"You're off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting, so...get on your way!" ~Dr. Seuss
So often, we put off vacationing and traveling because we can't afford it. Wake up, people! We have to whole world to explore. So many of us miss out on what's right here in front of us, in our back yards or so close to home. We need to stop waiting around for things to happen and seek out adventure. Find it in each and every day. And demand an amazing life.
My social media is scattered with images of vacations and trips that we may never take. I've decided I will only harbor pure joy for those blessed with those vacations and not expect those to come to us. Instead, we will find those same joys where we are able. We've been blessed with a few amazing vacations of our own. However, some of most memorable moments have happened when we least expect it. So, I ask myself, why am I constantly longing for trips to create those memories when they can happen anywhere and without spending a boatload of cash? I can't answer that.
With that, I want to inspire others to stop focusing on saving up for the ultimate-maga-trip-of-a-lifetime (unless you have the means, then don't let me stop you!) and find your adventure where ever it may be. I'm going to start featuring little hidden gems, that we've been blessed to find, by featuring local and far away small towns. These small towns that used to be a dime-a-dozen are disappearing right before our eyes! This was something I didn't realize until I had a small-town business of my own (read about our family bakery business here.) I found out very quickly how little support is out there for small businesses and I made it a goal to support the little people! We didn't make it, but I hope to help someone else out there live out their dreams and keep the small towns alive.
Mt. Adams (Cincinnati, OH)
This trip started with a text, "Want to go to Ikea?"
I always ask myself if a drive anywhere can be turned into a weekend destination. It has become "our thing." A quick search on Airbnb and we were on our way to a new town!
So, it turns out Mt. Adams is, at first glance, a sort of party town. There were lots of bars- we weren't really expecting that. Myself and my husband aren't drinkers or partiers, so we weren't sure how the weekend was going to go. By the end we were so glad we stepped outside of our comfort zone and opened up to a place we probably wouldn't have initially stayed.
Where to stay:
We had the pleasure in staying in this Airbnb listing. The home was artfully decorated by the owner herself- a respected interior designer. Not only was it a stunningly beautiful representation of the pages straight out of a home design magazine, it was located smack-dab in the middle of Mt. Adams. A+ home in an A+ location. The price, at first glance, is higher than something I would typically recommend. However, if you take two families and split the cost, the price is drastically lower than a hotel cost in this area. Michelle supplied us with step-by-step recommendations of where the locals go, what to do, where to eat, and tourist attractions along the way. Can you get that with a hotel? I think not! (I know not!) She also supplies a bottle of wine or case of local crafted beer for her guests. And probably one of my favorite accommodations: free coffee. (I'm a cheap date, what can I say.) Her home was impeccably clean, mattresses and bedding were heavenly soft and cozy for pure relaxation. I feel silly saying this, but I couldn't resist sniffing the carpet the entire time we were there. (there. It's out there. I said it.) The carpet in the living room is made of grasscloth/seagrass (?) and smelled amazing! The entire house had the aroma of calm.
Where to Eat:
Bow Tie Cafe
Mt. Adam's Bar& Grill:
At first glance: Such an odd atmosphere. We couldn't really figure out what vibe they were going for. We were going off of recommendation, so we had no clue what to expect. We ordered nachos and cheeseburgers. We came to the conclusion that it was just as it says: Bar & Grill. Nothing fancy, but one heck of a good cheeseburger. Honestly, that's hard to find these days. Great prices too. Nothing but laughter and good times all around us. And super comfy seating. What more could a person ask for?
Bub's Stone Fired Pizza:
Pizza at 1 Am? Why not! As parents our typical evening ends at around 8pm. So, when were out on the town, out of our comfort zone, just the two of us we felt it was necessary to break the rules and go out for late-night pizza....because we could! I consider myself a pizza aficionado, if I do say so myself. I have to say, Bub's pizza is the place to watch out for! Apparently, they just opened this location. #1 pizza by the slice. (jaw drop.) I grew up with the luxury of visiting New York pretty often (My mom lived there and I lived with my father in Kentucky.) and this was one thing I missed so very badly about NYC- pizza by the slice. #2 the taste was straight-up (hows that for country slang) taste bud euphoria: mushrooms, fresh mozzarella, feta cheese, homemade sauce, cooked over open flame....my mouth is watering as we speak. If you decide to go, will you take me with you? pretty please.
What to do:
Do as the locals do.
What a cool experience! Yes, this is a bar. We were completely knocked off our feet with this experience- completely out of the ordinary for us. We knew there was live entertainment and wanted to check that out, so we set our reservations aside and stepped inside- prepared to leave if need be. Blind Lemond has no shortage of unique eye candy. The staff was nothing but inviting and warm. The atmosphere was calm, soft, and extremely mellow. There were no raised voices, loud clatter, or uneasy vibes. Everyone sat within the lounge while local talents fill the air with their mastered vocals. With little talk we sat and allowed the talent to fill our voids and speak to us more than words could ever do. There is just something about listing to someone perform live. It was truly the epitome of beauty. A real experience.
Our trip was short and our experiences didn't go far, but they were lasting. The brick paved streets in Mt. Adams were set with the passing feet of many. This city life was just as I've seen before- fast and filled- Yet, there was something different about Mt. Adam's. It was mature, it was reserved, it was filled with history. There were things for people of all ages. Set your expectations aside and visit. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
View our vlog from this trip on YouTube & See what else we did on this trip to Mt. Adams
Other places to stay:
(Get $35 FREE travel credit from Airbnb- no strings attached. This link just gets you and me FREE money. Can't beat that. )
What to do/where to go in Mt. Adams
As always, Don't wait for life to come to you. Go out and find your adventure and live big! Even on a small budget.
Yesterday, I posted my very first vlog.
....well, that was an interesting experience. And I learned a few things from my teenage son. Like, how awful I am at vlogging. Apparently, I held the camera the wrong way, didn't get enough shots, and wasn't brave enough to vlog in public. (That last one was a very true thing. You try it! I felt so silly recording ourselves, talking to a camera out in front of people.) Even after all the critisim he said, "It's still probably something I would watch." How cool is that! If your teenage son doesn't 100% disapprove of something his mother has done, it's a total win in my book.
I had someone ask me yesterday, "How is it that you talk about being frugal, spending little money, and having a small budget; then share yourself going on trips and vacations all the time?"
The answer is pretty easy. It's all about priorities. I constantly have to ask myself "Where are my priorities?"
#1 Our children.
Meaning, absolute necessities. Actual necessities. Not wants. So, then we assess what it is we want. Truly want, not what do we want to make sure we are somewhere on the high-society-totem-pole. Of course, there are many days where I feel less-than because I'm not wear brand new clothes or have the newest iphone 4700 (I feel like within the next 20 minutes, by the time I share this post, that's the version that will be available.) . However, at some point in my life I realized that life wasn't for us, accepted it, and with that, found happiness. We stopped reaching for goals that didn't add to our happiness. We reached for small goals that gave us time back- time together, time to laugh, time to be silly, time to find one another. We're able to do that by not spending money on things most people do and we spend it on getting away and seeing what the world has to offer. Granted, we don't get far. However, I really feel like we will in the future. We are accepting every small grain of opportunity we are given with heaps of gratitude.
Do we need a new roof? Probably. It's not very pretty. Does it leak? Nope. Do we need to do landscaping on the front of our house? Probably. It definitely needs some freshening. Is it hurting anyone? Nope. Is it clean? Yes.
There are plenty of things we probably should be doing with our money, but what if we put on a new roof and fixed up our landscaping with this money this weekend?
Hello, my name is Amy and I am an addict. Well, a food addict that is. My entire life (and I am not exaggerating) I have been a whole-hearted-lover-of-food. It doesn't even really have to be food that is spectacular. If there's food, I'm there.
When it comes to one of those meals that speaks to each and every one of your taste buds; the kind that makes you stop, close your eyes, lay your head back and just allow the moment to sit and simmer on your pallet- those are the meals I live for.
I will skimp, save, and do without many, many things to live a frugal lifestyle. However, when it comes to food all that goes by the wayside. There is no skimping when it comes to something delicious. Then, I realize I can't afford a five star restaurant- nor do we have access to such a place in this rural area.
As a kid I would see these beautiful dishes prepared on sitcoms, cooking channels, and magazines. My brain would salivate and lust towards these dishes. Of course, I wouldn't have a clue how to prepare them. Back in those days I was a latch key kid and spent hours alone, while my parents were at work. I knew how to absolutely destroy a kitchen and turn it upside down. In my mind, I was cooking. It was such a beautiful thing and didn't even realize it. With such a young mind, I didn't realize that I was articulating my tastebuds, experimenting with combinations of tastes and textures, and molding my skills to prepare for the cook I am today.
Okay, you guys. Seriously. I hate spiders. Eew! I don't even know what possessed me to do such a DIY, but in the fun of Halloween, why not? I kinda love dress up. I pretend I do it just for the kids, but basically, I'm just a big kid myself.
Fun fact: I started my first blog back in 2006 called Momma Hen's Coop. (no longer active)
Let's take a little walk down memory Ln. Shall we?....
My first blog was basically exactly the same as this blog will be- except with a different name.
I featured my home and furniture renovation projects:
(Interactive photo- click around for before and after of my fireplace reno)
Now, you guys don't know me very well yet (or maybe you followed me over from my first blog) But, if there's one thing to know about me; it's that I LOVE FOOD. Food is my life (oh, and my kids *wink*)
So, there were lots of recipes....
I have a secret.
I don't wear deodorant.
I know... I know...We've learned all our lives about proper hygiene. And then here I am breaking the rules- as usual.
Over the years I've always read about horror stories of all the cancer causing chemicals in our everyday products. And every time I hear it I look away and pretend not to. All these "luxury" items we use every day are killing us?! No way, I refuse to even feed my anxiety with the thought.
Eventually, I researched each and every ingredient and realized how very little we should actually be using. As I whittled down my cleaning supplies, I replaced those things with more natural, basic products (that's another post.) That was a super easy transition and started this entire life-changing process.
After learning what's in our cleaning products I started looking at the things we put on our bodies....here we go. I love my shampoos, hairsprays, lotions, perfumes, and MY MAKEUP! I refuse to take these things away. Until I did. I did a little 30 day challenge and didn't use any of my beauty products. My usual dry itchy skin was miraculously moisturized and smooth. My eyes and skin were clearer than ever and felt relaxed and healthy. (I could go on and on. Again, that's another post.) Long story short: our bodies thank us when we stop using this commercial ... crap, for the lack of a better word.
The more I learned of the dangers in a lot of our beauty products, the quicker I was to weed out all the junk and began making my own, healthier, beneficial options.
If you would have told me 5 years ago that I wouldn't be wearing deodorant I would have laughed in your face. Here I am, making my own make-up (for the most part,) not washing my hair, and skipping the deodorant. who would'a thought.
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Shoestring Amy is a free-spirited momma. With a family of five comes an active lifestyle full of energy. Amy strives for a lifetime of fun, laughter, and memories. Rather than smothering in debt, working for "things," and walking the same ol' line of misery created by a dead end job, she creates much larger goals. CONTINUE READING....
Posts from the past: