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

November 30, 2009


Tom Graber is my favorite kind of pollinator. He's a man on a mission, and best of all- food is involved! Tom won't rest until he finds the best burgers in Milwaukee. Along the way he gets to eat some delicious grub, and at the same time help support and promote local eateries. And he's just getting started. Next on the agenda? Best fish fry. Warm up the rye bread and shred the coleslaw, I'm waiting! Check out Tom's terrific website [complete with pics] by following the link below...



Not for the decorative faint of heart, BROCADE HOME's completely over-the-top [and reasonably priced] wares do a bang-up catalog/internet business. It's parent company, Restoration Hardware, always makes sure they have a super-slick catalog...with pictures so tantalizing you'll find yourself ooh-ing and aah-ing- page after page. Really unique furniture, wallpaper, accessories, bedding [amazing beds!], and fabu chandeliers....


November 27, 2009


November 26, 2009


I took a few minutes with my coffee and thoughts this morning to reflect on all that I have to be thankful for. It's something I try to do all year long, but I'll be honest with you; sometimes the bigger picture escapes me when the snapshot freezes the frame! While I continue to struggle with certain parts of my life, as everyone does, this Thanksgiving I am brimming with gratitude for so many blessings...I encourage you to take a few minutes today and give your life some honest reflection.
What are you thankful for?

Wishing you a day full of people you hold dear (lots of love), outrageously delicious food (waaay too much of it), and safe travels (wherever you may roam).
Love, Michael

November 22, 2009


My new favorite singer/songwriter Matt Alber recently posted this image on his Facebook page. It moved me , and as I often do on the Internet, gave it a little right click/save so I could share it with you later. I love it, and I just now happened to notice all of the bees...


I have had one of the most exhilarating/exhausting weeks of my entire life.

With the mad rush to get our Milwaukee Design Collection ready in time for a heavily advertised and anticipated Holiday Open House/Soft Opening on Friday night, I'd hardly had a chance to think about the fact that I'd been invited to paint at the 2009 Open Canvas Fundraiser- the very next night!

When I arrived at the PH Dye House last night I was instantly overwhelmed, and quite frankly a little intimidated. Everywhere I looked I saw the most AMAZING paintings being created by nearly 90 artists. These were people with years of experience, many of them with fine art training, which I do not possess...

I was one of the very last to arrive, and my anxiety level went through the roof when I learned they would not be able to accommodate "my painting style"(I paint on the floor, working horizontally over my canvas). They were expecting upwards of 1000 people over the course of the evening, and I'd be in the way! I took a deep breath and followed the incredibly kind volunteer to my work station. With only 4 hours to create, I unpacked my paints and brushes, took another deep breath, and started in.

Obviously the kind of piece I'd sort of been planning on in my head would not be an option, so I decided to let the canvas tell me what to do, and go from there. What ensued was magic. About halfway through the evening, I looked behind me to find a small group of people watching me paint. A beautiful young woman looked at me with a sparkle in her eye and told me she loved it. We chatted for a few minutes, and before I returned to my work we decided to be new BFF's. She bid on my painting. About half an hour later she returned to inform me that she was officialy stalking my painting, and would not be going home without it! She bid again.

Beaming, I sauntered over to the artist's lounge to fetch myself another glass of red wine. On the way out a woman came up to me and asked if she could introduce herself. She was turned onto my blog awhile back, and just wanted to let me know how much she loved it! It was my first celebrity moment (HA!). Bursting with new confidence and aided by the glow provided by red wine, I made my way back to station #18 to finish my piece. My sparkly-eyed stalker stopped by with a girlfriend to bid again, and together we named it "OFF BROADWAY".

In the end, my new BFF and I raised $1,000.00 for a wonderful charity. And I will tell you, with much pride and a very full heart, that "OFF BROADWAY" was the 2nd highest bid painting of the evening! But the greatest gift of the night was that through my art, I connected with people. I moved them. I even turned one into a stalker. Sorry the drink didn't happen honey..FACEBOOK ME!

Blog Discovery: CAKESPY.COM

After doing a little detective work of my own, I discovered that Jessie Oleson is the brains and heart behind this awesome website... Jessie's blog bio reads:

"Cakespy.com is a Dessert Detective Agency dedicated to seeking sweetness (literally) in everyday life. We do this by writing about bakeries, conducting baking experiments, and picking the brains of bakers and food artists, and finding awesome products for lovers of baked goods. The Cakespy crew is comprised of about 6 or 7 Cake Gumshoes throughout the US, and is headed up by Head Spy Jessie Oleson. Jessie O is a freelance writer and illustrator, whose writing appears on DailyCandy.com, and who has illustrated for various companies including Microsoft, Chelsea Paper and iPop, and regularly provides illustrations for the publication Taste of Home." Also, if you're in the Seattle Area, check out Cakespy Seattle here: http://blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com/cakespy/
Sounds to me like the talented Jessie Oleson is indeed a Killer Bee!
Visit Jessie's Blog @ www.cakespy.com

November 20, 2009


November 17, 2009


Okay, a few things REAL quick...

I have finally decided to turn the camera on myself, and start doing a little "vlogging" for you, but have been having issues with BLOGGER, my blog host. Like, I haven't been able to upload videos for a couple of weeks now...for myself, or Cassandra @ THIS IS WHAT I KNOW SO FAR. It's a pesky problem that needs to be resolved shortly, as I have many holiday goodies planned for you! Ah, technology...

Next on the agenda is MILWAUKEE DESIGN COLLECTION, my new business venture with fellow friends and interior designers Kerry Shannon and Ken Ludwig. It's been a couple of months (and allot of 12+ hour days) in the preparation, but we're finally going to open the doors on Friday, November 20th! It's a holiday open house complete with noshes and libations, so if you can stop by we'd love to see you...Cassandra McShepard will be there (as well as the other Bees) lending her sweet and soulful voice to Christmas classics for your listening pleasure...


The night after the open house, I'll be creating a painting "LIVE" at the 2009 OPEN CANVAS fundraiser. This is how it works. You come, drink wine, stroll amongst the artists, and bid on the paintings as they progress. At the end of the evening the highest bidder wins their painting, and all proceeds benefit The Eisner Museum,MIAD Art Scholarships, and the UWM Peck School of The Arts. It's a super cool event, and I am honored to have been invited to paint!

And finally, I'm excited to have sommelier Toni Johnson as my guest on the blog next week to talk about wine, and helping you choose the best types of "grape", just in time for Thanksgiving, and your other holiday events.

Wish me luck this week in getting everything in place for our "soft" opening at MDC, it's going to be a race to the finish!

November 13, 2009


You know how I love metaphors...

Allot of picky eaters have crossed my path recently. Picky eaters are typically people I have NO time for. I regard their distaste for certain flavors or textures as pure lack of gratitude for one life's most beautiful gifts: The Pleasure of Food.

However having had so many of them on my radar lately has given me chance to further ponder something my friend Jeffrey's mother Mary told him as a young man- "Never marry a picky eater, they're lousy in bed." Okay, so I'm paraphrasing. But you get the gist.

Think of all the glorious things in life that picky eaters miss out on. The complicated yet rich flavors, the hunger for discovery, the missed opportunities for adventure! OH the deprivation! These days I'm feeling more sympathy for picky eaters, than contempt. Poor schmoes, they're stuck in a prison of fear. Of what? Onions? Curry? Raisins? The famous line from Auntie Mame really says it perfectly: "Life is a banquet, and most poor souls are starving to death!"

For the record, let me make this perfectly clear.
I have never been one to pick at my food, and I thoroughly intend to clean my plate!

November 12, 2009


Last week at the restaurant, I came across a food magazine called RELISH. It had clearly been an insert in a newspaper [kinda like Parade], only I can't figure out which one. It matters not. It's totally great! The November issue has some delicious sounding Thanksgiving recipe alternatives, including these stuffing-like dishes called panades. While I personally won't deviate from my tried & true Thanksgiving menu, I am definitely going to try out both the Spinach & Mushroom Panade [pictured above], and the Butternut Squash & Cheese Panade on other occasions.

The Eggnog Spice Bundt Cake and Savory Basil Slice n' Bake cookies sound tasty too.

You can visit their website and find the recipes at:

November 11, 2009


The best thing about Thanksgiving [next to the dinner!] is the company. I've lived across the country from my blood family for nearly 2 decades now. Over time, some of the faces in my extended family have changed, but many have remained the same. These are the people I usually spend my holidays with. While I miss my relatives on the west coast all the time, I wouldn't trade these holidays I share with my other family, for the world.

Like any family, we have our share of dysfunctions, and our holidays don't always turn out "all Currier & Ives". But they always have plenty of laughter, lots of good food, and our own traditions. For instance on Thanksgiving Cherrie will ask everyone to write down on a piece of paper what they're thankful for. The papers get placed in the brown urn on my mantle, and then Cherrie reads them after dinner.

Over time, some traditions change too. I made Chili on Christmas Eve forever, but for the last 5 years, Stacey and I combined our efforts to make French meat pies & salad. For many years I did an official lighting of the tree thingy after dinner on Thanksgiving. I was younger then. These days I'm lucky if the tree gets up in time for Christmas!

The last few years I made Thanksgiving dinner at Kerry's. I hope we do it there again this year, because I love the toasty fire he keeps stoked all day, and going through the BIG box of Christmas cards his Grandma Alice saved over the decades...they're vintage and oh-so cool!

Whatever you have planned for your Thanksgiving this year, I hope you'll be surrounded by people you love, as I will. For this I am thankful, year, after year, after year. What are you thankful for? Think about it...

November 10, 2009

Blog Discovery: HABITUALLY CHIC!

In her blog profile, Heather Clawson states that she is "a stylish young woman living in New York City and working as an interior designer and freelance writer, I am constantly surrounded by habitually chic people, places and things. I hope you enjoy my musings on art, design, fashion, architecture, books and everything else habitually chic!"

I did, I do, and I LOVE it. Miss. Clawson has outstanding taste, and her blog is a new habit of mine. I'm most pleased to pollinate this Killer Designer and her blog with you!

Check out her fabulous site by following the link below. You'll see as you scroll down that she too found Thom Felicia's Big Chill inspired project irresistible....

November 9, 2009


Buzz Out!

Buzz Out!