Sunday, July 29, 2012


While I was going back through blog posts - I realized that I started this post back in June, but never actually finished it!! Major fail. Well, better late than never! Here's a quick recap of our amazing trip to Alaska with Bryan's family.

In early June, Bryan and I had the privilege of going to Alaska with his family, including his parents, brother and sister-in-law and their 2 year old son! We flew into Vancouver, Canada and had fun experiencing the city for a day and a half! I LOVED Vancouver and would like to go back one day! It was such a diverse city; I felt like I was in Europe and Asia at the same time!

We got on the ship on Saturday afternoon for a weeklong cruise up the coast of Alaska!

There are simply just too many photos (literally hundreds) to post on the ol' blog - so here are a few favorites. (After combining all the family photos at the end of our trip, it got a little tricky to figure out which ones were originally ours in a couple cases. Minus a few "family" photos that were obviously not our photos, I do believe I picked our original photos seen below, but I know there were a couple that I questioned. Thanks to the wonderful photographers in the family for taking awesome photos too!!)

 Downtown Vancouver, Canada

 "Sea Kayaking" excursion with Bryan

 It was very chilly!

 Helicopter ride up to Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau, Alaska

 Photo credit: Walt Hinck

"Bike and Brew" excursion around Mendenhall Lake, Juneau, Alaska.

 Enjoying the view with my sister-in-law!

 Beautiful glaciers everywhere!

 Evening reading

 Beautiful views EVERYWHERE!

 Our nephew! (This was around 9pm at night!)

 Uncle B!

 Beautiful late night sunset!

The sun finally setting on our last night on the boat (around midnight!) 

This trip was such an amazing experience for both Bryan and me. We had a wonderful time, felt so blessed and lucky to have a wonderful family to spend it with, and are so thankful for the opportunity to go along! Thanks to the Hinck Parents for such an amazing trip!


Bryan and I were lucky enough to snag a quick date night last night before he starts a series of night shifts today. Our current favorite summer date night is going to Blossom Music Festival, where the Cleveland Orchestra plays outdoor concerts during their summer season.

We got there early to get good seats on the lawn, and there weren't many people there yet.

We brought a picnic of a variety of foods and wine and enjoyed it before the concert started.

Many more people came in the next hour!

This is crowded for Cleveland standards, but still nothing compared to Chicago crowds!!

At intermission, I walked down to the auditorium area to get a picture of the whole lawn. It's quite big!

Here's the program for the concert we were seeing:

Gil Shaham on Beethoven!! YES! Beethoven in general - YES! Since Bryan and I both play the cello, classical music is so meaningful to us and it was so amazing to hear one of the nations best orchestras play great classics that everyone knows and loves! Here's my best attempt to get a zoomed-in shot of Gil Shaham.

The concert was amazing and we are so excited to attend more this summer!

Friday, July 27, 2012

White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip

Tonight, Bryan and I have been invited to a "Red, White and Brew" party hosted by our neighbors in celebration of the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympics! I'm so excited the Olympics are on again!! And probably even more excited that I actually have some free time to watch them every day!

For the party tonight, we were instructed to bring side dishes in the colors of red, white, and blue. After thinking of many ideas to fit the color scheme, I settled on finding a white bean dip because I believe that bean dip is better than salsa AND guacamole! Blue corn chips and spicy red salsa completed the color combination.

The best part about this dip is that it includes roasted garlic. It was totally worth heating up our oven in this hot weather to have the house smell like savory garlic for an hour! This dip is very simple to make and tastes amazing! Now that I've made my first bean dip, you can bet I'll be making many more varieties!


White Bean and Roasted Garlic Dip


4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
2 whole garlic heads
2 16 oz cans canellini beans or other white beans
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp white pepper (I used regular ground black pepper)


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Cut the top third of garlic heads off so tops of cloves are exposed. Place heads, unpeeled, in ovenproof dish and drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 mins.

Uncover and bake until the garlic cloves are soft and golden brown, another 30 minutes. (You can make ahead and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.)

In a food processor, combine the beans, roasted garlic, remaining 3 tbsp olive oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. This will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Pool Day

Yesterday, the forecast predicted thunderstorms all day. I had high hopes of getting a lot of work done at home, hoping to save time to read a good book and enjoy the afternoon rumble of the storms.

Well, it was sunny all day. And the pool was calling my name. I'm a sucker for getting my tan on!

I wasn't productive in the mainstream type of way, but I did get to Target for a few things after the pool and I gave myself a manicure in the evening (if you know me, you know this is a process! I like my manicures better than any salon out there!). It's the little things in life that make you most happy!

Hilarities Comedy Club at Pickwick and Frolic Restaurant and Club

This past weekend, my friend Lucy came to visit from Chicago!!!! Even though she was only able to come for a couple of days, we jam-packed the time with fun things!!

Besides lovely chats over lots of coffee, late night games, and making huge delicious breakfasts, we had time to try some new things too!

We went to Hilarities Comedy Club. Cleveland Clinic often offers discounts on cool events going on in the area and I happened to snag tickets to this comedy club for a cheap price - and it was perfect timing that Lucy was coming to visit! After seeing the first two opening acts of stand up comedy (which were very good!), we had the pleasure of seeing Craig Robinson as the feature stand up comedian (you may know him as Darryl from The Office)! It was pretty cool to see him in real life! His type of stand up was new to me - he did his whole act using a keyboard and each bit had a musical aspect to it. It was a really fun evening!

We went to Blossom. Throughout the summer, the Cleveland Orchestra plays concerts in an outdoor amphitheater out in the suburbs. It's great to get lawn tickets and bring a picnic of snacks and wine and enjoy the orchestra with a group of friends on a blanket. The weather was perfect and the concert was great! Overall, it was awesome, and I think Bryan and I will be going often this summer! I'm sure many whole posts will be dedicated to going to orchestra concerts at Blossom in the near future!

We went to an Indians game. I'm not that huge of a baseball fan, but I'm all for hanging out with friends, eating hot dogs and drinking beer at a baseball game! The Indians lost, so I heard. It was a fun time though!

Lucy had to leave after the game, but it was so great to have her here!! Thanks for coming to visit Lucy!!!!!

Headlands Beach State Park

Last weekend, my friend Sarah came to visit from Minneapolis! We did SO MANY things that each should really have a blog post of their own, but I'm plagued with the fact that I forgot my camera practically every day. I can't wait to get a new iPhone (this fall when the iPhone 5 comes out!!!) that actually takes nice pictures and I can actually use it on a daily basis.

Some highlights:

We saw the new movie To Rome With Love. It's a Woody Allen film, so it's not your typical chick flick. But it was pretty good! The movie follows various love stories taking place in Rome and it was witty and cute!

We went to the West Side Market. This I will need to do an actual post on, because it was simply amazing! It's a market on Cleveland's west side close to downtown that is just huge. It's open daily, so I hope to make it there again soon to stock up on some good meats, which have proven to be hard to find here.

We went to historic Chagrin Falls. It's a cute little village about a half an hour drive away that provides great scenery, good restaurants, and cute little boutiques all on one main street that is about 4 blocks long. There was a small farmer's market set up near the main street that we explored. Many of the restaurants and shops were closed because it was Sunday. What?! I've been before when they were all open, and it was very fun!

We went to Headlands Beach State Park. On a sunny day, we headed up to the beach. It was beautiful!!

We had a great time on E 4th St. This is a brick-laid pedestrian street filled with restaurants and fun places to go!

We also enjoyed many restaurants, which will need to get posts of their own when I go again: Dewey's, Taste, West Side Market Cafe Restaurant, Zocalo, and Chinato.

Thanks Sarah for coming to visit!! It was a great time!

The Life of a Housewife

Yes, I admit it. I took a longish break from the blog. It's not that I meant to. It's just that I feel like my life is pretty boring these days, without much to blog about. I think boring is the wrong word, and maybe blog-worthy is a better word! Well, stay tuned, because I'm going to try to spice it up :)

Now that Bryan is in full swing of residency and house projects have calmed down a little bit - I'm officially a house wife for the summer. I don't start up classes at Case Western until the fall, so I've still got a good chunk of summer time in front of me! I am still working part time (10-12 hours a week), but that still leaves me with a lot of time on my hands. I do try to be productive, but it is hard when there are no schedules or deadlines I have to meet. I know, rough life, right?! Well after 4 years of a very stressful job, I finally have some time to relax and I do believe I deserve it before I start up an intense 3 year masters program!

Meanwhile, I'll try to clue you in on what it's like to be a house wife!

Nope, not like those crazies you see on Bravo. I'm real.

Bryan gets up at the early hour of 4:45am these days (well, for the next week - and then he starts a new rotation and gets a whole new schedule). I try to get up with him sometimes, but it just doesn't work. I used to have to get up that early to be at work my early years in Chicago and I think I'm just over it in my head. So, I usually sleep in until 7am, which feels very late and I feel bad for Bryan. (He is totally loving residency though, so I'm also happy for him!)

After a morning coffee and quick email and Facebook check, I work out. I've been following the Insanity program now for 11 weeks. It's a 60 day program (roughly two months), so I'm 2 weeks into my second repetition of the program. I actually love this program! It's exactly up my alley and each work out is great. Now that Bryan has started at Cleveland Clinic, I can also use their gym now, but I haven't explored it yet. But I'm excited to very soon!!

Since I'm already sweaty after the workout, I figure this is a good time to head outside and water the plants and do the occasional weeding that needs to happen.

Usually by now it's midmorning and I prepare a smoothie for breakfast. I do another email and FB check and use this time to do any online searching for various items on my to do list like comparing certain items we're considering buying for our home, finding places to get our oil changed, buying textbooks for school this fall, booking flights for upcoming weddings, reading online news sources, gchatting with friends, and the occasional online shopping that just happens to occur (oops - but hey if I can admit it, it's not a problem, right?! Haha.) You wouldn't think it, but this actually takes a good chunk of time!!

When I'm done being "productive" (depending on how I actually used that time online) I will get a few hours of work done. I'm so lucky to be able to work from home at my leisure. In that sense, I'm spoiled.

Lunch is usually random of leftovers or things I combine from the fridge. I'd rather eat a few small meals throughout the day rather than one large meal, so it's generally something small.

I usually use the afternoon to run errands. You know, the usual grocery shopping, Target run, or other various things that just need to get done.

If it's cloudy, I'll either keep working or get things done around the house. If it's sunny, I usually can't think of a better way to spend the afternoon than going to the neighborhood pool. I'm so glad there is a nice pool just about a half mile away from us! I was also surprised to find a range of ages of the people there! There are little tots to grandparents there every single day, and it's usually pretty busy! The pool space is divided into sections of little kid play areas, large open areas, diving areas, and lap swim areas for adults and younger kids. There are also adult only seating sections. I love it!

Bryan usually gets home around 6:30-7pm (which will change in a week) and I try to have something for dinner started by then. If not, we prepare something simple together. Since it's been so hot, we've stuck to mostly grilling, salads and easy to prepare meals. Evenings are spent on the couch reading, watching tv or a movie, or just relaxing and talking. Bedtime is around 9:30-10pm.

Rinse and repeat. There you have it - the life of a housewife.

I'm actually really enjoying this time to relax. Being an introvert, I like being by myself and usually every day I have a checklist of things I need to get done, which helps keep me motivated. The best part is that it's flexible and if a friend calls me up and wants to go to lunch, coffee, or the pool, I can usually go in a heartbeat. I know that in a few short weeks, I will have almost no free time, so I'm just enjoying the time I have!!

Oh, and Dimitri is an awesome house mate all day! Why is it that cats love to sleep on top of clothes?!

One major benefit of all this free time is that friends can come visit and I'm free to do anything!!! The posts coming up will detail some of the fun Cleveland-y things that I got to do, thanks to having some friends visit us here!!!