Soil Service Garden Center

So one day I got really lost in Brookside.
While trying to operate a vehicle and a failing GPS I looked up and saw "Soil Service Garden Center." I was frustrated, tired of being lost and thought, "Well, might as well ask someone why my houseplant is dying." 

Walking into the store I felt comparable to Eve walking into the Garden of Eden. To best explain how magical this store is, I will let pictures speak for me. 


After 30 more pictures, a minor excited-freak out, and a Facetime call to my best friend, I was introduced to the owner's son, Mike. Mike told me that Soil Service is a family business that has been around since 1934, offering plants and landscaping services. He walked me around their greenhouses which are full of perennials, annuals, fruit trees, Missouri natives, tropicals, flowers, vegetables, seeds, and all of the hanging plants you've seen on Instagram that look too pretty to be real. 

Every employee I met was knowledgeable, kind, and went out of their way to help me. Their prices are great, and the plants are way healthier than any of the ones you'll find at major hardware stores (I'm bitter about the aphids, L*wes.)

If you're ready to get out of a winter rut & get some green into your home or garden, Soil Service will not disappoint. 

To learn more and to find their hours and directions, click here or you can find them on Facebook

Join Us for This Is Real Estate

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Real Estate can be tricky, it's hard to decide when and where to move. 'This Is Real Estate' is your chance to ask questions, be heard and get honest answers in a no-pressure environment.

At This Is Real Estate we will give you a rundown on today's market, compare buying resale vs new homes, offer the strategies it takes to get the best deal on a home and answer any questions you have for a realtor or a lender. 

Through our blog, newsletter, social media and events we strive to be a community resource for you and your family. This is our way of going beyond the blog, we want to meet with you and hear what you have to say. Our team, along with Home Services Lending has a combined 40+ years experience. We've seen it all, and we know that no question is a dumb question, and no market is easy to understand. 

To accommodate as many schedules as possible, we are offering this free event on 2 different dates. At our evening event on Thursday, March 29th we will have wine and hors-d'oeuvres. On Saturday, April 7th we will be serving a light brunch, coffee, and mimosas.
Due to limited seating in our model, an RSVP is required.
You can sign up for the events below, or by emailing


For event details, please see below

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Business Partners

We want to be your community resource when you're buying a home and when you've settled into your home.

One of the ways we can serve you is to provide you with the best services Kansas City has to offer. Sometimes that will be a great jazz bar, and other times it will be the necessities, like insurance, financial planning, or a good plumber.

Today we want to introduce you to a great financial investor, Victoria Bogner, and share with you her take on today's market.

Market Commentary: The Pullback is Finally Here

Written February 5, 2018

What a difference a week makes. In my commentary just a couple of weeks ago, I talked about the S&P 500’s parabolic rise in January: “Complacency has turned into a chase for returns. It is unsustainable. It increases the probability of a steeper correction in the coming months. Now don’t get me wrong - you cannot try to “time” corrections like these, and we strongly urge against it. There is a risk that once a real 10%+ correction occurs, panic selling by blindsided, unprepared investors could make that correction sharper than it would have been otherwise. This could also make corrections more frequent until the extreme volatility feeds into the next bear market.”  -January 19, 2018, Market Commentary

I then included a graph of 2006-2008 demonstrating how low periods of volatility can turn ugly pretty fast. I am not so much reminded of 2007 just yet. It makes me think more of 2015:


Maybe you will recall that the S&P 500 fell 11% in 5 days back in August 2015 and there was much panic?  That would be the equivalent of the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling over 2,900 points in one week. Less than three months later, the S&P was back to pre-pullback levels. After some sideways movement, the market did a ‘retest’ of those lows in early 2016. Market pundits were pulling their hair out. The market swiftly fell 13%. But those that panicked and sold out of the market during that pullback would have felt good about their decision for only a month or so before the market recovered over the next two months.

As you take a good look at the graph above, imagine being back in that period? If an investor sold their stocks in January 2016, when would they have known to jump back into the market? The last part of January looked promising, but the market swiftly fell even lower the next month. Following that February low was three skyrocket days in which the market gained back 5%. Does one jump back into stocks after that? It is impossible to know without the gift of hindsight. That is the problem with timing the market – it’s based on luck, not skill.  This is why we are so adamant about not trying to time pullbacks when we do not see risks of a recession.

As we have been saying in lots of prior commentaries, if we are not in a recessionary environment, pullbacks are not to be timed.  They tend to last 3-6 months. They are sharp, sometimes severe, but short-lived in the grand scheme of things. Like earthquakes, they can happen suddenly, and by the time you know it is happening, there’s not a whole lot you can do about it besides run to the nearest door jam or dive under a sturdy desk. Unlike buildings and roads demolished by natural disasters, the stock market can build itself back up pretty quickly. As long an investor does not panic and feeds into fear, their portfolio will hopefully be at pre-pullback values in 3-6 months.

Let’s look at where the market stands at the close on February 5th (as I write this):

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After a stellar 2017 and an incredible January 2018, the S&P 500 has given up all gains made so far this year in just a little over a week. What makes this pullback look so ugly is the lack of volatility leading up to it. What caused it? Mainly interest rates. Since former Chair of the Federal Reserve Janet Yellen has left, and Jay Powell is sworn in as the new Chair, markets are anxious to see how aggressive he will be in pushing for raising rates. The ten year Treasury yield has risen pretty quickly to 2.83%, a level we have not seen since 2014. Folks are scared that interest rates rising too far too fast will put the skids on the economic recovery. But how high is too high?

According to FactSet, it is 5%. If rates are below 5%, stocks tend to rise along with rates. We are at 2.83%, nowhere near 5% yet. What does that tell me? In my opinion, it says this is a panic pullback and not the beginning of a bear market. It might go lower. It might get uglier. But it is a pullback we were expecting.

If you receive our newsletter and read my commentary, you are not surprised either. Remember what I said last month:  I am telling you this for a few reasons. One is a reality check. The low volatility we have seen in the market is not typical, and we should not expect it to continue. Another is to urge you to stay in your proper risk tolerance and not chase returns. Finally, it is to prepare you for what could lie ahead. While no one knows for sure, I would not be surprised to see a sharp, fast drop (or more than one) in the stock market in the coming months. I do not want you to be surprised, either.” 

This is what I have been training and preparing you for, dear reader.  Moreover, what has been most gratifying through these past few days is that for those of you I have spoken with, you do indeed feel well informed and prepared. We will keep a close eye on this pullback as it unfolds.

- Victoria Bogner, CFP®, CFA


House To Home

If you have closed on a home with us then you know we are not a team that disappears after you have moved in. We are invested in your happiness and comfort at your new home, which is why we started a campaign called House To Home. After you have settled in, we come to do a mini photoshoot of your family in the house that you have turned into your home. Our first participants, Justin & Alex, had the pleasure of working with Realtor Deanna Porterfield, and found a home just in time to prepare for baby Claire's arrival. 

 Justin, Alex & Claire.

Justin, Alex & Claire.

Q: When you first saw your new home, did you know it was “the one?”
Justin & Alex: We knew pretty much right away, we felt like it had been waiting for us.

Q: What has been the best part about settling into your new home?
J&A: Having room to spread out, and room for [Claire's] stuff. We were in a one bedroom apartment before, and Claire was going to be in the office so having the room for her is huge. Also having more space for family and friends. We don't have to get folding chairs out when friends come over now. 

Q: Which is your favorite room in the house and why?
J&A: Claire’s nursery. But before her, I loved the kitchen. For this price, I didn't expect to get an updated kitchen so when we saw this in our price range it was even better than we could have expected.

Q: What do you like about the neighborhood?
J&A: It’s quiet and peaceful. We’ve met all of our neighbors, they're all really nice. The couple next door has a one-year-old, all the neighbors have been friendly and helpful. And it's close to everything, we couldn't have picked a better spot.

Q: How did working with the Jennifer Harvey Team make the home buying process easier for you?
J&A: In addition to having known Deanna, she was really patient, compassionate, persevered with us, and [she] was respectful when we didn't like something. We had a couple times when we made an offer and after inspections, we decided to walk away. Both times she was really easy to work with and was understanding.
I felt like the team worked together and supported us, too. There was at least one time when Deanna was out of town and she put us in touch with another Realtor in case something came up and it did. Diedre was able to take us right away, just like Deanna, which was really important for the housing market we were working in because it was so competitive. We wanted to get out there the same day and we did. Overall they were really responsive and worked well together as a team. It was a lot of fun even though it was a long process, it was a lot of fun.

Q: Got any big home improvement plans in store for 2018?
J&A: We’d like to start a garden!

Songbird Cafe

I'm from Kansas City, but when I lived in California I got into juicing. Let me tell you right now- California is not the place to get into juicing. Unless having no money is your thing, in which case California is the place to get into juicing. So when I stepped into Songbird and saw they offered not 2, but 16 fluid ounces of pure joy for $7 I was floored. I thought to myself, "this is why you moved home!" 

But actually, amazing juice prices are not why I moved home. I moved home because I missed the hospitality of Kansas City, and that hospitality can be found at Songbird Cafe. The small, family-owned business has a prime location on Grand Street in the Crossroads. The walls are full of local art, the tables are hand painted, and the menu is straight out of San Francisco without San Francisco prices. I ordered the Peacock Juice (cucumber, pear, kale, orange, lemon) per the owner's recommendation. And I ordered the Pear & Goat Cheese Panini per the owner's son's recommendation. 

It's not every day, and it's certainly not in every city, that you meet the owners of a restaurant. It's even less common that they are kind, and want to discuss the menu with you.
Small businesses like this one are what makes Kansas City special. If your day is lacking some charm or some amazing food, check out Songbird Cafe. 

Songbird's hours of operation, live music schedule, and full menu can be found here

Home & Garden Show

The Johnson County Home & Garden Show came to the Overland Park Convention Center and we were there to capture the fun!

This event was a perfect way to gear up for spring decorating or maybe even moving! With the Parade of Homes coming in April this event was a perfect "pregame."

If you are thinking of making the move but have questions about the market, moving companies, or how to update your home before moving, do not hesitate to give us a call. We are never too busy for you or your referrals. 

KC Restaurant Week: Brown & Loe

Brown & Loe is located underneath the KC historic "City Market" sign. I didn't know this until a very recent Google search, but the Historic City Market's slogan is "where the locals go."

What I noticed during my time at Brown & Loe is that this is where everyone goes. While waiting for my table I saw the tallest cowboy couple I have ever seen, cool chicks covered in tattoos, a group of ladies & their husbands that were fresh out of the country club, an all women's book club, young parents, father's with daughters, and me holding my camera and an obnoxiously large case that shouts, "Yes! I will be the girl photographing her food before she eats!"

But if there is one thing I have learned during my travels, when you see a restaurant with that many types of people all enjoying themselves, you can bet your behind that the food is good. 
And it is. And not just that, the service is good too. This was my 3rd stop for KC Restaurant Week, and it's the only stop I am writing about because here, the quality of food matches the quality of service.

I'm not a food critic, nor an atmosphere critic, so my opinion is a very humble one, and it is this: Brown & Loe is an all-around 10.
Restaurant week or not, put this place on your must-see list. 

To view the full menu, or to make a reservation, visit

New Home vs Resale


Should I buy a new home or resale?

This is a typical question I receive since I have been a New Home agent for almost 10 years.  It is a great question, and the answer really depends on your goals, wants and needs in a home.

A huge factor to consider is your timeframe.

If you are flexible and do not need to move right away, then building a new home is a great option. Building is a lot of fun because you can choose everything you want in your home, but if that seems overwhelming then you can also find a model home you like and have your plan designed exactly like the model. When designing a custom home, it’s all about the builder relationship. With the right builder, you can design the home of your dreams in a timeframe that works for you. Most the builders we work with have a design center where you can go in with ideas and leave with a floorplan. Many have designers on-site to help you with tough selections, and to increase efficiency.

Another question I often hear is, “does building cost more than resale?”

Not always, especially in the current market where depending on your price point, multiple offers may drive up the price of a resale home. When building, remember you are customizing a home to fit all your needs on a home site of your choice, and new homes come with a one year warranty that covers everything in the home. While this does include one-time costs like fences and windows, you are customizing it so they will be exactly what you want.

If your time frame is not conducive to building, then resale is a good option.

When you are in need of a super quick close on a home, resale usually offers the most options for you to choose from with a faster close time.

Another option that not everyone knows about is to look at spec homes. A spec home is a home the builder has started to build for a speculative buyer. These home can be purchased at any time during the build, so depending on your time frame you can find a spec home that can still be customized to your taste, or purchase a completed one and move in right away.

One of the major benefits of buying a resale home is that they have an established neighborhood. While new home communities turn into established neighborhoods, it takes time.

The most important thing is to look at all your options and decide what works best for you. Our team has many years of experience in new homes and resale and can help you every step of the way! Don’t wait to move into the home of your dreams.

Local Music: The Sextet live at the Black Dolphin

 photo by Christopher Smith featured in Feast Magazine

photo by Christopher Smith featured in Feast Magazine

This discovery I owe to my father. A local musician himself, he heard The Sextet was performing with a friend of his and invited me to the show.

"It's at the Black Dolphin," he tells me, and quickly I recall that my midtown dwelling father is a lot more hip than I am - I have no idea where the Black Dolphin is. Lucky for me, Google Maps is also very hip. Black Dolphin is new and was formerly known as the Tank Room. While I was planning to give you an in-depth review of how dangerously cool this Gatsby-esque bar is, Feast Magazine recently did that for me so I will send you there and focus on the music. 

 The Sextet

The Sextet

The Sextet is confirmation that Kansas City is still the place to be for Jazz. Their music, the golden draped backdrop, and the vintage microphones made me want to change into a flapper dress & start ordering champagne by the bottle.

On their Soundcloud page, they have a small slogan written, "music to move to and be moved by" and I can't say anything more accurate than that. The Sextet takes a nostalgic genre and brings it to life. With only two years until we enter a new decade of "roaring twenties" I know what I will be listening to in preparation. And when the ball drops on Jan 1st, 2020, here's hoping I will be at The Black Dolphin seeing the Sextet live.  

For tour dates and more, check them out online and on Facebook

Pizza Bella

Few people know this but when you look up "charming" in the dictionary there is actually a photo of Pizza Bella next to the definition.

Okay so few people know this because it's not true, but it could and should be true. Walking into Pizza Bella, or "PB" if you want it to sound even cuter, feels like walking into a warm living room with a cozy fireplace waiting for you. This is in part because there is an actual furnace burning in Pizza Bella. The pizza is wood-fired, thus adding deliciousness to the charm.

My first time in PB I was only there to visit a friend who was an employee at the time. He was roasting brussel sprouts on an open fire and I was saying "ew, brussel sprouts are gross." He stopped stoking and replied "you haven't tried our brussel sprouts, have you?" From that moment on everything is a blur. All I can see is a haze of slivered almonds, craisins, and me at the grocery store buying bags of brussel sprouts demanding that he give me the recipe (he didn't. He means nothing to me now.)

Since that hazy day, I have never gone to PB and not ordered the brussel sprouts. Also, since that day their menu has become even more incredible. They still have the classic recipes that have been around for the 10 years that Pizza Bella has, but insiders know (and now you know) that you can customize just about anything at Bella, ( I replace the tomato sauce with Thai chili paste) and their non-pizza specials are ever changing. So if warm cozy places and delicious food is your thing, then Pizza Bella is your thing. Give this restaurant in the Crossroads a try. Lunch time is great for no wait, and if you're coming on the weekend, a reservation is not a bad idea. 

If this review has somehow not convinced you and you need to know more, or if you need directions because it has convinced you and you are on the way right now, check them out here . Their Facebook page is updated often, and their photos speak for themselves. 

Sasha's Baking Company

I should start by voicing a very unpopular opinion: I don't like cinnamon rolls. 

In the scheme of pastries, they're a solid "eh"  so when the person behind the counter at Sasha's said cinnamon rolls were their specialty I thought, "Alright. I'll do it for the people, just this once." I sat down with my espresso and my eh pastry and did what I had to do... I kid you not the roll was gone in uner 5 bites and under 8 seconds. I didn't like cinnamon rolls because none of them had ever tasted like this cinnamon roll. Sasha's managed to make the outside layers taste as good as the inside layers.

While contemplating whether or not to go order the rest of the rolls in the case, the new Australian owner, Rob, came and introduced himself with an offering of fried Greek Haloumi cheese. That's right, the owner of a French bakery in Kansas City is Australian, and he serves Greek cheese. Rob explained that Australia has a rich diversity of cultures, and therefore recipes. His vision for Sasha's is to incorporate global dishes in a way that is sophisticated yet accesible. He also assured me that Sasha's (which has been open since 2013) will keep it's French bakery roots. He also gave me an inside scoop *they have an all new menu coming soon* 

So next time you need a sugar break, a bread break, a coffee break, or just a reason to get out of the house, stop by Sasha's. 

Sasha's Baking Co is located at 105 W 9th St
Kansas City, Missouri 64105
You can learn more about them on their Facebook

Thinking about selling? Don't wait.

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We often hear that the best time to list your home is in the Spring, but is that really the case? Despite what people may think, the winter months are hot.

Winter is a great time to capitalize on relocation buyers who are moving to Kansas City to start jobs around the first of the new year. Also, the current market in Kansas City is hungry for inventory. Right now in Johnson County, there are 5 buyers for every 1 house that goes on the market. This means that buyers are anxiously waiting and as a seller, you are in a great position. 

Without knowing what the Springtime market will look like, what we can tell you is that if you wait you are going to be putting your home on the market during the most competitive time to sell. This could mean it will be slower to sell and having to lower the price to compete.

If you're waiting because you don't know where you want to move to yet, let us help. We have the tools to get you into your dream home. Whether it's resale or new construction, our lenders can work with you to determine how to be smart with your money, and allow you to be noncontingent so your offer can be more competitive and appeal to sellers.

If you still have questions or concerns, let's talk! We're never too busy for you or your referrals. When you need a Realtor who works for you, "Just Call Jenn." • 913-221-8863

West Bottoms - First Friday

H O L I D A Y  S H O P P I N G 

I feel like I could end the post there but for your sake, I'll elaborate. Every First Friday starting at 8:30 am the Antiquing Queens and Craft Kings get together to sell you their vintage, new, and refurbished goods. I say "goods" because there is so much for sale during First Friday that it's almost hard to put in words. You'll wander through modern farmhouse booths, someone's entire handcrafted Etsy shop, stores that feel exactly like Homegoods, and then shops that make you wonder "who in Kansas City can actually afford any of this..." The variety will give you a chance to cross everyone off your holiday shopping list. 


Oh! And guess what? There's one happening this Friday, December 1st.

Here's a list of all the stops and shops. Thanks. KC Star ;) 

Unruh Furniture

When I visited Unruh Furniture, I thought I was lost. I pulled up to a 100-year-old church and thought, "Okay, GPS, very funny but I do go to church often enough and I don't need your judgment right now." However, it was not a snarky message from God or Garmin, I was at Unruh Furniture. 

Upon further reflection, the location still doesn't really make sense, but it doesn't have to. What you need to know about Unruh is that this is the spot in Kansas City for handmade furniture and you need their furniture in your house

Why am I so adamant? Well, it's not just how great their furniture looks, (which is coming, I promise!) it's also what's on the inside of this business that counts 

And the list goes on, but I already know what's going to convince you that you need Unruh Furniture in your life, so here it is:

Nothing pairs better with a new home than new, handcrafted furniture. When you buy some, just be sure to invite us over to see it. We'll bring the champagne.

Full List of furniture can be found here

*all photos are from Unruh Furniture

Kansas City River Market

If lazy Sunday morning exploring is your thing, the Kansas City Farmer's Market is for you. You can't not find a new favorite place in this square block of markets, restaurants, and vendors. And pro tip: skip going on Saturday to beat the crowds. On a Sunday at 10 am you won't be shoulder to shoulder with someone haggling a squash farmer. You'll be strolling the aisles, sipping on coffee, and maybe eating a falafel hummus pita before noon because why not, it's Sunday.

Van Till Winery

"How have I never heard of this place?" Is what I asked myself over and over as I strolled through the Van Till Winery. Upon arrival, you will notice rows of greenhouses filled with fruits, vegetables, and flowers. If there is a wait for a table, well, you'll just have to go do a wine tasting to fill the time. Right after the wine tasting and right when you think this place can't possibly get any better, they bring you a farm to table wood-fired pizza made by cooks and servers who are paid a living wage (no need to tip at Van Till, if you do it will go to a charity of their choosing.)

Van Till Winery is one of Missouri's best kept secrets, and only a 15-minute drive from The Elms Hotel and Spa. This combo is actually what started the staycation movement. 

Giving Back - Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes

When you love something, let it grow. We love our state and are proud to see the Lowell Milken Center for Unsung Heroes grow. 

The nonprofit organization helps students discover, develop and communicate the stories of individuals who, often at great personal risk, took actions to improve the lives of others, the Center inspires each and every one of us to make a positive difference in the world.

At an appreciation dinner, we were able to see how the center has changed the lives of students in our area. They told us about their current research projects, how their discoveries have affected their personal lives and the lives of the individuals they chose to research. After dinner, we were shown a private screening of "Teach Us All" a captivating documentary (available on Netflix) that explains how our public schools are more segregated than ever, and what we can do to make a change.

Kansas City helped us grow from a one-woman show to a full dream team; now it's our turn to give back.