Can I have another 3-day weekend?

Happy unofficial start of summer! It was the perfect introduction of summer this weekend – a 3 day weekend filled with family, food and pretty much perfect weather. Prepare for a post filled with lots of photos!

Friday night my parents came into town from New York! They got into town just in time for dinner and we walked around downtown for a little (I got to show them the new Heinen’s!) and then headed to Uptown. We had reservations at L’Albtross and the food was soooo good. I seriously love Zach Bruell restaurants and my parents were impressed with their food. After dinner, we walked around Uptown for a second and got dessert at Coquette Patisserie – it was a French food filled evening, I suppose!

My parents enjoying dessert

My parents enjoying dessert

All the sweetness!

All the sweetness!

Saturday, we typically hit up the West Side Market, even when my family comes into town – but this weekend, instead, we decided to try something new – and this meant going for a hike in the ‘burbs. We headed to Squires Castle for a few photos and a nice cool hike in the woods. A little different than our typical more urban walk throughout downtown!

B and I - in nature!

B and I – in nature!

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After our hike, we stopped off in downtown Willoughby for lunch at the Willoughby Brewing Company – it was my first time there and we all enjoyed our meal.

 

By the time we got downtown again, it was almost time for our late-afternoon plans – Indians game! We didn’t have 4 seats tighter, but instead had 2 sets in the 2nd row behind third base and 2 seats in the upper deck. B and my dad got the good seats, and I got the super high seats with my mom. What a fun afternoon! My mom and I enjoyed watching the game, chatting and of course taking selfies.

our super high bird

our super high bird

Baseball game selfie!

Baseball game selfie!

 

We hadn’t been hungry for food during the game, so we opted for Vietnamese for dinner. I love me some Vietnamese cabbage salads – we also feasted on Bun, Pho, spring rolls and more.

ginormous salad

ginormous salad

My parents typically only spend one full day in town when they visit, but since it was a 3-day weekend they were able to also stay for half of the day on Sunday! We started off the day with a visit to the Sunday Market in Hingetown.

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

Dad and I at Cleveland Tea Revival

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After walking around and of course a few purchases, we hit up brunch in Ohio City at Heck’s.

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

Cheating on Phuel with another yogurt parfait!

And then my parents were off ūüė¶ During the afternoon, B and I ran a few errands, spending waaaay too much time (and $) in Target, before feasting on leftovers and heading to the bar to watch the Cavs game. Thank goodness we brought home a win!

A porter during the game

A porter during the game

Time for  a win!

Time for a win!

I need a cavs shirt

I need a cavs shirt

Monday morning started off with a longish run – now that I’m not training for anything right now, it’s somewhat enjoyable not to have any scheduled long runs; however, I do miss them sometimes! I got in 7.5 miles before B and I hit the driving range.

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I don’t actually know what I’m doing when I hit golf balls … but B does!

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Then it was time to prepare our contribution to our Memorial Day BBQ – an appetizer from our Recipe Girl cookbook – and then it was cookout time!

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My plates from the barbecue – definitely enjoyed chicken, ribs, pork tenderloin, potato salad, and of course ice cream, cookies and local beer. Hope you had a fabulous Memorial Day weekend!

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my plate!

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New – from Platform!

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vanilla, strawberry, mint chip AND a delicious cookie

 

 

Some questions for you:

  • Do you golf?
  • Which flavors of neopolitan ice cream do you like?¬†I love vanilla and strawberry – but hate chocolate!

 

Friday Five: May Randomness

As we get to the unofficial start of summer, I realize I haven’t been so great about my weekend recap posts this month. Jinkies! (yes, cue the Mystery Machine) So here is a random Friday Five to catch you up to speed. Don’t worry – I hope have more weekend update posts AND some new baked goods recipes coming soon (butterscotch chocolate chip cookies and ginger cookies!).

Friday 5: 5 Random Things

1. I signed up for the new Rock Hall Half Marathon! Blame it on the runner’s high – ¬†last weekend was the Cleveland Marathon (recap here). I was lucky¬†enough to be an Ambassador and hang out with these lovely people AND run with B. (Yes, I did write about this but I just had to share it again because I’m still feeling the high from the event!)

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race - we clean up good!

Some of my fellow ambassadors the night before the race – we clean up good!

Me and Nicole. We're running buddies.

Me and Nicole. We’re running buddies.

2. Earlier this month was the St. Martin De Porres Birthday Bash. I went with B and his family and we got all dressed up and celebrated/raised money for St. Martin De Porres High School at the Cleveland Art Museum. Such a great venue – and a great cause!

B and me at the bash

B and me at the bash

Some of us ladies at the event

Some of us ladies at the event

3. I’ve been baking up a storm this month. Some things have included ginger chocolate biscotti, butterscotch cookies, butterscotch chocolate chip cookies, triple ginger cookies. Yum! Recipes coming soon (hopefully).

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4. B and I finally got around to making one¬†of¬†the recipes we learned in Vietnam¬†this year – spring rolls! Our¬†contribution to Mother’s Day (theme: small plates) were these shrimp and pork spring rolls with peanut sauce. So delicious!

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5. A client of mine, Donate Life Ohio, recently kicked off a #DonateKindness campaign. They are encouraging people to take 2 minutes of their day to commit to an act of kindness toward someone else. (And of course, it only takes 2 minutes to do the ultimate act of kindness – register as an organ, eye or tissue donor) I participated already and can’t wait to do it again – I shipped¬†some baked goods (see aforementioned treats) to some friends and family as a surprise!

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Some questions for you:

  1. Have you done any random acts of kindness lately? What have you done?
  2. What is a good Memorial Day appetizer or dessert to bring to a party? I need ideas!

#TBT: Throwback Thursday – Travel Edition

As you probably know by now, B and I love to travel. We’ve gone to some great places – international and in the U.S. – together and had a great time trying out new meals, meeting new people and getting in as much of the local scene as we can.

We have two more trips planned this year – what we’re calling an “East Coast Foliage Tour” (which will include stops in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Boston and New York) and a trip to Asia (Hong Kong and Vietnam for now). So as I started to get¬†excited about what’s to come, I began to also think about all the great trips we’ve had over the past few years. Here are some old photos from past trips, 2010 through last year:

2010 – New York City to see my brother play at Carnegie Hall

NYC 2010 Carnegie Hall

2010 – Road trip to Pittsburgh – checking out the city for the first time and of course their Hofbrauhaus

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Not sure if this counts as travel … but we go to upstate New York quite often to see my parents. These¬†pictures are from our engagement shots in 2010 ūüôā (thus the cheesiness)

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2011 Рtrip to Chicago!  We tasted our way through local beers and deep dish pizza, and did a walking tour, tried the architectural boat tour and got in great views.

Chicago + 391 Chicago + 408 Hemmingway Lou Malnottis

2012 Cape Cod – we ate lobster, went whale watching, tried tandem biking and even walked on the beach (even with my boot :()

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Also in 2012 we went to Ireland and England! More hiking, local food and drinks, and siteseeing.

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And we ended the year in Montreal and Toronto. In a snowy winter wonderland! We still managed to walk around, check out some amazing food (crepes, poutine, Chinatown) and had a great time.

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2013 started with a winter surprise vacation in Miami – which meant sunshine, running along the beach, fresh seafood and fruity drinks!

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Also, that year we spent a week checking out another midwestern city – Milwaukee!

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And 2013 ended with a great trip to the West Coast, with stops in San Francisco, Napa, Seattle, the Redwoods, Los Angeles and more.

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This year, you probably remember we started off with some travel to Costa Rica. And I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2014 holds for us for travel!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like to travel or do you prefer to stay home?
  • What’s the coolest place you’ve been – I need more places to add to my travel bucket list!
  • Ever been to Hong Kong or Vietnam? Recommendations?
  • Ever been to Portland, Maine? What do you recommend we do?
  • What’s on your travel bucket list?

 

 

 

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 ūüôā

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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 Рyou 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?

Why Every Weekend Should Be a 3 Day Weekend

It’s already the last day on my amazing three-day weekend, and I can’t help but think how amazing it would be if every weekend were a three-day weekend.

Why?

Here are just some of the things that happen on three-day weekends:

Spontaneous pizza nights

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Fresh bacon (from Fresh Fork!) for breakfast

fresh bacon for breakfast

Fish faces with kids

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Baking

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More baking

baking

Reading along the beach

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Selfies in the park

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And that’s all before Sunday.

Don’t worry, a full weekend wrap up post will be coming¬†– but in the meantime, enjoy the rest of your weekend!

Want Cookies In Your Mailbox? (Blogger Bake Sale)

Who doesn’t want to open their mailbox to find some delicious cookies? I know, it’s a rhetorical question because the answer is obviously NOBODY. And who doesn’t want to buy cookies for a good cause? Again – NOBODY!

Who wouldn't buy these for a good cause?

Who wouldn’t buy these for a good cause?

That’s why when I saw that one of my favorite local running bloggers was hosting a Blogger Bake Sale¬†to benefit Jordan’s Family Foundation, I was pumped to participate. Here’s some more info about JFF, from Jess’s fundraising website:

JFF primarily provides funding for research, development and education in the field of pediatric cardiology. The organization also conducts heart healthy children’s activities such as Fitness Fits Everyone (formerly Recess ROCKS!), where kids and families come together to play while also learning about healthy living

Anyway, I hope you’ll join in and support the Blogger Bake Sale. You can bid on a ton of delicious goodies, here, including my favorite peanut butter cookie recipe. That’s right, I’m baking my favorite peanut butter cookies (B’s friend Steve called them the best peanut butter cookies ever, so I think that’s what I’m calling them when I share the recipe) and you can bid on them for a good cause.

favorite peanut butter cookies - i crashed the web

Yum. You could be enjoying these cookies yourself sometime soon ūüôā Bid on them today!¬†

Weekend Recap – Planes, Trains, Automobiles and Food – Part 1

What a glorious weekend! I’m back from a three day weekend in NY, visiting friends, hanging out with my brother and celebrating Mother’s Day with my momma. Of course, I’m going to share it all with you.

Thursday

After work, B and I took the rapid to the airport and flew into Laguardia. That’s right, we flew. That may not sound like a big deal, but B and I hardly ever fly together. For some reason, we either fly without one another (like I did a few weeks ago on my trip to Orlando) or we drive places (like we usually do to NY). But this time – we flew! At the airport, we grabbed a quick snack (pretzels and beer!) at Great Lakes and a 6 pack to go! That’s right, you can buy 6 packs to go to drink on the plane to bring for a friend!

After landing in Laguardia 20 minutes¬†early, we hopped in a taxi to our friend Jared’s place, where we were staying for the night. Jared lives basically on Central Park West, so it was a quick taxi ride and a great place to stay. We met up with Jared, who was just coming home from work (yes, at after 10 p.m.) and grabbed some drinks and a quick bite to eat at a local bar.

Friday

Friday, B and I got up early and did some work. I got in a conference call and some emails and had planned on taking the day off to explore and visit with my brother, but after my brother found out he had to work and some of the projects I was working on were on deadline, and some others experienced a mini crisis (of course on my day off), I ended up working most of the day until meeting up with my brother for dinner at 8.  Thank goodness with my job I have the ability to work remotely! I was able to get a lot of stuff done, get on a client call, and answer important emails all from NYC. Plus I got an awesome lunch break Рmeeting up with my jr high and high school bff (and Maid of Honor) Jane, who lives in New Jersey and came into the city to see me, enjoy Shake Shack. We of course got in a quick trip to J Crew.

Cheeseburger, Shroomburger and Cheesefries

Jane and me – friends for 15 years!

Friday night, I said goodbye to B and met up with my brother at Columbia. He got out of work a little after 8, and then we took a few trains and headed to Williamsburg (Brooklyn) for dinner. My brother had picked out a place for dinner, called Bistro Petit – and it definitely took after it’s name – there were probably 8 seats in the whole restaurant! Luckily, we had made reservations and were even able to sit outside for the first part of our meal – watermelon salad. Okay, I admit, watermelon salad sounds¬†boring. It does. But my brother wanted to order it, so we did. It was anything BUT boring. The watermelon was perfect and came in a spicy watermelon reduction dressing with pickled watermelon rind, grilled halloumi cheese and mint.

watermelon salad from Bistro Petit

Kimchi Bouillabaisse… and bread for dipping

For dinner, my brother got the homemade pasta, and I got the Kimchi Bouillabaisse. Wow. I was greeted with a steaming pot of mussels, scallops, pollack, shrimp, tofu, rice gnocchi (my new favorite thing!), watercress and kimchi. By the end of my meal I could have still drank the broth with a straw Рit was so good! The chef came out to ask us how our meal was and explain a little about the pickling and process for making the salad Рyou could tell he was really into his cooking and it was great to enjoy the fruits of his enthusiasm.

We took a few trains back to Manhattan and I spent the night at Columbia. Ahh, living the life of a college student – for just one night.

More to come … (Update – post completed here)