Five Things To Do Before School Begins in Northeast Ohio

As August gets going and summer winds down, I find myself desperate to hold on for just a little longer.  Here are five things we recommend before school begins–to get all we can out of these last few weeks.

Visit local eateries, coffee shops, and boutiques.

We don’t mean the chain restaurants and shops you can find on every corner.  Instead, check out some of those interesting local spots we say we’ll hit up eventually, but NEVER get around to. Those are the places to visit! Bring some friends or relatives along and experience your hometown for all that it has to offer.

We suggest:

The Artisan

Compass Coffee

The Cleveland Flea (check the website for dates)

The District Boutique

Plan a day-trip with your friends.

You can be adventurous and hike or spend the day school shopping. The point isn’t what you do, so much as who you go with. As strange as it is to think about, life will probably change a lot after graduation. So take the time while you can, and make great memories with the great people around you. There’s nothing like camping out under the stars, or singing karaoke with the windows rolled down when your best friends are by your side!

We suggest:

Presque Isle (The beaches are beautiful.)

Hocking Hills 

Pittsburgh Be sure to check out IKEA while there!

Read a Shakespeare play and then go see it live!

Researchers have learned that Shakespeare’s works stimulate our brains and can even increase academic performance. Don’t believe us? Just ask Google! Beyond the academic boost, reading and then watching theater is often a life-changing experience. After all, plays are meant to be seen and lived, not just read. So find a local theater group -some even perform outdoors in the summer, and see for yourself why “The play’s the thing!”

We suggest:

Weathervane Playhouse

Akron Civic Theater

Playhouse Square

Great Lakes Theater

Tour the Metro Parks.

They don’t call it “The Great Outdoors” for nothing! Take some time to get out into nature and just be. Whether it’s the sound of crickets as the sun is setting, or the relief of standing knee deep in a cool, lazy stream, time outside has a way of re-centering us with ourselves and reminding us of what we really value. Bring a journal (or snap a waterproof case on your phone) and jot down some notes, or take photos while you’re at it. If nothing else, you can pretend to be Thoreau for a day. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately.”

We suggest:

Summit County Parks (Check out the Fall Hiking Spree while you’re there.)

Cleveland Parks 

Jump start your school year by developing your writing skills or practicing typing.

Writing papers can get overwhelming, but before you know it, you’re going to be asked to do A LOT of it. Get a head start by checking out “writing prompts” online. Try anything from academic questions to creative writing. No matter what you choose, any type of exercise is good practice for what’s to come! You might be surprised how the creativity starts flowing once you get started!  

We suggest:

Consider keeping a journal of your year for a keepsake to look back on later.  

More prompts to get you started

Free typing practice (TIP: Begin with their test, which places you according to your current typing ability.)

Did we miss anything that you think should be on this list?  What are your favorite ways to finish the summer?

Makeup Tips from Ramona, Cleveland Makeup & Hair Artist

I, probably like many of you, made several goals for 2018. First, I wanted to make my Instagram really shine and it’s definitely getting there (follow me here!) so now I am moving down the list and I am dying to jump back into blogging.  It’s been far too long!

I am very happy to introduce to you a friend of mine who is one of the best makeup artists in the area.  Even better, Ramona is also able to do hair.  It’s not easy to find someone who is able to do both and do them both well.  If you’ve never worked with her, definitely check her out.  You can view her work here.

Without further ado, welcome Ramona!  Thank you for agreeing to an interview.

Tell us a little about you personally.  What kinds of things do you enjoy?

I am a mother of two and a native of Lithuania, I came to the United States 14 years ago and fell in love with the culture and people. I thoroughly enjoy my job and what I do, it is truly a blessing to be able to share my gift with people.

That definitely shows in your work.  How did you get into doing makeup and hair?

In Lithuania I obtained my bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science, but there wasn’t much need for that in the United States at the time. I landed a job with Chanel working for Nordstrom’s and fell in love with makeup then. I eventually allowed my love to grow into a business when I went to beauty school after clients asked me for more one on one sessions and a friend photographer approached me about helping me build a portfolio…

What is your favorite type of makeup to do?

I truly enjoy working with all types and kinds of makeup (and hair, of course) and scenarios. From simple backyard wedding to exotic Indian bridal to boudoir-I truly enjoy every part. I love enhancing natural beauty and going simple just as much as I love a dramatic look.

Why do you think makeup makes a difference in a photo shoot?

When you invest in something like photography, it is important to use a professional makeup/hair artist to make sure you get the absolute most out of your experience. A professional makeup artist will work with you to make sure you have a beautiful, everlasting photo that will truly stand up to time and age. We know what makeup works best with lighting, skin tones, certain types of clothing, etc. It truly is something that you want to spend a little more on simply because these photos will last forever.

I completely agree.  And when someone feels beautiful it shows in their photos.  How do you decide what type of makeup to use on an individual?

When deciding what type of makeup to use on a person, there are several factors that need to be considered. After a consultation with the client where several questions regarding usual use, look to achieve, and desired result are answered you get into other aspects. What type of lighting and flash will be used, indoor/outdoor, type of day, etc. Once these questions are answered I can go in and get creative and get my juices flowing. It’s really a day to day thing where any number of variables can change on any given day, so it just depends on the situation.

That makes a lot of sense.  O.K. Ramona, help us all out.  What is the best makeup tip you have for everyday?

My best makeup tip for every day use? Mascara. If you’re feeling a little crazy and have some extra time, add in some tinted moisturizer and lip gloss. Maybe a little bit of bronzer. Mascara can pull you out of the abyss and help you to look a little more human on the rough days, though. That’s my go to for crazy mornings. My must have.

That’s a great tip and so true.  I feel half asleep until I get some mascara on!  Anything else that a bride or senior planning their wedding or session might find helpful?

My best advice for any bride or senior is honesty. Always be very honest about your expectations, what you want, what you love, what you don’t. We are professionals-we WANT to know how you’re feeling about your look. Do not worry about offending, at the end of the day, it is all about YOUR comfort level and how YOU are feeling.
It is your day, we want you to always get the best experience out of it! We want it perfect!!

If you have any questions please do not hesitate contacting me at – would love to help if I can!!!

Ramona, that was so helpful.  Thank you for all your great advice.  I look forward to working together again soon.

Brian & Dayna’s Gorgeous O’Neil House Wedding

“What greater thing is there for two human souls
than to feel that they are joined together to strengthen
each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow,
to share with each other in all gladness,
to be one with each other in the
silent unspoken memories?”  –George Eliot

Brian & Dayna chose the amazing gardens at the O’Neil House in Akron for their wedding ceremony.  The sunset was perfect as it back lit the couple during their vows and we had a great time capturing all of it.  Thank you to this amazing couple for allowing us to be a part of their day.


Water’s Edge Vineyard Wedding

We are so lucky in Ohio to have so many beautiful wedding venues…and Water’s Edge in Louisville is definitely one of them.  The Great Hall and Ballroom are surrounded by the beautiful grounds that offer gorgeous vignettes all over the property.  Guests can choose to stroll through the vineyard, sit by the lake or enjoy the covered pavilion.  The Hall and Ballroom both provide a modern and simple backdrop that would compliment almost any wedding decor and colors.   And the best part (for me anyway) is the venue photographs beautifully!

Just to prove it to you….here are some of my favorites areas on the grounds and hall taken from Matt & Becka’s wedding.