ten things this tuesday: My CLE Blogger BYODDD Menu

As I mentioned in my weekend wrap up post from yesterday,  I hosted our monthly monthly Cleveland blogger dinner at our home this past Friday evening. Who knew throwing a BYODDD: Bring Your Own Dog, Dish or Drink party would be such a blast?!

As a reminder, here’s a listing of the wonderful bloggers who attended:

Entertaining for my friends and family gives me such joy – especially now with the recent redecorating of the family room and kitchen! So in true Poise in Parma form, I want to share my version of “love” today:


I’ll be featuring my recipes and tips for these dishes in the upcoming weeks – looks like you have SOMETHING TO LOOK FORWARD TO!

1. Melon & Prosciutto Skewers

Easily made with just those two ingredients, I threw these together in less than five minutes.

2. Quinoa Tabbouleh

Wanting to offer a gluten-free option, I created this salad. Recipe to come!

3. Caprese Salad

Made by my mom, it’s amazing how wonderful this simple salad tasted!

4. Grandma Disch’s Vinegar Cucumber Salad

Hans’ grandma’s salad is a MUST HAVE at any family gathering. She shared the recipe with me and I’ll be sharing it with you very soon!

5. Alicia’s Pasta Salad

You can never go wrong with a pasta salad. Mine is infamous and includes a secret ingredient. I have to decide if I’m going to divulge it!!!

6. My take on a Waldorf Chicken Salad

Guest could enjoy this with some Orlando Baking Company rolls, corn chips or on its own. I made this up on the fly, so I’ll be posting it here soon.

7. Baked Berries and Brie

So easy. So simple. SO TASTY. A recipe from my mom, which will soon be yours.

8. Thai Curry Spiced Chicken and Shrimp Kabobs

(picture c/o greendogwine.com)

I have to admit – I cheated a bit by purchasing a great sauce at Trader Joe’s. I marinated the chicken and shrimp (separately) for about an hour in the sauce before having Hans sear them on the grill. An easy way to provide a meat option for your guests.

9. Two Types of Homemade Pizzas:

…a Caprese Chicken Pizza on traditional pizza dough

…and a veggie lovers Greek style pizza with mushrooms, green pepper, hummus and feta, on whole wheat pizza dough.

Hans used to work at Papa John’s and taught me the “right” way to make a pizza! I learned from the best! He might have to do a guest post!

10) Apricot Cassata Cake

From my favorite local bakery – Michael Angelo’s Bakery in Broadview Heights – what’s a pup birthday party without a birthday cake?! It’s also the same flavor that we had for our wedding cake – which made Hans VERY happy at the end of the evening!

(picture c/o mile26andmore.com)

We ate. We drank. We pupped. And we were tuckered out. Even Grady slept in Saturday morning!

Thanks to all my lovely “blends” for bringing their pups, desserts and wine to the party! I encourage you to check out all of their blogs – they are my CLE favorites!

A HUGE THANK YOU to my talented mother for all of her help. I think she may have a new job as a dog whisperer if her current career path doesn’t work out!

And another thank you to my wonderful husband – it takes quite the man to put up with all those ladies and pups running about!

SO STAY TUNED TO THE BLOG: You have lots of recipe posts coming your way during the month of September!

A Weekend Outside in Cleveland

HEY CLEVELANDERS! I just enjoyed a wonderful weekend full of fantastic activities here in the CLE.  Here’s the run down of what’s making it hard to focus this Monday morning.

FRIDAY NIGHT: I’m always down to plan a party, so I was ready to host our next monthly Cleveland blogger get together. Inspired by Grady’s recent birthday, I decided it best to throw a BYODDD: Bring Your Own Dog, Dish or Drink!

I’m going to direct you to these fabulous ladies & their recaps on the “blend” and pup hilarity that ensued this past Friday evening:

You should know there was a lot of drink:

(c/o bitebuff.blogspot.com)

…a lot of food:

(c/o greendogwine.com)

…and even more of this:

(c/o greendogwine.com – please excuse my overheated patio door)

I loved spending time with six fantastic bloggers, six crazy pups, my mom and hubby that evening. Interested to know what I made for the party? Check back tomorrow for the full menu!

SATURDAY: Alas, the Browns did give me much to be happy about, so I took joy in the fabulous 3.5 miles I rocked on a newly discovered trail of the Cleveland Metroparks.

I traveled to the area near the Rockside Road exit of I-77 to the Ohio & Erie Canal Reservation’s Towpath Trail. From the Metroparks website: the 7.5-mile trail follows the historic Ohio & Erie Canal and connects to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park at Rockside Road.

I really enjoyed running on the gravel path along the canal from my parking spot to the canal visitor center about 1.75 miles away. Imagine running along a beautiful trial littered with these:

(c/o gcbl.org)

There were plenty of happy Clevelanders on their bikes that happily rang their bells as they passed me on the trail!

SUNDAY MORNING: I climbed out of bed in time to make it to Cleveland Yoga’s 2nd Annual Appreciation Day at Orchard Hills Park & Patterson’s Fruit Farm in Chesterland:

The Cleveland Yoga staff took turns leading a wonderful 75 minute class, structured for all levels of yogis.

There was live music during the session:

There were lots of downward dogs:

…and even actual dogs! This little guy was practicing two mats down from me:

(c/o Cleveland Yoga’s Facebook picture album)

It was a great event and I thank Cleveland Yoga for organizing it. I’ve done yoga outside a few times before (the best on an island during a Bahamas cruise!), but this really inspired me to hold my own Sunday morning practice on my back porch every week! Let me know if you’d like to join me next week!

SUNDAY AFTERNOON: With my muscles sore from too many chatarungas, I was ready to chill with the hubby and the pup. It was too glorious outside to not take advantage of the summer weather while it is still with us. We packed a bag and headed to Elmwood Park in Independence. This was the site of my first 5K earlier this month, so it was great to enjoy the scenery while laying on a blanket!

While Hans brushed up on some chemical engineering topics (notice the LARGE book), I perused some issues of Oprah magazine and caught up with my #GoldenGirls Angela, Bess, Dot and Meredith. Grady was far much more interested in attacking the nearby ducks in the pond:

Mom – why can’t I play in the water?!

Don’t tell anyone, but we let Grady off of his leash and gave him a bit of free reign in the quiet area around the pond.

We spent a lovely two hours at the park and I think we were all much more relaxed at the end of the afternoon.

I had a wonderful weekend – how was yours? How are you embracing the end of August?

Owning It versus Being Owned

Some of you may know Rachel Wilkerson. If not, you should. I consider her to be my social media guru. She writes a terrific blog (www.rachelwilkerson.com) and knows her stuff across the board.

She’s always sharing some great healthy living tips with a twist. I personally practice her First Rule:

(c/o rachelwilkerson.com)

What Rachel really means is knowing the difference between “good ridiculous” and “bad ridiculous”. Kind of like the difference between “good crazy” and “bad crazy”. Totally me, right?

This week, Rachel presented her Fourth Rule:

(c/o rachelwilkerson.com)

She challenged her readers to stop feeling so guilty about the decisions they make and to just own them – no further discussion needed.  Rachel said, “If you’re sick of feeling guilty and ready to own it, remember this: tell people what you want, what you’re doing, what you need. Don’t ask for permission or advice.”

This got me thinking about the things that I need to own up to owning. Instead, I realized the things that I need to own up to are actually owning me.

If you asked me what this blog is all about, I would describe Poise in Parma as a healthy living blog where you would find my ramblings on my search for balance in life, job, blog and dog.  The key words in that description in my opinion are “healthy” and “balance”. Ultimately, the combination of those two words is what I am seeking in life. That is what has inspired my mantra for 2010: “Be Happy. Be Healthy. Just Be.”

So I write about seeking balance while enjoying my adventures in here Cleveland. I DO OWN that I love this town, no matter how much hell I get for never leaving. Yes, I still live in Parma. Yes, we sometimes wear white socks with black shoes. Yes, we like pink flamingos and eat a lot of pierogies. But it’s home and it’s mine. It’s not just the concept of “grow where you are planted” – I want to FLOURISH. But unfortunately, I’ve let something get in my way of this.

Since 2009, I have struggled with depression and anxiety disorders.

It’s important to note that depression and anxiety are not the same.  I once read (pretty sure it was in Geneen Roth’s Women Food and God) that depression is stemmed from the guilt of past wrongs while anxiety stems from worry about future happenings.

This all might come as a surprise to some of you, as I try to keep the majority of the posts on the blog pretty light-hearted and positive in nature. I play the happy hostess, the uber-organized event planner, the “perfect” first child – but at the end of the day, the emotions of hopelessness, guilt and fear overwhelm me.

When the depression sets in, my energy levels are low: I don’t want to make dinner for Hans, I don’t want to go for a walk with Grady, I don’t want to work out and I don’t want to leave the couch. I just want to be left alone.

And then around 10PM, the depression switches to anxiety: I stress about work, family, friends, the house, the bills, etc. All this stressing leads to poor sleep patterns that only lead to more anxiety about not getting enough sleep. I wake up every 45 minutes throughout the night. I can’t remember the last night I slept a solid, uninterrupted eight hours.

I started to seek professional help in the fall of 2009. Now in August 2010, I am now on my third therapist and finally feel that I have the right relationship to get me back to health. Unfortunately, many of my coping mechanisms still plague me in my recovery. While I’m not ready to share those with you at this time, it’s a day-to-day and night-to-night struggle that has consumed me.

This struggle with depression and anxiety compromises how I live my life every single day: how I function at work, how I maintain personal relationships, and how I achieve my life goals. And as Twisted Sister sang back in 1984 – I’m not gonna take it anymore.

I am DONE letting these disorders own me. Instead, I am ready to declare:

I am ready to own the following:

  • Yes, I am battling depression and anxiety. I own this.
  • Yes, I take anxiety medications as needed on an episodic basis. I own this.
  • Yes, I have tried prescription sleeping meds. (They haven’t worked, yet.) I own this.
  • Yes, I’ve spent many hours in a therapist chair. I own this.
  • Yes, I use various coping mechanisms to avoid my feelings. I own this.

But the most important thing for me to own in this moment – in the words of my #GoldenGirl Meredith:


I will not let my depression and anxiety own me any longer. No more days following on my family room couch. No more nights filled with restless sleep. No more morning panic attacks. Life is too short to wallow around and let everything pass you by. I’m being ridiculous – in the bad way – by succumbing to this for so long.

I want to live again. I am ready to own my life again. Give me the deed – I’m ready to sign. To Shawshank it up: “Get busy livin’ or get busy dying.” The first option is SO much better than the latter.

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