Tag: Fayetteville

Holly Day Fair-It’s a thing

This was my very first year attending the 52nd Holly Day Fair at the Crown.

I was like WHOA.

In the parking lot.

Cause dude, it was madness! I didn’t know this was such a thing. But it really was.

Snagged a parking spot and skipped in the building to find the crown turned into a holiday shopping wonderland.

Vendors lined the entire place. I’m talking everything from woodworking to wine to Christmas ornaments. It was cool.

Honestly, I had so fun much hanging out with my friends and listening to the vendors stories about their businesses and products. It was such a social experience and I have a great appreciation for that.

I love love love supporting small businesses during the holidays.

Not only are you supporting someone’s dream and their family-but typically what you find at a small business is a lot cooler and more personable than a chain. I love finding unique gifts with a story to tell. Nobody wants another pair of socks, guys. Unless they’re cool like Proven by Ruben style. #letsbereal

Proven by Ruben

While this Holly Day Fair wrapped up on Sunday, it’ll be back next year and I definitely think everyone should go check it out. It got me in the holiday spirit and I got to check out some businesses that I didn’t know about!The place was hoppin’ and I’m glad I tried something new this holiday season!

Waste Not, Want Not, Stuff Bought

“There’s trash on the ground! The earth’s going to get sick!”

My daughter even knows better.
I remember when I was little I used to tell my mom she couldn’t buy individual bottles of anything because it was a waste of plastic and filling our landfills. Yeah, I was that kid.
Now, I admit I don’t recycle like I should or go to great lengths to save the planet but, I’m taking small steps towards doing my part.
The first step was cloth diapering my babies. I really loved it so it wasn’t a big deal to me.
A few months ago I switched to stainless steel straws. I felt really good about this decision since my girls use straws everyday. They’re easy to wash and I don’t have to keep re-buying them. Then I thought hmm, I’m saving money, helping the planet, and still have the product I want and it works the same-what else could I switch? 

So I got the Google search intro to the “zero waste” movement.

Soon after, Jessica, the owner of KyMia, reached out to me and I was like BOOM! Meant to be.

KyMia Reusables is a local, eCommerce business. This husband/wife team sells sustainable, no-waste, environmentally conscious products and I totally dig them. 

Not only are the products super cute (fun fabrics and designs) but they’re also high quality and work extremely well! I don’t know why I didn’t switch over sooner.

The first products Jessica gave me to try were:
  • Unpaper Towels
  • Unsponges, and
  • Bamboo utensils

Jessica is amazing by the way. She is one of those people you feel like you’ve known forever right off the bat, super relatable, and a mama of 2 so she gets it! 

So here are my thoughts: 
Unpaper towels ROCK. First off, they’ve covered in avocados so, they were winning in my book before I even used them. Seriously though,  you pull a towel off the roll, use it until you feel like its dirty and then throw it in the laundry. No more buying paper towels, no more creating a ton of waste. I love it!
The Unsponges really got my attention. I was curious how these would do because I am for sure a person who throws away sponges as soon as they seem the slightest bit dingy. I have to say, I’m seriously impressed. They have an anti-microbial hypoallergenic foam core. So, you use the sponge and then throw it in the washing machine and it comes out like new! Jessica even showed me examples of how she cut one in half and how clean it was after being used. So now I don’t have to buy paper towels or sponges anymore?Okay…this is cool. 
The bamboo utensils are pretty epic too. Instead of using plastic utensils when you’re out and about at restaurants you can carry these beauties in your purse, use them, and wash them to reuse again and again. You get to eliminate plastic utensil waste and look adorable when you break these out in public! #winning
So I was hooked…and then I ran into her booth at the Dogwood Festival…
Beeswax food wrap though. Okay guys so literally I’ve been in a bind for months now because I moved and don’t have alot of Tupperware (and don’t want to keep buying it) but I’m also not a fan of aluminum foil. I cook alot so I really need food storage options. Beeswax food wrap is this epic pliable cotton covered in beeswax and jojoba oil. She let me play with it and cover a mason jar. It seals right over the opening and the best part is, you can take it off, rinse it, throw it in a drawer, and keep reusing it! I much prefer this to annoying cling wrap, aluminum foil, or Tupperware. Now I can use my natural, eco-friendly beeswax covered cloth to cover my casserole dishes and mason jars and I feel great about it. Plus it’s cute.
The icing on the cake is that I’m supporting a small business and a lovely family! 
Oh, and I love this bag: I truly recommend checking out what they have to offer. They have more products than just the ones I spoke of and I intend to slowly build my no-waste stash of products over the next few months.  I love that I don’t have to keep buying these items, I’m eliminating toxins in my home, and I’m making environmentally friendly decisions. Plus, I made a new friend!

Maryland Crab Soup

Growing up in Southeastern Pennsylvania, seafood from the Chesapeake was a norm.

One of my favorite recipes is Maryland Crab Soup cause I LOVE Old Bay anything and this is basically Old Bay soup. YAS.

Now, I am not a chef guys…I just cook things and eat them with no exact measurements or professional training…so bear with me as I share my ridiculous ways.

Okay so you’ll need a big pot cause you’ll want leftovers. It’s always better the next day, right?

Ingredients:

  • 1 bag of small red potatoes (cubed)
  • Lima beans
  • Corn
  • Green Beans
  • Cooked carrots (chopped up)
  • Old Bay Seasoning
  • 2 cans of crab meat (feel free to mix in claw meat or whatever you want)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 can stewed tomatoes
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • Chopped onion
  • Worcestershire
  • Salt & Pepper

1. Cut up the potatoes and boil them until you can pierce them with a fork easily. While they are boiling-chop up the onion and saute it with some avocado oil until soft.

2. In a large pot (remember you want leftovers) bring your crushed & stewed tomatoes, beef broth, a splash of Worcestershire, and water to a boil. Now, here’s where I’m no help because I totally eyeball how much water and taste test as I go. Add some Old Bay in there too (I add it throughout the entire process in excess) Once it’s all nice and mixed up turn it down to a simmer.

3. Add your onions, corn, green beans, cooked carrots, lima beans,and potatoes. I add the crab meat last and gentle stir so it doesn’t get totally shredded in the mix.

4. Lastly, add Old Bay to taste, salt, and pepper. I literally add so much Old Bay it is unreal. So, if you want my measurement probably about half the can? #notsorry

I recommend eating it with bread 👌🏻

Cornmaze, Pumpkins, and Hayrides, Oh my!

Gallberry Farm was so. much. fun.

It totally wore my girls out so I give it a solid A+

The Mclean family is the sweetest.

Marcus Mclean owns the farm and his dear mother can be found running the show.

His goal with opening the corn maze was to provide wholesome family fun on the land he grew up on.

I really appreciate all that they have to offer because it got my kids active, let their imaginations run wild, and definitely got us in the fall spirit.

Not to mention, their pumpkins are beautiful! This was the first time I had seen “Cinderella” pumpkins and they are a total game changer guys.

I think my girls favorite part was the barrel train and the tube slides. They repeatedly went on these while mama took a break. #justsayin

We also took a hayride which took me back to when I was a kid. It’s a necessity.

The highlight of the farm is their huge corn maze which featured a patriotic theme this year. They also have a smaller maze for tiny tots!

maze2018
Gallberry Corn Maze

I really love that they have a variety of activities for all ages and your experience is very personable. In fact, I just spoke with Jeanette, the mama, and I believe I’ll be taking my girls back this weekend!

Music City-and I didn’t even have to travel

Wooden lit up stage

Guitars jammin

Tunes flowin

Cowgirl boots & dresses, flashing lights, Elvis statues & musicians on every corner hoping for their big break.

I remember walking down Broadway Street in Nashville, TN for the first time like it was yesterday…at 10:00 am.

Yep, it’s the city where music and dreams never sleep. It’s something else.

Music City captures Nashville to a T. I got that Nashville vibe right off the bat and became so invested in the characters as the layers of the story unfolded. I laughed, I cried, I gave Alyssa the “did you see that?” look.Now there is NOT much that makes this Billy Joel lovin’ girl cry but, this musical hit home. Serious props to everyone involved in this production.

So much has gone into bringing this show to life. I got to hear first hand how the story has evolved and let me tell you-it has come a long way! It’s amazing what details change and the thought that goes into it in order to create just the right feeling.

I left with a serious appreciation for what it takes to put on a show like this.

The choreography was done by Tyce Diorio who is well known for his work on the show, “So You Think You Can Dance”. He has choreographed many stars and has won a Primetime Emmy Award for outstanding choreography. The quality of work that went into this is obvious.

Pretty cool if you ask me!The show ended with a standing ovation and conversations of appreciation filled the lobby.

I’m seriously considering going to see it again.

Like today.

Kaylyn Marie who plays “23”

The “I want to buy everything” Crate.

The Apple Crate Natural Market is like every food I have ever dreamed of in one cozy brick & mortar.Seriously, a family owned business that stocks everything from paleo bread and local eggs to sage for smudging and amber teething necklaces. This store is my jam.

Some of my fave coffee mix-ins from The Apple Crate & Cinnamon from Leclair’s

I’m talking every herb/supplement I can think of, Vital Proteins, Siete chips, Kite-hill almond milk cream cheese. Yas.

I instantly fell in love with with this market when I walked through the doors with my then 2 and 3 year old and we were greeted by a warm smile, organic lollipops-

…and that nod of “you got this mama” that we all need when we enter a grocery store with children.

The smell of essential oils and all things good hit me and I knew I found my little corner of Fayetteville.

The variety is impressive but the friendly vibe keeps me coming back. Honestly, I would drop in on a Saturday just to chat with everyone (and probably leave with a basket full because who can resist!!)

Some of my fave products:

  • Epic Provisions Bone Broth
  • Vital Proteins Collagen
  • Kite Hill Chive Almond Milk Cream Cheese
  • Tribucha Kombucha
  • Siete Chips
  • Simple Mills Crackers
  • The fact that they have every herb and supplement you could need
  • Sage for smudging
  • Justin’s dark chocolate peanut butter cups (yassss)
  • Hail Merry anything
  • So much-I don’t know where to draw the line.

It turns out starting a business is hard.

Entrepreneur to Avocado. What gives? Let me explain.

So, a few years back I came up with a design for a hands-free dog walking belt because at the time my daughters were 1 and 2 years old and I never had a free hand.

I saw that other mothers were struggling to push a stroller and walk their dog. I wanted to create a product that contributed to a better quality of life so that people could step back and enjoy what they were doing rather than have their hands full.

There were similar products on the market but I chose to differentiate mine by adding certain features. It was cool. It worked.

I’ve always had a fascination with bringing the ideas in my head into fruition. Whether it be a product, a photo, a drawing-I love seeing things come to life. It’s my passion.

Is that still one of my businesses?

While it was super cool to do, it is no longer my business. I handed the business over to the manufacturer when I realized it had played itself out and it was time to move on to something new.

One of the hard parts about being an entrepreneur is that you have to know when the life cycle of your product is coming to an end. It may be time to close shop or just time to evolve.

It takes grit to start a business but it takes a certain amount of humility to know when to walk away.

So what is Guac & Soul? What’s the deal with the avocado? What’s happening?

Guac & Soul was created by me. I started my Instagram, @guac_n_soul by posting about mom life and my art mostly as a hobby. When I decided to focus on social media marketing, I began growing the platform and focusing on collaborating with businesses in the community.

On that note, I love music. Like, LOVE. Who doesn’t? So I wanted something like “rock n’ roll” but I also really love food. Mostly healthy food with a side of nachos. So “Guac & Soul” was born. Sometimes, you just gotta roll with it!

Anywho, the decision to focus my platform on small businesses had a domino effect and lead to my full time position at The Center for Economic Empowerment and Development where I have resources to help small businesses and entrepreneurs right here in the city I live in! I love my job. Love.

I mean, the idea of collaborating with and supporting small businesses became a tangible job. Grateful is an understatement.

So basically, I got tired of trying to find a marketing job after interviewing for a year so I decided to create my own job which lead to my actual dream job. I don’t sit still very well so thank goodness.

Recently my co-workers and friends inspired me to start blogging in addition to my Instagram and that has been a fun outlet for me. I mean, here I am! So I guess I’m digging it.

I’ve also recently begun to monetize my social media platforms so I suppose I’m still in the entrepreneur game in that respect. I’ll probably always have some type of side hustle. I can’t resist the challenge of building something and social media has definitely been an interesting challenge.

My entrepreneurial motivations have definitely changed since I first started all of this. My goal went from having my own venture to using my knowledge to help other entrepreneurs succeed in theirs.

Again, I now work in the Women’s Business Center at CEED where we empower women to succeed. In fact, we have a huge fundraiser coming up in October called Over the Edge where people in the community have a chance to rappel off of a building here in Fayetteville to celebrate a milestone such as opening a business or a personal accomplishment.

I love to celebrate the success of others and I’m so proud of the entrepreneurs in this community.

If I could tell you anything it would be: Your business will be your baby. Working for yourself is much harder than working for anyone else. You will have to be very disciplined to make it flourish and get it to a self-sustaining point. It’s entirely doable, but you have to know going into it that

The moments of accomplishment will keep you going.

The absolute most exciting moment was getting that shelf-ready, packaged product on my doorstep. I literally cried tears of joy. It was such a journey to get to that point and took a great level of determination. It was very gratifying to have something I dreamed up become a tangible product.

So, is entrepreneurship innate or what?

For me personally, I have an innate need to create. Before I had a paint set I would paint on printer paper with nail polish. When I was in elementary school I spent a summer saving up for a Minolta camera. I wanted to take pictures and I remember being so curious about that art form. I’m stubborn about my curiosity. I’ll make it happen. I suppose that’s another innate quality, curiosity. I’m ridiculously curious.

Creativity and curiosity are a strong mixture for an entrepreneur to have.

When I’m not working I am playing with my daughters, cooking, creating art, dancing to Billy Joel in my kitchen, or working out. I also really like to clean. Like, a lot. Probably more than necessary.

Honestly though, I work alot. When I go home I like to read marketing books. I’m always thinking of the next project. Some may call me a workaholic but I just really love what I do and it doesn’t feel like work to me. Maybe that’s another quality of an entrepreneur, we don’t really separate work from play-it’s all play for us and we’re happy to do it even when times are tough. It’s kind of a way of life.

Someone once told me business is the greatest game in the world if you know how to play it. That really resonates with me. Now, as someone who thrives on creating, I have learned the hard way over time that without discipline, I can create all day and it will go nowhere. I could decide to paint masterpieces but if I don’t have the discipline to finish them or market them, it won’t make a difference and will remain an unfinished hobby in my closet. I can’t think of anything sadder than potential collecting dust. I’m guilty of it though.While discipline and creativity are two sides of the same coin, it is very difficult to have both of those elements and personally, I must remind myself everyday to keep a balance between the two in order to be productive. I have many ideas and I can easily get carried away with starting a million projects but I have to have the discipline to focus my energy.

I constantly fail at things. I’m always learning. I could always do better, do more. It’s learning to do things better and integrating that into your work that makes the failures stepping stones and not setbacks.

My advice to fellow entrepreneurs:

Figure out your “why” and write it big and bold where you can see it every day. That’s what’s going to get you through those days, weeks, and even months in the trenches of the start-up days. Remember why you did this and keep your eye on the bigger picture.I’m often asked if I could start another business, would it be the same? Definitely not the same. I don’t like to look backwards. The world is constantly evolving and what was needed yesterday is no longer relevant today. I don’t have any plans to start another business-I really enjoying helping others start their own. You’ll often see me around town helping photograph products and setting up collaborations. That’s my jam and I can see myself in this for the long haul.