Goodbye Cincinnati, Hello Jacksonville

September 26, 2013

To explain my long absence here lately, we are now residents of Jacksonville, Florida! I had big plans for posts in August and September, assuming I would have plenty of time for my business plus everything that comes with moving across the country. I couldn’t be more wrong! Between visiting friends and family, scheduling movers, and packing up everything we own, not much happened on the business side of things. I basically left my job at the beginning of August to have a month to prepare to move. It took most of September to get settled in, but I’m starting to get back into a routine.

We are super excited to be in Florida, but also sad to leave behind so many wonderful friends and places in Ohio. I thought it would be fun to list some of my favorite things that we did while we lived there, an Ohio bucket list for you!


  • See the Cincinnati Reds play at Great American Ballpark
  • Go outdoor ice skating in Fountain Square
  • Experience the sights and shop international groceries at Jungle Jim’s – my grandmother would spend 3 hours here every time she came to visit, no lie!
  • Spend a Saturday at Findlay Market – Dojo Gelato, I’m thinking of you!
  • Have dinner at ThreeSixty, a revolving restaurant with amazing views from the riverfront of Cincinnati.
  • Try local Ohio BBQ (Montgomery Inn BBQ and City BBQ)
  • Volunteer and shop at Crafty Supermarket
  • Have some coneys or even a 3-way at Skyline Chili
  • Go bar hopping at Mt. Adams (my favorites – The Blind Lemon, Monk’s Cove, and Longworth’s) and go up to the monastery for an incredible view of the city and Ohio/Kentucky border.
  • See the shark-rays at Cincinnati Aquarium
  • Have a Lager or Dunkel at the Hofbrauhaus and enjoy some German culture, including a live accordion player. (I just discovered that my maiden name, Hagerman means “North German,” so of course I love this place.)
  • Attend an outdoor concert at Riverbend (Incubus, Bush, Dave Matthews Band)
  • Attend a match at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament
  • See a show at the Aronoff (Beauty + the Beast, Seinfeld)


  • Go on the Candelight Tour of renovated historic homes in the Oregon District
  • Take your pet to Oak Grove Dog Park – we took Cody here all the time, it’s free with separate areas for large and small dogs.
  • Attend the Celtic Festival live music, including Gaelic Storm who performed in the third class party scene on Titanic.
  • Browse great works of art at The Dayton Art Institute and enroll your child in Summer Art Camp, which I attended in grade school.
  • Attend a Dayton Fliers basketball game and/or the NCAA First Four at the UD Arena
  • Go to Elsa’s for authentic Mexican food and the Bad Juan, the strongest margarita ever (they make you stop drinking after two)
  • Have dinner in the Oregon District (Thai 9)
  • Take advantage of Restaurant Week to get discounts on fine dining (El Meson, Figlio)
  • See a show at the Schuster Center (The Lion King)
  • Attend a Dayton Dragons game – they are minor league, but tickets usually sell out!
  • Go to the Ohio Renaissance Festival to shop local artists, see plays acted out in mud, and attend a live jousting match!
  • Attend an outdoor concert at JD Legends and get your redneck on, a.k.a. great people watching, tiki bar, and a party in the sand (Badfish, Justin Moore, Aaron Lewis, Charlie Daniels Band)
  • Buy local and organic food straight from the farmers at 2nd Street Market

If you happen to visit Cincinnati or Dayton yourself, you have my recommendations! There are tons of great things to do in these two cities that I didn’t mention but I had to stop at some point. If you have any must dos to add to my list, please share them in the comments!

Photo by Steven Weis.


Firecracker Stakes : 4th of July Party

July 4, 2013

Last weekend we hosted a 4th of July and horse race betting party at our condo. We thought our friends might be out of town or busy on the 4th, so we wanted to have a get-together earlier in the week. We titled the event the “Red White and Blue Firecracker Stakes,” named for the Churchill Downs horse races going on that day. I enjoyed decorating for the party and making appetizers – we don’t have parties often enough so it was a great excuse to go all out. Will painted a sign that read “Welcome to the Firecracker Stakes,” which turned out really well considering I was supposed to make it! Everyone brought a side dish or dessert and we made hamburgers and hot dogs. I forgot to take pictures once the dining table was set buffet style, but I took some good ones beforehand.


The guys have been really into betting on horses since we all went to the Kentucky Derby in May, but they realized maybe there’s a cheaper way to watch the races and have a fun time. To limit the money being spent, we created our own game. Each person brings $10 for the pot and we have 4 teams of 2 people (couples in our case). We take turns picking horses for each race, and first to pick 3 winners get a prize, and first to 5 winners gets the jackpot. We set up 2 TVs in the living room with a laptop connected to each so we could live steam the races from whatever race track we chose. We had a great time, even though the same couple won the prize (Target gift card) and all the money!


Hope these photos inspire you to throw your own holiday bash for the 4th! Enjoy your day today and have a Happy 4th of July!


My Lyst | Mint + Mango

June 23, 2013

Hello friends, I hope you have all been enjoying the summer so far! We had a fantastic time on our cruise and I’ll share photos when I get the chance. I just discovered Lyst this week, where you can follow brands and be notified when your favorite items go on sale – really fun! While browsing (a.k.a. obsessing) I realized I’m drawn to shades of mint and mango. I love how these pieces all coordinate. The key to mixing two bright colors is to wear one print that ties them together, like this floral dress or a light scarf. What colors are on your wishlist this summer?

{ Stripe Tee | Tote | Floral Dress | Necklace | Bracelet | Sequin Tank }


Happy Third Anniversary, Will!

June 5, 2013

Will and I were married three years ago today! It’s hard to believe so much time has passed already! These are a couple of my favorite photos from our wedding day. I shared our wedding video last year if you want to see more!

I’m currently in Ft. Lauderdale enjoying a day off before we board our cruise in the morning, sailing to Key West and Cozumel. I can barely contain my excitement!

For Will: I’m so blessed to be married to my best friend and love of my life. We have made it this far and I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us next. I love you!

Photo by Megan Forehand Photography.


Catch Up + Vacation!

June 1, 2013

It’s been a crazy few weeks in April and May! I enjoyed my time off in April so much that I failed to take many photos for Instagram and Facebook. No sign of slowing down until next week, when I will be aboard the Carnival Victory cruise to Key West and Cozumel for our Anniversary! I’m flying into Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday night, I’ll have a beach day while Will is at work on Wednesday, then we are going to see Fall Out Boy at Miami Beach that night! I’m loving their new album, give it a listen if you haven’t heard it yet. Our cruise leaves on Thursday and I’m hoping to relax and unwind free of internet and cell phones – but no worries, I will take photos this time!

Here is what has been going on with me:

  • Remember my baby shower moodboard that I shared a couple months back? We hosted our woodland themed baby shower in Ann Arbor, MI in April and everything turned out great! I’ve been aluding to this post for a while now, so I promise to share all details about the invitation, decor, and favors when I get back!
  • Since mom-to-be Cheryl lives in Jacksonville, we took a road trip down from Michigan to bring down all her baby gifts. It was a fun girls trip with many stops along the way, including a hiking day in Gatlinburg, TN and lunch and a quick visit with a friend in Greenville, SC! I added 2 new states to my visited list – the Carolinas! While in Jacksonville we relaxed at Ponte Vedra Spa and spent a lot of time at the beach and visiting family – it was wonderful.
  • We took our annual friends trip to the Kentucky Derby in May, which was great fun as always! Unfortunately, it rained the entire time while we were under a makeshift fort in the infield, but it made for a lot of great memories, and more reasons to drink mint juleps!
  • Last week I shared my first guest post about Alabama for Elembee’s Across the USA series, make sure to check it out!
  • I’m participating in It’s A Banner Day at Hygienic Art in New London, CT which opens today! This exhibition is put on by one of my favorite design bloggers Patti Murphy and her sister Kat. I created a banner titled “Just BE,” which you can see in the banner gallery on the website. It has 4 flags in fun colors, that read “BE Spontaneous. BE Adventurous. BE Humorous. BE Generous.” That’s a reminder that I need sometimes, so I thought it was a great theme for my submission. I wish I lived close enough to attend – how cool that something I designed is being displayed in a state I haven’t even visited yet?!
  • In the rest of my free time I’ve been doing a lot of spring cleaning and decluttering in our condo – it feels great not having as much junk and I have dropped off at least 1 bag to Goodwill each week – while avoiding going inside to collect more stuff!

I’m super pumped about my cruise, I’ll have tons more to share when I return! Hope you are having a great weekend everyone : )

(Photo source)


Across the USA to Alabama

May 24, 2013

I’m talking my about my favorite places to visit in Alabama for the Across the USA series over at Elembee today! Head on over there for some travel tips from this Bama girl and photos of my favorite state. Kory from A New Journey is joining me to tell about another southern state that I love, Tennessee!

*EDIT (April 11, 2015)*

Lisa did an overhaul of her website (it looks amazing!) but the Across the USA Series didn’t make the cut. This was my piece about Alabama:

I lived in Alabama for my entire life up to about 3 years ago, when I moved to Ohio. I currently live in Dayton, OH with my husband and little dog. We still visit Alabama often to see family and friends, and we both miss living on campus at the University of Alabama!

Alabama has a lot of rural beauty with scenic farmland, beaches, lakes, rivers, and a few cities in between. It’s so wonderful in the spring when everything is green and there are blooms everywhere! It really is true what they say about Southerners being so nice, you can’t go anywhere without being greeted by friendly locals. Since there aren’t any professional sports teams, everyone has a lot of enthusiasm for their chosen college team. Whether you’re an Auburn or Alabama fan (and you have to pick one!), there’s a lot of camaraderie and it’s great to be a part of.

It’s hard to pick just a few places to visit, since everything is so spread out, so I decided to talk about each of my favorite cities in Alabama and hopefully you will have a chance to visit at least one of them!

  • Birmingham: As Alabama’s largest city there are so many options for whatever you may be interested in. For some good southern comfort food check out the Irondale Cafe, which is the original Whistle Stop Cafe from the Fried Green Tomatoes book and movie! I highly recommend visiting Homewood, where you will find many local shops and art galleries. Drive up to Red Mountain to see the statue of Vulcan standing high above the city. The view is incredible, plus Vulcan Park is a great place to picnic or go in the museum to learn about the history of the iron and steel industry in Birmingham. If you want to learn more area history, go Downtown to the Civil Rights District. There you can visit the Civil Rights Institute and see sites of historical events that sparked the Civil Rights Movement, including the 16th Street Baptist Church.
  • Mobile: This is the place to be for white sandy beaches and great seafood. It’s also about an hour from Gulf Shores, which is another top vacation spot in Alabama. Try Felix’s Fish Camp for freshly caught fish, oysters and shrimp and an excellent view of the bay. Visit during Mardi Gras if you can – despite popular belief, the original Mardi Gras took place in Mobile and they take a lot of pride in that fact. There are several weeks of parades and they are so much fun!
  • Huntsville: If you are into science, visit the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The museum has many exhibits that are great for families. You can also experience the anti-gravity and simulation of space travel in amusement park rides outside the museum. If you are really adventurous, you can enroll in Space Camp (for kids) or Space Academy (for adults) and train like an astronaut. Travel back in time with a visit to Alabama Constitution Village, a living village depicting Huntsville as it was in 1819 at the time of the state’s founding.
  • Tuscaloosa: Visit in the fall to watch University of Alabama football and experience southern tailgating on the quad. It’s not your average tailgate, many people grill out wearing dresses and polos – some people even set up their tent with furniture! We love our football and it doesn’t hurt that Bama is the National Champion for two years running! It’s also worth it to take a tour and see the few buildings that survived the Civil War, plus the campus is beautiful!

Photo by Steve Driskell.


Emerald + St. Patty’s {Weekend Treasury}

March 15, 2013

Even though I’m not Irish in any way, St. Patrick’s Day has always been one of my favorite holidays. Not only do you get to wear green, drink green beer, and listen to Celtic music, you can celebrate knowing that spring is coming and everything outside will soon be green as well!

The Pantone Color of the Year also happens to be Emerald, so what better time to create an Emerald + St. Patty’s Treasury! I hope you enjoy my Etsy picks before you head out to your weekend plans.

Speaking of weekend festivities, we are going to Columbus on Saturday to see Slightly Stoopid and a couple other reggae bands! I know it’s not Irish music, but it works for me! I’ll be there with my new green top from Express and glitter shamrock glasses from the dollar store! It’s going to be awesome : )



Spring Green Shamrock p…


Saint Patrick’s Day…


Rough – Raw- Emerald Ri…


Colombian Emerald Bezel…


Emerald Green Nautical …


St. Patricks Day Earrin…


Teal Me…Please – Teal…


screen printed tote bag…


Lucky Leprechaun Crown …


St Patricks Day Garland…


Emerald Green Earrings …


Large Silk Scarf in Eme…


Shop Sale.. EMERALD RON…


St. Patrick’s Day S…


Lace Fabrics 3D Emerald…


Treasury tool supported by the dog house


Baby Shower Mood Board

March 8, 2013

Baby Shower Moodboard

This week I spent some time designing the invitation for Cheryl’s upcoming baby shower, and I finally finished and ordered them on Wednesday! I’m not going to share the final design just yet – so these are some of my favorites from our secret inspiration board on Pinterest.  As I mentioned in the last post, her shower is going to be a woodland animals theme, similar to her nursery decor. The little fox above is from the Little Darlings collection and I am absolutely in love with them! Now that the invite has been ordered, I’m thinking of making some matching printable cupcake toppers and bookmark favors. We have so many fun decoration and game ideas – I can’t wait to see it all come together in April!

Your turn: Do you have a favorite baby shower idea that we should use?! Please share in the comments : )

{ centerpiece | fox | invitation | woodland animals | framed illustration | cupcake table }


Name Changes

March 1, 2013

Changes, changes… the change I’m really wanting right now is for spring to arrive, and for all the trees to bloom like this photo. It snowed yesterday, then promptly melted again so it was just gloomy and wet. It looks like I’ll have to settle with virtual changes for now.

I want to thank my readers for your patience as I try to find my writing style and the purpose for this blog. After much deliberating, I finally decided to run everything under one identity. I will no longer be writing under the title Creative Seeker. Obviously, I had a problem with the name deep down, because I never got around to finishing the header design! From now on, the blog will go under the name Mare Design + Boutique to make all of my projects consistent and to simplify by maintaining one website rather than several. I’ve updated the facebook link and I will be adding new posts in the Mare Boutique fan page. If you are subscribed via feed readers you should still receive updates and going to will still direct you to the homepage. Over the next few weeks I’ll be working on updating the design and pages to reflect the new name. I’m excited for this change and I hope you will like the new look!

In addition to the new blog name, I have a few exciting things in the works:

  • My sister-in-law is expecting a baby in June! – I’m currently designing a baby shower invite and helping plan the shower in April – we’re going with a woodland animals theme and I’m looking forward to seeing it all come together!
  • I’m a featured Etsy shop owner on Etsy Conversations Podcast! I’ve been waiting for them to update the website, but you can listen to my interview on iTunes or mp3. The episode is called “Mare Boutique shopkeeper interview.”
  • Mare Boutique shop launch coming up next week – there will be a re-opening sale… more details soon.
  • Our dog Cody is being featured in the March issue of Frontgate catalog! If you get it in the mail, he’s on page 108 : )
  • Planning a trip to Jackson, Mississippi in March for my grandmother’s 90th birthday – we’ll be there a few extra days so we have some fun plans for a long weekend.
  • Writing my first guest post, can’t wait to share it with you!
  • Looking forward to a Mary Kay facial with friends this weekend! It will be cold out, so it will be a nice way to spend a Saturday afternoon indoors.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Stay warm, spring will be here soon!

Photo by Paul Istoan.