Sunday, May 16, 2021

May Blooms

Ah, May!  My favorite month of the year!  I love seeing all the flowers emerge out of the ground and bloom.  I love the gorgeous blossoms of the crab apple trees.  It's so wonderful to see life begin again after a long, cold, dark winter.  But as much as I love the month of May,  it is a busy month for me.  There is so much to do, I often feel overwhelmed. The garden beds have to be cleaned up and weeded.  Fresh mulch needs to be applied in the gardens that need it most.  Seedlings need to be started indoors.  Baby annuals need to be planted.  The vegetable garden needs to be planted.  Porches need to be cleaned, and some repainted.   Indoor plants need to be taken outside for the summer.   I wake up each morning stressed out and think:  "What is the most important thing I need to accomplish today?"  But little by little, things get scratched off my list, and by June I can relax a little and just spend the rest of the summer watering and weeding...until Fall, when the busy, hard work begins again.

But let's not think about all the hard work see what is in bloom in my garden in May, shall we?

The creeping phlox is always one of my favorites to behold.  I love how it's "creeping" onto my stairs.

 The daffodils and tulips really outdid themselves this year.  

Grape Hyacinths with some Catmint.

These red tulips were so striking this year.  Brighter and bolder then I remember from previous years.

Thank goodness there was no late frost or blizzards this year to ruin our Crabapple blooms.  Last year we didn't get any blooms because of the weather.

This Crabapple tree was the star of the garden this year.  Of course it helps to have a beautiful carpet of Creeping Phlox behind it.

I try to keep this bed as free of perennials as possible because it is right in front of the house, so I want to have lots of room in it to plant annuals.  I have pulled this Laminin (the purple flower) out so many times, yet it is so vigorous, it keeps growing back.  It certainly is pretty though, isn't it?

I love the color of this orange tulip.

Here the Laminin is growing so vigorously it's taken over a huge part of the garden.  But I don't mind it's vigor in this garden.  This garden is very far from house and I like to spend as little time in this garden as possible.  I can't even see this garden from my house, so I don't care about it as much.  I grow naturalized plants in here;  like orange day lilies, so that it is very low maintenance.

I was so happy to see so many daffodils this year.  I felt the blooms were diminishing and they needed to be dug up and divided...which would be a lot of work!  For whatever reason, they seemed to have re-energized themselves. 

I've always loved the rose-like blooms on this shrub.  I only wish there were more of them and they lasted longer.

An early-blooming Vibernum bush.

I hope you enjoyed my little May garden tour.  I will be back in June with more pictures!  Something new blooms every month!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Our Smokey Mountains Vacation -Day Two: Rainbow Falls

This post is part of a travel series of our vacation in the Smokey Mountains.  To start at the beginning, go HERE!

On day two of our Smokey Mountain vacation we decided to hike one of the parks most popular trails:  Rainbow Falls.  Rainbow Falls is nearly eighty feet high, making it the highest single drop falls in the Smokies.  It gets its name from the rainbow it produces on sunny afternoons.  We were there in the morning, so we did not see a rainbow.

The Rainbow Falls Trail is 2.7 miles ONE WAY.  It is is described as moderately difficult, which I would agree with.  We were really physically hurting after this trail, and unable to do anything for the rest of the day.  We are serious hikers, but we hadn't really been hiking since last fall so that could have been part of the problem.  We saw lots of people turn around on this trail and never make it to the top, however, a lot of hikers in the Smokey Mountains don't seem to be in great shape.  The elevation gain is 684 feet per mile, with a total elevation gain of 1685 feet.  

For a large part of the trail, you get to enjoy a beautiful stream running along the right side of the trail.  The sound of water is so soothing and it provides many pretty spots to stop and take a picture.

After the fires in 2016 the park addressed many issues of this trail.  They fixed eroded areas and added steps to make the trail easier to follow.

The one thing about the Smokies that amazed me the most was all the water!  There are streams of water everywhere in the Smokies.  I don't think we hiked a single trail that did not include water.

Because we read how crowded these trails get, we got up before dawn and were on the trail as the sun was rising.  It was so beautiful and peaceful.  It is recommended to hike this trail in the very early morning hours or the late afternoon because the sun rises right behind the falls making it difficult to photograph in the late morning/early afternoon.

We spotted one very friendly turkey on our hike.  He was not afraid of me one bit.  I've included a short video of him at the bottom of the post.

This trail was pretty much a constant incline.  You are climbing uphill for 2.7 miles.  I kept thinking:  "It will be so much easier on the way back down", but it really wasn't because the incline was so steep that my toes kept hitting the top of my shoes causing me a lot of pain.  We soaked in the hotel's hot tub for a LONG TIME after this hike!

We came across this large fallen tree on our hike and of course hubby had to walk across it. 😀

Getting up and hitting the trail early not only gave us some time to enjoy the trail by ourselves, but it also gave us some beautiful sunrise shots.

Because there is so much water in the park, Smokey Mountain National Park has many beautiful and rustic bridges crossing the water.  You will see many pictures of me standing on a bridge in many posts to come.

Because I'm afraid of both heights and water, I was always a little nervous crossing them and I couldn't help but wonder why they didn't put a railing on BOTH sides of the narrow bridge.  I was so tentative walking across these bridges on day one, but by day five, I was a pro.  At the end of this post, I included a bridge walk video that my hubby took of me.  He thought I was hysterical.

We always stopped and enjoyed the little falls we saw along the way.  It made the difficult hike much easier.

Finally we were rewarded for all our effort and reached Rainbow Falls!.  In this picture, we are standing farther downstream from it, you can barely see it through the trees.

A rugged trail leads you further to the falls.


Once again, there is a rugged bridge in front of the falls that provides not only access over the river, but a great photo opportunity!

You are not suppose to climb on the rocks on, by, or near the falls, but of course, everyone did anyway.  There have been many injuries and deaths from people falling on the slippery rocks.

We had read that if you climb the trail a little further past the falls you can get above and behind the falls, so we decided to try it.  We hiked for about another half hour, and the trail seemed to be going farther and farther away from the falls.  After talking to several hikers coming back down the opposite way, we decided to turn around.  They told us the trail the trail lead to the lodge and not to the top of the falls.

Once we were back down the trail and to the parking lot we were absolutely shocked to see how many people were there.  We were so glad we got up and hit the trail early!  The parking lot was completely full, and cars were lined up on both sides of the road for quite a distance!

And now, here are some very short videos for you to enjoy!  If you don't have much time to watch them all, at least watch the first two waterfall ones.  I feel you can get a better sense of the falls watching a video of moving water than you can ever get from a photograph.

 Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!

Sunday, May 9, 2021

May Stylish Monday - Put A Ruffle On It

On the second Monday of every month a group of style bloggers and I pick a theme, style an outfit based on that theme, and then do a link up together where you can join too!  This month's theme is "Put A Ruffle On It".  Even though I have never been a fan of ruffles, I LOVED this theme!  It was so much fun to see what all the other ladies came up with,  and I was amazed at how many things with ruffles I actually owned.  

I decided this cute, fun and flirty chambray skirt was perfect for the challenge because the ruffled hem is so obvious.

Now that I'm closer to leaving my fifties behind and nearing the sixties, I prefer my skirts to be a little longer.  I think this just-above-the knee is perfect for me.

I paired my ruffled skirt with a yellow and black top from Maurice's and then I added a gingham bag for interest.

For jewelry, I went with yellow stud earrings and a black and white bracelet.  It was a warm day, so I was able to wear white sandals.

I really love this skirt.  I was able to snag it for just a few dollars at a Younkers Going-out-of-Business sale.

This cute covered bridge is in another town near ours.  They really made a nice park area for fishing and baseball. They also have a great playground for the kids, and a pretty gazebo.  

When I think of ruffles, I usually picture some gigantic, frilly, ultra-feminine dress.  But I found out in doing this challenge that there are many ways to add the ruffle trend to your wardrobe without looking too feminine or frilly.

Without a ruffle, this chambray skirt would just be so plain and uninteresting.

So what do you think?  Are you a fan of ruffles or not?  Be sure to check out all the ruffles in the other ladies outfits before you decide.  Your answer might change and surprise you.

And now let's see what the other ladies in the group are wearing and be sure to link up your outfits too!


Brigitte - Brigitte Marie Foret Blog & @brigittemarieforet on Instagram - I love incorporating ruffles into my everyday looks, because they add a subtle femininity to any outfit. Ruffles possess the ability to transform any basic garment into an elevated statement piece. Whether worn during the week, or for a special occasion, ruffles are definitely an element of clothing that I enjoy wearing.


Julie - Fashion Trends and Friends and Instagram FashionTandF -  Ruffles add details and interest!  I’m all about them both big and small. They make an impact and elevate an outfit! 


Nancy -  Nancy’s Fashion Style - This is my beloved ruffle blouse. It's a old one and I don't wear it often, but those ruffles are so perfect to me. And I love the color combination and the kind a preppy look, but the punky feel that the blouse gives me. I need a black one too, of course. But this one, although it's not my favorite color, has the perfect ruffles. The only thing that I need from a black blouse are ruffles at the cuffs! So if you happen to see one, give me a sign!


Emma - The Style Splash - I love ruffles and frills - especially on blouses - because they add a bit of drama to an outfit. I bought this red one a few years ago in a sale and never get bored with it.


Shelbee - Shelbee on the Edge - I don’t have a lot of ruffled things in my wardrobe, but I do love the dramatic flounce that can often be found in kimono styles. Big flared bell sleeves and a wide flounce at the bottom of a mixed pattern kimono paired with a denim mermaid skirt seemed to fit the theme this month.


Suzanne - Ask Suzanne Bell - Flirty and fun, ruffles add a touch of femininity to any outfit, which is something I’m looking for these days. Whether it’s an extra flounce on a dress or skirt or a big ruffle on top, give it a try and enjoy a little extra spring in your step all day long!


Nicole - High Latitude Style - I am not a ruffle person. Thus, this dress is just a tryout of the current trend. The plan was to cut the ruffle off if I wouldn’t like it. I am still undecided whether to cut or not to cut it off. What do you think?


Andy - Pearls and Pantsuits - I’ll confess, ruffles aren’t exactly my thing, since I don’t really need any extra fluff on my already fluffy pear shaped body! This top has a delicate ruffle detail around the wrist, and the floral print adds the touch of romance that is so big this season. 


Ada - Elegance and Mommyhood - This lovely yellow dress has been in my closet for over a decade (it’s by Express). I wore it to our Florida vacation last year. Since the “challenge” was all about ruffles and flounce I decided to go full steam with this fully-ruffled dress. It reminds me a little bit of the 20s from a century ago.


Lucy - Lucy Ruffles are fashion’s way of telling you not to take styling too seriously- lighten up!  loving this ruffle theme- so freeing (and it also helps that this blouse is in my very favourite Spring colour)!   

And Me!

Amy - Amy’s Creative Pursuits - “I always like it when clothing items have a little extra detail added to them.  The ruffle on the bottom of this chambray skirt is flirty and fun!  It wouldn’t be as interesting if it was just a typical A-line skirt.

Have A Great Day! Amy

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