Making Time

I constantly think about this blog. At night when I lay in bed waiting for The Chef to come home from the restaurants I think to myself 'man I should really start writing again.' I muse and ponder about what to write about and when I can't come to a decision the desire to write gets put on the backburner. 

So here I am. Laying in bed, watching Eddie Huang's new show Fresh Off The Boat (the soundtrack is rad) waiting for The Chef to come home. I originally thought I would write about food and getting my kids to eat healthy but then I figured that topic has been exhausted. So I figure I will just write and see how it goes.  


I have been happily working with The Chef at the restaurants. We opened Trentina in July and by God has it been an adventure. We knew it wasn't going to be easy opening a Northern Italian fine dining restaurant in Cleveland and since the opening we have learned many lessons. The restaurant, just like The Greenhouse Tavern in year 1, is growing and evolving into what it's meant to be. I am so proud of our little gem in University Circle and I really do believe that it is quickly becoming one of the best restaurants in this city. The Chef has been in the kitchen every night and the team he has assembled is turning into something special. Avengers Unite! I am excited to follow along for the ride and for the food! Holy moly the food is divine. And I'm not just saying that. See for yourself. 


I myself have plunged full force into the marketing and branding of Team Sawyer Restaurant Group. We've had a pretty good game so far but there is always more that could be done. In a few short years our restaurant group has grown exponentially and we are finally finding our rhythm both in team and family. We now have an immense amount of support behind us and the creative forces that drive the Chef and I are front and center. 2015 is going to be a fun and crazy year. Between balancing work and still having a full life with the minis, maybe I'll even have time for this old friend. 


A Year in Review

Tonight is the night that the curtain closes on 2014. We will toast our glasses and promise ourselves to do better next year. We will lament on things passed, good or bad and we will wake up in the morning to a new set of days, a better set of days or so we hope. 


This year was a year of change for us. We changed business partners, we opened a new restaurant, and most important we changed our outlook on our life whether it be our children or our restaurants. We made a choice at the beginning of the year to focus on positivity even in our darker days. This choice has truly changed our lives. We are able to find good in the bad and as we leave 2014 we feel more supported and loved than ever. 

We start 2015 with our eyes and hearts open.  We look to the future and close the door on the past.  

Renee Zellweger

Yesterday the internet exploded because Renee Zellweger, a famous actress, went to a party and looked very different. She looked older (because she ages like a human being) and she looked like she had a few cosmetic procedures done, as her trademark cute squinty blue eyes were no longer squinty. She also looked a bit like she just had a facial or gotten waxed as her face resembled the after effects of both. She looked different for sure. 

Twitter exploded.

Facebook melted.

Anger and disdain were splashed on gossip magazine headlines.

3,000 tweets per hour with only 1% being reported. Ummmm thems a lot of tweets. 

Near the end of the day I found myself dealing with some bullshit that I thought was over and when opened Facebook to zone out on mindless pomp & circumstance I lost my shit. "Renee this, Renee that. I don't even know what that face is? Why would someone do that to themselves?" It was like #CLEBOLA all over again only this time an actual human face was the disease.

I spewed:

For me, Renee Zellweger is a perfect example of what a nihilistic fucked view on beauty & aging we have as a society. Renee made they choice to change her face, more specifically the feature of her face that all of us recognize and relate to, but that's her choice to make. You know what else? I am guessing that Renee has probably lived through years and years and years of people telling her that her eyes were to squinty or she looked like she was sleeping.  She probably had casting directors encouraging her to change her look and she most definitely had the entire beauty industry reminding her (like most of us) that we are NOT AS BEAUTIFUL as we should. While those eyes probably got her roles like Bridget Jones, they probably also lost her roles and landed her on the pages of US Weekly and TMZ in a not so flattering light. As a culture we create the doubt that is instilled in all of us about our looks. We support it, we embrace it, and we live by the code that our looks mean more than they really do. So how can be surprised when people drastically change the way they look?

Now I can't speak for RZ, as she is just a face to me like most of you, but I can say that we all could use a reminder every now and then of The Golden Rule. They teach it in first grade to 5 year olds and it seems like the collective internet may have played hooky that day. Let this be a gentle reminder...

Treat others how you would want to be treated.

It's simple for sure, but I have no doubt in my mind that everyone who spewed hatred and judgement towards a woman over her aging face yesterday probably would not wish for that to happen to them.

And if you wanna get botox, get it. If you want to get an eye lift get it. If wearing plaid and stripes makes you happy then by god wear plaid and stripes. Do what makes YOU happy.

Fuck everyone else.


Samsung "Ditch Day" in Los Angeles

You may not know this but in my spare time (hahahaha spare time, what's that?) I am an avid photographer. About a year ago I was asked to be a Samsung Imagelogger and since then I have been fortunate enough to work with the amazing Samsung NX mirror-less smart cameras. Below is a gallery of photos I took with either the NX Mini, the NX 300, the NX30, or the NX3000:

As you can see, I love the cameras and I take a ridiculous amount of pictures. The photos always end up being super gorgeous and the cameras are all so easy to use. They are also super adaptable with all of my electronics including my Apple iPhone! 

Tomorrow on October 14th, 2014 Samsung is holding "Ditch Day II" at Hollywood & Highland in LA. They are going to be having a DSLR trade-in (which means you bring your old DSLR and they give you a brand NEW Samsung NX camera #AWESOME), and they also try to break the selfie world record with proceeds going to Habitat for Humanity. The event goes from 10am-7pm but show up around 2pm to hang with Nick Cannon and Juliette Hough for the #selfie!

If you are in LA tomorrow I highly suggest you Ditch the DSLR! 


by Milo Hess

by Milo Hess

Chefs Widow Part II


The Chef has been gone since last Thursday and I can truly say I am exhausted. Between the restaurants, school, activities, and the general chaotic ness of a busy family my eyes are slowly closing as I type. 


This weekend was a doozy. We had swimming lessons, soccer games, PSR, cheerleading, choir, and now I find myself sitting in my car watching the girl climb the monkey bars as the boy practices soccer at the local elementary school. All by myself.

These days, five days alone is an eternity. I remember when I welcomed the Chefs' travel schedule. Being the solitary person that I am, I used to embrace those nights alone. You see I was never one of those types who needed to be around their partner day in and day out. I needed space and the Chef was the same. The traveling worked for us and I think it helped us form a strong marriage early on.

Now that the minis are growing up and involved in so many things, the time I used to spend alone after my kids went to bed is now spent driving them here and there and back and forth. And I hate fucking driving.  

I don't know how to get a handle on it. It's only been 5 days but it seems like a month. I'm at a standstill with myself. I want the Chef to travel and I want to support his career but how can I do this all by myself?  

8 Things I've Learned in 8 Years of Marriage

Eight years ago the Chef and I said I do...This is what I've learned so far:


  1. Marriage, while glamorized by wedding dresses and exorbitant wedding receptions, is not all rainbows and unicorns. To make marriage work you have to work at it. There will be times that make you question it all, there will be times that will be bad. It's during those times that you find out that putting the effort in to marriage is really what makes it work. 
  2. Communicating is key. Talking about daily life, your dreams, your hopes, your needs, and your wants. These are all very important to keep a marriage happy and exciting. Having goals in your marriage is equally important.
  3. Making a concentrated effort to date or spend time together is necessary to a successful relationship. Not making an effort to spend quality alone time together leads to built up resentment about other shit going on in life. 
  4. Getting out of debt made our relationship better. It sounds transparent, but not having to worry about $12,000 of debt looming over our heads dramatically stopped many arguments we once had. Granted it took us almost 8 years to do this but I can tell you this, we will never have that debt looming again. 
  5. Having sex on a regular basis is like wellbutrin for marriage. And when I say regular I mean daily or at least every other day. SEX is IMPORTANT. F
  6. Kissing everyday is important! I'm not talking about kiss on the cheek. I'm talking about a makeout sesh. It's easy to skip this one between the hustle and bustle of daily life, but I am telling it makes a difference. Making out with your husband immediately makes one feel just a little bit sexiert. 
  7.  Saying "I love you" is a simple thing but so huge. It reminds us both that all of the hard work we put into marriage pays off every day.
  8. Smiling and laughing AT and WITH each other is how I fall in love with The Chef a little bit more each day. Be open to happiness!!


Catcher got nominated to do the #alsicebucketchallenge by his dad. After he went online and learned about the disease he decided he wanted to not only complete the challenge but also wanted to donate his own money in hopes of discovering a cure. Can you imagine what kind of world we could live in if all people found kindness the way kids can?

The #icebucketchallenge ended up being an amazing fundraising tool for ALS and I encourage you to donate or take the challenge yourself! 

O' Captain, My Captain

I've been holding back tears ever since I heard the news of Robin Williams passing. I was at soccer practice sitting in the car with the girl while the boy sloshed around the wet field when I scrolled thru my instagram and saw the news. My stomach dropped and my eyes watered. With all my might I held them back before my daughter could ask what was wrong. 

I didn't know Robin Williams but I sure felt like I did. I think we all did, didn't we? I watched Mork and Mindy as a child and when I was at the cusp of childhood and teenagedom I found a part of myself in the film Dead Poets Society.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up—for you the flag is flung—for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon’d wreaths for you the shores a-crowding
— Walt Whitman

Robin Williams was an icon as I grew up with and his legend and comedy only seemed to expand. He was a true artist and the world will be a bit less funny now that he has departed.

But his movies and his art aren't why I am sad. He will forever live on in film and for this I am happy. My sadness comes from knowing that addiction and depression is a never ending uncurable disease that affects so many and takes so much. To understand depression and addiction I think you must either live with it or love someone who has the disease. Both diseases are cyclical and interchangeable and spontaneous. A life of sobreity can be lived and in one moment depression can jump the gun and make a decision that you have no control over. Sometimes there is no choice. Sometimes the disease just fucking wins...and's its bullshit and it's sucks but it wins. It just wins. 

I hope you find peace Mr. Williams. You gave us so much. Thank you for the lifetime of laughter. 

Bitchy Resting Face

Bitchy Resting Face...Is there a pill for this???

Bitchy Resting Face...Is there a pill for this???

Yesterday my daughter looked up at my face and said "mommy why are you mad?"  "I'm not mad," I replied. "But mommy your face looks mad." The past couple of days this has been a common conversation between my 6 year old and myself. I know why I look mad. I'm just not sure how to tell her that I have been blessed with bitchy resting face. When my face is not in a smile, I look unhappy. I can't help it,  I was born this way. We've all got our crosses to bear and mine is BRF. Throughout my entire life I have always gotten into trouble for having a "mean look" on my face. When I was young my parents used to scold me for giving mean looks at them when the fact was, I simply wasn't. It was just my face. For the majority of time, I smile like crazy but when I am not smiling, if I am just simply resting my face, I have a tendency to look like Maleficent. My resting face can cut a bitch.

The phenomenon of bitchy resting face was called out front and center a few years back after a video about it was put on YouTube. I felt a little better about myself after the clever and SO TRUE video came out because it put a name to the reason everyone always assumes I'm a bitch.  I'm not though (most of the time) and it absolutely guts me to think that for even a second my sweet baby girl could think I am unhappy being around her. 

But you guys. I'm not mad. It's just my face.  And see I totally smile. SEE ------------------------->>>>>

But when your daughter asks why you are mad in her presence, you can't really say "Well honey, I have bitchy resting face. When I'm not smiling I look like a mean ass bitch." I tried to explain it to her that my face when I'm not smiling just looks like I'm a little mad but that didn't work at all. She kept insisting that I was mad, and I kept trying to explain that I wasn't mad, which then made me a little mad. So we came up with a plan. During the day we are going to smile at thirty different random people. She is going to remind me to smile more so maybe my resting bitch face can take a backseat for a little while. I started yesterday at The Cleveland Clinic and even though I got a few "why the fuck are you smiling at me looks," the majority of people smiled back.

And if doesn't work there's always plastic surgery. Permagrin here I come. 

Talking About Food Weekly Roundup

Just like my Chef 10 years ago, The New York Times writes Chefs Move Beyond New York...

If we didn't know it before, we know it now. Walmart is gross. 

Richie Nakano gets silly with the stupid food news...

You scream, I scream, we all scream for ice cream! 27 ice cream shops you need to visit before you die. Honey Hut. FTW.

Eater shares "Everything You need to know to open a Hipster Bar."

In more stupid food news, a pig got a book deal and Chef's Widow did not. FML. 

Study finds that heavy drinking does something to you. A doi. 

This kickstarter rules. Fermentation is yer friend. 



Opening Day

In a little over 24 hours the Chef and I will open our most challenging project yet. It has taken two years to create and has come close to tearing us apart at the seams. 


It's not easy being ambitious nor is it easy when you dream big. If you let it, making those dreams come true can overtake your life. 

I love Trentina. I love each and everything thing about her. I love watching the Chef in her kitchen, his eyes twinkling as he cooks. A light is back inside of him that was almost taken away after a very long battle that could have cost him the Tavern and everything else he has built. It didn't though. He fought for it and all those people who count on us even though the fight nearly destroyed him. 

The Chef is BACK. 

His passion for the food. His desire to create. His drive to be the best. That light and love is here again. And it's better than ever. 

Seeing the Chef back in action is almost enough to make this chef's widow lonliness disappear. Almost.  

We open for dinner tomorrow night and I couldn't be more proud of this sweet little restaurant that we built together. I also can't wait to get my husband back!!


Venice Birthday Dinner

Fish Yum!
Fish Yum!
Big Ass Bottle of Grappa
Big Ass Bottle of Grappa

A few years back I celebrated my 33rd birthday in Venice. The Chef was a fisherman who every morning caught what he would later cook for the restaurant. Our meal was stunning...

If you are ever in Venice I highly recommend  Al fontego dei pescatori.  To this day that meal is still the best seafood I have ever eaten. 

Date Night


Went on a date with a handsome boy on Saturday to Trentina for one of the soft openings. He dressed up in his new suit from Nordstrom and his new grey velour wingtips. First we headed to MOCA  to check out the Hans Op De Beeck Staging Silence exhibit. It was visually stunning. We talked about art and held hands as we watched how each tiny scene was made. 


Our walk over to Trentina hand in hand reminded me of days not long ago when the Chef and I used to walk up Park Avenure for a date. We were the first to arrive at Trentina and were promptly seated. The boy perused the menu and our first course come our moments after our drinks arrived.


Our rule for the evening as with every meal we have, is try everything once. If you don't like it you don't have to eat, but you gotta try. I am proud to say that the boy put every single course in his mouth. He even tried the oyster! He was a perfect gentleman and somehow managed to sit for almost two hours (a very big feat if you know our very active boy)! 


About 10 courses in, the boy, sleepily expressed his desire to go home. Never thought he would make it course 5, let alone 10, I agreed. We ate our desert quickly and headed home to rent a movie. 

We put on our pj's and snuggled up deciding on Return to OZ. Qucikly freaked out by those insane Wheelers we snuggled up and dozed off our bellies and hearts full. 


Restaurant Kids


The minis have started their summer with a mix of "the best camp in Cleveland" and full on restaurant opening mode. We head to nature camp early in the am and after 8 hours of sloshing around in the Cleveland Metroparks I haul their muddy, creek drenched, sun kissed bodies to Trentina. 

They are getting annoyed.  


Being 5 and 8 means that going to work with your parents is a drag. Even when it's a restaurant that you will someday sneak sips of wine from. With two more weeks unitl opening these poor kids are gonna explode.  


Hold on kids...we're almost at the finish line

Cleveland Kids Casting Call


The Chef and I have had the pleasure of getting to know actor Michael Pitt over the past few weeks as he is in CLE filming. This weekend his band is shooting a music video and they are looking for kiddos. Here's the call:

The actor Michael Pitt & his band Pagoda are filming a music video in Cleveland this Sunday June 22, 2014. We are seeking artsy kids 7-10 yrs. old to be featured in a few scenes. We are reviewing headshots now!! We want some really interesting types of kids (artsy, blue collarish, grungy, kind of different). This video is for Pagoda's new single "Time Has Come". Looking for kids 7yrs. old to 10 yrs. old who are 3'8" to 4'4" who can act like they are playing instruments. WE WANT ALL ETHNICITIES AND RACES! THEY DONT HAVE TO BE ACTORS--just cool kids. Parents please submit your name and phone number, with your child's picture, name and age

Transportation will be provided if needed.

Chef Dads

Pre Parental Units hence the ciggy

Pre Parental Units hence the ciggy

When the Chef found out he was going to be a dad he was a 24 year old sous chef at Charlie Palmers' now defunct Kitchen 22. I told him the news in the basement office. We had only been "back together" a few months and neither of us had planned for a family. He was happy when I told him, his grin expanded and he quickly pulled me to his chest. His reaction threw me for a loop. I had spent a good portion of my commute on the f-train going over different scenarios and none of them ended with happiness and embrace. I should have known then exactly what type of father the Chef would grow to be. 

That moment happened almost ten years ago and since that warm embrace, the Chef and I have built a family together, we have a built a home for our two children and we have built a partnership within our marriage. The choice made those ten years ago by the Chef to embrace fatherhood and choose that over everything else has stayed with him to this day.

He is a Chef Dad.

Last week the Chef took me to Philly for a few days to celebrate my 3̶5̶t̶h̶, 29th birthday. We ate our way through the city and spent some time with chef friends. I even got to meet #babysolo who was born on my birthday! It was a much needed weekend as the Chef and I had barely been on speaking terms prior to that. {Opening a restaurant is NOT GOOD for marriage, no matter how good you think your marriage is} We went to Zahav (if you haven't been, RUN) for dinner after meeting my birthday twin, and our conversation turned to fatherhood. We had just spent the afternoon with another chef dad and the conversation expanded to dads in the industry. As a chef wife, I see it all. I see the cheaters (there are ALOT), I see the drugs, I see the passion and talent, I see the insanity and drive, I see the sobriety, I see the bad and I sure as hell see the good.  


Post Kiddos (see no ciggy!)

The Chef Dad can be defined simply as this: "A Chef who loves being a dad and puts that at priority #1." The Chef Dad is as passionate about fatherhood as he is about the food on his plate. He moves mountains to be at soccer games and leaves early to be at kindergarten graduations and heads back to the restaurant after. He is an active participant in family life. He does dishes, he takes out the trash. There is nothing more important to the Chef Dad than his family. Chef dads are becoming a regularity nowadays and I see it more and more now that chefs our age are starting families.  Chef Dads work just as hard as non chef dads. They still live and breath the restaurant and their kitchen. They still work insane hours and travel too much. They just figure out how to do both. Whether it be bringing the kids to the new restaurant (sorry kids it's almost open I promise!) or taking them to events (our kids worked their first event in May!), the Chef Dad believes that the kitchen and family can be integrated. 

Spending time with a bunch of Chef Dads last week was so fulfilling. It is wonderful to see boys evolve into men and even more amazing to see men turn into Chef Dads. I know I will be raising a glass to all the Chef Dads I know this year on Father's Day!