The Ocala Downtown Market is the only reason I’ll wake up early on a weekend. With fresh coffee, peach muffins (complete with a crumble top) and pups at every turn, what’s not to love?
The Ocala Downtown Market is one of my favorite spots in Ocala. Every Saturday I make my way to the farmers market to choose fresh produce for my meal prep and support local businesses.
I’ve been craving zipper peas for months and I finally arrived early enough to snag a bag before the sold out – seriously, they are a hot commodity at the market! While there I also bought fresh alligator meat and fried it up for a true southern meal that made my husband glad he wifed me up.
The Ocala Downtown Market doesn’t just have ingredients though, vendors also sell home goods, live plants, pet treats and my favorite mango salsa that is to die for!
This local farmers market has opened me up to so many unique flavors. For example, when my husband’s friend was visiting we tried a raspberry vinegar paired with strawberries and WOW! Our friends poked fun of us for being bougie with this treat at game night but with flavors this amazing, we’re the real winners here.
If you haven’t visited the Ocala Downtown Market I highly suggest you check it out this weekend! It’s open every Saturday 9 AM – 2 PM rain or shine and if you come early it’s likely I’ll see you there.
Have you checked out our local farmers market? What unique finds did you discover?
You know what’s better than a chocolate covered banana? A truffle. You know what’s better than a truffle? Ice cream. You know what’s better than ice cream? FUDGE.
Good thing Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections has them all! I’m always so surprised when friends tell me they’ve lived in Ocala for years and have yet to visit Ocala’s Chocolate and Confections.
This neighborhood store looks like it’s come straight out of Stars Hollow (if you don’t get the Gilmore Girls reference, I’m sorry.) It’s perfectly situated in downtown Ocala near the movie theater and is the perfect place to enjoy sweets this summer. Could there be anything cuter than a movie date at the theater and an ice cream cone night cap? I think not.
Last weekend I stopped by with my friend Brittany as we caught up and explored downtown. I had the blueberry cheesecake ice cream in a waffle cone while she treated herself to a truffle. It was worth EVERY calorie!
Have you ever visited this downtown spot? If so, what’s your favorite treat there?
The Public Access of Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale is now live and will continue until August 4th! This is the first year I’ve shopped the sale and I stuck to a few pieces I’ve had my eyes on that rarely, if ever go on sale plus a few basics. My husband and I are sticking to a frugal budget due to our recent move, so the items on this list are all less than $100!
Save your money. I had high hopes for these leggings but they run extra small, have very little give and aren’t high waisted enough to control the belly. My husband’s remarks were, “Are those showing your knee?” Did I mention the color contrast isn’t super forgiving on us pale ladies?
A staple tee is always necessary and this tee does its job. I bought this in white, black and grey. It’s not as long as I would’ve expected, but is still long enough to tie up if you want to pair it with high waisted jeans or a cute slip skirt.
I was really expecting this shirt to be more flattering with the wrap element. In reality the “girls” try to escape constantly and it’s so short that it sneaks from its tucked in form and is loose within minutes.
What’s not to love about a good workout tank? I love the racerback element that shows off back muscles and the sleeveless element allows me to check out my triceps in the mirror! Come on, you know you do it too.
Do you shop the sale? I’ll feature a try-on session on my Instagram Stories. Share your favorite pieces with me in the comments section!
One of my favorite things about living in Ocala is how my calendar stays full with community events. When I first moved here I was at a networking event and commented on how hard it was to find things to do. The response I received was shock and awe – and rightfully so! It wasn’t that there weren’t things to do, I just didn’t know how to find them!
Now that I’ve learned how to find events I’m constantly asked, “How did you hear about that?” Here’s how I hunt out events and find adventure in my city:
Find Your Favorite Venue
There are so many great venues in Ocala that have a wide variety of shows and events! Between concerts, festivals, art exhibits and plays there’s no shortage of entertainment. I’d recommend following them on social media, checking their website, and joining their email newsletters so you always know about upcoming events.
By paying attention to what’s happening at The Reilly, I learned about Couch Sessions which has become one of my favorite ways to support local artists. These are a few of my favorite venues:
As a graduate of the University of Florida’s College of Journalism, I love supporting local publications. They’re also some of the best ways to find events I never would have heard of, because they have great connections with local nonprofits. Nearly every newspaper, magazine and blog has an “Events” section that’s always filled with out-of-the-box events like the “After Dark In The Park Movie Series,” which I found in Family Times Magazine.
Luckily for Ocala residents, a lot of these publications also have a strong social media presence. It’s not uncommon for me to watch Instagram stories and see Ocala Style or Ocala Magazine to post about an event for the coming weekend.
Support Local Nonprofits
If I had to list all of our amazing nonprofits this would be a 6-part series. Ocala has a strong nonprofit presence that always supplies exciting community events, and Marion Cultural Alliance is where I find a lot of them.
My all time favorite is the Levitt Amp Ocala Music Series, a free concert series that supplies our community with live music. This is the second year Ocala has been awarded a grant to host the series, and I pray it continues to receive support. With food trucks, amazing touring musicians and a pet friendly atmosphere, what’s not to love?
Make Your Own Events
Sometimes you have to be the leader! The best times are spent with friends and it doesn’t always have to have large costs associated. Try a fitness class with friends, throw a potluck Taco Tuesday (or any day, tacos are never a bad idea), or a dog party!
I hope this helps you experience more of Ocala’s culture, meet new people and feel more connected to your community! What ways do you find events and what are some of your favorite places, publications or nonprofits that I missed?
If you know me, you know I love my pets with all my heart. I work hard so I can create a better life for Nashville (cat) and Winslow (dog). Winslow comes with us pretty much everywhere, and over the years I’ve discovered some really unique products to keep them as happy and healthy as possible.
There’s nothing I hate more than having a fur covered cat tower in my living room. After searching for a more decorative option, I found these elevated shelves that give the appearance of plants. They give Nash a place to play and hide without sacrificing style.
PSA if your kitty is over 15 pounds I’d recommend using anchors so they don’t fly off the wall like ours originally did!
Recently Nashville has gotten into the habit of stealing Winslow’s bed, which leads to him snuggling up between us in the night. I’m not one to turn down a cuddle, but there’s just not enough room for three of us in the bed. I bought Nash his own bed, knowing he would turn his nose up at it initially.
I sprayed this catnip mist on the bed and within a few days he was giving it a shot! Now when I’m getting ready for work he’s not only in his bed, but stays chilling there until it’s time for breakfast.
As part Maine Coon, there’s no secret that Nash is a big, cuddly boy. Despite his large size, his vet still wants to work on keeping him active (hence the shelves) and on a weight management diet. Nulo is a grain free dry food that includes L-Carnitine, which supports the metabolism of fats. I’m considering switching him to wet food, but this is my favorite dry food by far.
I’m being a little silly with this one, but I truly have to hide our hampers to keep Nash out of them! He loves to hide in them and pounce at Winslow or use them as a hiding place for a cat nap. Skip the expensive cat toy and get yourself a $5 mesh hamper to entertain your cat for hours.
We’re always on the go, and inevitably Winslow will need to do his business at the most inopportune time. This leash and waste bag attachment is my life saver. Most attachments have a clip that hooks to the leash, but doesn’t fit most retractable leashes. This attachment slides right onto the leash, freeing up my hands to pick up the business.
Like most pet parents, we love spoiling Winslow with new toys and treats every month. I’m also a token millennial, which means I love supporting organizations that give back. RescueBox is awesome because with every box, the company works with charitable partners to provide donations of food and vaccines in shelters across America.
A short hair dog and cloth seats do not make a good pair. This seat cover has saved my Jeep from damage, mud and slobber. It was also the perfect way to keep the boys comfortable during two cross country moves.
Another can-not-live-without item is a portable dog bowl. We take Winslow to brunch, concerts, the park, you name it. The last thing I want is for my man to be thirsty. This bowl zips up for easy transport and is easy to store on a leash.
Hey there! My name is Kaitlyn Butler, and I go by Kait! I love online shopping, eating well and living well. I live in Ocala, Florida with my husband, staying busy with a variety of community events and local offerings. I studied public relations at the University of Florida (Go Gators!) and love interacting with all types of people. My blog is primarily focused on fashion, food and fitness.
Why A Blog?
In the last year my husband, Kendrick, and I moved across the country with our dog (Winslow) and cat (Nashville) to Chicago, got married and moved back home to Ocala. To many, it seemed like we couldn’t take the cold (it wasn’t the greatest, I’ll admit). In reality, we missed our life back home.
Moving thousands of miles away from family and friends put a lot of things in perspective.
Prior to the move I prided myself on my career and ambition. Changing jobs three times in a year really threw me for a loop. I’ve now started a 9-5 job and am looking for a way to express myself creatively outside of work.
A major factor in moving back to Ocala was the community. We met some wonderful people in Chicago, but we kept comparing life in the city to our life “back home”. We had no idea how much we would miss the people and places until we put a 16 hour drive between us. In this blog I hope to showcase the hidden gems of Ocala, bringing to light the things that make it home for us.
Then, there’s the Enneagram. I’m a Seven, which means I love any and all things exciting. Food, fitness, shopping – you name it. I’ll be sharing all my favorite activities here and I hope it lights your fire, too!