Friday, March 8, 2013

20 Things I am Loving Right Now...

20 THINGS I am loving right now...(many from LOCAL businesses, wooo-hoooo!)

1) In my search for a Persian rug for our family room, I decided to venture into the adorable interiors store in Lakewood called Plantation Home...The store was every bit as beautiful and eclectic as its reputation.  Think 'eye candy' for the lover of interior design.  Furthermore, owner David Stein and his assistant Scott, where so helpful in recommending a great source for a rug (see #2 below).  If ever in downtown Lakewood, I highly recommend a visit to this unique local shop!

2) Which brings me to my next....Larchmere Oriental Rugs.  Located in downtown Shaker Square, it is a quaint rug shop busting at the seams with a beautiful selection of rugs.  Scott from Plantation Home highly recommended this rug source since he said the owners were well-traveled (for their inventory), highly knowledgeable, honest and fair in their pricing...all things I found to be true.  I was amazed with their large selection and fortunately we DID find a rug for our family room!

3) One Kings Lane.....enough said.  I recently ordered a cute 'family rules' picture for our kitchen, to remind us of all of the important things in life!

4) Mint skincare salon, Rocky River...This peaceful, quaint salon located in the Old River shopping district offers facial, waxing, lash/brow tinting services, using only natural and organic products.  Particularly for a girl with very fair skin/hair/eyebrows (OK, practically invisible eyebrows), I have fallen in love with this place.  Owner Cheryl DeNardis and her staff are very friendly, knowledgeable, and professional, and they offer high quality customer service.

From their website:

"Mint Skin Care Salon provides the best natural and organic skin care products and services available. Many of us have already realized the importance of eating unrefined foods and using eco-friendly and sustainable products; our skin care regimens should be held to the same standard. Most 'natural' products on the market are not only UNnatural, but can also be extremely comedogenic and irritating to the skin.

Our skin care systems, One Love Organics, Devita Natural Skin Care and Acure Organics, contain the highest quality botanicals and offer excellent results for all types of skin. Our lines are cruelty-free, vegetarian and contain no parabens or chemical preservatives. We offer an excellent alternative to typical salons that employ the use of harsh chemicals. Our dedication and commitment are not only to the environment, but also to the health and well-being of our clients."

5) Target, for home decor....Although (like their children's clothing lines) it can be hit-or-miss, Target's home decor lines are often good looking at affordable about this pop of color provided by these coral Greek key pillows!?

6) Lake Erie Views....even in the winter!  I am always amazed by how different the lake looks based on the various weather patterns...Depending on the day, the Lake may reflect a beautiful blue sky, hold an interesting pattern of mini-icebergs, or simply glisten with a thin top layer of ice on those elusive sunny winter days...One recent morning I woke up to this beautiful view...

7) Spring Flowers - Tulips and Gerbera Daisies....I always absolutely adore the simplicity and vibrancy of these flowers...and they come in every color!

8) Jon Hamm....A friend posted this "Ask a Grown Man" video of Jon Hamm answering various 16-yr olds' questions about dating/love.  I am not sure which part I liked best...the fact that it IS Jon Hamm (minor crush), that his responses literally made me laugh out loud, or (icing on the cake) that he is wearing a St. Louis Cardinals shirt...I am counting down the days to the new season of Mad Men! (link to video is below)

9) Olive Scene...Another local business.  Cute shop in Old River shopping district...devoted to olive oil and flavored balsamic vinegars...who knew?  They even offer tasting parties which are a lot of fun.  My favorites of the balsamic vinegars are the espresso, fig, and pomegranate...great for salads, marinades, and other recipes (which they offer as well!)

From their website..."A place that feels like home where you will enjoy a unique tasting experience by sampling the finest extra virgin olive oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world."

10) Dewey's Pizza...An early Friday evening dinner has become a weekly family routine at this casual, kid-friendly, Lakewood pizza place.  The kids can be entertained as they watch the charismatic pizza makers flip pizza dough into the air, throw flour in their faces (behind a window), and their service is impeccable. Essentially the wait staff works as a team, rotating around the restaurant, checking in on tables and their needs.  It seems to work well as we consistently have fast and friendly service.  Additionally, their menu offerings are unique with creative, fresh combos, particularly on the veggie front (which seems rare for pizza places).  Some of our favorites are listed below....Plus, their pepperoni is strangely addicting (coming from a typically non-pepperoni eater!)


Harvest Salad
Side $4.95   Regular $7.95
Field Greens with Figs, Applewood Bacon, Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, and Boursin Cheese, tossed with our Apple Cider Vinaigrette.

  • Green Lantern
    11-Inch $15.45   13-Inch $18.45   17-Inch $21.45  
    Red Sauce, Light Mozzarella Cheese, Minced Garlic, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Artichokes, Pesto
  • Southwest BBQ Chicken
    11-Inch $15.45   13-Inch $18.45   17-Inch $21.45  
    Olive Oil, Smoked Cheddar & Mozzarella, Black Bean Corn Salsa, Amish Chicken, Roasted Red Peppers, BBQ Sauce
  • Caprice
    11-Inch $11.95   13-Inch $14.95   17-Inch $17.95  
    Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Mozzarella-Fontina Blend, Fresh Basil, Roma Tomatoes
  • Dewey's Original
    11-Inch $8.95   13-Inch $12.95   17-Inch $15.45  
    Red Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese
  • X-Pepperoni
    11-Inch $11.95   13-Inch $14.95   17-Inch $17.95  
    Red Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese, Extra Pepperoni
  • Socrates' Revenge
    11-Inch $14.45   13-Inch $17.45   17-Inch $20.45  
    Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Mozzarella-Fontina Blend, Spinach, Black Olives, Green Olives, Feta Cheese, Red Onions, Tomatoes
  • Edgar Allan Poe
    11-Inch $15.45   13-Inch $18.45   17-Inch $21.45  
    Olive Oil, Mozzarella-Fontina Blend, Mushrooms, Roasted Garlic, Kalamata Olives and Goat Cheese, with Fresh Tomatoes and Parsley after the bake
  • Billy Goat
    11-Inch $15.45   13-Inch $18.45   17-Inch $21.45  
    Olive Oil, Minced Garlic, Light Mozzarella Cheese, Mushrooms, Goat Cheese, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Green Peppers, Fresh Tomatoes

11) Vieng's Asian Bistro...I absolutely LOVE this modern Chinese (they serve additional Asian cuisine as well), restaurant.  They always serve fresh sushi with interesting menu options.  I recently took the kids there for lunch and it was hilarious to watch Caroline (my 3 yr old) attempt (somewhat successfully) to eat her chicken and rice with chopsticks! 

How do I do this?
Is this right, Mom?
I did it!

12) Barrio.....Mexican restaurant in Tremont...We went here for our neighbor's birthday celebration and loved it!  A cozy little Mexican restaurant/bar with creative menu options (and ordering format), an artsy, edgy vibe, and delicious tacos and margaritas.  Although their menu was sparse on the appetizer front, their endless taco options seem to be their claim to fame.  You order via a 'scantron' (yes, old school, fill in the dots with a #2)...and select which type(s) of taco shell, meat, cheese, veggies, sauces, etc., you would like to create your own unique, inventive taco.  Fun, lively, delicious new Mexican place....wish they would open one in Rocky River!

From their FB page (website coming soon)...

"New Tequilaria NOW OPEN in Tremont serving whiskey, tequila, tacos,

 beer, and more!"

Love the bright jade-green painted top tables and crazy mural on the walls...

13) Green Smoothie from local coffee shop, Erie Island Coffee...Don't let its moss-green color fool you.  This smoothie is a delicious blend of banana, peach, pineapple, spinach, and ice.  It is a perfect balance of sweet and savory with a refreshing not-too-sweet taste.

14) Trader Joe's - perfect for all of your entertaining needs..produce, wine, flowers, cheese, hummus...what more do you need?  Oh, almost forgot, the dark chocolate covered almonds and dark chocolate pistachio toffee...

15) The Original Pancake House...What can I say, my kids ADORE this place! Specifically, their pumpkin pancakes with WHIP CREAM (yes, you heard correctly) topping.  This is frankly a Thanksgiving-worthy dessert, if you ask me.  But, when all three of my kids are happy and eating to allow for a peaceful (usually) breakfast, who am I to complain!?  To top it off, the owner seems to like us for some strange reason (despite our occasional toddlers-making-a-scene presence), and has generously picked up our tab on a couple visits!

15b) The Rustic...My kids ALSO adore this famous local spot for their delicious pancakes.  The waitresses are always amazed by how many pancakes they can consume.  We often meet our neighbor and his crew on Sat mornings and enjoy breakfast with them....the more the merrier!

16) Pure Barre, Westlake...After hearing so much buzz about STL's The Daily Method and other Barre classes across the U.S., I have been wildly curious about this workout.  Thankfully, Pure Barre has recently opened in Westlake (Avon).  I have only been to a few classes thus far but I LOVE them!  It is an awesome head-to-toe strength workout, particularly targeting your core, butt, legs, etc...

17) Rocky River Ice Skating...My kids have enjoyed their lessons is this well-oiled machine of a program...SO cute to watch them progress from barely standing on skates, to the cone, to no cone, and finally skating completely on their own!

This is what happens when 2 Jacks and 2 Charlie's come together...We coincidentally met up with our friends the Sumners at lessons.  They have a Charlie and Jack too!

18) Chess Club...A new family to our school recently moved to Cleveland from Columbus, where they were actively involved with a chess club.  When they discovered our school did not offer this activity, they decided to start their own chess club...Ever since our oldest, Jack, learned to play chess while visiting his grandparents in Michigan last summer, he has been hooked! As an added bonus, Jack discovered on the first day that his buddy Sai from his 1st grade class was also joining!  Jack's little sister, Caroline likes to THINK she can play too.  I attached some cute pics and a video of her, right around her 3rd bday pretending to play chess...

19) Ruffing children's school.  We came across this school during the requisite tour of local preschools.  We did not necessarily expect that we would stay beyond the preschool years, but we have fallen in love with the learning philosophy, format, and culture....Although we are taking it year by year, for now we plan to stay!

Charlie at his Open House showing us his 'work'...

Jack made this at school, a family 'crest', which I found hilariously has two bucks (deer) on the sides....perhaps he is going to inherit his Daddy's hunting fever...

Jack 'teaching' us his work during his parent-child Open House 

20) The Infamous Miss Mary swim lessons..."The Swim Whisperer" as I have heard her described many times....Although none of us enjoy trekking through the 5 Seasons to get to the 100% humidity (eeeek) pool with water droplets continuously dropping on our heads while we watch from the sidelines...we owe a BIG thanks to this dedicated swim teacher, for her calming presence, instruction, and technique/stroke lessons.  It is a HUGE relief to know your kids can safely swim and we are very thankful for her efforts....

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