Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Reflections from Thanksgiving

The name of this boat says it all about the impact my family and friends have had on me

Because this blog is a year-round love letter of the things in Cleveland I’m thankful for, I wanted to kick off the week after Thanksgiving by sharing a few of the non-Cleveland things that I’m really grateful round out my life.

I don’t have many opportunities to talk about these people so I apologize for the slightly self-indulgent interruption. However, I’ll be back later this week with more about my favorite city.

Chloe really doesn’t like having her photo taken

Scott and Chloe: Without Scott and Chloe, I don’t think I would have made it to Cleveland. I’m thankful everyday for these two imports from New Jersey.

Scott’s an amazing husband and someone I’ve been glad to call my best friend for over a decade (writing that out makes me feel really old). He never complains when I drag him out to dinner or a show, even on the days he’d rather relax at home. And when I’ve exhausted myself  from running between meetings, he’s usually there to take me home.

Our cat Chloe puts up with the both of us. She’s a troublesome feline I adopted from a friend in Philly. Despite her unruliness, though, Scott and I are happy to be “stuck” with her because she adds a bit of welcomed drama in our home.

My parents: I lucked out in the mom-and-dad department with two amazing and loving parents.  They were absolutely dedicated to my sister and I growing up, and still remain excellent role models for how to live lives full of honesty and integrity and sustain a loving marriage.

I think the gifts I am most grateful for from them are an understanding of how important it is to push yourself to do your best and that when things don’t go the way you want, to relax and move on.

With Gabbie at this year’s Halloweekends

My sister: I don’t come from a huge immediate family, only having one sibling.  However, that was and still is perfectly fine with me.  Two years younger than me, she was the missing puzzle piece in our family.

As a child, her rambunctious personality added excitement and an unending element of surprise to our household. As an adult, she is the most fiercely loyal and selfless person I know.

My in-laws: When I was younger and thought about marriage, the chronic worrier in me fretted about the in-laws I would one day gain if I ever married. Fortunately, reality was much kinder to me than my own anxieties when I married Scott and became a Hicken.

One reason I think Scott and I relate to each other so well is that he also lucked out with two amazing parents and a dynamic younger sister. All three were instantly welcoming to me when I first started dating Scott, embraced my idiosyncrisies and continually treat me much better than I probably deserve.

Scott’s mom and grandmother at Cleveland’s Serbian Orthodox Festival

I also gained another grandparent with Scott’s Grandmom.  All of my grandparents have passed away so I am extremely thankful for Grandmom P.  She is a sparkling lady – kind, spry and witty, and generous in her love, loving me as if I were her own granddaughter.

They also get along with my parents and sister – which makes Augusts in Virginia one of my favorite times of year when we all trek down there to spend time together.

Liquid Nails: When I went away to college in Philadelphia, it was the first time I was away on my own – leaving my parents, sister and high school friends behind in Virginia. 6 years later, I had found a group of friends through La Salle University’s theatre group that made moving to Cleveland extremely difficult.

As much as I love this city, the one thing I’d like to change is to have my family and friends here (and am not above trying to bribe them here with the delicious food, wonderful arts and low cost of living).  They’re the only thing that’s missing which would make this city perfect.

Part of Liquid Nails visiting the Christmas Story House

In particular, I’d like to ship my Liquid Nails to Cleveland. Angie, Ali, Jess and Amy have seen me at my absolute worst and shared my best moments with me. And much like the incredibly strong construction adhesive (clearly, we’re theatre tech nerds), they unwaveringly stick around and tend to keep the universe together when stuff starts falling apart.


I spent a lot of time thinking about these family and friends over the last week while I’ve been in Philadelphia. They were on my mind not just because it was Thanksgiving, but also because the father of one of Liquid Nails passed away.

Anthony Colletta was an incredibly active member of the community, a dedicated husband, and an amazing father to Angie and her sister Jen.  As was spoken of him during the funeral, he was a constant cheerleader – a rare and inspiring quality.

Thoughts go out to his loved ones and donations can be made in his name to an organization he was very involved with, the Northeast Catholic Alumni Memorial Scholarship Fund (P.O. Box 7005, Philadelphia, PA 19149).

I hope all of your Thanksgivings were special and that you have much to be grateful for.

All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 2: Local Holiday Shopping in Cleveland

Shop local this holiday season at stores like Crafty Goodness and Room Service, as well as the fun Cleveland shopping events mentioned below.

Happy Thanksgiving, Clue Into Clevelanders! I hope you have a great holiday with family, friends or relaxing at home.

Of course, the day after (and even Thanksgiving night for some stores) kicks off the holiday shopping season. Before you get swept away in the craziness of shopping for gifts, I suggest making a trip to the Cleveland Museum of Art to see Brian Ulrich’s Copia: Retail, Thrift, and Dark Stores.

Scott and I went last week for the Museum’s Buyer’s Remorse Party where Ulrich led a tour through his exhibit and spoke about his photography series.  

The zoned out faces of shoppers in contrast to the delicate portraits of thrift store workers were striking. And although the photographs of abandoned malls and big-box stores were surprisingly beautiful in their quiet desolation, they were also incredibly sad and had a clear impact on exhibit goers.

For me, the series was a perfectly timed reminder of the importance of buying local. 

At times, that means gifting experiences. For fans of Cleveland theatre, check out All I Want for Cleve-Mas, Part 1 about tickets you can give for local holiday shows. 

Or you can gift museum memberships, certificates for some of the city’s amazing restaurants, or tickets to Indians Snow Days and the Frozen Diamond hockey game at Progressive Field.

If you’re looking more for a tangible gift, there are plenty of stores and events inspiring Clevelanders to shop local:

Cleveland Craft Coalition's Black Friday party is just one event in the coming weeks where you can find unique and local handmade gifts.

Cleveland’s Buy Handmade Events

This city has an amazing community of artists and shop owners who champion handmade, local goods.  Unique and funky clothing, jewelry, baby goods, artwork and home decor can all be found at these events from Black Friday through December (updated 12/6):

You can also check out locally made products year-round at stores like Crafty Goodness, Dredgers Union, Room Service and Salty Not Sweet (to name just a couple of my favorites).

Yelp Shops Local Pledge

Finally, head over to Yelp to learn more about their Shop Local campaign. Across the country, Yelp is challenging communities to make an effort to support our cities’ great local businesses and encourage others to “Shop Wisely. Give Locally. Yelp On!”

As part of the campaign, Yelp Cleveland is hosting Shopping Crawls in Cleveland Heights (Dec. 4),  the Near Westside (Dec. 10) and Lakewood (Dec. 17). 

You can also take the 30-day pledge. From Nov. 25 through Dec. 24, check into the Yelp Shops Local event page, see that day’s task and use the hashtag #YelpShopsLocal on Twitter and Facebook to keep everyone across the country in the loop on how you’re shopping local.

Dine and shop with NEO Food Tours on Dec. 1 and 8.

Shop-and-Dine Holiday Tours

On Dec. 1st and 8th, NEO Food Tours is offering Shop-and-Dine Holiday Tours of the Cleveland Heights and Ohio City neighborhoods. In addition to showcasing the neighborhood’s restaurants, the tour will make stops at locally-owned retailers.

For instance, on the Dec. 1st Ohio City tour, the newly opened SOHO Kitchen & Bar will host a pop-up restaurant in Room Service (other stops include Campbell’s Sweets Factory, Bar Cento, Salty Not Sweet, Dragonfly, Something Different, and BonBon Pastry & Cafe). 

If you’d rather explore the eastside on Dec. 8th, Cleveland Heights Mayor Ed Kelley will lead the Cedar Lee tour, stopping at the Heights Art Gallery, Abrash Gallerie, Lopez on Lee, Taste, Revive, The Wine Spot, and SweetieFry.

NEO Food Tours is also offering an extended Black Friday special. Go to neofoodtours.eventbrite.com, use the code  BLACKFRIDAY_6011 between now and Nov. 29, and save 10% on the General Admission price. 

Tickets include food and drink at every stop, as well as tax, gratuity and a donation to a local organization (the Cleveland Heights tour will benefit the Heights Emergency Food Center and Ohio City will benefit Ohio City Incorporated).

These are just a few of Cleveland’s local shopping events this holiday season.   If you know of any others, please leave a comment below with more info!

For another great post about shopping local, check out The Chef’s Widow’s My Favorite Things (she also has a pretty sweet giveaway of CLE stuff). 


Disclosure: I work with NEO Food Tours doing outreach to the community on our monthly food tours. However, I started working with them because of my love for promoting the community’s dining and shopping establishments and as always am sharing opinions here that are 100% my own.