All Posts By:

Mindy Trujillo



I’ve been sitting on this experience post because, honestly, I wasn’t sure how to write it.  But, considering Fall is here, I needed to write it now while there is still time to . . . ride.  Yep.  My new love?  Bike riding!  

Please know, I am in no way an experienced biker.  I’m not a cyclist.  I know cyclists and I have much respect for them.  I guess this post is more for people who want to try something new. Who maybe have a bike in their garage or in their basement and just haven’t gotten it out in years. This post is for people who think, hey, I’d like to try that again, but I’m not sure that I can.  It’s for those who last rode their bike in a galaxy far, far away.  Do it!!  Dust the bike off.  Dig it out of the garage or basement. Borrow a bike from a friend.  Take a spin around the neighborhood and fall in love with riding again. 

Riding my neighborhood when I first got my bike.

A year and a half ago, I would not have been riding a bicycle (that’s a whole other story).  But, this past spring I got the itch.  I wanted to explore different forms of exercise that, well, don’t feel like punishment.  I started taking my old, blue, single-speed bike for wobbly spins around the block. Getting the feel for it.  Literally. I would pass my neighbors, wave to them, and holler tidings as I sped by.  I was practicing things like not falling off,  stopping suddenly, going around corners, and getting up and down the sidewalk!  I started as a tentative, white-knuckled rider.

Then, at the end of April, I asked for a new bike for my birthday. That’s my sunshine, three-speed, yellow cruiser!  When I felt comfortable enough I moved to Otto Armleder Park because it’s basically flat and it’s pretty.  Guess what I learned?!  Bike riding is in fact fun.  It is truly an exercise that never feels like punishment.  

There are so many places to ride in and around the city.  Places like Smale Riverfront Park (my favorite park) and Lunken Airport.  At Smale you can pause at the swings and enjoy the river view or stop and play a giant game of chess.  At Lunken you can grab your breath on a bench watching planes fly overhead.  

Riding at Smale Park.

Taking a break to watch the planes at Lunken.

And, oh, the Loveland Bike Trail!  Oh, my stars!  It’s miles and miles and miles and miles and miles of trails that stretch across the city and beyond.  There are locations everywhere!  I often begin in Newtown because that’s the closest location to my house. Now that I’m starting to build some endurance, I love riding from Milford and Loveland as well.  These trails are beautiful.  Each location is covered by trees, many run along the Little Miami, and some slide by quiet neighborhoods or bustling restaurants. And, if you need a break, there are often benches and picnic tables situated along the way.  I’ve said it before- I love this city of Cincinnati. Bicycling has just added to that love. It’s allowed me to see sites I didn’t see before.

The view from the trail at Newtown.

One night, while strolling Washington Park on a date night, we decided, on a whim, to rent Red Bikes.  We rode through the fountains, around the park, and through OTR.  If you’ve ever been tempted, the Red Bikes are easy to ride.  You can grab them in one location and return them to another.  

Renting Red Bikes at Washington park.

My husband rides with me.  My friends ride with me.  It’s community.  It’s detaching from the hustle and bustle.  It’s adventure.  It’s being a kid again.  If you ever want to go for a ride, I’m your girl.  Seriously, the more the merrier.  I might not be a long distance rider (yet), but even as I’m sweating and pushing, I love each of those miles.  I love the sunshine.  I love the cool air.  I love the freedom.  I love being outside. I love quieting my mind.  

Biker Gang!

Want to know more about cruising the city on two wheels?  Check out Red Bikes here.  Don’t have a bike to explore the bike trail?  Rent one!  Biking truly is for everyone.

GO THERE (Biking around the city)!  TRY THAT (Riding the Loveland Bike Trail; Riding with friends)!


Manitou Candle Co.

My girls know I love new experiences!  For my birthday this year, they got together and surprised me by scheduling a class at Manitou Candle Co., a new place on Eastern Avenue.  Ain’t nothing better than a girl’s day out! Plus, I’ve never really made candles before . . . well, unless you count that time at youth camp when we learned about the Colonial Days! Pretty sure we made those candles out of rendered animal fat.  Yep, this is different.  Much different.  

4015 Eastern Ave.

The environment at Manitou Candle Co. is bright, clean and welcoming.  This simplicity makes picking from the nearly 100 scents less daunting.  We also found the staff sweet and enthusiastic.  

Manitou is an inviting space.

Classes take place in the back room; I was geeky excited when I saw all my tools neatly arranged at my seat.  Once we began, our teacher asked each of us to call out our favorite smells.  Certain smells correlate with numbers on a personal notepad.  As people take turns sharing, students circle numbers that correspond with individual likes.  Or, you can eliminate scents that you know you don’t like.   For example, I’m not into citrus or flowery smells (X on those), but others were all about those smells.  I tend to prefer clean, minty, and herbal (big circles on those numbers)!  

Look how pretty that set up is!

This is such a smart way to begin; otherwise, we’d still be there sniffing 100 different canisters.  Trust me; the pressure to get just the right combo is a real thing! Some of us blended fragrances while others stuck with 100% of one.  

One scent combo.

Each person makes two of the same candles.  It would be even better to make two different candles, but I understand it’s because of the mixing process.  My friend Korie and I agreed to share our candles so that in the end, we had two totally different scents that we each loved.   One of my favorite parts?  You get to name your candle company and you get to name your candle. I’m sorry, but that’s just cool! So cool! Our “company”, M + K Scentsation, created Happy Trees and Gentle Man.  I’m absolutely certain these could be best sellers.  You’re intrigued, right?!

One of our candles!

Candles in process.

I’ve seriously been burning my candles almost daily- one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  Because soy burns cooler, I get to enjoy these beauties longer than I would other candles. Also, because these candles are all soy based, the burn is clean and non-toxic.   Not only did I get time with some of my favorite peeps, but I got two beautiful gifts as well.  Six girls= six totally unique candles.  Love the individuality of the process.

The girls!

I am already excited to go back to Manitou Candle Co.  I might make Christmas gifts . . . or, I could just make more for myself.  (wink. wink.)  If you don’t feel like attending a workshop, please stop in and purchase ready-made candles!

If you dig craft beer, Streetside Brewery is next door!  Grab a drink when you’ve finished your candles.  They have a nice outdoor patio.

GO THERE (Manitou Candle Co.)! TRY THAT (Workshop)!