Charlie Bear

The day after Christmas, I had my second newborn photo shoot.  The parents and Grandmother were so pleased with the outcome, they literally cried happy tears!  Little Charlie Bear is soooo cute!

untitled-9-2untitled-6-3untitled-4-2untitled-30untitled-39untitled-46In this last photo, he seems to be thinking, “Were they naughty or nice”!

 

Cincinnati Urban Adventures

I wanted to share with all of you the start-up of my new business Cincinnati Urban Adventures, in partnership with Intrepid Travel and Urban Adventures.  I’ll be leading tours of Cincinnati that I’ve developed and will eventually hire Tour Guides to help out when the business starts to boom!  I believe if you are passionate about something, continue learning, and take steps towards turning those passions into a way of making money, you’re certain to be successful.

I will continue with my photography business Sherry Lachelle Photography and working as a Freelance Photographer for Cincinnati Refined, along with taking people on trips around the world through my website, Travel Spirit Meetup.  In fact, I just planned a trip to Portugal and Southern Spain for the end of February.  I’ve been to Lisbon, Portugal and to Spain, but am looking forward to exploring Seville, Granada, and Cordoba, Spain.

I’ve been working long hours between all of my endeavors, but it doesn’t feel like work, most of the time, because I love it!

Follow my new business on Instagram and Facebook.  You can also follow my Sherry Lachelle Photography on Facebook.

Wish me luck!

Home Organization – Before and After

Home organization can be a time-consuming and tedious job, especially if you’re organizing someone else’s things.  For the past 1 1/2 years, I’ve been helping an elderly man sort through his mass of accumulated paperwork that he’s held on to for up to 25 years, along with other household items.  Together, we created a filing system that works for him.  He has an extensive library of books, but was willing to donate and sell six boxes of them.  I usually work once a week, occasionally twice, with a few long breaks in between.  Sometimes, he would schedule me to come back 10 days later, but then we played catch up with his mail.  Only two months into the project, I was escorting travelers from my Travel Spirit Meetup through Europe for a month.   He had been the caregiver for his 90-year-old wife, who had Alzheimer’s, and she passed away only a couple of weeks after I returned from Europe.  A few weeks after the funeral, I took him out to see a movie, “The Giver”, knowing he would appreciate an outing.  Although he missed her, he was also relieved from the physical and mental burden her illness had placed upon him.  With no children of their own and his niece, nephews, and other family living out-of-town, I’m sure he was lonely at times.  We went through her things about five months after she passed and took them to the Goodwill.

In the beginning of the process, he was quite hesitant to throw away paperwork, thinking he might need it again.  Through the years, he had kept detailed records of expenses and income with Quicken, but didn’t have an external hard drive, so that was his Christmas present from me.  My father, who passed away in 2006, was a hoarder (just like the show), so I’ve had some experience with this syndrome.

There were mornings I’d arrive and he’d still be in his pajamas, hearing aids in the bathroom.  I pride myself with being efficient, but I had to learn to slow down and be patient.  I usually had an agenda upon arrival and would tell him what I thought we should do that day.  Sometimes he would agree and other days, even with me saying “pretty please”, he refused, wanting to work on something else.

Each day, I would arrive with a salad to share with him.  Along with lettuce, they typically had cucumber, celery, red bell pepper, Kalamata olives, mushrooms, and red onion.  Occasionally, I’d put some Feta cheese and pine nuts in, along with my homemade Balsamic Mustard Vinaigrette.  He’d offer me one of his cookies or chocolate for dessert.

I’m sure that growing up during the depression shaped the way he looked at things, causing him to be very thrifty and frugal.  Expiration dates on food don’t matter to him.  If something was broken, perhaps he could find a way to fix it, rather than just throw it out.  As the months went by, I noticed he became much better at throwing paperwork away and making decisions, rather than putting it off.

I’ve made him laugh a few times.  On one occasion, I was helping him set up a Craigslist account online to give away some old Hitchcock chairs that he’d been paying $50.00 a month to store, and he was looking through the drop down for what year he was born in, and I said, “are you sure that year is even listed?”.  One morning when I arrived, he announced he realized he had a problem with putting things back where they belong.  I said, “and you just realized this?”

The retirement center he lives in is absolutely gorgeous!  There’s a swimming pool, exercise room, beautiful dining room, sun room, library, chapel, gift shop, gardens, weekly housekeeping, and countless activities…crafts, parties, movies, game nights, yoga, Tai Chi, day outings for shopping, plays, and the symphony.  He’s an accomplished pianist and loves going to the symphony.  We’re in the process of downsizing his things to move from a two bedroom to a one bedroom.

I feel fortunate to have had this experience.  I’m somewhat of a minimalist and can’t live with a lot of stuff around me, so it feels good to help someone else shed some of their weight.  Here are the “before” and “after” photos of his office and living room…

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and after… Continue reading

Thank You

I would like to thank the following bloggers who have bestowed a variety of Awards to me:

Kim at Garden Lillie for the “Liebster Blog Award”.  She has some beautiful poetry and has a heart of gold!

Renee at Positive Boomer for “The Blog of the Year 2012” Award.  She awarded it to me twice in December.  She always has informative, positive and inspirational posts!

Viveka at My Guilty Pleasures also for “The Blog of the Year 2012” Award.  She lives in Sweden and I enjoy the variety of posts that she produces!

Martyn at Cabo de Gata Photography for the “Addictive Blog Award”.  Martyn lives in Spain and loves it!  His photography is beautiful!

Nakita at Nakita Audrey for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”.  Her lovely blog is about Fashion, travel, photography and movies!

Marcela at Photography Art Plus for the “Very Inspiring Blogger Award”.  Her flower photographs are gorgeous!

Untitled Adventure (I don’t know her name) for the “Versatile Blogger Award”.  She has had some wonderful adventures!

I am really grateful for all of you and appreciate your recognition!  Let’s make 2013 our best year yet!!

Woo Hoo…Planning a trip to Europe!

I have brain pain right now!  The good kind!  I’m planning a six-week trip through 12 countries in Europe!  I’d like to visit Norway, Sweden, Finland, Estonia, Copenhagen, Germany, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungry, Romania, Bulgaria, and Turkey.  The only one I’ve been to is Germany (I lived there for a couple of years back in the late 70’s).  I’m hoping to Couchsurf in some countries, stay in hostels or cheap hotels for others, and I’d love to meet some of my fellow bloggers (like I met Rory in Cape Town)!

I’m not set on these countries yet but if I purchase a Eurail pass they are the most convenient to visit.  I would get discounts on boat travel with the Eurail pass.  As many of you know, when planning a big trip like this–it’s so time-consuming.  To get the best deal, I’m flexible with my dates (hoping to leave in about a month) and with my beginning destination.  I’ve looked at flying into Oslo, Norway; Helsinki, Finland and Copenhagen, Denmark.  From Helsinki I’d like to take a fast ferry to Tallinn, Estonia (2 hrs.) and spend a day there.  Also from Helsinki there is an overnight ship through either Silja or Viking Cruise Lines to Stockholm, Sweden.  And…of course in Norway the Fjords are at the top of my list!!  Air travel is quite inexpensive between some of the European cities also.  Less than $100 to fly from Bergen, Norway to Berlin!

So…my itinerary could be fly into Helsinki..stay a couple of nights..take a day trip to Estonia..take the overnight cruise to Stockholm..stay 2 or 3 nights…take a train to Oslo, Norway..stay 2 nights..take the scenic train & fjord cruise to Myrdal..Flam..Gudvangen.. bus to Voss..train to Bergen.  Fly to Copenhagen..trains on to Berlin, Prague, etc.

Or…fly into Copenhagen…stay 2 or 3 nights..take the train to Stockholm..stay 2 or 3 nights..take overnight cruise to Helsinki..stay 2 nights and do day trip to Estonia..fly from Helsinki to Oslo where I start the itinerary listed above onto Bergen…then fly from Bergen to Berlin, then trains onward.

Or…fly into Bergen…reverse the fjord & train itinerary to Oslo..stay 2 nights..train to Stockholm..stay 2 or 3 nights…overnight cruise to Helsinki…stay 2 nights with day trip to Estonia…fly from Helsinki to Copenhagen…then trains onto Berlin, Prague, etc.

Whew!  I was allotting at least 30-35 days for all of the countries except for Turkey, where I would stay in Istanbul for 3 nights — then possibly see Cappadocia (where the fairy chimneys are) — and for sure the Mediterranean shore, called the Turquoise Coast, in the area of Fethiye.  I’d love to hike a few miles along the Lycian Way (500 km) which is located on the coast.

I would be traveling solo…and thinking I won’t plan everything this time…to let the universe do its magic!  So if anyone would like to meet up…let me know!!

On a Roll…

 

“Those who don’t believe in Magic..will never find it!”  Roald Dahl 

My weekend was great…cooked a lot of new recipes…ran errands…read some from my current book “The Hunger Games“…went for a four mile hike in the woods with beautiful sunny skies…organized my food pantry…normal household chores…and went to a Superbowl party at my brother’s! 
 
I’m on a black and white roll! 

If I remember correctly...the staircase at Sacre Coeur in Paris, France - 2007

While hiking on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, Peru – 2009
Staircase in Spain – 2010
Vancouver, British Columbia – 2011
Encountered this man while hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon by myself – 2007
I asked these Police Officers in Bangkok permission to take their photo (during a political rally)
Spiritual Pak Ou Caves in Laos on Mekong River

 

Girl on Mediterranean cruise in Venice - 2010

 Hope you have a lovely day!!

~Sherry~

 

 

 

 

Listen to the Whispers of Your Heart

This past week has been a wild ride.  After being dropped at the Cincinnati Airport to travel to California for a Symposium, where mass interviews took place, I realized I was at the wrong airport.  How does that happen to someone who is as detailed and organized as I am?  I believe I wasn’t supposed to go and I was ignoring the whispers of the universe/God/my heart!  I had tried to back out of going a while back and people talked me back into it.  And actually—that sign from the Universe was yelling—not whispering!

I’m frantically calling my husband repeatedly to come back and pick me up—to no avail—he had turned his cell phone off because people kept texting him while we were having a rather heated discussion on the way to the airport.  Everything was aligned against me going.  The next flight through that airline to Sacramento wasn’t until Tuesday and flights through other airlines were too expensive.

While I was waiting for my girlfriend to pick me up at the airport, having cried and feeling at one point that it was the end of the world, a handicapped man hobbled past me and a new perspective hit me.  So what, I missed a flight.  That happens some times…it had just never happened in all of my travels…to me.  If I really wanted to be a Tour Director, those are some of the kinds of things that happen while traveling.  I also remembered a conversation I had with my boss’s girlfriend the day before leaving.  She said the universe guides us if we listen, which I knew, but had forgotten.  I spent the day helping my girlfriend pick out décor for remodeling her bathroom, had a couple of rum and coke and spent the night at her house.

My husband picked me up the next day—on Sunday—and I asked him if he’d like to drive to Florida for the week.  I had a friend that had offered her condo for us to stay in at Ft. Myers Beach, Florida.  After checking with his boss, it took all of 2 hours to unpack winter clothes, pack summer clothes and hit the road for the 17-hour drive.  On the drive down we stayed at the same motel in Macon, Georgia, my mother and I stayed at in March, when I drove her down before she died from Cancer in June.

The weather was glorious…80 degrees and sunny every day.  I jogged every morning, took 3-4 mile hikes on the beach and read by the pool!  I’m glad I chose to not sulk—to seize the moments!

Here are some photos from the trip—

CAPTIVA BEACH…FLORIDA

CAPE CORAL, FLORIDA

GREAT IDEA!!

As Marilyn Monroe has said…”Sometimes Good Things Fall apart so Better Things Can Fall Together”.  I can’t wait to see what the Universe has in store for me next—I have a feeling there are some adventurous times around the corner!

Next Stop…Sacramento

Leavin on a Jet Plane…to Sacramento today!  This will be my third trip to California this year.  I’ll be interviewing with about 20 tour companies for a position as a Tour Director, along with hundreds of others.  We’ll also get to go on a couple of fun day trips.  Tomorrow is a City tour of Sacramento…followed by a wine tasting in wine country.  On Thursday, I’ll be headed to Yosemite for the day.  I went hiking in Yosemite back in 2006.  I was there by myself touring around California via Amtrak trains and buses.  On the bus ride from Napa to Yosemite, I met a girl from England and she and I hiked together the following day for nine hours…about 14 miles…with lots of elevation changes.  It was harder than hiking down to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and back up…which I did by myself back in 2007.  Here are a couple of photos from that trip:

This career change is exciting but also makes me feel a bit apprehensive/nervous.  Public speaking was never my thing, but I joined Toastmasters back in November and have given two 5 minute speeches already.  I think it takes courage to make big changes once you’re older and I’m proud of myself.  I’m trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable!

To change the subject…an update on the care packages for the homeless that I made and distributed.  I gave a pack to about 6 of my co-workers and about 10 other family/friends.  So far, I’ve heard that two of them have been distributed to people at street corners.  I’ve given out two of them.  I was stopped at a light and there was a guy holding a sign that said, “Veteran…Need help.”  He saw me rolling my window down and starting walking over with a smile on his face.  When I said I had a care package for him, I could tell it wasn’t what he was expecting, but he thanked me.  A guy came into the office (which is an old home in a semi-residential area) and was looking for donations for the shelter that he stays at…for people with drug/alcohol problems.  He had a printed up card with the name, address and mission of the facility that he handed to me.  I had donated $20 to a guy from the same place, a couple of years ago, who stopped me in a grocery parking lot.  Anyway, I told him about my care package and he accepted it with a “thank you”.  It’s fun to hear about how the others are distributing theirs and I can tell it makes them feel good doing so!

Other than that, I’ve been making lots more recipes from Pinterest and am taking my new work-out clothes (from Christmas) to Sacramento to jog/exercise in while I’m there to keep my body and attitude in good shape!  I’m excited about reading a new book I downloaded to my I-Pad to read on the planes, etc….”The Help”.  I haven’t seen the movie yet and like everyone else, usually enjoy the book better than the movie.

I’ll have lots of photos to post when I return and stories!  Hope everyone has a peaceful, fun and inspired week!

~Sherry~

Around the World Travel & Groupon

Today, Groupon advertised an around the world airline ticket for two people for $10,000.00 (with some restrictions and excluding taxes), including up to 10 stops.  So…I got on Airtreks to decide where I would go.  I’ve played around with this numerous times…it’s fun!  You have to go from East to West or vice versa…you can’t backtrack.  Groupon mentioned North America, Europe and Asia, so I’m assuming I shouldn’t have included South America, Africa, Australia, or any islands.  It was difficult to narrow it down, so I have more than 10.  You can also choose to go overland (via some other transport, i.e. vehicle, train, etc.), which is noted with the blue.  I would do some other overland (i.e. once I was in Uganda, I could take a bus or local airlines to Kenya/Tanzania and Cape Town and then fly from there to India.  In South America, LAN Airlines has a great deal to fly around their country.  Last time I checked, it was something like $300-$400 to fly to Chili, Brazil, and Argentina.  In Europe, of course I would take the train. 

 

 For this route…Airtreks would charge:

USD $6038 to USD $8272 and would throw in Bogota, New York City, Sao Paulo, Delhi, and Los Angeles.

Cincinnati – New York – Bogota – Quito – Overland – Rio de Janeiro – Sao Paulo – New York – Dublin – Overland – Istanbul – Athens – Entebbe (Uganda) – Mumbai – Delhi – Kathmandu – Kuala Lumpur – Hong Kong – Beijing – Sydney – Christchurch – Auckland – Papeete (Tahiti) – Los Angeles – Cincinnati

As you can see from my map…I want to go everywhere!