Year in Review: OK, 2019, That Was a Lot

Monday, December 30, 2019

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It feels like a looooot of work to put together a decade-end recap and a year-end recap at the same time, but I've done a year-in-review post every year since 2011, so I guess this can't be the year I don't.

I've already told you what I'm most proud of this year & how I did on this year's goals/resolutions, & there will understandably be some overlap in this post. So let's jump right into it, shall we? Here are some of the highlights of 2019.
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From 2010 to 2019: Looking Back on the Decade

Sunday, December 29, 2019

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I rang in 2010 yelling, "Happy anniversary of Y2K!" which has since become my favorite way to ring in every new year, though it seems particularly perfect on nice, round anniversaries. I look forward to doing the same as we welcome in 2020 next week.

To be honest, 2010 doesn't feel like all that long ago - which is, I suppose, a hallmark of growing older. After reading Stephany's recap of the last decade, I thought it would be fun (if not extremely time-consuming) to put together one of my own.
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Recapping My 2019 Goals: Here's How I Did

Friday, December 27, 2019

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I'm not great at new year's resolutions or goals or intentions or whatever it is that you want to call them. Usually, I forget what I've committed to... yet, I make new ones every year. Here's what I committed to at the beginning of 2019 - & how I did.

1. Go back to therapy. 
A year ago, this was my top priority of 2019 - which makes sense because a year ago, I was struggling with depression again. It seemed to abate on its own in early 2019, & then I put therapy back on the back burner. Honestly, I don't feel like I need a therapist at this point - but it's always better to have one before you need one, so maybe I should add this back onto the list for 2020!
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All I Want for Christmas (and/or Hanukkah) Is...

Monday, December 23, 2019

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Too late in the game to share a holiday wishlist? Yes. Gonna share it anyway? This is my blog, I do what I want - & besides, there are still six more nights of Hanukkah to go!

1. Sunday Riley Luna Sleeping Night Oil
II have no idea if this stuff, like, does anything, but I sure do love putting it on my face before I go to bed at night. The first time I got it, it came in a FabFitFun box; turns out it's actually really expensive, so I will likely never own it again.

2. Harness Cycle gift card
Yes, I'm still riding, though I've unfortunately slacked since my big work conference & right afterward, when I came home sicker than a dog. But I'm ready to get back to it, & every little bit helps - both when it comes to exercise & to finances.
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What I'm Most Proud Of This Year

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

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What are your biggest accomplishments of the year? As I've seen friends' responses pop up all over social media, I've been trying to think of my own, flipping back through my mental Rolodex of 2019. Here's what I've come up with - & I'd love to hear your answers, too!

1. Rode my 100th spinning class
This milestone was originally set to happen in January, but right after the first of the year, I took a nasty fall on black ice & destroyed my right knee. That pushed this goal back a few months... which made it that much sweeter when, in mid-March, I hit 100 rides at Harness Cycle! Four friends came out to ride with me, & the instructor made a playlist of all my faves.
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6 Ways to Support a Cat Cafe When You Can't Adopt a Cat

Monday, December 16, 2019

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Say you're a cat lover who already has two sweet cats at home & can't adopt more, but then a cat cafe opens, like, 20 steps from your front door. Hypothetically, of course. What's a gal to do?!

Such was the case, for me, when affoGATO Cat Cafe opened in my neighborhood earlier this year. It's so close to my house that I'm there almost every day for coffee, staring longingly through the glass at all the adoptable kitties I cannot adopt.

The one near me, at least, is a for-profit & does not accept donations, but they do accept help in plenty of other ways. So if you, like me, love cats but, uh, don't need any more of them in your own home, here are a few ways you can support your local cat cafe.
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You'll Shoot Your Eye Out! A Trip to the "A Christmas Story" House

Monday, December 9, 2019

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As a Jewish kid growing up in an interfaith household, I did celebrate Christmas throughout much of my childhood. But we had a small family & not much to do on the holiday itself, after we'd opened gifts. To be honest, after that, Christmas got kinda boring - so I spent many a Christmas watching A Christmas Story on repeat as it played alllll day long on TNT.

In 1988, TNT started playing 24 hours' worth of A Christmas Story - a whopping 12 showings. It has recently come to my attention that many of my fellow Jews are unaware of the movie, which, to be honest, I find baffling because what else did we have to do on Christmas?! I, for one, entered adulthood knowing much of the film by heart.

But it wasn't until I moved to Cleveland that I learned about the film's local ties. During the holiday season in 2015, I started seeing leg lamps allll over the city. I even did a roundup of them here on the blog!
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But I Don't Even Like Pearl Jam!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

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Let me start with this: I used to be extremely emo.

Before emo was what it is now - before it was My Chemical Romance & Panic! at the Disco - emo was The Get-Up Kids & Gloria Record & Brandtson & Lovedrug all these bands I still adore.

It's nearly impossible for me to find selfies or solo pics from my emo days, but in addition to the photo above, here's a smattering of the ones I did find - complete with lots of black eyeliner & sweepy bangs & band tees & weird thrifted stuff that I intentionally mismatched.
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Livin' the Suite Life... at a Cleveland Browns Game!

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

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Late November marked the five-year anniversary of my move back to Northeast Ohio - & I celebrated it by doing one of the coolest things I’ve yet had the opportunity to do in this city.

The fine folks at downtown Cleveland's JACK Casino invited four local bloggers to join them for a Cleveland Browns game, getting a firsthand taste of the ClubJACK experience. It was honored to be selected, & I was thrilled that my friend Marisa agreed to join me. We had such a fun day - & the Cleveland weather even cooperated!
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What I Read in November

Sunday, December 1, 2019

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I didn't read much in November, but I still finished four books - including two of my favorite reads of the year, which I'd say makes for a successful reading month.

Up next? I'm about to finish She Said: Breaking the Sexual Harassment Story That Helped Ignite a Movement - just in time to hear author & Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jodi Kantor speak at my work conference later this month!

As December begins, I know I won't come anywhere near my goal of reading 80 books by the end of the year - but hey, sometimes life gets in the way. It's been a good reading year, regardless of the numbers - & I hope to finish a few great ones to round out the year. Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here's what I finished in November:
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I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

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I come from an athletic family. My grandparents were hikers - they walked multiple miles every day, even into their 80s - & my mom, who was a swimming champion in her teens, is big into biking.

The most athletic among us, though, are her brother & his family. They're exercise people, you know? They run for fun. They do push-ups while watching TV. They travel with workout gear. One cousin has run races all over the world, & the other started a running group in Cincinnati, where she lives.

And me? I'm decidedly not an athlete.
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To All the Medical Dramas I've Loved Before

Monday, November 25, 2019

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Everyone's got a guilty pleasure... or two... or 10... & one of mine (aside from my deep & abiding love of The Bachelor & all related podcasts) is medical dramas.

I don't know why I love them so much; I'm not a big fan of blood or bones or bodily functions... but I do love over-the-top drama, & medical shows seem to have a lot of that. There's an endless opportunity for story lines because you can literally do anything with these fictional patients: Kid trapped in cement. Two people skewered together on a pole. A massive ferry boat crash. A helicopter that cuts off a doctor's arm.

Voilà! So much drama for ever & ever - & that's not even counting the character drama among the doctors.
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Do Good. For Cleveland. (Plus, My Video Debut!)

Friday, November 22, 2019

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The beautiful inspiring, & compelling promotional video for #GivingTuesdayCLE dropped on Wednesday - & you may recognize a familiar face in there!

I'm honored to have been asked to take part in this effort to share the #GivingTuesdayCLE movement, which amplifies the voices of local nonprofits & encourage Clevelanders to donate their time, money, advocacy, & passion for organizations that are making a difference.

Here's the video, created by the talented folks at Anthony Thomas Advertising.
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Six Months Later: A Check-Up, a Check-In, & a Few New Goals

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

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In March, I wrote about how scared I am of going to the dentist’s office. It’s hard to believe that less than a year later, I’ve almost fully gotten over this longstanding fear – but I think I have!

In April, I went to the dentist for the first time in a whopping four years. Or was it five? I’m trying not to remember, honestly, because I’m not going back to that life. Nope. Now I’m a grown woman who gets my teeth cleaned every six months. Seriously. I’ve done it twice already.

I’ll pause while you pat me on the back.

Thank you, thank you.

Anyway. After that first visit, I shared my tips for being less nervous about dental appointments – including a few from my very personable, wonderful hygienist, Sandra at Hudec Dental’s Ohio City location. I’ve been taking my own tips to heart, & they’re working – because last month, I went back for my six-month cleaning & check-in, & I felt totally fine about it. Mostly I was just excited to see Sandra. Now that was an unexpected relief!
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I Went to a Very-Uncharacteristic-of-Me Yoga & Meditation Retreat

Monday, November 18, 2019

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Even though I now own three decks of affirmation cards, one tarot deck, & multiple crystals, I still don't consider myself into "woo-woo" things. At this point, I'm probably straight-up lying to myself, but you know what? Let me be.

Here's another extremely woo-woo thing for me to have done: At the end of October, I spent an entire Sunday in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where I was one of a handful of women who participated in Good Karma CLE's RemembHER: A RemembHER Retreat.

It was "a day retreat designed to unearth our stories and reclaim our power; to dust off our bones and greet our truest selves; to release the weight of entombed expectations." And based on that very beautiful but also very vague description, I had almost no idea what to expect of the event.
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It's OK Not to Be OK (But It Still Sort of Sucks)

Friday, November 15, 2019

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I have not been OK.

I mean, let me back up: I am functionally OK. I am safe, & I am fed & clothed & dry & for all intents & purposes, I am healthy. Yes, even mentally. I am OK on all the fronts that really matter, overall.

But I am not exactly OK, you know?

Life feels really hard right now.

This year has been busier than any other year of my life. To be honest, I don't know exactly why that is, but it is.
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How Do You Measure a Year in the Life? (Happy Second Anniversary to Us!)

Monday, November 11, 2019

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Two years ago today, Mike & I said "I do" right here in Cleveland, OH, surrounded by our friends & family & so many of our favorite people in the whole, wide world.

We signed our custom-made ketubah & stood beneath a chuppah held by our wedding party, topped with a tablecloth embroidered by my great-grandmother.

We exchanged the vows we'd written ourselves, & our friend & rabbi declared us husband & wife, in accordance with Ohio law & Jewish law.

We ate pierogis & drank "felix felicis" & danced to everything from Ray LaMontagne to the Beach Boys to Montel Jordan to Justin Bieber.

And then we started the rest of our lives together as a married couple.
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What I Read in October

Friday, November 1, 2019

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And I'm back in the game! I did a significant amount of reading in October that was still not as much as I could've read, but... well, given how busy I have felt all freaking year, I'd say that six books is a pretty reputable number.

I'd like to be better at relaxing in November - like, truly. And you know what means? More books. In the meantime, here's what I read in October. How 'bout you?
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Chip, Chip, Hooray! Attending a Very Fun, Tex-Mex-Themed Wedding

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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If you follow me on Instagram, you might've seen that this weekend, I attended one of the most fun weddings ever, that of my friends Emily & Ron. They dubbed the entire event #guacdowntheaisle, & it was just such a blast. 

The reception took place at a Tex-Mex restaurant (we'll get to that in a minute), & the festivities included a number of unusual elements that I feel it my duty to share with you, good people of the Internet. How could I keep something this fun & joyful confined to Instagram & my own memory?!
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70 of My Favorite Ways to Take Care of Myself

Thursday, October 24, 2019

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I've been thinking a lot about the ways I take care of myself: not "self-care" in the trendy "treat yo'self" sense of the term that it seems to have become, but in the true "What do I need in order to be the healthiest version of myself?" kind of way. 

There's nothing I love quite as much as a good list, so I recently started keeping track of them all... & thought I'd share them hear with you.
  1. Take a really hot shower... & sit down in it!
  2. Do a clay face mask. I like this one from Revive, a Cleveland-based company.
  3. Lose myself in a good book
  4. Buy a plant. I'm partial to small succulents.
  5. Put a cold towel on my face.
  6. Put a heating pad on my back.
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Fun in the CLE: 1970 vs. Now with "Hey, You Punks!"

Friday, October 18, 2019

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I haven't done much yet with this idea, but in the last year, I've been thinking about writing a blog post featuring books I've enjoyed written by Cleveland-based authors. The list is longer than I'd expected - I hadn't realized I'd even read so many local books! - & I'm going to keep expanding it for a bit before I write that post.

For now, though, I want to highlight one: Hey, You Punks!, a graphic novel set on Cleveland's West Side - including Tremont, the area where I live. The author, Don Billie, grew up in this area in the late 1960s & early '70s, & he's set his coming-of-age antics into comic form with the help of Cleveland Institute of Art grad Gloria Pridemore.

When Don reached out to ask if I'd be interested in his book, I was excited to see what life was like in this area "back in the day." (Sorry, Don!) If you're a millennial-or-younger who's ever wondered what, exactly, kids did for fun in the days before smartphones & video games, this book is an interesting - if, at times, alarming - look at the shenanigans "young punks" got into back then.
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Smile Big: I Got My Two Front Teeth Fixed!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

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A few months before Mike & I got married, I chipped one of my front teeth. Again.

That’s right, my front teeth were already slightly chipped, & then I went & made it worse. How, exactly, did I chip my teeth not once but twice? Good question, I have no idea.

OK, I know one of the answers: The first time, I bummed one of my front teeth on one of Mike’s front teeth when I went in for a kiss. On our fourth date. Not embarrassing at all.

The second time, though, I was standing in my driveway, talking to friends, when all of a sudden, I felt a little piece of my tooth come loose. When I spit it out into my hand, conversation stopped. “Did you just chip your tooth?” a friend asked. “And… how?!?!”
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My Own Personal Best of CLE(veland Magazine)

Monday, October 14, 2019

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Cleveland Magazine's Best of CLE issue is out now, & it's always been my favorite issue of the year - first as a reader & now as a freelancer for them. It's just so much fun, & it's the perfect way to discover new products, people, & places with which you weren't yet familiar.

This year's issue features three of the CLE's own bloggers on the cover, photographed by the talented Angelo Merendino. From left to right, they are: Shibani of Bombay Taxi Boutique, Romance of Hey, Curlie, & Kimberly of Modern Musings. Lookin' good, ladies!

As much as I like seeing local bloggers on the cover, though, the inside of this issue is pretty personally important to me, too, because I did a lot of writing for it - all different, all interesting, all a privilege. Inside this issue, from me, you'll find:
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When Instagram Kinda Hurts Your Feelings

Thursday, October 10, 2019

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I try to be a person who doesn't care about social media numbers, about blog traffic. Someone who is driven by words & connections & relationships instead of by engagement rates & analytics & followers numbers.

But man, sometimes it's hard.

Lately I've felt like I'm following too many Instagram accounts. You know how it is: You fall for an ad, or you follow a celebrity you're briefly interested in, or you enter some giveaway... & before you know it, you're following 500 randos.

To clean house, I downloaded an app that lets me batch un-follow whichever accounts I select (rather than going through & unfollowing one by one, as you have to do within the Instagram app. Who has time for that?!) This third-party app shows me two things: a circular green arrow over "mutual follow" accounts & a one-way orange arrow under accounts I follow that don't follow me back.

"Fine," you're thinking. "What's the big deal?" And there's no big deal, really. Let me reiterate: It is not a big deal.

And yet.
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6 Small Goals for October

Monday, October 7, 2019

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After missing the mark on all of my August goals, I set three big but vague ones for September in an effort to reset & restart. I'm happy to report that September was muuuuch more chill & emotionally successful than the hectic, crazed month that preceded it.

In all, I feel prepared to set six regular goals for myself for October, like I usually do - which means that September was a successful reset! Here's how things went:
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What's It Like to Have Idiopathic Hypersomnia? My Life with a Rare Sleep Disorder

Friday, October 4, 2019

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It's been about 10 months - nearly an entire year - since I started medication to treat my idiopathic hypersomnia (IH), a neurological condition that causes my body to need/want more sleep than your average bear - literally, almost like a bear, all my brain wants to do is hibernate.

I now take medication every morning to try to control my condition - & truly, I have never felt better. Are things perfect? No, & I still follow up with my neurologists every two months to address ongoing concerns. But for the most part, things are better than they ever have been, awakeness-wise.

I started to put together a big, long Q&A answering questions about life with IH, but I realized I had more to say than fit into a single blog post. Instead, this post is going to be the start of a long series in which I answer those questions & break them down into smaller, more readable categories.

So today, let's talk about the general gist of idiopathic hypersomnia: what it is, what it does, & how it affects me, in particular. As they say, your mileage may vary.
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Sweat It Out: My Experience in an Infrared Sauna with Color & Sound Therapy

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

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I've never been a big salon-&-spa kinda gal. I can count on two hands the number of times I've gotten my nails done in my life; I get my hair cut about once a year, & I have it professionally colored approximately never; I get massages here & there, & I recently tried cupping, but I've never had a facial or done any other kind of spa services.

All that to say that when I had the opportunity to book an appointment with j. bellezza, a local boutique, salon, & beauty lounge, to try an infrared sauna session, I was really excited about it... but I had no idea what to expect. I'd never done a regular sauna session, much less an infrared one!
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What I Read in September

Monday, September 30, 2019

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September was nowhere near as busy as August, but I didn't get in nearly as much reading as I'd hoped or planned, either. I did get some, though, which puts me three books ahead of my August total of zero books. All three were memoirs - none great but all interesting.

I feel like I'm in the middle of many other books, the most powerful among them Know My Name by Chanel Miller, who was known as "Emily Doe" during the Brock Turner sexual assault trial. I'm listening to the audiobook, read by the author, & it's incredible so far. More on that in next month's round-up, to be sure - but in the meantime, I highly recommend picking it up (& paying for it, because I think this woman deserves, like, a billion freaking dollars for being so strong, so brave, & so in the public eye).

Here's what I got through in September... how 'bout you?

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The Good Land: 7 Things I Loved on My First Visit to Milwaukee, WI

Monday, September 23, 2019

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At the end of July - which already feels like so long ago, yikes! - I visited Milwaukee, WI, for the first time. I was in town for my friend Rebecca's wedding to her long-time boyfriend (& now husband, obviously), Will, which took place in rural Colgate, WI, a shuttle ride away from downtown MKE.

As much as I love Cleveland & am pro-Midwest, this was really my first time going into the Midwest. Sure, I've been to Chicago, but this was my first time in Wisconsin - & I've still never been to uber-Midwestern states like Minnesota & Iowa. Needless to say, I was really, really excited to get my Midwest on. 

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Let’s Get Physical, Physical: My Health Goals for the Remainder of 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

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Who says the start of the new year is the only time to set lofty, meaningful health and fitness goals? Not I. As 2019 begins to wind down (insert “time flies when you’re getting old” sentiment here), I’ve been thinking about a few of the health goals I’ve been pursuing this year – and what I want to work on in the next few months.

1. Wear my mouthguard every night, no exceptions.

I grind my teeth at night, & it’s negatively impacting my tooth enamel, which can become a huge problem if left untreated. For years, I’ve been wearing crappy CVS-brand mouthguards – the kind you have to boil in a pot of water & fit to your mouth yourself – but they get gunky & gummy real fast. Gross.
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I'm Not Happy Unless I'm Doing These 3 Things Every Single Week

Monday, September 16, 2019

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Remember how I didn't read any books in August? And how I haven't written, like, any blog posts this summer? Well, those two deficits are related - related, that is, to a larger theme of my very busy summer & the lessons I'm learning from it.

There are three things I did none or almost-none of in August:
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I Tried Cupping - & Maybe You Should, Too

Friday, September 6, 2019

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I've wanted to try cupping ever since I first saw those weird, circular marks on Michael Phelps's back during the Olympics in 2016. I've tried massage, obviously, & I saw an acupuncturist with some regularity when I lived in New Hampshire, but nothing seems to give me satisfactory or lasting relief for my ongoing back pain.

A few months ago, I got a massage at Studio 888, a relatively new wellness studio in my neighborhood owned by Dawn St. Leone, a licensed massage therapist. It was a great experience - soothing, relaxing, & professional - but it still didn't provide me the depth of relief I hope for, by no fault of Dawn's. I just have a tricky body, I think. Bummer.
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Just 3 Small Goals for September: Wiping the Slate Clean

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

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I'm going totally rogue this month. First, I admitted to you that I read a whopping zero books in August, & now I'm admitting that I accomplished basically none of my monthly goals - for the second month in a row. Instead of listing them here & explaining myself & feeling bad, though, I'm just going to set some new ones & move forward.
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August 2019: My (Accidental) Month Without Books

Sunday, September 1, 2019

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On the first day of every month for the last two+ years, I've published a blog post reviewing everything I read in the month before. This month, August 2019, will mark my first time not doing that since I first started way-back-when.

I didn't finish a single book last month.

I thought about not writing a post about it. Why call attention to my failure to finish? Why admit to people that I played too many iPhone games & listened to too many podcasts & watched too many episodes of Bachelor in Paradise to finish a single freaking book?

And then I thought: But why not?
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All the Garlicky Things I Ate at the Cleveland Garlic Festival

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

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I cannot fathom how there are people out there who don't like the taste of garlic. I get not liking the lingering garlic aftertaste of garlic that sticks around, like, forever, but disliking the taste of garlic itself? That's beyond me. Truly.

Each summer, the North Union Farmers Market hosts its annual fundraiser, the Cleveland Garlic Festival, in Shaker Heights, just outside the Cleveland city limits. My friend Brittany was in town for the weekend, & she was more than happy to hit up this quirky festival with me for the first time.
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Please? What We Did with 48 Hours in Cincinnati

Friday, August 23, 2019

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Cincinnati is just under four hours away, but neither Mike nor I has ever spent much time there. My aunt, uncle, & cousin live there, & so I've visited them in the suburbs a few times, but I've only been to downtown Cincinnati once - just two months after Mike & I started dating! 

We decided to do a quick weekend trip to visit the fam & check out the city, though we arrived late Friday night, which really only left Saturday for exploring. I think we made the most of it, though, & the kind folks at the Cincinnati USA Convention & Visitors Bureau helped out by sending along some ideas & hooking us up with some adventures.  
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How I Psych Myself Up to Conduct Interviews for a Magazine

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

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I am terrified of speaking on the phone - which has never been a great quality for a writer to have. In fact, it's the reason I became a writer & not a reporter, why I work in social media instead of, say, public relations: I am great behind a laptop, but put a receiver in my hand (OK, or a cell phone, it's 2019), & I start shaking in my boots.

In recent months, though, I've started to take on more freelance writing work, & more freelance writing means more freelance reporting. And you know what that means: more phone calls.

Recently, I've identified a few key elements of my pre-interview routine, things that help calm me in moments when I might otherwise feels panicky. Some people have asked me what it's like to conduct interviews, so I thought I'd share! Before interviews I...

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My Ideal Morning Routine (If I Woke Up in Time for One)

Monday, August 19, 2019

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I feel like people are always talking about their "morning routine" - & can I be honest? I don't have one. I don't wake up in time to have one. Living with two different sleep disorders means that I sleep whenever I can, as much as I can, & I often wake up late, at the very last minute, before I need to get my day started.

This mooostly works for my lifestyle, but I know it wouldn't work for everyone - & again, if I'm being honest, there are times when I'd like to figure out how to wake up earlier, on a regular basis, so that I can better implement a little bit of structure & routine into my mornings.

For now, I'm just focused on going to sleep & waking up at "normal" hours (more on that in a future blog post), but if I ever get there, well, here's the ideal morning routine I'd like to cultivate.
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Colors of Cancer: Why I'm Wearing White This September (& How You Can Help)

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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I was 10 years old when my funny, witty, loving father, David Bigam, died after a long fight with lung cancer.

I was 28 years old when my brilliant, strong, talented grandmother, Jeanne Goldman, died after a brief battle with lung cancer.

That same year, my perseverant, compassionate, & kind-hearted friend Elissa Froman died after years of Hodgins Lymphoma.

Elissa preferred not to use words like "fight" or "battle" to describe her experience, but she did, indeed, fight like hell.

They all did.

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At 35, a Reflection: On Living a Big Life in a Small City

Monday, August 12, 2019

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I always wanted to lead a big life. I wanted to live in a big city & do big things & maybe (now this is the Leo in me talking) be a little bit famous. I always felt like I had it in me, like I could hit it big in some way, whether I became a writer or ended up on a reality TV show or... who knows, really. I didn't even know; I just knew that I wanted a big life, & I felt like I was ripe for it.

One week ago, I turned 35, & my friend Rebecca, who was visiting from Brooklyn, asked me how I've been feeling about my life. What am I proud of accomplishing? Is there anything I feel like I should've already accomplished by now?  What life do I have versus the kind of life that I want?
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8 Ways to Support Ohio Families Impacted by the Immigration Crisis

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

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If you think the ongoing immigration and refugee crisis impacts only those living near the U.S./Mexico border, think again: Immigration advocates say Ohio is one of the worst states in the country in which to be an immigrant or refugee. An estimated 107,000 undocumented immigrants live in Ohio, and statistics show that our state has the third highest rate of immigration arrests in the country – behind only Pennsylvania and Michigan.
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6 Small Goals for August

Friday, August 2, 2019

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OK, let's get this out of the way: I didn't accomplish a single one of my July goals. Womp. I was inclined, initially, to just leave them out of this post entirely, but let's go through 'em anyway, knowing that I knocked nary a one of them off the list.
  1. Do a "don't-spend" month. I saved $45 by socking away money I would otherwise have spent on stuff I didn't need. But I also spent plenty of money on other stuff I didn't need. 
  2. Only eat out for lunch one day a week. I might have actually done this one, but I forgot & stopped keeping track of it. Oops. Mike did start meal-prepping on Sundays, though, so I've eaten a lot of lunches at home lately - much more than usual! 
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What I Read in July

Thursday, August 1, 2019

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I feel like I hit my stride again in July, reading-wise. It had been awhile! I finished eight books in July, my highest monthly total since March, & nearly all of them were good - or at least enjoyable. This month 's books represent my reading references to the point of stereotype: Harry Potter, The Bachelor, YA thrillers, memoirs about crime & religious cults... This is really a peak Kate Kaput reading month.

Now that I'm done with my Harry Potter reread, I expect to get back to my regular reading schedule... though I'm already ready to start rereading it again!
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Ahoy, Matey: Watching the Tall Ships Sail Into Town

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

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Here's something you may not know about me: I'm terrified of boats. I mean, looking at boats is fine, but being on the water is difficult for me. It's not so much that I'm afraid of water (I can swim!) so much as I'm afraid of what's in the water, including everything from fish to jellyfish to sharks.

Of course, there are no jelllyfish or sharks in Lake Erie, so my fear of river water is slightly less aggressive than my fear of the ocean (which is a significant, anxiety-producing fear). I did, however, have a panic attack while boating on the Potomac River, & I once vomited over the side of the ferry on the way to Put-In-Bay Island.

I am very fun, I know.
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Tell Me Your Secrets. I'll Start.

Friday, July 26, 2019

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What's your biggest "I don't often say it aloud, but eventually I'd like to..." aspiration? 

I asked this on Twitter this week & didn't get much in the way of responses - but I realized after writing it, that I wanted to expand on some of my own answers. Here are the three things at the top of my someday-I'm-gonna list - & as age 35 approaches (in just over a week, yikes!), I'm thinking of when & how to hit all of them while I'm still (relatively) young.

Time flies, right?

So here's what I want to do - if not soonish, then eventually, whenever eventually is. 
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Goin' to the Chapel: On Their 32nd Anniversary, My Aunts Got Married

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

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My Aunt Joan has been with her partner, Alvarez, for as long as I can remember. Al likes to tell the story of the first time she met me, when I was 3 ½ years old, & riding in the car with them. "I think someone is T-I-R-E-D," Al told Aunt Joan, & from the backseat, I piped up, "I'm not tired, Al!" She says it set the tone for me to grow up to become the writer I am today.

I am a little bit embarrassed to say that I didn't know they were a couple until I was, like, 14 - long past when I should've realized. I remember talking to my aunt on the phone about my then-boyfriend, a 17-year-old foreign exchange student, & saying that my mom didn't like the age difference between us. "Well, Al's a lot older than I am," she told me, "so sometimes it works out!"

It might not have worked out for me & that boyfriend, but it sure has worked out for Joan & Al, who finally tied the knot last week on their 32nd anniversary.
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If We Were Having Coffee... (An Update on Life Lately)

Monday, July 22, 2019

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I'm not one of those bloggers who's going to tart off by apologizing for not posting lately because let's be real: You haven't noticed. None of us is so obsessed with another person's blog (I hope) that we take serious note when they fall off the grid for a couple of weeks.

That said, I miss this blog. I haven't written much at all this month, out of sheer overwhelmedness & a busy schedule. Inf act, this is the longest I've gone in three years without writing in this spacer - & it doesn't feel good. I've been having a really fun, jam-packed summer, & there's so much I ant to say, to write about; I just haven't had time, & I hate that. It's like all these great blog posts are bubbling up inside me with no outlet...

I thought I'd just pop in, then, for a quick look as some of what's been going on lately. What if we were having coffee (if I had the time for it)? Here's what I'd update you on.
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10 Reasons I Love Cleveland

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

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

Friday, July 5, 2019

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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.
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6 Small Goals for July

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

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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!  
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