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new(er) watercolor sketches

I've been at it again. Practicing watercolor sketches in my studio (above) these past months. I bought myself a nice set of Schmincke watercolor half pans mid year and let me tell you, they are much better than the child's watercolor set I'd been using. But, duh.  

Maybe one day, I'll work up the courage to do a big painting. 

Look familiar...? 

This one is an old sketch with new color. The streets of Amsterdam. 

I did this one after reading the book Like Water for Chocolate. Tita and her (what I imagined to be an) amazing Mexican kitchen got me all inspired. 

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spring

So, I really hate vegetables but I really love this photo I took about a week ago of sugar snap peas. iPhone, hooray! Even though it snowed today here in Cincinnati, I look at this photo and think Spring. 

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farewell

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farewell

Ontonagon, Michigan beach and an interesting piece of driftwood. 

Ontonagon, Michigan. That's where I was for a majority of last week, and what a truly beautiful place it is to visit. Unfortunately, I was there for grievous reasons. My Grandmother passed away unexpectedly while visiting her family there, and the service was held right there in her home town of Ontonagon. Despite being there under very sad circumstances, my family and I managed to have a decent amount of fun. Following in my Grandma's footsteps, we all took full advantage of what this little town had to offer, and drank in as much of it as we could.

We tried Pasty's for the first time. They are very popular in that area. If you've never heard of a pasty, let me tell you that it is one of the most delicious things you will ever eat. As my mother described it, "It's basically like a pot pie only without the gravy." I'm not huge on gravy, so that's probably why I enjoyed it so much. I'm sure there are plenty of different recipes, but the pasty I ate had beef and potatoes inside. Back in the day, the copper miners up there used to pack them for lunch often. 

We (my husband and I) took a lighthouse tour. Having never been inside or even close to one before, we were pretty excited about it! We geared up and went to the local town museum and payed our $5 for the tickets. A bus then arrived shortly thereafter to take us to the Ontonagon Lighthouse. The guide was amazing, informative, and so very courteous. The tour was well worth the money and we got to learn a bit about local history. 

Ontonagon Lighthouse 

While in town, we also visited a few local shops where Fred and I spent monies on postcards and bring back gifts for our nieces and nephews. Our favorite shop was called Gitche Gumee but the Nonesuch Gallery had the best signage. Check out that hand drawn, hand painted type. Daaaaaamn.  

 

Hand painted sign right outside the Nonesuch shop. Nice work!

We had a bonfire on the beach right behind the little caboose-turned-vacation-home that we were staying in. We made s'mores and waited for the sun to go down so we could see all the stars. I didn't realize this, but this time of year-it doesn't get fully dark until 12 or 12:30 in the morning in that part of the country! Needless to say, it was a late night for us. The wait was worth it, though. I saw more stars in the sky than I had ever imagined even existed. 

Brothers, husband, and brother's girlfriend gathering beach wood for the fire to be had.  

The wildflowers in Ontonagon were gorgeous. I think these are called Indian Paintbrushes.  

My family and I went on a boat ride on our very last night in Ontonagon. My 2nd cousin Scott took us out. This was probably my favorite outing as a family. We drank. We made fun of each other...and we laughed. It was good to get away from dry land for a while to free all our minds, even just for a little bit. My 2 brothers, (hopefully one day) sister-in-law, and husband all stripped down to their suits and decided to go for a swim in Lake Superior. It was so freezing cold, I could barely stick my feet in. I heard that the ice just fully melted only a month ago! 

 

My view from the butt of the boat. Not too bad, I say.

And last but not least, we visited the Porcupine Mountains while in Michigan, too. Specifically, Lake of the Clouds. The view there was so increadibly beautiful. So much green and blue. 

Lake of the Clouds.  

So, this concludes our trip to gorgeous Ontonagon, Michigan. Although the passing of a special lady brought us to the tiny town, there was precious time spent reconnecting with intermediate and extended family. Farewell, Michigan and farewell to you too, Grandma. I'll remember our travels together and I'll always still think of your face when I eat Caramel Nips. 

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special type

I've been seeing some pretty impressive typography around town here lately. My favorite is the yard sale sign. No doubt the best one I've ever seen. 

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Findlay Market

Ahhh! My husband and I love  Findlay Market! If you live in the Cincinnati area or visit Cincinnati, this place is a MUST see. Every time I go there, it's an awesome experience. It's not only a great way to score some great food and other locally made products, but it's also a great way to meet locals and and to look at some beautiful architecture.  

The last time we were there, I picked up some delicious kettle corn for a friend (but we ended up eating 1/4 of it) and then a few things for myself. A bar of cucumber melon soap from Betina and some hand salve from Bee Haven Honey both of which are my new favorite girly products! 

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adventure week

I'm coining this past week Adventure Week! 

On Wednesday, I had the entire day to myself! It was quite glorious; I decided to have a couple downtown Cincy style adventures! As I've gotten older, I've come to realize that sometimes you have to step back from everything and enjoy things by yourself. There is absolutely nothing wrong with eating lunch solo at a cafe...or going shopping by yourself; I did both of these things on Wednesday, and it felt great!

First, I treated myself to a meal at Taste of Belgium on Vine Street in Downtown, Cincinnati. The food, as always, was scrumptious and the atmosphere was delightful. I then walked a few blocks over to the Ohio Book Store. What a place that is! Wow! So many books-somewhere around 4 or 5 floors worth! 

Ohio Book Store treasures. Yup-that's a vintage issue of Playboy! 

I saw this beautiful mural on my way to and from the Ohio Book Store. 

Aaaaaaaaand the day after that, I met up with my mom and brothers in Newport, KY to poke around the Newport Aquarium. It was so fun! We saw so many different species of fish and sea life. It was really amazing. If you have never been to the Newport Aquarium-go. It's especially great if you have children.

My brother Ryan with his lovely girlfriend Lydia on the left. On the right-my oh so raunchy brothers Brandon and Travis. 

Me with my beautiful Mum on the left. On the right, a grumpy mother and daughter piranha. 

And this is all of us kids. What a good lookin' bunch, eh? 

Oh boy-and then after the day at the Aquarium, Fred and I were off to Lexington, Kentucky! Yay-wedding time! I had plans to visit all of these historic sites but instead, we just decided to go downtown and check out Victorian Square. Also-there was a farmers' market going on, and we couldn't resist checking out that! 

A beautiful map of downtown Lexington map.

A beautiful and massive fountain at Triangle Park. 

My handsome husband and I taking in Triangle Park. 

While heading back to our car, I saw this breathtaking mural. We walked a bit out of our way just so we could snap a few photos. 

I believe this street artist's name is Herakut. Do check out her linked webpage. She has some really beautiful work. I've never seen any other street art like it. 

And finally-the wedding! It was probably the most beautiful wedding I've ever been to. The venue was absolutely stunning. The food was cajun and ridiculously delicious. The people we so very friendly and the bride and groom looked phenomenal. 

An exquisite chandelier and ceiling medallion. 

Amanda & Derek gettin' hitched.

They did it!

As if this weekend wasn't packed full of enough crazy awesome stuff-we decided to throw one more thing in there-a visit to a winery! We traveled a bit south of Lexington to the Talon Winery. It was very charming and quaint. Oh-and the wine was delicious! We did a tasting with a co-worker of Fred's and his wife. Do check it out if you are in the area. 

These were taken inside of the Talon Winery. Such a beautiful interior!

This was taken on the way to Talon Winery. The land out there is so beautiful-full of lavish fields and horses.

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pretty food

So, along with 179,003% of the rest of the world, I've really been trying to step things up and eat healthier. Oh my gosh-it's so hard.

I was in a real pinch for something to eat for breakfast at work last week, so I jerry-rigged myself a parfait of sorts. I had a clementine in my work cabinet cubby and remembered a blueberry yogurt that I had left in the fridge a few days ago. I topped it off with a tiny bit of homemade trail mix that was also left over and somehow all of those odds and ends came to create a really beautiful display of foods. And quite tasty, too.  

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mini trip

Ahoy and happy November!

Mini trip! Husband and I just got back from short weekend getaway in Indianapolis and Bloomington, Indiana. 

Indiana

Indiana

We went to Indy to meet up with our friend's Amanda and Derek and to see one of my most favorite bands (again)-Matt and Kim! Ahhhhh! They were awesome-just like last time. So much energy and enthusiasm! 

Vogue Theater in Broad Ripple

Vogue Theater in Broad Ripple

Ahh! We're adorable!

Ahh! We're adorable!

Transient

Before heading to the concert, we stopped off for dinner a few blocks away from the Vogue Theater. We went to a local pizzaria called Bazbeaux and it was super delish-everything was so tasty and the staff were very nice and helpful. There were lots of other trendy trendy eateries in the area, too. 

BazBeaux in Broad Ripple

BazBeaux in Broad Ripple

The Blue Heron B&B-view from bed!

The Blue Heron B&B-view from bed!

We concluded our evening by heading back to the Blue Heron Bed and Breakfast. It, too, was in Broad Ripple...only about a 5 minute drive from the Vogue Theater and Bazbeaux. Staying at the Blue Heron was one of my most favorite travel experiences. We woke up the following morning  and the owners, Gail and John, made and ate breakfast with us and we spoke with them for nearly 2 hours about art, travel, remodeling bathrooms, and life in general. Breakfast ended with hugs, and then we were off to Bloomington to visit my best friend, Margaret. We stopped by Monon to get some coffe first, though. We tried the Choo Choo blend and it was one of the most delicious coffees both of us had ever tasted. If you are ever in the area, do go there for some java. 

Coffee from Monon. 

Coffee from Monon. 

While in Bloomington, Margaret took us to the Oliver Winery. It is right by the water-so beautiful. There is outside seating and such if you want to stick around and hang out for a bit. We picked up 2 new kinds of wine and some hard apple cider, too.  

Image found  here .

Image found here.

I'm so thankful that we are able to take little trips like this here and there. It's so nice to be able to getaway and clear your head when life gets crazy-especially this time of year with all of the holidays coming up! Sometimes, it's really hard to remember to take time for yourself...but when you do, it sure is sweet. 

Have a great week guys!

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