Long Hair, Don’t Care

13 Aug

Classy Hairstyles

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Namaste

13 Mar

ImageSo I’ve never been the most athletic person growing up.  Sure I danced all my life, and I played soccer for a while… and I’ll admit… I was one of the stars of our elementary school’s girls’ CYO basketball team.  By star, I mean I only made one basket in my whole career and the team only won one game in the season.  STAR! I did host the majority of the (fake) team tea parties during practice though. The feminist movement at its best.  Anyway… my lack of athleticism finally caught up with my metabolism, and the whole desk job thing has never been much help in that department.  So I went searching high and low for the solution. I’ve done it all: 

- Experiment #1: Joining a gym. 

Moderately successful, but short lived.  I tried Bally’s, which was great, until I moved to Tremont and it was too far to drive.  I also tried Planet Fitness in Rocky River, which I loved, but again with the distance thing… that quickly got old too.  

- Experiment #2: Jazzercise/Water aerobics classes

Hilariously successful, yet again short lived.  I took classes at both the Parma Community Center as well as the Middleburg Hts. Rec.  I made lots of new friends, none of which were under the age of 70.  Quite amusing, yet got old quick. Ha.  Old.. Get it?  

Experiment #3: Running in Lincoln Park.  

Epic Fail.  Somehow, I didn’t take Cleveland’s ridiculous weather into consideration.  Cleveland is really freaking cold for a good chunk out of the year.  Not to mention, when it’s not cold it is either pouring rain or sweltering muggy hotness.  

So that all happened.  And none of it worked.  So one day, I was walking around the neighborhood and strolled by a building that I’ve passed tons of times and always meant to look into further, but never followed through.  Right at the corner of my street is this wonderful little yoga studio called Studio 11.   When I finally checked it out, I found out that they had a great special for new students – three weeks of unlimited classes for $33.  So here I was, at this crossroads – I can’t argue with the price, the location is down the street so I can’t use the “too far” excuse, classes are at a reasonable time… I had no choice.  So in December I took my first step into Studio 11. 

So I figured Studio 11 would be like every other athletic project I’ve ever taken on… try it a few weeks, like it enough, but get bored and drop it.  Then… I fell in love.  Now, I’ve always enjoyed yoga for the most part, but every class I took made me feel like I wasn’t good enough – I couldn’t bend far enough, I couldn’t balance long enough, I couldn’t ohm loud enough.  Studio 11 is the first yoga studio that I’ve come across that changed my outlook.

There is no yoga snobbery here.  Led by owner/director Tiiu Gennert and a wonderful teaching staff, every student – beginner or pro – is welcomed and every new pose is shown or explained by the teacher without any judgement.  I haven’t been able to resist renewing my membership card every month ever since.  In fact, when I sprained a ligament at dance class and had to miss 2 weeks of yoga – I even MISSED it!  That’s saying a lot for this athletic commitment-phobe.  

I’m big on sharing my opinions, and I’m even more happy to share my opinions on something that I’ve had a great experience with, so I would encourage anyone with even an inkling of interest in yoga to try this place out.  The teachers are wonderful and, while you never think you’re working too hard, the burn the next day tells you otherwise – which is awesome!   But, in the famous words of LeVar Burton, “You don’t have to take my word for it!” – Check out the fabulousness of a class at Studio 11 yourself: 

Studio 11, Lemko Hall Building, 2337 West 11th Street, Cleveland, OH  44113

Studio 11 Facebook

Give a Little Bit…

9 Nov

Flash mobs have been all the rage for the past few years.  I mean, what’s not to like?  You learn some funky steps on the internet, then show up at a  location at a designated time and everyone busts into jolly dancing happiness.  Last Christmas season, the Westside Market was bombarded by people who came out to participate in the Hallelujah Chorus flash mob – the video will almost bring a tear to your eye, so cute.  The beauty of social media and bringing complete strangers together.  True, flash mobs have gotten a bad rap in the past few months with the Machine Gun Kelly Flashmob where he tweeted for his fans to come out to South Park mall and “rage”.  Or the incident at the Coventry Street Fair in June where teenagers came out in droves and ran around screaming and scaring families.  It’s a terrible thing when people (hoodlums) take a fun idea and use it to hurt people and businesses.

Enter the innovators at Cleveland Bridge Builders.  They say, forget Flash Mobs – let’s organize Cash Mobs.  This new venture into social media, takes a silly little idea like a flash mob and evolves it into a great investment into our neighborhoods.  The basic idea of Cash Mobs is to help small businesses in this rough economy.  How?  In essence, the group will flash mob a business – a time will be set up for people to go into a business and spend their money, all at the same time, to quickly invigorate the business.  The idea will also help the business in the long run by getting the name of the business and the products out into the community.  Awesome, right?  I came across this plan here and I thought this idea was too cool not to share with everyone.

 

Cash Mobs Basics: 

1)    The mob must be announced a week in advance via Twitter; the specific location will be announced six hours before the cashmob will take place.

2)    The general location will be announced, but not the specific business to support.

3)    The amount to spend will not be above $20, although people can spend more if they wish.

4)    The business must have products for both men and women.

5)    The business must be locally owned.

6)    The business owner must give back to the community in some way.

7)    The business owner must approve the CashMob before the mob is announced.

8)    The business must be within one block of a watering hole.

9)    Cash Mobbers must join us for celebratory drinks after the successful mob.

10) The cash mob will occur during the evening on a weekday or on a weekend.

11) Pictures will be posted to the blog after the CashMob.

12) Parking must be available.

 

For more information on Cash Mobs – check out their blog at cashmobs.wordpress.com or follow them on Twitter – @cashmobs.

Spread the word and support our local businesses  –  see you at the first Cash Mob – November 16, 6pm!

Roll Out the Barrell

27 Oct

On a scale of Über-lameo to totally awesome, I can’t see Polka being too high on many people’s list. When the average person hears the word polka, I imagine they have nightmares about that one stupid public access station that constantly plays a video of a bunch of old people trotting along to some strange dude in lederhosen playing accordion music.  Probably this song.  Waddup, Lawrence Welk!

Two comments on that way of thinking.  Number 1, ummm… do you dare call yourself a Clevelander?  Hello… does the name Frankie Yankovic ring a bell?  You know, only America’s Polka King who was born and raised here in NE Ohio.  Duh.  And more importantly – number 2 – it is sadly obvious that these people have never heard of the magical awesomeness that is DJ Kishka.  “Egads,”  you say,  “What a travesty!”  Agreed, my friend, agreed.

It was not too long ago that I had my first DJ Kishka experience, and it was life-altering to say the least.  I mean, I’ve never been one to shy away from my foreignness, let’s be honest.  This guy, however, put’s my polka knowledge to shame.  His vast collection of polka music from all over Eastern Europe would make my grandmother cry.

Who is DJ Kishka?  No question about it, Kishka is a polka slinging, fedora wearing, bearded enigma.  But there’s no doubt he has found a place in the hearts of Clevelanders when he packs the Happy Dog full of toe tapping fans at his monthly Polka Happy Hour.  From 6-9pm on the last Friday of the month, Kishka busts out only the best old-school polka records that have been part of Cleveland’s culture since our grandparents and great-grandparents came off the boat.  If you’re not sold yet, don’t take my word for it.  Scene Magazine’s Best of Cleveland voted  DJ Kishka the Best Club DJ in 2010.

Still not convinced to come out to Polka Happy Hour this Friday?   Maybe these gorgeous ladies – the Zorya Ukrainian Female Vocal Ensemble –  can convince you:

Hellooo Ladies...

Zorya, which means star in Ukrainian,  is an a capella vocal ensemble based in Parma and has been singing together since 2007.  The group has TweetedFacebooked and sang their way throughout Ohio and the East Coast specializing in Ukrainian traditional folk songs.  One of my favorite songs is about a chick who blows off this guy that’s hitting on her, then asks him to find a doctor, but not one that heals people but one that kisses well.  Bam!  Us Ukrainian chicks have our priorities straight.  Oh, and because I am not embarrassed to excessively self promote, I’m in the group.  That’s me up front, HI!

ANYWAY, if you don’t have plans tomorrow, come on by to the Happy Dog.  If you do have plans, cancel them and make sure to stop by and say hello to DJ Kishka and the Zorya Girls!

Ladies and gentlemen, bust out those white socks and sandles, embrace the perogie and join us for a great show tomorrow!

DJ Kishka’s Polka Happy Hour,
featuring the Zorya Ukrainian Female Vocal Ensemble

Friday, October 28th from 6pm-9pm
@ the Happy Dog, at W. 58th Street and Detroit Avenue

You’re Welcome

26 Oct
Rien ne serait plus fatiguant que mangeant et buvant si Dieu ne leur avait pas fait un plaisir aussi bien qu’une nécessité. – Voltaire

Potatoes... Yup.

Though I often talk about how foreign I am,  the truth is I was born right here in Cleveland.  However, this fact somehow didn’t translate into the way I was raised.  For example, the knowledge that the word sandwich is NOT pronounced sammich didn’t reach my brain until I was about 12, but I knew how to pinch a perogie from the ripe age of 3.   Also… apparently it’s not a normal thing to try to barter with cashiers at the local supermarket.   *Grumble* Americans *Grumble* .  The number one thing that has been pounded in my brain from early, early childhood – FOOD.  Ukrainian life revolves around food.

 
I don’t know what it is about foreigners and their food.  And it’s not just how good the food is, it’s about how much food can possibly be stuffed down the gullet.  Maybe it’s a remnant of the Soviet days when food was scarce, but growing up with two other siblings, dinner was a competition.  Who can eat the most food in the fastest amount of time.  Seconds?  Pish posh.  How about thirds and fourths.  If you weren’t stuck in your chair from being too full at the end of dinner, you were a failure.  You didn’t like something?  Suck it up.  In our household it wasn’t the guilt towards starving children in Africa that made us clean our plates.  It was fear.  Who knows when Stalin is going to come back to take all our food away again.  What are you going to do without that thick roll of fat reserves around your midsection then?

It certainly doesn’t hurt that Ukrainian food is delicious.  Sure it’s all a red meaty, starchy, butter soaked mess – there is pretty much no such thing as vegetarian, not to even mention vegan food – but it is GOOD.  And eating is an event in itself – almost an art.  At a typical Ukrainian party, one would expect to spend a disproportional and large amount of time eating.  Well, eating, eating, dancing, eating, singing, eating, eating.  So… first come the salads – with mayonnaise on everything – potato, liver and carrot torte, deli meats with pickled everything you can imagine and lots of bread.  Then the soup and the main course – everything from kielbasa and stuffed cabbage to meatloaf and chicken – meat, meat, meat.  Oh, and everything comes with a side of potatoes.  Don’t forget those potatoes.  Fried potatoes, baked potatoes, potato cheese perogies drenched in butter and onions.  Don’t forget to leave room for dessert and wash it all down with a tall glass of ice-cold vodka.  Be careful with that one though.  It’s pretty much a fact that if a person isn’t an alcoholic, they will probably won’t be able to keep up.  When that dude that’s pouring says no big deal, he just wants to pour you “sto hram”?  Sto hram=100 grams=.42 cup.  ALMOST A 1/2 A CUP!  That a whole lotta vodka there.  They’re not messing around.

In my opinion, there is not food in the world that is more heartwarming and delicious that Borscht.  A bowl of that is just good for the soul.  Now most people recoil in fear when I say that I keep a steady diet of beet soup.  Beets just have this horrible reputation.  So sad.  I’m about to fix that noise.  If anything will change your mind about beets, it’s borscht.  There’s one issue with borscht though.  It’s always different.  Every person that makes it makes their grandmother’s recipe and it is ALWAYS better than any other version.  You can make it with meat or meatless, with or without beans or tomatoes, some recipes take the whole day to make, some only a few hours.  Growing up, I would eat this stuff like it was my job.  Actually, as a kid, I didn’t have anything else to do – so it kind of was my job.  Either way, my parents (they each had their own recipe, by the way) got so tired of making this soup all the time, my dad created a recipe that takes almost exactly 1 hour to make.  Now I make a big pot for myself pretty much every week when beets are in season.

Today, is a lucky day for you.  Today is the day that I share this delicious recipe.  You’re welcome.


Borscht Recipe:
2 1/2 liters of water
2 tablespoons of barley
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons dill weed (dried or fresh)
1 tablespoon parsley (dried or fresh)
1 large beet (chopped into small pieces)
1 medium onion (chopped into small pieces)
1 medium potato (chopped into small pieces)
3 cloves of garlic (crushed)
2 bay leaves
1 stalk celery (cut into 4 large pieces)
Juice of half lemon
Half 15 oz. can of kidney beans (dark or light)
Sour cream

Directions:


Bring water to a boil, add sugar, salt, barley, bay leaf and celery
Boil 10 minutes, add beets and lower heat to simmer
Simmer about 20 minutes (until barley and beets are softened)
Add parsley, dill weed, onion, garlic
Simmer 10 minutes, add potato
Simmer 10 minutes (until potatoes are fork tender), add kidney beans
Simmer 2 minutes, add lemon juice
Bring to a rapid boil, take out bay leaves and celery

Serve with a heaping pile of  sour cream (non of this low-fat shit either) and a few pieces of rye bread – if you like some heat, add crushed red pepper flakes


Cooks notes:
Do not cover at any point during cooking!  Wait till it cools off to cover, or the soup will lose it’s pretty color.
Any beets work and it’s hard to tell in the store, but the best beets are deep red when sliced into and don’t have lines.

And that’s it -


Bam!

Paparazzi

6 Sep

“A good snapshot stops a moment from running away.” -Eudora Welty

I admit: I haven’t owned a properly functioning camera in at least 10 years.  I’ve just never been very good at the whole photo thing.  I mean, what a pain – you have to carry the thing around all day, if it falls and breaks you have to buy a new one and somehow mine always used to be liquid magnets.  Where’s my camera?  Oh.  Sitting in that pile of juice that spilled all over the table.  Not to mention, I always hated being that annoying person who, in the middle of a fun moment, said “Don’t move, let me get my camera”.  The real reason I stopped carrying a camera? I always forgot to take pictures.  Here I am, lugging this obnoxious flashing contraption and I don’t do anything with it.  I tend to be an  “in the moment” kind of person… I’m there, I’m having fun… I just… forget.  Bottom line… I’ve just never been very good at the whole photo thing.  Which is unfortunate.  It’s nice to document the good times – to look back and see the fun had with friends.  So you know what I say?? Thank goodness for Facebook.  No frills, no fuss, just right click and copy and those babies are mine.  No papa-paparazzi -ing for me.

So for the last two weeks, I’ve been bombarded with Ukrainian-ness.  In one weekend, my dance group performed four shows – a private wedding, the Cleveland Cultural Gardens “One World Day”, and two shows at the St. Vladimir’s Ukrainian Festival in Parma.  We had some great performances and gorged on some delicious Ukrainian delicacies.


Me and Serhiy before our performance at a wedding.


Some of Kashtan Dance Ensemble’s beautiful dancers performing at the Cleveland Cultural Garden’s “One World Day”

The return to the weekly grind didn’t last too long, as our caravan of Clevelanders shipped out to Upstate New York to enjoy the Labor Day weekend.  You see, for Ukrainians, Labor Day is not just a day off of work for barbecues and air shows.  A weekend comprised of good friends, hundreds of Ukrainians from all over the country, music, dancing and singing until all hours of the night for four days straight.  For Ukrainians, Labor Day can be described in one word: Epic.


So magical, we’d be so fantastical


The Cleveland Sunday Extravaganza at Kyiv.

So the moral of this story is that I love my friends, I love my Ukrainian-ness and I love the paparazzi that snapped these photos.   These pictures aren’t just worth a thousand – they’re worth a million words.  Wouldn’t miss these gorgeous momentos for the world.

Eat, Pray, Love

12 Aug

The Feast – Cleveland’s Feast of the Assumption, held each year in mid-August in Little Italy, is a four-day street fair that celebrates the Catholic Day of Assumption (August 15), when the Virgin Mary died and assumed her place beside Jesus. The Feast is a fun-filled Italian street party with rides, food, live music, a procession, and lots of fun. August 12-14 starting Friday at 6pm on Murray Hill in Little Italy.    I’ll be there – if you want to find me, I’ll be the one with a tray full of cannoli shoved in my bocca.

Broadway-Slavic Village Walk and Roll –  Grab your walking shoes, bike, stilts, skateboard, or anything else that gets you moving and join us on the streets of Slavic Village for our third annual Walk+Roll!  Three miles of neighborhood streets (E. 65th, Fleet, E. 49th, Kenyon, and Ackley) will be open to pedestrians for a unique way to actively explore the community. Saturday, August 13, 1pm-6pm at E. 65th Street and Osmond Ct.

The Jewish Food and Culture Festival – The fourth annual food and cultural festival features fare from restaurants such as Corky and Lenny’s, Jack’s Deli, Aladdin’s, Chef Dave’s Catering, Hermann’s and more.  Admission to museum galleries is free and includes special entertainment.  Sunday, August 14 from 11am – 4pm at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, 2929 Richmond Road, Beachwood.

The 37th Annual North Ridgeville Corn Festival – August 12-14th

Great Food Truck Race Viewing Party – In support of Chris Hodgson’s appearance on Food Network’s The Great Food Truck Race, Happy Dog will be hosting viewing parties during the show’s original air time, Sundays at 10pm. Beginning August 14, 9:30pm at the Happy Dog, 5801 Detroit Avenue.  http://www.dimanddensum.com/pages/chefs

The 115th Annual Cuyahoga County Fair – There’s nothing else to say… it’s the fair! August 8-14 at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds in Berea

Tremont Art Walk – Take a walk through one of Cleveland’s best neighborhoods and check out the great art galleries that stay open extra long for this great monthly event.  Then grab some delicious food and drinks at some of Cleveland’s best restaurants.  Friday, August 12 and every 2nd Friday of the month from 6pm – 10pm

Rockin’ On the River – It’s the 25th Anniversary of NE Ohio’s longest running and highest attended outdoor concert series. In Cuyahoga Falls this and every Friday from 5-11:30pm.

Lock 3 Akron – Akron’s hottest destination for outdoor entertainment is in full swing with it’s family friendly concerts.  Lock 3 features a dynamic variety of entertainment and on weekend nights the amphitheater hosts FREE Rock the Lock concerts featuring the country’s best tribute bands.  This weekend’s features: The ONE, A Celebration of U-2, Friday August 12  and Terry Lee Goffee (The Real Johnny Cash Experience on Saturday, August 13.

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