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Cleveland Photo Diary

Back in January, we started planning on going to a Seahawks game sometime this year and Cleveland was the one that made the cut. I’ve visited the city once before, albeit briefly, so I was excited at the prospect of getting to really explore it. 

We like to get as early a start as possible when we’re traveling, and this trip was no different. Because this was a shorter trip than usual, we didn’t want to sleep in. We decided to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on the same day, so we headed out early for Canton. Even for someone like me who isn’t particularly into football, the HoF was pretty impressive. My personal favorite was looking at the uniforms and photographs from the earliest days of the sport. This was one of the many moments when I wished that our trip could be longer. We drove around parts of Canton that I really wished we could have explored, but simply didn’t have time to.

The Rock & Roll HoF was just as I’d remembered it, with a few changes. I was really excited to show Andrew some of my favorite parts of the museum, but they were in the middle of installations, so several of the larger areas were empty or closed to the public altogether. Nevertheless, we had a blast. We took our time through each exhibit, studying the clothing, lyrics, and instruments of some of our favorite artists and their iconic performances. 

After being tourists, we got down to what we do best in new areas: breweries and thrift stores. Savers would prove to be my favorite among the thrift stores I visited on these trips. I made out with sweaters, long sleeves, and even a vest that I never thought I'd be able to pull off. I’ll have an autumn favorites post coming up soon! After a quick thrift trip, we headed out to dinner. Andrew found Saucy Brew Works and put it at the top of his list. They’re known not only for their beer but also for their pizza. We hung out for a while, cozying up in our sweaters while the temperature outside dropped. 

We made our way to Brewnuts afterward for another beer for Andrew, a chai latte for me, and a donut for each of us. I had the blueberry vanilla bean and Andrew had the Count Chocula donut. These things were massive and I had to save the other half for the next day. On our way from the parking lot, we came across Superelectric Pinball Parlor. It's exactly what it sounds like. We peeped a crowd of people hanging out playing pinball and we needed to learn more. We stopped in after Brewnuts and had a blast. We swapped a few bucks for some coins and went to town. They had a bunch of retro machines from the 80s and beyond. I had a great time carrying my glass of Riesling from machine to machine while refusing to believe someone can be as bad at pinball as I am.

We didn’t have concrete plans for the second day in the city, so we let our list do the work. Something new that we tried on this trip— in part because of the trip’s short nature— was to prepare a shared note on our phones of the things we most wanted to do. I included the venues’ hours, website, and a highlight or two about the location or why we wanted to visit it. This cut back on so much time that we waste figuring out what to do. Additionally, many of our map apps use Yelp, and you can create lists of your bookmarks that I used to save the places I was hoping to visit. This was the perfect city to make a few locations must-sees and then make the rest up as we go. There was something to do no matter what part of the city we were in.

We made it a point to try Bob Evans while we were in the midwest and had a great breakfast first thing. We spent the day exploring the West Side Market, various breweries, bookstores, thrift stores, ice cream parlors and more. We loved walking around the market, sampling and picking out some uncommon fruits. I also spotted a huge homemade ice cream shop and eventually made my way to the biggest scoops of wild berry crumble ice cream. Note the hilariously small cone that I picked out before I knew how big the scoops really were.


 After a few more stops, we started looking for some good dinner spots and made our way to The Harp. I kept it basic with some fish & chips while Andrew got the Shepherd’s Pie— our typical Irish pub orders. With full bellies, we headed back to our Airbnb where we relaxed, watched movies, and rested up for the day ahead. 

I wish we could be there for this because this is right up my alley.

Our last day was pretty much pre-planned with the football game. We got there early to see the teams warm up, ate stadium food, and enjoyed the Seahawks 32-28 win over the Browns. We didn’t wanna be out late since we had to be up early the next morning for our return drive home, but we still managed to fit some exploring and dinner into the mix. We headed to Boss Dog Brewing Co. under the impression that it’d be a simple brewery, but it was, in fact, a full restaurant, so we got dinner there too. This was probably one of my favorite stops during the trip. The food was great, our server was awesome, and it was an all-around great atmosphere.

We packed up Sunday night and got on the road early. Our Airbnb was right on Lake Erie so we took some time to walk along the shore and watch the lake lighten as the sun began to rise. I would have loved to witness a full sunrise or sunset, but we had to be on the road sooner rather than later. We stopped at Tim Hortons for breakfast as we passed through Columbus and headed home. Thankfully, the trip home was much smoother than the one up and made it home earlier than anticipated.

Because we did so much in so little time, it would take ages to work in every single place we visited, so I made a list of our favorite restaurants, breweries, and everything in between.

To Eat & Drink
The Harp // Irish pub type food and a cozy atmosphere. Our table had a nice view of Lake Erie and part of the Cleveland skyline. 

Bob Evans // Traditional breakfast, think Cracker Barrel. Good coffee and generous portions.

Saucy Brew Works // Original pizzas, great craft beer, sports, and a lively atmosphere.

Brewnuts // A unique donut selection that changes weekly, as well as a craft beer selection from local breweries and even some coffee and tea offerings. They have the cutest decor and even cuter bathrooms. I’m glad I went before leaving because otherwise, I would have missed the pink flamingo glamour of it.

Boss Dog Brewing Co // Another brewery that has mastered the art of offering a full menu selection. Great food, and a comfortable atmosphere with the option to sit outside in the cozy patio area or sit at the bar for some sports on their flat-screens. Aside from the bar where they have some sports, the rest of the space feels more like a sit-down restaurant.

Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream // Some of the best ice cream I’ve ever had. Extremely generous portions, so keep that in mind, lol! Unique flavors, lots of seating, and similar to a brewery, there are large windows where you can see the ice cream being made!

Bad Tom Smith // A traditional brewery that offers some bar snacks, think pretzels. Has a large bar and some high top seating. It can feel crowded, but it's such a great atmosphere, more people just means you can make even more friends with the other patrons!

Nano Brew // Brewery that serves food as well, lots of seating indoors, as well as an outdoor bar and a lot more seating.

Just for Fun
Superelectric Pinball Parlor // a good collection of retro and modern pinball machines as well as a bar with craft beer, wine, and cocktail offerings. There’s a seating area and the entire space feels very nostalgic. Strong Stranger Things vibes here.

Rock & Roll Hall of Fame // The house that rock built. When it’s in full swing, you can get lost for hours looking at anything and everything you can imagine. So much to learn and relive. They have a small restaurant, coffee shop, and eating areas as well as some food trucks outside. Endless photo opportunities, no flash photography! It’s right on Lake Erie, so you can walk around outside, or just sit by the water.

They added a Vans Warped Tour section that wasn't there the first time I was there and my little heart was so happy.

Pro Football Hall of Fame // Everything from the earliest days of football to current super bowl rings, busts of every player who’s been inducted, a large gift shop, and an area where you can toss the ball around outside. No photography allowed!

Horizontal Books // Discount bookstore with some new and used titles. The more books you buy, the higher the discount!

West Side Market // So many vendors selling fresh produce and more. We went when it was winding down, but still picked up some fruits that we snacked on while exploring. Lots to see and sample, I wish we lived locally so we could really shop around and have somewhere to put our stuff.

Although we only had three full days in the city, we were able to check most things off of our list. We returned to our Airbnb every night exhausted but so satisfied with what we were able to do. We’ve been to quite a few places over the years, but Ohio has held a special place in my heart since the first time I visited. Everything from the people to the atmosphere has me wanting to go back to the midwest. We both miss it so much, and I think it was more than just missing vacation spots once you’re home. Both of us felt an immediate attachment to the area that has us genuinely missing the people, the atmosphere, all of it. Here’s to hoping we find our way back soon.

Finally fulfilled my dream of trying out Tim Hortons


I may or may not have been shopping for Halloween/Autumn stuff since July. Even though I’m in the south, I hold out hope every year that the beginning of the autumn season brings with it golden leaves & crisp days. So while the temperature is staying put in the 90s, I’ve still let myself get swept up in the season’s excitement. 

I haven’t been thrifting in quite a while, but last Sunday just felt like the right time. We’re leaving for Cleveland later this week, so a thrift trip was in order for some new-to-me pieces anyway.

I was graciously welcomed by the thrifting gods as I immediately spotted craftsmanship hiding from somewhere in the back row. As I worked my way down the color-coded handbag section I found that I’d collected four vintage Polo Ralph Lauren handbags. The vintage Ivy League style is one that has never lost its appeal to me. I apparently can’t stop at my collection of vintage Dooney & Bourke all-weather-leather bags, because I walked out with three of the four bags I found. 

One of the best tips I can give to anyone wanting to up their thrifting game, or maybe just weed out the things they're not looking for faster is to learn the colors, styles, and textures you prefer. I’m pretty familiar with the look and feel of vintage leather bags, especially from the brands that I’m most familiar with. A glance at how the leather is stitched or the buckles fit is a huge indicator to me. Even the way certain bags are embossed or treated will stick out. The same goes for textures and fabrics on sweaters or jeans or coats. The more you familiarize yourself with the elements of the pieces you love, the less effort spotting them in the wilderness of a thrift store will be.  

I got home with three beautiful new bags and got straight to work cleaning them up. I mixed up a tiny portion of Dr. Bronner’s castile soap and got to work on the dust that was caught under the stitching, buckles, and other fixtures. Once I’d finished cleaning and detailing my new babies, they were even more breathtaking to me.

We’re heading up to Ohio soon and I can’t wait to tote these around on our mini trip. I might even try something crazy and not bring a backup D&B bag. Stay tuned for our photo diary on our upcoming adventure! Although it’s a short one, I know we’re gonna be able to squeeze so much into it!

in absentia

It’s been a whirlwind few months since I’ve last posted. (Seriously, how is it already basically July?) One of my goals this year was to be more deliberate and consistent with posting, but everything in life seems to happen either slowly or all at once. In my absence here, I’ve been finding out more and more about what keeps me grounded when it feels like I’m floating away and there’s nothing to hold on to. I’ve been thinking about how I want to blog more, but have nothing to write about because I haven’t done anything. I thought about how I’ve been focusing on my own well-being, and then a voice said, “write about it.” 

journaling | writing | planning
Since my days of collecting journals because they were pretty or simply out of the excitement and possibility that comes from of having an empty notebook— to learning about morning pages a couple years ago— I’ve always had at least one empty notebook on hand. I tried morning pages for a few weeks, but I felt that writing first thing in the morning wasn’t always possible or practical. I transitioned to evenings, or sometimes writing multiple times per day if the mood struck. Like water, something as simple as writing is immensely cathartic and has helped me through so much. Where I otherwise would have begun to crack and crumble, sitting down and scribbling out whatever was on my mind gives me an immediate outlet. Getting that initial surge of feeling out slowly gives way to the insight and understanding I would otherwise be lacking had I let myself be carried away by the emotion and stress of the moment. I use a regular composition notebook for moments like these, keeping in mind that my writing in it is more for necessity and less for pleasure. In addition to this notebook, I have a journal that I use for more casual/pleasure-writing. In the same way that I’ll decorate my planner, I love sitting at my desk at the end of the night and spending some time decorating my journal pages and my planner. I’ll also go over my goals and to-do lists. I’ve found that getting creative with paper crafts and #plannergirl stuff is a muuuuch better way to end the night than staring at screens all day until I fall asleep. Throw in some hot tea and music and my night is made.

go outside
This is the one I struggle with most because when I feel myself falling into a deep, dark pit of despair (that’s not dramatic, right?), the only thing I wanna do is crawl deeper into my cave. I do myself no favors as I continue bingeing tv shows or youtube videos while the day wastes away. And while I definitely enjoy relaxing in front of the tv, moments like these are different. Something as small as going to check the mail is enough to get me out of the toxic bubble that I’ve been inhabiting that day. If I can help it, taking a few laps around our apartment complex is enough to shake the bad aura. Once that happens, pulling myself out of that pit isn’t so daunting. 

This may not be the exact location of my mailbox, but the effect is the same.

If you follow me on Instagram, then you might know that I’ve been working out pretty consistently for the last few months. The results are surely coming in, and while those are exciting, so was the realization that since I’ve begun exercising on a regular basis, the “bad” days have been few and very far between. Kinda going hand in hand with getting outside, getting myself out of the apartment for a good workout not only gets me out of the bubble I confine myself to, but gives me the opportunity to let my mind wander, focus on myself, focus on music, and it gives me the chance to really admire what my body is capable of. Outside of the gym, I’m a generally happier, more confident, and secure person. I don’t take or do anything extra. I just get out there and let my body move like it was made to. 
creativity | photos
I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I’d bother my parents to buy me as many rolls of film as they could. I’d beg them to take me to get my photos developed, and I’d take my mom’s polaroid that she used for work and use up all of her cartridges. The introduction of digital cameras didn’t take away the love I had for shooting the world around me. I could take that little electronic box with me into the woods and get lost for hours just the same. This is still true today. I have a fairly large collection of 35mm cameras that I still use, as well as my DSLR. Set me free anywhere with a camera and I’ll take it from there. I’ll look at the world through the viewfinder instead of through my own eyes, my anxieties dropping away with every photo I take. This has always been my happy place, and it still is today. Unleashing my own creativity does wonders for me. 

reaching out | talking to someone
I’ve always been someone who’s embarrassed to reach out to when I just need to talk. I tell myself that I’m being a burden and instead let my worries burn a hole inside me. Something has to be really hurting to get me to reach out to someone. Because of this, I know I’ve come off as somebody who only reaches out when they need help, and I sincerely apologize. I’ve made some pretty great friends in the last year, and while I have texted them the ‘ol “hey are you busy?,” I’ve also learned that people don’t hate me like I think they do (LOL). I’m not afraid to text my friends with general inquiries, memes, reddit links, or otherwise general being-a-friend stuff. Maybe it’s the fake friends and toxic company I’ve had in the past that had me believing that I wasn’t worthy of friendship, but coaxing myself to open up to the people I call friends today has been one of the most important moves I’ve made. 
settle in
Sometimes the problem isn’t confining yourself. Sometimes it’s the world outside your door that you need a break from. Because I tend to gravitate outdoors and be more active than inactive, the exact opposite of getting out is sometimes necessary. I like to pretend that every day is a day in November. I thrive in overcast, chilly weather. Musky scents and candlelight. This is my ideal world. I close the blinds, grab a blanket, light some incense and candles, and put on one of my favorite movies. For me: Smart People, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, Daydream Nation, and Stuck in Love are my go-to. Most importantly: I remind myself that it’s ok to relax. The world will be waiting for you when you’re ready.
critters & candles: what more could a person need?

I found this on Pinterest and it spoke directly to me <3 

Because all of my friends and the people I interact with the most are in Texas, I’m left to my own devices irl. This makes dealing with stress and all the negative stuff a bit trickier than when I was able to hang out and unwind with my people. If any of you guys are reading this, know how much I appreciate and love all of you. 
Do you guys have a routine or habit you swear by in these moments? Let me know! ❤️