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Solo Road Trip to Cleveland

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I am one of those people who loves to travel. I love everything about it from planning a trip, finding places to stay, creating the itinerary, and discovering cool places to visit. Doesn’t matter if it’s by plane, train, or automobile – I like them all. In fact, I get extra energy when I have a trip on my schedule and I actually sleep just as good in a nice hotel as I do at home.  I am a traveler.

Arrived back home to base camp last night after 5 days, 1,460 miles, 5 cities, and 3 hotels on a solo road trip from Memphis to Cleveland. The main reason was to attend the Handmade Conference for independent product brands.  As much as I love flying, I decided to drive because I love the idea of being able to explore multiple cities on a single trip and to be open to new opportunities as they surfaced.

Memphis to Cincinnati – 7 hrs 24 minutes

My first stop was Liberty Center just outside of Cincinnati. It’s one of those new lifestyle centers which are basically mini-cities that combine retail, entertainment, hotels, green spaces, and office space.  Personally, I love these. I like having everything I need within walking distance and not have to drive.

My hotel for the night was one of the new Marriott brands – AC Hotel.  Loved It!  It’s clean and modern but still comfy and cozy. The rooms are carpet-free which is great for people who have allergies.

Before I left the next morning I walked through the center and in some places it really felt like being on a city street. The night I got there they were having a concert in the central park area. Really cool!

I visited my first Lush store and I get why it’s so popular. I purchased the Angels on Bare Skin facial scrub which is made with ground almonds and it leaves my face so soft and smooth. I like that it’s not drying.

My next stop was Celebrate Local Ohio. As the fearless captain of Modern Made Memphis, I always seek out the local + handmade + independent shops to explore the unique things that you can’t find everywhere. I found CLO on the internet and it’s always cool to visit in-person places that you’ve only experience online.

Often local + indie stores are in low brow areas of town where the rent is cheap. When I find one in a mainstream area I always like to network with the owner and talk shop about how to make this doable here in Memphis. One way is to include food & drink along with the jewelry, soaps, and pottery. Food will always be a big hit. My haul from CLO included Feisty Fish Rub from Mom’s Gourmet for my new pescaterian lifestyle and a bottle of Chef Jo’s Orange Extract.

Cincinnati to Cleveland – 3 hours 28 minutes

I was in Cleveland for a conference on handmade bath & body makers. Going back to the ‘being open to new opportunities as they surface’ thing….I woke up Saturday morning and had no desire to spend all day in a seminar. I wanted to explore.

My first stop was the Cleveland History Center which is part of the Western Reserve Historical Center located in Cleveland’s University Circle, a beautiful neighborhood full of historic homes, lots of green space, museums, and Western Case University.

The center is located in two former residences that were part of Cleveland’s Millionaires Row.  Built in 1911, touring the Hay-McKinney Mansion was like walking through Downton Abbey. I loved the wide hallways and having key functions in separate rooms – the kitchen, the sitting room, dining room, and butler’s pantry.  Having lived in a large open floorplan house with six people I respect the functionality of the old design. I like not smelling Brussel sprouts in my bedroom and not hearing every beep and buzz from some kid’s Xbox while trying to quietly read a book.

My main purpose for visiting the museum was to view the exhibit Wow Factor: 100 Years of Collecting Bold Clothes. I’m working on my capsule collection and knew getting face-to-face with the fabric, attention-to-detail, and design of vintage, couture, fashion would inspire me to design with passion.

The local/indie store visit was to Merchant’s Market located in another hip lifestyle center – Legacy Village. The amazing thing about this center is that they really put effort into making the space a beautiful place to just be.  There are beautiful fIowers and greenery in pots everywhere. It really does remind me of Disney’s Epcot Center, one of my favorite places to go.  My haul from Merchant’s was one of Barr’s Lemongrass Shampoo Bars which I used this morning. Loved It!

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