Create in the Central West End

While reading the April 2013 issue of Midwest Living, I came across an article about a boutique in the Central West End where you can concoct your own scents for perfumes, shower gels, and lotions.  Excited to see a local business featured in the magazine, I decided to give it a try with my two girls.  At five and six years of age, they, too, were excited at the prospect of creating their own perfumes.  Across the river we drove to Cassie’s Fragrance Boutique and Scent Bar . . .

A slew of samples were available to sniff.

After much sampling, finally, they were sold on the “brownie” scent, and I was sold on the “almond” mixed with “french vanilla.”  We didn’t want to leave the big guy in our house out, so we opted to surprise him with the “Egyptian musk”  (yes, men’s scents are available, too).

Scents for Mixing

At work on our roll-on perfumes . . .

After hard work on our personal aromas, we had created quite the appetite.  We stepped out of Cassie’s Boutique and Scent Bar only to walk two doors down to the Sub Zero Vodka Bar on Euclid.  We chose not to pursue a vodka sampling (afraid the girls might be carded), and, instead drooled over their Signature Burger Menu.*  The girls split an order of sliders and fries while I prided myself on the healthier choice of the Fresh Pacific Salmon Burger cooked to specification complete with red onion, capers, and dill cream cheese.  Okay, I did choose the deep-fried zucchini- crisp and tender- as my side, but, hey, it still counts as a veggie.

Knowing our creative juices were still flowing, we rounded the corner and entered FroYo on Maryland.  As you can see above, our tastes ran the spectrum from sprinkles and chocolate chips atop low-fat chocolate/vanilla twist to oreos falling down the sides of low-fat cake batter.  Low-fat = eat more = full bellies.  Is my reasoning ideal, or what?  For a further creative outlet, FroYo is sponsoring a t-shirt contest.  See the link above for details if interested.

Above all else, though, I cherished the quality time I was able to spend with my squirts  while taking part in a new adventure. 

*A create-your-own burger option is also available which includes a lengthy list of unique toppings.  Yummo!

Night at the Museum

The Fam

Maybe you’ve seen the movie Night at the Museum, but have you had a chance to live it?  We did just that last night.  Hearing about this event from a fellow Girl Scout troop leader, Tonya Yanchunas, my family and I signed up for this adventure.  What’s nice to know is that one need not be a Girl Scout to participate in this Night at the Museum.  The girls had never been to the Arch, so this was a perfect opportunity.  

This view makes my belly feel  oogey googey.

For $15/person, a ride to the top of the Arch, free parking, a meal (comprised of hot dog, chips, water, and cookie), nine activities, and a child’s (3-15) ticket for a Gateway Arch Riverboat Sightseeing Cruise are included.  Shazam!  Who doesn’t love a bargain?

Right before entering the egg-shaped elevator to the top.
We’re on the way to the top of the Arch and not sure what to think.
“I can see the Cardinals from here!”
Working on one of the nine activities . . .
A completed Night at the Museum log.
A visit to the gift shop will result in fun patches . . .

or a book to remember this adventure.

To discover more adventures, click The Arch Adventures

Amy Hatvany’s Heart Like Mine Book Club

Amy Hatvany’s Heart Like Mine is a complex tale of the lasting effects suppression of emotions can have on not only an individual, but also an extended family.  Through her writing, Hatvany methodically unfolds essential elements of the story to further peak the reader‘s interest and keep the pages turning.  Told from the perspectives of three characteristically different women, the reader is allowed to weave together these differing viewpoints in order to form the truth of the situation.
For the purposes of book club, Hatvany generously offers open-ended questions and topics for discussion at the end of the novel.  In addition, a section titled Enhance Your Book Club allows book clubs to delve deeper into the novel by experiencing it either through the rewriting of a scene or creating one’s own recipe which has significance behind it much like the first recipe Grace and Ava attempted together.  To borrow from Heart Like Mine, book club members may want to channel Grace and Victor’s first meeting by sharing a meal of “creamy lemon butter sauce . . . served over grilled chipotle-spiced halibut” (52) or the trials and tribulations of Ava’s adolescence with a meal much like Whitney’s consisting of “organic chicken slices, mixed greens, and some kind of cookie made with agave nectar” (29).  For dessert, though, a pumpkin cream cheese Bundt cake is a must in order to encourage conversation about Ava’s mother, Kelli.

Amy Hatvany