Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Reading for the love of it

I'm sorta sad that Borders is going, going, gone. I hadn't been to a bookstore in a while, but I stopped by Half Price Books on Saturday, and it reminded me of just how much I love books and bookstores! All those colorful book jackets, and the smell of paper.... I've been reading on a nook I purchased early last year, but there's nothing like the touch and feel of a real book.

In my zeal of book buying, here's what I left with:

Its all fluffy and fun, and I absolutely luuuurrrvveee it!! Light summer reading- perfect for a beach, poolside, or on a plane!!! What are you reading this summer (I'm looking for more ideas)?

Monday, July 25, 2011

A very happy birthday indeed

Thank you all so much for your tweets, facebook posts, calls and texts wishing me for my birthday!!!! I celebrated ALL weekend!!

Friday night, N and I had date night at Dante in Tremont. If you haven't been there, you should definitely check it out- the Pasta Carbonara is TO.DIE.FOR! Seriously, it is so so so so SO good!! N ordered the tasting as an appetizer, and I ordered the appetizer as my entree!! We also tried the shrimp and calamari (so deliciously salty), the cheesy polenta, the bolognese, and N had the duck. What an incredibly perfect meal, although we were so full that we didn't have room for dessert.

Saturday, I headed over to Saks where I got a mini makeover courtesy Chanel! My makeup artist Lauren chose a very natural look for my face (just some bronzer), and played up my eyes with some gorgeous purples (of course, I forgot to take pictures!!!). I seriously fell in love with everything in the fall 2011 collection, and I will definitely make a trip back to pick up some more goodies (especially the eyeshadow quads). A quick trip to a few more stores, and it was time to head home! Later Saturday night, N and I met up with D&J, clefoodgoddess and burningriversports for some drinks, frites, and sunnyside pizza.

Sunday was a super low-key day, hanging with the pups, grabbing some beers at cropicana, and eating my weight in ice cream. A perfect birthday indeed. I received some fabulous birthday presents: jewelry, gift cards to Dredgers Union (they know me so well!), and my darling N got me this little beauty (but mine is an F).

I luuurve this necklace!!! Its incredibly delicate, and its probably going to be something I wear every day!!! 

Today I woke up another day older, with a few more grey hairs (that LITERALLY showed up overnight), but happy having spent another FABULOUS weekend in CLE!!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

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!!!


Monday, July 11, 2011

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!!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Made in the 216

So this weekend, East 4th played host to  Made in the 216. The events takes place twice a year- once in the summer, and then again starting right around Thanksgiving, giving Clevelanders the opportunity to purchase unique items made by other Clevelanders!! There's usually a wide selection of T's celebrating CLE pride, scarves, paper goods, candles, art work, beauty products and of course, jewelry. This year's summer event was no different:

The decor reminded me a little of an Indian wedding: lots of bright colors and lights: LOVE!!! If you're reading this on Sunday afternoon, you still have time to make it to the summer event: it runs through Sunday evening (see the link above for details). And if you missed this one, have no fear!! There will be another one later this year!!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

All that Glitters...

Every summer, I go through a phase where I favor gold tone jewelry rather than the silver I usually wear. Now while I would luuurrvveee for my pieces to be the REAL THING, its just not a budget friendly option. So instead, I've been filling out my jewelry collection with brass instead!! One of my FAVORITE recent purchases is this bracelet (on the right), that I picked up at Dredger's Union last week (I have a serious problem; I've been in this store 4 times already, and its only been open like TWO WEEKS!)

Its a measuring tape!!! How cute is that?!?!?!?

The bracelet is part of Monserat De Luca's jewelry line, and Dredgers is carrying quite a few pieces from the collection, and you should definitely check them out. There's a bunch of really cute, whimsical necklaces, that would make the PERFECT gift for a woman in your life. Some of my favorites include the paper planes and the fork and spoon (great gift for a foodie!). Sure, you could look at them online, but its SO MUCH MORE FUN to go see them in person!! Coincidentally, this weekend is also the Made in 216 festival AND OFFICIAL Grand Opening of Dredgers, so really, you now have multiple reasons to make it down to East 4th this weekend!! Happy Shopping my FABULOUS friends, and hopefully, I will see you around this weekend!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What's Round on the ends and High in the Middle?

OHIO!!! And that's a new little slogan, courtesy Ms. Katy Perry, who's concert I attended last night with seanski, AJP, Valarie, and Kelly!! Pre-concert we gathered at Zinc for some happy hour adult beverages, and then made our way over to East 4th. As with any fun pop concert, East 4th was filled with people (ok, it was mostly women and girls) dressed up for the occasion. While it was amateur-hour compared with Lady Gaga, it was still fun to see everyone dressed up, and I especially enjoyed the number blue, pink and purple wigs!! As I'm sure you've read by now, the stage was a cross between the Yellow Brick Road, Alice in Wonderland, and Willy Wonka, meets Hello Kitty. I only say Hello Kitty because it was VERY pink and perky, but you get the general idea. I SWEAR the whole arena smelled like sugar; I've never wanted a cupcake so bad in my life!!! Katy is actually quite the singer, and her performance was SUPER fun and energetic and happy!!

AJP, seanski, and Valarie

Katy making her entrance

I wanna see your peacock

Katy with Mike (or was it Matt?) from Avon Lake. She gave him a kiss on the cheek.

Katy's karaoke, where she covered Rihanna, Jay-Z, Rebecca Black, and Willow

Katy floating on a giant pink cotton candy cloud (that you can't see) above the crowd (which you also can't see). It was high up, and the thing wobbled. Honestly, I would have barfed. So kudos to Katy for keeping it together!!

I was very jealous of all the people she invited up on stage!!!

All in all, a great concert!!! I would definitely go to another Katy Perry concert!! So Katy, please come visit us again!!!