Friday, May 10, 2013

Gatsby...What Gatsby?!?

**Have you entered to win two tickets to The Marc's Great American Rib Cook-Off & Music Festival?  You have until Sunday at noon to do so!**

We all have something we are slightly obsessed with.  For some, it is a TV or book series.  For others, it may be a game or past time.  Whether we openly admit it or not, everyone has a guilty pleasure they "geek-out" about.  I have always been fascinated with the 1920's from the speakeasies and flappers to the idea of the American Dream.  It may come as no surprise my favorite book is The Great Gatsby.  I was first introduced to Jay Gatsby as a sixteen year old in Mrs. Ballas' honors English 11 class where he captivated me.  I will shamelessly admit, I developed a crush the mysterious protagonist of the novel, yet I had no desire to be Daisy Buchanan, the object of Gatsby's affection.  (Really, girls can be so much more than "pretty fools," even in the 1920's.)  Since high school, I have reread the book at least 10 times and have a copy of the 1970's movie starting Robert Redford.  This weekend, Leonardo DiCaprio will grace the big screen as Jay Gatsby.  I honestly cannot remember being excited for a movie to be released.  I have reread the book and re-watched the movie.  This weekend, I have a date with Gatsby.  (Brad understands!!!)  Hopefully, I will not be disappointed.

What do you tend to geek-out about??

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ribs + 80's music = Summer in CLE!

There are many signs of summer in Cleveland.  Patios are once again full of patrons enjoying drinks.  The Tribe is once again underway at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario.  Boats once again float along Lake Erie.  Sundresses and sandals make their way out of hibernation.  Temperatures (in theory) get warmer and days get longer.  Kids and teachers countdown the remaining days of school.  For many, Memorial Day Weekend signifies the unofficial start to summer.  Communities hold parades to honor those lost defending our freedom.  Families have their first official cookout of the season.  There is one event that has marked the unofficial start of summer in Cleveland for the past 22 years, The Marc's Great American Rib-Cook Off & Music Festival at Jacob's Pavilion.  Once again, hungry Clevelanders will be welcoming summer on the West bank of the Flats May 24-27.

Highlights this year will include:
  • Marc's amateur grilling competition on Saturday, May 25
  • Greatest Ribs in America, Greatest Sauce in America, and People's Choice awards on Monday, May 27
  • The new Riverside Dining area and terrace
  • Performances by Mega 80's: The Ultimate 80's Reto Party (Friday night), Rick Springfield (Saturday night), Buddy Guy (Sunday night), and Bret Michaels (Monday evening)
I love the 80's
Tickets are $5 for adults and kids under 12 are FREE.  Fox 8 is also sponsoring a Rock & Ribs dining deal for $31 which includes $40 worth of food and two general admission tickets.  Tickets can be purchased online at or at area Marc's stores.  Entertainment is included with admission, however prime reserve tickets for Rick, Buddy, and Bret are available at  I also have two general admission tickets that YOU can win right here!  There are three ways to enter!
  1. Tell me your favorite way to kick off summer in Cleveland. (Tribe games!)
  2. What is your favorite 80's band and/or song? (Tough one here...I have to go with "Don't Stop Believing" but I love it all!)
  3. Tweet "I want to kick off summer in #CLE and rock out with @HungryInCLE at #TheGreatAmericanRibCookOff!"  (You can tweet daily.  Please leave a comment telling me you did so)
Contest ends Sunday, May 12 at noon.  Winner will be announced Monday morning.  Good luck!!!

**Disclaimer:  I was asked to promote the Marc's Great American Rib Cook-Off and Music Festival. In return, I was given two general admission tickets for myself, and another pair to give away on the blog.  All opinions are 100% my own!**

Monday, April 22, 2013

One Week Later

A week ago, started out like any other Monday.  I woke up, took a shower, made coffee, and watched the first half hour of Good Morning America.  I packed my lunch and running clothes, and headed out to work hoping to be somewhat productive before 9:30.  I knew the rest of the morning I would be distracted by coverage of the Boston Marathon.  I was hoping Shalane or Kara would bring home a victory for the U.S. women.  I watched in awe as the elites from all over the world took on one of the most prestigious marathon courses I one day hope to conquer.  Once Rita Jeptoo of Kenya and Lelisa Desisa of Ethiopia crossed the finish line, I went about my day as planned, tracking friends I knew on the Boston Athletic Association app.  That is until 3:45 or so in the afternoon when I checked my phone.  That is when I found out what happened at 2:50 p.m., 4 hours, 9 minutes, and 43 seconds into the Boston Marathon.  My first thought was "Are the people I know there ok?", then "Why would someone do this?"  Thanks to social media, I was able to answer one of those two questions.  The other may never be answered.
I saw this on Facebook and it pretty much sums up how I felt.
While school shootings scare me, since my mom, boyfriend, and several good friends are all teachers, this one left me feeling attacked.  I realized once I saw the time on the clock, if I were running, I probably would have been in the last 5K of the race.  My boyfriend and parents would have been waiting at the finish line or in the proximity of where the bombs were set off.  What if this happened at a race I was running?

Over the past week, I once again witnessed unity within not only the running community, but throughout the entire country.  We wore race shirts and ran together as a sign of solidarity.  Our eyes were glued to the news all day Friday anticipating the moment the Boston Police Department heroically captured one of the monsters behind these attacks.  However, one thing will always bother me.  Why does it take a tragedy to unite us?  
So here we are, one week later, still united and awaiting answers.  The Cleveland Marathon is less than a month away.  I am sure the feeling of unity will carry into that race, but how strong will it be into fall marathon season?  Life will never go back to "normal" for the victims of the Boston bombings.  There are now four empty seats at four dinner tables in Massachusetts.  On days when you feel nothing is going right, take a moment to think of all the good in your life.  Smile, and run on!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

To Everything, There is a Season

Hello again!  I know, it has been a while and I feel like one of the most sporadic bloggers out there.  I spent the last month adjusting to the new job, which is going wonderfully, getting my Cleveland Marathon training back on track, and most importantly, spending time with those I love.
The last time I ran 26.2:  Detroit 2012.
After what seemed to be the winter that went on and on and on and on, it finally feels like springtime in Cleveland.  One thing I have come to appreciate is getting to experience the best of all four seasons.  Summer has it's long days filled with friends an fun.  Fall is for football, pumpkin everything, marathons, and my birthday.  Winter brings Christmas and snowboarding (which I failed to do this year).  However, spring has always been my favorite.  Perhaps it is the warmer weather and everything in bloom.  As a child, it meant the end of the school year.  While I never minded school, I always looked forward to field day in grade school and the dunk tank picnic in high school.  Spring semester of college meant Greek Week, Kappa Delta formal, and sitting outside "studying".  Now, spring is baseball games, patios, new sandals, farmers markets, and the Cleveland Marathon.  It is a season of rebirth and new beginnings.  Happy spring Cleveland!  I will see you at The Jake!! 

What is your favorite season??

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Martinis, Etiquette, and a Seance!

This past Friday, I engaged in all three at the Hanna Theater.  Thanks to my dear friend Julie, I was invited to a special social media night to see the Great Lakes Theater production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, which also included an introduction to making cocktails and an etiquette lesson.
Stirred, not shaken!
Our night began with a demo on how to properly make a martini.  Noel Coward was a huge fan of gin martinis and was often seen waving one towards the stage during a performance of one of his plats.  We learned a classic martini is made of equal parts gin (or vodka) and vermouth, chilled, stirred, and strained into a martini glass.  (Sorry James Bond, shaken not stirred is not the correct way to make a martini).  We were then given the choice to have either a gin or vodka martini garnished with either an olive or lemon.   Of course, I went with gin and a lemon garnish.

With our martinis in hand, we then headed upstairs for an etiquette lesson by Colleen Harding of the Cleveland School of Etiquette.  Colleen's lecture focused on proper etiquette at a cocktail party.  She explained the importance of using proper wine glasses with stems, how and when to join in a conversation, and how to appropriately give someone your business card.  As cute and chic as stemless wine glasses may be, if you are going to be in a situation where you are holding your glass, they will cause your wine to warm  quickly from body heat ruining the characteristics of the wine.  Also, did you know it is not proper to hand someone your card initially, if at all.  Colleen pointed out you should only give someone your card if they ask for it.  Remember, you are at a social event, not a poker tournament.  

Hilarious and "spook-tacular"!
We then were given a brief tour and history of the Hanna before showtime.  In 2008, Great Lakes Theater renovated the Hanna to create a more intimate experience for theater goers.  I personally feel there is not a bad seat in the house.  Also, the bar located in the back of the theater is a gift from Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson.  Tom did perform for three seasons at the Great Lakes Theater.  

Blithe Spirit tells the story of novelist Charles Condomine who wants to research spirits for a novel he is working on.  Along with his wife Ruth, their friends the Bradmans, and Madame Arcati, they participate in a seance with leads to the spirit of Charles' first wife, Elvira, being summonsed to visit Charles.  Elvira is unhappy to find Charles has remarried and tries to sabotage his marriage to Ruth.  The play itself is comical and very enjoyable.  It is running currently through March 10.  You can save $10 on tickets by using the code: NEO when you purchase tickets online, over the phone (216-241-6000), or at the Playhouse Square box office.

Afterwards, KatieJulieJessica, Chris, Kasey, and Mary head to Cowell & Hubbard for some late night treats.  I ordered the vegan pizza which was topped with a bed of arugula and balsamic.  It was perfect for a late late dinner!  I cannot wait to return and try an entree and cocktail!  Zack Bruell once again did not disappoint!

**Disclaimer: I was invited to attend social media night at Great Lakes Theater.  I was given a ticket and complimentary cocktail in exchange for blogging about my visit.  As always, all opinions are 100% my own**

Friday, February 15, 2013

Best Week Ever!

Ok, maybe not best week ever, but this past week has been the best week of 2013.  Do you ever have a good feeling on Sunday that the upcoming week will be a really good one?  Typically, I am always optimistic about the upcoming week or just a new day in general.  However, there was a point on Sunday where I just had a really good feeling something big was going to happen.

One of my favorites from the Stella & Dot spring line!
My week began in the early hours of Sunday when the Notre Dame men's basketball team beat Louisville in 5/OT.  I know, very minor, but I love a close game especially when my team wins.  After maybe 5 or so hours of sleep, I met up with some of the #dirtyrunners for a Sunday morning run.  I will admit, my training for the Cleveland Marathon, has been a bit off, but I felt great after finishing my long run despite falling way behind everyone else for the last few group miles and adding a few more to bring me up to where I should be for training.

Cleveland Rocks!!
While warming up from a chilly run, I set up a Facebook page for one of my latest ventures, becoming  a Stella & Dot stylist!  My good friend Julie has been one and after many conversations, and a little convincing, I signed on!  Afterwards, Brad and I headed to the Great Big Home + Garden Show.  Overall, my favorite part was the garden displays which captured U.S Landmarks.  Some really captured every detail such as the one modeled after Augusta.  As a baseball fan, I was slightly disappointed with the interpretation of Wrigley Field.  They missed the ivy covered wall and to me, it looked like any other baseball field.  After admiring the gardens and deciding we one day will be hot tub owners, we headed to Fat Heads for lunch and beer sampling.  Food wise, I recommend the smokey wings, which are whole chicken wings, rubbed, grilled, then sauced just as I like to make them in the summer.
An ivy-less Wrigley
Augusta.  Felt like we were at the Masters
For the most part, the remainder of the week was somewhat normal.  Brad and I had a wonderful Valentine's Day dinner at The Black Pig where I enjoyed roasted duck and he enjoyed the Ohio Beef entree of steak and short rib, or as Ron Swanson would say, "Turf and Turf".  After dinner, we headed to Great Lakes for dessert.  Aside from tapping the Alberta Clipper, they were offering a tasting of Alberta Clipper, Edmund Fitzgerald, Blackout Stout, and Woodtooth Porter along with a red velvet cupcake, Edmund Fitz ice cream in a chocolate shot glass, and a chocolate covered ginger snap.  In other words, a plate of my favorite treats!!
The way to my heart!
While all the above would make for a pretty awesome, yet normal, week for me, what made this the best week of 2013 so far was a phone call I received on Wednesday morning.  I WAS OFFERED AND I ACCEPTED A LABORATORY CONSULTANT POSITION!!!  I finally found a job that will fit my background, personality, and career aspirations.  Here's to new beginnings on March 4th!!
Celebratory bubbles

**Disclaimer: I was given 2 tickets to the Great Big Home + Garden Show.  All opinions are 100% my own.**

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Caprese Chicken

Have you ever had one of those nights where you just are not sure what to make for dinner?  You don't feel like dining out or making an impromptu trip to the store.  You know you have things in the fridge that you used within the past week, are still good, but only have a few good days left.  You also have a wonderful side dish you pinned or saw somewhere that you are dying to try.  This was Monday for me!

I have been wanting to make balsamic roasted potatoes for a few weeks since seeing them on Pinterest.  I also knew there were a few chicken breasts in the freezer, some white wine, tomatoes, and fresh mozzarella that needed to be used very soon.  Unfortunately, our basil plant did not like the cold last week and has seen better days.  I decided to lightly saute the chicken the let it cook in the white wine.  I diced up the tomatoes and tossed them with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, an Italian herb blend, sea salt, and fresh ground black pepper.  This was served on top of the chicken with a slice of mozzarella.  Originally, if the basil looked better, I was going to do a caprese salad.  However, I had to improvise and this was the end result!
Here's how I made this:

  1. Season chicken with sea salt, black pepper, and dried Italian herb blend
  2. Saute in olive oil until both sides appear cooked.  Keep chicken in the pan.
  3. Add the white wine and one clove of minced garlic.  I used about 1/4th of a bottle because that is what was leftover in the fridge.  Bring sauce almost to a boil and then let simmer until it is time to eat!
  4. For the tomato salad on top: Dice tomatoes (I approximately 1 roma).  Toss with a drizzle of olive oil, balsamic vinegar to taste, sea salt, pepper, and herbs.  In the future, I plan to use fresh basil, but the dried Italian herbs I used on the chicken worked in a pinch.
  5. Enjoy!!