Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Get Groggy! Don't Sleep on a Great CLE Music Venue: The Grog Shop

"Word(less) Wednesday" Post
The Grog Shop
One of CLE's best music venues

The Grog Shop is located right in the hipster area of Coventry Village

And tonight we're going to see Talib Kweli. Check out one of my all time favorite songs by him "The Lonely People"  with a sample from The Beatles. And, remember, keep JAMmin!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Love Letter to CLE

A raw, vivid, and honest love letter to The Greatest...CLE!

Etsy: CLEColectiv

In case you haven't read it yet... Michael Symon's Love Letter to Cleveland via Huffington Post


You have been my best friend for over 40 years. You were there when I laughed and when I cried, when I won and when I lost. In my fondest memories you are standing by my side, knowing that even when I left you, you would still be there for me.

I remember when I was young and I would spend my entire weekends with you and my grandfather: heading to the Eastside and staying with my grandparents; taking the rapid Downtown; shopping at the Westside Market with all its fabulous aromas of smoked meats and baked breads. It is here I found my true love for food, for going to the historic Terminal Tower to pick up my Grandma at Higbees and heading back east to cook split pea soup with smoked ham hocks and ribs.

I remember those walks up Noble Road with my Pap, wrapped in layers of clothes to protect me from your chill to see the amazing light display at General Electric for Christmas before heading back home for homemade nut roll and long games of cards with family and friends.

I hid from you like every other teenager with a skateboard and BMX, choosing to play in the suburbs, a wide world of vanilla filled with malls, chain stores and entirely too much mediocrity. I was young and stupid than, aggravated by your downright excellence when it came to disappointment. Your sports team lost in every way known too man: red right 88, the fumble, the drive, the shot. Are you fucking kidding me? You could be so cruel. Let's not even go into the winters, when the "lake effect" winds would have pissed off a penguin.

So, just like that, I left you.

It wasn't until I left you that I realized how amazing you are and all the great treasures you possessed. Whether it was the old world headcheese at The Sausage Shoppe, amazing pierogies at Sokolowskis or the perfect steak and steam at the Shvitz, you were --history and culture aside -- loaded with old-world culinary traditions that most cities could only imagine. It was not long after this that I knew our relationship would be one that would last forever.

I met my wife under your watchful eye, opened restaurants in neighborhoods that you tried to forget about and stayed around to watch you grow again. I observed with joy as that you opened your arms too new beginnings like the unbelievable Rock Hall, the dozens of green markets and the chef-driven restaurants that can now stand up to any city's eateries.

I don't care that you are misunderstood by many and love many more. Hell, I don't even care that you have multiple personalities, calling yourself both "The Mistake on The Lake" and "The Best Location in the Nation." To me you will always have more integrity, soul and guts than cities twice your size. That is why I will always love you.

Michael Symon

Sunday, May 13, 2012

I Wanna Be Forever Young

Click below and watch the video
"May the best of your todays, be the worst of your tomorrows."
-'Young Forever' by Jay-Z
 Don't we all have that moment where we say to ourselves, "Man, I wanna stay young forever!" Well this was a weekend where I surely had a few of those "a-ha moments."

On Friday evening, JMK and I relived our first date some 3+ years ago by going back to Nighttown.
How much has changed over the years,  how much we have grown up, and how much our relationship has evolved since our first date. And Nighttown was just as we remembered it-- cozy, with great atmosphere, and live jazz music. (Sidenote: their patio is awesome, huge, and even has a waterfall, definitely a great CLE patio to check off your list.)

Although I surely do miss our early days in college, the bf can still make me laugh my head off and is always good for a fun date--forever young.

 On Saturday, we ventured out to Vermilion for my nieces' first birthday!!!! I can't believe Chloe and Lily are already a year old. Watching them explore the world and experience everything like new makes me totally appreciate their innocence.
Chloe: Ahhh! Walking is THE coolest new thing to do :)
Lily: And who new that playing with keys could be so entertaining :)

Her future is so bright, she's gotta wear shades!

How quickly the girls have grown up!

Happy 1st birthday girls!

Life is just a piece of cake!

I have known Jules since high school, and I am sure there are times we wish we could go back to the simple carefree days when our biggest problems were what to wear on Saturday night. Although our lives have changed, and our responsibilities certainly vary from our younger days, it makes me so hopeful and happy to watch these adorable, happy, healthy baby girls come into their own. Being around them, brings me back down to earth, and appreciate the little joys in life. Keeping me forever young. Love you Lil & Chlo, Happy Birthday! XOXO!

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Stay Connected!

I am not going to lie, I have been off this entire week, and several times could not bring myself to write this post. As I sit here on Sunday morning with the sunlight streaming into the porch, I can finally collect and formulate my thoughts with some perspective. As many of you know, I have said goodbye to my position at PlayhouseSquare and am starting a new job! I am a mixed ball of emotions--excited, nervous, hopeful, anxious, and eager...serious anticipation! I will say that it has not quite fully sunk in yet, but I am eternally grateful for the friendships I built and positive experiences I can take away from my time at PlayhouseSquare.


 I will surely miss my eclectic team which I got to share many good experiences with. Say hello to Broadway for me!

Our sales team was pretty tight knit and I especially miss my girlfriend, Sara! We became great friends, as well as coworkers. and I am glad I got to share in her personal life changes too.                              
I am so happy I got to work alongside her, and be included in her big life events too! She has been an unending source of support, advice, laughter, teamwork, and most of all, a terrific friend! The one thing I definitely look forward to now is having get togethers this summer at our new homes--cookouts, catch up, and celebrations!!! 
They gave my a great farewell sendoff at PlayhouseSquare, with a cake and all! And the cake sums it up: Stay Connected! I will certainly keep in touch with many great coworkers, and I look forward to starting this new chapter, with new coworkers, a new team, new experiences, and a new job. I am ecstatic about my new job responsibilities at Staffing Solutions. I will be doing marketing with a strong focus in building their social media platforms-- LinkedIn, Facebook, blogging--totally the perfect fit for me!!! The biggest thing I am excited about is connecting people! By nature, I love connecting people with my own positive experiences, or leads, or events, or hey, even a good deal! This new job will certainly give me so much personal satisfaction to literally connect people with new careers and give them the tools to make them successful along the way.

Whether it is "8 Great Resume Tips" or blogging about the job market and prospects in Cleveland. I am thrilled to be using social media and my passion for marketing to connect people with their own "right fit."

And last but not least, I am excited to join the team here because they share a lot of similar values I believe in. One of which is they are a Certified Women's Business Enterprise. "Creating Opportunities...Recognizing Excellence!" Women supporting women to excel, achieve, and lead in the work force. I am so excited to be entering this new phase in my career, and what a positive change to embrace! I'll be sure to Stay Connected!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Namaste Recap

The culmination of serious planning, hard work, tasty food from around the world, live music, silent auction, and a wonderful mission led to a wildly successful Namaste event. Trinity Commons was abuzz last Friday with those celebrating at IPM's 10th annual Namaste event. Here's a photo recap

First up, the food. The food was from around the world representing projects in each region that IPM supports. The amazing cuisine was generously prepared by this guy, the Pope himself. Chef Clark Pope!

After trying some delectable dishes. Up next was the good music. Carlos Jones and the Plus Band kept the crowd jammin to some great reggae and helped set the mood for a fun and lively event. They really got the crowd going and people were even getting down on the dance floor. Ya mon!

Then I met some absolutely tremendous people! There were booths set up outside of the event of vendors that have IPM and international commitments.

Meet Karen, the founder of Girls for the World. I have never met such a positive, vivacious, and adventurous woman. I spent about a half hour talking to her. She founded this organization which is dedicated to the growth, development, and empowerment of girls as powerful agents of social change in their communities and in the world. Her last workshop was in India, and she will soon set off to Peru to help more young women find their voice. Girl Power! What a pleasure to meet her and learn about an unbelievable woman dedicated to changing the world, one girl at a time! Learn more about Girls for the World here.

Then I met Sr. Marie of the Sisters of Notre Dame. I have a special place in my heart for these Sisters through my family, and Sr. Marie was no different. She was sweet, spunky, and in tune to the needs and community of young women, both locally and globally. Sr. Marie herself frequently is on the Sisters' Facebook page, uploading pictures and staying connected with the global women's community. Way to go Sister! Like their page and learn more here. The Sisters of Notre Dame have missions set up in India, Nicaragua and more. They have programs that teach marginalized women about health care, education, and spirituality. It was great to see a religious order reaching out to empower young women as well by using social media and ground efforts to connect and help women around the world!

After chatting with the ladies, and other booth vendors, I headed back inside as the event kicked into full swing. The silent live auction was a success and people were really enjoying themselves.

Let the bidding wars begin!

Awesome Namaste committee members that made this event possible!

Then we heard from Joe Cistone, the CEO of IPM and recollected about the growth of this outstanding event over the past ten years, and the wonderful people who make it happen. I'd like to personally thank Jean Ann Sekerak for leading the event planning and her unending positivity and creative ways to make the event terrific.

It was such an impressive group of people I got to work with for this event. Everyone pitched in and had an excellent attitude about doing it. I met people near and far who have similar values about making the world a better place. And Namaste was a successful event that will continue to raise awareness and financial needs for humanitarian and educational projects around the world! Learn more about IPM projects here.