Monday, January 28, 2013

Monday Meditation: Being Present

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Whoa, mull over that quote one more time. Yes, your life is only ever now! The present moment is all we have but we live in a culture that is deeply ingrained with overstimulation, maximizing the multi-tasking mentality, and constantly trying to get ahead. Don't get me wrong--I am incredibly thankful to live in America, and better yet, CLEVELAND, but I think we often times get so wrapped up in our daily routines, appointments, events, chores, projects, etc. that we literally miss out on the entire day. I fully admit that I am guilty of this too. I am the epitome of a planner, life organizer, worrier, juggler of 10 tasks at once. So sometimes I have to step back, take a deep breath, focus, and remind myself...
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Yes, the time is NOW! Full disclosure, I'm not recommending for you to lose your sense of responsibility or live a reckless life, but I am deeply encouraging you to enjoy the present, enjoy the now. Whether it's taking the time to paint my nails (not while eating breakfast, slurping down coffee, and heading out the door to work--guaranteed to smudge the crap out of them!!) sending a thoughtful surprise to my awesome family, delving into a good book with absolutely no distractions (turn off the TV and shut the door), having a great conversation with someone face to face (not checking the cell phone or planning my response!) or just appreciating a beautiful sunrise/sunset to its fullest extent...please remember that: 

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Focus on the task and moment of now. Be fully present and appreciate the simple moments in your day.  Take the time to show up, show up for yourself, and show up for the now..because that's really all you have.  The next moment is NOT more important than this, savor the now...
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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Whirlwind Winter Weekend in CLE!

Wow, definitely will check off this weekend as a win in my book! I kicked off the whirlwind of weekend events and good times on Friday by hitting Happy Dog for Polka Happy Hour with DJ Kishka (Cleveland's premier polka-playing DJ, yes, you read that correctly).
DJ Kishka getting in the polka jams at Happy Dog!
All Clevelanders must experience this event at least once!
 Not only is Happy Dog a great place to blow off some steam after a long work week and take in Cleveland's finest loaded hot dogs & tater tots, but add a legendary Cleveland DJ heckling the crowd, dressed in costume, and rocking some traditional polka jams, and you have yourself a winning way to start off your weekend!

Egg-cellent idea! #GoodLifeDecisions
Post hot dog, hoovering down some bacon and egg tater tots!
After polka-ing my way through Happy Hour at Happy Dog, I headed over to CSU to see my homeboy, J. Buckner screen his short film that I got to watch him create! Soooo cool to see the final product on the big screen! A wonderfully talented and passionate group of actors and filmmakers showcased their work to a crowded auditorium of film-lovers, artists, and CLE Believers. The Indie CLE event presented 6 excellent, quality, and locally made short films by CLE's young movers & shakers. Read my original recap of filming "The Samaritans" here.
Photo courtesy of J. Buckner on Facebook

Zach Shildwatchter, Executive Producer. and  J. Buckner, Director. of "The Samaritans"
post-screening doing a Q&A with the audience
Congrats on all the hard work...Bravo!
Watch "The Samaritans" and follow J. Buckner's other awesome short film projects at His team is cranking out quality short films, winning awards, and making a name in Cleveland and beyond for young budding filmmakers, actors, and artists...pyaaaaw! Good stuff!

On Saturday, I started my day seeking out some design inspiration. I am beginning a refurnishing project and super jazzed about it. I scored some really cool knobs for my dresser and some matte black paint to refinish it. My mom and I ventured out to the antique shops on Lorain Ave. to get some other crafty ideas. The antique stores stretch down Lorain Ave. on Cleveland's west side from about W.80th to W. 65th. There are so many hidden gems you can find there. My favorite place is an incredible store called Reincarnation Vintage Design. Their displays are gorgeous and so cleverly repurposed. If you dig hunting antiques and thrifty finds, or need some beautiful ideas on how to give new life to old furniture, you definitely must check out the antique shops on Lorain, including Reincarnation Vintage Design.

Photo source: RVD Facebook page
to see their latest shipments and pieces be sure to "like" their Facebook page...or stop in!

"Thrift Shop" by Macklemore
Dude, you have GOT to watch this music video....

After my day of antique hunting and scoping out the second-hand stores in CLE, it only felt fitting to JAM to this hilariously awesome song, "Thrift Shop"  by Macklemore while out downtown on Saturday night. Wooowweee--busting out the dance moves. What a winning night! First time I've stayed up to see the sunrise, probably since my college days. Goooood times! :) I capped off the weekend with brunch at Grumpy's Cafe  in Tremont and got brunched in the face with some seriously tasty eggs benedict and cajun home fries. Despite the restaurant's namesake, I left there feeling happy, full, starry-eyed, ready for a long nap and hopeful for more adventures in CLE with good people. If I had one phrase to sum up this whirlwind winter weekend in CLE, what would it be? Good life decisions :) Keep JAMmin!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Monday Meditation: What Drives Your Future?


Happy Monday, MLK Day, and Presidential Inauguration! I absolutely LOVE this MLK quote and could not agree more. At times, when I struggle to focus my energy towards positivity, this quote serves as a great reminder for me. Dwelling in the negative, accepting the status quo, or remaining in a rut will not promote productivity, passion, or peace. Period. When we grieve from loss in our personal life, or mourn as a nation from violence in our schools, we must seek the light from within to drive out darkness. Otherwise, "an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind." Sharpen your focus-- on healing, love, light, compassion, and progress. Move forward, with light and love. So with this Monday Meditation, what drives your future? Lead wisely.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Capturing the Cleveland Sunset

I must admit, we have had some STUNNING sunsets in CLE over the past few evenings (particularly for January sunsets, right?!) And Saturday was no different! My car temperature read 53 degrees--Wo0o0h0o0! So, I decided to capitalize on the unseasonably warm January evening and took the scenic drive home. I cruised down MLK Drive, one of my favorite drives in the city, and wound my way through the Cleveland Cultural Gardens in Rockefeller Park.

My drive started at the bottom of the map
and snaked along the greenery of the Cleveland Cultural Gardens up to Gordon Park (marked A)
Have you experienced this scenic and cultural emerald gem in Cleveland?! Ahh, you simply must! With nearly 40 different cultures and ethnicities represented, the gardens, architecture, and landscaping-- the Cleveland Cultural Gardens will not disappoint! I drove all the way through to Gordon Park along the lake to catch the fleeting sunset on this rare 50+ degree day in CLE. Check out these gorgeous views I snapped of the sunset casting a colorful scene over fabulous Cleveland!

Click, click, click, capturing the Cleveland sunset...going, going, gone!

Watching the sun sink into the water is always a cathartic and reflective few minutes to soak in the end of the day. Blink, and you'll miss it. Great perspective of a painted sky in Cleveland! What's your favorite place to take in a great CLE sunset? Where do you escape to on an unexpectedly warm winter day? Always grateful to have these surprise sunsets... keep JAMmin :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Know What?

Yes they do!
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In honor of  (one of) the recent Golden Globes
 hilarious, successful, bossypants host, Tina Fey.
Get it done!!!
Gotta be sure to remind myself this! :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

JAMinCLE Goes to SEA

Hi there! Thanks to all who checked in on me, pardon the blogging hiatus! I've been experiencing some technical difficulties with Blogger for over a week (aaarrrgh!) But finally found a way to circumvent the issue. So--Happy New(ish) Year! I had the chance to finally go through my photos from my trip to Seattle last month and edit them. Man, it was an AWESOME trip!! I think know 2013 is going to be the year of TRAVEL! Bring on the adventures.

Here's my recap of JAMinCLE goes to SEA! Enjoy :)
Seattle skyline from the top of the Space Needle

There were several reasons for me to jet out west to Seattle--my top reasons for visiting were to see my cousins, Shahrad and Steph, and to check the Pacific Northwest off my travel bucket list. Life has changed drastically for both of us since the last time I visited them earlier in 2012 when they were still living in San Fran. They've gotten married and are now expecting their first little one (and first great-grandchild for the Cellini family!!!) in early February! It's always great to catch up with them and the new changes in their life and new city. Shahrad and Steph are the most hospitable, fun-spirited, adventurous couple and always host a fabulous trip-- so I knew Seattle would go down in the books too!
Seriously, they could not be anymore cute!!!
Shahrad and Steph (and baby Simone!) pictured outside their Seattle home

First stop off the plane? Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Northwest Seattle! *Squeal* My cousin, (I can say that now! Yay!) Steph, made the phenomenal suggestion as soon as I hopped off the plane to take me to this chocoholic heaven place that "crafts organic, classic American comfort desserts and other original and innovative confections. Founded in 2008 by Autumn Martin with the dessert that gave us our name: Take-n-Bake Molten Chocolate Cake in a Mason Jar." Um seriously? YES! It was other worldly with all of the organic chocolatey creations on their menu, and with their adorable rustic packaging and presentation in mason jars and twine, I felt like it was the perfect introduction to Seattle!
Pictured: my grilled chocolate sandwich on potato bread with chocolate carmel dipping sauce
Want to drool over all the chocolate choices on the menu? Click here!
My eyes rolled into the back of my head shortly after this bite.... :)
 My suggestion, CLE definitely needs to add a place like this!!! With chocolate choices gallore and boozey shakes, it would be a sure fire hit in our city too!

Pike Place Market
I bet you've heard of the infamous "fish-throwing" at this Seattle staple institution, Pike Place Market. Yes, I did actually get to see it happen!!! It was certainly different than Cleveland's own West Side Market in the sense that their market had more of a "flea market" feel--featuring clothes, tourist gifts, jewelry and other retail items.
Post munching and moseying our way through the market

Quintessential Seattle shot:
lady with her umbrella, and coffee, under clearing gray skies, on her way to Pike Place Market!

I'm not gonna lie about embracing my tourism--I did scoop up this stellar Seattle hoodie from Pike Place Market and I rocked it hard from the top of the Space Needle--holla!

 The Space Needle was spectacular! We lucked out with some clear skies and even sunshine that snuck out and made for some gorgeous clear views that spanned the city, water, and mountains---BEAUTIFUL!
Seattle cityscape

Just the right shot!

Take me to space

The Space Needle boasted some seriously breathtaking views. Could we add one of these "out of this world" vantage points in CLE? :) Juuuust a suggestion!

After our space ride, we walked right next door to my requested visit to the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum!!! I've had a slight obsession with Chihuly's work after first seeing some of his collection a few years ago at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus. The whole Garden & Glass Museum is dedicated to this talented native Seattleite and his glass-blown work and

The scale of these structures is mammoth and each delicate piece of glass was blown and fused to create these beautiful works of art. I was in complete awe!

Official Chihuly photo :)

Then, we ventured outside to see his glass installed in the garden with a killer backdrop! I was on sensory overload!!

Spaced out


Yes, LOVED the museum and his crazy cool work. Seattle has some rich culture, attractions, and views. And last but not least--the food. Seattle is known for its fresh food, eco-conscious efforts, and greenery; the food certainly aligns with that freshly picked clean eating (even their chocolate was organic!) 

Homegrown Sustainable Sandwich Shop

 The simplest foods were the best because everything was fresh and made locally. Absolutely delicious! I ordered this sandwich because of their local Beecher's cheese that I tried too. 

Beecher's Handmade Cheese
Beecher's is just across the street from Pike Place Market, and if you're a cheesehead like me, you have GOT to go check this place out and watch them making the cheese right in front of you!

So much cheese, you gotta shovel it in!
So, from the food, to art, to family time--Seattle was a big win! I like to describe the vibe there as Hipster with Midwestern values. I think a lot of CLE lovers would totally dig Seattle. So hope my guide and trip recap serves you well if you venture out to the Pacific Northwest. I can't wait for more travel adventures and opening up my little world even more in 2013! Cheers!