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Cincinnati Pedal Wagon: Mural Tour

I was recently invited to bring a group of friends downtown for a Pedal Wagon tour.  Full disclosure, I was a little bit reluctant about this one for some reason.  But, my blog is all about going and trying; if I don’t like something, I just don’t write about it.  It helps that I love golf carts, trolleys, and all semi-open, slow-moving vehicles (true fact), so it was pretty hard to resist a wagon.  Good thing I’m not likely to turn down a new experience because this one exceeded my expectations.    Pedal Wagon Cincinnati

As you know, I enjoy playing tourist in Cincinnati!  Even though I’ve lived here close to 17 years, I’m constantly discovering new places and new pieces of history.  Over the course of our two-hour pedal tour, we experienced, up close, incredible urban masterpieces.  If you’ve driven around downtown at all, you’ve likely caught a glimpse of these murals out of the corner of your eye.  The Pedal Wagon Mural tour provides a chance to see, and hear, in detail, about the creation of and images within these pieces of art.


Faces of Homelessness

Part of what really struck me was the variety of art.  As you can see in the pictures, some murals are lighthearted and colorful while others speak to social and political issues.  Artworks, the organization responsible for painting most of the murals, employs and trains local talent to create these larger than life paintings.  As a teacher- and a fan of Cincinnati- I love that young artists are transforming this city!

Cincinnati Toy Heritage

Ice Cream Day Dream

Part of what made our experience so great is the staff.  The staff at Pedal Wagon is truly professional.  Both our driver and tour guide were personable, kind, and funny– we adopted them into our group pretty quickly.  At times, we stopped, got off the wagon, and walked to various murals.  Each time, our guide gave us specific details about the history and painting of each.  He also knew quite a bit about Cincinnati architecture and answered our questions with ease!

Our guide.

The Golden Muse

The Cincinnati Strong Man: Henry Holtgrewe

In addition to admiring all the creative talent in our city and developing a deeper appreciation for ArtWorks– the Pedal Wagon is a great opportunity to spend time with friends in a super creative way.  We laughed, picked on each other for not pedaling fast enough, sang along to music (bring some tunes), waved at passersby, and took tons of pics.  One of my friends said she really enjoyed leisurely watching as the city rolled past us; it’s a much different experience when you aren’t worried about traffic, street names, and parking spots.

This crew is Lookin’ Good!

Don’t let cold weather keep you from booking a Pedal Wagon tour.  We went out in 35-degree weather and it did not dampen our day at all; in fact, we BYOB’d some hot cocoa, coffee, and chai tea as we snuggled in our winter jackets and pedaled away- it was perfect.  There really is something for everyone- history, art, Cincinnati, being with your people, and more.

Check out the Cincinnati Pedal Wagon website for options.  The Mural Tour is still happening, and the Polar Express is gearing up to go.  The guides are also pretty flexible, so even if you’re doing a Progressive Dinner tour and would like to add in some historical landmark stops along the way, they can make that happen.

P.S.- I am only posting pics of a portion of murals covered on the tour!  To see the rest and to learn the meaning of each, you need to sign up.  And, as always, if you like what you read here, please share!

GO THERE (Cincinnati Pedal Wagon)!  TRY THAT (Mural Tour)! 





It’s Only Fair! (Changing the World; Changing the way we Shop)

A few years ago I started thinking more about where I spent my money and what I spent my money on.  Honestly, words like fair trade, locally sourced, and ethical shopping were not part of my vocabulary.   Now, the times I get really jazzed about buying stuff (you know I’m an experience kinda gal) is when I’m supporting social causes.  I love that in the spirit of gift giving, I can buy cute and comfy lounging pants for my mom and support women in India who have survived human trafficking.  I can buy the most luxurious lavender lotion and support women in Nashville find healing and economic independence. Pretty sure that’s the definition of a win-win situation!

If you’re not familiar with fair trade, essentially, it’s a way to make sure fair prices are paid to producers, often in developing countries.  My favorite place to shop both locally and responsibly is It’s Only Fair in Covington, KY.  The owner of this adorable shop has a heart for empowering and providing economic freedom for survivors in places like India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Bangkok, and Guatemala. 

Reegan, the owner of It’s Only Fair, began simply by buying fair trade products for herself.  She connected with a nonprofit organization in Bangkok- loved their story, and wanted to do more.  Their answer?  Market their products in the West.  And that’s exactly what led her to open her own store.  The products sold at It’s Only Fair come from companies like Sari Bari, an ethical fashion business that employs women who have been exploited by human trafficking, and Freeset, a business that trains women rescued from the sex trade. These artisans create beautiful handmade items; they just need buyers.  That’s where we come in.

Yes, I love the mission of It’s Only Fair, but I honestly love the products even more.  Every single thing is unique.  Gorgeous jewelry.  Handcrafted bags.  Sweet children’s gifts.  Essential oils.  Adorable booties.   Such special pieces that you just can’t find in other places. It just feels good to shop here.  I bought a blue kurta (made in India) and it’s one of my most favorite pieces of clothing!  If you don’t own a kurta, you need one in your life.  Kurtas are long so they cover all the parts I like to hide!  I also bought a stunning leather bound journal to house all my deepest darkest secrets. 

By choosing fair trade and shopping at places like It’s Only Fair, we can become part of the amazing stories of hope, change, and empowerment that are being written all over the world.  If I can spend my money in a way that provides justice and freedom, strengthens communities, breaks the cycle of poverty, and assists in fighting for freedom, count me in.  No brainer!

Let’s make the world a better place and let’s use our dollars to do it.  Let’s lift others up and let’s buy precious products in the process.

GO THERE (It’s Only Fair)! TRY THAT (change the world the way we shop)!