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!

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2016 in Review

For the past few years, I’ve looked back through my photographs and selected a few (this year many) that tell my story for the year.  It’s a great way to document some of the joys and beauty that fill your life.   My 2016 began with a trip in January to visit friends in Grand Cayman Islands.  For such a small island, there are lots of unique wildlife.  This Iguana was out by the pool…

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We went for a hike and this blue-throated Anole’s vibrant colors caught my eye!

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Not sure if this is an egret, a stork, or something else?

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One of the highlights was swimming with the Stingrays.

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I learned how to stand up (and paddle a little) on an inflatable paddle board…

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After returning to Ohio, we had a beautiful snow.  That’s our small shed.

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I didn’t have to endure the cold for too long because I took a small group (three people) to Central America for two weeks in February, through my Travel Spirit Meetup.  We visited Antigua, Guatemala.

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and Lake Atitlan, Guatemala…

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We then flew to San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua and that’s me horseback riding on the beach.  I wanted to gallop and that I did!

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and we watched the surfers…

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We then moved on to Granada, Nicaragua for three nights…

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Next, we flew to Panama City, Panama…

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As a freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 30 photo shoots this year.  The cool thing about working for them is that I can pitch ideas and if they like it, I’m given the assignment.  Here are a few of the shoots…

View of Northern Kentucky from the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati…

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The Asian Food Fest at Washington Park in Cincinnati…

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Jazz in the Garden at the Taft Museum of Art

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Top of the Park restaurant/bar overlooking the Ohio River from Cincinnati…

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84.51 building in downtown Cincinnati…

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One of the dishes served at The Golden Lamb Restaurant in Lebanon, Ohio

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Kellie Pickler from American Idol at the Pink Ribbon Luncheon held at the Duke Energy Convention Center.

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Calysta Bevier (from America’s Got Talent)

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A welder (a somewhat unusual assignment for me, but fun)…

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Indoor water park at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio

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The Cincinnati Dinner Train experience.  One of the perks…my husband was able to join me for a free dinner/ride.

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Cincinnati Prime Restaurant Grand Re-Opening…

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Shawnee Lookout Park, North Bend, Ohio

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Horseback riding at Salt Creek Ranch in Metamora, Indiana (there’s the hubby on the right)

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Metamora, Indiana

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Shawnee State Park, West Portsmouth, Ohio

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Thanksgiving Day Race, Cincinnati, Ohio

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Lights on the Hill at Pyramid Sculpture Park, Hamilton, Ohio

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Through my own business, Sherry Lachelle Photography, I had quite a few real estate photos (here are three of them)…

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My third wedding reception for friends…

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A family photo shoot…

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Another family photo shoot, but the little boy stole the show…

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Senior Photos for my beautiful second cousin

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One of the most time-consuming and important accomplishments this year was starting a business in partnership with Urban Adventures, called “Cincinnati Urban Adventures“.  I give tours of Cincinnati.  This group of guys (most from the UK) were loads of fun!

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This is a wine tasting/foodie tour and I have a beer/tasting foodie tour also.

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My longest trip this year and a truly amazing experience was taking two people through eight countries back in June for a month.  We began in Bulgaria (three Cities)…

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Rila Monastery, Bulgaria

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We then headed to a variety of Cities in Romania.  Peles Castle was amazing!

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Bran Castle aka Count Dracula’s Castle in Romania

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These next photos are also in various Romanian cities…

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I took photos of at least three brides in different cities throughout Europe on this trip…

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Sibiu, Romania has its eyes on you!

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We then flew to Helsinki, Finland

Temppeliaukio Church aka Rock Church

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We took an over-night cruise to St. Petersburg, Russia and had 72 hours to see what we could.  The Hermitage Museum was amazing!

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Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood

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Peterhof Park and Palace

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We took a bus to Tallinn, Estonia…

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A bus to Riga, Latvia…

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Another bus to Vilnius, Lithuania and one of the highlights was Trakai Castle…

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Next up, a bus to Warsaw, Poland…

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And then a train to Krakow, Poland…

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Where of course we went to Auschwitz.  Unbelievably sad and horrific…

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I took a long weekend /solo trip to Cleveland and Cuyahoga National Park in Ohio and got paid for my photographs.

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The Rock n Rock Hall of Fame in Cleveland

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Cuyahoga National Park

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Later in the summer, just for fun, at Serpentine Wall along the Ohio River in Cincinnati…

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Fountain Square at night, Cincinnati

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A car show

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Canoeing at Green Acres Canoe in Harrison, Ohio (and got paid for this one)

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A Bengals football game.  We had nose bleed seats, but I had my zoom lens…

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Of course there were family get-togethers.  My son and his girlfriend at our home for a Bengals watching party/bon-fire etc.

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and at a holiday party…

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Jake trying to catch frogs in the Koi Pond…

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Kate walking the tight-rope…

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My husband and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area in mid-December…

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I read or listened to almost 50 books.  A few of my favorites, in no particular order, were: Flowers for Algernon, A tree grows in Brooklyn, The invisible bridge, The red umbrella, My name is Lucy Barton, The Shoemaker’s Wife, These is my words: The Diary of Sarah Agnes Prine, Lilac Girls, Me talk pretty one day, Salt to the Sea, Someone knows my name, and Plainsong.

In between, I prepared new and old recipes, hiked, biked, ran a 5-K fundraiser, went motorcycling, lots of girls’ nights out, and dinners/parties with my husband.  The older you get, the more you want to squeeze in!

I hope next year is as good as this one was!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from our family to yours!

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!

Having fun with Photography

I’m so happy to have found something I’m truly passionate about and love doing…photography!  I love capturing the moments and editing them and recently found a new software called Topaz that is so cool.  Of course travel is my other huge passion!  Here are a few photos I’ve edited with the new software…

Central Park, New York

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My husband’s other baby…

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Amsterdam, Netherlands – 2014

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New York skyline…

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Savannah, Georgia – 2012

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When people say they’re bored, I wonder how can that be!  There aren’t enough hours to accomplish and experience everything I want to do and see!

2015 in Review

Looking back at my photographs from 2015, the year was filled with fun, family, friends, and travel!  In the Spring, I drove to Amish country in northern Ohio from Cincinnati and had a wonderful day taking photographs of the lovely countryside!

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In August, my annual girls’ weekend at Put-in-Bay, Ohio was so much fun!  Last year we had a blast there and decided to return.

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My travel business “Travel Spirit Meetup” is growing with over 300 members and in September I took six people to the Mediterranean coast where we hiked along the Lycian Way trail and explored the cute villages.  Our second stop to Istanbul exceeded all expectations!  Turkish people are so friendly!

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The view from our hike along the Lycian Way near Fethiye, Turkey…

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I also spent an amazing week in Ireland and Scotland!  Edinburgh, Scotland‘s architecture and history can’t be beat!

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The ha’ penny bridge in Dublin, Ireland

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Ringing in the New Year, two girlfriends and I spent a week in the Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Florida area.

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Continuing to work as a photographer for Cincinnati Refined, I had 36 photography assignments and wrote nine travel articles.  One of the assignments was for the ReelAbilities Film Festival and was excited to photograph Marlee Matlin, Nick Clooney, and his wife.

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Laurie Holden from the Walking Dead at King’s Island, Ohio…

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The Prohibition Party…

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The Urban Trials held at Yeatman’s Cove, Cincinnati…

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and the Thanksgiving Day 10k race…to name a few.

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I photographed a friend’s birthday party for one of her daughters through my photography business “Sherry Lachelle Photography“.

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My first outdoor wedding…

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Senior Portraits…

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Spending time with family was special!  For one of our family get-togethers, my husband and I took our son and his girlfriend to the Museum Center in Cincinnati and we spent an afternoon along the Ohio River.

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Our extended family Christmas:  My brother (2nd from left), his wife in front of him, my husband (next to me…but you can’t see his face), my brother’s ex-wife on the left and her husband behind her, her brother on the far right, my niece and nephew, and a high school exchange student from Norway.

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I prepared lots of recipes this year and enjoyed hiking, biking, trail jogging, yoga, and boating!  I attended lots of parties, big and small.

Some of my favorite books this year:  The Storyteller, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, A House in the Sky, I know why the Caged Bird Sings, The Goldfinch, Calling me Home, The House Girl, The Enchanted, The Nightingale, Little Bee, The Time Keeper, Secrets of a Charmed Life, and Grandma Gatewood’s Walk.

I can’t wait to see what 2016 brings!  Hope you all had a wonderful holiday and thank you so much for your support! xoxoxo

~Sherry

Ireland’s Treasure at Cliffs of Moher

The Cliffs of Moher, located 3 hours from Dublin on the West coast of Ireland, rising over 750 feet at their highest point, are one of Ireland’s most spectacular sights!  As a day trip from Dublin, it makes for a long day (12 hours round-trip with stops), but an unforgettable one!  We were fortunate to have beautiful weather, a bit windy with temperatures near 70 degrees.  The rugged and stunning scenery was simply gorgeous!

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Walking from one end to the other along the paths was invigorating after the bus ride…

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I booked the trip through a company called Irish Day Tours and the guide’s accent was charming!  He warned against standing on the edges because tourists have either fallen or the cliff has given way.

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My friend Teresa looking lovely as usual!

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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.”

Adventures on a Tiny Island in Ohio

Lake Erie has a tiny two by four mile island — “Put-in-Bay“, known as Ohio’s premier summer-time party spot, located only 20 minutes by ferry from mainland.  Every year my friends and I organize a long weekend away that usually includes relaxation, hiking, good food, fun, and a hot tub!  We enjoyed our trip to Put-in-Bay so much last year, we decided to return for this year’s annual get-away.

This shot was taken early Saturday morning just as the sun was rising…

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Friday morning we drove from Cincinnati and caught the 12:30pm Miller Ferry ride (during high season they conveniently leave every 30 minutes) to the island.  We left our car parked (it’s free) in their lot and carried our bags on board.

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Once on the island, having reserved a golf cart (the preferred method of transport on the island) through Miller Marina, we were able to fit six women and all of our stuff on it!  Yes…it was only for the weekend!

Miller Marina in Put-in-Bay offers public transient dockage with a private club atmosphere and family friendly setting. It is located one block West of downtown Put-in-Bay, close to island attractions, yet far enough away from all the distractions. Miller Marina offers grills and picnic area, pavilion, modern restrooms/showers, WiFi and golf carts are available for rental.
 

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We stayed at the Island Club Condos aka Put-in-Bay Condos at a beautiful end unit with a view of the pool and Lake Erie to the left.  Our two-bedroom/two-bath condo was perfect!

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Put-in-Bay’s split personality ensures that everyone has an unforgettable time…think Gatlinburg and Key West on steroids! While exploring the island with your fun mobile, make frequent stops for shopping, dining at one of the colorful outdoor cafes while listening to live music, and cooling off at a swim-up bar with a frozen tropical beverage in hand. When or if your senses become overloaded from the people watching and intoxicating excitement, hop back on your cart to experience the other side of Put-in-Bay, where you’ll find serene and tranquil spots to gaze at the sailboats gliding by on the glistening blue lake.

When we weren’t out exploring, you could usually find us out on the patio enjoying nature…

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Beautiful Tuscan Home

Imagine arriving home after a long day at work, filled with childlike anticipation for an invigorating yet peaceful paddle in your kayak, that just so happens to be outside your backdoor, meandering through a network of canals within your neighborhood. This is one of the many unique activities that Shawn, his wife Jesal, Jesal’s mother Hema, and their two children have to choose from since building their dream home in the former Homearama subdivision of Long Cove, located in Mason, Ohio.

The three-story 7,400 s.f. Italianate style home boasts five bedrooms, seven bathrooms (no fighting over bathroom time in this home), three kitchens (prep, formal & recreational), dining room, living room, two great rooms, breakfast room, fitness room, meditation room, and a four car heated garage featuring a rock climbing wall, tennis wall, and basketball hoop to boot!

The polished porcelain flooring, quartz bathroom & kitchen counters, and bathroom tiles were imported from India, as well as the abundant statues and sculptures.

Built with a geothermal heating and cooling system, the home is also environmentally friendly.

After working long hours at their separate private professional practices, Shawn and Jesal look forward to time spent together in their contemporary home bathed in light. The majority of rooms have captivating views of the tranquil water.  They’ve managed to fuse Hema and Jesal’s Indian heritage with the modern Tuscan architecture (to quote Jesal, “Bollywood meets Tuscany”). Having brought some of the furniture that Jesal grew up with into the home, brings back memories when she sees her children doing homework at the same table she sat at years ago as a young girl.

Relaxing in the open and bright living room

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View of the canal as you drive into the subdivision

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Fun Evening with Friends

Here in Cincinnati, the weather was unseasonably cool yesterday.  We had plans to go boating with friends, but decided to hang out at their house in Northern Kentucky instead.  We enjoyed dinner, playing cornhole, and the ladies took an urban hike to see the Cincinnati skyline.  Of course, I amused myself with taking photographs.  The neighbor’s little girls were darling…

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I love how this cornhole bag appears transparent…

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Farm Life in Rural Ohio

I arrived to my Cousin Steve’s farm late on Tuesday evening after spending the afternoon exploring the gorgeous Amish countryside in Holmes County, Ohio.  His farm is in Mt. Vernon, Ohio, almost 1 1/2 hrs. Southwest of Holmes County, on the way back to Cincinnati.  I’ve only visited once before, a few years ago, so I was looking forward to it!  As we brought my overnight bag into his home, the setting sun caught my eye, glowing gold behind bottles on his kitchen windowsill…

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Steve took me on a tour of his place.  His cute bunny rabbits…

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His friendly horse…

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and inquisitive cow…

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Five Hours with the Amish

Monday afternoon I decided last-minute to take a 3 1/2 hr. drive Northeast of Cincinnati to Holmes County, Ohio to visit the Amish countryside.  On the road by 11am Tuesday, the drive took me past rolling pastureland, through small Midwestern towns, with names like Utica and Stillwell.  Listening to an audiobook on tape, I would alternate my attention from the book to the passing scenery.  I was excited to finally have a peek into the somewhat guarded and secretive life of the Amish.  I spotted my first Amish horse and buggy in Danville, about 30 minutes from my first stop in Millersburg.  When I finally arrived at the Chamber of Commerce in Millersburg to pick up some information, the excitement was building.  My route was to travel 7 miles on to Berlin, 4 miles to Walnut Creek, 6 miles to Sugarcreek, 8 miles to Farmerstown, and 4 miles to Charm.

I had read that the Amish don’t like having their photograph taken, so when I saw this gentleman coming down the road in Farmerstown, I jumped out of my car, pointing to my camera as I gestured my question.  He shook his head “yes”.

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This couple was passing my vehicle on a back country road in Charm.  The outside corners of their lips are turned upward in a small smile….

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I couldn’t have picked a nicer summer day to be taking my tour.  The sky was a brilliant blue with puffy white clouds and a light breeze brought scents of freshly cut grass and wildflowers through my open car windows.  A couple of times my eyes pricked with happy tears for the beauty I was bearing witness to.

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Everywhere I looked, well-tended farms sat on hillsides or in the valleys surrounded by green and blue.  The only sound within these peaceful communities was the clip clop of the horses’ hooves making contact with the road as they transported the Amish to and fro…

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What can happen in three weeks…

Three weeks doesn’t seem like a long time, but as I look back through the moments captured in time, I realize that “time” is a tricky thing.  I started a temporary (mostly full-time) job working for the Census Bureau and got bit by a rather large dog the first week.  Luckily, he just left a small abrasion and bruise on my forearm.  I was a trooper and got the interview…they probably felt bad for me.  I took the position because I can make my own hours and work around my photography assignments.  Speaking of photography, here are some of my photos for my own business.  My friend Teresa (pictured on the left) hosted a surprise birthday party for one of her daughters (next to her) and retained me to take photos at the event.  The other two women are also her daughters…aren’t they all so beautiful!  Dusk was falling and for the shot, I asked them to put their heads close together…

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Later in the evening (after a drink or two) they were willing participants for this shot…

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The birthday girl is dating one of my friends, who went with me to Europe last year for a month.  Don’t they make a cute couple…

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One of my husband’s co-workers needed his son’s senior graduation photos taken.  I call this one “Head in the Clouds”…

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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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Dancing for the Stars at Cincinnati Music Hall

The ninth annual Dancing for the Stars event was held April 11th at Cincinnati Music Hall. Pairing eight Cincinnati celebrities with some of the area’s finest professional dancers to raise funds for Cincinnati Arts Association’s Overture Awards and Arts Education Programs.  I took more than 200 photographs, as the freelance photographer for Cincinnati Refined.  After taking some posed shots of people at the event, I found a spot on the dance floor hugging the sideline, and the dancing began.  First up, the professional dancers tangoed and fox trotted their way around the floor, entertaining guests with dramatic swings and finales!

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The settings on my Nikon D5100 were ISO 3200, Shutter 125 and Aper 5.6.  I knew a shutter speed of 125 can help stop action, and because I didn’t want to use flash, I knew I would need to have a high ISO speed and sacrifice some resolution of the photos.

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