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

May 31, 2009


Another thing I LOVE about birthdays is the desire that others have to feed me. Yes, Michael loves to eat. This year Cherrie took me for lunch at the Third Ward Caffe where we dined on yummy roast beef paninis, and salads tossed with dried Door County cherries and gorgonzola dressing. Then John Malinger treated me to a scrumptious dinner at Crazy Water. From the "beet-tini" to the braised pork shoulder with prunes and apricots, I was in sensory overload.

The next day my dear friend Pamela Anderson prepared for me a special lunch. She dished up the most delicious pulled pork sandwiches I think I've ever had that were topped off with a homemade slaw and served with sweet potato oven fries, and fresh watermelon. The meal's crowning moment came when the glorious rhubarb custard pie was served. Pie vs. cake? I'll take the pie any day.

I have to tell you that while I devoured all of these tasty morsels with pure pleasure, it was the intent of those behind them that brought me the most pleasure, and truly satisfied my appetite. I love great food. Birthdays are a blast. And I am blessed with the most outrageously wonderful friends. Pamela's recipe for the pie is now posted in Our Recipe Box, link on the right!

May 30, 2009


Third Ward Caffe
225 East Saint Paul Avenue
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Reservations Recommended: 414.224.0895
Hours of Operation:
Lunch: Tuesday-Saturday 11-2:30 / Dinner: Tues.-Thurs. 5-9 & Fri.-Sat 5-10

For nearly 30 years Randy and Jane Nelson have been serving up elegant northern Italian fare in their charming cafe on East Saint Paul. In "restaurant years", that's like 112...

Every Summer Randy and Jane spend their weekends at their Door County farm, cultivating their own organic herbs and vegetables for use in the restaurant. From the cozy atmosphere to the ends of their extensive menu, you can feel AND taste their dedication. Absolutely everything is scratch-prepared, from the salad dressings to the pan sauces. In addition to the "regular" menu, they have an evolving seasonal menu featuring the best of what's available NOW ingredients. This is food, as it should be. Whole and delicious.

Randy and his small crew of talented cooks run the kitchen. Jane and her superb servers mind the front of the house, taking extra special care of each and every customer. Trust me, if you've got theater tickets, this is the place to have dinner...Jane has "in by" and "out by" down to a science! When you think about it, Randy and Jane have seen their cafe through 5 Presidents (3 of them 2 terms!), a few recessions, and several "face lifts" to the food service industry. To enjoy the kind of longevity that they have, they must be onto something. No, let me rephrase that.
They already have it.
For more information and to see the menu, click on the link below:

May 27, 2009


Yesterday I went to a funeral. Today is my birthday. Its seems like a crazy one-two punch, but isn't that life? A celebration of what was, what is, and what will be?

A friend jokingly wished me a happy 21st birthday on Facebook, and that has me thinking...
Would I care to be a kid again? No, my childhood was kinda tortured. Yuck.

Would I want to be a teenager? Are you kidding?

Would I wanna be 21? 30? 35? Good times, and bum times. I've seen them all and my dear, I'm still here! In fact everything you do there, brings you here. And here is good.

In reflection, I see that my journey has been rich and varied with amazing experiences, fortunate circumstances, painful excursions, and LOTS of twists and turns. Sometimes just plain twisted! But would I go back to any of it? Nuh-uh. No way. Not even the best of it.

Never in my life [so far] has the NOW held so much peace and the future held so much promise. The past often provides us with many memories [good and bad], and important life lessons, but I caution you, spend too much time there and you'll miss the joy of what is right now. And what about tomorrow? Well, I'm just getting started. This makes rapidly approaching 40 sound rather exciting, don't you think? And knowing this makes it really, really easy to face 38. It's a very happy birthday indeed. Bring it!

May 26, 2009


For those who haven't heard the buzz, The Killer Bees began filming video footage for part of the electronic press kit I'm preparing to promote our future endeavors. Or as Stacey put it, our "complete media domination"... It took nearly 3 hours, the thoughtful direction of our very own Cherrie Hanson, a couple of wardrobe malfunctions, the patience of our amazing camera man Jonas Cepanica, and 23 takes, but our first scene is "in the can"! That's showbiz. I'm hoping to have it ready for online viewing by the end of June, stay tuned...!


I'll be real honest with you.
If I weren't an interior designer, I don't know if I could hire one.

When it comes to hiring a professional of any kind [think doctors, lawyers, mechanics, cosmetologists], a person usually seeks referrals from friends, or family. Sometimes it's a good fit, sometimes not. That's why finding and hiring a designer can be tricky. I say this because I know many of my fellow designers [you know who you are] sell "their look". This isn't a bad thing as most designers have exceptional taste, but it's problematic if it doesn't match their clients. Over the years I've found that most of my clients have really good taste, they just don't know how, or can't conceive how to pull it all together. That's where I come in.

I always stress to my clients that my number one priority is to keep them from making expensive mistakes. My number two priority is to give them the best possible design within the parameters of their taste, not mine. Here are a few pointers for finding a good fit for yourself...

  • Ask your potential designer if you can see pictures, or board presentations of work they've done. Most designers will have some sort of portfolio to show you. How diverse is it? A good designer is comfortable working in multiple genres of design., and will tell you so.
  • If you found him or her by referral, how did that person find them to work with? Are they reliable? Did they meet, or exceed the expectations?
  • What kind of experience do they have? I'll catch some flack for this one, but an education in interior design does not equal taste, creative vision, or integrity. It does however give them a huge "leg up" on product knowledge, practical applications, working with architects and builders, and of course the fundamentals and principals of good design.
  • And then of course there's the money. In Part Two of Designer's Choice, I'll clear up the mysteries of how designers make their living...

May 25, 2009


May 13, 2009

CareerFit #2

CareerFit with Sonia Mott

How Well Do You Get Along With Your Boss?

…………..Or should I say, how well do you work with your boss? It’s magic if we like the person we’re working for AND work well together. It’s more like being a part of a team or partnership. After all, most of us spend more time with co-workers than we do with our own families.

If you want a job, defined as “small miscellaneous pieces of work taken by order” or a career, defined as “a profession for which one trains and is undertaken as a permanent calling”, take a look at the tips below. But first ask yourself, what am I contributing? You may think you’re contributing so much that if you weren’t there, the company would fold. WRONG! You have to know you’re contributing and to do that, the person you report to is the key. How do you increase your worth and value? Here are those tips:

Treat your manager like you would a customer.

Just like a customer, you need to understand what your manager wants. How can you deliver the right “product or service” if you don’t understand the desired outcome? You need to know your manager’s desires, concerns and worries, pressures, likes and dislikes. Listen carefully when they’re speaking – what gets them excited and what drives them crazy. Once you know the answer to these questions, align your priorities with theirs. Result: – smoother working relations with less stress.

Know what is expected of you.

Make sure you’re on the same page. Ask your manager what they expect in terms of performance and how the work should be done. If you have questions, ask again. All managers prefer to spend time with you up front to make sure you’re on the right track. If you’re not, that means more work for them later. Also, determine how they want to be communicated with; verbally, written reports, etc.

Result: spending more time on the right assignments vs. the wrong assignments – which translate to better time management.

Express what you need from your manager.

Your relationship is a two-way street. Your manager needs to know what tools and information you need to accomplish your goals. Also explain what sort of guidance you will need and how you like to receive feedback.

Result: higher levels of receptiveness to your concerns.

Don’t just bring problems, bring solutions.

If you don’t have a solution for an issue, brainstorm with coworkers or research best practices within your industry. By doing this, you show you’ve done some thinking and are willing to share the responsibility. Even if the solution isn’t perfect, you tried and this will make you stand out from your co-workers.

Result: You will become the “go-to” person and increase your brand-image.

Express your views and ideas.

Believe it or not, just because someone has the title of “supreme being” doesn’t mean they have all the answers. That’s why you and your fellow co-workers are there, to help problem solve (as noted above). But there are a few guidelines. Don’t say what you think your manager wants to hear. Nobody likes a suck-up. And don’t always be on the opposite side. Instead, give solid and honest feedback that authentically represents your thinking.

Results: Again you’ll be seen as a go-to person but this will also help catapult you to that next level which often means monetary rewards.

By following these easy steps, you will continue to become CAREER FIT!!
Now go pump some weights!
To contact Sonia, email her @ sm.mott@ymail.com



When I posted my Mother's Mac & Cheese recipe a couple of weeks ago, I realized that Our Recipe Box was kinda tragic. I conceived it as a place to share our killer recipes [we're ALL pretty adept in the kitchen if I do say so myself], and have our readers share theirs as well. The readers "Comfort Food" recipe request from February was a bust, with a sole submission...thanks Robert Cleve for sharing the gumbo recipe!

I LOVE cooking, and I know a allot of you out there are foodies and have recipes you'd like to share...so don't be shy! I'd like to officially make an open invitation to all of our readers to send in a recipe WHENEVER you like and it will be posted in Our Recipe Box. You can send them in an email, with or without a picture. Let's build a treasure of yummy goodness to share! The link to visit Our Recipe Box is on the right. Come on folks, share the good stuff!

May 12, 2009


In my last installment of Color Me Michael I wrote about using dark, saturated color. But what exactly are tints, tones and shades? This is color boot camp, so I'm going to give it to you straight.

Take a look at a color strip from your local paint store. On a typical example the color is darkest on the bottom, and it keeps getting lighter as you move up, right? The color in the middle is generally your "pure chroma". Moving up or down you get tint, tones, and shades of it. But how are these extensions of color created? Here's how it works, complete with correct terminology.

  • COLOR, HUE, and CHROMA are interchangeable terms.

  • A TINT is what you get when you add WHITE to the color

  • A TONE is what you get when add GRAY

  • A SHADE is what happens when you add BLACK

When choosing a new room color, remember that unless you live somewhere coastal or you're decorating a nursery, tints don't usually come across as very sophisticated. Likewise, neither do the bold effects of pure primaries like red, blue, or yellow. But whenever you add gray or black to a color, creating tones and shades, you automatically increase the level of sophistication.

May 11, 2009


Know this. If you happen to be with Jeffrey Elliott at ANY kind of function where there's something to be won, he or someone he's with is going to win it. Last June when My sister Mary from California was visiting me in Chicago, Jeffrey and I took her to the Windy City Idol finale. Call me a player if you like, but I knew just how to play this one. Just before dropping our door prize stubs into the big white box, I turned to my sister and said "OK, so if I win I'll take you, and if you win you take me".

That night Mary won a trip for 2 to Toronto/Niagara...

It took almost a year [and a pending expiration date!] to get there, but last week Mary and I went on our maiden trip to Canada. The morning after we arrived we wandered our way down to the Proud FM radio station to meet with morning show hosts Deb Pearce and Adam Lawrence, who let us sit in on the last half hour of their show. They were super sweet and gave Mary and I some great tips on where to eat and have a couple of cocktails... Hair of The Dog was delicious guys, thanks! Deb, see you in Chicago in June!

We did some very "touristy" things but didn't push ourselves too hard. The Royal Ontario Museum is an absolute must, the harbour front was gorgeous, and you haven't challenged your capacity for vertigo until you've gone to the top of the CN Tower, which is the worlds tallest building. The thing I happened to notice at every turn in Toronto was the sight of people holding hands. Seriously, I never saw anything like it. Both straight and gay, the sightings became so frequent that Mary and I came up with the code "white truck" for them, and turned it into a little game. If Toronto is the world's "first city of hand holding", then it's my kind of town!

For the last 2 days of our trip, we journeyed from Toronto to Niagara on The Lake, which is about 1/2 an hour from Niagara Falls. I'm not sure what I was expecting to see, but beautifully manicured Niagara on The Lake was brimming with the charm of another place and time, and Niagara Falls was kinda like the Wisconsin Dells. Meets Vegas...so we played the quarter slots for a hot minute, and I won cab fare back to the hotel. When in Rome, right?

It's interesting that in our entire lives, my sister and I had never taken a vacation together.

Mary was in high school when I was born, so by the time I was old enough to wander, she was busy raising a family. While I may have played my cards right that night last summer, being able to share this adventure with her trumps the actual winnings.

Lucky me.

May 7, 2009

Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!