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Zagreb – Ancient Modern City

Zagreb, a city of ancient buildings whose windows proclaim more modern pursuits, such as HM, Pandora, Guess: ATMs located on the sides of buildings whose structure might be 400 years old. New buildings squeezed between old, although the definition of new here might mean the building is only 100 years old. A city of steep streets leading to hidden alleyways with more architectural treasures.

           

             

 

I loved the feel and energy of Zagreb. While it is a bustling city, there are parks and trees all over. It’s a city that invites you to stay a while, to explore its secrets and meet its people.

 

We strolled through the open market, full of homegrown fruits and vegetables, fresh caught fish, and homemade crafts, such as crochet tablecloths and scarves, tatted lace blouses, and so much more.

Bartering for tomatoes

YUM! homegrown & fresh

All of the outside stalls have the same umbrella pattern, it was explained to us that each city has its own pattern. These umbrellas proudly displayed Zagreb’s pattern.

Zagreb’s Pattern

The indoor market offered fresh fish, meats and more. The delicious scent of homemade bread drew us in, the homemade olive oil encouraged us to eat a bit more than we should.

Indoor Market

Leaving the market, we headed up the hill towards Zagreb’s Cathedral. Croats are primarily Roman Catholic and there are many beautiful churches and shrines to visit. The Cathedral is the tallest building in Croatia, majestically towering over trees and buildings

Tallest building in Croatia

The Cathedral of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is Gothic in style, breathtakingly beautiful.

 

Entryway

Entrance Statues

Window at the altar

There are many different styles of tile on the floor. The patterns represent different cities.  I don’t know if I took a picture of Zagreb’s pattern or not.

Outside in the cathedral’s square is a gold stature of the Blessed Virgin surrounded by Archangels at the base.

Entombed at the altar in a glass coffin is the body of Cardinal Stepinac. I felt it was disrespectful to take pictures inside the cathedral without prior permission, so I limited myself to the few you see here. You can learn more about this beautiful church here.

We also visited  the Church of St. Catherine, although it was not open for visitors.

There are numerous cafes and coffee shops, most offer outdoor seating with an open invitation to sit and visit for a bit. No rush here.

Art Cafe

This particular cafe feature art by local artists.

 

After a bit of refreshment we continued our journey through the city of Zagreb…

 

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Plitvices Lakes National Park

Rarely do things make me speechless, although I do tear up with joy frequently. Plitvices evoked both of these. It’s beauty is difficult to put into words, therefore, this blog will be written with pictures and only a few words.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Around every corner there is yet another awe-inspiring sight. Trails are clearly marked and you are not to leave the trail. One of the reasons for this ruling, other than the destruction of delicate flora and fauna, is the possibility of landmines from the Croatian War for Independence.

No this picture is not upside down!

The travertine walls of the park create the beautiful turquoise water. Every where you walk the energy is uplifting.

 

The park is filled with animals of all sorts, birds were singing, but most chose to avoid the public.

This guy made a brief appearance, much to the delight of his photographers.

I don’t know that my pictures do justice to Plitvices’ beauty.

The color contrasts of the park are spectacular!

A small rain storm brought the fish to the surface

and a lone duck out for a swim.

Through the leaves of the trees you can just catch a glimpse of the boat ride. I’ll bet the views from the boat are stunning.

Can you see now why I am at a loss for words?  Plitvices Lakes National Park is breathtaking.

Next: Touring Zagreb

 

 

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Croatia – Vrlo Lijepo!

Croatia – Day 1

Recently, I was blessed with the chance to visit Croatia. I am so glad I did!
Croatia is a beautiful country, a country of contrast and a country of friendly, helpful people.

       

Leaving Denver on a non-stop to Frankfurt, I was grateful it was a Lufthansa overnight flight, I could sleep.  The crew was great and the flight smooth. I was also lucky in my seat mate. He was a friendly but not overly talkative gentleman. We knew some of the same people in Denver which helped to pass the time. From Frankfurt, I flew Croatia Airlines to Zagreb. Another friendly crew and easy quick flight.

I met my daughter in Zagreb and off we went to our AirBnB. I can highly recommend our apartment here. Great location and walking distance to City Center. Our host was lovely and helpful.

After setting our luggage down, we set out to explore a bit before crashing from jet lag. Zagreb’s City Center is awesome, filled with open cafes, comfortable seating and every type of food you can imagine.  We opted for sparkling water, fresh caught fish and homemade bread with olive oil. Our meal was ukusno, delicious. We dined on Bogovićeva street, coming across Davor Preis’ sculpture of the Sun during our after dinner stroll. Preis’ has installed a scale model of the solar system throughout Zagreb.

 

 

The rest of our evening was spent walking through the City Center enjoying the sights and sounds. We returned to our apartment early to sleep off our jet lag, tomorrow we’re off to Plitvices Lakes National Park! I can’t wait!

 

Next: Plitvices Lake National Park

 

 

 

 

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Best Trend – Motorcycle Jackets & Skinny Jeans

Best Trend - Motorcycle Jackets & Skinny Jeans
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Count Your Blessings

“Count your blessings instead of sheep”  – Rosemary Clooney sang this Irving Berlin song in the movie White Christmas. In the hustle and bustle and yes, stress of the holiday season, this is great advice.

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So often we lay in bed worrying about packages arriving, money spent, who should sit next to who at Christmas dinner and whether Great Aunt Betty will forget to add the sugar to her cookies again.

Wouldn’t counting your blessings be a better routine after you crawl into bed?

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1)Thank you for the giggles I shared with my daughter today.

2) Thank you for Taco Tuesday with family.

3) Thank you for the cookies I received at this year’s cookie exchange.  (I’ll have something to replace Great Aunt Betty’s cookies without the extra work.)
cookie
4) Thank you for my warm home and comfy bed.
You get my point. Soon all problems both real and imagined disappear. It’s wonderful
to drift off into sleep with positive thoughts and a smile on your lips. Your dreams will be
brighter helping you to wake up refreshed. 
 
Embrace this positive practice. Uplift yourself and you’ll lift up those around you.
Wishing you many blessings this holiday season,
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MaryBeth & Sherry 🎄

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Of Flutterbys and Flower Blooms

Finally! A cool summer day after weeks of 90+ degrees.  We decided to head to Chatfield Farms, division of the Denver Botanic Gardens. This is part of our plan to get out in nature at least once a week.

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Our recent heat wave made that goal difficult to follow through with, combining hot flashes with heat waves is a dangerous thing. We try find paths that are not only interesting but shaded too.  Personal misters and water are a must.

Chatfield Farms is a consolidation of several farms that the Army Corp of Engineers took when they built Chatfield Dam, making the area a flood plain. The old farmhouses are still there and kept in good repair for events such as weddings. We were saddened by the stories of families displaced from their homesteads, many had been there for several generations.

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Chatfield Farms offers multiple pathways lined with wildflowers, water features and wildlife.

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These ducks were more than happy to respond in kind when Sherry quacked at them.

The pathway lead us to a children’s playground and workmen removing what was left of the previous night’s entertainment, Chris Isaak. WAIT! We missed Chris Isaak! We both are huge fans of his. We need to pay a lot more attention to the summer concert schedule.

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We neglected to pick up a park map at the Visitor’s Center, so we simply went in the direction that looked most interesting upon reaching a fork in the road.  We did get a bit disoriented, but eventually found our way back to the car.

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There were beautiful gardens everywhere we roamed.

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Many of the flowers we couldn’t identify, so we took pictures to show our horticultural expert, Julie.

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We tried not to get too close, the bees and bumblebees were out and about.

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Bridges were lined with flowers in full bloom. A great spot for photos.

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The water features often had nearby benches, creating a very serene area for quiet reflection.

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The true highlight of the gardens was the explosion of color, in our semi-arid state, bright colors in nature can lift your mood.

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After touring the gardens we stopped in at the Butterfly Center.

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I’ve always called butterflies, flutterbys. It seems more appropriate, doesn’t it? Their wings flutter gently as they go from bloom to bloom.

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They try to keep a minimum of 10 varieties in the house at any given time but this can vary due to season and lifespan. We were told that most butterflies live up to two weeks. There are a few that can survive even through winter. So we learned something new!

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Buckeye (Junonia coenia)

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Mourning Cloak (Nymphalis antiopa)

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Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta)

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Monarch ( Danaus plexippus)

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As they come to the end of their lifespan, their wings start to look like stained glass

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The Mourning Cloaks and Buckeyes were abundant.

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This gorgeous lady is a Swallowtail.

I picked up a couple of hitchhikers during our stroll.

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This park is worth a visit, an oasis of nature in the heart of the city.

We’d love to hear your suggestions for hikes & nature trails in and around Colorado.

Here’s to a happy life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry hikers

 

 

 

 

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Colorado Wine Country

Road Trip – Part 3

Leaving Parachute we headed to Palisade, CO aka Colorado Wine Country.  We had booked our stay at the Wine Country Inn.

Wine Country Inn wci-front

Surrounded by wineries and not far off the highway, the inn is lovely, the staff friendly and helpful. While checking in, we solicited their advice about wineries they would recommend we visit. The woman at the desk asked us a few questions to get a feel for our taste in wine. Sherry answered as I rarely drink alcohol. 🍷Based on Sherry’s replies, she gave us a map and suggested a few wineries. As we had arrived in mid-afternoon and the temperature was 102° , she kept the list short. Most of the tasting rooms close at 5 p.m. Off we went.

Palisade Map

There are bikes to rent at the hotel and around town that allow you to bike from winery to winery. For us, it was simply too hot. There are also luxury wine tours, horse-drawn carriage tours, etc. to personalize your visit.

Palisade’s motto is Life tastes good here all year long, and is known for its peaches, simply delicious.  Be sure to try some.  If you have time to visit the art galleries and lavender farms, do.

Our first stop was Canyon Wind/Anemoi Cellars. Surrounded by the vineyards, the tasting room has a few tables out on the lawn under beautiful shade trees. We said hello to a group of women enjoying their wine and entered the tasting room. There is a small storefront with a warehouse in the back. The owner gave Sherry a couple of samples, and discussed wine-making with us. Sherry bought a Chardonnay and we continued on our way.

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Our next stop was High Country Orchards and Colterris Wines.

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In addition to wine, there are lots of fresh fruit for to enjoy.

After tasting, Sherry preferred their 2014 Cabernet Franc and  2015 CORAL White Cabernet Sauvignon.

Colterris Franc

As this was our second stop, it was hot and we were hungry, we decided to sit on their patio for a bit. We ordered a glass of the White Cabernet Sauvignon. What’s a glass without some brie, crackers and of course, chocolate! As a non-wine drinker, I can tell you that this white Cabernet Sauvignon is wonderfully delicious.

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After an enjoying our light lunch, we moved on. A short drive up the road, we stopped at Colorado Cellars, they offer fruit wines and mead, in addition to their reds and whites.

I apologize to Colorado Cellars for not taking pictures, I’ll blame it on the glass of wine I had at lunch.  I did purchase the blackberry wine and Golden Nektar Mead for tasting at my next family game night.

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Just around the corner, we pulled into Carlson Vineyards. They are Colorado’s original winery.

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Carlson Vineyards has a nice gift shop in addition to a tasting room. They offer a shaded outdoor area too. Here we sampled several fruit wines and browsed their gift shop.  Although we did not buy wine here, they were quite good.

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Our next stop was Hermosa Vineyards. Here we had the pleasure of the meeting the owner, he told us that he crafted the wines to his personal taste. He talked about his process and different grapes. He provided buckets for us to dump any leftover wine, which was probably a good idea as we’d been “tasting” for a couple of hours at this point. Sherry enjoyed all the wine she tasted here. I bought a Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and the Dessert Wine, which he had us taste with a piece of Dove chocolate. Heaven! Sherry purchased the Cabernet Franc.

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We had a lovely visit at the Hermosa Vineyards tasting room but it was now time to head back to our hotel for a swim and a meal.

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The view from the pool is breath-taking, the water cool and quite welcoming after a hot day.  We dined al fresco, seated among  blooming flower gardens and baskets. The meal was tasty, we recommend the macaroni and cheese. Yum!

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We’ll be back in Colorado Wine Country soon we hope. It’s perfect for a Mother/Daughter, Girlfriends or Couples trip.

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Here’s to a Happy Life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

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Hiking the Falls

Road Trip – part 2

After leaving Mr. BareButt in Silt, we headed towards Rifle, CO and Rifle Falls. Rifle Falls State Park is a beautiful area to hike and never crowded due to the strict parking policies. Once the lot is full, no more entries. Hence the reason we left so early in the morning.

The appeal of Rifle Falls is not only its beauty and small crowds, it’s also the negative ions from the waterfalls. Negative ions are the positive ones for you.

Pictures of the Falls are really all you need to describe them.

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Sherry at the Falls for the first time.

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Hiking up to the top of the Falls

 

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We sat here in quiet meditation. So peaceful.

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Following different access trails

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These are all taken on the lower trail. The park was lush with greenery.

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The lower edge of the Falls is an easy stroll from the parking lot. To hike up, around and behind them you will need a shoe with a sturdy sole. Sherry was not thrilled with the caves on the upper trail, but the kids popping out of the darkness to scare her loved them!

There’s nothing like ice cream after a hot hike, so off to Rifle for a sweet treat.

Moo’s Place was just what we had hoped for. The sorbet was very refreshing. Sherry thought their  horchata ice cream was the best. Lo, and behold, right next to Moo’s was a Lift Up thrift shop, you know we had to go in. Sherry bought 2 small candle cups, I bought a piece of turquoise glassware.

Leaving Rifle, we headed to Parachute, Co. We wanted to check out the solar flowers at the Parachute rest area. I wouldn’t mind have these flowers in my yard.

 

We also found this story about the Wild West at the rest area.

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Across the street from the rest area is not only a beautiful view but a very impressive teepee.

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Part 3 – Colorado Wine Country

Here’s to a Happy Life! 🌳

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MaryBeth & Sherry

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Road Trip!

Part 1:

In our  effort to get moving and experience more, we ventured out on a 2 day road trip.We had decided to visit Palisade, Colorado also known as Colorado Wine Country.

Our itinerary was rather open with only 1 requirement, laughter.

In keeping with the rule, we used  Rand McNally Tripmaker 

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Tripmaker has a category under Things to Do called Quirky & Oddball. We chose 3 for our photo ops. Unfortunately, just because it’s quirky & oddball, doesn’t mean it’s easy to find or photograph.

MB shocked Sherry by suggesting an early morning start, 5:30 a.m. to be exact, making it easy to avoid early morning congestion, enjoy breakfast along the way and still get in a hike before the temperature reached 90+.

Our first quirky stop was Frisco. We were unable to find the little oddball but did enjoy a chilly early morning walk through a silent town and breakfast at the Log Cabin Cafe.

The food was great, quite filling, good size portions and the staff was very welcoming. Try them if you ever have an opportunity to be in Frisco.

On to our second quirk,  Bare-Butt Rock Climber in Silt. What a photo-op! If ever there was an opportunity for a humorous selfie, this was it! Alas, it was not to be, Mr. Bare-Butt is located in the town’s roundabout surrounded by a lovely garden and moving traffic. We suspect that this is because everyone who hears of Mr. Bare-Butt has a humorous photo in mind. We did drive around Silt, it’s in a beautiful area and has a lovely small town appeal.

Not to be discouraged by our lack of quirky photo ops, we moved on to our chosen hiking trail….

Part 2 – Hiking the Falls – stay tuned!

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How to make luxurious body butter with just three ingredients

We’ll can’t wait to try this! Thanks Hens and Honey for the recipe. Donna added tip in the Hens and Honey comments: Use expeller pressed coconut oil. No scent. Tropical Traditions (online) have it and it’s awesome. All credit for this recipe, photos and talent goes to Hens and Honey.

Body butter blog

My biggest advice for someone who is trying to switch over to a more natural, healthy lifestyle is to just do a little at a time, and I follow my own advice. I think it is the key to sustaining changes in the future.

Now that it doesn’t feel like such a struggle to buy, cook and eat naturally, I’m starting to take aim at other areas in my life. My new goals? Switching over the health and beauty products I’m using to more natural alternatives. Our skin is our largest organ, right? So, why would we want to gunk it up with a bunch of junk? I’ll admit my cabinets have been filled with Bath and Body Works lotion. It’s my weakness, but after I checked out the ingredient list (and realized I didn’t know what nearly anything was), I decided to end the love affair. Seriously, check this…

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City Stroll

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The 70’s called…

The 70's called...

Valentine’s #1

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