House Hunters Cleveland: Trials, tribulations and triumph

When Dean and I sold our starter home using Zillow’s ‘Make Me Move,’ we really didn’t know what our future held. We knew we had to take the offer, pack our bags, swallow our pride and move into my parents basement, aka ‘the apartment.’

We quickly realized the Real Estate market on Cleveland’s west side (specifically Bay Village, Rocky River, Westlake, Avon Lake and Fairview Park) was on fire. There were homes that were selling before they even hit the MLS. As much as we tried to stay positive, I was feeling pretty discouraged each day as I scoured the Internet looking for our forever home.

One home that got away happened to be in Bay and was the one and only house that Dean and I were both in love with. For me, it was the city and area I wanted to be in, had an amazing kitchen and if you stood on your tippy toes could even see the lake. For Dean, it had a large attached garage along with a separate detached garage, a large backyard and a driveway that went on for days. That house sold within 8 hours of being on the market. From then on, we knew if we were in love with a home, there was no time to waste and we needed to be ready to move fast.

That situation happened again and again…but the homes never held a candle to that first one that got away. Next, we decided to make an offer on a old and outdated house in Westlake. It was on a large lot and we thought we could expand the home and build our dream house. After some shady business with the seller, we backed out of the deal.

Shortly after that, we visited another Westlake home the day it went on the market. Over dinner and drinks with my parents that same evening, we decided to make an offer that night. Of course there were 13 other offers that weekend. The sellers asked for everyone’s ‘best and final’ offer by Sunday night. We knew we had to up our offer and go above full asking price. We made it to the final two and lost out because the other buyers were cash buyers. This is when I started to get extremely worried. We couldn’t compete with that.

One hot summer Saturday I was baking in the sun on my parent’s deck when I got an email notification about a house that was right through my parents’ backyard and looked AMAZING. One quick call to my Realtor Melissa Mellon and I was in the house within the hour.

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The home was overpriced but I was in love. I didn’t even ask Dean to visit the house because it was out of our price range. However, the house didn’t sell that first weekend. And I had learned over the prior few months that it hadn’t sold because it was obviously overpriced.

Weeks and months went by. The price kept dropping so Dean and I visited the house (many times). We decided to go for it and submit an offer. That offer was denied. That’s when I told myself I needed to forget this house all together.

To my shock, a few weeks later, Dean had talked to the city about some projects he was interested in investigating and told me he wanted to make another offer. A few stressful days later, OUR OFFER WAS ACCEPTED.

SOLD BY KELLER WILLIAMS EZ SALES TEAM!

SOLD BY KELLER WILLIAMS!

Have you ever heard that saying good things come to those who wait? It sure is true in this instance. While we were only in ‘the apartment’ for six months, it was a major life change considering Dean and I lived together for six years on our own beforehand.

Our first night in the house.

Our first night in the house.

We’ve been getting settled in over the past two months and Cabela is happy to have her own yard again. She’s still battling the deer for full ownership though!

Cabela in Backyard

As I write this blog post, Dean is making dinner, the fireplace is lit and Cabela is on my lap. All is right in the world.

Best Fans Week 2014

The Browns have certainly stepped up their fan experience game over the past two years. Much of that is owed to Cleveland Browns President Alec Scheiner. From Swagger on the sidelines to new turnstyles at the entrances and enhanced infrastructure throughout the stadium, it’s hard to miss.

SWAGGER!

SWAGGER!

As we head into the last home game week of the season, the Browns have unveiled ‘Best Fans Week.’ This week is dedicated to us, the best fans out there.

This season has been exciting with plenty of highs and lows. But one thing I can always be certain of is having fun when I head downtown on Sundays with my crew.

dawgpndgirl-machoman

From the 10 hours of prizes kicking off this morning to the #ThrowbackThursday campaign on Thursday, the Browns are doing their part to get the fans rallying around a team that needs it’s loud champions this weekend against the Bengals.

So join me and let’s show the world why we are THE BEST FANS around. And also…JOHNNY MANZIEL!! See you Sunday, Cleveland.

Disclosure: I was contacted by the Browns marketing department to help support Best Fans Week. I was not asked to blog but did so because I love the Brownies.

Browns Sundays are Fundays

The Browns are 5-3…Above 500…Pinch me.

I don’t discriminate when it comes to Sunday Fundays in the fall. The first half of the Browns season is proof of that. Yes, I love going to as many home games as I can, but between work, travel and having a life, that doesn’t always happen.

However, this past weekend it did. Over the past few years we’ve been invited down to Tabitha’s annual chili cook off and this year we finally made it!

Who wouldn't want to take a picture with these Browns fans?

Who wouldn’t want to take a picture with these Browns fans?

Dean and I also continued to have an epic Sunday Funday with Alexa and her hubs in the Club Level. We may or may not have spent most of the time bellied up at the bar…

Tailgating and Club Level partying at the Tampa Bay  game

Tailgating and Club Level partying at the Tampa Bay game.

My dad even tailgated for a bit. His second time ever. He’s awesome.

Rewind to the Raiders game, Dean and I decided on a whim to invite our ‘rents and close friends over for a clambake leading up to the late afternoon game. If you didn’t know, Dean loves his clams and I love my Browns so it ended up being a win-win! And a Browns win! Albeit an ugly one.

First Browns party at the new pad

First Browns party at the new pad.

Since the Browns won, we had to light a quick fire and blow off some celebratory fireworks. HI NEW NEIGHBORS! ;)

Surprisingly, the first game we attended was the Steelers game. Dean’s cousin was in town to show her Brit Boy how Browns fans do football. So to the Muni Lot it was! To my dismay, said Brit, Gary, was a Browns fan before he met Cassie. TRUE LOVE I SAY!

Tailgating before wailing on the Steelers!

Tailgating before wailing on the Steelers!

Following the about friggin’ time amazing beating we put on the Steelers, we went to celebrate at The Map Room. Which was obnoxiously packed. But Frowns and I witnessed the photo below. It was all worth it:

No caption needed

No caption needed

Enter the home opener. As much as I tried to convince myself that I was going to stay home and be responsible for Christmas in Cleveland, I couldn’t resist. I had a long week of travel early the next morning but that didn’t stop me from staying away from tailgating and our not-so-secret favorite place to watch a game, The Map Room.

Tailgating and Map Room partying at the home opener.

Tailgating and Map Room partying at the home opener.

Lori and Danielle pulled off one of the best reverse photo bombs, right? To this stranger’s defense, Map Pizza is the best pizza.

I miss the days The Map Room was a hidden gem, but I’m happy Cleveland is thriving and bars are packed. There’s no arguing that it’s an exciting time to be a Clevelander.

As I write this post, the Browns are 5-3 and play the Bengals in less than 24 hours in what’s being called the biggest game since 2007. I’m throwing it out there…I think we’ll make a run for a wildcard and end the season at 10-6. Call me crazy. Call me what you want. I call me a fan who see’s that we’re on the cusp of being an AFC North juggernaut.

What’s your prediction for the rest of the Browns season?

Winter Market: Sip, Shop, Stroll

It’s hard to believe but the holidays are right around the corner. It’s even harder to believe because I’m currently relaxing on the couch as the 80 degree temperatures blow through the open windows. Only in Cleveland, I guess.

If you’re into getting shopping done before the holiday madness takes over your life and love supporting local businesses, I have the event for you! The Winter Market: Sip, Shop, Stroll will be taking place next month on Rocky River’s popular Linda Street and will be chock full of Cleveland flair and flavor.

Over 25 vendors will be participating in the event along with the Linda Street hosts listed below. Who can you expect? Fresh Brewed Tees, Team Bride Apparel, Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar, Wandering Wardrobe, Chill Pop Shop, Yates Apothecary and Heirloom Greetings, just to name a few.

The hosts of this year’s events are: Lather a salon, Rocky River Wine Bar, Market Restaurant and Bar, Delzani’s Cycle, Tommy’s PlaceGesturesClosets, Nalu Standup Paddle & Surf, Sean Luis Salon and Beachcliff Cabinet & Design.

SipShopStorll

What you need to know:

• Thursday, November 20, 2014; 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

• Linda Street in Rocky River

• Admission and parking for the event are free

Follow @SipShopStroll on Twitter and like them on Facebook for the latest updates on vendors and other announcements. So grab a friend and join us the week before Thanksgiving to get a head start on your holiday shopping! #ShopLocal!

Disclosure: I am friends with the owner of Lather a salon and was asked to help promote the event. As always, all opinions are mine.

Life updates as summer 2014 comes to an end

Hi! It’s been a hot minute since I’ve used the blog machine. I’ve missed you!

This spring and summer has been an overwhelming, fun, adventurous, stressful and fast 5 months. From house-hunting around the clock (stay tuned for a house hunters CLE post soon) to jetting off to Mexico all while trying to balance our social calendar, I feel like our summer flashed by in the blink of an eye. Bright side? It was fun as Hell and we documented it on our iPhones…

Celebrating one year of marriage! Dean and I spent a quick 5 days in Cozumel and Playa del Carmen:

summer2014-2

Boating with fellow #LakeErieLovers, celebrating at my cousin’s wedding and getting in some namaste before 3sisters Yoga officially opened:

summer2014-1

Alissa came to town and we made the most of the weekend. She’s my original marina gangsta! And I slang some beers at The Design Surfaces golf outing:

summer2014-3Annual trip with marina friends to Vermilion and our amazing #MarinaFlexFriday turns into Beachland Ballroom adventure:

picstitch (3)

My new tattoo which sadly only lasted 12 hours, loving on my niece and a 5-day trip to Orlando for work. We partied at Universal Studios and geeked out at Diagon Alley.

summer2014-5We made some seriously fantastic memories this summer but all good things must come to an end. I’m sad to swap my bikinis and sunscreen for boots and Browns gear, but I have a feeling this  fall will go down in the books for us.  And I’m not going to lie, I’ve been loving the perfect running weather, pumpkin coffees and NFL Sundays (and Mondays. And Thursdays).

Happy autumn my friends! Go Browns!

 

16th Annual Taste of the Browns!

You guys, football season officially kicks off this week! I can’t wait for tailgates, chicken wings, bonfires and [hopefully] more than 8 Browns wins this season. Hope springs eternal yearly, right?

Taste of the Browns Logo

As with every Browns home opener comes what is my favorite charity event of the year: The Annual Taste of the Browns. This year the event takes place the day after the Browns kick it off at FirstEnergy Stadium against the Saints, aka Monday, September 15.

Enjoying ourselves at the 2013 event

Enjoying ourselves at the 2013 event

Over the past 6 years or so, I’ve attended almost each Taste of the Browns. Not only do you rub shoulders with Browns players old and new, you’re nibbling on some of the tastiest dishes in the city prepared by our favorite Cleveland chefs. Oh, and last year the Greater Cleveland Food Bank raised more than $175,000, which equaled 700,000 meals!

I’m honored to be hosting a ticket giveaway for one lucky Browns fan (Steelers fans need not apply) to win two general admission tickets to the most fun fundraiser around! All you need to do is:

1. Post a comment telling me what vendor you’d be most excited to try.
2. Tweet the following: I want to win Taste of the Browns tickets from @dawgpndgirl: http://bit.ly/1w47Pn2 (You can enter once per day but must leave a separate comment each time letting me know you did so in order to count!)
3. Share this post on your Facebook page (Leave a separate comment letting me know you did so)

Who knows? TMZ, Johnny Football and Drake may show up if we are 2-0!

The sweeps will run until midnight Sunday, September 7. Good luck!

You can still be a good Samaritan and buy tickets here :)

Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the event in exchange for two tickets. All opinions are mine. GO BROWNS

Spin for Din with Psycle at Crocker Park

One of my favorite ways to detox is attending a class at psycle in Westlake. Another one of my favorite things are Sunday fundays (aka day drinking on a Sunday). I’ll be doing both of these things on Sunday, August 24. Rather than detoxing indoors, I’ll be riding with my friends outdoors at Crocker Park, which makes retoxing post-ride easy peasy.

My bride ride at psycle! Photo borrowed from Heather :)

My bride ride at psycle! Photo borrowed from Heather :)

The deetz:

SPIN FOR DIN to benefit the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland – an awesome outdoor cycling experience for indoor cyclists! Clevelanders will gather to raise funds and awareness for hungry families in their community.

Sunday, August 24, 2014
10:30 am – 4:00 pm
Visit www.psycletherapy.com {click on schedule, under the events tab} to register.

Alexa and I will be riding at 10:30 with Jenn. If you haven’t checked out one of her classes, I’d highly recommend it. The bikes are going to go fast, so register today!

3Sisters teaches at E. 4th & Yoga

e4 yogaLooking for a healthy way to kick off your weekend? I have just the event for you! My dear friends will be teaching a yoga class at House of Blues as part of the East Fourth and Yoga summer series this Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 10am. The class and valet parking are both free!

Admittedly, I am not a ‘yogi.’ However, I am always looking for fun and fresh ways to mix up my workout routine. I’m not only excited to give yoga a whirl and support one of my best friends, I haven’t been downtown for a Saturday funday all summer!

If you can’t make it downtown this weekend, keep your eyes and ears peeled for 3Sisters yoga in Avon, Ohio. They are putting the finishing touches on their space and will be opening their brand new yoga studio before the summer is up!

3sisters-yoga

I’ll be stepping out of my comfort zone Saturday morning…won’t you grab your yoga mat and join me?

Honey & Lace Clothing

Recently, an old friend reached out and introduced me to a new clothing company: Honey & Lace. After perusing the website, I agreed to help spread the word about the relatively new clothing company because I, 1) think the website is adorable, 2) live in summery skirts, dresses and tops in the warmer months and 3) love supporting a female entrepreneur.

H&La

A little bit more about the company from their website:

At the heart of every Honey & Lace design is the drive to match comfort and style. Although style has its importance, every woman wants to be comfortable. Why not find that comfort in your own clothes? Honey & Lace combines comfort and confidence with a style that catches attention. Whether you want to attend a wedding, go to the beach, or sit at home with your kids, Honey & Lace maxi’s look great. H&L was born when a mother decided to create a skirt for her daughter.

If you like what you see on honeyandlace.com, use this discount code for 10% off your entire purchase: JESSICASHL

Enjoy!

Disclosure: I was given a Honey & Lace maxi in return for this blog post. All opinions are mine!

Life updates, adult updates

The past 6 weeks have been pretty cray-cray..to say the least.

For one, we sold our house and moved our little family into my parents basement (aka the apartment):

Saying goodbye hurts.

Saying goodbye hurts.

Our apartment!

Our apartment!

I turned 30:

alana-nerdy-30a

I hung out with my cousin-in-law Drew Brees (true story):

drew-brees-family

We traveled to Charleston to visit one of our favorite people, Alissa:

charleston-2014

We got stuck in Charleston and Dean, being the fab guy he is, let me take the one seat back to CLE while he got rerouted all over the place. He ended up having to spend the night in Dayton and renting a car in order to get home – over 48 hours after our original arrival! Oy vey…flying standby has been fantastic (thanks mom-in-law!) minus this trip. Thanks to United for pulling the hub out of Cleveland!

Did I mention we’re heading (standby) to Mexico in a few weeks for our first anniversary? Where did the year go?!

wedding-cake-cutting-CIC

Getting married + selling our house = awesome! Turning 30 + moving into a basement = even more awesome!!! The best is yet to come!