Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Favorite 2013 Photos

Bernie, stunning in his Christmas best.
In no particular order, here are some of my favorite photos that I uploaded to Instagram in 2013. 

A pint at the Harp.

Scary Brunstucky storm.

Tribe wins!

Honk, honk, welcome to Ohio.

Sorry Mikes Gold Bar.

Coffee shop in Indianapolis.

Soldiers and Sailors in Cleveland.  

Amish country. Whoa. 

Bombdiggity of Lawsons chip dip.

Indians spring training in Goodyear, AZ.

My brohio pumpkin. Yo, bro.  

Horse cops in Cleveland.

Friendly Browns fans.

My munilot buckeye necklace.

Outside the aLoft hotel bar in Cleveland. 

Monday, December 30, 2013

Candidly, I'm Skeptical

Thanks to @AmyTribeGirl for the screen grab.
Candidly Mr. Haslam, I am skeptical.

I believe you want your new possession to be a winning franchise. Winning equals money and I'm fairly confident that you like money. 

I am skeptical however, that you know how to get the job done. Rumor on the playground is that organizations you have been involved with may not do things in the *right* way. *CoughPilotCoughFlyingCoughJ*

Firing a first year coach with the quarterback carousel that the Browns yippee ki yaied on is like firing the new chef at your five-star restaurant after you plucked him out of the back of a MickyDs. I'm not dinging Chud here, but the dream team of Haslam, Banner and Lombardi had to know if what they were getting with a first year coach. 

If they didn't, they are catastrophically stupid. Maybe they threw Chud on the sidelines because he is a hometown boy and would keep the press off their backs until they could figure the thing out. 

Maybe no one told Mr. Haslam that owning an NFL franchise is a little more difficult than putting together a Stenstorp from IKEA. Maybe he thought he could chomp down some Moon Pies, wash them down with a little sweet tea, while checking his blackberry in his cozy suite. 

Whatever these gentlemen thought before today needs to be chucked out the window.

Tick, tock, sirs, the fans will not wait forever.

You are on the clock.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Christmas Caturday

Grumpy Cat, Tarder Sauce. 
It is no secret, I like cats.

And, I like Saturdays. 

Enjoy this early Christmas present - Caterday! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Pierogi Book Club - The Misses

Ernie and Bert read.
The best part about the Pierogi Book Club is that it is all mine. Mine, mine, mine. If I'm reading a book and it ends up being a turkey, I can drop it and move on to something else. Life is too short to read crummy books. 

Since I started this little adventure, several books fell into the awful category and I dropped them like a skunk ready to spray and moved on. Here are a few that you will not see a review for.

License to Pawn by Rick Harrison.
I'm a reality tv fan, and I adore the History Channel's Pawn Stars. I don't know what it has to do with history, but I was sucked in at the first rusty pedal car. If you have never seen it, Pawn Stars, is the story of the Harrison family and their pawn shop in Las Vegas. Rick is a history buff and gives people a fair price for their items. He is making money, but he isn't gouging people. After listing to this excerpt on NPR, I hurried to my tablet to get on the waiting list for his book, License To Pawn: Deals, Steals and my Life at the Gold & Silver.

I muddled through half the book until I finally gave up and wished desperately that I ended at the NPR story.

The book reads like a transcript of Rick yammering on into a cassette tape recorder (yes, I mean tape recorder).  The book would be a pamphlet if you cut out all the times he said, "like I said earlier." He continuously repeated himself, told you he was repeating himself and then repeated again. 


There were also chapters written or in the voice of other members of the family and it took several pages to figure out that was what was going on. 

The Harrisons are an interesting family and the book would have been enjoyable if it went through a proof reader. 

The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin.
Oh, dear. 

I only made it a few chapters in before I gave up. Maybe it is the point in my life, maybe I'm getting older and I have less tolerance for whining, whatever it is, this book irritated me.

It also made me irrationally angry.

The author chronicles her quest for happiness, which is an admirable goal. My problem with the early chapters of The Happiness Project, was that she had everything. The perfect family, the perfect house, and on and on. She wasn't happy enough


I have no desire to read about someone that has everything and it isn't enough. I will watch it on Bravo TV, but I don't want to read it. 

Judgy pants on my part? Sure. 

Remember, it is *my* book club. 

Shootin' the Sh*t With Kevin Smith
OK, this was the *worst* out of the three. I mean horse poo stuck in the bottom of your shoe that you just tracked through the house terrible.

I love Kevin Smith. Clerks was brilliant. His college show where he talks about his Prince documentary is ridiculously funny. 

This book, the best of his podcast, is painful.

Imagine giving a 17 year old boy free reign to talk about farts, how he is fat and shocked girls like him and his love of the slang term for male ejaculate. 

Language doesn't bother me, and I am rather fond of dropping f bombs where I deem appropriate, but this was too much.  If this is what the conversation is like in the locker room of the local Denny's horseshoe team, I want no part of it. 

I'll stick to his videos and movies.

What was the worst book you ever read? Have you ever quit reading a book?

Share in the comments below.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

St. Elmo Giveaway

Historic St. Elmo Steak House in Indianapolis.
There are few establishments that when you walk in, you feel cooler for walking through the front door. Much more so than if you wandered into a Bud Light happy hour at your local chain joint.

St. Elmo Steak House is one of those places. For my Cleveland readers, I wish there was something I could compare it to. Imagine if Michael Symon's grandfather owned Sokolowski's and it was passed down to him and they served steaks. That is the best description I have. 

Outside St. Elmo during the SuperBowl.
I was fortunate to be in Indianapolis for the SuperBowl and St. Elmo was *the* place to be. One of the managers told me that at one time, over half the NFL team owners and Roger Goddell were all having dinner...at separate tables. Crowds lined up to see who would be the next athlete or Hollywood star to walk in.

It was freaky to say the least.

Needless to say, I ended up down the street for dinner. 

Servers that have been at St Elmo over 20 years. 
Founded in 1902, St. Elmo has earned a reputation of fine food and professional service. I can tell you, I have never had a bad meal there *and* most importantly, I have never had garbage service. That is an important point, because St. Elmo is a perennial on every best of list for Indianapolis and has received awards from Forbes and Smithonian Magazine. St. Elmo even won a prestigious James Beard award in 2012. It is easy for a restaurant this popular and ingrained in the community to shrug and tell people to deal with what they get and don't throw a fit.

I always wanted to sit down with one of the servers or bartenders, glass of whiskey in hand, and hear the stories that they have accumulated about the celebrities that visited. I could hear Peyton Manning and Amy Poehler stories forever.
The walls of the bar. Yes, that is Peyton. 
The walls are filled with autographed photos of NFL superstars like Peyton Manning, next to Indy 500 legend Mario Andretti. The swag on the walls puts any Hard Rock to shame.
The wine cellar. 

There are so many nooks and smaller dining rooms, that your "special occasion" isn't overshadowed by the other birthdays, graduations, anniversaries, new job celebrations, etc. On any given day, there are between 12,000 and 15,000 bottles of wine available - in all price ranges.

The window out front does not lie.
The famous, sinus clearing, shrimp cocktail.
Yes, yes, the steaks are of course fantastic. But the other item St. Elmo is known for is their Shrimp Cocktail. This sauce, the same recipe from 1902, was featured on the Food Network's "The Best Thing I Ever Ate - spicy food edition" and has now been bottled for your enjoyment.

In the first 30 days of sales, they shipped this sinus clearing sauce to 47 different states and 50% of those bottles were sent out of state. Poor Hoosiers away from home.

I could go on for another page or so, sharing with you more stories of celebrities and wine and steak and shrimp cocktail, but I encourage you to get out to Indianapolis and visit for yourself. Indy is a great city with lots of huge events. Check it out.

Now, for the YAYY!

The peeps at St. Elmo were generous enough to let me wander around the restaurant and gave me a bottle of their cocktail sauce to giveaway! 

This is perfect for your upcoming holiday party, that is if you want to share.

There are a couple of ways to win your very own bottle of St. Elmo Cocktail Sauce. Make sure to leave a separate comment for each method of entry below. I let a computer pick the winner, so if you don't comment, you lost.

Bummer if you can't follow directions.

You can tweet daily, but make sure you come back and leave a comment. And don't fib. If you fib, I will publicly announce you as a liar, liar pants on fire.

Be cool. 

1. Leave a comment telling me the spiciest thing you ever ate.
2. Tweet the following: "I want to win a bottle of @stelmo's World Famous Sinus Clearing Cocktail Sauce from @clevelandchick! http://bit.ly/1i2icDC"
3. Follow @StElmo on the Twitter.
4. Follow @ClevelandChick on the Twitter.
5. Follow St. Elmo on Facebook.

You have until Sunday, December 22 at noon to enter. Remember, you can tweet once per day. Let's face it, if you tweet more than that, people will want to hurt both of us, so be cool.

Disclosure: I was given a bottle of cocktail sauce for myself, which will make me the hit of the party circuit. The other bottle is for the giveaway. I was also given an awesome private tour of St. Elmo.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Kicking Ovarian Cancer

Cleveland Brown's Kicker, Billy Cundiff, is doing something awesome. 

Billys foundation, Kicking For The Dream, supports Colleen's Dream Foundation, which was created to assist research for early detection and improved treatment of ovarian cancer.  The following is from the Colleen's Dream Foundation website, describing their goals better than I could: 
The story of Colleen’s Dream started in 2007 when Colleen was diagnosed with late-stage ovarian cancer. Our eyes were opened to a new world that was filled with invasive surgery, harsh chemotherapy, and lots of uncertainty. Ovarian cancer is often referred to as “the silent killer” because many women do not discover their disease until it is in the late stages, which leads to many women succumbing to the disease within a short period of time. Unlike cervical or breast cancer, ovarian cancer does not have a standardized early detection procedure. When it comes to women’s health, ovarian cancer proves to be one of the deadliest diseases. 
At Colleen’s Dream Foundation, we feel it is important to raise money for research that will lead to reliable early detection testing and improved treatment for ovarian cancer. Because so little is known about ovarian cancer in proportion to other women’s health issues, we have an incredible opportunity for research and education.
We are working with some of the top research hospitals and universities that are researching ovarian cancer.  Offering seed funding ($5,000-$10,000 grants) to young investigators, we will fund cutting-edge research by some of the brightest, young minds in the world.
There may only be 4 games left in the NFL season, but that is still time to make a difference. 

For every field goal he makes, Billy Cundiff will donate $200 and for every punt inside the 20, Spencer Lanning will donate $100, all matched by Colleen's Dream Foundation (up to $5,000), to the Cleveland Clinic. These funds will be used as seed money for young investigators by way of $5,000 and $10,000 grants. 

I know I don't share many details about my "real life" but I will share this one with you. I used to work for Cleveland Clinic as a fundraiser in Lerner Research Institute. I worked with some of the brightest minds in their respective fields. Imagine Big Bang Theory with white coats instead of the super hero t-shirts. I understand ovarian cancer from a very clinical, academic point of view and it is horrifying. Please don't mistake me, all cancer is horrifying, but ovarian cancer is particularly insidious. 


Now, here is the important part... how you can help.

1. This is super easy. CHEER. See, easy. For every field goal he kicks, Billy will make a donation. Let's hope for some Phil Awesome Dawson numbers. Same for Spencer - yell at your TV like crazy that he gets it inside the 20.

2. Follow Billy Cundiff and Colleen's Dream on the Twitter for updates. 

3. Check in on the fundraising progress here. If you are so inclined, you can make a gift as well.

Please share this post with your friends and family.

The more you know...
source: Getty Images.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Catching Fire

Catching Fire. 
I'm always hesitant to write a movie review for fear of revealing spoilers, and since Catching Fire is actually a book, are their spoilers? I'll try my best, to avoid any spoiler bits.

Right before the Catching Fire premiere, I finally saw The Hunger Games. I have a friend that *loved* the books and I should have seen the movie, but I didn't. I felt like the whole thing was just a rip off on Shirley Jackson's 1948 short story, The Lottery. I had my snobby pants on and never saw it.

I admit, I was wrong. I still think The Hunger Games got the jump from The Lottery, but it was a great movie, well worth my Netflix subscription.

Catching Fire was big on my list of movies to see, because I know one of the actors. Like I could pick him out in a crowd before he was famous kind of deals.

Bruno Gunn, known to me as Bruno Gioiello, had an awesome role of Brutus, which when I told my friend the book reader, she said, "Whoa, that is a big deal."

Team Brutus shirts we wore, looking pretty bad hiney
This has nothing to do with the movie, but before hand, we all went to dinner, my sorority sisters and new friends. It was a great time and then somehow, the server dumped a tray of drinks on me, leaving me with wet jeans and a wet shirt. Blech. The server was incredibly apologetic and they comped my bill, but wet jeans are just yuck, no matter how you cut it. 
I may or may not have taken a picture in the theater. 

The first thing I will say, if you have not seen the first movie, The Hunger Games, run quick like a bunny and see it before you see Catching Fire. I would have been really confused and irritating to those around me if I had not seen it.


Catching Fire picks up where last movie dropped off, with Katniss and Peeta, the winners of the 74th Hunger Games, preparing for their Victory Tour. As they travel through the districts, there are signs of a growing rebellion, inspired by Kat's defiance. 

The President, seeing the wave of resistance rolling though the districts, announces the 75th Hunger Games will be the Quarter Quell, made up of prior winners. Ouch. Throughout the film, I was invested in the characters and their outcomes, and you can never go wrong with a bad ass female lead (well, with the exception of Catwoman, ugh, that was awful).

There is, of course beautiful scenery, lots of action and the story movies slowly to a maddening cliff hanger. There, I said it. You need to know. You need to know that the film ends and there is no resolution, just more questions, and me leaning forward yelling, "WHAT?!?!" at the end.  If you really want to know what happens, you can always read the book, Mocking Jay, which I am on the library waiting list for.

I was bummed because a lot of Bruno's scenes ended up on the cutting room floor, but the movie was pretty long as it was. Still...bummer.

Overall, I highly recommend the movie, and if you will excuse me, I need to see if my copy of the book is ready.

The whole family seeing the movie. Good times.