Local Love

do what you can. with what you have. where you are.
theodore roosevelt

Local Travel

“Bloom Where You Are Planted.”

No Comments

“Bloom in the garden where He has planted you

…radiate the beauty and fragrance of His providence” 

Saint Francis de Sales

There’s something about going back to your hometown. Ease, simplicity, comfort. Something about knowing the back roads, shortcuts and local favorites that makes you immediately feel welcome and at rest. Both of us have had the “move away” itch from time to time. For me, it was Nashville, Tennessee – for Jess, it was New York City. Yet, something kept us right here in Ohio. Even when Music City and The Big Apple tug at us from time to time, we’ve never been able to pull up our roots, pack our bags and go.

Scrolling through Instagram, it’s easy to feel the need to compete. Fashion, travel, parenting, home renovations, fitness … no matter the topic, we’ve all felt the pressure to do more, be more, go more, spend more. Social media can make you feel like you couldn’t possibly be happy, truly happy, right where you are, with what you have, with who you have. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve found myself playing the “I wish ….” game from time to time … perfection, wealth, beauty, “success.” Jess and I have talked about this plenty of times, but we’ve always come to the conclusion that we are happiest with simplicity and familiarity. For us that means living “in the garden where He planted us.”

We’re hometown girls and that’s okay. 

    While we’ve toyed with other plans since college graduation, we’ve learned to accept that God’s plan for us didn’t involve a busy bustling city or the country music capital. No no, we were meant to stay right here and create a blooming, beautiful, “fragrant” life without leaving the state where we were born.

We were meant to let our lives blossom right where our roots began and that simplicity is what brings us true happiness. Our family is here, our traditions are here, and our hearts are here. And here we’ll stay. 

Be happy with your little corner of His garden, wherever that may be. For some of us it’s where we grew up, others have been transplanted and have nurtured a new garden. Wherever God has led you, create a beautiful life right where you are with the people who love you.

You’re comfortable. You’re happy. You’re home. Let that be enough.

Shop Small

Secrets to Assembling the Perfect Flower Arrangement

No Comments

Last Saturday we visited Morning Sun Flower Farm , located in quaint and quiet Morning Sun Ohio, to attend Two Little Buds’ farm to vase workshop. When we met with owner Mindy and her mother back in February, we fell in love with their dream, and their flowers (flash back –> here). Since then, we’ve been counting down the days until their Farm to Vase Workshop.

Walking up to the farm, the first thing that caught our eye was the stable of horses; quickly followed by the hill absolutely covered in wild flowers ( I’m sorry but are we 30 minutes outside of Hamilton or are we in Heaven?).

It was the perfect setting. A small bar under the shade of an old tree, a large white tent umbrellaed tables covered with vintage table cloths, and live acoustic music; all overlooking what Two Little Buds is all about, the fields of flowers.

Mindy started the night by telling her story of how Morning Sun Flower Farm came to be. It truly was a dream turned in to reality by a lot of love and elbow grease that has cultivated a sense of belonging within her own family and all those who visit her farm and shop.

All  guests receive dinner, drinks, a vase for your arrangement, clippers and an apron. After a lesson from the pro herself, you are free to fly with the butterflies. Free to harvest whatever flowers you choose ( about 10-15 flowers in total). We strolled throughout the fields watching a dahlia clipped here, cone flowers there.

Mindy and her team not only do bouquets and arrangements for weddings, you are also able to visit Morning Sun Flower Farm to pick your wedding arrangements. How’d ya like to actually watch your future hubby pick your flowers himself! Cue: “he loves me, he loves me not, he loves me!”  Farm to Wedding Experience

We’re convinced that no bad looking bouquet could come from the Morning Sun Flower Farm. So, even if you’re an amateur gardener or a notorious plant killer, the secret to assembling a gorgeous flower arrangement is to attend a Farm to Vase Work Shop —Click Here. for all the lovely details!

Shop Small

Weekend Plans: Summer Farm to Vase Workshop

No Comments


We are sooo excited to be invited to Morning Sun Flower Garden tomorrow evening for their Summer Farm to Vase Workshop ! We had such a great time interviewing Mindy and her staff at their shop, Two Little Buds,  in Hamilton, we were thrilled to be able to have the opportunity to check out where all these beautiful blooms begin and where all the hard work happens.



We’ll post plenty of photos here next week (and we can’t wait to share them with you!), but in the meantime we thought we’d repost our interview with the gals over at Two Little Buds in case you missed it a few months ago.

Check out our little visit with them here!

Local Love

Tri-State Travel Guide

No Comments

” Do what you can with what you have, where you are” – Theodore Roosevelt

In the day and age of ‘world traveling’ and fabulous Instagram posts, we bring you a Tri-State Travel Guide.  A simple guide to a simple summer. Free trips and time well spent with friends and family, in the car and on the trail. Pack your back pack, lace your boots and “do what you can, with what you have, where you are”.

Lynd Fruit Farm 

A family owned apple farm, dating back to 1919, Lynd Fruit Farm is nestled right out side Columbus in Pataskala, Ohio. Gala, golden delicious, honey crisp…oh my! Looking to pick some apples of your own? This is the place! “You pick” apple season starts in September and extends through October (Weekends only). What better way to bond with your besties than jumping on their back to grab that perfect apple.


Glen Helen Nature Preserve / Clifton Gorge/ Tecumseh Land Trust 

Just one hour from Cincinnati sits Yellow Springs Ohio, a free spirited town full of life, love, and beautifully unique parks! After Jess stumbled upon Tecumseh Land Trust , she will never miss their Sunflower bloom again. In fact, she went up several times last year just to stand in the middle of the field in awe. We love everything T.L.T stands for and can’t wait to return this summer!

Next up is Clifton Gorge. As a lover and chaser of waterfalls, Jess was happy to stand and watch the water surge through Clifton Gorge and it was only a short (10 min) drive from the Tecumseh Land trust and downtown Yellow Springs.

Don’t leave Yellow Springs without taking a drink from the fountain of youth! Didn’t know it was in Dayton, did ya? Historically, the ‘Yellow Spring’ located in Glen Helen Nature Preserve was known for the spring’s natural healing properties – we’d be lying to you if we said Jess and her friend didn’t take a sip before they headed back to the car (whatever works right?)


Hocking Hills 

Who hasn’t heard of Hocking Hills, right? We’re here to tell you everything you’ve heard regarding it’s beauty is absolutely true. From Lower Falls to Old Mans Cave, every inch of Hocking Hills is breath taking. We actually venture up their frequently as we love to see the park throughout the seasons. Autumn is by far Emily’s favorite. Jess would like to see it frozen (she tries to convince anyone who will listen to take that icy hike with her.)

Clifty Falls

A park near and dear to our heart. Our Grandma Doris and Grandpa “Louie” honey mooned to this quaint little spot located near Madison, Indiana. As Jess strolled through the trails she couldn’t help but picture our grandparents walking hand in hand down the same paths; she also couldn’t help but wonder how grandma Doris did it in pearls and heels! To this day, there is still a Lodge, Clifty Inn,  that has a beautiful view of the Ohio river…weekend get-away anyone?

Red River Gorge 

After much discouragement from our mother, Jess was determined to cross Red River Gorge off her list of places to see, no matter how “dangerous.” Don’t be fooled, there are small paths and large drop offs but it is definitely a ‘must see’ if you are in the area (or 2 hours north like us)! Love hiking long distances? Daniel Boone National Forest is adjacent to Red River Gorge – Pack your backpack, we’ll see you in 708,000 acres. Hiking not your thing? Theres also camping, climbing, and zip lining!

We’re looking for our next local outdoor adventure – suggestions are always welcome!


Local Love

Backstage at Music Hall

1 Comment

One of Cincinnati’s most famous, and in our opinion, most beautiful landmarks recently underwent a massive facelift. Originally we thought, how could anyone possibly make it any better? It’s architecture and history are so iconic to our dear city we were a bit anxious when we heard about the renovations so we’ve had all our fingers crossed that the renovations would be more of a restoration. The word renovate for us carries the connotation of modern updates, busting down walls, tearing up original flooring … our love of HGTV is very much to blame.

Emily’s husband, Jim, is a member of the BOLD group with United Way, a group dedicated to teaching its members how to get involved in their communities by serving on boards for local non-profits. As a team-building event, the group got together last weekend for a backstage tour of Cincinnati’s Music Hall, led by the Society for Preservation of Music Hall.

Cautiously optimistic about the new updates, they followed their tour guide, a member of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra for more than 35 years, through the doors. Inside, it is still the same gorgeous building, but now looking more beautiful than ever. Her high ceilings and columns topped with gleaming capitols, catching all the light in just the right places.

Inside the auditorium the most prominent difference is the seating. Seats are a bit wider and offer much more leg room than in the past, but mostly everything else is just as we remember. Other changes were made to improve the acoustics of the building, and the chandelier (oh, that incredible chandelier!) was taken down completely for a thorough cleaning and now hangs proudly above the center of the space, sparkling like it was brand new.

The Backstage tour is just $15 with group discounts available for groups of 10+. Children are welcome and are only $5 for anyone under 12 years of age. (Em brought her 1½ year old with no problems) Check out a list of all of the tour options available here.

We JUST booked our tickets to the Harry James dance (hosted by WMKV) in the Music Hall Ballroom and we are counting down the days. We went to the Glenn Miller Orchestra dance back in October and danced (if you can call it that) until our feet were sore. These dances are so much fun and we don’t plan on missing any of them from now on!

We can’t wait to see a performance in the auditorium! Ballet? Symphony? Pops? How will we choose!

SDJ E-Signature copy