glitter this NYE

For the past two weeks, my friends and I have been going back and forth about what to do about NYE, putting so much pressure on ourselves to have a good time. And, for those of you interested, whatever decision we made was really going to determine what I was going to wear because the location sometimes determines the outfit. (You have to coordinate appropriately of course!)

So we are going to put on our platforms and try not to fall, sparkly dresses and faux fur jackets and head out in downtown Cleveland (with or without snow mind you) with a bunch of other random people to ring in the new year.

Noise makers!
Sequin dresses!
Making out with random people!
Spilling champagne on the sparkling dresses!

Here's to 2011 going out with a bang! - Let's put significant pressure on ourselves to have a fun New Year's Eve

P.S. I may be one of the few people who absolutely lovvvvvesss New Years Eve. I always have - any excuse to wear sequins, I'll take!

i'ts christmastime

wellllllcome back from the holiday weekend!

As I recover from eating way too many cookies for breakfast, chocolate-covered homemade candy and drinking one too many pints of Christmas ale, I figured I'd do a recap post via photos to explain what I did for the past four days.

I'm really serious about the cookies for breakfast thing - this HAS to stop.

To kick off the Christmas festivities, my cousins and I all went out on Friday night to Lakewood, which proved to reiterate the fact that we were too old to be there.

I failed at taking photos but here's our favorite beer and Keith and Greg.

Christmas Eve was spent with my family in Amherst and ended with a late night at a local bar with a group of my high school friends. Nothing says the holidays like an impromptu bar night.

fur, family and cookies
love these ladies - katey, danielle and steph

Christmas ales all around

high school crew
Because my brother and I closed the bars down and up super early on Christmas day, we enjoyed a Christmas day lunch/dinner and after my third mimosa I made the mistake of lying down on the most comfortable couch next to mine.

most comfortable couch
I was out for another hour then joined my family later in the evening to watch Hangover 2 - nothing says Merry Christmas like some good ol' fbombs and Thai strip clubs.'s almost January 1. Wow has this month (and year) flown the hell by......

giving back

Wednesday, December 21, 2011
At this time of the year, you read lots of articles about people being "secret santas" or paying off strangers' layway fees in the news.

While I was on my plane to Punta Cana, I was reading one of my many magazines and I came across a calendar of 31 ways to give back this holiday season.

As kids, my family would donate Christmas gifts at our local church and my brother and I would pick names from the tree for kids we would never meet and have even adopted families for the holiday season.

There were a few organizations that popped off the list of places to donate to like to purchase crocheted hats or clothes to keep Ugandan women working and educated or to donate to an HIV  positive pregnant woman in Rwanda to provide drugs or to fight against child sex trafficking or to buy a counseling session for a soldier returning from war.

Shame on me but I haven't given back enough. I am a very lucky girl and sometimes pinch myself for all the success I've had both personally and professionally. Sometimes I still can't believe I live downtown or even in this fab apartment. It's still so surreal to me.

I'm making notes on my list of things to do for 2012 and giving back is one of many things on my list. Whether that's contributing to friends who run for cancer or donating to a friend's child's school fundraiser or donating my time to a charity of my choice.

So, how are you giving back this season?

almost tis the season

It's the most wonderful time of the year.......................

I just love the holidays and probably one of the few people who generally enjoy winter weather. Maybe it's because after Thanksgiving the holidays come which is quickly followed my birthday in mid-January but the snow this weekend totally put me in the holiday spirit. 

But first, we celebrated my college friend's birthday in Willoughby at Billy's Martini Bar for a few cocktails and moved to Willoughby Brewing Company.

Jeweled skulls and signs are a must.
Fur Friday!

After leaving the east side, I wasn't ready to go home and swung by XYZ to meet up with some friends where I was instantly made fun of for my fur coat upon sitting down.

"Uhhhhhhhhh. Ok Real Housewives of Cleveland," said as I grabbed a chair to sit down. (This faux fur jacket was sure the talk of the night, including the boys in my elevator who said, "I've never seen Cleveland girls wear jackets like that. Ummmmm. Ok.)

Saturday consisted of running around to actually start Christmas shopping way on the east side then came back to my apartment to hang out with some fellow residents and Twitter friends who I haven't seen in awhile, where we sipped hot toddies and champagne before I headed out to meet another group of girlfriends at Market Garden then Bar Cento to make plans for NYE, which we still need to nail down but we are getting close. Or, at least I hope so because I have a sparkly gold dress that needs to be worn.

A few things to note:

1) I didn't take any photos
2) Girls are still wearing shirts as dresses with high stiletto boots.

So, I ask you, how on earth do these girls' friends NOT tell them they are wearing shirts as dresses or leggings as pants!? Anddddddd, if you are going to wear a shirt as a dress, you MUST at least wear flats to hide the fact that you are indeed not wearing pants. Am I right???

Here's to a short work week, more holiday parties and drinking and laughing with out-of-town friends and family for the next week.

pamper away

Every girl loves to be pampered.

And, I for one, haven't made it a priority over the past year but I vowed to focus more on me and one of those ways is at the salon.

Maybe it's a biweekly nail appointment, monthly facial or massage but every girl has her beauty routine down to a science or is always looking for new ways to improve it.

Over the past few months, I've taken my pampering very seriously by scheduling shellac appointments, pedicures and a facial to get myself back in a routine.

I understand that due to my years of tanning every two days for about two years, I'm going to need some serious work down the road. I'm not opposed to plastic surgery. I'd do botox, fillers and I used to want a nose job pretty bad but I'm slowly getting over that one. (I have a bump and I don't love it and often think that a nose job would be a good solution.)

Anyway, from one girl to another, I thought I'd share my go to beauty team around Cleveland.

First, my hair. My friend Danielle has cut, colored, curled, straightened, shaved, and mohawked my hair for the past 10 years. I have a complicated mane that most hair stylists don't understand how to cut into it - I have serious horse hair. I have a lot of fine, thick hair and would need double the extensions to pull off any long hair look until my mane grows out. She is well worth the drive to the west side at the Lorain location at HeadQuarters Salon & Spa.

When it comes to my face, my friend Shawn fixes my skin on the east side at Studio MZ with facials and whipping my eyebrows into the perfect arch shape. I don't know about you, but I always read about how important your skin care routine is in your 20s, 30s, and beyond and how it's all about starting young. Like 10 years ago. Oops. Way back when, I always used Clinique dramatically different moisturizing lotion and an occassional eye cream but I went to Shawn and said, "Give me a damn facial routine - I need to prevent any wrinkles I can at this point." Did I mention I used to fake and bake.....

Her first thought, "Well, do you exfoliate?" No, no I don't. "Well, that's a great place to start......"

For the past two months, I've been using the products below for my facial routine and I seem to have less blemishes on my face all around. Every night, I wash my face with the Swell bar and then add a few drops of seabuckthorn oil at night. (Not going to lie, when she used it on my face, I was weirded out by the smell because it has this funky earthy scent but you get used to after a few uses. No worries.) And, as a bonus, Swell was created by a local Beachwood woman, Kelli Klus. Buying local my friends!

Swell facial bar and seabuckthorn oil and GlamGlow
Once a week, I use GlamGlow Mud Mask for 15 tingling minutes usually on a Sunday while I watch a DVR'd show and drink tea.

Sexy, right? Now THAT is going to land me a date, I know it!

It's tingling - let's get that out of the way, the first time Shawn used it she had to fan my face because holy hell was it TINGLING. After about a minute, that burning feeling goes away and then you rub and exfoliate your skin. It has chunks of green tea leaves (yes, chunks) and I normally feel like I break out from exfoliaters but not in this case. No random break outs or little bumps anywhere. If it's possible, I think I have less blackheads but I'll have to defer to Shawn on my next facial visit where I'll know based on how much time she spends with that evil little tool.

Next on my list is to find a spray tanner in the downtown or west side area (use Callie at Glow Tan and Spa if you are on the east side) and a masseuse.

So, dear downtowners and west siders, any recommendations you can send my way? What is your skin care routine or products you can't live without?

parties, parties and a giveaway

It feels like a million years since I've been back from Punta Cana but in all reality it's been 10 days. The week back at work was hectic, trying to juggle everything I missed out on while preparing for hosting and attending a few this weekend.

On Thursday, I hosted a party for B. Lux party for friends to catch up on their holiday shopping but randomly picked the day of the Steelers/Browns game - Fail on my part.

B.Lux accessories and clothes

On Friday, a group of coworkers came over to slurp on noodles from Noodlecat, lots of red and white wine and watch Bridesmaids, where we laughed our asses off and all agreed our coworker does a kick-ass rendition of Kristen Wiig's plane scene.

Fast forward to Saturday night where I headed to annual Christmas P.J. Jammy Jam party at Lindsay and Ryan's house. Seeing as I don't normally wear pajamas I purchased a new sleep shirt to party the night away in a comfortable holiday shirt.

Self shot, Shotts in all pink and the girls

Left, right, center - I lost, the holiday host and baby G had too much fun

I vote Jill for the best pajamas!

To kick off your Monday to a caffeinated start, our friends at Keybank will be buying EVERY cup, yes you read that right, buying EVERY cup of coffee, latte, cappuccino, frappuccino and any other coffee drink you order at the following Starbucks locations below ALL DAY LONG:
  • West 6th Street, 1374 West 6th Street 
  • Hanna Building, Euclid Ave
  • Cleveland Clinic, Euclid Ave
  • Cedar & Fairmount,12405 Cedar Road
  • Chagrin & Green, Chagrin Blvd
  • Rocky River, 19555 Detroit Road 
  • Westgate Mall Drive-Thru, 20645 Center Ridge Road 
For one lucky reader, you can buy even more Starbucks if you'd like because Key Bank is giving me a $25 Key Possibilities MasterCard Gift Card to give to one of you lovely readers.

To enter: Tell me what you'd buy me for an XMAS gift and leave your email address too. The funnier, the better! I'll choose a winner on Tuesday night.

Disclosure: I was compensated for this giveaway but you better believe I'll be in line at the West 6th  location tomorrow AM on my way to work to get my caramel brulee latte.

we can just be friends. right?

Friday, December 9, 2011
ahhhhhh, the age old debate - can women and men just be friends?

Oddly enough a few weeks ago, a few male coworkers and I were having this exact discussion at the lunch table. We discuss all important topics at lunch at my work like was Kim Kardashian's marriage a sham, has Gaga jumped the shark and other important headlines in pop culture. It keeps us on our toes!

I can't recall how this topic came up but I swear my coworker Kevin keeps these topics in his head ready for when a group of us gather and actually eat lunch instead of in a meeting or at our desks. I believe we netted out somewhere where this video did, but we had a bit more yelling, finger pointing and laughing.  I, like the naive girls on camera, thought, "well yeah, we can just be friends," (duh!) as I clearly pointed out all my male friends and my male colleagues pointed out that, in fact, I was wrong because no guys just want to be friends. (Apparently married guy friends don't count in their book.)

I can count on several hands how many male friends I have who a) I've never hooked up with b) never thought about hooking up with and c) who are just friends who happen to be guys. Men act like they want to be friends but according to my trusty male coworkers, if they had a chance, most guys would make moves on their supposed friends.

While this video is shot at a college where the median age is probably 20, we were anywhere from 26 to 31 at the lunch table and still had similar reactions. Apparently, all guys would hook up with girls they deem friends but really it's just girls they haven't hooked up with, if they had the opportunity.

So, for a serious discussion on a Friday, can girls just be friends with guys and vice versa?

the new place

It's almost been two months since I've been in my new digs.

Two flipping months!

The time has flown by because it's somehow almost Christmas and I can remember thinking that was so far away from the time I moved in here.

When I moved in, I literally had to purchase EVERYTHING except for some bedroom furniture because I left the furniture in the house. The idea of a new place with new things was incredibly appealing so the move was pretty light on my part.

I was able to purchase whatever the hell I wanted.

What I liked and what I wanted. Brilliant concept! It was such an exhilarating feeling after being part of a couple for so long with agreeing or disagreeing and trying to combine our tastes. No need for that.

My lovely mother helped me along with my friend, Danielle, who has impeccable taste in all things, including decorating my abode. I don't know exactly what you would call my style (I do love shabby chic as my Pinterest page shows) but it typically involves sparkly things - notice the lamps, the beaded pillows and some of the picture frames. While my decorating isn't complete just yet, the apartment definitely feels more comfortable and completely me with as many sparkles as I want! You know what I mean?

Couch from Macy's complete with sparkle pillows from Pier 1

Obsessed with the lamps from JC Penney of all places and the cabinet from Kaplan's

Off white chairs marked down to $300 from $1,000 from Kaplan's - STEAL

favorite gold chest from Kaplan's too
The place is coming together slowly but surely and there are still several items to purchase like a leaning bookshelf, some wall art, a new bed and some furniture for the bedroom. BUT with Christmas coming up, I will be taking a little shopping break until January for now.

Where else should I look for furniture, wall art and other decor? Send your favorite places or pieces my way. I will have some post-holiday shopping to do!

how we got our grooves back Stella did but not with the guy - we all know how that turned out....

If we are friends on FB or you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen a few beach photos posted over the course of last week and possibly unfriended or unfollowed me. I couldn't help but share the beach! After a delicious Thanksgiving meal with my family,  my friend Danielle and I jetted off to Punta Cana for a week of sun, sand and mojitos and we accomplished all of that and more.

Having never been to Punta Cana, all I really needed was a damn beach and cocktail in my hand for the week and I'd be set - I've been dreaming about this trip for weeks and that's exactly what we had waiting for us.

Our day consisted of applying sunscreen, hitting the beach right outside our door, drinking coconut water and passion fruit coladas then heading to the pool to eat lunch of fresh fruit, fish and manchego cheese then we laid out at the pool with more coladas and ice cream followed with more tanning until the sun went down.

It really was the perfect trip with perfect 83 degree days and the right mix of interesting people including some rowdy Brits, quirky Americans and NY Dominicans who still love LeBron.

daily pool view

peacocks at the pool

fresh coconut water from my friend w/ the machete

what a view

if I could just bottle up that white sand...

I'm tan but Danielle is Snooki status

So I'm back in Cleveland where I missed the first snowfall but can't wait for the weather to get colder to put me in the holiday spirit. I spent the weekend reorganizing my place and putting a few decorations around the apartment to prepare to for two parties over at my little abode later this week.

Here's to a busy week ahead!

pass me another mojito

Don't throw anything at me when you read this. Because, if you are, I'm sitting on a beach in Punta Cana with one my best friends, Danielle, for a week of sun, 80 degree weather (hopefully!) and endless mojitos.

See! I told you you may throw something at me.

This is trip couldn't come at a better time for both of us. My pasty body needs a tan like no other and she needs to get the F outta here since she is going through a rough break-up too. I mean, who wouldn't want me as their vacation friend? I'm super fun, up for anything and can lay out with the best of them for 10+ hours. Don't dare me....

It has been 10 years since we've last gone on a vacation together. 10 years........Seriously, the last time we were on a beach together was when we were 18 and in Myrtle Beach for our high-school spring break. We somehow convinced our parents it was an amazing idea to let five 18-year-olds drive a suburban down to South Carolina for a week.

Our parents were sooooooooooo naive or incredibly trustworthy of us. We stocked that car full of liquor, food and stayed in a condo for a week together. No arrests, just a lot of bad hangovers and a few noise violations.

some things never change

that's me, being creative w/ ketchup and paper towels

check out those hotties!

So........we head to Punta Cana for the week a little older and wiser with nothing to do but lay out, relax, sip mojitos, reminisce on this past year filled with the amazing ups and downs and come back refreshed with glowing tans and a hot new game plan for the next year ahead of us.

Now, pass me another mojito......

i heart thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 23, 2011
I feel like this applies to all us bloggers, don't you? - Thanksgiving is an annual tradition of observing how people used to communicate before the Internet

Eat too much. Seconds, thirds, go for it.

Drink too much. On the biggest bar night of the year. Everyone's a star tonight.

Laugh too much. With crazy family members and long-lost friends.

Wishing everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

name that meow

I think I've officially been living downtown a month and definitely don't have a shortage of places to go or people to hang out with on any given night. Plus, with the holidays coming up, I somehow have almost every weekend booked leading up to Christmas and New Years, which isn't a bad thing when you are a single girl living in the city.

On Friday, my friends surprised our beautiful and pregnant friend, Erin, on her 30th birthday. Leading up to this day, she was unsure what she wanted to do, "I'm soooo pregnant" she'd tell me over and over and over. I had to remind her that she wasn't the first person to be pregnant on their birthday.

Her husband decided to throw an "Impromptu Birthday Party" so a group of us were ready and waiting when they came from dinner. I thought we nearly sent her into labor when we all screamed at the top of our lungs surprise! Saturday a group of girls got together and joined Erin at Santo spa in Pepper Pike for some pampering and relaxation.

Erin cutting her rainbow cake

Celebrating 30 is Ah-mazing

These toes are ready for Punta Cana

Post spa day, three of us went and relived our teenage years watching Breaking Dawn Part 1, where I proceeded to fall in love all over with Edward Cullen. Holy hotness! I really could have sat there to watch another two hours if they would've made the movie into just one part versus two. That night, I met with up with Alexa, Sean, Suzanne and a bunch of other peeps at Market and then Tina's Nite Club - two weeks in a row!

Did I slow down on Sunday? Hell to the no. I met up with the usual suspects -  Lisa, Sean and Alexa-  to brunch it up at XYZ tavern prior to Sean's first browns game. Add mimosas and it turned into quite the laughing, table slapping session, which continued at the game where I taught them the fun game of "name that meow." You meow a song and everyone has to guess what it is. Yes, it's a fun game invented by my coworkers. (Yeah Kelly and Nic!) Initially, you think, "Is she f'ing serious with this?" because that's what I said to Kelly and Nic. Yes, why yes, I am. Try it. It's addicting and equally hilarious and if you are at the Browns game while meowing, just expect the guys in front of you to get weirded out. It's cool. A little meowing never hurt anyone.

1st game for Sean, good luck charm right there

Go Browns!

Now, onto a three-day work week followed by my favorite holiday and then vacation for a week of pure bliss. Ahh....get us on that flight already.

because it's Friday...........

Friday, November 18, 2011
It's been a long week for me and I have a feeling for a lot of you there too.

With Thanksgiving coming up next week, we are all trying to get every last-minute detail completed so we can (or at least I feel this way ) walk comfortably out of the office for the next few days and enjoy the long weekend and crazy day that is Black Friday.

Or, in my case, a week and a half because I'll be vacationing it up starting next Friday. One week from today. It is lonnnnnnng over due. On a beach. With one of my best friends. Ah....bliss, relaxation and serenity now.

new placement for hair extensions
Feel free to add a caption to the above photo because it's absolutely ridiculous that I did that and, secondly, that it was captured on film.

I can only imagine what else was snapped throughout that wedding weekend.....

running around town

So I'm coming off an exciting weekend spent downtown (just loving my new apartment I tell ya) - beautiful weather followed by great times spent with friends. Oh how I love them all.

Friday, I met up with friends at Edison's Pub in Tremont to meet up with Jenn and Sarah and met a whole new group of interesting people. While you may have heard about this secret little place called Tina's Niteclub from reading Alexa's blog, it seems like all the cool kids end up there late night to sing their favorite songs.

While I didn't actually sing, mostly because I wasn't drinking enough and I started to lose my voice as it got later, there were some ammmmmmazing song choices from my friends but some of those people can sing! Seriously, some of these peeps can belt out some tunes.

On Saturday, I headed way east to Chagrin Falls for my cousin's wife's baby shower and their baby is due on my birthday. Yay for January 18 birthdays!

adorable cake

Mom to be

Staying in the theme of throwing apartment parties for the week, I had some college friends over to see my new place and had a group of friends over to watch Gossip Girl earlier in the week. Let's just say we didn't do a whole lot of TV watching but lots of laughing ensued and that's exactly what happened Saturday night too.

Katie with baby Olivia
A few of us headed out to the W.25th area to Market then Bier Markt then Speakeasy and for some reason we decided to head to W.6th. (Yes, I know, but we were going with the flow and the people we were with.)

We went to Drop Bar which I'm still going to call Mercury no matter how many times they change the name, and this is about the time where my two friends and I thought we could be on the show "So you think you can dance?"

See, proof, we thought we could dance

I would really hate to have been anyone there watching us or, mainly me, dancing around like a bunch of fools to Rihanna, Britney Spears and whatever house music they played. (You people know I can't dance!)

The weekend went by too fast and another really busy week is ahead of me with no sign of stopping until I'm on a beach with a mojito in hand. Sun, sand and one of my best friends for a whole week of relaxation is just what is ordered for both of us right about now.

P.S. Shout out to readers Zoe and Erika who I met in real life this weekend!

a few of my favorite things

Ever since I lost some much needed lbs., I've been making a list on iPhone of clothes I need to buy to glitz up my fall wardrobe. I'm also a HUGE fan of Pinterest and literally build my wardrobe within my boards. Check out my "what I want for fall" one.

Anyway, I like to find a good balance between buying trendy pieces at Forever21 and H&M and mixing in some quality pieces that will last for season after season. It may cost a little more but I know I'm making a serious fashion investment for my future. (Or at least that's what I tell myself when I look at the price tags of some of the things I pick out!) I've checked a few of my items off my list already and have a few more to add to my closet.

I was in desperate need to replace my 5-year-old Uggs, which were Oprah's favorite things mind you, with a boot that I can wear in the rainy days and through Cleveland's rough winters. Alas, behold my new Hunters. I picked these up on an amazing Gilt sale a few weeks ago.

Glossy black for me

I love my winter coats and like to have different options. You need a pea coat, a bomber, a winter white dressy one and I needed a new black coat too. I bought a Tahari coat like this one from Gilt too but the collar is different and flips around my face. I flipping love it!

Love the high collar!

I've been wanting a structured blazer - something not so typical. A jacket to throw on with jean leggings with pumps to dress up what would otherwise be a casual work outfit.

The grey pants don't do this coat justice.

What's next on my list you ask? Well, it's pretty long but this scarf has quickly risen to the top.

I've been dreaming of this scarf for over a year in multiple colors. The black, or navy with red too - I'd wear the hell out of it. Every day I swear. RIP McQueen.

McQueen scarf
As we enjoy the last month or so of fall and head into winter, what do you want you to add to spice up your wardrobe? New riding boots, winter coat, fur vest?

sickness becomes me

Sunday, November 6, 2011
Well........ I was down and out for the count this weekend. I have always only known two speeds - 0 or 100 - one or the other. There's no in between with me and every time I tell myself, "Allison, you are running yourself into the ground and going to get sick," it happens at the worst possible times. Without fail.

Sure enough that's what happened after running at 100 mph for the last month. Between moving, traveling to back and forth from the west to east coast and just plain running on empty, my body shut the eff down. Friday night I desperately tried to fight back the head cold from hell and fever to meet my friend Danielle for a celebratory dinner and drinks.

Cheers to tying up all loose ends.

It finally caught up with me on Saturday morning and I spent the majority of my weekend in my apartment, moving between the couch to the kitchen to make myself tea after cup of tea with kleenex in hand.

my medicine for the weekend

my view for most of the weekend

Caught up on some reading material

Found fascinators from Nordstorm to wear to the Jump Back Ball in February

While I did manage to leave my place to pick up a few things for my Gossip Girl party this week, I also had two of my favorite visitors over to wrap up a very much needed low-key weekend.

Mira is adorable, even though she peed on my tile floor

Here's to a busy week and one more week closer to vacation. Where to go, where to go......