introduction to urban farmer cle

As a downtown Cleveland resident of almost three years, it's utterly exciting when a new restaurant, coffee shop or store opens downtown because it gives me another option. Living on east 4th has amazing perks like fabulous cuisine from all parts of the world with only walking a few footsteps but I love venturing outside of my hood to the other downtown neighborhoods too.

On my runs around downtown, I spotted the Urban Farmer CLE sign going up weeks ago and geeked out because it's in one of my favorite chains of hotels but also has a patio. But wait for it - a patio to brunch on.





My friends and I meet in Ohio City, Tremont and Detroit Shoreway for weekend brunching but downtown isn't on our go to list of places. Yet.

The lovely people behind Urban Farmer CLE treated a group of local bloggers to an amazing spread of appetizers, signature drinks as well as a tasting menu of some fabulous dishes with wine pairings to introduce us to the new restaurant.


Having been to the restaurant only twice (once for a pre-dinner cocktail and appetizers and lunch), I was ready to see what the dinner menu was all about and the team behind the menu did not disappoint one bit.


Taking a photo of Alexa taking a photo


Half the group awaiting the next course

We all dined in a separate room that you can request for larger parties and it comes complete with amazing light fixtures layered in feathers as seen in the photo above. As someone who has never met a sparkly chandelier or piece of jewelry she didn't like, I could really get behind a feather "chandelier" in one of my future rooms.

All amazing delicious

Only one more meal left to try at Urban Farmer CLE and I'm sure brunch will be equally as amazing as lunch and dinner have been over the past month.

Disclosure: I was invited on behalf of the Urban Farmer CLE team and the evening was compensated. 




#guilty

Monday, September 8, 2014
Look.

I could have sworn that I have never taken a selfie. I was 100 percent sure that I never took a selfie. With all this talk about Kim Kardashian and her damn #selfie book, I was soooooo sure that I've never taken one and I don't take them now.

"Look, I don't take selfies," I'd say proudly to my friends. I'd leave that to them to do the Kim Kardashian.

I was wrong.

For whatever reason, I was scanning through my past Instagram photos and reminiscing about the past year or two of the trips I've taken and then stumbled upon these photos that would be classified as selfies.

I am appalled.

What?!?




What the hell was I doing?





Why?




The shock.




The horror.


I promise. No more selfies on my Instagram account.

The upside of this is there's not duck or sparrow faces......














goodbye, summer

Well there it went.

Summer.

All three months of it flew by with only a few 80 degree days mixed in for me to barely get a tan with my Polish, Croatian and Hungarian skin.

My Labor Day weekend went something like this.

Thursday - Pre-season Browns tickets on the most perfect summer/fall night where my friends and I somehow landed on the field during the national anthem. Note: While on the field, my friend and season ticket holder almost was hit in the face with a warm-up punt (or whatever you call that). Luckily she didn't because she would have totally broke her nose and likely half of her face. No photos were allowed on the field, otherwise I would have caught this almost-terrible-accident on camera.

Look closely and you'll find me!


Saturday -  This summer, I haven't made it to the Put-in-Bay like last year. It's still on my list to somehow pull off in the next month or two in between Browns games. Instead of slinging back shots in the Roundhouse, my boyfriend and I spent the afternoon at East Harbor Beach all the way up in Marblehead for a day of relaxation. Believe it or not, Lake Erie doesn't look like the Lake Erie in Cleveland - it has hints of the ocean in it I swear.


The birds preying on us

Sunday - I continued the relaxing weekend with a dinner with friends at Luxe in Ohio City with a patio dinner. I have been to Luxe countless times and never have eaten on the patio. I know - I was shocked too.

With the best server ever, matching outfits with Tony

That's a wrap, summer! Now let's focus on fall fashion with New York Fashion Week kicking off on Thursday and the Browns season starting on Sunday.



it's about how many times you get up

I finally, yes finally, completed my first voyage into Lake Erie all year long to try stand up paddle boarding.

Hallejuah!

After my first try was foiled by Mother Nature with a storm, I was able to cash in my reservation with Nalu and join 10 other strangers to see who would fall into the lake the most times while trying to stand up.


Six.

Six is the number of times I fell exactly how we were directed not to fall in the lake. The instructors spent about 15 minutes giving us newbies basic instructions of the board, the right way to paddle and how not to fall into the lake when we lost our balance. We were supposed to fall big and flat. Not flail around like a crazy person.

I fell six times so incredibly awkwardly that I somehow and ended up with a big bruise on the front of my right ankle.

Besides my lack of graceful falling, my stand up paddle board experience was 1) amazing and 2) would have been five times easier if it weren't as windy as it was.

But holy hell, was it so much fun! You can paddle on your knees or stomach until you get comfortable in the water and on the board. Like a true newbie, I paddled on my knees for only a few minutes and tried to hop up like surfer pro Kelly Slater and lost the first battle to the board and toppled over into the water.

Note - If I would have been paying attention during the instruction, I would have known that you stand with your feet parallel, not like a surfer, which makes standing up a million times easier.

After I figured out the feet positioning, it was smooth sailing (or as smooth as it was going to get with the rough water) for the rest of my time standing up.

Try it yourself before the lake gets too cold. If nothing else, you get a killer workout from so much paddling and may or may not be as graceful as I was.









taking time to see the lights

Sometimes I can make a million excuses of not getting somewhere or seeing someone and lately it has boiled down to work. Work, work, work and more work.

Work has been dominating my life for the past two months in the best way possible. I have been challenged in every which way, slicing and dicing my time to be as efficient as possible, reinforcing my exhaustion with caffeine from my Pour Coffee and wearing bold lipstick to conquer each day like I imagine Beyonce does.

Simply put, I wouldn't have my lack of work/life balance any other way right now.

Last night, I took a little break to make it Edgewater LIVE, a happy hour I've tried to make every Thursday but was either out of town or had a prior commitment.  Since the Cleveland Metroparks took over Edgewater, the beach is completely clean and there are more events than ever and people fill up the beach up on Thursdays for live music, SUP lessons and dinner from the food trucks.

It was a beautiful 80 degree day that was begging me to go to the beach and get out of the coffee shop. So, that's what I did and enjoyed dinner from a food truck and kettle corn for dessert by the beach.


Best kind of happy hour

Over the past year, Mall B in downtown has completely transformed in this beautiful mini park in the middle of the city. I frequent this area on my runs and sprint up and down the incline on top of the convention center and will do a few box jumps on the cement benches. Play frisbee, bring a book to read or your beach towel - it's the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon if you want a beautiful place to relax right in the heart of the city.

Last night,  AHA! Festival of Lights officially turned on it's installation during PechaKucha Night event, where 10-12 speakers present rapid presentations (20 slides for 20 seconds each) about the arts, technology, or all about Cleveland in the case of many of the pechakuchas last night. I knew the first two presenters who talked about the Gay Games and Believe in CLE events that kicked off the night with powerful presentations.

Obscura Digital put on this mind-blowing "Transformations" show on the side of the Public Auditorium, which even made the kids who were running around on the light display sit the hell down and watch in awe of how the building was transformed into a living canvas. It was truly incredible to see it switch from scene to scene and my iPhone 5 doesn't even begin to do the show justice.

Light show on the Public Auditorium


The light installation everyone can't stop talking about


We all need a break from the daily grind and must force ourselves to find a way to decompress from the day. Even if it's just an hour or two for yourself, I find I'm more creative, energized and focused when I have an incredibly lengthy list of to dos.

Let's go Friday - I am winning today.




well that was fun.

It's July 28 and the month has absolutely flown the hell by. 

Where have I been? Where have you been?

I've been all over in Cleveland, drove 12 hours southeast to the Outer Banks then just a quick 5 hours west to Chicago for a weekend.

My family descended upon the Outer Banks for a week where we successfully avoided the hurricane, had daily dance parties by our pool, celebrated LeBron's return back to his hometown and went crabbing every night on the beach with my mom and aunt. If you have ever vacationed with your family, I hope you do this - it's absolutely ridiculous where you walk in the beach with flashlights and get "surprised" every time you come across a big ass sand crab. 



Pool time; selfie for Lebron coming home!!!; Peltz family; toddler Ethan looking fierce with water wings


Greg modeling; sunscreen is a family affair; couples; family bonding time

Every Sunday so far this summer has been pretty much spent on the volleyball courts followed by corn hole and our new favorite game, the list, over lots of summer shandy's. We win some games, we lose some games but we always end at Sunset Grille to finish out the weekend. 

This is an intense game.

One Saturday night, we all decided to throw it back like it was Thursday straight to 1983 or '85 or '87, depending on what you were born and partied in our best neon, denim and spandex combination for the Ultimate 80's party.  A little rain couldn't keep us away (or our hair flat) and we danced to Madonna and Whitney mashups like it was nobody's business. 

Don Johnson and me; Tony posing with his flock of seagulls hair; Madonna wins with the best costume of the group; taking over the dance floor like a champ

One of two of my favorite "tastes" happened in Tremont on an absolutely beautiful 80 degree day where I ate my way through the streets of Tremont. And, interestingly enough put on a banana costume and tried to do my best Timberlake impression of "bring it on down to bananaville" instead of omeletteville. Why not I ask you???

View of Professor; my best impersonation; so many choices of where to eat

It's been a busy summer, people! Let's keep it going!


your summer = planned Part II

We are halfway through the summer. Are you bored?

I hope the answer is a resounding "No!"

It's absolutely impossible in my book with the 80 degree weather Cleveland has been receiving, the RNC announcement and the LeBron is coming back any day now to his castle in Bath.

So, you say you need some more events to go to? Choose wisely!

Booze your face off and eat events:

12th annual Taste of Tremont - It has been a long two years since I've been to the Taste of Tremont. Being out of town the past two years, it is a truly fun and normally sweaty as hell event where Professor Street is packed with people of all ages and parking lots filled of local bands.

When: Taste of Tremont, This Sunday, July 20, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is free, parking is just about hilarious over there so I suggest you Lyft of Uber.




Burning River Fest - It's a beer festival to literally remember when our river infamously caught on fire in 1969. I mean...it seems to the be the only thing the national media likes to report on so you might as well as take yourself plus friends to the best little part of Cleveland in the summer - Whiskey Island and Wendy Park.

When: Burning River Fest, Saturday, July 25, 6 p.m to 11 p.m. Tickets are $12 to $50. And if you are coming from the west, expect long delays to actually get there because the exit is closed. CLOSED for six months.




Twilight at the Zoo - Years ago I went and had a smashing time with friends but haven't been back because it's the conundrum of two events back to back - Krusty's Summer Camp is the next day. Can you do both? Say it with me, YES YOU CAN! There are 18 brands throughout the zoo and numerous drink stations. See your favorite animals, take some selfies and enjoy a Friday night at the Zoo.

When: Twilight at the Zoo, Friday, August 1, 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Tickets are sold out but you can try your hand at the giveaway here.

Tastings on the Terrace at the Cleveland Museum of Art - The Art Museum is at it again with a new series of summertime events that I can get behind with Tastings on the Terrace.  Each Friday through 8/29, Provenance will feature a select drink “tasting” menu and pair it with complimentary small bites from the chef served outside on the rooftop terrace. What sounds better than that? Absolutely nothing!

When: Tastings on the Terrace, Friday, July 18, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Cost is $8-10 per drink. This week's event will feature summertime wines with a Mediterranean flatbread.


Hydrate, stretch and work off the boozing events:


Believe in CLE - The ladies of Inner Bliss are at it again with another evening outdoor event for early August on Mall B downtown Cleveland. Get ready for a 75 minute vinyasa flow with a surprise speaker to start off the night's event. Remember to sign up here FIRST!

When: Believe in CLE, Friday, August 8, 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Free event.

Cupid's Undie Run Volleyball Tournament - You know how much I love playing volleyball if you follow my Instagram feed because Sundays at Wendy Park are my favorite activity in the summer. Join me, grab a team and sign up for the tournament. Last year, there were special drinks and lots of people playing in their underwear. Well, not really but the benefit is the Children's Tumor Foundation.

When: Cupids Volleyball Tournament, Saturday, August 10 at 11 a.m. $140 for a team, $40 for corn hole.

our losing team


Rooftop Yoga with Harness Cycle - My favorite spin studio is bringing rooftop yoga to Clevelanders every Sunday on top of the Federal Knitting Mill in Ohio City.  Make sure to sign up early because this Sunday's event is already wait listed.

When: Rooftop Yoga with Harness Cycle, Every Sunday at 11:30 a.m.