Friday, June 29, 2012

Friday Thoughts

Happy Friday! In no particular order, here are the things that currently occupy my mind:

::This articleIt's hot in Northeast Ohio: Not quite 7 trillion degrees, but hot
 Note to self: wearing a skirt and hot leather car seats is not a match made in heaven.


::Please let it be true.  Because a SJP + Victoria Beckham collab would be a match made in heaven.

update: Alas, Victoria Beckham's spokesperson has confirmed that this is just rumor and she has no time right now to collab on a fashion line. But what a marvelous rumor it was... 

::Moonrise Kingdom at the Capitol Theater - Best escape from the heat is one part historic theater mixed with 1 beer (or glass of wine) and shake in a bit of Wes Anderson.

::dba - Dante Boccuzzi Akron - Opens officially July 2nd. Friends on facebook? Check your events page for an open house this Saturday night.

::Last Tango in Paris menu:
Chilled Pea Soup -  White Lotus
Alligot w/ Potatoes, Laguiole & Blue Chjeeses, Toulouse Sausage - Manhattan
Chicken Mousseline w/ Tomato Tarte Tatin - Apricot Lady
Poached Pork Belly w/ Brandy Clafoutis - Berkshire Martinez
Ginger Fruit Tartare w/ Rosemary Cream & Chocolate Rosemary Ganache - White Russian

Not only is it at Velvet Tango Room but this menu has me drooling. No wonder it sold out so quickly. Missed out on this one? Be sure to get your tickets early for Emerging Chefs August 3rd event - Sagra Di San Rocco featuring Chef Jeff Fisher.

:: A weekend filled with 2 birthday parties for 2 incredible ladies. One of which threatened a day of utkatasana if we showed up with presents. It's a good thing I've been practicing.

So if you see me on Broadview Rd this Sunday please honk and wave!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Essie: Fear Or Desire - Mani & OOTD

A few weeks ago I traded my Essie Klout perk in Bikini So Teeny with a girlfriend who received Fear Or Desire. I already had the pale blue shade and she had a similar orange in her collection. It was a win-win for all.

Yesterday I was planning on wearing a coral dress but after painting my nails that felt too matchy-matchy. I opted for a navy/fuchsia combo. I keep forgetting to wear this skirt. Do you have things in your closet that you keep forgetting to wear even though you love them? I consistently have this problem with separates. I'm more inclined to throw a sundress on and run out of the house.

shirt - Limited
necklace - Ann Taylor
belt, ring - H&M
skirt - LOFT
cuff - Tory Burch
shoes - MaxStudio

Essie - Fear or Desire
left: direct sunlight / right: indirect sunlight

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Grilled Fish

If you are a regular reader of this blog you probably know that I'm not a girl who relies on a recipe. It's great to have one and I always get tons of inspiration from them. But follow them? Well, it depends on the day. I will always try to post the recipe (or recipe inspiration) I've used and if there isn't one I will ramble on about a bit of this and handful of that. I blame my father. But that's a discussion for another time.

One of my favorite summer dishes is grilled fish. We headed to Kate's Fish to pick up walleye. They only had one piece left so we also picked up cod. Or was it hake? Maybe haddock. I can't remember, but it was one of those fish that would take on the flavor of whatever you were seasoning it with. The husband likes more of a simple seasoning than I do, so he took the walleye and I took the other. We then decided to see who could best season and prepare their own and had a fish cook-off.

HIS - sea salt, Penzey's Lamb Seasoning, fresh herbs and lemon slices

HERS - chopped herbs (whatever is on hand - I used cilantro, parsley, scapes, oregano, thyme, sage) mixed w/ olive oil, 1 tablespoon panko and lemon juice and grated rind

The grill basket is the easy way out when grilling fish. Grill for roughly 5 mins a side.



It was a TIE. Each of us seasoned our fish perfectly for the type we had. The walleye has such great flavor on its own that it doesn't need much. My fish would take on whatever flavor it was given and came out moist on the inside with a subtle crunch on top.

I paired this with bacon/shallot brussels sprouts and dijon potatoes w/ arugula. Both recipes can be found here. I used baby yukons this time in place of red potatoes.

What's your favorite way to grill fish?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Visiting The Greater Cleveland Aquarium

A few Saturdays ago I was invited to a 'blogger breakfast' at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. I was excited to attend since I was waiting for the crowds to die down a bit before attending and then, well, I kind of forgot.
The aquarium is housed in the historic First Energy
Powerhouse building.

In the invite email it was stated that there would be families (and more specifically children) at this event. This was the cutest warning anyone's put in an email to me in a long time and it was quite lovely to get a personalized email (that made me laugh) rather than standard copy. I wanted to respond that I eat children for breakfast so it was a good thing they were serving food, but that could've gone really wrong! In fact, meeting the families and watching the kids interact with the staff and fish was one of my favorite parts of the day.

I got to see Kate and her family - who are even more adorable in person than on instagram. Is that possible? I also got to get a peek at Karen's newest bundle of joy and I still can't get over how amazing she looks after just having that baby. She's got the secret, girls. I'm telling you.

Ok, ok back to the real reason we're here. THE FISH.

These fish were shy...

unlike the flirty stingrays.

The Greater Cleveland Aquarium (GCA) is not your typical aquarium. It's the only freestanding aquarium in Ohio. It's located inside the First Energy Powerhouse in the Nautica Complex in the Flats.  Marinescape (the company that brought the aquarium to CLE) has built 23 aquariums around the world in the last 26 years. This is their first in the U.S.

They did a wonderful job using the existing space.

If you're looking for your typical aquarium experience, this is a bit different. It's more of an urban aquarium to me. Housed in an historic building it gives the feeling of being 'under the sea' than open and airy. And this is part of it's charm. The staff is kind, helpful and excited. Every time I lingered at a tank someone was there to show me what I might not know to look for. Their enthusiasm was fantastic.

One of the highlights is the Touch Tank where you can pet the stingrays.

Nadine & JPC getting their pet on.

Also not to be missed is the shark tank and Sea Tube.

This is kind of like Fremont Street in Vegas - but with fish. Nadine and I laughed how this could be quite the experience after a few cocktails...

I think Mr. Scuba Man wanted Nadine's bun.
It was a wonderful way to spend a Saturday morning. I had a great time checking out our newest attraction with two of my favorite couples! (JPC & Nadine and Amanda & Scott)

They also have some really great events coming up!

Red, White & Brew - 7/4 $27.95 {adults} $11.95 {children}
Visit the aquarium from 6-8pm and then head outside for an evening of entertainment and VIP seating for the fireworks show. 

Bazaar at the Aquarium - 7/19 - $8 adv / $10 at the door
Shop local while browsing the Aquarium. 7-11pm -  - cash bar available

And they have partnered up with Nishkama Yoga to hold yoga classes every Tuesday & Saturday morning in front of the shark tank.

::Disclosure - Breakfast and admission to the GCA was provided to me at no charge. I also received 4 GCA tickets to either give away on this blog or use as I see fit. I donated them to a local family who, under normal circumstances, would not have been able to go. All opinions are my own, as always::

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Sample Society - June 2012

Here are the June offerings from Sample Society. They sent me 2 boxes by mistake this month. I emailed them right away to alert them of the dupe and they responded immediately apologizing and telling me to keep the extra box. (Which I promptly handed over to Julie since she has been raving about this cleanser.)

Murad - Acne Clarifying Cleanser - The cleanser isn't the right fit for my skin type so I've been using this on my chest and back after workouts. It contains 1.5% salicylic acid and eliminates 99% of surface bacteria after 60 seconds of use.

Oscar de la Renta - Live in Love

Caudalie - Premier Cru Eye Cream - I'm thrilled to try this eye cream. After 15 years of searching I still haven't found my holy grail eye cream. This has been one on my list to try for some time now.

Jane Iredale - Just Kissed Lip Plumper - I'm not a big Jane Iredale fan but this lip color is so pretty. Doesn't really plump them (for me) though.

Alterna - Bamboo Style Boho Waves Tousled Texture Mist - This is meant to give you 'shore-worthy' tousled waves. Since I blow out/flat iron/curl my hair, I'm thinking this would give me the hair I usually start off with. I'll save this for when It's so ridiculously humid out and can't do my normal routine and have to go the natural route.

They also switched up their packaging and now everything is nestled in a Glossybox way. I like it so much better then what they started out with.

One thing to note with Sample Society (at least so far) is that all the boxes appear to be the same. Unlike Birchbox where there are 20 or options shipped out. On one hand it's nice because I'm not envious of someone else's box but on the other there is less customization. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Giving My Nails A Break From Shellac

I've pretty much had some type of gel polish on my nails for about a year now. I switch between Shellac, Gelish and GelColor by OPI. I keep it on for 2 weeks at a time then have it redone.

I always hear that you should 'give your nails a break' from things like this. This is kind of a strange concept for me. It's not as if I'm wearing artificial nails. I was always the girl that went from polish to polish and never 'gave my nails a break' in between colors. In fact,  I can count the times I've left the house in the last 15 years without polish - on one hand.

That being said, I decided to remove my shellac and go a few weeks painting the old-fashioned way.
Underneath, my nails were great. Strong and healthy and the same as they always were (with less peeling). I haven't painted my own nails in forever. This is kind of fun! I picked Lo by Zoya and 30 mins later I was done and happy. But you kind of get used to having indestructible nails. My new mani was not indestructible and I needed to keep reminding myself to:

1. Wear gloves for scrubbing
2. Stop picking labels off things
3. Be gentle with the hair washing

Zoya Lo (direct sunlight)

Zoya Lo (indirect sunlight)

Two days later my first micro chip had me irritated. I'll be going back to shellac. Soon. But right now I'm really enjoying painting my own nails again.

Maybe in the future I'll have one of those gel mani kits for the house. There are more brands available now. I was waiting for Sephora by OPI to come out with their version since they always have such a great selection of color. Has anyone tried these?

Sephora by OPI - GelShine $159

Mally 24/7 Gel Polish System $165

Sensationail by Nailene $59.99

Red Carpet Manicure - Starter Kit $59.99 (Pro Kit also avail $79.99)

I do adore my manicurist, so I'm not sure if I'm willing to give her up for the DIY route!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Birchbox - June 2012

This month's Birchbox theme was Jet Set and it couldn't have been more perfect timing. If you aren't heading out (or just getting back) on holiday, then you need to be pampering yourself at home. Birchbox came up with some great on-the-go and double duty items that are perfect to throw in your travel bag. (Or make you feel like you just got back from some exotic destination!)


Cosmodynes - Self-Tanning Intensive - "safe, buildable and natural looking tanning towelettes." If they do what they say, I'll let you know since I self-tan from May-October!

beautyblender - blendercleanser -  soy-based sponge and makeup brush cleanser that removes built up bacteria and oil. I usually use a mild facial cleanser to clean my brushes and sponges. I do have the beautyblender sponge so it's nice to get this.

theBalm cosmetics - Stainiac in Beauty Queen - sheer, gel, two-in-one lip and cheek stain. This is one of those double duty items I love to have when I travel. Swipe it on for a sheer look or layer on your lips for more of a berry stained look. Lasts pretty well on the cheeks in high humidity.

Number 4 - Super Comb Prep & Protect - leave-in treatment that detangles, defrizzes and protects strands with a UV filter. If I was a girl who put her head in the water, I'd totally use this on the beach or at the pool after I got out. Comb it through, condition your hair and protect it from the sun? Sold! Too bad I'm not that girl, so I'll try this before I style my hair when I know I'll be in the sun.

tili - ziploc bag - This is the cutest ziploc ever. Ever. And in my fave colors.

John Varvatos - Star USA Cologne sample - This was an extra for Father's Day to promote Birchbox Man. Giving to the husband. He's a father. To two cats. (That counts, right?!)

What did you ladies get this month? Did you love it or no?

ps. Word has it July's box will be a partnership w/ Glamour Magazine. Can't wait.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Mad Men Monday - Flank Steak & Extra Dirty Martinis


Whew. It's all over! I'm not sure how I feel about the finale yet, but I sure did LOVE this season. I mean, how could they possibly keep up the momentum of the last few weeks? Joan! Peggy! Lane!
I do appreciate leaving us, not with the most jaw dropping cliffhanger, but with one that harks back to the original vibe of she show. Will he or won't he. The age old question.
...and that glimpse of Roger Sterling's bare backside? Thankyouverymuch.


We celebrated on Monday and it was hot. Take one look at my crazy bun. Hot I tell you. Even my hair was sweltering.

What I Wore
dress - J Crew - Misha in cotton
belt - H&M
necklace - Ann Taylor
bangle, ring - Coach
shoes - Nine West

What We Drank
Gin Martinis - extra dirty

Recipe from Mad Men Cocktail Guide
-add 1 1/2 oz dry Vermouth to martini glass, rinse and pour out
-pour 2 1/2 oz Gin and 1/2 oz olive juice into shaker filled w/ ice
-strain into martini glass and garnish w/ olives

On The Menu:
Cabernet marinated Flank Steak, Caramelized Onion Pappardelle and Grilled Corn with smoked paprika, cilantro and garlic scape cream sauce. (and a pea tendril - just cause they're cute!)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Gelish - You're So Sweet You're Giving Me A Toothache

::Winner! Winner! - The winner of my Beachwood Place gift card (via is Comment #5.
Lilia Lipps9:44:00 AM   Obsessed with #2, had to vote for it!
Congrats! Your gift card will be held under your name at Guest Services. Make sure to bring a photo I.D. with you::

This week's (or rather, last week's) mani is from the Gelish Candy Land collection. I've been rocking out bold and bright nail color for almost six months straight and I was excited to take a break and go pale.

See, before all this Shellac/Gelish/Gel polish business came along I was an Essie girl. Sure I had a few others, but I always went back to my Essie. I kept up on manicures but they never lasted so I was a 3-4 day polish changer. I also worked in an industry where you couldn't show up with chipped neon purple nails. I pretty much own every non-shimmer, creamy-opaque pale pink polish. It was my signature. I really only switched it up with Chanel Vamp or OPI Lincoln Park.
One of my all time favorites is Essie Fiji. Throughout my gel polish craze I have never found anything that came close. Until now. Enter in the longest name for a polish ever:

Gelish - You're so sweet, you're giving me a toothache

As you can see based on the lighting it can run more pink or more white.

2 weeks for me. These pics were taken a 9 days after application.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Can't Miss Events

Summer in the CLE. If you thought spring was full of incredible events, just wait. There is way too much going on this month to possibly get to everything, so here are my favorites. Get there!

Monday 7/2
Last Tango in Tremont - 6PM - Velvet Tango Room {$75}

Let the swooning begin! I put everyone pretty much into 2 categories. You either love VTR and sing it's praises or you've heard about it (forever) or read about it and have been meaning to go, but haven't made your way yet. Either way, this is the can't miss event. Velvet Tango Room doesn't host many events and when they do, you must attend. This is the place to go for the civilized, unpretentious cocktail. This is hardcore old-school, no messing around. They take their drink seriously...and it shows.

Teaming up (for the second time) with Emerging Chefs, they are bringing in Chef Brian Rosander for a magical night of 'playful pairings' and 'masterful cocktails'. A silent showing of Last Tango in Paris will be screened in the private garden while live Jazz plays in the secret backroom. Dress is "summer stylish with a side of flair".

Wednesday 6/13
Progressive Arts Alliance - Launch Party & Happy Hour  - Reddstone -  5:30-7:30PM
I've been wanting to check out the newly renovated Reddstone since they closed and re-opened and this is the perfect excuse. PAA is celebrating "Ten Years of Rhapsody" with a happy hour/ticket sales launch party for their celebration taking place 8/11 at House of Blues. Complimentary apps and HHR drink specials will be available.

Saturday 6/9
Gordon Square Arts District Day
There's something for everyone in this annual celebration of art, culture, food and fun. From cartoons at The Capitol, to Lolly the Trolley trips to Parade the Circle. Cleveland Public Theatre will be giving backstage tours and the Near West Theater will be performing on the outdoor stage. There will even be a barbershop quartet performing c/o Sweet Moses. Word also has it that sometime between 2-8pm we'll see some of the food trucks filming The Great Food Truck Race (along with our own) rolling up to serve gourmet-on-the-go (and score a win!). Check out the entire schedule here.

Friday 6/15 - Sun 6/17
Made in the 216 - Dredgers Union
You know the drill. It's only the best collection of locally designed goods  - mashed up with a killer summer soiree. The party kicks off Friday at 4P with an expanded bar, DJ and over 60 hip, local vendors. The festivities continue to Greenhouse Tavern for an after party.

Saturday 6/16
Blondes vs Brunettes Game - CSU $20
Watch the ladies battle it out to see who really is best in this charity powderpuff football game benefiting the Alzheimer's Association.

Saturday 6/23

Open Air In Market Square 
Come check out the newly renovated Market Square and visit Dina from Dina's Days. She has a wicked knack for all things vintage and can style just about any piece to reflect the latest trends. A variety of clothing and accessories will be available and a portion of the proceeds will benefit Goodwill Industries of Greater Cleveland.

::Disclosure - I will be attending the Emerging Chefs event with a media pass. All opinions are my own, as always!::

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What We Wore - Spring/Summer Wedding

Wedding season is fully upon us. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping and love is in the air. Or at least it was this weekend when my girlfriends and their husbands all got together to celebrate Jen & Matthew's wedding.

There used to be so many rules as to what you should and shouldn't wear to a wedding. I personally believe you should go with your own style while at the same time being respectful that this is someones special day. The only rules I still keep in check are:

1. Don't wear white. Obviously. You can however wear a shade of white, cream or ivory if it is a print.

2. Do not wear your cocktail dress to the morning church ceremony. (God doesn't appreciate your backless dress - and the person sitting behind you in church doesn't either.) If you have more than 4 hours in between, please change. If you are unable to change there are many ways (cardigan, scarf, shoes, jewelry) to change up your look mid-day.

3. Be yourself. There is nothing more gorgeous than a confident woman. Wear what feels good.

Jen & Matthew had a morning ceremony and an evening reception leaving plenty of time for a wardrobe change. Here's what I wore.


dress - Ann Taylor
cardi - Loft
shoes - Nine West
bracelet - Tory Burch
clutch - vintage

playing around w/ natural vs artificial light - practicing my twirl for the dance floor

dress - H&M
necklace - TJMaxx
cuff - Ann Taylor
bangles - Banana Republic
ring - LOFT
clutch - Express
shoes - Guess

What The Husband Wore

suit - Banana Republic Monogram
tie - Banana Republic
tie bar - Banana Republic
shirt - Tasso Ella
shoes - Joseph Abboud

The Ladies

top: ceremony - me, Alicia, Julie, Amanda, Sarah, Crystal, Michaelene
bottom: reception - Crystal, Lane, me, Julie, Sarah, Amanda, Michaelene

The Bride

The new Mr & Mrs! - Jen, Alicia and Drew.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Glossybox - May 2012

::I'm giving away a $50 Beachwood Place gift card! Enter here::

I'm not sure what to call this box. The card says May but depending on where you live you might get it the last days of May or the first few in June. All I know is that it's ah-ma-zing. For real.

The concept of Glossybox is "beauty from around the world". A monthly beauty subscription that showcases higher end products from around the globe. The monthly fee is $21, making it $6 more than Sample Society and $11 more than Birchbox. So far (after 2 boxes) I think it's worth it. This is the first official USA subscription box. I received a "preview box" last month courtesy of Glossybox.

Phyto - Phytojoba Intense Hydrating Mask (France) - This is the one hair product I have wanted to try forever and just never got around to.

Amore Pacific - Moisture Bound Refreshing Hydra-Gel (South Korea) I'm beyond excited to use this! I was actually looking into buying this to replace my Sunday Riley Juno Serum for the summer. The serum is just a little too much moisture for me when the weather heats up. I was beating around the bush in picking this up (full size is $100) so now I'm happy to give it a try first.

Zoya - Beach & Surf Collection Polish (USA)- I got this in Kimber. (which is kind of perfect...)

Marvis - Whitening Toothpaste (Italy) - Yep it's toothpaste, but I loooove Marvis. (I also pretty much love anything in an aluminum tube)

Burberry - Lip Mist Natural Sheer Lipstick (UK) - Mine is in Copper which is a great neutral. If you haven't tried Burberry's lipsticks yet, you must. They will redefine the way you think of lipstick. Smooth, light and incredibly easy to wear - yet long wearing.

extra - Glossybox blush brush

All in all, I'm impressed, excited and will be using everything (yes everything!) in this box. Way to go Glossybox! Keep it coming.

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