Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Art

Dates are expensive. They don't always have to be, but when you're searching for something new and fun to do it often comes with a price tag.

Because I'm cheap, dates with my boyfriend are usually dinner out and renting a movie. While we often try new restaurants, it typically doesn't stray too far from that.

Last week we decided to try the Rhythm Kitchen for the first time. There is live jazz music after 6 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesdays, which was nice, but I wasn't impressed with my meal.

Regardless, on our way out we stopped to look in the window of an art studio in the same building. We were only stopped for a minute when a smaller, middle aged women came to the window and waved us in and we decide to explore.

The woman's name was Jody and she was the owner of the studio, The Hive. Even though there was a painting class in session, she brought us into the small studio and told us a little bit about her business.

The Hive is just a month old and is managed by Jody, who is retired. The Hive offers a variety of art lessons throughout the month. For just $35 you will receive materials as well as a two hour lesson. These lessons aren't just about the art of painting or sketching, The Hive offers lessons such as Cupcake Pop Art and a crafting lesson with wine corks.

Not only does the studio offer two hour lessons, it also has walk-in hours on Fridays which The Hive calls "Happy Art." During Happy Art hours, you can come into the studio and paint. For just $10 you receive a small canvass and paints and you can stay as long as you want and be creative.

For me the idea of a blank canvass is exciting. While my boyfriend, on the other hand, is doubtful of his creative abilities. We both agreed to come back soon for Happy Art and paint together. Even if you aren't on a date, painting and art lessons is a fun way to relax. If I hadn't agreed to go with my boyfriend, I would have already dragged my girlfriends there!

I'm excited to make my trip to The Hive and I couldn't help but share. For more information about the studio, visit their website, or like them on Facebook.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Meal for One Made Easy

Unlike many of my friends, I am not on a luxurious Spring Break trip. Instead I'm spending the week working in Peoria. However, I was able to go home for the weekend, before returning on Monday. Driving back to Peoria I knew my fridge was empty and I wouldn't last long without going to the grocery store.

 It has been only recently that I started shopping at Hyvee. And since I discovered their new Fuel Saver program, my visits have been more frequent. Monday after work I ran over to Aldi and Hyvee and that's when I discovered Hyvee's prepared meats section.

From marinated chicken to stuffed pork chops, Hyvee has a large variety to choose from. Because I often cook for myself, I was excited that there are several fresh meats available that not only spice up a meal, but would cut preparation time.

The best part is it was all inexpensive. Each marinated chicken breast was $1.67 (3 for $5), the stuffed pork chops were about $3 each. In addition there was also a large variety of twice baked potatoes for $1 each. I decided to try three different marinated chicken breast, italian, garlic butter and pesto parmesan seasoned. I also got a a cheddar bacon twice baked potato.

In addition to the prepared fresh meat, Hyvee also sells pre-made meals from their kitchen such as orange chicken and pasta salad. Depending on the meal and portion some items were inexpensive while others were more than what I would like to spend.

If you often cook for yourself, or are looking for something different to spice up your meals take a walk past the Hyvee butcher counter. You just might find something you like!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Stylish... For less!

This week's post is more for the ladies. Recently I have been going through my closet and pulling out the clothes I don't wear anymore. I figured if I condense my closet now, it will be easier to move come May.

This Saturday I took a bag of old clothes over to Plato's Closet on Sterling Ave., in hopes of making a few dollars. I dropped my clothes off then ran over to the mall to pick up a few things. When I came back, I was disappointed to find that Plato's Closet was only accepting one of my tops for $2.53. But the trip wasn't a complete waste. When I left Plato's Closet, I walked past a new shop right next store: Clothes Mentor.
Clothes Mentor is like the "big sister" of Plato's Closet. It is a consignment store just like Plato's but has more space, more dressing rooms and best of all better brands.

 Clothes Mentor carries business and professional outfits with brands ranging from Express to Ann Taylor Loft. Not only that, but the Peoria location has a complete rack of Vera Bradley bags. The difference between brands and products sold at Clothes Mentor and Plato's Closet shows that the target audience is full-time working woman vs. teenage girl.

I know consignment stores aren't for everyone, but I personally have always enjoyed stopping by Plato's Closest for lightly used jeans and great finds that still have the original tags on them. Needless to say, I was excited with what I found walking into Clothes Mentor. Although I didn't buy anything during my trip, I'm excited that I have another place to shop for business clothes at a discount price.

If you're in the area and looking for a new top to go with your dress pants, Clothes Mentor is definitely worth a stop.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

With a Cherry on Top

Over this past weekend my mom and her best friend drove down from the Chicago suburbs to spend a night with me in Peoria. In the past four years my family has made many trips down to visit me away at school, but this was the first time my mom was able to come down without the whole family. With that being said, I was excited to show her all of the places in Peoria that I haven't gotten a chance to.

One of our many destinations was Cherry Berry, my favorite spot to get a sweet treat in Peoria. While frozen yogurt has become a hip trend in the Peoria area, the same cannot be said for every town in the U.S. I knew my mom had never been to a frozen yogurt bar and decided this frozen yogurt joint would be a perfect after lunch snack.

Cherry Berry is a franchise yogurt bar. It's Peoria location, on Sterling Ave. (Across from Plato's Closet) opened about six months ago and since my first taste this fall, I've been hooked. The store is a little hidden, but it's always busy. In comparison to other frozen yogurt places, I like Cherry Berry the most because of it's flavor selections and price.
Both of these cups together were only $10.

Cherry Berry has 12 flavor selections to choose from, all of which rotate. That means each time you visit, there are new flavors to choose from. I think that by having a wide selection, it makes the experience more fun.

In addition, Cherry Berry is less expensive than other yogurt bars in the area. Each ounce costs 45 cents and although I don't fill my cup, my order is typically around $3.

Not only does each ounce cost lower, but the Peoria location of Cherry Berry runs promotions almost every day. From buy one, get on half-off to 3 oz off each cup the business advertises their specials on a daily basis.

For Bradley Students, Wednesday is student night and all students get 3 oz off their cup. Not only do they have great promotions, but they also have a rewards program, once you reach 50 points ($1= 1 point) you get a cup free!

My mom really enjoyed Cherry Berry and I have a feeling it is a place we'll visit together again. I have always loved frozen yogurt so I'm excited I found a place where I can enjoy a treat without breaking the bank. If you haven't been to Cherry Berry yet, it's definitely worth the trip!