What the holiday season looks like

It’s December and I’m fully embracing the holiday season. We’ve been lucky enough to have had seasonably warm weather (for the most part), no snow, and I’ve been loving every minute of it. This past weekend we were able to get out and enjoy some holiday-ish things around town, and it made me so giddy for this time of year.

lights in my neighborhood

lights in my neighborhood

Here’s what a holiday-ish weekend in CLE looks like:

Running a few miles outside. Yes, it’s cold (36 degrees), but there’s still no snow so it was GREAT!


Baking a bunch of holiday cookies with some wonderful ladies.

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Comfort food out to eat. Superior Pho deliciousness. Plus a stop at the Asian market for some ginger candy.

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A 5 miler with B in 40 degree temps on Sunday. The hat was a little overkill – didn’t need it! It was beautiful out and I’m so grateful it’s not icy or snowy yet and we’re still able to enjoy the outdoors and trail and road runs.


That afternoon, we met up with Dave and Anson to check out Circlefest and the great holiday events going on in University Circle. We got free admission to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens and got to check out their decorated trees and gingerbread houses.


a MUPPET show decorated gingerbread house!


Along with ice sculptures outside – in 50 degree weather they were starting to melt!


For me, the holidays also includes a great Italian meal at Trattoria in Little Italy. Followed by their amazing tiramisu dessert. Their tiramisu is one of the few I like – not too coffee-ish, lots of cream and looks like ice cream ūüôā


AND Sunday night Cleveland Orchestra holiday concert. A PERFECT ending to a holiday weekend – my favorite concert all year!


I’m so in the mood for the holidays. How about you? Some questions:

  • What’s one thing you do this time of year that signifies the holiday season?
  • What’s your favorite dish at an Italian restaurant?

Linking up today with Erin for my weekend snapshot post, Katie for MIMM and the weekly wraps.

An Evening Out in Uptown – Being Part of the Community Chandelier Project

Living downtown, B and I don’t get to other neighborhoods on a regular basis. It’s just¬†hard,¬† you know – when nearly everything you want is just a quick walk away, why hop in the car to drive somewhere else?

Earlier this week, though, B and I spent the night out in Uptown, another one of Cleveland’s wildly changing and developing neighborhoods. We were invited to the Chandelier Project Closing Party at MOCA and took the opportunity to help with the project and visit the area.

Are you familiar with the Community Chandelier Project? For the past few months, members from the community have been helping hand make a beaded chandelier for Trentina, the Amelia and Chef Jonathon Sawyer restaurant opening super soon in the neighborhood.

I know what you’re thinking … my craft-making skills are pretty bad … have you seen the pair of mittens I tired to make? But I was assured we’d just be putting beads on strings, and getting to have some drinks and try some of the new Trentina food – plus get free admission to MOCA for the evening (after hours!) – so I happily accepted the invite.

It was a great, intimate event. MOCA is a gorgeous building – inside and out – and we got to see their current¬†exhibit, Dirge, which had more meaning to me than it would have several months ago. Several other bloggers and members of the¬†media were at the event,¬†along with Chef Sawyer, Amelia and their adroable (and super well-behaved) children. The couple gave a heartwarming thanks to everyone who helped them bring this dream to life. We learned that more than 500 people had participated in this community chandelier project – I can’t wait to see it brought to life in the restaurant in the coming months!


We were greeted with prosecco and appetizers! Prosecco the night before a long run = always a good decision.

my beadwork

my beadwork / strand for the Community Chandelier at Trentina

b beading

B busy with his strand

every colored bead on the strands represent a new person who helped out.

every colored bead on the strands represent a new person who helped out.



pretending to be crafty


polenta crisp appetizer, drink and completed beadwork

The amazing couple - Chef Sawyer and Amelia share their story and thank everyone for helping with the Community Chandelier

The amazing couple – Chef Sawyer and Amelia share their story and thank everyone for helping with the Community Chandelier

After the event and exploring the museum, B and I strolled around midtown.

Selfies outside MOCA (the building is reflective!)

Selfies outside MOCA (the building is reflective!)

Walking around Midtown

Walking around Midtown

And of course stopped for some dessert at Coquette Patisserie.

Dessert from Coquette Patisserie

Dessert from Coquette


It was a great, beautiful evening and reminded me I really need to get out and explore more. After all, one of my favorite neighborhoods outside of downtown was just named one of THE up-and-coming neighborhoods in the nation by USA Today. If that’s not a reason to leave downtown on occasion, I don’t know what is!

A few questions for you to answer:

  • Favorite neighborhood near where you live … go!
  • Modern Art – how do you feel about it? Do you go to modern¬†art museums?
  • Is the weather finally getting warm where you are? It was sunny and in the 80s when B and I were exploring the area!
  • What’s one good thing you have going on this weekend/week? This weekend I hope to get back to the Cleveland Flea! We’re also going to a benefit, so B and I can get dressed up and be fancy one evening.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Chandelier Closing Project by MOCA and received free admission into the museum. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions/thoughts/photos/other randomness are my own.

Definitely In The Holiday Spirit

Spoiler alert: This post contains 1 dose of bird poop and 6 Christmas movies. In one weekend. You’ve been warned.

I don’t know what’s up with me this year, but I just can’t get enough of the holidays. Christmas may be more than 2 weeks away, but I’ve been feeling SO in the holiday spirit. Really – I’m like the anti-Grinch. From watching waaay too many holiday movies, to decorating my apartment, to seeing the Cleveland Orchestra holiday performance to attending not one, but two, holiday festivals – I had quite the holiday-themed weekend. And it was amazing. Here’s a little peek at some of the fun:

Friday night B and I made plans – to stay in and do our annual decorating/Love Actually night. It was awesome. This year, we added red wine and sushi to the mix – a combo that was pretty amazing.

another dinner thanks to Sushi 86

another dinner thanks to Sushi 86

Best holiday movie.

Best holiday movie.

Saturday we slept in for the first Saturday in a while – which was definitely needed. I deemed it was too cold and slippery for an outdoor run, so we headed to our apartment gym and I was able to get in 5 miles on the treadmill plus a kettlebell workout. Yes, my muscles are still sore.

After our workout, B and I decided it wasn’t too cold for a walk to Ohio City. Grocery bag in hand, and super bundled up, we walked over the bridge to get in some shopping at West Side Market, as well as check out the Ohio City Holiday Festival. There, we were introduced to mulled Christmas Ale, which made standing outside and drinking a little less cold and miserable. Oh, and I also got pooped on by a bird. Which I hear is good luck, right? I’m not making it up – MSN says, “if a bird lets loose on you, then good things are coming your way. One idea is that it’s a sign of major wealth coming from heaven, based on the belief that when you suffer an inconvenience (albeit a pretty gross one), you’ll have good fortune in return.” Can’t wait to see what luck I have in store!


bundled up along the walk to Ohio City

mulled holiday Christmas Ale

watching them make the mulled Christmas Ale

After hanging out at Great Lakes for a little while, we walked back downtown and decided to hit Gallucci’s and pick up supplies to make pepperoni bread for dinner. When we got home, something amazing and hard-to-believe happened – B gave me the remote control and I promptly turned on the Nightmare Before Christmas and then a holiday movie I hadn’t yet seen – 12 Dates of Christmas, starring Mark Paul Gosselaar. It’s a pretty cute holiday movie, if you ask me (don’t ask B what he thought), and with that as the backdrop to our cooking pepperoni bread, I was pretty content.



B headed out to watch the OSU game, but I was pretty stuffed from our pepperoni bread and previous beers, so I decided to take on the daunting task of seeing how many other cheesy holiday movies I could get in before the game was over. How many holiday movies can I watch during an OSU game? The answer is nearly 2 whole movies: I’ll Be Home for Christmas (starring JTT and Jessica Biel) and Holiday Engagement (originally a Hallmark channel movie). So yes, that brings the total to 5 Christmas movies.

Sunday B and I had big plans – we were going to go to the east side for their holiday festival, Circlefest, before catching the Cleveland Orchestra’s holiday performance. I of course had to fit in another holiday movie – so I set my alarm so I could get up early, run on the treadmill, and watch my next made-for-tv holiday movie,¬†Holiday in Handcuffs (starring Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez) at the same time. Don’t worry, I didn’t finish the movie so I never made it to 6 full movies.

Anyway, after my workout, we headed out east. We started out at the Cleveland Museum of Art for a holiday lunch with a few other members of the Cleveland Phi Beta Kappa board that I’m on. ¬†The food in the cafe is pretty good – I had a great beet and butternut squash salad with some pork and barley soup and we enjoyed the view (and some live music) in the Atrium.

ice dog

After lunch, we walked around the holiday Circlefest and checked out the food trucks, live music, ice skaters and ice sculptures. Most of the institutions were letting people in for free, so we got to ride around Lolly the Trolley and check out the Botanical Gardens (and the Gingerbread House contest entries) AND MOCA! 

old stone church gingerbread house at botanical gardens

old stone church gingerbread house at botanical gardens

outside MOCA - it's all reflective!

outside MOCA – it’s all reflective!

After Circlefest, it was time for the Orchestra. Each year, B’s family gets together and gets dinner in Little Italy before seeing the Cleveland Orchestra perform their holiday repertoire in a private concert for St. Ignatius students, alumni and their families. I loved it! They even played a few songs from¬†Home Alone – don’t worry I am not counting those songs in my tally of Christmas movies, but it was a fun and festive show!


It was a great weekend – filled with tons of holiday fun. And I can’t wait to continue the holiday fun this week – I’m traveling to DC for work (I’m getting a major award!!), celebrating the holidays in our building holiday party AND seeing A Christmas Carol this week!

Some questions for you:

  • Do you like running outside in the winter or do you prefer the treadmill?¬†I always prefer outside. Even though I had a cheesy holiday movie to keep me entertained on Sunday, I was still wishing the roads were cleared and I was outside.
  • What’s your favorite holiday movie?
  • Have you seen any of the holiday movies I mentioned above?
  • Any fun travel plans this week? DC on Tuesday – and then that’s the last travel until I go home for Christmas!