bring on the holiday vacation

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Check out these Italian wines for your holiday shopping.

The plum is officially on vacation, you guys.

For the first time since summer of '08 (when I went to Aruba) I have an entire week off of work in a row and I couldn't be more excited.

It's not that I haven't taken my fair share of vacation over the last couple of years it's that I've simply been the queen of the long weekend - well not anymore, as I don't have to head back to the office until January 3rd!

Now what to do, what to do, what to do with my days off...

Obviously there's Christmas and New Years but the rest of the time I plan on drinking bubbles, seeing at least 9 movies, spending time with my friends and family and sleeping.

It's going to be awesome, so on that note I'm stepping away from the computer and getting ready for my Cleveland staycation - bring it.

I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas/Happy Hanukkah!

MOB's engaged + STL with CK

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Even after a holiday season filled weekend I'm still in denial that Christmas is on Sunday - where did the time go?

If time is my issue then this past weekend was the perfect holiday primer as I traveled to St. Louis for a weekend with CK and his wonderful family...

... but more on that later because something HUGE, MASSIVE, AMAZING, WONDERFUL happen Friday afternoon before I boarded a plane to STL.


Foxxy, MOB, me and Beaver are all super excited!!! I promise Pete is too, but maybe not so much in this picture. It may or may not have been all my screaming with joy that scared him :)

MOB is one of, if not "my best friend" (right Beaver?) and to say that I was excited after patiently waiting for Pete to pop the question would be the understatement of the year. I'm so genuinely happy for my friend I'm not sure I can put it in words.

So just like I did when I walked into the Public House before heading to the airport on Friday for a celebratory shot + cocktails I'll just scream, cry and jump up and down for 5 minutes.

As a slightly buzzed up passenger post PH I made my way to CLE to board my flight to STL for, as I previously mentioned, for a fun filled holiday celebration with CK and his family. We ate + drank + caroled + visited + danced + open presents and generally had a good time. And I can't thank CK's family enough for their hospitality and general awesomeness.

CK's sister + brother-in-law Maggie and Chuck and CK's other sister Caroline and her boyfriend Parker caroling the night away.

CK demonstrating one of his iPhone capable Christmas presents and Parker, CK and Jessica taking a break from a rousing game of front yard soccer with a child sized glitter soccer ball - it was magical.

At the end of the weekend I left STL feeling happy and loved which is all that you can ask for after spending a weekend with your boyfriend's* family, right?

Say it with me now, "Awwwwwwwwwwww".

Happy Tuesday, kids!

*Disclosure: I'm 100% positive this is the first time in 1.5+ years of dating that I officially referred to CK as my boyfriend on this blog.

Bash on the Bridge

Friday, December 16, 2011

Congratulations go out to KaKaty for winning the $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard courtesy of KeyBank rewards week - there's still time to take advantage of rewards today and through the weekend so be sure to check out for updates.

Anyone who reads this blog knows my love of all things ABC and XYZ the Taverns, and the Bash on the Bridge at Viaduct Lounge is exactly why.

It's pretty self explanatory, right?

So head on over to ABC, XYZ, Viaduct Lounge or any Erie Island Coffee locations to pick up your invitation.

Hope to see you next Wednesday for some holiday cheer!

Kids don't want books for Christmas

Thursday, December 15, 2011

So last night I finally got around to watching the Jimmy Kimmel video that has been making the rounds on Twitter and Facebook the last couple of days and holy crap is it hilarious.

The premise is Jimmy Kimmel asked viewers to intentionally give their children terrible Christmas presents and video tape their reactions and it's pure comedy gold I tell ya.

If you haven't watched it yet, do yourself a favor and do so...

Fabulous, right?

Anyways, after watching this for the first time I couldn't help but recall Christmas of 1990, when I was a wee 10-year-old. That year I asked my family for many normal 10-year-old girl presents one of which was the very general category of, "books".

Adults LOVE to give books, but this wasn't a piece of information I was privy too in 1990.

I'm blessed with a big family, with lots of wonderful people giving me gifts, and after the first few books being received from my Dad's side of the family on Christmas Eve I was OK. Upon the second stop on Christmas Eve to my Mom's side of the family when the books continued to pile up I was getting annoyed, but not too much, because the next day was Christmas and "Santa" wouldn't let me down.

Christmas morning I got a lot more books (shocking) and I was sad, but grateful, and not a breaking point... yet.

That is until got to my Tiajo's house for Christmas dinner and present exchange and all my hopes and dreams of fun toys were flushed down the toilet as I unwrapped, you guessed it, MORE BOOKS.

I'm pretty sure one of them was a Children's Bible and around that point I completely lost it.

I had a full out 3-year-old-esque temper tantrum crying and screaming (like the chubby little boy around the 3:40 mark of the video) because all she got for Christmas was "stupid books".

I essentially was gifted enough reading material that not only could I have stocked my own library but I potentially could still be reading through all of them 20+ years later.

My family still laughs about this. Rightly so.

So what was your worst/awful/terrible/awkward holiday present you've ever received?

An almost wordless wednesday weekend recap

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Have you entered to win a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard yet? Comment on this post to do so!

Happy 30th Birthday Salami Rose!! - at Buckeye Beer Engine with Michael

Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland 2011 - at 78th St Studios

The awesomeness that is a tree and wolf themed salt and pepper shaker holder - at Brobel's Boner Jamz

Jon and Lulu dominating the ugly Christmas sweaters - at Brobel's Boner Jamz

Lots more happened this weekend including Lava Lounge, XYZ the Tavern, shopping on the eastside like a crazy person and (gasp!) eating at a chain restaurant but I'll just let you guys imagine that.

Happy Wednesday, kids.

Key Rewards Week Day One: FREE STARBUCKS, and a giveaway

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Monday in Cleveland, it's the busy holiday season, end of 2011 and everyone needs/deserves a free Starbucks coffee.

Yes, you read that right - FREE STARBUCKS, FOR EVERYONE.

If you're in Cleveland today, Monday December 12th, head to any (or all) of the following Starbucks to receive free coffee/lattes/espresso/frappucino, etc.

W 6th St - 1374 W 6th St, Cleveland, OH
Hanna Building - 1400 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH
Cleveland Clinic - 9500 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH
Cedar & Fairmount - 12405 Cedar Rd, Cleveland, OH
Chagrin & Green - 22841 Chagrin Blvd, Beachwood, OH
Rocky River - 19555 Detroit Rd, Rocky River, OH
Westgate Mall - 20646 Center Ridge Rd, Fairview, OH

So exactly why are you able to get free Starbucks today?

It's courtesy of Cleveland's own KeyBank who today is kicking off Key Rewards Week, a.k.a. a week chock full of daily giveaways - today being Starbucks for all!

You can check daily to see what KeyBank is offering up and all I can say is I promise you it's going to be a good week.

Key even gave my little blog a fun holiday present to share... a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard Gift Card - so who wants it?

Anyone can enter to win a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard Gift Card by doing one or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me what you want for Christmas/Hanukkah/etc

2. Tweet the following, leaving me a comment on this post telling me you did so - "It's #KeyRewardsWeek and I want to win a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard from @clevelandsaplum"
3. Facebook share this giveaway leaving me a comment on this post telling me you did so

Don't forget to leave me your email/twitter handle so I can get a hold of you if I don't already know how to. You have until 11:59pm this Thursday, December 15th to enter and I'll announce the randomly chosen winner in a post Friday, December 16th.

Good luck to all who enter and don't forget to head out to the aforementioned Cleveland area Starbucks today and get your coffee on courtesy of #KeyRewardsWeek.

Happy Monday, kids!

{Disclosure: I was provided with a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard of my own in return for this post but as a very happy KeyBank customer since I was 18 years old my opinions are my own plus, hello, free Starbucks offers need to be shared with the masses...}

bazaar bizarre cleveland 2011

Friday, December 9, 2011

Lot's of fun holiday stuff going on this upcoming weekend, including one spectacular craft and gift show right in my neighborhood!

The 8th annual Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland is Northeast Ohio's favorite and largest indie craft/gift fair with over 100 local vendors selling their wares and it's happening THIS WEEKEND.

Bazaar Bizarre Cleveland
78th Street Studios - map here
Saturday December 10th from 10am to 9pm
Sunday December 11th from 10am to 6pm

And while you're there be sure to check out my lady friends from Chartreuse's new line of brightly hued greeting cards!

I hope you get a chance to stop by this weekend and shop local.

Happy Friday, kids.

cleveland wins again!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The fabulous Bridget Callahan brought the following video to my attention on Facebook yesterday.

The story goes that Yahoo Music created a list called, The Most Epically Awful Videos of 2011: Even Worse Than Rebecca Black - well this list apparently has a Cleveland connection in that the #1 epically awful music video goes to Cleveland based metal band Alternate Reality.

This video, titled "The King that Never Was" was filmed at Squire's Castle and would actually be the best video on the planet if it was created as a spoof but alas, these musicians really do live in an alternate reality.

It has the makings of acting and costumes like you'd find in a soft porn late night on Cinemax, Dungeons & Dragons super fans, every cliche metal stereotype and then it's all tied together with horrendous sounding "music".

All that being said, it's awesome and around the 2 min mark, when they actually start the music I laughed out loud and snorted.


So watch it, you must.

cleveland bloggers love vitamix

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Last week I had the pleasure of being invited to a little blogger get together on behalf of
Vitamix, the Cleveland based high performance blender company, at their new factory outlet store in North Olmsted.

Personally I don't own a blender (yet), but as an avid home "chef", I would now consider doing very inappropriate things to get a Vitamix of my own after watching the chef/recipe demos.
I seriously don't think there's anything a Vitamix can't do (mixing and blending wise) in the kitchen.

Chef Rocco Whalen of Tremont's Fahrenheit and Vitamix Chef/Author Bev Shaffer doing their blender demo thang.

Chef Rocco dominated a couple Asian themed dressings/vinaigrettes to pair with greens and seared tuna and Chef Bev blew my mind with a berry kiss sorbet and chocolate fondue made right in the Vitamix - no heat required and it was ridiculously good.

In fact, I'm still thinking about that chocolate fondue.

If only I had a Vitamix of my own....

I did have a chance to win my very own reconditioned 5200 machine at the demo, but alas, luck strikes Alana again (brat) and she won the grand prize. It's ok though, all the other jealous Cleveland bloggers still love her.

Allison, Heather, me, Alana and Shannon with our Vitamix goodies and then Alana gloating with her prize - no, I'm not bitter at all, why would you ask? :)

If you're looking to purchase a Vitamix of your own or for a gift be sure to stop by the factory outlet store this holiday season to order new machines, purchase reconditioned ones and see lots of product demonstrations.

The store is open 7 days a week and is located at 4720 Great Northern Blvd, North Olmsted, OH 44070, right around the corner from hhgregg.

If you're not local be sure to check out the
Vitamix website for product and ordering information.

The get together was educational, super fun, very tasty and I can't thank Vitamix enough for inviting me.

{I was invited to this event by Vitamix and was given lots of tasty treats and a fabulous goodie-bag. The opinions stated in this post are mine all mine}

It's a holiday celebraish

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I know I feel like I say it all the time, but I had a great weekend, you guys!

Especially once my leaky windows/hardie board siding was fixed....

The black mess? It's moisture rotting and where all the water was getting stuck and going into my house.... sexy right? Thankfully after two days of work everything is fixed up and pretty all over again. I have to wait for the spring to fix the back windows but I consider this a small victory.

Friday was spent triple dating it up in the newly opened Market Garden Brewery basement with me/CK, Moe/Mark and Janet/Adam, plus a special guest appearance by MOB/Pete. We ate, drank bubbles and enjoyed the new room which was totally nice, open spaced, beautiful walls with a cozy fireplace - I approve.

I told you the walls were cool. Additionally, you'll see the top picture where I was catching Mark and Moe deep in conversation and the bottom picture when they realized that I was photographing them - they are great actors.

After MGB a few of us walked over to ABC the Tavern to meet up with lots more friends enjoy some cocktails and catch up with frowns and vince the polack. ABC is the bomb, I've said it before and I'll say it again.

Saturday morning CK and I headed over to the other side of the alphabet,
XYZ the Tavern, for breakfast. We got to catch up with owners Randy and Linda and grub on delicious veggie omelets and wraps. If you haven't made it out to Saturday and Sunday breakfast/brunch at XYZ you're missing out - go!

Saturday afternoon was spent making a version of jalapeno poppers (they are delish) with cream cheese, bacon and a crescent roll to take over to the 5th Annual Seidenwand Holiday Celebraish in Lakewood.

The Seidenwand's, Cubby and Martha respectively, sure know how to throw a party - food, drinks, hospitality, fun and lest not forget the highlight of it all.... the white elephant gift exchange. Lots of fun was had around the gift exchange this year and I may or may not have snorted laughing more times than I could keep track of.

Let's just get to the pictures, shall we?

Some of my favorite ladies: Martha, Babs, Court, the Klutz and Muffin + a couple of crowd shots pre-gift exchange.

Biondi and Tony really liked playing Santa for the exchange making people sit on their laps for present time - totally normal... just ask Ahmed, Amy and AJP.

This is the type of excitement one gets when opening an at home Blizzard maker from DQ - I'm not sure who was more excited, Hartzell or Biondi.

Muffin couldn't have picked a more perfect gift, a cat in a denim pocket t-shirt, brilliant... Babs, that mustache looks good on you... Martha, does that calculator need batteries?... Tara knows that everyone loves an *NSYNC Barbie.

KJ and timmybennett are quite the pimp and ho... AJP really REALLY cherishes her photo of Fitchko... Hatchel, um, um... Cubby loves Playboy, omg is that the Kardashian issue?

After the party MOB and I made it to the Public House in West Park for a drink and to hangout with friends because there isn't much better then a PH last call.

Sunday was a funday with CK and his little one at Crocker Park with lunch at Aladdin's, a "train-ride", a viewing of Arthur Christmas (so cute) and Menchie's. Couldn't get more wholesome than that.

The evening was pretty wholesome as well in that I circled back to 1988 and playing Super Mario Bros 3 for days on end - thanks to my trusty wii I was able to download it and pretend I was in the 4th/5th grade all over again.

Yup, I still know where the secret worlds are.

And thus concludes a another weekend in the CLE.

Happy Tuesday, kids!

Windows schmindos

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's happening, you guys.

Someone has agreed to fix my poorly installed windows that have been leaking since spring.

No more sitting at my office when it's raining stressing about how I know water is pouring into my kitchen, no more 9x13 pyrex pans sitting on the window sills waiting to catch water, no more cracks.


It took 4 separate contractors to come out and blow me off, but finally, FINALLY I have a start date.

That being said, I probably shouldn't hold my breathe, it's not Friday.... yet.

You all should probably cross your fingers for me that the project moves seamlessly and we can somehow figure out how to get to my second level back windows without having to tear down a fence.

You all should probs cross your toes while you're at it too.

Ah, the miracle of home ownership....

I need a drink.

I'm not made for lawn care

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Growing up my family didn't even own a lawn mower, let alone know how to use one, as we always had landscapers take care of our yard.

My mom would do all flower planting, but lawn cutting, raking, edging, mulching, etc was taken care of by a very talented team of sun kissed men.

That being said when I moved into my house just over a year ago I didn't have much of a knowledge base of what I needed to do to take care of my little city backyard.

Like, I had to cut grass? On my own?

Hiring someone wasn't an option as my backyard is totally enclosed and no one can get to it without going through my house, so I purchased a push lawnmower, a rake, and an edger/trimmer thingy.

I am woman here me roar.

9 times out of 10 I live by the above statement, if a man can do it I can do it - but after a summer of failing miserably at taking care of my lawn and hating every minute of attempting to cut it I'm admitting that lawn care is NOT my thing.

My backyard after not cutting the grass for about six weeks this fall... I told you I didn't like to cut the grass. It's not much, but it's a pain, I promise you.

So after successfully ruining all my grass due to not cutting it for so long my Mom gave me a great idea while we were cleaning up my yard yesterday in preparation for this upcoming winter - STONE PAVERS.

Who needs grass when you can just have nice pretty stone everywhere? Spring project anyone?

That being said I need to not get ahead of myself here, I need to be thankful that I finally did a whole bunch of things yesterday that no one tells you about when you buy a house, aka cleaning garages, cutting down bushes, organizing closets, covering patio furniture, putting shit away, digging up plants, etc.

I'm happy I can call my house officially winterized! Now if only someone would agree to fix my poorly installed windows....

Happy Tuesday, kids!

this is how you do thanksgiving weekend

Monday, November 28, 2011

Things I did over Thanksgiving weekend:

1. Saw Paul Simon at EJ Thomas Hall in Akron with my Mom, Sissy, Jason, CK, MOB, Muffin and Jesse. Paul and his band were really REALLY good - awesome set list and venue but my only complaint was the crowd was pretty stiff... I just wanted to dance, you guys.

2. Participated in my first ever Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving morning (against my own will) at my old high school Canton Central Catholic. My whole family ran/walked it and literally dragging my mother across the finish line may or may not have been the highlight of my day.

3. Ate my face off at my cousin Cathi and Greg's house on Thanksgiving day. The Medifast police would NOT have been happy with my calorie consumption to say the least.

Jason, sissy, yours truly and CK all dressed up for turkey day!

The adorable nameplates my cousin Jenna handmade, the dining room table, my very full plate and the spread that keeps going.

4. Ate my face off at my cousin Cathi and Greg's house on Black Friday, the Medifast police are still looking for my willpower, but the ATV riding made everything better.

Me all cocky and ready for my ride but then me holding on to CK for dear life...

5. Dinner and movie + movie + movie night equaled catching Ryan Gosling in Drive with CK, sissy, Jason, my Mom and C-Rossi, a dinner at Sylvester's North End Grille in Canton and then a viewing of the Last Waltz AND Home Alone 2 (I was so sleeping by then) in Tia Jo's theater room.

6. Breakfast at John's Bar with my Yiayia, Nouna, Mom, sissy and Jason, a viewing of The Muppets and a little shopping.

Sissy and Jason all ready for the Muppet Show Tonight!

7. Dinner and bubbles with lots of old friends at 91 Wood Fired Oven on Saturday night in North Canton, continued debauchery at Biscuit and Oakes's, The Basement and my Mom's house for my sissy's 10 year high school reunion after party where this was just hanging out in the kitchen.

Jessie, me and Biscuit being photo bombed by Oakes + douche bag Kevin being a douche bag with a skull on his shirt, Keter-O, Oakes, Worm and Glen.

8. Took in a showing of The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part One with MOB to round out my third movie in three days. Have I mentioned how much I love going to the movies? Because I do.

And I think that's it.... now why do I feel like I'm forgetting something.

Meh, who cares, I have a vacation day on Monday as well so the looooooooooong holiday weekend continues.

Have a good one, kids.

mmmmm, pasta with the prince winner announced

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

While I'm still dealing with my food coma almost 24 hours later I'm working through it to announce the winner of the pair of tickets to the Brick & Mortar Pop-Up Dinner at Noodlecat featuring the Prince of Pasta Chef Jeff Michaud this upcoming Monday.

And the winner is....

Why CLE?

Her comment, #15 out of #81, was chosen via

So why I'll be sitting at home eating bland diet meals instead of attending the event I'll be dreaming of pasta - I can promise you that.

Enjoy the rest of the holiday weekend, you guys!

The one where I go to lots of bars and restaurants - totally out of the ordinary, right?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

I'm tired you guys, and I'm really really really really looking forward to this short work week and thanksgiving festivities!!

But while I'm patiently waiting for 12:30pm Wednesday (when my holiday vacation starts) let's chat about last weekend shall we?

Friday CK and I meet Moe and Mark for dinner in Tremont. We had all planned on going to Southside but the wait was too long... we headed to Lava Lounge next, but no tables were available... finally we landed at Bac and while no table was available but there were 4 spots at the bar.

We sat down to get comfy at Bac and much like my last visit the service was seriously lacking. I'm just NOT a fan of this place. It took the bartender waaaaaaaaaay to long to greet us and when he finally did he just gave us menus and walked away. He came back 5 minutes later and threw coasters at us... still no water, still no drink order - it was DRIVING ME NUTS. Yet another 5 minutes later we got to place our drink order - 20 minutes waiting for a drink at 12 seat bar with only two other people sitting at it is completely unacceptable.

Ok, I'll stop now.

You know I don't rant about restaurant experiences here, I try to keep it positive, but man I've just had it with Bac. No thanks.

Honestly the whole experience kinda ruined my mood and because Moe had to go back to the station and report the news we all called it a night and CK and I just went home. Sleep on a Friday night is oh so good.

Saturday lots of errands/laundry was done, as was car shopping at Montrose Volvo but the real excitement came around dinner time when CK, Seanski, Nugget and I ventured approximately one block away from our homes for dinner at Ferris Steakhouse.

Ferris Steakhouse is the oldest family owned restaurant in the city, over 70 years in business, and we loved it. We had bubbles, wine, soup, salads, steak and scampi's - it was a great kitschy experience - pianist playing Disney tunes included.

Ferris Steakhouse in pictures: My newest reasonable priced bubbles love, Freixenet Cava. My surf and turf. Our bill - I told you this place was old school, handwritten tickets and all, awesome.

After dinner we all headed to Market Garden Brewery in the OHC for Cara's birthday celebration. After a couple hours the group couldn't handle the ridiculously crowed establishment so we headed to Tina's for some open air....

We didn't find much open air at Tina's either, it was just as packed. But at least at Tina's there's ridiculous karaoke. Win.

Sunday brought brunch at XYZ the Tavern (I didn't eat, but everything looked AMAZING) and the Browns game with Lzone, Seanski and Allison - and you all know that with this crew ridiculousness was a given.

Seanski, Lzone, me and Allison being awesome while watching the Browns win! The best part about this pic though is the photo bomb taking place in the background, this little girl would SO be friends with us if we was older.

Me and Allison rocking our hoods because it got cooooooooold and Seanski and Lzone being uber odd with their peace signs and duck faces.

For me the Browns game was weird for two reasons: 1. we won and 2. I didn't drink or eat. No beer, nachos or hot dogs at a Browns game just isn't right, you guys.

After the game it was home with CK to have dinner and movie night, aka a great way to end a wonderful weekend with friends in the CLE.

Now, bring on the holidays... AND PAUL SIMON WEDNESDAY!!

mmmmm, pasta with the prince

Thursday, November 17, 2011

I'm 100% positive your Thanksgiving food coma will be gone by the following Monday.

This is a good thing because I have two tickets to a Brick & Mortar Pop-up featuring James Beard Award winner Chef Jeff Michaud to give away here on the plum.

Chef Michaud, aka The Prince of Pasta, will be taking over Chef Jonathan Sawyer's Noodlecat on Monday November 28th at 6pm to present a 6 course pasta and wine pairing dinner.

The menu has been set and as I'm typing it my mouth is watering...

Stuzzichini //semolina gnocchi stuffed with taleggio cheese. chickpea and bottarga zupetta with pastine. rigatoni baccala mantecato and parsley.
First // squash tortelli with amaretti and sage
Second // fettucine with chicken liver ragu
Third // squid ink risotto with calabrese style octopus
Fourth // pheasant and porcini lasagna
Fifth // gratinned quince crespelle, zabaione and sbrisoluna

So who wants to go?

To enter:
: Leave a comment on this post telling your favorite kind of pasta.
: Tweet the following about the contest: "I want to win tickets to @bricknmortar216 at @noodle_cat featuring @JeffreyMichaud from @clevelandsaplum", leaving a comment telling me you did so.
: Share a link about the contest on Facebook ( - leaving a comment telling me you did so

You have until 11:59pm on Thursday, 11/24 to enter and I'll be letting the winner know they won on Friday 11/25.

Good luck to all who enter and happy Friday!

520 + Bubbles + Doughty

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Congrats to Cortney, aka @ActivDefiance, who won a pair of tickets to the Compassion From Fashion event benefiting the Gathering Place at Beachwood Place this Saturday. Sad you didn't win? Don't worry, you can still purchase tickets online or at the door.

This past weekend my company cleaning was in full effect Friday night as I scrubbed, vacuumed, mopped and dusted my way into a clean house in preparation for three of my University of Dayton roommates to visit.

My roomies traveled from Dayton, Detroit (Grosse Pointe), and Pittsburgh to visit me and see my home for the first time in Cleveland. Additionally CK's Mom was in town from St. Louis for a visit making this weekend a great opportunity for everyone to head over to my house for some cocktails and appetizers.

So after lunch at Latitude 41N and boutique shopping around the CLE at Room Service, Salty Not Sweet and Banyan Tree with the girls it was time to get ready for some bubbles at my house.

Teen, Seifs, D-Ray and I had a great visit with CK, his Mom and little one before heading to Chinato for dinner on East 4th. A bottle of Veuve Clicquot was ordered, a delicious dinner and dessert was consumed. Nothing beats visiting with my girls, nothing.

Teen and Seifs + Me and D-Ray. These ladies get me.

Sunday we all headed to brunch at Luxe with MOB and Beaver joining as well. Brunch was delicious as always and when the morning came to a close and three of my favorite ladies in the world headed back to their homes I can't help but happily anticipate seeing everyone again in June for our ten year college reunion.

The rest of my Sunday was spent watching the Browns lose with CK, then heading to Momocho for a bottle of malbec, and yummy lamb chops and finally the Beachland Ballroom for the Moon Hooch and Mike Doughty concert.

Andy, CK and Driggs - my very handsome dates for the Mike Doughty concert.

Good friends, good food, good music, good weekend.

It doesn't get much better then this.

Happy Tuesday, kids.

it's the freakin' weekend, baby i'm about to have me some fun

Friday, November 11, 2011

Have you entered to win a pair of tickets to the Compassion From Fashion event at Beachwood Place yet? Comment on this post to do so!

{Insert witty comment about 11/11/11 here}

It's Friday, I have a 1/2 day at work, I'm spending my morning molding the minds of current college Public Relations students about managing their online persona and my college roommates are coming in town this weekend.

{Insert witty comment about how I'm going to pretend I'm still in college this weekend after I give college students tips on how to manage their life in "the real world"}

Have I mentioned I have my 10 year college reunion coming up this summer? Does this mean I have experience now?

{Insert witty comment about how old and distinguished I am}

So I'm just going to give up now. It's the freakin' weekend, baby I'm about to have me some fun.

How's THAT for an online persona?

Happy Friday, you guys.

What new TV shows I'm watching

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Visit Wine Chateau for the best in fine wine.

We're what 6ish weeks into the new fall TV schedule?

Which is right about the time that I start deleting all the new shows from my DVR that I started recording, realized they suck and move on.

But this year no new shows that I started recording are disappointing me - I have yet to figure out if this is a good or bad thing though.

My "New Show" List:
1. Person of Interest
2. Once Upon A Time
3. New Girl
4. Grimm
5. Pan Am
6. Up All Night (This is the only iffy one, it's on notice but not getting the ax just yet)

As I go through my list of new shows I'm officially hooked to almost of them and when you consider these are in addition to my already very full television dance card, I'm thinking I may need a new hobby.

So are you watching any of these shows? What do you think? What new shows have made your DVR cut?

Compassion From Fashion + my definition of a "celebrity fashion model"

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Awhile back I foolishly agreed to be a "celebrity fashion model" for a very awesome and worthwhile event called Compassion From Fashion.

Me, a fashion model? And celebrity fashion model at that? P-sha.

I blame my dear friend Maureen Kyle who is a legitimate Cleveland celebrity/WKYC television personality for making me believe I could actually walk the catwalk at Compassion From Fashion with her and the other celebrity models including TWO Cosmopolitan Magazine hottest bachelors on Saturday, November 19th.

Additionally, if we look purely on "celebrity" model status in Cleveland, Maureen has been on the cover of the Cleveland Magazine City List issue in 2010 which equals true celebrity status. I've just had my name on the cover of Cleveland Magazine City List issue this past year which equals a cute-ish blogger (aka face for the internet) version of celebrity status.

Maureen Kyle - 1
Alexa Marinos - 0

But I digress.
I recently came to my senses and decided against acting out my best Carrie Bradshaw impersonation on the catwalk and decided to just attend the event as a guest and talk about it here on the plum. Same thing, right?

The details:

What: The 3rd annual Compassion From Fashion event to benefit The Gathering Place, a community based cancer support center
Saturday, November 19th at 4pm for shopping, 6pm for food + cash bar and 7pm for the fashion show
Beachwood Place
Why: See celebrity models and cancer survivors alike showcasing the mall's hottest fashions, complimentary food from Maggiano's Little Italy, $10 Beachwood Place gift certificate, $10 McCormick and Schmick's dining certificate and exclusive retailer discounts valid throughout the event - click here to view all shopping discounts! How: Purchase your $20 ticket online here, your $25 ticket at the door the night of the event or win a pair of tickets here on the plum! (all proceeds from the tickets go straight to The Gathering Place)

You can enter to win a pair of tickets to the Compassion From Fashion by simply
commenting on this post telling me what item you need to add to your wardrobe ASAP.

You can gain
an extra entry by tweeting the following, "I want a pair of tickets to Compassion From Fashion at @beachwoodplace from @clevelandsaplum"

You have until 11:59pm on Monday 11/14 to enter as I'll be announcing the winner a week from today on 11/15.
Good Luck!

SEMA, goats and aretha - oh my!

Monday, November 7, 2011

How does one wrap up 5 days in Vegas at the 2011 SEMA Show on behalf of work? I'm not sure, so I'm going to skip it and just post a handful of pictures of some of my favorite cars and exhibit pieces at this years convention.

I'd drive any of these, you guys.

I love how you can choose the color of your car like you can choose your nail polish color, as well as bedazzle your engine.

Coming back to Cleveland after my time in Vegas on Friday I came home with $60 more than I went to Vegas with and a massive cold which I'm still fighting on Sunday night as I'm typing this. I like money, I don't like being sick though.

I needed to work past the sickness though because two of my CLE favorites JoeG and Justin were celebrating their 29th birthday's at AMP 150 with 18 of their closest friends.

The dinner party, creatively titled - The Billy Goat Ball(s): Two Boys... One Goat! - equaled one delicious goat being roasted for the group. I've never had goat before but would compare it to dark turkey meat, if that makes any sense at all. We had delicious sauces and sides paired with the meat and we all left full and happy.

The whole gang (minus me), the birthday boys Justin and JoeG and THE GOAT!

After dinner a group of us headed to the famous Velvet Tango Room for cocktails and jazz where we got to visit with Paulius and even head into the VIP room for a nightcap.

I'll never complain about being the only girl at a table - NEVER. There's Seanski, CK, Me, Ryan, JoeG and Adam and I blatantly stole this pic from VTR's facebook page.

Saturday brought continued sickness and lunch at Buckeye Beer Engine in Lakewood where I drank hot tea instead of beer to rally myself because CK and I had the American Music Masters Tribute to Aretha Franklin Tribute concert at PlayhouseSquare's State Theater. In preparation for the concert Hot Toddy's were drunk at Market Garden Brewery in Ohio City with CK, Jody, Becky and Tim.

The concert was fabulous as the Rock Hall always puts on an amazing show no matter what the topic. Additionally, the music of Aretha Franklin was moving, toe-tapping, and even brought a little bit of Jesus to the audience. Highlights for me included the Chaka Khan singing Natural Woman, just being in the same room as Rita from Sister Act 2 (aka Lauryn Hill) and when Dr. Franklin herself took the stage to perform.

Like, you guys, I saw Aretha Franklin perform live! I'll always remember that.
Sunday was a little bit of this and a bit of that but mostly involved some much needed rest... and cooking.

I made a big pot of white chicken chili with all the fixings and a warm apple caramel crisp with ice cream for dessert - as you can see they both came out splendidly.

And thus the weekend concludes and the work week begins, have a great one, kids!

And the winner of the Gap Jeans is...

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You still have time to enter to win a pair of tickets to the 16th Annual American Music Masters Tribute Concert honoring Aretha Franklin this Saturday - comment on this post to enter!

So I'm on day 4 in the Vegas and I'm up $200, and if you know me at all you know what a big deal this is.

That being said I still have one more night here. Here's to hoping I still come out ahead!

But now for the moment all you Gap Jeans lovers have been waiting for - the winner (out of 172 entries chosen via of the FREE pair of Gap Jeans is........

Commenter #106 @sarahcleimbach - Congrats Sarah!!

Thanks to all who entered and even if you didn't win all you ladies that wanted to try out the great Gap Jeans I talked about you still definitely should.

Happy Wednesaday, kids.

The 16th Annual American Music Masters Series honoring Aretha Franklin

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

(ooo!) What you want. (ooo!) Baby I got it.

And if want you want it a pair of tickets to the 16th Annual American Music Master Series Event honoring the one and only Aretha Franklin, baby, the plum has got it.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and Case Western University, through the American Music Masters series titled, Lady Soul: The Life and Music of Aretha Franklin, will have a week long celebration of events to honor the first woman ever inducted into the Rock Hall.

Additional information on the full week of events, which started yesterday, can be found here, but I'm most looking forward to Jump To It: DJs play tribute to Aretha! at the House of Blues Friday, 11/4 and the Tribute Concert Saturday 11/5 at PlayhouseSquare's State Theater.

The tribute concert will feature performances by Dennis Edwards of the Temptations, Ronald Isley of the Isley Brothers, Spooner Oldham, Chaka Khan, Ms. Lauryn Hill (!!!!), Carla Cook, Idol's Melinda Doolittle, Mike Farris, the great Cissy Houston and more.

That "more" also includes Ms. Aretha Franklin herself - right here in Cleveland.

And I (and the Rock Hall) want you to give you a pair of tickets to the Tribute Concert.

To enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me why you want to attend the 16th Annual American Music Masters THIS SATURDAY.
2. Tweet the following and leave a comment on this post telling me you did so, "I want to win tickets to see Aretha Franklin at the @rock_hall this Saturday from @clevelandsaplum"

I'll announce the winner this Friday but don't forget to leave your contact information if I don't already know how to get a hold of you.

Good luck!

Update: Congrats to @maliningrl (who was chosen via for winning the tickets

Hip hip hooray for the Holler/Doyle wedding!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Have you entered to win a pair of Gap Jeans yet? Comment on this post for your chance to win - I'll be announcing a winner on Wednesday so enter while you can! ___________________________________________________________________

This post is coming to you live from Las Vegas where after literally hours of trying to get the internet set up in my room I finally have a connection and can share the fabulousness that was my weekend with the interwebs.

Last weekend I had the honor of participating in the wedding celebrations of Holler and Doyle and man was it fabulous.

With Holler being one of my good girlfriends from college the lot of us Cleveland UD girls were lucky enough to entertain our friends visiting from out of town for the Friday night pre-wedding party.

A big group of us headed to Deagan's in Lakewood where we could make a reservation in the side room right in front of the big screen and we could take in game 7 of the World Series. Our friends visiting on Friday all had a tie to STL in either still living there or grew up there so having a prime spot was very important.

As usual Deagan's was spot on with food and service and was kind enough to let us be rowdy and take over the room by closing time.

Friends at Deagan's: Tigger, Mistiburr and Foxxy - Tigger, Foxxy and Cusa - Ladies, all the UD ladies together - Dave, Mistiburr and Tigger celebrating the Cards win, they're from the Lou and they're proud, you guys.

I told you Deagan's let us get R-O-W-D-I-E! Beaver, Misitburr, MOB, Tigger and Foxxy give three cheers for the Cardinals.

Saturday brought the wedding extravaganza. The ceremony was held at St. Francis of Assisi in Gates Mills on the eastside and the reception was held at the Club at Hillbrook in Chagrin Falls. Having never been to Hillbrook I kinda sort fell in love with it. The stone, the wood, the outdoor area, the food - everything. It was beautiful.

Another highlight for me were the speeches, Mr. Holler, the best man and maid of honor Kristen did such a good job that my table was switching between tears and laughs - aka the sign of a successful speech.

Announcing Mr and Mrs Christopher Doyle! Pardon the iPhone photos (I REALLY need to get a new battery for my camera) and just look at the hottness of the former Miss Holler. Doyle, you don't look too bad either.

All the UD girls in attendance (minus me) with the bride and groom - the adorable etched initial centerpieces - the church program that kicked it all off.

Some dancing/hangout shots - MOB and Beaver being, well, MOB and Beaver - Dave, Tigger, Nik and Poo Poo at the beginnings of the Tebow - The United Nations - Poo Poo being scary with a mask that may or may not have given me nightmares.

After the ceremony myself, MOB, Beaver, Poo Poo, Muffin/Jesse, The United Nations, and the Karlsson's headed to the Inn of Chagrin, our home for the evening. I don't think they liked how loud we were when we got there - whoops.

All in all it was a wonderful weekend celebration with great friends. I wish nothing but happiness to my love Holler and her new hubby - congrats to the Doyle's!

And thus concludes my 2011 wedding run and to think I only have three lined up for 2012 - hurry up, someone get engaged!