Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Wandering Wednesday - Easy Peasy Pixie Dust Filled Disney Vacations

Welcome Fortville Mama guest blogger Jenn Naas. She is a travel planner with Hi Ho Vacations and get this, peeps - her services are totally FREE!'s Jenn.

Many families love Disney vacations, yet with increasing costs, new technology, and the limitless amount of information available on the internet, planning a magical family vacation can be a bit overwhelming.

First time guests and seasoned Disney-goers can both benefit from the advice of a Disney expert.  I'm a travel planner with Hi Ho Vacations and I love nothing more then to add pixie dust to family vacations. And best of all… my services are FREE! Yes, you read that right, my services cost you zip a dee do dah zilch! 

Too good to be true?  Not in this case.  Disney pays me, and planners like myself, to help guests have the best experience possible.  And based on feedback from my clients, it pays off.

My clients are often surprised that the price I quote for them is identical to the price they find on the website. But as Holly McGuire, owner of Hi Ho Vacations, tells clients, this is just the first step of fifty. Price monitoring is one of the most important steps. When a promotion is released, we work hard to ensure that our clients are getting the best price possible.  I love to make those phone calls to share the savings!

I work with clients to find the best dates, resorts, and packages for their family within their budget.  Then we build an itinerary to include dinner with princesses or pirates, fastpasses to meet Anna and Elsa or for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine train coaster, and more.  All of this is included in the packages and no surprises.  

When it comes to cruising... Disney Cruise Line visits the Bahamas, the Caribbean, and even more exotic locations like Hawaii and the Mediterranean.  Disney service at sea… it doesn’t get much better.

Extensive knowledge of different Disney resorts, the theme parks, pricing trends, and crowd patterns makes Hi Ho Vacations' travel planner's knowledge invaluable to our clients. This comes from experience, frequent trips to the Theme Parks and on Disney Cruises, and love for the product.

My favorite part of my job is getting to know each client and what will make their trip special. I want my clients to leave for their vacation knowing that they got the best price possible and feeling prepared for their experiences – whether they are at land or sea.

From dining reservations to fastpasses, from ship itineraries to excursions, having a Disney planner working for you just makes sense. I can't wait to chat and help spread pixie dust on your magical Disney family vacation! Give me a call and let's get started on your 2016 family vacation.

Please visit Hi Ho Vacations to learn more, and contact Jenn for more information.

Mention you saw this article to get a special gift upon travel with a minimum of a three night vacation package of a Disney World, Disneyland, Disney Cruise, Aulani, or Adventures by Disney vacation.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post with Jenn Naas and Hi Ho Vacations.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

The Indiana Art Fair - A February Must-Do

No plans for today? Now you have some. The Indiana Art Fair at the Indiana State Museum is a February must-do! So much talent under one roof! Indiana simply has some amazing artisans within her borders. From oils to glass work to jewelry to custom vinyl LP notebooks. There is something for everyone. The mamas totally enjoyed our preview last night and browsing and chating with local artists. We even tried our hand at painting our great state!

Here are a few of our most favorite finds! A Lincoln oil from Lesley Haflich, a fine artist based out of Hamilton County, gorgeous artisan pears from Indiana's Pear Man Rick Greiner, so unique vinyl LP notebooks of all sizes from Lockerbie Books and our favorite sip of the evening from Gnarly Grove Hard Cider based out of Columbus Indiana. I see a road trip in our future for pizza and some Gnarly Grove.

I think the only thing that could have made the evening a knock out would have been having demos from some of the artists. It would have been super neat to see their processes or to even see timelapse video of them to take in their process. The works were so amazing and you can see they put so much of themselves into their art.

You can visit today 10-5. Artists will be selling fine, functional and funky art. The annual event features some of Indiana’s best artisans and takes place on all three levels of the museum. Guests to this year’s festival will be able to enjoy the museum experience, while browsing the works of more than 60 artists, representing 21 counties! So grab your coat and let's go explore!

- Jen & Ashley

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Artisan Thursday - An Evening Out with Indiana Artists

It's cold. I feel a little blah. I'm dreaming of spring, warmth and colors - green grass, blue pool water and gorgeous flowers. I bet you might be too. Lucky for all of us the Indiana Art Fair is this weekend at the Indiana State Museum (ISM)! Tons of pops of color around every corner from local artisans. A perfect reason to get out and enjoy a bit of Indy during these chilly months!

One of my favorite Indiana artists will be on-hand too. Warm Glass Wonder! Have you seen her stuff? Oh my! Gorgeous. Pure talent.

The annual event features some of Indiana’s best artisans and takes place February 12 and 13 on all three levels of the museum. Guests to this year’s festival will be able to enjoy the museum experience, while browsing the works of more than 60 artists, representing 22 counties!

On Friday February 12th from 6 to 9 p.m. Galentine’s Art Night takes place. This special preview with a “girl’s night out” theme will feature an evening of art, food, drink and music. Attendees will be amongst the first people to enjoy artwork by 60 Hoosier artists representing 22 counties.

Artists will be selling fine, functional and funky art. Guests will attend a private reception with the artists, as well as try their hands at painting their own masterpieces. Spots are limited. Galentine’s Art Night guests will be invited to enter a contest to win art by a Hoosier artist.

Tickets are $35 for members and $45 for nonmembers and are available by calling 317.232.1637 or online at The admission ticket to Friday’s event may be redeemed for free admission on Saturday.

Get tickets and join the mamas for a fun evening out in Indy!

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!