Tag 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




Frozen in Cleveland

This has been such a long Cleveland winter, one like I can’t remember. We’ve had so many cold days and snow on the ground for over a month. My mom, an elementary school teacher, has had 10 snow days and I have had 2 in the corporate world. This winter has been cold and snowy and somewhat miserable, but what I saw this weekend was by far one of the coolest winter things ever.

A colleague and I went down to the river in Rocky River to see it all frozen over and it was unbelievably cool. The ice had all broken up in chunks and compacted into one area under the bridge and it was a remarkable sight. Some of the ice was at least 8 inches think In spots. A couple that was at the bridge said they had been there the day before and said the ice was one complete sheet all smooth just 12 hours before. I’ve never seen anything like that in the 22 years I’ve lived in Cleveland.

I like many others am very ready for the winter to be over with and to move onto some warm spring weather!

The river and all the ice chunks clumped together


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!

Inhabiting the Fairport Harbor West Lighthouse


I’ve lived in Mentor, OH my entire life, except the four years of paradise I spent educating myself in Athens, OH. One of the greatest things about Mentor is the largest beach state parks called Headlands Beach. Although we’re just a suburb of the “Mistake-on-the-lake” we take pride in our green colored semi-clear lake. One of the best things to do at Headlands as teenagers was to walk along the breakwall all the way out the the lighthouse. The trek all the way out to the lighthouse didn’t really serve the purpose of going to see the lighthouse, but to jump off the breakwall into the water, but the lighthouse was always there. I couldn’t even tell you if that lighthouse actually functions as an actual lighthouse, I think it may have been used more so as a storage unit and for the past 21 years and some months I’ve looked at that lighthouse and I’ve never been inside the chain-link fence that surrounds it.

Two years ago, a woman in Pennsylvania purchased the lighthouse and began to renovate it. She purchased it in an auction and planned to live in it and would pay for the necessary construction to do so. She would take a boat to and from the shore when necessary and it would become her home.

Last Sunday, June 9th, she opened the lighthouse up to the public and to the media. I have never seen so many people walk that break wall before in my life. The walk out to the lighthouse is not an easy one and requires a few jumps and particular stepping as to not make the wrong step to fall down a crack or into the water and hundreds of people were going to the lighthouse. Old and young went to see the lighthouse that day and I made sure I got to go.

One of the joys of living at home again is doing things with my parents. I had walked that breakwall a million times with my parents when I was a kid, but never dodging so many people.


Our journey beginning with standing in line waiting for people to climb down so we could climb up a ladder that was chained to the chain-link fence surrounding the lighthouse.

We darted around people excited to walk through the doors to find that her renovations were complete with 20th century charm. There is still much work to do in the lighthouse, but just being able to see the structure and the inside was remarkable.


Spiral staircase leading to the third story and to the beacon.


The proud homeowner’s bedroom and the homeowner herself.


The top of the lighthouse.

When we first went to the third floor to go up to the I sent my phone up with my parents so they could get the best pictures possible because of my extreme fear of heights. I stood there and watched person after person cram up the smallest flight of stairs ever and was happy about my decision, until an elderly gentleman with an Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light shirt on looked at me and said, “Oh, you have to go up. It’s a once in a life time chance. There’s nothing like it.”

And there wasn’t anything like it.