Otherworld

It was situated in a desolate parking lot. Where are we? We drove in to be greeted by empty store windows, brand names peeled from the exterior walls with only the glue and sun stain to mark it’s past box store resident, abandoned trash cans, and aging pavement throughout the parking lot.

We were in Columbus, Ohio, which made the emptiness feel even more strange. This is large city crawling with people and then there’s… this? A desert of sorts. This itself was possibly an unintentional (but maybe completely intentional) introduction to the immersion art we were about to experience.

Otherworld.

When you walk in, there are a few ways you can go. There are lights. There are noises. There is art. There are hidden passage ways. There are secrets written in the art. You can make music with the art.

There are eyes everywhere. A room where the light follows you. A room where if you touch the gems on the wall, the shatter. Mirrors echoing neon lights as you walk through them.

You really have to feel your way around because there are hidden rooms right behind curtains that don’t look like curtains. Touch everything. Crawl through everything.

Visit the room full of your childhood toys. Visit the room full of spiders. There is an office full of psychology books. There is a room with a graveyard and large manic looking figures. Twins. Visit the ocean room. Visit the room with the man eating plants, close to the center of it all.

Just go. Immerse yourself in the strange yet beautiful art. Look at it all. Touch it all.

*I would like to add – it is pretty kid friendly. I took my 2.5 year old and she loved it.

Glasz Bleu Oven

A true hidden gem right in the middle of our Gem City. Have you been to Glasz Bleu Oven?

As I mentioned in the post before this one, my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary yesterday and we had a little date night without the toddler. We took our evening to Glasz Bleu Oven. I’ve been once before, but it was totally new to Stephen.

This experience was truly one of kind. The restaurant decor has a charming and homey European feel to it. It’s connected to Crafted and Cured for all of your craft brewery needs, as well Grist Provisions – which makes fresh pasta and sauce every day. Yes, I said FRESH pasta!

We opted for the five course meal that was prepared by Will. The beautiful thing about this experience is that we dealt directly with our chef. He took our order, delivered our food, checked in on us, and even discussed the dishes with us when we asked about something. He was genuinely excited for us to try his food – each dish full of fresh ingredients and bursting with flavor.

As some of you may know, my husband and I spent two years living in the Azores. We are always craving a traditional European dining experience and Glasz Bleu Oven completely provided that to us. Who knew this had just been sitting right there in downtown Dayton?

The menu changes every 5-6 weeks. Reservations are preferred via their Facebook page. You are welcome to grab a table throughout the large building, explore, grab a drink from crafted and cured and wonder back on over to Glasz Bleu Oven with it, and also check out the fresh pasta from Grist Provisions.

10 years

Cheers to 10 Years and many more!!

That’s right. My husband and I celebrated our 10 year wedding anniversary yesterday. It’s been an adventurous decade. We met in 2007 and got married shortly after in 2009.

We started our marriage by totally uprooting our lives and moving to the Azores! We lived there for two years, gained a cute pup, made life long friends, and soaked up the culture.

We eventually packed up our things and moved our family to Okinawa, where we spent 3 years breathing in that tropical ocean air. Japan taught us a lot – mostly how to be gentler humans in such a busy world.

4 years ago, we settled into our new home in Ohio. We bought a house, had a baby, lost our cute pup to sudden illness, went through two deployments, and fell I love with the gem city. Ohio will always have a special place in our hearts.

It was a beautiful, but quick 10 years. We’ve had a lucky run. Plenty of ups and downs, but we always manage to pull it together, together.

But here we are, celebrating our 10 year wedding anniversary while preparing our home for the market – We will be on the move again soon! Our family is packing up and moving to…

Little Rock, Arkansas!

Oakes Quarry

We went on a little adventure recently and guys, this is a true hidden gem. I’ve always casually heard about an old quarry that was turned into a park. Never really thought anything of it even though it’s under 10 minutes from my house – That’s it!

So you know how long it took me to get there? 2 years since I heard about it. Well we headed out there the other night for an evening adventure… and fell in love.

Walking down the rocky path sends you into another existence. I did not feel like I was in Ohio at all. It was 89° and the sun was beating down on us and this rocky desert like scene.

Yes, this is an appreciation post just for an old quarry in Fairborn, Ohio. Pics below and if you live near here – GO! It’s got plenty to see and a nice 2 mile walk amongst the rocks. (There is a quick history below the photos)

I even headed back out there a few days later to do a photo shoot with the ever so lovely and dark Aniyahlationn

Back in 1929, it was surface mined for limestone. The Oakes family purchased it in the 90’s and eventually donated the land to the city of Fairborn in 2003.

The park has a 2 mile foot trail and 1 mile horse trail. It’s the 2nd largest park in Fairborn and it is a beauty. Keep a look out for wildlife and fossils! The last time I was there, we saw swarms of Buckeye Butterflies!

PSA FOR CONCERT GOERS

I have to share something with you guys.

Last Monday, my husband and I went to a concert while our amazing friends watched our daughter. We drove out to Cincinnati to see Lil Wayne & Blink182 – which honestly fulfilled some teenage dreams for us.

But that’s not what I’m here to talk about. It’s about what we tried for the first time and I will NEVER attend another concert without them.

That’s right… look at the photo again! We wore hearing protection to a concert. Why? We are old. No, I’m kidding. We actually heard a tip that it would make the concert experience much more enjoyable and it did!

The earplugs took out all of the extra static noise and buzz from the speaker & audience. The performing artist’s voices and the music was so much more clear. It honestly sounded like we were listening to it right off of the album.

So PSA to all of you concert attendees – Not only do you protect your hearing, but you hear the concert clearly making your experience that much better!

Dayton Area Fall Favorites

It’s finally September, so if you haven’t gotten spooky yet – now is the time! I started decorating around August 1st because I was just too excited to wait. Would you be interested in some Fall decor photos?

Since moving to Dayton, Stephen and I have developed some favorite annual Fall events that we always attend. It’s been super exciting to share that with CJ as she gets older. We LOVE autumn. The tree changing colors, the welcoming fall decor, all of the mums, spooky decor, and the crisp cool air speaks to us.

Two weeks ago was the Fairborn Sweet Corn Festival and even though this is mid August, it really feels like the start of autumn for us. It’s held every year around the 3rd weekend of August at the Fairborn Community Park. The dinner is what draws us in – blackened chicken, corn fritters, lemonade, and fresh steamed & delicious corn!

Another favorite is Katie’s Pumpkin Barn. This is a small place and it is not a u-pick pumpkin patch. It is better because it is literally a barn full of every color, shape, and size of pumpkin you could imagine. The barn is always decorated for the spooky season and usually opens at the start of September.

They have a live stock that you can look at and sometimes pet. They even have a small corn maze that is super friendly for small children. I think what I love the most is the classic Halloween decorations. Katie’s is our favorite stop in Autumn!

Peifer Orchards is a new place that we explored last year. We went Apple Picking! Again, this venue isn’t huge, which is what we loved about it. They sell mums, baked goods, pumpkins, and apples. You can do your own apple picking, which is so fun! It’s a bit of a walk down the path, so if you have little kids make sure to bring their strollers. CJ got tired and just sat down in the middle of the trail last year after all of the excitement. This year, we will bring the stroller.

Honorary mentions –

Tecumpsah Land Trust for Sunflowers – its best to check their Facebook for updates about the fields.

Hiking at the smaller family friendly trail at Wegerzyn once the leaves begin to turn.

Apple Butter Festival in Enon in October 12th & 13th

Sauerkraut Festival, if you don’t mind give crowds! October 12th & 13th in Waynesville.

Potato Festival – get there early to beat the crowds. I recommend the potato ribbons! Happening on October 5th & 6th in Spring Valley

Ohio Renaissance Festival is a must! Now -Oct 27th on Saturdays and Sundays

Dayton Dragons

PLAY BALL!

Sitting on the lawn at a Dayton Dragons baseball game, watching pitches, swings, misses, and home runs…. you never really think about what goes on behind the scenes.

My husband was recently honored as a Hometown Hero at a Dayton Dragons game and with that comes VIP tickets, a swag bag, & a tour through the stadium. It was so eye-opening to see what goes on beyond the field.

We started with the main lobby – full of photos showing honored players who went on to play for big league and memorabilia collection of a record breaking sold-out game streak. Things I never really knew about the Dayton Dragons, even though I’d been to the games.

Next we headed on downstairs. The players were getting ready to play the Whitecaps, so instead of peek into the bustling locker rooms & gym, we were shown pictures of what they look like and why they wore different jerseys depending on who and when they were playing.

Up next? THE BASEBALL FIELD! I never knew how much I wanted to stand on the Dayton Dragons field until I was there. It was a totally different view. Standing there looking at the 6000+ fan seats I found myself wondering how the players even keep their head in the game when all eyes are on them. It’s truly impressive.

Standing on the field was a favorite, but closely following that was when we headed upstairs to see the media portion. Huge towers of servers, screens, buttons… lights, cameras, ACTION! It was so captivating to see all of the people that it took to create the optics of each and every game.

We saw a few more cool photos and heard some fun facts before we headed on down to our seats. I have to mention the food. The concessions at the Dayton Dragons Stadium is very well varied. I vote for the BBQ next time you visit. It was such a cool experience and we were so honored that my husband was chosen for that evening’s Hometown Hero.

Fun fact about the photo above! There are only two weeks in time difference between the last two photos! Can you imagine how much work was put in in those last two weeks?

If you live in the area and haven’t been to a Dayton Dragons game, you need to make it out there! Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the outstanding & hilarious mascots – Gem & Heater – our residential Dragons! They perform the best skits during the game and kids LOVE them!