LuLaRoe Leggings Giveaway

I have another fun giveaway for you, readers! I’m partnering with fellow Troy resident, Nicolette (Nikki) Winner for a LuLaRoe leggings giveaway! LuLaRoe is a clothing company that sells comfortable and colorful clothing. They are known for creating comfortable fashion that look and feel beautiful on women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.

The first thing I noticed about LuLaRoe were the bright and cheerful patterns!

LuLaRoe was started in the spring of 2013 and today has nearly 90,000 retailers. The company has almost forty styles of clothing and is available in sizes XXS to 3XL for women. They also carry sizes for children (2 to 14) and men (XS to 3XL).

Something that makes LuLaRoe unique is that retailers don’t choose their prints or colors when ordering. Nikki can order specific styles and sizes, but the colors and patterns that arrive are a complete surprise until she opens her order. Only 5,000 pieces are produced in each print, so each piece is unique.

Nikki got started with in May 2015. She was one of the first 2,000 retailers to join the company. After working in the non-profit sector and in human resources, she dedicated herself full-time to her LuLaRoe business in September 2015. She carries one of the largest inventories in our region, with more than 1700 pieces available in over 20 styles!

Today Nikki is a trainer within the company. She has approximately 80 amazing women and men on her team who live in six states. She was among the top 5% of retailers for sales in 2016 and just wrapped up qualification for the LuLaRoe incentive cruise in 2018. Less than 700 retailers nationally had achieved this qualification by the end of June 2017. It will be her third time joining the LuLaRoe cruise, and she’s excited to spend time with fellow leaders on the trip.

I’m excited to be partnering with Nikki for my second giveaway on my blog! The lucky winner of this giveaway will win a year of free LuLaRoe leggings – valued at $300. That’s one pair of leggings a month for 12 months!

She sent me a pair of leggings to try out – they really are buttery soft! They’re perfect for lounging at home while reading about native plants for our landscaping.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Ohio Life giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ until 11:59PM EST on September 11, 2017. The winner will be drawn using Rafflecopter’s Random Number Generator. All entries will be verified, so play fair! I will notify the winner via e-mail and they will have 48 hours to reply before I redraw winners. No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. This contest is not affiliated with Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram in any way. Participating bloggers are not responsible for prize fulfillment. If you have any questions, please contact Courtney at thisohiolife [at] gmail [dot] com. Good Luck!

 

Thank you, Nikki and LuLaRoe!

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Thank you to Nikki Winner and LuLaRoe, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Modern Map Art – Review

My dad is a map-person. He has tons of different maps. Everything from small county maps to huge atlases of the entire country. I remember when planning a trip he’d get out the map or maps he needed, spreading them out on the kitchen table. He still does this even though he has the technology not to need to. He likes to know where he’s headed.

Before I had my smartphone with my trusty maps app, I would print Google Map directions to where I was headed. Even if I had been there before, if I was going somewhere outside of my usual route, I printed a map. My mom did this too; she might still do it. Dennings do not like to get lost.

Maps are good at showing us where we are and where we are going. But they can also remind us of where we’ve been. I was recently asked by Jennifer from Modern Map Art to review one of her maps. I decided not to pick where I live now but where I used to live. I chose Columbus, our capital city and one of the several places I’ve called home in Ohio.

Kenneth and I spent the first four years of our marriage in Columbus. I can see the street where we lived on the gorgeous black and white print Jennifer sent me. A lot happened in those four years. We learned to navigate the city after growing up in a small town and going to college in a small town. Kenneth went through the most grueling academic period of his life, veterinary school. I started my first real adult job as an educator at a botanical garden. We found new favorite restaurants and parks.

Adjusting to life in the city was hard. By the time we left Columbus I had finally decided that I liked the city and that I would miss it. And I do. Columbus is unique. It’s an artistic, diverse, vibrant and energetic city. Columbus has beautiful parks, museums, and creative communities.

Check out Modern Map Art. Besides map posters of cities and countries, there are also city skyline prints. There are accessories too, iPhone cases, and map pillows. You can even create your own custom map! You could cover your wall with maps of your travels. You could decorate your couch with pillow maps showing where you want to explore in the future. You could even get a map of where you’re from and put it on a case for your iPhone. We don’t need paper maps anymore to get where we need to go. But maps are still a big part of connecting us to our past, present and future.

Thank you Modern Map Art for letting me frame the only big city I’ve ever called home!

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Modern Map Art

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Thank you to Modern Map Art, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

July Flowers (and remembering that you’re enough)

When I started editing these photos for this blog post, I was thinking I would post it as a regular photoblog. Hey, friends, hope you’re having a great summer! I am too! Look at my beautiful flowers! As I edited and admired the photos, I thought about how I felt when I took these pictures. Over the course of the summer, especially in July, our yard has blossomed with color.

When I got home from work or after a morning walk, I’d walk around the yard, admiring the flowers and taking pictures. I remember feeling surprised. Surprised that all these beautiful flowers were growing in our yard. Why was I surprised? I didn’t expect these gorgeous blooms. I didn’t think I had done enough in our yard this spring and early summer. I really felt that I had slacked during July. So, if I hadn’t accomplished enough, how could our yard look so pretty right now?

I’ve been wanting my husband, Kenneth, and I to have a backyard of our own for years. We lived in apartments and a townhouse for the first six years of our marriage. The most I could do garden-wise were potted plants on a balcony. For a few a couple summers we had a community garden plot in Columbus. It wasn’t enough to please my want for a garden and a yard. Over the years I gathered a lot of projects, ideas, and plants that I would one day put in place in our backyard.

When we bought our house last summer, we painted and planted a pollinator bed on the south side of the house. In the fall, with help from my parents and my dad’s pick-up truck, we removed the Bradford Pear tree from the front yard. Bradford Pear’s are strictly ornamental. Not only are they invasive the trees are weak and have horrible smelling blossoms in the spring. Kenneth and I replaced the Bradford Pear with two native Eastern Redbud trees. We planted a cherry tree and a pear tree in the backyard.

This summer I planted a woodland/shade garden in a corner around the back of the house by our deck. I filled the space with ferns and other woodland plants from a friend. I added hostas collected from other parts of our yard. I’ve begun creating a dry streambed in the shade garden with rocks found in the yard. We also planted our first vegetable garden since having our community garden plot. We ordered a keyhole raised bed from Vita Gardens and have begun composting as well. I took a tree pruning class and have begun pruning our crabapple trees and shrubs around the house. We created a planting in the front yard with chokeberry bushes, lavender, and thyme.

With all these projects we’ve started and finished so far this year, why did I feel like I hadn’t done enough? Because I usually feel like I am not enough. That I don’t work hard enough. That I could do more and do better. Even when I’m complimented on my work, I figure that person is only being nice. Or that eventually, everyone will figure out I’m not that great at what I do.

This feeling, constantly thinking that you’re not enough, actually has a name. It’s called Impostor Syndrome. Besides having chronic depression and anxiety, I also lack self-confidence. I haven’t been diagnosed with Imposter Syndrome, but I’m making an educated guess that I have it. It’s ridiculously common: lots of famous, very accomplished writers, actors and athletes have admitted to this feeling of inadequacy. You have maybe felt this way too.

And it’s bullshit. I am enough. You are enough. We are enough.

Our yard looks fantastic this summer – and both Kenneth and I have accomplished a lot. I harvested our first tomato this week. I’ve had fresh mint for smoothies and basil for pesto all summer. We’ve had happy bees and butterflies enjoying our pollinator garden. I grew sunflowers this summer. I think the last time I grew a sunflower was in preschool. We started them in styrofoam cups and my dad planted it in the garden for me.

I’m going to think of this ridiculously cheerful flower the next time my inner dialogue of self-doubt starts to get too loud. I AM ENOUGH. I am more than enough. 🌻

#HomeGrownStories – May

I can’t believe July is almost over! It still feels like summer just started and we’re already heading into August. The past several months have kept me pretty busy so I’m behind on sharing my monthly HGS recaps. Our May #HomeGrownStories are on The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau’s blog. I want to highlight why our May interviewees love Miami County. ❤️
 
Continue to follow our series for more stories and share them with your friends, family, and neighbors using #HomeGrownStories!

#HomeGrownStories – Lisa Bauer

Lisa Bauer, a Clark County native, has given new life to a piece of downtown Troy history. In 2012 she bought the building which was the Mayflower Theatre. The building is now home to the Mayflower Arts Center, where Lisa is the director. Today the Mayflower offers painting parties, art classes and art exhibitions in downtown Troy.

What she loves about Miami County:
The people. Hands down, the people. Other than the fact that Troy has such a unique downtown and has so many nice things to offer. The people are amazing. No matter where you go in Miami County people are friendly and welcoming to everyone. I love the people — not only when I venture out, but when they come into the Mayflower Arts Center.

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#HomeGrownStories – Brittney Denning 

Brittney Denning is my younger sister. Growing up, I planned to travel the world and Brittney set her sights closer to home: Piqua. As we grew up, our perspectives changed. Brittney became the traveler. She has lived in big cities on the east and west coasts since graduating from Piqua High School. Brittney works as a designer at an architecture firm in Seattle, Washington. I’ve has stayed close to our childhood home. I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life and recently moved back to Miami County. I interviewed my sister to get a big city viewpoint on what it means to be Home Grown Great.

What she loves most about Miami County:
My family! My teachers, classmates, friends, and family. These people connect me to Miami County even though I don’t live there. I miss the things that are no longer in Miami County. The events that aren’t held anymore and some of the schools I went to are no longer standing.

I love seeing that a lot of the towns in Miami County are reinvesting in themselves. I realized that Piqua was working hard to revitalize the downtown area when they renovated Fort Piqua Plaza. That was awesome and it’s wonderful that they put in the effort. The Mainstreet organizations in the towns are doing a lot and there are a lot of new businesses opening up. I’m amazed that all these stores are opening in these small towns. They seem like big city stores to me and they’re thriving. Antique stores, Can’t Stop Running, Pachamama Market — I’m glad to see that they’re doing so well.

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#HomeGrownStories – Amy & Brent Welborn 

Wright On High is a new shop in downtown Covington which focuses on local and handmade products. The shop has been a long-time dream for owners, Amy and Brent Welborn. For years they have wanted to create space for their creative Miami County neighbors to shine. Amy, a native of Covington, Ohio, met her husband, Brent, when they were in college near Chicago. Brent grew up in Milwaukee, but the couple has called Covington home since 2000.

What do you love most about Miami County?

Amy – Since I grew up here there’s that feeling of home. I also love the community and that small-town feel. My great-grandfather owned a tree business here. He planted a lot of the evergreen trees in the cemetery. I’ve always loved walking in the cemetery and seeing the evergreen trees planted by my great-grandpa. Whenever we travel coming back home — it’s so nice to be home and come back to a small town.

Brent – Growing up in a big city, I could go to the store and not know anybody. You can’t do that here. Every time you go to the store there is somebody you know that you end up talking to or say hi to. Throughout all Miami County there is that sense of community. The friendliness of the people in the community is nice too.

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#HomeGrownStories – Scott Myers 

Scott Myers has served as the Director of the Miami County Parks District for the past five years. Growing up in rural Hancock County, Scott never aspired to work in agriculture or on a farm. Today he goes to work every day at the Historic Knoop Homestead. His office sits in the Knoop’s Victorian Era farmhouse. While he never expected to work on a farm, he enjoys every minute of it. Scott has called Troy home for half of his life and loves the sense of community in Miami County.

What he loves most about Miami County:
What I like the most about Miami County is the sense of community. It’s hard to describe, but people love to get together in Miami County. Folks love to go to festivals and events with other members of the community. We have concerts in downtown Troy or at Lock 9 Park in Piqua. There are festivals like the Troy Strawberry Festival and the Tipp City Mum Festival. My daughter is in the band at Troy High School. I can’t think of anywhere else you could have a local band fundraiser and sell 15,000 dozen strawberry donuts. We also have events like 5K runs and the Tour de Donut.

People love to spend time together and help each other out. That sense of community support and volunteerism is a tradition in Miami County. Our city and county parks are named after families that started this tradition. These families are the Hobarts, the Meekers, the Garbrys, the Knoops and the French family. That sense of volunteerism and community is why I love living in Miami County.

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#HomeGrownStories – Kazy Hinds

Piqua Mayor, Kazy Hinds, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, is in her second year as mayor. During her time as Mayor, Kazy has promoted a positive image of Piqua while encouraging the community to be more active. Serving her community comes naturally to Kazy, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. She has lived in many different places over the years but is happy to call Piqua home since 2008.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love the beautiful area that we live in. I love that I can get out and hike the Buckeye Trail. I can walk, run or ride my bike on the bike path. I can get in the river and kayak. I’ve lived in places where I have to drive thirty to forty-five minutes to be able to do some of those things.

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#HomeGrownStories – Missy & Joe Duer

Missy and Joe Duer, both natives of Miami County, have deep roots that go back many generations. Today, the couple is bringing family and local history out of the past and into your liquor cabinet. Missy and Joe have reopened Missy’s family distillery in New Carlisle. Staley Mill Farm and Indian Creek Distillery use a family recipe for whiskey from 1820. They also reuse whiskey barrels to age locally harvested maple syrup. The couple offers tours of their distillery where guests learn about local history and the distilling process. The tour ends with an opportunity to sample their whiskey with their mixologist.

What they love most about Miami County:

Missy – Miami County is my home and it’s been my family’s home for over a hundred years. It has a wonderful past and holds so much for the future. There are lots of little, hidden gems. I love Tipp City. I have friends there and I used to have a business in Tipp City. It’s great for shopping and dining. Troy is ramping up and revitalizing its downtown. A hidden gem in West Milton is the Wertz’s Variety Store. We love it! It’s a fun, old-fashioned 5¢ and 10¢ store. There’s also the Pearson House Restaurant — we ate there today! We love Ludlow Falls and Charleston Falls. We have a precious little county here in Ohio with so many hidden gems. Some people have said that we’re a hidden gem too – we’re out here in the little “Appalachian hills” of Miami County. [laughs]

Joe – This is our home and has been our family’s home for many years. It will continue to be our home. Our children and grandchildren live in Miami County. We’re not city people! We were born and raised on the farm and we live on the farm now. I enjoy the wide-open spaces here. We are still within minutes of cities and villages, which makes it handy. We’re also not that far from the big city — Dayton. This is a great location – we love living here.

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#HomeGrownStories – Amber Sowers

Amber Sowers, a native of Troy, started ReU Juicery & Organic Kitchen in 2013 as a mobile business. In December 2016, ReU opened a brick and mortar store on the square in downtown Troy. The juicery specializes in cold-pressed juices but also sells smoothies, salads, wraps and smoothie bowls.

What she loves most about Miami County:
With the Strawberry Festival coming up, it reminds me of how awesome our community is. Troy is such a service driven community. The Strawberry Festival supports all our non-profit organizations in Miami County. It’s phenomenal — I love that!

Continue reading →

#HomeGrownStories – Chris Jackson 

Chris Jackson shares his love of our local rivers through Adventures on the Great Miami. He started his business in 2007 as a canoe and kayak livery. Along with canoeing and kayaking, Chris now offers river activities like river rafting and stand up paddle boarding. He also hosts outdoor events like primitive camping, concerts and food truck festivals. Adventures on the Great Miami plans to hold more community outdoor events and activities in the coming years.

What he loves most about Miami County:
I love the people of Miami County. The folks in Tipp City, Troy, Piqua and the surrounding areas are all very friendly and outgoing. They seem interested in getting involved in outdoor recreational activities as well. Miami County is a very warm, friendly community. I spend quite a bit of time in Tipp City. I know several local business owners there and I’m getting to know more in Troy.

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#HomeGrownStories – Corie Schweser  

Corie Schweser has made Troy her home for the past thirty years with her husband and sons. For the past three years, she has worked as the business manager of the Troy Strawberry Festival. This year the Strawberry Festival celebrates its 41st year in Miami County. The festival celebrates strawberries, community and supports local nonprofit organizations.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love that Miami County has so many opportunities for outdoor activities. Piqua and Troy have great outdoor concert series. There’s the Miami County Riverway — you can go to Treasure Island and rent a kayak for a river adventure. We’re very blessed to have a strong parks system — in the county and cities. I like to take my grandson bike riding, we usually stop and get ice cream and then get back on the bike path. There are so many interesting things within this county. It’s beautiful! I love Fulton Farms and the farmer’s markets. I embrace every bit of it! Once the festival is over, I’ll have time to get out there and enjoy it. That’s another great thing about the festival being in June, I have the rest of the summer to enjoy the county! I love it!

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#HomeGrownStories – Jess Ervin  

Bushel & a Peck, a home decor business owned by Jess Ervin, started in an unconventional way. Jess struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety after her second daughter was born. As a way to cope, she started writing positive affirmations and making signs for herself. These signs told her that she was awesome and that she was enough. Seeing the affirmations every day made her believe in them. To share those positive vibes and lift others up, she started Bushel & a Peck. Jess is from Piqua and sells her signs in many different Miami County shops and on her website.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love our parks and bike trails. The bike path in Piqua is my favorite because I’m a runner. I’ll do the whole loop — it’s a pleasant path. It’s a fun loop to do. If you want to walk it, it’s a great walking path too. It’s amazing. There are so many options and ways you can be active in Miami County. We have two great YMCAs in Miami County and programs through the Miami County Park District. It’s great when you can combine the outdoors and be active!

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I am continuing to enjoy interviewing and photographing my neighbors and members of our community. I can’t wait to share more stories you with about why we love Miami County. Look for the hashtag #HomeGrownStories and follow The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau’s blog!