Bright Pink is really every girl's favorite color

Just a few weeks ago, Cleveland was introduced to Bright Pink and Fab Fest.  I remember hearing about Bright Pink months ago when one of my favorite fitness instructors, Lori Standen of Pure Barre, was named one of the event instructors. I knew Lori so if she was involved, I knew it was an event I didn't want to miss.

What is FabFest you ask? It is the fitness fundraiser for Bright Pink, the only national organization focused on risk reduction and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer. FabFest started in 2009 and 2014 was the first year it came to our great city of Cleveland.

event details

The kick off started with more information and facts than I knew about and the importance of prevention and regular checks. We all nod and say "of course" but do you really take the appropriate steps each year to make sure we are healthy? If you don't, start now and make a year appointment and get to know your breasts as they say. We have to take care of ourselves and I am the first one to cancel and rebook doctor's appointments because 1) I think I'm indestructible and 2)  I push myself to the limits until my body shuts down from one hell of a sinus infection. Cancer does run in my family so it's imperative that we understand our bodies and what is going on in them.


Feeling the burn

The event was a mix of high-intensity 30 minute workouts with yoga, massages and even bra measuring from the girls at Aerie as in American Eagle. (Side note: American Eagle was my JAM back in the day and I still even own a bomber jacket from 1999 that I can't part with because it is coming back in style you guys!)

No makeup selfie in front of a pink glitter curtain
FabFest Cleveland had 150 participants and raised $114,000. Fundraising is still open and you can donate here until October 21, 2014.

Disclosure: I was provided a media pass to attend the event.

a quick weekend getaway

Through several friends who have recently visited this area, I am happy to introduce you to an adorable spot 5 hours west of us that isn't Chicago.

You know those radio ads you have heard for years with "Tim the tool man Taylor" talking about the breeze or leaves or something about the outdoors? The ones that always end with "pure Michigan?"

I finally took good old Tim the Tool Man Taylor up on his offer and my boyfriend and I booked an impromptu weekend getaway. We both had the weekend free - no travel, no weddings and a Browns away game meant it was a sign to take the weekend and get the hell out of downtown Cleveland.

After under an hour of research, we found a small condo in downtown Saugatuck and took off without knowing what exactly we would be doing for two nights. Even though it was raining and sometimes sleeting, we could still experience the how quaint and charming the little downtown was and it reminded me of the set of Dawson's Creek. No joke - I imagine the little town of Wilmington, North Carolina, and Saugatuck have a lot in common with the restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.


Accommodations from Bella Vita Spa and Suites

I have a thing for tea and toast and American Spoon is serious about their jam.

The Chocolate Garden - sample truffles for days

As seen at the wineries

While you have to drive almost 1.5 hours to get to the largest cluster of wineries, there are still a few about 45 minutes south of Saugatuck and we made sure to hit four of them on Saturday plus one brewery.

If you want a quiet and affordable weekend, go there - it's only a five hour drive from Cleveland and there is still so much to explore that we couldn't because the weather wasn't cooperating with us for any of the outdoor activities like boat or dune buggy rides.

Go. With your girlfriends for a wine weekend, or mom for a spa weekend or boyfriend for a romantic few days- it's a great little relaxing getaway.



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.