Brickyard 400: Hauler Parade

NASCAR fans get an up-close view of Sprint Cup Series “haulers” – the large, colorful trucks carrying the stock cars competing in the Brickyard 400.

Appearances were made by Hauler Parade Grand Marshal Jeff Kyle, the American hero who is the namesake of the Crown Royal Presents the Jeff Kyle 400 Sprint Cup Series and Doug Boles, President of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

It was a veritable smorgasbord of activity! There was live music from Indiana-based country recording artist Jai Baker, who appeared on network television shows “The Voice” and “American Idol.” Native Hoosier and country music singer-songwriter Jessie Brown, food trucks, displays representing the Indiana Pacers, the Indy Fuel, the Indy Eleven, Wish 4 Our Heroes and radio stations WFMS/WJJK,  the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Trophy, a NASCAR tire changer, a strider course, a bounce house and a face painter.

Don’t forget to watch me every Sunday night at 11:30 on WISH-TV 8.  Keeping you IN the Loop of everything that is Indianapolis.

 

 

Ricks Cafe Boatyard: Sunsets with a Side of Seafood

Eagle Creek Reservoir on the city’s west side is literally, by a long shot, my most favorite place in Indianapolis. It is a little slice of heaven carved out in the shape of a lake. To me, Eagle Creek is a Midwestern paradise complete with state park scenery and gorgeous sunsets.

There is one restaurant on Eagle Creek, Ricks Cafe Boatyard, and that’s where you will find me and my friends almost every weekend enjoying delicious food after a day of boating. Ricks has a great outdoor patio with lake views from every angle, and plenty of shade for those who want to stay out of the sun. Live music and a fun atmosphere make Ricks a destination stop for people all across the city.

Nice enough for a date night or special family gathering (Rick’s often hosts wedding showers and rehearsal dinners), but casual enough for swimsuits and flip flops. You’ll see a little bit of everything all while maintaining an upscale dining experience for patrons.

My favorite dishes are the Maryland crab cakes and Florida Grouper Reuben. They have a full indoor AND outdoor bar, fresh seafood, and a large menu that will please even the pickiest of eaters.

But the best part about Rick’s is the view! Most of Eagle Creek is a State Park so there are plenty of trees, sailboats, and wildlife. Sunsets are the best part as Rick’s faces West and the sun’s setting silhouette behind the trees is breathtaking.

Some of my best summer memories have been spent on Eagle Creek and on the patio at Ricks Cafe Boatyard. Don’t take my word for it though. Come on out and experience it yourself. Wave hello when you see me.

Flying High with Cirque Indy

It was mesmerizing to watch the athletic ability of my classmates at Cirque Indy. The aerial silks towering high and their bodies flipping and spinning like a show of Cirque du Soleil. It’s easy to understand how these fitness classes will strengthen and tone your body, while also being a whole lot of fun.

Having no background in acrobatics, gymnastics, or aerial performance, I was intimidated by all the experienced “silkies” in the class. However, that soon changed when they called me a “baby silky” and welcomed me with open arms. Mary Brumbaugh, founder of Cirque Indy, works with every skill level and can tailor her instruction to meet your experience.

With Mary’s guidance, soon I was wrapping and climbing and showing off aerial moves like the mermaid (pictured above). It was really exciting to suddenly be suspended over the ground showing off a successful pose. Thankfully the entire floor is a soft, bouncy surface… making the fear of falling a non-issue.

Cirque Indy gets my stamp of approval for a fun and unique fitness class. They offer multiple class options throughout the week and also cater to private parties. My recommendation for a fun girl’s night out: private class at Cirque Indy and then hit the hotspots just down the block on Mass. Ave.

For more information, visit their website at http://www.cirqueindy.com

Rock Steady Boxing: Giving Hope to Parkinsons

Tightening your gloves and stepping into the ring can be intimidating. Boxing is a fight, and often a brutal one. What if you are not fighting for the knockout, but fighting to reclaim your life? That’s the mission of Rock Steady Boxing; to empower people to fight back against Parkinson’s disease.

Through various levels of non-contact boxing training, participants are finding hope at Rock Steady as their symptoms of this debilitating disease are often delayed or improved. To say it is an inspirational place is an understatement.

Kristy Rose Follmar, former professional boxer and world champion, explains, “they walk through this door, and they see this amazing boxing gym, and we explain to them that this whole place was built for people with Parkinson’s disease, and I just can’t imagine how empowering that is.”

Rock Steady Boxing was founded by former Marion County Prosecutor Scott Newman after his Parkinson’s diagnosis at the age of 41. Rock Steady offers multiple levels of classes to meet the needs of the different levels and severities of Parkinsons. Classes are also offered to healthy citizens with proceeds going to the Rock Steady cause. For more information, visit their website http://www.rocksteadyboxing.org.

 

 

Life After Football with Gary Brackett (part 2)

Jazz plays in the background of his southern soul food restaurant, Georgia Reese’s, as I share alligator bites and talk about life off the field with former NFL Colts player Gary Brackett.

Brackett is no stranger to success having accomplished much during his nine season career with the Indianapolis Colts. Defensive captain, a Super Bowl win over the Chicago Bears in 2006, and the Arthur S. Kush Humanitarian Award for his work within the local community all line his impressive resume.

Now retired, he is adding restauranteur to the lineup. Brackett is part-owner of the Stacked Pickle eateries with multiple locations throughout Indianapolis. His latest venture, Georgia Reese’s, is opening a second location this summer and looks to be another win for the savvy businessman. Georgia Reese’s is a family affair. Brackett named the restaurant after his youngest daughter and developed much of the menu from favorite recipes he enjoyed as a child.

Though Brackett takes pride in his endeavors since leaving football, his greatest happiness is championing terminally ill children through his IMPACT Foundation, the foundation for which he won the Arthur S. Kush Humanitarian Award. Brackett not only wants to make a difference for these Indianapolis children, but also aims to inspire teenagers and adults to set high goals and work hard. He is motivating and kind, the type of heart one may not expect from a tough football player who made a living knocking others down. Now, the only direction Brackett intends to go is up.

Project Pay It Forward

It was an honor to be a part of this great documentary which aims to impact society by showing communities and individuals who are making a difference around the world by paying it forward. We shot the IUPUI segments in winter 2013 and it was so inspirational to interview leaders and educators making a difference right here in Indianapolis. Visit http://www.projectpayitforward.org. You can also check out their IMDB page for more information on where to view the film.

Super Bowl Champion and Restaurant Mogul, Gary Brackett

I share alligator bites and ribs with former NFL star Gary Brackett at his new restaurant, Georgia Reese’s. In part one of a two part series, we explore this southern soulful eatery full of jazz, home cooking, and flavor. Gary tells me all about his life as a restaurant mogul and what we can expect from this business savvy gentleman. In part two, Gary gets more personal telling about his days as a superstar football player and how his passion for helping terminally ill children resulted in the successful IMPACT Foundation and the Arthur S. Arkush Humanitarian Award.