Tag Archives: Lifestyle

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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Root Beer!

The holiday season is traditionally a time for gatherings with family and friends, this year was no exception in my home, (MB). My brother and sister-in-law provided our Thanksgiving meal at their home leaving me free to do something new on the Friday after.

Root Beer has always been a family favorite, to the point where some family members feel they can name the root beer brand with just a taste. In addition, we had a week-end guest who loved root beer.

The perfect combination to put together a root beer tasting party!

My criteria for root beer to make the cut was simple. It had to be in a glass bottle. While some would be old favorites, A&W, Dad’s, IBC; the rest would be unknown to me. I couldn’t be sure what my connoisseur had tried, so I simply picked up every brand I found.

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A couple of the root beers came from the traditional grocery stores, in addition, I stopped in at  our local ice cream and sweets shop for lesser know brands, Scrumptious, (if you ever have a chance to try their home-made ice cream, DO!), I explained what I was doing so along with the brands they had in the cooler, they found a new arrival in back. He also had 2 different types of root beer candy for my centerpiece. Thank you for your efforts on our behalf!  World Market had a good selection of lesser known brands too.

I was unable to find A&W in glass bottles but it wouldn’t be a true root beer tasting without that fan favorite, so I settled for the plastic bottle. Barq’s was the only root beer that I could not find anywhere. In total, I ended up with 12 different brands of root beer.

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I then began searching for small root beer mugs, something in the shot glass range. I found them at Party City. These I put in the freezer, root beer must be served in a frosted mug, right?

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The actual tasting would be done in 3 flights of 4 each. I covered the labels, this would be a blind taste test.

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Next, I put together a score sheet, covering 4 aspects, Effervescence, Sweetness, Zest, & Bouquet, along with their overall score for each one.

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We did a 4th flight with the favorites from the previous flights to determine our winner.

I started the party with 2 songs about Root Beer to set the mood.

George Jones – Root Beer video by hankgwe

Who knew the Beach Boys sang about root beer? video by fatgator46

I made a point of opening the bottles out of sight of my testers. The A&W plastic bottle would be a dead give-away along with the possibility they might see and recognize a bottle cap.

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Tasters were allowed to take as much time as they needed with each root beer. Some made their decisions quickly, others were very deliberate.

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Comments from the tasters varied on every one.

“Strong Maple flavor”

“This one tastes like black licorice.”

“Definitely cinnamon”

“This one is so bland, now that I’ve tasted the others.”

The five root beers chosen for the final flight based on tester scores; although unknown to the tasters at the time; were: A&W, Dad’s, Dang!, IBC & Bulldog. One taster preferred  Virgil’s over the rest but the others felt its anise flavoring was too strong, so Virgil’s did not make the cut.

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Who’s #1 on our list? A&W was the hands down winner.

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The Root Beers we tasted in addition to the above, were:

ZuberFizz, Sky Valley, Boylan, Olde Brooklyn, Rocky Mountain, Abita,

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We had so much fun with this, we may try a cream soda taste test next!

What’s your favorite root beer? and why?

Here’s to a sweet life!

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Voter Fraud aka Is it Rigged?

Ballots in Colorado were mailed out beginning 10/18/16, here’s what we’ve learned so far.

Many voters received more than one ballot in their name, non-citizens received ballots, some are voting twice using stolen ballots.

All of this has been documented in just 7 days.

Is the media reporting it? Some outlets are, but what will state government or the Feds do about it is the bigger question?

Our form of democracy is 238 years old. It’s not a perfect system but it’s pretty darn good. It’s the power of politicians and their cronies that’s pretty darn bad. When faced with corruption or fraud, politicians cry and point their fingers at the opposing political party. Few, if any are willing to address the issue from within their party.

“Off with their heads!” is the unified cry. “It’s the Republicans fault!” is heard from the Democrats side, “It’s the Democrats fault!” is heard from the Republican side. Media chooses a side and provides a slanted report designed to lead the public in the direction they desire. The real problem is that we buy into this.

We, the People, shake our heads in disgust, “those darn Republicans, those darn Democrats!”

We, the People, should focus on the victim, ourselves and our freedoms. We should turn off the media, damage their revenue flow and they’ll change their tune. Media is no longer about honest reporting it’s all about revenue.

Politicians are no longer about serving their constituents, they are concerned with special interests and their personal revenue flow. Stop buying into it and they’ll change their flow.

We, the People, should stop pointing fingers at each other and point right at the problem, the politicians and the media, whose collective power is damaging to us all.

 

Olde Town

We found the perfect fall day to visit one of our old haunts.

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Olde Town Arvada is about to experience a big changes due to the light rail station.  The increase in foot traffic will be great for the businesses. Parking has always been an issue in Olde Town, so the city has opened a new lot near the movie theaters and offers a shuttle to bring you downtown.

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We stopped first at a newer pub, Homegrown. They have a nice patio right on main street, it’s a bit noisy with traffic in the afternoon, so we were seated inside near a window.  The decor is somewhat industrial with a touch of antlers.  It was quite comfortable, the servers were friendly and efficient.

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If you want to try a truly delicious appetizer, have the brussel sprouts. They were amazing. We ate every bite, down to the last crumb. Then it was time for a stroll to see what had changed in Olde Town, turns out, quite a bit.

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There were a few of the long-time businesses, such as the Arvada Tavern. We’ve eaten here a few times, it’s always good. They did have a Rockabilly group upstairs once in a while, not sure if they still do.  As always the Rheinlander Bakery smelled delicious, they are celebrating their 53rd year. We hurried on by as our taste buds were yearning to go inside, but our waistlines said no!

We strolled on down to  Arvada Bead Connection, a local favorite where the proprietor is very friendly. Sadly, he is having a going out of business sale. With the changing demographic, the rents are being raised and parking removed which doesn’t appeal to his clientele. MB made sure to scoop up several seed bead tubes for future crafting. We wished him the best and moved on.

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Fuzzy’s Tacos across the street is said to be good, we haven’t tried it yet.

There are a growing number of new coffee shops, which we are sure will appeal to early morning commuters. If you want to make your commute really good, drop into the Rheinlander. Hey, you’ll be walking to the light rail, so it’s all good!

Our next stop was Third Eye Gifts, upon entering you feel the warmth of positive energy. The proprietor has several Himalayan Salt Lamps lit and producing negative ions. The negative ones are positive! The smell of incense was not overwhelming, just an added touch.

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We asked about the singing bowls and the owner took quite a bit of time to demonstrate them and teach us how they work.  We were definitely rookies when he had us try them. I think we’ll be back to purchase one soon. This may be a new favorite shop.

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For as chilly as it was, there were still kids in the water park! Located in the center of Old Town, they offer movies here in the summer. During the day, it’s a spot for kids to play while the adults relax on the nearby benches and visit. Near the holidays, a Christmas Tree and other decorations are added. You can also take an old-fashion carriage ride through downtown. We have to admit, this is an improvement on the parking lot that used to sit here.

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Schoolhouse Kitchen & Libations is aptly named as it is in the old Arvada School.  We’ve heard nothing but rave reviews about this place. We happy to see them re-purposing the old buildings rather than tear them down. It helps to maintain the ambiance.

A local favorite with children of all ages is Scrumptious Ice Cream and their cement pig mascot.

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He’s a Superhero today, just a few months ago, he was a hippie, but he’s always good for a kids photo-op. The shop itself offers some unusual and delicious home-made ice cream flavors, dark cherry and bourbon flavors are favorites. Everyday they have something different. On one side of the shop is the ice cream parlor, on the other is an old-fashioned candy store with bottled soda. On a hot evening, this place is packed. Right across the street from the light rail station, they’ll be busy all year-round.

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We ran out of time to further explore, and there are so many new shops and restaurants to visit.

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Penzeys Spices and Silver Vines Winery are first on the list for our next downtown stroll. Can you imagine how wonderful Penzeys Spices must smell?

If you are in our neck of the woods, be sure to stop by Olde Town Arvada.

 

Here’s to a Happy Life!

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🍁MaryBeth & Sherry 🍂

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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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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Moving Forward

Recently, in our lives there have been many things to grieve, divorce, death, relationships, world problems and the current state of America.

We aren’t going to offer an opinion on the world’s problems or America; politics or otherwise. We’ll leave it to the media and the internet to misinform you.

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It seems as we age that sorrow comes into our lives more often. We shed more tears, reminisce more often, sit alone in silence. It may seem odd to find joy in grief, but it is usually there nonetheless.

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Both Sherry and I have lost both parents; we both took care of our aging parents at one point. If at first this seemed somewhat of a burden, in the end in it was a blessing. It allowed them to stay in their homes surrounded by the things and people they loved, letting them be at peace.

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For us, the gift was the ability to move forward in our relationships with them, seeing them not so much as a parent but as a friend. I’ve always felt that it helped me to repay the years that they devoted to me even though they did not expect any payment.

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In divorce, after grieving your loss, there is a sense of freedom, a re-bonding with yourself and friends that may have been neglected along the way.  Your bond with your children changes as they see you in a different light.

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There is pain in loss and we are all entitled to experience it. Feel, bemoan, embrace your grief and when you are ready actively seek out the joy that your loved one, your ex-spouse, or ex-friend left in you. Rejoice in your memories and get out there and make more!

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Here’s to a happy life! 🍾

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MaryBeth & Sherry

 

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