We woke up to a couple inches of fresh powdery snow covering everything. My toddler ate her breakfast in record time to be able to go out and play in the snow this morning.
It’s also 20° degrees outside today, so we won’t be venturing out. I thought this would be a good time for a quick update. We are moving to Arkansas! We will leave Ohio at the beginning of the year. We listed our home for sale and it was under contract in 3 short days (YAY!).
Things are moving smoothly. We are downsizing, packing, cleaning, and trying to soak up everything Ohio. It is sad though – each event becomes a new “last” for us.
Like yesterday we ventured out to Young’s Jersey Dairy in Yellow Springs. We ate lunch (cheese curds are life), fed the goats, and got ice cream. I couldn’t stop myself from wondering if this was the last time we’d visit Young’s in the next month and a half that we have left in Ohio.
It’s bittersweet because we love Ohio, but we are very excited for new the adventures that 2020 will bring us.
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 overseas! We lived in Portugal for a few 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 the Ryuku Islands, 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 huge career movements 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! Stay tuned
I have spent a lot of time behind the camera – teaming up with amazing people who enjoy modeling and makeup artists who have amazing talent. Heck, our awesome collaborations have even gotten us published in magazines a couple of times!
I had been practicing my craft for as long as I can remember. I have always loved being behind the camera. It was in 2009 though when I took it up a notch by creating a website and properly advertising.
I had many volunteers who enjoyed modeling just as much as I enjoyed shooting. We’d come up with new ideas for photo shoots and spend a couple of hours just playing around. It was some of the best times and it was a great way to explore wherever we were living at the time.
In 2017, my husband deployed soon after our daughter was born. After much contemplation, I decided that I wouldn’t have time to plan, execute, & edit like I used to. I quietly deconstructed my website and portfolio… putting it away for safe keeping.
Now I still did a few shoots for a couple of close friends. I just wasn’t advertising for new clients. I’ve been itching to get back into it. It’s one of my creative outlets that I haven’t been able to use.
So how do I reclaim myself as photographer?
Honestly, it’s been hard to get back into the swing of things. I’ve had a dedicated page on this website for a few months now that will eventually hold my portfolio. I have started keeping up with an Instagram though, so that’s progress! I have even put feelers out there for models to practice on. It’s all coming together, so why do I feel so nervous?
I photographed people for years – countless beautiful faces. It’s a craft I’ve been studying since I was a teenager. Something though – something has me holding back from the big jump.
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
Every Wednesday, Layla from Lettered Cottage does a segment called “Let’s Go With Layla” on her Instagram and she shares 5 tips, ideas, or cool finds that she spots out and about. A few weeks ago, she decided to open the floor up to anyone who wanted to participate and host their own Let’s Go With Layla!
Stepping WAY out of my comfort zone, I decided to hop on Instagram and share a few of my favorite five tips in the topic of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.
So let’s go (with Layla!)
Tip One: Cutting out the plastic water bottles! I’m actually super guilty of this. I’m very weird about drinking water from the sink – I always have been. So up until about March, I was buying water bottles by the 24pack. Between my husband and I, we would put out 60-70 bottles a WEEK!
I finally had enough so I just dove in and bought a water filter while I was at the grocery store. It has reduced our recycling waste by a bunch and I feel much better about our smaller impact on plastic use.
Tip Two: Ditch the plastic shopping bags! I invested less than $7 in reusable grocery bags from my local grocery store and haven’t looked back since! I always take them with me! Pro Tip: buy a clip to hang them from the cart, so you take up less space inside the cart. It’s so nice not bringing all of that one use plastic into my home. Luckily lots of stores now recycle their plastic bags, so you can just bring them back to the store if you’ve got a collection or forget your reusable bags.
I want to add that I just switched to using mesh bags for my fruits and vegetables instead of those super thin & hard to recycle plastic bags in the produce section. I love them so much! Click here for the Mesh Bags I bought on Amazon.
Tip Three: Regifting Books/Library Card! I joined a challenge in January on Facebook where if you shared the post, you agreed to send one book each to the first 5 people who commented, as long as they also shared it and committed to the challenge.
It got me thinking – I tend to read books and just leave them sitting on a shelf for… well, ever. So now aside from this challenge, I’m also making it a habit to regift these books. I’ve also stepped up my library book borrowing game up.
Tip Four: I try to be really smart about buying CJ toys. I tend to buy less toys that have batteries and buttons because they break easier, creating more waste. I also look for toys made from recycled items. Bonus points if those toys are second-hand, but I always deep clean them when I get them that way. Don’t worry – she has plenty of new loud and bright toys too.
Tip Five: Reusable straws & cups are a favorite in this house. I purchased some reusable straws on amazon and have collected an assortment of reusable water and coffee cups over the years. Most places don’t mind you using your own – some even encourage it.
The straws came in a carrying pouch, so I can keep them in my purse. The cups are harder to carry around, but they do encourage me to just fill up at home. That ultimately saves a little bit of money – especially at the coffee shop!
So there you have it! 5 easy ways to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle! What are some of your favorite 3R Tips?
CJ and I went to Florida for the month of May and though it was full of family time, we headed out for adventures of our own. I grew up in Vero and though she may not remember this trip, I wanted to show her my hometown.
One thing that Vero Beach didn’t always have was the mural trail. Florida has this huge mural trail and it was nice to see Indian River County join in on the fun. We made it to all but 3 murals in IRC. We didn’t make it to the ones in Sebastian, but we hit up all of the others.
We broke the adventure up over a couple of days to keep from being overwhelmed…. because you know, toddlers. A lot of them are located right in downtown Vero and down Old Dixie Hwy. There are a couple on the beach side and one down the dirt road part of Oslo, towards the river.
It was nice revisiting some of my favorite spots, but it was especially nice doing it with my daughter. She had a lot of fun taking walks and posing in front of the murals. She had so much fun at the bird mural that she didn’t want to get back into the car.
Audubon Center on Oslo Road – The first one I want to share with you is this gorgeous mural full of Vero’s wildlife! Check the hours before to go – we did show up when they were closed, but you can still walk in and see the mural. They also have a little wildflower garden in the back! Afterwards, head on over to the Oslo Shopping Center for ice cream at Smiley Riley’s. Totally kid friendly, but if you are over 21 they have a special menu for you!
This one is close to downtown, but set off from the others. It’s such a cute mural and it’s located right on the side of the Mr. Smokes on 20th Street.
The next collection of murals are all located on 14th Ave and Old Dixie Hwy. The Vero Beach Mural is across the street from Southern Social. The Native Indian/Citrus Mural and the Firefly (first pic of the blog post) are in the alley next to Southern Social. The mermaid is on the entrance to the amazing Kilted Mermaid restaurant – great place to grab a beer and some roasted olives. They also have cheese AND dessert fondue. The hibiscus mural is located next to the railroad tracks, right across from the Blue Octopus (great place of unique artwork & furniture). The floral mural is on the side of The Hazel House. Another great home decor store. And last, but not least, the restaurant mural is located across from Kountry Kitchen.
Downtown Vero has a lot to offer – shopping, food, beer, and businesses. I totally recommend walking around some time and checking it all out.
This one was by far our favorite! It’s located in Riverside Park right by the tennis courts. Charlotte had a blast here. We actually saw a blue jay and a wood pecker in the trees approaching this mural! There is a walking trail right in front of this mural, so it’s a great place for a walk with a view!
Sticking with the beachside for a second! Here are two more murals located in East Vero. These are so close to the beach that you’d be totally missing out to not make this apart of a beach day. The first is located on azalea lane, between cardinal drive & ocean drive. Fun fact! The second mural, the beach scene, is located at Bethel Creek House – where my husband and I held our wedding reception back in 2009!
There were several murals by Christopher Sweeney and they are all similar to this mural. This one is located on 14th Avenue in Vero, right near the FLC. He has several other murals located up and down Old Dixie Hwy and I believe I even saw one in Ft. Pierce. Keep a look out for these in Vero! If it isn’t a heart, it may be a cute little robot.
The sunshine was working it today! It has been a whole week of clouds, thunderstorms, and dreary days, but we finally woke up to total sunshine this morning. I immediately decided that CJ and I needed to get out of the house for an adventure that didn’t involve a grocery store.
So we headed out to Hidden Valley Orchards, which has been one of our favorite places to visit since we moved to Ohio. HVO has changed a lot since the beginning, but it’s still an amazing family adventure.
During the summer, they host holiday events, Fruit festivals, petting zoos for kids, and u-pick events. Everything from grapes to apples! They also sell small home decor, fresh fruits & vegetables, baked goods, and canned items. They also just opened a bar and huge patio area this year!
So today CJ and I headed out to pick some blueberries! We got a pint sized buckets for five bucks and ventured out to the fields in search of something yummy.
I love to do stuff like this with her. We went strawberry picking last year at HVO and apple picking in the Fall at another orchard in Yellow Springs. Much like last year and my tomatoes though, she picks the ripe berries AND the tiny little green ones too.
After we filled up our pint-sized bowl of blueberries, we headed inside for lunch. Hidden Valley Orchards has a huge and delicious menu! Burgers, sandwiches, salads, flatbreads, and so many delicious baked goods.
I got CJ a burger with a side of fresh fruit and I got a bacon grilled cheese with green beans. We also got a buckeye brownie, which is less of a brownie and more of a small sized cake.
It was a gorgeous day and totally something we needed after such a gloomy week. We’ve been having a hard time getting back into a routine since we got back too, so even though it’s quite opposite of routine, the spontaneity of today was just what we needed.
And now we’ve got some delicious and as fresh as they get blueberries for the weekend. I’m thinking blueberry pancakes? Muffins? Cake? Or all of the above!
HVO is located at 5474 OH-48 in Lebanon, Ohio 45036