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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Water and Wine in Amsterdam

I left off yesterday having arriving in Amsterdam by overnight train from Munich for a three-day visit and promised I would share with you some of the beautiful canals that so generously weave their magic through the City!  I also mentioned how Amsterdam is one of my favorite European Cities.  The architecture, canals, culture and laid-back vibe merge to create an atmosphere that to me, is quite special!

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This one reminds me of James Bond…

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I had so much fun taking the metro or trams and walking around the City to see as much as I could in the limited time I had.

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First Stop on the Girls’ Weekend…Butler Winery

When I prepared the itinerary for my annual girls’ weekend this year, I included a stop at two of Indiana’s beautiful wineries.

After driving three hours from Cincinnati and getting lost a few times on the back country roads, we were ready for a glass of wine!  I had Google map directions and my friends had smart phones, but some of the streets didn’t have signs and we lost signal with the phones.  Butler Winery, located just five minutes from the Vacation Rental By Owner, was a convenient and fun stop!  They offer six complimentary tastings.

Notice the reflected vineyards in the window…

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Newport on the Levee Jazz Fest

Newport on the Levee is an entertainment complex located in Newport, Kentucky, across the Ohio River from Cincinnati and I attended their Jazz, Art and Wine Festival Friday evening with my girlfriend and her husband.  The gifted pianist William Menefield pictured below, along with two other talented musicians entertained the crowd!

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Painting Wine Glasses

Yesterday was a fun day!  I arranged for some of my girlfriends to get together and take a wine glass painting class.  Living Social had a deal for $15 per person.  I brought some wine so we could loosen up as we painted!  Jen (the artist) had some snacks for us.  Here we are before we started painting…and drinking…

We spent about 1 1/2 hours being creative.  Having looked at some examples on Pinterest first, I found it easier to become inspired.  If you made a mistake or didn’t like the direction you were headed in, you could wipe it clean with alcohol.  You’re supposed to wait 24 hours and then bake them at 325 for 40 minutes.

Our conversation was as colorful as our glasses!

April and Gina and their lovely creations…

I particularly liked the dot theme that Cindy and Dee chose…

I think Jen (the artist) enjoyed herself as much as we did…

I wanted a photo of us all holding our glasses and at first we were prim and proper and then Jen suggested we liven things up…so we did…

Thank God for girlfriends!!

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!

O’Bryonville Christmas Walk

On my quest to explore more of Cincinnati, my friend Dee and I went to the O’Bryonville Christmas walk last night.  It was fun…all of the shops had free wine and snacks!  This is another area of Cincinnati that I don’t usually frequent, but who could pass up free wine!

Some of the arts and crafts were very interesting and “crafty”!  These are quite whimsical!

The “hair like” photo below is actually a lampshade!  And…the last photo that looks like a flower is a chandelier with cloth draped on the ceiling!

The materials that some of these things are made out of are unique!

I know it’s a little early for Christmas decorations…but here are some that were displayed.  I know it’s kinda wierd…but I already put my Christmas tree up.  I usually wait until after Thanksgiving, but I had the time!

We stopped into the Phyllis Weston Art Gallery and saw some works by Mark Patsfall.  The lady in the photo is the owner.

Here I’m snapping a photo of us in a mirror above us at a restaurant we stopped in!

Events like these are nice because you get some exercise, meet new people, eat, drink and be merry!

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!

Wine and Women

Our second stop of the day on our annual “girls’ weekend”, was to Talon Winery in Lexington, Kentucky!

Here is the tasting room.  As you can see, the grounds and scenery were lovely!

For $5.00, you receive six tastings and they were yummy!  I had two Chardonnays, a Traminette, a Syrah, and their Chambourcin Reserve.

According to Wikipedia…the oldest known winery is located in the “Areni-1” cave in the Vayots Dzor Province of Armenia. Archaeologists announced the discovery of this winery in January 2011, seven months after the world’s oldest leather shoe, the Areni-1 shoe, was discovered in the same cave. The winery, which is over six thousand years old, contains a wine press, fermentation vats, jars, and cups.  “The fact that winemaking was already so well developed in 4000 BC suggests that the technology probably goes back much earlier.”

It’s a good thing this glass wasn’t used!!

Sausalito and Sonoma

During our two-week training class to become a Tour Director, the 27 of us traveled by motor coach to Sausalito for lunch and onto Sonoma.  Sausalito is known for their houseboat homes.

These are some photos I took…

I love outdoor art sculptures…they’re readily available for everyone to enjoy!

Initially, I thought this bird was part of this sculpture until he moved…

This is Richard in Sonoma where a group of us went in for a quick wine tasting.

Of the wines I sampled, I was impressed with the White Zinfandel…I like dry wines and thought it would be on the sweet side, but it was excellent!  I just don’t remember the name of it.

I’m heading off to Lexington today for the weekend, so I’ll report back next week!

Hope your day is filled with wonder and beauty!!

California Angels

My first solo trip was to California in 2006′.  I planned my itinerary to spend two nights in each spot…San Francisco…Napa ValleyYosemiteSan Diego.  It was only $125 total to travel by Amtrak trains and buses to each destination.

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I had a few hours to explore San Fran when I arrived…so of course I took the famous trolley…went to the pier…walked through China town, etc. etc.  The next morning I was on a tour bus to see John Muir Woods, and needed to throw a coffee cup away.  The bus driver said I could run across the street to a garbage can.  I didn’t even see the car that hit me.  I flew onto the hood of the car, bounced onto the ground and remember thinking my hand and behind hurt.  Immediately I stood up and looked at the driver of the car.  His eyes were bulging with shock and people started flocking around me.  A woman with a cell phone was trying to get me to sit down…I kept saying I was O.K.  Within a couple of minutes an ambulance appeared and they asked who the accident victim was!

After spending four hours in San Fran General…where they wanted to cut my clothes off…no way…I was famished.  I had a taxi driver take me to a restaurant and phoned my husband with the news.  In a distressed voice, he said, “Come home now” to which I replied, “No way, this is the beginning of my trip!”    The only sign that I had been hit was a red mark on my forearm the size of a pea!   I do believe in Angels! Continue reading