Monday, April 22, 2013

Monday Meditation: The Seasons of Adversity and Prosperity

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This quote carries so much weight with all the events that have been going on in the news and in my own personal life this past week. The contrast in this quote sharply draws parallels between the seasons of change within the peaks and valleys of life.
photo by JAMinCLE
Would we appreciate the glory of a blossoming tree without enduring a seemingly endless winter? Would the yellow of the daffodils and the spring green of the grass be as vibrant without the slate gray that has painted our city this winter? Would we know the pleasant feeling of prosperity without having the sour taste of adversity? Would we count our blessings without experiencing loss or grief?

As we emerge with resilience in the face of a harsh winter or tragedy, adversity, exhaustion, etc. let's take a brief moment to acknowledge a new season of heroism, prosperity, and rejuvenation. A simple welcoming song of hope.

Photo by JAMinCLE

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Weekend Recap: Reunions, Brunching, Flea Market, and Rum in CLE!

On Friday, I met up with two of my ol gal pals, Catie and Marie for some good times. I was in for quite the healthy/delicious meal at Catie's house when she made an outrageously good vegan pizza. I'm so lucky to have an awesome friend who also is a dietian and fabulous chef! Triple threat :)
Vegan pizza made with cornmeal,
buffalo tempe, peppers, onions, black olives, sauce
 and deliciousness!
And then I met Marie out for a drink in Ohio City and received too many unsolicited pick-up lines.... Ayayayi! So it was an interesting start to the weekend sans any photos. (Probably the best for everyone's sake). When I'm with Marie...shenanigans always ensue along with lots of laughs :)

Saturday, I met up with more gal pals for brunch and a day full of adventures around CLE! We started off by brunching at Stone Town, which opened up this past fall in the bottom of 668. Good southern style eggs and fried green tomatoes! Yum!

Post-brunch, we headed over to CLE's old Slovenian neighborhood in St. Clair-Superior to check out the new Clevleand Flea.

"So what is The Cleveland Flea? Part urban treasure hunt, part culinary adventure, part maker center. An organized maze of experiences, The Cleveland Flea celebrates the thrill of the hunt and discovery of new to you treasures." source.

JAM packed space with flea market finders

Gina and Kayla showing off their treasures!

From hand-crafted jewelry, presents for your pets, soap, clothes, glassware, vintage finds, and upcycled goods...this place has tons of treasures! It was fun for me to visit an emerging neighborhood that's being revitalized by shining up the good ol stuff, creating new arts and crafts, and showcasing CLE's ethnic history too!

And speaking of making history, Portside Distillery is making some (rum) waves on the East Bank of the Flats. The girls and I continued our adventure by going on a wild goose chase to find the new rum distillery. Although they have no marked signs on the outside of the building, it was a welcoming fun place that kinda made me feel like I needed to do the secret knock at the door to get into the underground bootlegger :)  The area around the distillery will certainly transform once its neighbors in the new Ernst & Young building move in. More booming business!

We found 'em!
The place brews up some hoptastic IPA and some fancy rum too! Personally, I am more of an IPA gal myself, but after learning more about the process of distilling alcohol and getting a fresh taste of it too, I certainly have a new appreciation for rum!

Dan, one of the owners + silver rum + me cheesing
Dan, who is one of the three owners, gave us an incredible tour and explanation of how the process works to distill alcohol. He has a background in physics and chemistry but an affinity for good booze, so he does this as his hobby! How cool! And he was dropping some serious knowledge bombs on us, accompanied with a deep love for CLE, and goofy humor.

Dan explaining the chemical process--
and the copperpot that was made in neighboring Tremont!

Gina + Portside Silver Rum
 The Portside Distillery is slated to open a restaurant and bar on site too, which will be another exciting addition to CLE, and one of a kind venue. To stay updated be sure to like them on Facebook.

On Sunday, we hit one of my favorite brunch places, Touch Supper Club, for a reunion with friends and familia from JCU. Marie now lives in DC and we'll be going down to visit her in 2 weeks to celebrate Steph's bachelorette party. And well Kay, he's the one that everybody loves :)
Marie, me, Kay & Steph getting our brunch on!
The Touch Breakfast Bowl. Never fails me!
 Always great to catch up with friends over some the best brunch :) The rest of my plans for Sunday post-brunch didn't end up panning out how I intended, but it certainly was an action packed weekend of reunions, brunching, flea market discoveries, and wild goose chases for rum that maybe it's best if I sit back and digest the weekend!

Have you been to the CLE Flea? What's your best flea market find? Have you ever gone on a brewery or distillery tour? What's your favorite local CLE drink?
Hope you have a good week, kids! Keep JAMmin!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Big Developments in CLE!

Have you seen/heard the exxxxxciting development projects in CLE?  One massive project in the works and another on its way. Believeland CLEVELAND!!! Read all about the big things happening in our own backyard!  Positive, revitalization, business, redevelopment, and attractions *swoon with pride*
(news & images courtesy of
Dimit Architects, image source:

James Corner Field Operations, image source:

Monday, April 8, 2013

Weekend Recap: Spontaneous Spring Adventures in CLE

Do you ever have one of those perfectly planned weekends in which the plans suddenly fall apart? Ughh..usually I get super bummed (hello, I plan events, what do you expect?) But thankfully, with the changing spring wind, the spontaneous spring adventures blew into CLE when I least expected it...


On Friday, I got the unexpected call to go and check out the newly opened World of Beer in Lakewood. The place boasts 52 beers on tap and 538(ish) bottles of beer (heavenly for any craft beer lover, and yes... I asked the bartender precisely how many bottles of beer they had...)

I met one of my besties, Kay, as an unplanned night unfolded. Kay was my very first friend I made in college and everytime we get to see each other it's always a fun evening of reminiscing, joke-cracking, and catching up :)

J + Kay
After catching up with Kay, I was venturing back home until I (literally) ran into these crazy cats. What a lovely surprise! As the weather begins to turn, the kinetic Cleveland energy intensifies! Random nights out and about culminate into unforgettably fun times.

Why hello der: Brett, Jenna, me, Ryan and Julie
While enjoying the live music playing, I turned around and asked some fellow patrons to take our above pic.... turned out Jenna knew one from college that she hadn't seen in nearly 10 years. What are the chances? Only in CLE!
Jenna givung thumbs up. Andrew the awesome picture-taker. Josh the former college classmate.
We had a long chat about CLE and how it's a great place for young people. You just have to be willing to go out and have an adventure. People who complain about CLE aren't really seeking positive change or new experiences...conclusion? Quit your slackin, and make sh*t happen!! :)

3 cheers to unplanned nights with old friends, new friends, dinner, drinks and live music!!!

And how about this new weather that's (finally) popped!?!?! I woke up to the birds chirping and sunshine on Sunday. So what's a girl to do? Get her spring gardening on! I went out and grabbed some bio-degradable starter pots along with some zinnia & marigold seeds. (throwback to the awesome spring seedling science projects in grade school..ya-yuh!)

After doing some planting and going to town cleaning up the garden beds, I headed over to Market Garden Brewery to meet Evan and keep soaking up the SUN-day fun day and Vitamin D on the patio!!! Ahhh gloriousness!

EV Loves CLE!!!

New season bridges new development in CLE!

After Market Garden we cruised over to Tremont to get our sugar fix during the springy Sunday at Tremont Scoops! It just opened along Professor Ave. and is serving up some flavored favorites with a side of excellent customer service! I'm pretty sure I squealed 1) because I was so excited/proud my gal pals opened up this adorable place! 2) they had my FAAAAAAAVORITE ice cream there and I can never seem to find it anywhere or in stores.

Meet Nikki and Ann
two of the lovely ladies from the team at Tremont Scoops!

Biiiiiiiiig cheese! So happy that I found some Superman ice cream

From trying new watering holes, fun run-ins with friends, happy spring seed plantings, soaking up the sunshine on patios, to discovering that my fave childhood ice cream is being served up nearby....I'd say it was one happy unplanned surprise after another during this spring weekend in CLE! Those are the best :)

How was your weekend? What new surprise did you recently uncover in CLE?

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

7 Easy Steps to Reuse a Candle Jar

I'm a candle fanatic! So what's a gal to do once she gets down to the bottom of the wick? Oh no!

No worries. Don't throw out the pretty glass candle jar! Give it new life and reuse it! Here's a step-by-step that will take you only about 10 minutes! Easy peasy :)

Step 1. Your candle may have burned all the way down with wax splattered along the glass. Not to fear! Cleaning it off and shining it up will be a breeze!

Step 2. Fill your glass jar up with warm water to the lip. Pop it in the microwave for about 90 seconds.

Step 3. Remove the jar from the microwave and carefully pour out the water. The wax will soften and can easily come out in a few big chunks (I used a knife, ha).


Step 4. After removing the remaining wax and rinsing it out again, you will need to buff the inside of the glass to remove the rest of the splattered wax along the sides. My FAVORITE is Goo Gone. Simply dab some on a paper towel and polish the inside!

Goo Gone is also heaven sent to remove those pesky labels that stick to the glass jar! Don't spend time trying to peel off or boiling, just use some Goo Gone!

Step 5. Let the Goo Gone sit for a few minutes if the label is tough. Rub. Wipe. Repeat.

Step 6. Wash off with water...and voila!

Step 7. Reuse your sparkly fresh jar! The possibilities are endless! I picked up a bag of decorative rocks at the Dollar Store. And filled two of my jars.
One jar I'll reuse for patio evenings or place next to some indoor plants to compliment the earthy themed look.
The other I reused as a spring vase. I poured in the other half of the bag of my decorative dollar rocks, fake flowers I picked up from the Dollar Store, and tied cute string I saved from some leftover packaging.
Simple. Easy. Green.
Fast Fun Crafts!

Monday, April 1, 2013

Monday Meditation: Motion vs. Action


Like a hamster spinning on a wheel, some people go round and round but don't seem to get anywhere. It sounds like a great plan but it never seems to go anywhere. Sound familiar? I've certainly fallen into this trap before! Since my birthday last June, I really wanted needed to lose weight. After getting into the routine of an 8-5 job behind the desk, falling out of the routine of being active, and facing a slowing metabolism, I packed on 20 lbs. after graduating college. Yeeps! I didn't feel good about myself or my body. I was going through the MOTIONS rather than taking ACTION. I'd say I was going to get back in shape, plan for next time I'd have the energy, or I'd complain about how my clothes were feeling snug, but I wasn't really doing anything about it. Eating healthy is often a challenge as a young adult, just as it is to make time to work out. It takes planning AND acting on it. Replacing motion with a deliverable action.

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Well, I am happy to say I got MOVING! I've lost 12 lbs. in the past 9 months... also thanks in part to living with people who have healthy eating habits (vegan) and a great workplace that supports wellness (just installed a gym in our office building). I finally put my "plan" into ACTON! It feels awesome!
 My action goal is to lose another 5 lbs. before summer.  
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Where do you find yourself "planning" in life but aren't taking actions towards your goal? What's holding you back from turning that perpetual spin cycle into momentum that will propel you into action? How can you carry the weight of your actions, not just your words? What's your action goal?