Why? Eton Explorers!

I’m always on the hunt for fun new experiences with Jeffrey, which led us to Eton Explorers, a fun, carnival-like event put on by Northeast Ohio Parent and held once a month in the summer at Eton Chagrin Boulevard.

The theme for this month’s Eton Explorers was Superheroes and Princesses, so capes and frilly dresses were everywhere!

There was lots of fun to experience, from a balloon tent manned by The Twister Girl

…to police cars and fire trucks from the City of Woodmere…

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…frozen yogurt treats from Menchie’s

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…to games and crafts from the Cuyahoga County Public LibraryThe Ratner School, the Cleveland Gladiators and Cleveland Monsters, and more.

It was a true community event, with lots of participation from various family-friendly businesses. And while it was a bit crowded, the lines moved quickly and we were easily able to participate in all the activities.

The next Eton Explorers are scheduled for July 18 (Splash Pad) and August 15 (Scavenger Hunt.) The events are free and open to the public. And if you live on the West side, you can check out Crocker Park Kids, scheduled for July 11, August 8, and September 12.

I’m proud to be blogging for Northeast Ohio Parent (check out my posts here), but I’m also happy to share this event because it was honestly a great time with a fun theme! We’re excited for the next two Eton Explorers!

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Why? Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Membership!

One of our favorite places to go, both with Jeffrey and as a couple, is the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.  From amazing special events to incredible exhibits that let you get up close and personal with the animals to a commitment to wildlife conservation, there’s so much to love at the Zoo!

 

We’ve found that the best way to enjoy the Zoo is with a membership. Because your membership gets you unlimited free admission to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest, you don’t feel the pressure to see everything in one day, which is definitely a benefit when you combine a 3-year-old with a Zoo as big as ours!

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We also save on carousel rides, which is always a must-ride for any Zoo trip!

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We’ve also used our membership to save money at reciprocal zoos around the country from as close to Akron to as far away as Corpus Christi.

You can choose the membership level that’s right for you, from Individual Plus to Family Select, with varying levels of guests, perks, and more.

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A Zoo membership pays for itself in about two visits, which is easy for anyone to accomplish. So, what does membership get you?

  • Free unlimited admission to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and The RainForest for one year – go right to the gate, no waiting in line
  • Discounted daytime admission to more than 150 zoos nationwide
  • Subscription to award-winning Z Magazine
  • Discounts on camps and educational programs
  • Exclusive invitations to special events
  • 10% discount on purchases at Zoo gift shops
  • Discounts on carousel rides and Total Experience packages
  • Discounts on Twilight at the Zoo (in May only)

Membership contributions support the Zoo and its efforts to promote wildlife conservation and education both within your Zoo and around the world.

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As you can see, a Zoo Membership features a lot of benefits and gives you access to one of Cleveland’s finest and most fun attractions! And I have a discount code that lets you save 15% on a membership!

When you purchase a membership online, enter code WHYCLE to save 15% on the Individual Plus, Family, Family Plus, or Family Select membership levels. The discount code expires on August 31, 2017.

I hope to see you at the Zoo soon for a wild time for all ages!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote zoo membership. In exchange, I received a complimentary membership renewal for myself, as well as the discount code for readers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from backyard vinyasa, we had lots of other weekend plans! On Friday, Matthew’s family came over for an early Father’s Day BBQ. The kids played in the pool and yard like crazy, the grown-ups had a chance to catch up, and everyone enjoyed lots of summery treats, like watermelon and a homemade sundae bar.

Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to Legacy Village for Meet the Machines. This event packed Legacy Village with all kinds of vehicles from police cars to fire trucks to construction equipment to the Euclid Beach Rocket Ship Car.

You could even get in some of the vehicles to drive and explore!

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I really appreciated how spread out the vehicles and activities were, giving everyone plenty of space to see and enjoy everything. Plus, there was a huge variety of vehicles, so every kid could find something cool to check out.

Beyond just the vehicles, there was live entertainment, giveaways from local companies, and crafts. Jeffrey loved decorating his CAT construction hard hat!

Legacy Village’s Meet the Machines was really well put together, which made it just as much fun for the adults as for the kids!

On Sunday, Matthew selected an activity to do with Jeffrey for Father’s Day and he chose to go to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. The Zoo had free admission for dads on Father’s Day and we saw a lot of families taking advantage of this fun way to spend time together.

The animals were definitely putting on a show on Sunday, too. We got very up close and personal with the giraffe…

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…lion…

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…and tiger.

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It was a really great morning with lots of good family memories made! Stay tuned this week for more information on Zoo membership and all the great reasons to check out our Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

After that, we headed to my parents house to stuff ourselves with guacamole and margaritas, as it should be on Father’s Day!

It was a fun, family-centered weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Tough as Milk and Peripeti Home!

When you spend all week worrying that the outdoor yoga class you scheduled to be held in your backyard will get rained out and you forget to worry about it being 90 degrees…

On Saturday, I hosted a yoga class in my backyard, which was kind of like a dream come true for this vinyasa-loving girl. But this wasn’t just any yoga class, it was a “Shift,” a donation-based class to benefit Tough as Milk.

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Tough as Milk is a local organization that provides trauma-informed fitness and wellness classes to women who are survivors of domestic violence, particularly while they are in shelters. These classes are taught with the specific needs of domestic violence survivors in mind and can help them start to find healing and peace in their bodies during traumatic times.

Tough as Milk’s founder, Bilyana, taught our class and shared a bit of the harrowing story of domestic violence that she and her mother endured at the hands of her father.

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Yoga was a way for Bilyana to find healing in her own life and now she is bringing her unique insights into domestic violence survivors and her passion for yoga to incredible use and purpose.

I know how much yoga has helped me in my own life to find peace, strength, calm, and insight.

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I can only imagine how powerful a force it could be for someone coming through the struggles of domestic violence. I am so grateful to the women in my life who showed up for this amazing cause and for a lovely (albeit hot) afternoon of connecting through movement and intention.

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Even Fitz got into it!

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If you’re interested in hosting a Shift of your own, you can learn more here and you can stay up-to-date on Tough as Milk’s upcoming public events here.

And I can’t fail to mention that adding a bit of ambiance to our yoga Shift were some Nature’s Shield candles from the Cleveland-based Peripeti Home.

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I connected with this great local business and we decided that keeping the yoga Shift bug-free and smelling lovely seemed like the perfect thing!

The Nature’s Shield candles smell great, naturally keep pests away, and burn cleanly and for long time (we had them going most of Friday night when we were in the yard too.) Peripeti Home was nice enough to provide take-home gifts for all the yogis, too!

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These candles are made here in Cleveland with natural soy, use a wooden wick so they crackle like a campfire (LOVE), and come in a bunch of fabulous scents and designs (obviously the Cleveland landmark series is my favorite.)

You know I love to support and spread the word about great local businesses! Peripeti Home is not only putting out great products, but they were eager to partner up for an event combining yoga and charity, which makes them super cool in my book. You can purchase their products online or check out their social media feeds for where else to find them!

Stay tuned for the rest of the weekend recap, coming tomorrow!

***Disclosure: I was contacted by Peripeti Candles to help promote their Nature’s Shield candles. I was provided with two Nature’s Shield candles for my own use, as well as mini candles to give to those attending the yoga Shift. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

 

Why? Etna Ristorante!

There are so many amazing restaurants packed into the relatively small area of Little Italy that it can be tough to get to them all. But when pasta is involved, I can make the commitment! Last night, I tried a new-to-me restaurant in Little Italy with some of my fellow Playhouse Square Partners.

Etna Ristorante is located near the west end of Little Italy, on the corner of West 120th and Mayfield Road. It can be easy to miss this cozy spot, but trust me, you don’t want to overlook it!

The menu at Etna features a nice selection of pasta and meat dishes, with an emphasis on seafood. The specials for the evening were all fish and seafood-based as well, including rainbow trout, cod, salmon, and cioppino.

I started my meal with a summer favorite: caprese salad. The tomatoes were fresh and the clean flavors of this classic dish really popped.

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For my entrée, I chose the penne with scampi, served with a very light tomato cream sauce (seriously, just a touch of cream), mushrooms, and basil.

The size of the pasta dishes allowed everyone to clear their plates and feel happily and comfortably full.

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I loved that the sauce wasn’t overly heavy and the flavors of tomato, basil, and mushroom all came through distinctly. The scampi were large and cooked well. All in all, a spot on dish for classic Italian flavors.

From a nice wine list to an intimate atmosphere to a menu filled with Italian standards done to perfection, Etna Ristorante is a Little Italy location not to be missed! Also not to be missed is the annual Feast of the Assumption in Little Italy, a celebration of faith, food, and tradition, happening Saturday, August 12 through Tuesday, August 15.

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Why? Annie’s Sweet Shop!

You’ve heard me say it before, but I just love the connections that blogging about Cleveland has afforded me, especially when I get to meet passionate Clevelanders doing cool things in our city.

I started following Annie’s Sweet Shop on Instagram and was hooked by the yummy looking mini desserts, especially the signature lavender lemon cookies.

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A couple weeks ago, I met up with Ann LoParo, the woman behind Annie’s Sweet Shop to hear her story (and get some of those signature cookies for myself, which are buttery and not too sweet and just delicious.)

Ann and I both graduated from Magnificat High School, so before we even met, I felt like we had some connection. And when Ann shared that what drew her to baking was a voracious sweet tooth, I knew we’d hit it off!

Ann started her career as a social worker, but was always baking on the side, mostly for large family gatherings. That’s what got her into making mini desserts, to give people an easy grab-and-go nibble while at a party.

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Eventually, Ann decided to pursue her baking passion and talent full-time, earning her degree from Johnson & Wales University College of Culinary Arts. She worked at various resorts and clubs before family drew her to move back to her hometown (another point of connection for us.)

In Cleveland, Ann worked as a pastry chef at the Horseshoe Casino, Provenance at the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Lola Bistro. But she kept feeling drawn to build something of her own.

Ann went on a yoga retreat in Bali, which gave her the right perspective to decide the direction to take her career and her life. I just love this part of Ann’s story so much! To know that you want something more or different and to take the time and space to figure out what that is and how to make it happen takes a lot of bravery and commitment!

So, Ann launched Annie’s Sweet Shop. She is creating beautiful and delicious mini desserts, such as tarts, brownies, cookies, and cheesecakes. They would make the perfect addition to your next gathering or event, plus you’ll be supporting a local small business with talent, passion, and a lot of heart!

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Why? Little Legacy and Meet the Machines!

I’ve been sharing a lot with you about the great goings-on at Legacy Village and now I have two more to share that are specifically focused on your kiddos.

Little Legacy

Three Wednesdays this summer, the green at Legacy Village will be filled with fun activities specifically geared for children pre-K and older. There will be on-stage entertainment from Jungle Terry, The Real Pop Fusion, South Euclid-Lyndhurst Library, Mercury Theatre Co., and more.

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There will also be crafts and games provided by Cuyahoga County Animal Shelter, Cleveland Cavaliers, Lake County Captains, L.L. Bean, Playhouse Square, and more.

Little Legacy is free, open to the public, and takes place Wednesday, June 14; Wednesday, July 12; and Wednesday, August 9 from 10:30am-12pm.

Meet the Machines

On Saturday, June 17 from 11am-3pm, Legacy Village will host a monster-sized touch-a-truck event that will allow children to get hands on with safety vehicles, construction equipment, service vehicles, and more.

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This event that is perfect for the whole family will also feature live entertainment, giveaways, and safety information. Jeffrey loves these types of events and it’s always fun to see your child sit in a fire truck, interact with safety officers, and just generally have a wonderful time!

We have found Legacy Village to be the perfect spot for fun for the whole family and these two events certainly adds to that feeling. Hope to see you out and about at Little Legacy and Meet the Machines!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? American Heart Association Cleveland Heart Ball!

When you combine an event I’ve never been to before with a place I haven’t been to yet, you get one excited blogger!

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Which is why I was feeling so excited to be attending the American Heart Association Cleveland Heart Ball, held at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown. This gorgeous hotel with sweeping city views made for the perfect location for the black tie gala. (Also, I kind of cried sending back my Rent the Runway dress.)

The theme of this year’s Heart Ball was “Hoops and Dreams” and everywhere you looked, basketball was part of the event, from a locker room celebrating the sponsors…

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…to the table decor…

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…to cheerleaders…

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…to famous basketball faces…

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…to the chance to shoot some hoops yourself.

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Amanda and I enjoyed the VIP room and the social suite before dinner, with nibbles, wine, and conversation.

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Then it was on to a delicious seated dinner, with seasonal salad, tender beef short rib, and decadent dessert.

During dinner, we also had the chance to participate in a live auction, as well as open donation time (which raised an amazing $202,000 alone.) We were inspired to bid to help the Cleveland American Heart Association by listening to event chairman Terry Fergus talk about his grandson, Ray, who suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, but is still incredibly active, hopeful, and eloquent about his future.

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Ray’s story and learning how the research funded by the American Heart Association can benefit him and so many others gave an entirely new meaning to “Hoops and Dreams” and made the evening not just glamorous, but also so meaningful.

The mood lightened again at the Overtime Party put on by the Young Professionals Board, with a DJ, concession-style munchies, and more basketball fun.

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It was a truly great evening for such an important cause. The Cleveland American Heart Association hopes to make heart disease a thing of the past and that is a dream definitely worth shooting for!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the American Heart Association Cleveland Heart Ball. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets, as well as two tickets to the Overtime Party. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, summery weekend in the CLE! On Friday night, my friend Melissa and I met up for Zippity Zoo Doo, a fabulous fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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This year, the Cleveland Zoological Society is celebrating 60 years of supporting the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s conservation efforts and educational programs. The event raised an impressive $300,000 through ticket sales, a Wild Side Silent Auction (I scored a great package of gift cards and tickets for summer fun), and the Giving Tree donations.

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The Driftwood Group provided delicious food, from passed appetizers (the coconut chicken was my favorite) to small bites (the beet and goat cheese pasta was to die for) to mixology drinks, including a special and yummy Zootini, served in a souvenir martini glass.

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There were also fun giant games to play, like Jenga, Scrabble, and Connect 4.

Melissa and I got to take on some of the Cleveland Gladiators in Connect 4! And how’s this for symbiotic content: I have a Gladiators ticket giveaway going on now!

We also got the chance to meet the Zoo’s new Amur tiger, Hector, who was enjoying his first night in the Roseborough Tiger Passage.

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From delicious food and drinks to games and music to majestic creatures to benefiting a great cause, Zippity Zoo Doo had everything that makes an event truly spectacular! There are two more great events to benefit the Cleveland Zoological Society scheduled this summer: Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the Zoovies.

On Saturday morning, Jeffrey, my mom, and I went to the Macedonia Funfest because we love summer festivals with rides, games, and fun!

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Plus, it gave us an excuse to stop by Rosati’s Frozen Custard, which is just so yummy on a hot day!

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Then on Sunday, we decided to beat the heat at the newly-opened Cedar Point Shores Water Park.

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From the brand new kids area with tons of slides and fun critters for the kids to great new thrill rides for the grown ups, Cedar Point Shores expanded the water park fun and the access to and views of Lake Erie.

There are also expanded food selections, updated seating and cabanas, and more. This will definitely be a summer destination for us!

So, that was almost all of the weekend…stay tuned tomorrow for my recap of the Cleveland American Heart Association Heart Ball! How was your weekend?

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote their events. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket and one discounted ticket to Zippity Zoo Doo and I will receive complimentary tickets to Twilight at the Zoo and Date Night at the Zoovies. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Cleveland Gladiators Tailgate Zone and Ticket Giveaway!

We love our sports in Cleveland and we’re lucky to have so many options to watch great teams play. The Cleveland Gladiators have earned a reputation for fun, high-energy, affordable, family-friendly games.

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And now the Gladiators have increased the excitement with the addition of a “Gladiators Tailgate Zone” for the remainder of the 2017 season.

Gladiators Announce Tailgate Zone to Debut June 16th Against Baltimore

Admission to the Gladiators Tailgate Zone gets you up close and personal with the players and the game. Plus, you’ll have access to an unlimited buffet with concession-stand favorites, as well as beer, wine, and Pepsi products.

Gladiators Announce Tailgate Zone to Debut June 16th Against Baltimore (3)

The Tailgate Zone debuts at the game on Friday, June 16 against the Baltimore Brigade with a “Summer Picnic at the Q.”  The first 10,000 fans to arrive that night will receive a Gladiators Tumbler presented by Phantom Fireworks.

There will be two other opportunities to experience the Gladiators Tailgate Zone during the remaining home games of the 2017 regular season as the team hosts “Go Pink Night” on Saturday, June 24th and “Fan Salute Night Presented by The Brew Kettle” on Saturday, July 8th.

Tailgate Zone tickets are $49 per person and can be purchased online. You can also enter to win a family four-pack of tickets (not Tailgate Zone tickets) to the Gladiators game on Saturday, July 8 right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here telling me who you would take to the game.

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

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

4. Follow @clegladiators 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 win a 4-pack of tickets to @clegladiators thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/06/10/why-cleveland-gladiators-tailgate-zone-and-ticket-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 Thursday, June 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the new Gladiators Tailgate Zone. I will receive a four-pack of tickets to give away. I declined my own tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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