Wait, Since When are Bed Sheets Controversial?

Friday, March 30, 2018

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I am a fan of bedding. I like lying on it, I like sleeping in it, I like picking it out & choosing the softest & nicest versions of things... I don't make my bed every day, sure, but I have a comfy, cozy bed that is, truth be told, one of my favorite places to be.

I recently learned that millennials are killing the top sheet.

Wait, wait, what's that you say? You're not familiar with the term "top sheet"? Neither was I, until I read this USA Today article shared by my Internet friend Sara, titled "After Millennials 'killed' chain restaurants and bras, will this controversial piece of bedding be next?"


First of all, we only killed Red Lobster, not all restaurants (& even that one is still doing fine, just among a different demographic). Second of all, I own quite a lot of bras. How did millennials kill bras? What are we even talking about here?!

But I disgress. Right now we're talking about the apparently controversial "top sheet."

Until reading this article & engaging in a subsequent conversation about it on Twitter, I had no idea that it was, like, a thing that so many people actively loathe the "top sheet," also known as "the bed sheet that goes on top of your bottom." (I didn't know this was an official term, but then again, I called the bottom sheet "the connecty sheet" until I was, like, 30, so.)

OK, look, that tweet was a bit dramatic. I don't actually care how anyone else chooses to sleep. I am just, in a word, shook. I had no idea people actually preferred to sleep sans top sheet. To me, it has always been just...how you make a bed. It never occurred to be that people didn't do this.

USA Today reports that the cons of a top sheet are:
  1. The sheet gets bunched up at night. 
  2. It adds extra work. 
To these specious claims, I say:
  1. What sort of sleepers are out there getting stuck in a goddamn sheet? You need a sleep test. Or a Xanax. Calm down. 
  2. Conditioning my hair adds "extra work" to my showers, but it's just, like, part of the process. Same is true of the top sheet, which takes all of one extra minute to put on the bed. We millennials are not so lazy that that should count as "extra work." 
And finally, here are just a few reasons I demand a top sheet while sleeping:
  1. When it gets hot, I still want something covering me. Enter the top sheet!
  2. I like to sleep with weight atop me, & the top sheet is the first of multiple layers.
  3. I like the feeling of sleeping between matches pieces of fabric. It's a cocoon! I don't want my body all... rubbin' up against my duvet. That's weird. The duvet is like that one famcy dining room in your grandparents house: It's there for looks, but you don't, like, engage with it.
  4. It's just part of the sheets. It's supposed to be there. They're sold in a package! What am I gonna do, throw out half the sheets?! 
Again, I don't care how you sleep. To each her own. My husband, for example, throws off all our bedding & sleeps beneath a faux fur blanket lie he's George of the goddamn Jungle. But I just thought he was weird. I had no idea there was a whole movement out there to do away with "top sheets."

Listen, fellow millennials: I shall not be shamed. I can do without Red Lobster, but I'm keepin' my bras & my bedding. You can have my top sheet when you pry it out of my warm, cozy hands.

What's your bedding preference: top sheet or no top sheet? 
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Feel Good, Dress Better: Thinking About My Warm-Weather Style

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

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First things first: I am distinctly not a fashion blogger. I think I have a pretty decent sense of style - of my own sense of style, that is - but I make no grand claims beyond that.

Still, there are a few things I know about what I like:
  1. I wear a lot of black & neutrals.
  2. I like to bring in color through accessories.
  3. I prefer oversized looks, though they don't always flatter my body type.
  4. My style isn't androgynous, per se, but neither is it particularly feminine. 
I already knew most of these things about myself, in a vague & undefined sense, but they crystallized for me as I worked by way through the Feel Good, Dress Better workbook, created by fellow blogger Nicole.

Since then, I've really been trying to be more intentional & thoughtful about my style, which means only wearing, keeping, & purchasing items of clothing that I truly love & that make me feel good about myself. I've gotten rid of about four bags of clothes, shoes, purses, & jewelry, & though I still have too much stuff, it feels great to look in my closet & see only the good stuff. Why was I buying the not-good stuff to begin with?!  

During the warmer-weather months, I photographed a lot of my outfits, just to help get a sense of what I wear, what I like, & what doesn't look as good as I think it does. I haven't done much of that this winter, but still, as spring approaches, I thought I might as well share the photos & talk style.


So. Let's start fancy! After much debate, this is the outfit I wore to my bridal shower in August. I blogged about how happy I was that, after waffling between this & a pink floral dress, I decided to go with the outfit that felt the most like "me." (Jumpsuit: Macy's)

This super-casual outfit stands out to me because I almost never wear jeans! Still, I like the low-key hippie vibes this outfit gives off - put-together & age-appropriate but still very chill. (Shawl: FabFitFun)

This high-low, ombre, denim dress came from a boutique right here in my neighborhood, & while I don't love the way I look in this photo, I do love the dress itself. (Dress: Banyan Tree)

This is very much my go-to summer outfit: black leggings-style pants, a flowy tank (ideally less wrinkled than this) with a long necklace & the Barrow flats, which I own in three colors. I get more compliments on these shoes than on anything I've ever owned. (Shoes: Moorea Seal)

This is another example of a photo I don't love, wearing a dress I do. This flowy, lightweight dress has pockets & adjustable straps, & while I'm not typically a big fan of polka dots, this dress somehow stood out to me when I spotted in on the cheap on Amazon. (Dress: Lilbetter)

OK, this dress might be a little too short for age 33... but I do always wear bike shorts under it! I have a feeling this outfit happened on a 90-degree day when I couldn't bear wearing any more clothing than absolutely necessary. Cotton shift dress & huaraches it is! (Necklace: Ode Vintage)

This is another too-hot-too-function outfit: linen shorts, an oversized tee, & the lightweight "boat boots" that I recently donated to Goodwill (a mistake that I already regret). Know how I know it was too hot to function the day I wore this? I'm not wearing eyeliner, which is a telltale sign. It melts off my face on hot days, so I don't bother! (Boots: Sperry)

This is one of my favorite outfits, & it's super comfy, too. I like the way it looks on me & the way it makes me look, & I have a feeling I'll be wearing this same outfit & recreating it in various ways throughout the coming summer. Yeah, I've become a person who wears a lot of elastic waistbands, so sue me. (Pants: Old Navy)

Ugh, RIP my favorite pants, which ripped through the crotch in late August. I have looked everywhere for replacements, to no avail. This is another lose-fitting-but-flattering (I think?) casual outfit that will be on repeat this summer... if I can find the right pants, damn it.

These are the pants I bought as an attempted replacement for the pants in the photo above, but they don't even come close, looks-wise or comfort-wise. Boooo, hisssss. I'm not such a fan of this outfit, but I feel like it was a decent attempt at remixing looks I already know I like. (Necklace: Banyan Tree

Ah, the weather must've been getting colder here... or else I really just couldn't wait to wear this very tassled cardigan. This is literally an exact repeat of one of the outfits above, just with a sweater on top, but I think the sweater gives it a different vibe. (Sweater: World Market)

What's easier than a jumpsuit? Nothing, that's what. This black & white version is light & airy, & I reaaaally hope it still fits me this summer because I adore it. (Jumpsuit: Old Navy)

I almost tossed this black & white palm-print dress last summer because I thought it was unflattering... until I realized I kind of don't care because I love wearing it. (Necklace: City Buddha)

This happens to be almost exactly what I'm wearing today, as I write this post. Clearly it's an outfit that works for multiple seasons! These ripped jeans, which entered my wardrobe in early fall, have become a staple, but unfortunately, I haven't been able to find a similar pair; the duplicates I ordered after determining my love of them turned out not to be duplicates, after all. (Jeans: Old Navy)

I bought this dress on super-sale from a nice boutique in my neighborhood because I liked where the knot hit me - but after the first wear, the whole garment started to lose its shape, & what I thought would become a favorite is likely a soon-to-be Goodwill donation. Bummer. (Sweater: Evie Lou

This top also came from the sale mentioned above. I don't wear much white, so I always feel out of my element when I wear this piece, but it's a nice change that, when styled in my usual way, still falls within my standard vibe. Now, if I can manage not to spill anything on it... (Sweater: Evie Lou

So there you have it, a look at my warm-weather style (& man, I miss my long, blond hair more than I realized). Sure, it's 30-something degrees out today, but spring will be here before we know it (& then summer, my most dreaded season). Gotta start planning!

What's your style? Have you checked out the Feel Good Dress Better workbook yet or ever tried anything like it?
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Our Wedding Day: Getting Ready with the Girls

Monday, March 26, 2018

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It's been more than four months now since Mike & I got married, & I realized I've yet to share many photos here or tell you anything about the wedding other than a post about all our wonderful vendors. We hadn't yet gotten our wedding photos back yet, so that post only includes the one sneak-peek pic we got from our photographers on social media.

I want to share more about the day, so this is post one of [I don't know how many yet!] about our wedding day, starting with the morning of the big event.

Disclaimer: If I'm being honest, I kind of hate when people break up photos from their wedding day into multiple posts - like, I wasn't there, how many can I possibly care about reading about every single element of the day? - but now that I'm about to do it myself, I know that it's just as much for you (if you care) as it is for me. I can't imagine I'll forget these details any time soon, but I think it's worth documenting the day here for posterity's sake.

I got ready in the bridal suite with my five bridesmaids, my mom, & my soon-to-be mother-in-law, plus assorted family members who stopped by throughout the day, including my exchange sister, Ani, who flew in for Oregon, & my aunt & cousins.

Mike stayed with me in the bridal suite the night before the wedding - after all, we already live together - but he left early to get ready with his groomsmen at our apartment about a mile & a half away. Soon after he left, our hair & makeup folks, Karin & Daniel from Cleveland Makeup Artistry, showed up to get started on me & the other ladies in the wedding party.

My sister, Ani, presented me with her wedding gifts to me while I was getting my hair done. She's an incredible jewelry-maker, & she made me a pair of silver & blue earrings, a silver-hammered ring, & a beautiful, pearl-laden hair clip that I decided to wear the day of the wedding.

Karin & Daniel were so easy to work with, & Karin even allowed my aunt & two cousins to "book" last-minute makeup appointments with her on the spot! After the wedding party left for photos, they stayed in the bridal suite to have their makeup done for the day. Karin could've ditched out & said she was busy, but she stayed & prettied everyone up.

I asked each of my bridesmaids to choose different dresses in the same color (black) & fabric (chiffon) from the same company (Azazie). No body type looks quite the same in the exact same dress, & no style is universally flattering; I wanted my friends to look great & feel confident, & I thought the best way to ensure that was for them choose their own dresses.

I also asked them to choose gold-toned statement jewelry that would make them look even more individual (in that Destiny's Child kinda way, where they match but don't match). I loved seeing how each of them spun those requests into their own unique styles.

I don't have a photo of the gifts I gave my bridesmaids, but I was so proud of them. I planned for them forever! They included:

Of course, each one also included a hand-written card thanking them for being a part of the big day. I was so excited to give them these gifts as a thank-you for their love & support & friendship. 

My mom made breakfast platters for everyone, with bagels from Bloom Bakery & accouterments from... Costco! My bridesmaid Elise & I did a quick Starbucks run, too, to be sure I was fully caffeinated for the big day. My mom also brought a whollllle bunch of champagne. I didn't want to get booze-bloated, so I only had one little glass, but it was so fun to toast to with my favorite women in preparation for the big day.

I don't think my dress looks nearly as pretty hanging up as it was in real life. It's from David's Bridal, of all places, an Oleg Cassini that I fell in love with at first try-on - & it was the first dress I tried on, too!

I will admit that I wish I'd thought to look a little more elegant as my mom & my friends helped me put on my dress. Alas, in most of the photos, I am grimacing & squishing & squeezing & looking generally very undignified, so I won't be sharing most of those pics. Such a beautiful moment, ruined!

You may remember that I had back surgery when I was 12 to correct severe scoliosis, & so I have a huge scar down my back & what I call my "chicken wing," where one of my shoulder blades pops out funny. I was really worried about having both of those so visible in my low-cut dress back.

Karin, my makeup artist, said it was better not to try to cover it, because the makeup could rub off on guests & on my own dress, so my flaws were on full display on my wedding day... & after this one, brief moment of self-consciousness, I didn't even give it a second thought.

My earrings were from Bombay Taxi Boutique, owned by fellow Cleveland blogger Shibani. As soon as I got engaged, I knew I wanted to wear jewelry from her shop, if I could make it work - & when I found her Kiara moonstone earrings, I knew I'd found The Ones. I asked our photographers for special photos that focused on the earrings so that Shibani could use them in product promos if she wanted to!

I'd long feared that I would spend my wedding day feeling gross, but when the time came, I felt more beautiful than ever. The photos, to be honest, don't look as beautiful as I felt, which is a bit of a bummer for my self-esteem - but at least I felt great that day, happy & excited & in love.

The morning seemed to fly by. Within just a couple of hours, it was time for me to head off to my first-look photos with Mike.

To be continued...

All photos copyright The Oberports, our wonderful wedding photographers based out of Charleston, WV. 
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The 7 Phases of the Stomach Flu (Minus All the Gross Stuff)

Saturday, March 24, 2018

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I'm really sensitive to the fact that I seem to be sick "all the time," which people seem to mention to me every time I'm not feeling well. I have chronic pain from my back issues, & I also seem to have bum sinuses, so usually when I'm sick, it's more like "sick" - I feel gross, but I'm not, like, contagious or totally down for the count. Like, apparently I had a sinus infection for six effing months last year, so yeah, I guess I spent a lot of time not feeling great. But I feel like I'm actually generally a pretty healthy person...

The stomach flu, though, is on another goddamn level. And lucky me, that seems to be what I came down with last week.

Step 1: The Onset (Dun, Dun, Dunnnn)

You know how, sometimes, you'll sneeze funny & suddenly know: "I just got sick. Right now. In this moment, I am now sick."

That happened to me on Tuesday afternoon, but without the sneeze.

All of a sudden my body started to hurt - badly - while I was working on my computer at a local coffee shop. I straightened up, stretched a little, & immediately felt exhausted. I stuck it out for a little while... until I threw up in the restroom, at which point I headed right home.

Step 2: Stocking Up on Supplies

Before I settled in & succumbed to the sickness, I ran (errr, drove, then walked, slowly) to the corner bodega, where I picked up two purple Gatorades & two packets of NyQuil. "Feel better, sweetie," said the older Egyptian man who owns the place. "We are open until 11 if you need anything."

Nothing says "You look like hell & you're buying the stomach flu starter pack" like words of kindness from the bodega guy.

I came home, chugged one full Gatorade, & took one packet of NyQuil before collapsing into bed.

Step 3: The Panic & the Guilt

Before I fell asleep, I sent my boss a panicked, pathetic email because this has been a huge week, & we were working on a huge campaign, & I felt like I couldn't take off work without people thinking I was shirking my duties (even though it's obvious I've been working really hard, & also, I had the stomach flu, dude).

And then I took off work anyway, obviously, because I could barely move. (My boss was very supportive & kind, by the way, so I had no reason to panic aside from my own neuroses.

Step 4: Allll the Sleeping 

Unfortunately, that first night, sick as I was, I slept pretty poorly because I couldn't stop worrying about work, & also because my body hurt too freaking bad to relax. We're talking, like, creaking joints & throbbing muscles.

I tossed & turned all night, & when my alarm finally went off at 7am, I worked from my phone for, like, three minutes before falling back asleep... & sleeping soundly until I woke up at 2pm.

Step 5: Being Mothered

Mike was out of town on a work trip, so my mom offered to come up to take care of me. While I'd initially shrugged off the offer, I sent her a text early Wednesday morning begging her to come after all - in part because I just wanted my mom, & also because I had a 3pm appointment for a repairman to come fix my wifi... & I could not imagine having to interface with another human being.

When I woke up on Wednesday, I was feeling a little better, & there was my mom, sitting on the living room couch, wearing a face mask. She'd taken Lysol to everything in the apartment & stocked my fridge with Gatorade, homemade matzah ball soup, & applesauce, plus a box of Saltines, steel cut oatmeal, & a carton of almond milk (for the oatmeal). She also brought tissues & a new thermometer.

And she stayed until after 5:30pm, when the repair guy finally left. Mother of the year, y'all. 

Step 6: Allll the Sleeping (Redux)

When my mom left, I went right back to sleep. All told, I slept for nearly 24 hours, I think. I just keep sleeping... & sleeping... & sleeping. I think the fact that I was able to just zone out & sleep for so long is what helped me recover so quickly, but man, it was a lot of sleeping.

Step 7: Entering into Recovery

Like I said, I think the immediate sleeping-of-all-the-hours was fundamental to my speedy rebound. Surprisingly, my body aches had mostly dissipated by Wednesday afternoon, & by Thursday, my headache was mild. My stomach issues are ongoing but also winding down.

I have to work this weekend, a rarity for me, but I can do at my desk in my apartment, in my pajamas. I'm glad I didn't have any big plans for the weekend because I can keep taking it easy.

Soooo yeah. I was sick again.

I still feel crummy, truth be told, but after the way I felt Tuesday night, I may never call myself "sick" again unless I'm, like, actually on my deathbed. This post spared you (& my dignity) by not going into the weeds on the semantics of the stomach flu, but suffice it to say, I haven't felt that awful since the time in college when a random girl in my dorm took me to the E.R. for vomiting so hard I couldn't stand (illness, not hangover).

Truly, the stomach flu ain't nothin' to mess with. But I'd better not get a goddamn sinus infection this spring.
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9 Jobs I've Had, Both Weird & Wonderful

Thursday, March 22, 2018

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In my recent "10 Things You Didn't Know About Me," I wrote about my first job, working at a bakery at age 15. I thought it might be fun to share some of the other jobs I've had through the years particularly in those formative high school & college years. I've had some terrible great ones!

1. Cashier & Assistant at an Italian Bakery

Like I said, when I was 15 I took a job decorating cakes & making pastries at an Italian bakery called Ninni's (RIP). I left very early every day to stuff cannoli, fill French horns, stack cookies, decorate cakes, & do whatever else was needed of me. It was a really fun place to work, especially at Christmas, & not least of all because I worked with my best friend.

2. Concessions Stand Manager at a Mini Waterpark

Whenever I tell someone I worked at a swimming pool, they seem to respond excitedly, "Oh, I was a lifeguard, too!" But... no. I was a "kitchen girl," managing the concessions stand at Waterworks Family Aquatic Center. I roasted the hot dogs & ordered the pizzas & swirled the ice cream cones & mixed the slushies. I accepted wet dollar bills out of dads' swim trunk pockets & chased after kids who stole Nerd Ropes. It was, hands down, the most fun job I've ever had.

3. Holiday Staff at Macy's 

Whyyyy did I always want to work in retail? I can't explain it, but I always wanted to work in retail. Enter my job at Macy's over holiday break during the first two years of college. I worked primarily in the accessories & jewelry departments &, occasionally, in the men's department. I actually loved working in the jewelry department because some of the most frequent customers were men looking for gifts for their girlfriends & wives, & older ladies looking for gifts for their daughters & granddaughters. I loved trying to help them pick out the perfect piece.

4. Fryer Cleaner at the Campus Dining Hall 

This was both the worst job I've ever had & the shortest-held job I've ever had. I applied for an on-campus job at the dining hall a few doors down from my dorm, but I was a little late into the application process, so there weren't many gigs left. That's how I ended up in shoulder-high rubber gloves, cleaning a fryer big enough for me to fry myself in. On my first day, someone walked by & said, "Oh... is this your job now? Usually they only hire, like, big dudes to do this job." I went home reeking of oil - & quit by phone after day three.

5. Circulation Staffer at the Campus Library

This is the job I scored through campus job placement after I left the fryer cleaning gig, & boy, did I get lucky. I worked behind the circulation desk, checking books in & out, answering questions, & trying to return lost & found items to their owners. I worked with some of the greatest coworkers I've ever had, a motley crew that played a Family Guy drinking game every Tuesday & truly saved me from the hell of living in a sorority house I hated. When I transferred, my job at the library & the friends I made there were what I missed most. 

6. Event Staff at a Community Center

When I transferred colleges, I lived with my mom for a year & tried to get a job at the front desk of a local gym called The Natatorium, where a few friends worked. They didn't have any opening for front desk staffers, so they took me on as an employee in the adjoining community center part of the complex, staffing everything from weddings to city council meetings to kids' swimming pool parties. It was a weird & unpredictable job, but it was also kind of fun. I met lots of interesting people... & ate a lot of free food. Mostly cupcakes.

7. Assistant News Editor of the Campus Newspaper

When I transferred to Kent State, I started working for The Daily Kent Stater, an award-winning campus paper that also covered the surrounding city of Kent (& I'm still mad that it's not a daily anymore). In my senior year, I was named assistant news editor, helping to budget, assign, & edit stories & overseeing night publication once a week. Although it was a stressful, high-paced job (I practically lived in the newsroom), it was also one of the most rewarding - & surprisingly professional - jobs I've ever had. And yes, it paid! 

8. Front Desk Staff at a Local Gym

After about a year working as event staff in the community center, The Nat moved me to gym staff, working the front desk. I sold gym memberships, swiped people into the facility, helped clean up & organize the weight floor... it wasn't hard work, but I enjoyed it, especially because it was a great opportunity to talk to all kinds of different people. I kick myself, these days, for not taking advantage of the free gym membership when I had it - & man, that was a great gym! I've yet to find one that even comes close, especially for the price.

9. Legislative Assistant at a Religious Non-Profit

My first "real" job right out of college was working at the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism as an advocate on social justice issues related to civil rights & criminal justice. I worked on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act & the ADA Amendments Act, among others, meeting with coalitions of like-minded interfaith & secular organizations & lobbying our members of Congress on Capitol Hill. I also organized petitions, created action alerts, ghost-wrote op-eds & Congressional testimony... it was a freaking cool job. Ten years later, I still work for that office's parent organization.

Tell me: What jobs have you had? Can you relate to any of mine? 
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5 Reasons I Love the Suburbs

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

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I've never been one to hate on the suburbs. In fact, longtime blog readers may recall that this space was originally named Suburban Sweetheart. While I love city life, I've always had a soft spot for the 'burbs - for shopping plazas & chain restaurants & yards with picket fences.

After a few recent trips out to various Cleveland-area suburbs, I thought I'd make a case for the quieter life. Here's a round-up of all the things I love about being out in the 'burbs. What about you?

1. Going back home

Suburban born & raised! My mom lives in Cuyahoga Falls, about a 40-minute drive from Cleveland (making it technically a suburb of Akron), & going home is one of my favorite places to be. My mom still lives in the house where I grew up - at least for a little bit longer - & while our house is nothing big or ostentatious, it's, well, home.

I love the spaciousness, the dogs running around in the fenced-in backyard, & my childhood bedroom. I love my mom's gardens, the proximity of our neighbors, the beautiful lake down the road. There's something so peaceful about being at my mom's house.

Truly, my hometown is the neighborhood version of Cheers: Everybody knows my name, & I'm always glad I came.

2. All the good shopping

I remember shopping in D.C., where there were plenty of good stores, but because I didn't have a car, it was difficult to do any quantity of shopping at a time. You have to carry your bags around with you, so if you make one purchase, you're stuck shlepping that purchase around everywhere else you go. I hated it!

And look, I love a good boutique & all the independently owned shops here in Cleveland - but when I want to make a serious dent in my wallet wardrobe, I always head out to the 'burbs, which are the best spot, at least in this area, to shop. With a car, I can go a little crazy (but not too crazy - I'm a responsible adult, after all...)

Here in the Cleveland area, a few of my favorite areas to shop are Legacy Village in Lyndhurst (hello, best Nordstrom Rack around!) & Crocker Park in Westlake (where I love the Charming Charlie & DSW, in particular). I'm certainly no shopaholic, but I do get a weird little rush out of all that commercialism in one place. So sue me.

3. Some deliciously delicious restaurants

The suburbs get a bad rap for being a place where you can only eat at, like, Applebee's & T.G.I.Friday's. If I'm being honest, I, for one, do not hate either Applebee's or T.G.I.Friday's, but I understand the desire to dine at places that cater to, uh, a more sophisticated palate - & the suburbs can be a great place to find delicious hidden gems.

I blogged awhile back about 11 of my favorite restaurants in my suburban hometown, which should be proof enough that the 'burbs can be a great place to find great food. I also recently discovered The Capital Grille at Legacy Village in Lyndhurst, just outside the city, where I had the pleasure of sampling their new "Cocktail Time" menu - which is so damn good.

You might've caught some of it in my Stories on Instagram; I'll be back soon for their Korean Fried Chicken Sliders (spicy!) & The Churchill, a cocktail made with bourbon, lemon juice, & hibiscus honey syrup. Fun fact: Their executive chef, at just 26 years old, is Darden Restaurants' youngest executive chef in the country - & he's damn good at what he does.

4. Getting together with friends

Mike & I live just a mile & a half from downtown, but surprisingly, we don't have a lot of friends who live in Cleveland proper. Most of our closest friends live in the 'burbs - Lakewood (which is as close as it gets to being the city without being in the city), Westlake (close to all the good shopping!), & Shaker Heights.

Having friends out in the 'burbs is definitely one of the best reasons to head out to the 'burbs. Our friends Trevor & Callie just bought a beautiful, old house in Shaker, & they recently had a few of us over for a board game night. A few drinks in, we abandoned the official game (the complicated rules-heavy Vinticulture) & instead started just asking one another '90s Trivial Pursuit questions. Now that they've got a nice-sized yard, Trevor & Callie also recently adopted a puppy, a little, gangly guy named Lincoln who's soon to become a big, gangly guy. The suburbs give him lots of room to run!

5. A break from city life

If I'm being honest, "city life" in Cleveland isn't nearly as stressful as city life in, say, D.C. or New York or Boston, & like in the suburbs of someplace in, say, New Jersey, is not as relaxing as life in the suburbs of Ohio. Here in Cleveland, I live in a duplex with a small yard, & though plenty of great spots are within walking distance, it's certainly no bustling & anxiety-inducing metropolis. I never really feel like I need a break.

There's something soothing, though, about being in the suburbs, wherever they may be. Do other people feel this way? Something about the suburbs evokes a feeling of old-timeyness, of simple times. Maybe it reminds me of my childhood.

I don't know, man. I don't want to live there - but I sure do have a lot of love for the suburbs. How do you feel about them?

Disclaimer: The Capital Grille invited me to a complimentary blogger event to preview their new "Cocktail Time" menu. All opinions are, as always, my own. 
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Things I Love Right Now (Pt. X)

Sunday, March 18, 2018

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Has it really been nearly a year since I last shared with you a list of things I'm loving? Surely I've gone through plenty of love in that time - but here's what tops my list of favorites at the moment. Leave a comment & let me know what's on your currently-loving list! 
  1. Libby: I've long been a fan of libraries (librarian's daughter over here) but this app, recently launched by Overdrive, has made it so much easier to manage my ebook borrowing. 
  2. Passionfruit LaCroix: Basic bitch status, y'all. I'm drinking, like, four of these per day, which isn't the cheapest habit, but at least it's not the unhealthiest, either. I am nothing if not well-hydrated.
  3. NYX Epic Ink Liner: After Urban Decay changed its liquid liner formula, I spent ages (& $$$) trying every liquid liner on the market. This one, at just $8, has turned out to be the best of them, & it's just about the only one that doesn't sweat right off my face. 
  4. Palmers Coconut Oil Formula with Vitamin E Repairing Conditioner: This drugstore conditioner probably doesn't help my hair as much as it should, but it smells so freaking good & feels like I'm slathering cool, vanilla yogurt on my scalp... in a good way. I can't help how much I love it.
  5. Poke bowls: I'm into one specific poke bowl, actually, from Corner 11, the new lunch spot in my neighborhood: greens, shrimp, avocado, mango, shredded carrots, sesame seeds, & tom yum sauce. I can't get enough of it.
  6. Glossier Balm Dot Com: I finally joined the cult off Glossier after a friend (hi, Anna!) sent me a few items. I pulled the trigger & placed my first order with them: this trio of lip glosses. I love them all, but currently, my favorite is the coconut.
  7. Poshmark: I'm back on the Poshmark train as I undertake my attempt to declutter my closet, my apartment, & indeed my entire life. I made $100+ in just a week, so I'm feeling hopeful about this effort. (Check out this old post for more on my Poshmark habit.)
  8. Todoist.com: I can't remember who, exactly, recommended this app/website to me when I was on the hunt for ways to keep my life - & my to-do list - in order, but Todoist is a real lifesaver. 
  9. LINENSPA Shredded Foam Reading Pillow: I bought this to replace a very sad, uncomfortable Target version I'd been using. This one arrived looking equally sad, all tiny & vacuum-sealed, but within 48 hours, it had puffed up to full size & it is just the best. Perfect for bed-reading. 
  10. E.R.: I had just committed to rewatching all of Dawson's Creek when this 15-season behemoth debuted on Hulu, so I put everything on hold to make my way through it. See you in, like, June. 
One more thing I'm loving: my new blog banner, designed for me by the lovely Rachel, who has recently taken up hand-lettering. If you're reading this post in through a third-party reader, click through to check it out! 

Gimme your recs: What are you loving right now? 
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Recapping the Wackiest Day of Travel Ever

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

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Did you see that news story, a couple weeks ago, about the incoming flight that landed in Dulles only after everyone on board barfed? I was fortunate enough (that's sarcasm, folks) to be flying that day... out of DCA, which is just a few miles away from Dulles.

As early as the morning before, I knew my flight might not make it out of D.C. A Nor'easter was heading toward the East Coast, & there was already a surprise snowstorm back home. D.C. is notorious for shutting down at the mere thought of inclement weather, so I tried not to keep my hopes too high for the possibility of making it back to the CLE as planned.

Off to a rocky start...

Late Thursday night, I checked the status of my flight & saw that it was delayed two hours for operational issues, so I planned to sleep in a little later than expected. The next morning, I woke up at 7am on my friend Barb's pull-out couch to a text telling me the federal government had shut down due to high winds - but I also saw that my friend Allison made it out of town on an early-morning flight from DCA, which gave me some hope.

Around 9:15am, I caught a Lyft to the airport - but not before texting my friends who live in Virginia, to ask if I could stay with them if I got stranded. They have a guest room & two adorable kittens that I knew would help ease the sting of getting stuck.

The sexual video-chat guy...

After grabbing breakfast, I settled in at my gate to charge my phone & read A Wrinkle in Time. The relative silence was broken by a loud-voiced man a few seats down, video chatting his ladyfriend. He was intermittently arguing with her & then attempting (poorly) to whisper very sexual things to her.

It started with a fairly benign comment: "Is that what you're wearing? God, you look sexy. I love your smile." That wouldn't have been so bad, but it quickly escalated: "I can't wait to have you tonight, to feel your nails in my back." No. Stop. "Get your sexy ass back to Washington," he said, which was especially confusing given that he was waiting on a flight out of Washington.

This continued for a whopping hour & a half, & though it was a deeply uncomfortable conversation to overhear, I couldn't drown it out because I had to charge my phone, & on iPhones, the charging port & the headphone jack are one & the same. Damn you, Apple.

The Christian music lady...

Blessedly, sexy-talk guy eventually left. But speaking of blessings, he was quickly replaced by a woman who was listening to loud Christian music on her laptop... sans headphones.

I actually don't think this woman knew she was doing it. She was, in fact, wearing headphones, but her music was most definitely not playing through them. Instead, it was blasting aloud to the entire gate... & she seemed none the wiser.

I kept making hilarious eye contact with two women sitting across the gate from me, pantomiming to one another as we tried to determine whether this woman knew what was going on, & rolling our eyes at her bad tunes.

Alllllll the delays...

Initially, our flight was delayed two hours for "operational issues," which likely meant that something needed to be fixed.

And then, we were delayed because our incoming flight landed in Baltimore instead of coming into DCA. We had to wait for them to deplane & fly to us.

And then, once our plane arrived & the staff boarded the flight, an announcement over the PA system told us that we couldn't take off yet because the wind had picked up again.

The gate agent said that the weather tower at Dulles had been evacuated due to high winds, & our staff couldn't determine a safe route through the wind without their assistance. The gate agent even said something to the effect of, "It''s really dangerous out there, folks. I was on the plane myself, & you can feel it rocking back & forth from the wind." Thank you, sir, we weren't already panicky.

When we finally boarded, I had two seats to myself, but I was sitting behind a single mother traveling with two babies. (Poor lady.) Another mom got on the flight & whispered to her, "I almost didn't get on the plane. I asked the gate agent whether she would take this flight, & she told me, 'Not a chance.'" Continue the panic.

And more delays! 

As we waited for a not-too-windy window for takeoff, we learned that we couldn't take off because the flight was too heavy. We needed to spend 30 to 45 minutes on the runway burning off excess jet fuel. OK, what?

Fifteen minutes later, the flight attendant told us the crew had recalculated the weight distribution & determined that we could leave sooner if two people from the front of the plane would move to the back. Even though I had a great window seat & no seatmate, I volunteered because hey, why not? Maybe I could get away from those babies!

Guess where I ended up sitting? Behind the only other baby on board, the one whose mom almost didn't board. Her anxiety was palpable, & it made me at least 25% more anxious than I already was. (The baby was pretty cute & chill, though, tbh.)

I was seated next to a man who was feverishly rubbing a rosary. Maybe some of his good luck would wear off on the rest of the flight? I considered asking him to say a little prayer for me, too. At this point, I was mostly just amused by the whole day - &, you know, praying we didn't all go down in a ball of flames.

The final chapter...

I fell asleep almost immediately, & though I'm told that takeoff was bumpy, the rest of the flight couldn't have been too bad, because I didn't wake up until we hit the ground in Cleveland. My seatmate laughed at me for my ability to snooze the whole ride through.

There was no barfing, to my knowledge, & as a bunch of us passengers stood on the jet bridge waiting for our gate-checked luggage to be unloaded, we were able to laugh about the whole situation. Apparently DCA shut down right after our flight took off!

We feel grateful that we had a skilled & determined pilot... who was from Cleveland &, apparently, wanted nothing more than to get home to his own family. Thanks for getting us out of there, United!

I was thrilled to make it home to Mike for a whopping 36 hours before I took off for NYC... a visit that had some weather issues of its own. Suffice it to say that I'm happy not to have any more March travel plans. What an unpredictable time of year!

Your turn. Hit me with your craziest travel story.
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If I Had More Time in New York, I Would...

Monday, March 12, 2018

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I just got back from a few days in New York City, where my office is located. As longtime readers may know, I work from home but work a standard 9-to-5 (or, fine, 10-to-6) because all of my coworkers work together in an office in Manhattan. It's great to be able to go into the city every so often to visit them!

Unfortunately, the weather wasn't ideal on this trip, and I hurt my knee pretty badly one day at work, both of which severely limited my plans for the week. I forfeited a ticket to Book of Mormon because I didn't feel like my knee could take the pressure, & on my last night, my friend Rebecca & I canceled our plans because the snow was so bad.

I did do a few fun things while I was in town, mostly food-related, like eating a big, delicious bowl of curried ramen at Iron Chef Morimoto's Momosan - but now that I'm back in Cleveland, I'm dreaming of all the things I'd like to do next time I get a little more time in the city. Believe me, I'm kicking myself for not visiting Manhattan more frequently back when I lived in New Jersey!

Here's what's on my "Someday in New York" list. What would be on yours? 

1. Browse books at The Strand.

Yes, hello, this massive, historic, independent bookstore is home to more than 2.5 new, used, & rare titles. I'd like to read them all, please. Wait, what do you mean, I don't have time for that? Fine, can I at least touch them all?

2. Take a double-decker bus tour.

I'm weirdly very into these touristy-as-hell bus tours, but of course, only if the weather is nice & only if I'm sitting on the top level of the bus. I took one all over London & always wanted to do one in D.C.; I bet NYC would be a lot of fun.

3. Pay my respects at the 9/11 Memorial.

I've not been to the new National September Memorial & Museum, which is, at this point, not exactly new anymore; still, I think this is a spot all Americans ought to visit at least once.

4. Check out Coney Island.

Who doesn't love a tourist trap? Bring on the bright colors & peeling paint & creepy rides! And corndogs. Are there corndogs? I'm in.

5. Visit Dylan's Candy Bar & Momofuku Milk Bar.

I don't even know why I want to go to these two places, specifically, except that I seem to hear about them a lot &, like, why not? Plus, I'm always a sucker (no pun intended) for a pretty candy shop & a beautiful pastry.

6. See a show on Broadway. 

It's been a few years since I saw anything on Broadway; my last visit was to see Newsies way back in 2012 when it made its debut. Though Cleveland gets lots of great live shows, there's something so sparkly & special about seeing them on Broadway, where it all begins.

7. Walk the High Line.

About a decade ago, this abandoned freight rail was turned into a mixed-use public park that looks freaking wonderful. it's a 1.5-mile walk, too, which means you can get your exercise in while exploring a cool space suspended above 11th Ave.

8. Eat at an old-fashioned diner.

I've been reading Alexandra's blog for years, & though I've been to a few old-timey diners in my day, her photos make me want to seek out, like, the old-timiest diner possible & settle in for an egg cream.

9. Visit my best friend in Brooklyn.

My friend Rebecca, who grew up in Manhattan, now lives in Brooklyn, & it's been three years since I visited her there. Apparently her neighborhood has changed a lot, so I'd love to get back to explore a little... &, uh, check out the GAP outlet next door.

10. Take the Gossip Girl site tour.

My friend & coworker Marissa says that this tour, which stops at key spots from the popular show, is not exactly worth it, but I want to take it anyway. And I would even wear a headband for it. Who wants to take pics with me on the Met steps?

11. Browse MoMA and The Met.

To be honest, I'm not much of an art museum gal, but what kind of tourist would I be if I didn't want to see these ones? They're both world-class, they're both incredible, & they're both on my one-of-these-days list. My grandmother the painter would be proud.

12. Walk across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Have you ever seen Newsies? My whole life, I've wanted to stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge while wearing a jaunty newsboy cap... & Instagram an artsy photo with the caption, "I spent a month there one night."

13. Visit the Tenement Museum.

This cramped museum is located in an old tenement home on the Lower East Side, one where working-class immigrants (including many Jews) lived in close quarters in the early 1900s. it's supposed to be, like, the must-see museum for living American Jewish history.

14. Eat something Instagram-worthy.

From cronuts to rainbow bagels to rolled ice cream to the sushirito, it seems that all great (slash ridiculous) food trends originate in NYC. Some of them filter down to the rest of the country, but just once, I'd like to eat - & 'gram - something on the cutting edge of absurdity. 

Annnnnd there you have it. What's on your "Someday in New York" list? 
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What I Do & Don't Pay For

Friday, March 9, 2018

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Where does your money go? I loved Kimi's recent post about what she does & doesn't spend her money on; I always think it's interesting to see what other people invest in & where they choose to scrimp. I thought you might enjoy the same look into my life, so here you go!

What I Pay For

Going Out to Eat 

I'm not a great cook, & I don't like to cook - but more than that, I just really like food made by someone else. I go out to eat with some frequency (probably too high a frequency) because, well, I just enjoy it. I try to keep it healthy (or I try to try, at least), but I don't foresee a time when this won't be high on my list of things worth paying for.


I certainly don't get massages often - maybe once a quarter - but when I do, I never regret a penny of it. I had back surgery when I was 12 years old, & I still suffer from chronic pain & have some nerve damage around my spine. To be honest, even professional, deep-tissue massages don't exactly hit the spot (see again: nerve damage), but they're still worth it.

House Cleanings

Mike & I decided to hire a house cleaning company to come spruce up our place every few months. I don't want to throw him under the bus or anything, but he's notttt exactly the neatest or cleanest person, & I'm not a neat-freak, but I do like a certain level of organization - & am not a great cleaner myself. This seems like a worthwhile investment not for our marriage.

Coffee Shop Lattes 

Yes, I have a coffeemaker, & yes, that means I could easily make coffee at home. But do I? Never. For starters, I really like my lattes, & I can't make those at home. But more importantly, going out for coffee is often my only daily interaction with people who aren't my husband. Because I work from home, I don't have a lot of daytime opportunities to engage with other humans, except online. My latte budget is really more like a "keeping me from going crazy from loneliness" budget.

Having My Hair Colored

I am going significantly grey, but not in a cool or attractive way, which means I'm not yet ready to embrace it & allow it to happen. I love having my hair professionally colored, ensuring that it actually looks complex & dynamic & shiny & pretty, instead of whatever I'm able to do for myself from a box.

What I Don't Pay For

High-End Brands

This applies to most products, including clothes, shoes, hair, & makeup. While I'll splurge very occasionally on something brand-name, most of my clothes & shoes come from Target & Old Navy... & come to think of it, nearly all of my makeup comes from Target, too. I'm not particularly brand loyal, for the most part, so aside form my iPhone, there's nothing expensive I feel I can't do without.

Manicures, Pedicures, Facials, etc. 

I can count on one un-manicured hand how many times I've had my nails done in the last decade. I don't actually really like having my nails painted; I feel like my hands are suffocating. I like it slightly more now that I've discovered gel polish (which I had done for my wedding), but it's still not something I'm willing to pay for on any sort of regular basis. I've never had a facial & have only gotten pedicures when someone else has purchased it for me as a gift.

The Latest Technology

I kept my last iPhone until it straight-up died after two & a half years of use. While I'd love to have an iPhone X, I just can't see paying $1,000 for something I know is going to be made obsolete within the next year or so.

Having My Hair Colored

Wait, what? Didn't I just say...? Yep, this is one of those things that I waffle on. I love getting my hair done - & of course, it looks so much better when I have it done professionally. Often, though, I just can't bear to shell out for it, so I do it myself, out of a box. I even have a go-to box color.

I'm sure I'm missing some things, but these are the first ones that come to mind. So tell me: What goes on your spend/skip lists? 
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Find Your New Favorite Meal in a City You've Never Been To

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

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A few weeks ago, I shared my seven favorite meals in the CLE, as determined by, um, my tastebuds & whims - & today, I'm linking up with the Social Fabric blogging community to share similar posts from bloggers in cities across the U.S.!

A lot of the cities on this list are places I've yet to travel - & a few of them are places that I'm heading to in the near future. I'll be referring to this list when I head to the Finger Lakes region for a wedding this summer & when I visit friends in Chicago in the fall. Maybe you'll even see a blogger from your city on this list. If so, go get some local recs - & maybe make a new friend, too.

Without further ado...

Eastern US

Asheville, N.C. - A Thousand Country Roads
Baltimore, MA - Theresa’s Reviews
Boston, MA -  Bianca Blogs
Charleston, W.V. - Honey and Pine
Fairfax, VA - Cook With 5 Kids
Fort Lauderdale, FL - Acupful
Lanham, MD - Jenny Day by Day
Lehigh Valley, PA - Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Miami, FL - Sabrina’s Sea of Colors
New York City, N.Y. - Smiling Notes
North Jersey, N.J. - Crayons and Cravings
Western Finger Lakes, N.Y. - Home in the Finger Lakes

Western US

Austin, TX - Kitchen Concoctions
Austin, TX - My Big Fat Happy Life
Austin, TX - Hi Lovely
Forney, TX - My Life Homemade
Houston, TX - Pop Shop America
Houston, Texas - It’s Pam Del
Los Angeles, CA - Moore or Less Cooking
Palm Desert, CA - Tabler Party of Two
San Antonio, TX - Sincerely Onyi
Seattle, WA - Revel and Glitter
Seattle, WA - Satsuma Designs
Skagit County, WA - Long Wait for Isabella

Northern US

Bloomington-Normal, IL - Become A Coupon Queen
Carmel, IN - Home Maid Simple
Canton, OH - Hall of Fame Moms
Cleveland, OH - Greatest Escapist
Fort Wayne, IN - Kiddies Corner Deals
Grand Rapids, MI - The Epicurean Traveler
South Suburbs, Chicago, IL - Home Everyday
St. Louis, MO - And Hattie Makes Three

Southern US

Atlanta, GA - Sunshine and Holly
Charleston, S.C. - My Borrowed Heaven
Greenville, S.C. - Joann’s Food Bites
Macon, GA - Intelligent Domestications
Pigeon Forge, TN - Creative Southern Home

FInd any new faves? What's your favorite restaurant or meal in your hometown? 
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