Thursday, May 27, 2010

For when you don't want to paint the room red

I was reading cleveland's a plum's post yesterday on house hunting, and the inevitable decorating that happens after the house hunt, and I realized I haven't posted much about home decorating lately, even though I've been decorating like a crazy person. Our new place has pretty neutral colored walls; one of my favorite ways to spice up a room is with bursts of color. Done correctly, this can be a really inexpensive and convenient way to change the look of a room without having to put in a lot of work. Our dining room is a brownish/grey neutral, and I've spiced it up with red/orange accents; red table runner, reddish orange placemats, red coasters, and my favorite; giant red vases that I found at Marshalls!

If you like these oversize vases, Marshalls has a really large collection of them in all sorts of colors in stores now. The three vases together cost under $40. Happy decorating!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesdays in Tremont (Drinking for a cause)

So, I know I've gushed about the Tremont Farmers Market, but now there's another reason for you to visit Tremont on Tuesdays, especially if you have a well-behaved dog! YAPPY HOUR AT TREMONT TAP HOUSE. I'm very excited that this is going to be a regular feature in June; Otto and I attended one last year, and it was so much fun!! So the series of yappy hours in June will run every Tuesday from 4:00pm-9:00pm. The Tap House will have drink specials (their happy hour preztel with beer cheese dip is fantastic!); a portion of the proceeds will benefit Secondhand Mutts, and you're welcome to bring your well-socialized dog as long as he/she is leashed. If you don't have a dog, but may be in the market for one, you will also have an opportunity to meet the Secondhand Mutt dogs that are available for adoption.

You really should attend. Do it for the puppies.

Rib Cook-offs

As promised, here's a little rundown of things I'm looking forward to this weekend: Hope you're hungry, because this weekend Cleveland hosts not one, but TWO rib cook-offs!

The first is the 19th Annual Great American Rib Cook-off (May 28th-31st) at Tower City ampitheatre. The cookoff features some great bands and professional BBQ teams from across the U.S. including a few teams from Ohio. Admission is free until 3.00 pm daily. Last year, Cleveland's own Bubba's Q hosted a stall (incidentally my favorite BBQ in Cleveland), and the big man himself, former Cleveland Brown Al "Bubba" Baker was in attendance!

The second cookoff is one I haven't been to in a while, the Berea Rib Cook-off. The format is pretty much the same as the one at Tower City, except this one is in a field vs. asphalt parking lot, and if I remember correctly, features a mechanical bull. Having looked at the band line up, I think this year I may decide to go the Berea route rather than Tower City. Admission is free on Friday, and $5 on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.

If you're interested in any of these events, please take a look at the links above for additional information, including the featured bands. Happy eating!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Music + Art = fun things to hang on your wall

This past weekend, I was at the Hessler Street Fair. I love street fairs in Cleveland; I love seeing so many people out and about, I love smelling the yummy food, the great music, and exploring all the stalls. I especially like looking for art; it tends to be less expensive than a gallery, and sometimes you can find some really unique stuff, like I did on Saturday. I stumbled upon Brooke Witt's stall: Jukebox Art. Essentially, Brooke's art is inspired by lyrics; she listens to music, and they inspire her to create art. She has pieces that have been inspired by Radiohead, Dave Matthews Band, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, and a whole host of artists. Here's the best part: she does custom artwork!!!! I think this would be a great gift idea; if you're looking for a gift for someone special, and you have memories related to a song, or have "your song" together, you could commission Brooke to create something special and unique just for your and your someone special! Her prices are really affordable too (take a look at the price list on her website). I picked up pieces inspired by Southside (Moby) and Under the Bridge (Red Hot Chili Peppers).

These pictures really don't do them justice.

If you want to check out Brooke's work, take a tour of her website above. She will also be at the Waterloo Arts Fest (June 26th), Lakewood Arts Fest (Aug. 7th), and University Park Art Fair (Aug. 14th).

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Aimless Wandering: Pzazz

Last week, my mom and I decided to take an exploratory trip to Rocky River; where we just happened to find Pzazz, a consignment store for vintage furs, jewelry, antiques, collectibles and artwork. The owner, Dale Jones, has a truly amazing selection of stuff; the collection of vintage furs is quite incredible; and despite the fact that I'm generally anti-fur, I was really tempted to pick up a jacket. Dale also has a wide selection of vintage toy cars that are so cute and so fun! I can wait for our nephew to grow up a little so I can get him some! My favorite thing about the store is the wall of safety deposit boxes that carry all sorts of little goodies. Each box is labeled; 3 for $1, $1, $5, $8, and so on,  and each one is like a little treasure chest, filled with vintage pins, jewelry, campaign pins, compacts, watches, aand all sorts of other stuff. I could've spent hours there, but we had to leave when I started to get hungry.

I didn't leave empty-handed though; Ms. butnoteveryday, these are coming your way!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Let the Festivals begin...

I've been a bad blogger. I'm sorry... with my parents in town, I've been pretty busy this week. I promise to make it up to you with multiple posts this weekend (rather than one super long one). This weekend promises to be pretty packed too! As the weather warms up, Cleveland begins festival season, which means, tons of things to do every weekend! In the future, I'll try and keep you updated on the weekend happenings in the middle of the week, but for now, here's what I'm looking forward to this weekend:

1. Saturday morning, beginning at 9.00 am (until they run out), Tremont hosts its annual flower sale in Lincoln Park (corner of W14th Street and Kenilworth Ave). The flower sale will offer flowers (of course), herbs, veggies, and all sorts of other plants, with the proceeds benefiting existing public gardens in Tremont. I'm still on the hunt for mint, lavender, and now, a tomato plant; remember the Topsy Turvy tomato planting? That didn't quite work out... the tomatoes are, well, dead. The herbs however, are still alive, and mostly thriving.

2. Also this Saturday is the First Annual Cleveland Asian Festival, in Asia Town on E 30th and Payne Ave. If you haven't checked out any of the Asian restaurants in Asia Town, you are seriously missing out on some really really really good Asian food, including dim sum (love, love, LOVE). The Asian food vendors will include Li Wah, Otani's Japanese Restaurant, Pearl of the Orient, and Saffron Patch. There's even an eggroll eating festival!

3. Hessler Street Fair on Saturday and Sunday, one block north of Mayfield and Euclid Ave. intersection near the campus of CWRU and University Circle. N and I used to go to this when we lived in Cleveland Heights, but we've missed the last two years taking various vacations. This is one of my favorite festivals, and features amazing food from a bunch of area ethnic restaurants, art and jewelry vendors, and LIVE MUSIC! Check out the link above for the full line up.

So if you don't have plans this weekend, you should check out the three festivals above. I reccommend you begin in Tremont and just head east. Also, please forward this onto the Cleveland naysayers who complain that Cleveland is boring and there's nothing to do. ; )

Monday, May 17, 2010

Bouquets for everyone!

Summer's around the corner. And you know what that season. This year, I'm probably going to shop my own closet and wear some dresses that I haven't worn for a while. But I do want to make the dresses a little more special with some fun accessories. I love the idea of a flowery clutch; its like your very own bouquet.

Here's a few that I especially love:

1. The Big Buddha Sasha clutch, $50 at piperlime

2. The J Crew Ribbon Rosette clutch, $98 at jcrew

3.  The Magid Clutch, $50 at endless

4. Cole Haan Halsley Straw Clutch, $148 at zappos

Shopping math: A fun purse + some bold jewelry + my own dress = whole new outfit!!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

A Man Must Have a Grill, or so I've been told

Wow, talk about a busy weekend! My parents flew in from India on Friday evening. N and I went to the airport, I made a taco dinner with my new favorite goat cheese guacamole, talked for a while, and went to bed. The next morning, I woke up bright and early to go to spin class (love, love, LOVE), and ran errands all day. Hung out with neighbors at the new bar on Clifton, had some more drinks at Carney's (new bar on W 25th and Washington) and then took my parents to experience the SUPER DELICIOUSNESS that is Lolita's reverse Happy Hour. Then today, N and I made a BIG purchase. N is so excited about this, I should almost have him guest blog about it; but I'm just going to tell you instead.
N and I bought a grill; in the words of N's friend, the grill is "Half charcoal.Half propane.All man."

The Char-Griller Duo $299 at Lowes

Inaugural piece of meat going on the grill


I will be looking for new fun recipes to make the most of our new purchase all summer! So far, I've come up with lamb burgers, and grilled flank steak tacos. What's your favorite grill recipe?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For my Star Wars Loving Friends

One of things I love most about the Internet is the ability to find completely random stuff. N loves Star Wars. I don't think he loves it enough to go to a convention, but he would definitely get a Stormtrooper outfit(?) costume(?) (what's the appropriate word here?) if it existed in Cleveland Browns colors. Yes, he would wear it tailgating and then to the game.

On the other hand, I've fallen asleep to all the original Star Wars, all nine time I've tried to watch them. I actually distinctly remember waking up to "Luke, I am your faaathhooor" and going wait, what just happened?! Anyway, partly due to a tipoff from another website I've found N's next birthday gift.

I present to you, the Jedi Bathrobe. For the special Star Wars lover in your life.

Iron? I don't think so!

On July 2 this year, N and I will celebrate six years of wedded bliss. Apparently, the traditional items for your six year anniversary are candy (I can live with that) and iron (whaaaaaaaaaaaat?). Iron?! Really?! No thank you. Instead, I think that N and I should celebrate our anniversary with a new addition to our family.

Calm down (mom, this means you), I'm talking about an addition of the Furry kind. Last year, when N was spending his semester in Florence, I fell deeply in love with a white boxer named Special, who was being sheltered by Secondhand Mutts. She was such a sweet little thing (she was 4, so not quite so little, but you know what I mean), but N wasn't around, and it just wasn't the right time for us to adopt her. (Happy ending though, Special is now living happily ever after with her new dad and puppy brothers and sisters). But it got me thinking; now that we have a new home with a fenced in yard, I really really REALLY want to adopt another boxer.

N and I have been keeping an eye on Secondhand Mutts, the Cleveland APL, and petfinder for the right dog. So, please keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck!!!!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Good Dog

First off, you were probably expecting a post last night/this morning, but I went to spin class last night, which kicked my a**, and then I fell asleep to the CAVS game. Too bad it wasn't just a nightmare. But, in any case, I'm back. And, I may be addicted to spinning. I'm going again Saturday at 7:30 am. Who wants to join me?!

Its no secret that Otto is spoiled. He's my furry child, and I spoil him. Especially when he's sick. And he's been under the weather for the past week. One of my favorite things to get him as a special treat is something from the American Kennel Club line of toys. Otto LUUUUUUUUUURRVES these toys; maybe its because he thinks he's chasing a real animal? He got a goose today; and making his blog video debut, here's Otto playing with his goose.

P.S. If you have no plans on Friday, don't forget to check out the Tremont Art Walk. Check out my great finds from last month

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

There's a first time for everything

Turns out, the Spring of 2010 is one of "Firsts" for me. Things I've done for the first time this year:
1. Bought a house.
2. Started a blog.
3. Visited the Dominican Republic

4. Planted an herb garden. 2 (b) Managed not to kill said herb garden
5. Pulled up weeds. I really loathe weeding. Stupid weeds.
6. Pulled up bricks in our backyard. I can honestly say that I can't wait to never do this again!

7. Held our nephew
8. Tried out exotic new recipes like Chinese-style spare ribs

9. Found a new workout that I absolutely love love LOVE!!!!  SPINNING!!!! I'm obsessed!!! I went for the very first time on Saturday, and even though I can barely walk, I can't wait to go again!!! The studio is called Ride + Workout and its located in Lakewood. The instructors are so great, and the workout is so much fun!!! They play fantastic music, you go at your own pace, you will get a great workout, and you could burn up to 800 calories an hour!!!!!!! What's not to love?!?! Oh, did I mention, your first class is only $5, and if you're a new student, you can take 30 days of unlimited classes for only $50?! You should really try it out; it may be the best $5 you've ever spent.

Hmmmm, now if only the CAVS would win the Championship, it would be the THE BEST FIRST EVER!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Mmmmmmm Pizza

I'm really excited about this post, and I would really appreciate your feedback, particularly if you live in the Cleveland area.

PIZZA CHALLENGE!!! I luuuuuurve pizza. Its hard to believe, but growing up in India, pizza was very difficult to find, at least until the late 80s. I was a deprived child. Needless to say, I've made up for it over the past 12 years. I'm on a mission to find the best pizza in Cleveland. N and I have tried many, many pizza places, and here's the ranking I've come up with. Keep in mind, N and I have different pizza tastes, and my ranking order has no reflection on his views (he made me write this disclaimer).

1. Sunnyside Pizza at Bar Cento
2. Panini's on W 6th (N strongly disagrees with this one)
3. Angelo's in Lakewood
4. Edison's in Tremont (they have a parmesan crust, and the pies are served with honey on the side. Sounds wierd, but trust me, its fantastic!)
5. Papa Nick's Pizza on Clifton and W 116th-ish
6. Guys Pizza
7. Alesci's downtown on Huron
8. Big Guy's Pizza
9. Geppetto's
10. Rascal House

So here's where you come in. I'm looking for your opinions on the best pizza in Cleveland. Feel free to disagree with my choices; pizza is a very personal choice, and I wll not be offended if you disagree with mine : ). Please leave me your opinions even if you don't live in Cleveland; I hope to visit you soon and compare your favorites to mine.

Here are the only two criteria:
(a) The pizza place cannot be a national chain (no Donato's, Papa John's etc)
(b) Pizza must be the primary food served (so even though I enjoy Lolita's pizza, I don't consider it a "pizza place")

Let the pizza wars begin!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Exploring the Neighborhood: Flower Child

So when we moved from Tremont to the almost-Lakewood area, I was concerned about the lack of boutiques within walking distance of our new home. I shouldn't have been concerned. Last week, I stopped by Flower Child, a supercute vintage store on Clifton Blvd and W 115th. While I'm a big fan of vintage, I usually don't like vintage stores: they tend to be dusty, and they make me feel like I'm covered in dust and need to go home and shower right away. Flower Child isn't like that, although there is a LOT of stuff, that can be overwhelming if you're the type of person that gets overwhelmed by too many choices. When I say "a lot", I mean A LOT! Seriously, it doesn't look very large from the street-level, but there's a whole basement that has probably 10 rooms filled with all kinds of stuff. I couldn't figure out how its sorted, but in all honesty, I was so amazed by the ridiculous variety of stuff that I wasn't paying attention to how it was organized.

Things of note:
Insane jewelry collection
Lots of furniture and kitchen collectibles
Large record collection (its in two spots; on the wall and also in one large corner of the basement)
Vintage purses and shoes

There is quite a bit of men's and women's clothing, but its important to remember that this is a vintage store, not a thrift store, so the prices are vintage-y not thrift-y. That said, I thought prices in general were pretty reasonable.

While I was there, I picked up a gift for Hartzell, who celebrated his 30th birthday this week. I think Hartzell is single-handedly trying to bring back the 80s, so I got him the Extended Club Mix of "We Built This City" by Starship.

Very dark and slightly grainy picture of the birthday boy with his record. Sorry, the iPhone doesn't have flash.

So if you're in the Lakewood  area, and are looking to kill a few hours, you should definitely consider exploring Flower Child. You never know what gems you might find!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

"I believe its jogging or yogging. It might be a soft j"

Wow, I can't believe I've been blogging for almost a month, and this is only my first Anchorman reference.

For anyone who knows me in "real" life, this will not be a surprise: I am accident/injury prone. Let's review some notable injuries over the past few years:
1. Strained my knee skiing down a bunny hill. Actually, I face-planted in the snow, but my boot was stuck in my ski, because I was going, maybe 5 mph! Anyway, the strain was so bad, I had to be transported down the hill in one of those ski cart things by ski patrol.
2. I tore my ACL playing kickball. Yes, kickball. The kind you play in grade school (except not grade school in India. They don't have games like that). Apparently, its a very dangerous sport.
3. The whole plantar fasciitis fiasco.
4. And then there was today: I was jogging with Otto (maybe I was day-dreaming) anyway, I tripped over a giant crack in the sidewalk, and cut both hands open. My DNA is on Lake Ave.

Anyway, this is not a post about my injuries, its a post about a book I've found that helps you prevent running injuries.  The book is ChiRunning, by Danny Dreyer, and essentially applies the principles of Chi to running. At this point, you may be going "Huh? What is she drinking?" For the record, its Chateau St. Michelle Chardonnay, but hear me out. The book focuses on posture and relaxation, and using the force of gravity to make running less of a drag. I asked a personal trainer at the gym to read the book and help me with it, to make sure I was doing it right. It really works! Seriously, I used to HATE running, but now, I don't hate it as much, and I end my runs with no aches and pains, not even from my plantar fasciitis. If you're considering running, I strongly recommend picking up this book. If you don't want to buy it, borrow it from the Library (you may not have been in one since college, but now's as good a time as any, and books at the Library are free!). Who knows, maybe you will have the same experience I've had, and actually enjoy running! Its worth a shot!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I could almost be a farmer. Almost.

So, as I mentioned on Sunday, today was the Tremont Farmer's Market. The bad news is that I didn't get there until after 6, by which time some of the stalls had run out of stuff, but the good news is that I did get at least part of what I was looking for! Let's take a look at a photographic documentary of my evening:

Yay! Look at all the tents! There was a folk-sy live band playing too!

Another look at the stalls, specifically the candy stall on the left (in red) and the spice stall on the right. This spice stall is AMAZING! He has a ridiculous number of exotic spices, for $1 each!

Otto loves the Tremont Farmers Market. Its a puppy party!!!

I picked up 4 basil plants ($ 3 each) for my new planters (thanks Jess and DBB!) Otto is very curious about these smelly green things, that's his head on the right.

Inspired by the farmer's market, I decide that its time for me to go home and take care of my own garden.

Step 1. Transplant $1 tomato seedlings to Topsy Turvy. The seedlings are the green thread-like things that you can barely see.

The Topsy Turvy. Ready to sprout tomatoes. Its ridiculously heavy!

Step 2: Convert this.....

... to this!

Carefully transplant basil...

Get curious puppy away from basil, and water the new transplants.

I can't wait for all my veggies to grow!! I almost have all the ingredients to make caprese salad fresh from my own garden!!!!!

If you missed the Tremont Farmers Market, its back again next Tuesday, from 4-7.

Monday, May 3, 2010

For the love of shoes

As you know, I luuuuuuurrrve shoes. What I haven't told you yet is that I have a really hard time buying shoes. I have ridiculously sensitive feet. Except for sneakers, every single piece of footwear has given me blisters, at least the first time I've worn them. My mom has the same problem; we've just accepted it as the price we must pay for our shoe-love.

Then, last year, I developed plantar fasciitis. Plantar fasciitis is the straining/tearing of the ligament that supports the arch of your foot that results in severe heel pain. IT SUCKS!!! There is no real cure; its the usual ice, rest, stretching, massage routine. Most of all, its important to be kind to your feet, mainly by wearing supportive shoes. And that my friends, is my big problem. My plantar fasciitis is a lot better than it used to be, but is by no means "gone". Its mostly my own fault; I just can't bring myself to buy or wear ugly orthopedic shoes! I mean, seriously, I'm in my (late) 20s! I just can't do it!!!! In the winter, I wore boots, which really helped, but the summer brings cute but flimsy sandals, flip flops, and flats, ALL of which are TERRIBLE for my feet. So, last week, I spent some time looking for a supportive but cute shoe that I could wear this summer while I walk around sunny Cleveland.

Look at these beauties!

The Keds Rapture Boat Shoe. $45 at

These shoes are super comfortable and supportive, but most of all, SO CUTE!!

On a completely unrelated note, I took Otto for a walk this afternoon; look at the fantastic view of downtown Cleveland!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Straight from the farm

Starting this Tuesday, May 4th, one of my favorite summer events returns: The Tremont Farmers Market. From next week until the end of October, I will have a GREAT excuse to skip grocery shopping on the weekend! The market offers the usual suspects: fresh produce from local farms, including one stand that features produce grown at one of Tremont's public schools. The bakery selection is amazing, and you can even buy locally produced meat; the meat stand is Otto's favorite, especially when I pre-order doggie-bones for him! For those looking to start a garden, you can buy seedlings to transport into your own garden or planters; I will be in the market for some basil and mint. There's also this amazing "spice guy" that sells this spice rub that I'm completely obsessed with; I wish I remembered the name, but I will know it when I see it. Otto and I will be visiting on Tuesday after work, and will probably take a detour to The Flying Monkey or Bistro on Lincoln Park for a drink. Hope to see you there!

The Tremont Farmers Market is located in Lincoln Park on West 14th, between Starkweather and Kenilworth.

Gardening for dummies update

HA! Guess I'm not so horticulturally challenged after all! Look at my $1 tomatoes! The herbs however, haven't sprouted yet. I'm hoping its because I planted them a couple of days after the tomatoes and because they have longer germination times. hmmmmm.