finding a little slice of happiness

Everyone should those spaces or places where they can go to relax for a minute or a few hours.

Maybe it's the chair in your home office, sitting on your deck with a glass of cabernet or taking a bath on a lazy Sunday but everyone should have that spot where they go to read, write or meditate.

After joining friends for an outside yoga class earlier this summer, I was introduced to a little beach spot in Rocky River that I no idea existed and have come to love all summer long.

Taken from my little iPhone
It is a small, quaint spot hidden behind a busy road and nestled in an amazingly gorgeous neighborhood that I would love to own a house in one day. I'm talking brick houses with perfectly manicured landscaping and some even with a phenomenal lake view to watch the sun set.

I spent many an afternoon there this summer for a few hours each time, reading a book or flipping through one of my many fashion magazines.

little stepping stones
Sometimes friends would join me at my weekend hang out spot and most times I was all alone, loving every minute of the quiet time, listening to the water while soaking in the sun.

With summer over, my little quiet space will slowly come to an end as the temperatures continue to drop in Cleveland but I truly treasured my time this summer at the beach.

taken after my yoga class and first time at the beach

Where is your quiet I-need-alone-time-to-think space? How do you step away from the iPhones, iPads and our 24/7 world?

hail storms don't stop the partying

Oddly enough this weekend in Cleveland, it hailed once on Saturday and then decided to downpour and hail on Sunday afternoon while my friends and I were out and about having a fabulous time tailgating in the muni lot.

Did it stop us?

Of course not.

We just took our party indoors both times and partied along our merry way.

On Saturday, we celebrated Lindsay's 29th birthday with a little bar hopping all afternoon long post-win of their football game. (Editor's note: I was once apart of the Pink Ladies but due to my "attendance," I was only invited back as a sub even though I had an interception.......#justsaying!)

"lick the frosting off my nose; birthday girl; our ride for the afternoon bar hopping; rocking out

Apparently being trapped with all the girls isn't as fun as Kyle thought it would be

Another Sunday means another "Breakfast of Champions" party with friends and family followed by tailgating which may or may not follow a trip to the Browns stadium.

"Giddy up" on the walk to the muni lot

family time with my brother and cousins

Shotgun prep; and we were the last ones finished...

I win the most sensible shoe choice- no water got in these Hunters!

While the hail ended our tailgating fun a bit early, I wouldn't trade this weather for the world because Fall is my absolute favorite season of the year. That's right - I'll take the 50s with sun, rain or hail because I'm ready for this season. I love it all - the apple picking, clambakes, pumpkin lattes, pumpkin bread, pumpkin cupcakdes, Hunter boots, bundling up with oversized sweaters, leggings, boots and scarves all while sipping on spike apple cider around a fire.

My friends and I already have a chili cookoff, winery weekend, clambake and spiked apple cider making and drinking party planned out over the next month to make the most of this beautiful weather coming in October.

What are you looking forward to most this season? A new pair of boots? Halloween? Cooler temperatures?

Fall fashion according to Saks Fifth Avenue

If you follow fashion even the tiniest bit, you know that Fashion Week has come and gone and probably noticed that each city was throwing a party or five in honor of Fashion Week's kick off almost two weeks ago.
Champagne and fashion - ready to go!
A few local bloggers were invited to attend Fashion Preview from Saks in Beachwood and I instantly said yes, which prompted me to email my shopping partner, Cleshopaholic, to make sure she was booked for evening with me and fashion we can hope to purchase one day. Or, being the savvy shoppers that we are, we wait for Saks' fabulous online sales and then we clean house at a much with that much more stuff! Genius, I tell you!

Hallie the event organizer; fur vest and a structured tote, yes please!
The group was given a preview to all the fall trends from clothes to shoes to handbags, treated to a progressive dinner held at each stop around the store and an even bigger treat of a gift bag from Estee Lauder and a look at a new line called "Aerin."

Aerin, new line from Estee Lauder. Very fresh, pretty daytime look. As seen in this month's Lucky.
When you flipped through your favorite September issue of Lucky, Harper's Bazaar or Vogue, there are some distinct trends from decorative fabrics like velvet or fur, statement coats like a structured pea coat (which makes me wish I had my grandfather's navy one still), smoking slippers, leather everywhere (leather detail in jackets, leather skirts, leather pants) and all in a dark color palette of plums, wines, forest green, pine and navy.
*Almost* walked out of there with this vest

My favorites this upcoming season?
  • Leather anything - I have my eye on RueLaLa and Gilt for one.
  • Fur vests
  • Cap toe pumps
  • Colors: navy and eggplant
What I will not wear this season?
  • Smoking slippers. No, no and no. I will not wear these. I had the same feeling when pajamas were worn in the spring.
  • Shearling. No vests or coats for this girl. I can't put my finger on why but it's simply not my cup of tea.

my shopping partner in crime
What trends are on your radar for this season? Or what have you ordered, purchased, returned and then bought again because you have to have it?

the one where I'm mistaken for J.Lo from behind

Nothing is quite as amazing like a relaxing, calm, not crazy-late-night weekend after spending a lot of early mornings and late nights working the week before.

This past weekend was spent relaxing, organizing (at least how I organize), practicing yoga, running, seeing my favorite psychic, Astro Sandy, falling in love with a little 9-week-old puppy named Vito and celebrating being a Browns fan.

Isn't he adorable?!?

baby brooklyn in a tutu and browns leggings; hostesses Erin and Jenny; food makes a party

For the past few months, I've been getting up at what seems like the ass crack of dawn at 8 a.m. to join CleShopaholic bright and early for a hot yoga class at Inner Bliss. She started telling me about how "I-have-to-go-because-you-will-love-it-and-feel-so-amazing-after-sweating-your-ass-off-and-you-can-have-a-bagel-when-you-are-done."

After receiving multiple excited texts on Saturday mornings with, "Are you coming?!?," instead of snoozing my alarm, I took her up on her invite and I can honestly say it truly has changed my workout routine. But more importantly, it's amazing how taking that one hour a week can help shape and change the way you approach a problem at work, a disagreement with a friend, drama between friends or how to put a little negative commentary and tweeting into perspective.

My hour normally goes something like this:

Why did I get up for this?

Oh this isn't so bad, I'm glad I got up.

Jesus, why did I miss two weeks of class, I can barely hold myself up in this damn downward dog.

Do what with my right leg? I sooooooo don't look like a f*ing eagle. Thank god there isn't a mirror.

Breathe, keep breathing, in and out, in and out.

Hold a low plank - hahahahah. Not gonna happen, yoga instructor.

I swear I'm sweating more than I did when I ran a half marathon....

I hope my ass can look like hers after another month of this.

How DOES that girl do that headstand? One day. One day.

While I'm a total newbie to the practice, I drank the kool-aid yesterday and purchased a pair of lululemon tights and a new sports bra. The lululemon girls were incredibly helpful recommending what size to get, how certain ones will start to feel heavy when you run, etc, and pointing out sports bra that are best sellers and invited me to take one of the free classes offered on Sunday mornings from 10 a.m. to noon.

With a swipe of a credit card, I walked out of the store with a snazzy new pair of black wunder under pant and a run: engage bra in purple of course.

But let's talk about the best part - how AMAZING your ass looks when you slip into these pants and how appropriate the name fits these leggings. Please note - the sisterhood of the traveling pants has nothing on these ass changing tights. Nothing!

It's like magic - straight up witchcraft - when you pull on these pants in the enchanting dressing rooms at the store. Even the mirrors feel like they are playing tricks on you because I walked in with one set of legs and like a snap of a finger, my legs were transformed into sculpted ones instead. All of a sudden my quads looked more firm than ever and my calves, I'm not making this up people, actually looked like they were smaller and my ass could give J.Lo a run for her money.

Ok, maybe not a real run for her money but I could've bought three more pairs if they weren't $82 or more to have that behind every day. By adding these clothes to my closet, it has reaffirmed how my goal weight is only a few pounds away and buying these pants makes me want to run more than I am now and kick this upcoming half- marathon's ass in November.

So, if it costs $82 to kick my fitness and lifestyle change into high gear for real, so freaking be it.

Do you own lululemon? Are you a fan? Do you own the fact that you spent almost $100 on workout pants? I do and I'm OK with it.

Sidenote: After scoping out the men's section, I'd like the next guy I date to wear lululemon. No reason other than if those pants transform my behind then I would love to see what they can do for his. Ladies who are on the lookout for me, you know who you are, make that another question in addition to how tall is he and where does he live. Kthanksbye.

breakfast of champions

Well ladies and gentlemen, football season has kicked off and for those of you who don't know Cleveland, we all love our football, no matter how many games we actually win in a given year.

Growing up, football was a Sunday staple in my house all day long whether my parents were hosting a party or we were going to my aunt's house for the game. My mom and I were even kicked out of the house every year for my dad's official draft day party. I knew the weekend was coming when my dad would start to prepare his chili for the annual party where my brother would remind my mom and I that "no girls are allowed."

In high school, my friends and I attended every home and away game to support our team, hang out in the end zone couch (yes, we had one where you entered a raffle to sit on it with your friends) and the tradition sort of continued at Kent State but not until they started serving beer at the games of course!

Amherst Steele Comets game circa 2000

Fast forward to 2012 and it appears that after this weekend, I'm starting a bit of my own little tradition with my "Breakfast of Champions" pre-tailgating party. We started bright and early and filled up on baked french toast, egg muffins, fruit and endless mimosas all while listening to my throwback summer mix, which my cousin pointed out wasn't actually "throwback" because the Spice Girls popped on. "You added this because of the Olympics, didn't you?" Sshhhhhh! It just sort of "accidentally" ended up on the mix....

Party starting off; my brother and friends; Amanda not loving the camera; Kelly and Melissa

Greg pulling Blue Thunder down East 9 and into the muni lot

with her most appropriate tailgating shoes; tailgating rundown

home opening seat view
The first party turned out to be a success with no spills or fights among the guests. Now, I can't wait until the unit beneath me opens up so we can move the party outside on what will be a fabulous patio for all sorts of fall parties over the next few months.

Are you a football fan? Or just go to the tailgates to have an awesome Sunday Funday?

the one where we took home sailors

The official (or so they say) end of summer has come and thankfully the storms of Isaac stayed far away from Cleveland, which made for not one but two beach days, comfortable cookouts and run-ins with the sailors who were in town all weekend.

Our Friday night started off innocently enough with a beach and pool day with friends to soak up the last of the rays of the afternoon. We then headed to a very crowded Bar Louie in Westlake in our beach attire to meet up with more friends and ended up running into two fine young sailors on their way to a tattoo convention at a nearby hotel. (I couldn't make this up.)

Lissa realizing her wet suit is making her white cover up a bit see-through

Nice young sailors from the south
After they kindly asked for us for a ride back downtown, my friend and I felt compelled to drive them back downtown as both of our grandfathers were in the Navy. (We couldn't say no because what if someone said no to our grandfathers, so we said yes to two complete 24-year-old sailor strangers and were their taxi for the night.) Instead of dropping them off at W. 6th area like they originally asked, we decided to show them a better bar scene at W. 25th, where they proceeded to get each and every drink purchased by thankful Clevelanders all evening long.

The rest of the weekend followed with more friend time, family time and beach time, only when I went out at night, I decided to wear more appropriate clothes out to the bar versus a bathing suit cover-up.

My cleveland snooki!; Jen and Carrie; better than Ed Hardy shirt, right?

best napkin ever; my family likes to drink; view of the party

Pondering Matt's answer; tweedle dee and tweedle dum; sibling rivalry

My beach views - the flexing speedo man and my September issues

With summer slowly coming to a close, the bigger question is  - who is ready for football season? Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get working on my Browns attire for the first game this Sunday.

Where is that bedazzler when I need it?