March 2021 Free Calendar Download - Sunrise

 
March entered central Illinois like a lamb, warm and Spring-like, melting the snow from our mid-February blizzard and with that, erasing the storm with its brutal cold conditions from our memory. My husband brought the grill out from hibernation so I'm hoping winter won't give us one last blast.

 

 
This month's free calendar features a sunrise photo I took last March while walking, fresh into Covid lockdown that no one ever thought would still be around a year later. Even though we haven't fully emerged from the impact of the pandemic, the air feels hopeful, much like the warm spring weather.

 

 
To download March's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> March Calendar 2021 - Sunrise over Lake

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The Boulder Flatirons - Chautauqua Hiking

I almost labeled this for Fence Friday, but the snow capped mountains command this scene - at least they do for me.

 
Single Digit Temperature Vibes #rockymountainhigh #flatirons #shirleyhikes #getoutside #colorado #bouldercolorado

 
I took the opportunity to travel to Colorado with a local running friend whose daughter lives in Boulder. While the temperatures only hovered in the single digits (Fahrenheit!), the sun reflecting off the powery snow kept us warm while hiking the trails. My friend appologized for the non-ideal conditions, but I would rather hike in the beauty of a snowy forest than a more typical green one. Another upside - not many hikers on the trail, perfect in this time of social distancing; I find solitude adds to the magic of the crystalline snow globe. We accessed the trails from Chautauqua Park, hiking the Chautauqua and Flat Irons trails, crossing back along the Bluebird Mesa Trail as seen on this trail map.

 
Higher and Higher #shirleyhikes #flatirons #bouldercolorado #blackandwhitephotography #mountains #colddontcare #chataquapark

 
Maybe I'll get to experience these trails again during the warmer months. Even so, I'm glad we got out despite the bitter cold.

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February 2021 Free Calendar Download - Snowy Trail

 
Winter is in full swing in Central Illinois - the beginning of February greated us with a winter storm and fresh snow. So I find it appropriate that this month's calendar download features a similar snowfall from last year. I personally like fresh snow and enjoy taking in the beautiful forest trail. The fresh snow buffers ambient noises, allowing a peaceful experience.

 

 
To download February's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> February Calendar 2021 - Snowy Trail

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Florida Exposure - Miami's South Beach

It's Day 2 of our quick trip to South Florida - We decided today’s destination would be Miami's famous South Beach - we walked along the beach and along Ocean Drive through the Art Deco district. Normally bustling with traffic, Ocean Drive has been converted to a pedestrian-only corridor. This configuration allows the restaurants to expand outdoor dining into the street and I have to say, it was nice not having the interference- physical and audio wise - while exploring. There is a naturalized barrier between Ocean Drive and the beach which buffers the beach area from the city. We found South Beach very pretty and enjoyable.

 
Changes in Latitudes #sandbeneathmyfeet #beach #ocean #waves #southbeachmiami

 
Cloudy day means we didn't get too hot and bake under the sun!

 
The Near and Far of It #beach #sand #seagulls #lifeguardtower #cruiseship #couple #southbeachmiami #ocean

 
Scenes from Miami

 
Shades of Coral, Azure and Sunwashed Lemon. Like an 80’s Dream. #southbeachmiami #oceandrive #skyline #cityscapes

 
We enjoyed brunch at the Havana 1957 Restaurant with their yummy Cubano Sandwich.

 
Scenes from Miami

 
Did you know - a Cubano Sandwich contains citrusy Cuban pulled pork, slices of ham, swiss cheese, mustard, thin slices of pickle, heated panini style between a sweet crusty (Cuban) bread.

 

 
Later in the day, we caught the South Beach strip as dusk settled in the sky and enjoyed the twinkly lights wound around the palm trees. A lovely way to end our day.

 
The Nightlife #palmtrees #twinklelights #southbeachmiami #bluehour

 

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Florida Exposure - Miami's Little Havana

The Hubs and I did something spontaneous last week - we took an impromptu trip to Southern Florida.

 

 
I will qualify the use of "Impromptu" though - back in November, Scott outlined four winter trip options which included the Florida itinerary. We had decided this would be the trip, but did not set a specific date for travel. On Monday January 4, we decided to go the following week - pretty spontaneous for us! We booked the flights and hotels quickly and flew out early on January 11.

 

 
First stop - Miami and Little Havana:

 
After arriving and checking into our hotel, we decided to explore Little Havana by driving to the main strip - 8th street - aka Calle Ocho. The neighborhood, with its Latin roots serves as a cultural center for the arts - visual, music, culinary. While live music remains on hold, the colorful murals adorning side streets remind visitors the pause is just that - a short pause.

 

 

Little Havana Mural

 

The quintessential Calle Ocho Roosters dot the streetscape in Little Havana - I learned they were installed as an artists' installation starting in 2002. Appropriate since chickens and roosters often run around the neighborhood.  

 

 
Untitled

 

 

I found this cool vintage vehicle behind one of the shops and it reminded me of what you might see in actual Havana.

 
That Color #downsouth #littlehavana #vintage

 

We walked around and took in the little cafes and cigar shops before deciding upon an early dinner at Restaurant El Cristo. I had crispy pork chunks with roasted garlic - with so many colorful veggies. The official name of the dish is Masitas De Cerdo or Sauteed Cuban Pork - so delicious!

 
More Colors #littlehavana #foodie #eattherainbow #delish

 

While no visit to Little Havana is complete without Cuban Coffee, I don't normally drink caffeine in the afternoon. But I snapped this photo of a sad, un-used espresso maker in one of the stores. I suspect it was not operating due to Covid regulations.

 
Afternoon Buzz #butfirstcoffee #cubancoffee #littlehavana

 

It was a fun afternoon exploring Little Havana. Hopefully the live performance and music scene returns soon.

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MIchelle S, Class of 2021 - Fall and Winter Looks

We thought the Class of 2020 bore the brunt of the global COVID pandemic. Certainly after months of remote work and learning, mask wearing and other precautions, life would resume "back to normal". We, however, failed to recognize how long the virus would continue its impact and who knows what "normal" will look like going forward.

 
Michelle, Class of 2021, is making the best of the situation. An avid runner, she ran cross country on her team's modified fall season and was named to the All-Area Team. Michelle displays a casual and sporty calm in her demeanor and she is most comfortable when down to earth scenarios. Her family hails from a farm in Indiana so the rural, prairie setting was perfect for our fall session. Photos taken at Allerton Park in Monticello

 

MIchelle S

MIchelle S

MIchelle S

MIchelle S

 

I'm good friends with Michelle's mom, and she mentioned how much fun it would be to have photos taken during a fresh snowfall. We received a decent amount of snow last weekend, so we headed to a friend's backyard and held photo shoot number two.

 

Michelle in the Snow

 

It wasn't actively snowing, but with some help from friends, we made it lightly snow. 

 

Michelle in the Snow

Michelle in the Snow

 

Behind the scenes, trying to make it snow - another friend with a long cleaning brush, knocking down snow from the tree tops. Michelle's mom took this photo.

 

Behind the Scenes 

Good luck to Michelle on the remaining school year - perhaps with the availability of the Covid vaccine they will be able re-start the regular High school events in the spring.


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January 2021 Free Calendar Download - Snowy Pine Cones

It's a New Year, so I'm back with January's photo calendar. Hopefully I will keep these posts coming for 2021. We start 2021's calendar with snowy pine cones.

 



To download January's calendar, click on this link from Box.com
Link --> January 2021 Pine Cones

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