Category Archives: Cleveland

Rediscovering Cleveland – The Cleveland International Film Festival

Back in Cleveland where the weather is bitter cold compared to the sunny and humid air of the Florida Keys, my friends and I headed out for Ohio City this morning for breakfast at Bon Bon’s. The atmosphere there is great and the coffee was delicious. Four cups of coffee later, we caught the rapid and headed for Tower City for the 38th annual Cleveland International Film Festival.

We stood in line to get tickets for stand by for one of the Dutch films, got our tickets and waited in line for the possibility that we would get in. An hour and a half later they told people that the film was full and we could get our money back or see another film. We almost went to see Oliver Stoned, a film about a 27 year old living in his parents basement who gets stoned all the time, but decided on Pelada.

It was a great decision. Pelada was about a couple who were former student athletes playing soccer for Duke and Notre Dame. They traveled the world finding pick up soccer games in different countries. Although I’m not a huge soccer fan, I loved this documentary. I think this movie had a greater message behind it.

I learned two things from this movie, that culture or politics shouldn’t determine friendships and you can still be passionate about something even if you feel it’s time to grow up and put those things in the past. When they were in Iran one of the young men they were playing with said my favorite quote of the entire movie,

Politics shouldn’t determine friendships

The USA and Iran have such bad relationships with each other because of our governments and most of us have not every interacted with someone from Iran. As they found out while they played soccer with the Iranians they can be friends with each other even though they have extreme government and cultural differences. Another stop in Jerusalem showed the unrest between a group of Arabic and Jewish people playing a simple game of soccer. Their religious and cultural differences came in between their ability to just play the game.

The lesson of living out your dreams as you age was apparent in all the people they met. When they were in Tokyo and Shanghai they met groups of Asian men who worked 10-12 hours a day and still took the time to play soccer for an hour each day. In South Africa, a group of construction workers building the stadium for the 2010 World Cup gave up their lunch break to play a game of soccer instead. As we age I think we all start to give up things we enjoy or love to do because it’s what we see as practical or good for the family. We all have to grow up sometime right? We don’t have to give up the things we love.

I never thought I would have found myself at the film festival this past weekend, but it was a great cultural experience and it was awesome to have something like this happening right here in Cleveland. Moving home from college has been quite the adjustment, but finding new things in the city that I enjoy doing had made the transition into adulthood here that much easier.

Run Whirlwind Run- Seeing The Naked and Famous live

20140311-112904.jpgI have nothing, but rave reviews The Naked and Famous concert at the Cleveland House of Blues last night.   I had listened to a few songs from the opening band, Gemini Club, but they were fabulous live. They really got the crowd going for a Monday night and definitely made me a fan. I’m sure they gained quite a few new fans from last nights concert. They were a great opener for TNAF.

The Naked and Famous had an amazing set. Their live performance was one of the best I have ever seen and they sounded unbelievable. The relationship between lead singer, Alisa Xayalith & Guitar player/co-lead singer, Thom Powers, made the performance that much better. The charisma that the two of them had made the performance very real and unstaged. Not to mention Xayalith is the cutest little singer and really helped the crowd connect to the band and vice versa. The overall charisma between the band members was great and made the performance that much better to watch. They are all extremely talented, which was quite apparent in their musical ability. As a huge Kings of Leon fan, I couldn’t help, but think that the bass player, David Beadle, looked like a young Caleb Followill. The entire set was great and I can honestly say I don’t think they missed one song that I really wanted to hear.

This was my first concert at the HOB and I will most definitely be attending more. Seeing bands like Naked and Famous before they really make it big was great and Naked and Famous will definitely be a big name one day. Hopefully when they do make it big they will make a return to Cleveland for another outstanding performance.

I know I’m nothing, but an amateur photographer with an Iphone, but here are some of the pictures from last night.

Alisa Xayalith & Thom Powers


I swear he looks just like Caleb Followill




Christmas time in Cleveland

Just an old post I forgot to publish from December.


Every December when my sisters and I were little, we would head Downtown Cleveland with my aunt, uncle and two cousins to Tower City. We did our usual walk through the Higbee building when it was still open as a department store and take pictures with the Higbee Bears outside the ice skating rink on the square. The Renaissance Hotel used to have Christmas trees decorated that lined the hallways and decorations all around what seemed like an enourmous lobby. We would make it in time for the show with the toy soldier and the ballerinas. One of my cousins was petrified of the toy soldier, so we rarely stayed long to visit with him, but just long enough for a picture then it was on to something else. We would all toss a coin into the fountain then make our way up to Sears to see the dancing snowman and his elves. Next would be the talking Christmas tree and then on to a little window shopping. We all knew that going into the stores we weren’t really going to buy anything, but some of the stores that used to be in Tower City were amazing. Our favorites were the Warner Brothers Store, the Disney Store and an old toy store that had every toy you could ever think of. Our day would end with a trip up to the viewing deck where we could look out over the skyline of Cleveland and out over Lake Erie. The Terminal Tower was one of the tallest buildings I had ever been in at that point. To us it was sort of magical to see all the decorations and the different characters all dressed up and everyone excited about the holidays.

We stopped going when my youngest cousin and I turned 10. Our families figured that after that, there wasn’t much of a point in going downtown. Tower City slowly lost majority of their tenants and big name stores closed. As opposed to being somewhere we were always excited to go, it became somewhere you really shouldn’t be anymore. There wasn’t much to see or do as far as the Terminal Tower was concerned. After 9/11 they stopped letting you go up to the viewing deck and there wasn’t much going on otherwise. Our trips downtown had ceased.

This weekend we made the first trip to Tower City during the holidays that we’ve made in over 10 years. Again we went with my aunt, uncle and cousins, but this time brought along my three year old and one year old nephews. Our first stop was at The Arcade which was beaut







Wine, Cheese, and old friends


I never even knew that wineries in Ohio existed up until about 3 years ago when I heard rumor that there was one near Athens. Last year I visited my first winery Mon Ami on Catabwa Island, right by the shore of Lake Erie, and it was fabulous. That same day we stopped at the winery on Put-in-Bay and it was less than exciting, it was more like going into someone’s kitchen and drinking wine out of a dixie cup. Mon Ami was exactly what I would have pictured a winery to be. It was stunningly lit, with vineyards right across from the actually winery and a garden with tables and Frank Sinatra playing in the background. My sister, my now brother-in-law and cousin sat there and drank 2 bottles of wine and just enjoyed the atmosphere. My new favorite is now Pink Catawba specifically grown in the vineyards of Lake Erie. To my delight that year when I left for school I was able to find Mon Ami Pink Catawba on the shelves of our local Kroger store in Athens. My first winery experience was fantastic and I didn’t have to go to Italy or Napa Valley.

This past weekend, I met up with some old friends from high school and we ventured out to yet another winery a little closer to home, Debonne Chalet. Debonne is beautiful. The farther east you go in Cleveland the more country like it gets and Debonne sits right in the middle of a beautiful vineyard, that is surrounded by lots of other vineyards. We spent all day, wine tasting before selecting our bottle, a new favorite Peach Tree Grigio. The atmosphere of a winery is relaxing, but still very entertaining. Our day out in the sun ended with me finding a new white wine of choice, a career connection, and rebonding with my former best friends.

Later that day, I decided to look up all the wineries in Ohio…woah. There are way more wineries than I ever anticipated. There are over 160 wineries in the state of Ohio alone. What makes them special is that they are all small and unique and don’t mass produce their wines. I’m more than happy they are distributed amongst Ohio stores, but I think it’s great that they stay true to their local pride. I would love to be able to visit all the wineries in Ohio someday. 3 down 160+ to go…

The Chalet
The Chalet
Lots of wines to chose from!
Lots of wines to chose from!