Fall Forward

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“Autumn… the year’s last, loveliest smile.” 

My favorite season is finally here, and with it comes football Sundays and hot apple cider and colorful leaves. Fall also means cozy knit sweaters, infinity scarves, an excuse to wear leggings and the return of my ever-growing boot collection.

Just to celebrate this most wonderful time of the year (that includes Christmas, too!), I wanted to look back at some of the autumn adventures I’ve showcased here at Midwest Perspective. Happy Fall!

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1 & 3 Patterson’s Fruit Farm | 2 & 7 Downtown Gates Mills |  4 & 5 Cleveland Cultural Gardens | 6 Rocky River Reservation | 8 Shaker Lakes

Weekend Highlights: Sun & Sunflowers

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Even if a day off work kicks me in the butt for the rest of the week, having an extra day over Labor Day weekend was just the medicine I needed. I filled the weekend with family time and two brunches (heck yeah!), a little cleaning and even less labor.

The skies were an endless stream of blue (perfect for watching the U.S. Navy Blue Angels in the Cleveland Air Show), and each sunset was a blaze of neon orange and peachy pink. But the highlight of my weekend was a visit to the Prayers From Maria sunflower field in Avon. The flowers are in full bloom, so it’s definitely worth the trip to take some pictures, soak in the cheery blooms and donate to an amazing cause.

Read Maria’s story and find more information at Prayers From Maria, which is dedicated to funding global research into the causes, prevention, treatments and cure for the deadliest childhood brain tumors known as gliomas.

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Best Dressed: MTV VMAs 2016

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The MTV Video Music Awards are one of the biggest red carpet (or whatever-color carpet) events of the year, and you know how much I love scrolling through the celebrity arrivals to pin down the best — and worst — dressed.

Except that the VMAs are not historically one of my favorites. Unlike the Golden Globes and Oscars, which welcome movie stars channeling old-Hollywood glam, the VMAs tend to get a little … weird. And since my personal style veers more classic, it’s sometimes hard to appreciate a more avant-garde look.

Still, I appreciate someone having a little fun with fashion, and the VMAs are definitely the place to do it. (Say what you want about Beyonce’s bizarre feathered collar, she slays all day. And, as Buzzfeed says, looked like “a beautiful angel muppet.”) So here are a few of my 2016 MTV Video Music Awards best-dressed stars.

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Tinashe (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

2Hailee Steinfeld

Hailee Steinfeld (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

3Hailey Baldwin

Hailey Baldwin (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

4Justine Skye

Justine Skye (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

5Future

Future (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

6Lilliana Vazquez_Jamie Mccarthy : Getty Images

Lilliana Vazquez (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

7Franchesca Ramsey

Franchesca Ramsey (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

8Chantelle Winnie

Chantelle Winnie (Jamie Mccarthy / Getty Images)

9Beyonce and Blue_Larry Busacca : Getty Images

Beyonce and Blue Ivy (Larry Busacca / Getty Images)

 

Shifting Light

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Time isn’t on our side. Ask any blogger: One of the greatest difficulties is finding the time to dream up, photograph, write and edit a post. (So guilty!) But while I was out on this particular photo shoot, I discovered another race against the clock — and the sun.

Lighting is important in photography, and so much emphasis falls on getting the timing right. The golden hour comes and goes. If you’ve spent too long waiting for people to exit the frame, or you run into people you know, suddenly that perfect sunlight shifts and the bright, pure light is replaced with an orange glow or even a gloomy dusk.

It makes the “flawless blogger” aesthetic difficult to keep up with. (Last week I shared shots from before the light got crazy on us, read it here!) But for the sake of transparency and to see the progression of diminishing light, I thought I’d share a few more images.

Happy Hump Day!

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Top: Free People (sold out😦 similar crop here and here) | Jeans: Express (love these by Topshop) | Clutch: DSW (similar here) | Shoes: Sam & Libby via Target (similar on sale and here) | Rings: Aldo

Photos by Michael Ciuni

Cropped

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The crop top trend is still going strong, but even back in the ’90s when Britney Spears was my fashion inspiration, I never felt comfortable baring my belly.

Fortunately, there are tons of ways to style the rising shirt hems. If you’re feeling slightly — but not totally — bold, show a sliver of skin with a pencil skirt (like I did here).

For the most part, I like to pair my shorter tops with high-waisted jeans. This one from Free People shows a lot of back, so it already feels a little bare. Wearing it with high-waisted jeans hides the stomach and elongates the appearance of my legs. (Sky-high heels help with that, too!)

The beadwork dresses up this top for a night out, but swap the heels for sandals and it gives off a flowy, bohemian vibe. It would also look great with a casual pair of white or denim shorts.

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Top: Free People (sold out😦 similar crop here and here) | Jeans: Express (love these by Topshop) | Clutch: DSW (similar here) | Shoes: Sam & Libby via Target (similar on sale and here) | Rings: Aldo

Photos by Michael Ciuni

Imitation Game

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After the craziness of the RNC in Cleveland and then hitting the road for work last week, I wanted my weekend to be as chill as possible. I ended up having a little too much fun laying around and playing with a new app.

Prisma takes photo filters to the next level. Forget the glow of Amara or the vintage look of Nashville, these filters imitate works of art. Think mosaic, Picasso, Lichtenstein and Hokusai’s “The Great Wave.” Some look like a watercolor version of your favorite image, others like colored pencil. And others are morphed into a (slightly) abstract look or cartoonish work of art.

I wanted to test out the dozens of filters on every picture I own. Hint: it makes faces look like the Joker — not in a cool way — so I stuck to skylines and landscapes. (How amazing does the corn look?!) Here are some of my favorites, which I’m starting to think would make amazing coasters. Hmm, DIY project coming soon?

Happy Monday! I encourage you to avoid your to-do list and get busy filtering your favorite photos, too.

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All photos by me, edited using Prisma

The Elephant in the Room

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The week we’ve been prepping for is finally here: the Republican National Convention has officially kicked off in Cleveland.

A lot of people decided to leave their downtown apartments for the week and even work from home to avoid protests and traffic. I decided to stick it out. Sure, the road closures might be a nightmare, but I couldn’t be more excited to see so many visitors hitting the streets of my beloved hometown.

Looking for some ideas? Sit on a patio riverside at one of the Flats East Bank locations; grab brunch (here’s a round up and more favorites); soak in the arts at University Circle (don’t miss the free, world-renowned Cleveland Museum of Art); explore the city’s architecture; grab a bite and groceries under a stained-glass dome at Heinen’s (seen here); and catch the sunset at Voinovich Park (pictured below and here). The list could go on!

Cleveland is sparkling in its own little way. I can’t wait to walk around, swing by our newly renovated Public Square and look at my city like a tourist. Of course, in light of such sad things happening all around the world, I’m hoping Cleveland shines peacefully all week long.

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Photo by Michael Ciuni

Weekend Highlights: Sunset Season

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During the winter, a good weekend is defined by the fun things you pack in. But in the summer, especially here in the Midwest, sometimes a weekend filled with blue skies and sunsets really is all you need to feel accomplished.

It’s funny how I can still be so amazed by a sunny day. With summer in full swing, sunset viewing is at its peak, and I’ve been known to lace up my shoes and run out the door just to catch a glimpse. (That counts as a workout, right?)

Besides enjoying the sun setting over our beautiful Lake Erie, I cheered on the Indians as they crushed the Yankees Friday night (Roll Tribe!) and spent most of Saturday at a family cookout. Saturday morning I had to work, but I finally took the time to walk through the new Public Square — I’m definitely loving this new downtown greenspace!

Here are some highlights from the weekend. I hope yours was relaxing, too!

Weekend Highlights: Red, White and Blue

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Friends and family, food and brews, stars and stripes. These are a few of my favorite things, and thank goodness for a long weekend bringing them all together. I might not have had the most elaborate Fourth of July weekend, but I got to see a bunch of the people I love. And I ate — a lot.

After the New York Times shared “36 Hours in Cleveland,” a quick list of what to do, see and eat in anticipation of the upcoming Republican National Convention, my friend living in New York immediately sent me a text: “What is spice kitchen and bar???”

I’ve already professed my admiration for Spice Kitchen + Bar here and here, so heading back to the Gordon Square spot once she got into town was a no-brainer. On Sunday, I scarfed down hummus and other Lebanese delights at Taza in the Warehouse District.

Monday, my family was invited to a party at Nuevo, a modern Mexican restaurant opening at the end of July next to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The guacamole was creamy and the hibiscus margarita was a taste of the tropics. The weather, not so much.

I can’t wait to return to Nuevo (the start of Cleveland’s plans to develop the lakefront, finally!!) on a perfect, blue day. I’m certain it’ll be one of the best sunset-viewing spots in town.

How did you spend the holiday weekend? And of course I have to ask, what did you wear?!

Pictured top row: Terminal Tower; cheese plate at Spice
Middle: Heinen’s grocery store downtown
Bottom: North Coast Harbor; margaritas at Nuevo; Rock Hall

Photos by Hallie Rybka

Cleveland: Best Month Ever

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As if I could love my beautiful hometown any more, Cleveland just wrapped up what I’ve been calling its “Best Month Ever.” Our little renaissance started earlier and will go much later, of course. But with the Cavaliers winning the NBA Championship on June 19 — and thus ending a 52-year drought in the city — it became clear that 2016 is the year of the 216 area code.

June brought the warmth of summer, the bluest skies, long days and magical sunsets. Last weekend, I finally attended the Cleveland Museum of Art’s signature Solstice party, a must-see event made even bigger this year in honor of the museum’s bicentennial.

On the sports front, the Cavs made a historic and record-breaking comeback. Each game, home or away, brought packs of fans to downtown. The championship parade welcomed an estimated 1.3 million people. Haters will say that’s a stretch, but the photos don’t lie — and the parade inched along for hours as the vehicles tried parting a sea of wine and gold. (And I’ve been taking screen shots of everyone’s Instagrams, sorry not sorry!)

Just before the Cavs took home the trophy, I witnessed the Lake Erie Monsters hockey team win the Calder Cup. And the Indians have won 13 straight ball games, tying a franchise record. Roll Tribe!

Our renovated Public Square is officially open, and the revitalized Flats East Bank is in full summer swing. The Kimpton Schofield Hotel opened in the beautiful, historic Schofield Building; the new Hilton is luring guests with the greatest views and coolest artwork in each room (see below!); and the marble-clad Drury Hotel calls a 1930s-era former Board of Education building home. Can I get a stay-cation?

Looking ahead, this month will bring a flood of people to town — plus a hefty dose of national media attention — for the Republican National Convention. And according to the New York Times article “A Revitalized Cleveland is Ready for its Close-Up,” 29 projects with more than $3.5 billion in investment have opened or are scheduled to open in the city center from 2016 to 2018.

Things are looking up for Cleveland, a city that has long suffered a bad rep. I’ve felt such an outpouring of love and pride and hope and excitement lately. The people who live here can already list a thousand reasons Cleveland rocks. I can’t wait for a whole new wave of visitors to fall in love, too.

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Photos by Hallie Rybka unless noted