Love, Kindness, and a Little PRIDE

I had a different post scheduled for today but when something emotional happens to you and you’re a writer/blogger, you write about it. This weekend I went to my first Pride.

There is some bad bad bad stuff happening in our world country right now. It makes me physically sick to think about and read about and keep up with. The amount of goodness and love and support and joy that I witnessed on Saturday has renewed my hope and fire and energy. I’m an introvert and I was fully expecting Pride to wipe me out and exhaust me, but it did the opposite. Strangers shouting HAPPY PRIDE to one another, bright colors and countless corporations, politicians, villages, and small businesses sharing their love and support for the LGBTQ+ community, and having my friends around me (even in the +90 degree heat) was exhilarating.

It floors me that marriage is only recently legal. Love was outlawed and persecuted and HATED up until a mere THREE years ago. What the actual hell? One of my very best friends is gay and it kills me that for so long her love was illegal. Guys, she is a FIERCE love-giver. When she is on your side she is on. your. side. And for so long this country wasn’t on her side. I feel so damn overjoyed and grateful to have celebrated her love on Saturday. Pride was the most beautiful, freeing celebration of love. It was awesome.

I witnessed some off the wall stuff on Saturday. Topless women, a drag show, some incredibly colorful outfits. It was nuts, but nuts in the absolute best way. Everyone was happy. Everyone was kind. Everyone cheered for and supported everyone.

Actually, that’s a lie. For a moment, almost directly across the parade from us was a man in an anti-GAY shirt with a megaphone. I have no idea what hate he was spewing because a girl with a large bass drum kept following him around, making noise every time his pie-hole opened. It was glorious and I think she might’ve been a superhero. Eventually he gave up and left.

I want to note that I grew up and live in a conservative small town. Big cities intimidate me and diversity is not something that runs wild in my neck of the woods. I love my town, but how I wish I could bring all the color and love from Pride back home and educate the handful of fearful folks. Someday opinions will change, but to do that we must all embrace and love as strongly and fully as the LGBTQ+ community does. You don’t have to be a negative product of your environment- you can have a positive influence on that environment instead.

I’m turning comments off today. I don’t think much more needs to be said on this topic. The world is filled with hate and you won’t find any of that here today. Take care of yourselves, friends. And take good care of others ❤

Our Ohio Bucket List

One Saturday afternoon K and I were watching our weekend staple- Aerial America- and we came across the episode featuring Ohio. We were excited to recognize almost all the landmarks, but it got us thinking about the place we’ve never been in this great state. I suggested an Ohio bucket list for us to work on over the course of our lives (because let’s be real- we’ll probably live here forever) and K agreed! A while back I shared some Midwest weekending ideas so you’ll see them show up here, too.

(I want to note that K and I have different definitions of “fun” so we probably won’t go to all these places together. He doesn’t like amusements parks or caves like I do so some of these will be explored with friends or family!)

Alright, here is our list of must-visit Ohio landmarks, museums, festivals, and tourist traps!

American Sign Museum (Cincinnati, OH)

Ashtabula County Bridges drive in the corvette

Belamere Suites Hotel [stay]

Brandywine Falls in the fall

Cedar Point

The Cleveland Arcade/Hyatt [stay]

Cleveland Cavaliers at the Q

Cleveland Indians game at Progressive Field

Cleveland Museum of Art

Cleveland Museum of Natural History

Cleveland Orchestra outside at Blossom Music Center

Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

COSI

Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad

Franklin Park Conservatory

German Village (Columbus)

Gervasi Vineyard [stay]

Great Serpent Mound (Adams County)

Greater Cleveland Aquarium

Hocking Hills State Park

Hot Air Balloon Festival (Jackson Twp. or Marysville)

Kings Island

Lakeside

Marblehead Lighthouse

Melt [eat]

Mohican Treehouses

National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

Ohio Caverns (West Liberty)

Ohio State Reformatory

Pine Tree Barn [eat]

Play: Cle

Put-in-Bay

Ravenwood Castle [stay]

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens

Stockport Mill Inn [stay]

Sweet Carrot (Columbus) [eat]

Taste of Belgium (Cincinnati) [eat]

Toledo Museum of Art

Troy Strawberry Festival

West Side Market (Cleveland)

The Wilds [stay]

Zoar Village (near Bolivar, OH)

(And Surrounding Areas…)

Fallingwater (PA)

Mammoth National Park (KY)

Mackinac Island (MI)

National Corvette Museum (KY)

If you pop over to the new OHIO tab on the blog you can see which ones we’ve already been to! I opted to leave this list unmarked in case you wanted to snag it for your next Buckeye State adventure! I have a feeling that we will alter and add to this list as cool things cross our radar. Also, when we have kids I imagine our list was expand. 🙂

Tell me, have you ever been to these places? Where would you go first??

Ten Midwest Weekending Adventures

I call Ohio home and have for almost 27 years (a.k.a. my life). We do a roadtrip at least once a year, but there are millions of places I haven’t been. Today I’m sharing some places in my neck of the woods that still remain on my bucket list. For me, these places are only 1.5 to 6 hours away.

No one is paying me to write this, but if companies would like to give me a free stay/visit in exchange for a blog post I’d happily oblige 😉

(1) Treehouses at The Mohican | Glenmont, OH
This is a popular place for romantic weekends, fall trips, and bachelorette party get-aways. My brother and his wife spent a weekend here once & loved it. These just think they look awesome! Can you imagine this place in the fall??

(2) Ohio State Reformatory | Mansfield, OH
I’ve been here twice- once on a 4th grade field trip & once on a classic car tour. Shawshank Redemption was filmed here! This remains on my list because I’ve never been during Halloween… They offer a pretty insane haunted prison experience. K isn’t into haunted things so I’d have to gather a group of friends. 100% NOT going alone 😉

(3) Mammoth Cave National Park | Kentucky
I’ve been her as a kid, but I really want to go back! I’m dying to explore the caves and maybe go spelunking! (Again, K isn’t quite as excited about this… ha.)

(4) Chicago
I know that’s vague, but Chicago is about six and a half hours from us and I’d love to visit as an adult- especially around Christmas time!

(5) Lakeside | Lakeside, Ohio
This cute little destination along Lake Erie is actually a little Christian community. (I think I almost applied for a job in the area in college.) From what I can tell it has that small town Stars Hollow kind of feel. Adorable!

(6) Upper Peninsula/Mackinac Island | Michigan
This is one of those rare places that K has been and I have not. Fortunately, he thinks it’s a gorgeous place and he really wants to visit again! I’m thinking this is a spring or summer trip!

(7) The Old Vermilion Jailhouse | Vermilion, Ohio
I think this unique little bed & breakfast looks so neat! It really is a historic jail.

(8) National Corvette Museum | Bowling Green, Kentucky
This is K’s contribution to the list- he’s been talking about this museum forever. The museum actually experienced a sinkhole a few years ago. Right now they’re adding on to the manufacturing facility next door & K says we need to wait to go so we can tour both places.

(9) Ravenwood Castle | New Plymouth, Ohio
Remember that time I was obsessed with The Tudors? Yeah, I’d love to spend the night in a castle!

(10) Any NASCAR tracks nearby that I haven’t been to…
There are so many race tracks within hours of us that I haven’t visited: Martinsville, Charlotte, Chicagoland, Indianapolis, Kentucky, Pocono, & Richmond.

I’m linking up with the amazing Emma at The Adventures of a London Kiwi as well as her friends Polly (Follow Your Sunshine) & Angie (SilverSpoon London) & Erin (Erin Out and About) for the Travel Link-Up!

Have you ever stayed in a super unusually hotel or B&B? What are some day-trips you’d like to take?

(Any local resorts want to offer me a free stay? 😉 lol)

Friday Favorites: Dough Co.

Happy Friday ❤︎ Things got pretty serious on Wednesday so I want to spread some joy & change the mood around here today…

life_as_louise_favorites

This week K and I wandered out of our comfort zone and popped into a new local eatery:
Dough Co. Doughnuts & Coffee.

Dough Co 3

Right off the bat I will admit that I am a doughnut snob. There is only one place (out of ±10) around here that makes me crave those glazed amazing circles of fried goodness. Still, I walked into this industrial-looking brick bakery on Wednesday afternoon with an open mind. Luckily, I also had an open nose: the smell was delicious!

Dough Co Doughnuts and Coffee

. . .

Dough Co 2

The lunch menu wasn’t expansive, but you won’t hear us complain about the quality! K ordered a croissant with sausage, egg, and (American) cheese; I had a round with the like, except bacon instead of snausage 🙂 Are you wondering what a “round” is? I had no idea when I ordered it… Turns out it’s like a burger bun- except it’s fried dough, like an un-glazed doughnut.
AH. MAY. ZING.

Dough Co 4

In addition to the made-from-scratch sandwiches, we also had blueberry cobbler coffee and doughnuts! K got a Long John (cream stick) with Bavarian cream and I had half a dozen doughnut holes. (Om nom nom… my weakness! ❤︎ ) Guys…. I have never had a taster doughnut hole. It was sweet and soft and fresh. I almost cried. You know how some doughnuts leave a waxy feeling in your mouth? These left no such residue; just a few thousand happy taste buds begging for more.

We will most definitely be back 🙂 If you live in the area (or if you happen to be passing through Ohio on I-77) you should most definitely swing by Dough Co. Doughnuts and Coffee.

Dough Co 5

B O N U S
Check out Ben Rector for your weekend jams! (Thank you to my husband for introducing me to his music!)

That’s all she wrote! What are your plans? Have a great weekend!

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Monday Morning Gratitude

Last week I took a personality test that revealed my introverted tendencies. I use the word “revealed” loosely, since I’m already well aware of this trait. My head table consists of a husband, two best friends, and a very small handful of good friends. This weekend I was fortunate enough to spend my time with one of those best friends.

After work I kissed K goodbye and headed south to spend a girls’ night with my friend Kayla. We’ve known each other for a long time and frequented the same halls in high school, but our friendship solidified while we were in college. (Yay for mutual friends!) I love visiting Kayla because she’s one of those people that I can be 100% real with. We sing Justin Bieber (NO JUDGEMENT!) at the top of our lungs, waste hours in Target, and joke about the side-effects of our Indian food dinner. (TMI?) Not to mention her fur baby Ernie get so excited when I visit!

Saturday she made me breakfast and, since I don’t have a huge shopping center in my town, we took advantage of H&M, Lush, and The Disney Store. I always feel so refreshed after a weekend of girl time- it’s nice to unwind and relax with someone that’s totally ok with my weird, quirky personality.

I hope you did something fun this weekend! Tell me about it! ❤︎

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A Grateful Heart with Ember Grey

I Hate Spring

Hate is a strong word, but spring is my least favorite season and I’m beginning to remember why…

Spring

While I’m grateful to store the snow shovel and bask in the warm-ish weather, I still have some major complaints about this season. Honestly, I’d be good with a week of spring, a week of summer, and then 10+ weeks of fall!

Here’s my beef with April Showers & May Flowers:

| Thunderstorms |
Honestly, I used to love thunderstorms and I guess I still do, but the tizzy they throw my dog into is exhausting. Yes, we have tried XXX (insert suggestion here) and I really do appreciate the advice, but we have done the Thundercoat, anxiety medication, sleeping pills, covering her crate, etc. and the only thing that calms her is being held- and she still sits there shaking. Also, she’s +65 lbs. When we travel in spring I always worry about the weather at home because of my poor puppy. UGH.

| Muddy Paws |
I keep my house fairly tidy. I’m not a neat freak and you will definitely find dust or dog hair, but from March to June there’s also the chance of mud. Our dogs go outside and run around in the yard (usually right after a rainy day) and then bring that outside filth inside. Honestly, I don’t care about dirt, but when that dirt is wet I get a little fussy. I love that my mutts have fun in the yard and I’m not that squimish. Will my future children track dirt inside someday? Yes. Will my future children eat dirt? Probably. I just think that my carpets look better without the giant brown paw prints all over them.

| Contrary Weather |
Seriously, though? Make up your d#*% mind, Ohio. It gets a little better toward summer but March is a crapshoot. (Off topic: Where did that word come from? Now I need to look into it…) We might see snow, we might see sun, we might see a tornado. Whatever, weather. I’m done with you. Layers for days.

| Bugs |
If I’m being honest, this is my biggest problem with spring. I have found 1 or 2 random bees in our spare bedroom trying to get out the window. I found a creepy-crawly in the office last week. And our bedroom always attracts a few ladybugs. Like, WHERE THE HELL DO THEY COME FROM? I hate bugs. Hate hate hate. I’ll play in the mud, hold a snake, catch a bat… but I flippin’ hate bugs. Ugh, I’m already over it.

| Humidity |
Honestly, I shouldn’t complain about this one because the static electricity in our house this winter was torturous. I just hate how the humidity brings out the smell in things (am I the only one that notices this?) and makes everything feel sticky. Ick.

 

Ok, that’s it. I’m done complaining for a while. I love that we get to experience all the season in Ohio- I just prefer the colder ones.

(According to the internet, crapshoot is “craps shoot” which comes from the chance game of Craps, which involves throwing the dice without being able to predict the outcome.)

What’s your favorite season? More importantly, what’s your least favorite season? Do you enjoy thunderstorms?

-Louise