Saturday, June 30, 2012

Arts Fest: Notre Dame College

I've been meaning to write this post, but you know how impromptu summer nights can draw you away from writing...

Anywho, I am so happy to share my adventure at the 2nd annual Notre Dame College Arts Fest. There is practically an arts fest in CLE every weekend and we are so lucky to live in a city that appreciates, encourages, and brings exposure to the arts. (Special thanks to fellow CLE blogger Eat*Drink*Cleveland too for her recent blog post on many great art/events/festivals coming up in July. Looking forward to going to Boston Mills Art Fest -thanks for the tip!)
 I was incredibly  proud of my Mom too for putting so much work into organizing and making the event a success (although she's way too humble to take any credit!)

The campus was transformed with crafts, live music, kids playing, food and amazing artwork. I was thoroughly impressed by the vendors including extraordinarily talented students. Here are some of my favorites:

Tina Meeks: monoprints

 Tina, a recent grad of Notre Dame College, makes these gorgeous monoprints. I ended up buying her print on the left, which I did not take the best shot of, but it is an awesome color combination of a sunset and gondolier in Venice, Italy. When she explained the process of printmaking, I was blown away by the tedious effort she puts into making these prints. Her bubbly personality and enthusiasm for her craft made her a stand out at the show. Keep up the good work!

Aurelia Nuber: body art and photography

Aurelia, another student from NDC, had some seriously unbelievable work--and my photo does not do it justice. I've been to several art shows/festivals before and have never seen anything quite like hers! She paints the entire human body, literally, (in the picture shown here) in the most unexpected and disarming ways. My favorite was the one on the far right of a woman painted and pearls and feathers incorporated into it too. She also had several prints of your not-so-average people (piercings, tattoos, fire-blowers). Her work was the perfect combination-- very inviting, humanizing, and alarming all at the same time. Her labor intensive process of painting people in the most beautiful way was stunning. You can check out her cool portfolio and work here. Seriously you gotta see it!

William Stenson: wood work

Last,  but not least, was William Stenson. He won first place in the show and his craftsmanship was undeniably terrific. He creates these abstract displays by inlaying the wood and with some serious patience. The one on the right was out of this world! He also is a vendor at the Saturday morning North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square so you can check out more of his work (including bowls, utensils, coasters and more) there or on the web.
Overall, the show was great for only its second year. And the cool part was that students were able to participate and showcase their work professionally too.

Well, we are off on this hot Saturday for another arts fest, this one being the 10th annual Waterloo Arts Fest, over by Beachland Ballroom. I've never been to this show before so I am excited to check it out. It's today only--so don't miss it! I'll be sure to keep you posted on how it goes. Support local!!!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Cool Down in CLE with These Easy Drink Recipes Straight from the Garden!

Man, it's HOT IN CLEVELAND! And with the steamy temps and pop up thunderstorms, my garden is going--bananas! So here are a few drink recipes I found to use straight from my garden to cool down in CLE! And tomorrow is supposed to top 90 degrees again so...cheers!

Garden Ingredient: Chocolate Mint
Drink: Chocoffee Mint Milkshake
Source: Pinterest via Food Frenzy
Total Time: 2 mins
Serves : 3 tall glasses

  • 500 ml full fat milk Or skimmed milk
  • 250 gms dark chocolate chunks
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp instant espresso coffee powder
  • 14 to 15 chopped mint leaves
  • few ice cubes
  1. Double boil dark chocolate Or microwave on high power for a minute.
  2. Combine melted chocolate, mint leaves, cocoa powder and espresso. Grind them into a processor until they combine well.
  3. Now add milk and ice cubes. Grind again until they are evenly incorporated. Check the taste add if sugar required.
  4. Serve in tall glasses Or mugs. Garnish with chocolate shavings, mint leaves Or a dollop of icecream.
Source: Pinterest via Amanda Colo

  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon verbena leaves
  • 5 cups fresh lemon juice, strained (from about 24 lemons)
  1. Bring sugar and water to a boil in a small saucepan, stirring to dissolve sugar.
  2. Remove from heat, and add lemon verbena.
  3. Cover, and steep for 15 minutes.
  4. Strain through a fine sieve, and let cool completely.
  5. Combine lemon juice and lemon verbena syrup in a pitcher.
  6. Fill glasses with lemon verbena ice, and divide lemonade among glasses.
Garden Inredient: Lavender
Lavender Cocktail
Source: Pinterest via Kate Cooper

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Downtown CLE Weekend : Rooftop Views, Made in the 216 & Marine Week

Did you venture to downtown CLE this weekend? Action packed. People everywhere. Lively city. So totally felt like a CLE Carrie Bradshaw.

Friday night we hung out on the rooftop of Statler Arms where my friend lives. It was such a cool view of the city along with a front row view of fireworks after the Tribe game!

Go Tribe!
A city alive at night!
Me & Marie on the rooftop
 On Saturday, I hit up Momocho in Ohio City, my first time there (crazy, I know) and it was such a blast. We pulled up at 4:45pm just before it opened...and check out this line already waiting!!!


After dinner, I see why it is so popular! From the tiny but charismatic patio space, to the delicious goat cheese & garlic guacamole, to the specialty margarita samplers (spicy pomegranate, red chili salt cucumber, pineapple, oh my!) it is a great CLE place to eat, drink and relax outside!

Girls night! Kayla enjoying her margarita samplers!
After Momocho we headed over to Dredger's Union to check out Made in the 216! It's an event featuring several local CLE's vendors--CLE tshirts, CLE jewelry, art, coffee, home decor and more!

 It's an awesome event and a great way to support local CLE businesses and artists. Check out this super sweet tee that has a vintage map of Cleveland on it. I picked up for JMK! Score!
On Sunday, I woke up early to head downtown (again) and scope out the last day of Marine Week. On my way to downtown, I stopped to take a few pics of this amazing mural the marines painted earlier this week on the corner of E.55th and Carnegie. You've gotta drive by and check this out! It's huge!

Community. Country. Corps.

Marine Mural CLE

I got to Public Square around 10am and it was already buzzing with people checking out the Marines, weapons, and machinery.
It was so moving to see so many people coming out to support the troops and I heard plenty of stories from Marines saying how hospitable people were to them in CLE. Those good midwestern values! I met servicemen from Virginia, Tennessee, Ohio and North Carolina, to name a few, who were deployed in Afghanistan, West Africa and Okinawa. It was tremendous to get to talk to some of them and learn about their lives and service. From the bottom of CLE's heart--we sincerely thank and support all of our troops stationed at home and abroad. Thank you for your sacrifices and service!
Faith: Pretty Powerful
Marine Week CLE
I was told I had to pay $1 when I asked if I could take their picture
But they negotiated and said I could get one for free if I got in the pic too...
 Anytime you see a man or woman in uniform, I encourage you to thank them for their service. Having family members both active and retired from the armed forces hits close to home. They are Moms, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Husbands, and Wives too. So make sure to let them know they have our support!

Serving and protecting our future generations

It was such a fun-filled lively weekend in downtown CLE. From catching new city views from the skyscrapers, to buying CLE goods from Made in the 216, to meeting and speaking with several Marines visiting our city..I must say..I am proud to be a CLEVELANDER!!! 
Marine Mural CLE

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Birthday JAM Weekend


For every phone call, text, post, tweet, email, card, office visit, hug, kiss, cake, drink and thought... THANK YOU!!! What a wonderful birthday feeling loved and blessed by each of you!

This is what it looks like to be 25...
Friday started off lovely. I walked into my office only to be stunned that my coworkers (who have made me feel extraordinarily welcome to the team this past month) had totally decked out my office for my birthday. I'm talking confetti, banner, streamers, and even a crown with the word "Queen" lit up on it.
(Luckily this picture was snapped before I was told I had to wear the crown...)

Then my amazing sister "happened to be in the area" and stopped by to check out my new digs and brought me a ridiculously cute tea cup orchid (seen above) along with a latte and other birthday goodies. Did I mention how awesome she is?

From her birthday the weekend before
 After a fantastic day at work, JMK and I met my parents down at the pier at Edgewater Park. I got to spend some time with my parents while taking in the magnificent view of the place I have called home for the past 25 years.

Thanks for the life you have given me, Mom & Dad!!!
After Edgewater Park, we shuffled on over to Whiskey Island for a laid back, carefree, live music, full of laughter, taking in the lake breeze kind of night. A bunch of my friends had never been to Whiskey Island/Wendy Park before, so it was an adventure for everyone. If you want a marvelous view of the sunset, boat access, volleyball courts, good atmosphere, and cold ones...defintely recommend.

Me and Marieeeee :)

Seriously unbeatable sunset

Taking in 25

The next day, we set off for a day which JMK entirely planned for us. And I must say, he totally knocked it out of the park!! We went to Gervasi Vineyard just a short drive to Canton. When we got there, I was completely blown away!!! It was GORGEOUS! We had a private two story suite in a villa that sat alongside a manicured lake surrounded by willow trees and wild life. I'm talking 4 Star classy.

A walk-in shower with marble tiles AND a heated towel rack. Win!
The living room with gas fireplace, and yes we did turn it on that evening despite it being 75 degrees

Totally RHONJ

After having a glass of vino on the patio, we were treated to an in-suite hour long massage. OMG!!! What a perfectly relaxing afternoon. Once we peeled ourselves off the massage tables, we walked over to the Bistro next to the vineyards where there was live music, people of all ages, and those classic summer Adirondack chairs to set the scene. Here are a few more pics I snapped on an early morning walk around the property the next day. It was all around wonderful!
Our Villa

What more can a girl ask for? With the luxurious amenities, stunning surroundings and incomparable company--JMK set the bar high for future occasions! Highly recommend this place-- I could probably write a whole post about why it was so charming!!

We capped off the weekend with a family dinner at Washington Place Inn. Cozy, vintage and darn good food! Laughing our heads off--typical family dinner.



Whew! Whatta JAMmin weekend! Food, festivities, family, friends and fun! And thanks to each person who contributed to a memorable birthday. Here's to happiness, health and adventure! Cheers to a quarter century!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

10 Things to Do Before 10am in CLE

The Ultimate Summer
in the City Checklist!
As luck would have it--I have been waking up very early on Saturday mornings (even when I can sleep in! Welcome to adulthood...) So rather than lying in bed scolding myself for not being able to fall back asleep, I've decided to embrace it. Everything looks different in the early morning bleary-eyed hours. Golden, fresh, and undiscovered. So here is the list of activities I have compiled of awesome things to do during dawn hours for my fellow early risers!

1) Go for a bike ride. I love crusing around when newspapers lie unopened in driveways and the bikepaths are wide open for the taking. Best places to bike in CLE: Shaker Lakes, Edgewater Park, Cuyahoga Towpath.
Shaker Lakes sunrise
Photo by JAMinCLE

Shaker Lakes
Photo by JAMinCLE
 2) Life's a garden--dig it. Beat the heat and get working in your own garden or visit any of these gorgeous gardens in CLE for an instant mood boost: Cleveland Cultural Gardens, Petitti's Garden Centers, GardenWalk Cleveland, and Cleveland Botanical Gardens (opens at 10am).

Dahlia at Petitti's Garden Center
Gerber Daisies at Petitti's Garden Center
 Foxglove at Petitti's Garden Center
3) Go to a yoga class. Whether it is hot yoga or yoga in the park, Cleveland offers a variety of ways to stretch into Saturday: Outdoor Yoga with Pink Lotus, Yoga for Every Body at Atma Center,  Inner Bliss Yoga.

Photo Source: Whole Living

4) Visit a local market. The West Side Market is Cleveland's oldest (and best) market, celebrating 100 years in 2012 (check out the Market Guide here or the centennial events). If you want your specialty cuts of meat or to connect with your family's ethnic cuisine, definitely must stop here. The earlier the better because the hustle and bustle kicks up! Or looking for your local farmer's market? Try North Union Farmers Market early on Saturday. It is just a rapid ride or bike ride away at Shaker Square! It's authentic, it's fresh, and supports the local farmers. Win!

Empanadas gallore at Orale! in West Side Market
Photo by JAMinCLE

The West Side Market offers all sorts of specialty cut meats, even ones for your pet!
Photo by JAMinCLE

5) Enjoy the wildlife. You'd be suprised how many animals are still milling about your neighborhood in the early morning hours. Check out this giant turtle I befriended while on a bike ride at Shaker Lakes last week. No neighborhood wildlife? No problem. Hit the CLE Met Zoo to visit the home of more than 3000 animals, or the Coliseum Grasslands for bird watching.

Photo by JAMinCLE

6) Grab (local) brunch. Lucky's is the quintessential brunch, but you gotta get there early! (Try the biscuits and gravy! To.die.for.) They offer locally grown food, housemade sauces, and outside picnic table seating. Latitude 41N in the Gordon Square Arts district is good food and cozy, but the sweetest part--the map tables! Definitely a great way to keep you entertained while you work up your appetite and plan your next travel adventure too!

Lucky's Cafe in Tremont
Photo Source: Trip Advisor
 7) Grab some coffee with character. Sure every city has local coffee shops, but Cleveland's offer such wonderful atmosphere! Favorite people watching with a cup of Joe: Presti's in Little Italy. With small cafe tables, old world architecture, and adorable old Italian men catching up with their buddies as they go for a morning neighborhood stroll, you easily become immersed in the Little Italy culture. Or try Phoenix Coffee, it's made locally, they have tremendously friendly (and equally hip staff). They offer not-the-average flavors and the collective mix of customers makes everyone feel welcomed. From Case grad students, to Coventry hippies, to business professionals--everyone comingles at Phoenix, united through coffee with character.

Phoenix Coffee on Coventry
Photo Source:

8) Catch a breathtaking view. Lakeview Cemetery boasts one of the best views for our former President Garfield. Climb the spiral staircase inside Garfield's monument to the ultimate lookout deck, the spanse of the lake and view of downtown are spectacular...and you can get a history lesson too! Or visit Voinovich Park. It is an urban oasis--clean, surprisingly quiet, and the perfect juxtaposition between the city and the lake. Good place to read the newspaper and let your feet dangle over the water.

View from Voinovich Park
Photo by JAMinCLE
9) Go to a castle. On an early morning last summer, my sister and I hiked 5 miles to finally find this castle (doh!) in the metroparks in Willoughby Hills. Squire Castle is a beautiful yet eerie castle that dates back to the 1890s. Another cool piece of CLE history and good source for some spooky ghost stories too. My recommendation, go in the early morning hours to avoid the things that go bump in the night!
Finally made it to Squire's Castle
Photo by JAMinCLE

Photo by JAMinCLE

 10) Go kayaking. 41 North Coastal Kayaking is located on the border of Lakewood and Rocky River. It's a good upper body workout and a fun way to explore the coastline. The earlier, the better, otherwise you will face boat traffic on the river.
Photo by JAMinCLE
So that's it, CLE, after three nights of compiling and editing--those are my top 10 things to do before 10am in our great city! I challenge you to try some of these activities yourself! Hope to hear about your own early morning discoveries soon! Keep on jammin!