Trip to include Switzerland!

It is hard to believe that our trip to France is just two months away! We finally made a decision about the second week of our vacation. After spending a week in Paris, we will head to Lyon and then to Switzerland. Now, we must decide where to visit in Switzerland.We will only have three days to spend there so we have to choose wisely. How can we choose from Lucerne, Zermatt, Bern, Geneva, and more!? I have spent hours looking at so many Swiss areas and it is really hard to decide. Some travel sites recommend skipping the larger cities and I think that is what we are considering. I believe we will want to spend time hiking and taking in the absolutely gorgeous scenery instead of fighting crowds.

 

 

 

Reconnecting with friends

My husband and I recently spent an evening with a dear friend. We only recently reconnected after years of separation.

We first met while working part-time during high school. We connected in many ways and not just because of work. We did not realize at first how much we had in common and may not have realized the realm of similarities until we were adults. We both loved school partially because it gave us respite from our homes. Unfortunately, both our mothers had unusual personalities and well, that is another post.

Anyway, the weekend with my friend was a reminder that some of our deepest friendships may be the ones that develop at a young age. They know or at least understand our family, and they see us in good and bad times, including the awkward teenage years. These friends share high school and college years. In many cases, these are lean financial years (at least that was the case when we were growing up). This means that friends from this time period know what it is like to just hang out and talk, eat at fast food restaurants, attend student events (i.e., FREE), and go to other cheap options. They know us without all the adult baggage, keeping up with the Jones’ syndrome I see so many adults falling into, and only attending events where there may be some payoff. Do we really make great friends in these situations? I think we can make friends through such avenues, but for the majority, these are not deep friendships.

It was great to see Tammy. We did not talk about the years of separation because at this time it is not important. We enjoyed and appreciated the present with our husbands as adult women. Reminiscing about some of the people from our high school job brought some smiles and laughter. As I look back on that Saturday evening, spending the night at her house, talking, laughing, and sharing, I realize this is what girlfriends do at all ages. However, only special friendships can pick up after a few years, add in the spouses, and carry on.

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The first time we saw each other in years. I was so excited to see Tammy again. I did not take any photos during our recent visit.

 

Planning for France

I am so excited!! I am FINALLY going to France! I have wanted to travel to France since I was a teenager. My high school French teacher not only tried to teach us the language but also taught us about many of the most famous Paris sites and monuments. The Louvre was one of the topics and at that time I fell in love with the idea of touring the Louvre some day and seeing the Mona Lisa.

I have tried to convince my husband for years to go  with me but he always said that he was not interested. So, a friend and I are going in the Fall of this year for two weeks! We will spend the first week in Paris in an apartment we booked thru Airbnb. The apartment is a unique find – the Mona Lisa actually stayed in the apartment building for a little while. Really! Many are not aware that the Mona Lisa was stolen from the Louvre in 1911 and the thief hid it in his room about 2 miles from the Louvre before taking it to Italy. Our apartment is in the same building. I know this may not be a big deal for most travelers, but to me it is special detail to our trip.

We have not decided where we will go during our second week because there are so many options. We can visit other regions of France or go to other countries. I am sure I will have more to share about the trip as soon as more plans are finalized. I will gladly accept any suggestions. What are your recommendations?

Cupcakes & Gala

After weeks of testing recipes, adjusting recipes, and tasting and sampling, the cupcakes were finally completed for the River Run International Film Festival. The Festival is a fantastic annual spring event held in Winston-Salem, NC. Each year the festival shows over 150 feature length and short films at a variety of venues over a week and a half. There are many community events, including the Gala held the first Friday of the Festival. Two of my friends and I made the cupcakes for the Gala again this year!

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All About That Cake (aka The Cupcake Girls)

The flavors included Raspberry Lemonade, Chocolate Peanut Butter, Funfetti, Hummingbird, Salted Caramel, and Black & White. I cannot believe it, but I forgot to take any pictures during the creation of the wonderful cupcakes. I also did not take many once they were baked and decorated. Once we arrived and placed the cupcakes on display, I finally took a few pictures.

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Peanut Butter & Chocolate, Raspberry Lemonade, and Hummingbird

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Hummingbird with Dried Pineapple Flowers

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Front row: Raspberry Lemonade and Salted Caramel; Back row: Funfetti, Hummingbird, and Funfetti

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Now, we can enjoy the festival and take in some films.

 

Heritage Dance Competition

 

Although we did not compete, we drove to Asheville to watch the Heritage Classic Dance Competition. The competition is almost a full week of dancing held at the Grove Park Inn.  If you ever have a chance to just stop in the Grove Park to look around, you should. The views from the decks are spectacular and the interior is gorgeous.

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We have not been to this competition in a couple years and I was hoping to make it this year. We had so much going on at home and work I was not sure we would take the time for the short road trip. My husband told me it was up to me. I have to admit that once I told him that Karina Smirnoff was performing he was much more interested! I also mentioned her partner, Slavik Kryklyvyy, but my husband didn’t care about that. Karina is absolutely beautiful so most men probably do not notice she is dancing with a partner when she is performing. I did not take many photos during the performances because I wanted to just watch and enjoy, and we were not seated in great spots for capturing good photos.

Ballroom dance competitions are fun and interesting to watch, especially for amateur dancers. I enjoy watching the pros compete in order to learn. Dancing is like any other hobby or sport – not only should we practice but we should also take pointers from those that make a living from the hobby.