Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Girl on Fire!!!

Wordless Wednesday! Girl On Fire

Pinned Image
Image source

I just scooped up the brand new Alicia Keys Girl On Fire CD. Totally obsessed. Always have been a HUGE fan of her because she's an incredibly talented artist, gorgeous style icon, independent woman, and social activist. You go girl! So check out her new hit below that I've been JAMmin to all around C-Town... cuz this girl is on fi-yaaaah!

Pinned Image
Image source

I love love the lyrics to this song, the happy video, her soulful voice, and sassy style! Totally making her new song my CLE woman anthem!

"Got both feet on the ground,
and she's burning it down,
she got her head in the clouds,
and she's not backing down...
this girl is on fire!"
-Alicia Keys

What do you think of the song and video? Share your thoughts!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Weekend Recap & That Warm Fuzzy Feeling in CLE!

I felt hopeful about the adventures the holiday would bring in CLE!

Lily and Julie at Girls Night/ Friendsgiving
Like that cozy seasonal haze that envelops our city over the holidaze...

View of Downtown Cleveland from Lakewood Park
Thanksgiving Day 2012

I felt bright...
Winterfest 2012
Lighting of Public Square

 and merry about my future and fun times with friends in CLE!
Bright lights, big city!
Winter, Wine & Ale Fest 2012
Holiday cheer!
Winter, Wine & Ale Fest 2012

and luckier than a horseshoe and Santa in a window..... (watch out Rudolph..there's a new player in town!)
All sorts of magical display in Horseshoe Casino's windows (aka Old Higbee's Building)
Then, we united forces, friends, and football teams...

Willing to overcome loyalty to the Browns or Steelers for the sake of FRIENDSHIP
*cough, Browns did win, cough*

And it all reminded me of this great land I LOVE,,,


Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Meditation: Top 5 Thankful Thoughts

"My old dream was self-centered; my new dream is service oriented. And the baseline of this sounds cheesy, but it is gratitude. That's right. Simple gratitude. When I find that I focus on what I'm grateful for, the things I already have, the glorious and healthy body in which I reside, life opens."
In light of the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, I want to focus on GRATITUDE. This quote from Mastin Kipp (if you haven't already signed up to receive his Daily Digest...what are you waiting for?!) is awesome and he always keeps it real. Recently, I was keepin it real with one of my gal pals, T.A. about things we were grateful for...whenever anyone asks you this question of thankfulness, gratitude, counting blessings (especially around the holidays) everyone seems to give the same standard answers which probably look something along the lines of this:
Image source
But these are GIVENS! These are the wonderful foundations we often take for granted. So, we are all grateful for these standards, let's dig deeper! Why are we grateful for family? What makes them so special? How has good health truly impacted your life? Take a moment today to slow down and quantify and glorify these gifts into the daily encounters they are. The little things that I REAAAALLY appreciate, actually add up to the BIG things, called LIFE!

So here are my top 5 specific things I am grateful for today, and that continue to open up my life everyday.

1) Hula hooping. Yeah, betcha didn't see that one coming! My mom recently introduced me to the workout of hula hooping, believe me, I laughed, just as you probably are right now. It's completely ridiculous and an activity most of us haven't attempted since we were little rugrats. You feel awkward, silly, and over the top....and it's totally awesome, plus a FABULOUS core work out!!! Definitely recommend getting back in touch with your health and fitness in a fun and light way. It will make you appreciate the fact that working out doesn't always have to suck, you can slim down your belly and hips as you swivel to some jams, and help release your pent up frustrations after a stressful work day! Check out Gabby Bernstein's book: Add More ~ing to Your Life for other suggestions of how to add more action and happiness to your life (Thanks for the recommendation, Allison!)
Proof, hooping makes you laugh and your body feel good
2) My sister's phenomenal cooking skills. Seriously, this girl has NEVER cooked up a bad meal before...even at 2am after a night of festivities...she's the only person I know that will not only insist you eat a good "snack" before bed...but she turns it into a gourmet creation... she's not gonna zap something in the microwave for you. No, she goes all out to make a tasty surprise--like the fresh thick toasted sandwich with mortadella, cheddar and spinach she just popped in the broiler for me during the wee hours of Sunday morning. She serves up dishes, snacks, sammies--you name it, straight from the heart. Her thoughtfulness to serve a good meal to her loved ones at any time of the day or night fills me up, but also nourishes the spirit. Best.Sister/Cook.EVER.
3) Being included in friends' big life events. Okay, we already know we're all thankful for our friends. But what about pulling off the surprise of a lifetime...and witness the shock and elation on your gal pal's face as she walks in after accepting a surprise proposal from the man of her dreams, to be greeted by her friends & family waiting for her. Yes! This weekend my good friends Julie & Ryan got engaged, and we were all so thrilled to be included as part of the special occasion. All those nights of hanging out with them and witnessing the sparks lead to what we had all been rooting for--a spectacular engagement between two hilarious and genuinely great human beings! So thankful I got to share in part of this new chapter of your lives!

Congrats Ryan & Julie!!

"Bling bling!"
Supppper jazzed for Julie! Congrats lady!!!

4) Sweet finds at Marshall's that make you stop and say, "Wow, Marshall's, sh*t just got real. Thank you." I discovered this gem while recently perusing the aisles of Marshall's. It pretty much jumped off the shelf and smacked me upside the head. I needed it--figuratively and literally. The past few months have certainly been shaken up and very challenging in some aspects of my life. And yet, simultaneuously--it's terrific, and life is opening up in ways I never imagined either. Even when things don't go according to the original plan, there is always a much BETTER and BIGGER plan that's unfolding and gently guiding you without you even knowing it! As Mastin put it "my old dream was self-centered; my new dream is service oriented." Life suddenly becomes way more rich when you come to the realization that "Your journey is unfolding exactly as it should be!"

5) Meeting new great people in Cleveland at events that benefit our city and its residents. This past weekend, I participated in our YP Pantry "Give Thanks" event at a local church. We distributed a hot meal, canned food, to-go food, fresh produce, and some well wishes to people who've fallen down on their luck. My job was to help make 70+ bagged peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. We then helped serve nearly a 100 people hot meals. The pastor of the church informed us that despite distributing food 4 times a month for the past 18 years, they only had the opportunity to SERVE meals to guests twice, the other times people had to stand in line and wait for a plate. People were so thankful and appreciative to have someone serve them at a table setting. It was a truly humbling experience, not only was I thankful that I've never experienced the burden of worrying about where my next hot meal is coming from, but also because it validated the fact that everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. Everyone! 
Peanut butter jelly tiiiiime!
Photo source: YP Pantry Facebook Page
Not only was it incredible to be able to give back and help others in need, but I also met & chatted with some great new friends from YP Pantry too. Win, win! Be sure to check out our next YP Pantry event in which a portion of your bill is donated directly back to the Cleveland Foodbank. Join in the festivities and true holiday spirit by contributing to a worthy cause while enjoying Christmas Ale, cookies, and ugly Christmas sweaters. A lot of great things to give THANKS for here in CLE!
Pinned Image
Image source
So, what are your top 5 thankful thoughts for today? Daily acts of service, faith, inclusion, health and fitness contribute to our overall well-being. Break down the clichés, get to the nitty-gritty things that help you grind through the day, and take time this week to say THANK YOU for all the little things that really make a BIG difference in our lives!
Here's a final sendoff...of JESSICA'S daily affirmations. LOVE it! (Thanks, T.A. for getting me hip to the other thankful Jessica!)

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Young Independent Filmmakers Making Magic Happen in CLE

There is a powerful underlying culture of young, talented, innovative and professional filmmakers and actors creating awesome projects in CLE right now. Our arts and culture scene is thriving. Although we have a collective network of arts organizations which fosters artists' growth (i.e. Cleveland Public Theatre, MOCA, Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, etc.) some of the arts have yet to establish a platform to nurture, network and help navigate the path for emerging artists/creators. Enter young independent filmmakers in CLE! They have yet to experience a network to take them in, help develop their craft, provide resources, and establish a platform to showcase these fantastic films to our comminity. Have you heard about "The Avengers" filming in CLE? I bet! How about the tax credits for big budget films to come to our city and shoot movies? Yep, probably familiar with that too! And don't get me wrong, I think it's great to offer a temporary economic boost to our region and gain notoriety by having big budget films takeover the city...but what about the spectacular artists/innovators/filmmakers making magic come to life here, everyday, on a shoe-string budget with a high caliber message, quality, vision and film that can attest to the born and bred generation of Clevelanders who are making it happen?

The wonderfully talented production team Studio on Mars
bringing you the upcoming film, THE SAMARITANS
Zach Shildwatchter, Executive Producer. Jen Poland, Director of Photography. J. Buckner, Director.

Well a wonderful opportunity recently came to fruition and I was so happy to be a part of it and share the story with you, my CLE Believers! My good buddy Justin aka J. Buckner invited me to come for a day of filming on set for a short film called THE SAMARITANS.
J. Buckner: ACTION!

This, my friends, is the type of project that puts fire in my belly. The young people who defy the odds, who commit to their dreams, who pound the pavement to build a sustainable support network of filmmakers/artists in CLE, who resist Ohio "brain drain" and commit to our region's success,  and  who truly make our city's culture and arts so dynamic.

I knew it was going to be a spectacular experience for a laundry list of reasons, but considering I have already seen his last short film, "I AM ALIVE," which was just screened as the feature film in Rock Island, Illinois last week, and as part of the Monster Mashup in Chicago a few weeks ago-- I knew the quality of film that I would witness in the making.

Image source

Seriously, this guy and his team are too legit to quit. The short film has already gained notoriety and a post-apocalyptic following of zombie I knew a wild CLE adventure was ahead as he invited me to hang out on set for a day of filming his new film "THE SAMARITANS."

The story of "THE SAMARITANS" was written by William B Keller (Bill) of Columbus, OH. Bill originally wrote the the short film to focus on the idea of peoples' reactions during moral dilemmas by turning seemingly innocent decisions into life-impacting events. Bill has been writing for over 30 years with a long list of credentials. But 3 1/2 years ago he lost his life long partner, Jill. He said he really struggled with just giving up and had all these thoughts in his head that he just needed to get out. He knew he had to pull something positive out of the tragedy of losing his high-school sweetheart, so he based the couple in the film on him and his wife, and used that as a foundation to build the story. (BTW Bill is the SWEETEST man ever and incredibly inspiring!) He wanted to make people stop, and think about how each action has a reaction.
"THE SAMARITANS" writer, left Bill Keller pictured with his son Will
The story centers around a young couple who skip out on work to go enjoy a beautiful day at the park, when they are unexpectedly faced with an unusual situation as a man, claiming to be a priest, emerges from the woods, panic-stricken and collapses onto the couple's car begging for help...

I'm pretty sure I'd be a liiiiittle bit alarmed if I was in the car right now too..

Pictured, Eric Small as Priest, Kellen Boyle as Tom, and Samantha O'Brien as Sarah
I have to give a huge round of applause to Eric Small who played a lead role as the priest. He delivered some serious drama and emotion--take after take...meanwhile in 40 degree temperatures.. and half-clothed. He was a tremendously talented actor and demonstrated some serious commitment to his craft! More people like him on the move in CLE!

Orderlies taking action...
Pictured Mike Chastain
I then met some similarly awesome people, Mike Chastain of Akron and Pakob Jarenpone of Akron, who played the role of the orderlies. Both gentlemen served as extras during the recent filming of "The Avengers" in Cleveland and haven't looked back since. They agreed that there is the sudden churning of independent filmmakers cranking out steller productions in our city and hope to see more and be more of a part of it.
Pictured Mike Chastain, left and Pakob Jarenpone, right
majorly B.A. & would NOT want to mess with these guys!
When I asked J. Buckner his opinion on why Cleveland is a great place to make and film movies he responded, "There is not as much red tape here compared to places like NYC or LA. People in Cleveland think it's cool when they see someone out filming, rather than as an inconvenience or passé, like a film shooting on the streets of NYC. We have four beautiful seasons here and every shot you may need can be accessed in just an hour drive--rural farms, big city skyline, well-known restaurants, manicured parks, Lake Erie beaches. It's all at our fingertips."

The biggest point each cast and crew member kept circling back to was the incredible potential for rising filmmakers and talented actors in Cleveland. As Zach Shildwachter, Executive Producer of "THE SAMARITANS" framed it, "Cleveland is a wide open market. Ripe. A lot of people are demanding high quality local films, but there is limited supply. Our biggest obstacle as filmmakers is cultivating a tangible network. We need a sustainable base to grow from. We don't want to be some circus act that just rolls into town." I couldn't agree more. As glossy and glamorous big budget films in Cleveland are, if we really want that industry to thrive, let's start building it--by the people and for the people of CLE!
business concepts,businesses,concepts,connected,connections,hierarchies,icons,links,organizational,organizational charts,organizations,people,symbols
Image source
So, CLE, are you ready? Are you jazzed? Well, may I present to you the long awaited, totally rad trailer for the making of this film I got to watch come to life. Click here for a link to the trailer of "THE SAMARITANS" or click the trailer below and be sure to like them on Facebook to stay tuned for the release of the final product! Young. Independent. Talented Filmmakers...making the magic happen in CLE! Enjoy :)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Stand For Something!

Pinned Image
Pinned Image

Pinned Image
Pinned Image

Pinned Image
Pinned Image

Pinned Image

Cleveland Foodbank: YP Pantry! Fight against hunger!
Photo by JAMinCLE

Get out there and make it happen, CLE! Stand up for what you believe in!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Screw Factory Artists Open House in Lakewood!

Have you been to the Screw Factory in Lakewood before? Yesterday, I attended one of their open houses and it's always a new adventure each time! If you haven't discovered this place're seriously missing out on one of Cleveland's post-industrial polished gems! But don't worry... the Last Minute Market is just around the corner--Saturday, December 15th 10am-6pm at the Screw Factory so you still have a chance. The event will feature all sorts of mixed media, sculptures, ceramics, jewelry, clothing, book art, crafts, paintings, photography and SO MUCH MORE!
last minute market
Click here to visit their site
So, the Screw Factory building is located in the area affectionately known as "Birdtown" in Lakewood. The Screw Factory is both an active factory and home to several working artists in studios on the second and third floors. Click here to check out the list of the many artists located at the Screw Factory. Growing up in and around the arts, I've come to LOVE Cleveland artists' unique style and blend of aesthetics-- tough yet delicate, experiential yet accessible, pragmatic yet creative, rusted yet restored, historial yet renewed, stark yet bright.

Photo by JAMinCLE

The dichotomy of a "Rust Belt" city experiencing a renaissance is surely evident in a place like the artists' studios here in the Screw Factory. The building itself is nearly 100 years old and once served as a car factory (go figure).

Photo by JAMinCLE

Photo by JAMinCLE
The remnants of a bygone era still lingers throughout the building, especially when contrasted next to these phenomenal artists' work and vibrantly creative spaces.
Photo by JAMinCLE

Photo by JAMinCLE
Photo by JAMinCLE
Per usual, I met some amazing artists as they welcomed me into their colorful worlds. It's always so fascinating to see how they each use their loft space differently and develop a "signature look" for their space that reflects their design aesthetic. 
Photo by JAMinCLE
Meet Mary Beth of MBN Art. She specializes in these awesome acrylic paintings. I loved how bright and cheery her studio was accompanied by her bright style paintings. After admiring her work, I began chatting with her, and she asked if I was an artist too. "No," I confessed. Then, she revealed that she spent most of her professional career working as a nurse in Cleveland. She left her "day job" a few years back to "regroup and recharge her battery" she said. Amen, sister! Way to follow your passion!!! It surely shines through!
Photo by JAMinCLE
Meet Karen of Firsthand Studio. She works with mixed media paintings and handmade books. I particularly liked her handmade books, which she is just venturing into. My mom is a member of Art Books Cleveland so I was happy to pass along the good word about the group and connect fellow Clevelanders and book artists! Hope you can join the next meeting!
Photo by JAMinCLE
Meet Teresa of Silvermade Studio and dovecote cleveland. I fell in love with her jewelry line the moment I laid eyes on it! She is the quintessential Cleveland (born & bred) jewelry maker!!! Her pieces are delicate but sturdy. Simple but profound. Labor intensive but oh-so-worth-it! When I picked up this bracelet I knew I had to have it! Teresa and I began to talk about the amount of work that goes into the tedious process, and how she must lay out each individual teeny-tiny letter and hammer it into the metal. Wow, patient woman! She said she really liked this piece too because it was one of her favorite quotes by e.e. cummings. My heart fluttered! This is actually part of my all time favorite most beloved and often used mantra & quote by e.e. cummings that goes, "It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are!"
Ain't that the truth?!
Photos by JAMinCLE
If only everyone relished this noteworthy quote! I was so excited after chatting with Teresa and discovering our common ground of admiration for seriously awesome poets, AND my new bracelet which serves as a reminder to me each and everyday of who I really am and where I come from! It takes courage, persistence and curiosity to actively choose to face each new day with the positive intent of growing and continuing to develop and thrive! But you, you already know, CLE! :) Keep on JAMmin!

Photo by JAMinCLE