Thursday, February 23, 2012

Be Ignited, Or Be Gone

Native Cleveland Poet, Mary Oliver
Below is a poem by one of my favorite fellow Cleveland poets, Mary Oliver. I have been a poetry word nerd ever since I was a kid, and I went on to study creative writing during my undergraduate. So it's refreshing to have a successful female poet who is also a native Clevelander. She is a wonderfully accomplished wordsmith, winning both the Pulitzer Prize & the National Book Award. In this short poem, she captures so many questions we must face everyday about making ethical decisions and life choices and utimately, she offers the best advice there is in life....

What I Have Learned So Far
Meditation is old and honorable, so why should I
not sit, every morning of my life, on the hillside,
looking into the shining world? Because, properly
attended to, delight, as well as havoc, is suggestion.
Can one be passionate about the just, the
ideal, the sublime, and the holy, and yet commit
to no labor in its cause? I don’t think so.

All summations have a beginning, all effect has a
story, all kindness begins with the sown seed.
Thought buds toward radiance. The gospel of
light is the crossroads of — indolence, or action.
Be ignited, or be gone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Lucky Lil Win

Some people want it to happen, some wish it would happen, others make it happen.” -Michael Jordan

I love this quote! It's the little things that culminate into that domino effect attitude. As I contemplated my post, I was drawn to write about my Michael Jordan--aka Jordan Michael. After a weekend of searching for a new home and facing the stressers of moving, Jordan and I blew off some steam by going to catch a fun movie. As we strolled into the movie theater lobby, we were cracking jokes about those awesome claw stuffed animal games. Don't act like you haven't played, or better yet, still want to play despite being a full grown adult "I've always wanted to win one of those!" I admitted to Jordan. Moments later, Jordan bellied up to the gaming claw and lo and behold, he won me a super sweet stuffed animal. Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Dreams do come true!
Although it was silly and just a small feat, JMK is a "make it happen kind of guy," and I admire him for that. It's the little wins in life that summate dreams into reality. Want it. Wish it. Make it. Make it happen, CLE!

Keep JAMmin!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Light Under the Bridge

Photo by JAMinCLE

They say that after a vacation you appreciate home more. So after nerding out over all the historical architecture on vacation, I revisited some of the shots I previously took in CLE of our awesome architecture. I absolutely LOVE this shot of the lower streetcar level of the Detroit-Superior Bridge. Although the lower level is no longer used, it is open a few times a year where you can bravely venture across the bridge, with some points standing only 96 feet between you and the Cuyahoga River! The eerieness of the shadows, the lighting, aging paint, against the stark sturdy pillars and curving arches capture the rough but long lasting aesthetic design of Cleveland. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

CLE Kids in San Franny

Bansky street art in Chinatown

Lemon trees, yes please!

Over the weekend, 2 CLE kids were transplanted to the lovely city of San Franny! The bf and I had wild weekend tour of the amazing city and celebrated not only our 3 year anniversary, but also my cousin's engagement, and my other cousin's birthday. Action packed weekend for sure! I could make an entire photo journal but I will try to share only the top reasons of why most Clevelander's would love San Fran too!

1. The mammoths: Muir Woods

I've always wanted to see the redwoods in real life, and I am happy to check this off my bucket list. It's truly breathtaking and diffucult to comprehend these monstrocities without experiencing them in person. Fun facts: these coastal redwoods stack up to 350 ft. or more and can age over 2,000 years old! With coastal redwoods dating back to the time of dinosaurs, it surely brings you back down to earth on the grand scale of life!

2. The libations: Sonoma wine country & local watering holes
We've established that I am a vino fan, so of course we had to visit wine country! The beauty was again stunning as the wild mustard bloomed across the vineyards. My favorite was Jacuzzi Winery (yes, the family is well versed in hot tubs AND wine! Winning!). The wine was great, architecture was classic, and the olive oil freshly pressed! Italian girl heaven!

Wine country was wonderful, but I must also credit the local watering holes for some excellent spice of life! The bf and I found this place on a total whim that truly was a clash of cultures that worked perfectly! Coming from Cleveland, which certainly has an interesting amalgamation of cultures, curiosity led us to Kennedy's Irish Pub and Indian Curry House Restaurant (and yes this is all housed in one building!) They served great local craft brews and we had some good company we encountered too!

Check out all those good beers on tap!

Our new friends!

 3. The historical architecture: the Ferry Building, Golden Gate Bridge
Buildings with long-standing historical character have always fascinated me, and that's one reason why I love Cleveland, and another reason why I was drawn to San Francisco. We visited the Ferry Building, which had tons of shops and local foods (although West Side Market will forever be #1 in my heart). The building was beautiful, and withstood quite a history from its original 1898 opening.

This is a real picture I took of the Golden Gate Bridge! The rain had just cleared and the lingering purple clouds against the infamous international orange colored bridge turned out great! (Why isn't the Golden Gate Bridge painted gold...)

4. The food: Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous Ice Cream & Piccino's

Mr & Mrs Miscellaneous was in the neighborhood where we stayed with my cousin. This ice cream shop had such unique and delicious ingredients! I had the Brown Butter Sage with a waffle cone- out of this world good!


On our last night in the city we went to the adorable little restaurant called Piccino. I had baked semolina gnocchi, poached egg, root vegetable caponata, olive and dried plum. It was literally melt in your mouth!

5. Good people: Good family
And last, but certainly not least, I loved San Fran because of my family! My two cousins and aunt live there and they were outstanding hosts. I look up to my older cousins and they definitely know how to have a good time and good laugh. They have never forgotten their Cleveland roots and yet have successfully chased after their dreams. As previously mentioned, my cousins are a total riot, and with contagious spirits like theirs, it is difficult to be in a bad mood around them. Not only my family, but the people of San Fran generally were friendly and hospitable. (Maybe they got the memo that Midwest Morals are cool!)  Despite the bustling city and large population, we often found sleepy Sunday morning style neighborhoods, and runners and bikers enjoying life as they conquered the rollercoaster hills that stretched up and down the city. 
My soon to be cousin-in-law, Steph and soon to be dog-in-law, Bentley

Shahrad & Steph-such great hosts!

Birthday man, Shahram and newly engaged Shahrad
Celebrating at Piccino: Shahrad, Steph, Wanda, Shahram, Jordan, me, Auntie Barb-
a wide variety of cultures and characters!
 Overall, we absolutely loved the city, the natural beauty, the social scene, history, food, and good people.  There is so much more that we experienced in the city-but I'll have to tell you more later, possibly over a glass of vino. I'd undoubtedly go back to visit and look forward to seeing my awesome family again!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Weekend in CLE

Working Saturdays is always tough after a long work week, but I am happy to say that it surprisingly turned into a SUPER weekend (in more ways than one!) Saturday afternoon we had the great surprise of Jordan's best friend from home and his girlfriend come up to Cleveland. Although I was a bit groggy from the long week, it turned into a fun-filled evening and I am so glad that they came to visit!

What a cute (and thoughtful couple!)

Earlier in the day, they came to CLE to have a long awaited tour of Great Lakes Brewery and they brought this for us!! What an awesome hostess gift! And if you have not gone on a tour of the brewery yet, what are you waiting for?!?! It's a great taste of Cleveland history and, of course, a fantastic local and ecologically conscious brewery!

Great Lakes Growler
 We caught up, had some great laughs, and then ventured over to Paladar. Two words: holy guacamole!!! Another great restaurant to add to your list in CLE.  The Latin love they put into that guac is just spectacular! We had the traditional and the mango guacamole...yum!

After filling up on that delicious goodness, we mosied home ready for bed. We watched movies Sunday, got coffee, and just had a spanking good time. Sometimes those unexpected visits make you cherish the time even more. I sure know the bf was excited to hang with his best bud and let out his unrelenting inner goofball, providing everyone with entertainment, and appreciate the time that all of us got to spend together.

As Sunday wore on, I got to surprise the bf! While many people were gearing up for the Super Bowl, I was baking cupcakes :) Although not your typical football food, I wanted a Crohn's friendly snack that the bf could enjoy too. I found this great delicious mix from Trader Joe's (I seriously love that place!) and it was gluten free too!
They turned out amazing! I left some unfrosted and jazzed up some too. Definitely packed the party punch with these cupcakes!

Where's the party?
In your mouth!

We headed over to my sister's and she had even more delighful food! Her infamous buffalo chicken dip, puppy chow, and my personal favorite spinach bites! Everyone overate, yelled at the TV, and totally JAMmed out during the halftime show.

3 of my favorite artists...and check out those boots!!

A certified super awesome weekend in CLE!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Integrity in CLE

I had a wonderful conversation today, with a good friend of mine about having integrity in one's life--both professionally and personally. Although I am only in my twenties, I take pride in having integrity and often seek out like-minded individuals who are accountable for their actions. There can be obstacles and situations we must face on a daily basis, and we have to use those values and principles to determine the "right" or "wrong" outcome. Although you may be frustrated with those individuals who cower in the face of adversity or those whose values crumble with hypocrisy, I encourage you to cherish the friends, loved ones, coworkers, individuals, and other leaders who time and time again rise to the occasion and restore altruistic values. It can be easy to be sucked into the Debbie Downer vortex.

And sure we all need to vent our frustrations, but may I remind my fellow readers to remember your sense of integerity. Value those people who reinvigorate you, who encourage you, who remain by your side, and remind you of your sense of character.

Choose those who stand up for what is right, who fight for the greater good, and those who are POSITIVE! I thank you!

Less of these guys

Jimmy Dimora, less county corruption, less swindling tax payers, less dishonesty

Lebron James, less disappointment, less vanity, less betrayal

More of these guys!

Joe Cimperman, more awareness of Cleveland's issues, more revitalization, more leaders like him!

Chef Rocco Whalen, more chefs engaging their neighborhoods, more positive life changes, more inspiration!
Photo credit: Thomas Ondrey, The Plain Dealer

Thank you to the famous Clevelanders, and people just like me and you choosing everyday to wake up and make positive changes, challenge the status quo, and influence others to a better, brighter life--whatever your lifestyle may be! Keep JAMin!!