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Thursday, March 31, 2011

In the words of Jessie Spano...






John surprised me with a trip to Baltimore for my birthday. It's incredibly sweet. He emailed all my friends a couple of months ago and managed to keep it a secret. I absolutely cannot wait!

I adore Baltimore - the first city I fell in love with - the city where I grew up - the city that's way underrated and really freaking cool.

On the Docket...

Friends!!!!!! Leaving Baltimore was hard. I distinctly remember losing it after saying goodbye to Paul and Rafi as I bought my last coffee at Donna's. Now we'll make up for lost time - oh yes!!!

Woodberry Kitchen This restaurant alone is worth a trip to Baltimore. No, really.

Mi Viejo Peublito Authentic tamales and mole, omg.

Hampden Favorite hangout/afternoon shopping/thrifting alone or with friends spot for two years.

I don't even know what else. I'm so excited. Mostly, I get to see a lot of my very favorite people. Ahhhh!

See you Monday!

        Lauren

Birthday Snow!?
Poor little Spring blooms I spotted yesterday.










Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A year older.

via Loveology

Dear Everyone!

I am 26 years old today. 

It's such a good age. I thought nothing could be better than 25, but now I'm not so sure.

Today is wonderful.

First of all, the best thing about Facebook is getting to hear from all of your favorites in one day! The little messages make me very happy. I feel lucky to have so many great people in my life.

My sweet fiance got up early to bring me pastries from my favorite bakery, On the Rise - truly European breads, and in today's case, Almond Croissants and an Apple Torte.

After doing some work for an orchestra here in town, John took me to lunch at my favorite Cleveland restaurant, L'abatros, also French. (Hmm) It was absolutely lovely, and we had the best Mussels and Cod that we have had in a very long time. So fresh and so perfectly cooked.

The night is young; we're off to a concert and probably a Nighttown reprise.

But the most exciting news of all ----

for my birthday I got a job offer!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pictures and details to come very soon.

Love!




Monday, March 28, 2011

Exciting Week Ahead!!!!


Friends,

I turn 26 this week.

What's great about that is that John has all these secret plans that he's been talking about for months! Literally since January, he's been talking about a surprise weekend getaway. He's been giving me a clue a day for a week now. So sweet. And I found the little present pictured above this morning...

Picture found here.
Actually, the next month is going to be quite a whirlwind. It goes like this: work, time with Apollo's Fire, birthday, Film Fest, Surprise Getaway, trip to Vermont, Maxwell Family Visits Cleve, modeling work with Currents, and probably a flight home late in the month to scope out wedding venues.

After that, who knows. Anything could happen.

Enjoy your week! 

Love,

         Lauren

Weekend in Review

This weekend was great.

John and I celebrated being engaged for one whole week. Although I had to work Saturday, we had plenty of fun on Friday (yoga and dancing) and Saturday (Turkish food) nights and of course our favorite day, Sunday.


This is exciting: I made my first wedding purchase yesterday! I recently found a fantastic vintage store in Chagrin Falls, where I bought a gorgeous white silk wrap dress from the 40's. I went back today with John for a few little wedding must-haves that I wanted to pick up before someone else did. I would love to post pictures of them here, but I think that would ruin the surprise, no? 

As if that didn't excite me enough, there was a light pink lace gown at this shop that I tried on for fun. Somehow it fit perfectly, length and all. It's from the late 20's or early 30's (pre-zippers!!!) --- with a lot of delicate handwork. So pretty. I told the owner that I was going to have to wait on the dress, and she just gave it to me! She said that it fit me, I appreciated it, would actually wear it, and that was good enough for her. How sweet! It's in amazing condition. Hopefully eventually I will picture it here.

This shop I keep mentioning is well worth visiting, and I'm going to miss it if I leave Cleveland. (More news to come!) The vintage clothing collection is beautiful. Usually I have to sort through a bunch of uglies and just look to enjoy the old styles, but these are so carefully selected...I had an armload of things to try on that were actually wearable.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Elephants Never Forget

The Film Festival was really exciting. First of all, I've never experienced such an artistic buzz in Cleveland. It was thrilling. (And proves Cleveland's potential!) Apparently 10,000 people came through the doors yesterday alone. Incredible.

Flora, moviestar
One Lucky Elephant was a touching story about the way humans relate with animals, presenting a circus owner who was kind enough to retire his Elephant after noticing that she no longer "enjoyed" performing. He spent quite some time looking for the perfect home for her, and encountered many struggles along the way. She was, after all, only used to human contact. The director was in attendance, and in a Q and A session made some interesting points. She said she hopes the film fits into a larger template of a growing awareness regarding the human relationship with the planet, and suggested that the human desire to capture and dominate wild animals runs parallel to a similar desire to harness the ecosystem for our own benefit. Although the film primarily showcased the beautifully moving bond between pet and owner, I left feeling incredibly saddened about killing sprees, captivity, and dominance training. Read more about Flora, my new favorite Elephant, here, and read about the NPO that supports her here. Elephants are amazing.

(We have tickets to see Surviving Hitler: A Love Story on Thursday. Can't wait!)

Saturday, March 26, 2011

A ten thousand pound love story.


Doesn't this just make your heart melt? I absolutely cannot wait to see this film with my fiance (can't stop saying it!) tomorrow at the Cleveland International Film Festival! The festival started yesterday, and Cleveland is abuzz. I'm anxious to check it out.

And tonight, we'll be going to Istanbul Grill for what I'm told is "excellent Turkish comfort food."

Kabobs with Yogurt!

 We're happy that it looks like Spring here in Cleveland, even if it is 20 degrees outside. Wishing you good things like Spring Tulips, film, and Middle Eastern food....
                                                                                                      Lauren

Thursday, March 24, 2011

An Ella Kind of Night


For John, obviously:



My favorite:



And for the record, everyone always talks about Berlin, but Budapest is by far my favorite. All time favorite, in fact. It's been sitting in my car's disc changer since high school. No joke. It's the only thing that never gets old! I have the whole thing memorized, scat for scat. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yellow

via Loveology

Rainy day in Cleveland. But that's okay -- just an excuse to wear a bright yellow rain jacket.


via Stylehive

Good things are happening all around. I feel so grateful. The previously-mentioned new connections are turning into new job possibilities (and trips to New England), and I think I might have some news to share sooner rather than later. Again, yay!!!

xo,
                  L

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Engagement Day

Friends, I couldn't be happier.

I never dreamed I could be so excited to become someone's wife. That's one of the many reasons I knew John was the one - the thought of marrying him is exhilarating and nothing less. No red flags. Not even a tiny pink one! It's freeing to be able to look ahead with such confidence and trust -- allowing for pure excitement.

Our Engagement Day really was perfect. Very us. John had me totally believing - through blatant hints and constant chatter about secret birthday plans - that it was happening at the very end of March. So when he said he had a surprise planned for Sunday, I thought it was his attempt at throwing me off his game. After playing a gig in Michigan at the end of last week, he said Sunday would be for us (it typically is). After waking up, he told me we'd be going to brunch at our favorite spot. I was thrilled. There's nothing the two of us love more than a relaxed Sunday morning together in this cozy little Victorian house turned local and hip Vine and Bean Cafe.

I noticed John put on a special shirt and rushed to "take Herbie out," (aka proposal set-up), so I asked (excitedly) if I needed to dress up, too. He convinced me otherwise, to "just throw on some clothes and let's go." So I threw on my doggie sweater and headed out. When I walked into the kitchen, I noticed a list of names on our chalkboard, usually used for sweet little notes. In pre-coffee confusion, I started asking what it was, although it was obviously our closest friends. "What is this...a guest list? why would you write one this morning?"  It was entering the back of my mind that it was people we would call after getting engaged, and then I noticed the table with candles and Champagne.

In the next few moments, John was pulling a shiny ring out of his pocket, trying to hold back tears, and asking me to marry him. My answer was completely and wholly yes.

The moments to follow were the best moments of my life. The whole day jumped to the very top of the list.

John chose the First Day of Spring because of its symbolism, and because he knew I loved it. So sweet. Luckily, it was the most gorgeous weather we've seen in Cleveland yet! So after a sweet brunch with coffee, mimosas, and a Pistachio cupcake, my fiance (!!!!) and I headed to Chagrin Falls to see the water, window shop, and generally walk on air. After coffee and galavanting, we collected goods for cooking dinner together and headed home. We cooked and celebrated before moving on to the Champagne phase, which eventually took us to Nighttown, a legendary Cleveland spot that's served as the stage for Wynton, Count Basie, and the like. And as Scene Magazine says, it makes you feel about 20 times cooler than you actually are.

The ring John gave me is absolutely gorgeous. The funny thing is, I was originally very against having a diamond. I wanted something totally unconventional. Eventually we decided, though, that we liked the timelessness and symbolism of the diamond, so here we are, with something beautiful (and extremely sparkly!) as a token of our promise to each other.

So that's our day. We're so excited to share this special time with you! See the rest of our pictures here, if you like.





Monday, March 21, 2011

Engaged!!!!!


I'm so excited to announce that John and I are engaged! 

Yesterday was an absolute dream. Surprises. The Question. Saying yes! First Day of Spring. New Beginnings. Using the word "fiancĂ©."

I am thrilled to be marrying the sweetest man I know. We feel so incredibly blessed to have found each other and made it to this day. Soon I will share our Engagement Story...

Yay!!!!!!!!! 


Friday, March 18, 2011

Day Off!

A Day Off and 60 degrees in Cleveland is bliss! Herbie and I pampered ourselves, took a really long walk, explored adorable vintage shops in Chagrin Falls, and went to The Yoga Room to end up with an unexpected hour of private instruction (amazing!). 

Herbie got a much, much needed haircut at The Barkley Hotel and Day Spa, but now he looks so naked that I feel a little bit bad about it. I got my toes did, leaving me feeling prettier and officially ready for sandal weather (boldly ignoring the rumors of snow for next week). 

I hope your day was just as lovely!

xoxo.

This place is not kidding.

"I got my hair cut, it's 60 degrees, yeeeah!"

Sure sign of Spring: Little Italy's Tomato Tree is back.

Footsie wrap.


Lookin' good.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Down Home Girl

In an effort to simultaneously charm John and quell my own general longing for Collard Greens, I returned to my Southern roots last night to make Crispy Chicken and Collards, with Biscuits on the side. This is comfort food at its finest, folks. It's crispy without the fried -- Biscuits without the Lard. Thank you, as usual, Real Simple.

Dijon Mustard and multigrain cereal coated Chicken is baked in the oven while Collards are boiled for ten minutes and sauteed for three. Easy! If you're feeling even a little bit Down Home Girl (or Southern Gentleman), you should try this for sure. Yum.


They actually looked just like this, and I don't even have a good oven!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Artists for Japan

Sometimes when it feels like nothing can be done, people try anyway.

Crane on Linen

Hand

Pillow
I'm in love with the Woven Hand on Japanese Paper, but mostly, it makes me happy to see so many people caring. All proceeds go to the Red Cross for relief efforts in Japan.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Vintage + Beach

Maybe I've said this before, but just put me on a beach in a bathing suit, and I'll be happy. I love these 40's and 50's styles, especially the mysterious beauty in the hat.

The good news is that now you can put something like this on, call it a Romper, and go about your day!

get the memo

 borrowed

Just a Quiet Weekend

Just a quiet weekend with work on Saturday and a Sunday alone for networking, downward-dogging, visiting Target, and Herbie.

Recently I've encounted three (3!) different people who have gone entirely out of their way to be helpful. It's so refreshing. None of this my-time-is-too-sacred-to-be-wasted-on-you stuff. And I guess it's true that the first thing that struck me about Cleve was the general friendliness. And they're getting even nicer as the snow melts.

So these lovely people are helping me network in a new city - they are well-connected - and even asking me to apply for jobs. Yay for friends. Yay for connections.

John and I can't stop daydreaming about all the good things to come! 2010 brought a lot of good, but I think 2011 is going to give it a run for its money.
Cheers!
         Lauren
found on Etsy
  

Friday, March 11, 2011

Just Another Blizzard

It's true; you can't take the South Carolina out of the girl. I've never even heard of a mid-March blizzard! But here we are, trudging through the snow in Cleveland. Okay, it's a little bit pretty, but allllllll I can think about is this.

beach
dock
 this girl!
via Mary Ruffle

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Art Meets Cooking

And they get along quite well. I found this on another blog today, but look how adorable it is! You had to see it. I love her concept of improvisation and play in the kitchen.  Freestyle pepper grinds, piling up fresh herbs until it feels right --- it tastes better and it's more fun. Win.

View the rest of Katie Shelly's Picture Cookbook here. This makes me want to grab John, Herbie, and a bottle of wine and get to work.


xoxo.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Rain, Rain

It was rainy in Cleveland today. Gross rainy and cold rainy. But who cares? John and I both got great interviews, had dinner together, and daydreamed about potential plans for the future. I couldn't ask for more.

by hello jenuine

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sartorialist Stripes

I'm in love with The Sartorialist's Dotted finds in Milan. Between variations of texture and the fearless marriage of dots and stripes, these girls have style.




Saturday, March 5, 2011

Cleveland International Film Festival

Lovely Friends, 
     I've been hearing a little buzz about the Cleveland International Film Festival as of late, and I was interested - but after seeing the publication that was released today (created by a friend of mine!) and perusing the website, I am sold


This looks amazing. It happens to be the week of my birthday - so why not celebrate with some lovely-and-little-known pieces of cinema? Yes, please!


But now I'm overwhelmed with possibility. So many films - so many events - so little time. 


I want to see this, this, this, and this, and that's only after browsing the first three pages. 


I'm in trouble.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Spring Cold

Alas, the flip-flopping weather that is Spring in Cleveland has given me a nasty Cold.
 Luckily, I didn't have to work today, so instead,

I'm spending quality Couch Time with Herbie,



catching up on Glee, 

image here


and eating popcorn for dinner.

I hope to feel better soon, but Herbie doesn't agree.
 He'd rather have me on the couch forever?




Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Confession

So maybe sometimes I fall prey to cool packaging. 

But this is different.

This is Wonder Woman - my superhero of choice as a 3-year-old! My mom's favorite childhood story tells of my religious dedication to watching the television show daily at 4 p.m., complete with a perfected iconic spin and a re-appropriated Super Girl pajama costume. And that was before I knew about her early feminist symbolism! Not to mention her timely and ironic comic book debut as a Nazi-fighting heroine - December 1941.

So when I saw MAC's new Wonder Woman collection, 
I knew it was the time to buy red matte lipstick.

I just couldn't help it.


See the collection here.


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

M-a-r-c-h

March! March is my favorite month. March means sun. March is Spring.  March says in with the dresses and out with the parkas, but keep your cowboy boots around for fun.
 March March March.

Audrey on a bike with a basket and a head scarf.

P.S. John says March is for surprises. (!!)
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