Local Love

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

Local Love

Tri-State Travel Guide

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” 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

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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!

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Local Love

Love blooms Where Family Sows: A visit with Two Little Buds Florist

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“It kind of just happened.”

Isn’t it funny how the best things seem to “just happen?” Career changes, spontaneous romances, entrepreneurial endeavors. Sometimes these things seem to just fall into our laps. The stars align, we sit next to the right person on an airplane or an unforeseen change of plans, whatever it may be, forces us to challenge ourselves and step out of the comfy little box where we all tend to linger. Sometimes, even, you go to a concert with your Grandpa and walk out arm-in-arm with your sister bursting with ideas for a new blog.

But these things don’t just happen, do they? Venturing into a new industry, nurturing a new relationship, starting a business from scratch, all these things take more than an idea. More than just the proverbial light bulb over our head. These things take dedication. They take passion and determination, and confidence and being able to take failures on the chin. Most of all they take hard work.


Mindy Staton and her mom, Alice Francis, began filling orders out of Alice’s greenhouse and when word spread swiftly across town, they quickly outgrew their greenhouse operation, leading them to start Two Little Buds in Hamilton, OH. Not long after, they also began Morning Sun Flower Farm nearby. (We’re hoping to tag along on a little tour of her farm this spring – stay tuned!) 

Mindy was kind enough to take some time out of her day to tell us a little about what it’s like to not only be a florist, but to be a florist preparing for the Valentine’s Day rush.

Take a stroll through most floral shops in early February and you can expect roses. Hundreds of them in every color and arrangement you can imagine, but we walked in to find ranunculus, anemones and tulips bursting with cheery color filling vase after vase, making the entire store smell like springtime.


Two Little Buds has decided to do Valentine’s Day a bit differently this year by focusing on longer-lasting, American-grown flowers for their Valentine’s Day customers, breaking the I’ll-take-a-dozen-red-roses-and-an-I-love-you-card mold.

When they’re not filling vases this time of year, they are hard at work sowing seeds at the flower farm. Mindy says her “in-laws owned a lot of land in Oxford, Ohio and the flower farm kind of just happened.” She’s a farm girl at heart, with a passion for flowers, a love of nature and a insatiable desire to keep her hands in the dirt. Her flower farm and storefronts aren’t just a business, however. They’re a chance to be with her family. They all pitched in to build her “hoop house” (an unheated greenhouse), creating Mindy’s favorite memories of her floral venture.

Somewhere between developing a personal relationship with upcoming brides, custom orders, corporate events and pop-ups at stores like Anthropologie and Madewell, the girls of Two Little Buds also offer Farm to Vase workshops at their flower farm three times a year. Workshop dates are April 14th, July 17th and September 22nd. You can sign up to learn how to arrange your own hand-picked creation HERE.


Two Little Buds will soon be moving from their Bridgewater Falls location to D Street in Hamilton, but can also be found at their “flower bar” inside the Lane + Kate store in Over the Rhine. Flowers, gorgeous jewelry and “gifty” things all in the same shop? Yes, please!


Time is running out for Valentine’s Day blooms everyone! (Okay, we’re actually looking at you, gentlemen) Break tradition, skip the imported roses this year and spread love by shopping local and supporting your local florist!


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A String of Pearls, Local Love

Galentine’s Day Celebrations Abound!

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Amidst all the white table cloth reservations, heart-shaped candies, gushy greeting cards and fragrant flowers lies a lesser known, but rapidly rising February holiday. A day for celebrating the leading ladies in your life and showing appreciation for their support and friendship. Galentine’s Day is rapidly approaching and we have four perfect ways to celebrate!

Em, in the purple dress with our cousins, Heidi, Megan and Lindsay, Easter 1993. Our family did bold brows and blunt bangs long before they were in style. 

Shop Local and Celebrate Early

  • Sara’s House and Basil 1791 – Stop in to Hamilton’s newest restaurant, Basil 1791 for sushi (excuse us while we squeal with excitement. Hamilton FINALLY has a sushi place downtown! woohoo!) Then head over to Sara’s House for her FREE Galentine’s Day event. Shop her adorable home decor store, along with handmade gifts from Gingham Girl Greetings (who we also love!) desserts from, Hamilton staple, Hyde’s Restaurant  and free wine tastings from Hanover WineryDid you hear us say free wine? 


“Invest” in your friendships

  • Queen City Exchange (2/14 4pm – 12am) – If you’ve never been to Queen City Exchange, this is the perfect opportunity. Make an investment in your craft beer palate with stock market pricing or snag a few 1/2 price wine bottles. Stick around for Galentine’s Trivia beginning at 8pm

Get Cheesy

  • The Rhined – Who doesn’t love cheese? The Rhined on Elm street in downtown Cincinnati will have a special Galentine’s Day wine list, bubbly, soft cheeses and chocolates from Velveteen Chocolate and like their website says, “No crafts, no activities, just wine. cheese. and chocolate.” The makings of a perfect girls night if you ask us.
A gift for our parents a few years ago a professional, but cheesy little photo shoot.

Treat Yo’ Self in Over the Rhine

  • Grab the girls and head downtown for a whole day of pampering yourselves. Start with housemade seasonal sangria at Nation, a fresh coat of paint or a mani/pedi at Spruce Natural Nail Shop, then head out to shop the stores that are scattered throughout Over the Rhine (Elm & Iron is one of our favorites!) To top it all off head over Lane + Kate‘s collaborative store with Two Little Buds Florist and buy yourself some jewelry and a bouquet, because we all know you deserve it.


Go ahead, get dolled up, go dancing, have a couple glasses of champagne and for cryin’ out loud tell your girlfriends just how much you love them!

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