coming clean: The Month of No

You have through Labor Day to enter my #HeinensGrill giveaway – click over to this post to enter a tote bag filled of grilling supplies from Heinen’s.


In participating a Myers-Briggs assessment at work during the month of June (ESFJ FTW), traits*** of my personality were revealed to me:

  • ESFJs want decisions made early.
  • They like to keep traditions alive.
  • ESFJs dislike dealing with problems on a theoretical or philosophical basis.
  • They are conscious of appearances. (you would never know this based on how often I wear yoga pants to probably not socially acceptable scenarios. #sorrynotsorry)

The process solidified some things I already knew:

  • ESFJs lead very busy lives.
  • Their parties are well planned and often lavishly put together.
  • They value harmony and try to not offend or disappoint anyone.
  • ESFJs thrive on being needed but can feel overburdened and stressed from taking care of others.

As July came upon me and I turned 31, I felt bombarded by a need to take care while being true to myself. I was inspired to take some helpful yet opposite-for-ESFJs actions:

  • focusing on what I wanted to do and not what I “should” do
  • not try to fix everything all the time
  • learn to trust myself
  • appreciate my positive qualities
  • slow down my pace

It was apparent and I knew what I had to do. I declared AUGUST AS THE MONTH OF NO.

By mid July, I started telling friends, family, coworkers and random strangers that August was untouchable. If I didn’t have it scheduled by July 31st, I wasn’t doing it until September 1st. Some people didn’t catch on right away, and were thrown when I said “sorry”.  But others completely understood — even congratulated me for holding firm. Friends started taking on the same mantra as me and they started messaging me pins on Pinterest.

guard your time fiercely

So a month into this experiment what have I learned?

I adore having some alone time to myself. When I stumbled on this elephant journal “How to Love a Cancer” article, I practically shouted “YES!” when I read this portion: “Because she feels everything, a Cancer often craves alone time, either to be with her thoughts or to rejuvenate her soul from the constant taking in of all that surrounds her.”  It sounds counter-ESFJ, but it explains why I’ve been gravitating towards those long solo towpath bike rides this summer.

I feel EVERY.SINGLE.THING.  Each and every single sensation — physical and emotional — has been magnified. The happy times are happier, the depressive moments are somehow lower. Engaging strength in my arms during chatrunga has finally “clicked” — but as are my knees.  And since I took advantage of all that free time by filling it more physical activity, I burnt myself out and I’m now on a PT suggested RX of rest, ice, compression and elevation. (More on this soon. Yes, Universe: I got the message — slowing down mentally isn’t enough, it’s gotta be matched physically.)

Declining is liberating.  So what does all this “no” saying set you up for?  Saying “YEAH!” to the things you really want to do. Saying “Sure!” to the things you never had time for before because you were bogged down with BS.  And maybe – just maybe – saving yourself up for one very big YES exactly when you’re ready for it.

Will it be in September? As I rest my knee and my soul, I’ll just kick back, relax and see.

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***These points are taken from a book that I photocopied but forgot to write down the title of. When I have access to the book again, I’ll update this post for the proper credit.

#HeinensGrill: Grilled Caesar Salad with Shrimp Scampi (plus a GIVEAWAY)

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post and running a giveaway for a tote bag for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Along with plenty of Northeast Ohioans, I’ve been soaking up every second of outdoor time I can get this summer. Yoga-ing in the park, bike riding on the towpath, plenty of patio happy hours. This time of year also includes using my grill as much as possible. So when challenged by Heinen’s to grill something other than a cut of beef, I said “not a problem!” But what to throw on my trust outdoor cooking device…

Fruits were featured by other CLE bloggers including Bite Buff (combining shrimp with pineapple) and i heart cleveland (not only in her entree but in her cocktail!) in fun fashion. As I gravitate towards more of a pescatarian diet, the combo of seafood and veggies sounded perfect for me… although my husband still requested steak. (If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.)  I went ahead and purchased Hans the filet he wanted to make sea-to-farm-to table dinner a few Saturdays ago.

Inspired by Kate’s approach by adding rosemary to her steaks, I also took advantage of the pre-cut and pre-skewered veggie kabobs available for purchase at my Brecksville Heinen’s store. Adding the lobster was a special treat. We used one of my favorite tricks of skewering the tail to make sure it didn’t curl up as it was cooking on the grill. What a lovely, chill Saturday evening at home it was.

For my second weekend of Heinen’s inspired grilling, I dug into one of my favorite salad options, but with a new-to-me approach: 

Grilled Caesar Salad with Shrimp Scampi & Parmesan-Romano-Asiago Cheese Blend

  • Heat your grill.
  • Clean your shrimp, then lightly coat in olive oil. Season heartily with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Skewer the shrimp and let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Cut your heads of romaine in half. Brush the romaine with olive oil and lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place romaine flat side down on the grill. Cook until your desire level of “grill” lines, or for a few minutes. Once done, take off grill.
  • If you have room, feel free to put the shrimp on the grill along side the romaine. Cook the shrimp until pink and just cooked through – no more than 90 seconds to two minutes per side.
  • Put  shrimp and romaine on plates. Sprinkle with the shaved cheese blend. Serve with your dressing of choice — Caesar for example! - and lemon on the side. For you gluten eaters, buy some bread from the Heinen’s bakery department and grill that too!

Ready to join in on the #HeinensGrill fun? Enter to win a tote full of grilling supplies from Heinen’s at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until Tuesday, September 2nd at 12:00PM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later that morning. 

LONG STORY SHORT: I apparently have a think for skewers. And good eats. Thanks to Heinen’s for another opportunity to tap back into why I enjoy making meals at home again. Remember to stay in touch with Heinen’s via their social media feeds: on Facebook and on Twitter at @heinens.

Disclosure: In exchange for writing this post and running a giveaway for a tote bag for a reader, I received a gift card to purchase supplies for this blog post from Heinen’s. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Link It Up: Must Read Posts on 8.22.2014

Sometimes as I’m going about my day, I throw various blog posts, online articles and fun YouTube video URLs in my Gmail drafts folder. Well, when I saw over 80 draft emails (90% of which were these types of links), I knew it was time to revive this blog series. I do love sharing these with you!


My great friend and fellow CLE blogger Amanda at Clue Into Cleveland (on the far right in this photo from Jump Back Ball) is celebrating her birthday this weekend, and I’m honored to join in on the fun. Read her most recent post on how she’s participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge by supporting a good friend participating in the ALS Association’s local walk. Consider donating to Jen’s team here.


Don’t forget: you have until this Monday at midnight to enter my giveaway to win two $25 dining cards to the 10th Anniversary Taste of Hudson. Click over to yesterday’s post to enter this weekend.


If you’re looking for some local dining inspiration, look no further than Bite Buff‘s recent series of posts when she hosted a Pittsburg blogger for a #ThisisCLE culinary tour in conjunction with  Positively Cleveland. She just posted Part Three, which included visits to North Union Farmers Market, Dante Next Door (p.s. they have gluten free pizza!), Lilly Handmade Chocolates and A Cookie and a Cupcake.  Here’s Part One, Part Two and Part Two x2 for you to catch up on if you missed the first two days.

In case you haven’t heard, Cleveland Gladiators are in the ArenaBowl happening this Saturday night. They have the chance to finally bring the good people of Cleveland a championship, so go cheer them on at The Q. More information on the team’s website.

This Sunday includes another Yoga Rocks the Park. Teresa Gorski from Vision Yoga is teaching and long time blog friend Brandon Kocher is accompanying her with his musical stylings. Purchase tickets on the event website or at Tremont’s Lincoln Park morning of the class.

Cleveland Cocktail Week is coming! My very good friend Smitten in Cleveland is very excited to celebrate this Northeastern Ohio gathering September 4th through 8th — check out her blog post for more info or the event website at


Fellow CLE FitBloggin’ blogger Jill shared her grilled maple bacon peanut butter and jelly sammich recipe this week. If eating this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

This fennel roasted veggies recipe from Michael Chiarello over at the Food Network site reminds me of a dish we enjoyed while in San Francisco this past April. This WILL be made once I get my hands on some fennel!

I’m all about a recipe that doesn’t involve anything beyond a bit of chopping, boiling, blending and mixing: I’ll be making Kathryn Budig’s Time-Saving Sun Butter + Coconut Curry soon. It uses brown rice noodles, making it gluten free.

Holly Clegg’s Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad combines roasted sweet yams, crunchy corn, black beans in a light jalapeño dressing — check out the Cleveland Clinic’s Speaking of Women’s Health site for an array of info.


“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” ― B.K.S. Iyengar. Rest in Peace and Thank You! #bksiyengar

Got a link to share? Put it in the comments below… and happy Friday!

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