Exploring the Corridor – A Newbie’s Perspective

My original intention when I set out to write this post was for it to be a culmination of things I had discovered in the Corridor from the perspective of a newbie. It would include events from date nights to family activities and everything in between. While I still plan on writing a few posts like that over the course of the summer, this post ending up going a slightly different direction as the course of yesterday’s events unfolded. Although, at its core, this post is about things I have discovered since moving to Iowa – it has evolved into so much more!

I knew I was in need of a haircut badly, but for many reasons I kept putting it off. As mothers, our last thought is to do anything for ourselves. Yet, as the summer heat quickly approached I knew I couldn’t put it off any longer. I could no longer wait until we went back to the Quad-Cities, so I had to try somewhere new. The dread and horror washed over me! What if they screwed up the hair cut I wanted? What if I felt out of place in the salon I had chosen? What if I can’t find a good place on such a tight budget? So I did the only thing I could – I cast out the net to a few friends who used to live in the area. I checked out the websites of their recommendations and private messaged one of the stylists and VOILA – so began my perfect day!

Let me begin by saying I have a lot of perfect days, both with my daughter and as a family of three. There are, however, those rare moments I have just for me, and that’s OK too!

Once you have children, dates with your spouse are very different. The most notable difference is the content of the date. They went from being about us, to being about our family and daily tasks. A typical date for us is usually a list of errands we need to complete, while trying to throw in a quick dinner and occasionally a movie, when possible.

If you’re anything like me, getting out of the house in a timely manner is never possible. Yesterday was a different story – I had a 1:15 hair appointment I needed to make. My husband came with so that we could actually begin our date when my appointment was over. From the moment Caitlin said, “Hello,” I felt at ease. She offered me a beverage and gave me a quick tour of the facility. Then, as I sat down she began asking me a few questions about my hair and the setting I am in on a daily basis. She jotted down some quick notes as we chatted about my overall goal and look for this haircut, then we began! My haircut came out better then it ever has before! Dare I say – I felt beautiful! I mean really beautiful!! Before this experience I took in the same photograph once a year to get my haircut. Yes, its true – I do not get so much as a trim more than once a year! Terrible for your hair – I know, I know! Until yesterday I would have told you it’s not that important, but now I see how wrong I was! It’s all about finding the right salon and stylist. Whether you’re new in town or you have been here for years, if you’re looking for a great experience to make you feel beautiful on a budget, then I highly recommend Caitlin Ford at Bellisimo Salon & Day Spa! I already have my next appointment scheduled!!

Feeling Beautiful!

Once we left the salon, the question then came – what do we do now? We are so used to a long list of errands with a small window of time to complete them. Now we had all this time and no list of errands. That’s not to say we didn’t have things that we needed to get accomplished, but we decided to make the day about us. I suggested we check out the Arts Festival downtown. It was purely a spur of the moment idea. I had seen something on Facebook about it the night before, but never took the time to look into it. I assumed it wasn’t really my scene and keep scrolling. I have to say it was a great experience! The artwork was amazing and they had an array of children’s activities from face painting to balloon animals. Honestly, I felt a little guilty for not taking our daughter along. The aroma coming from the various food vendors was VERY tempting! Especially the deep-fried Snickers Bars! As a newbie, I generally see the downtown area as more of a college atmosphere. Yes, I have seen the playground and sprinklers before, but with all the traffic and students walking around I avoid it like the plague.

Neat little setup at the Arts Festival

My husband is a very organized man. Once we moved to the area he started making a list of must-try restaurants based on recommendations from co-workers and his own research. As of last night, we can cross Reds Alehouse off the list! It was a packed house with excellent wait staff and amazing food! The Queso & Chips was an inexpensive, tasty appetizer which was devoured almost immediately. For my entrée I chose The Patriot Burger! It was cooked to perfection and tasted amazing! My husband ordered the Pork Tenderloin and consumed it in its entirety, claiming it to be “The best pork tenderloin he has ever had!!”

Queso & Chips

After walking around the Coral Ridge Mall for a while, we decided it was time for dessert. So we ventured to my favorite – Molly’s Cupcakes! Unfortunately, they had just run out of my favorite flavor, Chocolate Decadence. So I decided to try the S’more Cupcake and it did not disappoint! I love the unique school furniture appeal combined with the friendly atmosphere. I could sit there and talk for hours while consuming their delicious creations!


I encourage everyone to have a day of exploration. A day for themselves. A day to feel beautiful!

Nikki Wildemuth
Nikki is new to the area. She graduated from the Western Illinois University-Quad Cities Campus in 2009 with a Bachelor's of Science in Elementary Education. She married her husband the same year. Nikki loved the creativity of teaching and continues to bring that same creativity as a stay at home mom. During the day you can find her chasing after her precocious toddler. By night she is a Pinterest junkie! She enjoys getting out and spending time with her family!


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