Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.
Fall decor finds on a budget
1 Round Metal Wire Storage Basket | 2 Pumpkin Gourd Garland | 3 Distressed Wood Lantern | 4 Set of Six White Pumpkins | 5 Metal Filigree Pumpkin Tealight Holder | 6 Round Metal Filigree Pumpkin Tealight Holder | 7 Autumn Wooden Sign | 8 Harvest Candle | 9 Large Distressed Pumpkin | 10 Burlap Jute Acorns
While most people go all-out for their holiday decor in December, I’m a little partial to the warm tones and coziness of what autumn brings! Bright orange pumpkins don’t have to be the main event when decorating for fall on a budget.
Throw in some warm colors like deep oranges and reds for a traditional focus on the season. For more of a glam, or even relaxed farmhouse feel, add some distressed whites and grays to your mantle to showcase those gorgeous white and neutral pumpkins this time of year!
There is often a debate as to how early is too early to decorate for fall. For some, it’s when the air starts to chill and even when the leaves start to turn. Being in Oklahoma, my guideline is just after Labor Day, the official end of summer since it can still be relatively hot even in October.
The gorgeous natural tones and the thought of cooler weather makes me want to turn on the fireplace and curl up with a good book and a warm drink!
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer! These are simple tips to protect your blog or business in the world of digital marketing. If you have additional questions, touch base with a lawyer specializing in your niche to help protect you and your business.
Some of the links on the blog are affiliate links. This means I may receive a small commission – at no charge to you! – if you click on a link and make a purchase. These affiliate links help us keep things running! Click here to view our disclosure policy.
Did you know there are laws regarding how you should manage your email list for your blog, organization or website? Before you start sending emails to your list (or if you already have!), be sure to review the highlights of what you can and can’t do with your email subscribers.
Why is the CAN-SPAM Act important?
The CAN-SPAM Act was passed in 2003 and helps protect consumers (or in this case, email recipients) from spammers. You’re probably thinking, “But I’m not a spammer!” I know. Me neither.
You can accidentally step into dangerous territory in the email marketing world without even realizing it, which can lead to some serious ramifications, like having your email address/domain blacklisted. Yikes!
In no fancy words, the CAN-SPAM Act helps keep businesses honest in their marketing practices and helps keep your inbox sparkly clean.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when emailing your subscribers, whether you have 5 email subscribers or 500,000:
Always get permission to email your subscribers
If you have a subscribe box or landing page (thanks, ConvertKit!) on your website or social media, your subscribers have opted-in, or given permission, for you to send them emails. This is the safest way to add subscribers to your list.
By having several places on your website where people can opt-in to your email list, you’re allowing them the option – and opportunity! – to invite you into their inbox.
That being said, there are a few ways to add subscribers to your email list when they don’t subscribe directly through your website.
If you’d like to add subscribers manually to your email list, you can ask them directly via email for permission, send them a survey about your services and add an opt-in checkbox at the bottom encouraging them to sign up for your mailing list or in the case of businesses that are at trade shows at events, have a sign-up sheet where people can add their email.
Here are some ways you cannot add people to your subscriber list:
- Add people who email you for any reason
- Add prospective clients who use your website’s contact form
- Add clients who have not formally opted-in
- Add people who have commented on your blog or website
- Add people who interact with you on social media
- Use email harvesting or bots to gain subscribers
Keep your subject lines honest
It’s 2017 and you’re using the internet, so you’re probably familiar with the term clickbait. More and more social platforms and news outlets are cracking down on the use of clickbait, where the title of an article encourages you to click on the website, but the website is either irrelevant or lacks the information it promised in its title.
No clickbait in your emails. Don’t title an email “This is the best deal ever created!” and then only offer 10% off your services or products. Make sure that the title of your email is directly relevant to what’s inside.
That’s not to say you can’t have fun creating clever, click-worthy titles to your emails. They just have to be relevant. If not, you could 1) be flagged as spam and/or 2) get a hefty fine.
Keep your “From” lines honest, too!
By law, you’re required to be honest in who your emails are being “sent” from. That means you can’t place Justin Bieber’s name in the from line of your emails, unless of course, you work in the Biebs’ marketing department, sending emails out to his mailing list.
Here are a few examples of what you can place in your subject lines:
- Your organization’s name (or any abbreviation)
- Your name (First only or first and last or first, last and business name)
- The name of a current employee of your business or organization
- As long as it is relevant to the email and the employee approves it
Add a mailing address to your emails
This rule is probably the most broken… but don’t do it! You must have a mailing address in your emails. In fact, some email marketing platforms won’t let you send a single email until you’ve filled out your address. While you can add your home address, it is highly discouraged for obvious safety reasons.
Pro tip for online business owners: Sign up for a mailbox at a local UPS Store or a PO Box at your local post office. You can buy the smallest and/or cheapest option and ta-da! You have a business mailing address.
If you take advantage of a coworking space, many offer a mail service, which allows you to receive mail from that location and use the coworking space’s address as your email marketing contact address.
Place an unsubscribe link in every email
If you’re using a credible email marketing platform, an unsubscribe button or link is something that cannot be edited or removed from the emails you send. If not, make sure you’re placing a link for your subscribers to easily opt-out of your emails.
Depending on your email marketing platform, you can also link to a page that allows subscribers to choose how often they receive your emails, as well.
The unsubscribe link must be placed at the bottom of every email and cannot be concealed so it’s difficult for your subscribers to find. I personally moved from MailChimp to ConvertKit about a year and a half ago and I’ve been incredibly thrilled with it since day one! Click here to sign up for ConvertKit.
Remove unsubscribers from your list within 10 days
If you’re using an email marketing platform, this is most likely on autopilot and you don’t have to worry. Websites like MailChimp, Constant Contact and ConvertKit take care of unsubscribes through the handy link that’s at the bottom of the emails you send.
However, if you’re sending your marketing emails and have a ‘Reply to’ email address, sometimes you’ll get an email from someone asking to remove them from their mailing list. No matter how many clients, big or small, I’ve had, it still happens. You’ll need to make sure they’ve been removed from your mailing list, stat! Okay, not ‘stat,’ but within ten days, max.
What are some of your biggest email marketing struggles? Let me know in the comments below!
Perfect gluten-free cake for summer!
Summer is all about spending time outdoors – or ya know, on patios – watermelon, cookouts, and hot weather. But why does that mean cake can’t come to the party?
This little cake is a subtle nod to that popular summer holiday in the states, whether you call it 4th of July, Independence Day, or Firecracker Day (really, I’ve heard it all!). With strawberries and blueberries baked within and topping the cake, it’s a nice little tribute to America.
I’m all about transparency, so the story behind this cake recipe is this: I thought this gluten-free cake was going straight to the trash. Really.
For the first time ever, my frosting failed, the cake fell in, it took way too long to bake, and I was ready to taste the cake and immediately dump it.
But I didn’t.
Because it turned out amazing.
If you’re someone who isn’t a fan of frosting, this is the cake for you. If you’re someone who loves frosting and can eat it right out of the bowl (hi, that’s me), this is the cake for you, too. If you want an excuse to eat cake in the summer, this is for you, too.
I adapted this recipe from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring’s basic vanilla cake; however, I made some major modifications to this gluten-free cake recipe thanks to the berries, my desire to make it a little less sweet, and my genuine screw-ups along the way.
I have one major tip when baking, because I always wanted to make cute little 6″ cakes, but until recently, didn’t have the cute little pans:
Never make enough batter for an 8″ cake pan and pour it into 6″ cake pans. Just don’t do it! Even by accident! You’ll regret your whole life!
Okay, you won’t regret your whole life, but your cake will take forever to bake and will become slightly dry. And your husband or wife will be forced to eat an entire bowl-full of the extra gluten-free cake you had to slice off the top.
This cake isn’t your super-sweet, give-you-a-headache, covered-in-frosting cake. It has a light, airy sweetness thanks to the dusting of powdered sugar and strawberry and blueberry puree within the cake.
It even tastes delicious warm, room temperature or cool.
When you top this cake with the berry purees, it gives it a slightly tangy and satisfying bite that’s unlike other cakes, making it perfect for late spring or the hot days of summer.
2 cups Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free 1-to-1 baking flour
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 egg whites + 1 whole egg at room temperature
1 1/4 cups buttermilk at room temperature*
*If you’re like me and always forget buttermilk, here’s an easy substitute: Add 1-1.5 tablespoons lemon juice to regular milk, stir and let rest for 5-10 minutes. You’ll see it slightly curdle – that’s good. Stir before mixing with other ingredients.
5-8 strawberries, depending on size
1 cup blueberries
Pre-heat oven to 350. Grease two 8″ or three 6″ baking pans and place parchment paper cut to fit in the bottom.
In a medium bowl, sift flour, cornstarch, baking soda and baking powder. Add salt and whisk.
In a large bowl or bowl attached to a stand mixer, add butter, granulated sugar and vanilla. Mix on medium-high for 3 minutes until fluffy. You may need to scrape the mixture off the sides of the bowl halfway through.
Combine the egg whites, egg and buttermilk (or buttermilk substitute) into a bowl and whisk to combine.
Add the dry ingredients in 4 equal portions into the bowl with butter, sugar and vanilla, alternating with the milk and egg mixture. Mix between adding portions.
Continue to beat ingredients on medium speed until everything is fully combined and smooth.
Divide the batter into two (for 8″ pans) or three (for 6″ pans) and pour into medium-sized bowls.
In a food processor, chop up the strawberries until they’re mostly smooth – a few larger pieces are just fine. Pour half of the berry purée into one (for 8″ pans) or two (for 6″ pans) bowls of batter. Mix by hand to combine. Set the remaining berry purée aside for topping later.
Repeat the processing steps for the blueberries, adding a little less than half of the purée to the remaining pan(s). Set the remaining purée aside for topping.
Pour mix into pans until they’re filled evenly. Place the baking pans into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick is clean and they are golden brown.
Remove the cakes from the oven and cool the cake in pans for 10-20 minutes before placing cakes onto a wire rack. Remove parchment paper and allow to cool completely.
To assemble the gluten-free cake, place on a stand, serving platter or plate. Place the first layer on the surface, then spread 1-2 tablespoons one of the berry purées on top until covered, but not dripping down the sides. Place the alternating flavor cake on top of the first layer. If using 3 6″ layers, spread the other berry purée and place the third layer on top.
If serving immediately, sift desired amount of powdered sugar on top and sides of cake. If serving later, wait until serving time to dust powdered sugar, since it will melt into the cake within a few hours.
Optional: Spread a tablespoon of each purée on center of cake, then top with berries or spread berry purée on individual pieces. Mix berry purée with cream cheese frosting and use between layers instead of puree-only.
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.
For some people – like myself! – half the fun of traveling is packing and over the years, I’ve perfected my airplane essentials list. I’ve figured out the things I can’t live without while traveling by plane and the things that make my life with arthritis, a gluten-free diet, and autoimmune disease much easier. Most importantly, I’ve figured out the things that aren’t worth bringing because they never get used. I’ve even figured out the items that help me speed through security without an additional bag check, because that can slow down your race to the gate by a few minutes to half an hour!
First, it’s important to start with what’s on your body before you get out the door.
Things I never wear to the airport:
- Statement jewelry
- Dresses – especially maxi dresses – you’re more likely to be stopped by TSA for additional screening
- Flip flops or strappy sandals – Mostly because you don’t want your bare feet touching the floor where thousands of others’ have, especially if you have autoimmune disease
- Layers that are difficult to remove, like over-the-head sweatshirts and jackets
- Hairstyles that require lots of bobby pins or metal hair accessories
- Outfits that would work well in hot weather – because airplanes can be cold!
Things I do wear to the airport:
- Sneakers, Sperrys or slip-on Keds
- Socks (and if not, I have them ready to slip on at security/TSA Checkpoint)
- Leggings or stretchy jeans
- Tank top or plain tee
- Oversized cardigan, preferably with pockets!
- Simple necklace and earrings (these go in my carry-on until I’ve passed security)
- Crossbody purse as a personal item
The number of items you may wear or pack depends on your ultimate destination, but here are my can’t-leave-home-without-’em airplane essentials that make traveling a breeze!
This guy is a lifesaver. Not only is it easy to strap to your carry-on, but I also put some of the items that appear in this list in it: nose spray, facial spray, earbuds, a spare pen, Kindle, eye mask. What I love about this travel set is the pillow inflates when you take the blanket out, so you can control the firmness.
It works great as a lumbar pillow, regular pillow or just something to rest your hands on when tray tables are in their upright position. Shoutout to my arthritis friends! It’s also nice to have a little pillow and blanket in unfamiliar hotel rooms, too.
One time while traveling, I realized I was down to only one of these and still had a flight left before I was home. It was not pleasant. These delicious-smelling towelettes are a lifesaver on dirty planes, in not-so-clean hotel rooms and a great way to take makeup off or refresh your face at the end of a long travel day or a mid-flight nap. The lavender scent is also a great way to naturally ease any jitters before takeoff.
Since they’re antibacterial, I use these to wipe down the tray table, seat belt and everything around me when I board a plane. These are also great to do a little extra cleaning when you get to your hotel room, because trust me, it’s not as clean as you think!
My husband teases me about this one when I remember to bring it, but especially when we’re traveling early morning or late night, this is a lifesaver. It’s a great way to restore moisture to your face when you’re in a rush. And this spray lasts forever. Once you’ve stepped off the plane, spritz this facial spray under or over makeup. It’s especially lovely whether you’re on your way to your destination or back home to the real world.
I do not travel anywhere without this thing. Seriously, it’s such a life saver. As someone with autoimmune issues, I’m not keen on drinking out of the tap or water fountains. I bring this empty water bottle through airport security and fill it up before I get on my flight.
This water bottle is also a big money saver! Ever notice how water bottles can get pretty expensive in hotels? The filter in this water bottle removes all the gunk and leaves you with delicious water even from your hotel bathroom. The ounces markings also make it easy for me to track how much water I’ve had for the day. Gotta stay hydrated!
If I had the time, I would read three books a week, minimum. While I use my Kindle at home, it gets the most use when I’m traveling. I’m a fast reader and once I start a good book, it is impossible for me to put it down. This is especially true when on planes and in airports where the wifi is spotty, expensive or non-existent. Plus, it feels a little better to pass the time reading a book than it does to mindlessly play games on your phone or scroll through Facebook, right?
My favorite thing about my Kindle – besides the fact I got it half-price through a Black Friday sale – is Kindle Unlimited. For anyone who reads more than one book a month, it is 100% worth it. For $10 a month, you have access to over a million books on your Kindle.
Considering Kindle books can be anywhere from $5 to $15+, if you read one or two a month, you get your money’s worth. They even have super popular books, like the Harry Potter series and The Handmaid’s Tale.
With Kindle Unlimited, you also get access to thousands of audiobooks and magazines in addition to the massive library of regular e-books. Double win!
It’s hard to imagine traveling without a smart phone, laptop, tablet, and ahem, Kindle! Even on short flights, I bring a portable charger. This thing has saved many a situation and is at the top of my airplane essentials list. You never know when you might have to bust out the navigation on your phone, which is a total battery suck, or research gluten-free restaurants near your hotel without access to an outlet.
This particular charger from Anker has been my favorite. I’ve gone through a few, but the Anker PowerCore has lasted me a few years. It holds a charge for a long time (fully charges an iPhone from 0%), is so small it can fit anywhere – even a pocket! – and recharges itself quickly. As of June 2017, it’s on sale for 50% off (under $20!).
I’ve mentioned this staple in blog posts before, but it bears repeating: This stuff is amazing. It’s on the list for airplane essentials and life essentials. This sweet little balm goes beyond a simple lip balm: Calm cuticles, patches of dry skin, smooth flyaways, keep brows in place, and even as an emergency makeup remover. It’s perfect for ladies with psoriasis to help soothe skin! It’s soft, gentle, and the little tin gives it a luxurious feel and makes it incredibly durable for travel.
This is a pretty recent addition to the carry-on essentials list and not super glamorous. About two years ago, I started to get incredibly painful headaches and facial pain upon descent on airplanes, no matter what. My husband’s grandmother recommended a simple saline spray… and it works like a charm. About 30 minutes before landing, I pop this guy out, spray twice and relax.
I later learned this headache actually has a name: Aerosinusitis or an airplane headache, as it is commonly known. What happens is some folks are unable to equalize the change in barometric pressure when a plane begins to land, and that causes pain around the eyes and face. It typically clears up within 30 minutes of landing.
Airplane snacks and meals can be expensive and if you have food allergies, finding gluten free or dairy free food can be a challenge! Some of my favorite travel snacks are nut mixes, oatmeal, popcorn, jerky and dried veggies and fruit. For morning flights, I love to bring a banana (or two!) from home with some of Justin’s individual nut butters; however, but bananas don’t always travel well in a purse or bag. Check out my full list of favorite traveling snacks and where to buy them in this blog post.
Knock on wood, I’ve never had my checked luggage lost, delayed, or stolen, but I am always prepared just in case. In my carry-on, I pack the necessities that will last me overnight once I get to my destination. These overnight airplane essentials include: A comfortable tee (for pajamas or another outfit), linen shorts or leggings, underwear, bra, swimsuit, travel toothbrush, makeup and skincare basics, comb, hair ties, flip flops, mini first aid kit, and so on. And for my spoonies: Always, always, always carry all of your medications (even over-the-counter meds) in your carryon or personal item.
For the longest time, I only traveled with “cute” or designer bags. After I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, my doctors suggested I stop carrying heavy bags on my shoulders. I love fashion, so I was devastated. …Until I realized the joy in traveling with an adorable backpack. Backpacks – or bookbags – are 100% in now. They make travel so. much. easier. And so much less painful!
I picked up a Herschel backpack in a gorgeous gray and can fit all of the airplane essentials on this list, plus a few other essentials like my laptop, notebooks, and more with room to spare. I typically check my larger luggage because arthritis can make it difficult for me to lift and carry for hours on end, so having an easy-to-transport piece of luggage as my carryon has changed airplane travel for me.
What are some of your favorite airplane essentials?
When we were house hunting a year ago, the thing that sold me on our house we eventually bought was the little home office set away from all the action of the living areas. However, ten months later, I still haven’t done much in terms of decorating. Things are getting a little out of control, guys. I need some major home office inspiration.
I run my graphic design and digital marketing business, 835 Creative, out of my home office. Over the last year, it has grown (yay!) but the paperwork, inspiration pieces and more are piling up with nowhere to be stored. Plus, my office has no straight theme. Not even a hint of a vibe. I know, it’s sad, and most days I end up working in other parts of the house because of the disorganized mess.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be posting inspiration and all the steps I’m taking to give my home office a major makeover, making it a serene and beautiful place to work every day! I’m so excited to share this journey with you.
Before we can even dive into even thinking about buying furniture and decor though, home office inspiration is a must. Who better to gain home office inspiration from than my fellow bloggers and boss ladies?
Home office inspiration for the modern woman
Melissa from Polished Habitat transformed her shared office into a beautiful space for her to work, create and prepare orders for her Etsy shop. This classic, feminine design is beautiful, well-organized and functional! Check out more from her office reveal by visiting her website.
Sarah’s craft room went through several transformations before turning into this farmhouse-inspired, cleanly decorated multi-purpose room. It features space to work, craft, wrap gifts with enough room for two people, plus a dreamy window seat to relax.
This gorgeous, light-filled office was featured by Sarah Sarna. The light fixture reflects the gorgeous gold accents to give the room a pop of color. Having enough desk space to spread your work out is ideal for makers and creatives. And a cute little window doesn’t hurt either!
Lauren from The Fashionista’s Diary nailed her small office space. Carved out of a corner of her bedroom, this airy, feminine space packs a punch in storage, yet still allows her personality to shine through.
Despite working with a tiny area, this precious office from Alice Lane Home features the trending “millennial pink” on the walls, a vintage light fixture and a statement mirror to reflect light around the room. This gorgeous interior design proves that you can make even the smallest of office spaces glam and functional!
Please note: This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small compensation if you choose to purchase any products linked below at no extra charge to you! Click here to view our disclosure policy.
This Old Millennial playlist is part of our series of playlists for every occasion.
View the whole series here!
**Updated May 3, 2020 with embedded Tidal playlist and link**
Those of us on the early end of the millennial spectrum – ahem, old millennials – can get a lot of flack. We grew up without cell phones, can remember when AOL launched, and probably didn’t have social media until college (or later).
For those of us in our thirties, you can remember when these songs came out. Perhaps you even recorded them onto a cassette from the radio… because we hadn’t been blessed with Spotify quite yet.
If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me to send them this playlist after hearing it, I’d have enough to buy a couple of outfits from Delia*s.
This old millennial playlist is perfect for rolling the windows down manually in your car and getting lost because we didn’t have navigation or a printout from MapQuest (or Google Maps, I guess).
Add this playlist to your faves and let the reminiscing begin! This playlist has pop favorites, one-hit-wonders, ’90s rock and a few early 2000s gems. Featuring Oasis, Beastie Boys, Mariah Carey, Dixie Chicks, *NSYNC, Hanson, Jewel, Missy Elliott, Britney Spears, Train, and many more.
Free activities and events in Tulsa, Oklahoma
I was born and raised in Tulsa – or T-Town, Oil Capital of the World – and despite a few years in Texas, I’ve lived here most of my adult life. In the last ten years, Tulsa has seen a resurgence across the board in entertainment, free activities, events, and restaurants.
If you haven’t visited northeastern Oklahoma, I recommend you get here ASAP, especially to enjoy any of the free events throughout the year. Many of the sights and sounds can be taken in on a weekend trip, whether you’re looking for a quick couples vacation or a family-friendly vacay. Here is a list of the best free activities and free things to do in Tulsa.
Free activities in Tulsa
Visit a museum
Philbrook Museum is a beautiful, historic mansion, once home to oil pioneer Waite Phillips and wife Genevieve nestled near Tulsa’s Brookside neighborhood. There’s something for everyone at Philbrook: Classic and modern artwork, key architecture, more than 20 acres of lush gardens.
Visit Philbrook Museum on the second Saturday of each month for free. On Second Saturdays, they offer kid-friendly activities, tours, scavenger hunts, and more!
Gilcrease Museum is the counterpart of Philbrook, located just northwest of downtown Tulsa. Like Philbrook – and many other things in Tulsa – Gilcrease has a oil pioneer background, having been founded by oilman Thomas Gilcrease as a private museum.
The museum sits on several hundred acres, including the 23-acre garden surrounding the museum and 136-acre Stuart Park, a great place to picnic before or after a visit! Gilcrease Museum is one of the largest collections of American artwork.
On the third Sunday of every month, visit for free as part of Funday Sundays. The museum is open from noon to 4 p.m. on Funday Sundays and offers free activities and scavenger hunts for kids.
Take in the sights and sounds at a festival
Tulsa is home to dozens of festivals, many of which have no admission fee!
In May, you’ll never be short of festivals to visit. First up, Tulsa’s crown jewel: Mayfest. Over the course of four days, Mayfest features classic festival food, live music, dancers and most importantly, artwork from around the globe.
The Blue Dome Arts Festival takes place in – surprise! – the Blue Dome District in downtown Tulsa. Typically held the same weekend as Mayfest, you’ll find a more alternative take on the arts festival with more Tulsa and Oklahoma-based artists and food trucks.
And to wrap up the May festivals in Tulsa, The Hop Jam is not to be missed. A newer event to Tulsa’s festival scene, The Hop Jam is a one-day craft beer and music festival held in the Brady Arts District. Founded by Tulsa music darlings, Hanson, the festival features dozens of craft brewers for those of legal drinking age and a full-day performances from a rotating lineup each year, with Hanson as the headliner. Yep, it’s a free concert, too.
Tulsa is home to some of the top festivals in the country; however, they aren’t all free. Looking for more fun and have a little more moolah to spend? Don’t miss Oktoberfest, Greek Festival, Renaissance Festival.
Ride it out with Tulsa Tough
In the summer, don’t forget to check out Tulsa Tough, held the second weekend in June. Featuring professional and amateur cyclists from across the world, Tulsa Tough is one of the most popular cycling events in the United States.
The Blue Dome Criterium is an exciting, family-friendly race that takes a figure-eight around downtown Tulsa – a favorite of locals. If you’re looking for a party atmosphere, Cry Baby Hill on Sunday is legendary. Mind the gap and don’t forget to take Monday off after the weekend activities!
Find your way to the Center of the Universe
Have you ever heard your voice echo with no cave in sight? In Tulsa, it’s totally possible. It’s an unobtrusive, blink-and-you-miss it round piece of concrete in downtown Tulsa right next to the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame. Stand on the concrete that’s surrounded by brick, say a few things and hear it echo and amplify right back to you.
The fun isn’t just in the circle, either. For those who are standing outside the circle, you’ll hear close to nothing or a distorted voice coming from another location.
Look for the “Artificial Cloud” statue – a black cloud shape atop a pole – near the Jazz Hall of Fame and you can’t miss it. It’s a bit of a hidden gem, but one of the best free activities in Tulsa.
Take in nature at Turkey Mountain
Unlike our western Oklahoma friends, Tulsa features rolling hills, flowing creeks and rivers and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the state. Get a bird’s eye view of it all at Turkey Mountain, near 71st and Elwood on the Arkansas River.
With hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, Turkey Mountain is one of most varied of outdoor spaces in the city. This urban wilderness area offers trails for beginners and those looking for a challenge, whether you’re a biker, runner or just going for a casual stroll.
Turkey Mountain has miles of trails within the wilderness area, but also leads out across the river to River Parks, which features more than 26 miles of paved trails. These trails travel throughout Tulsa and lead to Jenks (with the Riverwalk and Oklahoma Aquarium), Sand Springs, and the soon to be completed Gathering Place of Tulsa.
Art Appreciation at the First Friday Art Crawl
On the first Friday of each month, head downtown to Tulsa’s Brady district and you’ll find the streets buzzing. During the First Friday Art Crawl, all of the art galleries, museums, and shops stay open late (and free) with special exhibitions, activities, and best of all, free admission!
If you’ve never visited Tulsa’s art district, First Fridays are the best way to take in the Woody Guthrie Center, Philbrook Downtown, Hardesty Arts Center (AHHA) and so many more. The art crawl takes place 6-9 p.m. Get there early to beat the crowds or hang around the whole time to take in street musicians and impromptu performance art.
Wind in and out of the galleries and museums, grab a bite to eat at the many restaurants, and end at one of Tulsa’s many gems: Guthrie Green.
Work out, watch a movie, listen to music at Guthrie Green
Guthrie Green is an urban park in Tulsa’s downtown Brady District and offers every free activity under the sun. From weekday bootcamps to evening summer movies, the park has free events almost every day of the week in the spring and summer months.
Movies in the park happen on a weekly basis – bring a lawn chair, blanket, and a snack for the full experience. Free fitness classes include yoga, ZUMBA, bootcamp, self-defence and more with no RSVP required. Sunday concerts are filled with summer nostalgia as you listen to a different band as the sun sets. Check out the full event schedule here.
Guthrie Green is the host of dozens of events and mini festivals throughout the year, including 5Ks, Oysterfest, Austin City Limits Live!, Blue Whale Comedy Festival, Route 66 Marathon, and many more.
Though the Brady District has some of Tulsa’s best restaurants, Guthrie Green has dining on site with tacos, nachos, macaroni & cheese, and other scrumptious offerings from Mr. Nice Guys. Food Truck Wednesdays are a can’t-miss at lunchtime every Wednesday, offering one of the largest gatherings of food trucks in Tulsa.
Where to dine, shop and play in Rosemary Beach, Florida
Rosemary Beach is a lovely mix of locals, weekenders and vacationers and could possibly be the quietest, most peaceful community on Florida’s 30A. The folks are friendly, happy to give recommendations whether you’re walking the sidewalks beneath the beautiful canopied trees or chatting with a sommelier at Wild Olives Market & Cafe.
Our carriage house just a two minute walk from a number of shops on the park side. Some not-to-miss places are the Rosemary Beach Trading Company, Hissyfits Boutique for the littles, The Hidden Lantern Bookstore and Vivo Spa & Salon. It was especially convenient in the morning to take a short walk to Amavida Coffee & Tea!
And y’all, if you’re in Rosemary Beach on Saturdays, you must visit the Farmers Market. We had just finished brunch when we walked through the dozens of vendors and even though I wasn’t hungry, I walked away with countless number of gluten-free goodies. Blueberry hand pies, macarons, infused vinegars and oils and more fresh fruits and vegetables than you could wave a stick at!
Havana Beach Bar & Grill
One of the most recognizable buildings on Rosemary Beach’s gulf side is The Pearl Hotel with its black and white striped canopies. The hotel is nestled closest to the Gulf of Mexico on Main Street, which is the home of Havana Beach Bar & Grill.
Havana Beach is incredibly accommodating when it comes to food allergies. Not only does it have an incredibly view of the Western Green and Gulf of Mexico from the covered patio, but the decor is luxurious and furniture plush. The staff was so friendly and absolutely on point; however, I’d highly recommend reservations for brunch, especially on weekends.
When dining out, especially anywhere but home, there is always a teeny-tiny (or sometimes HUGE) worry that we’ll walk into a restaurant that has stated gluten-free options, but the staff or servers aren’t up-to-date on the safety behind it. This is definitely not the case at Havana Beach. Once I asked for gluten-free options, our sweet server knew them off the top of his head, then mentioned he would speak to the chef to triple check. They even have a gluten-free bread!
And y’all, this was one of the best brunches I’ve ever had. On top of having a create-your-own Bloody Mary bar, delicious mimosas and fresh squeezed juice, the food itself was five-star. They pride themselves on farm-to-table ingredients, from the eggs and meat to even the honey.
Their menus feature a Cuban and Spanish flare, no matter the season. I had the huevos revueltos con chorizo, which essentially translates to a chorizo omelet. The chorizo was deliciously spicy and the onions and peppers mixed in had a slight crunch that made it even more savory.
If the patio is packed, head up to the rooftop for a brunch cocktail and food. The views are just as lovely and the atmosphere a little more casual.
Havana Beach Bar & Grill gluten-free musts: Ask your server what’s available for the season. Their menu rotates quite often, but you can’t go wrong with your server’s suggestion. The Bloody Mary bar is a can’t-miss.
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate
It’s something wonderful when a restaurant is not only knowledgable about gluten-free, but has a gluten-free menu, especially with more items than just salads! La Crema Tapas & Chocolate’s gluten-free menu is quite expansive. Tapas (smaller bites), Grand Tapas (entrees), desserts, and a kid-friendly menu. The only problem was choosing what to have for dinner. In fact, anytime we visit Rosemary Beach, Florida, the trip isn’t complete without a dinner at La Crema.
If you’ve never had tapas before, it’s a shareable affair – they recommend sharing several appetizers and entrees with the table, which makes it a fun experience because you don’t have to choose just one. We split several small tapas before enjoying our own appetizer; however, the entree could have easily been split, too!
The serrano-wrapped figs are definitely something to write home about! It’s perfectly sweet, savory and a hint of spice (but not too much spice). The La Crema salad was perfectly fresh with a light balsamic vinaigrette with sweet walnuts, goat cheese and cranberries. Both tapas were small enough not to fill two of us up, but large enough to cull our appetites before the main course.
Both tapas paired perfectly with their red sangria. It was fresh, fruity and not too sweet, a perfect complement to the warm spring evening. Since you’ll be dining for a while, I recommend sharing a carafe!
The wonderful thing about La Crema is that they don’t rush you as you enjoy dinner in the cozy, patio seating. It’s the perfect place to people watch on Main Street in Rosemary Beach. When dining at La Crema, plan to give yourself at least an hour and a half to two hours to fully enjoy the experience. Tapas are meant to be savored, with life moving a little bit slower in the best way possible.
In terms of entrees, the paellas are gluten-free, filling and, wonderfully spicy and savory. As a lighter entree, the lamb lollipops are not to be missed either, especially with the red wine reduction. As for the non-gluten-free diners, the lobster was a winner. Overall, the Grand Tapas servings are quite large and meant to be shared. Our plates weren’t eaten clean because… hello, chocolate fondue.
Yes, us gluten-free folks can have fondue here! You absolutely cannot eat at La Crema without having the chocolate fondue – it’s what they’re known for. We went with the classic milk chocolate, which – as a gluten-free option – came with apples, bananas and strawberries and marshmallows, which replaced the typical poundcake.
By the time we finished our meal at 7:30, there were plenty of folks waiting for a table. They do have a waiting list, which makes it easy to put your name on the list and jump down to another shop, take a quick walk on the beach just down the street or stop for a drink elsewhere while you wait.
All in all, La Crema is definitely a can’t-miss for any gluten-free diners in Rosemary Beach!
La Crema Tapas & Chocolate gluten-free musts: Sangria, serrano-wrapped figs, lamb lollipops, chocolate fondue.
Last minute tips for a perfect stay on 30A in Rosemary Beach:
Get to the beach early: Take advantage of the beach chair rentals when you stay with Rosemary Beach, but bring a credit card – they don’t take cash!
- Rent a carriage house for a romantic getaway for two and enjoy the pools, fitness center, tennis facility and beach access
- Check out the weekly wine tastings at Wild Olives every Friday from 5-7 p.m.
Disclaimer: Always contact restaurants in advance for their current gluten-free options and alert the restaurants you’re dining at if you have a gluten allergy or celiac disease. Reviews on brendadalton.com do not guarantee a cross contamination-free zone and complete safety from gluten or wheat.
Despite the fact that I work in my home office, I have been traveling a ton which means access to gluten-free snacks can be a major challenge.
You’ll find a minimum of three snacks on me at any given time, no matter the size of my purse, mostly because you can’t let that blood sugar get too low!
I’ve learned which gluten-free snacks travel incredibly well and which snacks… well, don’t look like anything edible after two hours in my bag.
Almonds & Mixed Nuts
This snack is a given. For those without a nut allergy, almonds are most likely the easiest to transport – in a bag! in a can! in your hand! – and they won’t freeze, melt or get crushed. Lately, I’ve become obsessed with Target’s Raw Mixed Nuts in individual packets. They’re incredibly easy to throw a few in my handbag when I’m out and about running errands.
Okay, so this isn’t necessarily a snack, but when traveling, one of the hardest things to find sometimes can be a gluten-free breakfast! With most coffee shops and airports only offering pastries and breakfast sandwiches, it’s hard to know what’s safe to eat first thing in the morning. And who wants to start the morning getting glutened? Bakery on Main’s Gluten Free Oatmeal has outperformed every other gluten-free oatmeal I’ve tried over the years, in taste and texture. The peach and strawberry flavors are my favorite and aren’t as sugar-filled as some other flavored oatmeal; however, you can never beat a plain oatmeal with a drizzle of maple syrup and berries mixed in.
Is popcorn easily transportable? Yes! Grab individually wrapped SkinnyPop bags and you’re good to go. They can easily fit in a tote or backpack for the day and I’ve even traveled all day on several planes and found the popcorn miraculously doesn’t get squished. One of life’s great mysteries is how SkinnyPop can make such perfectly delicious popcorn with so few calories.
One of the easy snacks I missed once I developed my gluten allergy was beef jerky. Did you know that smoke flavoring and/or soy sauce are in a majority of jerky brands and isn’t safe if you’re celiac or have a severe allergy? Yeah, I know, total bummer. It took me a long time to find gluten-free beef jerky, period, and it took even longer to find my favorites: Duke’s and Lorissa’s Kitchen. Both brands are gluten-free, low sugar and much healthier than your regular convenience store jerky, plus they offer unique flavors like Hatch Green Chili, Cajun and Andouille sausage (Duke’s) and Szechuan Peppercorn (Lorissa’s). Bonus: Duke’s comes in big bags and single servings!
Secret confession: I never liked peas until I tried Harvest Snaps. Seriously, guys. They’re a life changer. For those of you with an addiction to chips of any kind, swap them out for Harvest Snaps for a healthy alternative to knock out those salty, savory cravings. They’re low carb, high protein, and low sugar and are tasty on their own or paired with hummus, dip or even salsa. At this point, they have at least a bazillion flavors covering three categories: Lentil, Snapea (my personal favorite!), and black bean.