Five years ago, if someone had told me I was going to get to go to Costa Rica, I would have laughed in their face. But here I am, about to tell you about the 10 days that I got to spend there!!
My birthday is in February, which usually means crappy weather and leads to a fairly crappy celebration. I’ve been lucky enough since Eric and I met to get to spend my birthdays far away from the rain, ice, and snow that usually hits Ohio in late February.
This year for the BIG 3-0, I suggested Costa Rica! Lucky for me my best friend whose birthday is 2 weeks before mine, and lived in Costa Rica for a year, had the same idea. It was so great having her to help me plan!
We decided to start our adventure on the Caribbean side of the country in Puerto Viejo. This small town is known for its laid back, almost Jamaican vibe. Driving into town there were women selling fruit at roadside stands, men chopping the tops off of coconuts to sell to tourists, and everyone riding around on bicycles. Which we later found out was the main source of transportation around the city. We stayed at a hostel. This was a first for me. I had no idea what to expect, but the Selina Hostel in Puerto Viejo was so nice. We had a private room and bathroom and if I hadn’t known better, I would have assumed we were in an everyday 4 star hotel!
We arrived early and our room wasn’t ready so we went to hang out at the pool bar. Within the first hour of being there my number 1 birthday wish came true!!!
We were sitting at a table, I was facing Eric and the bar sipping on a delicious fresh cocktail. Eric looked up and said “you’re not going to believe this, but there is a sloth right behind you.” My immediate response was “Shut up. You’re full of shit!” But naturally I still had to turn around to check. Sure enough, there was a big 3-toed sloth crawling across the gravel walk way less that 20 feet from where we were sitting!!!! I was able to walk right up to him to snag a quick picture. This will easily go down in my top 10 coolest moments ever.
We visited the Jaguar Rescue during our time in PV as well. Surprisingly there were no jaguars, but there were tons of 2-toed sloths and monkeys. All of these animals are here because they were found in the wild and were either separated from their mothers or injured in some way. Their ultimate goal is to rehabilitate these animals and release them back into the wild. We learned a lot of really interesting things about the animals.
After a couple of days of bike riding, shopping, and drinking one too many Imperials, we realized that we had pretty much done everything that Puerto Viejo offered. Originally, we were scheduled to stay there for 3 nights. After the second, we decided to bump our whitewater rafting trip up a day and continue on to La Fortuna.
We woke up early, threw on our swim suits and packed our bags. Exploradores Outdoors picked us up right outside of our hostel. We stopped at a few different places to pick up other rafters and then we were on our way to their Exploration Center where we were able to store our bags in a secure area and they provided us with a light breakfast as well.
Once everyone had arrived, we hopped back on the buses and made our way to the part of the river where we would start our trip. On the way there they were telling us a little about the area and the river. The Pacuare river is ranked the 5th best river in the world for rafting. Let me tell ya, it did not disappoint!!! We have both rafted before once in the states (him - Colorado, me – West Virginia) and together we went in Chile a couple of years ago. Those experiences couldn’t hold a candle to the Pacuare! The trip was 18 miles long and we went through around 38 rapids. If you are ever in Costa Rica, you need to take a day for this. Exploradores Outdoors is amazing. They do pick ups in La Fortuna, San Jose, and Puerto Viejo. Then once you are finished they were take you to one of those three places even if it isn’t where you were picked up. This is the perfect way to get from city to city since a shared shuttle typically costs about $100/person alone. For $200 total, we received transportation to the Exploration Center, breakfast, the rafting, lunch, and then transportation to La Fortuna where we planned to spend the next few days!
The second part of our Costa Rica extravaganza was in La Fortuna, the adventure capital! I on the other hand am a slight chicken so there wasn’t a ton of adventuring being done. I really wanted to zipline but when it came down to it, just the thought made me nauseous! Instead, we opted to hike to the La Fortuna Waterfall. This is a pretty big tourist attraction so it ended up not being much of a hike. They have man made stairs all the way down to the base of the waterfall. Once you reach the bottom there are two sections. To the left, is calm, shallow, clear water where you can find people swimming and snapping Instagram worth photos. To the right, is the waterfall. I don’t think I have ever seen something like it in my life. It was beautiful yet intimidating. You are permitted to swim in the pool below the fall, but it can be very dangerous. The currents can drag you under and if that happens there isn’t much anyone can do. After a few minutes of admiring its beauty and watching people try to scale the rock to get the perfect picture we decided to make our way back up. This proved to be the challenging part. There are over 500 stairs to climb to get back to the top. We already knew we were out of shape, but DAMN!! Thank God there is a bar at the top!
From the waterfall we hopped in a cab and made our way to The Baldi Resort and Hot Springs. This place was unbelievable!! We had visited some natural hot springs in Chile but it was nothing like this. Our tickets included lunch at the buffet so we started there. Afterwards we made our way to the locker rooms to store our shoes and bag. The hot spring pools start in the lobby area and there are 28 total. They gradually get warmer as you continue to the top. A few of the pools included swim up bars so we started there and grabbed a couple drinks. We gradually made our way up stopping at each pool along the way until we finally got to the very top where there was a massive fountain made to look like a volcano with the naturally heated water pouring into the pool below. Eventually, after a few more Cuba Libres, we made our way back down to the pool with the water slides. Against my will, I was forced to climb the stairs and risk my bikini top and my life to make my friends happy!!! When did I become such a wimp?!
After Fortuna, we made our way south to the Pacific Coast town of Manuel Antonio. We stayed at La Mariposa Resort which is the oldest hotel in town. The website boasted that La Mariposa sat at the highest point in town and offered the best views of the ocean and the sunset. They could not have described it any better! When we checked into our room we looked out the window and saw our neighbor. An adorable little monkey jumping around on the tree outside!
With our love for boating and water we knew we had to schedule a catamaran tour while we were there. Searching around online I found a sunset cruise on a boat called the Ocean King. The boat is 100 feet long and can hold up to 250 guests! There are two jacuzzi tubs on board and a waterslide off the back that you can use once the boat stops for the snorkeling part of the day. The cruise lasts 4 hours, includes 8 alcoholic beverages and a surprisingly delicious dinner. I felt like we got slightly cheated during our tour though. There was a broken down jet ski stranded out in the middle of the ocean. We had to stop and help them and ended up waiting almost an hour for another smaller boat to come and tow the jet ski to shore. But, it wasn’t the end of the world and we still met some great people and really enjoyed our day. Until we got back to the hotel and I realized how incredibly sunburned I had gotten!
Years ago during a trip to Cancun, I was told that regular sunscreen is terrible for the coral reef because it rinses off of your body, sinks to the bottom, and suffocates the coral. So for this trip, since we were starting out on the Caribbean coast, I purchased some environmentally friendly SPF 30. Let me add here that it was February in Ohio, so I had zero base tan, and Costa Rica is only 9 degrees away from the Equator. One hour in the Costa Rican sun was no match for my hippy dippy sunscreen!!! The next day we hung around the pool where I was able to stay mostly in the shade. Ironically enough, we started talking to another couple at the pool. Come to find out, together they patented the formula for Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic’s SPF 100 and SPF 110. I was slightly embarrassed but my awful sunburn after hearing that. Pro Tip* the SPF 100 is the best stuff you can get. You can put it on one time at the beginning of the day and it will not come off even with sweating and swimming. I got that info straight from the horse’s mouth folks!
On day 9 we knew our time was quickly coming to an end. Eric and I had so much fun together on a trip of a lifetime! I don’t think I could have found a better way to finish out the last few days in my 20’s. We had an early flight our of San Jose the next morning, so we took a shuttle back to the capital city. It was dark by the time we got there, and we were exhausted, so we didn’t take any time to explore. I guess that just means we’ll have to go back one day!
I’ve officially been 30 for one week now. I know a lot of people have a tough time dealing with getting older. It wasn’t so bad for me, but that probably has to do with the fact that I have been telling people I was 30 for the past three years. I mean, anything after 25 is close enough, right?!
I have been reflecting a bit on the last decade of my life. As fast as it seems that time has flown by, it feels like 20 was so long ago. There was so much that happened, it has me anxious and excited to see how life will change over the next ten years.
At 20 years old, I gave birth to an amazing little boy who was so excited to see me that he came 9 weeks early.
I married a man that I thought I was going to raise a family with.
I struggled with figuring out who I was.
I gained an excessive amount of weight.
I left that man that I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with.
I learned how to drive a stick shift.
I lost 60 pounds and really began to love myself again.
I started a job that could have turned into a life-long career.
I lost my father, my mother, and my grandfather.
I lost touch with friends that I love.
I made new friends.
I met an amazing man who has changed my life for the better.
I quit that “great” job when I realized that I was being underpaid and under-appreciated.
I’ve traveled to places and experienced things that I would have never even dreamed possible.
I’ve taken chances and fallen on my face.
I’ve taken chances and soared!
I’ve learned to appreciate good wine.
Most importantly, I’ve learned that life is what you make of it.
You can sit on the couch scrolling through Instagram unhappy with life, or you can go out there and do it your way. You can’t wait for someone to hand you what you want, you have to take it!
I experienced a lot of bad shit in my 20’s and I’ve had people tell me, “you’ve gone through a lot at such a young age.” But I refuse to let any of that hold me back. There are people out there that have probably had it way worse. With all the negative, it makes me even more thankful for the positive. I am going into my 30’s stronger than ever before but I can’t wait to see what lessons I learn along the way!
Can you believe it is already March 1st?!! The last two months have been a complete whirlwind and I have so much to update everyone on, but I want to get the most important thing done first!
This past Tuesday, February 27th, the Back Porch Saloon in West Chester was host to our ladies’ night networking and happy hour. We could not have asked for a better evening. We don’t get too many sunny 65 degree days here in Ohio so I was super thankful we were able to enjoy it with some cold beverages, delicious food, and even better company.
Emily Martone Ferrer was there with some adorable wooden signs that you can design yourself from Charlee Jack Designs. You can visit Emily’s website at; http://www.mycharleejack.com/EMILY to customize your own sign kit. You can do them yourself at home, but a more fun option is to have a group of friends get together for a party and Emily can come show you how it’s done! The best part is, everyone at the party can pick their own designs.
Randie Stone is a consultant with Beautycounter. Beautycounter’s mission is to get safer personal care products into the hands of everyone. The line of products ranges from makeup and skin care to diaper rash ointment for babies. There is something for everyone. If you are interested in learning more about how Beautycounter is trying to make personal care products safer, you can visit Randie’s website at; www.beautycounter.com/RandieStone.
I was happy to welcome back a couple of familiar faces to our featured business line up!
Lisa Harris was back with her line of anti-aging skin care from Nerium. You have got to check out the firming lotion that Lisa was telling me about. The results that she showed me were out of this world! I’m fairly certain that whatever ingredients are in this stuff, they had to have come from the fountain of youth!! Visit lisadharris.nerium.com to learn more about the firming lotion and the rest of the product line.
Jeanne DeBord was also one of our repeat vendors with Senegence! Jeanne is so much fun and loves sharing her love of Lipsense with people. But lipstick isn’t all that she has to offer! There is an entire line of cosmetics with Shadowsense, Lash Extend, and ever anti-aging Makesense foundation. Jeanne also told me that she had started using the cleansers and moisturizers from the skincare line and I have to say, her skin looks flawless!! You can search for Jeanne’s group on Facebook under; Lips on Point! Jeanne DeBord Senegence Consultant
I also had the pleasure of meeting Rosemary Olgesby from the non-profit organization, Rosemary’s Babies. Rosemary and her team are working hard to bring awareness and support to teen parents and their families. They are caring out their mission by providing virtual and face to face mentoring to help and encourage these teen parents to make the best out of the situation. The support these young mothers and fathers are given increases likelihood of graduation, increase in potential income, and an overall better life for themselves and their babies. To find out how you can help, check out; www.rosemarysbabies.co.
I can not thank everyone who came out enough. Your support at these events means the world to me and I hope to continue to build and grow a community of strong women in the area. I look forward to seeing everyone next month!!
I usually don’t like to brag, but I just received one of the greatest honors of my entire life…
BEST WING MAKER…EVER!!!
The judge, my 9-year-old son, may have been a little biased but he definitely knows a good wing when he eats one!!
With the Super Bowl tomorrow, I’m sure you are curious about how you can make these award-winning wings yourself. While I would love to keep this secret to myself, that would just be selfish. So here it is, in all it’s glory!!
The best part about this recipe is you still get that crispy browned skin with out having to fill your house with the smell and mess of a deep fryer!
This time around, I made 13 wings. There was still some left-over seasoning, so if you needed a few more it would be fine. Also, the original recipe called for all purpose flour. My grandma mentioned that rice flour would offer a crispier breading, and who am I to argue?!
Start by rinsing your wings and cutting off that extra little phalange! Then use paper towels to pat the wings dry. Set your oven to 450 degrees while you prep the rest of your ingredients!
For the breading I used:
¼ cup of rice flour
1 tablespoon of baking power
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon of chili powder
½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon of black pepper
Mix all your dry ingredients, then coat your chicken wings thoroughly. Place them on a baking sheet with a rack to allow them to bake evenly. Set your timer to 30 minutes. It may be totally unnecessary, but I still flipped mine half way through.
While the wings were baking I mixed Frank’s Red Hot Buffalo Wing sauce, Sweet Baby Ray’s Honey BBQ Wing Sauce, and some minced garlic. I’ll be honest, I didn’t measure any of it. I started with half and half then just added a little more of whatever until I reached the flavor I was after!
Once my wings were finished baking I dished them out to my “non-biased” judges. Eric couldn’t believe that they had been baked. The wings turned out so crispy and juicy the texture was just like restaurant wings. Personally, I felt like I could have added a little extra seasoning to the flour mixture. The wing sauce concoction was definitely the star of the show! I poured a little onto the finished wings and everyone gobbled them up in minutes.
Next time, I think will toss the finished wings in the sauce and then put them under the broiler for a few minutes to make them extra crispy!
If you are looking for the perfect snack for your Super Bowl party I would totally recommend trying these crispy baked wings.
After a 16-year career in the corporate world, Amanda Marsh decided that she was done playing it safe. With a little encouragement from a very special birthday card, Marsh took a leap of faith. It took hard work, long hours, and an incredible amount of determination but from that came Blume, an eclectic home décor shop full of vintage and hand-made goods. Located in historic downtown Lebanon, Ohio Blume has all of the personality and charm you could need for your home.
Tell us about your business and how you became the successful business woman you are today.
I had always wanted to own a business of my own and work for myself, however, when I was younger, I didn't know what that might be. To prepare, I pursued a Bachelor's degree in Accounting. My father had always told me that knowing the numbers was the most important piece to any business, so I took his advice. For about sixteen years, I worked in the corporate accounting field. It felt safe and secure and seemed like the right thing to do to keep our family financially stable. About five years ago, I got the creative itch, went part-time at my accounting job, and started doing things on the side to fulfill that artistic void. I had always loved home decorating. Friends and family would always tell me that I had "missed my calling". I started to think more and more about how I could have "missed" my calling and, in my late thirties, had already given up on my dream of owning my own business. With much encouragement from my husband and three children, I started to get serious about working on my business plan. On my 37th birthday, my daughter gave me a card that said that she believed in me and that "I was just as good as Joanna Gaines". It seems funny now, but looking back, this was the first of many "signs" that it was the right time to take the leap of faith.
Describe yourself in three words.
Ambitious, Dedicated & an Old Soul
What do you consider your greatest professional achievement?
Turning a 200-year-old building that was in ruin into a beautiful space that brings others so much joy.
What are your professional goals for the next six months?
Working on my website and gaining more of an online presence where customers could purchase online. I would also like to do more at home decorating consultations for customers that need help rethinking their current space(s).
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
My husband and I have always wanted to get into flipping houses. I think our focus would be on older homes that have been let go over the years or been stripped of their original character and charm. I would also love to incorporate floral design and/or event planning into my current business plan.
How do you maintain a work life balance?
In retail, there are always times that are busier than others. So, I have learned to take advantage of those slower times and make the most of them. Fortunately, over the past six months, I have also been able to hire more employees with a few of them being very like-minded to myself. I feel comfortable taking a day off and trusting that when I come back, all will be in order. The first year is always a challenge though as you may not have the staffing to take time off. I have found it advantageous to be closed one day a week to recoup, run errands, take my kids to appointments or just have some downtime. If you love what you do though, it doesn't feel like work and you enjoy life more regardless of the hours. Our business is truly a "family business" so there are some Friday nights when our whole family is there late eating pizza and listening to music while I work to get ready for a busy weekend.
What websites do you visit every day?
My top 3 are probably Etsy, Pinterest and my banking website. I have found a lot of great vendors through Etsy Wholesale that I currently have stocked in my shop. If I have an idea for a product for the shop, I can always find someone that makes it on Etsy Wholesale. Pinterest is great to get inspired for shop displays. We are also building a custom home right now so much of my recent time on Pinterest has been searching for house ideas. Being my own bookkeeper, I find that I like to keep up with my books almost daily, so I am always on my banking website.
What are your top three favorite people/places/things to do in your city?
I love finding hidden gems in the city whether it be an eclectic boutique or a cozy coffee shop or bakery. My absolute favorite restaurant in Cincinnati is Wildflower Cafe. They have a "farm to table" menu that changes every season and the charming setting is right up my alley. I also love spending time at floral and garden centers for inspiration. My two favorites are Morning Sun Flower Farm in College Corner and Greenfield Plant Farm in Maineville. My family and I also spend a lot of time in Loveland along the Little Miami River and Bike Trail. It has a similar charm to Lebanon but is a pleasant change when we are looking to get out of our hometown for the day. Anytime I am near the Kenwood Mall, I must stop in Anthropologie. It's my "go-to" shop to unwind and get inspired.
What is your goal for retirement?
I would love to purchase and fix up a run-down beach cottage where my husband and I could spend a lot of time during the year with our children and grandchildren.
Do you have any advice for women who would like to start their own business?
-It can be very overwhelming when you are just starting out. I had kept an "inspiration journal" for about ten years before I opened with these ideas but didn't really start putting a game plan together until about a year before I opened. I spent the first three months researching potential locations. Your location is probably the key factor that will determine how successful your business will be. I preferred to be closer to home and luckily for me, Lebanon was "up and coming" in terms of similar businesses in the area and they seemed to be thriving. You have to ensure that you can differentiate yourself from other competitors which means that you need to know what they have to offer in order to set yourself apart. It can also be challenging to be the first one to take the risk if the location is not ideal. -If you are just starting out with your concept, it is advantageous to talk to other business owners to see how they got started and what they learned in those first few years. When I was still in my planning phase, I had stumbled across a similar shop to the one I wanted to open when I was out of town. I then later contacted that business owner and made a trip to meet with her and discuss how she got her start just general questions on day to day operations and financial projections. The SBA also offers free sessions with retired professionals to guide you through the process. -Perhaps one of the most important things about owning your own business is that you need to know how your business is performing financially. If you do not have a business or accounting background, take a few general classes. This will be helpful both in the planning phase as you need to ensure that your concept is profitable before you begin, and ongoing in day to day business activities. -My last piece of advice would be to spend money on advertising your business well before it is open. Spend advertising dollars where it counts and where your core target market will see it. This will ensure a strong sales start as customers will be aware of your opening date and start to get familiar what your business has to offer.
Any final comments?
There is a quote on a sign I have hanging in my shop right now that I adore and always gets me thinking...."When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have one single bit of talent left, and could say, 'I used everything you gave me.'"-Erma Bombeck Entrepreneurship is not easy. It will push you to limits that no other boss has ever pushed you to. There are times when you are exhausted but have to keep going because if you give up, your business will suffer or fail altogether. Although I have had a few regrets along the way, there are no second thoughts that I should not have taken this leap of faith two and a half years ago. I have a true passion for what I do. The more passionate you are about your work, the more dedicated you will be in making sure that you succeed.
Well I have finally recovered from the plague that was going around town and survived the “blizzard” of 2018 so now I can update all of you on how wonderful our first ladies’ night of the year was!!
Matt the Miller’s Tavern in West Chester was our host this month and I couldn’t have asked for a better venue. The restaurant offers a small banquet room that was perfect for mingling and meeting all our wonderful vendors. The $5 happy hour specials were perfect and offered a little bit of everything and it was all delicious. And the staff was incredibly attentive and made sure that everyone was very well taken care of. If you are ever looking for a place to host a small get together, whether it is for business or pleasure, you should give the manager, Michael, a call. He was a gem to work with!!
This month I really tried to focus on pampering the guests and helping everyone start the new year off on the right foot. Some of the ladies from Lunatic Fringe Salon were there offering a complimentary braid and curl bar. The salon is located on Yankee road in Liberty Township just a hop, skip, and a jump from the highway. Their signature is the “stress relieving shampoo experience”. You get a relaxing shampoo, a scalp and neck massage, and a make-up retouch with every service. That is something all of us could use after the holidays!!
Karly Danos from Pure Romance brought some of the products from the amazing bath and beauty line. If you haven’t had a chance to check out everything that Pure Romance has to offer you can hop into Karly’s VIP Facebook group, PR by KD VIP Status, to learn more. And if you are ever looking for girls’ night out ideas Karly is so much fun to host a party with!!
Jeanne Debord was there to give all the ladies lips that don’t quit with all her wonderful Lipsense colors! Senegence has an entire line of long lasting cosmetics and you can find all of them in Jeanne’s Facebook group, Lips on Point by Jeanne Debord. You can even message her directly to order!
The newest addition to the West Chester community is REVolution smoothie bar and supplement store. They had their grand opening Monday, January 15th! Owner, Sammi Baumgartner, joined us with tons of yummy samples and information on how to fuel our bodies with the nutrients we need. Be sure to check out the store. It is located at 7324 Kingsgate Way Drive in West Chester.
Did you know that you could get better more youthful looking skin by working from the inside out?? Lisa Harris with Nerium introduced us to Youth Factor, a two-step system with a delicious berry flavored drink that helps to boost your body into an optimal state of well-being. Lisa’s website (http://lisadharris.nerium.com) has tons of valuable information on the Youth Factor system and all their other skin care and wellness products.
The ladies from the Liberty Center’s Kendra Scott jewelry store brought their trunk show to the party and it took some serious willpower to try and not buy every single item! I absolutely love everything they have. Kendra Scott is a Texas based designer and they are slowly making their way across the Mason-Dixon and I couldn’t be happier about it. They offered 15% off all purchases made throughout the evening and they even gave away 10 free jewelry pieces!!
Oh, and I can’t forget our photographer!! Lisa Wilsey from Heart Photography was there to capture all the fun. Lisa specializes in love and works with couples from the proposal until they are walking down the aisle. If you or anyone you know got engaged this holiday season give Lisa a call. She also mentioned to me that one of her goals is to shoot at least one wedding in every single state. So, if any of you readers aren’t from Ohio, don’t worry, maybe she’ll come to you!
We had such a great time this month. I saw some familiar faces and met more wonderful women. I can’t wait to see everyone next time!
I have always loved Christmas. The lights, the cookies, Grandma’s Christmas breakfast, and the presents (duh)! Then, once Jace came along it got even better. To see the magic of Christmas through a child’s eyes is unbelievable. It is usually such a fun, stress-free time for me.
This year, it has been hard for me to get into the Christmas spirit. I can’t believe we are less than two weeks away from the big day. I have a tree up and I have ordered a few gifts online, but I’m just not feeling it. I had made so many plans in my head to take Jace to the Festival of Lights, to ice skate on Fountain Square, and to bake cookies for Santa (since this could end up being the last year he believes). So far, we haven’t done any of those things. I just seem to be in a bit of a slump that I can’t pull myself out of.
This will be my first Christmas officially without my mother and my grandpa. Their minds had already gone last year, but at least they were there physically. They had both been sick for quite a while before they passed so maybe I just never really thought about what the holidays would be like without them. Obviously, I had thought about not seeing them, but I think missing the things they did is finally starting to set in. I never really thought that my family had any Christmas “traditions”. We didn’t bake cookies together, or drive around looking at Christmas lights, but looking back on it maybe our traditions were just a little less traditional.
After my parents divorced when I was a kid, Christmas Eve was spent with my mom. She never had a ton of money to spend on gifts, so she always made a big fancy dinner for all of us, and she always got unreasonably stressed out about it!! I told her every year that I would have been just as happy ordering a pizza. After dinner we would move to the living room where we would open whatever was under the tree. She was always so generous with what she did have. I wish I would have been able to give her better gifts, but I really think she was just as happy having us all there. The night usually ended with all of us in the kitchen, drunk, dancing and singing to Elton John or Joe Cocker! Like I said, probably not your typical Christmas Eve, but I’ll never forget it.
Christmas morning, we would go to Grandma and Grandpa’s house for breakfast. It might be my favorite meal of the year! Grandpa always sat at the head of the table, but never said much because he refused to wear his hearing aids and he couldn’t hear what any of us were saying!! He was a man of very few words, but for as long as I can remember as soon as it was time to open gifts his whole personality changed. He would light up as he handed everyone the boxes that he neatly wrapped himself. When any of the grand kids needed help getting a toy out of the box, there he was with his little pocket knife. And he always made sure to have the right batteries on hand for anything that needed them. My grandparents didn’t have much when they were raising their kids, so I think Grandpa really took pride in being able to give all of us everything we wanted.
It is hard to think about what it will be like this year without them. I am trying my best to keep things positive for Jace and to make sure that he still has a wonderful Christmas, he deserves that. I am glad that he is old enough that he will hopefully remember holidays with his grandma and great grandpa. For now, it is time for me to turn on some Elton John and dance in the kitchen with my son while we create our own Christmas traditions!
I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas, and be sure to cherish the time that you have with the people you love.
November was an absolute whirlwind! Between getting ready for the holidays, my son’s wrestling, work, and a home remodel that seems like it will last forever I completely lost track of time. While putting together the details for my January ladies’ night, I realized I never shared all the fun we had in November!!
Cantina Laredo was our host venue for our Taco Tuesday ladies’ night out on November 14th. I don’t know about y’all but when I plan anything I always get super nervous that something will go wrong or no one will show up. So, when my evening started off with a flat tire, I went into full on panic mode!
Thankfully, my grandmother, who has an air compressor, lives nearby and Eric was able to Facetime and walk me through how to use it!! I added some air to the tire and went on my way. *sidenote, I later found out that the tire had a huge gash in the side and it was flat again by the time I left the event.*
Nevertheless, I made to Cantina Laredo just a few minutes later than I originally hoped.
Once I started setting up everything else started to fall into place. Our featured photographer for the night, Judy Gehrlich, was there early and was sweet enough to help me put together the swag bags. These adorable personalized totes, that were filled with some really great stuff, were provided by the guys at PGM Custom Apparel in North College Hill and I could not be happier with how they turned out!! Their customer service was phenomenal, and I will definitely be calling them up next time I need anything customized.
Guests started rolling in a little before 5:30 and in no time the staff at Cantina Laredo had the drinks flowing and the Top Shelf Guacamole being served up with their table side prep stations. Everyone was sat at a large “community style” table which was a great for conversation and meeting new people.
Melissa Bauman was there from Le-Vel Thrive sharing information about the Thrive three step system. Thrive is a nutritional supplement that is great for people who are looking for increased energy, focus, and overall well-being. If you would like more information about the products you can find her on Facebook or visit her website at SMbaum.le-vel.com
Emily and Kelley Conner with EVER Skin were back for their second ladies’ night. After getting a sample of their Lavish body butter and finding out how amazing it was, I asked for a sample of the Revive intensive eye treatment. Let me tell you, I never really thought I had a problem with under eye wrinkles and bags until I used the Revive on one eye and not the other to see the difference. It is amazing!! You can see all of their products on their websites, Everskin.com/with/Kelleyconner or Everskin.com/with/Emilyconner.
It was so wonderful greeting all of the women as they came in and seeing how many of them brought items for the food drive that went to benefit the Shared Harvest Foodbank in Fairfield. Jerome Nelson, the resource development coordinator with Shared Harvest, was very grateful for everything we collected. Jerome also shared information on other ways people can help feed the hungry. If you are interested in doing any volunteer work in the community, give Shared Harvest a call and find out how you can help. 513-874-0114.
By the end of the night, a group of ladies that started out as strangers all sat around the table talking and laughing like old friends. I had a lot of people excited and asking about the next event. I have finally worked out all of the details and I hope you all can join us on Tuesday, January 9th 2018 from 5:30-8:30pm at Matt the Miller’s Tavern in the Streets of West Chester. You can register at https://cheerstothenewyear.eventbrite.com. If you have any questions or would be interested in having your business featured at the event, please email me at Cincinnati@Housewivesinthecity.com.
My favorite part of running Cincinnati Housewives in the City is discovering amazing new places in the tri-state. This area has so much to offer and I love that there are so many different small businesses to choose from. Clothing boutiques, spas, bakeries, jewelry stores and more all owned by local men and women that truly care about their customers!
Small Business Saturday is right around the corner, November 25th. Let’s show some love and support this holiday season to all of these hard working people who turned their dreams into reality and #ShopSmall this weekend!!
*There's still time to showcase your small business.
Email me at Cincinnati@housewivesinthecity.com for details!
Are you looking for the perfect center piece for your holiday table? Or maybe you need an adorable chalkboard sign welcoming guests for your entry way! Whatever you need to decorate your home, you are bound to find it at Blume.
Blume is an eclectic home decor boutique located in historic downtown Lebanon. They focus on a mix of vintage-inspired and handmade goods. Blume carries a variety of home decor pieces including rustic and repurposed furniture as well as antiques. In addition, they offer a variety of women's clothing and accessories.
Vintage & Handmade Home
Email | Facebook | Instagram
513-934-7629 | 9 S. Broadway Lebanon, OH 45036
How great would it be if you could customize a beautiful piece of jewelry to gift to someone special without ever leaving your couch?! It is totally possible with KEEP Collective. Designer, Sarah Varda, would be happy to help!
As a sister company to Stella & Dot, KEEP Collective creates MEANINGFUL jewelry to help you tell your UNIQUE STORY. I would love to help personalize KEEPSAKES for you! We share a deep belief that living a happy life comes from always keeping in mind what truly matters: LOVE, FAITH, FAMILY, FRIENDSHIP & ADVENTURE. Each of our KEEPSAKES is a wearable touchstone, an instant reminder of the little things, the big things, and all things that make you unique.
Halloween is officially over, Christmas music is playing on the radio, and I know a few of us are chomping at the bit to bust out our decorations! I am currently tearing walls out in my house so until the remodel is finished my beautiful faux douglas fir will have to wait. Lucky for me (and all of you happy little elves) in just a few short weeks our city will be covered in twinkling lights, gingerbread houses, and holiday cheer. Here are a few different things going on in the area this holiday season!
Fountain Square has already kicked off the festivities with O'Keefe's ice skating rink sponsored by Fifth Third. The rink is open daily until February 19th! Admission is $6 and if you don't own your own ice skates you can rent a pair for $4. Santa will be on the ice every weekend in December. You can check out myfountainsquare.com for operating hours and to see who will be making special guest appearances.
November 4th, the Macy's tree will be making its arrival in Fountain Square. Head down for the tree trimming party from 10am-noon to make your very own ornament! It is free with admission to the skating rink.
They light up Macy's massive tree on November 24th. Santa will make an appearance at 6pm. Head back on November 25th, December 2nd, & 9th to watch Santa and his elves rappel down a 20 story building landing on the Macy's rooftop!
The Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo is always a must for the Holidays. The lights come on November 18th and you have until January 1st to get in on the fun. New for 2017, they have added a light wall outside of the 4D theater. Clips from classic holiday movies will be playing every night. There will also be life sized animal shaped Chinese lanterns throughout the zoo. You can pick up discounted tickets at any local Kroger.
Back for the first time since 2005 is King's Island's Winterfest! Select nights from November 24th - December 30th the theme park will be transformed into a winter wonderland. You can skate on the fountain below a eiffel tower that has been transformed into a giant Christmas tree.
Something I definitely plan to check out this year is the Christmas Ranch in Morrow. It has been featured on HGTV, Good Morning America, and many more. The Ranch displays over 350,000 lights throughout 5 acres. They have shops, a bakery, train rides, and of course Santa! It runs from November 17th - December 23rd. They will be closed for Thanksgiving to spend time with family.
For some FREE fun, check out these holiday happenings!
As a gift to the community, Niederman Family Farm sets up a walk through Christmas display nightly from November 24th - December 30th. *Donations are accepted
Light up Middletown is a drive through option located at Smith Park. Beginning Thanksgiving - New years Eve.
Hamilton will light up their tree downtown by the courthouse on November 18th at 5pm
December 3rd Historic Lebanon hosts their famous Horse Drawn Carriage Parade.
Washington Park turns into Santa's workshop every Saturday from November 25th - December 23rd.
If you are looking to get some Christmas shopping done and celebrate Cincinnati's prevalent German heritage, stop by Germania Park November 17th-19th for Cristkindlmarkt.
Hopefully these local events can hold you over until the big day!! Do you have a favorite holiday adventure that isn't on this list? I would love to hear about it!
I’m very excited to be bringing Cincinnati Housewives in the city back!
I will be hosting monthly girl’s night out events across the tri-state area, sharing delicious recipes, teaching you all of my tricks on saving money and introducing you to my favorite travel spots. We will get together at a different venue each month to hang out and have a great time!