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! 

Scenes from a Fabulous Weekend in the CLE

Another fabulous weekend in Cleveland has come and gone. We ate. We drank. We sat outside. We grilled. And it was awesome. I am so in love with summers in the CLE that it’s not funny. I hope you all enjoyed your weekends!

We had drinks and dinner on the patio on East Fourth (I love this street at night)

We had drinks and dinner on the patio on East Fourth (I love this street at night)

We went to the West Side Market Saturday morning for a little grocery shopping to supplement the week’s Fresh Fork Finds.

B cooked us dinner on the patio. I will be eating turkey burgers for a few more days this week. Thanks again to my friend Debbie for the patio-safe grill 🙂 (Please don’t judge me by the plants on my patio … this includes you, Debbie)

B cooked us dinner on the patio. I will be eating turkey burgers for a few more days this week.

We relaxed on our private patio. I love Bud Light Lime in the summer!

We relaxed on our private patio. I love Bud Light Lime in the summer!

We finally broke open the Mangria. I highly recommend you serve it on ice.

We finally broke open the mangria.

B and I went for a run. Yes he went for a run with me looking like this. Bless his soul – it was hot out and I was wearing waaay too much pink. I need to get some new sneakers (I’m at 400+miles anyway) if I want to continue wearing these amazing ProCompression socks that I won from this awesome blogger’s giveaway.

B and I went for a run. Yes he went for a run with me looking like this. Bless his soul - it was hot out and I was wearing waaay too much pink.

And we pulled out the slip and slide at B’s parents house. I did not use it … but the kids had fun!

How was your weekend? Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What’s your favorite summer weekend activity? I just love being outside!  Whether it’s at the beach, on my porch or on a patio somewhere, summer is all about soaking in the Vitamin D!
  • Does your drinking preference change during the summer? Sometimes. I love any lime flavored beer in the summer – Miller Chill, Bud Light Lime, Michelob Ultra Lime Cactus – you name it. In the winter I tend to stick to a glass of red wine.
  • Do you have any ridiculous running outfits? See above. You decide. Just be happy I was wearing my white hat as opposed to my pink headband! 

Reason #2142 I love Cleve – Going Out On School Nights

Summer in Cleveland = Concerts, patio dining, happy hours and beautiful weather. What could be better?

This week included all of the above – and yes, I’m referring to the week, not weekend.  It included:

Happy Hour 

Tuesday, me and some coworkers/non coworkers headed to Zocalo for Taco Tuesday – half off margaritas and $1 tacos! Nothing says summer quite like an icy margarita.

Catching a Summer Blockbuster

After margs, I saw The Avengers with B and a few other friends. It was awesome! We saw it in 3D and it was great to see the streets of Cleveland in the film. Some advice if you haven’t seen it yet – while not necessary, it does help to see Captain America and Thor beforehand. I was glad to understand what was going on as the movie picks up where the two of them leave off.

A photo from my walk to work – E 9th turned into NYC during Avengers filming last summer

Remember the explosion during filming? (Shot by B’s coworker from their office – explosion happens 30 sec in)

Checking Out the Guys Outdoor Exhibits at Marine Week

It’s Marine Week and this year the marines invaded Cleveland! Well, tomorrow’s the actual invasion – but this week Public Square and Voinovich Park were closed for some Marine Week activities, expeditions, and more. Which means that I live exactly in between where the Marines are staying and where they have to walk to for their daily activities – it’s okay to be jealous!

Patio Dining

Pre-Fun concert, we sat outside and enjoyed some Mediterranean Happy Hour specials at La Strada. This is the 12th attempt at a photo, so pardon the silly faces. The old couple next to us didn’t know how to take a photo with a phone!

Crew before Fun concert

Live Music

Last night was the Fun. concert at House of Blues. It was amazing, incredible, awesome, unbelievable – insert another exciting word here. They put on an AMAZING show and we had great spots to watch. And best of all – my aircast is officially off so I could dance, jump (carefully) and enjoy a concert the way it should be enjoyed!

Great view of the band rocking out.

Ali’s caption: “Having fun at Fun.!”

And just a few seconds of the show – sorry, my longer video disappeared

If that’s what this week had in store I can’t wait to see what the weekend holds! Here’s to another great summer in Cleveland! What fun have you been having? (No pun intended)

Summer = Farmer’s Markets


Source: Positively Cleveland

This weekend was the unofficial start of summer! Which not only means we can wear white (does anyone actually follow that rule?), but also enjoy fresh, locally grown produce in Northeast Ohio. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh fruits and vegetables that are available everywhere, especially at Farmer’s Markets. If you work/live downtown like me, besides going to the West Side Market, there’s no better way to get fresh fruits, veggies, and other food (including my favorite, Ohio City Pasta!). Some downtown Farmer’s Markets I’m looking forward to frequenting during lunch breaks include:

  • Public Square: Fridays from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. through October, opens June 10th
  • Cleveland State University (in front of the law school on Euclid between E 18th and E 21st): Thursdays 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. through November 17th, opens June 9th
  • East 9th Street Pier: Thursdays 11:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. through Labor Day, opens tomorrow (June 2)

Not lucky enough to hit one of the downtown spots? A full listing of NEO markets can be found here.

Where’s your favorite place to find fresh produce? Do you have another favorite Farmer’s Market?