St. Paddy's Day 2012

Ah, St. Paddy's Day. N and I took a car service downtown at 10:00 am- our journey included Moriarty's, Hodges (where we saw LOTS AND LOTS of friends), Thirsty Parrot, and then in a streak of EXTREMELY poor judgement, Taco Bell. For those curious, that Dorito taco is just ok- the volcano taco is way better.

The Moriarty's Series

Moriarty's alley "patio"

Inside Moriarty's

More from Moriarty's patio- Danielle and I clearly love Ohio and St. Patty's day! 

The Hodges Series 

Allison, Frank, Michelle, and friend

Danielle & I

The patio at Hodges


N & I

And this was the only pic I took at Thirsty Parrot- Dave and Jess

Overall, a gorgeous day in Cleveland, and although it was supposedly CRAZY downtown, I managed to miss most of it at our chosen haunts, which suits me just fine!! 

Twin Laptops

So when I made my big Black Friday purchase last year, I ended up buying a MacBook. The EXACT same one that N has too. Needless to say, I have accidentally picked up his computer more than once. Sick of this inconvenience (first world problems, I know), I decided to get a decal for my new baby. And what would be more appropriate than paying homage to our fabulous city of Cleveland??

There she is!! My lovely Cleveland skyline decal courtesy urbandecal on etsy!!! Its really easy to transfer, and comes in a bunch of colors. So if you have matching laptops, or iPads or even if you just want a decal of CLE (or any other city- there's a decent selection), check out the urban decal store on etsy! In case you're wondering, now N wants one too, although I think he's going to get his in white.

A Very Merry CLE Weekend

Hello!! Hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving weekend, and are recovering from all the indulgences this weekend! Of course, I pigged out T-day, but spent a relatively low-key Black Friday. JV and I decided to meet up for lunch- 1 bottle of rose and some gossip later, we were ready to shop. My big Black Friday purchase was a brand-spankin-new MacBook Pro!!! YAY!!! I luuuuuurrvvveee this thing. I'm not quite sure what I'm doing with it yet, but it hardly matters- it seems pretty intuitive so far!

This weekend, I took the opportunity to experience the parts of Cleveland that I had never explored before, starting with Polka Happy Hour at Happy Dog on Friday night. Wow! What a ridiculously fun happy hour- if you haven't been yet, you should definitely check it out!! It was absolutely PACKED, and it was SO fun to see people of old ages (including a well-reprensented 80-something population) dancing and having a great time!

DJ Kishka in action

Saturday, N and I headed downtown for Winterfest, and to witness the tree-lighting ceremony- something I had never done in person before. It was SO AWESOME to see so many people downtown- the atmosphere was incredible- it definitely felt like the holidays!

The Higbees window. Its sorta weird to think there will be a casino there next year! I hope that means more windows like this one!!!

Tower City. I like the fuzziness. 

The tree!!!

A very merry Terminal Tower

After seven years of living in CLE (including two actually living in Tremont), I finally made it to the Christmas Story House! Shame on me, but definitely better late that never. The house was so cute, and although part of the movie was filmed on a sound stage, it was fun to imagine that the whole thing was filmed in this house.  I went with Jess and her sister Nicole, and we would all agree that its SO worth the trip and the $10 admittance fee! 

So there you have it- it was a very merry CLE weekend indeed!!! Just the weekend to get in the holiday spirit!!!!

A weekend recap... on a Tuesday night

Yes, I'm recapping the weekend today. I realize its a little late for that, but I was so tired from my weekend that I fell asleep on the couch at 7:30 last night. I'm turning 31 this weekend (gag), but seriously, some days I feel like a much older person!!! Anyway, this past weekend was incredibly busy. Sunday, I joined thousands of people at the Taste of Tremont.I don't know what it is, but I swear that every year the Taste seems like THE HOTTEST DAY of the year. This year the Taste was a little different for me. I kicked off the event with a 2-hour volunteer spot at the Secondhand Mutts booth where I chaperoned the SUPERCUTE Frida Marie (she's still available for adoption btw. She's really cute and sweet, but she is a puppy and has puppy energy. She'd make a great addition to an active home that has the time to take her to obedience school to help her focus).

Anyway, after my shift, I made my way over to our usual spot on the Flying Monkey Patio, where I got the one and only thing I ate at Taste, the PBLT at Dim and Den Sum. Yes, I fully recognize I could have gotten this at any time, but I was REALLY craving a PBLT.

Saturday, I took the pups for a long walk, and ran some errands, before I RAN the Winking Lizard Shot in the Dark 2-mile race. I know its only 2 miles, really not that big a deal, but honestly, I've run maybe 10 times ALL YEAR!! Needless to say, I hurt BAD all day Sunday and Monday. Saturday evening N and I headed over to the Wolstein to watch the Burning River Roller Girls in action, and cheer own our very own Rolling Pin-Up Lulu, who just so happened to be celebrating her birthday. The night continued with drinks at Garage Bar, fun times with friends, and late-night Gyros at Nikos Greek Grille (don't ask. I was REALLY hungry).

Lulu in the Zebra pants. I can't even tell you how much admiration I have for these ladies!! They KICK ASS!!

Lulu's so fast she's just a blur

Sara, AJP, Lulu, JV, and me!

Which brings me to Friday night. N and I headed over to the Ingenuity Fest Speakeasy, an event we absolutely LUUURVED last year. This year, not so much. And I'm not sure it had to do with the event itself, I think it had more to do with the numbers of people. This year was not as well attended as last year, and that made it less fun. I think part of it has to do with the fact that us Clevelander's may be suffering from a touch of event fatigue. There have been so many FABULOUS events this year, and I end every weekend absolutely exhausted. I guess this is where Cleveland's relatively small population is a negative: you can't always fill an event! On the plus side, there were WAAY more people in costume this year, so people-watching was way more fun! 

There would've been way more people in this picture last year. 

N walking the shadowy tunnels!!

N and I on some 3D plotter thing. This was really cool.

We were joined by more people!!! Who also thought it was cool!!

Old Subway sign. This would look awesome in my house btw. *sigh*

Vintage subway!

Fabulous 20s attire!!

I really hope that you attend Ingenuity Fest this year! They had the whole bridge open for this last year, and since its a September event, I'm hoping there's no event fatigue this time around. If for nothing else, come for the VIEW!! Look how fabulous!!!


Hunting for Vampires

Are you intrigued by the title? : ) This is a slightly longer post than normal, but please stick with me: its fun and different!

So back in the days when my life wasn't quite so busy, I used to read a lot. Mostly fun fiction, and always before bed. Its something my parents have always done, so it was a tradition I followed from childhood until quite recently. Part of the allure of fiction was the ability to immerse myself in a different time and place, and the best part was that reading before bed always gave me REALLY interesting dreams!! I hadn't read a book in quite some time, until I was contacted by the fabulous Adrianne Ambrose: a former Clevelander who just so happened to have written a work of fiction, with Cleveland as the lead character. Obviously, I was intrigued. I immediately purchased the book, and started reading. And I was hooked! Fangs for Nothing is the story of teen vampire hunters, who stumble upon vampires in our VERY OWN CITY!! I'm not going to ruin the story for you, but lets just say if features awkward teens, beautiful people, touches of a cult, and of course vampires. Its a really easy read, and like Twilight, it moves pretty quickly, but unlike Twilight, it has a almost self deprecating sense of humor (a little like Clevelanders). 

Of course I had to learn more about Adrianne and her writing of this book, and she graciously agreed to a blogterview, which I will share with you below:

So why a book about vampires and vampire hunters?
I write video game dialogue and I was going to make a Choose Your Own Adventure game called Suck It! with a friend who is a programmer. He wanted to set it in San Francisco, NYC or New Orleans and that just felt really tired to me. I wanted to set it someplace unexpected like Cleveland. Well, he got lured away by a high paying gig, but I was still charmed by the idea of a vampire romantic comedy in Cleveland so I decided to write it as a novel.

Talk about your creative process: did you have an idea about the whole book before you wrote it or did it just come to you as you went along? Did you experience writers block, and if so, what got you through it?
Some of my friends who are writers insist that an entire book must be outlined in detail before they even write chapter 1. That’s good writing theory, but for me it doesn’t leave much room for the characters to take over and do their own thing. I set out knowing my three acts and the conclusion but then I like to see what the characters are going to do on their own once I know who they are. This does sometimes lead to rewriting so that the structure of the book is solid, but is a lot more fun for me to write.

If I get stuck, I go on a long walk and think about the story. That usually loosens things up. If I’m really stuck, I’ll go to hear an orchestra or go to a really long, really boring movie allowing my brain the opportunity to wander. I’m also lucky to have a creative husband. I didn’t really need to tap him for help on Fangs for Nothing, but he does have a lot of great ideas that I’ve used in other works.

As a Clevelander, I love all places you discuss in your book. But for the non- Clevelanders, why did you pick Cleveland as the setting for your book?
In addition to what I said in the first question - Cleveland is a great city with a bad reputation. I’m always surprised when people make snarky remarks about Cleveland. They obviously don’t realize it’s clean, it’s inexpensive, the people are nice, there’s tons to do, and you can actually park when you get there.

I know the city very well so I didn’t have to do a lot of research, I love the cool old history of Cleveland, plus I wanted to give my hometown some well-deserved love.

What do you miss most and least about Cleveland?
I miss everything about Cleveland. I visit for about six weeks total throughout the year and am always so happy to be home. I miss all the trees and grass and vegetation. You don’t realize how green Cleveland is until you live somewhere else. I miss the lack of hassle that is Cleveland. Whenever I’m home, I run around and do a ton of stuff because it’s just so easy and fun. I miss how you can go out for a cocktail or some really good food and not have to sell a kidney to pay the check. (I could go on but I’ve got to stop, this question is making me homesick.)

Okay, I guess I don’t miss everything about Cleveland because I don’t miss the winters. ;)

Are you going to write a sequel?
I have not decided about a sequel. I really like my characters so I’d be happy to make them run around Cleveland a bit more and get into trouble, but this is my first foray into ebooks so we’ll see how it goes. The short answer is – Probably yes.

What's your next book about?
I have another story coming out as an ebook within the next two weeks called Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice. It’s a parody of the barbarian genre and came out with a small press several years ago. Oni Press has also contracted to put it out as a graphic novel and we’re on the hunt for an experienced illustrator with a hint of Frank Frazetta.

And finally, if your book were turned into a movie, who would be your choices for the main characters?Wow, this is a weirdly tough question. Back when I was first writing Confessions of a Virgin Sacrifice, (10 years ago…?) I knew who I thought would be good in each role, but I haven’t given it much thought to casting for Fangs for Nothing. But let’s see…

Sherbie – Hmmm – Someone like a slightly younger Joseph Gordon Levitt. Now who would that be…?

Xander – This is a tough one. Xander is tall, well built with black hair and electric blue eyes. Zack Efron’s got the dark hair and blue eyes, but not the stature. From back several years ago I’d say Michael St. Gerard, who has completely disappeared from Hollywood. To compensate for my lame answer I’ll share a little glimpse of Hollywood story – I was nominated for a WGA award for my work on a video game. (Lost to Star Wars) There weren’t any mega-big A list celebrities at the award ceremony, but there were plenty of A-/ B+ celebs. What’s funny is that everyone was much, much shorter than I expected. At least 2+ inches shorter than what is listed on their IMDB bios. I felt like there should be a disclaimer, celebrities may appear 2/3rds smaller than shown on TV.

Rini – Chloe Moretz maybe - ? – She’s way too pretty to be Rini, but doesn’t Hollywood always do that? Anyway, she’s saucy and she’s got a good voice so I think it could work. Abigail Breslin might also be good.

Lana – Can I say Emma Stone? I’m not sure she’s exactly Lana, but I think she’s fabulous and am glad she’s getting work.

Short Vincent – Romain Duris – French actor that was in Heartbreaker (there are subtitles, but well worth it – super funny)

Aerony – Okay, this one is easy – Aisha Tyler – Gorgeous and great voice. She does the voice of Lana Kane on Archer.

So in addition to graciously answering my questions, Adrianne has also agreed to host a fabulous little contest. She will be giving away not one, not two, but FIVE Fangs for Nothing ebooks!!! I'm not gonna lie, one of my favorite parts about reading the book was picking out how many CLE places I had visited!! And I'm proud to say I have been to quite a few!! The contest will run until Friday. You must have access to Kindle, either on your PC, iPhone, etc, or Kindle itself.

Here's how you enter:

1. Leave a comment about your favorite place in Cleveland (one entry). If the spot has a creepy past (which you must also share), you will get a bonus entry.

2. Follow me and Adrianne on twitter for another entry.

3. Tweet about the contest and link back to this post for another entry.

AND FINALLY (see, I told you it was a long post), if you want to hunt your very own vampires under the Detroit-Superior bridge, you should definitely consider attending the Ingenuity Fest Speakeasy Party, THIS Friday, July 15th. I attended last year, and it was such a ridiculously fun event that I naturally scooped up tickets for this year's event! So, hopefully, I will see you there!!

Good luck with the contest, and Happy Hunting!!!