Why? The Oak Barrel!

So, I fell in love with The Oak Barrel when it first opened and then somehow, I hadn’t been there in ages! Well, we went for dinner with friends last week and I am happy to report that it is just as yummy as ever!

Since my last visit to The Oak Barrel, I fell in love with bourbon cocktails, so I was super excited to dive into their Drinks Menu.

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I had the Bourbon Daisy, with Four Roses, SoCo, fresh-squeezed lime juice, ginger reduction, maraschino reduction, and crystalized ginger. A little sweet, a little spicy, a little smoky…this cocktail was delicious!

We shared the baked Brie to start, with quince paste, local honey, and seasonal berries. Yum!

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Matthew and I both took a deep dive into The Oak Barrel’s pork menu choices. I had the Yucatan BBQ Pork Tacos, with picked red onion, house slaw, and cilantro.

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More sweet than spicy and super generous with the meat, these tacos were a win!

Matthew chose the Open-Faced Pulled Pork BBQ with jalapeno corn bread, house slaw, and Tabasco onions. The presentation on this is impressive, as is the taste!

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Our friends enjoyed the Vegan Falafel Sliders (with olive tapenade, pickled red onion, bibb lettuce, and tomato) and the Spicy Shrimp Tacos (with avocado, corn, white cheddar, spicy mayo, and cilantro).

Everyone loved the food, the relaxed atmosphere, and the drinks and drafts at The Oak Barrel. And old favorite that hasn’t lost it’s shine at all!

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Why? Giving Tuesday CLE!

The Tuesday after Thanksgiving has come to be known as Giving Tuesday, a chance to support your favorite nonprofit(s). But with so many worthwhile causes, how do you choose which to support?

Good Cause Creative and WISH Cleveland are partnering to make your Giving Tuesday easier and more impactful.

#GivingTuesdayCLE takes place on Tuesday, November 27 and is a chance to benefit 36 nonprofits at once. WISH Cleveland selected these nonprofit organizations through an application process and all these organizations are providing needed services to the Cleveland community.

The organizations that will benefit from #GivingTuesdayCLE include The International Youth Leadership Foundation, ZENworks Yoga, Kidney Foundation of Ohio, Waterloo Arts, Policy Matters Ohio, The Haven Home, and Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless.

These nonprofits highlight the breadth and depth of Cleveland’s nonprofit network and serve a variety of communities in different ways.

From today, November 15, through Giving Tuesday on November 27, all donations received for #GivingTuesdayCLE will be split among the 36 organizations. Thanks to a partnership with Cleveland Neighborhood Progress, the donations are all tax deductible. Click here to donate.

Then, on Tuesday, November 27, join WISH Cleveland and Good Cause Creative for a party at Red Space celebrating these benefiting nonprofits and the spirit of giving engendered by Giving Tuesday. There will be happy hour fun, music, and more from 6-9pm. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online.

This Giving Tuesday, make a difference for 36 nonprofits at once and be a part of the #GivingTuesdayCLE movement!

Why? Allison Rose Foundation!

Sometimes out of the most tragic of circumstances can come motivation, strength, and passion to make the world a better place. That is certainly the impetus behind the newly-launched Allison Rose Foundation.

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Allison was diagnosed with a severe nut allergy as a child and found a supportive and safe environment created by both her parents and school. When Ally was a freshman at Ohio University, she suffered an allergic reaction that sent her into anaphylaxis and ultimately took her life.

Ally was regarded as a bright light and a giving, caring young woman with unlimited potential. Out of the tragedy of her death, her family started the Allison Rose Foundation.

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The Allison Rose Foundation is dedicated to changing the lives of families with food allergies through education, awareness, research, and advocacy. Through this family’s horrible loss, they are seeking to ensure that other families don’t endure the same.

The Allison Rose Foundation is hosting their Founder’s Event on Saturday, January 26 at the Embassy Suites in Independence to celebrate the launch of the Foundation. The event will have heavy hors d’oeuvres, beer, wine, raffles, and silent auctions. Tickets are $100 for those 21 and older and $50 for those ages 16-20.

You can also donate to the Allison Rose Foundation online.

In a world where food allergies are increasing in number and severity, the Allison Rose Foundation seeks to help families cope with these allergies and move toward a world where no family has to lose a child to a food allergy.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Allison Rose Foundation. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the Founder’s Event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a fun and busy weekend, as I got the chance to show off more of Cleveland to my friend Jen, who was visiting from DC. Here’s what we were up to…

Laurentia Winery and The Pompadour

Jen arrived on Saturday and we decided to have a fabulous evening out and about on the town. On past visits, I’ve taken Jen toward downtown for dinner, so I decided we should head in a different direction and try the wineries instead.

We started at Laurentia Winery, which was packed on a snowy Saturday night. There was live music, a fire in the fireplace, and a lively crowd. We enjoyed the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for me and the Gewurtzraminer for Jen, along with a charcuterie and cheese board to share.

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The wines and food were delicious and the atmosphere was both fun and relaxing. Laurentia has quickly become a must-stop for me anytime I’m in wine country!

From there, we headed to dinner at The Pompadour Bar and Tapas. I seriously cannot get enough of this cozy, delicious spot. For my cocktail, I had the Pompadour Buck, with Knob Creek Bourbon, ginger shrub, ginger beer, and angostura bitters. Bourbon and ginger are a tasty match!

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Jen had the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini, with cake vodka, Frangelico liquor, pineapple, and grenadine.

Jen and I have always enjoyed tapas restaurants because we get to have such a communal eating experience. So, we shared the chorizo and potato croquetas, with Spanish chorizo, potato, manchego cheese, and lemon garlic aioli…

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…the marinated roasted vegetables with goat cheese and balsamic reduction…

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…the turkey albondigas (turkey meatballs) with tomatillo mojo sauce, goat cheese, and cilantro…

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…and the braised short rib with parsnip puree, ancho chili mojo sauce, and pickled chayote.

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When (not if) you go to The Pompadour, you must order the short rib. All our other choices were also flavorful and fantastic! This place is spot-on with taste and presentation!

Yoga/Brunch

Even though Alicia has switched from Yoga/Brunch to Soul Flow Sundays, we decided to create a little throwback when we attended her class on Sunday morning, then headed to brunch afterwards.

The Soul Flow Sundays class was a classic Alicia mix of challenging poses (with plenty of modifications to keep beginners and advanced yogis happy), great stretching, and some soul and breath work too. So, an entirely perfect way to start a Sunday!

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Alicia teaches her Soul Flow Sunday class every week at 9:30am at Elevated Dance Studio in Independence. Cost to attend is $15. Click here to reserve your spot!

From there, we headed to Burntwood Tavern for brunch. I had the Nashville chicken biscuit, with sweet and spicy chicken, eggs, American cheese, sausage gravy, and crispy potatoes. So good!

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After lots of laughs and mimosas, we set about the rest of our days feeling full in body and spirit!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Jeffrey wanted to show “Aunt Jen” one of his favorite places in Cleveland, so we took her to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Even though the weather was cool, there were still plenty of animals out and active, particularly in Asian Highlands, Wilderness Trek, and the Rosebrough Tiger Passage.

 

We also popped into The RainForest to warm up a bit after our trek around the outside of the Zoo!

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Stay tuned to the Cleveland Zoological Society’s member magazine for my article on animals to see in the winter at the Zoo, but take it from me, there are plenty to see!

Brim Kitchen and Brewery

Since we let Jeffrey pick the location for our Sunday afternoon fun, we also let him pick our dinner spot. He chose Brim Kitchen and Brewery, which made all of us happy!

I had the General Tso Cauliflower, which is an unusual choice for me, but it was so flavorful and delicious! Served with kimchi fried rice, radish, sesame, and carrot, this is one vegan dish I would order again and again!

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Matthew had the duck confit cavatelli and Jen had the mac ‘n cheese and both looked to die for, especially on a cold night.

 

Jen and I shared the apple hand pie, but inhaled it before any pictures could be taken of this fall deliciousness.

So, that was our weekend, aside from one very cute mermaid-themed second birthday party!

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I’m reluctantly sending Jen back to DC this morning after a quick stop at Fiona’s Coffee Bar.

And then tomorrow, we’re off to Disney for the rest of the week! Stay tuned on Insta for all the Disney fun and here for all the Cleveland stuff I’ve prepared for you to read while I’m gone!

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Why? Yoga Roots Fall Challenge!

Over the last month, I took part in the “Get Rooted” Fall Challenge at Yoga Roots. I always enjoy these challenges as a fun opportunity to take some different classes and win some cool prizes.

For some reason, I went all in on this particular challenge and decided to take 30 straight days of classes. So, here is what I learned from taking 30 yoga classes in 30 days:

1.I feel great! And I felt great throughout the entire challenge. The consistency of the practice really worked for my body. And even the vinyasa classes had enough chance for restorative poses and stretching that I never felt overwhelmed or overly tired.

2. Which leads me to: Consistency is the key in a yoga practice. I’m not saying you have to go every day for 30 days. But yoga is a practice and the more consistent you are, the more you will grow your practice.

3. Yoga is about more than just the poses, it’s about the breath. I found myself coming back to my breath more and more in my daily life because it was so ingrained from practicing so often. It helped me be less stressed and find moments of peace in my day. There were also times when I lost the breath in my everyday life and the only place I could reset and find catharsis was on my mat.

4. Yoga practice is also about community. I made more friends at the studio from seeing each other so regularly and I deepened my connections with the amazing teachers there, too. And since it’s Yoga Roots Teacher Appreciation Week, I’ll just say a big thanks to my teachers in this challenge: Katie, Aimee, Julz, Jennie, Tamsin, Justine, Cat, Heather, and Sharon!

5. I am stronger and more capable than I thought was. And I’m pretty sure I’m stronger and more capable than when I started. I wasn’t sure I could accomplish this challenge and I am so proud that I did.

6. The doing of the thing is the thing. The prizes were great and I will be enjoying my hoodie and water bottle and t-shirt for some time, but the point of the Fall Challenge was to do it, to grow and strengthen both my asana practice and my connection to the Yoga Roots community. That’s the real prize.

Have you ever done any fitness challenges? What did you learn from them?

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Why? The Gathering Place!

Last week, I had the pleasure of getting an up close and personal look at The Gathering Place. This nonprofit organization provides free services to those who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as their families.

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From Art & Music Therapy to Exercise to Children, Teen & Family Programs to Meditation to Reiki, Massage & Reflexology, the programs at The Gathering Place seek to address the spiritual, physical, emotional, and social needs unique to those who are facing cancer.

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One of the services offered at The Gathering Place is Nutrition, including cooking classes to teach skills like healthier eating, non-inflammatory diet, and cooking for one for those who have lost their partner to cancer.

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We had the chance to prepare a delicious, healthy breakfast that included tofu scramble, poached eggs, turmeric Golden Milk, and flax seed pancakes with blueberries and blackberries.

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Not only was all this food tasty, it was all so good for you and specifically designed to be appropriate for those undergoing cancer treatment.

The Gathering Place meets people where they are during a traumatic time in their lives and provides support, encouragement, an understanding community, and practical day-to-day services for cancer patients and survivors and their entire support network.

The Gathering Place has two locations, in Beachwood and Westlake, and is an organization largely driven by volunteers. You can read more about their services here, donate here, sign up to volunteer here, and learn about additional ways to support The Gathering Place here.

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I am so honored to work with The Gathering Place on spreading the word about their organization and can’t wait to share more of their events and opportunities with you in the coming months!

***Disclosure: I worked with The Gathering Place on hosting an Influencer Breakfast. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? CLE Crafters Co.!

You know I love sharing great local companies, so when Andrew from CLE Crafters Co. reached out and I started learning more about his business, I wanted to share it with you.

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1. Tell me about CLE Crafters. How did you get started?

Cleveland Crafters is owned and operated by Andrew Dunn and Andrew Dorman. We are roommates living in the Warehouse District in downtown Cleveland. We specialize in Cleveland themed home decor.

Our idea came to us last summer during Cleveland Beer Fest in the Flats. We passed by several vendors selling all different types of Cleveland-designed wood furniture and artwork. Ideas of our own started to come to us and we were quickly inspired to create some products for ourselves.

We had just moved into our downtown apartment and wanted our place to display the passion we had for our city. The first few products we produced were only meant for us to display in our apartment, however friends and family caught wind and started reaching out for us to make more. From there it was easy to see the demand for the products was there and this led to the website design and us getting out into the marketplace.

2. What are some of your most popular items?

Most popular item has been our Cleveland Skyline. However, for customers looking for something a bit more useful around the house, our coasters and cutting boards are a great addition to any Cleveland fans kitchen and dining area.

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3. Where can we buy CLE Crafters products?

Our site is clecrafters.com. Also be sure to check us out on Facebook and Instagram for updates on new product offerings and giveaways.

4. Tell me your Cleveland story. What do you love about the city? Favorite places to go, things to do?

Cleveland has always been home for the both of us. From the recent successes of the sports franchises to the revival of downtown, there are so many great things happening with the city today.

It’s great to see so many people moving downtown and bringing life back to the city. Feeling the energy downtown on weeknights and weekends is the best part about living downtown for us.

We’re excited to continue to see growth and national recognize brought to the city. We hope to help spread the word about how great it is to love and visit Cleveland.

Favorite place to go for us has to be Townhall on West 25th. Great food and always an awesome crowd!

5. What’s next for CLE Crafters?

Product ideas can be submitted through our website, along with customers sending in custom orders. We will continue to use this for new product ideas to expand our offerings.

We have some opportunities coming up to get into the marketplace at some craft shows and different events around the city. Look out for us at these events and continue to follow our progress on our social media!

Thanks to Andrew and Andrew for sharing CLE Crafters Co.’s story! These products will make for great holiday gifts in the upcoming season!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote CLE Crafters Co. In exchange, I will receive a complimentary item of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Adrenaline Monkey!

With the rise in popularity of “American Ninja Warrior,” adventure centers are popping up, offering people the chance to try their own ninja experience.

Adrenaline Monkey is a brand new, spiffy family adventure center that offers ninja courses, aerial ropes, climbing walls, and parkour for all ages.

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Ninja courses start at ages 5 and up, with beginner and advanced options. Wee Warriors is available for ages 5 and under, with a low ropes course and a mini ninja course with 10 interchangeable obstacles.

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Aerial ropes courses are for ages 5 and up and climbing walls are available for ages 3 and up. You can read about all the courses here.

Adrenaline Monkey also has an arcade and Jeffrey really enjoyed bouncing between ninja courses and arcade games.

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Adrenaline Monkey offers bright, clean, high energy fun that can be a great way for families to get active together.

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They also offer both kids and adults fitness classes, as well as a fun venue for birthday parties or corporate events.

While Jeffrey enjoyed running through the ninja courses, he definitely wasn’t using them as intended and I would have concerns about him trying to go through the courses when bigger kids were also using them.

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In talking to the staff from Adrenaline Monkey, their sweet spot is kids ages 9 through 11, so we’re definitely a ways from enjoying the full experience.

That said, for an afternoon power play time that set up a really good night’s sleep, Adrenaline Monkey was great, even for a Wee Warrior.

You can check out tickets and pricing online.

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary visit at Adrenaline Monkey. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It really feels like autumn, with the trees in all their glory! And once the rain finally stopped, it was a lovely weekend! Let’s get to all the fun…

Eight Crazy Nights Launch

These past two weeks, I’ve been starting my weekend recap with my Thursday night activities. I feel like I’m in college again!

This past Thursday, I attended the launch of Eight Crazy Nights, the holiday beer from Collision Bend Brewing Company.

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I make an exception to starting the season early when it comes to holiday brews! Eight Crazy Nights is spicy, not too heavy, and a tasty seasonal pour.

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The launch was a lot of fun, with music from the Ohio City Singers and lots of tasty nibbles from Collision Bend’s menu. The bianco pizza and the Collision Bend popcorn, with chicken schmaltz, Mexican pepper mix, lime zest, and pecorino, were my favorite bites of the night!

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Eight Crazy Nights is available on tap at the restaurant, as well as in cans in your local store (I’ve already confirmed my local Heinen’s has it!)

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of Eight Crazy Nights at Collision Bend Brewing Company. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Parents Night Out

Part of my job as one of the Room Parents for Jeffrey’s class was to plan Parents Night Out. This evening was a chance for the Pre-K parents to connect with each other outside of the drop-off line and without kids clamoring for attention.

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We held the Parents Night Out at Nighttown.

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Nighttown was so easy to work with setting up the event and the service was spot on! We had a selection of tasty (and generously-sized) appetizers, including egg rolls, bruschetta, chicken satay, and mushroom tarts.

It was a fun evening of catching up with friends and meeting people outside of school! We even got to hear some of the awesome live music that Nighttown had that evening before we had to get home to relieve babysitters of their duties!

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While I was a BloggyCon, I had the pleasure of meeting Haylie from HaylieStory.

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Haylie, along with her friend Zak of Zak Films, make City Surge videos where they visit cities around Ohio. So, we decided to collaborate on filming a City Surge video around Cleveland!

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We started at the West Side Market, then checked out East 4th Street, Playhouse Square, and University Circle.

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I tried to pick places that really highlighted the culture, food, and people that make Cleveland so awesome!

I can’t wait to see the finished video and will share it with you once it is done! What places would you have taken Haylie and Zak?

Modern CLE

Have you been hearing about Modern CLE? There’s quite the buzz about this website that launches today!

Modern CLE is written by journalists and focuses on telling stories from a female perspective.

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There will be news, health and wellness, financial advice, lifestyle, and more content put out daily covering Cleveland and beyond from a journalistic, female point of view.

I attended the launch party for Modern CLE at Heyday Collective. There were lots of tasty treats, bubbles, and fabulous ladies!

 

I’m so excited to read along with Modern CLE and enjoy their fun, fresh, female content!

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Band of Brothers Reunion Giveaway!

The Greater Cleveland Film Commission is hosting their annual “Behind the Camera” benefit this year on Saturday, November 10 at FirstEnergy Stadium.

“Behind the Camera” highlights a behind-the-scenes experience with guests from film or TV. This year’s benefit will bring together actors, a writer, and the casting director from the critically-acclaimed series, “Band of Brothers.”

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This Emmy and Golden Globe-winning series has a Cleveland connection, as GCFC President Ivan Schwarz was a producer for the show.

Attendees will enjoy a reception with food and drinks, as well as a presentation from the “Band of Brothers” guests. There are three ticket levels available:

  • Captain – $1,500 – includes a private reception with “Band of Brothers” guests, preferred seating, complimentary valet parking, and program listing
  • Sergeant – $500 – includes general admission reception with complimentary drinks, seating behind Captain level, complimentary valet parking, and program listing
  • Private – $150 – includes general admission reception with cash bar, general seating

Proceeds from the evening benefit the Greater Cleveland Film Commission. Tickets are available online.

Or you can enter to win two Private level tickets right here! You can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each.

1.Leave a comment telling me why you would like to attend the “Band of Brothers” Reunion.

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

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

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

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

I want to attend the Band of Brothers Reunion with @cleveland_film thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/11/02/why-band-of-brothers-reunion-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 Tuesday, November 6 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Greater Cleveland Film Commission’s Band of Brothers Reunion. I will receive two Private level tickets to give away. I declined my own two tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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