December 26, 2008

I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park is showing a great musical comedy called "I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change".

According to the shows
website, "I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change" is "Off-Broadway’s phenomenal longest-running musical celebrates the modern-day suburban mating game. Audiences fill the theatre with laughter as the cast explores the joys of dating, romance, marriage, lovers, husbands, wives, and in-laws."

The musical play is a very funny & realistic interpretation of the challenges and celebrations that go into dating and developing relationships. I found myself laugh out loud at many moments during the various scenes, I also found myself really reflecting on some of the more serious issues the play covers.

If there is any chance you're in the Cincinnati area and have the chance to see this show, I would highly recommend it! (It runs through December 31st - in fact, it would be the prefect way to spend New Year's Eve with your sweetie!)

Click here to go to the playhouse's website for ticket information.

December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone enjoys a safe and wonderful Holiday and that you are able to spend time with family and friends. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.

Thanks for taking an interest in my blog. I hope to continue to entertain you with many fun stories throughout next year!

December 22, 2008

Dessert - Yum!

While enjoying my week of vacation, I indulged in various eating dessert! Now this is not something I do often, but who doesn't enjoy the tasty treats offered at several dining establishments every once in awhile!

During the rush of finishing up some Christmas shopping, JJ and I stopped off at BJ's Brewhouse the Tri-County Mall last week for a late lunch. Now having already said that I treated my vacation as my "Christmas week", I couldn't pass up the chance to try dessert from this restaurant.

The famous Pizookie, that's right - a half chocolate chip & half peanut butter cookie baked in a pizza pan with 2 scoops of vanilla bean ice cream. Now come on, seriously the only thing that could make this dessert better might have been some chocolate sauce drizzled on top!

December 18, 2008

Fountain Square for the Holidays!

Because of my career choice, I tend to have to work during the Holidays. This year, I've been lucky to have a full week of vacation to take during the month of December. Now granted, I couldn't take it the week of the actual Christmas Holiday, so I opted for the week before to get myself in the Holiday spirit!

I've enjoyed a wonderful week of fun and relaxation, really treating this week like it's "my Christmas"! JJ and I decided to spend one evening this week downtown Cincinnati taking in all the Holiday lights and Christmas decorations. Fountain Square underwent a huge remodeling that seemed to last all year long, but it has really turned out lovely and is the perfect spot to enjoy the Holiday season.
All the trees are covered in bright white lights and the Ice Skating Rink is in full swing with lots of people enjoying an evening in Downtown. I braved the rink on those extremely skinny blades and managed to take several laps around the rink without falling! It turned out to be quite a fun night, mostly because JJ held my hand to make sure I didn't fall, but after a few laps I did gain some confidence and soloed around the rink with a smile on my face (and my hands out wide to brace any falls!). As you can see from the picture above, I decided to wear the Santa Hat, which I think helped me embrace "my Christmas vacation" even more!

December 16, 2008

Fun Night & New People!

I've been enjoying a week of relaxation while on vacation from work.  Last night JJ and I ventured out to meet some new people and enjoyed running into some old friends too!

We attend the 1st annual Cincinnati Women Bloggers Holiday Social at Pachinko's in Covington.   All the money raised at the event was donated to the Interfaith Hospitality Network on Northern KY.  It was an awesome night filled with friends, fun, and tasty cocktails & desserts.

Here's a list of some of the friends (new & old) who I enjoyed meeting & catching up with at the party:

Of course, there were several more people in attendance & the lovely ladies of Cincinnati Women Bloggers did a fantastic job organizing the event!  I'm looking forward to attending more of their meet ups and learning more about the benefits of the blogging community.  I can already tell it holds great potential for some fun nights with new friends!

Cheers :)

December 10, 2008

My First Ugly Sweater Christmas Party!

That's right - an ugly sweater Christmas party! Have you heard of this new trend in party themes? I've heard of it recently and was excited to be invited to my 1st one!

Usually on the day of a party, there's a bit of routine in the "getting ready" part. Same questions...What do I wear? Maybe I'll go buy a new top? How should I do my hair? (Etc.) However this past Saturday, there was a bit of a twist to the tasks that go into getting ready for a party.

Task #1 - Go to a store and find the Ugliest Holiday sweater on the rack. Task #2 - Purchase the garment and wear it with pride. That's right, if you are going to dawn an Ugly must "Own It" as they say. You must stand tall and proud in the sweater you've found and really have fun with the theme!

Below are some great pics from the party. It was a great celebration of Katy's birthday & the fabulous Christmas season. I enjoyed meeting new people, many of whom are "bloggers", and look forward to hanging out with everyone again in the future!

December 01, 2008

An afternoon at the Lanes...

This past weekend we celebrated a post Thanksgiving Day get together with my family and after our lunch we spent the afternoon at Poelking Lanes South in the Dayton area. Nothing like some bowling to bring out everyone's competative side (or at least mine!).

I was in a bowling league growing up and really enjoy heading to the bowling alley every Saturday morning to try to improve my game. I certinatly don't roll any 300 point games, but I do enjoy a couple of games at the lanes and try to at least break 100 on the score board!

November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving to all...

I am extrememly Thankful today for my family and friends.

This is the time of year when I always reflect on the many wonderful relationships I have with people who I truly love and enjoy having in my life. Thank you dear friends and family for your continued love, support, and friendship.

Please enjoy this Thanksgiving season and remember to always count your blessings.

November 24, 2008

Fall Leaves - Beautiful, but a pain to take care of !!

With the warmer temps this past Sunday, JJ and I hit the backyard for one of the many tasks that are on the list of "homeowner" chores. Raking, Leaf Blowing, & Gutter Cleaning - Fun, Fun, Fun! (haha) It is true that the brightly colored leaves are one of my favorite parts of the fall season, but this is not one of my favorite chores!

The leaf raking and collecting went fairly fast with both of us working ... piling them up into big bundles and then using the ol' leaf blower on reverse to suck up the leaves into the bag. One nice thing about our city is that we are not required to "bag" the leaves into those brown lawn bags. We simply have to put the leaves & yard waste out on the curb and the street collection trucks will pick it up.

On to the gutters...the dreaded gutters - ugh! I will fully admit that JJ does the gutters and I simply hold the latter and trash bag for the stinky debris. Last season we bought one of those contraptions that attaches to the leaf blower to extend up to the gutters and blow out the leave build up.

So, we decided to give it a shot this time. It did take some time to get used to the power of the leaf blower w/ the attachment tube, and the tube didn't exactly fit our leaf blower, so we broke out the duck tape to secure the attachment, then we were moving at quite a quick pace.

All in all, we have determined that it did speed up the process, but b/c it blows the leaves out of the gutter, then more raking is necessary to bag up the debris. I do think that once JJ got the feel for how strong the blowing was, it went pretty fast and I was able to rake as he went on down the roof line with the blower attachment.

I could not resist taking a picture of this whole process ... We got quite a good laugh - Enjoy!!

November 08, 2008

It's time for the Holidays...

This weekend when I was grocery shopping, I spotted these:
That's right, White Chocolate Fudge Covered Oreos.  Now I know it's almost Christmas b/c these babies only come out for the Holiday season.  

Yummmmmy - Can't Wait for this treat!!

November 03, 2008

Rock the Vote!

Which ever way your political views swing - Please take the time to get out and VOTE on Tuesday, November 4th.

It is a day that history will be made. Our first female Vice President if the GOP wins or our first African American president if the Democratic party takes control of the White House.

Make you voice heard - Your VOTE matters to this country - You matter.

If you don't get out and VOTE, then don't even think of complaining about the outcome.

October 29, 2008

Dogs bring smiles...

Sometimes when you have a rough day...certain things take all the trouble away.  

It's been a long week (and it's only Wednesday!), but one thing that makes me laugh is the playfulness of our dog, Ella.

Here are some pictures - maybe they'll make you smile too!

October 26, 2008

Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park

We've been having some wonderful fall weather lately. JJ and I both had a Friday off from work recently so we headed towards Hamilton, OH to check out the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park & Museum. This outdoor museum is full of art pieces, flower gardens, lakes and walking trails. The spaces consists of 265 acres of woods and gathering areas for people to enjoy.
(This Sculpture by George Sugarman is titled "Cincinnati Story")

(This adorable chocolate lab was our buddy during our visit to the park!)

According to the park's brochure, the land was donated in 1995 by Harry T. Wilks, a Hamilton area businessman. Pyramid Hill Park opened to the public in 1997 and since it's opening they have hosted several community events, such as an Annual Art Fair and a Holiday Light display.

(LW & JJ enjoying our day at the park.)

(This sculpture by Alexander Liberman is titled "Abracadabra")

One cool part about this park is that you can rent an "art cart" for a $15 donation. You can see this decorated golf cart in the picture above next to the sculpture. It's a fun way to explore the park and who doesn't love driving a golf cart!

(This sculpture by Clement Meadmore is titled "Extent")

We had a great time touring this park and I'd recommend it as a day trip if you're in the southwest Ohio area.

October 21, 2008

Great Fall Picture...

From our trip to the Pyramid Hill Sculpture Park in Hamilton, OH.
More details to follow in an upcoming post - Stay Tuned!

October 18, 2008

Boston Butz, would you eat there?

On Friday, after a great fall afternoon at the park, JJ and I stopped at a restaurant called Boston Butz, a place specializing in Southern Pitt BBQ & homemade pizzas.  I admit that we weren't really looking for a BBQ place, but come on, the name alone makes you wanna learn more, right?  Well, we had to check it out and we were pleasantly surprised to find a hometown place with good food and friendly service!

Boston Butz's is located in Ross, OH - which is very close to the Hamilton and Oxford areas of Southwest Ohio.  Here's a picture of the outside of the restaurant:
After perusing the menu, we started off with an appetizer called Boston Fries.  I'm a potato gal, so with out even knowing what came on the fries, I was game to give them a try.  Now, when these bad boys came out, I was really happy - crispy fries, with provolone and mozzarella cheese melted on top and crunchy bacon bits too!  Take a look - Yummy...
We ordered a small, but both commented on how we could have eaten a large!  Anyways, on to the BBQ sandwiches. The menu offers everything from pulled pork, chicken, & beef, ribs, pork chops, and pizza's.  

I went with the traditional Pulled Pork Sandwich (with the Mild Sauce) and a side of cole slaw. JJ ordered a sandwiched called "The Porker" (with Classic Sauce), which made us both laugh.  "The Porker" is tender pulled pork on a bun with their signature hot slaw.  Both sandwiches were very good.  I thought the Classic sauce was better than the Mild sauce.  
Overall, we enjoyed a great afternoon relaxing on the patio of this fun restaurant.  I make no claims to be an expert in BBQ, but Boston Butz is a cool locally owned & operated business that had good food & good service.  Check it out sometime if you're ever in Ross, OH.

PS - Get the Boston Fries, you won't be disappointed!!

October 05, 2008

My favorite time of year...

Reasons I love fall:

* trees. leaves changing colors into shades of burnt orange, rusty red & yellows...

(perfect time for a weekend drive to check out nature's beauty.)

* sweaters. all kinds of comfy tops to wear - fleece jackets, over sized crew necks...

* football. college games or NFL - either work for me. I'm enjoying our season tickets to the UC football games this year - nothing like sitting out under the stadium lights, cheering on the "home team"...

(despite the Bengals record, I still enjoy those games too!)

* pumpkin and mums. - love heading out to a local pumpkin patch to pick the perfect pumpkin, tasting yummy hot cider, & grabbing a bag of apples for baking a homemade dessert.

(already have the mums on the front porch - went with yellow mum this season!)

* fire pits. - just enjoyed a nice fall evening this past weekend with friends gathered around the fire. we had some really good S'mores too - next time you make these, try using Reece's Peanut butter Cups, instead of Hersey's milk chocolate to go between the graham crackers & roasted marshmallows!

September 23, 2008

Dream come true...

Last night Momma Warrick and I (and a few hundred "friends") enjoyed listening to the great songs of the legendary Carole King! What a fun evening - we enjoyed dinner & drinks before the show, which was at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.
(Photo credit=Dayton Daily News)

Talk about a dream come true. Mom and I have always said we would do anything to see her perform live in concert. So when Mom's company, Kettering Medical Center, announced that Carole King would be performing at the annual Heart to Heart Gala, well we just had to attend!

Now, more on Carole. I say Carole like she is a close, personal friend of mine. It simply goes to show how connected fans feel to her through her music. I was not the only one referring to her on a first name basis last night. Her latest tour, called The Living Room Tour, reflects how much she understand the closeness people feel when her music is played.

Carole King looked absolutely fabulous - dressed in a simple elegant black V-neck dress, with strapy, sparkly shoes. Curly shoulder length signature hair, though more grey than blonde in color now. Those curls bounced every time she hit those piano keys, you could tell how much she truly loved the music she was playing.

She looked so natural behind that baby grand piano, playing all her hits. She opened with the song "Beautiful" and treated us to so many other treasured songs. "So Far Away", "You've Got A Friend", "Where You Lead", and many others. Carole also surprised some of us by stepping out in front of the piano, picking up a guitar and strumming away on the great song, "Smackwater Jack".

Several times throughout the night, I closed my eyes, listened to her singing some of my favorite songs, and really tried to absorb the moment. What a treat - Carole King live in concert - Thanks for the ticket Mom!!!

Here is a professional review of the concert from the Dayton Daily News.

September 18, 2008

I See the Light!

We were lucky enough to have our power restored on Wednesday evening. Lots of people in the Tri-State are still without power and it really might be into the weekend before it's restored in some communities.

This power outage has got me thinking about things that need electricity to work that I've taken for granted, here is a short list in no particular order:

* the toaster - nothing like a hot piece of toast with butter & jelly.
* the fridge/freezer - for obvious reasons.
* a hair dryer - especially when you have natural wavy/frizzy hair.
* the alarm clock - i enjoy waking to the radio tunes, not the annoying beeping of my cell phone.
* the lights in the bathroom - no comment needed.

THANK YOU to the hard working Duke Energy crews who have restored the power in my neighborhood. I now live with a better appreciation of electricity and the power it has in our lives!

If you're reading and still without power - I truly hope you get it soon.
Call if you need anything!

September 16, 2008

Life with out power...

The effects of Hurricane Ike in the Cincinnati area are crazy! Nothing like what the Texas cities and other areas of the southern U.S. are facing, but I'd say everyone here was a bit surprised and caught off guard when those strong winds rolled in Sunday afternoon, knocking out power to hundreds of thousands of people. Trees uprooted from the ground, split branches and tons of debris to clean up in the coming days.

Some rumors going around say it might be the weekend before the power gets restored to most of the Queen City. So, we wait.

I am thankful to have a gas water heater (I can still take a hot shower, just can't blow dry my hair) and a gas stove (I can still make the ol' standby for dinner, spaghetti). Luckily I hadn't made it to the store for the monthly fill up on grocery's that would be going bad; like my daily breakfast of strawberry or peach yogurt, or lots of meat to stock up on in the freezer, or fresh turkey from the deli for sandwiches, so it's not like my fridge/freezer was filled with food - Thankfully.

All in all, I'd say it's not so bad for us. We've been getting creative with how we spend our time since there's no electricity in St. B. We go to the park and "play" soccer (actually JJ plays, I just kick the ball back to him!). We've been watching TV shows & movies on the computer rather than the television. We cooked a frozen pizza on the grill for dinner last night - quite tasty given the circumstances!

If you're a reader who's lost power, I hope life it's too bad for you & that life gets back to normal soon for all of us!

September 10, 2008

Holden Holds my Heart...

Below is the glorious view of the Atlantic Ocean from the deck steps down to Holden Beach. I have already posted about what a special place Holden Beach is, a relaxing retreat where life's hardest decisions come down to things like - Which book to read in the afternoon? Do I want to "boogie board" or "body surf" the waves? Should we grill out or jaunt over to the Provision Company restaurant for some fresh seafood for dinner? Do I feel like having a Corona w/ a lime at 2pm out on the sun deck, just because I can?!? It's a place where commercialized super stores and giant hotel chains haven't made there way into town to crowd up the one bridge that takes you across the inland waterway to access all the beautiful beachfront homes. There's not even a Starbucks, which could be looked at as a bummer, however there is an awesome locally owned and operated java joint called "Cappuccino By the Sea" - full of treasured trinkets and tasty flavored lattes.

JJ and I were fortunate enough to be able to continue our now annual trip to Holden Beach a few weeks ago. A vacation I'd been thinking about all year long: 

So ready to unwind and relax in my "low rider" beach chair with my feet nestled in the sand. 
So ready to play all those "beach" tunes I'd loaded onto my iPod. 
So ready to enjoy quality time walking along the beach, hand in hand, with my best friend...

So ready to watch the sunrise over the east end of the island.

What I didn't know is that I was So ready to make the biggest decision of my life. While watching those beautiful rays of sun pop through the clouds, loving every minute of this remarkable moment, feeling the sun hit my smiling face - IT was happening...JJ down on one knee asking me to marry him. Tears of happiness & excitement overwhelmed both of us as we made the biggest decision of our spend it together...forever.

September 02, 2008

Going Greek!

Last month we attend the Panegyri Greek festival here in Cincinnati and had some awesome Greek food...tasty kabobs, an antipasto platter with yummy cheese and olives (none for me though), and a really tasty "Greek pizza".

So a few weekends ago we decided to recreate this delicious dish. Now I would say that I'm more of a traditional toppings on my pizza type of know - pepperoni, onion, mushrooms, those are my favorites. But I enjoyed the Greek pizza from the festival so much, I found myself buying the ingredients at the store and below is our homemade version of the pizza:
We went with the store bought Boboli ultra thin crust. Instead of a red sauce, we mixed a few tablespoons of olive oil, fresh minced garlic, basil, salt and pepper to bast over the dough. Topped that with crumbled feta cheese, spinach leaves, thin sliced red onion, and really thinly sliced Roma tomatoes. A little sprinkling of mozzarella and below is the pizza before baking:
Here is the after picture...baked it on a pizza stone and turned out to be one of that best pizza's we've ever made.
Making the whole thing even better, was enjoying the afternoon on the back patio relaxing!!

August 21, 2008

As seen on TV...

Hillbilly Hot Dogs is a unique place located in Huntington, WV.  It's a hometown joint where locals go for tasty hot dogs covered in strange toppings, we're not talking ketchup and mustard here people, I'm talking about salsas, cheeses, peppers, just about anything you can think of.  
I heard about it one night while watching the Food Network show Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
So while on my recent trip to WV, Momma Warrick and I took a drive through downtown Huntington to cruise the Marshall University campus and drove past this great spot.  Having heard the hoopla about the restaurant, I had to stop in and see what it was all about!  To my surprise, the owners were sitting right there, grabbing some grub.  This husband and wife team, Sonny & Sharie, have created quite a unique menu and dinning experience!  
Below are some great pictures from our afternoon...

The Home Wrecker Hot Dog. - You got it, that's a hot dog he is holding on that platter!  This would be the house speciality.  It's a 1 lb hot dog, deep fried in canola oil, topped with sauteed peppers & onions, smothered in chili sauce, nacho cheese, jalapenos, ketchup, mustard, cole slaw, tomatoes, lettuce, and shredded cheddar cheese.  Oh and all stuffed in a grilled bun.  

We did not see this humongous hot dog in person, so these are some pics I found on the Internet from another person's visit - looks pretty impressive!
The Single Wide - Double Stacked Burger.  That's right, it's one cheeseburger!  The classic Single wide is a beef burger, w/sliced cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and pickles.  Of course, you can add ketchup, mustard and mayo.  Stack two of those 5 lb patties on top of each other and you have the 10 lb Double Stacked Single Wide Burger!  I'd say I'm more of a burger person than a hot dog gal, so I was seriously impressed with this masterpiece when a group of people ordered this the day we where there...WOW!

Momma Warrick was so impressed with the Double Stacked burger, she decided to order one too, but a smaller version of course!  She went with the 6 oz burgers, called Big Bad Bubba's Baby Sister Bertha Burger!  I can say it was very tasty indeed, since I snuck in a few bites.  I had to go with a hot dog to see what all the hype is about.  I decided on the Pizza Dog - a hog dog, covered in pizza sauce, cheese, and excellent choice I think since it's was the first thing that caught my eye on the menu!  Overall, a really fun day at a really fun spot.  One of the greatest adventures in life is trying new things...that sums up my feeling on the day - lots of fun with my Mom, at a really fun place. Thanks to Sonny & Sharie for a great restaurant filled with friendly service and lots of fun memories!!  Check out Hillbilly Hot Dogs if you're ever in Huntington, WV.

August 19, 2008

Great time for a great cause...

This past weekend's Alexis Black Walk was a huge success on all levels!  We were blessed with a beautiful sunny day with just the right amount of breeze to keep everyone comfortable.  We were blessed with great company, about 150 people attended the walk...people who know Lexi and wanted to be there to honor her, people who had heard about the walk and wanted to support the cause.  We were blessed with generous donations too....already raising over $11,000 for the Smith Lemli Opitz foundation - How great is that!

Lexi with her Mom & Dad, Mandy & Jason...

Everyone who attended remarked on what a great job was done with organizing this first of it's kind walk.  So many fun things to do in addition to the walk it self...Mandy & Jason organized a face painter to come out, rented a huge blow up jumping house, provided an awesome snow cone machine...gathered donations together for free lunch for everyone...a totally awesome day and a totally awesome feeling to be part of such a special day!   

Enjoy some pictures from the walk and check out the TV News clip that aired that evening...

People gathering before the walk...
Mandy, Jason and Lexi lead the walk...
Me, Mandy, Lexi enjoying the day...
Me, Momma Warrick, and Lexi after the walk...Here is a link to the story that aired on Huntington's ABC station about Lexi &  the walk. 

Check it out!      Lexi's TV Debut