Monday 5: Memorial Day edition

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Don’t you wish every Monday was a long weekend Monday? Holidays are the bomb (and definitely something to be excited about).

The past two days had some fun outings that included a pops concert put on by Charleston Symphony Orchestra downtown Charleston (the perfect weather and free entry were definitely perks), a violin recital for my little violin students and a game night on Saturday evening.

The pops concert was part of the annual music and art festival held in Charleston this time of year called Piccolo Spoleto. Over a couple of weeks a plethora of dance, music and art events take place – all open to Charleston public and visitors. The pops concert is great because it’s outdoors, FREE, and you can bring a picnic (including wine/champagne etc) and just sit and enjoy the music. It’s very family (and young, financially struggling millennial) friendly.

Sunday I came to Cleveland where we met up with some of Nicholas’ friends a played a really fun game called The Game of Things (I’m typically not good at games/intimidated by them but this one is easy and low-key which I appreciated). This morning we came downtown where we will ride bikes in the afternoon and then go to an Indians game (#thingsI’dneverthoughtI’dsay)!

In honor of this holiday, I came up with 5 things that I’m excited about regarding the great country we live in…U.S of A. I hope your long weekend is lovely and restful and at least a little patriotic.

Safety

I know not every nook and cranny of the U.S. is super safe. But I think compared to a lot of other countries the U.S. has a pretty strong security system- locally and at the national level. I’ve never been particularly worried walking around town – even at night- or remotely thought about something horrible happening to myself or someone in my family. On the other hand, my home country Venezuela is experiencing some extreme security threats where the average person is scared to wear a watch when they leave the house lest they be mugged or worse. Seeing what people are experiencing there has made me especially grateful to live somewhere so well protected that I can walk out of the house – wearing all the jewelry I want – and not worry about it being stolen or getting hurt. Living somewhere safe really is a privilege that is easy to take for granted.

Country music

I used to not enjoy country music at all. In fact, if anything I had a fair amount of disdain toward it. However a few years ago due to the efforts of my sister (mainly her refusal to listen to anything other than country music in the car) I am now an avid country listener. I love how clean most of the songs are, the themes behind the songs and how they often tell a story. Catchy, laid back and definitely very American.

Diversity

One of the really cool things about living in the ‘melting pot’ that is the U.S. is that we can enjoy a variety of food, music, art and people without leaving our hometown. I love meeting people from different countries and learning a little about their culture. I think every country has something to teach us and a way to enrich our own lives and culture. Living in a place where so many different cultures are immersed into our own is such a unique feature and definitely something I am grateful for.

Equality

I think most of us know this already, but the U.S. really is one of the best places to be a woman. Things like voting, driving a car, choosing who we marry, working, wearing what we want…we may take these for granted (I know I do) but the reality is that many women in other places don’t have any of these rights. We have laws that protect us and grant us equal status as men. This may seem like a no-brainer but the freedom we have definitely isn’t something all women enjoy. I’m excited to use these rights we have to make a positive difference and make the most out of our freedom.

Baseball

I know baseball isn’t strictly an American thing (in fact, Venezuelans are huge on baseball). However, I think there is something very patriotic and All-American about baseball. It has a charm and nostalgia that is kind of unique. I am not remotely a sports person; I regularly confuse teams and have little idea of what the major premises of most sports even are. BUT since I started going to Riverdog’s games in Charleston, I’ve really come to appreciate the ambiance of a baseball game and the fun social event that it can be. I think it is more laid back than football games (which scare me) and the perfect scene for a cold drink, fun conversation and spending time with friends/family. I’m excited for the Indian’s game this afternoon and more baseball games happening this summer and in years to come.

Happy short week everyone!

xo

Miranda

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Monday 5: Cleveland edition

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Happy Monday! Do people ever ask you what you did over the weekend and you completely blank? That happens to me all the time and even now I’m having trouble recalling all that happened…and it’s not even over!!

The highlight of the weekend was certainly a concerto competition we attended at University of South Carolina in Columbia. There were eight quartets composed of high school students from various states in the Southeast, they were all so talented! The music was lovely and watching teenagers master a skill that takes so much dedication was pretty inspiring.

Last week I promised to share a few things about my trip to Cleveland that I’m excited about…so here they are! It really was a fun couple of days and I was impressed with how picturesque some of the areas of Cleveland are…and how big Lake Eerie is!!!

Barrio Mexican restaurant

On Monday night we ate dinner at a local chain called Barrio which had really good (and inexpensive) tacos. What really stood out especially to me was their Tuscan guacamole which had a balsamic vinaigrette, pine nuts, goat cheese (my fave!) and sun-dried tomatoes..among other things. It was seriously so good. The environment is also cute and fun, a little different from your average Mexican restaurant. We went to the location downtown but they also have one in Tremont area, Lakewood and Cleveland heights. Highly recommend a meal there! Don’t. Forget. The Guac.

Rooftop bar at Hilton hotel 

This hotel is new to the downtown Cleveland area and I’m so glad we stopped by because they have a sweet rooftop bar. It’s called Bar 32 and is (conveniently) located on the thirty second floor. The view it pretty incredible; you can really see how massive Lake Eerie is and so much of the city! It’s the perfect spot for a delicious gin and tonic (and a cool pic for Insta).

Westside market

We ate lunch here and it was probably one of my favorite parts. Walking around to see all the different vendors and eating lunch on a bench on the second floor overlooking the whole place was awesome. You can come here to grab lunch or a snack or even buy some groceries. We saw several bakery stands, meat vendors and various types of international cuisine (we chose Judy’s oasis gourmet middle eastern food where we bought some yummy Baba Ganoush, tabouli and pita bread to share). The building itself is very picturesque with incredibly high arched ceilings and huge windows that let sunlight in. This is a fun place to walk around if you’re downtown, and the amount of sweets they had was incredible.

Buckeyes 

I had heard rumors about this Ohioan dessert and was eager to try one for myself while I was in Buckeye Nation. It turns out you can’t really go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter (who knew?!). We bought a few at Westside market and they were delicious. I tried both milk and dark chocolate and somewhat preferred the milk chocolate but both were good. I really want to learn how to make these now, they seem like a fun, simple dessert to bring to a party or have people come over!

Saint John the Evangelist 

We went to Mass Monday evening at the cathedral downtown called St. John the Evangelist. It was such a beautiful church, definitely worth stopping in for a few minutes to look around. The artwork and organ are so impressive! There’s something so romantic and therapeutic about admiring beautiful churches, you kind of feel in awe of the grandeur, a little smaller. I think it’s a healthy way to focus on something larger than life (or whatever we’re currently worried about at the moment) for a few minutes…to be reminded it’s not really all about us (which is actually kind of a relief).

I hope this comes in handy if there are any upcoming trips to the Cleveland area. I’ll admit I thoroughly enjoyed my visit and hope to go back soon 😉

Happy Monday!

xo

Miranda