Why? Weekends!

One last extended holiday weekend recap coming your way…

On Thursday, I planned to take Jeffrey to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for their New Year’s at Noon party, but when we pulled up at 10:30, there was nowhere to park and a huge line outside the museum! I love that so many kiddos wanted to spend New Year’s Eve with the dinosaurs, but we decided to head to somewhere a little less crowded.

We ended up at the Great Lakes Science Center and had a really fun morning! There were some special winter activities happening through last week, including an hourly snow party with music, dancing, and indoor snow!

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Yes, I wore the glitter booties. This was my New Year’s Eve out.

Jeffrey also made some model DNA, played with magnets and molecule blocks, and set his sights on working for NASA when he grows up, just like his godfather Hans!

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I was pleasantly surprised how much Jeffrey enjoyed the Great Lakes Science Center and how much a toddler could get out of it. We’ll definitely be back (but as a heads up, the Science Center is closed for winter maintenance through Friday, January 8).

For the fourth year in a row, Matthew and I opted to stay in on New Year’s Eve and make a nice homecooked meal. Since we decided to wait until after Jeffrey went to bed to make our dinner, we started the evening with some cheese and charcuterie.

Then it was time for the main course, with a surf and turf from two of our favorite local food shops. We got our filet from Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats and our lobster tails from Euclid Fish Company.

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Add in some mushrooms and onions cooked in Lanning’s steak sauce and a delicious Old Vine Zinfandel (thanks to Kimberly and Chris for getting us hooked on this one) and you have a pretty perfect meal. Plus, we love just being able to relax, put on our pajamas, and ring in the new year in comfy style.

For dessert, we had individual tortes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery: Bailey’s for Matthew and tiramisu for me. With a split of bubbly and these decadent sweets, we celebrated the end of a fabulous year!

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Friday, I started the new year off right with a vinyasa flow at Harmony Yoga taught by Melissa (also of Balance & Brews). Balance & Brews has some great events planned for the new year at Hofbrauhaus, Portside Brewery, Platform Beer Co., and Market Garden Brewery. Check out the complete schedule here.

Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with our friends Tracy and Nina for some indoor fun at Café O’Play.

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Café O’Play has so many great activities to keep kids occupied, from a toddler play area to a video game floor to a large basketball area to big slides and climbing to a dance room. Plus, the café offers yummy and healthy food. I love a one-stop shop too…to be able to play and have lunch at the same location is great! I know we’ll be spending a lot of time there this winter to burn off cabin fever!

The rest of the weekend was spent de-Christmasing the house and generally getting ready for the return to a normal schedule for everyone. The holidays were so much fun, but real life is pretty good too!

How was your weekend? How did you ring in the new year?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Boutique Bridal Bazaar Giveaway!

Just as one busy season is ending, another is beginning: bridal season! One of Cleveland’s premier bridal events, the Boutique Bridal Bazaar is celebrating its 5th anniversary on Sunday, January 17 at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade.

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Photo credit: Cannon Candids Photography

The Boutique Bridal Bazaar is put on by Something White and features a carefully curated collection of unique and fabulous wedding vendors. You’ll see a host of companies ready to make your special day everything you’ve ever dreamed it could be.

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Photo credit: Cannon Candids Photography

You can view a complete list of vendors here, but highlights include Brewnuts, The Music Faire, L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental, Lather: a Salon, Urban Orchid, Luna Bakery & Café, Suzuran Photography, and The Wine Spot.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door and include a glass of champagne. VIP tickets are $35 and include a swag bag, quick check-in, half-hour early admission to the event, a seat at the fashion show, and 10% off one item from Something White (including gowns).

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Photo credit: Cannon Candids Photography

You can purchase tickets from the Boutique Bridal Bazaar online or you can enter to win two general admission tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me what part of the wedding you’re most seeking inspiration for at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar.

2. Visit Boutique Bridal Bazaar and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @somethingwhitebridal on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend the @SomethingWhiteB Boutique Bridal Bazaar thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/why-boutique-bridal-bazaar-giveaway-2 #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Friday, January 8 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Something White to help promote the Boutique Bridal Bazaar. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets to give away. I declined my own complimentary ticket due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Happy New Year!

As we usher out 2015, I find myself looking back fondly on a year that brought a lot of changes to my schedule, my work, and my friendships. And while these changes weren’t all painless, I can’t help but be pleased by everything this year has brought and where the road has led.

I’m normally not much for New Year’s Eve celebrations and definitely not one for resolutions, but I find myself making a few as I look toward 2016:

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1. To make time to “time-out” every day. Whether that means using my new adult coloring book (a fabulous Christmas present from my sister-in-law) for #15minutesofcolor or reading a book (I miss reading. I read a book on our vacation and realized how much I miss it) or maintaining my once-a-week yoga class, I want to actively carve out a bit of space in each day. It makes me a better person for the people around me (and for myself).

2. To start using a written planner. I received one as a gift and I really want to use it to keep life sorted, make to-do lists, and the like.

3.  To continue to actively cultivate friendships. I’ve learned a lot this last year about giving friends what THEY need, not just what YOU need; about adult friendships being equal parts enjoying commonalities and celebrating differences; and about how to be discerning with your time and your affection. Friendship is an active process. I am so proud of and sustained by the friendships I have and I want to continue the active process of growing them.

4. To be more present. Whether with Matthew, Jeffrey, friends, or just in the “time-outs,” there are many times I’m there, but also in 6 different places. Whether that’s putting down the phone, shutting off the “monkey mind” as yogis say, or simply focusing more, I want to make an active effort to be more here (or there, you know what I mean).

So, that’s my list. What’s on yours?

I wish you a happy, safe, and fun New Year’s Eve and a wonderful start to what will hopefully be your best year yet!

jenclesig_pur

Why? An Evening on East 4th Street!

On Monday night, I met up with my friend Jessica for a much-needed Mom’s Night Out (and the public debut of the glitter booties). We had dinner at Chinato, which was the perfect spot for lots of eating, drinking, talking, and laughing.

We started with the steamed asparagus appetizer, served with truffled fonduta and preserved lemon.

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This light, fresh dish had lots of crisp flavors and was a great start to the meal.

A nice feature to the menu at Chinato is the half portions of pasta. I was having a tough time deciding which pasta dish I wanted to order, so I instead picked two half portions.

One of my choices was the linguine with seared bay scallops, fennel, and lobster broth.

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Much like the asparagus appetizer, this dish had a lot of delicate flavors that all shone through. This dish was almost more like ramen than pasta  and I seriously wanted to drink the broth!

My other choice was the ravioli with duck confit, speck, goat cheese, potato crema, and parsley salad. You know me…never one to pass up duck confit…

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The ravioli were stuffed full of smoky duck and the crispy speck and rich goat cheese were perfect compliments. As much as I love duck, I think a half portion of this dish was plenty, so I’m glad I mixed it up with two choices!

Jessica chose the col buco with pulled pork, which looked like a perfect winter comfort food, topped with a dollop of ricotta.

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We decided to make our evening a bit of a progressive dinner by popping over to The Greenhouse Tavern for dessert. I love how knowledgeable and friendly the staff is there. Our server recommended the perfect sparkling wine to cap off a fun evening.

Jessica couldn’t pass up the classic buttered popcorn pot de creme, while I had the espresso cake, served with an adorable shot glass of milk.

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Full, happy, and relaxed, we made our way home, even more convinced that East 4th Street is the perfect place to spend an evening!

jenclesig_pur

Why? PLAY Today Ohio!

As you know, there is always a ton going on around not just Cleveland, but all of Ohio. Which is why I’m so jazzed about PLAY Today Ohio, which rounds up the best in Ohio events and is a one-stop-shop for what’s going on.

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PLAY Today Ohio breaks down events into user-friendly categories:

Arts & Entertainment

Concerts

Food & Drink

Health & Fitness

Ohio Sports

These pages cover events across the whole state, but you can also target your search to specific cities and see events spanning all these categories sorted by town. PLAY Today Ohio brings you city event pages for Cleveland, Akron, Youngstown, Toledo, Columbus, and Cincinnati.

Still need New Year’s Eve plans? PLAY Today Ohio has you covered with some great options! You can also check out PLAY Today with Malay, which brings you fun videos, like this one from last year’s NBA playoffs:

The next time you’re looking for something fun to do, whether here in Cleveland or on a road trip somewhere else in Ohio, head on over to PLAY Today Ohio. You can also subscribe to their email newsletter or follow them on Twitter and Facebook.

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend! Matthew had Christmas Eve off from work, so we had four solid days of family time.

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On Christmas Eve, we went over to my parents’ house for a traditional Eastern European meatless meal. There were also plenty of presents and a lovely Christmas Eve Mass at St. Basil the Great. Their music program is just amazing…even the children’s choir will blow you away!

Jeffrey also took on the role of “bouncer” at the nativity. Hey, it’s a busy time and the Baby Jesus just needs some rest…

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When we got home, we put out cookies and milk for Santa and a carrot for Rudolph. Jeffrey came up with a very original way to leave these treats: he dropped all the cookies into the glass of milk!

Christmas morning at our house was my favorite part of the weekend! Seeing Jeffrey in his jammies, checking out all his new toys and just having such a sense of wonder at everything is truly an incredible moment.

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This year, his “big” present was a Step 2 Flip & Doodle Easel Desk, stocked with stamps (his favorite), markers, and colored pencils. He has already created some awesome artwork, under the watchful eye of Play All Day Elmo, another favorite present.

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As for me, my favorite present is something completely impractical and yet amazing: these kate spade glitter booties. Matthew completely surprised me with them and I’m never taking them off! I think they go well with my Christmas jammies!

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On Christmas afternoon, we headed to Matthew’s dad’s house for lots more family time and a room filled with excited kids, presents, and love!

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It’s great to see Jeffrey developing relationships with his cousins, aunts, and uncles!

Matthew’s dad got us started with what we spent the majority of our Christmas money on this year: memberships to local institutions. We acquired or renewed memberships to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Holden Arboretum, and the Lake Metroparks Farm Park. Memberships make great gifts or good ways to use Christmas cash. We’ll be able to enjoy these spots all year long!

On Saturday, we made another trip to the Wild Days of Winter (AKA indoor Candy Land). We love exploring this fun, inventive, and colorful exhibit! It’s open daily from noon to 5pm through January 3.

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While we were at Penitentiary Glen, we couldn’t pass up playing on the train either! The mild weather has made for some great adventures!

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We had dinner that night at Don Tequila, where we discovered that Jeffrey REALLY likes salsa! Who knew?!

So, that was our extended holiday weekend. Lots of good family time, too much food, really generous presents, and wonderful memories! Hope yours was great, too!

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Wash Club Cleveland Giveaway!

Is anyone else feeling a little overwhelmed with all their holiday to-do’s? Not only is there a ton to get done for the holidays, but regular life things still have to get done. Like the laundry, for example. But last week, I got a little help in that department from Wash Club Cleveland.

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Wash Club Cleveland is owned by former Cleveland Browns player Joe Jurevicius, who is now tackling laundry and dry cleaning. The service is simple and easy-to-use. You choose your service from the website (wash & fold, dry cleaning, or tailoring). You can even choose add-ons like fragrance-free detergent.

Then you put your bag out on your step to be picked up during a set time window. My wash & fold bag was back on my doorstep in just over 24 hours, with my laundry clean, fresh, and folded!

I loved the convenience of the service (you don’t have to be home for pick-up or drop-off) and the straightforward ordering from the website. The Wash Club customer service is also top-notch! I received a phone call asking if my pick-up could be a bit early (was my bag already out and ready?) and when there was a small mix-up with my drop-off, I received a very professional email explaining the situation.

All in all, Wash Club was a great service that saved me time, effort, and energy during a very busy time of year! So you can save yourself a little time too, I have one complimentary wash & fold service to give away! The winner will get one pick-up/drop-off of wash & fold service at the time of their choosing.

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me what you will do with the time you’ll save not doing laundry!

2. Visit Wash Club Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @washclubcle and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want @washclubcle to do my laundry thanks to @WhyCLE! https://whycle.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/why-wash-club-cleveland-giveaway #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, December 27 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Wash Club Cleveland. In exchange, I received one complimentary wash & fold service, as well as one complimentary wash & fold service to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Wild Kratts Live Giveaway!

While Jeffrey doesn’t watch much TV yet, I do love what we’ve seen and read of the PBS Kids characters. The PBS Kids show Wild Kratts is one of those fun, popular shows that is also educational and great for kids. It was developed by real-life brothers and zoologists Martin and Chris Kratt and takes children on adventures to the corners of the world to meet amazing wild creatures.

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Wild Kratts LIVE! is the stage version of the TV show, which is coming to E.J. Thomas Hall in Akron on Sunday, April 17. Due to the popularity of the show, there will be two performances that day at 2pm and 5:30pm.

Tickets range from $46 to $228 and are on sale now. Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to the 5:30pm show right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me who you’d take to Wild Kratts LIVE!

2. Visit Wild Kratts and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @WildKrattsOffic and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to see @WildKrattsOffic LIVE! thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.wordpress.com/2015/12/22/why-wild-kratts-live-giveaway #giveaway

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will end on Saturday, December 26 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Wild Kratts LIVE! In exchange, I will receive 4 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it’s Christmas week! As any pre-holiday weekend should be, ours was filled with friends, food, and fun!

On Saturday, we hosted what has become one of my absolute favorite holiday traditions: TWC Christmas (TWC = Tri-County Wives Club). Everyone brings food to share for one fabulous dinner. From leg of lamb to squash “bread” pudding, there’s no end to delicious and savory options we concoct.

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We also do a White Elephant gift exchange, which brings endless laughter and no shortage of random new items to each person’s home.

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But mostly, we take time to be thankful for each other, for another year of our wonderful friendship, and for the chance to celebrate together.

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I couldn’t be more grateful for these folks or for the chance to have our home filled to the brim with their love and laughter!

On Sunday, we somehow found room after all the eating on Saturday to have brunch with my parents at One Red Door. I’ve seriously turned into a brunch person in the last year or so! I chose the lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberry compote. They were fluffy, just sweet enough, and totally delicious!

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Mom had the chicken and waffles. Matthew and Dad both had the lobster omelette, which was not stingy with the lobster meat and served with Hollandaise sauce for dipping.

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I grabbed bites of the other entrees and loved them, especially the hot sauce with the chicken and waffles. If you find yourself near Hudson, One Red Door is a yummy brunch option!

After brunch, Jeffrey and I went to a Kindermusik holiday play date, with plenty of classic holiday songs, pretend ice skating and snow ball fights, and more. It was a great way to combine the Kindermusik we love with the holiday season!

Sunday evening, we had another round of guests at the house with some of Matthew’s friends from high school and college, along with their kids.

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Jeffrey chillin’ with the guys

It was a completely different scene from Saturday night’s party: replace leg of lamb with pizza and add in a much messier playroom, but I wouldn’t trade either one! I love that we can have a weekend that rolls up so many of our favorite people and allows for plenty of good adult and kid time!

So, that was our weekend: a revolving door of holiday merriment! How was yours? Are you ready for Christmas?!

jenclesig_pur