10 Cleveland Cavs Tees & Tanks to Celebrate the NBA Championship

I didn't grow up in Cleveland. But I grew up in Cleveland. (Stay with me.) I spent my childhood in Columbus (614-ever) but I moved to Cleveland just two months after graduating from college. I worked my first "real" job in Cleveland. I lived in my first (and second) apartments in Cleveland. I got engaged in Cleveland. I paid my first bills in Cleveland. I made some of my best friends in Cleveland. I got married while I was living in Cleveland. Columbus may be my home but Cleveland is where I grew up. I became an adult an Cleveland. 

Which is why Cleveland will always hold a very special place in my heart. I experienced so many firsts in that city, that I couldn't forget about my 3.5 years there if I wanted to. 

Now, Cleveland sports. Let's talk about it. The thing about Columbus: it's Buckeye country. And that leaves plenty of healthy debate over which professional teams to cheer for. But for me, I've always been team die-hard Cleveland. Before I even moved to the city, my love for the Browns, the Tribe and the Cavs ran deep. But the love was never reciprocated. As a city, we were a joke. Football games became more about tailgating, Tribe games were something that happened in the background of the bar and Cavs could never finish what they started. 

Until Sunday, June 19. When the Cavs won the NBA Championship in the most Clevelandiest ways of all - coming from behind 3-1 to win in Game 7 on a history-making night. 

In our household, tears were shed, champagne was popped, flights to CLE were searched for and we reveled in the fact that finally, after all of the heartbreak, we could call ourselves champions. 

But in South Carolina, the appreciation for the historical feat was, let's just say, lacking. I get it, we're in college football country. After all, when the Panthers made the Super Bowl, I barely heard a peep. When the Cavs won a championship, 1.3 million people flooded downtown for a sight that looked like this: 

Different strokes for different folks, I suppose.

BUT that didn't stop me from wearing Cleveland gear to the office every finals game. Which is why I couldn't help but round up my all-time favorite tees and tanks to rock when you're looking to show off your CLE pride.

Take a peep at the below (sorry but #5 is my fave) & let me know which threads I'm missing. I think it's safe to assume our next paychecks are going straight to championship gear so I might as well live it up while we can...YOLO.

The Ultimate Warrior, Homage | $32

Cleveland Hustles Harder, Shop the Direction | $28

CLE Flag, Shop the Direction | $28

Everything is Earned Cavs, Homage | $32

Bye Ayesha, Lamp Apparel | $25

Believeland, CLE Clothing Co. | $25

I Love My Wine & Gold, CLE Clothing Co. | $25

Won & Golden, CLE Clothing Co. | $20.16

Cleveland Never Quits, Fresh Brewed Tees | $27

Cavs Tank Top, Homage | $25

If you're a fellow Cavs fan, tweet me @kelseyjoynelson so we can relive the glory of Sunday together. And if you were at the parade + rally, tag me in your pics so I can live vicariously through you. If you're not a fan or hate basketball, that's okay, still tweet me. Topic of convo is your pick :) 

Clarifying the *Close* Family

This thing keeps happening to me when I get into conversations about moving to South Carolina from Ohio. And it's such a small thing. Such a thing that I'm sure people don't realize what they say and how it sounds. Such a thing that makes me pause every single time I hear it. Such a thing that would mean nothing to me if it didn't mean everything at the same time. The thing?

"I could never do that because I grew up in such a close family."

It's that phrase. It's never said with bad intent. No one has ever looked me in the eyes and assumed I hate my family because I live 8+ hours away from them. But it's said. Without reserve. And often. 

There's just one small thing: I am close to my family. We ate dinner together growing up. We cheer each other on. They all came to my sporting events (and when you're a female high school basketball player, having a cheer squad in the double digits was clutch for attendance numbers). We hang out. We go on vacation together. We drink beers. We talk. A lot! I mean, look at these faces: 

Photo courtesy of Kyle Robertson

Photo courtesy of Kyle Robertson

You don't even have to be related to these three to want to be close to them!

And every time I hear it, I have no words to defend it. How are you supposed to defend your familial closeness against someone else's? I can't knowingly put myself into a conversation about who calls their mom more. Everyone should call their mom more - whether you're 8 hours away or 8 minutes away!

The thing is, the word close has multiple meanings. And each meaning has a scale. Sure, we can chat in terms of proximity. In that case, well, no. I'm not close to my family. Or we can talk emotionally. In that case, well, yeah. I'm close to my family. 

Or, we could argue the definition of close. Does being "close" mean you have Sunday night dinners together? Does being "close" mean you call your sister when shit is hitting the fan? Does being "close" mean sending your grandma snail mail? Does being "close" mean babysitting your nieces and nephews? Yeah, sure. Or not. 

The truth is, close can mean a lot of things. But truthfully - and thankfully - we don't have to compare our closes.  Maybe we just have to all ask ourselves one question: how lucky are we that we have a family to be close to?

So here's an idea: let's all raise one up for families who get along - in any way, shape or form. If you're lucky enough to be near them, tap your glasses. If you're living afar, drink one with them in spirit. And let's all not forget to:

12 Greeting Cards to Send Your Bestie

Obvious statement of the year coming at you: when you move away from all your friends it kind of really sucks. But since moving away, I'm admittedly just as sucky at staying in touch. Sure, texts and birthday calls and visits home and Snapchats all happen but the random conversations about what's going on in life are kind of rare. And it's easy to forget how important the "let's talk it out" wine nights and "I got your back" coffee dates are. 

But snail mail. Man, snail mail has a way of putting a smile on your face. We all know CVS and Target are old faithful, but these pretty little #greetingcard Instas keep popping up in my feed. And.I'm.obsessed 😍So I scoured Etsy (and the #NSS2016 hashtag) for the prettiest, most awesome hand lettered / painted / drawn cards that are just begging to be stamped and sent north. 

Oh and bonus, they're all under $5 so it's basically about 16 times less than you would spend at happy hour. 

Side Effects of the #SideHustle

side hustle (n) : something done in addition to your 9-to-5 that usually, if not always, causes additional stress and insane enjoyment…simultaneously.  

I started my #sidehustle as a freelance writer about eight months ago. At the time, I was flirting with the idea of taking freelance on as a full-time gig. So I did what anyone would do: I dipped my toes in the water. I wanted to see what I could do, if I could get business and how, if at all, I could make even a fraction of a living from it.  

And things came fast. And furious. I started off doing a couple of pieces for the Shutterstock blog, then came a piece in US News & World Report (hey Greenville), followed by signing on to contribute to Mapquest’s content hub, Parachute and most recently, as a full-time contributor to Brit+Co. All while working “full-time” agency-side as a social media/PR pro.  

Almost as fast as my side hustle came, so did an amazing opportunity at a new agency in town. One that was so creative, so in tune with what I saw for my future, that my freelance-to-full-time-career plans came to a major halt.  

But here I was, fully entrenched in a side hustle I loved. And what was I going to do? Give it up because I had a new gig? Nah. I cut back, yeah, but I’m still going as fast and furious as when I first started. Why? Because I like it. Simple? Sure. Worth it? I think so.  

But as much as I love my #sidehustle, it’s pretty clear that when you choose to go beyond a 9-to-5 (which by the way lol at that being a real thing anymore – hi, #socialmedia) - there are some side effects. Continue.

1. Drowsiness : hands down, this is where I fail. I know, Arianna, I know. But I have completely lost all sense of time. The idea of going to bed anywhere near the same time of day is out of question. The idea of going to bed before midnight is also very laughable. It’s bad. I get it. But nothing makes you appreciate 24 hours in a day quite like a side hustle. 

2. Prioritization : every day usually starts with a mental division of what HAS to get done and what I WANT to get done. And never have I been better at understanding what is truly a necessity and what it actually a luxury, than when I’m on deadline. 

3. Increase in use of the term “I’m on deadline” : speaking of deadlines…working in PR and social media has prepared me for living life on a constant deadline. The only difference is instead of having to be cognizant of someone else’s deadline (which, surprise, I still do) I’m now very much on my own deadline. Movie night? Sorry I can’t, I’m on deadline. Want to stay to watch the second half of the game? Wish I could but I’m on deadline. Want me to pay you a billion dollars and fly you around the world? Sounds great but I’m on deadline. 

4. Spare time decisions : It sounds lame, I know. But deciding what to spend my time on outside of my commitments at work is actually a BFD. Every minute I spend at happy hour, in the gym or playing kickball are minutes not spent researching, writing or editing. Making time for things that are fun and/or required for your mental health (looking at you cardio) is now something I legitimately plan for - adulting, woof. 

5. Spousal Silo : I’m one of the lucky ones. I found a partner who not only supports my love affair with being a #girlboss but respects it, too. #Winning. But nothing, and I mean nothing, feels worse than coming home past 7p, flying through dinner (that I most definitely did not cook), hunkering down for a night of writing and then watching your spouse go to bed and realizing you didn’t really spend any time together. 

To all my fellow writers, designers, bloggers, doers & makers – what side effects are you experiencing? Tweet at me @kelseyjoynelson.