Weekend Recap: BC v. ND Weekend

As a proud Boston College alumna, I’d be in trouble if I didn’t post about my recent weekend in South Bend to witness another year and another episode of the Holy War. We (BC) were supposed to lose by 20+ points (sadly, we’re less than stellar this season) but the game was closer than it should have been – the final score was 16 – 14, with BC only losing by 2! Again, it was still a loss, but it was a fun day, fun game, and great weekend.

The weekend started off at 6:15 a.m. on Saturday when B and I were picked by his dad in a 12-person van, and it was already full with his parents, 2 of his brothers, 1 of his sisters, B’s coworker and our dentist and his wife (yes, you read that right – they’re family friends so we spend the 4ish hour carride, tailgate, and night/next morning with our dentist).

We arrived at ND and met up B’s aunt, 3 uncles, 2 aunts and 7 cousins. Yes, our tailgate was HUGE, family filled, and got even bigger when 4 of my friends from BC stopped by.

B* and me

There was tons of food, including my own first attempt at cake balls – shaped like footballs of course:

We stayed at a hotel after the game and then headed back to the CLE the next day.

Does your school have any big rivalries? What’s your favorite alumni sporting event?

*B does not usually look like such a creepster. He’s just doing Movember and raising money for man-cancers. If you’d donate to him, I’d appreciate it so he actually does shave it off come 8 days from now (and yes, I’m counting down).

Holiday Gift Ideas for the PR Pro in Your Life (and you know you have one)

It’s that time of year again – holiday shopping! In my quest to put together my holiday list/wishlist, I’ve put together a roundup of gift recommendations if you’re seeking ideas for the young PR pro. Again, these are just my recommendations* and many of them skew toward my (selfish) interests (and thus skew female as well), so take these with a grain of salt. Also, I’d love to hear if you have any others to add!

Gifts for the young PR Pro (in no order):

A gift certificate to Starbucks / McDonald’s or wherever your PRo purchases her caffeine of choice:  PR pros work long days, stay up late, and sometimes keep crazy hours. Also, a recent study showed PR is the second most caffeinated profession! You can’t go wrong with a gift card that you know will be used.

A reusable coffee thermos: To be used during said caffeine purchases. Everyone likes to be green/eco-friendly, and most coffee houses provide discounts for those using their own reusable mug.

A purse that can serve as a laptop bag: Is any explanation needed? Really, for travel, daily walking to and from work, and heading to business meetings – who can say no to a stylish, professional laptop bag that fits more than just your laptop (but also your iPad, phone, lunch money, notebook, extra pair of pantyhose, etc.)? Here are a few I like:

Business Card holders: For your desk or your purse, these are a must. I currently have a Vera Bradley one (no longer available, similar, here), but any that are functional and stylish and good for on the go (read: fits in above laptop bag) would be appreciated. Big spender? Check out this Tiffany one.

A portfolio: I got a “professional” portfolio a few years ago for Christmas and though I don’t use it daily (I prefer to use fun stationery for notes … see below), when I need it, I’m glad to have it. A good portfolio is professional, will last you through the years, and has pockets for back up documents, presentations, pens/pencils and business cards.

Cute, functional stationery: Whether it’s for thank you cards or for writing to-do lists, PR pros write a LOT and it’s not always on the computer. I’m a huge fan of fun note cards and fun stationery – it’s amazing what a bright colored piece of paper can do to your mood, even when making the most intense to-do list! Again, as a Vera Bradley fan, here are a few I like and may even own (yes, my mom may have gotten me some cool paper last year!):

Smartphone accessories: If the PR pro on your list doesn’t have a smartphone, then definitely add that onto this list as well. But, if she does, some fun accessories can’t hurt! It will vary phone by phone, but some practical items to consider include car dock and/or charger, Bluetooth headsets or extra memory cards.

A tablet AND accessories: I love my iPad. Well, it’s B’s, but if I didn’t have one for myself to borrow, I’d sure want one!  And while I’m at it, of course I’d want some accessories like these cool cases on Etsy: Monster iPad Sleeve, i-Sketch Sleeve (Below) or Polka Dot iPad Sleeve. Outside of Etsy (which has so many to choose from!) there’s the BookBook iPad Sleeve (below), AND for the big spender, there’s the Swarovski iPad case, which is likely worth more than the iPad itself.

What do you recommend? What’s on your gift list this year?

PS – Mom, if you’re reading this post (and you’re the only one who reads my blog), no need to go out and buy me everything here – please consult me first : )

Chicagoooooo

No, this post will not be about the Sufjan Stevens song (Called Chicago … from the Illinoise album. hehe. get it?). Instead, it’s about how I spent my long weekend in Chicago.

B and I decided to take a much needed vacation, right when I was smack dab in the middle of the busiest month ever (yes, work is crazy busy … please don’t contact me until Dec. 1). I assumed we were just going to lay low and do a staycation, but B surprised me with a trip to CHICAGO! Growing up on the East Coast, I had not realized how doable a weekend (or 4 day) trip to Chicago would be. Weekend trips were to Vermont, Maine, Boston, NYC, etc. But in Cleveland, I can just get in the car and four (with the time change) hours later be in Chicago!

We had a GREAT weekend. We stayed in the gorgeous Palmer House Hotel  (thanks to B’s smart use of hotwire) right in the Loop, practically across the street from Millenium Park and the Bean! Our weekend consisted of three things – walking around, doing super siteseeing touristy things, and trying awesome food.

Here’s just some of the awesome stuff that we did, via photo tour:

Saw the Bean. At Night!

Checked out Wrigleyville. And Wrigley Field.

Went to the top of the Hancock building and saw some amazing views. And I even got to window wash! (jk)

Tried a Scotch egg at the Gage’s amazing brunch.

Ate deep dish pizza. Twice. (Photo below at Lou Malnati’s)

Went to Oak Park, and saw where Hemmingway (a fave of B) was born!

AND saw many really cool Frank Lloyd Wright buildings.

Tried the Chef’s tasting menu at Takashi (photo below from the dessert. it was served IN an egg shell)

Went on an Architecture Boat Tour and saw all the really cool buildings in the city

Tasted some brews (and watched an awesome Giants game!) at Goose Island Brewery, before heading to a show at Second City.

It was really an awesome awesome vacation. If you have a few days to kill, I highly recommend you take the time to drive to Chicago and see its sights and eat the food.

What’s your favorite weekend getaway?

Amazingness on a Plate … aka Great Lakes Brewmaster’s Dinner

You must walk … no, run … I repeat .. RUN over to Great Lakes Brewing Company immediately. Why? To purchase yourself a ticket to their next Brewmaster’s Dinner.

What’s a Brewmaster’s Dinner? And how did I get to go to one? Well, after FINALLY taking advantage of an almost-missed wedding gift (Sorry and THANK YOU Matt and Kim!), B and I finally got our dates to the Brewmaster’s Dinner on our calendar and headed over one of our favorite local breweries, Great Lakes, to see what they had in store for us. Here’s a summary of the experience.

Your night starts with an accelerated tour of the brewery. Yes, the brewery offers free tours every Saturday (and yes, I’ve been on them 2 or 3 times before … and not just for the “free” samples!), but this tour is faster AND you get to actually see the brewery when the workers are there. We walked in and immediately smelled cinnamon and nutmeg — which, if you’re a Clevelander, you know that means CHRISTMAS ALE was brewing! The tour didn’t offer the usual free samples – but that’s because the beer, and food, was yet to come.

After the tour, we were treated to an incredible, seasonal five-course meal. Ready to be jealous (and don’t judge me on the date.. yes it was almost a month ago):

AND in case you can’t read that, here’s what we ate in layman’s terms:

A crawfish ruchetta appetizer

Butternut squash soup

Arugula salad with a black pepper dressing

Beef short ribs over polenta

Burtternut squash pound cake IN A PUMPKIN

The dinner was SO good that I didn’t even take photos of everything! Honestly, everything was incredible. The crawfish was delicious and the salad dressing was so yummy – I loved the black pepper. My favorite beer? The Glockenspiel. Which, of course, you can’t just pick up from your local grocery store on a regular basis. I did stop to breathe and take a photo of the short ribs (they melted in my mouth!) and pound cake. Seriously- how could you NOT take a photo of the pound cake that was served inside a small pumpkin!?

That’s why you MUST reserve your spot for the next event ASAP. It’s not until January 10, but hurry – they book up quickly! Great Lakes is also letting you order dinner for a holiday gift for someone else! (HINT. My birthday is in January. AND the February event is Valentine’s DAY!)

 

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The reviews and opinions here expressed are my own. I was not paid to attend the dinner (though I’d love to have been!)  or compensated in any way for this blog post. Or my tastebuds.