Friday Five: Five Things I’m Smiling About

Phew – TGIF! This is one of those busy weeks where I really feel grateful that it’s finally Friday. Not that it’s been a bad week- quite the opposite. It’s actually been a GREAT week filled with stuff I love. Here are 5 things that were awesome this week and what kept me so busy (and smiling):

1. Learning About Some New Businesses With My DCA City Advocates: Tuesday was a great DCA City Advocates meeting! for those of you that may recall, the DCA CA program is a civic engagement group I’m involved with. It’s a program that fosters civic engagement among individuals who love living in, working in, or just visiting Cleveland. This month’s meeting we got to meet and hear from the winners of the recent 5th Street Arcades grant competition:

  • Sushi 86– This is actually my go-to downtown sushi restaurant. B and I had a stint where we were going there once a week anyway, so I’m excited that they can get some funds to increase their space and start offering sushi-making classes, meetings and so on.
  • Soulcraft Woodshop– This is a furniture gallery that will showcase and of course sell work by the woodshop’s local designers and furniture makers.
  • Bright Green– This is an organic and natural products store – they feature products for children (like organic baby blankets), candles, tea, home supplies and more. Many of their products are actually made on the west side!
  • POUR Cleveland– This hand-crafted coffee shop hasn’t opened yet, but I’m SO excited for it to arrive. They will be working with Counter Culture coffee shop, where one of my good family friends works in North Carolina. They will also have tastings and classes, plus pastries.

They each told us about their business plans, why they chose downtown Cleveland, challenges of being entrepreneurs, and so on. If you’re in Cleveland I definitely recommend checking out the 5th Street Arcade at some time and seeing all the new shops!

Informal interviews with the winners

Informal interviews with the winners

2. Half Marathon Training and Running with Friends: Okay, so I finally started training for the half marathon I’m running in October. Yes, I’ve been running like 25-30 or even more miles a week so I know I’m in fine running shape, but I haven’t been following any sort of schedule or doing any long runs so it I guess it’s time to actually get back in training mode. Training means that for the time being my weekly mileage will be cut down (the first few weeks are pretty lame in terms of mileage and I won’t be running every day) but I will be focusing on some speedwork with tempo runs, and also allowing my body to heal during rest days. Imagine that! And don’t worry, the longer runs will come soon enough so I better enjoy the lack of intense time-commitment while it lasts. AND not only did I decide to start half marathon training, but I ran with friends twice this week! That’s right, I ran with people before work on Wednesday AND Friday. This is a new thing for me – but I enjoyed it. Cari and I ran Wed. morning – she had 2 miles on her schedule, so I ran 2 without her and 2 with her. Friday, I ran with Nicole, who I met through Bridge Builders. She’s training for a marathon and I hope to keep running with her as she trains and maybe even get in some longer runs with her.

3. My PB2 Arrived! Not only did I run out of PB2 a few weeks ago, but I also ran out of regular JIF peanut butter and am down to the last spoonful of our Smucker’s Crunchy supplies. Can you imagine that? Thank goodness, Amazon came through and my supply of PB2 came earlier than I anticipated. AND I ordered even more than last time – so hopefully I’m all set for a few weeks.

<3 this stuff. Seriously addicted.

4. Patio Drinks @ Parnell’s: I love Parnell’s downtown. It’s one of those low key bars where I always feel welcome. There’s no need to dress to impress, and there’s almost always room on their patio. And it’s more than likely you’ll get a bartender with an Irish accent. #Justsaying. Anyway, this week I enjoyed patio beverages with Laura, Chris and Victoria, my old DCA City Advocate cohort. We haven’t all been together in a few months and we definitely need to start getting together more regularly – we used to see each other more than once a month! Not only was the company and beverages good, but I also got to meet a Twitter friend I’ve had for more than 5 years but never met in person. Being a social media person, I’ve gotten used to the fact that there are some people I know all about but have never met in real life, and vice versa — but meeting in real life is still super awesome!

Patio Drinks @ Parnell's Pub Downtown - Barrels as tables!

Patio Drinks @ Parnell’s Pub Downtown – Barrels as tables!

5. Volunteering @ the National Senior Games: The National Senior Games are in town! What’s this you ask? It’s like the Olympics – it’s a multi-sport event but actually boasts MORE athletes! And just like the Olympics, it’s always held in a new city – and this year it’s in Cleveland! So right now we are hosting some insane number of athletes (like nearly 11,000), all ages 50+, and their families. Pretty cool huh? Tonight I’m volunteering at the Celebration of Athletes, which happens to be hosted by Olympian Scott Hamilton! I’m so happy to be not only volunteering with a few of my fellow DCA buddies, but also to help out (even if it’s just  a tiny bit) with such a cool event that brings visitors to Cleveland.

Scott Hamilton (center) will be at the event tonight. Pretty cool huh? He was an Olympic figure skater. And clearly also in Blades of Glory.

Scott Hamilton (center) will be at the event tonight. Pretty cool huh? He was an Olympic figure skater. And clearly also in Blades of Glory.

Hope you had a fabulous Friday as well! Some questions to ponder (leave your answers in the comments if you can!):

  • Are you a fan of Olympic figure skating? Honestly, not really. I don’t NOT like it, but it’s not my favorite winter sport. I LOVE watching the luge and bobsled races. 
  • Are you on Twitter? How long have you been on there? YES! Obviously. I’ve been on apparently for more than 5 years.
  • Do you have  “Twitter friends” or friends that you haven’t met in real life?
  • What is your peanut butter supply like?
  • Do you prefer running with friends? Solo? Both! 

The Friday Five: What I’m Looking Forward To This Weekend

Phew! WHAT a week it’s been. I was in town all week, which usually means a pretty easy/carefree week, but for some reason it was crazy! I’m so happy it’s Friday and am looking forward to the weekend.

Do you have any plans? Here are five things I’m looking forward to:

1. Happy Hour With Friends

Friday after work B and I will be joining some friends for drinks, and then going out to dinner. I cannot WAIT for a glass of wine, some conversation and dinner out!

vino anyone?

vino anyone?

2. Indians Game – Social Suite!

Saturday, B and I are heading to the Indians Social Suite to watch the Indians take on the Chicago White Sox. It will be my first official game of the season and with weather calling for temps in the 40s, I’m glad we’ll be watching from the warmth of a suite! Plus, I can’t wait to meet a few of my fellow suite members, including a few people I follow on Twitter but haven’t met in real life.

Don’t laugh – it’s me and Slider at the Indians Home Opener back in the day – at the original Social Deck!

3. Boston College Alumni Day of Service Event at the West Side Catholic Center Women & Children’s Shelter

B and I are service chairs of our local BC alumni group chapter. One of the things we do each year is plan and organize our chapter’s Alumni Day of Service Event – which is this weekend! For the past few years, we’ve worked with Moriah House, with the West Side Catholic Center, cooking and serving breakfast. I will be up a little earlier than I typically am on Saturdays, but it’s so worth it.

Cooking up some breakfast at last year's Day of Service

Cooking up some breakfast at last year’s Day of Service

4. More Cleveland International Film Festival Action!

B and I somehow ended up with 4 more tickets to the film festival – and I couldn’t be happier! We have two full days now to get some more movies in. My recap of the first films we saw is here. Any suggestions on what to see next?

5. DOING ANYTHING I WANT.

Maybe it’s going to the West Side Market again for fresh produce. Maybe it’s going for a long run outside on Sunday, or checking out my much neglected (on my behalf) fitness membership. Maybe (well hopefully because I have a huge urge) it’s baking. Maybe it’s FINALLY finishing Gone Girl and paying my $2 overdue library charge! Maybe it’s all of the above. Because despite having some things already planned, and some work and non-related items I need to cross off my to-do list, I am SO ready for the weekend!

my fave produce stand at the market. B and I typically buy 90% of everything we need for the week there.

my fave produce stand at the market. B and I typically buy 90% of everything we need for the week there.

What are you looking forward to this weekend?