Tag Archives: Cleveland

When Life Brings You Storms, Go Surfing (or Do Yoga!)


Today I woke up to stormy skies, rain trickling down my window, and cool temperatures. My first reaction, especially because it was a Sunday, was disappointment as I felt held back from going outside and exploring Cleveland.

My mindset quickly changed when I received a reminder that my community yoga class at Edgewater Beach was still happening (despite the rain!). I arrived to Edgewater Park and followed a trail of hopeful yogis and their colorful yoga mats walking through the moist sand to a pavilion. I was surprised to find dozens of yogis spread throughout the pavilion, eager to begin practice with the friendly instructor.

The yoga practice was very relaxing and nourishing, with rain sprinkling around me as I overlooked a forest with Lake Erie in the distance. I felt one with nature, appreciating the fresh air, birds chirping, and beautiful green scenery.

Our yoga pavilion. Photo from Yoga for Every BODY, the community yoga organization that provides free outdoor yoga opportunities for Clevelanders.

Our yoga pavilion. Photo from Yoga for Every BODY, the community yoga organization that provides free outdoor yoga opportunities for Clevelanders.

I was reminded of an important message in life: Don’t let the storms of life hold you back from enjoying your days and pursuing your dreams. This message was further emphasized when I walked back from the class and passed Lake Erie beach again. Scattered throughout the shores were surfers appreciating the rough waters for the thrill of surfing. In their minds, a stormy day is the ideal time to go surfing in Lake Erie, as the waves are large enough to create an exhilarating experience. Whereas most of us would think of a storm as something negative, and interfering with our plans, others view storms as opportunities. The storms in this case demonstrate that the storms of life, or challenges and obstacles, can be turned into something positive. It all depends on our mindset and perception of the storms that come our way.

With this refreshed insight I am challenging myself and inspirNational readers to change our mindset about the storms and challenges that come our way. With each storm, let’s find ways to create our own version of surfing and appreciate each day as it comes!


Favorite Ways to Spend Spring in Cleveland

Source: Quotes Everyday

Source: Quotes Everyday

Finally, the ice is thawing, the birds are chirping, and the sun is shining in Cleveland. As Midwesterners know, the first weekend of spring is a sigh of relief. But, it doesn’t mean that winter is over. Fingers crossed that we only have one or two more snow storms before the beautiful spring and summer weather comes our way.

As we all start spring cleaning in Cleveland, I wanted to pass along ideas for us to have fun along the way. Also check out cleveland.com’s “365 things to do in Cleveland in 2015” for more spring inspiration!

  • Cleveland International Film Festival – now until the end of March – Travel the world from the movie theater at Tower City. I had the opportunity to attend All Stars and meet the director, cast and crew with my colleagues!
All Stars Director: Lance Kinsey, Cast: Fred Willard and Miriam Flynn, Director of the Cleveland International Film Fest

All Stars Director: Lance Kinsey, Cast: Fred Willard and Miriam Flynn, Director of the Cleveland International Film Fest

  • Ukrainian Museum-Archives Easter Bazaar – now until the end of March – Check out and shop for the famous Pysanky eggs! According to the museum website, “in the Ukrainian Easter tradition, it is customary to create beautiful art our of eggs – called Pysanky – that are known all over the world. You can buy these beautiful and delicate pieces of art as well as other Ukrainian artwork at our annual Easter bazaar.”
  • Big Spring at the Cleveland Botanical Garden – now until the end of April – Missing green and flowers and looking for a whimsical experience? Check out Cleveland’s supersized indoor and outdoor springtime celebration. This year’s display is inspired by Alice in Wonderland, featuring the Ladybug Labyrinth hedge maze, larger-than-life flowers, the Mad Hatter Tea Party and more. I enjoyed the botanical garden in the winter and look forward to exploring it this spring!
Source: Cleveland Botanical Garden

Source: Cleveland Botanical Garden

  • Indians Game – April through September – Clevelanders love their sports, and there is so much positive energy in the air during baseball season! This year’s home opener is against the Detroit Tigers on April 10. My heart strings will be pulled – my traditional favorite team against my new favorite team! Be sure to attend a game this season and explore all the exciting new developments in Downtown Cleveland.
  • Cinco de Mayo Cleveland at Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds, Middleburg Heights – end of May – Celebrate Hispanic cultures at this festival, which highlights Cleveland’s connection to Latin American dances, arts, music and cuisine. There are live performances and a wrestling extravaganza.
  • Cleveland Plays Co-Ed Sports – year round – Missing gym class? I know that growing up, kickball was one of my favorite parts of gym class. I joined a kickball team at Cleveland Plays last spring and had so much fun meeting great people who are now my best friends in Cleveland! I plan to continue as a kickball star (or so I think I am 🙂 this spring.
  • Barbecue at the Cleveland Metroparks – year round, weather permitting – One of my favorite experiences last year was barbecuing at Edgewater Park. After a winter of indoor baking and cooking, there is nothing better than grilling hotdogs and hamburgers with sunset views of Lake Erie to celebrate spring and summer.
Barbecuing at Edgewater Park

Barbecuing at Edgewater Park

  • MIX at the Cleveland Museum of Art – year round – if you haven’t yet attended this event on the first Friday of every month, I highly recommend that you go! Every month you can explore the art museum, see the latest exhibits, watch live performances, and enjoy cocktails and food with friends and fellow Clevelanders.

I hope you all have a wonderful spring! Please let me know if you would like me to add any other fun spring activities in Cleveland.

Favorite Ways to Spend Winter in Cleveland


To start my seasonal post, I wanted to share some great news about Cleveland for Millennials – according to Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, Cleveland is one of America’s Most Underrated Cities for Millennials. Grouping Cleveland with Seattle, Charlotte, Atanta, Denver, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Philadelphia, Manchester, and Honolulu, the article describes that:

“Cleveland caters to the younger set in neighborhoods like the bar-filled Ohio City, popular among the more than 36 percent of adults who are single. Cleveland also ranks well as a cheap place to live, coming in 15th on Forbes’ list of inexpensive cities. Men’s Health ranks its religious involvement low on the list, just ahead of Austin, which should appeal to the less-devout Millennials—unless, of course, their church is rock and roll.”

It’s exciting to me that Cleveland has made the spotlight and is compared to other well-renowned cities. For those not in the area, come visit and you’ll understand why Cleveland is a fun place to be for young professionals.

With the first (official, not according to the weather :)) day of winter quickly approaching, below I have listed some of my favorite ways to spend winter in Cleveland for all of my Cleveland followers:

During the holiday season:

  • Winterfest in Playhouse Square – weekend after Thanksgiving – Every year, there is a beginning of Christmas festival in Downtown Cleveland. This year was the first Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Playhouse Square. The square was lit up with Christmas lights, and crowds gathered for concerts, performances, and fireworks throughout the day and evening.


  • Holiday CircleFest in University Circle – beginning of December – Start the Christmas season and explore the University Circle neighborhood for free, with events, activities, music, shopping and food at the museums, gardens, galleries, and churches. Wade Oval Park has an ice skating rink and free horse-drawn carriage rides. I walked by some of the best gingerbread house and Christmas tree displays I have ever seen at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. I also enjoyed caroling at the Church of the Covenant.
  • Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden – end of November to the beginning of January – Walk through the beautiful gardens that are designed for the holidays and glow with Christmas lights. Hop aboard the Garden Express for a whimsical train ride, decorate your own gingerbread house, and watch carolers perform. I first attended this this year and was in “awe”!
  • Polar Express at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad – mid-November until Christmas – “The award-winning book comes to life on this magical journey to the North Pole and back. Elves will read the story to you on the way to the North Pole to pick up Santa! While Santa visits each car, elves will lead you and your family in Christmas Carols and spread merriment! As in the story, we encourage everyone to wear their pajamas on this special journey. All passengers will enjoy hot cocoa and a cookie.” This is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season in the Cleveland area – how could you not want to go to the North Pole during the Christmas season :)? I enjoy bringing the Christmas spirit to life by volunteering as an elf reader, the person who reads the Polar Express story and entertains the families!


  • A Christmas Story 5K – early December – Did you love A Christmas Story movie? Did you know that the movie was filmed (and Ralphie’s house) is in Tremont, Ohio? And even better – in December – you can run a 5K in Tremont, see A Christmas Story movie set locations, dress up like Ralphie or a leg lamp, and tour Ralphie’s house!
  • Santa Shuffle in Tremont – mid-December – Dress up in your favorite Santa gear, run a mile, and get hydrated at several of the Tremont bars. I will be trying this for the first time this year, but have only heard good things, and look forward to wandering around Tremont dressed up in the Christmas spirit.

After the holiday season:

  • The Rink at Wade Oval – late November to the beginning of March – enjoy ice skating for a nominal fee at Wade Oval Park. The University Circle area is beautiful in the winter, and it is fun to experience the outdoors while ice skating there.
  • Artists Uncork’d Wine and Painting Class – Since we often want to stay inside and bundled up during the winter, why not get creative at the same time? I enjoyed a wine and painting class for my February birthday last year and look forward to finding more wine and art classes this winter.


  • Go to the Lake Erie beaches – Ok, I know you think I’m nuts, but it SO cool to see what a beach looks like in the wintertime. Last winter, I went to Edgewater Park and walked along the shoreline with my friend who was on her spring break – so she got her typical beach vacation in :). She even stuck her toes in the ice cold water!
Lake Erie at Edgewater Park

Lake Erie at Edgewater Park

  • MIX at the Cleveland Museum of Art – year round – if you haven’t yet attended this event on the first Friday of every month, I highly recommend that you go! Every month you can explore the art museum, see the latest exhibits, watch live performances, and enjoy cocktails and food with friends and fellow Clevelanders.
  • Tobogganing at the Cleveland Metroparks – late November to mid-March- I have not yet tried this, but have heard nothing but great things and hope to go tobogganing this year!
  • Short Sweet Film Fest in Ohio City – February – support up-and-coming filmmakers by watching some interesting, and sometimes abstract, films at the bars in Ohio City. This will help prepare you for the Cleveland International Film Festival which takes place in late March.
  • Brite Winter in Ohio City – late February – The event’s mission is “to embrace the Cleveland winter by celebrating with light, fire, art, music, games, and snow.” With the long winter ahead, it is important to get outside and make the most of the snowy days. I enjoy attending the concerts, exploring the restaurants and bars, and shopping throughout the evening at Brite Winter.
  • Lake Erie Monters Game – late October to April – there is so much spirit for the Lake Erie Monsters in Cleveland! If you are craving hockey, this is the best way for you to watch hockey without having access to a local NHL team.
  • Cleveland Cavaliers Game – October to April – I have been to Quicken Loans Arena (home base for the Cavs) twice – for a circus performance and a Lake Eries Monsters Game, ironically – but have yet to experience a Cavs game. I can’t wait to attend one this year and see The King play live!
  • Cleveland St. Patrick’s Day Parade – March 17 – Learn about the significance of the Irish population in Cleveland. You can watch performers and honorees of Irish awards. This is a great way to be downtown before going to the Irish pubs for the festive holiday.
  • The Corner Alley on E. 4th – Need to get outside but not outdoorsy? Go bowling on E. 4th! The Corney Alley is a classy bowling alley with great food and a fun ambiance.
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – a staple to the Cleveland name, the glass pyramid-style building itself is a site to see. The museum has several floors of exhibits featuring rock and roll music legend paraphenalia and history, rotating exhibits, and the Hall of Fame theater where hall of fame inductees are recognized.

While winter can seem daunting in Cleveland or any midwestern United States city, I hope these exciting upcoming events and activities get you excited for the winter ahead. We’ll get through it together and have fun along the way!

Bloom Where You Are Planted


It is crazy to think that the last three weekends I have been out of town – I guess that is what the beginning of the holiday seasons brings! From Wytheville, Virginia (where my boyfriend’s family lives) to the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan (where my family lives), over the past few weeks I have noticed a recurring theme and reminder: bloom where you are planted.

The message to “bloom where you are planted” has been engrained in me since I first interned in Cleveland and was concerned by the fact that I was not living and working in a so-called exciting or flashy place. I took this message to heart and decided I would make the most of my internship in Cleveland.

My Facebook cover photo during my Cleveland internship in 2012

Two and a half years later, I now live and work full-time in Cleveland and am proud to call it my new hometown. I have explored neighborhoods throughout the city and suburbs, experienced cultural and sporting events, tried new hobbies, and met new friends. This is the premise of the inspirNational mindset, which inspires me to make the most of where I am in everyday life.

I was reminded of the inspirNational mindset when driving back to Cleveland from Virginia and stopped at a gas station in West Virginia. I met a teenager who was working at the checkout counter. When I asked him where exactly in West Virginia we were, he said “no where. It’s no big deal here.” I was surprised by his response and asked him for more details. He said it was a simple farm town with not much to do. With my blog in mind, I responded that “every place has its charm, and I’m sure there’s something special about your hometown.” He smiled and laughed, but I am sure he knew there was some truth to what I said.

Traveling to Detroit and now living in Cleveland, I constantly hear jokes about how the two cities are terrible places to live, the weather is bad, and no one wants to visit, unless they have family there. Now having lived in or near both cities, I have learned that the truth is the exact opposite. Detroit and Cleveland have rich histories, four great seasons, welcoming cultures, and vibrant futures with all the redevelopment efforts, new innovations and industries, and young professionals returning to the city centers. I have learned that a place is what you make of it; it is up to you to make it fun and exciting, or however you want it to be in order to be happy. So whether you live in New York City, Paris, Buenos Aires, a small town in Australia, or a village in Mexico, you can blossom.

With my passion for travel, I consider blossoming as living like a traveler no matter where I am. You may consider another lifestyle in order to bloom where you are planted. Either way, Dr. Smita Malhotra provides great insights on Huffington Post to teach us all how to bloom where we are planted. She reminds us of the following:

1. Every step in life prepares you for the next one.

2. Stop complaining.

3. Be a blessing.

4. Bloom through the concrete.


Source: Pamela Joe McFarlane via Getty Images

As we close 2014 and return home or travel for the holidays, I hope that we can all remember to make the most of wherever we are and bloom as we enter the new year!

Sports Unite Us


Regardless of the sport, and regardless of whether we are athletes, fans, or spectators, sports can teach us a lesson about unity. While this may seem contradictory because a sports match divides two teams, remember that the game brings people together in one stadium or on one television program, united by the love for the sport and the spirit and hope that their favorite team will win.

The value of sports as a unifying force goes back to the origin of the Olympics, which has brought countries together since 776 B.C. The United Nations describes the importance of sports as a source of international peace:

“Sport as a universal language can be a powerful tool to promote peace, tolerance and understanding by bringing people together across boundaries, cultures and religions. Its intrinsic values such as teamwork, fairness, discipline, respect for the opponent and the rules of the game are understood all over the world and can be harnessed in the advancement of solidarity, social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

Sport programmes permit encounters on neutral territory and in an environment where aggression can be controlled, regulated and transformed and hence facilitates rapprochement and reconciliation between opposing parties.”

I have always enjoyed sports, as an athlete, as a fan, and as a spectator, depending on the sport. What I love about sports is that they help us escape from the concerns of daily life and they create a spirit powerful enough to encourage an entire community to support and celebrate their favorite team. As a high school cheerleader, I saw how cheerleading, alongside the football and basketball teams, brought my high school friends together, supporting the team at every win or loss. Then as a University of Michigan student, I saw how football season brought students together from across disciplines to promote school spirit and pride on the field. Now as a young professional living in the heart of Downtown Cleveland, I am surrounded by all Cleveland sports stadiums. I see sports as a community enabler, bringing Clevelanders together and reminding us to have pride in the place we call home.

Last week, I experienced this first hand at the Cleveland Cavaliers season opener party. The entire city was alive, with outdoor concerts throughout the city, people cheering and celebrating in the streets, and restaurants and bars blaring music and displaying the game on sparkling TV screens. The excitement revolved around the beginning of the basketball season, and the return of LeBron James, a basketball legend, especially in Cleveland. In honor of the season opener, Lebron James recorded a great video about the role of the Cavaliers, who should not only play for themselves, but also for the city of Cleveland.

While there is a lot of controversy about the role of professional athletes in society, we should remember that athletes represent our communities. They serve as ambassadors, symbolizing our community’s pride and dreams for the future. I have a lot of respect for LeBron James for taking this commitment personally and inspiring his team, the Cleveland community, and athletes as whole to support togetherness and not forget their higher purpose as athletes and community ambassadors.

Favorite Ways to Spend Fall in Cleveland


Fall is one of the best ways to experience any Midwestern United States city, especially Cleveland. Leaves are changing colors. Moderate temperatures mean you can spend time outside with a cool breeze and a light jacket. Three exciting sports seasons overlap: the end of baseball season, the heart of football season, and the beginning of basketball season. Cider and donuts are available at apple orchards, grocery stores, and cider mills (which I have quickly learned is a “Michigan thing.”) Pumpkin and apple flavors cover our plates. And some may say, the highlights are celebrating  Halloween and Thanksgiving.

Edgewater Park View of Downtown Cleveland

Edgewater Park View of Downtown Cleveland

Now that I have spent two falls in Cleveland, I have compiled a list of some of my favorite activities to do in and around Cleveland in the fall:

  • Go on a Segway Tour of Downtown Cleveland. This is a fun way to learn about Cleveland’s architecture and history while riding a segway.
  • Tailgate a Browns game. The Muni Lot has some of the craziest tailgates I have ever seen, with kegs and grills coming out of pick-up trucks and dance parties in school buses. Cleveland sports fans are some of the most spirited fans- and the spirit is contagious! Don’t tell my Detroit roots that I am slowly cheering for Cleveland now that I live downtown and am surrounded by all the major sports stadiums!
Browns Season Opener Tailgate

Browns Season Opener Tailgate

  • Shop for fall produce at West Side Market. The late harvest lends some of the best local produce of the year. The market makes it fun for you to find the ingredients for your favorite fall recipes and you can buy decorative gourds or pumpkins for carving festivities!
  • Go hiking through the Cleveland Metroparks or parks in the suburbs. I love to jog through Edgewater Park and have enjoyed hiking through Liberty Park near Aurora, Ohio.
Hiking through Liberty Park

Hiking through Liberty Park

  • Need more than hiking? Another great way to be in nature during the fall is to volunteer at local parks. During my company’s fall retreat, we spent an afternoon volunteering at a park clean-up with the Western Reserve  Historical Society and Thriving Communities Institute in the Buckeye Neighborhood.
  • Dress up in a Halloween costume and go dancing in the Warehouse District. Each year the best venues vary, but the regular favorites tend to be Velvet Dog, Barley House, and Dive Bar. Dancing is always fun, but there’s nothing better than being silly while in disguise and watching others do the same.
  • Go on a brewery tour at Great Lakes Brewery. I have toured the brewery with family and friends four times throughout the year, and I have decided that fall is my favorite time, particularly when the brewery is making Christmas Ale. The aura of cinnamon spice is delicious and makes the brewery experience come to life.
  • On the topic of beer, try pumpkin ales at the breweries on West 25th in Ohio City, especially during Cleveland Beer Week in October. I was not a beer fan until I moved to Cleveland, but the pumpkin ales at Nano Brew, Town Hall, Market Garden, and Bier Market quickly made that change.
  • Pick apples at Eddy’s Fruit Farm and explore the grounds of Patterson Fruit Farm. For the city dwellers, this is a great escape from the busy city life and helps you appreciate the scenery in Ohio’s countryside.
  • Tour Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens, which was the home of F.A. Sieberling, who created The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company in 1898. The home was built between 1912-1915 and was one of the finest examples of the American Country Estate Movement. It includes five historic buildings and eight historic gardens on 70 acres. Learn more about the history of the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens here.
Touring the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

Touring the Stan Hywet Hall and Gardens

  • Go wine tasting at the vineyards of Geneva on the Lake. It is an hour outside of Downtown Cleveland, but totally worth the drive. Each winery has its own unique personality and the hosts will teach you about wine production and what types of wine will be best for your palate.
Geneva on the Lake

Geneva on the Lake

  • Take your bike to Peninsula, Ohio to ride the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad train out to your distance of choice and bike back on the towpath past Szlay’s farm shop for hot butter-dipped corn. You could also run through the Maize Maze and wrap up the trip with a Winking Lizard beer when you get back to Peninsula! [Thank you to one of my favorite Clevelanders, Victoria Lowery, for the idea!]

Every weekend I learn about new exciting events and opportunities in and around Cleveland. Clevelanders, please comment with any of your favorite events that I should add to the list. Everyone, let me know if you would ever like to visit Cleveland. I would be happy to give you a tour.

Hopefully I have captured something interesting for everyone in Cleveland, whether you’re an adventurer, a sports enthusiast, a beer fan, a nature lover, a dancer, or a historian. Making the most of any of these experiences relates to the inspirNational mindset, which I aspire to have and encourage others (no matter where you live or travel!) to have every day. Learn more about the inspirNational mindset in my post, How to Live Like a Traveler Every Day.

The Truth Behind Sweetest Day


Just a few more days until Sweetest Day (don’t worry, boyfriends and girlfriends, you have until Saturday, October 18 to buy something for your sweetie)! Most people don’t know what Sweetest Day is. Skeptics call Sweetest Day a Hallmark holiday or a “concocted promotion” to increase the sales of candy, greeting cards, flowers, etc.

The romantic in me likes to acknowledge any holiday that celebrates love. So, I decided to look more into the holiday…what is its real purpose? Who celebrates Sweetest Day? Is it really a gimmick?

Sweetest Day takes place on the third Saturday of October every year. Friends, families, and couples express their love for each other by sending sweets, flowers, greeting cards, or other tokens of love. It turns out that Sweetest Day is most often celebrated in the Midwestern United States. To my surprise (and how ironic), Sweetest Day originated in my new hometown, Cleveland! The first Sweetest Day was October 8, 1922. The Cleveland Plain Dealer stated that candy maker C. C. Hartzell chaired a committee of 12 confectioners to plan the first Sweetest Day. The Sweetest Day in the Year Committee distributed over 20,000 boxes of candy to “newsboys, orphans, old folks, and the poor” in Cleveland. According to Mt. Vernon News, “the original theme of doing a good deed and spreading cheer to those less fortunate still applies, [but] the holiday has broadened to celebrate love and romance for significant others while still including friends, neighbors and co-workers.” Several candy makers tried to declare that it was Candy Day as well. So if anything, Sweetest Day was originally promoting candy sales.


The Cleveland committeemen who planned Cleveland’s Sweetest Day, published in The Cleveland Plain Dealer on October 8, 1922.

While often cited as a “Hallmark holiday,” Hallmark didn’t make Sweetest Day cards until the mid-1960’s, and now has 151 different versions of greeting cards (80% are romantic). American Greetings, whose headquarters are in Cleveland, began making Sweetest Day cards in the 1930s and now has 178 different kinds of cards. Sweetest Day is not as impactful as Valentine’s Day, but it does boost business for greeting cards companies.

Skeptics, you may be right that it is a commercial holiday. But why not remind your significant others, family members, and friends that you love them? While the holiday may seem narrow in scope (as it is often only celebrated in one part of the United States), the premise to acknowledge the ones you love can be celebrated anywhere. So, this Saturday, why not spread the love or be romantic? Below are some sweet quotes about love that may inspire and remind you why love matters. Happy Sweetest Day!

“Love has the power to cure, to heal, to calm, to change, and to unite. Use this power often.” -Anthony Douglas Williams

“Where there is love there is life.” -Mahatma Gandhi

“Angels have no philosophy but love.” -Terri Guillemets