Chicago bound

It’s not everyday one of my best friends gets married, so we’re going all out for the bachelorette party and heading to CHI town. On the to-do list: debauchery.

By the time I get back on Sunday afternoon this will all be fixed, right?

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One can always dream!

Any last-minute suggestions on things to do while we’re in Chicago? We have a pretty tight itinerary but can always switch things up!

Have a good weekend ūüôā

Neighborhood besties

Shortly after Dean bought his first home, his best friend, J, purchased his own starter home with his wife. It was convenient for the guys to go to through such a monumental experience together. Simultaneously, they learned the ins-and-outs of home ownership. From J gutting his kitchen, to Dean buying his first riding lawnmower (unfortunately for Dean, it wasn’t a John Deere). What made things even more interesting was the house J bought was directly across the street from our ‘estate.’

Dean and J: Shirts off in club seats of the 2009 Browns home opener. That's just how they roll.

These guys love living so close to each other. How could they not? They drink beer in each other’s garages, share tools/lawnmowers/etc., put toilets in one another’s backyard, sneak cones on top of the other’s chimney…get the picture? I have to admit, it is fun having J (along with his off-the-wall antics) and his lady right across the street.

A few months ago the neighborhood happily welcomed Captain Max, J’s 6-month Black Lab/Great Dane mix pup. This dog is a sweetie rough and tough, he even wears a Harley Davidson collar! Cabela wasn’t wary at all, rather she tried to lick Captain Max to death on their first encounter. Thankfully, the Captain was just as friendly.

Max, left, and Cabela loving each other (or sniffing out a treat).

Fast forward one month: Cabela and Captain Max are now best doggy friends (it’s possible). They even have a best friends necklace. Every time Cabela sees Max out front she whines and gives me the ‘pleeeeeeeease let me go play with Captain’ eyes. Albeit cute, it can also be a major pain seeing as Cabela runs across the street every chance she gets.

One Saturday afternoon, J and Dean with the help of one of their caveman buddies, chopped down a tree in J’s frontyard. This was the perfect opportunity for Captain Max and Cabela to play while I enjoyed a cold beer. Chainsaws, dogs and beers…what a Saturday!

(Cabela is wearing the orange collar. Please ignore my puppy talk. It was the Bud Light Lime talking ūüėČ )

The neighborhood love is everywhere. Do you get along with your neighbors? We’re pretty lucky to live in such a dog-friendly and people-friendly ‘hood!

What a weekend

This weekend was a complete whilrwind. A successful whirlwind at that. I think I’ll let the pictures do the talking.

Friday = Twilight at the Zoo. This was my first year attending this event and we’re definitely going again next year! It was a great night. We may not have seen many animals, but we did enjoy the night with a few of my co-workers and friends, not to mention 7,000 other people!

Dean showing the dinosaur who was in charge.


Ran into lots of friends who we haven't seen in a long time.


The contents of the 'big and brown' basket Dean won. Win for me: facial, a mani, and lots of Aveda products, which I loooooove.

Saturday = Brown and Orange scrimmage at the Browns Stadium and a stop at Whiskey Island to witness debauchery at it’s finest with my mom. I have the coolest mother of all time. She really did stop at Whiskey Island with me. We were lucky enough to have friends that rented a boat slip for the weekend. I’ve always been out of town for Krusty’s, hanging at the marina next door seemed close enough for me.

My mom and I in a loge at the scrimmage. Obvi this lighting sucks.


Quick costume change and I was ready to have boat drinks! Don't mind my mom's Jamal Lewis jersey ūüėõ


And then Scott iced Dillon.


Iced!

Sunday = Funday! Dean, Brodie and I headed downtown for some patio hopping and the W. 6th Street Fest.

The creepy stilt-walker. We couldn't figure out if he was a she or she was he.

$10 for a carafe of long islands? Maybe not the smartest idea...

Which led to this…seemed like a reasonable idea at the time.

Dean bought a snake. It looked real to me.

And that’s what I call a whirlwind of a weekend. Thankfully, I only have a 4-day work week!

What is your favorite summer event in Cleveland? I now understand why so many people love Twilight at the Zoo!

Happy Friday & Go Browns

Since tomorrow is the Browns’ Brown & White Scrimmage, and I’ll be in attendance with my mamma (it is family day after all), I thought I’d share one of my favorite puppy pictures from last summer. Like mother, like daughter! Have a great weekend peeps!

Not only is she a Browns fan, she's American!

Here fishy, fishy, fishy

Ahh, fishing.

Those who know me, know I love to go boating and fishing. It’s basically what my family, the boyfriend (who I’ll refer to as Dean, because well, that is his name) and many of my friends live for all year round. We all have to endure all the bull sh*t of living in Cleveland during the winter months, so it at least gives us a glimmer of light at the end of the long, snowy tunnel.

My favorite fishing trip of the season so far took place when Dean’s dad took us out for a Friday excursion (talk about a nice day out of the office). Dean’s two college friend’s joined us, one visiting from San Diego one hailing form Westlake, Ohio. As always, Ranger Randy was in tow.

Dean, Jeff and Bryan and a walleye. And Ranger peepin' through on the swim platform.


We may not have limited out on walleye, however we did enjoy great company, summer tunes, cocktails and the sunshine. Jeff and Bryan reeled in a few walleye and a steelhead while I had the honors of bringing in the monster steelhead of the day. Catching a steelhead isn’t like catching anything else on Lake Erie; they run (swim) far and fast from the boat, jump out of the water and spin until they can manage to spit the lure out of their mouth. It can be tough but they eventually become exhausted and give up the fight. Of course, there was no pressure from the guys to not lose this fish.

Come on fishy...

After 20 minutes of battling what felt like a small shark, I got the bad boy onto the boat. The sucker weighed in at almost 10 pounds! My left arm wanted to fall off and it was quite sore the following day.

Jeff and I with the catches of the day. The steelhead in my left hand.

Since there were some out-of-towners visiting, we decided to have a walleye fish fry that Sunday evening at our place. We stunk up the garage, jammed to tunes, drank Paisano and enjoyed the freshly caught Lake Erie fish.

Here’s the best evah recipe for fried walleye:

Serves 4
2-3 pounds walleye filets
6 eggs
Flour
Panko breadcrumbs
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Sea Salt

Completely dry the filets with paper towels. Dredge the filets in egg wash, flour and then breadcrumbs. Drop into your bubbling oil for 5-7 minutes depending how big the filets are and how crisp/dark you like your coating. Remove and salt generously with sea salt. Enjoy!

Unfortunately, the fish was devoured so quickly I didn’t have the chance to snap a photo. This recipe is so simple, yet so delicious.

What is your favorite way to eat fish?

A blessing in disguise

On Friday, we were supposed to have granite countertops installed (!!!!!). I have been looking forward to this for a very long time. We picked out the stone (Alaskan White) and the D polished it after work last week. This was going to be the first step towards having a new kitchen (tile, sliding door, paint, etc. as we already have new appliances). However, things didn’t quite go as planned.

Alaskan White: Will eventually be on our kitchen countertops.

I stayed out of the way, but knew when I saw the look on the D’s face that something must have gone wrong. After moving the stove, we learned that we had major water damage seeping from the master shower. Our cabinets were ruined by black mold. Oh boy. We can’t do a thing in the kitchen until we completely demo the master bathroom. This is one of those unexpected expenses that accompanies home ownership.

A crappy picture, but you get the idea. To the left is the master shower, to the right is the functioning 2nd bath.

I was a little worried about the D freaking out. The expenses will surely add up. But, this isn’t entirely a bad thing. The D works at Design Surfaces, we have already had numerous offers from various friends and family to help with the demo, installations, etc. Not to mention my dad is a general contractor who will absolutely be giving us his time, advice and expertise.

The bathroom was the next project on the ‘to-do’ list, it just happens that it got jolted to the top of the list. The next few months will be trying living without a master bath (thankfully we have a second bathroom to use in the meantime), a functional kitchen and the general chaos that comes with major renovations. However, we’re both excited. We know we have people who we trust helping us and it will add great value to the house.

I will admit, it was exciting picking out tile for the bathroom on Saturday. I’ve been to the store hundreds of times over the years; witnessed friends and family pick out products for their homes, watched the D lend his knowledge to customers. Now, it’s our turn to collaborate and make significant decisions. After walking through the showroom a few times, we both agreed that we liked a gray tile with an accent of black/clear/white glass.

Needless to say this wasn’t how we expected to start the weekend. But, we’re determined to make the best out of a situation that isn’t quite ideal, or planned for that matter.

Have you been through a similar experience? I’m open to advice, tips and suggestions!

The Queens of Leon

Often, my job presents me with very cool opportunities. One of those opportunities happened to come up earlier this week. I was approved to shoot photos at the Kings of Leon concert at Blossom. I was pretty stoked for the concert since I’ve been a fan of the band before they were ‘mainstream.’

Myself and CP making the best out of the night!

I was bringing my friend, CP, along for the ride. Two of our close friends (I’ll call them ‘the brothers’) were already planning on riding on a party bus and realized there were two empty seats, so they invited us. I thought, ‘Hell, why not?’ I loathe the drive to Blossom as is and I thought it would be a good time. I was a bit mistaken.

I guess riding on a party bus with 4 close friends and 20 random people wasn’t the best idea. Without getting too gory, I’ll just say they were all about the party, not all about the music. The concert happened to be on a Monday (which was kind of a bummer), so I was leaving my party pants at home. I am by no means a party-pooper, I love to party!!! But it was a bit out-of-control. I needed a few beers (just to relax!).

Kings of Leon singer, Caleb Followill.

I left the crew behind to slam beers while I headed down to the stage, got yelled at by security while waiting (apparently the KOL don’t like it when photographers shoot the fans, WTF), waited and waited some more. A general rule of thumb when shooting concerts is photogs can shoot the first three songs, no flash. I always have a good time doing this. You’re right up in front of the band!

So, I shot my photos for 3 songs (Crawl, Notion, Taper Jean Girl) then found the drunks group on the lawn. Literally, people were passed out surrounded by piles of vom. Easy tiger. At least CP and the brothers were there to hang with for the rest of the concert.

Easy on the eyes, Michael Followill.

However, the rest of the concert was lacking energy and full of excuses. The lead singer, Caleb Followill, was whining complaining about a sore throat in-between shots of Jack Daniels. My friends who were (mostly) sober were disappointed, as was I! Imagine all the money people spend to see their favorite band, only to have them put basically no effort into their performance. There was zero, zilch, nada interaction with the crowd.

I can’t lie, we we’re dreading the bus ride home, but it wasn’t all that bad (all the boozers passed out! yeah!!).

I guess I should have stayed home for the Kings of LambOn party.

All the photos I shot at the Kings concert.

Did you go to the KOL show? What did you think?

The Black Keys + Christmas Ale = Happy Alana

This past weekend was one my busiest. I had four things that I wanted to do on Friday night, Saturday and Saturday night, and I made it to all four of them! Don’t you hate when fun events/parties/weddings/concerts all land on the same day in the summer?

The front row of peeps weren't from the TweetUp, but the back two were! Nice face from yours truly.

Friday night brought a mini-TweetUp of sorts. JoeG2001 (thanks Joe!) invited myself and the D to the Tribe game with a group of other awesome tweeps. Of course, we all joined forces at The Greenhouse Tavern where I introduced the D to gravy frites. Holy fried decadence.

Even though we got rained out of our awesome seats, those who didn’t mind the raindrops (it was so freaking hot that I welcomed the brief cool down) made it to the RIDGID Jobsite Bar at the Prog. After a few ‘lemonades,’ the D and I hit up Kevin’s Martini Bar at Pickwick and Frolic before meeting our buddy, Brodski, at Hooples. Hooples is such a great bar. They had live music and I was loving it. I requested The Doors ‘5 to 1’ and even though it wasn’t on their setlist or honestly their genre, they gave it a whirl. Props for pleasing the me crowd!

On my Saturday to-do list: Marina Christmas in July/Fish fry party, Linda Street’s ‘Uncork the Cure Benefit,’ and THE BLACK KEYS!

To say it was hot and humid on Saturday in Cleveland would honestly be an understatement! I did a bit of laying out melting at the Marina before heading up to the Christmas in July/Fish fry. I just love Marina friends. These people don’t mess around when it comes to throwing a party. I wish I had pictures, but to paint a picture there were multiple Christmas trees, lights and other various decorations, not to mention 60 pounds of walleye to be fried (yum!) among tons of other food.

After an hour or so, the D and I needed to stop by Linda Street, mainly because a close friend lives on Linda Street and thought it would be fun to throw a frontyard party while the street party was going on (brilliance). I absolutely love people watching and was SO bummed I could only stay for an hour or so. I heard things got a little rowdy later.

For some reason I thought I needed to shower before The Black Keys concert (when it’s that hot, it’s basically pointless). I cleaned up and headed back to the Marina since that was the group’s meeting spot before heading down to Nautica. I was glad to have another hour or so to hang at the Christmas in July party (I was also ready to have a CHRISTMAS ALE) and by this time my parents and brother were there, too.

Sky before we went into The Black Keys show.

Once we were en route to the show, we decided a stop at Harbor Inn for a shot and a beer (or a few shots and a beer) was necessary. All I can say is HOT, HOT, HOT. We were all sweating our asses off. Three of my friends and I headed over to the sold-out concert (JChups and I were lucky enough to score box seats).

The Black Keys KILLED it. I love this band. Always have! Thanks to my (long lost, tear) love for local and underground music, I discovered them when I was a junior in high school. I’ve never seen the Keys put on a bad show. Everyone was jumping around, soaked in sweat, while the duo invited two sidekicks on stage to help finish the show. If I had to pick a favorite song from the concert, I’d say it was ‘Howlin’ for You,’ which comes off their latest Brothers album. If you don’t own this album, go buy it, NOW!

The best shot I could manage to get. The blurriness comes from the humidity, not my lack of hand-steadiness ūüôā

Needless to say, I was the epitome of lazy on Sunday. I basked in the AC and watched trash TV before going for a run to sweat out all the weekend’s indulgences. All well worth it.

Do you love Christmas Ale as much as I do? It wasn’t as enjoyable in the heat, but over the holidays, I definitely indulge in all it’s glory!

I'm blogging

Hello, blogosphere! It’s been years since I’ve blogged on a personal level and I’ve decided to take the plunge into the ginormous blog world. While at ASU, I had a blog about the NFL Draft (NFLdraftMe), which was surprisingly popular. This blog, however, is most definitely not dedicated to the draft, rather random thoughts I decide to spew. Mostly, the banter you can expect to read from yours truly will have to do with one, some or none of the following: my dog, my friends and fam, eating & drinking, running/exercise, boating & fishing, Cleveland and the Browns.

I decided to start The Dawg’s Dish off what I like to call a ‘mid-year resolution.’ My New Year’s Resolution this year was more of a goal, to run the Cleveland Half Marathon. And I did! That was in May, actually the day before my 26th birthday. Anyhow, last week’s ‘Christmas in July’ festivities (yum…i luuurv Christmas Ale) got me to thinking about a new resolution or goal. For months, if not years, I’ve wanted to get blogging again and this was the little push I was seeking.

So, here I am! I hope someone out there enjoys this blog!