Classic Car Show at the Lebanon Blues Festival

My husband and I went to the Lebanon Blues Festival this weekend and enjoyed checking out the cool cars at the Classic Car Show.  I asked someone sitting next to us to take our photo.  I have very few recent photos of my husband and I together…I’m usually the one taking the pics!  We’re really enjoying this perfect summer weather.  It’s been in the high 80’s and low 90’s here in Cincinnati and when the humidity is low, we love it!

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We arrived just in time to take some photos at the Classic Car Show before it ended…

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They had the street closed down to traffic which makes it nice.

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I rarely photograph cars, but had fun experimenting with different perspectives…

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This car reminds me of a gangster car…

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My husband made this “Chevrolet” shot his cover photo on Facebook.

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Love the colors in this one…

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Next, we weaved our way through the crowd and past the food and crafts vendors towards the music stage.

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We really enjoyed listening to The Doug Hart Band.  That’s him…he’s great!

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We found a seat quite a distance away from the stage, but were in the shade and we don’t like being too close to the speakers.

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Summer’s slipping away…we need to pack in as many festivals and outdoor events in as possible!

Green Acres is the Place to Be!

Green Acres Canoe and Kayak Rental  is my favorite place to canoe or kayak in the summer!  Located in Harrison, Ohio, on the West side of Cincinnati, the scenery is outstanding…

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Here’s where you pay and sign your waiver form…

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Sensory Deprivation aka Flotation Therapy Experience

My son gave me a gift certificate for a flotation therapy, also known as sensory deprivation flotation as an early Mother’s Day gift.  I couldn’t wait to try it, so I went today to a place called Tao Float Loft in West Chester, Ohio (near Cincinnati)!  After signing the typical liability form, you’re escorted to your private room where you’re given instructions to take a shower, how to turn the light off in the tank, and other miscellaneous information (including the insertion of ear plugs).  Because the water is highly concentrated with Epsom salts, it’s best not to rub your eyes while floating.  There is a spray bottle of water inside in case you do.  After closing the lid and shutting the light off, I centered myself in the tank and totally relaxed my body.  The session is an hour, but it goes by quickly.  When I’ve meditated at home, I would concentrate on my breathing or try not to think at all…so that’s what I did in the beginning.

My first sensations were of my heart beat causing my body to drift slightly to one side and the other.  Sometimes, while trying not to think, I would think about the sensations I was experiencing, so that I could relate them to others.  I noticed that when I tested whether I was totally relaxed around the head/neck area, that there was even more relaxing I could do.  After a bit, probably half way through, I realized I was letting my mind wander and suddenly I felt almost panicky.  Like I was in a trance, but I didn’t move and slowed my breathing to calm myself.  I think it’s more beneficial to let your mind wander, rather than try to concentrate on breathing or not thinking.  That’s when you’re more likely to have some unusually cool experiences.

I also remember later in the session feeling like my lower body was completely submerged or angled down.  I would definitely go again.  It gave me better insight into how I should meditate at home.

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They have a room to blow dry your hair…

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I think trying most things in life at least once is a great way to live!

A Walk in the Woods

Having four miles of hiking trails five minutes from my house in Goshen, Ohio is a blessing!  Although most of the trees are still barren, the blue skies, green grasses, and budding wildflowers were beautiful.

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The last few weeks have brought much rain and the trails are quite muddy, but we don’t let that stop us.  I’ve found the best times to go hiking are when it’s too cold, too hot, too muddy, or too early.  That’s when no one else is there and I’m able to enjoy the solitude.

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

I finally visited the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center yesterday!  Opened in 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in Cincinnati, according to the Center, their mission is to reveal stories of freedom’s heroes, from the era of the Underground Railroad to contemporary times, challenging and inspiring everyone to take courageous steps of freedom today.  They serve to inspire modern abolition through connecting the lessons of the Underground Railroad with today’s freedom fighters.

The museum’s eternal flame is representative of the candles that were placed in the windows of Underground Railroad operators and there’s a scenic view of the Ohio River and Kentucky shoreline.

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Taken from their website–some of the exhibits are:

The Struggle Continues examines the desire to fight for freedom around the world and reminds us that slavery in many forms and guises continues to exist in the world around us. Iconic and abstract images on each of two long, facing walls, symbolize and evoke freedom and slavery throughout the world. The images are accompanied by audio that creates an intriguing yet reflective mood.

This exhibit explores six conditions or circumstances – which we call “unfreedoms” – that prevent people from achieving freedom and protect basic human rights. These unfreedoms are hunger, illiteracy, slavery, racism, tyranny and genocide.

From Slavery to Freedom portrays three centuries of slavery from its introduction into the Americas to its abolition at the end of the American Civil War. The exhibit describes who the enslaved were, why they were brought here, how they lived, how they worked, and also who their allies were – and how ultimately they became free!

One of the museum’s key attractions is a walk-through exhibit documenting the rise and fall of the slave trade in the United States and North America. Starting with the European colonization of Africa, the exhibit follows the journey of slaves from their homeland to aiding the Union in the American Civil War to the Civil Rights Movement of the mid 20th Century.

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Invisible: Slavery Today is the world’s first museum-quality, permanent exhibition on the subjects of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.  Using a variety of techniques and media, this exhibit offers a comprehensive examination of slavery in the modern world through the life experiences of five individuals who were caught up in one of the five most common forms of exploitation: forced labor, bonded indenture, child slavery, sex trafficking and domestic servitude.

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Springing into Spring

“It was one of those March days, when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold:

when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”

~Charles Dickens

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“The naked earth is warm with Spring, And with green grass and bursting trees

Leans to the sun’s kiss glorying, and quivers in the sunny breeze. ~Julian Grenfell

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“She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
“Winter is dead.”
―A.A. Milne, When We Were Very Young

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Santa Rappels Down Macy’s Building

On assignment for Cincinnati Refined, I recently took photos in downtown Cincinnati of an event called Macy’s Downtown Dazzle.  Arriving early I captured my required “posed people” shots before Santa was due to rappel down the side of Macy’s Department store.

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The atmosphere was festive!  Ice skaters at Fountain Square were fun to watch!

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A cup of hot chocolate warms you from the inside!

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Kentucky Blues

I finally made it out to take photos of a local band called Johnny Fink and the Intrusion last night at the Mansion Hill Tavern in Newport, Kentucky.  If you like Blues music, you’ll love them!  When they first started playing I couldn’t help but dance!

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I’m having fun experimenting in low light settings with my new full frame Nikon 750 camera.

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This is Johnny Fink’s girlfriend.  Beautiful lady!

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Festival of Lights

This year’s Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo was spectacular!  My husband and I went last night before the weather becomes too cold and loved all of the dazzling and colorful lights!

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After walking through this tunnel of white lights, you’ll see the tree up above.

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Upon entrance into the Cincinnati Zoo, their huge Christmas tree takes center stage!

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I was especially impressed with the sound and light display on the lake!  The lights would change shapes and colors in time to the music.  See all of the ducks swimming?

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This tunnel of rainbow colors is new…

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If you get hungry, there are plenty of little shops to stop and purchase cookies, hot nuts, s’mores, pizza, and of course, hot chocolate!

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The children love to ride the choo choo train!

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Niederman Family Farm Holiday Light Display

It’s almost that time of year again…Christmas!  Time to be with family and continue old traditions or begin new ones.  Last night I was on assignment with Cincinnati Refined to take photos of the Neiderman Family Farm Holiday Light Display in Liberty Township, Ohio.  If you live in the area, I highly recommend a visit.  It’s free, but donations are appreciated.

You begin the 5 block walk (configured in a square) here…

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Bible verses are displayed with colorful holiday lights!

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The manger scene is beautiful…

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When Architecture becomes Art at Liberty Center

The Liberty Center located in West Chester, Ohio, opened last month and I had an opportunity to check it out yesterday!  The design is contemporary, fresh, and creative!  The Center has condos for sale, tons of nice restaurants, a luxury movie theater, loads of retail shopping (including a Dillard’s and Dicks), a Marriott Hotel (opening in 2016), and a beautiful Chapel for Sundays!

The indoor 2-story Mall portion is quite elegant…

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This massive fireplace is also a movie screen with different scenes appearing right on the brick.

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The open design incorporates contemporary lighting and seating with the wooden beams.

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The food court areas have such clean lines…

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It almost feels like your living room…

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The World’s largest recirculating swimming pool located in Cincinnati, Ohio

When Sunlite Pool was constructed in 1925 at Coney Island Amusement Park in Cincinnati, Ohio, it was and still is the largest recirculating swimming pool in the world, holding over 3 million gallons of water, measuring 200 x 401 ft., and ranging in depths from six inches to 10 feet.  Although it’s capacity is 10,000 swimmers, luckily when my friends and I visited yesterday, there may have been 100-200 guests enjoying the picture perfect 90 degree weather!  After lazing around on our rafts in the pool and sipping on a cold beverage, we were ready for some tubing fun on the Twister!

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I don’t remember the first time I visited the pool–some time back in the mid-70’s–and the most recent visit before yesterday was perhaps 7-8 years ago.  A lot has changed over the years.

Coney Island’s first name was Parker’s Grove (named after its owner, James Parker), opening in 1870 and consisted of a dining hall, dancing hall and bowling alley. People were transported the 10 miles from Cincinnati by riverboat before the automobile was invented. In addition to Sunlite Pool, Moonlite Gardens, an open-air dance hall was built the same year. Through the years, new rides were constructed and now the Park has 24 fun rides for both young and old to enjoy!

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Due to its riverside location, six major floods have damaged the Park: 1913, 1937 (submerging it under 28 feet of water), 1964, 1972, 1991, and 1997.

In the early 1950’s, Walt Disney made a visit to Coney Island to get ideas for Disneyland.

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Ownership has changed hands numerous times through the years, and in 1969, Taft Broadcasting purchased the Park and decided to build Kings Island, a new theme park in Northeastern Cincinnati. Coney Island closed in 1971 for three years, but Sunlite Pool continued its operations.  Reopened in 1974, the Park began to come to life again and after the Riverbend Music Center opened in 1984, new rides and attractions were constructed.

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Taken from Coney Island’s website: “Once given up for dead, a victim of its own success, Coney Island is alive again. While it is no longer the region’s largest amusement facility, it retains many of its beloved traditions-swimming at Sunlite Pool, dancing under the stars in Moonlite Gardens, picnicking and strolling along the Ohio River.”

The people of Southwestern Ohio are indeed fortunate. Their beloved local amusement park refused to die and gave its owners no choice but to rebuild it into what it does best — create memories.”

The Man Who Built a Castle

At the bottom of a steep yet very narrow and winding road in the town of Loveland, Ohio, stands a medieval castle named Chateau Laroche (aka Loveland Castle & Museum).   Built by Harry Andrews, a former World War I army veteran, who acquired the land in 1927 and began construction in 1929, it was a labor of love.

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Andrews carried tons of stones in an estimated 56,000 five-gallon pails from the Little Miami Riverbed upon which the Castle sits and made bricks by pouring concrete into old milk cartons.

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It was during his tour of duty in Europe that Andrews fell in love with castles. Upon his return, he formed the Knights of the Golden Trail (KOGT), a group he said would be dedicated to helping save civilization, which he felt had seriously eroded. Their code of conduct is simply to follow the Ten Commandments.

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Working on the castle every weekend until he retired in 1955 at the age of 65, and then full-time, the castle was Andrews’ life work.

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The castle boasts a great hall, a banquet hall, an armory, a bedroom for Andrews, a watchtower, and a real dungeon with cells. Some of the rooms are full of memorabilia from the dark ages. Continue reading

Cincinnati Flower Show at Yeatman’s Cove

The Cincinnati Flower Show, hosted by the Cincinnati Horticultural Society, kicked off its 26th year with a profusion of breathtaking floral beauty!  According to the Society, it “dedicates itself to promoting the environmental, aesthetic, and educational benefits for parks and green spaces, and to providing opportunities for the enjoyment and appreciation of nature and horticulture.”  The show has evolved into five days of garden-inspired shopping, international exhibitors and judges, guest speakers, nature inspired art, and gardening activities.

This year’s exhibition is set up along the Ohio River at Yeatman’s Cove and you’ll find tents filled with floral displays, dramatic table settings, and creative and unique container gardens.  So many ideas for transforming your own gardens into a spectacular space!

The tents provided a nice backdrop for my favorite flower…the tulip!

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Cincinnati’s infamous Findlay Market (farmer’s market) was used as inspiration in this display…

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Hiking at Buzzardroost Rock & don’t forget the Wine

Buzzardroost Rock is a moderately difficult 3.5 – 4.4 mile round trip trail (depending on where you begin) in the Edge of Appalachia Preserve system of Adams County, Ohio.  Far above the waters of Ohio Brush Creek, the panoramic scene from this hilltop has been called Ohio’s most spectacular view.  I organized the hike through Tri-State Hiking Club, one of my meetup.com organizations and guided approximately 20 people.  Most of us met at a carpool location because the trail is almost an hour and one-half from Cincinnati.

The view is outstanding!

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Here I am looking quite triumphant having reached the top.

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All of the colorful jackets and accessories added some pizzazz to the dreary scenery!

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