5.31.2011

exploring the city

We had such a fun weekend and we owe most of that to the fact that Lee's aunt & uncle were in town and his cousin & her husband played tour guide (they've lived in Cleveland for the past 4 years).  We discovered some new places and had a super fun time.

Saturday night we were introduced to a amazing restaurant on the west side called Luxe.  We sat outside, enjoyed gorgeous weather, yummy cocktails, fantastic food, and great company.  It's now up there on our "fave list" and we hope to go back soon.

Here I am with Lee's Aunt Mary & cousin Lindsey enjoying a cocktail at the bar before dinner.  It really was a lovely night. 

Sunday we set out to do a little exploring of Little Italy before heading over to the Botanical Garden.  We dined outside at this cute bakery while stuffing our faces with a gorgeous apple crostada & cinnamon roll. (Not to worry, Lee & I shared.)

This gorgeous church was just down the street from the adorable bakery.  We tried to explore a cute paper shop but it was closed (I'm happy to report that Lindsay likes paper just about as much as I do!) After some walking around in the sweltering heat we headed over to the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

Had to make a quick stop before so I snapped this gorgeous church.  Isn't it lovely?  Beautiful churches seem to be everywhere you look around here.

The gardens weren't yet in full bloom but there were some lovely spots regardless. 

I could have sat in front of this beautiful waterfall for hours...had it not been in the 90's that is (figures we'd go on a day that was seeing way above average heat!)

Love this picture! I've only ever seen peonies closed so I was enthralled to see what they look like once they open - gorgeous!

Here's Lee with his Uncle David and cousin Lindsey.  What a good looking (and tall!) family I married into!

We also dined at another new-to-us restaurant (the bloody marys were delicious!) & I got to do a little shopping in some cute boutiques - Banyan Tree (where I got pretty new necklace & earrings) and Evie Lou (where I swooped up an incredibly soft & lightweight sweatshirt - Aunt Mary described it feeling like a hug).  Lots of exploring was done and now I can't wait to share some of our finds with my mom & David (who are set to arrive Thursday) and Natalie (she arrives Friday).

Over the course of the weekend Lee & I also attended two BBQ's from sweet ladies I've met through the Eastside Welcome Club.  The women have all been super welcoming and so sweet to include me.  We only spent an hour or so at the one on Saturday evening since we had plans with the fam but ended up at the other one for almost 5 hours!  Guess that's a clue that we're enjoying the people we're meeting in our new town.  Yep, feeling super blessed & lucky to have met some wonderful peeps.

Because I can't seem to post these days without including some yummy food I'll close with this picture of our dessert at Luxe...

It's a homemade "ho ho" (like the Hostess treat from back in the day) and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!

Since I clearly enjoyed my weekend of eating & drinking I'm about to head out with some friends for a 5-6 mile walk.  Sounds good, right?  It would be if today wasn't forecasted to break a heat record set in the 1940's.  Oh well...  Gotta work it out and, hopefully, work it off!

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5.28.2011

happy (holiday) weekend!



How is your holiday weekend going so far? Mine has been lovely. Last night we had our very first dinner gathering at our house and I'm happy to report it went really well. Lee's aunt & uncle are in town to visit their daughter & her husband (Lindsey & Jaffer) and we got to host them to a yummy dinner.  My contribution was dessert and I knew as soon as I saw it on SK that it looked too good to pass up.  Super easy & really good! It received such good reviews from our dinner guests that I just finished making another one for a BBQ we're making an appearance at this evening. Hopefully it goes over as well there.


It's been a LONG time since I've gotten to play around with setting a fun table. I decided entertaining at our house for the first time was a good reason to celebrate so I threw this fun ensemble together. I'm not usually very good at mixing patterns but I think this combo works pretty well for a summer dinner.  What do you think?


I really love the pop of the pink gerberas against the white table.  Yep, SO glad we went with a white table this time. So many ways to dress it up!


Please excuse the incredibly poor lighting. The chandelier casts a nice light for eating but it's not-so-good for picture taking.  I probably should have pulled out my Canon but I was too hungry so went with my trusty iPhone.  Everyone meet Aunt Mary, Uncle David, Lee (you already know him), Jaffer, and Lindsey.


Lee was sweet & offered to return the favor (I'm not usually in group shots) but somehow captured a weird look to my eyes.  This was the only filter I could find with instagram that made it somewhat viewable.  Although it's not going to win any awards, I'm happy to have it!

Gotta run & figure out what to wear to our first social outing in our new town.  Wish me luck!

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5.24.2011

sprucing up


We had amazingly gorgeous weather here on Saturday and since we've been inundated with rain for the past several weeks I decided to take full advantage. I raced to HomeGoods to pick up some large containers so I could put some flowers out on our back patio. It was in desperate need of some color & I felt it would provide us a little "pick me up" during the upcoming rainy days to see some pops of color looking back at us. I hit the jackpot at HomeGoods & found three pots in pretty shades of beachy blues & greens.


I even found one with a reminder of our home in Louisiana. See that fleur-de-lis? That will forever remind me of our days in Shreveport.  Lots of fun memories are rolled up into that one symbol. While living there I felt the fleur-de-lis was a bit overdone (cut me some slack, they were EVERYWHERE) but now that we're gone it holds a very special place in my heart.

Another thing I worked on last week was getting our dining room in shape to show you a picture. Our dining room chairs arrived a mere days after placing the order so I was excited to get a picture for you.  We still have things to do: hang the mirror, find & install shades, finish off the accessorizing, etc. but here's a good start to our new dining room...


This was one of the rooms we pretty much had to build from scratch.  Our old dining room table (passed down from Lee's grandparents) didn't fit the style of the room and since we don't have a breakfast nook to hold a table we wanted something a bit more casual.  While we do have a breakfast bar, it only seats three and many times throughout the year we have four here.  We invested in a table from Pottery Barn, the sea green buffet is from Arhaus Furniture, the chairs and shades on the chandelier are from Ballard Designs.  The rug used to be in our family room & the mirror was in our master bedroom prior to our move.  What do you think? Are we on the right track for a relaxed/beachy/cozy feel?

I was never a huge fan of the chandelier but was given the suggestion to swap out the shades for sea grass ones to bring in more texture to the room.  You know what, it worked beautifully and I absolutely love the pattern of light it throws up on the ceiling...



Slowly but surely our house is coming together.  We don't have the budget to finish everything right now but we hope to have the family room completed soon.  We have a media stand & coffee table on their way and I met with a contractor yesterday to give us a quote on what it will take to bring this inspiration photo to reality...

via house of turquoise
We also have painters scheduled for the second week of July to paint the exterior of house. I cannot wait to have the ugly peachy color replaced with a weathered grey. 

We're definitely on the right track but we still have a long way to go...

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5.23.2011

ready, set...let's get caught up!

It's been way too long, my friends, since I gave you an update on our little life here in OH. So sorry about that! I've been in a bit of a funk and that's caused me to not really want to do much of anything.  The sun is out today & I'm feeling better so thought you might like to see what we've been up to.  However, I must warn you...this is a very photo extensive post.  I hope you're ok with that!

We celebrated Cinco de Mayo with a yummy dinner and and several extremely potent margaritas...



I flew to Chicago for a quick two night trip for work...


Marveled at the gorgeous tulips lining the city...


Enjoyed one of the best meals surrounded by friends at this fun restaurant (you should really check it out)...

Walked a mile (in the rain no less) to pick up Lee's favorite cupcake as a "take home treat." I was flying home on Mother's Day and wanted to celebrate that 8 years prior he asked me to marry him.  I couldn't wait to dive into mine (don't worry...both of his made it back in perfect form for him to enjoy)...


My flight home was cancelled so had to spend 6+ hours sitting in the airport.  Wasn't so bad given I had him to keep me company (pretty good book too)...


Mother's Day dinner consisted of an amazing steak & our first ever grilled artichokes (they will certainly not be our last!)...


We've taken lots of walks around our neighborhood and have discovered -

This cute little lake...


Deer hanging out in the front yard of someone's house...


And more deer hanging out near the creek...

Turns out they are VERY common around here.  Each time we take a walk we see at least two roaming the neighborhood.  Pretty cool but also scary since I don't want these beautiful creatures to get hit (one of the first ones we saw had a very bad limp).

We've had a lot of rain so took full advantage of a nice evening to sit out on our back deck area and enjoy a pre-dinner snack...


We also discovered we have a bunny that likes to visit us.  He's super cute & has the most adorable little cottontail.  He likes to eat our grass and just hang out...


We've had some crazy weather with everything from cold + rainy, to rainy + warm, to downright hot! Unfortunately when the weather turned hot we learned our AC didn't work & couldn't get someone in to fix it until after the weekend.  Let's just say we were all pretty lazy + sticky over the weekend.  This picture of Panther pretty much sums it up...

We stumbled onto a cute restaurant and enjoyed some of the best biscuits & gravy I've had. Lee had the rueben and said it was the best he's EVER had! Super cute little restaurant if you're ever in the Cleveland Heights area...


I baked a yummy cake that was perfect for breakfast and dessert (I didn't make the caramel portion of the recipe)...


We ended up at one of our faves for dinner this past Friday...


Where we enjoyed a pretty good burger & phenomenal fries (rosemary + fries = heaven)...


Then we headed over to Progressive Field to watch the Indians rally to beat their in-state rival, the Cinncinati Reds...


They ended up sweeping them for the first time in 4 years and I'm happy to report they currently have the best record in ALL of baseball! They also have a beautiful stadium with a great view of downtown...

And that sums up what I've been up to lately. I also have a few more pictures to share of ways we've spruced up our house but I'll save those for tomorrow.

P.S. It's not lost on me that the majority of our time is spent eating or baking.  Now I know why my clothes are still a little tight.

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5.03.2011

etsy crush (nellie design)

Back when we were about to move I perused a ton of websites & etsy to find the perfect moving announcement for us. One that was fun & didn't cost a fortune. I came up empty handed. I had a handful of choices that I kind of liked but none that really screamed "Cyndi + Lee" (ok, to be fair none screamed "Cyndi" given Lee didn't care which one I picked). About that time Nellie started her blog again and I fell for one of her free printable Valentines. I emailed to see if she could take one of the elements from the background and create our moving announcements. She was up for the challenge & within days had created this for us...

[Please note: the address & email info is NOT correct - for posting purposes only.]

I adored how they turned out & was really glad to have something that was very "me" to send out to our family & friends. Nellie was a dream to work with! After proofing them for the final time [and giving Nellie the go ahead] Lee noticed I'd spelled our street name wrong! I quickly emailed her & she was able to fix it - just like that. She's come up with some other super cute moving announcements & is willing to create a new vision if you don't see what you like.  You should definitely check her out!

Recognize the background? It was one of the inspiration elements I sent over for my blog redesign and, as you can see, it is featured in a big way! 

Here is another custom creation from Nellie that will soon be hanging in our office.  I fell in love with one she did for our friend, Heather, and asked if she could create one for me that mentioned my love of baking & bubbles.  Isn't it awesome?! I love the fun colors & can't wait to get it in a frame and hung so I can see it every day. Want your own?  Click here to see the ones she's done and if you don't see one you like, contact her for your very own.

Nellie is awesome & you should definitely get in touch with her if you need any fun paper products. I promise, you won't be sorry! 

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5.02.2011

our weekend (photo edition)

Found out late Friday afternoon that Lee had scored us tickets to that night's Cleveland Indians game. I'm not a huge baseball fan but thought it could be fun. Boy, was I right!  Check out the view from our seats (above).  Seriously, that's where we sat.  Seats like that could definitely help me like baseball.

Before we went to the game we stopped by one of our favorite spots for a pre-game beverage & an appetizer. Yes, clearly, what we ate is a cardiologists dream (fries, pecorina cheese, poached egg & pancetta) but, holy cow, was it good! This was comfort food at its best & I'm supremely glad we don't live in this neighborhood. If I did, I'd be there for this dish often & no amount of walking could help me burn it off.

From there we walked to the game, picked up some Indians merchandise so we could fit in, found our insanely good seats, and I promptly took our picture.  Surprised?  I didn't think so.  As you can tell from our attire it was a bit chilly and it continued to get colder throughout the night.

Another highlight? Eating a stadium dog! I may not be a huge fan of baseball but I am a huge fan of their hot dogs! Super delish, especially when it was washed down with a beer. That's another thing I'm not a huge fan of (beer) but something about being inside a baseball stadium had me craving one!

Like all good sporting events I looked up & was excited to see the blimp.  My good friend Sadie is a HUGE blimp fan so I quickly snapped a shot & emailed it to her.  I'm fairly certain she smiled when she saw it.

Although we were having a great time at the game, it got cold. So cold that my sweater + scarf + jacket combo didn't exactly do the trick.  Lee was smart and brought a heavier jacket.  Me, on the other hand, not so smart. We ended up leaving after the 6th inning and ended up missing a most exciting ending to the game. So exciting, in fact, Sports Center ranked it the #1 play of April!  Boo.

Saturday morning we were up early. Cooked a fun breakfast for ourselves and then decided to explore our neighborhood. The weather has been fairly crappy lately so we were thrilled to wake to beautiful blue skies, mild temps, and no rain in sight! We ended up walking for an hour and I'm not kidding when I tell you that we almost got lost. We were too enamored with the beautiful homes & breeze in our hair to notice where we were walking. No worries, though, we made it home in one piece.

I can't believe I'm going to share this next picture with you!  It's our new house, icky curb appeal and all.  The inside is lovely and while the outside isn't bad, it isn't good either.  The color sucks.  The shutters on the second floor are too small.  The front door is horrendous.  Consider this the "before" picture because as soon as we can schedule it our home will go from this crazy yellow-peach color w/brown accents to a pretty light gray w/black accents.

I know y'all are going to say it doesn't look bad and for that I love you. However, the instagram filter I chose makes it look better and while I still don't think it looks great in the pic, it's a million times better!

Our tulip tree (I think) outside our guest bedroom.  LOVE the color!  Unfortunately the color doesn't last long (or so I've heard).  Bummer.

What? Another picture of the Indians game?! Shouldn't this be higher in the post? Nope. Somehow Lee roped me into going to the Saturday night game as well!  Seriously?  Seriously.  The pitcher for the Indians was making his MLB debut and went to Lee's alma mater (UNC).  Given the significance of the night I couldn't say no. I quickly bought tickets online and got ready to attend another baseball game.  I know, I still can't believe it myself.  A quick run by Dick's and I was outfitted and ready to cheer for an Indians win.

This time we gave in and tried the Food Network stand we saw the night before.  Lee got the Cleveland Steak Sandwich but I opted for the Buffalo Macaroni & Cheese and a bacon-wrapped knockworst.  Both were good but super rich.  I realize this picture makes the mac & cheese look disgusting but trust me, it was really good! 

We were all fired up and ready to stay for the entire game but guess what...it went into extra innings! Ugh.  We stayed for 11 entire innings before heading out.  It wasn't until the bottom of the 13th that the Indians scored the winning run.  It may be hard to imagine but I was actually up for listening to the game on the radio on our drive home.  What in the world is happening to me?! Am I becoming a baseball fan?

The rest of our weekend was pretty low-key so no pictures were taken.  We began our "church shopping" Sunday morning and attended a nice service.  I really enjoyed the message & like that it's stayed with me as I began the week. After church we went to brunch & then came home and took a nap - ahhh Sundays.

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