Hocking Hills Autumn Splendor

A quick two-day mid-week trip to Hocking Hills State Park for hiking followed by soaking in a hot tub with girlfriends was just what the doctor ordered!  Located in Southeastern Ohio, 2 1/2 hours from Cincinnati, the rugged cliffs, breathtaking gorges, cascading waterfalls, and flourishing forests of Hocking Hills State Park, afford visitors a pristine outdoor wonderland.  Our first hike was to Old Man’s Cave.  The well-marked one mile round trip trail, includes both man-made and natural steps.  The view from inside the mouth of the wide cave looks down onto a small stream and stone bridge…

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Autumn is one of my favorite times of the year to visit this park…

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Friday Fun

Friday was a great time!  I went to Newport on the Levee again.  There was a “bike rally” for motorcycles, but because of the chance of rain, there weren’t many attendees.

A couple of ladies were holding a snake and they asked if I’d like to hold it.  I usually say “YES” to everything!

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Spicy Shrimp and Avocado Wraps

Can you say yummy and spicy!  That’s what these shrimp wraps are.  I found the recipe on Pinterest and with some adaptation…absolutely LOVE them!  So fresh and tangy…they tantalize your taste buds.  Summer’s here…so let’s enjoy!

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Here are the easy directions…

* 1 pound extra-large or large shrimp, peeled and deveined
* 1 container hydroponic lettuce (or your choice of crisp lettuce – rinsed and leaves separated)
* 1 jalapeno peppers
* 3 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 Tbs. cumin
* 1 Tbs. coriander
* 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
* 4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 Tbs.
* 1 tsp coarse salt
* 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
* 1 red bell pepper, diced
* 1 avocado, diced
* 1 lime

Preheat oven to 400.

Roast jalapeno pepper for 20 minutes on cookie sheet

When cool enough…chop roughly

In bowl combine cumin, coriander, the minced garlic and a pinch of salt.  Grind on edge of bowl with spoon.  Add the pepper, cilantro and olive oil and grind more.

Toss the marinade with the shrimp and let sit a few minutes.

Heat skillet over medium-high. Arrange the shrimp in a single layer and sear 2 minutes. Flip and sear 30 more seconds. Remove from pan and set aside.

Add a little more oil if needed and add the red bell pepper. Saute 2 minutes.

Stuff each lettuce cup with shrimp, red bell pepper and diced avocado. Squeeze lime on top and enjoy!!

 

Stir it Up Meetup at Bob’s

I belong to a Meetup.com group called Stir It Up and we get together at each others homes to cook meals and have fun!  Sunday evening I attended one at my friend Bob’s home.  Bob works full-time and he makes award-winning wine as a hobby.  He’s such a nice person and has parties all of the time.

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There he is by the large grill–smoker…

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Healthy Recipes from Pinterest

I love Pinterest, not only for the cool photographs, but also for all of the delicious recipes I find.  Some are healthier than others and I wanted to share a couple of those with you.  Staying healthy and looking good have always been important to me.  Sometimes people say, “You’re lucky because you have good genes, that’s why you stay slender”.  No…because I work at it.  I exercise regularly and eat healthy (most of the time).  I treat myself also, which is very important!  Anyway, I made this first recipe a couple of weeks ago for lunch.  It’s so light and refreshing…

Lime and Cilantro Crab Salad in Avocado halves

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Pinterest–Chalkboard Bottom Wine Glasses

I completed another Pinterest DIY project.  Since I belong to a wine tasting club…and I love to drink wine, I thought this would be perfect for me.  The craft stores now have a new spray paint that makes your surface like a chalkboard.

  So…when sprayed on the bottom of your wine glass…you can then individualize each glass according to who’s drinking from it.The first step is to place painter’s tape around the stem and then I used alcohol on a paper towel to clean the rim.  I used a box in the garage and held each glass inside where I sprayed a light coat on each.

 

 

You need to let that coat dry for about 20 minutes and then spray again.

 

 

 

 

They turned out pretty well.  I need to look for chalk that has a smaller writing edge so I can make my writing look prettier.

 

 

 

The main ideas I get from Pinterest are recipes.  I’ve been cooking more now than I ever have since finding Pinterest!  I’ll post soon with my favorite recipes.

50 Things I Love

1.  Hiking through the woods followed by a break

near Durango, Colorado

 2.  A beautiful sunset

Santa Fe, New Mexico

3.  Talking to a friend

4.  Pretty colors…the blue sky…green trees…colorful flowers

5.  Watching the snow fall while sitting in front of a fire

6.  The sound of church bells

7.  Having a great dream

8.  Cappuccino

9.  Planning a trip…almost as good as taking the trip

10.  Crying when you feel like it

11. The sound of crickets and tree frogs on a summer night

12.  Having a clean house

13.  Hot shower with yummy smelling soap

14.  The feel of the wind and sun on you while riding in a boat

15.  Finishing a project

16.  Getting the job you wanted

17.  A body massage

18.  Lotions and Potions

19.  The lazy warm feeling in the morning before getting out of bed

20.  Lying on the beach soaking up the sunny sun

21.  Reading a great book

22.  Wearing a soft sweater

23.  Stretching

24.  Petting a dog or cat and watching their eyes droop

25.  Listening to a great song while driving a convertible

26.  Taking a nap

27.  Feeling sexy

28. Laying down at night when you’re really tired

29. Sitting in a hot tub staring at the stars

30. Drinking a glass of good wine

31. Surprising someone with a gift or good deed

32. Visiting a beautiful European city or anywhere in the world…

Lisbon, Portugal

33. Laughing really hard and long

34. Wildly dancing for an hour or two

35. Feeling tipsy

36. Kissing passionately…

37. Watching a good movie

38. Cooking and savoring a delicious meal

39. People watching

40. Cuddling

41. The sound of the waves at the beach and…the smell

42. Taking a long sweaty jog

43. Playing with a child

44. Taking cool photographs

45. Winning

46. The smell of freshly baked bread

47. Flirting

48. Looking younger than you are

49. Being able to scratch where you itch

50. Believing in miracles and magic

 

As I was making the list…I realized everything on my list is simple, basic and doesn’t cost much money.  Except for the traveling part!  It made me feel good just thinking of these things!

Noshing my way through Pinterest

In the last few days, I’ve been busy trying new recipes and homemade products that I discovered on Pinterest

Recipes tried:

Hawaiian Crock Pot Chicken

Homemade Calzone

Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Crescent Pepperoni Roll-ups

Peanut butter/Chocolate Crescent Rolls

So far, everything was good…nothing was amazing.

A pan of Baked Spaghetti and Cream Cheese is waiting to be popped into the oven when I return home from work.  All I have to do is put some french fried onions on top before it goes in the oven.  I went to the grocery at lunch today and picked up ingredients to make these in the next few days:

Crockpot Chicken & Dumplings

Tater-Tot Casserole

Cheddar Bacon Ranch Pulls (a.k.a. Crack Bread)

Butterfinger Cake

Paula Deen Gooey Butter Cake

DIY Products Made:

Homemade Febreeze for 32 oz. bottle (place in empty Febreeze bottle if available)

(works great)

  *  1/8 Cup of Your Favorite Fabric Softener

  *  2 Tablespoons Baking Soda

  *  Hot Tap Water – To Fill the Bottle to the Top

Homemade Spot Remover for Carpet (works great!)

  *  Mix one part Dawn dish washing liquid with two parts hydrogen peroxide in spray

      bottle

Homemade De-Icer for Car Windows (I haven’t tried this one yet)

  *   2/3rds Vinegar and 1/3rd water

Just spray on windows and ice will melt away

Organizational Tip tried:

Place your folded sheets inside one of the corresponding pillow cases and then place in linen closet.

I’m starting to get Pinsomnia with Pinterest!!

As far as New Year’s Eve…I didn’t go out…was in bed by 10:30pm.  Some years I feel like getting out and others I don’t!

New Year’s Day I went for a four mile hike and then used exfoliating gloves with a yummy smelling exfoliator in the shower and put an Aveda face mask on.  Now I’m soft and glowing!  A little pampering always feels good! 

I think 2012 is going to be Great!!

Exploring Cincinnati

Yesterday, my friend Dee and I went exploring in Clifton, an area of Cincinnati next to the University of Cincinnati.  I haven’t been there in five years and enjoyed walking around, taking photos, and having a bite to eat!

Here’s some of the architecture…

We stopped in a wonderful wine shop called “Ludlow Wines” and here’s a photo of Mike — the extremely hospitable owner!  He loves his business and is expanding into a larger building down the street.  We had a tasting of four wines for $5.00.

Next, we went through some of the shops that lined Ludlow Avenue.  I have so much fun just looking at things with an eye for photography.  It keeps me busy and an added plus…I don’t spend money!

This is an African shop owner and some of his wares…I remember going in here and buying a ring back in 2006.

We went for a short walk through Burnett Woods.  Dee was going to go for a hike with the Tri-State Hiking Club through Meetup.com, but she knew I needed some company, so she came with me.  I’m thankful I have good friends like Dee!

We filled our tummies at Sitwells.  I had a Gouda and Guacamole Sandwich.  Our waitress was cool…she had red-eye shadow on and a few piercings.  I love when people feel free to express themselves through fashion/makeup/body art.  She was very pleasant and sweet also!

This picture was in Sitwells…when you look at the lady from one angle, she looks like this…

and from another angle like this….

No matter where we live, there is beauty and interesting people…so let’s get out and explore our own backyards!

Lexington…by day and night

To finish the walking tour of Lexington, Kentucky from yesterday’s post…this is the First Baptist Church.  I just LOVE the colors of this church…the pink and red just POP!

Resting and soaking up some Kentucky sunshine!!

We walked through the local farmer’s market which was located in the “Cheapside Park” area.  This had been the site of slave auctions and abolitionists’ passionate speeches!

We ate at Cheapside Bar & Grille.  Here’s a photo of my hamburger with caramelized onions and bleu cheese!

Next…we went to the Barrelhouse Distillery and had samples of their Pure Blue Vodka, Devil John Moonshine and Rum.  Woowee!!  We also received a quick run-down of how you make alcohol.

After arriving back at the VRBO, we took our time snacking, drinking and primping!  We had fun with our photo shoot…

That night we went to Bogarts at the Crown Plaza Hotel.  We got there too early and it was mostly people in their 70’s!  Then we went to a new nightclub called “Trust”.  It was too hoigty toity…so we went to the Skybar.  It was fun, but we never found the bar that quite fit us!

San Francisco Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building

We had a free afternoon from our Tour Director classes on Saturday, so I decided to go to the local Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building on the Embarcadero.  Having visited Granville Island in Vancouver and Seattle’s Pike Place Market this summer (you can read about my visits to these farmer’s markets here and here)…I was also impressed with San Fran’s Market!

I love all of the bright colors and they were giving free samples of unusual fruits…like a pluot (a cross between an apricot and a plum).

This reminds me of Bugs Bunny!!

This of Mexico!

This of Europe!

and this of summertime!

I bought a shot of Wheatgrass Juice.  It’s supposed to purify your blood and give you the missing minerals and vitamins that your body needs.

I wish I had gotten a sandwich at the famous “Roli Roti Gourmet Rotisserie” just outside the farmer’s market.  The porchetta sandwiches are supposed to be out of this world…

Hope your day is filled with color, yummy food and people to love!!

An Hour at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco

If you read my previous post, you know that I was in San Francisco for a two-week course to become certified to be a Tour Director.  While on our Motor Coach tour of San Francisco, we stopped at Fisherman’s Wharf for lunch and these are some photos I took…

The weather is gorgeous in San Fran during October…it’s like their summer.  It was sunny and in the 70’s just about every day.  Some people feel like Fisherman’s Wharf is too commercialized and “fake”, but there’s still a beauty to it!

Some of us had lunch at Boudin Bakery…it was yummy…their clam chowder in the famous sour dough bread bowl!

Hope you have a fantastic day/evening!!

Paris in Spring

I took my niece, who at the time was 15 years old and we spent a week exploring Paris in 2007′.  We stayed at the “Familia Hotel” in the “Latin Quarter” and used the “Metro” (subway) to travel…and walked a lot!
My Niece was at an awkward age…a bit self-conscious and at times a drag…complaining about the rain or people smoking…etc!  I’ve found with my travels that I prefer to go “Solo” or with “Gap Adventures“!
Of course we saw the Louvre… Notre Dame…the Eiffel Tower…three times…the Pantheon…the Arc de Triumph…walked along the Champs Elysee and the Seine River…ate “Bon Glace” (good ice cream), chocolate crepes and many scrumptious pastries.
My fondest memories were of stopping in quaint cafes to have a drink or a bite to eat, shopping for bread, cheese & fruits and people watching.
One day we decided to take pictures of anyone with a dog, so we had fun snapping lots of photos!
Doesn’t this gentleman standing with my Niece look so “French”?