My Favorite Christmas Posts

My Favorite Christmas Posts

Merry Christmas! If are reading this on the day I post it, I’m sure Christmas is on your mind as it’s Christmas Eve! So, I thought I’d share with you some of my favorite holiday or holiday related posts: Gift Guides:  From the Modern Mrs. Darcy:   The Minimalist’s Guide to Stocking Stuffers  My favorite gift ideas From MomAdvice.com 9 Great Gifts for Someone Living with Chronic Pain From Jessie on a Journey 28 Unique Gifts for Backpackers and Adventurers Helping Others/ Building Relationships: Spread some holiday cheer Random Acts of Kindness Website All-Fun No-Stress Holiday Connections Inexpensive Winter Activities – Get Fit for Less From Consistently Curious – 25 Date Night Ideas in Cincinnati – plan something for the new year now, some of these ideas could be done in places other than Cincinnati   Fun Projects: How about making something fun today as a family? The Perfect Hostess Gift – Flavored Butters Make Ice Cream from Hip2Save – Homemade Peppermint Cookies & Cream Ice Cream Rolled Paper Christmas Ornaments from Positively Splendid Make your own Sugar Scrub to share with everyone you know! From Make and Takes – Watercolor Bookmarks   Any other ideas to share? I’d love to hear about them in the comments! Want to remember these ideas? Pin for later:    ...
A Whole New Way to Look at Tea

A Whole New Way to Look at Tea

Recently I had the opportunity to check out a whole new way to enjoy tea. I’ve also found a great new alternative to the coffee shop when I need to get some work done! HoiTea ToiTea co-owner Alex is the self-proclaimed mad scientist of the tea game. And her store gives us something really different from the typical tea shop. Alex is a master at creating unique and delicious tea lattes and tea-infused cocktails. Yep, you heard that right, this tea shop serves cocktails! The store itself is lovely, comfortable and full of interesting and useful gift items in addition to the tea shop. Of course, you can also purchase your own teas to brew at home. The tea is all from Nelson’s Tea. Some of the tea blends are super interesting – rootbeer anyone? My visit was part of a local blog group trip, so we were lucky to have Alex share with us the history of the business, future plans and some of the fun classes offered. More on that in a minute. First, the food and drinks … We started the evening with a tea-infused beer and macaroon. Sadly, I couldn’t eat the macaroon (tree nut allergy) but I was assured it was amazing. For any beer lover out there, the beer was terrific. Still tasted like beer, just had a light extra flavor to it. Next up was what I thought would be my favorite by far. Sangria made with raspberry hibiscus tea, red wine, and mandarin oranges. So delicious. We enjoyed that yummy drink with lemon poppyseed scones made with lemon ginger tea served...

Stay healthy this winter and enjoy all the season has to offer!

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc., Abreva, Breathe Right, Clorox, Robitussin and Theraflu. All opinions are mine alone. #SoothesOfTheSeason #CollectiveBias  It may be cold outside, but as long as you are feeling healthy, you can still have fun! It’s a rough time of the year for colds, coughs and the flu – if you don’t have a bug, I bet you know someone who does. It can definitely be hard to keep your family healthy, but by stocking up now and being prepared, you can truly enjoy all the season has to offer. After all, the last thing you want to do is run out in the middle of the night or miss something fun because you’re feeling awful. Early in the season, I hit my local Noblesville Kroger to stock up on my list of cold, cough and flu must-haves including: Abreva® Pump Cold Sore and Fever Blister Treatment – easy to apply Abreva is not for temporary relief, but healing. As soon as you feel a cold sore coming on, apply it immediately for best results. Breathe® Right Extra Clear Nasal Strips – when colds settle in your nose, I love these strips to provide relief for congestion. I’m also a big fan of the fact that it’s drug-free and safe to use with any sleep medication. They have a flexible, “spring-like” band within each strip, and when you place them on your nose using the special adhesive, they gently lift the sides of the nose and open the nasal passages as the band tries to straighten back to its original shape. Pretty clever,...
McCords Candies – Make Your Own Candy Cane

McCords Candies – Make Your Own Candy Cane

Have you ever wondered how candy canes are made? Today, most of them are made in a factory, but that’s not the original method. While killing time during warm-ups at a swim meet last weekend, I spent a fun half an hour on a candy cane tour at McCords Candies in Lafayette, Indiana. Not only did I get to enjoy learning how candy canes were made and the meaning of the candy cane, but I also got to create my own. McCords Candies has been a Lafayette staple since 1912. They have been making their iconic candy canes using the same method since they opened. That’s 106 years! McCords Candies is also one of only a few stores left that make all their candy canes by hand – which is not only delicious but creates a candy cane that is 100% candy – the red stripes aren’t painted on like a machine made candy cane is, they are also part of the cane. The tour starts upstairs a good three stories above the retail shop. Tickets are a bargain price of $4 and the tour takes about a half an hour, but plan ahead as tours sell out quickly. I actually tried to go twice before I got on a tour so that my daughter could tag along but both days were sold out. I finally scored a coveted spot by purchasing a ticket several hours early and coming back just before the tour was scheduled to begin. The workshop is on the top floor of the historic building and much of the equipment is original. The owner of McCords took...
Visiting Purdue? Best Places to Eat

Visiting Purdue? Best Places to Eat

I love visiting college campuses and I also love to eat so I’m always looking for the best places to eat everywhere I go. Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana is a favorite of mine – not just for the campus but also some of my favorite local restaurants. Growing up in West Lafayette, some of these are also quite nostalgic for me and I love that they are still around so many years later. Triple XXX. If you visit Purdue, you must visit Triple XXX. Everyone will tell you to do it and it’s worth it for the kitsch alone. Triple XXX has been in West Lafayette (on the hill but on the level) since 1929 and been serving the area’s best rootbeer since the beginning. Take time to sit on a round stool at the counter that winds around the entire restaurant and soak in the atmosphere while enjoying a frosty mug. Breakfast is great (and served all day long), but my favorite order is a mug of root beer, fries, and a Barney Burger. Triple XXX is well known for some of the more unique burger combinations named after famous locals such as the Duane Purvis (with peanut butter) and the Drew Brees. Guy Fieri has also visited, so if you are a fan, check out episode 44, Knockout Burger Joints. 2 N. Salisbury, West Lafayette, IN; (765) 743-5373 Parthenon. I think we visited the Parthenon once a month for most of my childhood. Four generations of family members have been using their families Greek recipes to ensure that the food is always delicious. The service is...
Need an afternoon adventure? Visit a college campus!

Need an afternoon adventure? Visit a college campus!

Have a free afternoon and you are looking for a new everyday adventure? Do you have a college campus or University within an hour? If so, jump in your car and go check it out! There is something so inspiring about a college campus. The buildings are almost always beautiful, most campuses are very walkable and well-landscaped and it’s fun to see so many kids preparing for their future. I’ve also found that every college has a few unique attractions that many of the residents don’t even know about. If you take an afternoon to check it out, I think you’ll be delighted with what you find. I had a free afternoon this week and decided to explore Butler University located in Indianapolis, IN. I’ve been to this campus many times but never really took the time to check out everything it has to offer. Here’s what I discovered, hopefully, it will give you some ideas of what you might find on a college campus near you. Butler is a pretty small University and located near some absolutely gorgeous neighborhoods in Indianapolis. Just driving to campus and admiring the Christmas decorations and mansions (there is no other word for these homes) on Meridian Street was a lovely start to the afternoon. As it was bitterly cold outside, I stopped at the student union and picked up a mocha to enjoy while walking around campus. Most student unions house a coffee shop, a bookstore and often a restaurant or two. They are definitely a great place to begin exploring. It’s December and I’m in Indiana, so it’s cold and grey....
2018 Fall Book Review Post

2018 Fall Book Review Post

How has it been a few months since my last book review post? Time really flies, right? I thought I’d share my favorite books from the last few months – these would ALL make excellent holiday gifts, so if you still need to purchase some gifts, consider some of these: The Great Believers is a book that I read a few weeks ago but I find myself thinking about the story at random times. The author moves back and forth between two connected stories. The first is Yale’s story – he is a young man finding himself in the midst of the AIDS crisis in Chicago in the 1980s. As someone who was a teen in that time period, I remember the fear and how little was known about the disease. The second story concerns Fiona, who was also a young adult at that time period and a friend of Yale’s. However, her story is told in the present day and is about how she is trying to reconnect with her daughter. Her scars from losing so many friends in the ’80s have made her who she is today and greatly affected her current relationships. The book is haunting, yet realistic. As I mentioned, it’s stayed with me for weeks now. My rating 4.5 out of 5. Then She Was Gone: A Novel was another book that I continued to think about long after I had finished it. Although I did figure out the plot midway through, I found it well written and still wanted to continue to see how the author would wrap things up. We begin with wondering what happened to...
Shop Local – Small Town Holiday Shopping

Shop Local – Small Town Holiday Shopping

After the rush of Black Friday shopping, we spent some time the next day enjoying Small Business Saturday by shopping locally. Living in a suburb of Indianapolis, I am lucky to have multiple cute little towns full of unique boutiques. If you still have shopping to do, I highly encourage you to check out one of these towns or a small town near you. Shopping at local businesses keeps more of your money spent in that town and helps these entrepreneurs thrive. We started the day in Carmel, Indiana. I’ve mentioned this town before as a fun place to shop, but today we just visited Silver in the City (and purchased some fun Christmas decorations), The Olive Mill and had lunch at the Pint Room. Next, we headed to Zionsville, Indiana which was about a twenty-minute drive. Zionsville has a charming downtown complete with brick streets, multiple restaurants and a nice variety of shops. I especially loved the local butcher shop and local gourmet foods shop. Both were the perfect places to pick up consumable gifts which are a good choice for those people on your list who just don’t need more stuff. Finally, we headed home to Noblesville, Indiana. I find it’s easy to take our downtown for granted which is a shame as it’s truly wonderful. With a historic square and at least a dozen interesting local shops, it’s a fabulous place to do holiday shopping. We enjoyed stopping at Alexander’s on the Square for a hot chocolate and then finished up the day strolling the streets and picking up unique gifts. Shopping small towns and purchasing locally...
Improve your productivity by changing your scene

Improve your productivity by changing your scene

I love working from home. I love being in my own space, I love getting a jump start on dinner, I love saving money by eating at home and wearing jeans every day, I really do love it. However, there are days when I’m just not motivated to work. Those are the days I find myself doing what I call productive procrastination. You know, folding laundry when I should be writing, creating the weekly menu plan instead of following up on potential sponsored posts. I’m working, but not working … Sometimes I’ll just allow myself a day to move a little slowly and not get a lot done, but if it happens more than one day, I know it’s time to change my scene. I’ve discovered that to be uber productive – or just to kickstart myself into crossing off all my to-do’s, working somewhere outside of the home helps every time. If you feel the same, but get tired of working at your local Starbucks, check out my favorite haunts – some of them might surprise you: A local coffee shop. This is the easy one. If I’m traveling and don’t find anything local on Yelp I’ll hit Starbucks like everyone else out there, but if it’s possible, a local coffee shop is the best. They tend to be quiet, friendly and comfortable. Plus since it’s such a common workspace, no one thinks twice if you hang out for a few hours with your computer. Suggestions if you are in the Indianapolis area: Hubbards & Craven; Local chain with four convenient locations. Noble Coffee & Tea; 933 Logan...
Carmel Christkindlmarkt – A New Tradition

Carmel Christkindlmarkt – A New Tradition

Just last year, the nearby town of Carmel, Indiana created a new winter event called a Christkindlmarkt. For those of you who travel in Europe (especially Germany), this isn’t a new idea, in fact, Christkindlmarkt’s have been around for hundreds of years. A Christkindlmarkt is a street market that pops up during the Christmas season. A Christkindlmarkt typically has crafts, ornaments, and decorations associated with the holiday season for sale, delicious foods (often German or Swiss) and comforting drinks such as Glüwein (warm spiced wine). The Carmel Christkindlmarkt is set up around a large ice-skating rink so not only can you enjoy the market, you can get a little fun winter exercise in at the same time. My son and I had the opportunity to attend the media day for the Carmel Christkindlmarkt this year and even though temperatures were incredibly cold and the skies were grey, we had a marvelous time. Thanks to plenty of parking on the street and several nearby (and free) parking garages, we had no trouble finding a close spot – I love that Carmel was very thoughtful in thinking about parking for their frequent events when planning the city center area. When we arrived, the market was just opening, so we began by walking around the booths and chatting with the various vendors. We found some adorable decorations and ornaments that would make delightful and unique stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts. We decided not to skate today (it was just too cold), but I think that will definitely be something we’ll come back for later in the season. The rink is large, and...

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