Have you ever been a tourist in you own hometown? With all the travel that Brian and I do it’s easy to forget how much beauty we have in the Ozarks. It’s easy to overlook  great food since we don’t dine out a lot when we’re not on the road. Our lives get so busy that we don’t make time for things like the First Friday Art Walk, something we used to do every month. We hike like crazy in Hawaii but neglect all the trails just an hour or so away from home. My love of tea and being forced to walk not run due to an injury inspired me to take a fresh look at 417-land. This month, I am loving my hometown and the unique things it has to offer.

The anticipation of this shop is what inspired me to get curious about what’s new (or new to me) in Springfield. Brought to you by the owners of Café Cusco, Chabom offers has a huge variety of loose teas and spices plus tea ware, gifts and treats. I’ve been looking forward to their opening for months. (I might have been a bit overzealous with my Facebook posts, declaring my excitement.) I feel like I may have ambushed them with my excitement at their soft opening during the C-Street Stroll. I could tell it was really a soft opening for them, so I waited to really explore when I came back a couple weeks later. The fully stocked store was everything I had hoped it would be! Joe and his staff are amazingly friendly, patiently answering all my questions about what  pu-erh tea they can order and who makes their delicious selection of gluten free and vegan baked goods. Buying loose tea by the ounce is a great way to learn about new teas. Plus they’ll brew you a cup of anything on the shelf! Stop buy for a cup of Chinese jasmine and a rose spiced cookie if you want a real treat! Tell them I sent you.

The Date Lady

Born in Springfield but available in over 500 stores in the US, Date Lady products are amazing! I’ve always loved dates but The Date Lady has made my affection soar to a whole new level. We were lucky enough to have the owner and Chef Date Aficionado, Colleen Sundlie, to ourselves for a bit at the C-Street Stroll open house. Her story deserves a blog post of it’s own! She is passionate about her product, loading up the car to travel all over the US to spread her date love! I can guarantee most people have never had the quality of date she sells. Soft and caramel like, they almost melt in your mouth. I replaced honey on the baked pears I have been making with balsamic vinegar date syrup blend with delicious results. I am also absolutely in love with the date syrup! I made The Date Lady gluten free coconut macaroons and I followed her suggestion to put the date syrup on my protein pancakes. I am very inspired to work on some date recipes of my own! Even if you don’t live in SGF, you can still enjoy her treats by visiting The Date Lady online.

Legacy Bagelry

Never underestimate the power of Instagram. I’ve been following Legacy Bagelry for a while but I wasn’t inspired to actually visit their store until I saw their protein bars. These house made gems are peanut butter based, vegan and gluten free. While they didn’t have specific nutrition facts available, they didn’t taste overly sweet. I know they are sweetened with date syrup (from The Date Lady!) and come in a chocolate peanut or trail mix varieties. The staff was super helpful when I asked a million questions about the bars’ ingredients. I love their mission, which they call call their Doctrinology:
Simple. Wholesome. Fresh.
Next time I may grab a coconut chai latte to go with my bar or a bagel to share with Brian.

I have another local favorite that I plan on visiting…once my ankle heels. I ran a 5K a few weeks back and somehow injured my ankle. I was fine during the race but the next day not so much. As soon as I can run again, I am going to my local Ultra Max Sports store to get a new pair of running shoes. I have a feeling part of my problem came from running in the wrong shoe. Ultra Max fits you for the right show and, according to one of my clients, will take them back if they turn out to be the wrong shoe for you! I may end spending a little more than I might if I ordered from Amazon but to be able to return a used shoe is well worth it. In them mean time, I can walk and hike! So I am open to running shoe suggests. I’ve got flat feet with a bit of a wide toe box. I open to our suggestions as well. What running shoes do you love? What spot am I missing in SGF? Where would you take me in your hometown?

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