“Stay Stoked” about Ohio

How many times do you hear people complaining about Ohio? I know I do all the time. Through out all my travels when I say that I am from Ohio people don’t always give me the best response. I want to change the negative feelings associated with Ohio. I believe any place you live in life can be amazing, you just have to make it so. I was talking to fellow Kent State student Logan Emser today, who started selling stickers and t-shirts to keep people positive about the great state we live in.

Emser's Stay Stoked Stickers

Emser’s Stay Stoked Ohio Stickers

“Stay Stoked,” is something Emser’s younger brother would say all the time, it wasn’t until one family vacation snowboarding that they decided to turn these words into a fun side hobby. Emser started sketching out the design and created these awesome stickers. They had 50 printed and sold 50 already.

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Logan Emser-Creator of Stay Stoked Gear

Ohio is underrated,” said Emser, who created the stickers not to make a profit but to get the message out there that Ohio is an amazing place to live. Their future plans for profits made from the stickers and the soon to arrive Stay Stoked t-shirts is to donate the money to a non-profit that supports kids interested in learning extreme sports.

I love Ohio because one can experience four seasons that bring opportunities like skating, skiing, hiking, and just plain enjoying the outdoors,” said Emser.

Similar to Emser’s belief that Ohio can be a playground to all things extreme, Stuck in Ohio video production company does just that. This is a company based in Northeast Ohio that promotes outdoor sports within Ohio, this means surfing, skating, boarding, and biking. Too many times you hear people say “you can’t do that in Ohio,” this company takes those words as fuel to prove them wrong.images

“We understand that our surroundings aren’t ideal for certain activities, but our Midwestern work ethic doesn’t let us throw in the towel just because something is difficult,” says Stuck in Ohio’s mission statement. 

The name, Stuck in Ohio, could be taken the wrong way. The name refers to people who live in Ohio and call it their home. If you have lived here your whole life, moved here recently, got stuck here circumstantially, whatever it may be the name refers to you. Life in Ohio doesn’t have to be boring, people just need to see the potential for adventure.

This company believes in the people of Ohio going out and achieving their passions for their craft and the state. If you are living here, embrace Ohio and get outside and try something thrilling. I mean who knew you could surf at Lake Eerie? This company is trying to break the mold of what people think you can and can’t do in Ohio.

Yes, Ohio may not be the most popular state but let’s show the rest of the country that the Midwest is the Best. Ohio is the heart and soul of the Midwest and we need to “Stay Stoked” about where we live.

Ohioans Let’s Shop Local!

Ohio has so much to offer when it comes to unique products and services only this state has to give. Why do we spend our time and money to go to the nearest mall when we can shop 5 minutes down the road in your own community? There are so many benefits to shopping local and supporting your town. This week I sat down and came up with the 9 best reasons to shop local, I hope you agree. Stop shopping at national chains and start shopping in your own community keeping it unique and connected.
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How did Ohioans finish this sentence, “I Love Ohio Because…”

I asked friends, family, and classmates this week what they loved about Ohio, I got some pretty great responses. I believe it is important to take time out of your day and ask yourself what you love about the place you call home. It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the day and not notice what is beautiful around you. That is why I thought it would be fun to ask people what their response to “I love Ohio because…” This gave people the chance to see the beauty in Ohio and feel that state pride.

This is how 30 Ohioans and 1 dog responded to “I Love Ohio Because…”

5 Ways to Find Ohio’s Best Food and Drink Spots

Do you want to try something new? Maybe, a new restaurant, bar or coffee shop but you can’t seem to be able to pick a place. Have you tried searching for the best restaurants in Ohio but keep getting let down? I will help you find the best ways to search and get information about the tastiest food, drink and treat options in Ohio. If you love food as much as I do then this post will be helpful and your taste buds will be thanking me later!

1. Get the TV Food Maps App on Your Phone.

Find the food you see people eat on TV!

Find the food you see people eat on TV!

This app allows you to find all the restaurants that have been featured on TV shows on the Food Network in a certain location. So, if you are curious what food network featured restaurants are near you all you have to do is look at your app and it will tell you the exact location of the restaurant and what Food Network show it has been on. Have you ever sat down to watch Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and wanted to eat where Guy goes? Well, now you can! Get the app on your phone or search TV Food Maps on your computer and find those amazing Ohio restaurants today. bill_delfs_cleveland

2. Subscribe to Edible Cleveland Magazine This seasonal magazine comes out four times a year and it is chop full of information about the best restaurants, drinks, and treats in Ohio. Edible Cleveland magazine is about Ohio chefs, bakers and brewers lives and what creative foods and drink they are creating. All foodies in the Northeast, Ohio area should subscribe to Edible Cleveland magazine, it is a great way to stay up to date with all the delicious spots in Ohio.

3. Go to the Fabulous Food Show

Fab Food Show

Buy your tickets for the event today!

This year the huge Fabulous Food Show featuring famous chefs from around the country will be at Cleveland’s IX Center on November 14-16. This is the largest presentation of food, fine art, craft breweries, wineries, restaurants and purveyors in the country. It is a super exciting event with over 100 live demonstrations and 450 exhibiting companies. Buy your ticket today for this amazing Fabulous Food Show event, it is coming up soon.

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Ohioan’s read this article!

4. Read the Food Republic Blog Blogger, Joshua M. Bernstein, wrote an article about the “20 Great Things to Eat and Drink in Ohio.” This is a great guide to the best food and drinks Ohio has to offer. I have been to most of them myself and I highly recommend his list.

5. Listen to other Ohioans This one is easy, face to face communication can be the most effective way to find out new places to go. Ask a friend, family member or co-worker their favorite restaurant to eat in Ohio and go there! Also heads up, do not listen to what people on the West Coast think of Ohio foods…watch this funny video about what California natives think about Ohio cuisine in the Ohio Food Taste Test. I hope this list helps Ohioans and visitors find the best places to eat and drink in Ohio!

The Kent Bar Guide for Dummies

In lieu of Kent State’s Homecoming game tomorrow and downtown Kent’s Halloween celebration next Saturday I figured it was the perfect day to write a survival guide to Kent’s Bar scene. As a townie of Kent for the last 23 years of my life, I can confidently say that I know my way around the Kent bars. Kent has a pretty active bar scene with more then 15 bars, each representing a different atmosphere and selection of drinks and food. Okay first things first, why are so many Kent bars named by numbers? Are they trying to confuse us? I mean how many times have your friends mixed up Bar 145 with 157? So, I decided to give you a full description of each numbered Kent Bar to make sure you will never be confused again.

Beers, Bands and Bourbon.

Beers, Bands and Bourbon.

Bar 145- This is one of the newer bars in Kent, and one of the best new restaurants to come into the area. Those burgers are something to talk about, if you haven’t tried one yet, go. You can always expect a night filled with dancing to some kind of live music. This is where most people go during the late night hours, after they have had a few and dancing seems easier (due to the alcohol). If you like Burgers, Bands and Bourbon, this is you place. Go visit Bar 145 on 211 Erie Street, Kent.

Ladies Night Hot Spot

Ladies Night Hot Spot

157 Lounge- This is a New York City martini bar meets Kent, Ohio. At first I was confused why this upscale bar was coming to quirky Kent but then I gave it a chance. The first time I went to 157 Lounge was on a Tuesday night, which is Ladies Night. Ladies Night is awesome, every Tuesday from 11 pm to midnight ladies get free drinks. Seriously, free drinks! This is not the place to go if you are expecting to have a chill time with friends with great conversations. The music is so loud, you have to scream at your friend if you want to have a conversation. So, instead grab a martini and get your dance on. Visit 157 Lounge on 157 South Water St.

The Best Crafted Ohio Beer

The Best Crafted Ohio Beer

101 Bottles- The best crafted beer selection in Kent, Ohio with the most chill atmosphere. You may have been to Bottles to buy beer but have you stayed at the bar and had a drink? If your answer is no, then definitely go. The beer is a little more expensive then the rest of the bars because they have top crafted brands including many local Ohio beers. Go check it out and sit outside on Bottles front porch with one of the 24 rotating beers they have on tap each week on 115 N. Willow St.

Okay so now we are done with the bars that include numbers in their title…lets check out the rest.

$2 Happy Hour Drinks

$2 Happy Hour Drinks!

Water Street Tavern– This is one of Kent State student’s favorite bars to frequent. There is great food during the day, live music and $2 happy hour drinks. This is a great place to gather with friends and share a famous “fishbowl” drink. Order it if you are curious. There is an awesome upstairs patio that not everybody knows about, find the steps in the bar and check it out. This is an overall great bar, with a lot of people and tasty food and drinks. Check out Water Street Tavern located on 132 S. Water St.

Historic Ohio Bar

Historic Ohio Bar

Ray’s Place– This is Ohio’s oldest sports bar created in 1937. Ray’s is a classic Kent bar where townies, students, and alumni gather for great nights they will never forget. Age doesn’t matter at this place. It’s a family restaurant and sports bar by day and a hot bar spot by night. Don’t forget to try the MoFo burger it was on Food Network. Overall, Ray’s is one of Kent’s greatest bars. Visit Kent’s historic bar at 135 Franklin Ave.

Free Peanuts!

Free Peanuts!

The Loft– If you like snacking on peanuts and country music, go to this bar. They are known for their signature drinks such as the Hulk and Rocket Pop. Try both of these drinks, they are amazing. If your out for your friends 21st birthday buy them a Hulk, they will love you. The Loft is perfect college student bar, good cheap drinks and free snacks. Visit Loft at 112 W. Main St.

Venice– Go to this bar if you love playing pool with friends. That is pretty much the reason to go to Venice on 163 W. Erie St.

Peoples choice #1 Bar to Frequent.

Peoples choice #1 Bar to Frequent.

Zephyr– The only three story bar in Kent with an outdoor deck on each floor.It is a very quirky place full of even more quirky people. The Zephyr atmosphere is really hard to explain because no one can. It is a weird place, with weird people and that is what makes it great. This bar ranked #1 favorite bar to visit on my survey on Facebook and it also is my favorite bar. Go and check out this quirky bar on 106 W. Main St. for a night you won’t forget (well maybe if you drink too much).

Bar Survey

I created a survey on Facebook seeing everyones favorite bar to go to in Kent.

This is my personal guide to Kent bars, choose one bar or all and have a great time. Drink responsibly everyone and enjoy the bars this weekend or the next or any day in between. Cheers!

Is Home Brewing an Option For You?

Ohio is a mecca for craft beer, with over 80 breweries listed on Ohio Craft Beer’s website- that’s insane! This state hasohio-craft-beer an amazing beer community with some of the best rated beer in the country. In fact, four Ohio Breweries are medal winners at the Great American Beer Festival: Great Lakes, Hoppin’ Frog, Fat Heads, and Columbus Brewing Company. All of these phenomenal breweries are right in our back yard, check out the Ohio Brewery Map to find out a brewery near you.

If you are from Ohio, you have probably sipped on a Great Lakes beer of your choice but have you ever thought about trying out your own home brewed beer? How cool would it be to throw a party and serve beer you hand crafted? Well, its not that hard and you too could join the Ohio’s beer culture with your own spin.

5 Easy Steps to See if Home Brewing is Your Calling

1. Are you a beer lover?

If sweet fruity drinks are your go-to, I would advise you not to be a home brewer. Also, when I talk about loving beer, I am not speaking to the Bud Light, Natural Light and Coors Light fans out there. There nothing wrong with these sort of drinks but if you are going to invest your money and time in home brewing, craft beer better be your specialty.

2. Do you enjoy learning new things? Go to a beer class.

Go to a free beer class at Label Peelers!

Go to a free beer class at Label Peelers!

Sometimes class can be a drag but that’s because you have not gone to beer class yet. About a month ago I went to a free home brewing class at Label Peelers in Kent, Ohio. A couple friends and I went and it was a great time. For starters, they gave us a bunch of free beer, something any college student can appreciate. Then we sat through an hour long class learning the process of making homemade beer from start to finish. The whole experience was free, we got to hang out with quirky beer guys, drink, and learn the home brewing process. If you are interested in creating your own beer, I highly suggest going to one of these classes before you start. This fun activity allows you to find out if this is something you truly enjoy before investing your money in it!

3. Can you cook?

If you can not follow a recipe to save your life then brewing may not be for you. Creating beer is a lot like cooking– you have a big pot, plenty of ingredients and a spoon. If you are starting out making beer, you will probably begin with a beer kit that you can buy at a local Ohio beer supply store like Label Peelers. This kit will have everything you need to make your first beer and instructions. Like cooking, you will need to be able to follow these steps. If you can cook, you can make beer!

4. How much free time do you have? 

If you are running around constantly with no free time for hobbies, then you might not have enough time to craft the perfect beer. Homemade beer takes time. Creating your beer initially only takes a couple hours but then most beers take about a month to ferment. Other beers take even longer, and Christmas ales can take the better part of a year to taste right. Patience and a little free time is all you need to make your first batch of beer!

5. Are you willing to invest some cash?

Yes, nobody likes to talk about money, especially if you are a poor college student like myself. Home brewing can be costly at first. Initially beer making can be expensive because you need to buy the equipment and your beer kits. Over time the money will eventually even out. If you are an avid beer drinker and spend a lot of money on beer, then investing on making your own beer can save you money. Most kits cost around $30 and make about 50 beers, which is a pretty good price for what you are getting.

Are you up for the Challenge? Now that you have read these steps, do you have the chops to make your own batch? Watch this Youtube tutorial for more information about brewing beer.

Simple Steps to Crafting Success

Last June, I returned to my hometown of Kent, Ohio, after studying abroad in Italy for five months and spending every penny I had on the experience of a lifetime. I came home to find that my job that I had left was not giving me any hours for the summer and I was officially broke. Having only seven dollars in my pocket and no way to make money, I knew I had to come up with an idea.

One day, I stumbled upon a mason jar of beer caps in my house, and I knew there was potential for an awesome craft. After a little brainstorming, I came up with an idea that would lead to some money and fuel the rest of my summer- bottle cap art!

Customized Ohio art

Customized Ohio art

Loving Local Art

We now live in a society where people appreciate local, handmade crafts. Strangely, I thought my Ohio art would be an exception– that I would guilt a couple friends into buying them and that would be the end of it. I started hot-glueing all day, burning my fingers, and creating these Ohio beer cap pieces of art. To my surprise, word got around and suddenly I had requests coming in left and right. I have now sold over twenty custom plaques and the list keeps growing. Kent natives are now representing Ohio on their walls all over the country, in places like Denver, Colorado and New Orleans, Louisiana.

Social Media to Make Sales

Happy Customer Woody Mandaleri

Happy Customer Woody Mandalari

We now live in an online world, and if local entrepreneurs or small businesses know how to take advantage of this and harness the power of the internet, it can lead to huge success. Yes, my bottle cap business is small, but by sharing my work with others via social media and other outlets, I’ve been able to create a buzz that has been the main reason for my sales. By sharing my story, I hope others can use my helpful tips to sell their own crafts.

It all started with myself telling a small circle of friends, who bought two before I even started making them. Once I made the first couple pieces, the friends I sold them to told their friends and family. Before I knew it, I had custom requests from total strangers, which is when I knew I was on to something good. Communication through word of mouth is not dead, especially for a start-up business.

I started my own Facebook photo album titled Bradford’s Bottle Cap Business, which got over a 100 likes and 30 plus comments within the first 24 hours. Customers started sharing pictures of their Ohio art on Facebook and Instagram, which was free advertising and publicity. As it turns out, people loved them! I started making connections with the local businesses in my area– the bars in downtown Kent began to collect and give me their beer caps and the local lumber store gave me wood.

Customize the Customer Experience 

To start a small business similar to mine, come up with a unique craft, art or service people would want and that you are passionate about. Then start generating conversation about it to people you are associated with and see if it’s something that people are excited about. If so, then you’ll want to find out exactly what people want by listening to your consumer. Start a dialogue and then simply take notes. That is why I give people the option to customize their Ohio art exactly the way they want them, because I learned that my customers want a personal touch.

Once you have a grasp on exactly what you’ll be creating and selling, start small and make a few. That is when social media comes into play: start loading photos to your Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to advertise your work. I took pictures of every happy customer with their Ohio art and posted them to my Facebook album, which the customers loved. Existing customers were proud of what they now owned, and potential customers knew exactly what they would be paying for. Once you get the social media wheel in motion, the rest is a piece of cake. Now I can just sit back and relax while people advertise my Ohio art for me.

I sold over 20 plaques and I have not even utilized every outlet available to me, like Pinterest or Etsy. It is amazing to see what’s possible when you combine a good idea with the power of networking and the internet. It is now fairly easy for young artists to make money selling their art by following these easy steps to start your own business. Use conversation, connections, social media and soon your happy customers will be doing the work for you, and you can focus on the crafting.

If you are interested in buying an Ohio bottle cap art, please contact me on my Bradford’s Bottle Cap Business page.