Norwex Body Cloth 30- (er maybe 50-) (er maybe 75-) Day Challenge

Let me just preface that this post is filled with waaaaaay too many photos of myself. I am very much out of my comfort zone. Yep.


A couple months ago, I ended up with a severe allergic reaction to some expired Proactiv moisturizer. I haven’t had an active subscription with them for a few years now (I think I stopped it a few months after coming home from Japan, so 2010-ish), but no matter how long I scheduled the intervals for delivery, I still had way more product than I could use. So, I did what any normal human being would do – I kept it stocked away until I went through each bottle.

140408 Proactiv Reaction

Not any more. I needed an extra little boost to my skin one morning, so I smeared some of the medicated (should have been my first warning) repairing lotion on my face, like I was wont to do every 4 days or so when I remembered, and walked out the door to work.  About 45 minutes after getting to work, my chin started to itch…and then my cheek right under my right eye…and then my forehead. I asked a coworker if my face was red and her expression was all I needed. I went to the bathroom to check my face, and just about every spot that I had rubbed the lotion in was bright red. And itchy! I wasn’t getting hives, but the reaction was so much. My skin was hot, itchy, and just a mess.

Like I’ve said, I’ve been using Proactiv for years, I’ve been using lotion from old bottles for years too, and I’d NEVER had a reaction like this before. Sometimes my skin decides to turn into a 13 year old monster, but for the most part, my skin is pretty OK. I had recently switched birth controls (now I’m using Sprintec…and loving it! I might do a review on my experiences with Sprintec vs Lo Loestrin a bit later) so I called the pharmacy to be sure there was no recorded reaction between the two. They had nothing, in fact, they said there should never be a reaction like that. I called my doctor and the nurse who answered told me that I was having an allergic reaction, that sometimes the medicine inside things like that just get stronger as the expiration date flies into the past. She recommended I go and get some Benadryl and gently wash the stuff off my face with just water.

I took the picture above as proof of what had happened, and the next time I went to the doctor, it was passed around the office. General consensus was that I had a chemical burn.


If you have something with medication, or prescription drugs, or even over-the-counter meds – be very cautious of the expiration dates. The doctor told me that it is common for people to hang on to medicine (guilty as charged) long after the expiration date and when they have a certain symptom, they will take it because it “worked before and is probably just weaker the older it gets.” WRONG! The chemicals in medication can, and usually will, get STRONGER as time goes on. It’s more potent and effective and sometimes it will even change into a whole new chemical! Rule of thumb is, if it’s past the expiration date, toss it. And by toss it, I mean, find a local prescription medication drop-spot so it can be destroyed properly. That does not mean, throw it in the garbage, or flush it down the toilet. That just makes it available to people who might have addiction problems or messes up the public water system, respectively.

Ok, back to Norwex.

I have a dear friend who saw the picture above and asked if I would be willing to try something out. She recently became a consultant for Norwex, which produces a Body Cloth that is great for the face. Norwex makes a line of microfiber products for a variety of uses around the house. Honestly, the amount of stuff they have is amazing. What is great about these cloths is that you don’t HAVE to use any cleansers with them. Just water. JUST WATER! Isn’t that great? We’re always reading about how certain cleaning chemicals are hazardous to our health, or don’t mix such ans such together, etc. Well, with these cloths, you don’t have to worry about it at all. (They do have specially designed cleansing products, in case you feel like you absolutely have to see suds or smell soap to be clean.)

The secret ingredient? Tiny bits of silver have been infused in the microfiber. The grade of silver they use is actually antibacterial, so the cloth can even clean itself (I’ve had mine for as long as this post title suggests and only just washed it for the first time. The microfiber also has an exfoliating aspect to it.


I took these pictures soon after the chemical burn had gone away, I was also gearing up for a cycle of breakout on my skin.

140603 Post-Norwex

I know that there’s more lighting in these second set of pictures, but I’ll explain how my skin has changed since using the Norwex Body Cloth.

I love the exfoliating aspect of this cloth. That’s one of my big issues, dry patches of skin on my face, and I have had a dramatic decrease in that regard. My skin feels perkier, softer, and overall, healthier. When I first started using it, using “just water” was kind of drying out my skin, so I bought a Neutrogena naturals moisturizer. I’m avoiding anything with medication, but this moisturizer is rich with vitamins and anti-oxidants.


I will say that I still get breakouts, but they don’t seem to be lasting as long as before, and they don’t seem to be as deep either, which is fabulous. My skin will never be perfect, with any product, but this really seems to be helping my skin get better.

If you are like me and about 50% of the world’s population and suffer from keratosis pilaris, this is a pretty great product. The short version of the condition is that my skin grows over my hair follicles. This happens on my arms, legs, and chin, mostly, and makes for bumpy, rough, and sometimes redden skin. Keeping skin moisturized and exfoliated is a great, non-medicated way to keep these bumps down.

If you are interested in learning more, go to the Norwex website and read up!  Like I said, they have all types of products besides Body Cloths, so check out the goods and revitalize your home in a clean, safe way.

Also, if you’re looking for a consultant, feel free to check out the website, or contact my friend, Kristy Gantz. I know she would be glad to chat with you. You can find her here:  You can also give her a call here: [937][935]-[o925].  Oh, and she’s on Facebook!


Filbruns Pond and Such

The other weekend, Matt and I drove out to the country for a birthday party for his cousin E. She turned a whopping 9 years old and for her birthday, she wanted everyone to bring shoes to donate for kids going back to school who might not have anything. I loved the idea! I was able to raid the sale racks at Payless and came up with 4 pairs of great shoes for kids. She made out like a bandit too.

Filbruns 05

I think more showed up after I took this picture, or they just arranged them out better. I don’t know why, but it seems like when I do decide to go shoe shopping, the ones I get at Payless last me 3x as long as ones I get elsewhere, like Famous Footwear. Although, it might have to do with the fact that I only get my Nike flip flops at Famous Footwear and those are the only shoes I wear most days.

Filbruns Pond is run by the Slades, Matt’s aunt and uncle. I hadn’t been here yet, what with wedding planning and then not having any vacation left for the year after the Homeymoon. So, I decided to trek around and take some pics of the activities and location. The family was allowed to fish and there were poles galore around the place. Lots of bluegill to be had (and thrown back, of course).

Filbruns 01 stacked

Here is the description from the website:

We offer swimming, a sand beach area. Outside the beach area is a maximum of 10′ depth. We have a 10’X16’ floating sun deck. We have horseshoes, volleyball, hillbilly golf in a beautiful, relaxing country setting. We have over a dozen large picnic tables. We provide a gas grill and charcoal grill, as well.

The party barn with rustic décor will seat approx. 60 people with tables….

We are typically open Memorial Day weekend thru Labor Day. Rental rates are $400 Monday-Friday and $450 Weekends and Holidays. We still have some 2013 dates available and are booking reservations for 2014.

We are also open for daily family recreation on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday 12:00pm-5:30pm.
Age 7-12 $3
Age 13 and over $5

General Information

No alcohol is permitted.
No pets.
No fishing.
There is no lifeguard. You are here at your own risk.
We require that you exercise common sense.

The grounds are pretty and there are lots of quirky signs posted around the place. It makes for a fun afternoon during the summer.

Here is the contact information.

12859 Euphemia Castine Rd, W Manchester OH  45382
There’s also a contact form on the website if you prefer email correspondence.

And for some more pictures:

Filbruns 03 stackedFilbruns 02 stackedFilbruns 04

Getting Married: 1 Week – I’m Really Glad That…

This last weekend was my bachelorette party. In tradition of my bff-MOH, Lanna, I would like to style this post in the same manner of many of our conversations where most sentences, if not all, begin with the phrase, “I’m really glad that…” So, here it goes.

I’m really glad that I have one more week until the wedding!!! Eek!

I’m really glad that I have a small group of close friends who are willing to come out for my bachelorette party for as long as they can until their wifey-motherly responsibilities call them elsewhere. It is entirely acceptable and I am just glad to be wedged into busy schedules that I myself am captive to.

I’m really glad for pastor’s wives who are dear friends and mentors as well who are willing to throw brunches for an unknown number of ladies involved in the wedding. What a blessing!

I’m really glad for flower girls who come to said brunches and refuse to kiss my cheek but want me to catch them to kiss theirs.

I’m really glad for flower girls who interrupt their mommy’s stories to tell them, “Why did you say you were still eating? You’re not holding your fork…”

I’m really glad for practical married friends who give comfortable and realistic gifts at bachelorette parties. They were all very pretty too. It pays to wait to get married when you’re a little older.

I’m really glad that my friends will try new ethnic foods with me. Eritrean/Ethiopian food is so yummy and communal – sorry Emily for all the spices.

I’m really glad that I charged my camera all day to just not take it with me and that I only took this picture the whole evening.

week 1 girls

I’m really glad for the tradition of The Blind Lemon in Mt Adams.

I’m really glad for ordering a strawberry colada with alcohol this time.

I’m really glad for Virginia. (I can’t explain this here, but it wouldn’t be right to not mention it.)

I’m really glad that I did not actually witness Virginia, though. Poor Lanna and Amy.

I’m really glad for a very dear friend who gets visibly angry that she hasn’t seen the new Iron Man movie …and upsets the baby.

I’m really glad for dressy flip flops.

week 1 flips

This is what I wore for the night. Disregard the feet marks and general wear.

I’m really glad that Friday was my last day floating to the other Cincinnati branches for work. I will now only be in two branches and the second is within 10 minutes of The House.

I’m really glad for hole-in-the-wall, Tardis technology antique malls. This place was bigger on the inside!

week 1 antiques

Clockwise from top left: hand-painted table; beer mugs; cardboard Titanic; C3PO Mister Potatohead.

I’m really glad for vanity tables to rehab for only $38.

week 1 vanity

I’m really glad (this one is kind of hard) that I have such an amazing church. This Sunday is my last regular attendance there and it’s going to be really sad (not really glad), but I am trying my best to look beyond that to what God might have in store for us. I’ve left the church before, but that was always with the knowledge that I would hop a big plane in a certain reasonable period of time and be back. Please pray for me.

I’m really glad for a fiance who takes pictures of the flowers at The House for me to see when I’m not going to be up there for a few days.

Such lovely tickseed. Our wedding colors AND it's a native Ohio flower!

Such lovely tickseed. Our wedding colors AND it’s a native Ohio flower!

I’m really glad for pottery that turns out exactly how you envisioned it when you first put the glaze on.

week 1 pottery

It’s a piggy bank and he has a cute little red tail to match his wings. I think I’ll call him Stewart.

Did I already mention that I’m really glad that I’m getting married in a week’s time? Because I am…

I’m really glad that Matt and I are staying home for the week after to get used to The House and relaxing together.

I’m really glad that I have to work only three days next week.


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 15 Weeks – Review: The Darkroom – Fairfield, OH

For a quick summary review, you can skip to the bottom of this post. Everything else is all flowery and verbose and not for Cut-To-The-Chasers.

We tried to do completely DIY Invitations and aside from making the paper ourselves, we were on track to doing just that.

So here’s what happened. I’ve been saving up invitations of my friends for years to be sure I had a wide variety of wording and designs. They’re also just great memories of the lives I’ve been able to have as friends, many of whom are now out-of-state and have homes bustling with kids. I heard there would be a huge stationery sale at Michael’s one day and I had another 20% off coupon, so Matt and I went through and found packs of 50 invites/envelope sets. We picked up 4 and some other sheets of paper and went on our way.

I started brainstorming the design and we discussed the wording. I typed it up, made the adjustments for the dimensions of the invitations and emailed it over to Matt for him to print out. Only, the font didn’t keep, and when I saved the file as a pdf, it wouldn’t hold the dimensions. So, Matt had to play around with it for a while and when he finally got it to print the right way, he was running out of ink and some of the lines bled.

I was getting a little stressed about it before all this and that was worrying Matt. He’s so sweet to me. He said that this was a problem he would solve and I wasn’t to worry about it any more. He took the invitations over to Staples to see if they would be able to print them but they refused saying that they don’t work with paper of those dimensions. (Rule of thumb: When getting paper on discount, be sure that the dimensions are something that can be readily put through a printer!) Staples said that a smaller print shop might be able to do it and Matt remembered the developer shop down the street that printed our engagement photos and Christmas gifts (we gave out some framed copies to family members).

This developer shop is called The Darkroom and I’ve mentioned it before in this blog series. They are, honestly, my new favorite place. Before planning this wedding, I’ve only used them less than a handful of times, opting for the quick develop shops, or online developing. The quality of the prints I’ve got from The Darkroom makes the adage ring true, “Good things come to those who wait.” And the wait is not that long at all. They will work with you on a deadline (within reason, of course), but they seem very flexible and determined to help you out.

Week15 Darkroom Logo

The Darkroom

1195 Hicks Blvd
Fairfield, OH 45014

Matt dropped off the paper and the file and presented our case. The man readily accepted the challenge and was to call me when he had a proof completed so I could see the result. The difference was amazing! He and I discussed the price (since we had brought our own paper, they didn’t have a set price for just printing invitations) and came up with an agreeable settlement for the both of us. Those weeks learning how to bargain in China and Egypt really paid off! In the States, we don’t bargain much, so I didn’t haggle the price as much as I did in those countries, but it was fun to do on my home soil.

The Darkroom has so many products and services, it really is amazing. Here I thought they just developed pictures! According to the website, they provide the following:

  • Hardbound Lay Flat Photo Books
  • Canvas Prints and Gallery Wraps
  • Fine Art Metals
  • Candids, Portrait Units (which include – Magazine covers, key chains, luggage tags, trading cards, photo buttons, fridge magnets, t-shirts, coasters, keepsake box, coffee mugs, aluminum water bottle, and mouse pads.
  • Shoot for special events and Prom
  • more information on the website.

Within a week’s time, I received a call that the invitations were ready and Matt swung by to pick them up. They turned out beautifully! Now I’ve had the task of handstamping the details, but the text is lovely, precise, and just what I wanted it to be. I would put up a picture, but I want the final result to be a surprise to my guests, so that will just have to wait for an update until after the invites have been sent out. I’m sure you’ll understand.

So here’s the breakdown:

The services:  I didn’t even know that The Darkroom did invitation printing, but Matt happened to notice it on one visit there. We saw another sample set out and it was exquisite, with beautiful embellishments and colors. So, they provide this particular service and just about any other service one would imagine along with photo services. You can find them here.
The help: Richard Braun and the ladies who help out there (I’ve never caught their names, but they are lovely) are very helpful and attentive to their customers’ desires and needs. Richard has been doing this for years, and worked with his father who started the business 34 years ago.
The parking: They have their own parking lot. It’s kind of across from Skyline and near an intersection on Route 4, so sometimes traffic is a bit tricky if you park in the spots along the road.
The facilities: The shop itself is small and unassuming, but I’ve only seen a small part of it inside. I will tell you, though, that someone on staff smokes, so you can smell it when you first walk in. However, the smell didn’t transfer on my invitations or photographs at all.
The results: The results are highly professional and just what you order. If they can’t do something, I’m sure they will tell you, so you have realistic expectations of what you are going to get. The color in the picture prints was lovely and my invitation text was crisp and exactly what I had wanted.
The price: Price is very reasonable for a professional shop. If you’re looking for a cheap shop, then this isn’t for you and maybe an hour developer is what you’re looking for. But you get what you pay for. The quality just is not going to be the same.
Returnability: I plan to use this shop much more in the future, even though I won’t be living in the same zip code. I anticipate bringing our wedding photos to be developed here as well.

Thanks for the read!


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Getting Married: 38 Weeks – Road Trip

I met up with some friends last year in Indianapolis and it was my first time to explore the city. I loved it! (You can find my posts about THAT trip here. Sorry Erik, I still don’t have a review up of your seminars.) Matt and I both had Labor Day off work, so we took off early Monday morning and drove over to Indy for a fun day trip.

It was a rainy start, but we made our way straight over to The Children’s Museum. I went there on my last trip and their big exhibit was something on Barbie. My friend Audrey and I were not compelled at all to go check it out. This time, the special exhibit was “Hot Wheels for Real!”

Matt was so super excited about this exhibit. I had seen that it would be there ahead of time, but Matt didn’t know. He must have said 10 times that his brothers would LOVE to see all of it too.

Pretty Green Camaro…that’s all I’ve got. Oh, and something about the chrome being tinted, instead of it actually being paint.

I’m pretty sure this kid is livin’ the dream – a super cape and a hot wheels track.

There were quite a few boys running around with super-capes tacked onto their shirts. I hold to The Incredibles’ theory on capes though…they sure look impressive, but then they get sucked into an airplane engine and where does that leave you? Not very pretty.

The dino dome really impresses me. I used to love dinosaurs until I saw Jurassic Park and it gave me nightmares until…last week. Just kidding! (I might not be…)

Oh look! There’s Barbie, afterall…

*sings* I am a paaaaa-leon-tooooo-logist.

We may have been distracted here for a full 5 minutes when we got to the hands-on discovery center…and then again on our way out.

Mirror Maze!

After the museum, we drove over to one of my favorite shopping districts. If you’ve never been to Indy, then you should go to Massachussetts Avenue. If you have been to Indy, but haven’t been to Mass Ave, consider this your invitation. It’s much like Hillsboro Village in Nashville and just a lot of fun. There weren’t nearly as many shops open as the last time I was there. Something about it being a holiday… The toy store was open and we found some really fun things in there. The owners were running the registers and commented that they realize just how much they need their regular cashiers. I guess they decided to open that day on a whim and were really pleased with the amount of business they were getting. I asked the wife where we should get our lunch and she recommended Bru Burger Bar across the street. We were starving so off we went.

In the last few years, I have really come to appreciate signature burgers from different restaurants. I never was a burger gal, but I’ve crossed over and was so excited to try one of Bru’s Chef Burgers. I went for the basic called “The Beginning.”

They call it The Beginning. I call it Delectable.

It quite literally melted in my mouth. What would take me back to Bru’s, though, is the ketchup – or what they call ketchup. It’s an amazing mix of ketchup, brown sugar, minced onion, and crushed red pepper. I think Matt and I both ran out of the stuff before we were done with our fries. The waitress said she thinks the restaurant was built around the ketchup because you’re always looking for something else to put in it.

Pensive face over how amazing his blackened mahi-mahi sandwich is.

After we stuffed ourselves and decided to move on, we walked over to one of my favorite shops, “Silver in the City/At Home in the City.” It’s actually two shops in one and is full of some incredibly witty, sarcastic, and sometimes irreverent material. Here are a couple of things we found:

Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me

Have you ever seen Marcel the Shell with Shoes On? No? You must!  Go here and then here. We were *thiiiiiiis* close to buying one. He talked about the many large monuments in his hometown (hint, they’re athletics trophies) and what his breadroom is like. Yes, his breadroom. If you’re still confused, then go back to where I said “here” and “then here” and go there. Seriously, why are you still waiting?

Reading is Sexy and Knitting is Knotty.

The only thing that kept me from buying one of these is that they’re plastic. Other than that, we thought these were hilarious and very fitting…for me. 🙂


I’m getting married to my, you guessed it, best friend on June 1st, 2013! Matt and I are super-excited and since we have quite a bit of time to plan this thing, I decided it’d be fun to blog about it. Well, maybe not always fun, but at least informative and it might give me a welcome distraction. You can find all the posts by clicking the “Getting Married” tab on the right of this page, or by clicking here. Thanks for stopping by!

My Pinterest Wedding Board

Our Wedding Website on

Review: Massachusetts Avenue, Indianapolis

This is part of a series of reviews from my time in Indianapolis this past weekend.  There’s nothing so fun as a quirky, hipster, neo-boho shopping district in a big city.  Nashville has its Hillsboro Village, but in Indy, why keep the joy to just a couple of blocks?  Massachusetts Avenue stretches, at 45 degrees, across 7 intersections – fully walkable and chock-full of great shops!

Here are the specs:

Massachusetts Avenue
Entrance to the South begins at the corner of Delaware St and New York St.
Indianapolis, IN 46204
317.637.8996 ext.202 – Riley Area Development Corp.

There are too many shops to see in one visit or to write about in a blog (I count 71 listed on the map), so I’m going to only put up the places I visited with a short description. First up!:

Stouts Footwear
318 Mass Ave – 317.632.7818
Oldest, coolest shoe store in the nation, holding fast to personal service, quality shoes, and tradition.

This place is pretty fab.  It’s basically the first shop you encounter if you choose the Japanese route of going up the left side of the street first.  We only went inside because of the cool sign out front telling us that it is, in fact, the oldest shoe store in the nation.  You can see why when you go in.  The shoes they sell are great quality, and they built their reputation on custom fitting shoes from the manufacturer for their customers.  But this isn’t the only cool thing about the place.  First, there’s a parrot who is semi-friendly.  It let me pet it until it apparently had had enough and didn’t want any more.  Second, there is a pulley and basket contraption that spreads from a crows nest in the center of the shop to various spots in the rest of the store.  The floor staff puts the shoes in the basket, pull a cord, the basket lifts up to the top, they pull the cord again, and the basket flies off to the crows nest.  There, another attendant carefully removes the shoes from their box, checks everything out and, I only assume, wraps it up to send it back down, the same way, to the cashier.

At Home in the City/Silver in the City
434 Mass Ave – 317.955.9925 – Website | Facebook
Jewelry, gifts and home decor. Voted Indy’s Best 2006-2008.

I went to Silver in the City/At Home in the City some years ago when they still had a store in Lafayette, IN. This place is a great combo of jewelry, Eco-friendly home furnishings, and the ridiculous novelty items. They carry one of my favorite silly/awesome brands, KnockKnock. They also have Jesus Bandaids, which feel like they work faster than other brands. There’s just a plethora of items; I highly recommend a stop through bc its next to impossible to really describe all of it. BTW, this is their only store now. I’m not really sure how Lafayette is surviving without them.

Global Gifts (Fair Trade Shop)
446 Mass Ave – 317.423.3148 – Website | Facebook | Twitter
Fair Trade store providing hope and opportunity for artisans from 35 countries.

This shop is excellent. Tons of artsy and unique home furnishings and they are, wait for it…fair trade! I was told that a lot of the work comes from rescued victims of human trafficking. They have all sorts of goodies – home decor, fashion, chocolate, etc. Everything is priced very reasonably, so be sure to stop in.

Best Chocolate in Town
880 Mass Ave – 317.636.2800 – Website | Facebook | Twitter
Hand-made chocolates, specializing in truffles and locally made gelato.

Ok, so I definitely pulled an Elf with this one. We walked in and all I wanted to do was say, Congratulations! Indy’s best chocolate! But then I saw them. Sitting there, in perfect little rows, hundreds of them. Truffles. Gobs of them. And the Cinnamon ones were calling my name. After having a great discussion on the health benefits of cinnamon with the two staff members, I went ahead and bought one. It was $2+ for one, but it was so worth it. It took 4 bites to finish, partly because I was trying to savor the amazingness of it. It’s a definite top on my list.

Aesop’s Tables
600 Mass Ave – 317.631.0055 – Website
Mediterranean restaurant. Fifteen years on the avenue.

We had just been saying how we wanted to find a good Mediterranean restaurant for dinner and our answer was Aesop’s Tables. Unfortunately, by the time we got back to the restaurant, we weren’t all that hungry. We stuck with some appetizers, and sorry, I didn’t catch any pics of the food. The service was lacking though. The place wasn’t packed, so I’m unsure what his issue was. The food was pretty good, but not the best I’ve had. I would recommend it though if you’re in the area. There are other restaurants too, though, so be sure to check the map (view online or get one from any of the Mass Ave stores).


We also managed to get there while an Artist/Food Market was going on. Lots of different items: bath products, hair and fashion accessories, organic teas, jewelry, and, my personal fave, worm poop. Check out on the website for any other cool events that might be happening.

Here’s the breakdown:

The Street:  Very fun. Lots to check out. The website lists a lot of the events going on.  There are also some comedy clubs and such there, and restaurants have offer live music too.
For kids: There’s a toy store.  Enough said.
For pets: There are some doggie/pet specific shops on the street as well.  If you are curious, go to the website and check out all the shops on the list. You’ll be amazed at what they’ve come up with.
The cost:  Moderate to high-priced.  If you’re going to shop, you’ll spend a good amount.  Window shopping is fun too though.
The food: Tons of restaurants there, running the gamut of styles and tastes.
The help:  Most of the places we stopped into, the staff was helpful and accommodating.  They would usually tell us of another shop up the street where we could find such and such and was run by a friend of theirs.  They really put a lot into the community-feel of the place.
The parking: There is parking along the street and on adjoining streets.  If you’re like me and enjoy walking, you can park somewhere downtown and walk all the way there.  Just a few blocks away and it’s all flat.
The accommodations: There’s a B&B right on the street!  I so want to stay there some time.  Like most B&B’s expect to pay more than you would for a hotel, but it looks totally worth it.
Returnability:  This is definitely on my Favorite Places list (which I guess I should post at some point on here) and whenever I’m in Indy, or even passing through, I know I will try to get in there for a quick walk and peruse.

I’ll try to get some more pics up, but I just don’t have them right now.  Enjoy the review anyway!

Review: New Albany, Indiana Part 1

This review will be a little different than my others.  I had a week’s worth of time off still on my schedule.  Since my hire date was the first Monday of May last year, I had to use it up before that date or I would lose it.  I’m glad I took the whole week off.  It seems like Spring waited until this week to really get itself bloomed and green.

I enjoy doing things on my own.  Don’t get me wrong, I love having company on my adventures.  But there’s something a bit relaxing going around on your own.  You can decide everything that YOU want to do and not worry about what others want, or if someone’s tired or whatever.  So, I saw a Groupon for a B&B in New Albany, IN, and decided it would be fun to go on my own, during my little vacation.  In this entry, I’m going to go in order of the places I went to, so here we go!

The Admiral Bicknell Inn

600 E Main St,
New Albany, IN 47150


I’ve only been to one other B&B and it was a pretty awesome experience.  The Admiral Bicknell had a high level of expectation to live up to, and it did pretty well.  I stayed over on a weeknight and was the only person there besides the hosts.  Valla Ann was great, but I didn’t see her much except when I first arrived and then in the morning for breakfast.  That was probably due to my taking off as soon as I got settled in and then keeping to my room most of the evening. (The room was fantastic, which will explain my reclusion.)

I stayed in the Library, which has been converted into a lovely suite. The accommodations were perfect for a single traveler; in fact, I think if someone else had been with me, it would have been cramped.  But there was a queen-sized bed and a bathroom with a clawfoot tub.  The windows face west and north-by-northwest, and it’s actually right along the busy Main St.  If you aren’t used to a good amount of street noises, then it’s probably not an ideal location for you, but I loved it.  Especially the clawfoot tub.

There is a shallow pool behind the Inn and a lot of green space around the whole lot.  Train tracks run directly behind the property along the Ohio River, but Valla Ann was recently able to get the Main St district labeled a Quiet Zone, one of only 11 such places in the state!  This means, even though the trains run through it, they are not permitted to blow their horns, which is lovely.

Carnegie Center for Art and History

201 E Spring St
New Albany, IN 47150


This is one of my favorite kinds of places to visit in a new town. I love checking out local art and especially local history.  New Albany has an exceptional history with the Underground Railroad.  They have a permanent exhibit about the places and people who were strategic in rescuing runaway slaves.  They also accurately detail the full scope of the issue in their area.  I knew the Ohio River was one of the places which slaves aimed for when trying to escape, but I lumped all of that to the Cincinnati area.  Thankfully, there were many other locations on the River that were safe-zones and big stations on the Underground Railroad.  There were many in New Albany who were abolitionists because of their spiritual/moral convictions, which was refreshing.  Also, some people in powerful positions in the community were on board as well, such as judges, lawyers and real train conductors. 

There is also a permanent exhibit of working motorized wooden dioramas – carved by one man, Merle Yenawine.  They cover life in a small town of Indiana from before and after 1900.  It was pretty cool how the tiny figures would move around and lights would flash underneath certain parts to make it look like a fire roaring.  The scenes were pretty comprehensive too. 

The Dandy Lion Boutique

310 Bank St
New Albany, IN 47150


This little shop is absolutely adorable!  It’s the only other place that I knew about in New Albany before going down, and it was on my “MUST VISIT” list.  I’m glad I made it in!  It’s run by twin sisters, Ani and Ali, and a lot of their stuff is on consignment from artists who handmake their wares and sell on Etsy.  The items are quirky, cute, hipster, trendy…um, what other adjective could I throw in here…vintage, stylish, chic – basically, amazing stuff.  I bought some earrings for a friend, some hair clips and a journal that was converted from an old “In the Year…” book.  It’s one of those books that tells you all the things that happened in a particular year, but they spiral bound it and dispersed some of the pages among the blank journal pages.  I’m so excited about using it!  They are available on Facebook, as seen above, and the twins have their own Etsy, here!  They do a lot of sewing and creating themselves, so you should really check them out!

I will continue with Part 2 shortly!  Stay tuned!

Find more reviews and promos by clicking on the links to the right.  Go ‘head, you know you want to.

Review: La Comedia Dinner Theatre – Springboro, OH



765 W. Central Ave
Springboro, OH 45066
1.800.677.9505 or 937.746.4554



My mom’s birthday was at the end of February and we did a few things right around her birthday to celebrate.  But my sisters, mom and I really enjoy doing something “classy” and “girlie” every year, if we can, and this year, we decided to go to La Comedia Dinner Theatre in Springboro, OH.  It’s between Cincinnati and Dayton, a little closer to Dayton, and this was my first time going!  Mom had gone several years ago to eat and listen to a monk choir (no, they couldn’t talk…but they did the whole Hallelujah Chorus with signs.  Not sign language, but signs with the words and parts of words written on them. She said it was hilarious.)

La Comedia is finishing up their production of Seven Bride for Seven Brothers (April 23rd).  It was such a fun show, but I’ll have to start at the beginning.

La Comedia begins with a buffet dinner.  There are different sizes of tables available which you can keep for your whole party or you can mingle with some other groups.  We chose to mingle with others.  As a result, our seats were right up at the front, literally inches from the stage!  We sat with two couples – one, not so pleasant, and the other, who were no longer strangers by the end of the show. 

Our server was a lot of fun too.  My mom, sisters and I can be a bit boisterous (all in good fun) and we play along with really anything – our server rose to the challenge.  She was great fun.  We started with our drinks and a salad.  I couldn’t eat all of it, because I’m allergic to vinegar, but I had never had cantaloupe on a salad before.  This one had Papaya Chutney Dressing and everyone (else) ooed and awed and yummed their way through it. 

When it came time to the main course, three, yes three, large buffets were wheeled out onto the stage.  We were dismissed by table to go dig in – there were very strict rules.  But the food looked and tasted delicious.  Here’s what was on the menu:

Beef Tenderloin (carved by a chef)
Smoked Sausage and Apples (most of us decided the sausage was the only edible part of this duo)
Country Fried Chicken
Fried Norwegian Cod (a La Comedia staple)
Homemade Cornbread (my favorite part!)
Pinto Beans served with Peppers and Onions
Beef Stew with Buttered Noodles
Mashed Potatoes
Chicken Gravy
Seasoned Corn
Broccoli with Bread Crumbs
Sweet Potato Soufflé (yum yum and…yum)

Gluttony, thy name is Sarah

I will unashamedly post what my plate looked like after sitting down.

Despite having a decided formal feel, there were a lot of homey things about it.  For one, when you share a table with strangers, you kind of get the family-type feel with them. (Well, in our case, some of them).  This may just be a side-effect of sitting with my family – we know no strangers anyhow.

Also, there was a quite a bit of passing of dishes.  We were frequently asked by the staff to pass down a salad to our table-mates and then pass up any dirty dishes to them. 

When it came time for the show, I had to put my camera away, sadly.  We were so close that I thought for sure one of the Brothers would flip right onto our table.  And if our dirty dishes hadn’t been passed around and sent off to the kitchen, one of the brides could have ended up with leftover sweet potato on her skirts.  But they did a great job!  I have seldom gone to a show that I didn’t enjoy, but it sure is nice when the troupe performing is so skilled and really into their performance.  Those guys would really, really dance!  We all agreed that some more harmony and blending would have been nice in the songs, but they all did an excellent job. 

So, here it goes:

The food: excellent, unless buffets aren’t really your thing.  Except, I will say, this was ten times better than any normal buffet style restaurant.
The help: They were 92% attentive.
The parking: they have their own parking lot.
The accommodations:  Several sizes of tables and levels (at various costs).  Our table could fit 10, 5 on each side.  It would have been snug if we had that last couple with us.  I saw several people up front who turned their chairs to face the stage, since there wasn’t much eating during the show.
The price: Cost for an individual is between $60-$70.  If you have an Entertainment Card, you can get the Buy One, Get One Free deal.  This doesn’t apply to the White Christmas or Christmas Carol shows in December.  There are other deals and discounts you can check out here.
Returnability: For my first time going, I’d love to go back.  The couple at our table has gone to several shows, and they said there was only one time they were so bored that they left at intermission.  It’s kind of pricey (although, now we do have an Entertainment Card.  For very special occasions, and a favorite show – I would say, most definitely!

Find more reviews and promos by clicking on the links to the right.  Go ‘head, you know you want to.

Review: Paint by the Glass – West Chester, OH


A month or so ago, I logged into my email and found a Groupon in Cincinnati, OH for Paint by the Glass in West Chester, OH.  I had never heard of this place, but I love painting and upon reading more information, I was pretty sure I’d have a good time.

Here are the specs: 

Paint by the Glass
8179 Princeton-Glendale Rd.
Suite G.
West Chester, OH 45069
(on 747, it’s across from the Kroger)

The schedule really varies, so I’m not going to put their hours up.  Generally, the adult classes are in the evenings and the kids classes in the afternoon (2pm) but you’ll have to go to the website to check out the calendar.  The calendar features which painting they are working on which night, so you can choose the class you’d prefer to attend. 

My friend, Lanna and I went the Saturday before Valentine’s Day and had a really great time.  The painting was called “Love Tree”, for obvious reasons.  I was surprised to see so many men there, but it was a predominantly Valentine’s Day theme, so, I’m sure many of the guys were forced into it.  I did see one couple in particular, where the guy was just observing his SO painting and didn’t seem to be much preoccupied with anything else.  Anyways, since I’m not really a fan of Valentine’s Day, to spend an evening doing something crafty with my best friend was all I could have asked for this year!  We also sat at a table with a cool, trendy Christian couple and had a lot of fun talking and joking with them.

Here’s how it went:

At each table there was an easel with an unpainted canvas, an assortment of brushes, and a plate with all the primary/secondary colors and white.  Oh, and of course, a cup of water.  On the canvas, as shown to the right, the basic picture is sketched in pencil, so it’s like a paint-by-number without the numbers.  I wasn’t sure how I would feel about that, but it was really nice.

The artist (I forget her name! boo) was really great at helping us through the process.  It’s been ages since I’ve painted on canvas, so getting the pointers was really helpful.  Like, wetting your brush before blending colors.  When I paint on wood, that’s not helpful, because then it thins out the color which means I have to do multiple coats and if it’s a blended color, I don’t always have a lot of it.  But this tip was good for both surfaces: Start from the furthest area “back” and come forward.  Basically, start with the background and build on top of it. I usually do this when I paint on wood, but I wasn’t thinking about it for canvas.

So we built and built and painted and painted and blended and blended.  At this point, we took a “break” and were able to eat some of the yummy hors d’oeuvres they were serving; chocolate-covered strawberries, meatballs, veggies. 

By the way, they serve wine and such in the evenings.  If you’re not savvy to that, they also have pop available (not a huge selection, but good enough).  They also have a kids class called “Canvas & Cocoa” which is in the afternoons on Saturdays, with age-appropriate paintings with a drink/snack served as well. 

I’ve also seen a “Canvas & Causes” class posted on their calendar where certain amount of the class fee goes to a good cause.  The painting seems to be related to the cause. 

While we were painting, the artist/teacher was painting along with us, at pace, so we could see technique, ask questions about brush selection and blending, etc.  What I really enjoyed about the class is that everyone was of a different level of ability.  No one was excluded.  Also, you could choose whatever colors you wanted, and the style of painting could be whatever you felt most comfortable with, or maybe thought would best fit your home decor.  She coached but didn’t dictate or criticize.  I felt like I was back in any of my high school art classes where creativity and exploration was encouraged and only technique was taught. 

Oh, and if you’re worried about drying time, don’t be.  They have blow-dryers handy to help you get your painting nice and dry for the ride home. (Acrylic paint is a quick dry-er anyways) 🙂

I am fully expecting to go back sometime.  My only negative is the cost.  $35 for one class, and as far as I could tell, that didn’t include the drinks. (I had to pay for my Coca-Cola.)  So, here’s the breakdown:

The class:  Really fun. Casual. Definitely felt like an art studio.  Our class was scheduled to go from 6:30p-8p. I don’t think we left until a little before 10p.  But they were gracious hosts and didn’t make us feel rushed or try to shove us out the door.
The food: For hors d’oeuvres, excellent.  Just don’t go expecting them to take care of a meal.  You’re there to PAINT not dine!
The help: Everyone there was great.  The artist/teacher, it was apparently her first night, and she did a wonderful job!  Whenever we needed something, extra paint, another plate, more water, a paper-towel, etc, they were quick to get it to us.
The parking: It’s in a strip-mall across from Kroger and there is lots and lots of parking in the lot there.
The accommodations: The room is narrow but it’s easy to get yourself around the table to the food, drinks, restroom.  I was sitting pretty close to the artist/teacher, so I didn’t have any problems seeing.  I didn’t check from other parts of the room though.
The price: For the adult class, it’s kind of pricey, by my scale.  $35 for adult classes. $17.50 for Canvas & Cocoa.  There is also the option to schedule a private party, but there are no pricings available on the site for that.
Returnability:  It was a lot of fun.  And if I see a really wonderful painting on their calendar, I may fork over the moolah, if I have extra in my budget.  But really, to go back on a regular basis, it’s more than my budget of a post-college grad paying off student loans.  I’m more open to the Canvas & Cocoa though…so long as I can kidnap a kid to take with me. 🙂

from the Paint by the Glass Facebook Page (click picture to view)