Simple holiday cocktails with Root 23

It’s the season for holiday entertaining! Whether it be a big holiday bash or a simple, impromptu gathering, one thing is for sure a good cocktail can really get the good times rolling. I recently was introduced to the team from Columbus who make the yummy cocktail syrups called Root 23.

ROOT 23 specializes in the farm to cocktail movement. They craft all-natural, small batch simple syrups that can be used to easily make a delicious cocktail or non-alcoholic drink with just a few ingredients!

Today I am going to share with you two incredibly simple drinks we whipped up for some holiday visitors. Seriously friends, these syrups are the perfect treat to have tucked in your bar for the most wonderful time of the year.

Vanilla, Ginger & Bourbon. We mixed up 1 ounce of the Root 23 Vanilla Ginger Syrup with 2 ounces of Bourbon; we used Maker’s but any yummy Bourbon will do. Poured over a few substantial ice cubes and topped with some cherries, perfection in a glass. It was almost like a manhattan but a touch sweeter…but not too sweet…just right.

The second simple cocktail we made was using the Root 23 Blueberry Mint syrup. We found a very pretty glass, added 1 ounce of the syrup, mixed with some dry bubbly and topped with a fresh sprig of rosemary. A bit of sweet and a touch of earthiness from the mint and rosemary. Super easy and delicious.

I was also just thinking about how great these syrups would be to give as hostess gifts at any holiday party. The bottles themselves are so pretty, just wrap them with a bow and you are all set! These syrups can be found on their site or locally at The Happy Hour Collection, Natures Oasis or if you are way out west swing by Quarry Hill Farm and their adorable farmers market store.

So the moral of this story is, if you love to entertain like I do, but you need to keep it simple also like I do, then look no further than Root 23 syrups for something special to offer your guests.

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Root 23 who invited me to share my experience with their syrups as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this local businesses, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

 

 

 

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  Holiday Sparkle Challenge, #ShimmerandShineStyle

I hope you enjoy our little challenge! Remember you can play along as much or as little as you want. Remember to take a pic and add the hashtag #ShimmerandShineStyle. Every hashtag entry will get you one entry into the shimmery contest. The more you play and post the more chances you have to win something bright, bold & blingy!

Not a big sparkle fan? Look at days #6 & #20, polka dots and jewel tones. Live for a reason to layer on the sequins? Look at days #8 & #15, a gorgeous “going out top” and some shiny shimmy everything. Enjoy the daily inspirations everyone. We can’t wait to hopefully inspire a bit more shimmer in America (& London!) this holiday season! Cheerio.

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  Figwood by Banyan Tree

Happy (Cyber) Monday everyone. Hope you all had a relaxing, long-weekend with your families and friends. If you follow me on instagram  you know that I was home for the holiday with a sick three year old, it was a rough holiday at our house. Poor kid is finally on the mend, thank goodness for him and for us. Since I was mostly at home this weekend, I did some online shopping from smaller boutiques that I couldn’t make it out to visit. There were so many awesome incentives to shop online this year, I couldn’t resist. I feel like even the smaller, more local retailers are doing a great job with online commerce, from discounts to deals & steals it was the weekend to shop!

(Someone wanted to be in the picture too!)

One of my favorite places to shop local and one of the pioneers to the Cleveland fashion scene is Banyan Tree. Founded in 2001, their Tremont store (they also have stores at Legacy Village & Crocker Park) is my destination for unique holiday gifts, exceptional accessories and their own clothing line; Figwood.

The Figwood line is designed and sold exclusively for Banyan Tree stores and online. The clothing line is sophisticated, playful and casual but still very pretty, modern and affordably priced. When I stopped in to see the holiday line I fell in love with many of their cozy sweaters, burnt-out velvet kimonos and so many dresses. I actually found two dresses that I thought would really add to my fall/holiday looks for all sorts of occasions.

The first dress is a comfy, pullover dress/tunic that looks as if it has been hand-painted with moody, winter watercolors. It has a slouchy, low turtleneck top and slits up the side making it super comfortable to run around town checking holiday errands off the list. I wore it with a pair of black leggings and booties to give the outfit a casual but functional look. It was a great dress for our Sunday afternoon visit to see Santa…plus it didn’t even wrinkle, extra bonus points!

This dress isn’t currently on their website but give them a call and I’m sure they would be happy to wrap one up and send it to your special someone..or yourself…for the holidays.

The other dress is a bit more fancy, but perfect for any holiday outing. From the moment I saw it hanging on the rack I was drawn to it’s simplicity and sophistication. The dress is a long, black satin sheath with a plunging v-neck front and a slit up the back. While it may not be for everyday, it is going to be great for any holiday happy hour, a trip the theatre and a fancy birthday dinner out (Sagittarius here!) Because it does have the plunging neckline I purchased one of those new-ish lace halter bralettes, adding another layer of “va va voom” to the outfit.

While typically I don’t love to bare my arms in the winter, this dress makes me feel confident and really tall for some reason.  If it is chilly and the “old lady in me” doesn’t want to go sleeveless this dress will look killer with a short furry coat or even a chic leather bomber-like jacket to make it look more urban casual. Serisously this dress is fancy but I also think you can take liberties to dress it down and wear it all around town.

Currently this dress shows that it is sold out online, but go into one of the three stores and I bet they can help you track one down.

Thank you to the team at Banyan Tree in Tremont for suggesting both of these pieces to add to my winter wardrobe. It was so fun visiting and playing dress up with your team! They really knew how to make me feel like a thousand bucks when it came to trying on a few new looks. Also, don’t miss their annual Hot Toddy Party, at their Tremont store this Saturday, Dec 2nd from noon to 9pm! Food, fun, FASHIONS & holiday cheer!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Banyan Tree who invited me to share my experience as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this local businesses, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

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  my holiday gift guide…a few suggestions!

Hello & Happy holidays friends! Can you even believe it? Time for turkey and pumpkin pie, visits to Santa and cookie swaps. It’s time for making your own lists and checking them twice making sure to be less naughty and to be way more nice.

For the past six or seven years, I have approached fellow small business owners for a gift donation to my yearly “twelve days of giveaways”…and while it was fun to feature some of my favorite businesses, this year I thought I would start by encouraging you to shop local with some of the best in town! Don’t worry…there will be a giveaway too..but just one…and closer to Christmas…stay tuned for more on that.

But for today and in the spirit of a small, local gift guide here are a few things I would recommend as the perfect gifts for your CLE friends around town. Let me know if I missed anything.

For your mom, sisters, best friends or gal pals around town.
• I found the best knit sweaters, hats and blanket-throws last week at Whiskey Grade. While I typically wouldn’t think of them as a destination for women’s apparel and housewares, this store has so many awesome girly gifts, I promise you will check someone off your list there.

• Have you been by the new GrooveRyde studio downtown or the original Woodmere location? A gift certificate to this new hot spot would be welcomed by any one of your fitness-loving friends. I love their spinning studio but I’ve really been wanting to try my hand (ha ha!) at their fitness boxing classes. Get your gal pal a few gift cards and the two of you can keep each other accountable to fitness during the holiday season.

• It’s cold outside and during these winter months it is really important to give our skin extra attention. With that said, I LOVE the facials that Leia at Flower Power Skin Studio in Lakewood offers. Not only is her studio super retro-chic, all of her products are organic and good for you! Don’t think you need a facial, then swing by on her special retail days to shop her moisturizers, soaps, fragrance and makeup lines that are too good to be true. For hours and information visit her instagram account…it’s so good!

• I do love a good candle at home during these chilly months. For some reason when there is a candle glowing in the kitchen it makes everything better, warmer, feels more like home. I would say, hands down the women of Sweet Dish & Darling Candles are my absolute favorite candle makers in town. My favorite scent? I LOVE Sunday Brunch but keep wanting to try the Pumpkin & Coconut.

• An incredible manicure! Every lady loves a good fancy-mani for the holidays, am I right? A bit of gold glitter, something more traditional like a clean red polish, perhaps each nail illustrated as Santa and his reindeer? Whatever your fancy, the ladies at Stella & Shay have been killing it with my monthly manicures as of late. I’ve received so many compliments and inquiries that I have my appointments scheduled out a few months in advance. Looking for a gift certificate for one of the best manicures in town, look no further than Stella & Shay!

For your better half, your man friend or your little brother.
• I recently discovered an incredible line of cocktail mixes made in Columbus, OH called Root 23 cocktail mixes. You can find them at a handful of boutiques around town including Natures Oasis in Lakewood and Happy Hour Collection in downtown CLE. I love their Vanilla Ginger with a shot of Maker’s…makes the perfect Manhattan.

• What man-friend doesn’t love a piping hot bowl of fresh ramen noodles? Have you had the chance to get out to the new Noodlecat at Crocker Park yet? I went last week with a group of work friends and it was seriously so good. I had something totally spicy and then a fried shrimp steamed bun and I honestly can’t wait to go back with my honey to try out a few other dishes. A gift certificate would be an awesome gift to use as an excuse for a great date night night out!

• The talented duo over at Room Service had a few things that I would TOTALLY pick up for my Mr. including a new crazy-cool line of military-inspired watches (above) as well as some gorgeous, custom-made backpacks and leather goods. (below)

For your little ones!
• Have you been to the new Children’s Museum of Cleveland? Wouldn’t that be an incredible gift to anyone with small Cleveland kiddos? I know at our house it’s more about experiences than things, so I would welcome this fun gift! $80 for a family membership sounds pretty reasonable for the entire year for 3 people. I think this would be close to the top of any family wish list this year. Get your new memberships here.

• I think that gifting a camp experience is a wonderful gift for any CLE kid. Become a member of the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes and you can register for camp early before the open registration rush that happens in early January. I am so excited that our little one will be old enough for a camp experience this upcoming summer and so is he. Give the gift of nature camp…your kids will never forget it!

• Cookies! What little person doesn’t love a good cookie? From Blackbird Baking Company’s chocolate chip cookies to the gorgeous details of Luna Bakery sugar cookies, our city is bursting with talented bakers. They are the “go-to’s” for when you want to give a box of cookies to any kid (or adult) with a sweet tooth. Cookies make everyone happy. :)

• Baseball anyone? Have you been up to the Kids Clubhouse at Progressive Field during an Indian’s game? If you haven’t, gift a few tickets to a game next summer to see this space & the game…of course. It has great seating with awesome views, lots of toys, interactive exhibits and slides for the kiddos, phone charging stations for the parents and the cutest mini restrooms the whole gang will enjoy. While individual tickets aren’t on sale yet, you can pick up a gift card or give your little fan an IOU for summer tickets and a chance to visit the Kids Clubhouse with the Indians! Get your 2018 Indians tickets here.

• Books, Books & more Books! Every kid loves a good book. Whether they are like my 3-yr old toddler who flips through a handful of books at lightning speed or perhaps a more mature kid who can sit and enjoy a chapter book over the holidays…everyone loves a book. I recently took the time to visit Horizontal Books on West 25th in Ohio City. This independent book store has some really useful sections including an entire area devoted to kids books. They have some really unique and different books that you might not find at the bog box stores. Grab a latte and then head over to Horizontal to pick out a few good books for your little ones.

So those are just a handful of  a few holiday gift ideas for you and your loved ones. I hope I was able to inspire you and give you a few creative ideas to make our holiday shopping enjoyable! Remember, stay tuned for a good giveaway as we get closer to the holiday! Happy shopping everyone.

 

 

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  Fall flavors & tours at Mitchell’s

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Hello friends! Well, it’s officially fall. Halloween is long behind us, daylight savings is still lurking around our house and Thanksgiving planning is alive and well. I read the other day we had six Monday’s until Christmas…now THAT seems CRAZY!

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In anticipation of the excitement of the upcoming holidays I recently had the opportunity to spend an afternoon at my favorite ice cream, go-to store…Mitchell’s Ice Cream. You might be thinking…why ice cream in the fall and winter? Well, did you know this is time of year is thought of as “quarts & pints season?” Yep, we all love to pick up a pint (or two) to bring to a friends house for a holiday peace offering or to make our favorite pies officially “a la mode.” We might buy a pint to take home and enjoy as we snuggle on the couch binge watching a winter Netflix series. We might not feel like bundling the family up after dinner in the cold temps to head out for ice cream..but everyone loves an at-home ice cream party…or at least my crew does. So yes, friends it is officially pints & quarts season and I plan on am fully embracing the fun.

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Have you been to Mitchell’s Ohio City flagship location? Not only is it so beautiful, it is also where all of their ice creams are made and sent out to regional restaurants, grocery stores, not to mention their other seven ice cream shops. Currently the ice cream-elves have been busy mixing and creating the fall/holiday flavor collection including Autumn Caramel Apple, Pumpkin Spice, Porter Chocolate Chunk (Ohio City only) and my absolute new favorite Amaretto Cookie…soooo good! 

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Ever wondered how they make their ice creams? Choose the ingredients? Or the logistics on what goes into each hand-scooped pint? Mitchell’s now offers some incredible behind-the-scenes tasting tours for you and your fellow ice cream enthusiasts. The tour includes a behind the scenes experience and tour throughout the manufacturing process from start to finish…plus at the end you will get a scoop of your choice…perfect for trying out some of those new flavors. I believe they just posted a handful of December tour dates, so go check them out and grab your holiday tour tickets today.

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During my visit I also learned of their ice cream pies and cakes. How have I not known about these before? They offer them in some of their best selling flavors in both including Fresh Mint Chocolate Chip, Cookies & Cream and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chunk. Also, as part of their seasonal holiday specials they are offering a Pumpkin Pie Spice ice cream pie for your turkey day celebrations but you must call and order yours today! Give them a ring.

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During my scooping lesson I did a pretty good job scooping out cups and cones. I would say that it is harder than the scoopers make it look. It took me a few times to get the feel of the perfect scoop which has a round dome and then a cloud-like bottom, super pretty and iconic. I bet you can really get some good biceps if you did that job every day. 

Thanks to Mitchells for having me and allowing me to be part of your fun ice cream shop for an afternoon. Thanks for not only one, but TWO cups of ice cream, (amaretto cookie & pumpkin spice!) which ended up being my dinner for the evening. We are super lucky to have such a sweet community partner in Northeast Ohio. We heart you Mitchell’s! Happy Friday everyone…go order those pies & cakes and pick up your pints & quarts for next week!