Red + Blue Giveaway from Thirty-One Gifts

I’m excited to be partnering with Thirty-One Gifts for my first giveaway on my blog!

The mission of Thirty-One is to empower women to run their own businesses. They do this through their direct sales program. They sell purses, totes, home organization products, jewelry, and more. Thirty-One also has a philanthropic side of the business, Thirty-One Gives. They partner with non-profit organizations that focus on building confidence in women and girls.

Check out my post, Tiny Purse from Thirty-One Gifts – Review, for more reasons to love Thirty-One. To find out about my giveaway, and how to enter, keep reading!

Thirty-One and I have partnered to give one of my lucky readers two of my favorite Thirty-One products. We’re giving away the Tons of Funds Wallet and the Large Utility Tote. I chose to review these products in colors that are near and dear to my heart. Red and blue are the colors of my high school and hometown, Piqua. These were the colors I wore when I ran cross country, competed in Science Olympiad and ran the school paper. My teammates and I even found red and blue mascara to show our school spirit!

Let’s chat about the items we’re giving away and why they’re fabulous!

Tons of Funds is my favorite Thirty-One Gifts item. It only has space for the essentials. I can fit my driver’s license, money, credit cards, keys and a few small items like lip balm, a small pill bottle or a pen. It makes a great wallet and an even better mini purse!

Tons of Funds comes in a lot of bright colors. I love my original Daring Cobalt Pebble (this color is no longer available). Very Cherry Pebble is starting to grow on me. Ever since I started using this purse, I’ve noticed this exact shade of red everywhere! It gives a nice pop of color to my outfits, I prefer to dress in neutrals: gray, black and dark blue. A bright little bag is the amount of color I want most days.

Thirty-One’s Large Utility Tote is a great option when you need to carry a lot! I have used it for family gatherings and a picnic in the park. I’ve been able to fit board games, slippers (I can’t be the only one who takes slippers with them to visit family… can I?) and food to family holiday parties.

It’d also be great for backyard barbecues and shopping at the farmers market. It has a ton of space – you could use it for toting towels, sunscreen and snacks to the beach or the pool. I’m sure it’d be helpful for corralling kids toys or baby gear. The options are endless with this much space!

Making a summer picnic with some of my favorite local foods is my favorite way to use the Large Utility Tote. I picked up a fresh loaf of sourdough bread from Bakehouse Bread & Cookie Company. Rosebud’s Ranch & Garden has delicious fruit butters. I grabbed Vanilla Cherry Plum Fruit Butter and Strawberry Rhubarb Fruit Butter. I packed a nice homemade salad with veggies from the Farmer’s Market and a little wine. Loaded up the Large Utility Tote and I had a simple and delicious summer picnic for two!

I have two Large Utility Totes right now. One in Charcoal Crosshatch and another in Blue Crosshatch. The Blue Crosshatch bag has custom embroidery on it. Check out Thirty-One’s online catalog to play with patterns and embroidery. Pick the product and pattern you want and click Personalize & Order. You can choose what kind of personalization you want, I went with my last name. Choose the style of your personalization, including font, text and thread color. Then click Preview Personalization to see your creation!

Enter to win your own Tons of Funds Wallet and the Large Utility Tote below! Fill out the Rafflecopter (not to be confused with ROFLcopter). You have a chance for 16 entries! Share this post with your friends! The lucky reader who wins will be able to customize their Large Utility Tote with embroidery of their choice!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Ohio Life giveaway is open to US Residents 18+ until 11:59PM EST on July 21, 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 Thirty-One Gifts!

ohio-120x120Thirty-One Gifts

Address: 3425 Morse Crossing, Columbus, Ohio 43219

Phone Number: 1-866-GIFTS31

Social Media: FacebookInstagramPinterestTwitterYouTube

Thank you to Thirty-One Gifts, a Columbus-based company, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

Tiny Purse from Thirty-One Gifts – Review


Until recently, I always carried a big purse. My purse was my safety blanket and it had to be big enough to hold a snack, a book, my reading glasses, my sunglasses, my iPad, paper and pens, and the things I actually needed to have in my purse: my wallet and keys. I was always anticipating “disaster,” going somewhere for dinner that didn’t have enough gluten-free foods for me to eat or being stuck somewhere and getting bored. I felt safer having an emergency snack or book to read, just in case my day didn’t go as planned.

My first purse that I really used wasn’t an actual purse. It was a deep green army bag I bought from a vendor at the Heritage Festival in Piqua while I was in high school. It was perfect for my big purse needs: nice and roomy, a separate compartment for a water bottle, small pockets on the inside for pens and pencils and an adjustable strap. I was able to carry EVERYTHING in this bag. I even decorated it by sewing on fabric patches I had collected from attending birding events. I loved this bag so much – it even went off to college with me.


Once I graduated from college though it was time for more adult looking purses and bags, sans the birding patches. I’ve had black bags with space for a portfolio and cream-colored bags with room for an iPad. They always had room for a book, a snack, anything I might need and plenty of things I didn’t. Just in case.

Just in case items get heavy, though. I was constantly switching my bag from shoulder to shoulder, or carrying it one hand, then the other. I usually had neck and shoulder pain on the days I was out and about, large purse or bag in hand. I also could NEVER find what I was looking for in my bag. All that stuff and I never had what I needed quickly. Something needed to change.


Let me introduce to you, my new tiny purse! This little gem is made by Thirty-One Gifts and has changed the way I carry my essentials when I leave the house (I just carry the essentials). I love the bright cobalt blue color of this purse (technically it’s a wallet) and the zip around closure. It’s super small so I can’t carry anything with me that I don’t actually need.

When I was asked by Thirty-One Gifts to partner with them for a review, I chose this wristlet (it’s called Tons Of Funds in Daring Cobalt Pebble) thinking it would be my “travel purse.” Which is what I initially used it for and it was perfect! Plenty of room for cash, credit cards, keys, and an emergency tube Burt’s Bees lip balm (some habits are hard to break).

I couldn’t fit my original glasses case for my reading glasses in this purse, but I found a fabric case which fit perfectly (and my glasses are still intact six months later!).  I also found a pair of sunglasses that fold fairly flat and fit in this purse. Both pairs of glasses do not fit at the same time, but I’m usually wearing one of them so it works. If I pack the purse correctly, I can even fit my phone in it! After my last trip to Seattle, I didn’t feel like swapping everything out of my blue purse to go back into my bigger bag. I just kept carrying my tiny purse, which has become my go-to bag.


Thirty-One Gifts is a direct sales company that sells purses and wallets, bags and totes, home organization products, thermal food storage products, jewelry, and accessories. Most of their products can be personalized with names or initials. The mission of the company is to empower and support women by giving them the opportunity to run their own business.

Thirty-One was founded in 2003 by Cindy Monroe in Chattanooga, Tennessee. The company is based out of Columbus, Ohio today and has been recognized as one of Columbus’ most giving organizations. In the past four years, Thirty-One has donated more than $100 million to nonprofits that share their mission. Last summer, they donated $10,000 to a local women’s nonprofit during their national conference.


I like that Thirty-One has a variety of unique products, I mostly browsed purses and handbags and they have everything from cute little wallets and tiny purses to gigantic purses that could double as my overnight bag on my next trip!

The aspect I like most about Thirty-One, though, is Thirty-One Gives. Thirty-One Gives partners with non-profit organizations that focus on building confidence in women and girls and strengthening families. This year, Thirty-One Gives will donate approximately 5% of their net total sales in product and cash to support organizations they work with. Some of the organizations they have worked with include Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Girl Talk, World Vision, Girls on the Run and the Salvation Army of Central Ohio. In 2013, Thirty-One Gives established the Cindy Monroe Values & Vision Endowed Scholarship to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of Thirty-One Gifts. Each year one girl in the Chattanooga area of Tennessee, where Cindy Monroe is from, is chosen to win a $12,400 scholarship to support her college career.

Thank you Thirty-One Gifts!


ohio-120x120Thirty-One Gifts

Address: 3425 Morse Crossing, Columbus, Ohio 43219

Phone Number: 1-866-GIFTS31

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube

Thank you to Thirty-One Gifts, a Columbus-based company, for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.

GF Tenera Grains Teff Banana Bread

I had my introduction to unique, staple grains long before I ever started eating or baking gluten-free. When I was a student at Ohio University, I interned for the Appalachian Staple Foods Collaborative (ASFC). The ASFC mission is to build a regional bean, grain and perennial nut staple food system in the Appalachia region of Ohio.  Some of the first crops ASFC experimented with were millet, amaranth, buckwheat, black turtle beans and adzuki beans.

I participated in ASFC’s work by attending meetings with the Athens Food Policy Council, photographing events and creating presentations. A business called Shagbark Seed & Mill grew out of ASFC collaborations shortly after I graduated and moved to Columbus. Shagbark is a staple food hub, connecting Ohio farmers to millers and local chefs, bakers and consumers. Today Shagbark offers everything from organic stone ground flour from spelt, corn, and buckwheat, to corn tortilla chips and crackers, heirloom popcorn, pinto and adzuki beans. I personally love their tortilla chips the most!

Once I went gluten-free in 2010, I started my own series of experiments at home. Figuring out which flours work well together and how to adapt favorite recipes to suit my gluten-free lifestyle were definitely a learning experience! I have made hard as rocks biscuits and have had more bread and cakes fail to rise during baking than I care to admit. But I have also had successful baking experiments.

The successful recipes have quickly become favorites in my home. I love baking citrus loaf cakes and use everything from blood orange to Meyer lemon or pink grapefruit to flavor them. Ginger gem cookies that I used to make in college when I was venturing into vegan baking have become gluten-free holiday staples. I baked my first apple pie for my birthday one year, adapting a recipe inspired by the television show Pushing Daisies to be gluten free. It was entirely an experiment and completely perfect… so perfect that I have been unable to recreate it!

That’s the beauty of experimenting. I love the challenge of not knowing and having to solve puzzles and work by trial and error. Then there’s the eating – the best experiments are ones with edible results. ??

That’s where Tenera Grains, a fellow experimenter, comes in. Tenera Grains is a 2,500-acre family farm in southern Michigan. The Smith family has been farming this land since 1837 — that’s seven generations! Prior to 2015, the Smiths grew corn, soybeans, and wheat. But when the price of corn dropped a few years ago, a family friend from Ethiopia suggested they try growing teff. Despite the fact that teff, a grass crop with a very small seed, is native to the hot and dry climate of Eritrea and Ethiopia, the Smith family decided to give it a go. By experimenting and adapting not only their farming but also their harvesting methods, they were able to make farming teff in Michigan work! Today Tenera Grains uses no-till farming and crop rotation to grow teff in a way that is sustainable and works in Michigan’s humid climate.

Prior to Claire Smith reaching out to me to see if I would review Tenera Grains teff flour for my blog, I had only experienced teff in Ethiopian cuisine. The small, ancient grain is used to make injera, a fermented flatbread with a slightly sour taste and an amazingly spongy texture. Not only is teff a gluten-free grain, Tenera Grains is also a farm that is working to grow unique staple crops in my region – I was definitely on board to try some of their teff flour!

The first recipe I made with the brown teff flour Claire sent me was an adaptation from an I Quit Sugar recipe for banana bread. In addition to teff flour, I used one of my favorite gluten-free flours, buckwheat. The teff and buckwheat both give this bread a nice nutty flavor. Instead of mashing my bananas and having a more textured bread, I put all of the ingredients into the blender. Not only does this significantly speed up the time between making and eating the bread, but the smooth batter gives the bread a spongy texture, reminding me of my first taste of teff in injera.

Teff has a ton of health benefits, including a nice amount of protein, calcium, iron and the amino acids leucine and lysine. I plan to try a few more recipes with teff, focusing on healthy, low sugar baked goods. But first, I think I need to make some peanut butter and teff cookies! ?

This GF Tenera Grains Teff Banana Bread is the perfect accompaniment to a warm cup of tea and a good book on a cold winter day. Enjoy!

GF Teff Banana Bread

Makes one 9×5 loaf of bread


  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup Tenera Grains brown teff flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup full-fat milk
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 3 medium, ripe bananas

Directions Preheat oven to 350ºF and line a loaf tin with baking paper. In a blender, combine all ingredients. Blend until smooth. Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once cooked through, allow the loaf to cool slightly before removing from the tin and slicing into 12 slices. Serve with a slather of butter if you like.

Adapted from Chai-Spiced Banana Bread by I Quit Sugar.

ohio-120x120Tenera Grains

Address: The Farm 14191 Calhoun Rd Addison, Michigan 49220

Social Media: Instagram

Thank you to Tenera Grains, a seventh-generation family farm in southern Michigan, for sponsoring this post.

Stillhouse Kombucha Whiskey Mule

My drink of choice, hands-down, doesn’t matter what else is on the menu, is a Moscow Mule. Spicy ginger, tangy lime, and refreshing mint are my jam. Once I find something I like I tend to stop trying new things, so there are several restaurants where I’ve only ever ordered a Moscow Mule or the restaurant’s take on the drink. I’m also a lightweight when it comes to alcohol, I tend to get embarrassingly giggly with a very small amount of booze in my system, so I’m not a big drinker.

The first time I had a Moscow Mule was at Harvest Pizza in the German Village neighborhood of Columbus. It was AH-mazing! It reminded me of Northstar Cafe’s ginger ale (my favorite ginger ale) except with a generous helping of vodka. Perfection in a glass made even more delicious with a slice (or three) of gluten-free pizza.

On a handful of occasions I’ve tried a different cocktail, but none have ever tasted so good, so right, as a Moscow Mule.

So when Stillhouse Whiskey, a clear corn American whiskey, reached out to see if I would review their product, I hesitated. I’m not a whiskey drinker. I’m also not at all knowledgeable on spirits and liquors, despite devouring Amy Stewart’s love letter to plants that have alcoholified the world, The Drunken Botanist. I’m still struggling to develop my palette for coffee, which is intimidating enough, I’m not ready to go down the road of bourbon, gin and whiskey, am I?

Then I read more about Stillhouse. It’s a 100% gluten-free, clear corn whiskey which is distilled in copper whiskey stills and charcoal-filtered. In addition to the Original 80-proof whiskey, Stillhouse also makes 69-proof Apple Crisp, Coconut, Mint Chip, Peach Tea and Red Hot whiskeys. It can be served chilled, over ice or in a cocktail or punch. They even have some of their own recipes, riffs on classic cocktails, including my beloved Moscow Mule.

I decided I’d give Stillhouse a try, I’d never successfully made a Moscow Mule at home (or anything more complicated than a rum and coke) and I really love the bright red stainless steel can the whiskey is packaged in. Stillhouse is also an award-winning whiskey, even though the company was just started earlier this year (February 2016 to be exact)! Stillhouse Original won the gold medal at the 2016 New York World Wine & Spirits Competition. Stillhouse has also been awarded for its daring packaging, winning a Double Gold Award in the 2016 San Francisco World Spirit Competition, a Rosey Award, and a Silver award in The One Show in 2016. Pretty impressive!

While I loved the sound of the Stillhouse Mule (made with Stillhouse Original, ginger beer and lime juice), I recently embarked on Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar program. This meant I was/am avoiding sugary beverages, like delicious ginger beer. I did a little research on low-sugar Moscow Mules and discovered the kombucha mule. Kombucha is a bubbly, fermented tea beverage, which I have been enjoying during the 8-week I Quit Sugar program. Combined with a little bit of brown rice syrup, fresh ginger root, and Stillhouse Original whiskey, it makes a pretty damn tasty, low-sugar, version of the Moscow Mule.

Feel free to adjust the amounts in the recipe, like I said, I am a lightweight when it comes to alcohol and Stillhouse is 80-proof!

Stillhouse Whiskey is available for purchase in retail stores or online. The bottle is so pretty, you don’t even need to wrap it! To find the location serving Stillhouse nearest you, click here or purchase Stillhouse online here.


Kombucha Whiskey Mule

Serves 1


  • 4 small slices of fresh ginger root (use more or less depending on how spicy or mild you like your drink)
  • 1/2 tablespoon brown rice syrup
  • 1 sprig of fresh mint
  • 1 ounce Stillhouse Original whiskey
  • 5 ounces ginger kombucha (I love GT’s Gingerade)

Directions: Place ginger root slices and brown rice syrup in a glass jar (one that has a screw-on lid). Microwave for approximately 10 seconds, or until syrup is liquidy and not sticky. Add the sprig of mint. Muddle mint and ginger slices into syrup. Add whiskey. Screw on lid tightly and shake vigorously. Add kombucha and gently stir or swirl liquid. Strain into a glass over ice. Enjoy!

Inspired by KOMBUCHA MOSCOW MULE {LOW SUGAR} from In It 4 The Long Run and Stillhouse Mule from Stillhouse.


Social Media: Facebook, InstagramTwitter

Thank you to Stillhouse, a 100% clear corn American whiskey, for sponsoring this post.