I swear I need a nap after the past three days..

Even though I didn't wear shorts one single time this weekend or take off my jean jacket, summer has still officially kicked off in my book.

The weekend started off with a Kent State mini reunion that involved over an hour of catching up over wine in my apartment with two conversations always going at once and looking through senior year photos, including Spring Break and an album rightly titled, "Nights out with Roommates."

What did we learn while flipping through old photos?

1) We never wore our own clothes. Ever.

2) We were all so thin and couldn't believe we thought we had weight to lose at the time.

Erin, Katie and Taylor out and about on W. 25th

Because my days are literally running together, I remember I was supposed to work out (but didn't to take full advantage of my week off) and did end up at old school hip hop where it was not the normal it's-so-crowded-I-can't-breathe  like it normally is on the last Saturday of the month.

Sunday took me back to hometown to celebrate a high school graduation of one of my many younger cousins, where I ate way too many dishes "from my people" as my cousin said and sugary goodness from the candy table made by my vivacious great aunt.

Megan, class of '13 from Amherst and future Wooster grad, in matching j.jackets;

From the high school grad party, I moved over to an adult party with high school friends where I made my infamous "Skip and Go Naked" drink of champions, which is sure to kick any summer party up a notch. We concluded that this drink can have multiple names such as Electric Lemonade or Jungle Juice, but I prefer the name shared with me from a group of housewives a few summers ago.

The drink includes - 24 beers, a bottle of your favorite vodka and some kind of juice from concentrate - limeade, lemonade but I prefer pink lemonade with fresh limes for a little something extra. (Bud Light lime is the perfect substitute if you happened to forget said limes. Vine instructions here.)

Playing Cards Against Humanity before Skip and Go Naked was prepared

Party = that much more entertaining

I really need an extra day to catch up from this past weekend. If only there was such a thing!

if only it were a litttttttle warmer....

A long weekend is almost here.

One that literally welcomes in summer. It's like the secret door that opens up and closes spring behind it so there's only sun, shorts, tank tops and sandals allowed.

For me, Memorial Day is always filled with cookouts, beach days and visiting family between those cookouts and even graduation parties for those younger cousins.

Cleveland weather gods - You just aren't looking down on us right now to bring that 80 degree weather we've been having all week, which is absolutely perfect for laying out and this hot sleeveless shirt I want to wear this weekend.

Sounds like a plan!

Instead of the beach weekend I wanted and my planned outfits (yes, of course I plan outfits ahead of time), it appears that I will have to improvise with my trusty friends instead. Lucky for them, I will be bringing Cards Against Humanity to the many cookouts I'll be attending this weekend. I promise - just go buy it already!

What are your Memorial Day plans?

How you prep for a race weekend

The big marathon weekend has come and gone and all my long Saturday runs and skipping my favorite hot yoga classes were worth it to finish it with a personal record.

The weekend started off with a night of pampering courtesy of Elle Magazine and Wella Professionals Hair products at Charles Scott Salon and Spa in Rocky River. We received manicures, make up and hair touch-ups and enough appetizers, desserts and champagne to make a girls' night out complete for sure.

@cleshopaholic getting her manicure; owner Chaz with a fellow blogger and the make up station

Find your favorite blogger; Charles Scott employees; yours truly

Friday night was the perfect 70 degree night which meant two things - first fireworks of the season and dollar hot dog night at the Indians game was a last-minute must for my friends.

Best $5 spent to light saber at the bar; surprise! Look who I found 

You can't have fun with a light saber - said no one ever.
Early Sunday morning, I joined thousands of other fellow runners to complete my fourth half marathon and to set a personal record of two hours, cutting off 20 minutes from my previous time.

Did I achieve it? Damn it - I didn't! I finished in at 2:09 and had an amazing time during the run, reading all the hilarious signs from friends and complete strangers that made me laugh as I ran toward the finish line. Leading up to every race I can't wait for it to be over and to be done with the long runs on Saturdays. Post race this year, a fellow runner was talking about the Rock and Roll half marathon and in October and I turned to my running partner, Melissa, and excitedly said, "Oh my god we should totally do that one!"

Completing her first 10k; Charles Ramsey cheering us on; Melissa and me finished; love a finish line view

If for some reason the half marathon wasn't enough exercise for a person in one day, I couldn't miss the first volleyball game of the season (as my teammates so nicely reminded me). I rallied later in the afternoon to play our way to our team's first win of the season and continued to work on my Miami tan.

Sunset Grille summer view; the volleyball team; someone wins for the brightest outfit

Disclosure: I was invited by Canopi to attend the Wella Professionals and Elle Magazine event. My thoughts and opinions are my own. But how cute did my hair look?

Stripping down for cancer

Between last weekend's cancer benefit, celebrating my fabulous mother on Mother's Day and taking off for a quick work trip to South Beach, it was been quite the longest yet shortest week at the same time for me.

The packed two day conference allowed for six cherished hours out on the beach with an old coworker who happened to be there too. I also learned that Kelly wouldn't win any award at applying spray sunscreen because my back looks like my favorite vibrant red M.A.C. lipstick in Ruby Woo right now. (Ouch!)
The water and beach was absolutely stunning and I need to book a winter trip here.

Saturday night brought me back to my hometown (of sorts) to raise money for cancer at the 4th Annual Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction for the Lorain Cancer Crushers in honor of a friend's mom who passed away from the disease.

An auction is just a plain old auction until someone takes off their shirt and pants or brings in a more appropriate prop like a dog, specifically one named Tiny to help rake in the money in the name of kicking cancer's ass. (After many attempts, Brian sadly wouldn't pull the dog out of his shirt as a surprise like I wanted him to, but he did bring the little dog on stage.)

Brian with his dog, pulling in $700 for event; a shirtless bachelor and the party table


Miami Vice lookalikes

the one and only jules of the sea

A long time ago (some six years ago when I first started this blog), my mom was pretty interested in the idea, and of course, encouraged me to start one because it sounded cool to her.

When she understood what I was planning, she excitedly asked if she could be a guest writer and I obviously said NOOOOOOOO so she decided that she would start her own, "Jules of the Sea." She said her clever blog name in front of my friends, which made us laugh incredibly hard, and we often refer to her just as "Jules" now and sometimes by the full amazing name "Jules of the Sea" for added effect. (If my mom only understood how funny she was at sometimes.)

Check out the chain necklace on Jules - I have one just like it today.

Mom, sometimes your wisdom and advice knows no bounds and here a just a few highlights of what I'm continually grateful for -

  • Your distaste in anything "diet" growing up because I still dislike any diet pop.

  • Letting me express myself in my catholic school uniform by wearing brooches, that nice black opal ring I lost of yours at the water fountain and too big of earrings, which were often commented on by the principal as "what not to wear." (What did she know anyway?)

  • Letting me experiment with hair color (and my brother's in high school) and lying to me when I chunked my dark brown hair with bright blonde highlights like the Spice Girls. (It never looked good, but thanks for paying for it!)

  • Celebrating my birthday every year like it was the first one with not one but two cakes for my friend and family parties. (This totally explains my obsession with celebrating my own and everyone else's birthday like it's going out of style.)

  • Allowing me to start a pen pal as a third grader because it started my love of writing and was the first inkling of my future blogging life. (Yep, that's right!)

  • Appreciating the small things like an impressively beautiful moon - I know more about a harvest, full pink and full flower moons than I ever thought I would.

Just our secret, mom......

Happy Mother's Day!

A day in the country and city

Last weekend, my friends and I escaped Cleveland for what we thought would be warmer weather and a little bit of southern hospitality from our friend.

Southern hospitality? Check.

Warmer summer-like temperatures? False. Fail. Nada.

Not to be set back by the weather, my friends and I spent Friday out in the "country" in Cookeville at my friend's house set on five acres, where we spent the afternoon hiking along the Burgess Falls Trail before the storm rolled in at night.

Hiking the Burgess Falls for the afternoon

On Saturday, the storm stayed and wouldn't leave the greater Nashville area, but we still drove to the city to start our tour of downtown Nashville. Little known fact - everything seems to close VERY early, which is something none of us thought to check.

So, we were left with four hours to spare before dinner after we toured the Walk of Fame and the Parthenon. It was raining and chilly so we popped into a few bars to soak up all the honky tonk we could at Honky Tonk Central, B.B. King's bar and Paradise Park Trailer Resort.

Touring Nashville in the rain; Amber brings a koozie to every bar; selfie of the group

My favorite bar by far was Paradise Park - it was a trailer park within a bar. Picture astro turf with picnic tables to play beer pong and flip cup on plus a car/boat thing (I'm still not sure which it was) that you could "sit" in as well. And the band? Total honky tonk country songs that I have never ever heard, but that didn't stop me from dancing with a few locals.

Best bar ever, Paradise Island
The other awesomely amazing thing about Nashville is that everyone, I mean everyone, wears cowboy boots with anything and everything. Dresses, jeans, shorts and skirts. I almost, and I mean almost, want to buy a pair for the summer and fall.  But then again, maybe I'll just stick to my "futuristic" sneakers as they were pointed out to me instead.

card games gone wild

Let me introduce you to a card game.

Not just any card game.

Quite possibly the most inappropriate card game you will ever play.

With friends.

the makings of a very fun Sunday Funday

In public.

On a patio.

Or maybe that's just my friends.

Cards Against Humanity is incredibly raunchy, ridiculous and highly offensive which can cause unexplainable laughter that makes you hit the table, snort and spit out your adult beverage of choice all at the same time.

It's like Apples to Apples but more like if Zack Galifianakis, Andy Samberg and Chelsea Handler all had an innapropriate child with wild hair who ran around pantless, yelling obscenities at the top of his or her lungs while throwing glitter in the air. (Everything is better with glitter, right???)

Play at your own risk.

But do play because it's absolutely amazing.

And order a set while it's available on Amazon. You better believe I did!

Adding a few of these doesn't hurt the fun either