Friday, October 24, 2014

Haunted Prison Experience


There’s no setting more perfect for a haunted house than the famed Ohio State Reformatory located in Mansfield in the heart of Richland County. The decaying walls and rusted cells of this 19th century prison make for an authentically spooky backdrop for the countless shrieks and screams of those passing through.

Even without being filled with grisly monsters and decked out in ghastly decorations, this historic landmark provides an eerie and bone-chilling visit. Add the expertise of award-winning haunted house specialists from Toledo-based Haunted X Enterprises, and you’re in store for one unforgettable Halloween!

For the past 13 years, the Ohio State Reformatory has been offering the Haunted Prison Experience during the fall for anyone brave enough to enter the creepy castle-like structure. In recent years, there have been approximately 32,000-35,000 visitors during the six-week span that the haunted house attraction is open.

This year is no different! Haunted X Enterprises has teamed up once again with the Ohio State Reformatory to present the Haunted Prison Experience: Supernatural II on selected dates from September 26 through November 1. The hours of operation are Thursdays from 7-11 PM, Fridays & Saturdays from 7 PM – Midnight, and Sundays from 7-10 PM. The gates open at 6:00 and the box office opens at 6:30.

Because of the large amount of thrill seekers, it is advised to arrive early and prepare for potentially long lines (which are most definitely worth the wait). You can also consider purchasing tickets online ahead of time (including “speed passes” to help you avoid the wait)! It is important to note that you must be 13 years or older to enter, and that the prison is not handicapped accessible (due to the old age of the building).

Once you are led into the doors of the prison, brace yourself for everything creepy, freaky, and gory to get your heart rate pounding. The smell of fumes from buzzing chainsaws and the sounds of blood curdling screams can be made out through the sometimes pitch black interior of the prison! Stay close to your group, because you never know what will be lurking around the dark corners of this twisting maze. 

Actors, animatronics, and much more is waiting for you at this haunted attraction inside of a real prison (it has not been used as a real prison since it closed in 1990). Because some people believe that the prison is actually haunted by actual ghosts, you might even encounter some real paranormal activity (if you believe in that stuff).Hurry and check it out before it's gone for the year!

If you need your fix of fear during the off-season, you can also consider taking part in a ghost walk or ghost hunt! You can hear the stories  that cause many to believe the prison is haunted and even stay overnight to experience it for yourself. Most ghost hunt admissions are $70 per person, which includes access to the building and a late dinner of pizza and soda. Check out their website for more information on ghost hunts.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Mizuno Wave Rider 18 Running Shoes

Photos by OHventures

The following post is sponsored by FitFluential LLC on behalf of Mizuno.

Every good runner knows that a good shoe is the key to a good run in which you will both perform well, and treat your body right.

Finding that perfect running shoe can be difficult, but with my recent experience with the ALL NEW Mizuno Wave Rider 18 running shoes (debuting October 2014), I can make a strong and confident recommendation to any new or experienced runner.

A shiny new pair of Mizuno Wave Rider 18 running shoes arrived at my doorstop, and I was anxious to put them to the test! I took them outside on both pavement and running trails, as well as inside on both an indoor track and a treadmill.

What I found were high quality running shoes that get the job done in all scenarios!

According to the manufacturers, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 is the “best model yet, providing runners with a more resilient and responsive ride and a superb underfoot sensation, creating a more harmonious fit that works with the runner at every stride.”

So, if you are looking to tackle a zombie run, turkey trot, or simply a leisurely fall jog, you might want to consider the Mizuno Wave Rider 18.

Here’s the lowdown:

Let’s be honest: us runners want a shoe that looks good (yeah, even us dude runners). We need all the help we can get, since we certainly aren’t winning any awards with our strained faces and sweat-drenched bodies. At least our feet can look nice! The Mizuno Wave Rider 18 shoes certainly accomplish that.

I am a huge fan of the ombre shading (in my case the shoes are black in the front fading to silver in the back), and the added splash of neon (every runner’s favorite adjective) on the bottom and on the laces. It’s a perfect amount of color (in my case, lime green) that helps the shoes pop without being obnoxiously bright. 

What’s more important than the aesthetics of the shoe is of course the fit. I was a bit nervous about this, given that 99% of the time, I try on a running shoe before deciding to purchase it. This was the first time I was receiving a pair of shoes via the internet, simply trusting the sizing through a computer screen.

Thankfully, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 shoes fit like a glove – from the heel to the midfoot to the toe, everything was secure and compact. It was honestly a perfect fit, not too tight and not too roomy (even with the lovely bunion I have on my left foot). To me, this means Mizuno is a brand you can trust when ordering online. If you do not have access to a store that carries these shoes, rest easy in knowing that the Mizuno Wave Rider 18 shoes are true to size.

As a neutral shoe, I can wear them on a run AND at the gym!

In all honesty, the Mizuno Wave Rider 18s are the most comfortable running shoes (or any other athletic shoe, for that matter) that I have ever worn. At 9.2 ounces, these are as light as a feather (literally I think my socks weigh more than these shoes) and cozier than any pair of sneakers – or fuzzy slippers – I’ve encountered.

It’s as if my shoes just disappear while I am running, that’s how light they are. What is this magical material they are made out of to allow them to feel so glorious?! Despite being so lightweight, there is ample cushioning and they feel sturdy and supportive.

Putting these shoes to the test in a number of environments (thank you, crazy Ohio weather), I have been able to experience in many ways the technology that has been incorporated into the Mizuno Wave Rider 18. Wearing these new kicks really felt as if I had a spring in my stride and seemed to boost both my confidence and performance at the same time.

Running down the Towpath in downtown Akron, I encountered wet leaves and slick pavement, but the traction kept me vertical. The official website for the shoes states that the shoe provides “optimal shock attenuation, durability and a superior ride.” I would have to agree.

The Mizuno Wave Rider 18s will absolutely be my shoe of choice for the duration of my fall/winter training season and for my hefty 2015 goals of a half marathon and (first ever) marathon! I am certain they will help fly me to the finish line with ease!

About Mizuno
Mizuno USA, Inc.'s roots stem from its parent company Mizuno Corporation. Mizuno Corporation was established in Osaka, Japan in 1906 by Rihachi Mizuno. Today, Mizuno USA is located in Norcross, GA and continues to manufacture and distribute high quality golf, baseball, softball, running, track & field and volleyball equipment, apparel, and footwear.

Mizuno’s product development strategy is to create products with features that enhance athlete performance and are unique to only Mizuno. These technological advancements make Mizuno sporting equipment and apparel go the extra mile and keep you in tip top playing form no matter the sport or the conditions. Mizuno believes in making products that work in harmony with your body, helping you to be the best athlete you can be.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Out Of The Darkness Walk

Photos by OHventures and Jeremy Wadian Photography

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States - and it is 100% preventable.

A staggering 38,000 individuals take their own life each year in the United States - and over 1 million worldwide. Depression, anxiety, mental illness, alcohol & drug abuse, and the pressures & stresses of everyday life are all contributing factors that lead to suicide. But research, education, and communication are all ways that we can help save lives and create a world without suicide.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has done remarkable work in the fight against this terrible affliction that has affected so many lives. Its keynote event each year is the Out of the Darkness Community Walk series, which take place in various cities all across the country. The walks symbolize walking out of the darkness of mental anguish and into an eternal life of peace. The AFSP's logo - a life preserver - reinforces this statement by signifying the support of loved ones rescuing those in despair.

There are numerous Out of the Darkness Community Walks throughout Ohio, including: Marietta, Toledo, Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Youngstown, and right here in my own neighborhood of North Canton.

My family banded together on Sunday, October 5, 2014, for the Northern Ohio Chapter of AFSP's very first Out Of The Darkness Community Walk at the Hoover Vikings Stadium in North Canton. Sadly, like far too  many families, my own family has experienced the horror and pain that comes with losing a loved one to suicide. My cousin took his own life in the year 2000 at the age of 18. It is heart-wrenching to know that he was feeling so much inner turmoil and sadness - a feeling we can never understand. Knowing this bright young man I called my cousin had gone way too soon, I knew we had to take part in this event to make our voices loud and proud in hopes that we can save others.

I created Team Forever For Evan to honor my cousin. The team consisted of myself, my mom, dad, two aunts, two cousins, one uncle, and two second cousins. We all wore medals with my cousin's photo on them (much like the medals we wore for my grandfather in the Alzheimer's walk), and we wore honor beads provided at the site. The beads were all different colors, each representing a different relationship to the disease. I wore blue (which shows support for the cause), and purple (for having lost a relative). Other colors were orange (for a sibiling), white (for a child), etc. 

Team Forever For Evan was just one of many dozens of teams that showed up that chilly afternoon. There were over 400 walkers gathered in the stadium! Some were wearing matching shirts, others were carrying signs and photos, and all were there to help address this terrible issue we face in society.

We heard speeches from the race organizers,stories from families personally affected from suicide, a prayer from a local pastor, and a message from the mayor of North Canton. Then, it was time to release yellow and blue balloons into the air to honor those we've lost. Before we walked, we also took part in a yoga demonstration on the football field. The yoga was especially important because not only does it help physically by stretching and strengthening, but it also helps mentally.

Walkers were then free to walk the track around the field as many times as they liked! There was uplifting music and loads of snacks, such as hot dogs and hot chocolate to warm us up.

It was announced during the event that the goal of $10,000 was far exceeded and that collectively, over $28,000 was raised for the cause!!

We were in awe at the amount of money raised and so thankful that so many others were so giving to Team Forever For Evan and all of the other groups represented that day. Life is precious and it's one big adventure - everyone deserves to enjoy life it its fullest. Consider helping the AFSP by participating in a walk or donating individually.

If you or someone you know are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255

Adopt Your Own Wine At Camelot Cellars

Photos by OHventures

I have been coming to Camelot Cellars in the Short North in Columbus for years - in groups to celebrate a birthday, with a couple of friends for a special event, and even by myself for a quick glass of vino after a long day of work. All are enjoyable experiences, but what makes Camelot Cellars stand out in my opinion is that they offer customers the chance to handcraft (or adopt) their own wine!

The handcrafting process allows you the chance to make your very own wine using the equipment on site at Camelot. You come in and taste various wines to see which you want to make, then you are guided through the process - adding the chosen grape/fruit juice(s), correct amount of yeast, oak, etc. Then, you come back about 12 weeks later to complete the process, which consists of bottling, corking, capping, and labeling (you can design your own labels too).

The entire wine making experience can be read in full here on OHventures in Part I and Part II.

This year, instead of making my own wine at Camelot Cellars, I ADOPTED my own wine instead.

What does that mean? Well, if you don't have 12 weeks, you can skip the first step and "ADOPT" wine - meaning, they have the wine already fermented in a large container ready for you to just come in and bottle, cork, cap, and label!

The wine this year was "Blush Mime Blush Wine" (an inside joke) - an Australian Grenache Rose!

The wine label I created for my adopted wine (pink for breast cancer awareness in October)

Wine adoption was just as fun as wine making (just a tad less personal and a bit more expensive - but all worth it!). I brought my family with me and it was an awesome bonding time - and a memory creator for sure. I buy a case that I give out to everyone as Christmas gifts each year - personalized and unique!

So, there ya go! Camelot Cellars is your answer if you want to handcraft or bottle up your own wine without all of the crazy equipment at home. Do it now!