Craft Alliance Makers Ball

Just a few days ago, there was a wonderful event held in St. Louis called Makers Ball. This was an evening from Craft Alliance Center for Art + Design that celebrated makers and the power of craft. One reason I’m such a huge advocate of Craft Alliance is because they support the arts … which is too quickly disappearing in the educational world our children are raised in today. The proceeds from this event helped support the exhibition series and education programs at Craft Alliance and in turn, helps give new life to the crafters and arts in the communities around us.

Craft Alliance’s mission is to provide education and inspiration to a community of artists, student, collectors and overall art enthusiasts, nationally. They do so by offering free classes for both children and parents, supporting and showcasing artists’ work and encouraging those who collect art.

I’m lucky enough to be a few blocks away from one of Craft Alliance’s locations on the Delmar Loop in STL and think it’s a great opportunity for those anywhere, but especially in the STL area, to get involved creatively.

Makers Ball was just one event–there are so many other fun and crafty ways to ignite your creative juices with Craft Alliance. Here are some of the awesome highlights and best dressed from Makers Ball.

Best Dressed

Abida Farooqui & Yasmin Hakim

Abida Farooqui & Yasmin Hakim

Grace

Grace Kubilius, Craft Alliance Fiber Artist-in-Residence posing in front of her interactive panel weaving for auction at Makers Ball.

Jackie Chambers

Jackie Chambers, Craft Alliance Director of Development and Communications

Makers Ball Highlights

Grace & I

I was able to take on Grace Kubilius’s interactive weaving up for auction.

Featured Artist

Featuring handmade art, glass blowing.

Featured Artist

Craft Alliance featured artist, creating pottery.

Makers Ball

Shots of a packed house at #MakersBallSTL this year

Makers Mark

Bartender displaying Makers Mark, an event sponsor

From her collection, "Oh How I Love You," Grace Kubilius showcases her wearable arts of love at Makers Ball

From her collection, “Oh How I Love You,” Grace Kubilius showcases her wearable arts of love at Makers Ball

If you were unable to attend Makers Ball, you can donate here or sign up for a class here!

Afterwards, the husband and I were able to enjoy one of our favorites in STL, Central Table in the central west end. We got to enjoy their outside patio this time in the perfect, evening weather! A few foodie shots from our dinner as well:

Central Table

Central Table

Clover Sushi Roll

We started off with the Clover Sushi Roll

Lamb

Lamb Tortellini

Pork

Ginger Crusted Pork

Patio Seating

Visit Central Table on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook at @CentralTableSTL

#HE is proud to team up with ALIVE Magazine to promote Craft Alliance Makers Ball and Central Table.

5 STL Mother’s Day Ideas

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1. The Ritz-Carlton offers a Mother’s Day Weekend Saturday Tea
At Saturday Tea, May 9, the Ritz-Carlton Chefs offer an event to honor mothers. With a decadent menu of mini-sandwiches, scones, sweet treats and a plethora of brewed teas, Mother’s Day Saturday Tea is relaxing, classy idea for a STL Mother’s Day gift.
The cost for this event is $49, or $39 for a cream tea experience (includes tea and scones only). Reservations are required and can be made by contacting 314.863.6300,–extension 433. To find out what other Mothers’ Day events are available, visit the Ritz-Carlton site.

2. Brunch at the Missouri History Museum’s Bixby’s

Bixby’s brunch will include locally-sourced ingredients for some of the gourmet favorites on the menu. There are three brunch opportunities on May 10–10am, 12pm and 2pm.
The cost for this event is $34.75–children are $16. Reservations can be made by contacting 314.361.7313, and more information can be found here.

3. Laumeier Sculpture Park Art Fair

From May 8–10, Laumeier Sculpture Park will host its annual art fair, offering moms and families several artists to check out along with activities and events everyone can enjoy. A Mother’s Day brunch presented by Whole Foods will also be held during the art fair on May 10 at 10:15am and 11:45am. Other special activities include Art of the Vine and Art of the Ale.
The cost for the art fair is $10–children ages 6–11 are $5. For more information or to find out more about the events and activities, visit Laumeier Sculpture Park’s site.

4. Get Crafty with CBS St. Louis’ Homemade Mothers’ Day Gift Ideas

Sometimes the best gifts aren’t bought, they’re made. Here are some simple, fun and crafty ideas for the little ones to contribute and create something special for mom. Check out CBS St. Louis’ Homemade Mother’s Gift guide.

5. Take a Photo or Make a Video for Mom around STL or right at Home

If getting crafty isn’t your–or your kids’–thing, why not use all the wonderful modern technology and city around us to your advantage? Take photos throughout the city or make an awesome video to show how much you care. There are even contests online that can honor and give mom some well-deserved recognition! A contest I recommend right now is one that shows appreciation for federal-employee mothers. This year, Harris Federal is hosting a “My Mom is a Federal Hero” Video Contest for Mother’s Day, where children can make a short clip explaining what their mom does at work and why she’s a “federal hero.” The winner receives a free Amazon Mom membership and a $1,000 Amazon gift card; two runner-ups also win $100 Amazon gift cards–both awesome Mother’s Day gifts!
For more information or to enter the “My Mom is a Federal Hero” Video Contest, click here. Deadline for this contest is Friday, April 24. Voting begins April 24 and runs through May 4. The winner will be announced on May 6.

 

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Wine, Spring and Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, I’ll Toast to That

The weather hasn’t dropped below 30º in a few weeks and I’ve taken the little ones to the park for more than a couple consecutive days over the past two weeks, so I’ve decided it’s safe to say it’s finally Spring again!

Jaycees 100th Anniversary Wine Tasting

Toast to Spring Wine Tasting in honor of St. Louis Jaycees’ 100th Anniversary

In honor of Spring, to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of St. Louis Jaycees and to raise money for their organization–which provides training, experience and leadership to St. Louis’ youth–Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Hyatt Hotel Downtown are co-hosting the “Toast to Spring” event this Friday from 6-9pm.

Because of this awesome event, the hubby and I are heading out on a date night to Ruth’s Chris “Toast to Spring” and look forward to enjoying a wine tasting with over 30 wines provided by Glazers, a plethora of signature food specialities like Kobe beef slides, shrimp voodoo, crab cakes, chicken skewers and–my absolute favorite–an assortment of desserts.

Here’s just a taste of the delicious food Ruth’s Chris has to offer…

Ruth's Chris Ruth's Chris Ruth's Chris Ruth's Chris

As an added bonus, there’s a silent auction guests are able to participate in during the event, and if you’re in the St. Louis area this weekend, “Toast to Spring” is a great night out! Tickets are $50 and a portion of all proceeds will go to St. Louis Jaycees, and in turn, will help support St. Louis’ youth. For more information or for reservations, contact 314.259.3200.

I hope to see you there! Comment and let me know your favorite type of wine and/or favorite date-night out!

This post is sponsored by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and Midwest Influencer Network.
All opinions and experiences are my own. 

Why I can appreciate the one-year-old’s birthday list email

Let me preface this post by expressing that I more than understand why this email seems rude and entitled. A gift is a gift is a gift, and the fact that someone put any thought, time, effort and money into giving a gift is more than enough in itself. That being said, I can appreciate this email and let me tell you why.

Birthday List

Anytime there’s a holiday, birthday or gift-giving event approaching, I find myself asking or being asked repeatedly, “What do you want … What do you need … What’s a good gift for [child]?” but rarely do I ever get–or give for that matter–a straightforward, helpful answer.

Because of this, I’m often left bouncing off the aisles at Target or entering search after search on Amazon trying to find something I hope the gift receiver can appreciate. However, if we’re all being honest with ourselves when we play the gift-guessing game, unless we’re with the person we’re shopping for on a daily basis, we probably haven’t picked up on all the little things they need or appreciate day in and day out.

Cut to the gift opening: I can honestly say the majority of holidays, events, parties, showers and birthdays I’ve been to have resulted in at least one duplicate gift and who knows how many other gifts that were never used or immediately returned. Personally, I don’t enjoy living in a false reality where I pretend like my gift was truly appreciated. When I go into a gift-giving situation blind, I leave hoping my gift wasn’t one of the duplicates, re-gifts or returns but I’ll never know to be honest. That sucks.

And that is exactly why I can appreciate this woman’s email. The majority of people who are going to get you, or someone close to you, a gift try to find out beforehand what they want, need or like. The woman hands you the golden ticket to the correct gifts in her email.

The next question that always pops into my mind–if I happen to actually find out or know what a person wants–is, “What if someone else already got it for them?” Guess what … the woman split up her gift list so there’s no second-guessing, and I think it’s convenient she let everyone know that. You’re welcome. Gift-buy in peace.

Finally, this woman confronted, admitted and put into words what we’ve ALL done–returned a gift [GASP IN HORROR]–and for some reason, everyone’s offended by that. Personally, I’m glad she said it. She just saved people from potentially wasting their time and money, because whether we like it or not, she’s right. If she or anyone else returns a gift and doesn’t have a receipt, the gift-giver potentially just wasted a chunk of their money.

What’s that? “Don’t return the gift and be grateful you got anything at all,” you say? You’re right–that’s a fair argument, in which case the gift never gets used and you’ve wasted all of your time and money.

So, is this letter slightly tacky, overboard, rude and/or entitled? Perhaps, especially in our society, it’s definitely not a social norm. Sometimes people get offended–myself included–and I can see how this email offends, easily.  From my perspective though, this woman is just being honest and to the point. I. Appreciate. That. It’s refreshing and rare.

I’m sure people asked her what to get her daughter for her birthday, so she made a list. She told people what they already had too much of, and she admitted that if it was a gift they couldn’t use, they would have to return it. We all know those things to be truths in our own households, whether we tell them to other people or not. I can’t be mad when someone has the gull to answer a question in the most straightforward manner possible and ask for exactly what they need/want.

And that’s why I can appreciate this one-year-old’s birthday list email. What are your thoughts? Do you agree or are you just absolutely appalled by the email?

 

To the new mom who was bullied by “the girls” for posting photos of her baby…

…this one’s for you.

I am in no way going to pretend like some Facebook posts don’t annoy me. We all have those eyes-roll-to-the-back-of-our-head people posters on our friend list. Guess what? You can unfollow them, save your eye rolls and continue scrolling your timeline in peace. There’s no excuse for lashing out or bullying others for posting what they want on their own personal accounts.

No one deserves to be bullied, especially as a new mother. We have enough on our plates with lack of sleep, tears, hormones, diapers, spit-up and anything else life throws our way. For Jade Ruthven, new mom to 6-month-old Addison, “the girls” decided to throw a nasty letter her way to let her know how much her new babe was inconveniencing their lives:

Letter

A letter from “the girls” to Jade.

I’d like to respond to that letter. Not because Jade hasn’t done a wonderful job of confronting it head on–considering it’s gone viral–but because I’d also like to let “the girls” know that they’re “pissing a lot of people off.” So here it goes…

Dear “the girls,”

So glad you were able to take time away from your kids to let Jade know you are “SO OVER” the running commentary of her life on Facebook.

From your letter, I couldn’t tell if you were aware of what Facebook is, so let me share. Facebook is a running commentary of people’s lives. If you’re SO OVER that, you probably shouldn’t participate in Facebook.

I’m unsure if any of “the girls” work, but maybe you can all find other things to do with your time besides scroll through Facebook if it annoys you that much.

It’s awesome that your kids are great too. A great place to share that is on Facebook.

If you’re uninterested in what Jade and Addy (or anyone for that matter) are up to, there are a couple quick and simple options you may be unaware of available on Facebook. If there are posts, photos or updates from a “friend” that you don’t like or agree with, you have the option to click the unfollow button. This means you will no longer see any of their updates unless you seek them out yourself. If you no longer want to be Facebook friends with someone, you can also unfriend them. Along with no longer seeing their updates, this also means you are generally unable to seek them out as well.

As long as a person’s posts and photos remain within Facebook’s guidelines–which can be found here–”the girls” do not have the authority to control what others do or do not post on their personal accounts.

I’m writing this to let you know what people really think.

Thanks for reading. I’d love to hear how you feel about “the girls” letter to Jade.

23 Tax Day Deals and Freebies in STL

Today, tax season is finally over, and to celebrate all the monies and stress relief that (hopefully) comes your way, grab a free bite or service in STL!

Taxes

Photo credit of Tax Credits

1. You know that stress relief I mentioned? Well, fast track it with a free massage at Hydro Massage.

2. Fellow mamas, or papas, can get $8 off a value box of Huggies or Pampers at Babies R’ Us.

3. Now that you’re done reading through all the meticulous tax information, grab a book to read from Barnes and Noble website at 20% off. [coupon code X8W8L3A]

4. Shred your annoying paperwork away at Office Depot for free.

5. Let it out with a song and a free meal at Hard Rock Cafe’s “Sing for your Supper” event.

6. Don’t even get out of your car. Just drive through a McDonald’s or Burger King for a buy-one, get-one on Big Macs, Quarter Pounders or Whoppers.

7. Grab a bite at Outback Steakhouse for 15% off.

8. Get $6 off a dinner for two at Oliver Garden

9. Another buy-one, get-one deal is available at Boston Market.

10. Along with getting your taxes back, get a chance to win a pizza back with Pizza Hut’s “Pizza Return.”

11. Indulge in a warm, gooey sugar cookie from Great American Cookies for free.

12. With the phrase “mid-week buddy pass” enjoy a buy-one, get-one Bacon Jalapeno Queso Burrito at Qdoba.

13. White Castle is offering a 15% discount on all orders.

14. Kona Ice will be at Western County St. Charles Chamber of Commerce with free cups of tropical shaved ice and Hawaiian leis until 1:30pm.

15. With the purchase of a 32-ounce drink and bag of chips, get a free, small “The Original” sandwich at Schlotzsky’s.

16. Tell the cashier, “Taxes Schmaxes” at California Tortilla for a free helping of queso and chips!

17. If you dine at Tony Roma’s today, you can get a coupon for a free red velvet cake dessert next time you head in during April.

18. Free potato cakes and curly fries all day via an Arby’s near you in STL!

19. Two free Cinnabon bites today from 6–8pm at Cinnabon.

20. All-night happy hour specials and reduced prices on appetizers at McCormick & Schmick’s!

21. All day happy hour at Sonic–woot, woot!

22. Head over to Sweet Tomatoes for a buy-one, get-one meal deal.

23. At Mr. Goodcents, grab a complete meal (sandwich, drink and chips or cookies) for $4 and some change.

 

 

 

Help Me Become The Official #ExploreStLouis Ambassador

EDIT: The winners have been announced and although Homemade Experience is not one of them this year, I’m so happy for the 5 who’ve qualified to move forward! Congratulations to…

People’s Choice Winner
Jillian Pye, ALittleSliceofPye.com

Judge’s Choice Winners
Carmen Boeser, TheRubyZipper.com
Jill Firns, StilettosOnSundayMorning.com
Amy Latta, AmyLatta.com
Denise Bertacchi, STLMotherhood.com
__________________________________________

Calling all the lovely St. Louisians and beyond! I need your help becoming the next St. Louis Ambassador of 2015 with Explore St. Louis!

As a part of a new and exciting year, Explore St. Louis is hosting an awesome event on April 30. During the St. Louis Convention & Visitors Commission’s annual Be A Tourist In Your Own Town event, you can come and see why St. Louis is such an amazing city to live and enjoy. From 10am–2pm at Ballpark Village, come enjoy refreshments, prizes, music and so much more!

How can you participate? Well, this year Explore Saint Louis–along with KDSK, ALIVE Magazine and the Midwest Influencer Network–has put together a cool competition that allows a select amount of people to try their best to show what St. Louis is all about. The “Official Explore St. Louis Summer Ambassador Search,” as it’s called, is a competition that will allow you and select others to decide who best represents St. Louis and the idea of being a tourist in your own city. Some of the applicants videos are available for the people’s choice vote, and . . .

You can vote for me by clicking here and scrolling to the “Official Ballot” at the bottom!

You can also share the word about the next St. Louis Ambassador and check out Explore St. Louis to find out more about this lovely city.

I believe Homemade Experience represents so many aspects of St. Louis. I, personally, am a creator and writer who strives to tap into the creative flow of the city by checking out local crafts, artists and music at places like COCA, The Pageant and the Peabody Opera House–just to name a few. My husband and I love to eat, drink and have a good time with friends around the city; some of our favorite places include Blueberry Hill, Bailey’s Range, Ruth’s Chris Steak House and Ballpark Village/Busch Stadium. Beyond that, I have a family with two young children, so we’re constantly parading around STL checking out the best kid-friendly and family-loving attractions like the Saint Louis Zoo, museums, Forest Park and so much more. While enjoying my city, I love to share my experiences and write about them here, which is why I would be so honored and overjoyed to represent St. Louis!

I have to be honest, though–there is absolutely NO way I can fit everything that I love about my beautiful city in the 20 second video above. So, here are just a few more reasons I’m a huge advocate for STL along with some of the attractions and reasons you can enjoy it too!

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Of course, St. Louis wouldn’t be complete without the Gateway Arch.

 

MWINetwork

The Midwest Influencer Network is a seriously great network to be a part of as a St. Louis–or any area–blogger looking to learn and connect. Check it out!

Plowsharing Crafts

All the local crafts and beautiful makers that are part of St. Louis. This is from Plowsharing Crafts on The Loop.

Photo

The GORGEOUS architecture, buildings and photo opportunities throughout this wonderful city.

Elephant

The captivating animals at the well-known and free Saint Louis Zoo.

Easter

Eckert’s Country Store and Farms just outside of St. Louis, and their lovely Easter Egg-citement event each year.

Click any of the photos above to visit the attraction’s website. And don’t forget to share, like and chat about my post!