We are less than 10 days away from Christmas Eve! If you’re like me, you still have a bit of holiday shopping left to do. Specifically I struggle with stocking stuffer ideas for everyone. Oh – and what to get The Most Difficult Person In The World To Shop For (aka, my husband).

But thanks to the folks over at UncommonGoods.com, my work is nearly done! Not only do they make sustainability part of their goal and mission, but their products are unlike anything I’ve been able to find elsewhere.

Between their handmade items and a collection of geeky kitchen finds, I’m in love. Wanna learn to brew your own beer? There’s a kit for that.

Wanna get your baby an avocado or kale teether? You can find it at UncommonGoods.

Someone you know have a taste for hot sauce? Get them a make-your-own-hot sauce kit! 

Have zero clue what to get your significant other? Just take advantage of Sunny, UncommonGoods virtual expert gift finder! How cool is that??

I love their collections of Gifts for Kids and Personalized Gifts (hellooooo, grandparent gifts!). And if you order now you’ll still have time for Christmas delivery! So hurry!

Disclosure: I was compensated for this post in credit to UncommonGoods.com, but, as always, all opinions herein are my own.

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Hi. My name is Rachel and I LOVE Ohio. Like, I really, truly, have a passion for my home state. We produce amazing people, products, and industry. I always try to buy as local as possible, but it’s especially important for me at this time of year. There are just so many local options from amazing creators right here in Northeast Ohio.

Not sure where to start knocking off your holiday gifts? I’ve rounded up my favorite local ideas below!

 

Pope’s Kitchen Bloody Mary Mix. 

I am a recent convert to the Bloody Mary. The spicy aroma has always been something that has reminded me of my grandmother. But Pope’s Kitchen puts a fresh, local, and extra spicy spin on the traditional bloody mary. When I was pregnant with Remy I used to just drink the mix straight up (I had a craving for spicy!).

Find it in any local Market District or order online here ($12/32 oz.).

Coffee from Akron Coffee Roasters.

Want fresh, locally-roasted coffee? Look no further than S. High Street in Akron! Their love for their coffee and the roasting process is evident in each pour over they serve.

Their coffees are available online for purchase to ship directly to your loved ones, or you can go right into their store on South High Street (and then head over to The Nightlight to catch a flick!). (from $12/10 oz.)

Middlebury Butter from Akron Honey Company. 

Akron Honey is a family operated, artisan honey company, and they have recently opened up a brick and mortar store at the Northside Marketplace in Downtown Akron. I’ve personally tasted all of their honey, but the Middlebury Butter remains my favorite. I put it on everything — bread, apples, you name it!

It can currently be found at a variety of pop up markets (like the Cleveland Flea, Crafty Mart, etc) and their store in Northside Marketplace.

The Vitamix Ascent Series A3500. 

Vitamix is the leader in culinary blenders and food processors — and they are also a local Ohio company, with their headquarters located in Olmsted Falls!

Their products are produced, manufactured, and distributed here locally — and for those of us in Northeast Ohio, that means we’re lucky enough to get the first peak at new products! This past year I received the A3500 and was able to get rid of my old Vitamix. Let me tell you, this new version is incredible and so easy to use!

You can pick one up in their local store in Solon or online here (A3500 $549.99).

A Family Membership to the Akron Zoo.

With the slogan “You’ve never been this close,” the folks at the Akron Zoo truly mean it! The zoo itself is the perfect size to take children of all ages for a few hours or an all day excursion. The recently renovated exhibits are absolutely stunning! And members are able to get discount admission on events ranging from Brew at the Zoo to Wild Lights!

Order a family membership online here or pick one up on-location in Akron (Family Membership, $80/year).

Tickets for the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.

The CVSR, operated wholly by volunteers, leaves either the Rockside Station in Independence or the Northside Station in Akron. You can hop on with a round-trip ticket or bike one way and take it one way back! Besides just regular train rides, the CVSR offers a variety of special events, such as The Polar Express and Ales On Rails!

Not sure when your recipient would like to go? The CVSR offers gift certificates in denominations ranging from $15 – $150 and can be purchased by calling 800-468-4070 x 1.

Shirts from The Social Dept.

We have a lot of options when it comes to local t-shirts here in Northeast Ohio. My favorites, by far, come from the Social Department. Located in my town of Cuyahoga Falls, they offer an eclectic variety of Midwest apparel.

Their sizes range from kids to adults, so no one will be left out! My personal faves are this Cleveland Indians shirt (which I bought for my husband last year) and this Go Local Sports Team shirt (which I should totally have because, sports!).

You can visit them in store at their Front Street location in Cuyahoga Falls, Tuesday through Sunday, or you can order online here  with guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve if you order by December 18th (Prices range from $22+ but gift certificates available in $10+).

Growler of the Month Club at HiHo Brewing Co. 

Located right next door to The Social Department, HiHo Brewing Company is a welcomed addition to Front Street in Cuyahoga Falls this last year. And their beers are incredible, too! Former teachers turned craft brewers, Ali and Jon, have turned this spot into one of Northeast Ohio’s most popular breweries!

They offer a range of beer, from blond ales to stouts, and tapas style food options. Don’t know what you want? Try a flight!

Open Wednesday through Sunday, you can purchase the gift of their Growler A Month Club or just a plain old gift card! (Growler of the month: $180 – includes growler and punch card for 12 fills; gift cards available in all denominations).

The Gift of Play from Café O’Play in Stow.

Café O’Play, located in Stow right off of Route 8, is a safe and fun indoor play place for kids ages crawlers through tweens! They offer climbing activities for young and old, as well as a special toddler-only zone for a safe-space for those who are just past the crawling stage, 7-days a week.

In addition to being a safe place to play, owners John and Carolyn make sure that parents feel like they have a partner in this parenting journey. Sure, it’s not all fun and games, but they make it easy for the kids to have fun while the adults can (kind of) sit back and relax a bit on the café side!

You can purchase gift cards in person or online here (gift cards available in denominations of $25, $50, and $100).

There are so many more options that I could go into — soap from Saint Augustine and Suds; tickets to Playhouse Square; hot sauce from Not Yo’ Daddy’s; just to name a few!

Not from Northeast Ohio and still not sure what all of the fuss is about?!? Well how about this for a reason — Cleveland was recently ranked #14 in the 21 places you need to visit by none other than National Geographic! So get your butt to Northeast Ohio and see exactly why I’m freaking out about where I live all of the time!

 

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I’ve gone back and forth about publishing this since the original #MeToo movement started. Truthfully, there are about a million other holiday-themed posts I should be posting right now. But this is just too important to put off for any longer.

A part of me hasn’t wanted to share this story because, well, it’s hard revisiting some of these things, ya know? Because once I opened the floodgates in my memory, the memories came pouring back in. And there are plenty of #MeToo memories.

But in light of some of the recent allegations of men in positions of power, I decided to finally share the one story that feels most similar.

...in light of some of the recent allegations of men in positions of power, I decided to finally share the one story that feels most similar. #MeToo Click To Tweet

In 2005, while I was still an undergrad, I started a sales job at a large cable company in Syracuse, New York. I loved my job, I loved the people I was working with, and I loved being part of a team. Oh — the excellent money and full benefits were a huge perk! I was leaps and bounds ahead of the job game with a ‘real job’ before graduation!

At the time I lived in a small 1.5 bedroom apartment by myself. Well, my puppy, Oscar, lived with me, too. I would wake up at 4am, go to the gym for two hours, head home before going to class, and go straight from class to my job until 10pm. I had weekends free and, since I was in my early 20s at the time, would head out with friends after work to the local pub on occasion. Basically, I was living the 20-something dream.

Since I was a non-traditional undergrad, many of my friends came from work instead of school. It was no big deal, but most of my friends were also about 5-10 years older than me.

Well one night I had a couple of friends over for wine and laughs — one school friend (female) and one work friend (male). Eventually my girlfriend had to leave to go see her boyfriend. Again, no big deal. Well minutes later, while hanging with my male friend, I had a knock on my door.

It was a male supervisor from the sales department.

He was not invited.

He looked up my address in our work billing system.

He drove to my house.

My (male) work friend and I were… shocked. I didn’t know what to do. The supervisor asked if he could come in and just hang out while he was waiting for his friends to meet up. Again, intimidated, I didn’t know what to do. So I let him in.

The supervisor asked if he could use my laptop real quick to look something up about where he was meeting his friend. I said sure.

He didn’t look up his meeting spot. He looked up porn instead.

At this point I pretended to be really exhausted and nodded to my male friend like “Dude, please get him to leave.” So my male friend suggested to the supervisor that they both leave so I could get some sleep. They both left. My male friend waited with his car running so that he could come back in and check on me, but the supervisor just waited in his car with it running, too.

My friend drove off in hopes that the supervisor would follow.

He didn’t.

He walked back up the stairs and let himself in my apartment (which I hadn’t had a chance to lock yet, as I was ‘playing asleep.’).

He came into my bedroom.

He whispered in my ear.

I pretended to still be asleep.

And I’m lucky that he thought I was asleep and decided to leave.

And I'm lucky that he thought I was asleep and decided to leave. #MeToo Click To Tweet

I’m one of the lucky ones.

But I was shaken. Visibly shaken. I called my friends and told them what happened and they were baffled.

One of them gossiped about it at work and told my coworker, Tracey. Tracey went to HR for me. I am so grateful for this gossip, because I don’t know if I would have had the courage to do so myself.

HR took swift action. They questioned me. So did the VP of the department. They made me feel safe.

But the rest of my coworkers lashed out at me. They didn’t understand why I would “try to get him in trouble.” All they saw was that *I* was doing this to *him*.

In the end, he was fired. He had to face his wife and make up some lie about how he got fired for throwing a beach ball at someone and they complained (no joke — this was his story for his [eventual] ex-wife).

But the backlash continued for me for a while. It made going into work — a place I considered to be fun and safe — a nightmare. The taunting, the verbal harassment, and the workplace discomfort was awful. I eventually transferred.

All of this is to say that my #MeToo story had a semi-happy ending with a not-as-traumatic beginning. Things could have gone way worse. But it’s still sickening that these stories are all too common. Heck, it’s likely happened to someone you know and gone unreported. Or maybe to you?

We need to continue to speak up. Certainly not all men are guilty of these crimes; but almost all women are the recipients of them. Because offenders are often repeat offenders. They use power and position to keep us quiet.

But I urge you to speak up. Speak up and speak out. Be loud. Tell your story. Heck, tell your stories — as uncomfortable as they may be. The only way to stop this is to bring attention to it as it’s happening.

Because I don’t want the next generation to be able to say #MeToo.

Because I don't want the next generation to be able to say #MeToo. Click To Tweet

Thank you for listening. xo ♥ ♥ ♥

For statistics on harassment see here

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a Thanksgiving SURPRISE!

November 23, 2017

I’ve been keeping a HUGE secret. Like, bigger than big. And it explains everything, friends. I promise. And what better day to share it than Thanksgiving, right?! That’s right — Remy Bea will be a middle child as of June 2018! I know, I know. After Remy Bea was born in January 2016, I swore […]

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The ONE Stocking Stuffer You NEED This Year. | PLUS A GIVEAWAY

November 22, 2017

As a busy mom I often find myself doing my self-care routine on-the-go. I mean that quite literally. I’ve been known to keep my makeup bag in my purse so that I can do my makeup in the car, usually in the parking lot before going into work. I know, I know… Lame, right? I […]

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Holiday Gift Guide // For Her

November 14, 2017

I can’t believe it’s nearly here! You know what I’m talking about — the most wonderful time of the year! Ya know, Christmas hasn’t always been my favorite holiday (I’m more of a Thanksgiving gal), but having kids has changed me in that way. I absolutely love Christmas because they love it so much. And […]

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Real Talk: I despise the stomach bug.

November 7, 2017

Real Talk: Every single time I have a good grasp on life, a plan of action, and a mission, something goes terribly, terribly, and unexpectedly, wrong. I know that this phenomenon is not something that I, alone, suffer from. I mean, I know it’s just life. But, damn!, the stomach bug has the worst way […]

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Explore Ohio // Fun Fall Activities

October 31, 2017

Fall has long been my favorite season here in Ohio. We truly get the best of it — the changing leaves, the crisp air, and all of the fun things to do! I’m not talking about your typical apple orchard and pumpkin patch. Nope. I’m talking about all of the things you’ve often overlooked. You […]

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Fall 2017 Favorites!

October 20, 2017

Fall is by far my most favorite time of year — the leaves are changing colors, the temperature is dropping, and the air is crisp. It’s perfection. One of my favorite things about Fall (besides Pumpkin Spice Lattés) is dressing and accessorizing for the season! But there is SO much more to Fall than clothes […]

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Happy Birthday Baby Ari //

October 16, 2017

It’s hard to believe that this day has arrived — my first baby, Ari, is no longer a baby in any sense of the term. Today he turns 5. I’m so sad and so happy. He’s turning into such a wonderful little boy. But it’s certainly bittersweet to say goodbye to the baby years of […]

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