10 Reasons I Love Cleveland

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

One of the things people most often say to me is, "Wow, you really love Cleveland" - & yes, yes I do. I've wanted to live here since I first interned at Cleveland Magazine back in 2007, & although I took a roundabout way to get here - living, in between, in Maryland, D.C., New Hampshire, & New Jersey - I finally made it home, & I'm in Northeast Ohio to stay.

This month marks for fourth anniversary of living in the CLE, & I thought I'd celebrate with a list of some of the best things about my city, or, as we sometimes say here, "Cleve-land that I love."

1. Proximity to family

Of course, this won't be applicable to everyone, but one of the primary reasons I moved here was to be closer to my mom, who lives in Cuyahoga Falls, & to the rest of my family, which is spread out in Columbus & Cincinnati. Luckily, it’s quick & easy to get from place to place! A two-hour drive? No problemo. It's great to be able to see them on a more regular basis. 

2. Coffee shop options

So many ways to get caffeinated in the CLE! As someone who works from home, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops – and Cleveland has lots of great ones to choose from. Some favorites include CivilizationBeviamo, and the Rising Star location in Little Italy, though there are plenty of others worth visiting, too. 

3. Fish fry season

This Jewish gal had never experienced the joy of the Lenten fish fry until moving to Tremont. Now, I plan my weeks around them come spring. I especially love the one at Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church in Tremont (something about a church basement feels hella authentic), & I'm also a sucker for the Latin-infused fish fry dinner at Lakewood's El Carnicero.

4. The friendliest people

Of all the places I’ve lived, people here are the nicest. My husband wishes I wouldn’t get the life story of every Lyft driver, but when they’re all this chatty, how can I resist?! After living in or near less-friendly cities (lookin' at you, New England & New Jersey), it is so much more fitting of my personality to be around friendly, chatty strangers. 

5. Lotsa local beer

I wasn’t a big craft beer fan until my thirties. Luckily, that was around the same time I moved to Cleveland, which is chock-full of the best local brews. A few that have my heart, in particular: Great Lakes Brewing Co.'s Holy Moses White Ale; Saucy Brew Works’ Habituale; & Market Garden Brewery's Prosperity Wheat. There's always a new local brew to try.

6. Winter wonderland

You heard me: I love winter. Life doesn’t stop for Clevelanders just because the weather gets cold. Instead, we throw parties! Hello, Brite Winter.

7. Tons of culture (& cultural activities)

Northeast Ohio offers so many entertainment opportunities, from frequent festivals to acclaimed museums to shows at Playhouse Square (the country's largest theater district outside of Broadway). In short, there’s never a shortage of “What should we do this weekend?” options.

8. So many food options

From shopping options like West Side Market and Ohio City Provisions to food markets like Ohio City Galley & the Van Aken Market Hall a wealth of restaurant choices (I’m working my way through Cleveland Magazine's 2019 Best Restaurants list), there’s always something new and delicious to be eaten… & Instagrammed, of course.

9. Inexpensive prices

I still get giddy when I see a bar’s dollar-draft night, not to mention the comparison between rent costs here and in coastal cities. I wouldn’t call Cleveland cheap these days, but costs are still low, especially for everything this city has to offer.

10. All things Lake Erie

Come summer, there’s so much to do on the North Coast, from swimming to stand-up paddle boarding to attending Edgewater Live to hopping the ferry to Put-In-Bay. I love living on the water without having to live on the East or West Coast.

Tell me: If you live in Cleveland, what do you love most? If you're located elsewhere, what's your favorite thing about your own city? 

Note: I wrote this list awhile back, to be used as part of my author bio on ClevelandPlus.com. Unfortunately, they no longer use outside guest writers, so I'm no longer writing over there - which means this list is going to waste living on their site! I thought I'd share it here, too!

A Very Harry Potter Summer Event: The Cleveland Orchestra Plays "Sorcerer's Stone"

Friday, July 5, 2019

Mike & I really like Harry Potter. Maybe you've heard? I mean, our wedding seating cards were golden snitches made of Ferrero Rocher chocolates; our Kiddush cups read "She's a Keeper" & "He's a Catch"; our pre-ceremony music was the Harry Potter soundtrack; our flowers were made of actual pages from Harry Potter books; & our special drink was apple cider & champagne, which we dubbed "Felix Felicis." 

It occurs to me now that I don't think I ever blogged about any of these things, so here's a quick look back at them for proof of our obsession love.

6 Small Goals for July

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

June was sort of a bust for me in that I lost track of, like, everything. This year has been hella busy. Anyone else?! I keep waiting for things to slow down & they just... never seem to.

Here's how I did on my June goals:
  1. Schedule my summer. Uhhh, I didn't really do this. Ridiculous, I know. I mean, my calendar is up to date & I've made some plans & what-not, but I never did make that summer bucket list - & at the rate things are going (which is to say so. freaking busy.) it looks like I'd have a hard time making it through such a list, anyway. Guess we're just doin' whatever feels good!  

What I Read in June

Monday, July 1, 2019

Whatcha readin'? June was yet another slow book month for me, even with a weekend spent in the woods. The final Harry Potter books just take forever! I did make it few a through non-HP books, though, making for a whopping total of five books. 

With this, I've read a total of 38 books in 2019, which, frankly, is really low for me - but I did promise myself I'd focus on quality over quantity this year, & I think I have. Rereading the Harry Potter series has been such a joy, & I couldn't have done it if I'd been focused only on numbers.

That said, I'm about halfway through multiple non-HP books, so I think I'll finish a bunch in the coming months. My annual goal was a mere 80 this year. I hope I can hit it!

Turning 35: A Birthday Wishlist

Friday, June 28, 2019

If you've been reading for long, you might know that I love to do wishlists for birthdays & the winter holidays - not because I expect to get anything, but because I don't think enough adults create wishlists anymore, ya know. And it's fun. Indulgent. Frivolous. And sort of recaptures some of that childlike excitement that used to come with turning another year older. 

I'll be turning 35 in August, & that feels pretty weird, I've got to be honest. I had a total life crisis when I turned 25 because I felt so close to 30 - & now, here I am, a decade late, chuggin' along toward 40. Damn.

So, uh, let's not think about the mortality of it all. Instead, let's think about all the presents I'd buy for myself if I were a rich (wo)man. Cue Tevye.

Wait, I Don't Need a Husband for That

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

For much of my childhood, I grew up with a single mom, & although my mom won't want me to tell you this, she knows it's true: She has never been great at asking for help. She doesn't want to impose on others, & she's so independent that she wants to do everything herself. This is usually fine, because she's always been able to do just about everything by herself, anyway.

But this is, of course, both a strength & a weakness at the same time. It means that my mom does so much on her own - but it also means that, well, she does it all on her own, even when others would be more than happy to help out.

6 Ways I’m Making the Most of My Time Outside this Summer

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sponsored by TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel

Summer is officially in full swing, & I’m doing my best to enjoy the outdoors before cold weather returns to CLE (as cold weather limits activities in this fair northern city). Here are a few of my favorite ways to enjoy the sun, in this city & beyond. How ‘bout you?

1. Just exploring

 If you follow me on Instagram, you know that the activity I love most is exploring – just adventuring & wandering. There’s so much to see & discover here, from restaurants to street art to festivals. One of my favorite things to do is just go – no agenda, just see what I can find.

One of my recent favorite finds is Lady Noel’s mural outside the Masonic building. Let me know if you have a favorite mural I need to check out!

Smile for Me Now: The 6 Products in My Dental Routine

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Why, yes, that title is based on a 2Pac lyric.

It’s been a couple months since my first dentist appointment in a loooong time, & now I’m on my way to a healthy mouth. Woop woop! (If only I could get myself organized enough to find a new gynecologist & go see my allergist again… baby steps, right? Adulthood can be hard.)

At the end of my first appointment at Hudec Dental, my hygienist, Sandra, gave me a product recommendations & a few free samples so I could get a feel for what I liked before sinking my hard-earned money into a bunch of random stuff for my mouth. After trying a few things, recommended by her & by my Aunt Joan, who’s also a trained hygienist, here are the products I’ve settled on (& in case you missed it, here’s how I keep track of my new dental routine).

The Time I Caught a Fish & Ate It for Dinner & Also Cried a Little

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

My dad liked fishing. Even now, all these years later, I can recall the sound of his fly-fishing reel, the buzz & whir it made as it spun out onto the pond behind the cabin we visited every year.

It’s the cabin of a hunting club, sort of like a timeshare; each of the club's members gets their own week at the cabin, to invite whomever they please. My parents first visited in 1976 on my dad's best friend's weekend – them & 13 other couples, no kids – & we still go back today.

My dad didn’t get his own week, though, because my dad didn’t hunt. My dad was a car guy; he drove cars & fixed cars & watched cars & showed cars & obsessed over cars – but he did like to fish. Every summer, when we went up to the cabin, my dad took out his reel & cast it from the dock – buzzing, whirring, waiting.

5 Things the Internet Has Convinced Me to Buy (So Far)

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Lately, I've taken to admitting: I am particularly susceptible to Instagram advertising.

I mean, to some extent, aren't we all? This is a big-money business. In the third quarter of 2018, Instagram generated an estimated $2 billion - which accounted for 15% parent company of Facebook’s $13 billion in ad revenue. And that's only expected to continue to grow.

Something about Instagram ads, in particular, just feels so perfectly targeted. They're always speaking to me, man. I'm a marketer! I should know better! It's embarrassing! And yet, I keep on hitting that "Order" button on products I first discover through social media.

Here are five of the products that snagged me - & whether they were worth it.
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