Thursday, February 4, 2016

Every Girl Should Have The Courage To Shine

This world is a hard place sometimes. It can beat you up and spit you out before you know what happened. Especially for young girls. Think about it. They not only have magazines and TV telling them who and what they should be, but now social media every moment of the day. Selfies everywhere you turn. Always comparing to their BFF or that girl at school they consider perfect, even though she has flaws too (we all do). All of it can be overwhelming and oh so hard on a young girl's self esteem. The teenage age years are awkward and all that added "perfect" pressure. Yikes. I'm glad I didn't have Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat in my teenage years. Some days I wish I didn't have them now.

Recently I met Casey Schill Grimpe of Izzybug Photography based right out of quaint Fortville Indiana. Casey gave me hope for young girls everywhere and I've fallen in love with her concept Courage to Shine sessions for girls 11-16 years old. In a tough world, this is the perfect gift to give your young daughter as she comes into her own and crosses over from girl to young lady. I'm so doing it when my baby girl is that age. We got just a taste at 6 and oh my, I am in love with how Casey goes about bringing out the inner beauty of her young clients. She brings out their own individual glow. It's amazing!

Hear from Casey in her own words about what a Courage to Shine session is all about. She says it beautifully.

Like the mamas, Casey fell in love with Fortville by chance. She answered a Craiglist ad seeking a tenant for a historical small town building space. It was love at first sight. She could see herself walking down the street for a coffee, chatting with other business owners, and oh the light in the space! It's the soft beautiful wrap yourself up in it kind of light. Plus tons of character within the space, and Main Street Fortville is a great place for parents to wander while she embarks on Courage to Shine sessions. As a champion for shop local and shop small, part of Casey's business model is to actively support other small businesses in the area. 

Being a lover of Fortville, I was highly curious where Casey's favorite Fortville photo spot was outside her studio. She didn't disappoint - a unique spot indeed. It's a industrial garage door across the way from her studio in the palest yellow. The lighting is gorgeous. 

I also inquired why teens are her niche? She advised it's a group that has always spoken to her. She loves helping them see more in themselves than a "duck face" pose or shy and giggly hands over your face pose. She wants to help them see their real reflection and that they are awesome just as they are - to give them a head start on those growing up years and confidence in knowing it's cool to just be you.

And peeps, she is so extremely good at capturing the true essence of people. Amazingly talented.

Just this past year she started doing BFF sessions as well. She loves to see the amazing friendships and bonds these beautiful girls share. Truly they are the ones who get each other through the day to day life of being a teen. In the photo below, one of the BFFs couldn't make it to the shoot, so they added "we miss you Molly" on their hands. They shared Molly's story, how she had just recently lost her mom to cancer. It brought Casey to tears. She shared with me, "My job is so much more than the images it produces. It's about the stories, the people and remembering how amazing the human condition can be!" True that, Casey! You have one cool gig, and you are phenomenal at it!

Lastly here is Casey's all time favorite photo. Every time she sees it, it inspires her and speaks to her - almost like a silent muse. And it showcases exactly the essence of Courage to Shine sessions - that a beautiful image can be completely about the soul that shines from within and not about the props or background or added stuff. Beauty can happen all on it's own.

And here's one of my all time favorite Casey photos. From last year's #fabFortville Fasion Show, and it showcases some pretty sweet BFFs!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Wandering Wednesday - Carmel's The Quirky Feather Confectionery

It's a brand new year, and I'm so glad to get back to one of my favorite series on Fortville Mama - the Wandering Wednesday series! I adore #fabFortville, but it's fun to get out and about once in awhile too.

Photo Credit The Quirky Feather Confectionery
A week or so ago I headed out to meet up with Heidi and Sabrina, sisters and owners of The Quirky Feather Confectionery in Carmel Indiana. Peeps, I loved their new place. Absolutely loved! It's a blogger's dream - they're open noon to midnight (prime blogger hours), they have awesome sweets, delish coffees and they have wifi! Sign this girl up!

Photo Credit The Quirky Feather Confectionery
I had the kiddos in tow the night I visited and to my surprise it seems to be quite the spot for parents with toddlers in footie PJs. They were everywhere! We might have not be PJ clad, but we fit right in. Coffee for mom, treat for little one and off to bed. Sounds like a perfect pre-bedtime ritual.

Baby Girl made a PJ clad friend.
While I chatted with Heidi and Sabrina, Little Man and Baby Girl found lots of fun games, books and coloring supplies on The Quirky Feather's well-stocked shelves. They were in heaven. We tried a couple delish treats too and a glass bottle coke - I know I'm a mom living on the edge with that much sugar late in the evening.

Nutella Bomb and Strawberry Jammy Dodger
The Strawberry Jammy Dodger was pure bliss! I love that everything is made fresh and when it's out, it's out. You have to wait for the next fresh made with love batch. Nothing is ever frozen. Ingredients are fresh and they source local when able. Plus fair trade products are highly important to Heidi and Sabrina. This mama loves that about them. Responsible business owners with a talent for amazing confectionery creations!

Here's my top seven favorites about The Quirky Feather Confectionery

  • The atmosphere, love the chill vibe and the colors. Plus they have Ashley and my favorite saying framed on the wall. 
  • Foot stools with almost every chair, and those are high back comfy chairs to boot! Love! Heidi and Sabrina knew they wanted people to be able to really relax. They totally nailed it.
  • A secret hidden bookcase door that Sabrina told their designer was a must and non-negotiable. You go girl! 
  • Unique art throughout.
  • That they have a rule that you can never be angry in the kitchen. It might make the pastries sad. Super cool rule. 
  • Since they're open late, it's a great bar alternative.
  • The people - Heidi and Sabrina remind me of my own sisters. You can see their love for each other and that they must have a blast all the time baking away in the kitchen. I love that their family is involved and supportive too. Plus their fun and quirky team at the shop makes you feel so at ease and welcome.
Photo Credit The Quirky Feather Confectionery: Heidi & Sabrina
If you pop in, what should you try? Well I asked Heidi and Sabrina what their favs are! Heidi said it's kind of funny - she hates tea but adores the Earl Grey Macaroon. The dark chocolate Earl Grey ganache is simply amazing. Sabrina said the Chocolate Orange Tartlet. It's made with everything she loves. 

What do I see ahead for The Quirky Feather Confectionery? Lots of late night blogger meet-ups, right Megan Noel?! More kiddos in PJs with their parents. Book clubs. Baby and bridal showers. Movie nights. And so much more. It's going to be a go-to spot peeps! 

Follow them on Facebook or Instagram to keep up on all the delish treats and events.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Exploring A New Family Holiday Tradition - IPL Yuletide Celebration

Every year we like to explore the arts in Indy with the kids, especially during the holidays. We've done art museums, plays, musicals, ballets and concerts. This year we took the kiddos to the IPL Yuletide Celebration at the Hilbert Circle Theatre on Monument Circle in downtown Indianapolis. I was a little nervous with how the kiddos would do, but they were on the edge of their seats for the entire show! They absolutely loved it. To make it a whole evening of family holiday fun, we even went out for dinner prior to the show and they got all dressed up. They were calling themselves fancy "Little Man" and fancy "Baby Girl" all night along. It was cracking us up. Plus we capped off the evening with a stroll on Monument Circle and they were striking a pose all over the place. They were quite the pair for their holiday evening out and about.

Here's their top 5 favorites from the show:
  • Of course the tap dancing Santas!
  • A twist on Frozen's Let It Go - sung from a gentleman's perspective. Who would have thought?!
  • Guest artists David and Dania of Quick Change
  • Santa coming down the aisle in a sleigh for a Yuletide tradition - Twas the Night Before Christmas 
  • A beautiful rendition of Mary Did You Know, and a fun a medley of pop holiday tunes
Coach Man and I loved watching them take it all in with wide eyes. It made us remember the simple joys of the holidays. It also reminded us to slow down a bit and savor the moments. The holidays can get stressful and traditions like IPL's Yuletide Celebration are just the ticket to help us all slow down a bit and enjoy more of the beauty of the holidays and fun with our loved ones.

I think we might make this one an every year tradition, peeps! It was that fabulous! 

The amazing family-friendly show runs through December 23rd. Don't miss an Indianapolis tradition. Click here to explore ticket options. 

Friday, December 4, 2015

ISM Celebration Crossing Ticket Giveaway Contest

The Indiana State Museum (ISM) has it all when it comes to the holiday season! 

Wow, what amazing sensory experience with historical flare Celebration Crossing (the Annual ISM Holiday Festival) is each year. The museum comes alive with festive colors, music, decorations, smells and activities. The elves do a fabulous job of putting up Santa's ISM home for the season. His cottage is cozy and smells just like a country Christmas tree farm! The kiddos love to sit on his lap and whisper their hearts desires, but this mama could pull up a cozy chair alongside him, pour a cup of something delicious and stay awhile! Around every corner is something to delight in and enjoy as a whole family!

Read our full blog from 2014 on our top 5 reasons to love ISM's Celebration Crossing.

This year it gets even better with a pop-up arcade for a bit of retro fun! Definitely check it out while you're there and explore the extra fun.

Photo Credit: @IndywithKids photo 
Okay drum roll, peeps, now here's the very best part of all! I have four tickets to give away to ISM and Celebration Crossing! Woot! Woot! All you have to do to be entered is comment below, on the giveaway post on FB or Twitter with your favorite part of Celebration Crossing. On twitter make sure to tag #ismccx, #PLAYindy and @fortvillemama so we are sure to see your entry.

Good luck. Well draw a winner randomly at 9 p.m. Sunday 12/6/15.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Empowering Kids One ATA Class At A Time - Meet Tammy Parker

I had the pleasure to get to sit down and chat with Mrs. Tammy Parker recently about her new Fortville ATA Martial Arts location. It opens this Saturday December 5th during the annual Fortville Lights on Main Festival. She'll be demoing for both kiddos and adults from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. in the gym inside the Java Junction building. We plan to check it out and hope you join us!

The first thing I loved about Tammy is that she's a Ball State grad! Chirp, chirp. Second, she's a 5th degree black belt. For this mama that equals bad a**! I love it. Nothing like a strong empowered mama that knows where she's been and where's she going. Plus she's a business owner. All around - I'm a Tammy fan, peeps!

She started teaching right out of college and has trained with the ATA for over 30 years. She knows her stuff, peeps. She's even worked within the schools and with special needs children. Plus she's fun to boot! 

Right now she will be offering beginning classes at the Fortville location and will be building out other class offerings based on interest. Children as young as 3, all the way up to adult can take Tammy's ATA classes. The very best part - everyone gets a free trial class! 

Her schedule will most likely be Thursday night, Tuesday day and Saturday afternoons.

What can your kiddo learn from classes with Tammy?

Focus - Eyes, Body & Mind. Discipline. Fitness. Confidence.

Empowered kids stand up for themselves and speak up. What could be better than that when your a mama and sending them out into the world?

See ya Saturday!


You can find Tammy's Fortville location FB page here:
You can find her website here:

Saturday, November 28, 2015

2015 Fab Fortville Small Business Saturday Hot Picks

This holiday season, we decided to give you a different perspective. And just in time for Small Business Saturday! We asked another local Indy mama, the lovely Megan Noel of the Indy with Kids team, to tell us all about her top #fabFortville picks for the holiday season. Thanks, Megan for tackling this year's picks. Without further adieu, here's Megan!

Being an Indianapolis native my entire life I’ve seen so many great local businesses open and flourish. It’s been exciting to explore the city and discover new areas, eateries, and storefronts with my family, so when I explored Fortville for the first time, I knew I’d stumbled on something special. A short drive outside of Indianapolis proper leads to Fortville, a town that many Indy residents may not have had the pleasure of discovering yet, but one visit promises they’ll return.

This Saturday, November 28th is Small Business Saturday. If you’re looking to explore a new neighborhood, with a wealth of unique small businesses, I encourage you to visit Fortville. Here are a few of my favorite spots.

But First Coffee
When you first pull into town, run into Java Junction for a cup of coffee and a sweet treat before heading out on your adventures. Three words – Snow Angel Latte. The butterscotch and caramel flavored latte will be sure to start your Fortville adventure out right.

Something for Them, Something for Me
If you’re looking to knock out some shopping, and have a variety of people to buy for, I highly recommend stopping in Best of What’s Around. The fact that the store name references a song from my favorite band was the first indicator that this stop would be a winner, and as soon as I stepped foot through the door I was sold. Every wall, every corner, every display in this vintage store meets furniture store meets boutique is filled with interesting items. You’ll walk the perimeter of the store and be sure to utter, “Oh, I want that!” at least five times. There are hand painted signs, products from a number of local artisans, and of course, one of a kind furniture pieces. I challenge you to walk into Best of What’s Around and not buy something. I truly don’t think it’s possible.

Another great spot for unique finds is The Vagabond Girls. From home décor to gifts you’re bound to find a reason to buy something in this newcomer to Fortville’s Main Street shops.

Get Creative
By this point you may be ready for a break and need to sit down a bit before continuing on your adventures. Head over to Studio 309 to sit down and get those creative juices flowing. On Small Business Saturday you can stop in anytime between 10:00-5:00 and for $20 create an awesome, one of a kind “Drink Local” wooden sign complete with bottle opener. You may not feel you’re the most creative, but never fear, as the owner is quite patient and will walk your through the creation of your masterpiece to ensure you have something wall-worthy.

New Duds          
I’m always on the hunt for new clothes, and when they’re stylish and affordable I feel like I’ve hit the jackpot. Enter The Gypsy Chicks. This cute little store is packed full of the newest trends without the sticker shock. I love that they carry a range of sizes, and the fact that I can stalk them online, on Facebook and Instagram, when I’m not visiting Fortville and they’re always willing to ship items to me.

Time to Indulge
After a day of shopping head over to the new Fox Gardin restaurant for a cup of clam chowder that is “to die for” and a menu that’s always changing to account for seasonal flavors. The restaurant boasts pub food with a culinary twist, with a brand new wine and whiskey lounge, too. (Did you notice those awesome tables? Yup, they’re Fortville-made, too! Reclaimed wood makes really unique furnishing and décor at ReNew Design & Construct) Come to Fox Gardin for a date night or bring the kids for lunch, because with the diverse menu selections there’s something for everyone. And if you’d rather end your evening with ice cream instead of whiskey, visit Indulge for a decadent dessert…or two!

There are so many more wonderful small businesses to enjoy in #fabFortville, I encourage you to venture out of your comfort zone and explore on this Small Business Saturday. You’ll be glad you did!


Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Mama Review - Superheroes Fishers EFT Casey VanPutten

Being a mom is hard.

It just is.

There's no getting around it. But what if we could make it just a little easier to cope? An evening with Casey VanPutten at SuperHeroes Fishers did just that. She opened the door to EFT. Which stands for Emotional Freedom Technique that combines psychology and ancient Chinese medicine. In other words, you talk through your daily stresses, fears and/or anxiety while tapping on pressure points to release tension.

I can name a lot of clutter I pick up throughout the day. Not just off the floors and counters, but stresses that I cannot change. Tomorrow and the day after that and the day after that will have its own stresses too, because I have 3 littles that need my undivided attention. EFT has become a coping tool to clear the clutter, both physically and mentally. When my head hits the pillow, I can think about sleeping not questioning my actions as a mother.

It has taught me that I need to love myself and let go of things I cannot change. My evening tapping session left me with less weight on my shoulders. Although it made me want to research more on this topic!

Casey was so sweet and understanding. Her presence was relaxing, along with the atmosphere of the facility. The chairs were cushy with upbeat artwork and wall colors the natural light accented it all. 

We all owe it to our better mama selfs, to do things that clear the clutter. Focusing on the more important things of daily life and savoring the moments before they fly by. I am encouraging you to go check out EFT and a chat with the expert Casey! She hosts group tapping sessons or individual. You can find out more by sending her an email: or give her a ring at 317-690-5543