Monday, October 31, 2016

Black Poncho with Brown Pants

I am writing this fashion post ahead of time because I will be taking a romantic getaway with my husband this weekend.  As I am writing, I realize it will be Halloween on Monday!  I don't celebrate Halloween anymore so I don't have a costume to show you,  but as I look at these pictures I think "Gees, this black poncho would make a great base for a witch's costume!".  Too funny.  I know.  I've been seeing a lot of interesting fashion blog posts where they are showing how you can create a really fun costume by using items straight from your closet and not buying a thing!  I love that idea!

I bought my poncho last season from a gift shop.  I really like it because it's a thin knit and very long. A heavy, short poncho can really add a lot of unwanted pounds.  The last time I wore it with a skirt HERE.  As I look back on those pictures, I really do not like that outfit at all.  But that's the fun part of fashion blogging, you get to see all your hits and misses and learn from them.

My brown skinny jeans are new.  I received a gift card to Macy's last season from a friend and finally got around to using it.  They are by Style & Co and fit beautifully!  I never tried this brand before, but I really like it!

Since the poncho is see-thru I just wore a black, long sleeve tee shirt from Target underneath.

I carried my burgundy bag that your all probably sick of seeing by now, but I always love the pop of color it brings to an otherwise colorless outfit.

My ankle booties are from last season.  They are by Liz Claiborne.

Black Poncho, not available, similar HERE,  Style & Co Tummy-Control Colored Wash Straight-Leg Jeans HERE,  Black Ankle Boots, not available, similar HERE, Black Long Sleeve T-Shirt, HERE, and Burgundy Nicole Miller Kira Satchel, HERE.

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Hiking Barn Bluff in Red Wing, Minnesota

If you read my fashion post on Friday, you would know my husband and I took yet another fall hike.  Most of the color is past peak in our area, and there are already too many barren trees.  Oh, fall is such a short, short, season.  

This was a short hike that we actually tried the weekend before on our way home from Minneapolis, but it was disastrous!  We were driving home and saw people walking high on a bluff above the highway and my husband said "Hey, you want to go up there?"  I said "Sure, why not?".  After driving around in circles for quite a bit trying to figure out where to enter at the base of the bluff, we gave up and pulled into a parking lot.  There I brought it up on my GPS, and we eventually found the place, but it wasn't easy.  They should have signs for this famous bluff on the main highways or major roads, but they don't.  The signs do not appear until you hit the side streets.  Once we found the place we encountered another major obstacle.  No trail maps or descriptions of the trails.  There are signs with names of trails and arrows pointing in the direction of that trail, but that's it.  So we asked some other hikers, and decided on the Midland Trail.  After hiking on this trail a bit, my hubby saw a unmarked trail going straight up.  So he insisted we take this short cut.  Big mistake.  It was literally straight up and very dangerous.  When we finally made it to the top, there was a sign with a fence blocking the trail saying it was closed because it was "too dangerous".  Ha!  Kinda needed that sign at the other end too morons!  Anyway, now we were lost.  So we found some rock climbers and asked them how to get to the trail that takes you up to the top.  They said they didn't know because they never got up to the top that way, they just climbed rocks!  But they did point us back to the trail again, which we followed, and it took us right back again where we started, where, we also found more hikers, who were lost, and had no idea which way to go.

By now, we were frustrated, hot, and tired.  My husband didn't have appropriate footwear on so he just wanted to call it quits.  I was disappointed, but agreed.  We were only a little more than an hour away from home, so we could come back,  but I was worried one week later would mean a lot less color.  Nevertheless, we headed back down the bluff and to our car.  

When I got home I looked up Barn Bluff on Trip Advisor and discovered we weren't the only ones with these issues.  Almost every review I read said that the place was hard to find, they got lost on the trails, and/or they wish a trail map was provided.  So Red Wing Officials....if your reading this, get your act together and provide trail maps, trail descriptions, and better signs from the main road leading to the bluff.

Now that I got that off my chest, here is our second experience with Barn Bluff once we were better clothed and educated thanks to the travelers on Trip Advisor.  By reading the reviews, I knew exactly which trail to go on this time...the South Trail, and we had no issues whatsoever.

The South Trail is a short, easy/moderate trail to a gorgeous scenic overlook of Red Wing.  The trail one way is only .83 miles, but, it is quite steep at times.

Barn Bluff rises 400 feet above the city of Red Wing.  You get views of the Mississippi River, the city of Red Wing, and Lake Pepin to the South.

The trail is mostly a worn path.  You walk through the woods at times, but then other times your walking in open prairie land like this.

Even though most of the leaves have fallen by now, there was still some color left to enjoy.

At the top of the west bluff is a large American flag that can be seen from the town below.

The wind was so cold and fierce at the top of this bluff, but I didn't mind at all as I was quite hot and exhausted from the steep climb up.

Once we had our fill of soaking up the gorgeous views from the West Scenic Overlook, we headed for the Prairie Trail and the East Scenic Overlook.  This is a gorgeous trail through a prairie on top of the bluff with scenic views all along the way.  It's a short .55 miles from the West Scenic Overlook to the East Scenic Overlook.

This overlook had more natural views than the West Overlook as there was a lot more water and bluffs instead of a city view.

There are two long staircases to climb to get to the top of the bluff.  This is one of them.  They were put there by the Kiwanis and each step has a name of a Kiwanis member who bought a step to help pay for the stairway.

Coming down off a bluff or mountain is always so much easier and faster than going up!

I'm so happy we decided to go back to Red Wing and try this hike again.   It was such a beautiful and special day!  We even saw another bluff to hike while we were there, I wanted to do that one right away and my husband said "Let's save that for next time!".  Good idea, now I'll have time to research it first so we don't get lost!

Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE.

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Burgundy, Black and Plaid Outfit

Last weekend my husband and I went on probably our last fall hike of the season.  That's not to say were done hiking for the year, as we've been known to put on our parkas and snow boots and hike even in the winter!  But, it was probably our last hike to enjoy the fall foliage as all the leaves have already dropped from the trees.

The day I wore this outfit was a Sunday;  so we decided to go to a church in Red Wing, Minnesota (about an hour and ten minutes from our house), out-to-lunch, and then hike up Barn Bluff to see the gorgeous views of the city of Red Wing.  I will be doing a separate post on this hike on Sunday's Lifestyle Post if your interested.  In the meantime, this is what I wore for all the fashionistas that follow my blog.  

I didn't want to have to change from church clothes to hiking clothes, but I did change into my hiking shoes after lunch because I knew we'd be walking up some steep inclines.  Thankfully, the church we went to was very casual (aren't they all now-a-days?),  so I fit in just perfectly.

Everything I'm wearing is old except the jeans, black tee shirt,  and the shoes.  The jeans are "Curvy Skinny Jeans" by Levi.  I picked them up on clearance for only $13.49 at J.C. Penney (sadly, they are no longer available at that price).  When I saw the description, I thought for sure they wouldn't fit because I'd hardly use the word "Curvy" to describe my body.  But I think Levi's description of "Curvy" and my description are two different things, because they fit perfectly.

I don't know why in the picture they look so ill-fitting...see all the lines of 'extra material'?   In real life they feel quite snug.  I asked my husband about it and he noticed the same thing.  He said in real life, I looked great in them, but yes, in the pictures they look big.  It must have had something to do with the lighting, I don't know.  I really like the jeans and found them very comfortable and flattering in real life.

My vest and top are a few seasons old.  The top is from Express, it is a soft, thin flannel with black lace insets. I previously showed it you in THIS POST.  The vest is from JCP and is very thin so it doesn't add a lot of extra bulk as most puffer vests do.  I last showed you the vest in THIS POST.

Our Target recently remodeled and sent me a $5.00 off a $10.00 purchase coupon in the mail to entice me to visit their store.  I've been boycotting Target for awhile now for ethical reasons, but that coupon was enough to at least get me in the door and see their new store.  I really didn't see a 'remodel'.  It looked to be like they just rearranged everything, which I didn't like, because now I couldn't find anything!  Ugh!  Anyway, I did check the women's clothes and I was really impressed with the styles and prices.  I especially loved the "Who What Wear" line.  I ended up buying this black long sleeve tee shirt for $12.00, but it was also on my winter clothes shopping list.  I really love this long tee.  It's super soft and comfortable and it reminded me of Covered Perfectly MicroModal Collection but only a fraction of the price.

 I showed you my new burgundy booties in Monday's Fashion Post, and I'm sorry to say you're going to have to get used to seeing a lot of them in all my fashion posts for the next month or so!  I just love them, they are so comfortable, and they go with everything!

I just love the extra splash of color they bring to any outfit!

I chose to carry this western black cross body bag so I could comfortably carry it on our hike.  I accented it with silver bracelets and a black and silver choker from Forever 21.

Here's a close up of the fun lace sleeves on this unique flannel shirt.

We had such a fun day this day, the pictures bring back so many fond memories.  Not long ago I had to work almost every weekend and my husband had to teach a Sunday School class, so we never had free time to do fun stuff like this.  I'm so happy we have our weekends to ourselves again.

All these pictures were taken in front of a gorgeous historic old church in Red Wing, Minnesota.  This town is filled with so many pretty old churches!

Levi Curvy Skinny Jeans,  J.C. Penney :  HERE,  Black Puffer Vest (no longer available), similar HERE,  Plaid Shirt (no longer available), similar HERE,  Burgundy Booties, DSW:  HERE,   Montana West Crossbody Bag (no longer available), similar bags:  HERE, and Black Choker, Forever 21:  HERE,  Black Long Sleeve T-Shirt, Target:  HERE

Come back on Sunday to see more pictures of this pretty town!  Till then,  Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Ashland Wisconsin Mural Walk

This is a continuation of a travel series of a camping trip I took with my family back in July.  To start at the beginning, go HERE.  The rest of the posts, in chronological order, are HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE.

On the second to last day of our camping trip the Johnson family was burnt out from hiking in the woods looking at waterfalls, so we decided a day in the city would be fun.  The nearest large city that we had never been to before was Ashland.  It was a rainy day, so we were actually hoping to see a movie, but unfortunately there were no matinees.  We didn't want to drive back home to our campsite in the dark for fear of hitting a deer (or worse yet, a bear) with our car, so we scrapped that idea.  So after driving around a bit, we tried to figure out plan B.  There were no indoor shopping malls and hubby didn't want to drive to Duluth where we knew there was a big mall.  And other than a gorgeous beach and park on Lake Superior we couldn't see anything else to do.  So, we decided then to look for a Visitors Center for ideas of things to do in the area.  And, we couldn't find one anywhere.  We drove  around in circles for at least thirty minutes.  I couldn't use my GPS because I was out of data on my IPhone and I did not want to be charged an overcharge.  Eventually we found a chain hotel and I said to my husband, "Stop here.  They always have flyers of things to do in the area in the lobby".  And I was right.  I grabbed a few flyers and headed back to the car.  I then said to the family, "It looks like there's not much to do here on a rainy day because all the activities involve the lake, the beach, or more hiking.  But there is this Ashland City Mural Walk I'd like to check out.  After that, I think we should head to Bayfield because it seems that is where all the action is.".  

All the murals were marked on a map with descriptions of each mural.  So hubby drove to the very first one, and from there he and Jordan decided to stay in the car and nap, while Ashley, Jason, and I grabbed our umbrellas and headed out to see the murals.

This is the Aspah Whittlesey mural that depicts the founder of Ashland and other early settlers in front of the Ashland State Bank as it existed in 1892.

All the murals tell the history of Ashland City.  You can learn so much about Ashland's history just by taking this walking tour and viewing these murals.

The Historical Ellis Avenue Mural is painted on the former Lake Superior District Power Company Building.  This mural features Northland College's Wheeler Hall, the old Ashland High School, and the Knight Hotel.

The Waitress Mural was one of my faves.  I just found it so charming, and I loved the waitress in the middle.  This mural was painted from an actual photograph taken in the 1940's.  The owner of the building wanted to honor the woman who helped raised him.

This large mural is the Ashland Ore Dock Mural.  This mural depicts Ashland's rich shipping history. The top half of the mural is painted "to scale" of the Ore Dock itself.  The lower half are postcards or snippets telling the history of the varied uses of the structure over the years.

And here are some close ups of some of the "postcards"on the mural.

This fun mural is the "Lumberjack Mural".  At first, I was bothered that cars are allowed to park in front of the murals, because it's hard to get a good photograph of the art work when cars are always blocking them.  But it's actually nice to have a vehicle in front of the mural now, because you can get any idea of the amazing scale of these murals.

The Lumberjack Mural shows some of the actual men (and one woman) of Ashland's lumber era.  All the people pictured were actual lumberjacks who worked in the region.  The images were taken from old photos.

The Store Front Mural was another one of my favorites because I love old buildings and I also loved all the gorgeous color in this mural.  This is compilation of various store fronts of Ashland City from the early 1900's.

 This is the Veteran's Mural in honor of Ashland area military veterans.  Again, everyone represented on the mural is/was an actual person from the area.

The 1950's Snapshot Mural is a fun mural to see if your fond of the "Happy Days" era.

There are some celebrities in this mural (Bing Crosby, Lana Turner, Perry Como, and Rosemary Clooney) along with local gas stations of Ashland County during that time period.

Bing is in the family picnic mural,  Lana Turner is in the bathing suit shot, and Perry and Rosemary are in the motorcycle mural.

And finally, my most favorite mural of all, was the Lighthouse Mural, but only because it was the backdrop for this beautiful city garden.  Oh, this garden was gorgeous!  And can I just express how wonderful it is for me to look back and see beautiful flowers again?   I receive so much  heckling from my southern blogging buds for my hatred for fall...but I think they would hate fall too if they never saw flowers again until May.  I can understand why people who live in warm climates love fall...because it's like our summer here in the north.  They have more temperate weather again, and they still have a lot of flowers.  But once the fall foliage is gone for us here in the north, we have nothing but brown twigs to stare at for months.  Well, we do have evergreens too! :)

This mural depicts three lighthouses depicted in the Apostle Islands.  The Apostle Islands is a dream vacation my husband and I have always wanted to take.  It's very close by to where we live, but for some reason, every single time we plan a trip there, something goes awry and we end up cancelling it.  But someday, I hope to make it there!

There were so many creatures living in this garden...birds, butterflies, chipmunks!  It was like a little spot of heaven in a city.  Oh, and the scents!  You could smell this garden long before you reached it.

I also want to point out that Ashland also has a really cute historic downtown, but we didn't go into any of the shops.  We did window shop though and enjoyed looking at all the exteriors of the buildings.  I'm not one to frequent small town shops because I always find them so out of my price range and they usually contain items I do not need.  Occasionally, if it's a very special vacation to me, I try to find something useful to remember my trip by, but that's about it.

Below is pictures some of Ashland's store fronts.  Are they cool or what?

I also really loved this building, but I don't remember what it was.  Sorry.

There were many more murals on the map, but unfortunately we didn't get to all of them.  You can read more about the murals and see the ones we missed HERE.  There is also a map of all the murals on that website.

Oh, and about that Visitor Center, we eventually did find it...on the way OUT of town.  We actually burst out laughing because it was so HUGE it's impossible to miss...unless, you come to Ashland from a different route...which we did.  We kept looking for the Visitors Center IN TOWN, never thinking it was just outside of town near the highway.  Ashland County, if your reading this, please put some signs IN TOWN guiding people to your Visitor Center.  Not everyone enters Ashland from the major highway.

After viewing the murals, we then headed to Bayfield, Wisconsin....the cutest little town on Lake Superior you ever did see!  I will share more about our visit there on next week's Travel Post.  Until then....Have a Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE and Travel Tuesday!