Louisville Real Estate Blog | Brad Long Real Estate Group | Keller Williams Louisville East

Louisville is a friendly city but hard to make friends

I am one of Louisville’s biggest fans and rarely have anything to complain about when it comes to my hometown. There is however one thing about this city that frustrates many new residents. Whenever you have an extreme positive, like the tight knit community that makes Louisville so unique, there is often a negative that comes along with it. Many new residents that I have spoken to have all had similar complaints; that it is difficult to make new friends. Louisvillians are not unwelcoming people, in fact they are some of the most welcoming people I have encountered. Friends are hard to make in this city because social groups are loyal and circles hold on to each other for a long time.

I myself have experienced this problem even as a native Louisvillian. After moving back home after college, I found myself alone in the city that used to be filled with familiar faces. All of my friends had decided to stay in their college towns or move away to other cities. I was back in Louisville by myself. As a Louisvillian, you hold on to your circle of friends and are not very good at making new ones. I was stuck and didn't know what to do with myself. Luckily, I broke out of my self-pity fueled shell and found sources around town to create my new social life. Now, I am happy to pass along my insight to those struggling with the same problems
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My first tip to making new friends is to know where to go. You don’t always have to have a partner to go out with if you are going to the right place. There are plenty of places that you can visit alone and not feel out of place. Pool halls are excellent places to meet people. Playing pool automatically gives you an excuse to meet and have a conversation with new people. It is absolutely fine to walk up to a pool table and ask to join the existing players, and who knows you may hit it off and have easily made some new friends! Louisville has several nice pool halls, such as The Back Door, Diamonds, and Barret Bar.

I would also suggest using my favorite website that addresses this problem head on. New2lou.com is an excellent resource for new resident to Louisville looking to meet other new Louisvillians in the same boat. New2lou.com keeps you informed on the important events coming up as well as valuable information about the city. New2lou also puts on a social event every second Wednesday of the month allowing anyone interested in meeting new people to come out for a good time. For information on this month’s social event go to new2lou.com.

My third tip is one that I have not used personally but I have a friends that swear by it. Reddit.com is a self proclaimed “website about everything.” If you have an interest in golf, needlepoint, or cooking, you can chat with people on reddit.com about your similar interests. Normally I wouldn't recommend meeting people online and meeting them in person, but a friend of mine has actually made several real-life friends through the website.

If you are struggling to make friends in Louisville don’s get frustrated. Many of us have been in the same position but there are ways to find great people with similar interests to you in this city.

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Is Louisville a 'Big City'

For those of us who have grown up in Louisville, it is hard to think of our hometown as a “big city.” Louisville has always been our secret treasure; a town filled with diversity, culture, and a close sense of community; a town where everyone somehow is linked to one another. Within the past several years, with the growth of Downtown Louisville and the reincarnation of many of Louisville’s neighborhoods, Louisville has quickly become a popular place and dare I say it...”big.” 

When I say “big” I'm not referring to the population or the number of high-rise buildings in our downtown area, but I'm basing my judgment on national popularity, corporate interest, and travel statistics. In the last year, Louisville has been recognized in several top rankings, being called things such as “The Most Livable City In America” by the U.S Conference of Mayors, “The Best Place to Retire” by U.S News and World Report, and my personal favorite, the “Manliest Town in America” by GQ Magazine. Louisville’s popularity in rankings and recognitions is at an all time high gaining interest from every angle including food, tourism, and community. Louisville’s well-rounded popularity is making it look like a big city to me.

Corporate interest in the city is also at an all time high. With the addition of the KFC Yum Center in 2010, corporations are finally looking at Louisville as a “big city.” When Anthropologie, a huge National chain, came to Oxmoor Mall in 2010, female shoppers were ecstatic. The retail excitement is buzzing again with the recent news of the trendy and affordable clothing chain H&M coming to Oxmoor Mall in the near future. To make room for the new H&M, Oxmoor Mall officials just announced they will be doing a complete overhaul of the mall’s mezzanine and food court as well. Not all the corporate retail chains to recently come to Louisville have been welcomed with as much excitement. Urban Outfitters moved in to the Highlands neighborhood in June of 2012 and was met with some major hostility from the community. The Highlands is a “shop local” kind of place and the big dogs that moved in seemed to urk everyone around them. The store is still open and doing very well, but it just goes to show, other might want Louisville to be big but Louisville just might want to stay small.

Louisville was named the “Top Travel Destination of 2013” by Lonely Planet. WIth the NuLu District producing amazing food from a variety of new restaurants and Downtown Louisville's paradox of immense history and brand new development, Louisville has never had so much to offer it’s visitors. The fact that we were named the number one top place to go makes us a “HUGE” city.

Louisville will always be a special town no matter how big it gets. The community is what makes Louisville a unique city and that will never change. I’m still not ready to call my hometown a “big city,” although I’m afraid we are on our way. I know I need to embrace it, but give me a little more time.

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I want to catch the robber

What started as an unhealthy interest level has quickly turned in to a severe case of what I like to call “voluntary agoraphobia.” For the past month, the Highlands has been the target of a high number of home break ins and burglaries. Living right in the middle of the Highlands, and with several neighbors who fell victim to these home invaders, I have reached ultimate lockdown and survey mode. My lifetime full of love for shows like Dateline NBC and 48 Hours Mystery are fueling my underlying interest in my neighborhoods misfortune and my supreme goal to be the one to “catch the predator.” Being at home with two young boys all day and writing from home gives me the opportunity to be the protecter of my street. I can keep a look out for the newest suspects, write down license plate numbers, and patiently wait for the joker who tries to mess with my house.

All kidding aside, I do find it my responsibility to look out for my neighbors. Innocent people are being wiped out of important and expensive belongings so a few addicts can get their next high.

The suspects stealing from our community members are mostly white males and females who are unarmed and addicted to heroin. Because of the new laws protecting prescription drugs, heroine is apparently making a come back on the streets. These robbers usually work in groups and go after empty houses. There are two times of day when they usually strike; Between 9am and noon, and late afternoon until 4:30. The burglars work fast and aren’t afraid to hit an area more than once. On Saturday, January 12 the Bonnycastle neighborhood was hit five times in a matter of hours. How do they get away with it? Usually one member of the group, often the girlfriend, will knock on the front door with a made-up story in mind to see if anyone is at home. It is important that you always make your presence known if you expect someone might want to rob your house. If the group members feel that a house is empty they will usually find a way inside through the back of the house either kicking in the door or entering through a window. The police suggest opening the door to the robber and telling them “WE are having a family dinner” or “WE are having a reunion” anything that emphasizes that there are others home. Not sure what I would say in that situation.

My neighborhood crime watch met with some of our local police officers last week and they had some helpful advice. If you suspect your house was robbed or you suspect someone wants to rob your house, call 911 right away before looking for your belongings. It only takes the LMPD 3-4 minutes to get to the scene of the robbery. The sooner you call will only up the chances that police can either catch the thief red-handed or at their next stop two doors down. It is helpful as well to try to get as much information to police as possible. Look out for the robbers getting away in a vehicle and look for license plate numbers; don't assume there are already miles away. The Police at the meeting also told us an LMPD officer will come to your house free of charge to give you advice on how to make your home more secure against an intruder. They will even do extra patrols around your house if you give them a heads up the next time you go out of town.

Right now, police are focussed on finding Brandon Cheathem, the suspected ringleader of a burglary ring that is being blamed for over 20 burglaries and stealing $39,000 of lawn care equipment from North Oldham High School. Cheathem drives a red sedan with Indiana license plates. If you see Cheathem call LMPD’s anonymous tip line 574-LMPD.

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Lynn’s is not the only place making their servers tip out

Louisvillians, foodies from far and wide, and visitors that come back often to become “out of town regulars” are enraged and confused after one of Louisville’s most popular and beloved restaurants has closed it’s doors for good. Lynn’s Paradise Cafe abruptly closed it’s doors at the beginning of the year and reports of wrong doing by the restaurant’s owner and management team have been spilling out ever since.

Lynn’s Paradise Cafe was one of a kind, never to be matched by any other restaurant in or out of town. Everything from the colorful decor to the kitschy art work and fun atmosphere made Lynn’s a local favorite and on every out-of-towner’s list of places to go. Not only were people visiting Louisville making sure they went to Lynn’s, but in some cases, visitors were visiting Louisville just for Lynn’s. Throughout the 22 years of the Cafe’s life, it appeared on multiple television shows such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, Good Morning America, and a slew of Food Network shows. Lynn’s has been written up in the best publications such as the New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, and has appeared in almost all the high end cooking magazines. At the beginning of the year, and for the past 22 years, from the outside looking in business was booming, so why the sudden closure?

The closure of Lynn’s is muddy. Even for a girl who spent eight years of her life as a server, it doesn’t all seem to add up. Lynn Winter, owner of Lynn’s decided to close the doors after allegations that the business was violating state labor laws. Servers were complaining that they were being forced to bring in their own money to tip out other employees at the end of their shift. Once a Lynn’s server was allegedly fired for not complying with the “tip out” rule and became outspoken against the restaurant, Winter decided to shut the business down for good. While this is not an uncommon procedure, it is illegal and it cannot be forced upon any employee.

This practice of illegal tipping out procedure is a common practice for many restaurants in town. Servers know that at the end of the night nearly 30% of their tips will be given away to the dishwasher, host, busser, and bartender. It is an unfair practice, but most servers suck it up and go with the flow. There have been rare cases in the past, however, where servers have spoken out against this practice. April of last year, Ron Lieberman picketed outside of Ramsi’s Cafe on the World after quitting his job as a server because he refused to tip out the 30% at the end of his shift. Servers make $2.19 an hour and Lieberman called the practice of forced tipping out “a system of organized slavery.”

The “tipping out” fiasco is indeed a big deal, but no reason to close a successful 22-year business. Ramsis’s didn't have to shut down in the case of Lieberman. If there are more skeletons in Lynn’s closet I'm sure it will only take some time for Louisville’s fine investigators to uncover them.

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Pool Leagues in Louisville

Ilyse's Louisville
I believe with everything in me, that moms that give themselves a night out on a regular basis make themselves better moms in the long run. Now maybe this is just something I tell myself so that I don't feel bad for taking a night out here and there, but regardless,if i’m playing a mid trick on myself or not, it seems to be working for me. I seem to have fallen into a new hobby that has sucked me in to a weekly night away at the Back Door. I have successfully trained for and recruited my own team for the bar’s next session o the APA rule pool league. I grew up with a pool table in my basement but it had been years since I played the game, when I met a regular pool player at the bar named Jinx. Jinx took me under his wing, taught me a thing or two, and soon became my “coach.” I was hooked. My competitive spirit paired with the endless circulation of interesting characters that rotate through The Back Door keep me going back time and time again to practice the game and try to get better. What I have found is that the game of pool is both a social sport, and a complex sport that is way more fascinating that I initially realized. Now that I have successfully put together a team for next session’s league, I will be able to expand my game, socialize with the diverse crowd, and get some much needed me time away.
 
There are several places throughout the city that offer pool leagues. The Back Door is a relatively laid back league that although technically competitive in the sense that the winner wins the pot, The Back Door is a good beginners league. If you are interested in putting a team together for the Back Door league, we play on Monday nights starting January 28th. For more information visit www.thebackdoor.com.
If Mondays aren't a good night for you, there is a league in town pretty much every night of the week. Barrett Bar is a more competitive league, playing Wednesday nights. Barrett Bar has excellent tables, delicious food, and it’s usually easy to get in for a game.
One of the most popular billiards clubs in town is Diamond Pub and Billiards. Now with two locations, one in St. Matthews and one on Barrett, you can play in a league Sunday through Thursday. Diamond even offers two different leagues, APA, which most bars play in, and on Tuesday nights they offer the LAP league. For more information got to diamondpubandbilliards.com.
There are many other bars and billiard clubs that offer a place to get in a league. For a list of these places, go to louisville.lapleague.com.
 
The best way to find out about these leagues is to see them in action. Visit the bars on league nights and meet the players. The only way you can find the league that fits you the best is to talk to the teams, see the atmosphere first hand, and figure out which rules you want to play by. A pool league is a great excuse to get out in these Winter months and socialize with people you would have never met otherwise. Most new sessions will be beginning soon, so if you are interested in joining a league, start doing your research now. Hope to see you out there!
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Bootlegging Still Exists...And Right At My Back Door

Last night, while spending some much needed down time at my neighborhood bar, the Back Door, I was surprised to find a table full of folks that looked a little out of place. Upon further review and because of the whispers around the bar, I learned that excitement was brewing in the bar over a reality star in the building. Tim Smith, a moonshining legend and star of the Discovery Channel’s hit reality show Moonshiners was sitting right in the middle of our humble Back Door. Complete with overalls and his signature khaki hat, Tim was just as lively and passionate about ‘shining in person as he appears on the show. In town for two days on a promotional tour for the show’s new season, Tim came to the Back Door to watch the new episode of Moonshiners among friends and fellow distillers. 
Moonshine is part of our American heritage. Although it is considered illegal, in many parts of Appalachia, there are those that choose to distill their own shine, following in the footsteps of those that came before them. The Discovery Channel goes inside the day to day life of a moonshiner and discusses their trials and tribulations. NASCAR even has it’s roots based in moonshine. The first race cars were designed by moonshiners who were constantly trying to build faster cars and become more skilled as drivers in order to escape from the law. Over time these cars were used not only to outrun the police but to race each another. Eventually these humble races turned in to what we know as NASCAR today.
 
Kentucky has deep roots in moonshine. If you have grown up or lived in Kentucky you have most likely been in some sort of contact with illegal moonshine. I have been on several trips to Eastern Kentucky, Harlan County in particular, where although the “apple pie” shine comes in milk cartons, it sure will keep you warm on a cold night.
If you don't want to travel to Eastern Kentucky to taste moonshine, or if you feel more comfortable trying the legal stuff, their is some good news for you. Along with Tim Smith, I had the pleasure of talking to Steve Beam, owner of Limestone Branch Distillery. This distillery, located in Lebanon, Kentucky, creates varieties of legal moonshine like apple pie and 100 proof Sugar Shine. The moonshine sold under the T.J Pottinger label can be bought in town at such major retailers as Liquor Barn and Party Mart.
  
Whether you are a bourbon, vodka, or tequila, drinker, if you are from or are visiting Kentucky you have to try moonshine. Moonshine has historic and cultural meaning in this region and you can taste it in every sip. Moonshiners on Discovery channel is a great way to learn a little bit about the ongoing struggles that bootleggers still face today and is an entertaining way to gain insight into a lifestyle that not many people get to see first hand. Moonshiners airs on the Discovery Channel Wednesday evenings at 10pm.  
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Bourbon Makes Me Feel Like Home

Over the holiday season, I was lucky enough to reconnect with several of my friends that currently live all over the World. Home for the holidays, and often away from the warmth and comfort of the things that remind them of home, most of my friends were eager to jump back into their old habits and looked to me to show them the way. Not surprisingly, bourbon was at the top of many of their lists. Bourbon is relatively easy to find in most places, but good bourbon and several varieties of bourbon are only found here at home. Of course, being a bourbon lover myself, I was happy to lead my friends around to some of my favorite new spots.
  
One of my favorite nights consisted of drinks and dinner at St. Charles Exchange followed by more drinks at the bar Meat. St. Charles Exchange has a lengthy bourbon menu, but the reason I took my friends there was for the Old Fashioned. The St. Charles Exchange Old Fashioned is hands down the best Old Fashioned I have had in the city to date. The St. Charles Exchange bartenders know what they are doing; the bourbon is the star of the cocktail and every sip is heavenly. There are several other cocktails at St. Charles Exchange that feature bourbon in ways that are unique and exciting. Every time I try a new cocktail at this restaurant I am surprised by the depth of flavors. The food at St. Charles Exchange is always delicious too. The same care that goes in to each cocktail goes in to each dish. You can always count on St.Charles Exchange to put forward creative, forward-thinking, good-feeling food, and no matter what, you are always guaranteed to have a great time.  
After dinner, full with amazing food and slightly tipsy from our heavenly cocktails, I decided to keep with the prohibition-style theme as we headed to Meat on Story Avenue. Meat has recently been named one of the 50 best bars in the World. It is located on the second floor of the Blind Pig Restaurant in Butchertown and has a very unique vibe. Modeled after a 1920s speakeasy, Meat combines a laid back scene with a butcher’s torture chamber vibe. Meat and butcher tools hang from the ceilings adding to a playful but dark atmosphere. Meat doesn't have the best bourbon list, but it does have excellent cocktails. At this point in the night, my friends didn't care what they were drinking to be honest.
 
The next night everyone was ready to do some real bourbon tasting. They all headed to Bourbons Bistro on Frankfort Avenue to enjoy a bourbon-inspired dinner menu and all the bourbon they could get their lips on. Bourbon’s Bistro is the place to go in Louisville for anyone trying to learn about bourbon or try new bourbons. With the longest bourbon list in town and a professional staff that knows their stuff, you wont leave disappointed.
Most restaurants and bars in Louisville have a decent bourbon list, but if you want to find which restaurants have lengthier menus, a good way is to follow the Urban Bourbon Trail. You can visit louisville.com to find all the restaurants participating. If you want to take it a step further, you can grab an Urban Bourbon Trail “passport” and collect stamps at each restaurant you visit. After you collect six stamps you can receive a free gift.
Bourbon makes my friends feel at home and I couldn't have been happier to celebrate it with them. There are so many other wonderful places I could have taken them if only we had more time. We are so lucky to have a city filled with excellent restaurants and delicious bourbon cocktails, so get out there and enjoy them!
 
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'Happy Birthday' has Louisville Roots

One of my favorite go-to gifts to give my close family and friends is a personalized calendar complete with meaningful photographs and reminders of special events. My family in particular is so large that before my calendars no one could remember each other’s birthdays. Embarrassing belated birthday calls had become the norm for my family, and it was becoming a problem. Now, every New Year, my family members look forward to receiving the newest edition of my calendar because without it they would be lost.  

These calendars are not only excellent gifts to give someone else, but make personal organization beautiful enough to hang on the wall. There are several websites that make creating calendars like mine, very simple and inexpensive. My favorite website is Shutterfly.com. All you need to know before starting your calendar are the special dates you want to include and what photos you would like to feature in your calendar. Shutterfly will walk you through step by step in creating your calendar and make it utterly fool proof. You can create all different kinds of calendars, like desk and poster calendars, starting at $9.99 per calendar. Wall calendars start at $21.99 but there are always sales and coupon codes available so make sure you take advantage of them! 

My 2013 calendar is hanging in my kitchen right now and I don’t know what I would do without it. Ten members of my family have birthdays in January and without my calendar I would never remember each of them. January has been named “Birthday Month” in my family (for obvious reasons) and we always do something special to celebrate. One year we went on a cruise, another year we took a trip to Vail, Colorado, and another year we rented out our favorite pizza place, Luigi's Pizza on Main Street in Downtown Louisville. No matter what you do to celebrate your Birthday, there is always one constant; the singing of the “Happy Birthday Song.”   

Many people don’t realize when they are reciting those happy words, that they originated right here in Louisville, Kentucky. Yes, it’s true, the same “Happy Birthday” that has been translated into numerous languages and is sung all over the World to celebrate Birthdays around the globe, was written by two Louisvillians. Mildred Jane Hill and Patty Smith Hill, who are both buried in Louisville’s Cave Hill Cemetery, are credited in 1893 with writing the very first version of “Happy Birthday to You.” Next time you are Downtown, drive by 920 West Main Street and check out the “Happy Birthday Lot”, a parking lot named after one of the top three most famous songs in the English language. 

Louisville is filled with inspirational people and fun historical facts. Our city has clues to these interesting facts all around us, we just have to learn to open up our eyes and look for them. Next time you attend a birthday party and sing those famous “Happy Birthday” words, maybe you will sing them with a little more pride! 

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Why Are There Fleurs-De-Lis Everywhere Anyway

Everywhere you look in Louisville, whether it be in our local boutiques, at our various art fairs, or throughout our historic architecture, a similar theme can be noted; the fleur-de-lis. The fleur-de-lis is the city of Louisville’s official seal and more importantly, has become our cultural icon for Louisville’s close knit community. 

Most Louisvillians know the importance of the fleur-de-lis to Louisville, but may not necessary know why. In the United States, the fleur-de-lis is most famous for being the official seal of New Orleans. Following Hurricane Katrina, the fleur-de-lis took on another job as promoting grassroots support to the recovery. So how did the fleur-de-lis become the official seal of Louisville then?  The fleur-de-lis is a french symbol with it’s earliest uses in the French Monarchy. It’s questionable whether or not the fleur-de-lis is modeled after an iris, a lily, or it could be a holy trinity. The fleur-de-lis became the official seal after the Revolutionary War to represent the french aid given to Louisville and subsequently, Louisville was named after King Louis XVI. Because of Louisville’s roots, it is in fact pronounced “Louie-ville,” but try to say it that way around town and you will get plenty of eye rolls.

If you are proud of living in Louisville, or like our beloved city, then hop on the fleur-de-lis train if your not already on it. Fleur-de-lis jewelry, home goods, and even fleur-de-lis inspired businesses are easy to find around town.  

Regalo, Scout, and Why Louisville are just a few of the locally owned boutiques that carry fleur-de-lis jewelry and accessories for the home. Some of the most popular fleur-de-lis merchandise range from serving platters, tea towels, to ice scoops. Sterling silver fleur-de-lis jewelry is also very popular. Fleur-de-lis earrings, watches, and necklaces are a great way to show your Louisville pride while looking modern and stylish. Regalo is located on Barret Avenue, Scout is part of the Nulu District, and Why Louisville is located on Bardstown Road.

Many local businesses have taken on the fleur-de-lis name and symbol to market to the local community. Restaurants such as the Fleur De Lis Cafe on Bardstown Road serve the local community with comfort food in a casual atmosphere. Fleur De Lis Events and Design is a high end special events company that specialize in making everything from the lighting to the floral arrangements on your special day beyond perfect. The fleur-de-lis name is even being used in the local real estate industry. Fleur De Lis on Main is one of the newest downtown residential and commercial developments. Complete with 82 condos, and over 20,000 square feet of retail and commercial space on the first floor, Fleur De Lis on Main is making a big mark in the every changing downtown community. 

If you didn't know the history of the fleur-de-lis in Louisville, now you do. Fleurs-de-lis are beautiful and meaningful symbols but what makes them more meaningful is what we have done with them as a community. Louisvillians love using the fleur-de-lis to show pride in our city and I encourage you to jump on board.

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Now is the Time for Discounted Christmas Decor

The Holiday season is over. Christmas has come and gone and our hangovers from New Year’s have finally subsided. Right around this time, at the beginning of the new year, most folks are huddled in two categories; those that couldn't be happier the Christmas season is behind them and those feeling a bit of yule tide separation anxiety. Depending on which category you fall under, what I am about to propose will either be cringe worthy, or welcomed with delight. Although the holiday season is technically over with, right now is the best time to shop for next year’s Christmas decor. For those of you that are al “Christmas’d out,” just give me a chance to make my point. Most stores discount their Christmas merchandise 50% off and higher this time of year. You don’t even have to take what you purchase out of the bags when you get home, just throw your bags in storage with the rest of your decorations. It will all be worth the extra day surrounded by glitter reindeers and singing snowmen when you go to unwrap your decorations for next year’s Christmas and realize the abundance of great decorations you have and what great deals you got.  

Everyone is shopped out right now, so I am going to suggest a couple places I know have great deals on Christmas decor.  

Work The Metal, in the Butchertown Market, is my favorite place to go for holiday shopping. Apart from having some of the most unique gifts in town, their selection of holiday decor is amazing. Right now all holiday items in the store are 50% off. With merchandise ranging from pine cone candles, tabletop Christmas trees, and quirky tee towels, Work the Metal has everything you need to make your house a cheery home for the holidays.  

While you are at the Work The Metal shopping for your discounted holiday items, stop by the other specialty item stores in the Butchertown Market. Cellar door chocolates is based out of the Butchertown Market and has a storefront there as well.  With some of the most unique and delicious locally made chocolates right next door to Work the Metal, you have to stop in! A nationally recognized foodie company is also right next door, Bourbon Barrel Foods is located in Butchertown Market as well. Their products are available for purchase at Work the Metal. Locally made soaps, lotions, and candles, are available at Moss Hill, which you cant miss while browsing through Work the Metal. Butchertown Market is located at 1201 Story Avenue Louisville, Kentucky 40206. For more information you can visit their website www.thebutchertownmarket.com.

Pottery Barn and Pier 1 Imports are both having great sales on their Christmas merchandise and you will still be getting good quality items that will last. Not only are these stores having sales in the stores but online as well. Don't forget to take advantage of their online deals!

More often than not we say we are going to take advantage of the deals and we don't. If you have the storage space and an hour to go browse at one of these stores, then do it, it’s well worth it!   

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Warm Up With Trivia Nights in St. Matthews

Do your friends always say that you are filled with useless knowledge? Are you a movie buff, know all your state capitols, or a master of the periodic table? If you answered yes to any of these questions or just enjoy an atmosphere filled with a hearty competitive spirit, then you may be a natural trivia buff. Many Louisville pubs hold weekly trivia nights, where one night a week depending on the location, either a live host or television screen, will announce questions and teams of various sizes are challenged to get the correct answers. These trivia nights are becoming increasingly popular among bar-goers of all various age groups and will be an excellent excuse to get out of the house this cold and lonely winter.  

St. Matthews’ own Molly Malone’s Irish Pub holds one of the most popular trivia nights. Tuesday nights from 8pm to 10pm Molly Malone’s Pub Quiz is free to anyone who wants to join in. Along with the trivia, Molly Malone’s offers excellent Irish food including fish and chips, shepherd’s pie, and bangers and mash. Molly Malone’s Irish Pub is located at 3900 Shellbyville Road.

Every Wednesday night starting at 7pm Bluegrass Brewing Company hosts their version of Pub Quiz night. With six rounds of trivia consisting of ten questions in each round, trivia night at BBC promises a full night of fun, good beer, and delicious food. Bluegrass Brewing Company is located at 3929 Shellbyville Road.

DiOrio’s Pizza and Pub is relatively new to the St. Matthews community and serves New York style pizza and sandwiches. Trivia nights are Thursdays starting at 8:30pm and follow the typical six round format. DiOrio’s also hosts karaoke on Saturday nights. DiOrio's Pizza and Pub is located at 310 Wallace Ave.

Mellow Mushroom, one of St. Matthews’ newest and hippest restaurants, hosts Mellow Trivia beginning at 8:30pm on Wednesday nights. Mellow Mushroom has a lengthy craft beer menu and delicious pizza to make your trivia night even more worthwhile. 

St. Matthews is packed full of pubs that offer trivia nights. On any given night you can find a neighborhood bar offering a place for you to expand your mind and challenge your intellectual and competitive spirit.  

If you enjoy trivia nights and become a regular, you may consider joining the league and competing in the tournament. The 2012 tournament, just ended, but next year’s tournament, is being scheduled now. The top ten teams from each bar with a trivia night compete in the tournament and keep score based on 10 point scale. At the end of the tournament the overall point leader wins. For more information on the league or tournament go to www.louisvilletrivia.com.

Trivia nights are a great way to spend time with old friends or are a wonderful way to make new friends. These next few months are going to get cold, so why not escape to a warm bar with good food, friendly people, and a challenging game of trivia.

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St. Matthews Imports

While out running errands today, nearly every corner I turned and intersection I crossed resulted in a collision caused by some driver’s  careless mistakes. Tis the season for everyone’s brains to turn to mush I guess and beware of distracted drivers! With all the stresses that the holidays bring we all have a few extra things on our minds, but not until today when I was in the middle of the calamity did I have an idea just how much the holidays affect us.

While out on the road, I got to thinking about the amount of people that must get into car accidents during the holiday season. The number must be staggering based solely on the fact that in the hour that I was in the car I had nearly ten good chances of getting in an accident. It is probably the worst time of year to be in an auto accident; you have already spent your budget for the month, you are stressed out enough with the season as it is, and frankly, you just don't have the time to deal with it right now. The key in painless car problem solving is knowing the right person to take it to, although this is often easier said than done. I will preface this part of the blog by letting you know that I may be slightly bias to one of the following shops (because my husband owns it...) but in fact it is to your benefit. Because of my close relationship to the Louisville auto service industry I will pass along only the truthful and most beneficial information to you.  

With the shopping malls of St. Matthews producing numerous auto accidents from it’s holiday crazed drivers, its a good thing that the best body shop in Louisville is nearby. St. Matthews Imports is a popular auto body and repair shop with  multiple locations, one being in the heart of St. Matthews. St. Matthews Imports is the trusted place to go not only among many Louisvillians in general, but among many car people and mechanics themselves. Hopefully you wont have to visit St. Matthews Imports any time soon, but just in case you need more information, visit their website St. Matthews Imports.

Although I would send you to St.Matthews Imports for bodywork, for anything mechanical there is only one place in town to take your car.  Located 10 minutes from St. Matthews in Old Louisville is McCormick Motorsports. I may be bias because I am a McCormick, but if there is one thing I know it is that unfortunately honesty comes very rare in a mechanic. Matt, owner at McCormick Motorsports, will always be up front with you and fair. The shop is unique with large spray painted murals on the walls, one depicting the Louisville skyline, another, a Toyota off-roading. For more information about McCormick Motorsports go to McCormick Motorsports.  

Both St. Matthews Imports and McCormick Motorsports are repeat winners in the Leo Readers Choice Awards and have excellent reputations in town. If anyone is going to make your holiday mishap a little easier it will be these guys.  

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New Heine Brothers opens in St. Matthews

Louisvillians love their coffee, and not just any coffee, local coffee. With several locally owned and operated coffee shops thriving in town, Louisville is a great city to sample some of the best and most unique coffee blends. When you drive through several neighborhoods in town including the Highlands, Clifton, and Germantown, there are small, local coffee shops popping up on every corner. St. Matthews is the newest neighborhood following the trend to include some of the best local coffee spots, with Louisville favorite Heine Brothers bombarding the community with it’s delicious roasts. Heine Brothers opened up their new store November 28 in St. Matthews making it the third Heine Brothers in the St. Matthews neighborhood. 

Heine Brothers opened its first store in 1994 in the Highlands and has grown immensely popular ever since. The Heine Brothers mission is to remain committed to sustainability and operating responsibility while bringing its customers delicious drinks and friendly service. Not only are the Heine Brothers products high quality and very tasty, but the Heine Brothers team does a lot of good on the side. Heine Brothers donates to many community groups and co-founded the World’s first fair-trade coffee buying cooperative.

Heine Brothers offers its customers a wide range of coffee experiences. With seven House blends and twelve single origin coffees there is something for everyone. The baristas that work at each Heine Brothers location are very helpful and well versed in coffee knowledge and can help you find the perfect flavor for you. Heine Brothers also offers a full list of organic and fair-trade loose leaf teas that I personally know are delicious. If you want to grab something to eat, Heine Brothers has a menu filled with pastries, paninis, and several vegan and vegetarian options. 

The St. Matthews location is located at 4305 Shellbyville Road and serves all that I mentioned above. Heine Brothers sells some of the best coffee in town, and St. Matthews is full of Heine Brothers stores now. Not only can you get a good cup of coffee, but supporting Heine Brothers means supporting a local store and supporting local community groups. Think about this next time you pull up to grab a cup of coffee from a national coffee chain. 

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Tips on throwing an in-prompt-to holiday party that wont break your seasonal budget.

The holiday season can become overwhelming with parties and social events, but in my opinion the more the merrier! This season’s gatherings are often filled with long lost friends, ugly christmas sweaters, and silly gift exchanges and too often involve an obscene amount of spiked egg nog.  When it comes to hosting your own event however, theres often less partying and more stressing.  It is important that you plan ahead and spend time deciding what kind of holiday party you want to undertake.  Parties can easily become an expensive venture and during this time of year, most of us are breaking the budget as it is.  Don't let the price of a good time deter you from hosting a holiday shin dig however, there are plenty of ways to throw a fabulous yuletide celebration on the cheap. 

Don't feel like you have to invite everyone you know.  Keep the party intimate with just a few close friends.  By keeping your party guest list to a minimum you give yourself many different options when it comes to the party itself.  By only having a few guests, you have the option of a dinner party, gift exchange, or even a fire pit party in the back yard. 

My favorite part of throwing any party is creating the party decor.  Expensive looking decor can cost next to nothing if you have the right materials and get a little creative. My staple decor pieces are white and off-white candles of various sizes and clear glass candle holders to hold the various sizes of candles. (I purchased candles and candle holders at Garden Ridge ranging from $4-$15 a piece).  If you have these basic materials you can make any space look smart and festive for any holiday.  Each time you decorate for a party all you have to do is fill the glass around the candle with some sort of filler. This adds color, warmth, and a little quirk to the space.  My Christmas pieces are filled with cranberries and shelled walnuts.  Pine Cones from Garden Ridge, a pine garland over the fireplace, and the Christmas tree round out our natural decor elements in the house. A few fun decorations are always essential and Work the Metal in Butchertown Market is the place to go for any unique Christmas decoration.  A silver glitter reindeer from Work the Metal adds some youth and fun to our party.  

This holiday season I prefer dinner parties over parties serving hor-de-ouvers.  Small, intimate gatherings of your closest friends are the way to go this year.  Serving dinner doesn't have to be expensive either. There are plenty of meals that you can prepare that are simple, feed a lot of people, and don't cost a lot to make. Fish tacos are one of our favorite party meals because a little fish goes a long way. Traditional fish tacos only call for cilantro and onion, serve some rice and beans on the side and that’s it! Soups and chilis are my other go to dinner party meal. Soup is perfect because you can prepare it before hand and be with your guests when they arrive. Soups are nice also because if you have guests with a variety of dietary needs, it is easy to make several soups before and leave them on the stovetop for your guests to help themselves. If you want to take your soup party a step further, try making grilled cheeses to go with the soup with a variety of cheeses and fillings. 

There is plenty of time left to throw in in-prompt-to holiday party. Be creative and have fun, this time of year is just about spending time with the people you love, so try not to stress. 

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One-Stop Shopping at The Vogue Center

The holiday season has a way of sneaking up on us and holiday shopping is usually the most stressful part of what is supposed to be the most cheerful time of year. Every year I tell myself that next Christmas season I am going to shop early and enjoy the festivities around the holiday.  I know I am in good company when I say that I fail year after year in this and wind up scrambling at the last minute to get the final gifts checked off my list. The good news is, that Louisville is filled with unique stores filled with countless gifts, making it pretty simple to find something special for everyone on your list. As you know the right places to go, it is possible to get most or all of your shopping finished in one afternoon.

The St. Matthews neighborhood is the most well-known shopping community in Louisville. You can find everything from large shopping malls to locally owned high-end boutiques. The boutiques in St. Matthews can get pretty pricey, but they guarantee unique and quality merchandise. The old Vogue Theatre has been renovated into several boutiques, restaurants, and wellness centers and is home to some of the best shopping in the area.

The Peppermint Palm is a great place to go shopping if you are searching for high-end gifts for the preppy dresser in your life. With Lilly Pulitzer designers for men, women, and children along with accessories for both the body and home, Peppermint Palm has everything an aspiring socialite would want.

Dandelion is also located at the Vogue Center and has some excellent gift giving options. Mainly a home decor store, Dandelion had plenty of eclectic and modern pieces to complement anyone’s interior space.  If you are trying to think outside the box this Christmas, give the gift of an interior design consult from one of Dandelion’s expert interior designers. In addition to home goods, Dandelion also creates custom jewelry. Starting at $85.00, you can choose your materials, including precious stones, 14k gold, and stainless steel, and add engraving to create a special gift that is both beautiful and thoughtful.

Not all the boutiques in St. Matthews have to break your budget, Blush boutique prides itself on bringing unique and affordable fashion to the masses. For you moms out there that have no idea what clothes your teenage daughter would pick out herself and want to avoid the disgusted looks and the inevitable returns, think about buying her an appointment with a personal stylist instead.  Any young girl will love the attention she receives from a professional in the fashion industry and if you get suckered in to buying more clothes than you expected to at the end of the appointment, at least you are at the most affordable boutique in the area!

While you are at the Vogue Center, pick up some spa treatment gift cards from LeBliss Salon and Spa for those last few gifts on the list.

St. Matthews and the Vogue Center is just one of the great areas for one-stop shopping this holiday season, so take advantage of these unique boutiques. 

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St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce and Community Pride Breakfast

The St. Matthews neighborhood is known for it’s high number of locally owned shops and community-based businesses. In a city such as ours, communities such as St. Matthews are able to thrive through Louisvillians who understand the importance of shopping locally. Not only are our city’s consumers helping support our local businesses but the tight knit small business community works together to promote one another. The St. Matthews local business owners and prospective business people have created an inner circle to strengthen the community’s local business. 

The St. Matthew Chamber of Commerce has developed an inviting and helpful central location for local business owners to explore their options and grow their business. With a variety of regular and special events open to members and nonmembers, the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce is an excellent resource for anyone with an established business in the community or someone just starting out. For nonmembers the best event would be the 5:05 After Hours Networking event. Every fourth Tuesday of the month a member holds a meet and greet event at their place of business. The event usually includes appetizers, drinks, door Prizes and a lot of networking. This event is a great way to meet other business people in the community and pick their brains. If you decide to become a member their is a slew of other events available to you including Networking at Noon and the Think Tanks.  

Wednesday, December 12 The St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce is hosting the St. Matthews Community Pride Breakfast.  From 7:30am to 9:00am the St. Matthews Community will honor several people who have made extraordinary voluntary contributions to the community. The winners were chosen by several civic clubs and other community service organizations and the winners will receive “community pride service awards.” The breakfast is open to the public but you must register online at the chamber of commerce’s website. St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce

If you are a business owner in the St. Matthews community you might want to consider joining the Chamber of Commerce. Not only can you benefit from the events but you can also benefit from healthcare, advertising, and retail discounts as well! Membership fees for the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce are $150 annually for the first member and $125 for an associate membership. To find out more information about the St. Matthews Chamber of Commerce you can visit their website. If you want to join you can call their office at 502-899-2523 or email at chamber@stmatthewschamber.com.

Regardless of whether or not you are a consumer, business owner, member, or nonmember, it is important to keep this inner-circle of locally owned businesses going.  This holiday season shop locally and support your own community’s small businesses. Your neighbors are the ones that own these shops and businesses, wouldn't you rather support them than some CEO you've never met?

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Louisville is a Secret No More: Lonely Planet Names Louisville Number 1 top US Travel Destination for 2013

It seems as though our beloved secret city is becoming a little less secret these days. For years, Louisville has been our hidden treasure of a town. Besides visiting for the Kentucky Derby, most travelers and those outside the inner Louisvillian circle, would never consider Louisville a place to visit and especially not live in year round. Recently however, with the revitalization of many downtown neighborhoods and the ongoing growth and expansion of central downtown, Louisville is becoming a popular destination for many visitors. Lonely Planet, the World’s most successful travel publisher, has named Louisville the number 1 top US travel destination for 2013.  

 Victorian Homes in Old LouisvilleLonely Planet’s editors and authors fell in love with Louisville’s multicultural neighborhoods and offbeat charm while doing their research for the top ten list.  The NuLu/East Market District, Urban Bourbon Trail, and the Highlands neighborhood were three aspects of our city that Lonely Planet claimed put us at the top.  

 Anyone who visits our new Louisville can see that it is alive and vibrant, filled with good food, friendly people, and beautiful architecture. Louisville has a thriving art community, a diverse cultural community, and a passionate college sports community. Louisville is not only full of incredible travel options for a weekend, but  keep all of what the city has to offer in mind if you are considering Louisville as your permanent home. There is a reason Louisville earned Lonely Planet’s number one spot. 

Louisville and it’s surrounding areas are full of day trips and family friendly activities for out-of town visitors or locals who want to spend a day out of the house. The Falls of the Ohio State Park is located just across the bridge in Clarksville, Indiana. The expansive limestone shelf holds fossils dating back 400 million years. The limestone shelf and accompanying museum are considered one of the areas most important landmarks. Other museums and day trips in the area include the Louisville Science Center, Louisville Zoo, JB Speed Art Museum, and the Louisville Slugger Museum where they craft the official bat of Major League Baseball. Louisville also has annual car, craft, neighborhood, arts, music, and cultural shows that pop up year round.  

Louisville is a city with amazing architecture.It is only second to Boston on the “National Register of Historic Places,” and second to New York City’s SoHo in buildings with cast iron fronts. The Downtown Louisville neighborhood of Old Louisville has the largest assembly of Victorian mansions in the country. Walking tours are available to take through community, and I highly recommend going. 

There is so much to do in Louisville that it is no surprise that it is number one on anyone’s list. I have always known how great this city is and that it was only a matter of time before other people started to catch on. Now we have to worry about everyone else trying to get in on our wonderful secret city.

 

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Downs After Dark - A Golden Era

Who said Churchill Downs is only fun one weekend out of the year? With the relatively new night racing series, Churchill Downs has become a hot spot more often than not and this upcoming weekend will be no exception. Downs After Dark began in 2010 and has been picking up speed and popularity ever since. Downs After Dark combines horse racing, music, and the nightclub scene to create the ultimate party. Each Downs After Dark attracts tens of thousands of patrons. Attendees come to party under the historic twin spires in a unique setting that you can’t get in a normal afternoon at the track. Couches and lounge chairs accompany the typical paddock furniture, creating a unique nightclub atmosphere. The Downs After Dark model has proven to be very successful. 

It is nearing the end of November and Churchill Down’s night racing will return from a short hiatus with an extravagant party. Saturday, November 17, 2012, Stella Artois and Finlandia Vodka are hosting Down After Dark-A Golden Era. The theme, A Golden Era, will celebrate the roaring twenties, so make sure you come with your flapper hat and mob boss suit in tow. Churchill Downs is said to be transformed into a “Gatsby-like estate” according to Darren Rogers, Senior Director of Communications and Media Services at Churchill Downs. You can expect the same over-the-top decor and exciting ambiance that you get from any other Downs After Dark.

In keeping with he roaring 20’s theme, the headliners for the night will be Swing St. Louis featuring Jack Garret and the Syndicate and the Rick Bartlett Band. Both bands will be performing at the former Paddock Pavilion.

Downs After Dark is also bringing back a popular Bet or no Bet Sweepstakes sponsored by Thortons. Four lucky fans will get the chance to choose between placing a $1,000 win wager on a horse of their choice, or walk away with a $100 gas gift card.

Doors open at 3:00pm on Saturday and the first race is scheduled to run at 4:30pm. There are eleven races to run under the lights with the last race scheduled for 9:36pm. General admission to Churchill Downs is $10.00, but there are a variety of other ticketing options available.  

Box seats are available for $20.00 per person.

For $40.00 per person you can gain access to the Millionaire's Lounge where beer tastings are available as well as food tastings, entertainment and access to a semiprivate balcony.  

For $59.95 you can sit in Millionaires Row. You will also have dinner on Millionaires Row. 

For $101 per person you will have a private Jockey Club Suite. A private room and balcony, full bar and chef table, and private wagering machine are all included. A 15 person minimum is required.

I already have my plans set to attend this weekend’s Downs After Dark and I wouldn't miss it for anything. Churchill Downs and Downs After Dark are both uniquely Louisville and we should take advantage of celebrating them every chance we get. 

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Take Advantage of Your St. Matthews Parks Before the Freeze

Fall is the perfect time to get outside and enjoy the last days of bearable weather before the harsh Winter sinks in. In fact, these next few weeks when there is a chill in the air and the last leaves are falling off of the trees, are the best days for bundling up in your cold weather gear and heading out to your local parks for some fun. This is my favorite time of year for enjoying the many outdoor amenities that our city has to offer. These days spent playing outside not only bring with them the obvious excitement of a day at the park but often lead to some of the best memories.  

St. Matthews has several parks within the community. The heart of the St. Matthews neighborhood is the award winning Brown Park. Brown Park holds many of the community events such as next month’s Light up St. Matthews and the recent 15th annual St. Matthews Halloween Festival that was a huge hit. When Brown Park isn’t hosting a huge neighborhood blow out, you can always find someone you know at the park using it’s many amenities. Brown Park has beautiful asphalt walking trails through the woods and next to Beargrass Creek, creating scenic but walkable paths.  There is a pond on the East side of the park that has become the home of several species of wild duck. Children love to come to the pond and check out the ducks. Although there are posted signs saying not to feed them, I have seen many Grandmas allowing their happy grandsons to throw the ducks some crackers. Brown Park is also equip with playgrounds, picnic tables, barbeques, and a large pavilion for entertaining.  

Seneca Park is one of Louisville’s most popular parks and is right on the outskirts of St. Matthews. Seneca Park was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, the same “landscape architect” who designed New York City’s Central Park. Seneca Park is a 500 acre park that offers many amenities, including soccer fields, baseball fields, tennis courts, running paths, and an 18-hole golf course.

If you are a sports lover than Community Park is the place for you to go. Community Park is a 45.8 acre park located just off of Shelbyville Road by the Ten Pin Lane Bowling Alley. Community Park is home to the St. Matthews Little League so it is filled with league quality baseball fields. In addition to the baseball fields, the park has basketball courts, tennis courts, playgrounds, asphalt walking trails through wooded terrain, and picnic tables with barbeques. This park has everything you need if you are going to watch a game with your family or if you want to play your own game!

Arthur K. Draut Park is a simple park located on Bowling Boulevard just several blocks from Brown Park. This 24.2 acre park is intended for walkers, runners, or joggers and offers a scenic trail for interesting ambiance. No restrooms are offered at this park, so it is purely a place to enjoy the view. 

Warwick Park is located off of Virginia Avenue and has many amenities for all ages. There is an asphalt walking trail around the perimeter of the park, creating a track and open green space in the middle. Barbeques, picnic tables, playgrounds, and basketball courts are all available at the park as well as a baseball diamond that is available to be reserved for free.  A large pavilion can also be reserved for large parties at no cost.

All of these St. Matthews city parks are open to the public from Dawn till Dusk and offer free parking. Bundle up in your coats, hats, and gloves, and enjoy your local parks even if it is a little chilly! Pretty soon it will be so cold the only thing you will be able to do at these parks is sled!

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Preparing for the Holiday Stress

With signs of the upcoming holiday season popping up everywhere, it is understandable that many of us are starting to get a little anxious about the amount of money we are expected to spend in the next several weeks. The holiday season is supposed to be filled with family, friends, and holiday cheer, but more often is ruined by the many stresses that come along with the time of year. Now is the time however, before the holiday season officially begins, to plan ahead to reduce the holiday stress. Chances are that you will be spending more money in the next month or so than you would normally spend throughout the year. The good news is that if you plan ahead, there are ways to either offset or reduce the hit of the extra spending.  

For Thanksgiving this year my family is trying something new. We are not only changing things up to reduce our spending but to reduce the stress involved. My husband and I are hosting Thanksgiving at our new home and inviting both sides of our family so that we don't have to travel. Instead of doing a traditional sit-down Thanksgiving dinner, we decided to have a “Thanksgiving Party.” With 20 adults and 7 kids a sit down dinner would be both stressful and frankly, quite ridiculous, so we decided on a buffet style dinner. Everyone is bringing a dish or two, and we are supplying the centerpiece to the meal. We ordered a Turdunken from the Frankfort Avenue restaurant, Varanese, which in itself it’s reducing our stress load and was well worth what we paid. All we have to do is pop in in the oven the night before and the next day we will have a glistening turkey, duck, chicken, ready for our guests.The money and stress we will save doing it this way is already worth it. I will report back and let you know how the Thanksgiving party went.  

Parents around Christmas time make themselves crazy trying to find the perfect toy for their child and often end up spending more money than they would like. Every parent wants to give their child a good holiday season and I have a simple way to ease the financial burden. Take advantage of the community's kids eat free opportunities. Every day of the week there is a restaurant in the St. Matthews neighborhood that offers a kids eat free deal.  

If you are going to eat at a restaurant, make sure that you take the time to find out which restaurants are offering free food for your child. I figure this season you are spending extra money on them so why not feed them for free?

Mondays are kids eat free at W.W Cousins, one of my favorite restaurants. W.W Cousins is a great place to bring the kids. The burger and salad bar are great for both adults and children and the restaurant offers a noise level that welcomes young children.  

Go to Penn Station on Tuesdays and when you purchase a normal size sub you get a small one for free.  

     Kids eat free at Moe's Southwest Grille on Wednesdays.
     Thursdays go to McAlister's, kids eat free.
     Fridays at Salsaritas kids eat free with the purchase of an adult meal.  
     Kids eat free at Hooters on Saturday so go and grab some wings!
     Sundays offer free kids meals at Tumbleweed.

The holidays can be very stressful, but plan ahead and try to be creative. There are a lot of ways to save money while spending extra money on the holidays. You want to be able to enjoy  the holidays while you are celebrating them, so prepare yourself now so you can enjoy yourself later. 

 

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