Back in the CLE

Just in time for fall, B and I are back in Cleveland for a weekend. We’d been gone the past few weeks traveling (don’t worry, more vacation recap posts are coming soon) but we were back this past weekend and had a great time. Here’s how the weekend went -

Friday night B managed to get suite seats to the Eric Church concert. I honestly hadn’t heard of many Eric Church songs before but made sure to listen all day Friday and then by the time of the show had a great time. A few Facebook friends even requested some songs that I listen to to get in the mood for the show – so if you’re not familiar with him, here are some recommendations: Springsteen, Drink in my Hand, Country Music Jesus, Give me Back my Hometown, The Outsiders, Over When it’s Over, Smoke a little Smoke, Love Your Love the Most.

Anyway, the show was GREAT. Eric Church put on a great show – he rocked the house. And the Q was the most crowded I have ever seen – it had people in every seat, from the floor to the highest levels – and the show was great.

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

Hanging out in the suite before Eric Church came on

FULL house!

FULL house!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us - thanks to Anson for the photo!

We invited Dave and Anson to come with us – thanks to Anson for the photo!

Saturday morning B and I went for a great fall run. I honestly hadn’t expected us to have such a good run after staying out so late on Friday, but both B and I were feeling pretty good the entire time. And it was a beautiful fall day! We have less than one month now until the Savannah Half Marathon.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

We ran all the way from downtown to Case.

Saturday night B and I got all dressed up for his job’s annual black tie event.

All dressed up!

All dressed up! And my fro-worker Cari did my hair and makeup – wish I had a better shot you could see.

The place was all decked out in CLE-themed swag

The place was all decked out for the CLE-themed evening

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

A photo of a photo! They always take professional photos at the event for us to bring home.

Sunday was a laaaaazy day. An easy workout, a little work, watching some football, some weekly meal prep and catching up on a few episodes of Damages. B and I have now finished the third season – have you seen the show? Wow. That’s all I can say.

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend? Did you do anything fun?
  • Any long runs or races this weekend? Congrats to all my friends who completed the towpath marathon and half!
  • Are you an Eric Church fan? What’s your favorite song?
  • What was the last concert you went to?

B is for B’s Birthday!

This weekend was a fun-filled, pre-planned celebratory weekend for B! Why? Because B had a milestone birthday. I’m not going to say how old … but I’m sure you can figure it out :)

Anyway, we started off the celebrations somewhat early – Thursday night, I planned a night to Hilarities to see one of B and my’s favorite podcast stars – Pete Correale. I also invited some of B’s friends AND family to join us in the celebration! We had people over before the show for drinks, sliders and pulled pork (thanks to B’s mom!), and some snacks I prepared like buffalo chicken dip, hummus, chocolate cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies and buckeye brownies (recipe is coming soon!).

thursday night

After the show, we got a chance to say hi to Pete and even get a picture – he was such a nice guy and none of B’s friends were familiar with him but I’m sure they’re fans now; he put on a great show!

pete correale

Friday night I let B decide how he wanted to spend the evening and what he wanted for dinner – so of course, we ended up at Parnells for drinks and then Superior Pho! After dinner we walked around and caught some of the outdoor movie playing downtown – a Cleveland classic, Draft Day. And of course we enjoyed some leftover cupcakes for dessert.

superior pho

outdoor movie night!

outdoor movie night!

Saturday was another awesome day where I basically told B that we could do whatever he wanted. Because he’s the best, the day started with him making me breakfast and cleaning the apartment while I worked out (I know – he cleaned our apartment while I got to work out … he knows the way to make me happy). After that, we picked up our CSA and then headed to the Cleveland Flea! I love the Flea and it was a cool fall-like day – perfect for walking around and grabbing a few drinks.

B @ the Flea

B @ the Flea

Then, B chose to hit the driving range. We each hit a bucket of balls – and I didn’t do that bad.

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After the driving range, we went out to the lake. It had started to get cloudy – and windy – and it was fun to see the water so rough. Hard to believe last year on this same day we were on the beach in LA!

For dinner, B decided he was craving buffalo chicken wings. Wings and beer – not too bad for a birthday I suppose. And then after dinner, it was time for the next part of our plans – another comedy show! Jim Jefferies, another comedian I was introduced to from a podcast, was in town after canceling his show in June and playing in one of the local theaters. He was awesome – he put on a nearly TWO HOUR performance and it was so much fun to see him in real life after listening to his cast and watching him on TV (he used to have a show, Legit).

Buff chick salad!

Buff chick salad AND a PUMPKING (aka my favorite fall brew)

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Sunday was another great day – it included watching the Browns WIN their home opener (probably because B was wearing his birthday gift – the Brian Hoyer jersey), some meal prep for the week and a 5 miler with B. Not a bad way to end a birthday weekend – hopefully B agreed!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you watch Sunday football? Who do you root for? Sometimes – I didn’t grow up watching football but if it’s on and I can multi-task (a.k.a. I don’t have to ONLY watch it) I’ll root for the Browns.
  • Meal prepping – do you do it? Yes, if I get a chance to, I love working with my Fresh Fork finds and preparing lunches in advance. It makes my week so much better and there’s something so relaxing about preparing food. I find it therapeutic! 
  • Any favorite comics? Do you like podcasts? Which do you listen to? I like to listen while working out, especially if I’m indoors – I go for the Pete & Sebastian show or Stuff You Should Know.
  • What would your birthday meal of choice be?

Why Do Weekends Have To End?

What a great weekend! It was definitely another one of those great weekends where Sunday night I was sitting on my couch, looking through photos, writing a recap and just thinking – wow. Why does it have to end?

Friday afternoon started off with a block party in my neighborhood! That’s right, there was a party for downtown residents in my ‘hood that included free food, drinks, live music and more. The food was great – it was a compilation from some of our neighborhood chefs and restaurants – so there was chicken salad from Rothschild Farms, kale salad and more from Phuel, full size sausages, salmon sliders from Chris Hodgson, meatballs from Cibreo, some spicy chicken from Sung’s House and more. Seriously good stuff.

As part of the party, we got to take a tour of the new Hofbrauhaus that is going into our neighborhood! B has been counting down the days until this new beer hall opens. Unfortunately it looks like it won’t be ready in time for his birthday – but we are keeping our fingers crossed that it does, indeed, open this month. It looks like they do have some work to do though.

hofbrau

After the tour of the Hofbrauhaus B and I decided to grab a beer and watch the BC home opener at Parnell’s. Sadly, we lost. Ah well – hopefully another game will be on TV this season.

Parnells - always the perfect pour.

Parnells – always the perfect pour.

Saturday started with an easy workout while B cleaned the apartment. Yes, I am that lucky (he cleans while I get to workout). Then it was my favorite event of the month  (maybe an exaggeration) – Ladies Craft Beer Society! A few ladies meet up once a month to drink craft beer, eat goodies (wish I had taken a pic of the food – this month everyone went all out it seemed!) and do something crafty. This month? We made lemoncello!

in one month this will be lemoncello!

in one month this will be lemoncello!

Saturday night was AWESOME. Our friend Joey had scored tickets to The Black Keys homecoming concert (they’re from Northeast Ohio) and not only were they free tickets – but they were suite seats. So even though I wasn’t a hardcore Black Keys fan, I made sure to listen to a bunch of tunes last week and get in the spirit.

The Black Keys!

The Black Keys!

They put on a great performance and I had so much fun. It really did amaze me how different my concert experience is in my late twenties – compared to in high school. In high school I was really into punk shows and went to concerts monthly it seemed. I was always standing, always on the floor, with mosh pits and crowd surfing. It’s funny to see how things have changed, isn’t it?

Apologies for the big blurry mess that is the stage in the following video. But at least the sound is great

Sunday was pretty laid back. The morning started off with an spontaneous seven mile run with B. It was nice not to have a route planned, or any mileage – instead we just enjoyed the weather and the scenery.

After our run, we enjoyed brunch at Phuel. I LOVE their food and typically go for their granola and yogurt parfait, but it was nice to get lunch food.

Tabbouli, lentil soup and kale salad for brunch at Phuel.

Tabbouli, lentil soup and kale salad for brunch at Phuel.

And then we hit up the North Union Farmers Market in Ohio City. We had gone to check out the Cleveland Kraut stand, but unfortunately they weren’t there. It’s okay – we ended up getting some apples, salsa and beef jerky.

Sunday evening included some cookie baking and dinner with B’s family. Not a bad way to end my weekend, if I do say so myself.

chocolate chip cookie recipetesting

chocolate chip cookie recipetesting

Some questions for you:

  • How was your weekend?
  • Did you go to concerts in high school? What kind of music did you like? Have your tastes changed? Yes, I lived for concerts in high school. Favorite bands I saw in concert were probably Dropkick Murphys, Taking Back Sunday, The Starting Line, Weezer, Midtown, Saves the Day, NOFX … the list goes on and on. My tastes haven’t realllly changed today – they’ve just broadened. I still love some good old school punk and even today’s somewhat pop punk, but I’m a fan of so many other kinds of music today.
  • Which do you prefer – following a running schedule or keeping up with unplanned runs? Do I have to decide?
  • Do you know the Black Keys? Favorite song?
  • What recipe could you make over. and over. and over again? Chocolate chip cookies or chocolate chip blondies. They’re a staple!

Loving The Weekends: Comedy, Running, Burgers, Pho and the Beatles

What a GREAT weekend! I would have to say that this may have been one of my most favorite weekends of the summer. The weather was perfect, the food was good, B and I had a nice long run AND my parents were in town. Can’t really think of a better way to spend the weekend, can you?

The weekend, in photos:

My parents came in Friday late afternoon and we were lucky enough to be able to enjoy dinner outside. The weather was great, so we picked up beer and burgers at Dynomite before heading to a comedy show.

Check out my dad’s shirt :)

familyfriday

My veggie burger. SO good. SO big. And yes, I ate it all (fries not pictured).

dynomite veggie burger

After the meal, we headed to Hilarities for a free comedy show. I had won tickets earlier in the week and we were able to see Alonzo Bodden. B and I had seen him at the Laugh Factory in LA and were looking forward to seeing him in Cleveland. Here’ s a clip from one of his shoes from this winter (not this weekend). He was great! My parents loved him!

Saturday morning started early with a 9 mile run with B. Honestly, I was NOT feeling it for the first 5 miles. Yes, 5 miles. But after a short water break at mile 5 I felt so much better and the last 4 were great! Who knows why – sometimes it takes me 2 … or 5 I suppose … miles for my legs to warm up.

9 miles

 

I bought new shoes! I was super pumped to model them (pardon the cheesy pic).

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Post-run, we met up with my parents and headed to Tremont to enjoy some lunch and then the West Side Market for some fresh produce. Of course we had to stop off for tea in the afternoon at our favorite place, Cleveland Tea Revival.

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My mom and I both got some iced tea – ginger and peach. Yum!

my favorite tea

Saturday night, we took my parents to Superior Pho. Since there were four of us, we got a feast! Not everything is pictured. We got a chicken cabbage salad, Bahn Mi,  the spicy pho, egg rolls AND spring rolls.

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I think my dad enjoyed his pho!

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But of course we saved room for dessert. We took a post-dinner walk and  got frozen yogurt at Lemonberry. Confession – you may not be able to see the froyo because I may have taken a little of every candy they had.

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Saturday night after my parents left/went to bed, I decided to use up some of the blueberries we had and made these buttermilk blueberry scones again. Because Sunday mornings with blueberry scones for breakfast = amazing. You should probably make the recipe sometime – it’s very easy and really yummy!

scones

Sunday after my parents got back on the road to NY (sadness!) B and I took a walk around downtown. It was a GORGEOUS morning! We stopped at my favorite fountain. I don’t know why but I LOVE this fountain – it’s a war memorial as well.

walking

And then we walked to the harbor. It was SO pretty out! I’m glad we went for a walk – I get sad to see my parents go, and B knows this – I think that’s why he decided to take my mind off them leaving and instead get me a ginormous coffee (I will be drinking it for 3 days) and take me for a walk.

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Sunday afternoon I got in an easy workout (I’m trying to be REALLY good and not run too many miles and days in a row and stay injury free this year!) while B golfed with his family.

After a little work, B and I spent the evening at Blossom! This is my second time this summer going and we this time we sat on the lawn, enjoyed some wine and cheese AND Beatles music. I LOVE the Beatles – they remind me of car trips with my family growing up (The Long And Winding Road has multiple meanings for me – I swear it always came on as we were driving through the long and winding roads of upstate NY) and hearing the Cleveland Orchestra play the songs was awesome. And it was another beautiful night, so we packed a picnic dinner of a great salad, wine and cheese. I had an AMAZING time and seriously almost cried of happiness. Yes, it was that good.

I can’t get enough of the amazing weather we’ve been having. Can’t summer just stay forever?

So this weekend was just what I needed after last week. And now I’m off to start a crazy week –  this week entails some travel for work, some super early morning meetings and even an event for a board I’m on. Yes, I’ll be counting down until Labor Day!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you have a favorite comic? Do you go to comedy shows?
  • Did you get in a run this weekend?
  • Just got new running shoes! What shoes are you running in these days? Loving my new sneakers!
  • What’s your go-to Vietnamese food item? I can never decide between pho or bun!
  • Did you do any baking this weekend?
  • Favorite Beatles song?

Summer Is My Favorite

Summer is my favorite. No, but really. Summer is my favorite season. I know, it should be fall or spring, or another season that girls love (if I hear another girl proclaim how much fall is her favorite season and how she can’t wait for it to be fall I’m going to scream), but I LOVE SUMMER and want to proclaim it and scream it at the top of my lungs.

This weekend was probably the perfect summer weekend – and that is not an exaggeration. It was warm. It was sunny. It was relaxing and yet there was so much to do. Thus the longish post that follows.

Friday night started with a walk to Flaming Ice Cube for our favorite appetizer (Buffalo “chik” dip) and my favorite meal – kalebouli wrap!

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Look at that wrap. So much hummus and kalebouli!

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And then we walked home, admiring the new artwork along the street. We may have had a detour at Rothschild creamery. This is mango twist soft serve. AMAZING.20140808_195127

New outdoor art.20140808_182657

Saturday started somewhat early. I wanted to catch the informal opening ceremonies of the International Gay Games (which are in Cleveland this year!) and participate in the 1 mile Rainbow Memorial Run, which remembers those who have lost their lives to AIDS and breast cancer, as well as others lost in the Gay Games family.20140809_083711

Everyone participating in the event got to wear a different color shirt. So we made all the colors of the rainbow!20140809_083207

Along the course were some balloons with designs on them designed by local students. The designs talked through the history of the fight for AIDS awareness and gay rights.IMG_20140809_141406

I chose a blue shirt. And made sure to wear my rainbow everywhere else on my outfit.20140809_083232

After the run, B and I did a few more miles on our own, bringing our total to 8 for the day before it got too hot to run.

Including my run on Sunday (below), I ended the week with another 30+ miles!

aug 3 running

Post-run, I met up with my friend Ali and we hit up the West Side Market. There were rainbow flags all throughout Ohio City in honor of the games!20140809_121946

And after the market, B and I hit up our CSA pickup and the Cleveland Flea. I love the Cleveland Flea. We ended up picking up a few goodies and some more produce. It was a perfect day to just walk around and enjoy people watching and all the Flea has to offer!

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Post Flea, we met up with B’s family for mass and dinner. It was a somewhat early night (after an early morning) that also ended with B and I finally participating in the ice bucket challenge. In case you haven’t been on Facebook in a year, or watched the news, or just want a refresher, the ice bucket challenge has been sweeping social media. It involves dunking yourself with a bucket of ice to raise awareness for ALS. You’re able to challenge some of your connections, and if they don’t complete the challenge in 24 hours, they must donate to the cause (and even those that participate are encouraged to donate). I’ve heard that ALS organizations are up more than 100% in terms of donations and if anything, the challenge is helping to raise awareness for ALS.  A fellow BC grad from my year, Pete Frates, was diagnosed from ALS, so many of my friends are doing the challenge in honor of him. If you’re friends with me on Facebook you may have seen the video, if not – here’s at least a screenshot.

video screenshot

video screenshot

Sunday morning I met up with Nicole for an easy run around downtown where we were able to catch part of the Gay Games triathletes finishing up their race and others start the running portion. How inspirational! It was fun to watch the athletes and break up our run. Post-run, I met up with Ali again and we walked over to Ohio to catch the North Union Farmer’s Market, which recently started a Sunday farmer’s market. We browsed through the stands, I finally got my hands on Cle Kraut (love the gnar gnar!) and some more produce.

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And when I got home, I checked out my haul. Hmmm … I may have gone overboard on the produce and farmers markets this week? I spy beets, onions, tomatoes, apples, hot peppers, sweet peppers, nectarines, potatoes, cherry tomatoes and a giant zucchini. Oh, and the canteloup and blueberries and kale are in my fridge.

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Sunday afternoon B and I hit up the beach and met up with Dave and Anson. It was the perfect beach day. We read, sunned ourselves and I even went in the water. TWICE. (well only “swimming” once) Which is a big deal for me. I ended the day with some slightly sunburned legs. My FIRST sunburn of the year and it’s mid-August. #Fail20140810_142521

Sunday night we hit up Winking Lizard for some more buffalo chicken, wings, and summer beers. Can summer last all year long? Please?

A few questions for you:

  • Which is your favorite season? Summer!
  • During the summer – which do you prefer, beach or pool? Beach all the way! I do love the ability to swim and do laps in crystal clear (and often warmer) pools, but there’s something so relaxing about laying on the sand and listening to the water.
  • When at the beach are you a tanner? A swimmer? An active person (frisbee/volleyballer, etc.) Typically a relaxer/sleeper/reader. I don’t often go swimming unless it’s hot out. But if it’s hot and the water is calm, I’m in!
  • What’s your favorite farmer’s market produce? I love those mini cherry tomatoes and mini sweet peppers. Perfect for healthy snacking! Also, any fresh fruit, especially nectarines.

Lazy Weekends

After having several weekends in a row with plans and stuff to do, it was nice to have a weekend home with NOTHING on the schedule. Which meant, of course, making big to-do lists (cleaning! filing! working!) but getting none of them done. Which was completely, absolutely fine because what I did get done was probably much more fun. Like doing these 7 things:

7 Ways to Spend a Lazy Weekend

1. Reading.

Finished two of the books I was in the middle of! On to Orphan Train next. Any other good summer reads to recommend?

brief wondrous life of oscar wao

just finished this!

2. Running. a 7.6 miler on Saturday and a 6.6 miler on Sunday. One of these days I’ll get a Garmin so I actually run even numbers.

Mileage for the week. The 8s are mostly 7.6 - dailymile rounds them up

30+ mi even with two days off from running this week!  Full disclosure: I never ran 8 full miles or 7 full: the 8s are mostly 7.6  and the 7 is 6.6- dailymile rounds them up

3. Baking. Once again we had a surplus of blueberries from our CSA, so I whipped up a batch of Blueberry Buttermilk Scones.

as B says, Game of Scones!

as B says, Game of Scones!

4. Pho-ing. Yeah, I know that’s not a word. But Friday night B and I hit up our favorite Pho place for some salads, spring rolls and bun. Sorry, bun not pictured (but enjoyed very much!)

superior pho

5. Suiteing! Yup, again, stretching it with the word, but B and I enjoyed a fun Indians game on Sunday in after a friend asked us to join him in their company suite.

B found a twin @ the game!

B found a twin @ the game in our suite!

WINNING after extra innings!

WINNING after extra innings!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

Enjoying the Suite and great weather!

6. Cooking at home. Which meant pasta from Ohio City Pasta (via Fresh Fork) and Limoncello from Italy!

fresh fork pickup

fresh product pickup!

limoncello

7. Enjoying new flavors of ice cream. Because what summer weekend would be complete without it? Pictured below (sorry it’s somewhat blurry) is orange ginger from Rothschild Creamery!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Orange Ginger Soft Serve!

Despite not cleaning, or doing the work I wanted to, as you can tell, it was a pretty good weekend after all.

Some questions for you:

  • Do you enjoy after dinner drinks like Limoncello? What’s your favorite?
  • Any fun flavors of ice cream you’ve tried lately?
  • What’s a new book I should add to my list?

An Evening at the Ronald McDonald House

In case you haven’t noticed, besides running, I love cooking and baking. There’s just something about food and creating (and sharing) a meal that makes me happy. So this week, when I was asked to help prepare a meal at the local Ronald McDonald House with several other bloggers, I knew it was something I couldn’t say no to.

fine chopping skillz

fine chopping skillz

veggie platter almost done!

veggie platter almost done!

Ashley (from Teamtaseff) and I with our veggie platter

Ashley (from TeamTaseff) and I with our veggie platter

Are you familiar with Ronald McDonald House Charities? Many people aren’t. Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) helps families with sick children. When a child is fighting an illness, the last thing a family should have to worry about is financial strain. That’s where RMHC comes in. There are more than 338 Ronald McDonald Houses around the world, including Cleveland, that allow families to stay together near a hospitalized child. The House its services can help alleviate expensive travel costs, and most importantly, allows families to spend more time with their child as they heal. So instead of having to stay in (and pay for) a hotel or travel far to be near a sick child, a family (including their other children) stay at the House for nearly free (and they don’t turn anyone away who can’t afford to pay the donation). The Cleveland House was the 9th Ronald McDonald House built in the country AND these days typically has families from multiple states and 5-10 countries staying in there at a time!

This week, I met with a few other bloggers for a tour of the House and to make dinner and dessert for those staying here. Jacquie from Cleveland Kiddos helped organize the event, including planning the menu for the evening that we would use to feed the 70 or so people staying at the House. I was a terrible food blogger and did not take pictures of our food (except the dessert!) but we prepared fruit salad, a veggie crudite, steamed green beans, fried chicken fingers and homemade mac and cheese.

This is what cupcakes for 50 families looks like. We had a blast decorating them with the kids!

This is what cupcakes for 50 families looks like. We had a blast decorating them with the kids!

I also helped prepare the chicken

I also helped prepare the chicken

The group of us after cooking

The group of us after cooking

It was a great event. I really enjoyed meeting the other bloggers, getting a tour of the House and its facilities (they have a meeting room and kitchen that’s for rent too!), and hanging out with the families (after dinner I spent some time decorating cupcakes with the kids). I feel so fortunate to have been able to attend and participate, as well as help spread awareness of the House and the services it provides to those in the community. If you’re interested in volunteering for the House, you can learn more here, and also check out how to donate money or supplies to the House.

Me and Laura, a friend from DCA City Advocates AND the House's Communications and Marketing person

Me and the amazing Laura, a friend from DCA City Advocates AND the House’s Communications and Marketing person

Some questions for you:

  • Are you familiar with the Ronald McDonald House? Did you know what services they provide?
  • Have you ever cooked a meal for 70 people?
  • Do you regularly volunteer? Which charity do you volunteer with?
  • What’s something you did this week that you feel good about?