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 :)

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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?

A Luau – In Cleveland!

This weekend, B and I attended a luau. In Cleveland. That’s right – one with some cooked pig, leis, dancing, and a beach. Oh, and there were even some grass skirts.

luau banner image

No, I’m not joking. Saturday, B and I scored free tickets (thank you so much Charlene!) to the 9th annual Luau on the Lake, put on by Shoes and Clothes For Kids (SC4K). The summer Hawaiian-themed event takes place on Whiskey Island and is a fundraiser for the local Cleveland charity. Never heard of SC4K? From their website: SC4K is the only non-profit organization in Greater Cleveland providing new shoes and clothes to thousands of children in need at no charge throughout the year. Through a network of 35 distribution partners, SC4K positively impacts the lives of area children by giving them the self-esteem and confidence that comes from having brand new shoes and clothes.

Great organization, right? I know several people on their board. It’s great to see local organizations doing things that impact the people of our city!

Anyway, on to the event. B and I had gone to the Luau on the Lake in 2008 and enjoyed it a lot. BUT it was amazing to see how much had changed in just four years – there were many more people, more activities and more dancing then I remember.

2008 Luau - don't we look the same?

2008 Luau – don’t we look the same?

This year’s Luau was a huge party, outdoors, on the beach and they had sand volleyball, cornhole, giant Jenga, great food, drinks, a limbo competition, dancing and more.

some of the crowd

some of the crowd

corn hole - I didn't partake because I lack those skills.

corn hole – I didn’t partake because I lack those skills.

We enjoyed the food, drinks and even the dancing. And the coconut sorbet for dessert? OMG. I will dream about that for weeks.

Coconut sorbet. SO GOOD.

Coconut sorbet. SO GOOD.

The event was great. I’d highly recommend you go to the 2015 event (and I hope we do too!) if you want to spend some time celebrating summer in Cleveland, enjoying food and entertainment and of course lovely lake views – all for a good cause.

2014 Luau. Nearly the same pose as 2008!

2014 Luau. Nearly the same pose as 2008!

Three Days To Celebrate the Fourth

As I recently (okay and more often than once before have) professed, I love three-day weekends. There are so many great things about them and I find that they allow me to do everything I want to do – be productive (meal prep, catch up on work, laundry and clean), bake, work out, catch up on TV shows, meet up with friends, go out AND relax. For some reason, a two-day weekend just doesn’t come close and the extra day makes all the difference!

This past three-day weekend was the same. It was full of good (and maybe a little too much) food and drinks. Sunshine. The beach. Hanging out with B’s family for the Fourth. Catching an Indians game. A few runs with friends. Lots of Orange Is The New Black (slowly making our way through the 2nd season!) and almost finishing the book I’ve been reading for the past few months.

Here’s a little peek at all that we were able to cram into our three days off!

What would Fourth of July be without some red, white and blue goodies? Of course I couldn’t let a three-day weekend go by without some baking!

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We enjoyed the Fourth of July and some fireworks with B’s family. They live right next to a park on the lake so we got to enjoy a BBQ and a great fireworks show on their front lawn!b and me on the fourth

I love BBQs as is evidenced by my plate. I ate everything on it minus the beans and the hot dog because I’m weird like that. My eyes were bigger than my stomach. plate on fourth

Saturday included a much needed relaxing beach day. I managed to get in some time on the elliptical before we headed to the beach with Dave and Anson and then back to their house for some pizza and beer on their porch. This time of year I really miss having a porch!20140705_161445

Sunday started out with a nice run with a friend that lives downtown. The weather cooled down during the run (started mid-70s and then got to low 70s) which made for a much more enjoyable run then the past few we’ve had together! Running in sunny, 80-90 degree temps < windy 70 degree temps7 miler with nicole

Then, B and I headed to the afternoon Indians game – and caught a win! We also had amazing club seats, which meant more good food (it’s all you can eat!) – as if my weekend needed it.20140706_153939And speaking of food, Sunday night included roasting a chicken (it’s the third chicken I’ve roasted – and this one was already cleaned and giblet free. I think I’m getting spoiled), prepping some lunches and other meals for the week and catching up on our TV shows. Meaning 24, Damages (we’re on season 3!) and Orange Is The New Black.IMG_20140706_212458

Yup, it really was the perfect weekend – great weather, food, friends, and more. Here’s to hopefully just as great a week!

Some questions for you:

  • How did you celebrate your Fourth of July holiday?
  • Do you like fireworks? Did you catch more than 1 show? Yes! I caught the free show downtown with the Orchestra earlier in the week and then the show at the park on the Fourth.
  • Do you like traditional summer bbq foods like hot dogs and burgers? Actually, I’m not a burger fan. Something about ground beef that gets to me every time. Yes, I tried a little piece of burger on Friday, but they’re still not for me! 
  • If you had three days off, what would you do? Do you like to relax? Be productive? Go out? All three and more?

 

C Is For …

I hate to brag, but it was another beautiful weekend in Cleveland. Sunny, 80 degrees, absolutely gorgeous.

So I did what any good native Northeasterner would do when a sunny, warm, beautiful summer weekend rolls around – spend as much of it outside as I can!

The weekend started out with a surprise parade that I encountered on my way home from work that was kicking off Jazz Festival.

And then B and I decided to sit outside, enjoy the weather and enjoy some of the live music that was happening for the festival this weekend. Oh yeah, and some wine. Wine + music meant an excellent start to the evening.

Jazz fest

Jazz fest

We had already planned our dinner – brats and salads from our Fresh Fork share. B made them with some fried onions and they were amazing.

Fresh Fork-inspired dinner - brats, salad and fried onions

Fresh Fork-inspired dinner – brats, salad and fried onions. And yes, more wine.

Saturday started early with a 7 mile run with Nicole. Nicole is starting to train for 50K (yes, 50!) and while I’m not training for anything, I was happy to have someone to do the miles with. Though it was hot, humid and we may have stopped to walk and for water a few times, I was feeling pretty good by the time the run was over and I was ready for the day. Which of course started with my favorite salad at Rothschild Farms.

One of my favorite post-run meals - Rothschild Farms salad

One of my favorite post-run meals – Rothschild Farms salad

And then a quick trip to the West Side Market for an apple fritter and other goodies.

West Side Market goodies

West Side Market goodies

After the market, we headed to Hansa Import Haus to pick up some spicy mustard and summery hefeweizens. I LOVE a good spicy mustard and they have so many to choose from!

Hansa Import Haus - SO MUCH MUSTARD

Hansa Import Haus – SO MUCH MUSTARD

Saturday also happened to be the monthly meetup of the Ladies Craft Beer Society – a few ladies get together craft and drink craft beer. Reanna hosts it in Ohio City and it’s really just an excuse to admire her cute house, drink beer, eat snacks and catch up with other ladies. I am not a crafty person and my crafts never seem to come out (don’t even ask about the mitten I tried to make) … but this one did! Look at my string art!

Me and my craft

Me and my craft (photo credit: Cari!)

I did something crafty!

I did something crafty!

After crafting, I decided to continue to hang out in Ohio City (where crafting was) and enjoy the beautiful weather by finding a patio. My coworker Cari and her fiance joined us and B walked over from downtown. Nano Brew was perfect – their patio was just filling up and I do love their food.

Patio beers

Patio beers

Love being outdoors!

Love being outdoors!

After Nano, we walked back downtown and met up with some other people who were outside at another patio. Beginning to see a theme? I’m envisioning a lot of summertime patios in my future this year.

Sunday started off somewhat early when B went to softball and I decided to be productive in his absence. It included folding clothes, some meal prep for the week (which included soaking beans, making chicken, boiling eggs and massaging kale … I love this stuff!), working out, hanging up my new craft, and some other boring stuff.

Meal prep!

Meal prep!

But when B got home – it was BEACH time! I’m beginning to love this summer tradition. all weekends should end with reading and relaxing on the sand.

The beach was a lot less crowded this weekend

The beach was a lot less crowded this weekend

And of course, after beachtime it was dinnertime with B’s family. This week were at his brother and sister-in-law’s house and enjoyed a super summery meal, followed by strawberry pie on their front porch. Dinners and nights like this make me almost ready to move to the suburbs. But then I remember how much fun we had Friday and Saturday going out and walking around downtown and Ohio City and the feeling quickly fades.

Turkey burgers, quinoa and potato salads = perfect summer meal

Turkey burgers, quinoa and potato salads = perfect summer meal

Some questions for you:

How was your weekend? Tell me something fun you did.

  • In your opinion, what’s your favorite summery meal? Turkey burgers or ribs. Plus a nice salad, pasta or quinoa salad with fresh veggies, corn and sweet potato. 
  • Meal prepping  -yay or nay? Do you enjoy planning and prepping lunches and other meals in advance? Yes – if I have time, I love it. I love preparing the food, getting them ready for the week and the whole planning element.
  • What’s your favorite summery beer? I need suggestions!