Sunday, November 28, 2010

Shopping local this holiday season: Room Service, now in Ohio City

Hope you had a very happy and safe Thanksgiving!! We had a wonderful time at N's parents. There were 12 adults, 1 baby and 2 puppies in attendance, and we had a blast. We ate, drank, played catchphrase (which is a superfun game and great gift/stocking stuffer for people who like to entertain), and I found that I really don't like losing. My favorite picture of the day was this one:

Our little nephew and Clair

Clair LOVES little kids. Our nephew is still in the army-crawl stage, and Clair would army crawl behind him as he crawled along the floor. SO CUTE!!!

As I mentioned in my Black Friday preview post, I was planning to stay away from the big box/national retailers, and I was mostly successful, with the exception of PETCO for dogfood, and Target for lightbulbs (and the aforementioned catchphrase), but I'm not counting those. N and I decided to start at the newly relocated Room Service (2078 W25th St), which was also hosting Made in the 216. The new store is significantly larger than the old location on Detroit Ave., and is really well decorated. Danielle has a fantastic eye for design, and she did this really amazing thing on one of the walls where she essentially created massive frames out of molding, and then wall-papered the inside. She has a bunch of stuff hung on the wall paper, so its looks like artwork within artwork. Of course, I don't have pictures, but if you have a massive blank wall, its a great idea to try out (I do recommend stopping by the store first to check it out in person).

While there, we picked up these:

Terminal Tower ornament $12.99

And N picked up this Terminal Tower T approx. $30

Incidentally, if you're looking for gift ideas, both these would make a great gift for someone new to Cleveland, or someone who has moved away from Cleveland, or someone who's still in Cleveland and loves this city!!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Licorice Winner!!!

With turkey day right around the corner, unfortunately I don't have time to have the dogs do the drawing. So in popular blog tradition I used, and the winner, #9 is.....


Congratulations on your candy winnings Alexa!!

Hope you all have a safe, happy, Turkey (or Tofurkey) filled Thanksgiving!! And remember to wear something stretchy!!!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Which Red Shoes?

So, if you read clefoodgoddess' blog, then you know that she's getting married in the Spring. She's having a little shoe dilemma for her wedding day, and asked me to help. We both decided that it may be fun if we got all of you involved too, so here goes. Please help clefoodgoddess pick her shoe for her wedding day. Her criteria are as follows:
1. Must be Red
2. Cannot be too high (nothing above 3")
3. No peep toe
4. Below $100
5. Something fun and funky

Here's what I've come up with:
1.  Diba Babs

2. Kamik Ellie

3. Chinese Laundry Kasha Python

4. rsvp Leeann

5. Onex Asha

6. rsvp Floria

7. Unlisted All Natural
Please put your preferred shoe in the comments section, and we'll see what gets the most votes!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Shopping local in Cleveland on Black Friday

So, what are you doing on Friday? Are you waking up early to go shopping? I did that a couple of years ago, and I figured out that as much as I love shopping, the early morning Black Friday thing just isn't for me. I'm usually sleepy and my shopping juices aren't flowing, and there's people with reindeer ears and walkie-talkies, and all the madness just makes me cranky. So, over the past couple of years, I've either skipped the Black Friday thing all together, or I end up shopping late in the evening. This year, however, I'm going to try something different: shopping local!! Most of the boutiques don't open until 10:00 am anyway which is PERFECT for sleeping in and grabbing a wonderful mimosa laden brunch before hitting the stores.

I've come up with a little local shopping tour, and I will post updates on Twitter and Foursquare (find me, I'm cleshopaholic on both!), so feel free to join me on my shopping tour!!

I'm going to start with a stop at the NEW AND REVAMPED Room Service, now at 2078 West 25th Street in Ohio City. I can't wait to see the new space, AND its also the return of Made in the 216. I went to my first ever Made in the 216 this summer and I ABSOLUTELY LUUURRVEED IT! I can't wait to go again! If you're never been, its essentially a pop-up store that features apparel, jewelry, bags, and other accesories designed and created exclusively by Cleveland artists!

Next, I will be in Tremont, at Banyan Tree and Evie Lou. Evie Lou has not yet decided on its Black Friday specials (yet), but it will be open from 10:00 am- 9:00 pm. I've blogged about Evie Lou before, and I can't wait to visit again. I'm fairly certain that I'm going to end up buying stuff for myself here, but hey, self gifts are very important too! Banyan Tree will be open from 11:00 am- 9:00 pm. Any purchase in excess of $150 made at Banyan Tree on Black Friday Weekend makes you eligible for 10% off your first purchase in December.

Depending on how I feel, I will then head over to Coventry in Cleveland Heights to visit Brigade and Blush Boutique. I haven't heard anything about any Black Friday specials at Brigade, but its my go-to place to buy gifts for N. They do a great job merchandising, and I've never gone wrong getting N a gift from there.  Blush Boutique is hosting a sale and trunk show Black Friday weekend, and will be open from 10:00 am-midnight on Friday. You get 40% off from 10:00 am- noon and 25% off from noon- midnight. There's also a happy hour from 7 pm - 9 pm, and an accessories trunk show from 9 pm- midnight!

I urge you to buy at least one item on your holiday shopping list from a local store. We're lucky to have some great stores that feature some  fantastic merchandise, and you're guaranteed to gift something absolutely unique! Are you up for the challenge?

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Reviewing the Compassion from Fashion Event

Remember when I blogged about the Compassion from Fashion Event? Well, it happened on Saturday, and I attended with the contest winner Jess. It was a really fun evening, and most of the stores offered special discounts just for the event. There was a fashion show (that we missed), and food stations catered by Maggiano's: my favorite was the antipasto station- I seriously LLLUUURRRVVVEEE roasted veggies!!!

I had planned to make some progress with my Christmas shopping, and, to be honest, I was pretty successful!! I still have a lot to do ofcourse, but I was happy with my start. It should come as no surprise that I did a little shopping for myself, and of course, it included a couple of J.Crew sweaters (OBSESSION!). But, beyond my sweaters, my favorite purchase from Saturday was these beauties:

That said, I REALLY need to focus, and stop doing my usual "one for you, two for me" holiday shopping routine!! Do you end up buying more stuff for yourself during the holidays than you do presents?!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cheater, cheater, donut eater

Are you one of those people that eats healthy during the week so you can give yourself a "cheat" day where you indulge in whatever you want to eat? Do you like desserts? I have to tell you about a dessert that is SOOOOOOOOOOO worth blowing your diet out of the water....

Last week, N and I went to Light Bistro for dinner. Our meal was fantastic, but that's not what I want to talk about. I want to talk about the dessert: coffee and donuts. But not any ordinary coffee and donuts. They were beignets, dusted in cinammon sugar, served with chocolate dipping sauce and espresso icecream.

TO.DIE.FOR. Seriously, go get it this weekend. I promise, its worth every bite.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Will you be Jumping Back?

I LOVE the arts. Music, design, art, architecture... I love it all! I especially love the theatre scene: for a relatively small city, we have a really vibrant theatre scene, and one the caters to every budget. I try to make it to 2-3 shows a year, and its usually with my best friend Jess, since N doesn't always want to go, especially if its a girly musical. I really LOVE Playhouse Square's Broadway Series (which incidentally makes a GREAT gift for someone who enjoys theatre or live performances). Over the past few years I've been to see Wicked, Legally Blonde (so fun!), In the Heights, Bombay Dreams and Chicago. In a few weeks Jess and I are going to see The Santaland Diaries and in March, N and I are going to see Stomp.

In addition to hosting some fabulous performances, Playhouse Square also hosts one of the best parties in Cleveland: Jump Back Ball. I haven't been before, but having looked at pictures from earlier this year, I decided that 2011 is definitely going to be the year for N and I to attend. So, last night, we attended the Jump Back Ball Kickoff Party at Zinc Bistro where we placed our ticket orders for the 20th annual Jump Back Ball, which will be held on February 26th, 2011.

Here's why I want to go:
1. Its a FANTASTIC PARTY that ALWAYS sells out. (Don't believe me? 950 people attended last year)
2. Its a great reason to kick-start a healthy eating and work-out plan at the beginning of the year.
3. Not that you need one, but its a FABULOUS, and totally justifiable reason to buy a new outfit, especially if you achieve (2) above.
4. Its going to be cold and snowy. What a great reason to get out of the house!!!
5. There will be lots of super fun people including some Cleveland bloggers (the plum, Allison, and Seanski, to name a few.)

So, if you want to attend, the good news is that tickets officially go on sale November 17th at 11:00 am. Act fast and order your tickets, and I hope to see you there!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

mmmm Licorice. And, a GIVEAWAY!!

So last week, I was contacted by respresentatives of Panda Licorice, who asked if I would review their licorice flavors and blog about it. Being a candy-lover, of course I said YES!! So come Monday, the candy arrived, and I couldn't wait to dig in!

Panda has been making licorice in Finland since 1920, and its been sold in the U.S. since 1963. Over the years, they've definitely perfected their licorice, and it is absolutely delicious!! I was sent a few different flavors: regular black, creme filled black, raspberry, and cherry. Panda licorice is made with natural ingredients, so the fruit flavors are really fruity, and taste a lot like all natural fruit chews. The regular licorice has a perfect balance of licorice flavor; just right, without being overwhelming. I think these make the perfect mid-afternoon pick-me-up snack. Sweet, but not too much; low fat, and for 100 calories, a really delicious treat! These would also make excellent stocking stuffers, and unlike chocolate, would probably not turn into a goopy mess when placed near the fireplace (although I have not tested this theory, so try at your own risk).

I had N taste the licorice too, since its one of the few candy's he will actually eat (the man does not eat sweets. I mean seriously, who does that?!) He was watching football at the time, so I've edited to include only his candy related quotes. Here's what he had to say:
Black licorice: "mmmmm"... "Nice and chewy. Licorice-y but not too much"
Creme filled Black licorice: "surprisingly better than I expected". A few second later..."a LOT better than I expected. Creamy"
Raspberry: "its amazing". "Tastes like real raspberry, doesn't taste fake. I'm looking for the little seeds, it tastes that close to the real thing". This was followed by "I'm taking the cherry to work".

If you would like to try some Panda licorice, you can find it at Trader Joe's, Whole Foods, and also on Amazon. OR, you could enter my Panda licorice giveaway by doing the following:

1. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite candy
2. Follow Cleshopaholic on facebook and leave a comment there
3. Tweet the following:
I entered @cleshopaholic's @PandaLicoriceUS giveaway
4. Follow @PandaLicoriceUS on Twitter

Each of the above will get you one entry, so do them all for a maximum of 4 entries! This contest is open to U.S. Residents only, and winners will be announced the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Winners will receive the following:

It's really really really good, and I'm not just saying that because they sent me free candy. Even Clair liked it (don't worry, we only gave her a tiny piece).  Good Luck!!!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Farm Fresh

So a couple of weeks ago, a signed up to participate in Fresh Fork's CSA. If you're unfamiliar with how CSA's work, essentially you "subscribe" to receive a package of locally farmed groceries. Pickups (at multiple locations across Cleveland) are usually every week in the summer, slowing to every two weeks in the winter. I missed the opportunity to participate this summer (boo procrastination), but I got my act together for the winter season.

I picked up my "basket" this Saturday, and was greeted with this:

Amongst other things, the basket contained 1lb nitrate-free bacon, 1 whole chicken, brussel sprouts, beets, roma tomatoes, gouda cheese (YUM!), green cauliflower (never seen that before), apples, and miscellaneous other veggies. I am SO excited to make it through the basket. I've already decided that I'm making the brussel sprouts with bacon, and doing a whole rosemary-lemon roasted chicken. I don't know what I'm going to do about the beets (do I even like beets?), but I'm sure I will come up with something!

So far, I made roasted cauliflower (OMG! So delicious!! Toss cauliflower in olive oil, with garlic, salt and pepper. Bake in a covered pan for 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and broil for 5 minutes), and a tomato salad (sliced thick with seasoned salt, drizzle of olive oil, parmesan, let sit for atleast 5 minutes), and maybe its all in my head, but I swear that locally farmed, minimally processed produce tastes better than the stuff at grocery stores! Even N, who doesn't care for cauliflower or raw tomatoes, enjoyed both!!

The good news is there are still a few CSA spots available, so sign up soon!! The next pickup is the week of Thanksgiving, and I absolutely can't wait!!!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Holiday ideas: for the domestic goddess

The holidays are fast approaching, so for the next few weeks, I will to get in at least one post about gift ideas. This one is for the domestic goddess. And when I say domestic goddess, I'm talking about people who love to bake, or are just discovering a love for baking. You could either do one or all of these as stocking stuffers, or have a little gift for a gift exchange or something, all for under $25.

From top: set of two conversion magnets ($8.95), pair of mini snowmen spatulas ($9.95), set of 3 holiday cookie cutters ($4.95). All available at Crate&Barrel. You could also add your favorite baking book, and a set of cookie sheets for more rounded gift!

If there's something specific you'd like me to tackle, please let me know. I find buying gifts for men to be the most challenging, so I'm going to try to run through some men-centric ideas that have nothing to do with tickets to sporting events (which is usually my fallback, when all else fails : ) ).

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Eating Across Cleveland: Indian Delight

As an Indian person in the U.S., you may be surprised to know that I don't really eat much Indian food. Why, you ask? Well, for one, I won't cook it at home, because Indian food uses lots of aromatic spices, and most homes in the U.S. either have carpet or inadequate air-flow, or, its just too darn cold (or hot) to leave windows open! It smells yummy as you're cooking it, but not so much after its hung around your home for a few hours. As far as eating out, for some reason Indian restaurants (particularly those in Cleveland) are either over priced, or serve just-mediocre Indian food.

This past weekend was the Indian festival of Diwali, and in keeping with the theme, N and I decided to get Indian takeout from a newly opened restaurant in the Gordon Square District: Indian Delight. N and I started with samosas. N ordered the Seekh Kebab with Garlic Naan, while I ordered the spicy chicken vindaloo. Overall, the food was really good; probably some of the best tasting Indian food I've had in Cleveland. There were however, a few things that could be changed for the better: I wish they'd cut vegetables and meat smaller, so that its not a giant hunk of potato or chicken. The garlic naan was great tasting, and fresh out of the oven, although not as pillowy as I usually like. Other than that, a solid meal at a restaurant I will definitely try again.

There is one caveat: The restaurant is REALLY sparsely decorated. Its decor is like the very basic Chinese restaurants you see in strip malls. So, I recommend takeout. Not only do you get a 10% discount on takeout orders, but that way, you can hang out on your own couch watching trashy tv  or a movie as you enjoy your meal.

Do you have an adventurous palette? What have you tried lately that you would recommend?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Consume with Care

I'm sure you've heard all about Four Loko, which has now been banned, or is at risk of being banned in quite a few states. It is legal in Ohio, and this weekend, it made an appearance at our tailgate.

I'm not gonna lie, I didn't like it. The lemon-lime version isn't terrible, but the rest of the flavors taste like a mixture of cough syrup and jolly ranchers. DISGUSTING!! Its rumored to be the equivalent of 6 beers and a cup of coffee, so please consume with caution.

Have you tried Four Loko? What did you think?

Monday, November 8, 2010

And the winner is....

Wow, picking a winner turned out to be quite the task! Apparently, Clair is not in the mood to pick anything out today, so we had to use Otto. Now Otto has been trained not to take things that are not his, so I had to settle for using the name he nudged out of the platter, as you will see in the video below.

So, without further ado, the judging process:

Yes, that is relief you hear in my voice. I wasn't sure that it was going to work, but great job Otto, and congratulations to the winner!!! Thank you everyone for participating!!!

Friday, November 5, 2010

Dark Spots

Our house is definitely a work in progress (even though we've now lived here 6 months!) N and I have a dark spot in our living room. It's the end with the L-shaped couch, and while we've tried using an end table with a lamp, its just not throwing enough light to the dark corner. I've decided we need a lamp behind the couch. I think we're going to go with this one:

Brushed Steel Arc Lamp, available at Macy's (on sale now, plus free shipping!)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

A J. Crew obsession

I have a major obsession with J. Crew. MAJOR! Which should not come as a surprise given that J. Crew U (Miami University) is my alma mater. (Is it even called that anymore?) I'm particularly obsessed with their sweaters. It started two years ago, with the summer shawl-collar sweater (in silk and linen), which I promptly picked up in 3 colors. Its continued steadily since then, and I now find myself with quite the J.Crew sweater collection. These came for me yesterday. There's 5 in there!

Here's why I luuuuuuuuuuuuuuuurve these sweaters:
1. They live up to lots of wearing and washing
2. They're really well cut (and therefore flattering)
3. They're a really good price considering (1) and (2).

This season I'm also looking to invest in some cashmere, maybe this one


What about you? Do you have any brands or products that you're completely obsessed with??

Monday, November 1, 2010

Shopping for a cause...AND, a contest!!!

Hi friends! Hope you had a great Halloween weekend! I had a really fun time, but I'm not going to recap today. Instead, I'm starting off November with something fun: shopping for a cause!! This is a longer-than-normal post, but please bear with me; there's something fun at the end!

From 4 pm- 9 pm on November 20th, Beachwood Place plays host to The Second Annual Compassion From Fashion event, which benefits the Gathering Place. If you're not familiar with the Gathering Place, it is a Cleveland-based organization that provides education and support programs for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, and also for their families, who may not know what to expect or how to deal with the diagnosis of their loved one. Best of all, these services are offered completely free of charge!! I personally know a few people that have used the services of the Gathering Place, and I've heard a lot of positive feedback about the institution. There are two locations in Cleveland; one in Westlake, and the other in Beachwood, so if you, or someone you love has been recently diagnosed with cancer, and is seeking some help, please direct them to the Gathering Place.

In any case, the Compassion From Fashion event is raising much needed funds for the Gathering Place. It's a night of food (catered by Maggiano's- yum!), fashion, and of course, SHOPPING!! For one night only, a number of Beachwood Place retailers will be offering special discounts; Here are some of the deals

American Eagle: 15% off your entire purchase
Caché: Take $25 of any regularly or sale priced item of $125 or more
Calendar Club & Go! The Game: 20% off full priced merchandise!
Cardboard Heroes Sports Stuff: 25% off entire purchase when you show your event bracelet. Purchase a $100 gift card and get a $25 gift card free
Chico’s: Will donate 10% of Saturday sales to The Gathering Place.
Eddie Bauer: 30% off entire purchase!
Express: 15% off your entire purchase!
Guess: Receive 20% off your purchase of $100 or more.
Guess by Marciano: Receive 20% off your purchase of $100 or more.
Jessica McClintock: 20% off purchase! (Excludes fragrance and accessories)
Mario's International Spa: Purchase a $100 Spa Dollar gift card and receive a $50 Spa Dollar Gift Card.
Molly Elaine's Boutique: 15% off any regularly priced item!
Origins: Free deluxe cleanser with any purchase.
Saks Fifth Avenue: Present your wristband to receive 15% off your purchase.
Steve Madden: Receive 15% off all full priced merchandise!
Style Lounge: receive 40% off your entire purchase! Kids can enjoy free face painting from 4-6pm.
Sweet Factory: Buy 1 lb or more of bulk candy and receive ¼ lb free.
The Walking Company: Save 15% off any of our exclusive brands!

Of course, besides supporting a great cause, it gives you the opportunity to get a head start on your holiday shopping (ahem! There are less than 60 days to the big event (or events, depending on how you celebrate)).

So here's how to participate:
1. You can buy tickets here ($20 pre-sale; $25 at the door), OR

Here's three things you can do to enter:
(a) Leave a comment on this post, listing what retailer you're most excited to visit, and what you're thinking of purchasing
(b) Tweet the following:
I entered @cleshopaholic's Compassion From Fashion contest hosted @BeachwoodPlace to benefit The Gathering Place
(c) Follow @BeachwoodPlace on Twitter

Each of these gets you one entry, so do them all for a maximum of 3 entries! The contest will run Sunday, November 7th, and I (and Clair) will pick a winner on Monday, November 8th. There's one more thing....

In addition to the pair of tickets, you also win a $50 mall gift card!!! Happy shopping, and Good Luck!!

P.S. This contest is sponsored by Beachwood Place and I'm receiving one ticket as compensation. So excited to go to Saks and Style Lounge!