32 before 32: Two lists, because options.

After two years of incomplete lists of goals for the upcoming years, I have, completed, two lists of 32 things I’d actually like to accomplish before my next birthday! I tried to only include items I actually really want to do – rather than things I think I should want to do. These are two lists of things I know will bring me joy!

Continue reading “32 before 32: Two lists, because options.”
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A Very Birthday Weekend.

My birthday weekend in a word? Lovely. I turned 25 gracefully and without much applause, as it should be. I could feel my car insurance rates lowering in the background and I feel newly empowered, finally being able to rent a car.

Truthfully, we celebrated for a hot minute on Mother’s Day when I was presented my favorite type of birthday cake ever, a rhubarb pie. My favorite quote of the day came when talking to my mom about how solely rhubarb pie is the best, none of that strawberry-rhubarb pie crap. “I’m a purist!” she declared. Never would I thought I would hear my mom say those words and not about pie, but it happened. Life is funny like that.

One Friday my department all went out to lunch to celebrate my birthday and my colleague’s whose is a day before mine. I left a little early to get home and pack for our wild night out on the town. And by wild night on the town, I mean spa trip in the ‘burbs. We arrived to Solaire in Hudson a few minutes late because downtown Hudson’s traffic is worse than downtown Cleveland’s. We had our first couples massage and it was the perfect way to set the tone for a low-key but enjoyable weekend. We walked around downtown Hudson, one of my favorite areas, and snuck down to Downtown 140 Wine Bar. I really, really want to come back here for dinner. We each had a drink, I, a gin and soda, him, an old-fashioned. They were both as perfect as perfect can be. We met the new owner Andy and had a good time watching the chefs in the kitchen.

We had reservations for Solaire Wine Bar for dinner but it didn’t really seem like we needed them. The place was nearly empty. Not a great sign for a restaurant but I had heard so many good things about the food there that I was sure this was an exception. My theory is that Friday was the perfect patio night and that’s where everyone was. That’s okay, more cheese for us. We had the cheese and charcuterie platter, a bottle of wine, a goat cheese salad, rack of lamb, and a feta and asparagus stuffed burger between the two of us. Holy feast. After this delectable spread we retired for the evening. There was an Indian’s game wrapping up and sleep to be had. Friday evening’s are tough for me.

Saturday morning, we woke up early and suited up for a run. I was wrapping up the first week of my half marathon training and Saturday called for a four-mile run. I pre-mapped a route on MapMyRun, and we were off. I thought I had mapped us runs down streets with old, gorgeous homes and while we saw a little of this, I also ran us into a senior living development, a cookie cutter 2000-something development, and past the school bus lot. Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here all week folks. Everyone once in awhile something so good or so bad happens that one us us is either designated to always do something, or never do it again. For example, I always cut the pineapple, I’m an excellent pineapple prepper. Boyface always buys tickets to events, I’m terrible at choosing where to sit. I think I may no longer be choosing running routes.

The highlight of my weekend was lunch with my little sister and her boyfriend. What may be more unbelievable than me turning 25 is her turning 21 this week. Where has my obnoxious little sister gone? When did she turn into such an adult? I was grilled/fried a birthday lunch of kabobs and potato chips. I enjoyed some Blood Orange Mike’s Hard Lemonade- they were delightful. They also surprised me with some cake and ice cream, all while we watched the Indian’s game. Being an active Indian’s fan is really working out for me this year, so far. I was also getting all kinds of puppy love from B.B., my little sister’s puppy.

BB

I was up early on Sunday for marathon festivities. I had coordinated a spot at mile seven with my close friend Julie, from Am I There Yet?, to meet up with her and run with her. I will marathon recap tomorrow, because I have never watched a marathon before and I have A LOT of thoughts about it. I ran a little over three miles with Jules, we chatted about everything and I got to see a lot of really awesome signs. After the run I met up with my better half at Touch for some mimosas and a breakfast sandwich. We briefly went on the Ohio City Home Tour. The extent to which some people restore and decorate their homes is breathtaking! Then we ran home to change for volleyball at Battery Park. It was hot out. The first hot volleyball day of the year is always a tough one, and I had a pretty nasty blister on the bottom of my foot, so I wasn’t all that into it, but the beer tasted great so I excelled in drinking that and watching. I did get in three or so games and we ventured back to the home-base to regroup for the week.

I was almost able to add that I didn’t even have a birthday shot this weekend, but I would be lying. I did have one, very blue, shot of vodka after my birthday dessert on Saturday. This really was a very lovely birthday weekend.

Friday Ramblings & Getting Over Myself.

Even just thinking about this week, all I see is a blur. April should be the calm before the storm that is May but I’ve had no such reprieve. The race is still going on too. Final MKT paper due Tuesday, and the Int’ll final exam on the 9th of May.

Let the randomness begin.

I’m very happy with the Browns draft pick. I had my expectations low, low, low. I was a little more heartbroken than anticipated when I saw Ziggy go to Detroit. I’ll take Mingo though- what a great, freakin’ name.

My birthday is next month, and while the age I’m turning is by NO MEANS old, I’m still having some mini panic attacks. I never got used to 24. Slowly, each year, I usually get accustomed to the age I’m at and I don’t pause to answer the question. Just a few months ago someone asked me and my initial response was 23 and then I had to correct myself. There just isn’t a reason to distinguish the years it seems. There are some positive things- I can rent cars now and my car insurance goes down. It’s funny to think that over the six times I’ve moved in the past four years, I haven’t even been able to rent a U-Haul.

There’s really nothing bad about 25. It just seems like a big milestone to me because I’ve made it one in my head. When I was 10, I could never imagine being 16 and driving, when I was 16 I couldn’t imagine being 18 and out of high school. When I was 18, I couldn’t imagine being 21 and able to do big kid things like legally drink. When I was 21, I couldn’t imagine being 25, with a “real” job and being out in the “real” world.

Welp, here I am. I’m not sure what I wanted to have accomplished by now, if anything. I surmise that 25 is invoking panic because of what is now in the five-year plan. Let me explain…When I was 19 or 20, I started thinking about the “10-year plan.” In the 10-year was graduating from undergrad (check), finish grad school, have a career oriented job (check), buy a house, get married, and be about to have a little one. Some things are done and in the works, grad school should be over sometime in Fall ‘14 or Spring ‘15. The shortness of breath now comes when I’m realizing that if the 10-year plan is still in effect, un-edited, everything I’ve mentioned now moves into the five-year plan. I’m not sure why but the difference between 10 and five feels monstrous to me. There’s an obvious answer here…stop freaking out, just revise the plan. So what a few things are unchecked by the time I turn 30? Am I having fun? Yes. Am I happy? Yes. Healthy? Yes. Deep breath.

It’s the same feeling I had the week before I graduated college and was finally allowing it to sink in that I didn’t have a job lined up. I wasn’t moving to a new city. The person I was supposed to move in with was going to take a victory lap in undergrad. Real panic ensued, and you know what? Everything turned out okay, more than okay. But still, that number I’m going to fess up to in April is bearing down on me. I remember when my former roommate  turned 25, I didn’t think of it as old, heck, we celebrated it in Vegas. I felt like we were younger than ever. It’s a number that will sound weird to me on me. It’s like when I look at someone in a hat and think, that looks so flipping awesome on her, but I could never wear that.

Of course, I realize this is a big opportunity for me to get over myself. And I will, as I always do, just wanted to see how delightfully ridiculous my feelings looked typed out.

When it comes to growing up, this xkcd comic has always been, and will continue to be my guide:



Because now that I’m a grown-up, I get to decide what that means.

This has also been fueled by realizing that today is the last day of class most of the young adults who were freshmen when I was a senior. It’s dizzying. To think that everyone between me and them, and now them, are all out in the world being big kids…when did this happen? Over the past three years like it should have? Oh yeah, that makes sense but my head is still spinning.

But really, I’m done being confused about this. I hope you didn’t shake your head at me too many times. If you did…let’s be honest, I deserved it.

A Belated Birthday Post about the Man that Keeps Me Sane.

::Warning: High Cheesy Alert. The follow post may contain descriptions of oozy-gooey love. There may be detailed illustrations of admiration and adorableness. I get it, it’s not for everyone.::

Yesterday was my darling boyfriend’s birthday. I was too busy talking about crazy girls (again.) It’s hard to celebrate birthdays with people who “just aren’t birthday people.” I mean, that’s crazy! Everyday is a reason to celebrate and then to have a reason to celebrate on top of that…it should be a party! Before we were dating I didn’t even know when his birthday was. I need to start putting birthdays in my Google Calendar. I get lucky because a lot of people in my life double-up on special days. Like how yesterday was Boyface’s birthday and my parent’s anniversary (more on that later…) My Gram shares a birthday with one of my best ever girlfriends. My Dad, MLK, and a guy friend also share the same birthday.

Anyways, I still want to celebrate the love of my life’s birthday with a list of things I adore:

  1. His mad cooking skills: I lucked out here. I love being in the kitchen but I think I’m more drawn to baking. He makes some seriously awesome BBQ salmon.
  2. His love of the browns: I’m pretty sure I can’t date anyone who doesn’t love the Browns first and foremost. It’s a unique kind of love/hate that can only be understood by someone who also cheers for the Browns. I couldn’t imagine going through the confusion and sadness over Jimmy in recent days with someone who doesn’t care.
  3. How he dances: Maybe I should just say I love that he dances. Period.
  4. His taste in whiskey-bourbon: Our bar area is a point of pride for me and his collection of bourbon is powerful.
  5. The low-fi indie beach rock he listens to: he introduced me to Tennis, Best Coast, and TV Girl. Love, love, love.
  6. Watching him watch things: I know it drives him crazy but he rarely laughs at funny things unless it’s three stooges so I often have to look over to his expression for any idea of how he feels about a movie or tv show.
  7. The face he makes when he has no idea what to say: Unfortunately, this usually happens at some critical moment during an argument but I love it. He gives me this look of love, care, endearment, frustration, and confusion, all at the same time.
  8. When I get the introvert lecture: this often happens after the look described above. I forget that he doesn’t “draw his energy from being around others like [I] do, [he] gets his energy from time alone.”
  9. Adventurous eater: This man is not afraid to try anything. I probably shouldn’t say anything, but anything within reason. When our bartender at Cowell & Hubbard described to us what Sweet Breads were we both shrugged our shoulders and said, let’s do this. I can’t imagine most other guys are up for these challenges.
  10. Good at sports: He’s athletic. We’ve played volleyball together, he swims, he does yoga, and he golfs. Boy does he golf.
  11. Makes delicious Manhattans & Old Fashioneds: He’s got to do something with that bourbon, obviously.
  12. Constantly bettering himself: Whether he’s picking up the guitar, trying hot yoga, trying to communicate better, he’s not often at a standstill.
  13. Positive attitude about Cleveland: He’s from Chicago (Clevelander’s supposed “promised land”) yet he loves it here. He can really appreciate the non-existent traffic, the affordable sports games, and the world-class cuisine.
  14. Dog-person: He’s allergic to cats but that doesn’t really bother me. He’s a dog guy and that’s a-okay by me. One of my favorite parts about going back to Chicago, besides seeing his family, besides his awesome friends, and besides good pizza, homemade sausage, etc. is seeing their family dog. She’s the cutest dog ever. I loved our family dog Roscoe, but it’s no secret he wasn’t very handsome. He’s still the best dog ever but Ginny has stolen my heart with her fluffy good looks.
  15. He reads books: A guy that reads books, they do exist. He has great taste in books too.
  16. Not an ignorant sports fan: Growing up in Cleveland, I understand how fans can be blinded by their love for a team, especially when you have nothing else to hold onto. I appreciate that he likes sports but it’s in a very sound place in his life. It’s a big part but not the whole damn thing.
  17. Similar ideas about where to travel: Travel has been a hot topic lately for us and I’m so grateful we’re on the same page about where we would like to go and where we’re okay just looking at pictures of. It would be hard if he had his heart set on a month long safari tour of Africa.


While not a comprehensive list, this should be a nice glimpse into why I know I’m happy and blessed to be on his arm. Happy Birthday, darling!

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Happy Birthday, Mom!

Today is a very special day. Not only does Doris Day turn 91 but she shares a birthday with another strong charismatic woman, my mother.

MomCollage

A relationship between a mother and daughter is a very special, personal one. I cannot think of a relationship more dynamic than that I have with my mom. She is a shopping buddy, my biggest cheerleader, my worst critic, a girlfriend at happy hour, personal chef, and financial consultant. When I was little I used to tell my parents I was going to build a house next to ours so I could always live right next to them. While that is no longer in the plans, I do know how blessed I am to be near them. While I don’t get to see my mom as often as I like, there’s a big comfort factor in knowing should there be an emergency she will be there; and there has been, and she was there.

I’m proud to say my mother has been with me through celebration and tears. She was the designated driver for my 21st birthday. At midnight on Friday we arrived at Ray’s Place in Kent for my my first official drink. I had been there many times before with my parents for food but never on a weekend night. My mom witnessed me spin the wheel and land on a Sexy Alligator! She was also around on a rainy Sunday in early Spring two years ago that seems forever ago now. She taught me how to prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Two Thanksgivings ago I blindly volunteered to host at my apartment without realizing what I had committed to. My mom and sister packed up the night before and arrived to stay the night and help me prepare. Most of the fun was had the night of, I took them to my favorite bar, Eddy & Iggy’s for their potent Christmas beer, and devilishly delicious bar food. We played Just Dance when we got home and had too much fun. The next morning my mom and I bonded in the kitchen while my little sister slept in.

Albeit trite, but it’s amazing how time flies. I feel like it was yesterday that my mom was driving me up to the tennis court my freshman year of high school to see if I made the team. I could tell she was more worried than I. I think the Indian’s home opener win was for her last night and hopefully they’ll gift her another W today.

When I count my lucky stars each day my mom is one of the biggest, brightest one of them. Thanks mom for teaching me hard work, kindness, and never going to bed mad.

Press Wine Bar in Tremont.

I love going out to eat and I love trying new places. I would love to be a regular somewhere in Cleveland but it just hasn’t happened for me yet. Since I do flock to new places, and since I am willing to try things on the menu that aren’t mozzarella sticks and chicken Cesar salads, I should probably share my experiences with you. The only problem is, I’m really, really bad at taking pictures of my food. I’m bad at remembering too, and then I’m not very skillful when I do. I have some friends that do it well like Crystal, at Eat*Drink*Cleveland, and Katrina, at Bite Buff, I could learn a thing or two from them! This has previously stopped me from posting restaurant reviews but fear not. I will review anyway, especially the places I love.

I went to Press Wine Bar for my friend Julie’s birthday. (See her fabulous birthday recap here.) I had not been yet but had heard a lot of positive things along with the usual “working out the kinks” comments. I had never been to Lago, which is a shame considering my love for Italian food but I’m not sure I would have liked it better than Press. The hostess was really friendly and energetic when we walked in. The bar looks enticing. I think I have a thing for big, wood bars. Press felt rustic yet chic.

The Birthday Girl and I!
The Birthday Girl and I!

We were in party room in the back area. It was nice they had a television so Boyface could watch basketball while the ladies giggled among ourselves.

Our service was really great! Large parties aren’t easy to handle, and we had two separate large tables, with people coming and going at various stages of the meal. I think food came out in a timely manner but I can’t say for sure because when you’re having fun and talking and taking pictures, who is keeping track?

We started with a small cheese and meat board. It was very yummy but I have no idea what was on it exactly. I’m not sure we made it a point to ask either. The portion size was generous, I’m glad we didn’t opt for the large. For the meal, my partner-in-crime order the Press Burger. It’s not like him to go somewhere nice and order a burger, I promise. We had heard someone explain this burger was the best one they’d ever had and how do you not try something after a statement like that? The verdict? We were impressed. I only had a small bite but the burger was smokey and perfectly cooked. I have a new understanding for what good burgers should taste like.

I had my heart set on a flatbread. I chose the Garlic Flatbread, which had garlic (obviously), onions, mozzarella, and tomatoes. It was…okay. It was very, very, very, very garlicky which the name implies. I think I played it too safe, I should have tried the Pig, Pear, or Duck Sausage Flatbread.

Overall was a positive experience and I would like to go back soon and try out that sturdy looking bar for a happy hour.

Press Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Life Lessons from Regina Brett

Life lessons come in all shapes and sizes. Most from experience, others from watching a loved one go through it, some even manage to reach us through media- whether article, book, TV show, movie, song, poem, and the list goes on. One writer, Regina Brett, has always discussed very poignant lessons in my life. As an editorial columnist for the Plain Dealer with a daughter growing up at roughly the same speed as I, her articles gave my mom and the words we wanted to say to each other that we might not have been able to find otherwise.

Today is her birthday (Happy Birthday Regina!) and with that she has published “Life Lessons at 56.” These include the original 45 in her book God Never Blinks and the few more she’s learned along the way.  I encourage anyone to read this article and the book even more so. Below are a few lessons I find very relevant in my life right now and some color commentary.

3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. You don’t have to love everyone, but holding contempt in your heart is too heavy for even the strongest person.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does. Reference my blog post, please.
6. You don’t have to win every argument. Agree to disagree.
9. Save for retirement starting with your first paycheck. This is so important! No one wants to hear me talk about compound interest, so just do it.
11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present. If you don’t, it will haunt you…it’s pretty simple.
18. A writer writes. If you want to be a writer, write.
Yes I do! I’m loving blogging and want to get started on a novel. Or two.
21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.
I mean seriously, how many of those pretty candles with seashells in them can one person have? Just burn it!
23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.
I find myself dulling who I am, what I want to say or where so that I don’t stand out. How crazy is that?
26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words: “In five years, will this matter?”
If I could get the hang of this, it would save me a lot of stress.
29. What other people think of you is none of your business.
40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.
This could possibly be the best story in God Never Blinks.
42. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful, beautiful or joyful.
I’m trying. I’m really trying.
48. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.
Every empowered woman I’ve met has given me some form of this advice.

53. Interruptions are divine assignments. I’m learning to be more patient with life, and with that patience is coming good things.