wine and beer me please

I can sum up my weekend with three things - wine, beer and outdoor drinking.

Seeing as we were having some stormy weather on Friday evening, it took my friends and I two attempts to make it down to the Cleveland Wine Festival at Voinovich park, which I always referred to as the "east 9th street park" but alas - it has an official name I never knew.

no filter; clouds over the lake

On our second attempt, we walked down for round two of the wine festival hoping all the rain was completely gone for the evening. Well - let's just say we were wrong but we were able to enjoy a quick thirty minutes of sampling before the clouds got darker over the lake and made it back home as the drizzling started for the second time that night.

I high tailed it over to Chateau St. Michelle booth to sip the other three reislings they were offering to attendees. I'm an equal wine opportunist and love everything from sweet whites to bold and robust reds.  Out of the reislings to taste, my favorite was the dry one - it wasn't too sweet, a little crisp, refreshing and I could have had several more glasses than I had if we weren't trying to out run the storm!

Riesling background; the booth; the most important part - the wine; get outta my way - more wine!

On Saturday afternoon, we spent a few hours in Tremont at the 4th Annual Ale Fest outside under the gorgeous weather with hundreds of our closest friends (and beer lovers) to sample a few ales from Fat Heads, Buckeye How good were these beer cocktails? So good I can't remember the exact details but I believe it was a blonde ale and vanilla whiskey combination that was utterly delightful.

Gina, Jess, Lissa and me rocking "Yep we are from Cleveland" stickers from CLE Clothing Co

sunny afternoon for drinking

the best neighbor ever complete with a pretzel necklace for sharing

Somehow it is July is this summer flying be so quickly and what can I do to hit the pause button?!?

Disclaimer: I was offered two tickets to the Cleveland wine festival from the lovely people at Chateau St. Michelle to attend, sip some wines and offer a review of their delicious and refreshing wines.

a few of my favorite combinations....

Thursday, July 26, 2012
Ever since I've moved downtown, my radius has gotten smaller and smaller of where I eat, drink and socialize with friends. I can't tell you how awesome it is to not drive every day.....

If you are headed downtown this weekend or want to plan a happy hour to try a new bar, here are few of my favorite combos - a killer cocktail and appetizer combination.

Market Garden Brewery 
Shoreway cooler (honey gin, american lager, lillet blanc and simple syrup) with the Brewmaster's platter - a variety of meats and cheeses - my favorites. Have no plans this Sunday? Spend a few hours on their patio with friends and a few of these to have a Sunday Funday.

Burntwood Tavern
Whether it's brunch after yoga, a group run or meeting friends halfway in River, I love the open bar atmosphere and their outdoor eating space/patio - you are dining outside, have a roof to block the sun but have the breeze from the lake all at the same time.

My favorites? A Jack & Jill (muddled blueberries lemon and blueberry vodka) or the Tavern Saint (pear vodka, St. Germain, Martini & Rossi Bianco and lime) and always, always, always order the tuna nachos - to.die.for.

Conveniently located right down the street from me, make a date to sit in the bar area in a booth at the bar itself late night with a glass of Chianti or Pinot Grigio and the fried artichokes or the fennel, orange, olive and ricotta salad. Delicious, I tell ya.

Head a little bit west of downtown and you grab a great happy hour from 5-7 p.m. with $5.50 drinks, a list of food and even half off pizzas - not a bad deal. It has been at least three months since I've hit up this restaurant but the bloom drink (citrus vodka, blueberries, lavender and lemonade) is a must order with a prosciutto and melon salad - goes perfectly together in the summer. Fair warning - you can't have just one bloom!

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boys and their iPhones.....

A running joke between a few friends and me is - "Have you received any more photos?"
What photos you wonder?

You know....... the unprovoked nude photos from that certain guy that will pop up on your iPhone when you are least expecting it. Maybe it's on your morning coffee run, in your weekly status meeting or when you are on your way to they gym - you never really know when it's going to happen.

I don't even know how it started between these said friends but it was definitely something we laugh about over happy hour because it is totally unprovoked on their part.

And poof! Penis photos show up!

Before this onslaught of photos from guys, I would assume the ladies would be the ones sending the photos to guys first when they are trying to reel them in after the sexting gets old. You know the photos I'm talking about - the ones where you cut off your head, throw on heels and take a behind shot of yourself in the mirror or the topless shot with your copy of "50 Shades of Grey" to send to your man.

However, my friends and I are here to say that No, no and no - the guys, in fact, are just as guilty as the girls of sending racy photos of themselves. FIRST I tell you! First!

And when I say first - I mean after you hang out with him a few times, or even only once for that matter, and then a shirtless photo comes through flexing and you find yourself scratching your head thinking, "Whatttttttttttt?" You then play the awkward yet funny back and forth banter because you aren't sure if he's serious or if this is part of his personality that you just don't know yet, even debating on creasing your own elbow to mimic cleavage just because....

And then, it's like a damn waterfall where it's photo after photo and they keep getting better in location and content. First you can't really make out the background of where the shirtless photos are taken but then you start to notice the location of the now penis photo -- it's in the bedroom based on dressers and then the kitchen because you see dish towels in the right corner or you can guess it's in the car based on the angle.

So - let's get the fun part because I know my friends aren't the only ones who receive a slew of interesting photos from the opposite sex. Spill it!

friends, sun, sand and a summer ball game

I don't know about everyone else but I sort of feel like last week kicked my butt in a few ways with lonnnnng hours, and I was literally counting down the minutes until I could meet my friends before the Indians game to cheers with a summer shandy in hand.
long lost friends; river water shots; brian prepping not pictured shots; girlfriends

While those friends headed to the game, I went to stop two of the night at Chartreuse for an Art in the Petit Parc party to catch up with a group of friends who I don't think I've seen in the past month. Clearly, we connect on every social network but we haven't actually met up in person between busy work and travel schedules in what seems like at least a month.

Charity and company hosted a few of these art events last summer/fall and it's this awesome gathering of local artists from everything to photography to clothes to jewelry with some snacks from a local vendor and this time it was Poppo Wags. Say hello to the best popped kettle corn - these ladies were fabulous and didn't care that we camped right up next to their table.

Considering I'm always looking to add to my ever-growing jewelry collection, I made sure to stop by Modern Pixie to check out the very delicate and pretty earrings and Stash Style for her amazing mix of real chandelier jewel earrings, re-worked rosaries and overall shabby chic style. I first found Shannon and her kick-ass style maybe two years ago when she had a store in Chagrin Falls and it's like this girl is inside my brain with how I want to pull together my bedroom in the next month. I'm still not sure how she pulls such vintage items and makes them fresh again - like out of an Anthropologie store - but she does and it all comes together perfectly.
Bonjour!; petit parc entrance; Modern Pixie jewerly; she has my name written all over this jewelry - rosary and moncles!

On Saturday, I drove to Rocky River instead of the usual spot at Edgewater with Suzanne to spend the next few hours soaking in the absolutely PERFECT weather that was Saturday day. Could it have been any more perfect?! No, the answer is no!

my new favorite beach spot in River
Instead of just pre-partying for the Indians game like on Friday, I actually did make it to the game (granted I was a few hours late because I was poolside for the early afternoon) to meet up with Gina and the large crew of people she pulled together on Sunday.

Was it hot? Yes.

Did we all glisten all game? Yes.

Did we make it the entire game in the stands? Ummmmmm.... no.

Did we have fun? You bet your 90 degree summer day we did!

Gina - coordinator extraordinaire on the far right!

View from Section 541

Let's wrap up the last full week of July, shall we?

at the moment

While traveling in NYC last week for work, a coworker introduced me to my new birthday cake love - truffles from Momofuku Milk Bar. Holy deliciousness in your mouth is the only way I can explain it. I love birthday cake everything. However, not pictured and a close second is crack pie, which is a smooth milky sugary small round pie if you will that literally melts in your mouth and you completely forget that you just had your monthly intake of sugar in one bite.
birthday cake truffles = heaven

Last month, I happily turned in my Mazda 3 for a spanking new Volvo S60 that is the most adult car I have ever owned and am thrilled to hop into all its newness when I actually do drive a few times a week.

always wanted a white car!

Summertime brings all the best pop music, even from our friends from across the pond. I've loved british pop since the Spice Girls invasion all those years ago and CleShopaholic shares my love of all things British pop and even introduced me the app Xfm and Pixie Lott.

Cheryl Cole my friends - Spotify immediately Call My Name

After trying outside yoga, I was able to snap this amazing photo from the beach. Who doesn't love summer sunsets?

sunset over Rocky River beach

July is almost over, my boating, beach and island days are counting down slowly but I hope to get enough of a fix with an upcoming Key West trip - white sand, turquiose water and girlfriends for a full 5 days. Pass the corona and mojitos please!

if I had beach house, one of these would be hanging on the door.

Somehow July is almost over.... when did that happen?

visiting the queen city

A few months back, I made a promise to myself that I would make an effort to get the hell out of Cleveland and visit friends that I don't see that often who live in equally kick ass cities and spend the weekend touring around their town.
After spending a quick two days in NYC, I found myself on a flight to Charlotte to visit a friend - Amber -  made somewhere between 7th and 8th grade for an extended weekend vaca to the south.

Last fall she was married and we saw each other in DC  about two months but I wanted to visit her and her husband, see their new house, meet up with her friends and spend a few days bumming around Charlotte for the weekend.

At Live after 5 at the Epi Center; those are purple sparkly jackets people!

What did we do all weekend?

On Friday, Amber and I toured around Charlotte with a late lunch of prosciutto, cheese and caprese salads on a patio while sipping sangria and mojitos before the downpour started. We shopped at a few local boutiques where I scored some serious sales at K.K. Bloom and Ivy and Leo - two sheer pink and red shirts, a red and beige striped dress plus a pair of drop earrings in mint, turquoise and blue.

Later that evening, Amber hosted a cookout to invite friends over to relax after a busy week and since the weather didn't exactly cooperate, we moved the party indoors for the evening.

Finally on Saturday, the weather cooperated and we all headed to a pool for a few hours to try and keep cool in the 95 degree humid heat, which followed by drinks at Whiskey Warehouse on the rooftop, then sushi at Nikko indoors as we avoided the second serious downpour of the weekend, then ended the night at Soul Gastrolounge with wine where apparently they have a drag queen brunch. How cool is that!?!

On Sunday, we met friends again to wrap up my weekend in Charlotte with brunch and mimosas all around the table back at Whiskey Warehouse.

grill master Joe; hostess Amber; the food; girls at the pool; my welcome card; sangria and mojitos; prosciutto, cheese and caprese salad; at sushi dinner; pool afternoon

I'm down one summer trip and next up - a Key West vacation with two friends in a month. Where are you headed for the remainder of the summer?

melting, melting, melting

In case anyone was wondering, it was REALLY hot these past few days in Cleveland which resulted in lots of friends on Facebook and Twitter posting pictures of their thermometers in their cars or houses. 102, 104, oh my!
So how did I combat the heat? I hung out in it in the sweatiest hot yoga class of my life on Saturday morning followed by a delicious brunch and a gallon of water with my friend, Erin, and then a short beach trip to at least soak in some of the sun, as long as I possibly could.
omelettes all around. Notice the giant water almost gone.

call me crazy - I lasted 1.5 hours
Saturday night led me to Rocky River for dinner and a movie - Magic Mike of course -  with my friend Danielle. Knowing this week brings a crazy amount of travel for work to New York and fun in Charlotte, I was completely happy to relax and indulge with a few cocktails, tuna nachos, caprese salad and a split fish sandwich at Burntwood Tavern followed by some eye candy in Magic Mike with Channing.

Oh Channing - you have moves.  And Matthew -OMG,  holy hilarious as the raunchy, self-obsessed club owner always clad in leather pants.
quite possibly could have ordered two orders

Pulling a Katy Perry; date night - no making out in the back of this theater

On Sunday, friends gathered to celebrate Rick in all his glory as an official 30 year old with a surprise party in the afternoon. Was he surprised? Of course he was! His sister even had to go outside of the room where we were to yell "Surprise!" because the boys sat down at the bar instead of walking into the party room.

Erin with a life-size Rick; Browns cake pops and golf cake/cupcakes; boys w/ the birthday boy; girls and Rico

Another weekend down and another work week begins starting in New York for the first half and finishing with a trip to visit friends in Charlotte for the weekend.

See ya on next Sunday, CLE!

america's birthday

This mid-week celebration has completely thrown me off and I know I'm not the only one. Hopefully all of you were able to take the rest of the week and melt in the 100 degree heat on a beach or by a pool.

To celebrate on Tuesday night, I headed over to a friend's rooftop party to drink summer shandys and eat enough oreo red, white and blue cake balls for a lifetime. Whatever. They were delicious.

pink flamingo makes it that much better; good looking couple; the party; bffs

On July 4th, I continued my tour of Lake Erie beaches and met out of town friends at Beaver Park Marina to see how long we could last in 100 degree heat. I lasted about three hours until I left for a cookout but we relived our college years with an old favorite - the beer bong.

It's a beach favorite and you know it!

the party favorite; post beer bong pose; i'm with Pocahontas; beach goers

Here I come weekend - one week closer to a weekend getaway with girlfriends.

closing June out

So, June is over and out and somehow flew the hell by and this was actually what I was saying was a "slow" month for me with no vacations planned - leave that to July and August - Charlotte and Key West here I come!
On Friday, I took a few hours of PTO to meet up with my cousins, aunts and mom because of one of them was in from Key West, where I'll be venturing in August.

We hung out by the pool before the storm rolled in, drank margaritas and snacked on chips and some kick ass guacamole while the younger generation caught up on our dating lives, upcoming trips, what's next, etc, while the older generation kept making us margaritas and laughing at us, our conversation and general antics.

My Aunt Corky rocking her bike; cousins Josie and Lauren: My mom, Aunt, cousin Lisa; the women solving the world's problems on a vermilion beach

On Saturday afternooon, I joined friends in Lake Erie again (ohhhh how I love all things boating) to float around, have a dance party and work on our tans before we headed out at night for Summer Solstice, where I was secretly hoping it would be a little less humid than it actually was because heat and I are not always friends unless I'm in a bikini and surrounded by water.

adult boating activities; floats required

So, Solstice - Did you go? My friends and I decided early on to purchase the 10 p.m. tickets for our first ever Solstice and gathered together to have apps, champagne, vodka sodas and chardonnay before the event. It was an absolutely fab event even though I literally melting at times but it was awesome to be outside on a starry night and drinking on the steps of the museum while dancing t the band.

The party according to my iPhone

On Sunday, well let's just say Sunday was  off to a slowwwwwww start with my friend Nadine and I piecing back together our night, but it was well worth the minor headache - nothing that a few bottles of coconut water can't cure!

After attempting to lay out for a few hours at Edgewater, I called it quits early to meet my brother for dinner at Li Wah because I've been craving dim sum for the past two weeks and he's never been. What better day then a Sunday to over induldge in dumplings and the amazing sesame balls?

studying the menu as the waittress made a face when he ordered something she was sure he would not like

good fortunes.

Hmmm, now how to celebrate the holiday perfectly stuck in the middle of the week?