Saturday, July 30, 2016

VeloSano Thank Yous

Thanking ALL who gave to my 100-mile VeloSano bike ride! $1,070 raised (107% of my goal!).

It was incredibly challenging and so inspiring to ride 50 miles through the countryside and city streets of Northeast Ohio for such a great cause. 

Knowing that 4,500 people will be diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. every DAY is reason alone to take on this task. To all that gave money and cheered me on, YOU the true champs! 


My Family: Mom, Dad, Aunt Patty, Curt, Regina, Aunt Phyllis

My Co-Workers: Bret, Katie, Sara, Renee, Amy, Dana, Cathy, Robert, 

My Hometown Friends: Nathan, Diane, Mike V., Natalie, Darla & Jim

My Fellow Torchbearers: Jonathan, Amanda

The RHB Crew: Denise, Ryan, Jeff & Oleta, Emily, Judy, Suzanne, Don, Mary, Pattie & Dan

The OSU Bunch: Steve, Matt C., Alyce & Jamie, Kyla

Special Thanks: 
To Nadine, for letting me crash at your place in Cleveland Heights!
To Erin, our fearless Team Captain!
To God, for getting me through and keeping me safe!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Stroll Through Dave Grohl Alley

Photos by OHventures

Surprising to many might be the fact that drummer and vocalist Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters and Nirvana fame hails from the mid-sized town of Warren, Ohio. Surprising to even more people might be the fact that I, for a short period of my youth, was a fan of both of those bands, and therefore a fan of Dave Grohl!

Nothing is more surprising, however, than the fact that the town of Warren has an alleyway solely dedicated to its famous native. As the story goes, a police officer felt that a rundown alley in downtown Warren needed a facelift. So, he decided to clean it up and dedicate it to Dave Grohl as a way to motivate and inspire the youth of the Rust Belt town. 

Dave Grohl Alley officially opened as a roadside attraction in August 2009, with Dave Grohl himself showing up to the dedication. Added to the alley in 2013 were the "World's Largest Drumsticks" (pictured below), which were hand carved, and put Warren on the map in the Guinness Book of World Records.

Stopping by the alley recently was a really cool experience, seeing many pieces of art modeled after Dave Grohl and his music. Take a detour when you're in the area to see it for yourself, especially if you're a music fan. If you need suggestions for other things to do while in town, grab some grub at Cockeye BBQ, gander at the historic Trumbull County Courthouse, and drive up the road to see a Lunar Module in honor of Neil Armstrong!

(if you want to visit, just type "Dave Grohl Alley" in Google Maps!)

Ride A Camel At Columbus Zoo

Photos by OHventures

Well, mark that one off of the bucket list! I rode me a camel!

When my friends from Chicago and Colorado were coming in to Ohio for the weekend, we decided to go to the Columbus Zoo. And, from the moment we went, all I had my sights on was riding a camel!

That's right! For just $7, you can take a short ride on the back of a camel at the Columbus Zoo. My friend Faye and I hopped on a camel named Ghost after standing in a short line, and we took a ride around the African Safari with one of the zoo workers guiding the way.

It was a tame ride, with only a few bumps in the road (no pun intended). The only thing lacking was the vast Sahara desert. I think I prefer being in the comfort of Ohio instead of in the middle of the Sahara, though!

If you go to the Columbus Zoo, be sure to ride a camel. And, while you're at it, take some time to take part in some of the other interactive elements found at the zoo: feed the giraffes, walk alongside the kangaroos, pet the stingrays, and let lorikeets land on you while you feed them nectar!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Photos by OHventures

This past week marked a historic time for the City of Cleveland. The Republican National Convention (RNC) was held in town for the first time since the 1930s, bringing in thousands and thousands of visitors from across the country and the globe. Members of the media, elected officials, delegates, police, and concerned citizens flocked to Northeast Ohio. Many expected a great deal of ruckus and negativity, due to the highly contentious political climate brought on by this year's Presidential election. 

All eyes were on Cleveland, but instead of a riot, we gave them a block party. I had the chance to be up in Cleveland most of the week for work, and I can tell you that it was the cleanest, safest, and most energized that I have seen it in a long time (aside from during the Cavs celebratory parade of course). The world had the chance to see the beauty of Lake Erie, the splendor of our landmarks, and the spirit of our people. 

Below, see some of the (mostly) non-political pictures I snapped while walking around downtown during the RNC. No matter what your politics, you can appreciate what Cleveland was able to offer the week of July 17-21, 2016.


Ah, the giant "FREE" Stamp! This artwork found on Lakeside Avenue East (2 blocks from the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame) is known to be the "World's Largest Rubber Stamp," and is either loved or loathed by Clevelanders. This photo was taken on Monday of Convention week. But as the week went on, more and more people set up artwork and used this site as home base for protests and political platforms. Appropriately so, since many interpret this to be an expression of "FREE" speech.

Three giant sculptures of the word "Cleveland" in cursive font were installed recently around town by Destination Cleveland. The one pictured above is located behind the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum, in Voinovich Bicentennial Park. The others can be found in the Tremont neighborhood and on the shore at Edgewater Park. It's a perfect backdrop for selfies!

Speaking of Voinovich Bicentennial Park, it is a great spot to relax and take a break from the world (especially when something like the RNC is happening blocks away). The park is located on the northern-most shore of Ohio, overlooking Lake Erie. You can see boats floating by, and enjoy a cool breeze (the photo at the beginning of the post is also taken from this park).

Adjacent to the park is North Coast Harbor, which is home to Rock 'N Dock, where many boats are docked, and where you can rent jet skis, paddle boats, and more!. Nearby, you can rent bikes for Cleveland Bike Tours, go fishing, eat at many fun food trucks, or take part in a number of fun events, like Pilates on the Pier!

Just around the corner is the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame & Museum. Cleveland was chosen as the birthplace of rock & roll, because a local DJ is widely credited as coining the term "rock and roll" and because Cleveland was the location of the very first rock and roll concert. Now, you can go and see tons of great musical memorabilia and walk through an ever-evolving list of inductees. You can also get your photo snapped with this giant guitar right out front!

This statue is known as the Cleveland War Memorial, found in the Fountain of Eternal Life. It's referred to as Peace Arising out of War. I found this to be a fitting landmark to admire, since our country has been facing a great deal of turmoil as of late. It's found at 350 E. Clair Avenue.

Right along the lake and in downtown Cleveland is FirstEnergy Stadium, which is home of the Cleveland Browns! Now that the Cavs brought home a championship, perhaps the Browns can do the same this year, finally? 

Giant blue birds, neon green snails, and multi-colored wolves are scattered throughout downtown Cleveland in statue form. This is a temporary art installment brought to you by the Cleveland Public Library. These colorful creatures bring a splash of brightness to downtown, and you can't miss them (there are 377 of these plastic animals in total!). 

East 4th Street is where things did get pretty political, as this strip of bars and restaurants is located right next to the Quicken Loans Arena - the site of the RNC itself. The street was taken over by many media outlets and known unofficially as "media row" - with MSNBC, the Washington Post, and many others broadcasting from this alley. I spotted Colin Jost from Saturday Night Live, Matt Lauer from the Today Show, Eric Andre from Adult Swim, a Trump impersonator, and even a "polar bear" while walking up and down E. 4th Street. Sitting inside Michael Symon's Lola Bistro was a perfect spot for people watching. There was energy of all kinds, and it was really fascinating!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pine Bokeh Photography

Photos by Pine Bokeh Photography

Hiking and dogs - two of my all time favorite things. Particularly, hiking at Brandywine Falls with my very own rescue dog, Slider. I rescued this little guy in 2012, and we've been on countless adventures together. Don't let his little size fool you. He keeps up, and he has a larger than life personality; a personality that is worthy to be captured in a series of photos!

My former co-worker Britney recently started her own photography business, Pine Bokeh Photography, and said she really wanted to get some pet portraits of my little guy! Of course, I obliged, because (next to dogs and hiking) another one of my favorite things is photography. I am a firm believer that life should be captured on film as much as possible (I even get picked on it for how many pics I take)! 

As Ansel Adams says, "You don't take a photograph, you make it." So that's just what we did! We went off to take photos with a field, and with the waterfalls as a backdrop. Pine Bokeh is named as such because of their use of the "bokeh" technique in photography (a blurred effect of sorts). I think that Britney and her business partner Jess did a fantastic job.

Here are a few samples of photos taken this summer! Go out there and explore, but take a camera along with you! After all, a camera is like a "save" button for your memories!

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Akron To Cincy

Photos by Tim Fitzwater

The following post was written for publication on the website "The Akronist." The Akronist is a source for compelling stories about greater Akron. It has local videos, photos, podcasts, articles, and blogs produced by the community. I wrote this piece as a recap of a recent trip taken with a group of fellow Akronites in the young leadership group known as Torchbearers. 

As a bus full of 35 Akronites rolled into the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati on June 5, smart phones began taking pictures and tagging social media posts with the hashtag “#TB2Cincy.”

There was no question that the working minds of Torchbearers of Akron had arrived, and they were eager to learn about the southwest Ohio city nearly four hours away from home. Creative juices were flowing, and notepads were at the ready to catch inspiration during the group’s two-day excursion to the Queen City.

In early 2015, Torchbearers received its largest single grant ($65,000) from the John S. and James L Knight Foundation. This grant sponsored two trips, the first being to Detroit in May 2015, and the second being the most recent trip to Cincinnati on June 5 and 6 of this year.

It was the goal of Torchbearers to travel to Cincinnati in order to learn about the city’s efforts in arts and culture, neighborhood revitalization and economic development, with the hopes of bringing back these ideas for programs in Akron. In addition, the trip was an opportunity for Torchbearers to share with those in Cincinnati all the innovative things Akron is doing to revitalize and grow.