Five on Friday

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Flora Boom

One. Harper Wins the Home Run Derby – The All Star Game was in DC this year and while I didn’t have tickets to any of the festivities, you can be sure I watched them! Bryce Harper has said year after year that he’d only participate in the Home Run Derby again when it was held in DC – and he stayed true to that promise and competed this year – and HE WON!

I watched the full 2.5+ hours of the Home Run Derby and watched the final round especially with baited breath – Kyle Schwarber was an absolute beast and hit 18 homers, so Harp needed at least 19 to win! It was nerve wracking, but in the best way possible and that final blast to win was amazing! Please enjoy the picture of me below watching with all kinds of anxiety, ha-ha!

 

Two. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again – I remember that when I saw the original movie I didn’t love it that much…although I cannot honestly say why, because it’s just a lovely feel good movie. Granted, I was ten years younger and maybe a little bit more of a punk, ha-ha! So tonight I’m going to see the follow up to the original – which somehow manages to be a prequel and a sequel. I’m sure it will be delightful.

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Three. Sweet Puppy Cuddles – My little pup was feeling especially loving on Thursday when I got home and there is just nothing like some snuggling with your puppy to really make your afternoon. Watson seems to get more cuddly as he gets older and while I don’t love that he’s getting older, I do love that he is so cuddly!

 

Four. Perfectly Posh Galaxy Collection – A new line of products is coming to Perfectly Posh tonight and it’s all galaxy themed! The new items will be dropping on the web site at 8:00 (mountain time) tonight and I cannot wait for everyone to see the awesome new pampering products!

A sneak peek for everyone – one of the new products is a big fat yummy hand creme called What’s Your Sign and it has an amazing blackberry, vanilla and velvet musk scent. You can check out the new products and more at: http://NatalieSummerlin.po.sh

Five. Nationals Baseball – The second half of the season starts tonight with the Nationals behind Stephen Strasburg and facing off against a formidable Atlanta Braves team. The Nationals ended the first half of the season with a record of 48-48, a perfectly even .500 average – which is not really that perfect. Oops!

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I’m hoping that with the return of Stephen to the pitching rotation and perhaps some renewed energy after the All-Star Break, maybe we can begin the climb towards the top of the standings and be the team I know we can! Here’s hoping! Let’s go Nats!

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Y’all have a nice weekend and I’ll see you back here soon!

Justice, Just a Lot of Nothing & Air Plants

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Well – as the title would suggest – I didn’t really do too much this weekend. I suppose every weekend can’t be filled with grand adventure and exploration…and I can never quite decide if the weekend passes faster with things to do or faster with nothing to do. What I can attest to is that it passes much quicker than I’d like, regardless of my plans!

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We closed up the office at 3:00 on Friday and so my weekend began early – and I was honestly thankful because I’d been dealing with a headache for most of Friday afternoon, so I hopped on my couch and took a nap when I got home. Talk about kicking off the weekend with a bang, am I right?

We grabbed some delicious dinner at our favorite local Mexican restaurant and then made a Target run, where I purchased Batman vs. Superman and Justice League. After returning home, I sat outside on the deck and watched the birds feasting at the feeder for a while and then curled up on my couch to watch Batman vs. Superman – and decided that I liked it a lot more than I remembered.

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I slept in on Saturday and while I’d originally not thought about tagging along… I decided at the last minute (sort of) to join my parents for breakfast at a new(ish) cafe in nearby Strasburg. I’m not a huge breakfast eater, so I just had coffee and a yummy coffee cake muffin. We grabbed some orange creamsicle cupcakes to go and headed back home, where I just spent the rest of the late morning and early afternoon doing a whole lot of nothing. I mean – that is in the title y’all, what did you expect?

My Mom and I decided that we needed to do something to pass the afternoon and so my Mom did a bit of investigating and we headed about twenty minutes up the road to Berryville to explore some of the shops on Main Street. We perused a fair trade shop where I grabbed some gorgeous earrings and my Mom picked up some wee chocolate bars, I found a new favorite shop called Modern Mercantile and I also picked up a key fob that has the line “I solemnly swear I am up to no good…” from Harry Potter.

My favorite purchase from the day though were my terrariums, filled with delightful little bromeliad, moss, rocks and decor. Modern Mercantile had a station set up where you could choose a container, choose a plant, choose fillers and put everything together to make a hanging terrarium. I’ve been intrigued by air plants and this seemed like the perfect time to finally get myself one…or two. I created two little hanging terrariums and we headed back toward home…

We did; of course, make a stop at the mall and we were both lured in by Hallmark’s ornament premiere and a sale at Bath and Body Works, ha-ha! We grabbed some dinner at Macado’s on the Winchester Walking Mall and then went back to the house – where I watched Justice League and Watson questioned what exactly we’d brought him from our afternoon of adventuring…

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Sunday morning I could have slept…and slept… but I got myself up, had coffee and breakfast and got myself to church for the second service. It starts at 10:30 and I’d bought a ticket for the 12:00 showing of Ant-Man & the Wasp – but my church is quite close to the theater and I assumed I’d easily make it from one to the other with plenty of time to spare. Well, the sermon went a bit long and there I was – the person creeping out early – on the Sunday the pastor preached about patience. There’s some irony there – I know.

I thoroughly enjoyed Ant-Man & the Wasp and I almost thoroughly enjoyed my time at the movies – the perils of going to the movies alone means you never know who might sit next to you – sigh. I headed home and continued to be a bum, watching the season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale and the premiere episode of Sharp Objects on HBO before taking a bit of a nap… It was raining outside, so it was the perfect weather for napping!

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The evening was rounded out with a trip to nearby Newtown Creamery for ice cream – because it was National Ice Cream Day – so it was kind of a requirement, right? I got a lemon cone rolled in rainbow sprinkles and it was divine! I closed out my weekend with my customary Sunday evening bubble bath and some reading before I crashed.

So – as you can see, the weekend wasn’t exactly packed with activities – but it was a good weekend all the same.

 

 

 

Five on Friday

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Flora Boom

One. Royal Commentary – I love all things related to the royal family and after reading The Royal We, I discovered the author’s website called Go Fug Yourself (excuse the name, ha-ha). The website mostly caters to critiquing celebrity wardrobes and reviewing television shows…but they also cater to all things royal and they do it with some cheek.

Prince Louis was christened earlier in the week and I perused the photos, alongside the cheeky commentary and found myself rolling with laughter. I couldn’t resist sharing just one of the pictures here – I cannot look at this picture without hearing the Duchess say exactly the above phrase!

Two. Speaking of the Christening – I absolutely am in love with the hat Catherine is wearing… it’s almost tiara-like and she looks stunning… but then again, that’s nothing new with Catherine. Meghan Markle is; in my humble opinion, just hitting this whole being a royal thing out of the park and always looks fabulous.

And don’t even get me started on Prince George, Princess Charlotte and wee little Prince Louis – just when you think they can’t get any cuter! Princess Charlotte even reminded the gathered photographers that they “weren’t coming to the party”. *sigh* I do love those wiley royals!

Three. Peanut Butter Cup Magic Squares – My Mom has always made something called magic squares and while perusing Pintrest recently, I stumbled upon a variation on the recipe and had to give it a try. It’s incredibly easy to make and absolutely delicious!

What You Need

  • peanut butter cookie dough
  • 1 cup peanut butter chips
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup salted peanuts
  • 3/4 cup miniature Reese’s Cups
  • 1 15 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk

Line a 9×13 pan with the peanut butter cookie dough and cook  at 350 degrees for approximately 8 minutes; you want the cookies to be setting up but not completely cooked.

Remove the cookie dough from the oven and while still warm, top with most of the peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, salted peanuts and Reese’s cups. Drizzle the can of sweetened condensed milk over the mixture and top with the remaining peanut butter chips, chocolate chips, salted peanuts and Reese’s cups. Bake at 350 from 20-25 minutes.

Let cool and cut. Pig out!

Four. Watson Watching Baseball – I swear, it’s like he turned around to look at the TV as if to say “what kind of call was that?!? – Garbage!”

Five. Weekend Plans – As in, I have none! We’d originally planned to head to DC to catch the Armed Services Classic at Nationals Park but after researching that it was actually a softball game… we decided we’d pass, ha-ha! So now it’s the weekend and I’ve got nothing to do… I’m thinking I might finally go see Ant-Man & the Wasp but beyond that, the weekend is wide open to adventure!

That’s all I’ve got for this Friday y’all – I hope you have a wonderful weekend and get up to something exciting!

Virginia Safari Park

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I’ll level with you – I love animals but I love them in the sort of way that involves (for the most part) the animals being viewed from afar – depending on the animal, of course. The Virginia Safari Park is located in Natural Bridge, Virginia and is 180 acres of rolling mountain hills filled with all manner of exotic wildlife that come right up to your vehicle and eat food out of your hands. It all sounds very exciting – right?

Thursday afternoon was blisteringly hot – so I was thrilled that this portion of the “staycation” took place from the comfort of the air conditioned car. We got our buckets of feed and rolled across the grates that keep the animals inside the 180 acres of open land and immediately our car was approached by llamas on all sides. I’d like to say that any one of the above pictures showcases my hands reaching out of the window to feed the llamas – but the minute a llama came toward my open window, I screamed and rolled my window up. And y’all – I mean I screamed. It wasn’t a little “eek” – it was a full blown murder shriek and I was done. *insert laughter emoji here*

The whole thing was delightfully entertaining and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I even rolled my windows down again several times, although not ever to feed an animal. I did feel the need to question the wildebeest on why they’d killed Mufasa…although they are firmly in the camp of “no comment”. I also talked to several deer, antelope, buffalo and zebra – but this was done when they were a bit farther from my open window, no need to give them a chance to sneak up and stick their heads in my face!

The herds of antelope were a favorite of mine – especially the Blackbuck antelope with the spiral horns! As we passed through the more shaded areas of the park, we encountered several herd of deer, antelope and even a herd of buffalo – which were gigantic! While many of the buffalo were relaxing in the shade, there were two or three that were more than ready to poke their heads into the car window and sample some feed – but this is where even my Mom lost her nerve. She said their heads were much too large to put through the car window and she quickly rolled up her window – and a buffalo dragged his nose across the closed window, emblazoning it with a banner of snot.

My personal favorite animal was the zebra – I would have happily rolled my window down to feed them, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option. *sigh* I know what you’re thinking… I am only saying that because I didn’t have the option to punk out of feeding the zebra, but honestly – I’d have fed them for sure! All you could do was pour some of the feed through a PVC pipe tube into their enclosure and so I did try that…

Once the ride through was completed, there was another section that was more along the lines of a traditional zoo with animals in enclosures for viewing – but it did include a petting zoo with goats and giraffes that could be fed with cups of lettuce and feed. Little goats are cute, but I didn’t really have much interest in petting them, but I thoroughly enjoyed walking around the pathways and looking at all the animals in their little homes.

The Safari Park had two Bengal tigers – one white and one orange, both were lounging in the shade and were hard to get a picture of…but I tried! They also had a kangaroo walk about and we made our way up to the giraffe feeding station, where I offered my $5 bill for a souvenir cup filled with romaine lettuce and was told they only accepted cards. Boo. So I just observed the giraffe – still quite up close though!

After taking in the monkeys, the peacock and passing by the African penguins just one more time – we decided that it was crazy hot outside and we’d seen all their was to see. We missed the wolves and the cheetah but honestly guys – it was just SO hot outside, in the way that left you feeling physically drained. We packed it in and headed for home.

We stopped in the college town of Harrisonburg (home to James Madison University) and grabbed dinner at an Irish Pub I found via Yelp – called Corgan’s Publick House – the food was delicious! I had a cup of the potato soup and the chicken pot pie, so yummy! We arrived home with plenty of time to spare and called the day a victory on all fronts!

If you live in the Virginia area and think you’d like to check out the Virginia Safari Park, the link is: http://www.virginiasafaripark.com/ and I can guarantee it’s worth your while! The park was so fascinating and even my Dad – who is NOT an animal person – voted it his favorite part of the day because it was a unique and new experience! I’d say July “Staycation” 2018 was a success!

Natural Bridge & Natural Bridge Caverns

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The tried and true “staycation” – I can’t say I’ve ever done one but after last week, I could see myself embracing them – sort of, ha-ha! I do like that I can get in my bed at the end of the day while still getting to see and experience new things, so that’s a positive. Granted, there are so many things in the world I want to see – so while a “staycation” was perfect for this month, I see actual vacations in my future.

Natural Bridge, Virginia is about a two hour drive from our house and is home to Natural Bridge State Park – wonder where they got the name for the town?

Natural Bridge is a 215 foot high geological arch with a 90 foot span, situated within a gorge and carved over time from the limestone cliffs as Cedar Creek flowed through, leaving behind the bridge – which was once the roof of a cave or tunnel. We arrived around 10:30 and purchased combo tickets for Natural Bridge and Natural Bridge Caverns and made our way outside and down the steps, alongside Cedar Creek and toward the Cedar Creek Cafe and the walking trail to, through and beyond Natural Bridge.

The first glimpse is pretty spectacular – and more so to think that the work of water and time have created such an amazing formation…water, just flowing about it’s business and in the process making a landmark to be viewed by people for years to come. It’s thought that the bridge was first discovered in/around 1742 by a man named John Howard, tasked with surveying all of Virginia and down to the Mississippi River. It’s also believe that George Washington surveyed the site in 1750 – the initials G.W. are carved on the side of the rock (the picture on the far right below, top row…but hard to see) and many take that as proof our first president was there.

 

I probably took too many pictures but then again, I’m often inclined to think there is no such thing as too many pictures! I was also pretty intrigued to realize that the highway rolls right over the top of Natural Bridge – and while I realize that bridge is literally in the name, I am still a little stunned that traffic passes over such an amazing natural wonder all day every day… I’m inclined to think that would damage the structure over time, but maybe I’m wrong?

Once you passed under the Natural Bridge, a trail wound 9/10 of a mile through the trees and passed a Monacan Indian village, a saltpeter cave and a lost river… all leading to the 30 foot tall Lace Falls. I was NOT aware that there would be any sort of “hiking” and there really wasn’t – all the paths were flat and paved here and there – but I had on flat sandals and jeans…and it was much warmer and more humid that I’d planned for. The historical interpreters in the Native American village were all descendants of the Monacan tribe that once lived in the Natural Bridge area.

Just around the bend from the Monacan village was a saltpeter cave that was once mined for the saltpeter found inside – saltpeter is used in gun powder. The cave was like nature’s air conditioning, just stepping into the wide, low slung mouth of the cave dropped the temperature and walking even further inside was heavenly! I was glistening with sweat at this point and could have just found a rock to recline on in the shade of the cave – but there was still more to see!

 

 

I had to include video of the lost river – it was found by miners working in the saltpeter cave and water was taken from the river for use in the mining but to this day, they still haven’t figured out where the river ends… so mysterious… It was fascinating to me to hear the water rushing along in the darkness – I was tempted to hop the fence and investigate even more, but I refrained because I figured that was frowned upon…

Not too far past the lost river, we came upon the viewing platform for Lace Falls – at 30 feet tall, it wasn’t exactly breathtaking but it was still pretty to look at and of course, we took all the pictures. I have the delightful shimmer of someone who has been swimming in their own sweat for far too long… my jeans were absolutely stuck to me and I could feel sweat trickling between my shoulder blades. Gross y’all. I guess for all that, the pictures don’t look too bad…

 

The walk back down the trail seemed to go much faster than the walk up the trail – isn’t it funny how that works? We cruised past the lost river, made another pit stop at the saltpeter cave for a bit of “AC”, wandered by the Monacan village and rounded the corner to find ourselves under the arching grandeur of Natural Bridge once more… this meant I had to take more pictures, ha-ha! I also snapped a picture of a survey marker embedded in a stone – marked with a G.W. and the year 1750 – and also the year 1984, which is a year near and dear to me!

We had a late lunch at the Cedar Creek Cafe with the views of the bridge in front of us and then climbed the hill (well – I took the stairs & my parents took the shuttle) back to the gift shop and our car. After a quick peek into the Natural Bridge Hotel, we made our way up the road less than a mile to Natural Bridge Caverns to join the 2:00 tour into the depths of the Earth. We walked down a long, slimy passage into the caves and then on with the tour…

 

The caverns were discovered in the late 19th century by two young boys poking around in the woods … as young boys do. The boys reported their find and were paid $1 a day to excavate and clear pathways through the caves and $1 was a king’s ransom back then, so the boys happily did the work, along with friends they brought along. The boys made it quite deep into the cave before knocking through a wall and hearing a wailing that sounded eerily similar to a woman moaning – the boys bolted for the exit, told everyone the caverns were haunted and no one entered the caverns until the late 70’s.

We saw columns, stalactites and stalagmites, soda straws and more… the tour guide took us to the deepest portion of the caves and then cut out all the lights. The darkness was impenetrable and our guide explained that the human eyes would never adjust to this level of darkness and your brain would begin to hallucinate as it tried to reconstruct the room. Yikes, right? The tour lasted about 50 minutes and was fairly interesting – however I’ve been on numerous cave tours and I’d have to say that this one was the least impressive – the cave just doesn’t contain that many formations. And we had some insanely pesky children along for our tour… loud interruptions, trying to touch and climb on all the formations and just being downright rude led to the tour being less than grand.

I’m glad we toured the caverns – I always love a good tour of caves and caverns – but I do think if I was recommending caverns to someone, there are a few more in the area that might rank a bit higher than Natural Bridge Caverns.

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I’ll pause our “staycation” recap here – I’ll be back on Thursday to finish out our visit to Natural Bridge, Virginia – with information about the Virginia Safari Park! Until then, y’all enjoy your Tuesday!