Whatcha Drinkin'? My Summer Faves

Sunday, July 29, 2018


I shared some of my favorite fall drinks last October, & even though we're hitting the tail-end of summer (!), I figured, why not share my favorite drinks for this season, too? 'Tis the season for all things refreshing!

Saisons, Ciders, & Kolsches
First things first, beer. I used to be a Miller-Lite-only kinda gal, but shortly after turning 30, I finally figured out what kind of craft beers I like (no hops ever), & life is so much better because of it.

Some of my locally brewed favorites are: Holy Moses White Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Co.; Space Force Saison from Sibling Revelry Brewery; Rosellini from Platform Beer Co.; & the Habituale Kölsch from Saucy Brew Works... to name a few!

Things I Love Right Now (Pt. XI)

Friday, July 27, 2018


Annnnnd we're back! Here are just a few of the things I've very into right now. How about you? Leave a comment & let me know what you're currently loving.
  1. Underthings from Tommy John
    I recently received a pair of pajama pants & undies from Tommy John, podcaster advertisers extraordinaire, & I couldn't possibly love them more. The Second-Skin Pajama Pants feel like, well, a second skin (in a not-gross way) - so soft & comfy that I never want to wear anything else to bed. I also got their Cool Cotton Brief in black, & damn, they're way better than my usual undergarments. They're on the expensive side but absolutely worth shelling out for, if you can swing it.
       
  2. Brighton Wool & Honey Laundry Detergent
    My mom bought this lavender-scented laundry soap from a kiosk at the Cleveland Flea, & it didn't take long for her to get me on board. This stuff smells so good, gets everything so clean, & it's all natural, to boot. One mason jar full of it costs $12 & lasts 75 to 100 washes.
       
  3. Southern Grove Coconut Cashews
    No link to these. You can only buy them in stores at Aldi! I have to try reaaaally hard to keep myself from eating the entire bag.
       
  4. Nature Valley Granola Cups
    I bought these breakfast snacks from Costco on a whim, & I can't get enough of them - though it's possible that they're like eating candy bars for breakfast? They come two to a pack, & I eat them when I wake up for a little bit of morning protein.
       
  5. Bachelor in Paradise
    The show hasn't started yet, but I'm so excited about it. I've been reading every news (er, "news) story that comes out about it, from gossip to bios to trailers. The season starts two days after my birthday, & I can't imagine a better gift from the universe (aside from world peace or a Donald Trump impeachment) (which are basically the same thing, at this point).
       
  6. Dr. Teal's Pure Epsom Salt Soaking Solution
    I never liked taking baths, but since starting to ride, I've really begun to enjoy them. Yes, it's sort of gross to feel like you're steeping in human tea, but they also feel so good on achy muscles, especially when you add in soothing Epsom salts. I like the plain kind, but I'm particularly partial to the eucalyptus variety.
       
  7. S'well Water Bottles
    I'd been wanting a S'well water bottle for awhile, but they're fairly expensive. This summer, I snapped one up at a discount, & now I use it for every ride - not to mention all day, every day. They keep everything so much colder than any water bottle I've ever used, & as someone who's particularly picky about water temps, this is a big selling point.
       
  8. Peach Peony Iced Tea from Cleveland Tea Revival
    I don't always like iced tea, but man, this tea is something else. it is so unbelievably delicious, & so refreshing. All of their teas are certified organic, & they steep them in some crazy tea contraption as you wait. It takes forever (or, OK, the amount of time you wait for a latte), but it's so worth it. And it'a a super cute spot, too!
       
  9. Sexy Mother Pucker XXL Pillow Plumping Lip Gloss by Soap & Glory
    The first time I used this stuff, I decided I'd never wear it again because it burned so badly that I couldn't stand for my lips to remain attached to my face. For whatever reason, I gave it a second try - & once my lips were used to it, I found that it felt great, & not at all painful anymore. It leaves my lips moisturized for the long-term so I don't use it much or use often.
       
  10. Harness Cycle
    OK, I know, I know, you're super tired of hearing this from me. But do you know how exciting it is to find a workout you actually like & want to do after a lifetime of dreading, like, all movement. I've convinced my friend Brittany to join me for a couple classes, & I love being able to ride with a friend. Anyone else wanna join me? Hit me up, and/or sign up with my referral link.
Gimme your recs: What are you loving right now? 

My "A Few Things..." posts include Amazon affiliate links to some of the products I write about. If you buy something using one of these links, I will receive a small percentage of commission. Please don't feel any obligation to use these links, but if you do, I thank you greatly for your support.

Thank you to Tommy John for the complimentary pajama pants & undies I received in exchange for an online mention. As always, all opinions are my own - & yes, their stuff is actually just amazing. 

If We Were Having Coffee...

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


If we were having coffee, I'd be drinking an iced coffee, lightly sweetened, with a little but of soy milk. The largest size available, & I might even pay for my refill in advance.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that it's been a great summer so far. We've done a bit of traveling (to Costa Rica in May, to the woods of Pennsylvania in June, & to upstate New York earlier this month), but overall, we've spent most of the summer at home, which is so nice. It's been incredibly busy, from Harness Cycle classes to blogger events to festivals & cultural activities, but I can't complain about a summer full of so much fun stuff. I'm looking forward to a quieter August, though!

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I'm still really loving Harness Cycle. I'd probably try not to gush about it & end up failing; I have, as my friend Brittany pointed out, officially joined the cult of indoor cycling. I've been taking two to three classes a week, & I'm still working my way through their #HarnesstheSummer challenge, with about 10 punches left to go. No inches or pounds lost (ugh, ugh, ugh), but I'm still feeling good.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that technology expenses foiled my travel plans. My iPhone 7S, which was only a year & a half old, went on the fritz last week. I couldn't make calls or take photos, & Siri's talk-to-text feature was really freaking me out with some robotic repetition. I had to spring for a new phone, which means I now can't afford to take a quick weekend trip to NYC later this summer for a reunion with some of my best friends. The phone is nice, but my friends would be better.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that last week was bananas. I've had a few really crazy-busy weeks this summer, which isn't exactly how you want to spend the most relaxing of the four seasons. To top it off, my sleep schedule was completely messed up, so I was way off my game. I took a really chill weekend & then, to start this week out on the right foot, I made lists upon lists to keep myself organized & moving forward. If work goes well, I think this week will be a lot better, so I'm begging the universe for a light load.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I've had some health concerns lately. I've had a persistent cough on & off for awhile now, & I really need to see a pulmonologist, per my doctor's instructions... but I keep putting off making the appointment because I am genuinely afraid that they'll tell me I have lung cancer. But ignorance isn't bliss., especially when you're as anxiety-ridden as I am, so I need to suck it up & make that appointment ASAP.

If we were having coffee, I'd tell you that I've had some cool writing assignments. My mental health essay for Cleveland Magazine is coming out soooo soon (keep an eye out for the August issue!), & I can't wait to see how it turns out - especially because I got to do a really fun photoshoot with Cleveland photographer Angelo Merendino, who's super talented. I've also recently written pieces about bacon-wrapped dates, National Bratwurst Day, & Cleveland's best cream spots, to name a few.

If we were having coffee, what would you update me on?

"No Thank You" to...

Monday, July 23, 2018


No thank you to restaurants that are closed on Mondays & bars that stop serving food way earlier than any drunk people get hungry. No thank you to places that don't have their menus online or are located nearby but don't deliver on Grubhub. No thank you to Uber Eats' outrageous delivery surcharges that once tricked me into paying $40 for a pizza.

No thank you to IPAs & porters & stouts & rum & tequila & gin. No thank you to iced tea. No thank you to decaffeinated coffee or ever trying to cut back on my caffeine intake even though it's healthy & I'd sleep better & whatever, whatever, leave me alone about it.

No thank you to wet tacos from Barrio & soggy pizza from Citizen Pie. No thank you to ketchup, mustard, & ranch dressing. No thank you to meat on bones & maybe to meat in general (I haven't decided yet). No thank you to cooked carrots, raw cauliflower, & eggplant in any form.

No thank you to $400,000 condos in shitty parts of Cleveland that look like they're made out of shipping containers. No thank you to buying a house & having to spend my weekend cleaning gutters & grouting bathrooms & mowing lawns & all that other stuff that's currently included in my rent. No thank you to owning a dog or to conversations about mortgages & furnaces & renovations.

No thank you to Mad Men, Breaking Bad, & other shows I'm "supposed" to like but don't. No thank you to anyone who tries to make me feel guilty for loving The Bachelor & Grey's Anatomy. No thank you to paying for cable, but really, who does that anymore?

No thank you to spending time looking for cool new music when I could be listening to 2003 emo. No thank you to Taylor Swift's newest album & to the insistence that I should love Beyoncé as much as the rest of the world does. No thank you to all country music forever.

No thank you to gyms & trainers that focus on yelling, shaming, or otherwise making me feel like I need to be better than I am or work harder than I'm already trying. No thank you to "before & after" photos, to social media ads targeted at "losing flab fast," & to the Internet troll who called me a "fat fuck" last week. No thank you to ever being without Harness Cycle again, weight loss or not.

No thank you to toxic friendships based on guilt & perpetual apologies & always wondering if the other person is mad at you again. No thank you to adult women who still insist upon exclusionary cliquishness. No thank you to competition about collaboration & to making others feel like they need to keep up with the Joneses when the Joneses are secretly flailing, too.

No thank you to my $120-a-month AT&T bill or to not being allowed to buy a new iPhone outright (see you soon, Cricket Wireless). No thank you to getting a Nordstrom card just so I have early access to a sale intended to sell me a bunch of shit I don't need. No thank you sharing my budget or my expenses with the Internet.

No thank you to Donald Trump, or to people who are too politically apathetic to mind his presidency. No thank you to people who think being pro-Palestinian requires them to also be anti-Zionist/anti-Semitic. No thank you to people who claim their right to free speech is being infringed upon any time they get crap for voicing aloud a stupid, offensive view.

No thank you to people who drive super-fast in my residential neighborhood or to the folks who block my driveway while they're picking up food across the street. No thank you to watching videos or listening to music in public without headphones. No thank you to smokers.

No thank you to cruise ships or camping or vacations in Paris. No thank you to the elitist view (which no one ever says aloud) that international travel is inherently more meaningful than domestic travel. No thank you to traveling to foreign countries & not giving a damn about the local culture or language.

No thank you to white women using the term "spirit animal" & insisting on using darker-than-their-skin-color emojis, probably out of white guilt. No thank you to people who still say "retarded" without shame. No thank you to phrases like "Your vibe attracts your tribe," even though I believe in the sentiment.

No thank you to pretending to like anything I don't like.

So many no thank yous. What about you? 

The idea for this post came from this Instagram post from The Upspeak Collective.

A Wishlist for my 34th Birthday

Friday, July 20, 2018


My birthday is August 5th, & while I already wrote about what I've bought as birthday gifts to myself, there are still a few things left on my wishlist. I haven't purchased any of these for myself yet, but... well, who am I kidding? At some point, I probably will.
  1. More Harness Cycle classes: A pack of 10 classes costs $140, which is a little tough on my budget. I'm trying my best to make it work, but I'm up to two or three classes per week, so a gift card would go a long way in helping me keep up that pace.
      
  2. Workout clothes: Who am I? Mannn, I dunno, but I know that I don't have enough capri pants to be going to three cycling classes a week. I'd love an Old Navy or Athleta gift card to jumpstart a new workout wardrobe. And I want, like, 10 more of this sports bra.
      
  3. A cupping appointment: If you've ever watched Olympic swimming, you're familiar with the perfectly circular bruises on the back & arms of many of the medalists. I know a few folks who swear by it, & I've been dying to try it myself. A few places in the Cleveland area do it.
       
  4. Car detailing: Have I asked for this for my birthday every year for the last three years? I think I have, which means I also haven't really cleaned my car for three years. Yes, I am disgusting.
        
  5. A deep-tissue massage: A new massage studio called Studio 888 opened on my street, & it's such a beautiful, calming space. I treated myself to a massage while we were on our honeymoon, & I'd loooove to do it again.
      
  6. All the Glossier: I joined the cult of Glossier when my friend Anna sent me a few items. Now I've got my eye on: the Milky Jelly Cleanser for a fresh face, Cloud Paint so I can learn how to use blush, a replacement Balm Dot Com Trio because mine's almost used up, & their Priming Moisturizer because I'm in the market for a good one.
      
  7. A Golden Snitch clock: Do I need this? Absolutely not. But do I desperately want it? Hells to the yes. Who doesn't want a Golden Snitch timepiece? This is part of Pottery Barn's teen collection, which is laughable, because Harry Potter is for everyone. 
What's on your wishlist? Are you planning to buy any of it for yourself? 

#InfiniteKusama Comes to Cleveland, & I Could Not be More Joyful about It

Monday, July 16, 2018

 

When I learned that the Cleveland Museum of Art was hosting Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirrors exhibit starting this summer, I pulled the trigger & bought a museum membership. I'd been considering it for awhile, but as soon as I learned that museum members got first crack at Kusama tickets, that sealed the deal for me. The day tickets when on sale, I was in Columbus with my mom - & joined the long online ticket queue from brunch! Thank goodness for technology.

CMA has really gone all-out for this exhibit, hiring 100+ additional employees to staff it & even decorating the outside of the museum - & the surrounding trees! - in Kusama's signature red & white polka dots.






When you walk into the museum's massive, beautiful atrium area, you're greeted by the first exhibit, a field of large, mirrored balls lying in leaves. Behind it, you can see part of another exhibit - those giant, pink orbs suspended from the ceiling, which are part of an exhibit on the lower floor that extends allllll the way up. The overall effect is very cool & modern - & makes you really excited for what's to come.

Tickets are sold in 15-minute time increments, so when you get there, you just pop into the line labeled with your assigned time. This helps ensure that the exhibit runs smoothly & isn't overcrowded - which is important considering that tickets to see this exhibit have been selling like gangbusters!










The exhibit includes a few installations you can wander & explore at your own leisure, but the real meat of it is five small, free-standing rooms that are entirely enclosed. You wait in line at each one until it's your turn for a museum employee to let you into the room for a 20- or 30-second period. 


Yep. Twenty to 30 seconds is all you get in each room of the exhibit - & you're not allowed to get back in line to go through again. It's barely enough time for your eyes to adjust, much less to really take in the art or to photograph it, which is really disappointing but also, apparently, "the artist's intent." OK. 



This room is... full of polka-dotted phalluses, yes. The room is called Phalli’s Field, & phalluses are made up stuffed cotton. They look like wacky barnacles growing out of the ground. Kusama found the process of creating these tubers to be taxing, so she began to use mirrors to create the illusion of more of them. 

This room isn't the only place where she uses these phallic tubers, which Kusama calls Accumulations. She's covered furniture in them, made hanging wall art of them, & created a garden of them that's reminiscent of the Loch Ness Monster.  




I didn't get great photos in the other rooms because of the time limit. More than I wanted to photograph them, I wanted to enjoy them, & I decided that was more important than being able to blog about them. None of these photos to justice to any of this art, but that's OK. Maybe that's how art should be sometimes, you know?

These exhibits have really dramatic names, like The Souls of Millions of Light Years Away & (that's the one with the colorful lights), Aftermath of Obliteration of Eternity (the one with the golden lanterns). Perhaps the coolest, in my opinion, is All the Eternal Love I Have for the Pumpkins, which visitors aren't allowed to photograph (though no one explained why, exactly). That one is full of glowing, polka-dotted kabocha squashes, & a museum staffer accompanied us into the room to be sure we didn't break the rules. 




One of my favorite parts of the exhibit is Love Forever, a box made of wood, mirrors, metal, & lightbulbs. You can look in either of two holes in the side of the box to see what felt like an infinity's worth of flashing lights - like being on the inside of a kaleidoscope. I wish I could've fully captured it in photos, but this will have to do (unless you want to check out other people's awesome Instagram videos of it). 

The description of this exhibit says, "For the artist, the concept of 'Love Forever' stood for civil rights, sexual liberation, the antiwar movement, and the activist groups of the 1960s." Heyyy, social justice art! As much as I loved looking in the box, I really loved watching other people look in the box. Everyone just seemed so joyful as soon as they popped their heads inside. 



And how about those giant pink orbs? That exhibit is called Love Transformed Into Dots, & it has a very stuck-inside-a-dollhouse feel. There's a 20-second room full of them, but they're also all over the rest of the exhibit so that you can see them up close. They're inflatable... & enormous


There's also a small version of them. You peek through a tiny hole & see hundreds of thousands of tiny pink orbs, mirroring off one another, forever. 





These very colorful displays are both 1D & 3D, & they represent Kusama's more recent work - as recently as 2016, in fact, which is kind of amazing given that she's 89 years old. Did you hear me? She is 89 years old creating all these amazing, glorious, intricate artwork, proving that ain't nothin' but a number.  




The final room of the exhibit is one that's fully interactive & where visitors can spend as much time as they want. The Obliteration Room, set up like a home - complete with a kitchen, a library, an office, & more - is painted entirely in white, from floor to ceiling & everywhere in between. When you enter the room, a museum attendant hands you a small sheet of colorful polka dot stickers, with instructions to stick them wherever you want (except on the ceiling).  

I especially love the Cleveland touches, including a leg lamp a la A Christmas Story & the Cleveland skyline above the sink. I wanted to take more photos in here, but Mike didn't want to disrupt anyone else's experience - perhaps because of what happened the last time we went to a Kusama exhibit









Yayoi Kusama has been making art for a damn long time, but it's only in the past few years that she's been truly recognized & respected for the breadth of her work. She's achieved cult status - at nearly 90 years old! She lives in Japan, where she continues to make art shown around the world, including a new upcoming exhibit in London. 

"I love painting so much that nothing else matters," she said in one interview. 

I felt so lucky to be able to score tickets to this exhibit - & I'd like to go again, if I can manage to get a second round of tickets. If you're able to go, I can't recommend it highly enough. Though Kusama's art is said to be inspired, in part, by her severe psychiatric issues, they manifest themselves in such a way that you can't but feel joyful & full of awe when viewing her work. 


What I Bought Myself for My Birthday

Friday, July 13, 2018


My birthday is the first week in August, &, look, no one buys you piles of birthday gifts when you turn 34. (I mean, if you want to, please feel free!) I am, instead, a firm believer in the #treatyoself philosophy when it comes to birthday gifts. Though my birthday isn't for another few weeks, I've already purchased myself some pretty sweet gifts in early celebration.

Hamilton tickets

These were a triple gift: for Mike for our three-year dating anniversary, for my mom for Mother's Day, & for me for my birthday. We're going on August 3rd, the start of my birthday weekend - yes, all three of us. I couldn't resist! We are all so excited about it.

Secret Hitler

OK, bear with me. This game sounds weird & inappropriate, but it's a lot of fun. If you've ever played Mafia, this is similar, though in this game, you're trying to weed out the fascists - including one player acting alone as "Secret Hitler." We played it at the cabin in June, & I bought it almost immediately upon returning home.

A clip-on book light

Mike & I are smart, capable people with a nice, real, adult-ishs home... & yet, we didn't, until now, own book lights. That meant we had to read on Kindles or phones in the dark, or else get out of bed to turn off the lamp when we wanted to sleep after reading a paper book. Now, we have two book lights, one for each of us, so when we're done reading, we can simply flip a switch from bed. Magic!

Newsies enamel pin

Poor orphans & runaways, the Newsies were a ragged army, without a leader - until one day, all that changed..." I am the biggest Newsies fan, don't @ me - & don't talk to me about the Broadway version. I am a movie die-hard, & this pin is my favorite thing that has ever existed, I think, aside from the movie itself.

Eyerusalem Leather Passport Wallet

I first saw this passport cover on the Cleveland blog And Then We Tried, & at just $35 (plus a 20% coupon code for first-time buyers), I couldn't resist snagging one for myself. I got it personalized with my new initials, KBK - to match my new passport, coming soon.

A neon pink dress

This very brightly colored, lightly ruffled dress absolutely should not be my all-black-loving style, right? Right. And yet... it is. It so is. It was on clearance at Dress Barn, & it seemed like the perfect frock for the Lake Erie wedding I'm attending in mid-September. I couldn't resist.

What have you gotten for yourself lately? Or what's on your want-to-buy list? 

Seneca Lake: 48 Hours in Upstate New York

Wednesday, July 11, 2018



If you've ever wanted to visit the trout lake capital of the world, you're in luck: I'm here to tell you all about it!

OK, OK, not all about it - we weren't there for very long, & we certainly didn't see or eat any trout - but I did visit the trout lake capital of the world last weekend, so I'll tell you what I know about it.

Geneva, N.Y., is situated at the north end Seneca Lake, the largest & deepest of the Finger Lakes in upstate New York, which is home to a whopping 50 wineries. One of those is Belhurst Castle & Winery, where our friends Sam & Ryan tied the knot last Saturday.

Yes, it's a castle, open to the public as a hotel/winery/restaurants/spa combo in 2004. We booked The Bamboo Room for the weekend, in part because we wanted to experience Belhurst's famous hotel wine spigot, which dispenses complimentary red wine to hotel guests.





On Friday night, we went to downtown Geneva, which has a small-town vibe that reminds me of Kent, OH, where I went to college. Mike found a restaurants called The Red Dove Tavern, a husband-and-wife-owned gastropub that specializes in farm-to-table foods.

We split the gemelli (that's twisty pasta; I had to Google it) with pesto, grilled shrimp, & burrata. It was so good, & it was a surprisingly large portion, so splitting it was the right choice. Mike got the oysters - his new obsession, & definitely not mine - while I got the sugar snap peas with ricotta & basil, which were so fresh & refreshing. I needed something green!

I was excited to see Allagash Saison on the drink menu because I haven't had an Allagash beer since my D.C. days., but they're based in Maine & always remind me of my time living in New Hampshire. Hey, Allagash Brewing Co. folks: Make your way to the Buckeye State so I can drink your beer way more often.




Afterward, we headed over to Lake Drum Brewing, a small, intimate brew house in downtown Geneva - the first one there since Prohibition! It feels more like a coffeehouse, with live folk music playing in one corner of the room & huge shelves of books lining one wall. There's not a ton of seating, but it all feels very close & communal.

Lake Drum originally specialized in sours, but I wasn't sure I could handle one of those (sensitive stomach over here!) so I went with the Gateway Kolsch. Mike, ever the IPA lover, went with the Bad Dog IPA, & we drank them on a bench just outside the brew house so we could enjoy the unseasonably cool weather.



We called it an early night, but on Saturday morning, we woke up earlyish & headed downtown again. This time, our destination was the H.J. Stead Company, a cozy eatery in an historical building that once housed a bifocal company of the same name.It only has a few tables, & you're expected to share the space with others, which can mean communal eating. That's not quite our jam, so we were glad to find spots open at the bar.

Look how adorable all of this is, from the street art to the street itself to the crowded-but-cute inside of this spot!




It took us ages to order because everything on the menu looked so good.

Mike went with the FLX Burger, done In-n-Out style with two smashed patties, & though it didn't photograph well, he loved it. I decided on the chicken & egg breakfast sandwich, served on a big, beautiful brioche bun & topped with cheddar, greens, aioli, & pickled veggies. Fried chicken is a toss-up food for me, but I had a good feeling about this one... & I was so right. I left feeling satisfied but not gross or overly full.

H.J. Stead & Company also has a great beer & wine menu, so Mike, ever the brunch boozer, went with The Big Broadcast, a double IPA from War Horse Brewing in Geneva. I got the cold brew, which was damn strong.




We stopped in at the new Finger Lakes Welcome Center because I wanted to take a pic with the "I ❤ NY" statue you see in the banner photo in this post. You know I'm a sucker for a good Instagram spot! Unfortunately, there were people sitting all over it watching their kids play on a nearby playground. Maybe not the best idea to put it right there? Alas, it's the only shady spot in the area, so I can't blame those parents too much.

We took some pics by the water & went back for an "I ❤ NY" pic before we left town on Sunday. Can you even with how gorgeous this place is? Everything just felt so serene - even with kids on monkey bars screaming in the background. 


We headed back to Belhurst Winery for a wine tasting in the hotel's gift shop. Chrissy, the bartender, was friendly, knowledgeable, & efficient as hell, running all over the place to conduct multiple tastings as once. You can do cheese or chocolate pairings, too, but we went straight for the wine.

We didn't love any of the wines, but they were all fun to try. I tasted ice wine for the first time (which tastes like liquefied strawberry jam), & we also sampled a couple beers brewed by their own beer company, the weirdly named Mabel's Oat Soda Co.

In the end, we bought a bottle of the Belhurst Red (Semi-Dry) to drink on the patio outside, & when we finished that, we grabbed a cheese board from Stonecutter's. It was a really solid cheese board, I've gotta say. Just look at that thing! Pesto hummus!






And then it was time for the wedding! We saw Sam, Ryan, & their families while sitting outside at Stonecutter's, which only made me more excited for the big event. The weather was so perfect. They tied the knot under a rose-studded canopy in front of Lake Geneva, their two young kids their only bridal party. It was a quick ceremony, followed by cocktail hour on the castle lawn & a reception inside.

I'm so bummed that this photo of Mike & me on the water didn't turn out well, in part because I loved my dress, a glittery, sequined bodycon with a low-cut mesh V at the chest - that was still classy & subtle despite that mega-trashy description. You can sort of see it in the selfie below.





The wedding itself was so lovely & fun, despite the fact that we didn't know many other people in attendance. Mike got to catch up with some of his high school friends, & we spent a lot of time laughing at all the little kids on the dance floor. Why do kids dance like all their bones are breaking?!

At one point, the groom rapped the entirety of "O.P.P." for his bride - "You asked for a ballad," he said - & the night ended with personalized wine bottles & hand-rolled cigars & s'mores. Oh, & some more spigot wine, of course. 







Seneca Lake, the closest-to-us of the Finger Lakes, is about a five-hour drive from Cleveland, & it's an easy, straight shot. We left around 2pm on Friday after working almost-full days, & we made it there before sundown. On Sunday, we had brunch at the castle, took photos at the "I ❤ NY" sign, & headed home by noon, with plenty of Sunday to enjoy when we got back. I'd really like to go back to the Finger Lakes region for a fuller wine tour sometime in the future. Way cheaper than Napa!

I loved this little weekend getaway, but I'm also glad that it was the last out-of-town trip on our calendar for a couple months. We're going to the Marblehead Peninsula on Lake Erie for a wedding in September, but for now, we're just enjoying Cleveland & spending some time in the home city.

Have you ever been to the Finger Lakes region? What's the last weekend road trip you took?

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