Category Archives: Social

Review: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Thanks to my friend Kelly Maglocci for this guest blog post!

Sweet or savory? The world may never know. But one thing is certain- whether you have a sweet tooth or crave salty snacks, everyone is going to love Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

The stage greeted you with an unexpected air of mystery as you entered the theater. Usually exploding with color and a sneak peek of the set, this stage shows only the back of Wonka, looking out into the distant sky.

If you are familiar with the story, don’t worry, the play is full of obscure character development and modern twists on the beloved classic. Charlie, a selfless young boy from an impoverished family, day dreams of one day entering the Wonka Chocolate Factory. When he finds the final golden ticket, his dream comes true!

The upbeat melodies of the musical numbers make it impossible to listen and not tap your feet or clap along to the beat. Family favorites like “The Candy Man” and “Pure Imagination” were sung alongside the news hits “When Veruca Says” and “Queen of Pop.”

Heavy themes like losing a parent and the disparaging gap between the rich and poor are offset by perfectly timed comedic relief. Between the Oompa Loopmas and the crazy consequences the characters are forced to face (like being ripped apart by squirrels or shrunk to the size of a Ken doll), you are sure to be laughing out loud.

And make sure you stick around until the very end for a fun surprise (hint: I’m talking streamers and the best costume change of the show!!).

After attending Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, prepare to be inspired to make something out of nothing.

New Fall Flavors at Gigi’s Cupcakes!

New fall flavors just arrived at Gigi’s and are being made daily now! They include S’more, Pumpkin Spiced Latte — you can get that in both regular and Gluten Friendly — and Haystack which is like a coconut and buttercream drizzled with carmel… sooo good!

If you’re looking for some fun Halloween treats, they have Boo Boxes in both mini and regular sizes. Lots of spooky but super cute designs on those.

While I was there picking up a Boo Box for my kiddos, I got to talking with the folks at Gigi’s and they said that catering, weddings, birthday celebrations and showers are their specialty. They can do cupcakes from their menu OR they can customize to fit any theme. They also make cheesecakes, cookies, and custom cakes too.

They said dessert buffets are a huge trend right now, especially for weddings and anniversary parties, and they love doing those with a variety of sweets and treats for your guests to choose from.

Like them on Facebook or go online to learn more!

Chic Review: The Children’s Theatre

I’ve heard over and over again that acting classes help kids become more confident in school and in life, so it’s been something that I’ve wanted to look into for my kids. That’s when I discovered The Children’s Theater and OH MY GOSH this place is amazing. They have some fall classes coming up — for ages 2 though adult — that sound pretty awesome, so I wanted to let you know about them.

They have Itty Bitty Artist Classes for Ages 2-5, like arts based activities centered around popular stories, Mommy and Me classes, Beginner Jazz, beginner drama basics, and also a Movin’ and groovin’ class.

For Ages 6-14, they have drama classes, and dance classes like ballet, tap and jazz that are 15 week classes with a final performance at the Winter Showcase on the Showtime Stage — so cool!

They also do Voice Classes and Specialty Classes for things like Stage Makeup!

These classes give great Arts Exposure – for those who think the arts are fun and want to explore them more. It’s also good for Arts Training – for those who have a passion for the arts and want to get better — or even a Pre-Professional – for those kiddos who want to make a career in the arts when they grow up!

The classes meet weekly. Homeschool classes are available too!

You can learn more and register on their website www.thechildrenstheatre.com.

Father’s Day Cocktails

As a busy mom of three (not to mention #newbornlife), I didn’t have a ton of time to get out of the house to shop, or the mental bandwidth to come up with something creative for my husband this Father’s Day. But, I do know my husband loves his bourbon, so I got him a bottle of his FAVORITE – Angel’s Envy – and dressed it up in one of Nico’s shirts and a bow tie. It looks like I actually put time and thought into it! Haha! I got the idea from this Pinterest post about wrapping a bottle with a shirt sleeve and old tie (but again, #newbornlife so I didn’t have time to make anything).

To help you whip up something tasty and easy this Father’s Day, here are some fun recipes that’ll please any papa’s palate. Enjoy! And Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers and father figures out there!

Man-Fashioned by Becca Pesce, NYC Whiskey Guardian – by Becca Pesce, NYC Whiskey Guardian 
This particular cocktail was inspired by the idea of combining the flavors of a Manhattan and an Old Fashioned into a hybrid—because of my Dad’s preferences. The Old Fashioned is his favorite way to enjoy Angel’s Envy, but he still always asks me to ‘finish’ his drink with an extra cherry or two.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Bourbon Finished in Port Wine Barrels
  • ½ part Grand Marnier
  • ½ part Amaro Montenegró
  • 1 tsp brandied cherry juice (or Bada Bing cherry juice)
  • 3 dashes of Angostura Bitters

Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a yarai. Stir thoroughly, and strain over a large cube. Garnish with an orange peel and a brandied (or Bada Bing) cherry—or a couple of extra cherries, based on Dad’s preference.

Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree – by Andy Borbely, New Orleans Lead Whiskey Guardian
My Father’s Day cocktail was inspired by three generations of my family: my grandfather, my father and me. When my grandfather served in World War II, he and his fellow soldiers were part of the liberation of southern France. During their march through the region, American soldiers were often met by overjoyed Frenchmen who would pass them glasses of water for their long march. Sometimes, though, these celebratory souls would hand over glasses of calvados apple brandy instead, and soldiers would knock back an entire glass “not knowing” what they had been given. My cocktail is rinsed with the essence of this apple spirit to impart just a hint of my grandfather’s lasting influence. The Angel’s Envy is, of course, a product of a father and son collaboration, but so is the green apple shrub I use in this cocktail. My childhood home had an apple tree out front that I could climb as a kid, so I wanted to mingle the roots of my childhood with the city I chose as an adult. By combining the apple and the Louisiana sugarcane in my shrub, I intended to link the deep roots my father established for me back home to the city of New Orleans, where I reside today with great love.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels
  • 1 part Tattersall Pommeau
  • 1 part Green Apple Shrub*
  • 2 dashes Fee Bros Old Fashioned Bitters Calvados Rinsed Glass Long Lemon Peel garnish

*Green Apple Shrub: 2 cups chopped green apples combined with one cup unrefined Louisiana sugar, left sealed in the refrigerator for three days, strained, build to 1 to .75 ratio sugar syrup to apple cider vinegar

Instructions: In a mixing glass, build fresh ice, Angel’s Envy, Tattersall Pommeau, green apple shrub, and bitters. Stir until well incorporated, approximately ten seconds or twenty rotations. Place approximately 1/4 parts calvados into an empty double rocks glass and swirl to coat. Add fresh ice to calvados-lined glass and strain cocktail over fresh ice. Garnish with expressed lemon peel.

Without Faculty – by Tony Burke, Virginia Whiskey Guardian
My father isn’t a very big drinker. As a matter of fact, his first sip of alcohol that I’m aware of is when I got married. I named this cocktail “Without Faculty” because every time I would ask him why he doesn’t drink (I was just poking the bear, of course I knew the answer) he would respond by saying ” I don’t want to lose control of my faculties”. My friends and I still laugh to this day every time he gives us this answer. My Father loves, and I mean LOVES desserts, and one of his favorites is a Bananas Foster. Couple that with his undying love for all things ginger and I came up with this cocktail. All I have to do next is get him to try this drink and I know he’ll be hooked.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels
  • ½ part Ginger Syrup
  • ½ part Giffard banana liqueur (Banane Du Bresil)
  • ¾ part Lemon Juice
  • Bittermens Tiki Bitters

Instructions: Add all ingredients (except bitters) into a shaker tin. Add Ice and shake. Double strain into a double rocks glass over one large ice cube and garnish with 3 drops of Tiki bitters and a banana slice.

Trapline Old Fashioned – by George Engelstad, Seattle Whiskey Guardian
My father is a bit of a renaissance man. While we were living in the middle of nowhere Wisconsin, he did everything imaginable in the outdoors: he hunted, trapped, fished, farmed, and learned everything he could about nature. Then he passed on as much as he could to me and my two brothers. One really cool thing he taught us was how to tap maple trees and make fresh maple syrup and maple sugar. With this cocktail, I tried to pay tribute to all of the time we spent outdoors. It’s rich, smoky, sweet and could almost be a liquid Smores—a drinkable version of what you’d make on a campfire. I think dad would approve.

Ingredients:

  • 2 parts Angel’s Envy Kentucky Straight Whiskey Finished in Port Barrels
  • ¼ part Laphroaig 10yr Scotch
  • ¼ part Gifford Creme de Cacao
  • ¼ part maple syrup

Instructions: Stir all ingredients into a shaker tin. Strain over a large ice cube finish with spritz of Angel’s Envy Rye, if you happen to have it.

Journey to Parenthood Event – Win Tickets!

We’re teaming up with Parental Hope for their upcoming Journey to Parenthood: An Evening of Hope event. Share this post on our Facebook page with your friends to a chance to win a set of tickets and one IVF raffle entry. Learn more at www.parentalhope.org!

I’ll be emceeing this event, and it’s a cause that’s near and dear to me and my husband (we battled infertility and went through IVF for our first little one). With our baby #3 due this weekend, I thought it was only appropriate that I shared this event with you before I take a little break from being out and about for the next few weeks.

I’ll be busy blogging though (hey I’ll be up all hours of the night any way! haha!) so be sure to check back here to see what’s new… and of course, I’ll post some cute baby pics once he arrives! 🙂

Night in White at Urban Artifact April 14!

Do you have your tickets for our annual Night in White event? This super chic event is April 14 at Urban Artifact and will feature shopping, sipping, silent auction, photo booth, runway fashion show, and fun fundraising activities. And, proceeds from the event benefit the Eight Days & 1 Hour Foundation’s Stephen Morsch Nursing Scholarship. Get your tickets at https://2018NIW.eventbrite.com

I have to tell you, I’m SO excited to hold it at this venue. For those of you who haven’t heard of Urban Artifact, it’s a beautifully “rustic chic” decommissioned cathedral. There’s a brewery and music performance venue in the lower level and huge, open event space upstairs. We’ll have an amazing runway fashion show featuring Slate + Vine — a recently rebranded locally owned online boutique and this will be their FIRST runway fashion show! I seriously want every single piece I see on her site (attaching a sneak peek album of pics of her newest arrivals here on the blog) so I can’t wait to see it all on the runway and in the pop-up shop she’ll have at the event. Hope to see you there!

 

FREE Women’s Health Expo May 12!

Our 2018 Women’s Health Expo is coming up May 12 and you won’t want to miss it! It all takes place this year at the Cincinnati Marriott North in West Chester! Enjoy complimentary swag bags, healthy treats, interactive demonstrations, shop local vendors, and watch a fab fashion show! Plus, this year we’re bringing you on-site childcare through Juggle so all the mamas attending can enjoy the event, knowing their kiddos are well-entertained and cared for! (click here to see my review of using Juggle with my kiddos — spoiler alert — LOVED IT!) To learn more about the event and sign up for your childcare reservation, click here: https://2018whe.eventbrite.com.

Emma Schmidt & Associates 

Emma Schmidt & Associates is all about restoring relationships for people wanting a stronger bond with their partner; it’s a positive and uplifting environment as they help you work through whatever relationship issues you’re facing.

Emma has been in practice since 2011 but has had this particular group practice for the past year and a half.

The team consists of a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselors, Pastoral Counselor and Integrative Health and Wellness Sex and Relationship Coach, who work together to help guide individuals, couples and families through sexual and relationship difficulties to experience the best versions of themselves.

This is actually the only group sex therapy practice in the tri-state area with 5 clinicians on the team and an office manager who schedules clients and connects them with the best clinician for them. One of the clinicians is actually a male sex therapist, which is only the second one in the area! They also have a sex and relationship coach who works online, which is a great option for clients who travel or for people who need a session after their kids go to bed.

Through guided conversation and exercises, your time together will help you develop a stronger relationship and a renewed connection with your partner.

They see clients with a wide range of  concerns. Therapy may focus on sexual disorders, sexual performance anxiety, desire discrepancy, affairs, addictions, conflicts over sex, and sexual pain, to just simply wanting a stronger connection with your partner.

They also offer free seminars and Q&As to the community, in-house and also partnering with local organizations like Crossroads Community Church.

They have two locations, this new one in Hyde Park and one in Ft Thomas Ky. They also keep an active Facebook Page, Instagram, YouTube Channel and blog where they provide really interesting and helpful info.

The new Hyde Park office is located at 3665 Erie Ave. Cincinnati, Ohio 45208.They’re also hosting an open house at the Hyde Park location to give you a chance to check out the practice and learn more about what they do. To learn more, visit www.emma-schmidt.com.

Review: Family Swim at Goldfish Swim School West Chester

If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary to do as a family, check out Family Swim at Goldfish Swim School West Chester. It’s a great way for families to spend time together in their shiver-free 90-degree pool.

What is Family Swim? It’s a time to bring everyone to the pool for swimming and water fun! There’s no structure, so you’re free to do as you wish. If your little one is struggling with lessons, it’s a relaxing way to get used to being in the water. And, for the kids who are enjoying themselves during their weekly swim lessons, they can show off all cool stuff they’re learning with you, the proud parents, there to celebrate!

The normal lane dividers are gone, but the swimming platforms (which are easy to move around) are still set up for the kids to show off their skills. Plus, all those cool swim toys you’re not allowed to bring to the community pool? You can play with them all! Oh, and there are life jackets, too, so you don’t have to feel like you have to constantly hold the little one who hasn’t mastered the big swimming skills yet. Splash around, swim or even float — as long as you’re all having fun together!

Don’t have a kid in swim lessons at Goldfish? No problem. Families who aren’t currently enrolled in Goldfish Swim School lessons are more than welcome during the Family Swim times. Just call ahead to make sure to reserve a spot, bring your suit and towel and jump in!

Every square inch of this super cool and unique facility is designed to enhance the learning, fun and safety for every child and parent who walks in. Some of my favorite things about it include:
– Did I mention it’s 90 degrees year-round?
– They have a state-of-the-art water purification system to keep the pools clean and sanitary
– There’s an air conditioned viewing gallery for parents to relax, work, read, socialize and watch their kids swim while they’re in class
– Modern training equipment and tools that support their proprietary curriculum
– Individual family changing huts
– Fun blow dry station
– Private space for parties and events to accommodate groups up to 50 attendees
– An experienced staff of trained and certified swim instructors
– Intimate class sizes
– Year-round swim instruction for kids 4 months to 12 years

Plus, Goldfish Swim School West Chester offers these lessons at times that are convenient for every family’s schedule. Check out their site to contact them with any questions and see how you can enroll your kiddo in a FREE TRIAL class! Weekday and weekend Family Swim hours are also listed on their site! Learn more at
Westchester.goldfishswimschool.com.