Monday, December 11, 2017

Do Good CLE

Cleveland on the night of the Cavs game 7 win.
On Thursday, December 14, let's make a difference in our little corner of the world with #DoGoodCLE day. Use the day to post, tweet, snap, insta or any other platform all the good out there. Post about your favorite museum that could use some new visitors. Tweet about the food bank you volunteer at. Instagram your latest find from the local business you love. 

Let's drown out the negative, if at least for one day.

Is #DoGoodCLE just online?
#DoGoodCLE is an online effort. Use the hashtag #DoGoodCLE with your posts so everyone can follow throughout the day and you can share your favorites! I'm by no means discouraging you from being awesome to the people you see in real life through out the day. Contact the folks at Random Acts of Kindness Everywhere if you need some ideas!

So, what exactly am I doing to support #DoGoodCLE?
Use your social media power to share the good in Cleveland! Your favorite spot to catch the sunset, the walking tour of Playhouse Square that you love, whatever it is, share it! Did you know that the best place in all of Northeast Ohio for crepes is Kelly's Cafe in Brunswick?  Let's help local businesses keep their dreams alive. 

Why are you doing this? What's in it for you?
I was reading the news online and read about a little girl that was bullied online and then committed suicide. The next story I read was the young man from the Salvation Army that was shot and killed in Cleveland. It was all too much. Here was a little girl that killed herself because of online bullies and then a young man that dedicated his life to service was shot dead, with his bible still in his hand. A BIBLE IN HIS HAND. Yes, I am online shouting, because I would have shouted that last part at you if you were in front of me. I'm not an particularly religious person, and that last part stuck with me. If there was ever a sign that maybe we all need to be better, that, in my opinion, is it. 

As for what's in it for me? Not feeling crappy about humanity is what I hope to get out this campaign. 2017 has not been my favorite year. My life has become, in a word, complicated. My family isn't in the best of health and my favorite person in the world has been diagnosed with a particularly awful disease that there is no cure for and there are more awful days than good days ahead. Then, my cat, Bernie, died. So, my gain out of all this is for people to be a little less awful to one another and to focus on what is good and amazing instead of awful and miserable. 

How can I get the word out?
Post using #DoGoodCLE on Thursday. Join the Facebook event and share your posts.  Over the next few days, share about the event so every can start thinking about what is awesome in our community. 

Sounds easy enough, but this really isn't going to change anything, right?
It is easy to do, and will we change the world? Probably not. Can we make it better for a bit? Absolutely. You never know how far a simple kind word can take someone else. Your motivation, by way of Facebook or Twitter,  could be that one little piece that restores someone else's faith. Never lose sight of that.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Witnesses Winner

Congratulations to the winner of the Witnesses photograph from Emily Roggenburk. 

The winner has been notified! Thank you to everyone that entered and to Emily for sharing her awesome work!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Emily Roggenburk Photography Giveaway

"Witnesses" by Emily Roggenburk

I can not imagine a more perfect time for this giveaway.

For years before I came home, I always went downtown to take a picture of Terminal Tower and the LeBron banner. Both are iconic imagines that symbolize the city. And both images give me a warm fuzzy feeling in my soul. 

Emily Roggenburk is a local photographer that had an amazing idea...during the Cavs Championship parade, she got in a helicopter and shot amazing views of the crowd from high above the city. My absolute favorite (and getting framed as I type this) is her "Witnesses" print.  You can order one from her (or another shot from her collection) here, or, you can win one!

You can also check out Emily's collection of t-shirts and other photos, all awesome! 

There are several ways to win a 16x20 print of "Witnesses":

1. Follow Emily Roggenburk on the Twitter.
2. Like Emily Roggenburk on the Facebook.  
3. Follow Cleveland Chick on the Twitter. 
4. Follow Emily Roggenburk on Instagram. 
5. Follow Cleveland Chick on Instagram. 
6. Leave a comment with your favorite Cleveland memory. 
7. Tweet "I'm a Witness! I want to win a @Cavs Championship photo from @emilyroggenburk & @Clevelandchick! #defendtheland"

You can tweet once a day, and leave me a comment here for each of the tasks you complete. I let a computer pick a winner, so if you don't comment, it won't be included. 

The winner will be selected Sunday, October 30 at 5 pm, so get tweeting!

Disclosure: Emily Roggenburk Photography graciously offered a photo of my choice for me and one to giveaway. The words are my own, fueled by too much red bull. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

5 Questions Answered by Someone Awesome - Party At Napoli's

What makes someone awesome? 

Lots of things is the simple answer. A person's attitude, accomplishments, the indescribable aura around them are all possible qualities that make a person awesome. 

More often though, it is something small; a gesture or a moment that goes from mundane to amazing because it struck a chord with someone else. Maybe it was calling a long forgotten friend to just say hi, or maybe it was making a sign at a ball game. I'll get to the latter in a moment.

5 Questions with Someone Awesome is my continuing adventure to find people that I think are awesome, telling them that they are awesome and trying to find out why they are so awesome.

You can read my original blog post about the idea here. So far, I have asked questions of Scott Wise - the Scotty in Scotty's Brewhouse, Rik Danburg from your Cleveland Indians, past Browns Kicker, Billy Cundiff , my BFF author, David Collins and Sarah Stilgenbauer, previous co-worker and all around adventurer. 

This time, I sent 5 questions to my friend, Nate, otherwise known as Hipster Tito, otherwise known as the Party at Napoli's guy. If you have been to a Cleveland Indians game recently, you would have seen numerous "Party at Napoli's" shirts in the sea of witty Cleveland t-shirts. 

What makes this shirt different from any other in the crowd is that the proceeds from this one go to Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital. The shirt has raised close to $100,000 and we can all agree, that is pretty awesome. 

If you want one for yourself, you can stop by the Indians Team Shop or online

Nate, his family and the Napoli of the Party.

Nate, is in his words: 

A life-long resident of Northeast Ohio who really is married to the woman of his dreams with three great children.  I enjoy what I do for a living: anything I dislike about it disappears bi-weekly on Fridays and on the weekends.  I may or may not drive a minivan but all that matters to me is how I feel about it.  I’m okay with admitting when I’m wrong because it’s plenty fun that I’m right.

5 Questions with Nate (or Hipster Tito for tweeps)

1. I know you through social media and seeing you and your signs at the ballpark. Some folks may not know that you are the guy behind the funny signs, including "Party at Napoli's" at Indians games. Why do you think that sign caught on and when did Mike Napoli see it?

I think Party at Napoli’s caught on because of two things: timing and being starved for something fun to hang on to.  It was a fun inside joke amongst friends at the start of the season and it would get chuckles from random strangers when I would bring the sign to games.  It would get a few mentions on Twitter and we’d have some talk back and forth on Twitter every time Mike Napoli did something at the plate.  Like a number of great things in our city, it really picked up steam in June with the Tribe playing incredible and the Cavs bring home a title.  It became a lot of fun to hear it from people in passing everywhere I went, always followed by high-fives and laughter.  Everyone was in the best of moods for what seemed to be an eternity in June.  That vibe was something we’ve needed for a long, long time.

According to the players that I’ve since had a chance to talk to, they noticed it in the dugout during the first night in April that I brought the sign.  When I had a chance to meet Mike, a few players came by to say hi: “Hey, that was YOU!?  We laughed about that the whole game.”

2. Speaking of Party at Napoli's, those t-shirts with "Party at Napoli's" across them have raised almost $100,000 for Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospitals. How did the shirts come to be?  

I made a shirt using iron-on letters from Hobby Lobby and an $8 shirt from Target with the original intention of just wearing it to a few games similar to what I’ve done in previous years (I’ve since given the shirt away to an acquaintance/friend as kind of a thankful hat tip).  Figuring in the past these one-off shirts were funny to certain “subject matters”, I made one for Mike and asked the Indians for a favor to drop it off for him.  Mike loved it and we started the conversation about mass-producing with a key contingency being charity as a beneficiary. 

3. I remember early conversations about the t-shirt idea, and the discussion was not about making a buck for yourself, but raising money for charity, which is awesome. What has the response been from the philanthropy side, and is there a "Weekend at Frankie's" shirt next in the series?

It’s pretty amazing to sit back and let it sink in that people rallied around a three-word phrase to raise money for a charity.  Sure, it’s a cool shirt and sure, it’s about one of the best feel-good, party-hard players in the game but… WOW.  I don’t know how better to describe that feeling.  Philanthropy is a such a cool thing.  Compassion, generosity, benevolence.  You can’t deny how powerful that can be.

It doesn’t take much to find all of the negativity and hate in today’s world.  Just scroll through your social media timelines and you are assured to find something hateful, spiteful, vengeful and other characteristics of a world that has lost its mind.  We tend to just accept it without understanding the impact this has on our everyday lives.  It’s etched so deep into our minds that we just accept it and continue that cycle.  Sure: it’s life.  Life will kick you with indifference while you’re down.  It doesn’t matter if you’ve had “enough”, it can be void of “mercy”.

Keeping that in perspective, one of the most “unfair” byproducts of life can be the health and well-being of others including children.  There are diseases and complications that are so relentless and aggressive with an assumed ease that bring so many to their last breath, some even before they’ve had a chance to have their first and second breaths.  That can be such as hopeless and crushing feeling.

When there is a chance to help people in these situations, I have yet to meet someone in my life that will pass up that opportunity.  Maybe I’m a little sheltered in that mindset, but deep down, everyone feels that they are doing the “right” thing: that their pursuits are of the best of intentions.  When you see others pursuing the ability to help others or even seeking help themselves, your mind can naturally tug you in the direction of joining in.

Here we are $100,000 later and still rolling along.  I really hope it makes a difference for someone.

In terms of what's next, I've actually been asked that a lot.  I've been sitting back and enjoying the ride.  I'd like to come up with something again, working with the folks at 108 Stitches has been quite an experience: great folks.  Weekend at Frankie's would be cool!

4. What is the best piece of advice that someone gave you and what piece of advice do you wish someone gave you?

I’m lucky enough to have incredible people in my life.  I can think of an unlimited amount of advice that they’ve given me throughout my life: some I took to immediately, some put on hold for a time I needed it most.  I figure if they took the time to tell me something that mattered to them (even if I didn’t agree with it), that they were investing in me and I needed to return in due time.

I’ll pick one from recent events: I have a mentor that said to me that things in life, work, etc. are all manipulated by momentum.  People and events feed off momentum.  “Success breeds success.”  I can think of millions of times in the past where I could have used that insight and missed the opportunity.

In terms of advice that I wish I received, possibly a reminder to look forward and not back as much as I have a tendency to do in certain situations.

5. Last question, who do you think is awesome and why?

That’s actually a pretty loaded question without a right or wrong answer.  From people close to me to people that I’m not directly acquainted with, there’s so many people I can think of that are awesome in their own way.  How persistent my wife can be, how balanced my friends are, how rewarding my kids can make me feel, how strong my grandparents were, how willing strangers can be to open themselves up and obviously how giving people as a whole can be.

Thursday, June 2, 2016


If Abe Lincoln only spoke the truth. (Pic by the wildly talented, Mike Brenkus).

I'm excited.

I'm scared.

I'm nervous.

I'm a Cleveland fan.

As far as Cleveland fans go, I'm always the optimistic one. At the start of each season, I am *sure* that we will win it all. My dreams of this year, always seem to fade into next year, when the cycle repeats itself.

Cleveland deserves a championship. We don't deserve a championship in the sprinkles are for everyone sort of way. Trust me, growing up, Dairy Queen was only for winners. If you lost, you had to go home and help clean out the garage, visions of the other kids scarfing down dilly bars floating in your head. That was the lesson we all learned as kids. If you worked hard enough, tried your best, your time will come. It will eventually be your turn.

I can't imagine a city that has worked harder or had more faith than Cleveland.  The city I love is the Susan Lucci of the sports world.  Always so close to winning, but not quite close enough.

Our worst days, have been someone else's best. Our saddest failures are forever memorialized with titles like The Fumble, The Drive, The Shot - on an ESPN loop.   But now, the pieces have finally fallen into place. We have a championship caliber team, with more than just LeBron leading the charge.

As Cleveland fans, we cling to the notion of winning. We are proud of our teams, our city and most importantly ourselves. A championship for Cleveland is more than a title or a trophy. It is solid confirmation of what we have known all along.

That we are champions, and this is our year for sprinkles.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

40ish Things To Know By 40ish

Don't Give Up The Ship. Photo taken at the Sandusky Maritime Museum.

Eyeing back at my 40ish birthday in the rearview of my day, I'm thinking about all the advice that has been dropped on me. Some dropped near me, some on my head, some just in time, some to be saved and remembered for next time. 

With that in mind, here are 40ish things to know by the time you are 40ish.

1.     Learn to take a compliment. The appropriate response is always, “thank you." Don't respond with a treasure trove of your faults. Don't fight the compliment. Just smile and say, "thank you."

2.     Kenny Rogers said it best, "Know when to walk away, know when to run."  There is no shame in walking away from a bad marriage, a crummy book club, a soul sucking job or a failed crafting project. Know that sometimes, you will need to run, and never look back.

3.     Swearing can be fantasticly cathartic, but be aware of your surroundings. Use your other big words to get your point across in business dealings and in earshot of others.  Just because you *can* say something, doesn’t always mean you should.  Don't let people judge you based on a singular word selection.

4.     Complain about a problem only if you can offer a solution. 

5.     Own at least one piece of furniture that did not come in a box, from your parents or a  thrift store.  

6.     Know what is important to you in life. A job title? A family? World domination? Set your plan and go for it.  

7.     Don't be a checkbook philanthropist. Volunteer your time, influence and skills to a cause that is important to you. 

8.     Ask for help. Moving, managing your finances or maintaining equilibrium in your life, whatever it is, don't be afraid to ask for what you need. Asking for help isn't throwing in the towel. It is picking it up. 

9.     Read. Read books about your business, history, knitting or the chupacabra. The subject doesn't matter. Just read.  

10.     Purge your closet, your emails and your laptop. Clear away the clutter. 

11.     Not every moment of your life needs to be documented.  A lot happens outside of the frame and text box. 

12.     Stop saying you're sorry as a conversation filler.  Apologize and take ownership if it's yours. If not, don't say it. 

13.     Send hand-written notes or cards not attached to a holiday to friends and family once a year. 

14.    Toss your judgey pants out along with that pair of jeans you're hanging on to from high school. Stop judging other people for their job, lifestyle or clothing choice. What does it matter to you if the person next to you is wearing shoes you don't approve of? You aren't walking in them. 

15.     People rarely change. Accept people for who they are. That friend that is always 30 minutes late? Stop being angry about it and plan accordingly. Let the little stuff go. 

16.    Do something nice for someone else with no strings, no attachments. 

17.     Keep your word. Period. 

18.     Own your birthday. Want to stay home and eat nachos while binging Netflix with your cat? Fine. Want to have a major bash? Great. Celebrate on your terms. 

19.    Stop waiting. The perfect time, the right time or the next time may never come. 

Looking out over Phoenix.

20.   Balance your life, pay attention to more than one area. Life has a funny way of moving your priorities around. 

21.    Everyone has something to teach you if you listen.

22.    Bad attitudes are contagious.  Get close and it will consume you. Move out of the way. 

23.    Travel somewhere alone. Explore a new city, visit your favorite restaurant or check out a show. There will be times that no one wants to do and see what you want to. The choice will be yours - stay home or enjoy your life. 

24.    One Ranger per forest fire. Every one does not need to be involved in every thing

25.    It's never too late to pick up where you left off. Texting an old college friend, calling your aunt or catching up with a colleague will be time well spent. 

26.    Create an email address for junk email. 

27.    Keep a daily work journal and document your successes. Prove why you deserve a raise at your next review. 

28.    Cars and homes require maintence. Know the basics and at least one place you can get repairs without getting ripped off.

29.    If someone wants to share something important to them with you, listen. You may be the only one listening.

Behind the practice fields in Goodyear, Arizona. 

30.    Figure out your belief system. 

31.   Eat healthier. You aren't a kid anymore.

32.   Mentor someone. For a year, a week or a project.  You know more than you think you do. 

33.    Find a hobby that you enjoy. Knitting, spoken word poetry, fly-fishing. Whatever it is, find it. 

34.    You can always go home again, but keep in mind, things will be a lot smaller. And older. 

35.    Consider how you feel about kids, pets and marriage. Plan accordingly.

36.   Learn how to network, and treat it like a job. The event may be open bar and buffet, but you are there to work, not to get your grub on. 

37.    Take a class in person or online, just because you want to. There are free courses you can participate in online and learn something new. 

38.   Learn to read a map and get around without GPS. You don't want to drive into a lake because Siri told you to. 

39.   Invest in your clothing and get items hemmed and tailored. Look professional. 

40.    In the immortal words of Mr. Patrick Swayze in the classic movie, Road House, “Be nice.”   It's possible to have manners and be polite while informing people what you will and won't stand for. 

41.    Don't compare where you are in your life to anyone else. You might not even be in the same book. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Great Big Home + Garden Show Winner

Thank you to everyone that entered to win tickets to the Great Big Home + Garden Show!

The winner has been notified. 

You can buy tickets here  and you can save money on your tickets by using the promo code PIEROGI16.