How I Spring

The minute the weather starts to break, it’s like my calendar cannot get filled fast enough. I love Cleveland in the Spring. Once the weather breaks (which for us, means above 40 degrees), it’s like Clevelanders are automatically happy. We all walk with a bounce in our step. The sunroofs are open. Music is blaring. Jackets are left behind. And all is right in the world again.

And that’s how I’ve felt the last two weeks. As my Roommate pointed out to me recently, it’s been a rough month or so. But it’s time to shake it off.

Happy hours need to be had.

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More Cavs games are on the schedule (um playoff basketball in the CLE? What?!)

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Monsters hockey and roommate nights out.

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New makeup and lunch with friends.

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Who else is ready for warm weather, patios, Cleveland sports and open sunroofs?

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Spring at Trentina

When you get an email on a Monday asking if you’d like to have dinner at Trentina to preview their Spring menu, you never say no. No matter how busy the day seems. (Even if it means missing the Cavs v. Heat game – which apparently was not that exciting anyway.)

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I’ve been to Trentina a couple of times now and it has never disappointed. One of my favorite experiences at Trentina is when Chef Sawyer stops over to explain a dish or two. You can see the passion in his face that he has for the restaurant and the Northern Italy experience that he is bringing to Cleveland. (He even brought us a cheese that sounded similar to Charlene…cause, why not right?)

A pic with Chef Sawyer from my first time at Trentina

A pic with Chef Sawyer from my first time at Trentina

The menu bianco is a 12-course (yes, 12 courses!) tasting meal where each person has the opportunity to have a different dish. So essentially, you have the chance to try 24 different dishes from Chef Sawyer. Add in some great wine and/or beer, and you are set to have a delightful night.

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Menu on gorgeous gold paper (I’m such a nerd.)

 

While I enjoyed each bite of the dinner, my absolute favorite was the scallop with koji and cherry bone marrow sauce – both Justin and I decided that it was the best bite of food either of us have had. (I think I’m still dreaming about how delicious that was.)

Ah-mazing. There are literally no words for this dish.

Ah-mazing. There are literally no words for this dish.

Trentina brings the tastes of Northern Italy to University Circle. James Beard nominee, Chef Sawyer and his team, offer a unique dining experience unlike any other in Cleveland. I personally love how small and intimate the dining experience is and the fact that Chef Sawyer is able to walk around and talk to each table, sharing more about the menu and dishes, as well as his inspiration for each. Two dinner menus are offered, including the menu bianco and an a la carte dinner menu. Trentina also offers lunch daily and brunch on the weekends (which I need to try ASAP).

If you haven’t yet been, find a date and time to spend a couple of hours in University Circle at Trentina. I can promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Disclaimer: In exchange for this blog post, I, and a guest, was invited to the media preview of the spring menu bianco by Trentina. All opinions are my own.

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It’s Go Time CLE

That’s the message from Destination Cleveland for our city – It’s Go Time.

What a year our city has had…well actually the last few years. But at the Destination Cleveland Annual Meeting, we were able to hear about all of the excitement that has been surrounding the city. Think about it: named a place to visit in 2015 by Travel + Leisure, New York Times and more, LBJ returns, we won the RNC National Convention bid and have hosted the Gay Games and the Senior Games.

My favorite Clevelander, Chef Symon, was a featured speaker and to hear him talk about the city – he just oozes love for Cleveland. And this is someone that is in NYC and travels often. One, of many things he said, was a reminder that we need to brag about this city. We need to remember the urban core of our city and stay out Downtown (something I happily do).

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Michael Symon…he’s my fave.

Sure, we have work to do (especially before the RNC National Convention), but the great thing about this city? We know how to roll up our sleeves and get to work. While we all may not be involved in helping to renovate areas of the city or prepare meeting spaces, one thing we can all do is to go out Downtown, celebrate the progress of the city and be an ambassador – every day.

Let’s go CLE.

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Black Tie Affairs

One of the most hectic weeks for me is the last week in February. As luck would have it, every year, both the ADDYs and Jump Back Ball are in the same week. It makes for a fun, crazy, somewhat stressful week and this year was the same.

First up – the ADDYs. Otherwise known as the advertising community’s version of the Emmy Awards. This year we set a couple of different records – one for most entries ever (462 what?!?) and we also sold out the ADDYs. Almost two weeks before the show. We managed to squeeze everyone in (literally) thanks to the Lago Event Crew and come Thursday, I was ready for a great time with coworkers and friends. My good friends Jen and Tim hosted this year and they did a great job – I think they only made fun of me once (they just learned that morning how to say my last name….I’ve known them for years…)

Pre-Show Prep.

Pre-Show Prep.

We won a few ADDYs (20!), I got to hang with Jen and my co-chair Anthony at the After Party and that's a sell-out crowd!

We won a few ADDYs (20!), I got to hang with Jen and my co-chair Anthony at the After Party and that’s a sell-out crowd!

We also added an after-party this year at Lago that was jam-packed, but also fun. I was able to finally relax (being cochair is stressful – thank you Gabe for hooking a girl up with a double jack and ginger).

Hanging with Gabe, Carmen and AJ at the after-party...then the Friday aftermath...Kim and I buying McDonald's for coworkers...

Hanging with Gabe, Carmen and AJ at the after-party…then the Friday aftermath…Kim and I buying McDonald’s for coworkers…

Friday morning though….well….little rough….

Saturday though it was time to prep and get ready for the annual Playhouse Square Jump Back Ball. Jess attended with me again this year and I, again, rented a dress from Rent the Runway (which I also did for the ADDYs). I’ve had such a great experience with Rent the Runway the past two years and was lucky that when I didn’t love my first choice, they sent a hot pink one which I pretty much was obsessed with.

Jump Back to the Future!

Jump Back to the Future!

Again, guests nibbled on food from Driftwood Restaurants and Catering and I have to say that I loved the late evening snacks brought out right as the second band hit the stage in the lobby (has that always happened? Have I missed it other years!?) It was perfect timing for us. While this year I didn’t partake in any of the casino games, Jess and I both had our tarot cards read (fingers crossed they were right!) and danced to both of the bands that the committee selected this year.

One of my favorite parts about JBB is running into so many friends that I often don’t get to see as often. My second favorite part? Carrie and I singing on stage with the band. Yes, that happened again as Stephanie was looking lovely off-stage saying “you two just can’t stay away.” (I mean, it’s tradition now).

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Somehow this year though I didn’t take nearly as many pictures. I think that just means that Jess and I were again having a great time and were enjoying our friends, the music and being at Playhouse Square!

Disclaimer: I’m the co-chair of the ADDYs and one the board for AAF-CLE. I’m in no way required to write about the event. I also am a blogger for Playhouse Square and was invited to participate again this year in blogging about JBB. In return for my blog posts/promoting, I received a buy one, get one ticket. But as always – I love Playhouse Square!

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Hello Spring

And see ya later winter.

It’s been a low key winter for the most part, which included a lot of hibernating. And to be honest – it was beyond needed. Call it the season I was in, or whatever you’d like, but I was feeling a little more introverted than usual and needed some quiet especially after a crazy holiday season.

But February wasn’t going to end quietly, especially the last week. A brief breakdown of the week: 5 year Cancer-versary. Focus Group for work. ADDY Awards. Jump Back Ball.

To celebrate being cancer-free officially, we had some bubbles at work and then it was off to dinner and drinks with friends at one of my favorite locations – Hodge’s. While I was bummed Chris couldn’t be there, the team at Hodge’s brought back Raspberry Thyme which is one of my most fave drinks.

Work Bubbles

Work Bubbles

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Erin, Alex and Kimberly 

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Matt!

Coworkers and clients. But more like friends.

Coworkers and clients. But more like friends.

Where's the whistle?!

Where’s the whistle?!

 

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This girl. Wouldn’t be where I am without her.

Laughs were had. Tears almost happened, thanks to a speech by Jess and all in all it was a night to breath and realize that’s behind me.

More on the ADDY Awards and Jump Back Ball later. I mean, my feet are still recovering and I’m watching Chef Symon on All Star Academy.

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Screw You Cancer

Five years ago, at the crack of dawn when I was highly drugged up and talking nonsense about the operating room not looking like Grey’s Anatomy’s set, my surgeon and thyroid doctor cut my cancer out of my throat. A surgery that went more than a couple hours longer than it was supposed to (thank you tumor for wrapping yourself around my vocal cords) and that included having to stay at my parents until I could lift my head and eat somewhat solid foods.

New normal has included thyroid supplement pills, more doctors appointments than I think I had in my first 27 some years of life before the C-word, Google searching every symptom I have possibly had, learning how to understand my blood tests, not passing out at blood work anymore, not freaking out over the scar on my neck and accepting new normal.

But today…I celebrate. With friends and dinner at one of my favorite places. I’m sure bubbles will be had. And while there’s always still a chance the C-word returns, this feels like a milestone worth celebrating.

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Sober January

Yes, that’s right. It was a sober January.

My best friend and I took the month off from drinking in order to detox, lose weight and save money. Believe it or not, it wasn’t that bad. Though I’m not going to lie, there were a few stressful work days where I really wanted a glass of wine. And the day when in a team meeting with five guys all drinking bourbon…that was a tough one (yes, I’m a bourbon girl).

The upside to sober January? I actually slept pretty okay. Of course, there were days when insomnia took over but at this point, I’m pretty used to that. I did save some money. I stayed in mostly, which I tend to do anyway in winter months (I hibernate too). And I was able to get a ton more done.

And with an insane February – between work, JBB and the ADDY Awards – the break was sort of needed.

But now…

Pour me a glass of wine :)

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A JBB Guide

Somehow January has come and gone and February is here. Which means a lot of things: more Cavs games…ADDY Awards…Happy Hours (now that Sober January is over)…and of course, Jump Back Ball 2015.

I’m actually somewhat ahead of schedule with JBB planning. This year, I’ve decided to Rent the Runway once again (as I did last year) but the theme this year does allow for plenty of options. Go dressy or don some Back to the Future gear for the night.

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Shoes: be prepared to dance. As Carrie and I did…on stage…(oops). I haven’t yet picked out a pair of heels to wear with my dress but I remember how bad my feet hurt the day after JBB. Lucky for me the ADDY Awards are two days before so for multiple days I’ll have sore feet. Such is life.

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Food: Make sure to come early enough to nibble on whatever delicious menu Chef Hodge is coming up with. That’s right – Driftwood Catering is again in charge of the menu. Last year, Jess and I were able to catch up while having dinner on the stage…before the dancing started.

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Misc: Since we all will be drinking (again, two days after the ADDYs…I’m going to be going all out and having a great time), think through where to stay and how to get around.

All in all…I’m beyond excited and ready for another great year at JBB! Who will I see there?

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Love Me Like You Do

Obsessed with this song. Obsessed with Ellie. She can do no wrong in my eyes.

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I May Be An Introvert.

A few months ago, all of my coworkers and I took a personality test and I don’t think anyone was surprised by mine. At all. Especially when you take into consideration the fact that my boss has called me “Oprah” many times.

I’m (apparently and usually) ENFJ. Just like Oprah, Obama, Ben Aflleck and Matthew McConaughey (I don’t know why that one makes me laugh so hard, but it does). Yes, usually I’m extremely extroverted. Usually my social calendar is full (nothing actually makes me happier as the planner I am than my day planner having notes all over it).

But this month – no go. I think I’ve officially become introverted over the last four weeks. My calendar has been pretty open (minus work or AAF commitments) and I’ve been spending more and more nights at home which I’ve actually enjoyed. I’ve read two books for book club so far and are excited to be starting two more. I’ve been able to a actually attempt to sleep when my insomnia isn’t acting up. And I’m spending some quality time reflecting back on some past decisions that maybe were not that smart. I’ve also started going back to church and started a new Sunday tradition with my bestie and her kids and family.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m going to be back. I mean next month I have the ADDY Awards and Jump Back Ball all in one fabulous (stressful), fun-filled weekend. But in the meantime, I think I’m going to continue to enjoy the peace and quiet of this month.

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