Friday Faves Edition 53

Friday.

How many of you are happy that it’s Friday?!

I debated not posting today because I’ve had a rough week and I feel like I just said that last week.

However, truth is truth.

And here I am.

Friday Faves.

With all my ups and downs for the week, there are still things to share as Friday Faves.

Pilates.

I managed to make it to Pilates each day that it is offered at my gym (MWF). My body feels stronger every day and I feel like Pilates is really making a difference. I don’t have any photos to share, but I’m considering having someone in the family snap some over the weekend so I can share how far I’ve come in my strength journey. I feel like it’s quite far considering most of the Pilates I do is body weight only and on occasion with a 3 pound weight maximum.

Aruba is in six weeks and I plan to feel confident in my swimsuit!

Appliances.

Remember how I told you two weeks ago that my microwave died and how appliances hate me? Well my stove has decided that it’s not sure it wants to do its job either. Sometimes when you push the bake button, the timer comes on instead. Both appliances are exactly 10 years old. Coincidence? I think not. Older appliances ran and ran and ran. Today…not so much.

Since I want them to match and am not a fan of feeling pressured into buying a big ticket item that isn’t exactly what I want, I went to a big box store and picked up a cheap countertop microwave. I know what you’re thinking. Well that seems wasteful. Ahhh….but I thought this through. Big Mr. heads off to college in the fall and Mr. D is a year behind. The little microwave will still have usage in our family.

Natural Wellness.

I mentioned that one of the teens has been sick. It wasn’t the flu. Yay. But it still means that I’m trying to keep anyone else in the house from catching it. I went to the health store because my friends rave about Sambucas, which is an elderberry syrup. Do you know that most of the shelf was empty?! I actually made an elderberry “syrup” a while back. However, I’ve never made something that needs reduced. I estimated the reduction improperly so it’s more liquid than syrup.

I think I’m going to start adding it to my smoothies (if I can remember).

Protein Powder.

Another thing I needed to pick up was some protein powder. I am still doing the mostly vegetarian thing. I find that a protein smoothie satisfies me more than eggs. I’m deliberately not sharing the protein powder I’m using because I’m still trying to decide if I like it. My old protein powder was Organic Rice Protein Powder. I’ve mentioned before how I cannot have canned whipped cream. It causes a tickle in my throat and a cough. Some restaurant/fast food milkshakes cause that as well. I noticed that the rice protein powder was possibly doing that as well. I say “possibly” because I can’t rule out that is it isn’t a random ingredient in the Almond Milk. However, Miss Sunshine has the same issue and says it’s the protein powder (she uses almond milk in her cereal with no issue…I only use it in smoothies). I wanted to try Pea Protein, but what they had is a blend.

Stevia.

Not only is it a blend of many proteins, but it has stevia. Almost every powder I looked at has stevia (my old powder didn’t). I know people in the wellness world seem to love stevia. I do not. It overpowers every single drink in which it’s found. Occasionally, I want something other than water or unsweet iced tea and I’ll try a flavored drink. I don’t know why I do it, because any time stevia is on the label it makes my tastebuds and stomach cringe as I drink it.

The positive side to the powder is that I think I’m not having a reaction to it, but I’m not fully sure. I’ve started incorporating spinach into the smoothie for health reasons, but also to try to cut through the taste of stevia. If you know of any protein powder that doesn’t use stevia, let me know! FYI: I use vanilla. I might be willing to go plain, but while I like chocolate, I dislike it as a drink.

Valentine’s Day.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t recognize that this week was Valentine’s Day. This is one holiday where I refuse to buy in to the heavy commercialization of it. Maybe I’m jaded. I did update my cover photo on Facebook to the photo above that I took one summer in Carolina Beach and changed my profile picture to the hubby and me. That was about it. We watched a movie at home. I talked about it in yesterday’s post.

Olympics.

We’ve also been watching some of the Olympics. We watched Shaun White win the Gold. I also like watching figure skating. I don’t understand curling and don’t know if I want to understand it. The skiing is usually quite amazing too, although I haven’t seen as much of that.

What is your favorite sport to watch in the Winter Olympics?

Photography.

Besides my normal daily stuff and some not so normal daily stuff, I worked on editing some of my photography. One of my favorite recent photography outings was capturing the fog. I shared a fog series in my Wordless Wednesday post.

I loved the way the colors looked in those photos. The juxtaposition of the grass and the fog. The elements (trees and fences) that I chose as the subject. I just felt like it worked together. Something I don’t always feel in a photo session.

These two photos are some more from that session. They are ones that I was still debating whether or not I captured them exactly as I had envisioned.

The tree trunk in the first photo has these white lines into the bark. These are massive trees so the differentiation was striking. In the second photo, I really wanted to capture looking through the fencepost without losing the fact that it was a fencepost you were looking along. I had some trouble getting the depth of field and focus area exactly how I wanted, but there is still something I find intriguing about the photo.

What is you opinion? Do you prefer one over the other?

Instagram.

As you know, I have a love/hate relationship with social media. I struggle with separating the fact that my self worth or creative skills are not directly tied to how many people “like” a photo. I am rarely on Facebook or Twitter, even if I have things that automatically post there (Blog and Instagram posts).

Instagram was my first love because I love photography. The people were (and are) welcoming. Then with the algorithm change, my numbers dropped substantially and I began to question whether I wanted to spend time there. However, I do love the people that I’ve built relationships with on that platform.

And so I stay.

My Instagram feed will never feel fully curated no matter how hard I try. But recently I’ve decided to try to make it feel somewhat more cohesive by posting 3 photos (to keep with the grid) from the same area and those three photos will probably be edited in a similar way. I started with a set of fog shots and today will be day #3 of Amsterdam shots. The love locks photo above I decided on as my tribute to Valentine’s Day.

Do you like the Instagram platform? Any other social media platforms?

Reading.

My blind date with a book turned out to be great. If you missed that in Edition 51 of Friday Faves, the book was Random Harvest. I couldn’t put it down and have already finished it. Now I am halfway through The Great Gatsby, which puts me at a distinct advantage for my February Challenge. I’ve checked out The Color Purple and The Picture of Dorian Gray. We’ll see how far I make it!

Are you reading anything good right now?

Music.

I didn’t have as much time this week to look for “new to me” music to share, but this song came up on my recommended through YouTube and I really liked it. The band is named Banners and the singer is Michael Joseph Nelson, who is a musician out of Liverpool.

I hope that you have a wonderful weekend and beautiful week.

Offer up a smile to a stranger. You never know who might need it.

Be the type of person who leaves a mark, not a scar. -Unknown

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

American Made

Photography.

Most Thursdays I bring you photography of Doors from places I’ve visited. Today is no exception. However, in today’s series, the doors are more of a subject of viewing than the subject of my words.

Or put more simply, if you’re here for only the photographs, feel free to scroll through the photos. It won’t hurt my feelings. In fact, I won’t even know that you didn’t read my words unless you feel compelled to let me know that fact. Also be sure to pop over to Norm’s blog to see more amazing doors.

I have a lot of thoughts rolling around about topics that are practically unrelated and for some reason feel like sharing these discombobulated thoughts.

If you’re curious, the photos are from the ferry ride from Ft. Fisher, North Carolina to Southport, North Carolina. The first two photos are chosen because I’ll be talking about things that deal with “breaking the rules of conventional society” (to put it mildly). The third because I like its “uniformity”. The last is chosen because it has two of my loves…plus my jeep (which also has doors).

American Made.

In case you’re curious about my title, it’s because I watched the movie by the same name last night. One of my teens is sick. In fact, I will be taking them in to the doctor today. Likely that appointment will come prior to my finishing this post. The hubby offered to take me to dinner for Valentine’s, but I suggested we wait until the weekend. Instead we had some wine and watched American Made. I didn’t know what the movie was about, only that it starred Tom Cruise. The movie is supposed to based on the real-life story of Barry Seal, who was a drug smuggler with the Medellin Cartel.

South Florida.

While movies take many liberties with a film, it was rather strange to watch the timeline play out.  The early 80’s were a time of major drug running through Florida. If you’ve read my blog for a long time, then you know that I was born and raised in Naples, Florida. Which, in itself is a broad description. If you’ve read it for even LONGER, you know that I grew up inland. My dad converted a school bus into a home and drove it out to a piece of property in what is now considered Golden Gate Estates. There wasn’t electricity or hot water (I’ve written about how we lived in the highlighted post and others from my past).

 

Drug Runners.

However, the one thing that I haven’t talked about was the fact that it was well known that drugs were being run in this part of Florida. While I’m sure my parents have more stories since they were young adults and I was between 3 and 7, I do have vague memories. I suspect that these were large drug runs, maybe even cartels involved. It was said that if they saw you when they made their drop, then they would kill you.

Landing Strip.

One of the roads used to access other roads to our home was known as “the two mile landing strip”. I don’t know if planes landed on that road while we lived there. Perhaps my parents know. I do know that if we saw a small plane circling around at night, we shut off the lights to our home. I have a vivid memory of seeing one circling. This was probably sometime in the early 80’s.

Tales.

Once when my mother was coming home, she saw cars parked alongside the road, so she shut off her headlights to creep past them and make it home. She was certain they were drug runners. Years later, my dad would be conversing with a law enforcement officer who had been around the area a while. That tale would come up and he said it was actually law enforcement and they looked around forever for the car that had driven by with its headlights off, certain it was a drug runner.

I’m sure that I thought it was scary, but I don’t remember being overly worried. That’s not to say I wasn’t, I just don’t remember it. Looking back, I wonder how worried my parents must have been. My mother got pregnant with my brother in the middle of 1981. We lived in the middle of nowhere with the closest phone being about 10 miles away and they had little kids. It’s an adventurous story to look back on in hindsight, but I’m sure it wasn’t so thrilling at the time.

Okeechobee.

The part of the movie that made us look at each other was when they decided that he should fly the drugs into Okeechobee. After moving from Naples at the age of 30, we landed in Okeechobee. You can’t live in Okeechobee and have not heard of Frank Brady. Well, perhaps, you can…but I doubt it.

Frank Brady.

Frank Brady was a rancher who, according to this article, made the country’s most-wanted fugitive list by fleeing the United States around the time of his 1983 drug smuggling indictment. According to this article, the 13,000 acres of ranch land that the government confiscated was the biggest seizure in U.S. history at the time. Investigators linked him to the Medellin Cartel. I met a lot of wonderful people during my two years in Okeechobee. In fact, I’m still acquainted with some of them. Interestingly, I actually met Frank Brady. I had to verify that fact with the hubby.

The fact that it left no lasting impression tells me that in all likelihood, he’s just a regular person, and if you didn’t know about his past, you’d have no reason to suspect it.

Our Past.

I guess that’s a semi-segway into my next set of thoughts. Unless we share with someone about our past, they really have no way of knowing what it held.

I have been having a rough time this winter. I often do. Winter makes me miss Florida. It makes me miss all my family. It makes me miss my friendships.

Friendships.

I believe in being honest and real, which I am. However, there are also pieces reserved for those who have earned my trust.

And so lately, I have been missing a variety of friends who have traveled with me through important times in my life. Two nights ago I received a text from one of those friends. Its timing and message couldn’t have been more appropriate for what I was dealing with. Something she couldn’t have known.

Naples Tribe.

It made me also think about another set of friends who were my “tribe” when I was raising babies. Two girlfriends who were my neighbors and had littles of their own. We’d wander into each others yards while the kids played on the swings and maybe order up a pizza or have a glass of wine.

They kept me sane when I rarely had adult contact.

And then I moved away.

And then another moved away.

We met for a girl’s weekend once and then as happens drifted somewhat farther apart. I still meet the one for coffee when I return home. I love to catch up with her and we text sometimes. The other I see through Facebook, but I no longer have her phone number. I realize this is entirely my fault because friendships take effort.

Yesterday, the one still in my hometown sent me a text. She was asking if the other friend still lived in the town to which she had moved. I was sitting on the couch talking with my oldest about his school day, future plans, life in general…as we often do when he comes home. I had not seen the news that she mentioned.

A school shooting.

I said “Yes, that she lived in Parkland and that “Child” went to “X” school.” Meanwhile, I was trying to check the news to see about the school shooting. I saw that it happened in Parkland about the same time that my friend sent me that text saying that it happened in Parkland, but at a different school. The town is small. Often you know people who go to different schools. I checked her Facebook, but she hasn’t posted anything. I’m sure that she is processing the horror that happened in her town.

My heart breaks for all those affected.

This morning there was an increased police presence at Miss Sunshine’s school.

After tragedies, I wish that I could wrap my children in a cocoon and keep them there forever.

To protect them from the ills of the world.

But just as I cannot control their choices, I cannot control the choices made by others.

Where do we go from here?

I have no perfect answers.

 

Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it. -Kahlil Gibran photoquote

Let your light shine!

Amy

Into the Mist to Find My Soul

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 50 mm | ISO 250 | f/1.8

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 50 mm | ISO 250 | f/1.8

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 250 | 28 mm | f/11

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 400 | 53 mm | f/5

Sony Alpha 7 II | Sony FE 3.5-5.6/28-70 mm OSS | ISO 250 | 31 mm | f/11

Sony Alpha 7 II |Sony FE 50 mm| ISO 250 | f/1.8

 

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

cee’s fun foto challenge: Zen

cee’s which way challenge: photo #2 & #3

WPC: mystical place = my sweet spot

 

 

Megan Whitmarsh "Your thoughts are forming the world" installation at Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia

Megan Whitmarsh at Taubman Museum of Art

Roanoke, Virginia.

Most of you know by now that I’ve been living in Roanoke, Virginia for the past 4 1/2 years. While the raising of my teenagers keeps me quite busy (I often wear the hat of chauffeur), I do occasionally get to spend some time discovering the city. Now that two of my three teens drive and the youngest will only travel with soccer in the fall, I hope to do quite a bit more exploring.

However, I did get a chance for a local outing during the first weekend in January.

Taubman Museum of Art.

Most times that I find myself in downtown Roanoke, I will also find myself popping in to the Taubman Museum of Art. Located at 110 Salem Ave SE, the museum is open Wednesday through Sunday. The architecture of the building is stunning both in its interior and its exterior.

Then, of course, it is filled with magnificent pieces of art.

I’ve shared part of my outing to the museum in the post about the art of Paul Villinski. I also gave a sneak peek at the work by another artist in Edition 48 of Friday Faves.

All is Possible necklace from art installation. Megan Whitmarsh.

Megan Whitmarsh.

You might recall my sharing of the above photo in that sneak peek. This is from Your Thoughts Are Forming the World by Megan Whitmarsh.

As I shared in that post, Megan Whitmarsh is an American Contemporary Artist based in Los Angeles. The entire piece creates the “impression” of a 1970′ female artist’s working studio.

I have chosen to photograph pieces of the installation rather than the whole and have also not photographed all of the pieces.

The exhibition was only on view until February 11, 2018, but you can check out her website here.

Avant Garde.

I find art to be a very subjective thing. What one person likes, another may not and also the same in reverse. Perhaps what draws you to a piece of art may not be the same thing that pulls on another. I am not a fan of declaring interpretations of what the artist meant. If the artist did not tell you what they meant, then you speak from no place of authority (I feel the same way about interpretations on works of literature). However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t draw your own conclusions about how the art makes you feel or what it makes you think.

I am a child of the late 70’s (’77 to be exact) so while I was drawn to certain components it was not necessarily because I was familiar with the background. Take for instance the Avant Garde portion of the piece. I’d heard the term, but wasn’t familiar with the fact that  Avant-Garde magazine was published January of 1968 to July of 1971. I liked this piece because it looked like a magazine place haphazardly (although it’s likely it location was specific) on the floor. Plus the red lips made me think about Classic Hollywood. Apparently the magazine is one that broke many taboos.

Stand on Moon.

I liked this portion because it said “Giant Step for Woman”.

During the 60’s and 70’s there was a large push for equal rights for women. While there are still disparities between the equality of the genders (I’m talking….equal pay for the same exact education and job description), I’d like to think that we are moving steadily toward the day when that becomes a reality.

Real Magic.

Who doesn’t love a bulletin board filled with lots of interesting pieces? I was enamored by the thought and effort it must have taken to create each word-filled piece. That was the real magic to me.

Life.

I think the thing I most enjoyed about this collection was that it felt like life.

I am not a 70’s female artist with a working studio. However, I do have a little slant-ceilinged room with a desk where I write and edit my photos.

I have once had a banana peel sitting on my desk. It was waiting for me to carry it downstairs when the time came to leave my “office”. I have a Travel + Leisure magazine tossed haphazardly on my office floor, waiting for me to decide if I’ve finished reading it.

Amongst the random bits around the room are a wooden dowel and rope to try my attempt at macramé, a shell and bundle of sage, some lip balm, and essential oil to diffuse during my meditation time (which I do in the other half of the tiny space).

I think besides the fact that many pieces hearken back to my childhood, I appreciated that there was a sense of reality to the installation.

This blog began as my journey of discovery outside of my roles…wife, mother…etc. and I think as well that:

I shall yet see many things.

A true artist is not one who is inspired, but one who inspires others. -Salvador Dali

Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

wpc: tour guide

 

Friday Faves Edition 52

Friday Faves Edition 52

 

Friday.

Whether Friday comes fast or Friday comes slowly, it always manages to make its way here.

I’ll be honest, I’ve had a very mentally taxing week. I’m not convinced that Friday is going to reduce any of my mental drain, but it’s likely that my support system will be more readily available over the weekend.

A few bouts of insomnia did not help the matter. To give you a glimpse into the mind of a person who deals with anxiety…. one night this week, I awoke and began to think about a situation with which I was currently dealing…and after spinning that round…then my mind decided “hey, you’re awake. let’s think about that flight you have in Scotland. you know…the one where you have to be there by 6 am and it’s likely a 20 or 30 minute ride from your hotel. you’ll need to line up a taxi. you should probably have them come at 5, that way if anything goes wrong, you’ll still have time to try to find a remedy. it’s a small town, what if taxis don’t run at 5 am?…what will you do then, Amy? huh? can you fix THAT problem…can you?”

I have learned through my time of practicing meditation ways in which to counteract my mind running off on these anxiety inducing commentaries. In those times when I awaken at night, I go back to repeating a mantra that I learned during those initial 30 days: “I am as dynamic as my rest.” Sometimes my mind tries to wander off some more and when I find it doing that, I bring myself back to this mantra and eventually do fall back to sleep.

Friday Faves.

Even in the midst of stress, I’m still able to bring a roundup of Friday Faves. Because there are still moments of beauty in the chaos. You just have to be willing to look. This is where practicing gratitude  has definitely helped to change my perspectives.

 

(Pretoria, South Africa ) “My mom is like a person who always protects, advises, and provides, no matter what. She is the person to whom I can tell each and every one of my secrets, everything. I feel like there is nothing she wouldn’t do for us, and we could depend on her no matter what. “I want to thank my mom for raising me.. Thanks for everything that you do, for everything you give, and for always putting us first. My mom would never hold back; I know there’s nothing she wouldn’t do for us. I really feel like she deserves a thank you for that. “I remember a time when she helped me with my school, and I helped her with her business. It’s how we grew up: my mom always taught us to help. I remember when I was in high school, we couldn’t afford the school tuition. I was afraid that I would have to leave school, but she said, ‘Don’t worry Ali; we’ll make a plan.’ She did whatever she had to do. She got the money for the transport, the stationery, everything. I know she sold some things, and I know it was very hard for her business; but she sent me to school, and I got my diploma. That’s who my mom is. No matter how bad things look or how impossible they seem, she would never give up; she would always fight for us. So all I want to do is to help to take care of my family, to try to be like my mother and give as much as she did. Additional information  Owns a boutique where he designs and makes clothing. He is originally from Malawi, but came all the way to South Africa to get his business started. . . . #happiness  #love #digithanks #travelstagram #photography #StayQueeky #visualsoflife #beautiful #neverstopexploring #awesome #loveislove #happy #fun #trip #exploreeverything #real #photos  #wonderful #traveling #feelfreefeed #support #travelawesome #dream #theadventureproject #travel #truth #adventure #liveauthentic #feelfreefeed

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Gratitude.

Speaking of gratitude, a fellow blogger, Sedi, reached out to me about checking out her Instagram page. She is the founder of DigiThanks, which is a gratitude project in which people share something or someone for which they express their gratitude. She also share quotes and scientific facts about gratitude. I think this a a wonderful project and wanted to share its existence with all of you. She has gratitude stories from more than forty countries. I think you’d enjoy checking them out. To place her Instagram on my blog, I could only choose one story. I’m a little biased towards somebody being grateful towards their mother seeing how I’m in the process of raising three teenagers and hopeful that someday they will see the reasoning behind my advice. But all the stories are wonderful.

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Bar Soap.

I haven’t actually tried these specific bars of soap, but I have moved over to bar soap. I shared my recycling journey  thus far. While I do enjoy that I’m putting out less bags into the regular trash can, I also noticed that my recycling bin is quite full each week. I began to pay attention to the amount of recyclable things where there were other choices that could just as easily be made.

One of those was soap. I have sensitive skin and have used body wash (I was told it was gentler on the skin, many, many years ago) and a loofah. Hmmm…plastic container….plastic washing thingie…OR I could use a bar of soap and recycle its cardboard container. So that’s a switch that I’ve made!

Do you have items that you’ve exchanged for something that has less impact on the environment?

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Houseplants.

If you’ve read my blog for sometime then you know that we’ve had a set of Peace Lilies for quite a while that were originally purchased because of their purported ability to clean the air. I have seen some arguments that assert that there is some myth to the way that it is circulated. Here is the NASA article. You can judge for yourself.

However, while I did choose plants that may clean indoor air pollution, I also added them because greenery and nature uplifts my spirits. I have been admiring photos of houses filled with plants because they make the room look so cozy. After starting my indoor plant journey, I read this article about how Amazon’s new office building is filled with 40,000 plants!

I should also note that most of you know that I don’t have a green thumb and kill all plants. My husband keeps the Peace Lilies alive and has agreed to care for any indoor plants I add to our home.

Corn Plant.

I wanted a plant in the living room that was taller than my Peace Lilies. We opted for a Mass Cane, also known as a Corn Plant.

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Majesty Palm.

Miss Sunshine liked the look of a palm (we are originally Floridians, you know) and wanted to add one to brighten up the corner of her bedroom. Winter isn’t the best time to find plants here in Virginia, but winter is also when I most need to see some green. We were looking for an Areca Palm, but this Majesty Palm was just as pretty.

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Pothos.

I wanted to add some plants to the raised counter between sides of my kitchen. We chose Pothos because it doesn’t require bright light. There are windows and doors in the kitchen, however, they aren’t beside this space. I loved the planter so much that I’ve gone back to purchase a second Pothos plant and the same rectangular planter. Those little clay pieces were made by each of my children in an art class over the years. They make me smile each time I look at them.

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Spider Plant.

When I started adding houseplants over the weekend, I really wanted a spider plant for Big Mr.’s room. I don’t know if it really helps with allergies as is credited to it, but I’m willing to try. Big Mr. has a room in the basement. In our last house, his room didn’t have carpet and I was relieved since it always retains so much dirtiness. However, this room has carpet and it was new carpet when we bought the house so we couldn’t justify replacing it.

The places where I went looking for Spider Plants did not have any. As luck would have it, after Miss Sunshine’s hair appointment this week, we popped in to Earth Fare to pick up some dinner. Lo, and behold, at the entrance were two enormous Spider Plants for sale. Miss Sunshine quickly claimed one for herself. I’m sorely tempted to keep this one for myself because I love its “extras” hanging down which remind me of the air plants that grow in Florida.

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Graduation.

Since I’m on the topic of Big Mr, one of the things that has been hanging over my head are finalizing the graduation announcements for Big Mr. I opted for the less classic version…because I don’t think anyone will really save those and it would be a waste of my money and time. We opted for ones that have photos which I knew my family would appreciate because they see my children less often now that we don’t live in Florida.

My teenagers rarely pose for photos. I mostly shoot landscapes and buildings, so most of my portrait photography doesn’t turn out how I’d like. I was planning to take some photos of Big Mr. for the announcements. However, they never turned out or he was busy and so I kept putting off finalizing the announcements. Originally, my shoot for the announcements would have shown off his beautiful green eyes, but in the end I used a set of photos I had taken on a day when he had asked me for a mini-session.

The announcements were set up for 4×6 landscape-style photos, and the other three photos were taken in that way. This one I had to crop. It looks great on the announcement, but I do love the entire photo. It was such a relief to finally check that box off of my to-do list.

Humor.

Instead of song this week, I’m offering a bit of humor. I could use some humor. How about you?

How many of you watched the Super Bowl? I would show you my favorite Super Bowl commercial (it was the Tide ad with David Harbour from Stranger Things that starts out making you think it’s an Old Spice ad…I love the Old Spice ads), but I think Bad Lip Reading will make you laugh even harder.

If you missed a mini tour of my current city, you can find that here. This week, I also shared the lessons I learned during my month of being a vegetarian and some photos that I let speak for themselves.

I hope that you all have a stress free weekend and many days of happiness in the coming week.

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Let your light shine!

Amy

 

 

Photo Diary of My Current City - Roanoke, Virginia

Photo Diary of My Current City – Roanoke, Virginia

 

Tour Guide.

I have often highlighted the city in which I currently live. For those of you who may be unfamiliar, I live in Roanoke, Virginia. After living for the first 30 years of my life in Naples, Florida, and another 5-ish across the state of Florida, I moved to Roanoke in July of 2013. If you’re ticking off the numbers on your fingers, I turned 40 this past September. But most of you already know that since I’ve been actively doing 30 day challenges for my year of #thisis40. When the weekly photo challenge came up as tour guide, I knew that I would have plenty to share.

Usually, I participate in the photo challenge on Wordless Wednesday, in which (as is indicated in the title) no words are used. I did share some photos of the Hotel Roanoke, but wanted to share some more photos and talk a bit about my current city.

Photo Diary.

Today’s photography series will be a collection of some of the photos that I’ve taken from around Roanoke. A photo diary of sorts. I will also share some links to my past posts about Roanoke, where you will find plenty more information about the area.

Roanoke is located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwest Virginia. With easy access to the Blue Ridge Parkway, it is the delight of many fans of the outdoors.

If your interested in the Blue Ridge Parkway, you can check out these posts (a few are outside of Roanoke, but not too far away):

Roanoke Star.

One of the things that Roanoke is quite well known for is the Roanoke Star. The Roanoke Star is also known as the Mill Mountain Star. The star is located on Mill Mountain and is the largest, free-standing, man-made, illuminated star in the world.

The star was designed and built by Roy C. Kinsey and his two sons. It was constructed in 1949 and is three stars that contain 2,000 feet of neon tubing. The star is illuminated every night. It is primarily illuminated white, but can include red, white, and blue for various occasions.

I must admit that when we return home from points north, the star upon the mountain is a welcome sight, letting us know that we are close to our final destination.

H & C Coffee Sign.

There are also two other neon signs sitting atop buildings in downtown Roanoke, which are illuminated at night and visible from I-581. One is a Dr Pepper sign. According to this article, Roanoke consumed more Dr Pepper per capita than any other place on earth from 1957-1959, and again in 1961. The other is the H & C Coffee sign. H & C Coffee was established in Roanoke in 1927 and the sign built in 1948. (cee’s which way photo challenge)

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This sign was my favorite upon moving here because the coffee appeared to be pouring into the cup. However, I’ve noticed that it just stays fully lit now. According to this article from 2014, the animator mechanism needs repaired. I don’t often drive home in the dark, but I don’t think that its been replaced as of yet.

If you’re wondering about where the photo above was taken…I’ll tell you.

It’s from inside one of my favorite places to visit when I’m in downtown Roanoke:

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Architecture.

Another of my favorite things about Roanoke is the amazing architecture. Having grown up in Florida, the architectural styles here are very different. While I have always been cognizant of architectural details, when I began to participate in Norm’s Thursday Doors, a weekly roundup of amazing doors from around the world, I began to see buildings through new eyes.

I’ve shared a close-up of one set of these doors in my post, Keys to the Past

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Municipal Building.

The Municipal Building is located at 215 Church Avenue. It is Neoclassical Revival and was erected in 1915.

Big Lick.

Prior to being named Roanoke, the city was known as Big Lick. As shown on the sign at the Municipal Building, the original name was based on a salt outcropping which drew the wildlife to the site near the Roanoke River.

City Market Building.

The City Market Building is located at 32 Market Square SE. It is considered the heart of downtown. The Farmer’s Market is the oldest continuously operating open-air market in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It began in 1882. After the original building (built in 1886) was destroyed in a fire, the current building was built in 1922.

There are wonderful views to be had from the rooftop of the Center in the Square building. In addition to this one, I’ve shared some others in a much older post: Downtown Stroll.

Events.

Quite often there is something happening in Roanoke. I haven’t been able to make it to many events since we’ve moved here. Why? Miss Sunshine has been playing travel soccer since we moved here and that ties up most weekends. Occasionally we have some down time in the winter, but most of the events are not winter events.

Last year I did make it to the Local Colors Festival and I attended a Veteran’s Day parade a few years ago, where I gathered these photos.

However, Miss Sunshine will not be traveling for soccer this spring so I plan to take full advantage of the weekends to attend events and do more hiking!

Alley.

You never know what treasure you might stumble upon when you are wandering around Roanoke. For example, there are beautiful sights to stumble upon in the alleyways found in the heart of downtown. (cee’s fun foto challenge). This is a connection in the alley behind the Center in the Square parking garage.

 

More Architecture.

Of course, no tour is complete (on my end) without showing you more architecture. The stone at the top of the building says 1926. I know that much of our United States architecture pales in age comparison to those of Europe, but a building that’s 50 years  older than me and looks this good deserves a glamour shot.

709 S. Jefferson Street.

I knew that a building with this much character had to have a history.

And it does.

Gill Memorial Hospital was founded by Dr. Elbyrne Gill in 1926 and is believed to be the Commonwealth’s first specialty hospital. It was an Eye, Ear, and Throat hospital.

It is currently home to RAMP (Regional Acceleration and Mentoring Program).

Visit.

The Roanoke Valley is a great place to come visit. There is a great mix of urban and wilderness. Many people enjoy a great portion of their time outdoors.

High Adventure.

Many high adventure enthusiasts love it here. There are plenty of trails for mountain biking and cycling. There are places to fish and kayak and rock climb. There’s even a climbing gym for those times when you can’t make it to the trails.

Not so High Adventure.

If you aren’t quite into high adventure (like me…the only one in my family of five), there’s still plenty to do. Roanoke likes its green space and preserves much. I’ve shared before some of our walks along the Greenway. I like to hike the many trails surrounding the area.

There is scientific backing to the benefit of spending time in nature and I can heartily agree with the conclusions.

Fitness.

Even though I take my Pilates and Yoga classes at my local gym, there are plenty of studios around town offering a focused workout. There is Empower Pilates & Yoga and Uttara Yoga Studio. There are also places like Pure Barre and Orange Theory Fitness. These are just a few of the places that I’ve heard of through friends.

Event Locations.

As I mentioned above, there are often events held around Roanoke. There are often a calendar of events at Elmwood Park, Dr Pepper Park, and the Berglund Center (where the hubby and I just watched Riverdance).

Food.

There are breweries and vineyards and an array of dining options.

Local Information.

There is so much more that is available to see and do in the area. Here are some great websites to check out for upcoming events and information on the area:

But you don’t just have to take my word for it.

Not only did Forbes put Roanoke on their 2017 list of 25 Great Scenic Places to Retire, but TripAdvisor recently named Roanoke as one of the best small USA cities to visit in 2018.

But you don’t just have to take their word for it.

Come visit and see for yourself.

Hope to see you soon!

The clearest way into the universe is through a forest wilderness.- John Muir

Let your light shine!

Amy