Saturday, November 12, 2016


The moment is finally here…well it WILL be here, officially on Tuesday, November 15th. Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill will finally open in Creston, Iowa!

I could not be happier or more proud of my brother, Mario and his business associate, Austin.

Austin (left) & Mario (right)

It reminds me of our high school days when I was a wrestling cheerleader and I was one of my brother’s biggest fans. But now, this isn’t high school and this isn’t wrestling…it’s real life and yet I’m still in awe of his amazing work ethic and ability to wear a smile no matter what. He is an incredible brother, son, uncle and most importantly, DAD!

Mario and I

I would like to add I grew up with five [amazing] older brothers (this is the part where you say to yourself, “oh my gosh, what was that like”). It was something, let me tell ya-but it was also pretty special too. I had five, immediately built in friendships from people I knew would always be there for me.

Anyway-back to this grand opening thing…let me introduce you to the Owner, Mario Galanakis and General Manager, Austin Swagel.

Mario, is of course, from Greenfield, Iowa, graduated high school from Nodaway Valley and then from the University of Iowa…where he also wrestled. Mario grew up in the restaurant business where he started cooking, waiting tables and washing dishes at just the young age of 10. How is that legal you ask? Well, apparently you didn’t grow up with parents who ran a Greek restaurant; The Old Hotel (now called the Olive Branch) in Greenfield, Iowa.

Not that they mistreated us, no, everyone just works together…like a family. We wanted to be there. It was our home, daycare and business. The whole establishment is a team effort…which is just what Mario and Austin plan to do with their sports bar and grill.

“I waited tables, I cooked, I bussed, I did a lot of dishes, so I’ve seen it all and have done it all. Having that experience meant a lot and a lot of people never had it when trying something like this.” Mario said, “I was really lucky that mom and dad taught us to always earn what you get…ya gotta work for it.”

So, how did two best friends who lived states away from each other decide to open a business you ask? Well from the very two things that brought them together in the first place…a restaurant and sports. Austin [also a graduate of Nodaway Valley] worked at our parent’s restaurant in high school and he was no stranger to the sports events that were constantly taking place at the “Galanakis Ranch.”

“Our vision for this place is sports. At the end of the day, everything we do, whether it’s volleyball in the back yard, playing cards or ping pong at 6am all night long, it was always about sports or some competition.” Austin said. “Growing up, working in the Old Hotel under John and Joni, customer service was always a top priority and the overall customer experience.”

So why would someone leave a nice, corporate job to run a restaurant/bar in small town Iowa? For nothing more than the good ole’ call of entrepreneurship, well and friendship, of course. It’s true what they say “hard times always reveal true friends.” And instead of allowing a few setbacks in his life to break him, Mario decided to do something he’d always wanted to do, open a restaurant.

“I’ve always wanted to do this but being that I worked on the railroad and made good money for my family, that’s just what I did.” Mario said.

Mario Galanakis - owner

After the two would talk back and forth about how they were tired of their jobs, it just clicked to them-let’s do this…it’s now or never. Just like in sports, you just try your best and go for it.

“I knew I needed someone to help, being that I had the girls and I wanted someone I could trust and rely on and someone who was responsible. Whenever Austin and I would talk, we'd talk about his job and about how it was getting too easy and that he wanted another challenge. Well, what is a better challenge than running your own business?” Mario said.

So here they are…

Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill plans to be open:

Sunday-Thursday 11am-10pm
Friday-Sat 11am-2am

And what kind of food can you expect to be served? Well for starters, they will offer the same infamous “Super Salads” and “Gyros” that the Olive Branch in Greenfield offers along with the classic salads, wings, sandwiches, burgers and more.

“We’re just excited to bring something different to the community. There’s a lot of people I’ve talked to that have said Creston has needed something like this for a long time and I’ve always thought that too.” Mario said.

The difference is that Mario’s Sports Bar and Grill features 15 flat screen tvs, two pool tables, a juke box, foosball and shuffleboard is on the way! They also plan to offer events such as trivia games and “The Walking Dead” and “Game of Thrones” night.

“Our atmosphere is different. There’s nowhere else to go like this with your family, friends or whoever. Come in, sit down, enjoy a good meal with entertainment.” Mario said.

So if you’re looking for something fun to do and grab a great bite to eat, you know where to go! Also don’t forget that they are still hiring…so feel free to ask for an application.

To stay updated with them, be sure to check out their Facebook Page:
Questions: Call (641) 278-1427 or Email

So proud of you Mario and Austin…we wish you so much success. And thank you to everyone who has helped them so much…mom, dad, our brothers, my husband, friends and anyone else-I know they have appreciated it. I also have to give a shout out to my husband, he designed the logo and various artwork you see featured through out the bar/restaurant. Can't wait to show you all the mural he painted inside as well! 

And don’t forget, it’s a FAMILY restaurant, so bring the kids. Trust me, how else do you think I was able to write this post and be a work from home mom!? I can’t promise your kids will get to ride the bus cart like mine did, but they will have fun!

Uncle Mario with our littles

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Let's all laugh a little more...

In a world full only bad news stories in what seems like constantly, I wanted to share with you all a little incident from 'my world' yesterday. 

I don't usually take naps unless I'm extremely tired and yesterday was one of those days. I had just laid my two year old down for a nap when I thought, "wow, the couch looks really comfortable right now..."

My 4 year old was busy coloring right next to me, so I thought, I'll just rest my head for a bit. I could hear her busy in her craft, so I wasn't full on sleeping but boy did it feel restful! If you're a parent, you'll understand what I mean have found a way to sleep but you still can hear your kid(s) and every other noise for that matter.

I soon was awoken by the sound of scissors cutting and felt something on my head...yes she had cut my hair!

trying to work with what I got today...

the evidence

I immediately jumped up and asked "Why would you do that!?" That's when she pointed to the dolls, those creepy, creepy dolls who were staring back at me on the television stand.

"I was making elf hats for them and I was going to ask you for help but you were sleeping and I wanted to see what it was like to cut hair." she said. Ugh...what!? By the way, the dolls reminded me of something out of a "Chucky" movie...

Not sure which was scarier, my hair cut or these dolls...

OK, so cue the mom shame and judgments here..."why did she have scissors? Did you spank her a** hard!?" What we did for discipline is our business but honestly (not that I let her know this) it just made me a laugh and thank God for being alive and being a mommy. Judge me...but I know my kid, she didn't do this to be malicious, she wasn't trying to hurt me. She knows what she did was wrong, she's sorry, I don't remind her of it every time I look in the mirror at this awful hair cut but it did give me some perspective. I know people who have to walk through life with absolutely no hair on their head due to cancer, or part of their face missing because of their service in war time or a terrible accident. A few cut hairs didn't really get me too bent out of shape. 

I ended up sharing this on my Instagram and the hilarious responses prompted me to write on my blog and share it with more people. My aunt called me after seeing the picture below and literally could not talk because she was laughing so hard. I LOVE making people laugh and I love to laugh, because again, I sometimes find myself almost getting depressed about all the terrible news stories I read. Oh and I also decided to blog because right now while my two year old naps, I'm going to go ahead and NOT take a rest today-haha!

I also was secretly really freaking impressed by those elf hats. I love her creativity and her sense of wonder; I love her.

So anyway, I'm going to go ahead and write this in her baby book, sneak in her room the night before prom in about 13 years and cut her hair...just kidding, but seriously, have a laugh at these photos.

Have a blessed day and remember, don't sweat the small stuff!

what I woke up to from my nap...

Thursday, August 18, 2016


There are many things I love in this world. Besides God, a few of them are my children, family, friends, coffee, wine and I really, really LOVE small businesses and entrepreneurship. I'm such a cheerleader for people doing what they love with such passion. I also really love to write, especially when I'm so inspired...or actually find the time to do so! ;)

I wanted to share with you all a story I wrote about an exciting new journey my brother, Mario, is about to begin. I plan on doing a follow up story detailing the plans of his new business, so stay tuned. Please enjoy and feel free to share. Best of luck to you Mario, you know I'm behind you 100% and congratulations Danny on your retirement. It's funny, I will actually kind of miss that buffalo head, even though it scared the crap out of me when I was a kid!