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cincinnati

Food

How-To Throw a Successful Impromptu Ice Cream Social : My Homemade Brand “Just Peachy” Party!


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I had one week to plan an ice cream social for Homemade Brand Ice Cream & a handful of local bloggers/influencers. So here I was down to the minute needing a ton of things in little to no time.
I am one to say, “yes I can!” and take on anything before I actually think logistics, so I’m here to say this isn’t the first time I’ve found myself in a similar situation. However, this is the first time a huge brand has been attached and the pressure to get everything picture perfect was this high.

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Emma McMahan Photography

Homemade Brand is a staple here in Cincinnati. If you have never heard their story definitely click to read. It’s a real great story of boundless energy and drive. Even though Homemade Brand is now available and enjoyed in over 20 states, they still have the same simple approach from the very beginning: use the very best ingredients to make the very best ice cream. So, whether your favorite is a classic like Cookies ‘n Cream, a taste twirler like Cherry Cordial or a Seasonal Recipe Flavor like Peaches & Peaches, you’ll always get ice cream made with their utmost craftsmanship!  

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Emma McMahan Photography

Monday the brand reps called me asking to jump on board planning this event for the following Monday. A few slow blinks, a gulp, and I said, “yes, I got this!” After a quick conversation about Homemade Brand and their mention of their Peaches & Peaches flavor – I knew a peach theme party would be perfect for a summer ice cream social.

TIP: When planning a party or event – having a theme can be so helpful! I find it makes it easier for me to make decisions and keep things cohesive.

So now that I had a theme idea and I was set free to plan. I needed: venue, lite bites, guests, craft ideas for the kids, decor, and a photog. I HAD to move fast on the venue so I could invite the guests and give them enough time to plan to attend.

VENUE:


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Emma McMahan Photography
homemadebrand ice cream 
Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography

I had a few ideas for spaces in mind – but once we nailed down the peach theme – I had one venue in mind that would be absolutely perfect: The Red Whale Cottage. We got sooo lucky and The Cottage was available!  I heard about The Red Whale Rentals thanks to an incredible influencer event I had previously attended at their properties. It was a wonderful event that included some of their amazing amenities such as yoga and an in home chef. Their bright & airy rental spaces in Mt. Adams transport you out of Cincinnati and into a dream! The décor and space is beyond words. Everyone who walked in literally dropped their jaws and lifted their eyes saying “woooww” – it was so cool! TIP: If good photos are something you are after – venue is key. Think about how the photos would turn out at the venue beforehand- colors, lighting, décor. Think about the vibe you want to give off. I personally thought The cottage would be perfect for my event because of it’s light, airy color palette. I wanted the peach accents to pop.


FOOD:

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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography
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caseylavie
drinkingdiningdione

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allieburtonblog

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consistently_curious

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rubyandfrances

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rubyandfrances

Emma McMahan Photography
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hyde park bakery

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Emma McMahan Photography

Most importantly – we had ice cream. Still extremely important- we needed snacks. One of my favorite places for dinner here in the city, Nada, was so kind to provide lite bites for the party in such short notice. They provided chips, salsa, and guacamole. We had the party right before dinner time – sooo – sorry to everyone who had fed their kids ice cream, cookies, and chips/guac before dinner, it was so worth it though, right?! Cookies were provided by the amazing Hyde Park Bakery. She did an incredible job. She was so willing to help last minute!! The cookies were delish, and sooo cute! I also made a fun peach drink. I just found a peach, white grape juice and added frozen peaches to keep cold. The adorable drink dispensers were also rented by Borrowed Time Events. TIP: Food can be tricky at an event. Not gonna lie, the timing of this one kinda stressed me out because it was ice cream before dinner – – – but it’s totally okay! That was the only time that worked & hey it’s summertime – it’s fun to break the rules a little! Idea: serve breakfast for dinner and make that your theme – it’s okay to break the rules a little with food and think outside the box!


CRAFT/GAME:

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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography

I knew I wanted something fun for the kids to do. I created two separate crafts for the kids to create from paint swatches from the hardware store. It was so fun, easy, and affordable! I also printed off fun ice cream coloring pages. I wanted to have a game for the kids too, so I hand painted and made a fun bean bag toss game from an idea I found on Pinterest. The kids really loved these – and I really enjoyed seeing all of their crafty, ice cream creations! We have the bean bag toss on our porch and the boys are loving playing still.

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For the adults to have fun too we did a scavenger hunt! It was a blast. It was so fun seeing everyone participate. I just created an image on the canva app and sent it to everyone in attendance before the fun got started. The winners got tickets to the FC Cincinnati game!
TIP: Next time I would have had pamphlets made. I thought digital would be okay – but I’m not positive everyone read what I sent. I just didn’t have enough time for this event.


DECOR:

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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography
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Emma McMahan Photography

Okay – This could be an entire blog post in itself. Borrowed Time Events made this event everything that it was down to every tiny detail. Borrowed Time Events specializes in Cincinnati Event Planning and Rentals. They are the most adorable mother and daughter duo who have an eye for detail and style. They really turned this space from already absolutely stunning to everything I envisioned for a “Just Peachy Ice Cream Social” AND MORE!!! They provided the photo backdrop, gold cart, they decorated the kids tables, crates, floral arrangements, jars, trays, and more. If you’re planning a wedding – party – any event – – – – Andrea and her mother just take the stress out of everything. With their eye for detail, you will just be blown away! Highly recommend, absolute must, incredible, I can’t even say enough good things! TIP: Reach out for help! Borrowed Time Events made planning this in less than a week sooooo much less stressful! I was able to relax knowing they were professionals here to help me, I trusted their vision, and their love for what they do really shined through! If you’re in the Cincinnati area I highly suggest you check them out before your next event! 


KIDS SEATING:


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Emma McMahan Photography
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sweet petite seating

Emma McMahan Photography
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sweet petite seating

Emma McMahan Photography

Emma McMahan Photography

Emma McMahan Photography

I was in a pinch for seating for the little ones. This ice cream social was all about the kiddos, and I wanted them to feel that way with their own place to sit and craft/eat/play. Do you know how hard it is to find kid seating last minute? Not anymore thanks to Sweet Petite Seating – thanks to Andrea @ Borrowed Time Events – when I said I was struggling finding seating to buy – she recommended Lauren at sweet petite seating! They provide seating rentals for children’s parties, weddings, anything!! She was incredibly sweet, a great new friend 😉 She was so accommodating to my last minute request! Highly recommend!! TIP: GET THE KIDS SEATING! It really makes a world of difference for the families. If it’s a party/wedding/event with kids in attendance – having their own seating is a game changer. No kids on laps – they can enjoy their friends – they also feel some independence!


PHOTOGRAPHER: The brand ended up hiring the photog and they nailed it! I found Emma on IG and gave her as one of the suggestions to the brand. I love her light and airy feel that goes with the event. Emma McMahan provided all of the photos in this blog post and they are gorgeous. She did a wonderful job. The event was jam packed, and she did a wonderful job getting beautiful photos! TIP: I highly recommend going with someone who already encompasses the vibe/ascetic you are going for when planning an event. I just knew Emma’s photos would be perfect by seeing her previous work!

A HUGE THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO HELPED ME ON THIS EVENT!!

I could not have done this without anyone listed above. The community in Cincinnati is absolutely incredible. Also – shout out to all of the amazing bloggers/influencers who attended the event. I have absolutely loved seeing all of your Homemade Brand Ice cream posts on social 💗

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rubyandfrances

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Emma McMahan Photography

Have you ever planned an event last minute? What tips/tricks have you learned while event planning? Comment below and let’s talk!


Emma McMahan Photography
ddotts


Family Fun

Our Family Photos With Kristin Weinberg Photography

Okay – I’ve been pretty lucky in my life to have some amazing photographers photograph my sweet, little family from day one. As a family, we all absolutely love photographs and taking pictures so I am very thankful for the blessings of humans who have kept the high spirits alive while taking our family photos. I have been in weddings however where the photographer is just -blah- and I’m left feeling like wow…this isn’t cool. It really makes me sad. I want to be like, “that’s not how this works, that’s not how any of this works! This is supposed to be fun y’all!”

We recently had the pleasure of updating our family photos with the incredibly sweet and talented Kristin Weinberg. Let me tell you – it was fun y’all!! WE HAD A BLAST!! She’s a true sweet heart. She is so incredibly thoughtful and so good with kids! She sends the kids video chats the night before so they can be warmed up to her and not feel like a stranger is photographing them the next day! Although my boys are no stranger to anyone behind a camera – pose, smile, click – they are here for it all and will also give you creative direction. She also asked what kind of treats/things the boys liked. So before photos she showed the boys that she got them watermelon gum, Swedish fish, and a new book – this works so well to remind the kids to be good listeners during the photo shoot!!

The boys fell in love with her – and so did we. Our photos are incredible deceptions of how silly our family is and how fun we had that day. To me – I see our love burst from the photos like beams straight to my heart. Trevor and Jax asked if Kristin could take our photos forever – and I agree. I talk to Kristin just about everyday, to this day. We talk about silly stuff and our love for this world and cats. Take a look at some of my favorite photos and see for yourself. She is a gem with a heart of gold. I give her 10 out of 10!

This is the old Joe’s Diner – soon to be Sugar & Spice!
We may have had more fun at the Treehouse Bar than the kids…yea, no. We all had a blast!! Even Kristin got in there swinging the boys in the tire swing.

Thank you so much Kristin! I am so glad the interweb brought us cat loving weirdos together. I can not wait to hang out again!

Check out more of Kristin’s work here ^
guide

Fit4Mom Cincinnati Body Back Program Review

I did it! I completed the 8 week Body Back program with Fit4Mom Cincinnati.

It feels like it just begun – I can’t believe how fast it went by! I am honestly so sad it is over – but this program really isn’t over for me, it integrated some wonderful habits for me to continue on within my lifestyle & for that I am so thankful! Check out my before and after photos at the end of my blog post!

FIT4MOM is the nation’s leading prenatal and postnatal fitness program, providing fitness classes and a network of moms to support every stage of motherhood. From pregnancy, through postpartum and beyond, our fitness and wellness programs help make moms strong in body, mind, and spirit.

The classes they offer:

  • Stroller Strides
  • Stroller Barre
  • Our Villiage Moms Club & Playgroup
  • Fit4Baby – prenatal fitness
  • Bodyback Transformation Session (what I did!)
  • Free Family Run Meet Up
  • Mamawell
  • Bodyback Drop In

Find out more about about each class here!

It is an 8-week journey to reach your fullest potential: body & mind. With meal plans, workouts, accountability and assessments that are proven by university-backed studies to shed fat, increase strength and endurance, tone muscle and improve energy. If you want to lose weight, get toned, or just do something good for your body and your mind, they help you meet your specific goals in a supportive and inspiring environment!

Each program includes:

  • Two HIIT Workouts per week
  • Meal plans
  • Food journals
  • Weekly emails
  • Before and after fitness assessments
  • Weekly weigh-ins
  • Accountability in class and online in a
  • private Facebook group
  • Unlimited texts & emails to their coach

This class is for moms only, no children. It is recommended that you be at least 5 months postpartum before beginning this program.

I really loved this program! The HIIT workouts were surprisingly one of my all time favorite workouts! I also really loved the community of women I worked out with – we were all there to support each other and it showed!

My results were incredible! I ended up coming into the program down 5 lbs less than I thought I was. IDK how it happned, but it made weight loss not a priority. After the program: I lost 2 lbs & DRUM ROLL….8.5 inches!! My before and after pictures were also really helpful for me to visualize the change I felt.

I am so thankful for this program! I think my only personal complaint would be the drive – it was 30 minutes from my house. I was proud of myself though for sticking to it and putting in the drive. Every class seemed to be a dark/rainy night so it made it that much harder – – but I left feeling so great after every class! Colleen really made it worth the drive!

The next Body Back program with Fit4Mom Cincinnati begins March 30th! It looks like there might even be different programs around town, so you might find one right near you!
Sign Up Today!


Beauty

My Pinterest Worthy Hair Transformation with Fairhairco.

Okay, so you know all of those beautiful hair colors you pin on Pinterest and swoon over everyday? The beachy, beautiful, melted blends?

Yes, those!!

I found the sweetest gem here in Cincy that can give you that dream hair! Kathryn is not only a wizard behind the chair – but one of the most darling humans I have ever met! She is an Aveda educated and trained custom hair color specialist with over 6 years of high-end salon experience in color, lightening, balayage, and color-blending techniques…and it shows!! I left with a brand new hair do Saturday and a new BFF – if I only get to see her to get my hair done next – it will seriously be too long! You think she needs an assistant/hype man friend in the salon everyday? Her energy is just absolutely the best! Her salon is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been. The vibe is so fresh and clean and fun!

My husband literally described my before hair as “dingy blonde” – he’s so sweet. That was my natural god given hair growing from my head that he described as “dingy.” If you want honesty, ask your husband or children!

Before I even booked my appointment with Kathryn I posted on my IG story a poll for everyone to vote on two hair colors I have been stuck between: strawberry blonde vs white blonde. There was an OVERWHELMING amount of y’all who wanted me to go strawberry. The photo that I posted for inspo of Jaci Marie is absolutely stunning so I am not surprised! Kathryn had been following me and decided to DM me and say “girrrrl, I want to do your hair!” After looking at her IG feed it took me 1.6 seconds to write back and say “yassss queen!” and schedule an appointment. Check her feed below and you’ll know exactly what I mean!

So here is my hair now: this Pinterest worthy silver, white blonde blend. It totally brought me back to life. It is so much more than hair, I feel inspired and brand new! We need those times in our lives to shake us out of our shells – and we all know winter forces us so far into our shells! Not to mention, she used the most amazing Olaplex products on my hair to keep it healthy while lightening up!

Thank you Kathryn. This blog post really can’t put into words how much I love my hair & how happy I am to have met you!

If you’re in the Cincy area and looking for hair so fabulous & a new friend to come with it…you will not regret spending the day with Kathryn. She will transform your hair into a Pinterest photo while turning your confidence all around!

Kathryn Flores

Fairhairco

6011 Tylersville Rd. Mason, Ohio

@fairhairco

Beauty guide

9 Ways To Improve Your Life – Starting With Your Morning Routine

Self care comes in so many different forms. I used to think self care and automatically go to: face mask, bubble bath, red wine. That might be 100% what someone else needs – but it never truly satisfied me. I found that the best self care I could give myself was routine. Creating a practical but effective morning routine changed my life. 


It is common sense that waking up earlier or preparing what I could the night before would help my sanity – but did I do it? No. I was so freaking busy running from here to there every night with more things to do…I couldn’t find the time. I was like a spinning top with no pause in sight. I had it down to the science of how I could wake up at the very last minute to just do the very least and rush the boys out the door. I was finding myself so grumpy, looking like a troll, yelling at the boys to rush. It was not okay! 

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me

10 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Me

This was found on Laylaliving’s BLOG 🙂
Feel free to copy and play along!

10 THINGS YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW ABOUT ME

1. What are your nicknames? What do you prefer to be called?

My nickname since my first friend & still today naturally comes up with new friends without even having to tell them is Shelbs…sometimes spelled Shelbz if my friends are feeling frisky. Now that I’ve been blogging my nickname also turned to Ddotts. I sometimes get asked where that name came from. It’s actually a really funny story: when I was creating my Instagram account I first went with stodd- my first initial and new married last name – Todd. That was taken so I just flipped it backwards. One night at the bar I seen a friend from grade school. She introduced me to her husband as “D-dots from Instagram!!” It was then that I actually realized it made a word. When I decided to make a blog I thought up 100+ blog names. Nothing felt right. I decided to just use my Instagram name. I went to make my URL for my website and ddots -with one t- was taken. That’s when I added a second t. I liked the symmetry it gave the word & my maiden name starts with t! Sooo all of that for the perfect little Ddotts that I love today. I don’t have a preference, but Shelbs does make me feel at home 🙂

2. What do you do if you can’t sleep at night? Do you count sheep? Toss and Turn? Try to get up and do something productive?

I usually sleep pretty well. I have had some insomnia spurts in life though. It’s typically self induced: I go down a YouTube make up tutorial black hole or I start a season on Netflix that I just can’t stop watching. Sometimes I pull all nighters to blog, but do it from bed. I never get up once I’m in bed.

3. What was the most recent compliment you’ve received and savored?

My mom is a chef at a Nursing home. She had to work Thanksgiving making dinner for her residents. This meant that I was to make Thanksgiving for our entire family & have it ready when she got off work. My mom and dad both ate dinner and kept saying how amazing it was. This made me so proud. My mom is THE best cook in the world! They both agreed my dinner was just as good as her cooking if not better!! This is the equivalent to me winning TopChef!

4. What do you think about more than anything else?

My children! My boys are on my mind 24/7. When they’re with me I’m thinking about how much I love the way they play, snuggle, laugh. When they’re at school I’m praying they have a good day and thinking how I can’t wait til I get home to see them. I’m a mom obsessed and I don’t really care. Life is too short. I wanna soak up every minute with them while I can.

5. What’s one thing you’d rather pay someone to do than do yourself? Why?

I’m pretty cheap so I do it all. The first thing I can think of is getting an oil change? Except the last time I went it was like $60! I might be doing it myself next time 😂

6. If you could restore one broken relationship, which would it be?

I’m not sure I have any “broken” relationships. But I’m also a big believer in the idea that everything happens for a reason, so I believe people have to separate to grow.

7. How difficult is it for you to be honest, even when your words may be hurtful or unpopular?

I’m an honest person and very true to myself. Also though…Yea, I’m too nice to a fault. I’ll save face until I absolutely can’t.

8. What is my ideal definition of success?

Happiness. True, deep down, smile so hard, jump up and down, dab, call your mom and tell her, celebrate with ice cream, tingles in your toes – happiness. The more of those moments – the more successful I think I am. I also celebrate the little things – Trevor lost a tooth, I scored a collab, I got a $5 off Fusian email, Derrek got a new sweat suit, Jax rocked it at speech therapy, etc. I think when you stop and dab with your kids over a great week…you’ll be happier….and therefor more successful!

9. What is the single, most significant change I can make in 2019?

Focus. Hyper focus. This is my time to hone in on my craft, on my parenting, on my relationships, on my finances, on my ideas – and totally knock them out of the park!!!

10. Do I feel guilty about not spending enough time with those who are important to me?

I do. It’s crippling. Death scares me and I’m afraid it will steal the ones I love and leave me with regret. After Jax’s birth and us both almost seeing death…it left me overly sensitive when it comes to my loved ones. Yes…I’ll cry at the bar with the girls talking about dads!! So, is there anything you are surprised to know about me? Comment below! Feel free to copy/paste these questions and answer them in the comments. I would love to know more about you.

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The Perfect Gift For Everyone!

Christmas is right around the corner, and if you’re anything like me, you might have a few more people to shop for.

If you’re also anything like me, the idea of shopping right now sounds terrifying!!

I am so thrilled I stumbled upon  Happy Cards! 

With Happy Cards you’re able to take the guess out of giving!

Each card is good for a number of trusted brands based on the person you are shopping for:

bride

lady 

teen 

student 

guy 

kid

dining 

AND MORE! 

Although the boys aren’t teens yet (might be here sooner than I think) I picked them up a teen card! It has Nike, Dave & Busters (their favorite hang), Barnes & Noble, and MORE!

Plenty of their favorite brands for them to decide where to spend their money!

If it’s Christmas, birthday, wedding, new baby…these gift cards are the way to go!

My favorite part? You can pick these up at local retailers, check out, and go! Save time & chaos!!

Click here to learn more about Happy Cards & find a retailer near you!! 

Happy Card Gifting! Get Happy. Give Happy.

P.S. I’m giving away a $100 TEEN Happy Card on my Instagram account!

Click here to check it out!

i tried it

I Tried It: Murder Mystery Dinner

The husband and I were invited to come check out

The Murder Mystery Company’s – Murder Mystery Dinner. 

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It was something I had kind of heard of before but not really heard much about. When I told people our plans beforehand everyone said, “please tell me what you think, I’ve been dying to know!”

Sooooo here I am to give you guys my review and everything you need to know!

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Food

My Secret That Will Save You The Runaround This Holiday Party Season [Recipe]

This post is sponsored by Discount Drug Mart but all opinions are my own.

I am hosting Thanksgiving once again. I am so excited! It can be a big task but I know this year I’ll be able to rest easy.

I’m confident I won’t have to stress my party budget or waste time thanks to Discount Drug Mart!

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Discount Drug Mart has all of my favorite brands & minimum pricing on their alcoholic beverages. So not only am I getting everything I need in a one stop shop, but I’m saving cold hard cash while doing so!

No holiday runaround for me

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  -and to that I say cheers!

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White Claw is one of my go to alcoholic beverages. It is so light and refreshing, the perfect drink to pair with a big holiday meal!

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For Thanksgiving I’ll be making this pitcher of Grapefruit – Cranberry Sparkling Seltzer!

It’s so incredibly easy, tastes so good, and looks so fun on the dinner table!

Simply cut up a grapefruit to add to your pitcher.

Add two cans of White Claw Ruby Grapefruit.

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Add in a handful of cranberries.

Top off with any white wine. I like to add a prosecco.

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And there you have it, a fun-fresh holiday beverage for your next holiday get together! Enjoy!

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Make sure you visit your local Discount Drug Mart to pick up your holiday champagne and hard seltzer beverages – the one stop shop and state minimum pricing is guaranteed to save you the runaround!

For great deals on all these items at Discount Drug Mart, click HERE to find a store location near you!

Family Fun

Hybrids & Haystacks with Toyota

I had the best time driving the 2018 Toyota Camry Hybrid XLE. I definitely had dreams about them saying “you know what, you just go ahead and keep it!”

-keep dreamin’ sista’- 


This Hybrid was incredible on gas millage….51/53 MPG…we were getting up there close to 60! We took the opportunity to take the car all around the city to explore and have the best fall fun! Fall in Cincinnati is absolutely stunning. The trees right now are gorgeous. It was just the most perfect time. 

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