Thinking of All That’s Good … A Pretty Good Weekend

I know it’s a few days late, but I feel compelled to share a weekend wrap up post. It’s been a while since I’ve shared one, and frankly – I had a pretty good weekend.

I feel like I haven’t been posting as much … but the last few weeks have been pretty rough. My grandmother just passed away, and I still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I can’t just call her up a few times a week. My dog had to be put to sleep on Monday, and I don’t want to think about what it will be like when I return home next week and she’s not there. Yes, this is sounding like another one of those “I don’t usually post about this not-so-happy stuff” posts – which is why I’m turning it into a more positive one. Despite being emotional (THANK YOU to all that are putting up with me), I’m thinking about the positives … and remembering and writing down the goodness helps. So here are 5 good things from my pretty good weekend.

1. Friday night B made sure I had a pretty awesome Valentine’s Day, including flowers, chocolate and a homemade steak dinner. I have to admit, I’m a pretty lucky gal.

B made me steak with mushrooms, avocado and salad.

B made me steak with mushrooms, avocado and salad.

Local chocolates! From Chocolate 76

Local chocolates! From Chocolate 76 and yes they are half eaten. Sorry 🙂

2. Saturday morning we ran outside! We ran outside! We ran outside! Can you tell how excited I am? It was cold, snowy, and really NOT enjoyable – but I LOVED not having to be indoors.

12 miles

3. I did my first double digit run in forever – and ended with the first race of 2014, the Chili Bowl 5k.  9 snowy miles + 5k on Saturday = happiness

Tired but happy the 12 miles are done.

Tired but happy the 12 miles are done. Not pictured — Doritos, beer AND veggie chili that we got after the race!

4. We celebrated AGAIN on Saturday night with some fancy drinks at Society Lounge AND a delicious seafood dinner at Blue Point Grille.

Drinks @ Society Lounge

Drinks @ Society Lounge

Dinner at Blue Point! Not pictured: Creme Brulee.

Dinner at Blue Point! Not pictured: Creme Brulee.

5. Sunday was my niece’s birthday and I got to see her TWICE this weekend. She and her brother came over on Saturday afternoon to see our apartment for the first time and Sunday we celebrated her 6th birthday at B’s parents’ house.  Lasagna + cake + ice cream + seeing her open her gifts = great way to end the weekend.

A throwback photo - Sofia and I were twin!

A throwback photo from 2010 – Sofia and I were twins (unintentionally)!

I remember when she was born!

I remember when she was born!

 

Some questions for you:

  • Have you gotten in any outdoor workouts?
  • What are 5 good things about your past week?
  • We’re halfway through the week! What are you doing this weekend? I’m excited to hopefully get in ANOTHER outdoor run and enjoy the warmer temps!
  • Honestly, I’m not usually a sad person. How do you cope when sad things happen? Baking and running. Plus, writing about them helps. As does writing about and talking about all of the good things in my life 🙂 Thanks for putting up with me!
  • What did you do for Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day? Do you like chocolates?

Scenes From A Busy Weekend

HOW is the weekend over already? I have no idea where this weekend went at all – seriously, it flew by! Here’s just a snippet of what we did:

Flaming Ice Cube Friday! I’m starting to love this tradition B and I have – each Friday night we’ve been getting Flaming Ice Cube takeout. The downtown vegan restaurant is literally next door and it’s nice to just relax with some healthy takeout after a crazy week. Plus, I am addicted to their kalebouli!

Kalebouli and couscous from The Flaming Ice Cube

Kalebouli and couscous from The Flaming Ice Cube

B, Mary and I met early Saturday morning for a 10k through Ohio City and Tremont. We’re on pace for a sub-two hour half marathon … but it’s going to be tough!

Splits according to Brian's garmin

Splits according to Brian’s garmin

B and I made pizza! Well, B did. We  got fresh dough, mozzarella cheese, sausage and tomatoes in our CSA this week and it was perfect to make two little pizzas for us to enjoy. We even made our own sauce from the fresh tomatoes.

prepping tomatoes for homemade sauce

prepping tomatoes for homemade sauce

fresh pizza!

fresh pizza!

Oh, we also took a break from working to grab a few flights of wine and champagne. It was a beautiful day to enjoy some bubbly on the patio! I love just walking to the grocery store and grabbing drinks on the way. Seriously, I am so in love with downtown living in the summer!

perfect weather for some flights

perfect weather for some flights

We also attempted some packing. I’m starting to feel like I’m in an episode of Hoarders walking through my apartment, climbing over boxes, etc. I really need more time before we move this week to get packing!

Hoarders? No, just moving!

Hoarders? No, just moving! And yes, B already boxed up my Kitchenaid 😦 

How was your weekend? Not pictured- drinks at Noodlecat with B’s parents and their friends, plus a bbq at B’s parents house with his softball team. I meant to take pics of the delicious food and fun company .. but enjoyed myself too much to stop and document!

Running and Feasting – Another Fun Weekend in the CLE

Any weekend recap post that includes “running” and “feasting” in the title has to be a good weekend, right? I mean, what else is there?

Here are some highlights from the weekend.

Okay, the weekend may have started with a little bit of working late. But check out the view from our office as the sun sets – how gorgeous is that?

working late sky

AND I still got out in time to enjoy some patio beverages. I know summer is coming to an end so I am savoring all the remaining patio days!

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B and I went for an 8 miler on Sunday. And it was a beautiful day! I love days like this:views on running

And I got to try out some of my new running gear! Like the hot orange shorts? (please ignore the orange lighting in my hallway)
new running clothes

After our run we headed to the West Side Market to pick up some fresh veggies, chicken and a snack (or two). We made sure to stop at Ohio City Farm to get some SUPER local produce, including a huge yellow squash (which prompted B to say, Do you even know what to do with that?).

west side market ohio city veggies

Check it out – it’s Ohio City Farm! Their stand is open next to the West Side Market on Sundays.  They also have a CSA which I want to try – the program goes to support the refugees who live in Cleveland work there. I highly recommend you stop by their location on your next visit to the market.

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Sunday included a short recovery run and some more weightlifting at the gym followed by Nike Training Club activities. And some baking. Because Sundays and baking seem to go hand-in-hand don’t they?

homemade biscotti! (recipe posted soon)

And while I was baking I caught the movie, Something Borrowed, on TV. Which was pretty awesome because I read the book years ago and forgot that they had made it into a movie. Who doesn’t like baking AND a chick flick? (PS – I think Kate Hudson plays the same character in nearly every movie)

B and I were also invited to my City Advocate friend Laura’s house in Little Italy to celebrate the Feast! So Sunday afternoon we hopped on the bus and found ourselves in the crowded streets of Cleveland’s Little Italy neighborhood. One of my favorite festivals in Cleveland is the Feast of the Assumption. I ❤ everything Italian and it’s probably the one festival where I could (and try to) eat everything in sight. Give me a cannoli, gelato and some Italian sausage and I’m a happy girl 🙂

The Feast!

Laura even had green, white and red-themed food at her house!  (not pictured – her delicious green white and red flatbread and pasta salad)

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Laura is awesome. The veggies came from her CSA and the basil was from her patio herb garden!

We still of course had to stop for a meatball sub on the way back.

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B bought this. But he graciously let me have a bite.

And that was it! How was your weekend?  Some questions for you: (and my responses in italic because I know you’re dying to know even more about me) i’d love to hear about you!

  • What’s your favorite type of ethnic food? My favorite – Italian! And then sushi, Mediterranean, and Vietnamese tied for second. 
  • Least favorite type of ethnic food? English. Or German. Or Irish. Not a fan of any of those foods! 
  • Do you go to cultural celebrations in your city? Which ones? We most frequently attend the Feast, Oktoberfest and then the Irish festival. See above for my thoughts on the food at the other festivals 🙂
  • Do you have any Sunday or weekend routines? Lately my Sundays have involved waking up somewhat early and then lifting weights and baking/watching a girly movie while B is at softball. I could get used to that!
  • Do you have any idea what type of squash that is? 

Weekend Update – the Carney Games!

My whole body is SORE. Not from a super hard weight lifting/pump/workout class – but from a run and softball game. That’s right – softball. I played a sport this weekend that required hand and eye coordination  – both of which I don’t have (which is why I run). And I’m paying for it now. Ouch!

This weekend, B’s family got together for their sorta-annual Carney Games! The Carney Games does not sadly, involve any cool carnival games – but it is a big family reunion/engagement party for his cousin/sporting competition/lots of eating and drinking. I admit, I was somewhat nervous. I’m not a softball player. I’m not an athletic person. Well unless you count being able to run athletic. But even that is debatable.  But it was actually a great weekend with some fun activities, great food and good company. Here are a few highlights:

Right before the weekend started, B and I snagged awesome seats (fourth row behind the dugout) to the Indians game. It was a gorgeous night – sadly the Indians didn’t do so well …

B and I enjoyed an Indians game. fourth row seats ... but caught a loss. But a gorgeous night!

Then Saturday morning our alarm went off at 6:15 a.m. (too early for a weekend in my opinion) so we’d have time to get in a training run before the Carney Games began. We had 7 on the schedule and ran it with B’s sister Mary throughout the beautiful University Circle and Cultural Gardens. Definitely nice change of pace and it was another beautiful morning – upper 60s, partly cloudy – perfect for a run!

7 miler

Then it was time to get on the road for the Carney Games and play some serious softball. I was nervous. What if we lost  — because of me? I was catcher, and actually sorta knew what I was doing! AND I ended up hitting the ball each time I was up. Pleasantly surprised!

Then it was time for some softball. I was catcher, and actually sorta knew what I was doing!

 B and me post-game. We have actually a super similar picture from the last time we played softball together! I’m surprised – I had a really good time. I didn’t suck terribly, and wasn’t in a high-pressure position, so that made me relax and actually enjoy the game. Plus, B loves softball so I know it meant  a lot to him that I actually played.

B and I have a very similar picture from the softball game two years ago. <3

Photo of the winning team. B’s family and extended family. I’m actually standing next to his cousin Michele who said she reads this blog! Hi Michele 🙂

The winning team! Yup. That's us. I think we won like 16-2?

The not-winning team. I think the final score was 16-2? See how serious it is – we all have matching shirts!

the not winners

After the games there was an impromptu pool party back at B’s uncle’s house. They live on a sorta farm – they have horses, lots of land, some plants and a pool. A great place to host a family celebration!

Isn’t Oliver the cutest? He didn’t play but looks adorable in that t-shirt (this picture is before he got in the pool). Oh and he’s holding up a #1 because our team won of course.

winning wiht oliver

See all that land in the background? Anyway, that’s the poor pig that was roasted to feed us. There was tons of awesome food – fresh pork, pasta salad, veggies, buffalo chicken dip, cake, cookies, and more.

pig roast

That is my plate of food. I’m sorry that i’m not sorry that I ate every single bite. Plus a cookie.

my embarrasing plate of food

The next day B played some more softball with one of his leagues and they won their first playoff game! Woohoo! He’s played in this league for years and this is the first time they’re past the first round in playoffs. Exciting, I know.

While B was at softball I decided to go for a short run to loosen my legs. I was super tight, and I’m not sure if the 2 miles helped. I then hit the gym for the elliptical and some weights. I typically just use the weight machines but since my quads were tired from squatting while catching, and right arm was super sore from throwing all the balls back to the pitcher, I decided to do something different. I downloaded the Nike training app and decided to try out an arm workout and core workout. It wasn’t bad – it was kinda hard but probably because my arms were already so sore. I can’t wait to try it out again after my body recovers.

Yes, I started the “Butt Buster” workout but some of it (aka the thrusting) felt a little strange doing it at the gym so maybe I’ll do the rest of the 15 min workout in the privacy of my own apt… or gym.

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After working out, B and I grabbed some coffee and started packing. That’s right – we’re moving in just a few weeks and finally started packing! Well … we put together half a box and got rid of two giant garbage bags of stuff – one to donate (I got rid of a ton of stuff – sweatshirts, coats, more).

We opted for sushi for dinner now that our favorite sushi place downtown is open 7 days a week!

SUSHI 86

SUSHI 86

And any weekend that ends with sushi and fro-yo is a good weekend in my opinion 🙂

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Hope you all had a great weekend! Some questions for you:

  • Does your family have a big family get-together or family reunion?
  • What’s your favorite fro yo topping? I chose mango balls, a gummy worm, cookie dough and my favorite – HEATH bar! 
  • What’s your sushi order? I got (not pictured) a rainbow roll plus a few pieces of just the fish  – mackerel and salmon roe. YUM! 
  • Any tips for packing/moving? No – that’s why I’m asking you!

Another Wonderful Weekend in the CLE

We had another wonderfully sunny, warm and beautiful weekend in Cleveland! Since I was out of town last weekend, I was excited for a few days of sleeping, a long run or two, and overall a relaxing weekend.

Friday night, B and I got a few invites to watch the Indian’s game or go out with friends, but we already had plans – a First Communion celebration. B’s cousin was receiving her First Communion and we were invited to the Mass and a dinner celebration after. It was great to see B’s family and we enjoyed some great food – including some homemade smoked salmon. I wish I had taken a photo – it was SO good! We got home somewhat late and since we had planned on a day full of errands and partying, for Saturday, we decided to stay in and watch up on our DVR and bake. I had my own mini Nutella bakefest – and made some awesome Peanut Butter, Nutella, Chocolate Pretzel Bars, along with some Nutella Heath Bar Rice Krispie Treats (recipe coming soon), while sipping wine. Definitely not a bad way to spend a Friday night in my opinion 🙂

a sneak peek at my baking - nutella rice krispie treats!

a sneak peek at my baking – Nutella rice krispie treats!

Saturday morning, we woke up early to cross a few items on our to-do list – mine included running, going to the West Side Market, laundry, finishing baking and going to Kentucky Derby Party. And somehow, I got it all done!  I got in 7 miles – the first 3 by myself, and the last 4 with B. Running with B is so much better than running alone!

running by the lake this week

running by the lake this week

After our run, B and I headed to the West Side Market for some groceries and samples. I LOVE the popcorn stand there and cannot make a trip there without trying my favorite flavor, Dichotomy (a mix between caramel and cheddar) and one new one, this time the spicy jalapeno popcorn. While we  were there, I checked my phone and saw that Market Garden Brewery was offering a Kentucky Derby special – buy a mint julep and get a special official Kentucky Derby glass!

market derby

So of course we had to make a stop and try out their juleps. For the free glasses of course. And a soft pretzel.

Mint julep at Market Garden Brewery

Mint julep on the patio at Market Garden Brewery

After stopping by the Market and enjoying some afternoon drinks, I finished my baking and did some laundry, and we got ready for the Kentucky Derby Party. Each year, B’s brother and sister-in-law host a Derby Party. There is plenty of food, lots of drinks, and even a little gambling. As always, it was a fun event – and this year, I even won! I somehow guessed the 1st place winner, and even put money on #3 to come in 3rd place.

B's niece in my hat

B’s niece in my hat

ladies with hats

ladies with hats

winning ticket!

winning ticket!

After having a few mint juleps and  Black-eyed Susans (the official drink of the Preakness), I had planned on sleeping in on Sunday.  But when B got ready to go to his Sunday morning softball games, I decided to join him and even go for a run while the team was playing. The first few miles were tough – my feet were a little tired after a week of running, but after I got warmed up, it was great. The area where B plays softball is a mixture of suburbs and parks, so it’s definitely not boring. I turned on some tunes and even turned on my MapMyRun app  for motivation. And don’t worry, I took Monday off from running so my legs got some time to relax.

The rest of the afternoon was pretty relaxing – starting a new book, catching up on emails, preparing some meals for the week, and more catching up on the DVR. Slightly boring? Maybe. A pretty perfect day? In my mind, yes.

Some questions to ponder:

  • Do you make to-do lists on your weekends? 
  • Do you enjoy the occasional low-key (“boring”) weekend? Yes! Sometimes a perfect weekend for me is spending time just baking and running.
  • How did you celebrate the Kentucky Derby? Did you win any money?
  • What’s on your DVR? We have Mad Men, Happy Endings, The Mindy Project, Glee, The Voice and New Girl.
  • What’s the last thing you baked?

Being a Tourist in My City – A Great Weekend In Cleveland

Last weekend, my parents came to visit me in the CLE. It was a great weekend in Cleveland, with weather finally almost warm, a gorgeous sunny day on Saturday and of course, no lack of things to keep my parents busy.

Those of you that know me know that I’m one of the biggest Cleveland cheerleaders. I have so much civic pride and go out of my way (a little too much at times) to show it. Still, it’s easy to forget sometimes how awesome this city is. That’s why I love when family or friends come into town – I can act like a tourist!
beautiful Cleveland
So how did we spend our weekend?

Dining out at one of my favorite Cleveland Restaurants – Chinato

Friday night I made reservations for four at Chinato, a restaurant on East 4th by one of my favorite Cleveland Chefs, Zack Bruell. It didn’t disappoint. I usually get their pizza or their Col Buco with slow roasted pork (I don’t typically like pork a lot … but their pork shoulder is amazing) but since it was Good Friday, I got the salmon with escarole and white beans and it was ah-maz-ing. Seriously. I want to eat it again. And again. My mom ended up getting the same and I got to enjoy her leftovers!

East Fourth at Night

East Fourth at Night

Walking to the West Side Market

Saturday morning B and I met up with my parents and we walked to the West Side Market for the first time in forever! Last summer B and I walked to the Market for groceries nearly every weekend, but it hasn’t been warm enough or nice enough for us to do that yet this year – until last weekend with my parents!  It was great – the Market was crowded and we were able to pick up all the veggies and meat and fish we would need for the week. We walked back through the Flats and took some fun pictures along the way.

Walking to the West Side Market

Walking to the West Side Market

b and me walking back from the west side marketcleveland with my parents

 

wsm

Visiting Gallery One at The Cleveland Museum of Art

Our original plan had been to drop off our groceries back at my apartment and then join my parents at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame while B played basketball with his family, but after realizing that the Rolling Stones exhibit wasn’t yet at the Rock Hall, and that we only had a few hours until it closed, so we decided to drive over to University Circle instead to visit the Museum of Art. I had been there since the renovation and seen the beautiful Atrium, but hadn’t been to Gallery One yet. It was awesome! I can’t wait to come back and bring our iPad to try out even more of the interactive features.

Parents in University Circle

Parents in University Circle

Parents loving Gallery One

Parents loving Gallery One

Inside the Atrium at the Art Museum

Inside the Atrium at the Art Museum

We enjoyed dinner at B’s parents house and the next morning my parents drove back to NY. It was a quick trip, but a great way to enjoy just a few of the great things that Cleveland has to offer. I can’t wait until they come back later this summer! I’ve already started making my list of what we have to do next:

  • Try out another restaurant they haven’t been to – still on my list of places we can walk to are Pura Vida, Zocalo, Johnny’s Little Bar or Wink’s for simple burgers/beers
  • Check out the Rolling Stones Exhibit at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame
  • Visit the Botanical Garden – the last time we went with my parents it was March 2008 or 2009 and the weather wasn’t warm enough for most of the plants
  • Hit an Indians Game – being from NY,  my dad is still in awe about how cheap tickets to the game are and what a great value you can get for your money … and loves professional baseball
  • Walk to Voinovich Park and enjoy the view

What’s on your summer Cleveland bucket list? What do you like to do when family and friends visit?

Weekend Recap: Denver Edition

This weekend I traveled to Denver to spend some time with my good friend Caitlin. B and I had never been to Denver before and we both have friends there. It was the perfect chance for us to both take a weekend trip – and for me to have a girls weekend, and B to have a boys weekend as he stayed with his friends.

What were some of the trip highlights?

Dinner at Steuben’s : I tried my first Moscow Mule (it was SO GOOD. I told B that I’m never drinking anything else again) and we split fried corn on the cob, french fries and ribs! Sadly, no photos of the food were taken that I can share. It was gobbled up too fast!

Walking around, exploring the entire city by foot on Saturday: Cait was a great tour guide! We saw the Capitol building, walked past City Hall, the Public Library, the famous Tattered Cover Book Store, Art Museum, both stadiums (football and baseball), through LoDo and to the Highland. We even made a stop in the HUGE REI that’s there.

Drinks at WynkoopNot only did we get to enjoy drinks with tons of people dressed as gorillas – but it was also their 24th anniversary and we got $2.40 beers the entire time (plus birthday cake!).  The best worst best best part – trying their Rocky Mtn Oyster Beer! That’s right – I drank beer that was brewed IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS. Gross? Maybe. Drinking something that tasted like beef jerky? #Winning.

Drinks and dinner at Vine Street BreweryPost-Wynkoop, we hit up Vine Street Brewery to try some of their beers and dinner. Again, no photos. Instead, lots of fries and drinks.

Hiking in Elk Meadow Park: Just a short drive from Denver lies Elk Meadow Park. Cait and I enjoyed an easy hike and saw some snow covered mountains!

snow capped mountains in the distance

Running up the bleachers at Red Rock: The view was gorgeous – and the run was hard. Can I blame it on the altitude?

looking down the bleachers

Up the bleachers

Visiting the beautiful city of Golden: While didn’t make it to the Coors brewery, we instead enjoyed lunch and walked around the cute town and took pictures with the statues. Just as fun? You decide.

All in all it was a great weekend – but I was so glad to make it back to Cleveland before all the flights were cancelled and the effects of Hurricane Sandy blew into town. We’ve had nonstop rain in Cleveland since I came back (so it’s hard to look at all those blue sky pictures of Denver!) but it’s nothing compared to those who were in the storm’s path.

Thinking of all my family in NY and NJ who are suffering the effects of Sandy, stranded without power! Stay safe, warm and dry!