Tina's, Wine and Family - sounds about right...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The weekend that was...

An impromptu Olympics watching party Friday night turned into Lzone watching them while sitting in my accent chair while drinking bubbles and talking in an accent.

After my house we headed to XYZ the Tavern for dinner and then Tina's Nite Club for debauchery, karaoke and of course LIMBO! Jen, Stephen, AJP, Lzone and CK in a hot group shot + AJP and me because awesome + AJP exiting the bar via LIMBO!

Saturday CK and I headed to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum to check out the Grateful Dead exhibit, photos weren't allowed in the exhibit but I promise you it was a sight to be seen and worth checking out. For a music fan like me, a trip to the Rock Hall is always an enlightening, educating, and fun experience. GO!

After the Rock Hall CK and I walked over to Voinovich Park for the Cleveland Wine Festival, which in my second year of attendance, is quickly becoming one of the summer events I most look forward to. You can't beat the view of Cleveland from Voinovich Park + Me and one of my LONG TIME blog friends who I had yet to meet, Fizzgig, from the blog It's All About Me! Deal With It! + the crowd at the festival.

Sunday night CK and I headed down to Canton for some family fun time at my Thea Joanna and Uncle David's house, we also may have had some competitive family fun time with arm wrestling and push up contests. Jenna and Greg taking one for the Blate family + My ever internet shy Thea Paulette and Uncle Clark + Me and my not so little anymore cousins David and Graceyn

Good times my friends, good times.

Happy Tuesday (and last day of July), kids!

Mahall's 20 Lanes + LKWD Music Festival

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Oh yeah, Mahall's 20 Lanes, or as I like to call it Lakewood's best new addition since Deagan's, even though it's not exactly a new addition (it's been around for DECADES) but it's under new ownership and is primed and prepped to become one of the Cleveland areas best music and drinking destinations.

Plus there's 20 lanes of bowling... I can't forget the gloriously retro bowling.

But let's go back to the under new ownership part as I must disclose my connection to them. Picture it, Canton, Ohio in the 90's - the Historic Ridgewood Neighborhood to be exact. The Marinos'(me and my sissy), the Flamos' (Mahall's owners Kelly and Emily) and the Pavlick's (Mahall's owner Joe) all lived within blocks of each other growing up, went to the same catholic schools, etc. Hell, I essentially babysat Joe and his two younger sisters my entire sophomore year of high school and Kelly and I were Greek debutantes together. 

So yeah, I'm a little biased on Mahall's and their fabulous owners - how could I not be? Canton represent!

This past Sunday night CK and I finally got to properly check out Mahall's for the Buckwheat Zydeco show. The NOLA music theme was also represented with Zydeco Bistro taking over the kitchen and hurricanes at the bar. We dined on catfish with hush puppies and shrimp poboys and were beyond happy.

(Worth noting: While Mahall's doesn't yet have a full time kitchen they have been partnering with chefs and food trucks around the city of Cleveland for pop-up style kitchen take overs, e.g. tonight Chef Eric Williams from Momocho prepared a menu)

The iconic Mahall's 20 Lanes sign that can been seen while driving down Madison Ave + A standing outside view of the stage where the newly constructed garage doors still let you see shows from the sidewalk

How cool is the Mahall's sign behind the stage?! Love it. + beer and a hurricane in a mason jar + the beautiful Emily mixing up cocktails and Mahall's coasters... I'm glad I was there too

CK and I had such a great time at Mahall's, and considering how close I live to the place, I envision us making very frequent trips back. 

Like perhaps this Saturday for the inaugural LKWD Music Festival at Mahall's!

This Saturday at Mahall's is going to be quite the all day party, with art vendors, food trucks, bowling, drinks and music, LOTS of music.

Tickets are only $10 - TEN DOLLARS - and can be bought online here, or at the door the day of for $15. You can check out the event page on facebook for more information and music line up times, etc.

Show your local pride Cleveland and help support this new business bring in a new wave of music, fun and eats to our city.

Hope you see you all on Saturday.

Happy Thursday, kids.

C&S + Steph's bachelorette fundies party

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Congrats to @fmayse and Sarah - Cooker Girl for each winning a pair of tickets to this weekend's Cleveland Wine Festival! Sad you didn't win? You can still buy tickets online here or at the door - hope to see you there!

When I look back on my weekends recently it's no wonder I'm exhausted, but I've never enjoyed getting tired so much. This summer has been pure fun and it's not even over yet, bonus.

Friday night I attended the Speakeasy Happy Hour at the Cleveland Museum of Art to help celebrate the Youth and Beauty: Art of the American Twenties exhibit with my fellow Column & Stripe members and everyone else who was smart enough to attend such a rad event. 

There were costumes, era appropriate cocktails, live model sketching and art, lots of art.

Danny, Gina, David, Justin, Shibani and Kyle + Christina, Dale, Allison and Gina representing Column & Stripe in the Lounge
Beautiful models posing for Dr. Sketchy at the CMA + Kathryn and Reena in their fashion forward and always stunning styles
After the CMA event a big group of us headed to Johnny Mango's in Ohio City for quesadillas, beers and sangria - I had to drag myself home before midnight though because Saturday was the Klutz's bachelorette party!

The Klutz, my good friend and former downtown roommate who I will now call Steph because I don't think she's a klutz anymore, (ha) had her bachelorette party on Saturday where we winery hopped in a big old fancy limo bus.

Home base for the night was Quail Hollow Resort in Painesville where all the bachelorette attendees met and boarded the bus and we headed to our first stop, Ferrante Winery. We ate delicious pizza, drank countless bottles of wine (my favorite being their Pinto Noir), Steph opened her presents and I may or may not have hopped a fence and frolicked through the rows of vineyards. Totally normal.

The beautiful Lanese women - sisters Ginenne, Steph and their Mom Paula
Steph wearing the actual veil her Aunt wore down the aisle in 80's, regardless of the year it looks awesome + Steph and the Jerk are going to loooooove these Fundies, aka underwear built for two! + I don't think those are going to fit Steph.....
Some of the ladies with the bride-to-be + Paula busting a move on the bus + Steph, Court and Muffin (yes, I know Steph's eyes are closed.. but it's cute!)

We left Ferrante Winery after a few hours and hopped on the limo bus (dancing all the way) to take us to our next stop Chalet Debonne Vineyards. While we enjoyed Ferrante, the crowd, live band, and pitchers (and pitchers) of sangria really made for an awesome experience at Debonne - I can't wait to go back.

Steph's new friend "Tooter's Mom" who loved life more than anything and wore booty shorts at 75 + Sangria and beer tasting + the band leader lining us all up while telling us to "Make the booty go pump", over and over again + #whatdeerywore with a giant white dog
Dancing at Debonne + Ginenne and her blue folder on the bus asking Steph all sorts of questions the Jerk also answered + Kari and Steph jamming out with the hotel band back at Quail Hollow + WE LOVE HOTEL BANDS!!!
After the wineries we headed to the Panini's close to our home base for a late dinner and continued bachelorette fun when we decided that going back to the hotel where we essentially took over the lounge at Quail Hollow. There was a band playing, a band takeover, and a band dance party - SO MUCH FUN. 

Considering we're all staying at Quail Hollow after Steph and the Jerk's wedding in August we should probably warn the bar that a dance party x100 will probably break out post reception. I can't wait to celebrate!

I had such a fun time with my Column & Stripe cronies and Steph's bachelorette crew on Friday and Saturday night I don't even have room to talk about my Sunday night at Mahall's 20 Lanes in Lakewood.... 

...to be continued.

Lunching in Cleveland

Friday, July 20, 2012

Since switching jobs in February brought me back to working in the heart of Downtown Cleveland the thing I've most enjoyed, not surprisingly, is all the new lunch options within walking distance that are now open to me.

Working on Public Square does have it's perks.

It's like I get to have fancy tasting dining opportunities every day of the week, whether it's sit down with linens, lunch counter or food court - whatever I'm in the mood for!

As I'm sure you know, I can go on and on and on about the fabulous dining options downtown, but for this list I'm going to focus on the restaurants I've been most recently carrying-out of. Because who doesn't just like to step away from their desk, walk a block or two, get some grub, walk a block or two back and maniacally eat said lunch while browsing blogs?

I know I sure do.

So here's my current favorite carry-out dining establishments around Downtown Cleveland in no particular order.

The Flaming Ice Cube - 140 Public Square, Cleveland, OH 44114
This all vegan restaurant is tops in the taste department, the Mediterranean Hummus Wrap is my go to and they have a wide selection of smoothies. If you're carry-out I'd recommend calling your order in as sometimes they can get overwhelmed.

It's Greek To You - 230 W Huron Rd, Cleveland OH 44113 (Tower City Center food court, second floor)
This place obviously has my heart thanks to my Greeky Greek heritage and love of anything containing feta cheese. Get the Mezz Sampler Plate for a little bit of everything. 

Sushi 86 - 509 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Probably my newest lunch obsession, Sushi 86 is quick on carry out, great service and most importantly tasty as all heck sushi made with fresh ingredients. The spicy maki box with a half seaweed salad is my jam.

Potbelly - 515 Euclid Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
The Potbelly Sandwich Shop has been around for years, just not in Cleveland, but when a new location opened up a couple blocks from me I fought the lines and fell in love. Great service and quality food, "Smiles for Miles", preaching the manager and it works. I've consistently had the Uptown Salad twice a week since it's opening.

Nexus Cafe & Coffeehouse - 627 Prospect Ave, Cleveland, OH 44115
Everything that I've had at this newish lunch spot has been delicious, and I appreciate their mission - from breakfast, coffees, salads and pizza you'll find something you like. My current favorite is their crabcake salad and you must try their sweet potato salad, omg, yum.

While these are some of my current favorite there's so much great dining in Cleveland I don't care where you go, just get out there and support local business!

Happy Friday, everyone! (But my thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by the Aurora, Colorado shootings, hug someone you love today.)

This post is underwritten by iDine®Join for free and earn up to 15% back at over 10,000 restaurants, bars and clubs nationwide. Eat. Earn. Enjoy. 

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Cleveland Wine Festival 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Last year I was lucky enough to be able to attend and host a giveaway for the Cleveland Wine Festival, well, history is repeating itself because I'm doing it again! I had SO MUCH FUN last year so let the sipping and sampling commence...

The 7th annual Cleveland Wine Festival presented by Giant Eagle will be held Friday, July 27th (4pm to 10pm) and Saturday, July 28th (3pm to 9pm) at the beautiful Voinovich Bicentennial Park in Downtown Cleveland.

The two day festival features:
- Over 270 international, domestic and Ohio wines
- Best of Belgian Beer Cafe featuring Stella Artois, Leffe Blonde, Leffe Brune and Hoegaarden (one of my favorite parts of last year's festival)
- Food from Morton's, Angelo's Pizza, Das Schnitzel Haus, and Scott's Fire and Ice Catering
- Entertainment from Lloyd Dobler Effect 
- Wine education, cooking demonstrations and more

The festival's proceeds will benefit the Bright Side of the Road Foundation which is a non-profit organization started in Chagrin Falls to help find a cure for ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease.

As far as festival pricing goes the admission tickets are super affordable - Adult Wine Tasting Tickets are $28 in advance (purchase online here) and $35 at the door, and include a souvenir wine glass and 10 tasting tickets. Additional tasting tickets can be purchased as well at Designated Driver tickets for only $10.

You also can.... wait for it...

Enter to win a pair of tickets to the Cleveland Wine Festival here on the plum!

I'm giving away two pairs of tickets to either day of the festival and you can enter to win by doing one or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite variety of wine

2. Tweet the following: " I want to win a pair of tickets to the @clewinefest from @clevelandsaplum and you can too, http://bit.ly/NzxgHX ", leaving an additional comment on this post telling me you did so - you can tweet daily for extra entries
3. Post a link to this giveaway on Facebook (http://bit.ly/NzxgHX) leaving an additional comment on this post telling me you did so

Don't forget to leave me your contact information if I don't already have it, and I'll be announcing the two winners in post on Tuesday, July 24th.

Good luck to all who enter and I hope to be sipping on some vino with all of you on the lake during the Cleveland Wine Festival!

MOB's white water rafting bachelorette party extravaganza

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Picture it, University of Dayton in the year 2000.

My dear friend MOB unfortunately had just received a neck injury while riding in the back of our friend's Jeep Wrangler - a neck injury that was so bad it involved her literally breaking her neck. Thankfully not in the, she can't walk way, but in the she had to wear a neck brace for over 6 months while enrolled in college.

I'll let you think about that for a moment...

She had to wear a brace, around her neck, that also went down to her waist and strapped all the way around her body while a junior in college. 

MOB was the girl with a neck brace, a la Sixteen Candles, and can be seen at the :43 second mark of the following video specifically.

After she received a clean bill of health, MOB went back to being a normal college kid, and we may or may not have had a neck brace burning, head banging party in celebration of it all.

We also may still bring up her wearing a neck brace a lot, even twelve years later, so when it came time for MOB's bachelorette party we naturally had to poke some fun at her.

Cue, my crafty handy work as each of the guests of the bachelorette party upon entering our rented house, The Cedar Lodge in Ohiopyle, Pennsylvania, were given a neck brace to wear for the weekend. They were actually kind of comfy, guys.

 Obviously I had to bedazzle the bride's neck brace + Molly, MOB, Foxx, me and Muffin = her bridesmaids in attendance!
Our first night in the house, Friday, we cocktailed, cooked dinner in, played games, had a dance party and called the friendly animal control on a stray dog that came to visit our backyard. It was an eventful evening to say the least and it only prepped us for what was next... white water rafting.

#whatdeerywore while wearing a neck brace in the middle of nowhere Pennsylvania for MOB's bachelorette party
Muffin, Holler, Leanne, Molly, Mo, MOB, Foxx, Beaver and the plastic penis squirt gun between MOB and Foxx... + Holler and MOB + the stray dog we named Sean Buddy who wandered onto our deck, I hope he found is owner/home
Saturday a group of us embarked on what we thought would be a smooth sailing trip down the Lower Youghiogheny River courtesy of the Laurel Highlands River Tours. The tour group was great, the guides were helpful, funny and knowledgeable - but the issue was us, WE SUCKED at white water rafting.

All the girls ready for rafting, helmets and life jackets included + Beaver's water shoes...

My boat had MOB and all her maids which included me, Foxx, Muffin and Molly - in theory we figured we had a strong boat with everyone but Muffin and I having gone done this very river before. Blame it on the river being too low, blame it on our boat needing a solid captain, blame it on us being too hungover - I don't care what we blamed it on, we were TERRIBLE.

Half the time we couldn't go straight, our giant raft was essentially a rock magnet so we got caught on ALL OF THE ROCKS (especially in the "rock garden"), Molly and Foxx were both thrown out multiple times, Foxx got stung by a bee, I have a giant bruise on my bum and blisters on my hands and at one point during our trip nearly all of us cried with laughter/distraught.

WE WERE SO BAD THAT THE PUT A GUIDE IN OUR RAFT 3/4 OF THE WAY THROUGH! That bad, guys, that bad. It was comical - we were smelly, tired and to say that we were ready for a cocktail after our nearly 6 hour rafting adventure would be an understatement.

Good thing we had lots of them back at the house because night two was ready to begin. With presents for MOB, the question/answer game with input from her fiancee Pete, a little fire that could (despite all the rain) and some of the best friends a girl could ask for another phenomenal night was about to be in the books.

Muffin and I got MOB her wedding day sweatshirt, it's almost time to become Mrs. Winchester! + Holler, Molly and MOB + Foxx, Patti, Beaver and Mo

A shot of the back of our rented house and Beaver + Beaver's little fire that could(n't burn because all the wood was wet)
The best friends in the entire world (please ignore the fuzzy iphone photos...), Patti, Beaver, MOB, Anne, Jill + Muffin, Foxx, MOB, Holler, Mo, me and Molly - so lucky to have these rad people in my life.

Such a great celebration for such a wonderful friend - I can't believe the big day is only two months away!! Love you MOB.

Happy Tuesday, kids.

Kelleys Island + Cedar Point vacation time

Friday, July 13, 2012

Let's talk about the second half of my vacation week, which has been harder to get up here on the plum than normal due to the fact that I've been in Philadelphia all week for a client trade show but the blog must go on, guys - it must!

The second half of my summer vacation week was spent on Kelleys Island one of Lake Erie's own beautiful shores and islands with CK's family. While I have visited Kelleys Island once before, last summer for Holler's bachelorette party, this four day trip would allow for a lot more exploration of the island in all its glory. 

First though, you have to GET to the island - cue Kelleys Island Ferry, which we caught in Marblehead, to transport us (and our car) to the island. The boat ride is a fun sightseeing activity in it's own right which is a great way to get the group excited for the island itself. 

Our home for the long weekend was Kelleys Island Venture Resort where had a great set up in the Iroquois Suite and the best perk ever in the swimming pool. If you can reflect back on how hot it was last week you surly understand how important that swimming pool was.

The view from the balcony of our suite showing the swimming pool and the lake - beautiful!
Thursday was our first night on the island and we dined at the Island House Restaurant and Martini Bar, we had an excellent meal outside followed by mini-golf and ice cream at Papa T's - AMERICA!

CK and his little one showing off their golf ball color choices + Florence, CK and his little one in one giant chair + mad golf skillz, naturally
Friday the family fun time continued but this time we hopped back on the ferry over to the mainland to visit the one and only world famous Cedar Point - they don't call it the best amusement park in the world for no reason, guys. 

Growing up in Northeast Ohio Cedar Point was a yearly or even two/three time a year trip for me but for the Kramer family from STL this was their first trip to the Point. And it's safe to say they were impressed.

Now, one thing does need to be made clear though, something was in the air that had a serious effect on our visit, it's called a 109 degree index. I can with 100% certainty say that I've never been as hot in my entire life as I was on July 6, 2012.

In some ways the heat made our visit easier in that not everyone could handle it and the lines weren't as long. For me and CK though we had an extra Ace in our pocket, or should I say our wrist?

Cedar Point's new Fast Lane passes ARE THE BOMB. They are exactly what you'd think a ticket extension that allows for you to take the fast lane on 20 of Cedar Point's most popular rides. The fact that I could ride the Maverick (my favorite) after waiting only 5 minutes while everyone else waited an hour+ is well worth the ticket price. 

I'm officially spoiled by the Fast Lane pass, I'll never be able to go back without getting one, I HIGHLY recommend it - less time waiting in lines equals more time riding rides, DUH!

Fun for the whole Kramer family at Cedar Point!!
The Woodstock Express was by far the little ones favorite ride, this kid simply can't wait till she's 48 inches so she can ride ALL the rides.

Once we got back to Kelleys Island after the Point we had dinner at Kelleys Island Brewery right next to our hotel, they have a great outdoor dining area with a beautiful lake view, no complaints from us!

With Saturday being our last day on the island we spent it bike riding, swimming/laying out, searching for shells, visiting together and hitting up The Village Pump for dinner and their famous Brandy Alexanders and perch - a must when visiting the island. 

The long weekend on Kelleys Island was a perfect getaway on our beautiful Lake Erie and with it being so close to Cleveland an easy trip to take. If you've never been, what are you waiting for?

Totem Pole found on my morning bike ride + shell searching after dinner on the beach + the massive beauty that is the Kelleys Island Quarry + Marblehead beach shot by the ferry

To say it was hard going back to reality after this is an understatement.

Thanks go out to Lake Erie Shores and Islands for their trip planning expertise, Cedar Point for the VIP treatment and of course, the Kramer family for inviting me along.

Let's do it all again sometime, shall we?

Happy Friday, kids!

CMA Summer Solstice + Birthday + 4th of July

Monday, July 9, 2012

I kinda sorta went off the grid last week, huh? I suppose going on vacation all of last week which included my 32nd birthday, July 4th and a long weekend in Kelleys Island will do that to you.

Being a blogger in the summer really is the hardest for me, this is a fact.

Lots of fun things have happened over the course of the last week but let's start with Solstice.

The Cleveland Museum of Art Summer Solstice Party has, in just two short years of my attendance, become a tie (with Krusty's Summer Sauce Camp) for my favorite party of the summer in Cleveland. How bipartisan of me for one to be on the West side and one to be on the East side.

This year the Solstice Party brought excellent music (from the Debo Band specifically), tasty food trucks (although it took a loooooooooong time to get food) and 4,000+ people including all the Cleveland who's who. It was H-O-T out but boy was the party fun - something about drinking and dancing on the museum's steps in the dark that brings out all the radness in Clevelanders.

CK and I double dated to Summer Solstice with Jesse and Muffin and for the record we did not plan on wearing similar colored dresses.

#whatdeerywore to Solstice + Jen, Danielle, Ben, Charity and Shibani + Leopard loves Allison and Suzanne

Danielle, Kathryn, Reena, Becky and Wes + two beautiful shots of the Cleveland Museum of Art and all the beautiful people enjoying the art, party and culturati

One big thing that happened during Solstice was the official launch of a group that I've been working on with the CMA staff and fellow taskforce members called Column & Stripe. It's the Cleveland Museum of Art's affiliate group for new friends of the museum, opening the door to the next generation of Cleveland’s culturati and providing access to art, leadership opportunities, and exclusive programming that’s approachable, social, and relevant. Intrigued? Come to our first official event July 20th, a Speakeasy happy hour at the museum.

With a great vacation kick off party like the Solstice I was ready to start celebrating my birthday weekend with brunch with my family in from Canton/Boston at Deagan's in Lakewood. It was my first time for brunch at Deagan's and it did NOT disappoint, it never does in fact - mmmmmmm.

After brunch we headed to Sunset Grille at Whiskey Island for day drinking, visiting and general Sunday Funday escapades. It was the day before my 32nd birthday and the day before an entire week off of work - what else did you expect me to be doing?

Lots of friends + MOB, me and Muffin + Jason and Sissy + #whatdeerywore with a huge ass great dane

JoeG and Jason + Craig and CK playing bags on Whiskey "Island" + a shot of Sunset Grille before the rain came in

After fun in the sun we headed to Happy Dog for dinner and Sweet Moses for dessert, lemme tell you we got CRAZY (sarcasm) for my 32nd birthday - I think I'm the definition of getting older, but hopefully more wiser with my partying.

On Monday, my actually birthday, I lounged around, biked around and headed to Canton for dinner with my whole big fat Greek family at Don Pablo's - my choice. We meet up with the Foradas family cousins who were also in Canton post dinner and then called the evening a success.

For the actual Independence Day back to Canton we went for a pool party at Cathi and Grog's and party at my Thea Joanna and Uncle David's where CK and his whole family, in from STL, could also join us - parents meeting parents, this is serious stuff guys!

CK, me, my Mom, Sissy and Jason at my bday dinner at Donny P's + pool party + USA birthday cake + Jason and Sissy, aka the first instance of Jason ever touching a sparkler in his entire 29 years, shocking - good thing I captured the moment.

Good times, people, GOOD TIMES.

The second half of my vacation week at Kelleys Island and Cedar Point with the Kramer's will have to wait till my next post, as I have to get back to packing all over again for a work trip out East this week.

Happy Monday, kids - I've missed you.