Showing posts with label fall of fun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fall of fun. Show all posts

relaxation takes serious practice

How I spent my weekend...

Friday night:
An impromptu girls' night out to cheer on the Cavs with new friends but we weren't the good luck the team needed to pull a win against the Bobcats.

Go Cavs.

Relaxation was finally achieved this weekend in the form of a three-hour pampering session at Charles Scott Salon. My package consisted of a mini facial (by Charmayne), massage (by Kari), manicure and pedicure (by Gia). As my face was lathered in a soothing mud mask with steam blowing on it, Charmayne shared that I should be applying SPF to my face like it's my  job (this I already do), recommends an under eye cream (I have used Skinceuticals A.G.E complex) and a weekly mud mask. You know what I'll be buying myself for Christmas then!

a sample of the pampering: lets see if the CND Vinylux lasts for 7 days with no chipping

Celebrations for friends - a wedding shower and birthday dinner. Let's just pretend we didn't see that Browns game, mmmmk?

Bride and groom (Erin and Nick) and the bridal party

The birthday girl with her fabulous cake and  her adorable daughter

Disclosure: For my blogger partnership with Charles Scott Salon, I will receive discounts on services for the the next year.

you can spell fall with c-l-a-m-b-a-k-e

Some people check off their fall season by visiting pumpkin patches, drinking apple cider and hopping on a hayride but I can't ignore the obvious-right-in-your-face activity that you must do - eat your face off at a clambake.

Way back in my younger years, I attended a very memorable family clambake where I had an encounter with an angry dog who didn't like me, any of the people around it or maybe the dog simply wasn't a fan of clams. Well, whatever the case was, my face was fixed up nicely with a few stitches and lots of nightly applications of vitamin E oil.

Even a few stitches can't shake my love for a Fall food party!

Get in line early!

guess how much I actually ate?

For an awesome price of $30 at Sokolowski's, friends and I feasted on half a chicken (yes, seriously), sweet potatoes, red skin potatoes, clams, clam chowder, corn and extra clams if you really needed to add anything else to your already overflowing lunch tray.

we took up a table for 6 with only 4 people
Sokolowski's is the place to go in the fall and winter months when all you really want to do is eat what I consider soul food, which is Polish or Hungarian cooking that reminds me of my grandmother. The woman knew her pierogies, goulash and chicken paprikash like no one's business and luckily my dad has perfected her recipe over time.

Word to the wise - if you are in a rush and not at Sokolowski's before 6 p.m., then I suggest you pick a different restaurant in Tremont on a weekend because you can wait a long time if you hit the rush. But, you can always grab a beer or two, stand in line and prepare to be immobile after eating  this comfort food for the next few hours.

Not a bad way to spend the last weekend in October if I do say so myself.

13.1 miles take two

Last week, a friend and I crossed the finish line of our second half marathon in 2012 on a brisk Sunday morning for the Strongsville Fall Classic.

Runners unite.
Instead of sleeping in, we were up early to join the all the runners while there was frost still on the ground and the sun was shining, making us think it was a lot warmer than it actually was.

After meeting who I'm going to call "Ruth," she shared that she was 76 and has ran 55 marathons in her lifetime. Fifty-five marathons, people! She was this absolute ball of energy who was so excited to be up with everyone to start what was probably her 56th half marathon if not more.

The only one her age bracket....
I started to think about why I started running (I'll use that term loosely) because I don't actually consider myself much of a runner. My reason is simple -  I started to run after my dad was diagnosed with cancer over five years ago and signed up for a half marathon that supported Multiple Myeloma research.

As a kid, I have memories of my dad leaving for a run with his Asics and navy hooded sweatshirt for what felt like forever, but in all actuality it was likely 40 minutes. But let's be real here - when you are kid, forty minutes feels like an eternity and my brother and I knew we could stay out that much later or get in trouble before he got back to yell at me for likely beating up my little brother.

Posing on front porch post summer run. Socks and jellies - the only way to go!

Fast forward to six years ago, my dad's "running career" was cut  a bit short because of his bionic leg surgery so I sort of thought, "Well, I guess I should start running because he can't anymore " and that's how I found myself signing up to run my first race. At the time, I was incredibly out of shape and needed some kind of motivation to get me moving again and regain focus that I had lost, so a friend and I signed up for our first half marathons. Plus, I didn't want to look back and think, "I wish I would've done that" or had any other regrets.

Let's get this show on the road!
A few years later, I find myself testing my physical and mental limits, to run faster and farther while bonding with friends during long runs or attending a weekly hot yoga session on Saturday mornings.
crossing the finish line
Considering I have three races under my belt, my goal for next year is to run two half marathons again, get my mile time down (because my dad said so) and join a team to complete the Tough Mudder in April. Who doesn't think a little electrocution, jumping off a 15-foot cliff into freezing cold water and crawling under barbed wire isn't fun on a spring afternoon?

So if you are thinking of starting to run, box, join Crossfit, sign up for a yoga retreat or take that bootcamp class, what are you waiting for?

If you need an extra boost of motivation, head over to my friend Kristina's blog, Strong and Glamorous, for her own personal transformation to competing in her first fitness competition while sharing healthy recipes and workout routines to get a behind like J.Lo. Like woah is right.

Celebrating my person

I pulled off my first surprise party this weekend for a dear friend to redo her 30th birthday party since she was pregnant this time last year.

"Allison, I don't need a surprise, I just want my friends at dinner with me."

Yeah, yeah - I've heard that before and her husband and I wanted to do something a little different this year because Erin always seems to find the perfect gift or throw the perfect party for her friends and family. And, it was about time we celebrated Erin for a change.

Celebrating my surprise 24th birthday, courtesy of Erin

Erin may be the best kind of friend a person can have and luckily I met her all those years ago in a speech class way back when at Kent State University. We joke we are each other's person a la Grey's Anatomy but she is truely someone I'm incredibly thankful for every day, pushes me when needed and is an amazing support system.

In the past ten years, we have been by each other's sides through an eventful spring break to Acacpulco, a Las Vegas trip that I crashed, a plethora of boyfriends, her beautiful wedding to her husband and many birthday celebrations that have only gotten better each year. She is the kind of girl who you answer your phone for at 3 in the morning and she's the kind of girl who offers her spare room for six weeks and stands up for you no matter how pregnant she is.

The birthday girl; a sampling of colossal cupcakes and the surprise party

Ripped his pants on his first bowl; birthday girl and Katie; Nadine with her fav ball; and the my lucky bowling shoes

Based on how late we celebrated, I'm going to guess that she loved every minute of our cupcake eating, wine drinking, bowling marathon kind of night spent downtown Cleveland.

Editor's note: Erin - I hope you know how much you inspire the people around you on a daily basis all the way down to that little girl we call BKE. I hope 30 take two was everything you hoped for!

Party kind of weekend

The craziness of the fall season is in full swing. I can't tell you much I was looking forward to this weekend because all of celebrations happening from a surprise birthday/engagement party to karaoke with Alexa at Noodlecat to a Madonna dance party to an impromptu Sunday Funday while we enjoyed a beautiful 70 degree day in Cleveland. (Non-Clevelanders - this doesn't happen that often, so yes we were out in flip flops and sitting out on patios.)

Happy engagement and birthday, my dear friend!

Surprise to Katie!

Alexa holding the karaoke fort down at Noodlecat

Creepy glasses photo during karaoke - Ahmed wins!

How was the Madonna show?  Amazing. Fabulous. Of course I loved every second of the show just like I did when I saw her a few years back at the Reinvention Tour in Chicago, but I'm not sure the rest of the crowd enjoyed it based on the fact that it wasn't that crazy-I-can't-hear-myself-think kind of loud. Yes, it was loud at times (especially during her old school rendition of Like A Prayer) but as I looked around me, it wasn't the crazy kind of energy you would see at a Gaga concert. Just saying, Madge......

Dinner at Chinato before Madge's show - glitter all around

Just a sampling of the costumes at the show

Starting off Sunday with mimosas and bourbon

As Lisa said, "I'm so glad I pulled these from the lost and found from Old Angle."

tumblr crush

I can't enough of some tumblr pages and this happens to be one of them.

Let me introduce you to #myfriendsaremarried. It will make you spit out your morning coffee or almost choke on your salad at lunch from laughing so hard from some of the posts. I die (in the voice of Rachel Zoe) and seriously, this makes me almost cry at some points because of the hilariousness that is this site.

Sidenote: What did we do before tumblr? I don't even remember.

There are gems on each page, but here a few that were extra special for just for today. 

Ha ha - Oh Chels.

I die.
Let's hope it's not as bad as I think.

the song that was killed this weekend

This past weekend was spent celebrating two of life's amazing milestones - a birthday and bachelorette party for two of my dear friends.

For Nadine, she requested a low-key dinner to ring in 34 with her friends at one of her favorite restaurants, Rosewood Grill. We dined on sushi shots (I could eat three orders of these myself), calamari, thai pizza, artichoke dips and even cashew crusted tofu, which was pretty good by the way.

the birthday girl

table shot of the girls

For Melissa, we drove north to Geneva, which was a place I've passed a bunch of times heading to Erie or to the Finger Lakes but never actually stopped in and visited the wineries. It was on my summer of fun and totally checked it off the list a few months late. We were hoping for the perfect fall weather with a crisp 60 degree night but instead we were dealing with some rain so it made our outside wine drinking move inside for the whole day. No patio? No problem?
Mel singing to T. Swift; two red, two white, table shot; and me on my iPhone of course

Bachelorette Mel smiling; a few reds and whites; and table shot
Gone were the days of all the penis stuff, crowns and pink feathered boas but we added in dance party at Ferrante for good measure and even had a rival bridal party photo bombing our photos. After we noticed the bomber, one of the more crafty girls of the group decided to sneak in the background of not one but several of their photos to return the kind favor as you can see below.

Steph imitating Mel puting on lipgloss getting it everywhere but her lips; former coworkers w/ vampire eyes and the said bomber in the background
After spending the entire afternoon at both Harpersfield and Ferrante wineries, we headed back to the house to actually eat dinner, sample more wine from Laurello and have a dance party to T.Swift's new song - you know the one "Weeeeeee are never, ever, ever......". I do believe we single-handedly killed that song by playing it over and over and over and over again. We tried to dance to Wilson Phillips, Backstreet Boys and even New Edition but somehow that pesky little song kept getting switched on as if we didn't hear it enough over the 18-hour period we were together. I thought for sure I would be woken up by that tune on Sunday morning but instead it was just by my friends at the laughing downstairs bright and early at 7:30 a.m.

wine and toliet paper was needed; hugs and cupcakes; what we called dinner

While I didn't spend my favorite holiday weekend all dressed up like I did last year as fashion's favorite stylist, I did spend it with a group of new friends who are still making me laugh as I think about we said and did as I scroll through my iPhone from the past two days.

Memories, oh the memories I tell ya.

P.S. Did you know we are now in what we call "cuffing season?" True story. More on that to come.

sometimes you just....

...need to see where a weekend will take you. Especially a weekend that you essentially got "back" as a bonus when a work trip was cancelled at the last minute. While the Colorado trip would have been incredibly engaging and educational, sometimes you just need a lazy fall weekend at home.

No real set plans means you can take the two days off you have by storm and make it up as you go along.

You can spend the afternoon shopping your mom and taking advantage of some serious sales on while finding that perfect pair of leopard booties you've been looking for.

My mom lost in a sea of shoes; two new purchases for me

Or take two leisurely hours sipping lattes and having a late lunch with your mom while catching up on all things happening in your lives from dating to kitchen remodeling to the upcoming holiday season all while remembering and l

You could introduce a friend to your favorite yoga studio, try out a new class and spend the rest of the day watching the Browns game and sipping on pumpkin cider and pumpkin ales on a beautiful Sunday with a group of friends. Absolute fall perfection.

Eggs benedict at Tremont Taphouse is die for

That's how I spent the past few days. A splendid weekend indeed and it's back to the work week grind. How did you spend yours?

oh the friends you will make......

On Friday evening, I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to Valerie Mayen's Hullabaloo for Yellowcake shop fashion show fundraiser. The translated collection was called "Love the Bitch and then Some" with a kickass soundtrack, models with white buns, magenta, yellow and polka dot dresses and even a little dance at the end featuring the designer herself.

When the show was finished, Valerie quieted the audience and spoke candidly about her mentor who sadly is incredibly sick and how important she has been in her life, especially in supporting her career. It was in incredibly touching moment and I can't imagine anyone wasn't tearing up while Valerie was speaking.

Valerie speaking to the audience; model in my favorite dress; the Yellowcake crew and clothes galore

As I think about my own friends and family, I'm incredibly grateful that I'm surrounded by an amazingly supportive family and circle of friends that I handpicked over the past years. My dad always says, "You can't choose your family but you can pick your friends," and we are all given the chance to handpick the friends that we want as part of our lives and even clean them out when it's necessary. Whether you've known them for 10 years, 5 years or 3 months, it's the connection that you make that matters and some of the connections you make now can last an entire lifetime or simply just a year or even a summer.

As I think about this past weekend, I indulged in clambake with a group of friends I've known for a few years where we devoured half chickens, clams and endless amounts of apple spiced cider.

solving the world's problems with a clambake
who says you can't have a clambake in an apartment?

Another Sunday was spent devoted to tailgating on a sunny 70 degree day in October, sampling every pudding shot Tabitha crafted in her kitchen and watched the Browns win live from the stadium with seats only 18 rows from the field with the cutest pair of old men in front of us. One of them was even at the championship in 1964 and none of us could resist high fiving them when they turned around with each touchdown. (My guess is they've been friends since 1964 too.)

pudding shots in every flavor; extended Amherst friends; chili cook off and trophy;

So take a minute today to send a friend a text, a hey tell or a tweet to let them know how grateful you are for them to be part of your life, whether you've known them for your whole life or have only spent a few happy hours out with them because you never know what the hell can happen.

They matter, they make you laugh, cry, fight and are there for you at 3 a.m. in the morning in the event you ever need them to pick you up. Because let's face it, those are the kind of friends you want around.

the one where I turn 21 again

There are a few times in your life when you realize you aren't quite as young as you once were. Maybe it's playing a basketball game and getting dunked on by a 20-something or realizing that maybe you are finally too old to actually shop at Forever 21.  In my case, it was celebrating my cousin's 21st birthday and thinking somehow that I could keep up with these young kids.

Do you remember your 21st birthday? Mine was celebrated at Kent State where I specifically remember my dad saying, "Allison - don't try to do that stupid 21 shot thing." I listened to my dad and didn't quite make it 21 but my friends and I had a blast from what I remember on that snowy January night.

Little Lauren all grown up
We come from an even larger Croatian family where there are hundreds of cousins who we often forget because we only see them one time a year but our moms are first cousins. Our grandmothers were very close so many of my chilhood memories always included Lauren's family at holidays and I even remember when she was born.

My favorite memory of my little cousin was when I babysat her and her brother, which turned into me making popcorn, burning it so badly that I believe their house probably smelled for weeks after. If you ever have burned popcorn, you understand exactly what I'm talking about.

Carrie, the birthday girl, Clara; Doing gangam style of course
How well did I hang with the young kids? Let's just say I failed miserably..... After sleeping most of the day with a ridiculously long and pounding headache, I finally joined the living world and headed to Nano Brew for a squeaky wheel and breakfast burger and a lot of laughs with friends to celebrate the West Side Market 100 year anniversary.

Just riding home in a hatchback from W 25th