Sponsor spotlight: Tropical Smoothie Cafe

tropical smoothie food and smoothiesIf the amazing photo above makes you hungry, you’re going to love our newest website sponsor, Tropical Smoothie Cafe. Now that the weather is warmer, we know many of you will be Tropical Smoothie Cafe, nwamaking regular stops at Tropical Smoothie Cafe and there are SO many new things to try. We recently interviewed the owner, Wes Couch, who operates the three Tropical Smoothie locations in Northwest Arkansas (Fayetteville, Springdale and Rogers) to find out more about the new menu, the new look and the kid-friendly options now available.

Tropical Smoothie Cafe is one of the few places where you can get food and smoothies in a hurry and still include some really nutritious ingredients in what you and the kids are eating. Gluten-free eaters and those watching calories have great options here, too. (Who knew that kale and spinach smoothies could be so good?) Read on for more info and be sure to “like” their Facebook page because Facebook fans get info on special discounts.

Tell us why you wanted to bring Tropical Smoothie Café to Northwest Arkansas. What’s your favorite thing about running the cafes?

I purchased the Tropical Smoothie in Fayetteville in 2009 because there was nothing else like it in NWA. Working in a corporate environment for 20 years, I had no plans to open more stores until we started experiencing phenomenal growth in Fayetteville. I knew then that opening a location in Rogers Pinnacle Hills was our next step. Rogers has become one of the top cafes in the country. Springdale was our next logical market and we’ve experienced strong double-digit sales increases since 2013. I love offering a healthy, quick-service menu to our customers.

You’re known for your smoothies but some people might not realize that there’s plenty to eat at Tropical Smoothie Café. Tell us about tropical smoothie foodthe food and the range of items on the menu.

We make everything to order including our new tacos, flatbreads, wraps, sandwiches, and salads. We recently revamped our menu and now offer fresh, made in-house toppings on most of our food items. Many of our customers now come in just for our food.

What’s your favorite thing to eat and drink at Tropical Smoothie Café?

I love all four of our tacos, especially the tilapia. The Buffalo Chicken and Jamaican Jerk wraps are my favorite along with the Spinach Feta breakfast wrap. island green smoothie(We open for breakfast at 7 a.m. on weekdays and at 9 a.m. on weekends.)

My favorite smoothie is the Island Green (spinach and kale) and the Peanut Paradise with whey protein.

Are there options for vegetarians, those who are gluten-free, or for people trying to limit their calorie intake?

Absolutely, we have the Hummus Veggie wrap and three types of salads, including the Loaded Spinach salad that has no meat. We also have a meat-free chicken substitute product for vegetarians. Most of our smoothies are gluten-free.

We have a nutritional card at each counter for customers to peruse. All smoothies can be made without our unprocessed, turbinado sugar that dramatically reduces the calorie intake, and we also offer honey and Splenda as alternatives.

tropical smoothie cafe signHow has the look of Tropical Smoothie Café changed since the recent remodeling project? 

The remodel dramatically changed the look and feel of the Fayetteville Crossover café, which was built in 2005. We now have an open, wrap-around bar for customers to sit at so they can watch their smoothie being made while they talk with our staff. We reconstructed the lobby with new wall décor, flooring, and new tables/chairs. We now have three table areas that seat 8 people for dining. It’s just a sharp, clean look and feel that I hope our customers will enjoy.

What’s the most popular item on your Kids Menu?

We now have cheese quesadillas and also a pizza quesadilla with or without chicken. These are by far our most popular. We also offer ham or turkey and cheese wraps. Our newest addition is a peanut butter crunch flatbread with peanut butter, granola, banana, and honey.

What do you wish more moms knew about what Tropical Smoothie Café has to offer?

For the moms who worry about their family getting enough nutritious greens, you absolutely need to come try our Superfood smoothies. Your family will not even know they’re taking in spinach and kale, cucumbers, celery, apples, avocado, etc. Our corporate staff did a wonderful job with the ingredients and taste of these smoothies.

Our thanks to Wes Couch of Tropical Smoothie Cafe for taking some time to answer our questions. And another BIG thank you to Tropical Smoothie Cafe for being the sponsor of this year’s Mom Prom Queen, who will be selected (at random) from among the attendees of the upcoming Mom Prom on May 30th. Click here to get tickets to Mom Prom — the ultimate girls’ night out in Northwest Arkansas.

tropical smoothies3

Get tickets to Walk a Mile shoe shopping event!

walk a mile graphicIf you haven’t already grabbed a ticket to attend THE best shoe shopping event of the year, now is the time because the Walk a Mile in My Shoes “preview party” is coming up on May 15th at the Northwest Arkansas Convention Center in Springdale. (The public sale is that next day on Saturday, May 16th.)

polka dot shoeBut if you’re interested in the best selection, you’ll definitely want to get a ticket to the preview party (and don’t wait too long because there are only a limited number of tickets that will be sold.) The event starts on Friday, May 15, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. and goes until 7:30 p.m.. There will be fine chocolates, wine and cheese for all the hungry shoe shoppers. And did we mention that shoes and handbags at this event start at $10 and go up to only $20? If you’re a fan of getting an amazing deal, this sale will make you happy.

Keep in mind, too, that ticket sales for the preview party as well as sale proceeds help support Ozark Guidance Center, a local non-profit organization with offices throughout Northwest Arkansas. We love it when shopping and supporting a great cause go hand-in-hand. Click HERE for info on how to get a ticket to the preview party.

If you can’t make it to the preview party, the public sale event starts at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at the same location and ends at 1 p.m.

i love shoesHOW TO DONATE SHOES AND BAGS: Let’s admit it. We all have at least one pair of shoes in our closet that we fell in love with at the store and then wore them one time and realized that they don’t really fit comfortably (even though they’re still super cute.) Those shoes might fit someone else’s foot perfectly so donate them to this sale! Ask your friends, neighbors, co-workers or relatives to round up a few of their gently used shoes and/or handbags, too, and then drop them off at one of these donation sites:

  • Local radio stations Magic 107.9, Kix 104, 933 The Eagle, HotMix 101.9): 2049 E. Joyce Blvd., Suite 101, in Fayetteville
  • Everett Chevrolet: 1159 N. 45th St. in Springdale
  • Everett Dodge: 3709 S. Thompson in Springdale
  • Dress for Success: Frisco Station Mall, 100 N. Dixieland (Suite B8) in Rogers

Note: All donations are tax-deductible.

ANOTHER WAY TO HELP: Please help spread the word about this fun event to your fellow shoe and handbag-lovers. Post it on Facebook, Instagram or Tweet about it today. See you at the big sale! (We’ll be the ones stocking up on strappy sandals for summer!)

Crystal Bridges: Summer Camps + Things to do with the Kids

crystal bridges art

Crystal Bridges has some awesome summer camps coming up.

These indoor/outdoor programs include time in the galleries, outside on the trails, and in the studios for a fun-filled week of art for kids ages 6 to 12.

Sessions include: Drawing, Painting, Mixed-Media Mania, Art and Animals, Art and Nature, Video Selfies, The Dancing Museum, and All About Andy, centered around Warhol’s Nature, an exhibition opening at the museum in July.

PrintAll materials, plus healthy snacks, are included. CLICK HERE for more info.

In addition to info about summer camps, we also asked some questions about visiting Crystal Bridges with kids.

Here’s the Q&A:

Q: Some museums are “stuffy” and kids don’t seem welcome. Are kids allowed in every part of Crystal Bridges?

Kids are always welcome in all of Crystal Bridges’ galleries!

Kids often respond to works of art quite differently from adults, because they don’t have that sense of needing to “know something” about the works in order to appreciate them. In fact, if you feel a little puzzled about, say, the Abstract Expressionist works in Van Gogh to Rothko, bring a kid along to help you see the works with fresh eyes!

van gogh

Q: Can you tell me about the areas of the museum that cater to kids?

We have two great art-making areas in the Museum right now that kids of all ages will enjoy:

  • The Artist’s Studio, associated with the exhibition Van Gogh to Rothko: Masterworks from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery.
  • Experience Art Studio, our year-round space for art making and creative play.

stellaAnd of course the Museum grounds are a wonderful resource for families—especially the Art Trail, where kids can encounter playful sculptures such as Stella the pig!

Q: For those who have never been to the museum, but they want to visit with their kids, what would you say they MUST do?

First: take it easy.

Don’t feel like you have to cram everything into one visit. And be willing to experience the artworks at a kid’s pace.

My own son, when he was about 5 to 7, viewed art galleries by moving through them three or four times at top speed. At first I thought I should slow him down, but in fact, his rocket pace kept him from whining about me moving too slowly, and me from being irritated by the whining, and we still got a good experience of the art, noticing something different on every pass.

Other than that, I’d say don’t miss some of the outside attractions, in addition to the galleries: the walk up to Crystal Spring from the South Lawn is short, and leads you to an enchanting little area that kids will enjoy where the spring comes up from under a rocky ledge.

Robert Indiana’s LOVE sculpture and others are out on the South Lawn, as well.

Q: What about if they’re visiting without children?

The Crystal Bridges Library is located on the third floor and is a great place for quiet reflection, to take in the views of the upper pond, and to browse through a huge selection of books about American art and artists.  Once you’ve discovered an artist you like in the galleries, come upstairs to the Library and look up some more information on that artist!  (By the way, the Library has a children’s section, too, so it’s not just for grown-ups!)

Q: What about things to do just outside the museum doors? 

This is the time of year to GET OUTSIDE at Crystal Bridges!

crystal bridgesThings are starting to bloom everywhere and in some places it’s just breathtaking, so get out there!

We have more than three miles of trails here on the grounds, and each trail has its own attractions. Pick up an Outside brochure in the lobby and choose your path, or join the Spring Showcase Trail Experience, a guided tour of the grounds that provides information about the spring blooms.

Crystal Bridges’ new Outdoor App will be available in early May and will feature maps, a plant guide, information about artworks, and more. Watch for its debut on Mother’s Day weekend.

Look for the green “Eco-Boxes” on the grounds, too: they are hand-powered audio devices that play recorded information about the history, artworks, or plants in a specific area.

If you come in the evening, stroll up the Orchard Trail or the Tulip Tree Trail toward the Museum’s Additional Parking area and stretch out on one of the comfortable benches to enjoy the mesmerizing colors of Leo Villareal’s illuminated artwork, Buckyball.

Q: Since the museum is free, do visitors have to check in or can they just walk in and start looking around?

We ask everyone to check in. It helps us keep track of how many guests are visiting Crystal Bridges and where they are coming from.

Our Guest Services associates will ask you for your zip code and one or two other questions for our records. They can also give you lots of information about the Museum and events or programs that may be happening the day of your visit.

Of course, if you want to purchase tickets to a temporary exhibition, you would do that at Guest Services, as well.

crystal bridges view

Q: Does the museum restaurant, Eleven, have food options that would appeal to kids?

Yes, there are children’s options on both the lunch and dinner menus. Eleven’s grilled-cheese sandwich is one of the snazziest anywhere!

Q: What about special evenings out for couples at Eleven?

Dinner at Eleven on a Wednesday or Friday night can be a relaxing, romantic event, and on Fridays, you can enjoy live music in the restaurant from 5 to 7 p.m.

Our Gallery Guides offer a short “Nightcap Tour” at 7:30 on Wednesday and Friday: it’s a half-hour tour that focuses on three or four of the favorite artworks in Crystal Bridges’ permanent collection.

Q: What’s new at the museum right now?

We are very pleased to have recently reopened our 1940s to Now Gallery, which was closed for re-installation.  There are many artworks in this new arrangement that are either new acquisitions, or have never been on view at the Museum before.

Q: Are there any future plans we can look forward to?

There’s always something new coming!

Mother’s Day weekend will be especially fun this year, because it coincides with our first-ever Crystal Bridges Garden Party in celebration of National Public Gardens Day on Saturday, May 8.  We’ll have art making, information, live music, activities, and a native plant sale at various locations all around the grounds.

Plus, award-winning garden writer Amy Stewart will give an illustrated presentation on her popular book Wicked Plants, so don’t miss it!  The Museum Store is also hosting a jewelry trunk show and sale that weekend, just in time to pick out something pretty for Mom.

Looking further ahead, of course, we eagerly anticipate the completion of the reconstruction of Frank Lloyd Wright’s Bachman Wilson House on the Museum grounds later this year! Keep your eyes on the Museum’s website for information about the date.

For a full list of events coming up at Crystal Bridges, click here. CLICK HERE to register for summer camps online or call guest services at 479.657.2335.

Tropical Smoothie to reveal new look, menu and DEALS on Friday, April 10th!

trop smoothie makeover

Tropical Smoothie, the awesome company that’s sponsoring our NWA Mom Prom Queen this year, will reveal a new look this coming Friday (April 10).

To celebrate, Tropical Smoothie will treat its customers ALL DAY at a grand re-opening at the Fayetteville location. Not only will there be special food deals, anyone who stops by on Friday can sign up to win an iPad Mini :)

Don’t you LOVE the new logo?

Tropical Smoothie Cafe, nwaOn Friday, food specials will include $1.99 tacos, $1.99 Island Green Smoothies & $1.99 Mango Magic Smoothies. Tropical Smoothie will also be introducing a new “refreshed menu” on Friday.

Click here to follow Tropical Smoothie Cafe on Facebook for more info about Friday’s event and to stay in the loop about food/smoothie deals they offer at their cafes.

tropical smoothies

Sponsor Spotlight: Prism Education Center offers summer camps, classes

prism

Note from the mamas: Prism Education is a new Summer Camp Guide advertiser. Help us welcome them!

We’ve heard so many great things about what Prism Education Center has been doing for kids in the Northwest Arkansas area. And we’re so impressed with how they’ve been growing!

Prism has some summer classes — and camps — available this summer, even if your kids don’t go there there during the regular school year.

We asked the executive director, Misty Newcomb, a few quick questions so we could find out more about this top-notch center:

Tell us about Prism Education Center and how long it has been in Fayetteville:

Prism Education Center is a preschool through 10th grade private school. We are expanding by one grade each year until we have a full PK – 12th grades school. We have three campuses located in Fayetteville.

These campuses will be merged into one campus in 2016 when we complete our new facility. In addition to our preschool and private school programs, we also have after school and summer programs. These are open to students from all schools in Fayetteville.

Students who graduate from Prism will be college ready, career ready, and life ready. A strong school culture and emphasis on character and values create a positive environment where we can run our personalized education programs.

summer school, prism

Kids at play over the summer at Prism Education Center

Is Prism Education Center a charter school or a private school? Do parents pay tuition?

Prism is a private school, so parents pay tuition. However, it is important to us that families from all incomes can participate in our world-class educational programs so tuition is calculated on a sliding fee basis. As a result, over 50% of our students receive tuition discounts or scholarships.  Tuition rates are available on the website as well as the sliding fee scale that we use to calculate tuition discounts.

Where are your facilities located?

prism logo We have 3 campuses:

♦ 2190 S. Razorback Road primarily serves our Kindergarten-2nd grade
♦ 10 S. College Avenue is home to 3rd-10th grade students
♦ 10 S. Willow Avenue is home to our youngest, 6 weeks to 5 years old

We are excited to be in the midst of a campaign to build a new facility on Morningside Drive in Fayetteville.

Do you offer full-time care in the summer? What about shorter summer camp options?

We offer a full summer program for students preschool to 4th grade that runs from June 1-July 29. Parents can sign up for 5-day, 3-day or 2 –day slots that run from 7:30-5:30. Students in this program will experience an enriching environment with low student-teacher ratios as they discover a different country each week through the Arts and Project-Based Learning in our “Around the World in 40 Days!” themed program.

We also have weekly camps for students in 4th-10th that do not require a full-summer commitment. These are one-week camps that emphasize either Arts or STEM programs. These camps run 5 days a week from 8-3 for one week at a time.

Do your summer programs have a theme this year?

Yes, our camps for older students are either Arts based or STEM based. The theme for the full summer program for students under 3rd grade is “Around the World in 40 Days”.

What about in the Fall? What ages/grades are offered at Prism?

The 2015-16 school year will begin in mid-August for Kindergarten-10th grades.

How does your after-school program work?

Prism_South_Ballet

Prism South Ballet

Students enrolled in our private school can stay from 3-5:30pm for an extra $30/month. Students not enrolled in Prism’s private school can still attend the program for $150/month. The afterschool program includes an hour of outdoor exploration, a snack prepared by the cooking club, homework and/or tutoring, and clubs such as choir, archery, sports, scrapbooking, technology, African dance, ballet, music, and more.

And you teach/care for babies, too, right?

Yes! Our Willow Heights campus accepts infants from 6 weeks to 5 years of age. We currently have a big wait list for all of our early child programs, but we still encourage families to get on the list if they are interested. We will be able to accommodate more students in our new facility.

What’s the environment like for kids at Prism?

Prism is a values-based non-profit private school unlike any other program in northwest Arkansas. Prism Education Center operates a Kindergarten to 10th grade private school. Students are grouped in mixed-age classrooms that utilize a blended approach to education using direct instruction, independent and digital learning, as well as project-based learning.

Students are grouped by their ability for both math and literacy and are grouped by developmental ability during content courses. Prism Education Center strongly emphasizes visual and performing arts and integrates the arts, history, and science into all aspects of the curriculum. Prism believes in a fully inclusive environment and welcomes children with special needs. Character development is an integral component of all of our programs.

For more information about our educational philosophy we encourage parents to visit our website.

Misty Newcomb, PrismABOUT MISTY NEWCOMB: As the Executive Director for Prism Education Center, Misty Newcomb serves as the “hands-on” member of Board of Directors for Prism Education Center. Prior to this, she served as the Chief of Staff for the Office for Education Policy, a service unit for policymakers and education leaders in Arkansas that operates out of the Department of Education Reform in the University of Arkansas. Throughout her professional career, Ms. Newcomb has served children and families through humanitarian and educational programs both in the United States and internationally. She is involved in service positions outside of Prism Education Center throughout the state of Arkansas. Misty and her husband Clay live with their four children in Northwest Arkansas. When not engaged in the previously mentioned activities, she and her family can be found engaging in their favorite past times—hiking or running through the Ozark Mountains.