Things to Do With a Kid Downtown

Don’t get me wrong – I love our new house in the ‘burbs and all that our new little city has to offer – but I do miss our lives downtown. There was always something to do, always something going on, and it was great walking everywhere (especially to work). And even after we got married and had kids – yes, there was still kid-friendly stuff to do!

Are you thinking of living in downtown CLE with kids? Or just looking for stuff to do with kids downtown? Here are some of the ways we had fun and the things I loved to do downtown with FW:

1. Take advantage of all the free attractions

When you’re a kid, there are so many things that are exciting — and the best part is, so many of these things are free! For example, FW, loves just watching trains, trolleys, buses, boats, etc. These are all things you can see— and ride— downtown. There are several trolleys that ride around downtown for free and you can hop on and hop off whenever you want. Also, FW LOVES looking at pretty much any vehicle, especially trains and boats and airplanes. The best place to do this? Walk down to Voinovich Park. On the walk, you’ll cross over train tracks. At the park you’ll see planes landing into Burke airport as well as boats in the water. If you walk down to the Flats, you’ll also get a glimpse of boats and trains. Walk along the waterfront path near FWD Night Club and you may even be able to catch not only a boat along the water, but also a train cross the bridge. Public Square is also a great, free place for kids. Not only can you watch the buses, but there’s also green space to run around, a splash pad in the summer, ice skating in the winter and plenty of year-round events.

2. Be willing to spend some money

In addition to the free attractions, there are other things to see and do right downtown. Some of the attractions that cater to children include:

3. Know the child-friendly restaurants

My husband and I lived in two apartments downtown, one near East 4th Street and one in Playhouse Square. Both areas had restaurants we’d frequent with our baby and toddler. Some of them include Winking Lizard (they have a kids menu AND a lizard that kids may enjoy checking out), Masthead Brewing Co. (they have high chairs and quick food, which is perfect for kids; it’s also loud, which is great for blending in with your loud baby), Corner Alley (they have games for older kids) and Hofbrauhaus (they have a giant enclosed patio with a playscape and live music). During sporting events or at night, these places can become not as friendly, so we stuck to them mostly during the day. Around the Flats, there also were so many places great for kids because they’re near the water (see above: cool views of boats and trains and bridges) and casual. Some of our favorites include Coastal Taco and Dante’s Inferno. Both are casual, have games for the older kids to play, and are on the louder side, so a screaming child may not get noticed.

There are so many great places to eat downtown, and the best part is, so many of them are child-friendly, especially if you go earlier in the day. If you’re not sure, definitely call ahead and ask.


4. Frequent the family-friendly events

All year long, Cleveland is home to child-friendly events. Most of these are events that people from all over Northeast Ohio attend. Some include:

Whether you’re looking to spend money or not, there’s so much to do in downtown Cleveland year-round. We loved our time living there with our toddler and hope you are able to enjoy some of the fun activities we loved, as well.

Do you live downtown with your baby or small child? OR do you spend a lot of time downtown with your kids? How do you keep them entertained?

A version of this post was shared on NortheastOhioParent.com.

Friday 5: 5 Gift Ideas for Runners

The holiday season is officially upon us! Meaning I can finally listen to holiday music (who am I kidding – I’ve already started) and start decorating and baking!

That means it’s also time for holiday shopping. As someone who likes to run, I consider myself easy to shop for this holiday season. When in doubt- just get me something running related! (or baking or cooking related … but that’s another list for another time:) ) Here are some thoughts on some gifts for every runner in your life.

Their Favorite Pair of Shoes

Runners go through a lot of shoes – and we often aren’t that great about replacing them. So why not get him (or her) a pair of her favorite shoes before she needs them? I personality swap out Nike shoes with Saucony Rides. I’m currently wearing Saucony Ride 6s but the 7s are super cute as well aren’t they?

The newest Saucony Rides

b and i at packet pickup rnr savannah half marathon

Current Saucony Rides (yes, that’s a pic from our Savannah race and there’s a beer between my shoes)


PRO Compression Socks

I was lucky enough to be given a pair of PRO Compression socks to try out and I’m hooked. Seriously hooked. I wear these socks anytime my shin is bothering me even if I’m not working out (yes, even to work! I hide them underneath boots).

PRO Compression socks sticking out of my boots - see, I wear them to work too :)

PRO Compression socks sticking out of my boots – see, I wear them to work too 🙂

 

I’ve been known to wear my marathon socks on long carrides, on long runs, over my spandex in the winter to keep warm (sometimes my leggings reveal my ankles and if I wear these knee high socks I don’t get cold ankles!), and more.

Winter-ready with PRO Compression socks (and Yaktraks!)

Winter-ready with PRO Compression socks (and Yaktraks! See # 5 on this list)

Not familiar with compression socks? They’re a runners’ best friend (well one of her bffs). According to PRO Compression, “True graduated compression promotes circulation by pushing fluid up from your feet and ankles to toward your knees. This design also helps reduce swelling and inflamation while providing critical support to muscles and tendons.” All I know is that when I’m feeling sore or tired, I really believe these socks help.

Wearing my new black PRO Compression socks during my recent Turkey Trot

Wearing my new black PRO Compression socks during my recent Turkey Trot

Buying some PRO Compression socks? Enter the code PINK2 at checkout for a 40% discount through December 15! If you’re running any holiday races be sure to check out the fun holiday-themed socks they have too!

Rocking my neon PRO Compression socks with shorts at a race this summer

Rocking my neon PRO Compression socks with shorts at a race this summer

 

Some Reading Material (like a subscription to a running magazine or a few running books)

It took me years to finally “splurge” and buy a subscription to Runners World magazine – and only after my niece was selling magazines for a school fundraiser. But I love the magazine and would’ve gladly taken it as a gift! Same with running books – I love What I Talk About When I Talk About Running but have heard great things about Born to RunRunning Like A Girl, Marathon Man and so many more books.

     

 

 

Arm Candy – an Activity Monitor and/or GPS watch

Runners like stats. We like to know how many miles we’ve run, how many minutes we’ve been active, average pace, steps taken, and so on – during and outside our workouts. I personally have been wanting a Fitbit and a Garmin for more than a year now but saw that the new Fitbit Surge is coming out next year which looks like a great solution for a runner who wants a Fitbit plus a GPS watch in one. Now the hard part – do I wait for the Surge to come out to wait for reviews and see what it looks like? OR just get the traditional Fitbit I’ve been wanting that’s stylish but doesn’t provide my mileage/GPS needs?

Which fitbit should I get?

Winter Running Gear

If you’re in my part of the country (midwest and northeast, depending on when you read this post), it’s starting to get cold, snowy and well, sometimes it’s tough to get out for a run. Do you want to know a secret? Cute and comfortable winter running gear! When I know I have warm (and fun) clothing to put on it’s so much better! Some of my favorites?

A running vest. B got me a running vest a few years ago for Christmas and it’s been one of my favorite pieces of my running wardrobe ever since. It has zip away sleeves (so it’s also a jacket!), three zipper pockets and is waterproof. I will wear this thing until it wears itself thin.

A bright running jacket/pullover. If you’re running outside in the winter and you have a day job, chances are you’re running in the dark. It’s dark in the morning and dark at night. One way to combat this? A bright colored running jacket. See the above photo for my obnoxiously bright yellow warm running pullover. Bonus points if it has thumb hole sleeves and a zipper pocket for keys!

Running gloves. I’ve actually found that those $5 gloves found at every single drug store/dollar store/convenience store does the trick unless it’s reallly cold. Plus, I don’t feel bad if I lose one or need to throw them away during a race.

For $4/pair, you can wear these only a few times and still feel good about the purchase! Plus you can text – or check your nike+ app on your phone – with them on!

YakTraks or other winter running shoe gear. Snow can’t keep you indoors all winter; that’s why I’m so glad I purchased YakTraks last year. I just pull them over my shoes and poof – they’re good to go in the snow and ice! I found the Yaktrax Pro work really well and I don’t feel nervous that I’m going to slip and fall during a run. Plus they look kinda cool – don’t they? Oh hey, this photo shows you my Yaktraks, PRO Compression socks AND a bright colored pullover:

Wearing my PRO Compression socks over my spandex

Wearing my PRO Compression socks over my spandex

Okay, I know I added more than 5 because of all the sub-gift ideas in the last category. But come on – there are just so many ways to make the runner in your life have a happy holiday season!

Some questions for you (answer in the comments):

  • Runners, what did I miss? What would you add?
  • Have you done any holiday shopping yet? Not yet … yikes, but I guess it’s time to get started!
  • Tell me the truth – when did you start listening to holiday music? Do you wait until after Thanksgiving?
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links AND I received a complimentary pair of PRO Compression socks to review. Still, all thoughts are my own in the post. I loved PRO Compression even before they sent me a pair of socks 🙂 I don’t have relationships with any of the other brands in this post, I just love them all!

Killing Fruit Flies

B and I recently started making coffee in the mornings. After more than a year of being married, and having received a coffee maker as a wedding gift, we finally have started using it. And it’s great! B doesn’t have to spend $3-$4 on a Mocha each morning, and if I want, I can even add almond milk to a cup of mine. It’s been great – until we discovered that fruit flies love coffee grinds.

After a week or so of coffee grinds (and not too much else)  laying in our garbage, and a few nights not home, I opened the trash can and out flew a gazillion fruit flies. No exaggeration – there were literally a gazillion fruit flies that flew into my kitchen. GROSS! This was more than one week ago. And I haven’t cooked at home since then.  But today, they are all gone! How did I kill them all?

Vinegar and dish soap. I think there’s a saying about catching more flies with honey than vinegar but in my case, vinegar did the trick! Here’s an easy way to keep away/kill those pesky fruit flies by just using supplies you most likely have on hand in your kitchen.

A Recipe for Killing Fruit Flies (I know it’s not the usual type of recipe posted here)

Here’s what you need:

  • 2-3 tbs of vinegar (I used red wine vinegar, but heard the cider vinegar works well as well)
  • 2-3 drops of dish soap

Here’s what you do:

  • Mix together vinegar and dish soap in a small bowl/jar.
  • Set bowl near where the fruit flies have  been flying around.
  • Wait and let the flies get attracted to the smell of the vinegar. They’ll likely fly around the area for a little while before actually diving into the vinegar. The dish soap helps catch them — vinegar alone won’t do the trick.

Before:

After:

Sorry for the gross photos. But you get the idea- it really does work! One week later and I’m pretty much fruit fly free.

My mom keeps a small glass of this concoction next to our fruit bowl at home.

I <3 Pinterest But ….

But it’s not right for everyone.

It pains me to say that – but it really isn’t perfect for every company.  I know, I know – I’ve said it a million times how much I love Pinterest, how excited I am that I get to use it every day at work for clients, how I use it to find and share great recipes, and how awesome it is that I’ve even been interviewed, and quoted, on the topic in Crain’s.

So how do you know when NOT to use Pinterest? That could be a whole other blog post – or even a blog post series – but here’s a great infograph I found today that lays it out nicely – enjoy! (click on image to view original source and make it larger)

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 : )

6 unsolicited tips for students applying for an internship

I help run my company’s internship program for our office. Each season, I’m amazed at what I see in terms of resumes, cover letters, emails, etc. Each season I keep a list (for myself) of some of the crazy things students do to hurt their chances of getting an internship – all of which could be avoided!

So, this semester, I’m doing something about it. I’m sharing some tips for students (or really anyone applying for a job) when applying for an internship. Really, these are things to AVOID when applying for a job. And yes, I’ve seen all of these things in the past few years.

6 unsolicited tips for students applying for an internship:* (*I’m not an HR professional or a hiring professional or a spokesperson for my company – these are just tips in my opinion)

  1. If you can, personalize your initial outreach. If the document says to send your resume and cover letter to Melissa Koski, please send it to Melissa Koski. Not “hiring manager” or “whom it may concern.”
  2. If you personalize your outreach, spell the person’s name right! If the document says to send your resume and cover letter to Melissa Koski, please send it to Melissa Koski. Not “Malissa Koski” or “Melissa Kosky” (how did you spell my email address melissa.koski correctly??) 2b: spell the company’s name right. Just as important. And yes, people spell the company’s name wrong all the time.
  3. Personalize your outreach, but don’t make it obvious. I understand you’re applying for multiple jobs and multiple internships. I was once in your shoes. But please don’t send a cover letter with everything in one font and size, and the company name and my name in a different font and size.
  4. Take a little time to apply for the position. Don’t send a blank email with your cover letter and resume simply attached. At the very least, you can write “attached is my cover letter and resume” or simply copy your cover letter into the body of the email! A blank email says to me “I don’t care about this job enough to spend the time writing one sentence.”
  5. Proof your document – but don’t show me you proofed it. Hopefully all of the above can be avoided by a simple proofing of your resume, cover letter and email. Read it aloud! Read it backwards! Have someone else read it! But, don’t keep track changes on in your document and show me how your teacher/mom/friend edited your cover letter and resume. I’m glad you had someone take the time to read it – but you don’t need to prove it. (Again, yes, I’ve gotten documents showing track changes).
  6. If you’re applying for a job where you’ll use social media, share your experience with social media – but don’t overshare. Do you include a link to your LinkedIn/Facebook/Twitter account on your resume? Awesome! I LOVE to see that. It shows me you’re fluent with some of the social tools we use in our industry. But please please PLEASE make sure you’re censoring your profile first. What does this mean? Don’t include a link to your Twitter profile on your resume if all you’re tweeting about is parties, drinking (are you even 21?), skipping journalism class and hating Ohio.
There are so many more tips I could share and things to avoid, but I’ll save that for another time. In the meantime, if I haven’t scared you off, and you’re interested in working with me this fall as a PR intern, send a resume and cover letter by August 7 to melissa.koski@fahlgren.com, indicating “Cleveland Fall Internship” in the email subject line.