The ULTIMATE Indy Holiday Guide!

OK Team.. it is no secret that I am the Christmas queen. My tree goes up the day after Halloween (it’s worth looking at for longer than a month!!!), I have Christmas music in my car year round, and I watch Home Alone 2 about once a week.  I love love love Christmas time. I wanted to put together a guide of some of my favorite holiday events for you all to enjoy in Indy… with that being said.. I introduce to you…

THE ULTIMATE INDY HOLIDAY GUIDE!

Circle of Lights – The Monument Lighting –

This is one of my most favorite events to kick off the holiday season. This takes place in the heart of downtown at the monument.  The Circle of Lights is presented by the Contractors of Quality Connection and Electrical Workers of IBEW 481. There is entertainment before the lighting and fireworks after. Most people stand around the circle. If you are lucky enough, you might be able to watch it from one of the office buildings around the circle.  The Sheraton hotel overlooks the monument. You might be able to get a room that has a circle view and stay warm! The weather is looking like it will be in the mid 40’s, so be sure to bundle up.

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Shop Small Saturday –

This is the 7th year for Mass Ave’s #SmallBizSat. There many businesses offering swag bags for the first 10 customers at their shops! There will also be local stores such as our favorite, Howl and Hide, who will be located at the pop-up shop location next to Yats. One of my favorite gifting shop is Silver in the City. They have everything from Indiana-themed gifts, jewelry, bags, posters, kitchen items, to even tea. You will surely find something for everyone on your list at Silver in the City.

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Yelp’s Totally Bazzar –

If you have to miss Shop Small Saturday, you can make up for it on December 8th from 6:30pm – 10pm for Yelp’s Holiday Bazzar!  You must RSVP on yelp though for admission. This takes place at the Indianapolis Public Library. It is a huge shopping party with over 150 local businesses. This has become one of my favorite holiday shopping events. RSVP here

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Sullivan Santa Express –

 Do you have a fan of the Polar Express in the family? This is a trip for you! The website describes it as “As the Sullivan Express leaves the woods, you’ll enjoy the smell of fresh greens as our North Pole-bound train moves through the Sullivan Christmas tree lot. As the train gets closer to the North Pole, there is a small problem that leads the train on a new course and some unexpected surprises… that you’ll have to see for yourself! Upon your arrival at the North Pole, the kids can play in Santa’s workshop as your family takes turns visiting with Kris Kringle himself. Afterward, you will catch the next train back to Central Station.” The price is AWESOME – $30 for a family (parents and children). For more information including ticket purchase and schedule, please visit Sullivan Hardware

Jolly Days At the Indianapolis Children’s Museum

I have fond memories of visiting the Children’s Museum as a child around Christmas time. The most memorable memory being the two-story slide that replaces the big staircase. The Yule slide is a blast for children and adults! You can ice skate in your socks, explore the ice castle, make it snow in the giant snow globe and so much more. The exhibit is free with admission. You can even visit Santa here!

SANTA MONICA, CA - DECEMBER 13: Santa Claus, A.K.A. Art Hubbell, gets a lick from Angel, a yellow labrador retriever at the Third Street Promenade on December 13, 2004 in Santa Monica, California. The 9th annual Pet Night at Santa Monica Place is getting help from Santa Claus to collect donations for the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, Los Angeles. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

Santa Pet Photo Days –

I adopted my fur baby a little under a year ago from the Indianapolis Humane Society. What better way to celebrate the season than to take your pet to get their picture taken with SANTA? PetSuites Resort and Spa is offering a few dates (December 2nd-4th) with Santa. The pictures all benefit the humane society. Prices start at $15.  While you’re there, the groomers are also offering holiday makeovers before the photos. Bonus: They board pets. Why not check out the place before making your holiday travel plans? Information can be found at IndyHumane.org

Reynolds Drive Thru Light Show –

This is a quick trip for the whole family. They put together the most beautiful displays every year! This display runs from dusk until dawn, November 22nd to January 2nd. It is a completely free event! In the spirit of giving, there are specific nights where donations are collected for the Fishers Come-To-Me Food Pantry. The address to the beginning of the display is 12501 Reynolds Drive Fishers, IN. For more information, please visit Reynold Farm Equipment.

Indianapolis School of Ballet/ISO – The Nutcracker –

What a wonderful way to mix both the ISO and local ballet together! This is actually the first time EVER that the ISO will perform the Nutcracker with the ballet – how cool! The nutcracker is a classic Christmas story. This is one of my favorite Christmas stories. This is only running one weekend Thursday – Sunday in December so be sure to pick up your tickets stat! For more information visit Indyballet.org

Christmas at the Zoo –

Bundle up! The Christmas lights at the zoo make for a magical winter wonderland. Traditional Carolers perform from 6pm-8pm. Enjoy delicious treats. You can also see Santa here. Christmas at the Zoo is included with regular admission. You can receive $1 off admission for up to four people when you bring a new hat, scarf or glove donation for the Mitten Donation Tree that supports our local St. Mary’s Child Center.

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St. Nikolaus Fest – This is SO MUCH FUN for the kiddos! Located at the athenaeum, St. Nikolaus Festival has been honoring the German tradition since 1985.  Refreshments, dancing, make-your-own gingerbread house, and most importantly the court is Sankt Nikolaus. You don’t have to be German to enjoy this – however, if you have younger kids, I would brush up on their version of Christmas.  Ruprecht is St. Nikolas’s companion who is there to “punish” the naughty kids. Of course, no actual punishment here, just laughter, joy and celebrating the wonderful season of Christmas. For more information, visit the Anthenaeumfoundation.org

See Santa LAND at IND

Ok, this looks wild! Santa will be practicing his route for his Christmas deliveries! He will be making a special stop at the Indianapolis Airport at 12pm on November 26th! You can watch him race across the tarmac to greet everyone awaiting his arrival. This is a great FREE event! You must register to attend.

Lights at the Brickyard –

This begins TODAY, November 25th! This is the first year for this event so I am super excited to check this out. . Attendees will experience more than 2 million lights in 400 displays across 40 scenes along a 1.7-mile driving experience, which includes crossing the famous “Yard of Bricks.” An absolute must for any Indy Car fan. The tickets are a bit pricey, starting at $20 a car, but worth loading up the family to go check it out.  Visit IndianapolisMotorSpeedway.com for ticket information.

Would you like your event featured here? Please contact me and I’d be happy to add it on the list! What are some holiday events you and your family never miss?

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Yelp’s Get Handsy Event

You’ve heard me talk about it before.. if you aren’t on yelp.. GET ON IT!! I am always amazed at the incredible events that yelp puts together for our community. This event was no different! This was an event with 6 different pop-up classes. They were each 20 minutes long and quick moving!

Candle Making with Onyx Candle Exchange: Oh I LOVED this one! The two founders of the company gave us the history of the candle company, explained the products they used, and explained about mixing different scents. Each chair in the classroom was labeled with a different scent. They picked two “scents” to come up and make their own candle. I love the idea of mixing different scents together! More often than not, I have a hard time finding the perfect candle at a major retailer. You are able to “smell-test” your scent before making a final decision. I think this would be an awesome event to book for an alternative bachelorette party, a girls night in, etc. The lucky two both made wonderful smelling candles. We event got to take two tea light samples home with us! I chose the Christmas-y smelling one… love it! What I loved most about Onyx is that they are local and use high end products – while still keeping their product affordable. I even learned that some companies put chemicals in the wick to make it burn faster! Not Onyx. 

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Calligraphy with No. 18 Paper – This was a fun class that I wish was longer! Luckily, Jessie offers longer workshops. I have pure chicken scratch handwriting, so my holiday card was less than stellar. I always wondered why people pay for a calligrapher for their wedding invitations… well, turns out it’s not as easy as it looks 😉

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Tinker Coffee: I learned a lot about coffee. I really enjoyed that they had three options – weak, normal, and strong coffee for us all to try. They explained the difference between the fineness of the bean and how it affect I am interested in potentially purchasing the aeropress that they demonstrated. Put that on the Christmas list!

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Indy Food Swap: The crostini stop!! Cranberries are my favorite and I loved the short demo on how to pickle them! I can’t wait to make the crostini dish for my family gatherings. I’ll be sharing the recipe in December with you!

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Homespun – These ladies taught us a fun, whimsical way to make your own gift wrap using brown kraft paper. Now i know what to do with my old romaine lettuce heads! Who knew dipping them in paint would create such pretty rosette patterns?

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Goose the Market – How to brine a turkey. The lady who led the session was so fun! I loved that she used clip art as her demonstration since we really couldn’t have a real turkey. How creative and lighthearted. I was so impressed with the session that for a girl who had zero interest in ever cooking a thanksgiving meal… I’m actually now quite intrigued. The brine process seems really cool!

I’ve said it ten thousand times before.. but I absolutely love the events that Brittany and the Yelp team put together. I’ve heard of so many of these businesses but have not had a chance to check them out. Now, I have some wonderful Christmas ideas! Have any of you attended a yelp event? They are AWESOME!!!

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Vineyard Vines Grand Opening – Indianapolis!

I am thrilled to welcome Vineyard Vines to the Fashion Mall @ Keystone in Indianapolis! Vineyard Vines is a brand that I have been following for over 15 years. I remember when VV had a teeny tiny pop up shop on Nantucket – back when they only sold ties and belts. It has been absolutely wild to see how they have grown and the brand they have become!

Thursday, November 17th 2016 marked the grand opening of Vineyard Vines in Indianapolis. The actual store has been open for quite some time. The two founders, Shep and Ian, flew in for the opening! How exciting! As someone who has worked in retail, it’s exciting to see that the founders are still very much in touch with the brand. 

I RSVPed online to receive a swag bag. Mine was a navy drawstring bag filled with Vineyard Vine stickers, pens, pencils, bracelets.. etc. Such an added bonus! The event started at 5pm, I arrived shortly after. There was a line but that only added to the excitement. I was so impressed with how upbeat and organized the staff was. They brought the energy and were interacting with the guests in line to keep them entertained and excited!

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I did not mind waiting in line at all. It was slow moving, however, everyone got to meet and talk with Shep and Ian. I’d much rather wait than be rushed and not even get a photo. The people around me were super friendly. The beer and wine was flowing, appetizers were passed around, and they even had live music!

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The store looked absolutely beautiful. It was merchandised perfectly. I love plaid for the holidays!

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When it was finally my turn, Shep and Ian made a joke about my sweater being “funny looking”. I wore a Nantucket sweater.. The Vineyard (where they spent their summers) and Nantucket are somewhat rival islands. I much prefer Nantucket 😉 but we laughed about it. They were very sweet and personable. I bet they never thought that quitting their jobs in the city and starting a tie company would EVER lead them to Indianapolis… but we are very thankful to welcome them here!

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Hats off to the wonderful staff of the Keystone location for putting all of this together! The event was the most organized, smooth grand opening of a store that I’ve ever been to. This was such a fun event and I’m looking forward to picking up a few Christmas party outfits here 🙂

 

 

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Project American Made

First and foremost, I want to recognize and thank all of our veterans. Thank you for your service. In honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to highlight a very special project that my good friend Christian from Howl and Hide has created.

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Howl and Hide

Howl and Hide is an Indiana based handcrafted leather goods business. I remember back when Christian was hand stitching a backpack in his basement a few years ago. Just for fun! How quickly time flies – I’m amazed at how far he has come. Quoting from their kickstarter:

Howl & Hide Supply Co. has brought to life the importance of this tradition not only in its hometown of Indianapolis, IN but throughout the Midwest. We understand the void in hand crafted leather goods because we are the consumer. We tried to find items that were 100% American Made and hand crafted and came up empty handed so we did it ourselves. Just like our ancestors did in building the cultural crossroads in the 1800’s. You will find all items hand cut and stitched a method that has long been forgotten. With our bags you will find the perfect sense of ruggedness and timelessness, built to last through years of wear and tear. It is our responsibility to not just produce these items but perfect them and settling has never been an option. Buying hand crafted eliminates repetitiveness and becomes and original.

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Project American Made

I knew Christian was hosting a sample sale today. What I didn’t realize is that he was also donating to his Project American made with the proceeds.  Everything on site and in store is 30% off. All proceeds go to their program Project American Made where theyare working to employ and empower struggling veterans. At opening, he had a line out of the door. A lady bought 8 bags within the first hour. Good to know for the next sample sale!

I had the pleasure of speaking with Christian today about Project American Made. Project American Made is comprised of 3 different phases:

  1. Starting with hosting and teaching workshops that provide occupational therapy for veterans. They take place at the store. Christian also has an open door policy with Horizon Home from 2-5 on Mondays. Through the Horizon Home, veterans can come in and learn how to stitch leather.
  2. Apprenticeship – Full time – 10 hours a week. After completing the workshops, those who perform well will be offered an apprenticeship. By this time next year, the goal is to have howl and hide wallets stitched completely by veterans. Personalized dog tags will be included with a purchase of an item made by the veteran. The dog tags will have the name, year served and branch.
  3. Employment – After completing the apprenticeship, Christian would like to hire the vets full time.

Christian was inspired by his father who was in the Navy and his Grandfather who was in the Army. The project was made possible by NAP – Neighborhood Assistance Program. Through the program, people are able to purchase a tax credit and their money goes to not-for-profit corporations. Proceeds from this credit program have provided Christian with the initial funding for the materials needed to jump start the program.

His overall goal is to empower and employ veterans.

More information on Project American Made can be found here.

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I personally think this project is insanely cool. The dog tags are an added bonus. I am in love with every bag and wallet that Christian produces. My favorite part of the store is the belt bar. He custom fits a belt to you and makes the holes. Personally, finding a belt that fits perfectly is nearly impossible for anyone.  If you haven’t stopped into his store – it looks like like it’s straight out of a magazine. Christian has truly created and fostered a wonderful brand.

The sample sale continues until 6pm Saturday, November 12th. You can shop online or stop into the store:

Howl & Hide Supply Co.
1656 English Ave
Indianapolis, IN 46201
T-F 11am-6pm S 11am-5pm

HowlandHideSupply.com

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What’s Kate Cooking? – Honey Sriracha Chicken

I feel like part of being a foodie is finding ways to make a dish your own. Sadly, I knew nothing about cooking until I moved to California about 2 years ago. I was broke and didn’t have a choice but to learn! Little did I realize how relaxing cooking can be. Completing a task and tasting the deliciousness of a recipe is quite the reward. I’ll be posting recipes weekly so let me know what you think!

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I served mine over a bed of rice and steamed broccoli as a side. Do you have a go-to Asian cuisine recipe?

 

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