The cuffing season

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
My dear friend Nadine made me aware of a season that I had no idea exists called “the cuffing season.” Sure – the idea makes complete sense after I understand what the hell she was talking about, but to this serial dater, I’d never actually heard the term used before a month or so ago.

Urban dictionary defines it as this:

"During the Fall and Winter months people who would normally rather be single or promiscuous find themselves along with the rest of the world desiring to be "Cuffed" or tied down by a serious relationship. The cold weather and prolonged indoor activity causes singles to become lonely and desperate to be cuffed."

Funny Flirting Ecard: I'm ready to change my Facebook relationship status if you are.
Here’s how it will typically play out: Girl meets boy(s) over the summer and they hang out, meet up at bars on the weekend or for happy hour and maybe even boat or jet ski together during the day but it’s all still very casual.  Both people are likely interested in playing the field still or one may be more into the other but because it's summer, everyone is still in their flirty moods and seeing where each night takes them rather than hunker down and get all serious with just one person…..

However righttttttttt at about this time is when boys slowly start to change their ways.  It seems that the other sex has an internal clock set inside them that when the bathing suits, shorts and wedges are put away, a good pair of leather boots, leggings and sweater combo can bring a guy to his knees and stop all other sexting except to one girl. 
No more games per se, rather, he is interested in shacking up and picking out one of the girls he has been toying around with in his head as a possible partner this winter season. Pretty soon the guys in your life will make their moves to couple up and stay indoors, cuddle up on the couch for Friday night movies instead of scoping out the bar scene like he and his bros did in past months. 
And with that, cuffing season has started so will you be cuffing up or not?


the song that was killed this weekend

This past weekend was spent celebrating two of life's amazing milestones - a birthday and bachelorette party for two of my dear friends.

For Nadine, she requested a low-key dinner to ring in 34 with her friends at one of her favorite restaurants, Rosewood Grill. We dined on sushi shots (I could eat three orders of these myself), calamari, thai pizza, artichoke dips and even cashew crusted tofu, which was pretty good by the way.

the birthday girl

table shot of the girls

For Melissa, we drove north to Geneva, which was a place I've passed a bunch of times heading to Erie or to the Finger Lakes but never actually stopped in and visited the wineries. It was on my summer of fun and totally checked it off the list a few months late. We were hoping for the perfect fall weather with a crisp 60 degree night but instead we were dealing with some rain so it made our outside wine drinking move inside for the whole day. No patio? No problem?
Mel singing to T. Swift; two red, two white, table shot; and me on my iPhone of course

Bachelorette Mel smiling; a few reds and whites; and table shot
Gone were the days of all the penis stuff, crowns and pink feathered boas but we added in dance party at Ferrante for good measure and even had a rival bridal party photo bombing our photos. After we noticed the bomber, one of the more crafty girls of the group decided to sneak in the background of not one but several of their photos to return the kind favor as you can see below.

Steph imitating Mel puting on lipgloss getting it everywhere but her lips; former coworkers w/ vampire eyes and the said bomber in the background
After spending the entire afternoon at both Harpersfield and Ferrante wineries, we headed back to the house to actually eat dinner, sample more wine from Laurello and have a dance party to T.Swift's new song - you know the one "Weeeeeee are never, ever, ever......". I do believe we single-handedly killed that song by playing it over and over and over and over again. We tried to dance to Wilson Phillips, Backstreet Boys and even New Edition but somehow that pesky little song kept getting switched on as if we didn't hear it enough over the 18-hour period we were together. I thought for sure I would be woken up by that tune on Sunday morning but instead it was just by my friends at the laughing downstairs bright and early at 7:30 a.m.

wine and toliet paper was needed; hugs and cupcakes; what we called dinner

While I didn't spend my favorite holiday weekend all dressed up like I did last year as fashion's favorite stylist, I did spend it with a group of new friends who are still making me laugh as I think about we said and did as I scroll through my iPhone from the past two days.

Memories, oh the memories I tell ya.

P.S. Did you know we are now in what we call "cuffing season?" True story. More on that to come.

sometimes you just....

...need to see where a weekend will take you. Especially a weekend that you essentially got "back" as a bonus when a work trip was cancelled at the last minute. While the Colorado trip would have been incredibly engaging and educational, sometimes you just need a lazy fall weekend at home.

No real set plans means you can take the two days off you have by storm and make it up as you go along.

You can spend the afternoon shopping your mom and taking advantage of some serious sales on while finding that perfect pair of leopard booties you've been looking for.

My mom lost in a sea of shoes; two new purchases for me

Or take two leisurely hours sipping lattes and having a late lunch with your mom while catching up on all things happening in your lives from dating to kitchen remodeling to the upcoming holiday season all while remembering and l

You could introduce a friend to your favorite yoga studio, try out a new class and spend the rest of the day watching the Browns game and sipping on pumpkin cider and pumpkin ales on a beautiful Sunday with a group of friends. Absolute fall perfection.

Eggs benedict at Tremont Taphouse is die for

That's how I spent the past few days. A splendid weekend indeed and it's back to the work week grind. How did you spend yours?

oh the friends you will make......

On Friday evening, I was lucky enough to snag a ticket to Valerie Mayen's Hullabaloo for Yellowcake shop fashion show fundraiser. The translated collection was called "Love the Bitch and then Some" with a kickass soundtrack, models with white buns, magenta, yellow and polka dot dresses and even a little dance at the end featuring the designer herself.

When the show was finished, Valerie quieted the audience and spoke candidly about her mentor who sadly is incredibly sick and how important she has been in her life, especially in supporting her career. It was in incredibly touching moment and I can't imagine anyone wasn't tearing up while Valerie was speaking.

Valerie speaking to the audience; model in my favorite dress; the Yellowcake crew and clothes galore

As I think about my own friends and family, I'm incredibly grateful that I'm surrounded by an amazingly supportive family and circle of friends that I handpicked over the past years. My dad always says, "You can't choose your family but you can pick your friends," and we are all given the chance to handpick the friends that we want as part of our lives and even clean them out when it's necessary. Whether you've known them for 10 years, 5 years or 3 months, it's the connection that you make that matters and some of the connections you make now can last an entire lifetime or simply just a year or even a summer.

As I think about this past weekend, I indulged in clambake with a group of friends I've known for a few years where we devoured half chickens, clams and endless amounts of apple spiced cider.

solving the world's problems with a clambake
who says you can't have a clambake in an apartment?

Another Sunday was spent devoted to tailgating on a sunny 70 degree day in October, sampling every pudding shot Tabitha crafted in her kitchen and watched the Browns win live from the stadium with seats only 18 rows from the field with the cutest pair of old men in front of us. One of them was even at the championship in 1964 and none of us could resist high fiving them when they turned around with each touchdown. (My guess is they've been friends since 1964 too.)

pudding shots in every flavor; extended Amherst friends; chili cook off and trophy;

So take a minute today to send a friend a text, a hey tell or a tweet to let them know how grateful you are for them to be part of your life, whether you've known them for your whole life or have only spent a few happy hours out with them because you never know what the hell can happen.

They matter, they make you laugh, cry, fight and are there for you at 3 a.m. in the morning in the event you ever need them to pick you up. Because let's face it, those are the kind of friends you want around.

the one where I turn 21 again

There are a few times in your life when you realize you aren't quite as young as you once were. Maybe it's playing a basketball game and getting dunked on by a 20-something or realizing that maybe you are finally too old to actually shop at Forever 21.  In my case, it was celebrating my cousin's 21st birthday and thinking somehow that I could keep up with these young kids.

Do you remember your 21st birthday? Mine was celebrated at Kent State where I specifically remember my dad saying, "Allison - don't try to do that stupid 21 shot thing." I listened to my dad and didn't quite make it 21 but my friends and I had a blast from what I remember on that snowy January night.

Little Lauren all grown up
We come from an even larger Croatian family where there are hundreds of cousins who we often forget because we only see them one time a year but our moms are first cousins. Our grandmothers were very close so many of my chilhood memories always included Lauren's family at holidays and I even remember when she was born.

My favorite memory of my little cousin was when I babysat her and her brother, which turned into me making popcorn, burning it so badly that I believe their house probably smelled for weeks after. If you ever have burned popcorn, you understand exactly what I'm talking about.

Carrie, the birthday girl, Clara; Doing gangam style of course
How well did I hang with the young kids? Let's just say I failed miserably..... After sleeping most of the day with a ridiculously long and pounding headache, I finally joined the living world and headed to Nano Brew for a squeaky wheel and breakfast burger and a lot of laughs with friends to celebrate the West Side Market 100 year anniversary.

Just riding home in a hatchback from W 25th

353 days later.

Almost a year ago, I was jumping into the unknown in a million different ways but I was embarking on an exciting journey of finally living alone for the first time.

love note from my mom
I had lived with people (sometimes 7 others at a time) for the past 10 years and you get used to having someone (or a few people) constantly around and in your business. It gets comfortable and it's your normal.

Over the past year, I've settled into my new "normal" and living on my own is one of those beautiful things that I have come to thoroughly enjoy and check off my bucket list.

No one to tell me to that "it's too much sparkle."

a few shiny things..

No one to say, "you spent how long looking for the perfect headboard?!?"

sweet dreams to me!
No one to tell me "you have wayyyy too many pillows on that couch."

why yes those are beaded sequined pillows from Pier 1

No one to question, "do you really need jeweled picture frame?"
little purple and gold jewels holding a Key West memory

Each and every design decision made in this new apartment was up to little old me (with the help of a few friends and one very patient mother who accompanied me on my biggest shopping trips) but I can honestly say that this apartment's decor is all me and I absolutely love it every time I walk through the door.

I love setting my keys and mail down on the silver hallway table that my mom convinced me was "oh-my-god-so-perfect" for my apartment. Then walking in the kitchen and living area to see old receipts and flowers sitting pretty on the countertop and even the scattered Hautelook boxes of clothes that are begging me to keep but need to be sent back ASAP in this 790 square foot home.

So happy I listened to my mom....

In addition to having new artwork, these walls have seen quite the slew of parties since last October including a Gossip Girl premiere party, Real Housewives of New Jersey, pre-party for the Jump Back Ball, St. Patrick's day celebration and let's not forget about the Breakfast of Champions - two down and a few more to go this Browns season - and a mix of adult sleepovers with friends and family.

As I look at the new lease sitting in front of me (hoping to move down a floor for a patio still), I know I conquered my first year of living alone in my lovely singlehood up like a girl should at the ripe young age of 29.

...and just think of the patio parties to be thrown! With that, my favorite month of the year (other than my birthday month of January of course), is upon us and I can't wait to see what unplanned adventures I happen upon this autumn season.....

Editor's note: I will always remember my first year of living alone as the year I found my bearings again after being thrown a bit off balance. You can always find your balance again but you have to be willing to put in the work to get there. Are you?

screw the flu

This weekend was supposed to be filled with birthday celebrations.

I was supposed to celebrate my dad's 56th birthday with dinner downtown on Friday, a friend's a leopard theme party on Saturday and then celebrate a very late birthday from June for my mom with brunch and a trip to the Rock Hall.

Some type of 24-hour flu nonsense was flying around my family and I'm still trying to kick most of it out of my system by drinking green tea by the gallon.

After sleeping eleven hours on Saturday, I pulled myself together to take my mom on much over due birthday trip to the Rock Hall and out for brunch for the afternoon.

Ever since I moved my downtown, my parents are becoming quite familiar with the area and want to try new restaurants for almost every celebration we can go out to dinner for. My parents still have Lola on their list and sounds like they are planning their own date night at the Ritz, dinner at Lola and a few slots at the casino coming up one weekend.

Michael Jackson gloved guitar
But to celebrate my mom’s 55th birthday that was back in June, she wanted a trip to the Rock Hall and brunch with me for a quiet afternoon in Cleveland. We spent an afternoon touring the exhibits where I learned more about my mom's musical taste, her love of Beatlemania and which bands she doesn't favor at all.

The Sex Pistols, Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix and U2 are not her "cup of tea" but she reminisced about John Lennon, the Beatles, Elvis in all his glory and how her friend wasn't allowed to listen to David Bowie in her bedroom. Instead, her friend would sneak into her brother's room to listen to it quietly so her parents wouldn't hear her.

Can you imagine your parents not letting you listen to music? I can remember my dad not getting "the whole rap music" thing when we were kids and but I don't remember either of my parents forbidding any music like everyone did back when Elvis was swinging his hips in his jewel encrusted jump suit. While I don't think my parents ran out to get us "The Chronic," I'm sure my cousins gave us the tape when they were done with it but I do remember that my first CD was Aaliyah as my part of their Columbia House membership. Remember that???

I chose a Bon Bon cider; Jules has a cafe au lait with 2% milk.

My mom's favorite part of every meal - dessert at BonBon Pastry & Cafe
After spending a few hours with my mom, I realized we don't spend enough together - meet for brunch or lunch or run errands together because she is only 30 minutes away. Literally a hop, skip and jump to the west side so I think it's about time we add more of this brunching into our regularly scheduled programming, don't you?

Editor's Note: Happy official 56th birthday to my dad!