Jump Back Ball 24: Jump Back to the Future!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

By now you all know of my genuine love for Jump Back Ball, PlayhouseSquare's always anticipated annual event and this year's party promises to be the best yet.

The 24th annual Jump Back Ball is taking place Saturday, February 28, 2015 and I can't wait to Jump Back to the Future!!

Can we please talk for a hot second about how fun this year's theme is? It's so fantastic that I'm contemplating leaving my ballgown at home and rockin' a Marty McFly puffy vest and hoverboard.  

As in years past, PlayhouseSquare Partners is hosting a kickoff party to begin the always brief selling window. Last year's event sold out in 10 days so I highly recommend you making an appearance at the kickoff party to not only secure one of the hottest tickets in town but also to purchase it at the lowest price. Ticket prices increase by $15 plus handling fees the day after kickoff.

Jump Back Ball Ticket Kickoff Party Details:
Monday, November 10, 5:30pm to 7:30pm at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland (1550 Chester Ave.)

Jump Back Ball Ticket Kickoff Pricing:
$130 Partners (2 Partner tickets and 2 Non-partner tickets per person)
$165 Non-Partners (2 tickets per person)

I personally can't wait for the kickoff party to not only get my tickets but also to FINALLY check out Hofbrauhaus Cleveland. 

Hope to see you Monday and at #JBB24!



Vegas + Moving + NYC

Thursday, October 23, 2014

It's Wednesday night as I type this, I'm sitting on my favorite old couch that's fresh out of being in storage for the past year. I'm also drinking a nice red blend out of my gorgeous new wine glasses, fresh out being in my Mom's garage since my wedding shower in March

I cooked a homemade dinner for my family on my new stove, in my new house and I didn't even care that my kitchen is still in semi-disarray.

YOU GUYS, I'm happy.

Now, let it be known there is still a TON of work to do.... decorating, painting, etc., but man oh man we are making progress, I see a light at the end of the tunnel and it's exciting.

So, where have I been these past few weeks that have caused me to slack in the blogging realm? Well, I've been to Florida, Las Vegas, London and NYC. All while trying to organize and execute a move. No big deal. Actually, saying I've been "busy" would be a gross understatement and I'm excited to get back to my routine.

But let's take a brief moment to reflect on where I've been and believe me when I tell you these a mere fraction of the photos I've captured over the last month.

What happens when nine of your best girlfriends from college (University of Dayton) gather from across the country in Vegas to see Britney Spears? A WHOLE LOT OF FUN and a fantastic hashtag: #HitMeDaytonOneMoreTime. From The Chandelier, House of Blues Foundation Room and sushi at Koi Las Vegas we laughed the entire time.

I was extremely skeptical to see Britney: Pieces of Me in Vegas but she delivered a super entertaining, energetic and sing-a-long worth show that we all really enjoyed. Good times!

Cabana life at Mandalay Bay + Valentino Rockstud failure after dancing the night away at Hakkasan + Being serenaded at Rose. Rabbit. Lie. which is a fantastic dining experience that I highly recommend

In between Vegas and the above boxes on boxes on boxes I traveled to London for work, but the trip was only a three night stay and with not a ton of sightseeing opportunities the pics were slim - I was there though, I'll show you my passport stamp if you'd like, ha ha.

Three days after our move CK and I hopped on a plane to NYC to help celebrate (and surprise) a very important person, my cousin Cathi! Surprise - all of your family is in NYC - Happy 50th Birthday!! David Burke Kitchen in The James Hotel in SoHo was our venue and the private room with balcony was the perfect setting.

Before Cathi's party we got to spend some time with our cousins Scott and Davida from Toronto who also just so happened to be visiting NYC, so we hung out in Harlem near my Sissy's. Being a family friendly trip, we also enjoyed Frrrozen Hot Chocolates at Serendipity 3 and a trip to Dylan's Candy Bar.

Our NYC trip also included bowling at Frames with inappropriate bowling names like "E-BOWL-A" + a stop at Eataly and Birreria + video games and walking around the grounds of my favorite church in NYC

Guys, it has been a whirlwind of fun and I am so excited that this month happened - I'm also excited for everything to slow down for a bit.

Nesting, cooking, watching football, going to movies and snuggling with CK are calling my name this fall.

Happy Thursday, kids.

Random musings on a fall evening

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Random musings on a fall evening in September.

I can't wait to decorate my new house. We're officially homeowners and my excitement level for this move has grown exponentially. I can't wait to start this phase of our lives.

I also can't wait to put our shower and wedding gifts to use. My bridal shower was in March and our wedding was in May and since then, all of our fantastic gifts have been living in my Mom's garage. Not for long!

My new iPhone 6 is pretty swell. It's gold with a clear case and it's sexy.

How does one gain 15lbs over the course of a summer? No seriously, HOW?!? Over it.

I'm traveling to Las Vegas with some UD girlfriends next week and it's going to be a fantastic adventure full of mauling, bubbles and dancing. The post-Vegas work trip to the UK is going to also be fantastic but potentially in a more physically exhausted state.

I still know every word to Disney's Beauty and the Beast. This was proven this evening while my family and I watched it. They weren't too keen on my singing though..... rude!

The joy that television brings me is at a fever pitch in September because all my shows, glorious shows are back!!!!

The Cleveland Browns have given me a lot of anxiety their first three games but I'll be the first to admit that it's at least been semi-entertaining to watch.

The Mindy Project makes me laugh out loud more than any other sitcom in recent memory.

I'm proud of myself for walking out of Conrad's when they tried to charge me $90 to replace the headlight on my Volvo s40. Straight to AutoZone I went where I bought the replacement bulb for $13.99 plus tax and the kind gentleman at the counter installed it for free in five minutes. Thanks, AutoZone!

So, what's on your mind today? 

New house: an update

Monday, September 15, 2014

Never did I think that when my Detroit-Shoreway townhouse sold and I moved into CK's apartment in Brooklyn that I would be sitting in the same aforementioned apartment typing this blog post almost a year later.

I haven't talked much about the struggle that CK and I have had finding a house on this blog because, quite frankly, it's been too painful, stressful and miserable.

I didn't realize how much the idea of moving to the south suburbs would affect me. I can be honest and say I wanted nothing to do with it. I want to stay in Cleveland proper, close to the lake, close to my friends, closer to the life that I've made for myself the past eight years in this fantastic city I call home. Not the 'burbs, ugh.

But when I met (and married) CK I was, by proxy, agreeing to move closer to where my step-daughter's mom decided to buy a house and where the kiddo goes to school.

I agreed kicking and screaming though.

I'm self aware enough to say that I'm still kicking and screaming about this proposed move even though we're under contract on a house I'm lukewarm on.

I know I'll grow to love our new home because my family will be there, but I can't help but feel like I'm losing my Cleveland identity because of decisions that weren't my own.

Are these feelings selfish? Perhaps, probably. But it doesn't mean they aren't real, that they aren't mine.

I'm a recovering control freak, I was a single business woman until I was 30. I made my own decisions and did what I wanted to. Now I'm a wife, who can generally still do what she wants to, except for that whole buy a home in my preferred community thing.

It's time to get over it. 

The outlook isn't promising for me to live where I'd prefer, but I suppose that's okay because I have my family. They are the ones who are going to get me through this transition. I'm doing it for them, not for me. I'm going to adjust to my new commute, to the south suburbs, to the new house we're buying.

I'm going to look to our promising future and things like getting my belongings out of storage, moving into a house instead of a 700 square foot apartment and FINALLY being able to entertain again. I can't wait.

So, to Independence we go. As far as locations between Westlake (where I work) and Fairlawn (where the kiddo goes to school) we couldn't have a better compromise. It's a fantastic community that I'm excited to be a part of and I can still be in Downtown Cleveland in 10 minutes - BOOM!

This blog has always been my little slice of the internet, a place that I can be me. I tend to blog less when I'm down in the dumps, as I try to keep this place as positive as possible, so hopefully once the chains of apartment living are off I'll feel the urge to write more.

One can only hope.

So here's to new beginnings and walking up and down these 105-year-old backdoor stairs thousands of times in good health and happiness.




August Shenanigans

Friday, August 29, 2014

Man, this summer has been fantastic. I can't believe it's Labor Day Weekend all ready. 

How the heck did that happen? Well, let's look at some photos from the last month and try to piece it all together.

Interested in hearing the loudest screams and squeals you've ever heard? Surprise your step-daughter on her 7th birthday with a trip to Cedar Point. The kiddo had the best time ever, conquered new roller coasters like the Gemini (the real one not the photo-op one) and ate the biggest snow cone I've ever seen. Making memories at Cedar Point is one of my favorite pastimes.

Marina at Westlake Flex Friday with great friends turned into Wesley Bright and the Hi-Lites at The Beachland Ballroom. Dock drinks + Colleen, me and Alana + Me and CK

Canton family fun = cousins, swimming and cake, lots of cake.

Apparently I'm an equal opportunity hydration professional. From my new favorite anytime drink, Nooma, to tequila cocktails at Urban Farmer to a Mike's Hard buffet at the marina. Stay thirsty my friends.

Yep, just what I thought, a chock full of fun August.

Enjoy your long holiday weekend, kids. Stay safe out there!

Westin + Urban Farmer Cleveland

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Recently, CK and I had the opportunity to spend a lovely evening at the new Westin Cleveland Downtown Hotel property including a night in swanky suite and dinner at Urban Farmer - oh, what a treat it was.

First impression? It didn't feel like I was in Cleveland. Second impression? I was in Cleveland (cue smiling, happy staff, reasonable prices and plenty of stunning Downtown Cleveland views) and it was FANTASTIC.

There's local art throughout the hotel space curated by LAND Studio and Epstein Design Partners, gorgeous interiors with modern amenities and an overall attention to detail that one has come to expect from the Westin brand.

The signature Westin green wall + a deconstructed chandelier, chandelier + art in the form of a giant head made of slices of tree trunks and sticks + hotel check-in lobby intriguing floor tile work

Once we completed the seamless check-in process we explored our spacious club-level suite and made our way to the club lounge for a happy hour cocktail and bite to eat.


Lake Erie view from the club lounge + my handsome husband, CK, helping himself to a cocktail + the appetizer spread, all of which was scrumptious and paired perfectly with our beverage options

After cocktails and snacks in the lounge, the group, including fellow blogger Courtney, her husband and Westin general manager Alan and his lovely wife, headed to Urban Farmer Steakhouse

Oh, Urban Farmer, how I love thee.

I've been to a fair share of steakhouses in my day, the dark interior, the old school men's club feel, the stuffy service. Urban Farmer Cleveland is not that, and in my humble opinion, that's a good thing.

It's a Cleveland steakhouse revolution, guys! It's farm-to-table centric, appeals to it's new Ohio patrons, serves up a fantastic cut of meat and I'm still dreaming about the cornbread.


A feel of the Urban Farmer brand from their menu suite and fashionable interior seating options (this place is huge). The finishes are spectacular.

I could easily share 20+ more food and cocktail photos, we ate and drank so well during our evening at Urban Farmer. These are some of my favorites though: shrimp seasoned to perfection, table side cheese presentation, prime beef tartare, American Gothic cocktail and 24oz Ohio Proud bone-in ribeye with candied bacon addition.

Being a Westin Ambassador I was granted an unforgettable experience in my beloved Downtown Cleveland - and I'm not just saying that because I've partnered with the organization. I'm saying it because it's a top notch hotel and restaurant and we're lucky that they have decided to make a home in the CLE.

Man, these photos are making me want to go back, good thing I have a happy hour planned a Urban Farmer next week!

Happy Wednesday, kids.


SPIN FOR DIN

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

On more than one occasion I've stated that I "detox to retox," which basically means, I spin my butt off at Psycle (detox) then enjoy my life as a bubbles and food aficionado (retox).

Life is a balance, people.

Similarly, there's a fantastic benefit happening on Sunday, August 24 at Crocker Park called SPIN FOR DIN. Same detox/retox idea but for a way more worthy cause, the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.



My friends at Psycle are bringing the indoor cycling experience to an outdoor setting at Crocker Park in Westlake. With 4 classes to choose from, including one with a live DJ, and all proceeds benefiting the Hunger Network, why wouldn't you want to SPIN FOR DIN?

My girl Alana and I are all signed up for Jen's class at 10:30am and bikes are filling up fast reserve yours ASAP. Sign-up online here under the "events" tab to get in on the fun, blow the roof off of Crocker Park and help do our part to reduce hunger in our community.

Hope to see you on a bike on Sunday, August 24!

Going out in Tremont is Tasty

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Aside from a SOLO OC stop, I spent the majority of this past weekend in Tremont and it was fantastic. 
 
Let's start with our Saturday trip to Platform Beer Co. which can be described in two words: simply fantastic. There's a great urban feel, bar games, open air and a rotation of food trucks and local restaurants providing sustenance.

What's ironic about my calling a beer only bar fantastic is that, gulp, I don't like beer. Well, let's say I used to not like beer... I'm at the point where I can publicly acknowledge that fruity ones are growing on me. Think summer shandy, think raspberry, think cherry. 

Fact: this wine, bubbles and bourbon only gal has probably had more beer in the last three months than I've had in the last ten years.

Platform Beer Co. logo/mural + Taps upon taps and beers upon beers + Hotz's Cafe in Tremont women's bathroom accessories.... lotion, hairspray, mints and panty liners + Super Driggs + Super Ahmed

Sunday brought one of my favorite days of the summer: Taste of Tremont. The 12th annual event always makes for an awesome Sunday Funday. Thanks to our friend DBLB we had a swanky Tremont townhouse to pre-party with mimosas, music and meat and cheese from the West Side Market

I'm pretty sure we didn't technically venture to ToT until 5pm when we finally made our way to the Treehouse to see The Boys From County Hell. The Treehouse patio was the place to be - friends were everywhere!

It's my blog so I suppose I'm allowed to share a quad of "me and my friends" pics on the Treehouse patio, right? Husband and wife + Plum and Muffin 4eva + Me and Renee being fab outside of work (we sit next to each other at the office) + Me and my long lost favorite Greek blogger friend Cleveland Frowns

The patio scene at Treehouse + The patio scene at DBLB's + AJP, CK and Muffin

Please don't ever end, summer, I'm having WAY TOO MUCH FUN. This really is CLE.

Happy Thursday, kids.


New York City is my favorite apple

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Two weekends in a row of travel (to Saugatuck, MI and NYC) plus a jam packed CLE weekend makes for one tired blogger. No complaints from me though because my summer has literally been overflowing with fun.

Case in point, my trip with CK to NYC to see Beyonce/Jay Z, Phish and my favorite sissy.

The beginning...scenes from my Thursday night flight to LGA. Could I possibly fit anymore brands in this photo?

Upon our arrival in NYC we went straight to sissy and Jason's where we were greeted with delicious thai food. Friday morning brought brunch at Community Food & Juice and exploring one of my favorite spots near my sissy's The Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. This visit we got to take in the Phoenix: Xu Bing art exhibition.

It was right around the time that we were walking out of the cathedral when the news hit that LeBron was coming back to the Cavs - I kinda lost it right there on the streets of NYC - I still may be in shock. That being said, Jesse had planned ahead packing his LeBron jersey and as we pre-gamed at McSorley's Old Ale House the Gannons and Kramers celebrated accordingly with "light" and "dark."

A sawdust (from the floor of McSorley's) toss is very similar to a baby powder (a la LeBron) toss. + On the Run Tour at MetLife Stadium + Train ride roadies which didn't exactly jive with the fabulous dinner and cocktails on the Narcissa terrace in the East Village Standard that we had just finished - whatevs, YOLO.

My two cents re: On The Run Tour. I've seen Jay Z in concert five times now so I basically knew what to expect. However, this was my first time seeing Beyonce and holy moly she was more fierce than I could have ever expected. I pretty much stood there in awe watching Queen Bey dominate the stage. All of the Jay Z + Beyonce combo performances were highlights for me, especially Crazy in Love (obvy), Drunk in Love (obvy) and when Bey sang Justin Timberlake's part of Holy Grail - hot damn! 


If one concert in NYC wasn't enough, on Saturday CK and I headed to see our boys Phish at Randalls Island. The show set-up exuded a great festival vibe as we caught the middle show of a three show run.

"Club Phish" at night, full moon and all + First Tube encore + Stack Wine on ice, so me, SO ME.

Forever and always NYC will be my favorite city (outside of CLE). I'm so lucky that my sissy lives there (and has a second bedroom) so I'm enabled to visit multiple times a year. GOOD TIMES.

Till next time, New York.

Happy Wednesday, kids.


Garden of Flavor: pure joy juice

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

In the two months since the wedding I've been a human garbage disposal. If there's a carb, sweet or chip within five feet of me I'll eat it. 

My only saving grace as to why I've gained 6 lbs in two months versus 16 lbs is that I'm still working out. 

This whole "summer of party-time" fun is definitely going to maintain its course, but I'm going to do it smarter.

It's time for a reset. 

Hello, old friend.




Garden of Flavor has been my go-to juice cleanse for quite sometime now. It tastes fabulous, doesn't cost a fortune compared to other juice cleanses, is a locally produced product that I can pick it up at Heinen's and when is all said and done just makes me feel good.

Fact: my whole wedding party (mom, sissy and Cathi) juice cleansed with Garden of Flavor in preparation for my big day. If there's a special occasion you're preparing for I can't recommend a day (or two or three) with Garden of Flavor enough - it's fantastic.

For me it's more than just event prep, it's also great reboot to get your diet back on track.

Perhaps post long 4th of July weekend? Yep, now we're talking!

Have a good (healthy) week, kids.

Birthdays + DMB + Dancing

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Guys, it's my 34th birthday today!

Considering that there has been plenty of hullabaloo this year thanks to our wedding festivities, there's no need for a crazy birthday celebration. Instead, I'll spend the day doing things I love, like eating sushi, spinning and packing my bags for a long holiday weekend in Michigan. Life is good.

I'm sure we'll reconvene the birthday love next year for the big 3-5 - yikes!

I'm still on a high from last weekend. It was a fantastic one filled with dear friends, dancing and the Dave Matthews Band.

For those of you that don't know this about me, I'm kind of crazy for Dave. I've seen him countless times over our 20 year love affair but never as up close and personal as I experienced at Blossom this past Friday. Thanks to CK, my wedding present was a pair of pit tickets - it was unbelievable and I may have teared-up once or twice.


Hey, DMB, hey!

A drive to the eastside to visit with our friends Jen and Stephen provided an opportunity for a rare stoplight sunglasses selfie with the husband.

After our venture east we headed back to the westside for some fun at the Driggs' abode (their new rooftop patio is amazing!) and old school hip hop night at Touch Supper Club.  The boys jammin' + me being the senorita emoji... get it?!? + AJP and Fresh Becky

Good friends, good times. Man, I love this city.

I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable 4th of July weekend! See ya on the flip side!

A June weekend in Cleveland

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Scenes from a wonderful long weekend in Cleveland.

Cleveland Indians day-game selfie with my Hyland homies - this image lovingly borrowed from my girl, Alana.

"My heel hurts," says Katie. Piggyback to the Clevelander post Indians game it is!

Friends on E 4th Street + Duffy rolling up to marina flex Friday on her Schwinn + Alana holding court during our Rocky River cruise

This is my museum, the Cleveland Museum of Art. Here's a scene from CMA's annual Summer Solstice Party. Just me and 6,000 of my closest Cleveland comrades.

And just think, I didn't take any photos of the baby shower I attended at Gervasi Vineyards, or my week long mother-in-law visit, or the five houses I walked through with my Mom the real estate agent - and the house hunt continues. Fingers-crossed it's over soon.

Mild house stresses aside, this weekend was simply fantastic.

I love this city.

Father's Day: looking to the future

Sunday, June 15, 2014

In honor of Father's Day, and my Facebook feed becoming filled with profile pictures where my beautiful friends are being walked down the aisle by their Dad, I'm going to share how I chose to remember my father on my wedding day.

The following was a letter I wrote to my Dad that was included in our wedding ceremony program.


Dad,

So I'm getting married today and I'm super sad you're not here. In fact my heart aches that you're not and I'm already anticipating tears as Mom walks me down the aisle, but I digress.

In 1988 you made a generous donation of new church bells to our beautiful church, St. Haralambos, in memory of your father, James Marinos. I tucked that fact away for many years, knowing that if I was ever lucky enough to marry, the ceremony would  be held in the church I grew up in and I would ring the heck out of those bells.

While you physically can't be here right now, you are ever present in my life. Today we ring these bells in honor of you. We ring them in celebration. We ring them to acknowledge our beautiful family who has done nothing but support Nicolette and I, while always keeping your memory alive.

I've been sentimental throughout the entire wedding planning process, wishing you could have had the chance to meet my future husband. Know this, Chris Kramer is a wonderful man, he's smart, he's smashingly good looking, has sweet dance moves, is a wonderful father, but most importantly treats your little girl like a queen. I'm the happiest I've ever been and Chris is a big part of that.

I can only hope you're looking down on me today with a smile of satisfaction, knowing your kid did alright for herself.

All of my love, 

Alexa

As I honored my father with words, I was beyond blessed to be able to have my beautiful Mother give me away on my wedding day - and we only ended up crying a little bit, success! 

But for the first time in many years I have a new father to celebrate today, my husband, CK.

I mean look at him....

During the "grand finale" of their father-daughter dance.

Best. Dad. Ever.

I love that Suzuran Photography was able to catch precious moments like these from our wedding - be sure to check out more from our day over on her blog.

Thanks to CK, today isn't as solemn as it has been in the past - he's my new favorite Father to honor and celebrate.

Hug the men in your life today, kids.


#MIXatCMA + Provenance + Canton Greek Fest

Thursday, June 12, 2014

This past weekend was a perfect combination of "adult time" and "family time."

I got to have a fancy dinner with friends but also spend lots of quality time with the kiddo and my big fat Greek family in Canton. See, it can be done!

Friday I had the opportunity to attend my favorite monthly event in Cleveland: Mix at CMA. This time though, via my continued partnership with the Cleveland Museum of art (see: fun + more fun), I was able to enjoy dinner at Provenance.

This month there was a Provenance pop-up event tied into MIX at CMA where an additional restaurant was set up in the museum's atrium - tres chic! 

While my group opted to dine in Provenance proper, it was such a wonderful view to look into the atrium and see all the wonderful guest dining and cocktailing. 

Speaking of cocktailing.... this is my new favorite.

Provenance's Thyme & Ginger: Stolichnaya Vodka, thyme, ginger, lime juice and rocks. Delicious and pretty.

I've always loved the design elements at Provenance, especially when paired with some bubbles. + Summer salad: green city growers bibb, pickled strawberry, cucumber ribbons, cashews, rhubarb vinaigrette. + Heirloom tomato carpaccio: shaved crouton, watercress, parmesan, citrus vinaigrette + Lamb loin: roasted garlic-herb polenta, haricot vert, pink peppercorn jus.

Everything my dinner companions and I had was delicious!!! We unfortunately didn't get to spend much time in the actual at MIX part of the evening due to some kitchen timing issues, but the place was slammed inside and at the pop-up so we just cocktailed a bit more to make up for it. No loss there.

I highly recommend planning a trip to one of my favorite places in the world, The Cleveland Museum of Art, and enjoying brunch, lunch or dinner at Provenance. You won't be disappointed.

Post Provenance/CMA a group of us headed to Market Avenue Wine Bar in Ohio City. Port was enjoyed (Right Nadine?!?) and we were all impressed by their new backroom window addition. It's fantastic and really opens the place up - check it out.

The second half of the weekend involved quality time with the kiddo shopping, getting pedicures and volunteering at the Canton Greek Fest

For years and years and years (see: '08 saganaki flashback post) my family has chaired the saganaki (flaming cheese) booth at our church's festival and this year was no different. 

The volunteer pool is officially growing, the kiddo is branded and ready to sell some saganaki - she was a HUGE help! + My cousin Anthony and my new cousin, his son, Nicholas. I mean, look at the face on that kid, I want to eat him up.

Confession: I ate so much flaming cheese I almost got sick. This is what happens when you only get it once a year, you binge. I just can't control myself around the stuff - it's just so good.

Great weekend, great friends, great family.

Happy Thursday, kids! Just think, our next weekend is right around the corner!

#MrandMrsMayor

Monday, June 9, 2014

Congrats to my girl Erin Archbold, you won a $50 gift card to uncommongoods.com. I have full confidence that you'll find something spectacular!

__________________________________________


Two weekends ago I had the pleasure of being co-matron-of-honor with my friend Birdie for our dear friend Biscuit's wedding and it was AWESOME.

It was a wonderful occasion, beautiful venue, hilarious friends and lots of love shared by all who attended.

Let's get to the most important part though... the party pics.

Rehearsal dinner time, which meant Akron's famous Luigi's Restaurant pizza and lasagne, like the bride and groom's first date all over again. + The bride and her maids (me and Birdie) + The bride, groom and their new bundle of joy, Sienna! + The groomsmen and ushers with their new personalized football jerseys.

Matron-of-honors ready for the big day! Curlers on my head and Starbucks, but of course.

Presenting... Mr. and Mrs. Nathan Oakes!!! Their ceremony venue, Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens, couldn't have been a more stunning backdrop for the celebration.

The happy Oakes family, look at that little tutu-wearing nugget of cuteness! + The bride and I on our way to the reception... but first let us take a selfie. + Super creative "guestbook" for guests...corn hole boards - awesome.

Group shot of the boys at The Tangier!

Shots, shots, shots, shots for Jaclyn, the bride, me and Birdie + Mrs. O, Mark's head and Birdie + I'm not sure what we are doing here... + Yes, I had to staple my dress strap right before the bridal party was introduced. I'm pretty resourceful, no?

I couldn't have been more happy to witness Cassi and Nate get married. Birdie and I nailed our speech and we can finally stop bugging Mr. North Canton to make an honest woman out of Cassi after 14+ years :)

Having these people in my life makes life better. Great friends, great times.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a plane to London to catch... Cherrio! 

Happy Monday, kids.

UncommonGoods is good

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I'm thinking kicking off a long Memorial Day weekend with a giveaway is a great idea. Don't you?

Keep reading, it's a good one.

When I started my job at Hyland, creator of OnBase this past December I quickly realized that I needed some desk flair to fit in with my colleagues who had years to collect various trinkets. But I didn't want just anything, I wanted something living, like a plant.

Enter Brooklyn, NY based UncommonGoods, where the number of remarkably unique gift items are countless. It's their mission to support and provide a platform for artists and designers and you can tell they are succeeding by their eclectic collection of inventory.

I quickly landed on the sedum terrarium bottle and the marimo moss ball light bulb terrarium because want doesn't scream "Hey, I'm friendly and know a lot about communications!" Like a terrarium on your desk?



I've been growing my terrariums for some time now and I LOVE them. They are super easy to maintain thanks to my trusty water spray-bottle and add a little green to my workspace.

As someone who just got married I'm thinking an UncommonGoods wedding gift or anniversary gift would be awesome. An old colleague of mine actually used to rock this "f bomb" paperweight on her desk and I'm thinking with my mouth it may have to be my next purchase.

Lucky for you, thanks to my friends from UncommonGoods who showed me some love, I get to turn around and give some gift love back to you.

Want to win a $50 gift card to UncommonGoods? Here's your chance.

1. Leave a mandatory comment on this post telling me how you'd spend your $50 gift card from UncommonGoods.
2. Follow UncommonGoods on Facebook and Twitter, leaving me a comment telling me you did so.
3. Tweet the following, leaving an additional comment telling me you did so:

Gimmie the @uncommongoods, @clevelandsaplum! That $50 gift card has my name on it. http://bit.ly/1sYnS2B

You can tweet daily for extra entries, leaving an additional comment on this post telilng me you did so.

Entries will be accepted until Thursday, May 29 at 5 p.m. ET and I'll announce the winner on the plum shortly thereafter.

Good luck to all who enter!