Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Welcome Webster Slaughter

This past Saturday was exactly two weeks since we said goodbye to our beloved Otto-- Nick and I miss him terribly, and honestly, our house has been unnervingly quiet with just Clair. I didn't realize just how loud Otto was with his breathing and grunting and snoring LOL. In any case, over the past two weeks, Nick and I had been trolling Petfinder for male boxer pups to rescue. We weren't in a hurry, but were certainly open to the right pup.

And then on Friday afternoon (right after lunch with my friend Lisa, who gave me a beautiful good luck charm), I got this text "There is a boxer puppy available in Eastlake. His name is Otto".

I don't know if you know this about me, but for someone who is typically very logical, I can be incredibly superstitious at times. If there ever was a sign from the universe, SURELY this was it.

At 11:50 am on Saturday, March 28th, we were first in line to see Otto at The Animal Rescue Center. We walked in, signed up, showed our ID, and were immediately led in the puppy-meeting area with Otto. Anyway, Otto was a wild man. He was running from Nick to me and back, trying to climb us, nipping us with his razor sharp puppy teeth (as puppies do)-- one look at Nick and I knew Otto was not coming home with us. I asked the volunteers to bring in another puppy-- Ozzy had caught my eye. Otto and Ozzy wrestled for a while, and we noticed that Ozzy was definitely much bigger than Otto. We asked to spend some alone-time with Ozzy and he immediately jumped into Nick's arms and started giving him kisses. And I knew that Ozzy would be coming home with us.  By 12:35 pm, we had filled out our application, paid our adoption fee, and were on our way home. We renamed him Webster Slaughter Faehnle, and the rest, is history….

Here's what we know about Webster: He's estimated to be 12 weeks old, and he and his siblings were rescued from a pound in Athens, Ohio. He's definitely part boxer, but we have no idea what the other half of him is. He is as sweet as can be, and is ridiculously smart. He has HUGE paws, so we're guessing he's going to grow up to be a pretty big dog! Clair is an amazing big sister-- she's incredibly patient with him, and plays with him all the time.

We still miss Otto, and there will never be another dog like him, but we are back to being a family of four, and starting on a whole new adventure.

Follow me on Instagram to keep up with all our puppy adventures!

Friday, March 27, 2015

Try It: Grilled Cheese Egg in a Hole

I love Egg in a Hole. aka Toad in a Hole. But last week, I took it to a whole new level with Grilled Cheese Egg in a Hole!!

Usually, I like to present these via youtube video, but frankly, the videos with this recipe are pretty awful. So I'm just going to post a link to the recipe instead. It is a ridiculously easy recipe, although I did not know about the mayonnaise trick (use mayo instead of butter on the outside of the sandwich) and makes a fantastic brunch.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

CLE Shops: R/S

A couple of weeks ago, Clair and I stopped in at R/S Cleveland for some retail therapy and to see lovely Jennie! To be honest, it had been a few months since I stopped over, and seeing all the fun and adorable merchandise made me remember how much I LOVE this boutique.

There was so much great stuff on display-- from the adorable puppy centric gifts (for the new fur-parent) or artisan bitters (for the beverage aficionado), and charming hostess gifts (for all the spring parties), R/S has a little something for everyone. And, if you're looking to fill adult easter baskets, this is a perfect local boutique to turn to!

I picked up an adorable tunic/beach cover up and a ridiculously cute tea steeper in the shape of an axe!! I haven't taken any pictures of my purchases yet, although I'm sure they will make an appearance on Instagram (@cleshopaholic) soon enough!

R/S is located on West 25th in Ohio City, just south of Lorain Rd. Check their website for hours of operation! 

Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As I've documented previously, I suck at juice cleanses. The minute someone says "juice cleanse" all I can think about is high-fat foods like cake. Or pizza. Its my pavlovian response.

That said, I really like juice. And I'm pleasantly surprised and very pleased that we have so many juice options in Cleveland, especially on the West Side. Between Garden of Flavor at the grocery store, Fruit Vibe, daily press, and BEET JAR we really have a wealth of options.

Today however, I want to focus on BEET JAR, that recently celebrated its one year anniversary at its home in Hingetown. I probably visit BEET JAR with the most frequency of any of the other juice bar options I mentioned, simply because its right next door to Harness Cycle and I frequently use their juice as a personal reward for a really good ride. I reward myself a lot.

Unlike most of my regular visits, my most recent visit to BEET JAR was right before lunchtime, and I did something that I've never done before. I FINALLY TRIED THE FAMOUS BRAVOCADO SANDWICH!!! 

If you haven't tried the Bravocado, its toasted bread, with greens, smoked coconut, avocado, red onion, and some other deliciousness that I couldn't identify. I was wary of the smoked coconut-- I think I expected it to be too sweet, but it was a perfect blend of meatiness from coconut, bite and crunch from the onion, smooth velvetyness of avocado, and tanginess from the unidentified ingredient. Seriously amazing and completely crave-worthy. Oh, did I mention it is vegan. Seriously, if I could eat food like this ALL the time, I would go vegan in a heartbeat! I also picked up some seriously delicious juice-- grapefruit, lemon, mint and cayenne. Perfection.

I would not call this an inexpensive lunch-- all in, it was about $20, but I will tell you that I felt incredibly virtuous after for putting all this healthy, nutritious stuff in my body!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Listening Now: Old Thing Back

Its no secret that I love 90s hip hop. A lot. So it should come as no surprise that I love this remix. I have been listening to this song a lot lately-- every time I listen to it, I just can't help but bust a dance move!!

Get your dancing shoes on!


Monday, March 23, 2015

Is My Search For The PERFECT Work Tote Over?

I love bags. Its really not a secret. I love bags the way I love jewelry, which is to say its an obsession. I've been obsessed with finding the perfect work tote for a while--- something that is large enough to carry all my stuff, but stylist enough that I don't feel awkward taking it out to lunches or meetings. I'm happy to say that I believe I have found such a tote, on kickstarter!!

Introducing, the Leoht [lay-oat] tote: not only is a a leather tote, but it has a built in battery to charge your smartphone or tablet, interior lights so you're not digging in the dark cavern of your bag, a hidden alcove to keep your valuables, and that's only a few of its incredible features!

photo credit: Leoht

I had an opportunity to interview Co-founder Carnise and designer Gabrielle to learn a little bit more about them and how they came up with this incredibly product.

Carnise was born and raised in the Midwest. Her background in Graphic Design and Communications led her to Apple, and to freelance work in graphic design. In 2014, Carnise co-founded Leoht, a wearable technology company. They debuted in January at CES and Refinery29, in the company of Ringly, and are currently fundraising via Kickstarter to launch their debut line: The Seed Collection

Gabrielle was born and raised right here in Northeast Ohio-- she grew up in Solon/Chagrin Falls, and graduated from The University of Cincinnati. In her prior career, she was a designer at Coach, and she joined Leoht seven months ago.

Like me, Carnise believes that "you carry your world in your handbag" and designed this bag to truly be one with your life. I mentioned some of the features already, but you should definitely check out the video that talks about all its features in greater depth. I watched the video and literally could not sign up to fund this fast enough. The early bird backer level gets you your very own tote (height 11.2in x width 16.2in x depth 6.75 in) at $149-- an amazing deal for a leather bag alone! Add in all the extras and its a steal!! Oh, did I mention that the production team is committed to keeping the weight of the empty bag at or below 2 lbs?! The early bird backer is at limited quantities, so sign up as soon as you can. Oh, and did I mention that its a Kickstarter Staff Pick? The project must reach its funding goal of $100,000 by April 11th, and they're over half way there.

I am seriously so excited to receive this bag-- its the perfect balance of form and function. Future iterations include a micro satchel (that I'm VERY interested in), and a hobo/backpack-- I can't wait to what comes next!!

Disclosure: I funded this kickstarter campaign at the early bird backer level. I really really hope this is successfully funded because I REALLY want this bag come fall! 

Monday, March 16, 2015

The Hardest Goodbye

When I wrote this original post about Otto, I didn't think I would be writing this one so soon. 

Two weeks ago, we received the results from the biopsy: undifferentiated sarcoma. Basically, it meant that the cancer was confirmed. It was a sarcoma, but there was no way to tell if it was the sarcoma of the bone, the membrane surrounding the spinal cord, the tissue surrounding it… not enough information to tell how aggressive it was, how fast it would grow back…. nothing. This past Tuesday, I took Otto for his follow up from surgery at Metropolitan Veterinary, and they were very pleased with his progress. And then things started to go very wrong. 

On Thursday, he seemed to be struggling to stand up unassisted. By Friday morning, his right hind leg was partially paralyzed, and we knew what was coming. Friday evening, Otto's favorite people came over to say their last goodbyes-- we all sat on the floor on blankets, picnic style, surrounding him with love and kisses. Nick, Clair, Otto and I had a slumber party in our living room Friday night-- Nick held him in his arms all night. By Saturday morning, Otto was breathing really hard. By the time our vet Dr. Bob came over to our home around 1:30 pm, Otto's chest was starting to get paralyzed. It was time. Dr. Bob administered a powerful sedative, and Otto fell into a deep sleep-- cuddled in Nick's arms, as I held his paws and kissed his face. A short time later, the barbiturate. At that very moment, the sun came streaming through our windows, and I knew Otto was gone. Our baby boy, who brought us so much joy, had left us with this little last piece of sunshine. 

Otto was such a big part of our lives, both literally and figuratively. There is so much about him that I miss: the way he would push open the door to the bathroom, the way he would lay on the couch and look out the window, the way we never needed a doorbell because he would bark so loud anytime anyone came over, his grunts, his loud snoring, the way his tongue would fall out of his mouth when he slept very deeply, the way he sounded like he was deflating when I hugged him, his goofy smile and butt wiggle every time we came home, his kisses, staring into his big brown soulful eyes, kissing him on the top of his head, and even his stinky farts. 

People have asked how Clair is doing: She was in the living room with us when Otto died, so I think she knows he's gone. Sometimes she seems lonely, but I can't tell if its really how she feels or us projecting our feelings on her. At other times she's perfectly herself-- perky, cheerful, cuddly, wagging her tail. 

I won't speak for Nick's feelings, but as for myself, I would describe myself as emotionally fragile. Its an hour by hour thing. Sometimes, I'm at peace knowing that we gave him an amazing life, and that he had a beautiful, peaceful death and is free from pain. At other times, I burst into tears. I'm acutely aware of his absence, and it feels like I'm being stabbed in the heart. I know this will eventually turn into a dull ache, but in the mean time, its very raw. Grief. Its not a feeling I've really encountered before-- I've been incredibly lucky. I'm trying to take comfort in the fact that I know he loved us, and that he knew just how much we loved him.

People have asked whether we will get another dog-- yes. We are a two-dog family, and we will rescue a male boxer in time. Probably sooner than later. 

But in the mean time, we continue to try and come to terms with his loss. Rest in peace, my sweet baby Otto. We love you forever and will miss you always.

There will be no more posts this week. Please feel free to leave your comments-- I read them all, even if I don't respond this week. Thank you for your compassion and understanding. XO

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Experience It: Classical Revolution

Last month, I had the opportunity to try something new-- I listened to Classical Music at the Happy Dog, courtesy Classical Revolution Cleveland! Classical Revolution Cleveland began in 2009, and is a loosely bound group of classically trained musicians who perform classical music at non-traditional locations (ex. bars) across the city. They have a standing residency at Happy Dog in Detroit-Shoreway-- its the third Tuesday of every month, which happens to fall on St. Patrick's Day in March!

Here are a couple of pictures from February's performance:

The performance usually starts around 8 pm and goes for a couple of hours-- Hot Dogs and tater tots with a side of amazing music-- SIGN ME UP!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

CLE Eats: The Grocery Ohio City

This past weekend, Nick and I stopped in at The Grocery in Ohio City to grab some lunch. It was my first time in this relatively new grocery store, and I was instantly charmed! The space is small-- no bigger than a bodega or small coffee shop, and has a very limited selection of items, but I would describe the selection as small but mighty--- very very well curated. From Inca Tea, Fruit Vibe Juice, Red Lotus Food, and Pope's Kitchen -- a selection of artisan products, all made right here in Cleveland. There's also a small produce section- the day we went, they had garlic, red peppers, tomatoes, and avocados, among other things. You can also buy certain items in bulk (by the mason jar): quinoa, barley, popcorn, etc. Buying in bulk is a much better deal than buying the same items packaged.

In addition to packaged and fresh foods, The Grocery also offers a selection of sandwiches-- high quality meat & cheese on equally high quality bread. Really, the basics of any good sandwich.

Nick and I each picked a sandwich and juice for lunch -- our meal was absolutely delicious. Overall, an excellent visit-- I know I will be visiting again soon!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Listening Now: If You Love Someone

This song has made an appearance on many of my playlists recently, including the ones I share with my spin instructors and friends. Because sometimes you just want to listen to a song repeatedly. Also I really want my hair to be as long as the Origliasso sisters.


Monday, March 9, 2015

Sunday in the Kitchen

This weekend, Nick and I took our first steps to regaining normalcy following Otto's diagnosis. We reached some decisions (we're not doing chemo, only pain management), and have started to more fully embrace our time with Otto rather than worrying about what is to come. I don't know, maybe these warmer temperatures have something to do with our more positive attitude? Anyway, our diet has been terrible over the past few weeks and we decided that it was time for a massive cook-and-freeze session so that we would have easy meals to reach into over the next few months.

Nick and I went to the Westside Market on Saturday to stock up on ingredients. Every time I visit, I wonder why I don't go more frequently! Although the thing about visiting the market on Saturdays is that you have to either go really early, or go late--around 2. Anything between the hours of 10am - 2 pm is a madhouse! We went with a list, and split up, so a very efficient 30 minutes later, we were out of there, stocked with all the ingredients for Nick's meatballs and 3 different types of chicken.

Nick's meatballs. I could give you the recipe, but its a family secret ;)

I made chicken pot pie, cajun chicken, and tandoori chicken. I wish I could tell you I used some fancy recipe for the cajun chicken or tandoori chicken, but its basically boneless, skinless chicken thighs, some type of fat (oil or melted butter) and a seasoning mix. Marinate for 90 minutes- 2 hours, and bake at 375 for 20 minutes. Foolproof and freezes exceptionally well. And when I'm ready to eat it, I just nuke the pre-portioned chicken pieces in the microwave for 2 minutes. Pairs well with salads, over pasta, in pita pockets, in enchiladas. Endless versatility with minimal effort.

Do you cook big batches over the weekend, or do you cook every night or some combination of both?

Friday, March 6, 2015

Try It: 3 ingredient Nutella Cookies

My diet recently has had four main food groups: wine, eggs, cheese and chocolate. One of my favorite things to eat are Nutella cookies--a recipe I discovered on Pinterest a few years ago. Basically, you take 1 cup of nutella, 1 cup of flour and 1 egg, mix it together, form it into little cookie balls, and bake it in a preheated over at 350F for 7-8 minutes.

There you have it. The easiest cookie recipe of all time.

Here's a video (that I didn't create) if you don't believe me.

PS: I didn't smash them or use a fork for the indents. Neither step is necessary.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Subscription boxes: Julep

Last summer, I signed up for a nail polish subscription box-- Julep. Julep is famous for its 4-free colors and striking bottle shape, but back when I signed up, I was really not one for painting my own nails. In fact, I basically sucked at it.  But over 6 months of a subscription (and one Clean Slate Polish Corrector Pen later), I have shown tremendous improvement.

Now, you may be thinking-- how many polishes does one human need? What if I don't like the colors? I'm here to assure you that there is no need to worry. Not only can you customize each box for whatever colors you want, you can also switch it out for beauty products. Personally, I'm a fan of their lip colors, especially their lip crayons that are super hydrating, as well as the pedi creme. And, they usually send you a little gift in each box-- sometimes its candy, but this past month, it was a glitter top coat with tiny hearts in it!!!

Now for the cost: you can get a monthly box for $24.99 (+ tax)/month or you can sign up for 3 months at a time, and the cost per month drops to $19.99 (+ tax).  You can click here* to join!

*If you use the link above, I do get a referral fee (which is open to any Julep Maven who refers her friends to the service)

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Get Involved: The Circle

About a year ago, I joined the Board of The Circle, the Young Professionals group of the Cleveland Orchestra. To be honest, classical music isn't something I listen to regularly. But seeing the Cleveland Orchestra live has really changed my perception of classical music in general. For one thing, Severance Hall is a stunningly beautiful space with incredible acoustics. Second, despite perceptions of stuffiness, going to at Orchestra performance is not stuff AT ALL! Not only does the Cleveland Orchestra have one of the youngest Orchestra's in the country,  but we also have one of the youngest audiences in the country. What this means is that while some guests choose to go all out and get dressed up, you will see plenty of jeans and leggings so as to not feel out of place if you choose to go with a more casual dress code. But most of all, the incredible talent performing at each show is something you just have to see and listen to and experience live. 

Membership to the Orchestra is $15/month for a single membership, $20/month for two memberships at the same household. Your membership gets you 12 events a year-- at least half of which are concerts-- if you look at attending the concerts alone, the monthly membership fee is a STEAL! The other half are networking and behind-the-scenes events, which really are a lot of fun! So far we've had tours of Severance Hall and its incredible history, hearing about the upcoming program from the Orchestra members, a behind-the-scenes conversation with Yuval Sharon, director of the Opera The Cunning Little Vixen (which we then got to see with our membership), exclusive discounts on attending the Cleveland Orchestra Gala (which then included a surprise meeting with Lang Lang!!!), happy hours before or after concerts, pre-concert dinner and drinks at Blossom in the summer, volunteering at the Lakewood YMCA--- and this is just a SAMPLE of events. Oh, and you also get 20% off other classical concerts at the Orchestra. 

Our next event is March 13th-- Beethoven's Seventh followed by food, drinks, mingling and more live music. So, if you would like to be a part of the fun, join us by calling Margaret at 216-231-7558. You can find our schedule of upcoming events here, and you can see more of what we've been up to so far on our Facebook page  so please follow us!

I hope to see many more of you at future Circle events!!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Listening Now: Alt-J

Happy Tuesday. Today's tunes are not new-- they both came out last year, but the reason I'm including them today is that Alt-J are playing at Playhouse Square on April 1st. I went to their concert in 2013, and they were INCREDIBLE. Such a great live show-- if you are a fan of live music, you should really make every effort to go to this show.

 and another, for good measure:


Enjoy! And I hope to see some of you at the show on April 1st!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Jump Back Ball: We Went Back to the Future

This past Saturday, Playhouse Square played host to the 24th annual Jump Back Ball. The theme this year was Back to the Future-- lots of Doc's and Marty's and even one DeLorean. I had a really fun time hanging out with friends and seeing people I don't get to see very often. In fact, I had a little TOO much fun- note to self: Gin + bubbles will result in no good.

This year, I wore a red Badgley Mischka from Rent the Runway, and of course, lots of sparkle. My bracelet is the Stella & Dot Petra and my ring and earrings are from H&M.

And now, some pictures from our evening!

Clockwise from top left: Nick, Dave and Rich; a mini Miami reunion, posing with Jessi and KK, lovely ladies Charity, Lisa and Kelly

Clockwise from top left: Allison, Christina and Charity, selflies with Jessi, Renee (who is one of my favorite instructors at Harness), the adorable Rebecca and Adam.

From left: with Clefashionista Rachel, Prom posing with Nick

Clockwise from top left: Another pic with Kelly and Lisa, the part of the night when things started to go very wrong :) (damn you champagne bar!!), Jessi and Liz, and yet another selfie to round out the night!

Overall, another fun Jump Back Ball! I know that the Playhouse Square Partners team will be thinking of themes for Jump Back Ball 25, and I would love to see a nautical theme (glamor like the Titanic, but without the sinking, or even pirates!!), or a Superheroes and Supervillians theme, or even old Hollywood glamor!

And while I recover from my hangover today, I'm already looking forward to next year!!

Disclosure: I was offered one ticket in exchange for helping spread word about the event. As always, all opinions are my own, and based on my own experience. Thank you for continuing to support posts like this one!