comments, and let me know how you're going about it, and what little tricks you may be employing to help yourself do it.
Let's bring sexy back!

January 22, 2009

Milwaukee Home Magazine:Sneak Preview!

I recently had the pleasure of helping my friends Jamie and Heidi Wilke put some finishing touches on their newly renovated, modern masterpiece in Delafield.
I also do visual merchandising for their 2 retail locations, Jamie Wilke Interiors.
I've worked on many photo shoots before ( doing the staging ), but helping the Wilkes prepare for their feature in the up-coming, March issue of Milwaukee Home Magazine- was a blast.
I also got to create the floral arrangements, something that Stacey usually does for me!
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.
And I even got to sneak in one of my original paintings, for a pop of color in the living room.
We haven't found just the right piece for that spot yet, and well, we had a deadline!

Anyway, thanks to Jamie and Heidi for their kind hospitality, delicious wine, great dinner, and to Madison for letting me crash in her room...nice digs girl!
And be sure to check out the March issue of Milwaukee Home!
Until then, here's a sneak peek....

January 21, 2009

Aretha's Hat

My week in Chicago can be summed up in two simple words: Alcohol consumption.

For the curious, I was doing visual work for my friend Ken Ludwig's home furnishings showroom on the front end of the trip, and then helped work the trade show we'd been preparing for on the back end of it. With the economy being what it is, no one expected a huge attendance.

And there wasn't. So we drank. Allot...

My friend Bryon Stewart was sweet enough to lend me his sofa for the week, and Mimi provided all the Potato Chip Cookies a boy could eat ( recipe coming soon! ).

On my last night in town, Bryon, Kassondra Granger, and I stopped into this quaint neighborhood pub called F. O'Mahoney's for (what else) cocktails and a bite to eat. Bryon didn't make it too far past dinner, but Kassondra and I stayed for trivia.

Everyone had to name their team, and Kassondra and I became what else, but The Killer Bees.
In a nutshell, we sucked it so hard, we ended up taking home the prize for LOWEST score. Our prize?
A VHS copy of "Babe:Pig In The City"
I think I've rarely laughed so hard in my entire life.

And besides, on the heels of the most exciting inauguration in the history of our great country, it seemed most appropriate that the team "Aretha's Hat" should take the evening, with their near perfect score. Other teams included "Penetration Nation", and "Impeach Dick Cheney on War Crimes". Not that anyone pays attention to politics in Illinois... -

Troupers that we are, Kassondra and I took our golden prize to The Closet for a nightcap,and stayed till 4...

And the picture at top? That's photo-documented proof that after ending up with 2 flat tires on the first day of show, Ken Ludwig took public transportation to The Merchandise Mart.


January 20, 2009


January 14, 2009

Bitter, Party of One

As I prepare for my week of work down in Chicago, I'm shivering in my pj's.
It's funny to me that after 18 Winters in the Midwest, I'm for the very first time reminiscing about the warm
Januaries of my Los Angeles years.
The high here in Milwaukee will be 3 degrees tomorrow.
Yes, that's 3 degrees.
God, would I love to get blasted by a Santa Ana right about now!

The links to Stacey and Cherrie's blogs are now active, and have excellent postings on them!
Our next major update will be on the 24th, after my return.
Bundle-up kids, it's cold out there!

January 10, 2009

Intoducing: Matt Alber!

I'm not a music critic.
So this isn't a review.
But I do know music,
and I've never heard anything quite like this.
In fact at times I feel like I'm hearing an entirely new kind of music. This is the kind of orgasmic ear candy best devoured in a darkened room through a great pair of headphones.

Released in mid-November, his debut album entiltled HIDE NOTHING, quickly became one
of my favorite recordings of 2008.
This incredibly diverse singer-songwriter
is a musical chemist of the highest order.
I won't gush on and on about it's exquisitely lush, ethereal arrangements or its poetic-lyrical integrity. I'm just going to tell you to rush to mattalber.com this very minute.
And be prepared for a delicious musical experience


January 9, 2009


It was just over a year ago...
I had this brilliant idea to thrust myself (and a few of my dear and talented friends) into the great blogosphere. I'm a big dreamer, so naturally there were big plans for this blog.

After I posted my first entry ,we did much conceptualizing and strategizing. Departments were created. I spent HOURS tweaking on the layout. I even went as far as to create a schedule for postings...good grief.

We did everything but post actual content.
Then some pretty big slices o'life happened...

I suddenly find myself re-charged, and ready to bring all of those wonderful ideas we had a year ago to fruition. And some new ones too!
For instance welll also be featuring articles on spirituality, and arts & entertainment. We wanna share all the good stuff!

The video components should be up real soon,
including an on-going segment called:
Beelicious! In The Kitchen With Stacey & Michael.
2 Hams + 1 Recipe, should = Many Tasty Dishes!
In the meantime, you can watch the High Priestess of HOME Cooking, Julia Child.

So you'll have to stop by often and see for yourself what's new!
I encourage everyone to bookmark the page to your favorites.
Otherwise you gotta type in that LONG URL every time you want to visit.

Who's came up with this impossibly lanky title anyway?!

In a nutshell: We the bees are super excited, have so much to share, and are at long last ready to begin pollinating!
Peace and Happy New Year! , Michael

January 8, 2009

Preview! Inside & Out: A Killer You

New this next week, Cherrie Hanson is launching her Killer Bees Project,
Inside & Out: A Killer You. She sent me this sneak preview...

Welcome to "Inside & Out", the place to buzz near for the secrets to bee-coming more beautiful...inside and out.

I come from a long matriarchy of beauty queens.
The called my Mama "Eyeshadow".
Prejudice in our family was a contempt for the style-less!
High quality glamour and it's upkeep were non-negotiable.
The first in the line-up to be tomboyish instead of poised, I was cute, not gorgeous.

Eventually, out of the shame and disappointment, arose a late-blooming "power puff", who studied at the renown Eric of Norway School of Cosmetology( Eric who? ), became a siren of style, and a serious talent in the world of cosmetology...

The early resistance did spark a different breed of diva.
The tomboy in me didn't want to waste too much time or money on "the look",
and the cute girl always wanted to be helpful and nice.

So this is my offering to you, dear readers. I will teach you practical, simple, and inexpensive means to becoming more bee-utiful inside (spiritually, emotionally) and out (your body, your health) because I still like bee-ing helpful and nice!

They call me Shirlee...

January 4, 2009

Bee Our Guest #1: Cassandra McShepard

She's a jazz singer.
A writer, a painter, and a
full-time radio talk show host.
A sought after fashion designer, motivational speaker, and exercise instructor.
This is clearly no average woman.

So when I sat down with the uber-talented Cassandra McShepard the other day, my first question was "How on earth do you manage all your artistic endeavors"? Her reply, just like anything else she gives the world, was from the hip and the heart. " As an artist of many mediums, I'm very blessed to be living the life I want to live. But I am a business woman as well, and these are all streams of income for me. So naturally I approach them all with professionalism. I treat deadlines very seriously.

Cassandra was born and raised in Milwaukee, and as a little girl dreamed of becoming a fashion icon. A marriage at 21 ended just 2 years later. Of that brief union, she reflects now with a little laughter, and the warm voice of maturity "Did I really think I was going to be someones housewife"?! After the marriage dissolved, she moved to San Francisco where her older sister was living, ready to pursue her bliss.

She left for her new life armed with little more than a small portfolio, a smaller nest egg, and much determination. "My mother instilled in us that we could be anything we wanted to be, and do anything we wanted to do. As long as we worked for it. So it never occurred to me that I couldn't do it. It was just about 6 months later that I met Phyllis".

Through the insistence of a mutual acquaintance, the introduction of Cassandra McShepard to Phyllis Hyman would prove to be a life shaping moment. She became, and would remain Hyman's personal designer and stylist until the singer's unfortunate death in 1995. And along the way she would also create stage fashions for The Manhattans, The Drifters, the 80's British R&B sensation Loose Ends, and jazz legend Nancy Wilson.

But the death of Phyllis in 95 and loosing her beloved brother Carl to kidney cancer in 1999 forced Cassandra to take stock. She was living a fabulous life on the outside, but she says now " Were any of us truly 'happy'? We were living very glamorous lives, and had plenty of money. But was I happy? For me the the answer was unequivocally NO. I had a comfortable house and a bunch of stuff. Stuff doesn't make you happy."
"After Carl died at 38, I thought WOW. A person can go at any time. Am I doing all the things I've ever wanted to do"? Now living back in the city she had grown up in, Cassandra began to investigate other artistic facets of herself . On realizing her dream to become a singer at 44, Cassandra says she conquered her fear of performing through a simple philosophy.

"I've actually been singing my whole life, just not professionally until 5 years ago. But there's has always been a song in my heart. Now I have to ask you. How cruel would it be for God to put a song in your heart, but not the ability to sing it? I sing now because I don't have choice. It's my responsibility to share the song in my heart".

5 days a week Cassandra shares her thoughts on life, love, spirituality, and other goings on of the world, on her popular WMCS 1290 talk radio show "That's What I'm Talking About".
Durring the 2 hour program which airs Monday-Friday from 10-12 AM, Cassandra asks her listeners to join her aboard flight 1290 on a journey to a "higher elevation". With her wisdom, and intelligent and contagious sense of humor, Cassandra takes her listeners to destinations they may not otherwise go.

And isn't that what life is about?
Sharing the good stuff?

While it's true that the little girl from Milwaukee has lived
out many of her dreams,
I suspect she's realizing new ones every day.
And although she keeps a schedule that makes my head twirl, I can't help but be in awe of the calm and happiness she so clearly possesses. I ask her secret, and she replies with words I hope to apply to my own life.

"Happiness is mostly perception. We choose happiness, or we choose the the alternative. Don't block the positive energy that surrounds you, let it flow to you, through you. I accept it, because I deserve it"
And most importantly she says..." Don't hold happiness hostage! I mean, what did happiness ever do to you"?!

Now that's what I'm talkin' about!

Be sure to check out Cassandra's show M-F, 10am-12pm (central time) on am radio 1290 WMCS.
It can be heard streaming from anywhere in the country by logging onto 1290wmcs.com!
And look for her own brand of honey right here, COMING SOON!

January 1, 2009

Are You Resolute?

Some people make New Year's resolutions.

Others abhor the idea, asking "Why wait until a certain day
to make changes I can make now"?

Well the psychology behind it is pretty obvious, and it works for me.

I usually make a pretty basic resolution.
Like vow to take off the same freakin 10lbs I managed to loose between
last January and May, only to have gained back again between October and December!
And while I indeed need to face the knife and fork once again,
this year I'm making a resolution that's a little more practical for the soul...

On Christmas at Cherrie's, she shared a wonderful
quote with everyone,
that I'd like to share now with all of you:
"By cultivating attitudes of friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the
unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and disregard for the wicked-
the mind-stuff retains it's undisturbed calmness".
Patanjali, The Book of Sutras

In this New Year, with a New President, and a feeling of New Hope,
this quote seems like an appropriate mantra for a New Era...
Oh, I do have a couple more resolutions.
Like keep in better touch with friends I've been neglecting.
And a big one that's well, a bit more of a cross to bear.
But more on that later in the month!
In the meantime, Happy New Year to all.
And whether you have made resolutions or not, may you keep
your mind-stuff CALM!!!

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!