Why? GV Art and Design T-Shirt Giveaway!

So, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, there’s been some changes to the look of Why CLE? One of those changes is the new picture greeting you on the side bar (and as my avatar on Twitter and Instagram and Facebook. Yikes, we have lots of avis, don’t we?).

The shirt is from GV Art and Design, which has a whole line of awesome Cleveland that I <3 apparel. I personally love wearing my Cleveland pride for everyone to see. Especially when I travel, I’ve found these kinds of shirts always get a response and I sometimes even meet fellow Clevelanders by wearing them.


Why? Jim Alesci’s Place!

Sunday afternoon, I attended one of the tastiest, warmest, most fun Ohio Blogging Association meet-ups we’ve ever had. Jim Alesci’s Place showed off their new Solon location in style, with a ton of delicious food and fabulous hospitality. Alesci’s is a family business that has come down through the generations.

In fact, this picture that hangs behind the cheese counter is of Jim Alesci’s dad manning the cheese counter at Alesci’s years ago. This family business embraces it’s heritage and all the traditions that go along with it.

We were greeted with a selection of tasty cheeses, meats, and bruschetta. My favorites were the Drunken Cow and the Taleggio.


Why? Ginko Happy Hour!

There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good happy with girlfriends. Last night, Kimberly, Nadine, and I met up at Ginko for sushi, cocktails, and plenty of laughs.

Ginko not only has the best sushi in Cleveland, but the have phenomenal happy hour deals. From 4:30-6:30pm, Mondays through Fridays, you can get $5 select rolls and appetizers, half-priced specialty cocktails, and $5 beer and wine.

We shared the edamame and the spicy scallop chips (not a happy hour special, but worth ordering regardless), which feature spicy scallop playfully served on top of Pringles.


Why? Pier W Patio!

Patio season is in full swing and I personally like to soak up every moment of it. There’s nothing better than sitting outside with a cocktail and some friends, enjoying the summer!

When Pier W asked if we’d help kick off their patio season with a little pre-opening party, we couldn’t possibly say no! The Pier W patio features a cocktail, wine, and beer selection, as well as a menu of more casual, patio-friendly food. It’s the same high-quality experience you expect from Pier W, just in a more outdoorsy setting.

We enjoyed the flatbread with goat cheese and artichokes, the shrimp tacos, and the scallop ceviche. My personal favorite was the ceviche…no one has fresh, delicious seafood quite like Pier W!

This season, the Pier W patio will also feature a raw bar and, if the oysters we had last night are any indication, it is not to be missed!

Plus, you can relax in the Adirondack chairs and take in a fabulous view of Cleveland.


Why? Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Membership!

In case you didn’t already know, we have a world-class zoo here in Cleveland. The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo offers the chance to see everything from elephants and giraffes to bears and reindeer, plus participate in special events from Kids Days to Twilight at the Zoo. There’s something for all ages at the Zoo!

One of the best ways to experience the Zoo is by purchasing a Zoo Membership. This is the second year that Matthew and I have a Zoo membership. From the time Jeffrey was little, the membership allowed us to take him to the Zoo and tailor our schedule around his capacity to take in the animals (read: we didn’t feel the pressure to do everything in one day).

And now it allows us to easily make the Zoo part of our regular plans, whether it’s going to The RainForest in the winter…

Boo at the Zoo…

or simply a play date (the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter is a favorite).

But the Zoo isn’t just for kids! We’ve loved the adult Zoo events like Twilight at the Zoo, Date Night at the ZOOvies, and Zippity Zoo Doo.

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


Why? I budget my finances

This weekend was crazy busy. A small event here and there, a couple of last-minute planning for an upcoming art exhibition. How can I pull it off? Well, I get by with a little help from my friends. Even with my hectic lifestyle, I make time for Kim Rogers's spa treatment.

And before you ask me, no, I do not have unlimited time and resources. But I do make time for what's important. And I don't forget to invest in my most valuable asset: myself. Granted, we must pay for the things that make us healthy and safe, like housing and food, as well as for the things we enjoy, like recreation, entertainment, and more.

Believe it or not, I have a rather frugal lifestyle. I don't waste money on unnecessary luxury items, but then again, each decides for themselves where they set the boundaries. Shop sales to stay within budget and save up for a concert or a weekend event. Use coupons for purchases, especially when you buy food in bulk for your pantry. Take a small-dollar loan when you can't handle your expenses. I budget my finances the best I can, but I also have fun, and I wouldn't have it any other way.


Why? Boo at the Zoo!

It’s hard to believe it’s almost Halloween! And while there are lots of spooky and not-so-spooky ways to celebrate around Cleveland, one of my favorites is Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s Boo at the Zoo.

This annual event combines all the animal fun of the Zoo with the festivities of Halloween for a kid-friendly great time.


Earlier this week, the Zoo started to get the animals in the Boo at the Zoo spirit with some pumpkin feedings. The elephants, tigers, and bears all got to enjoy some pumpkin snacks (cinnamon and nutmeg sold separately).

At Boo at the Zoo itself, there is so much to enjoy, from a hay maze with fantastic light-up and inflatable decorations…

to trick or treat stations to friendly animals to visit with…

to a dance party to the chance to get encased in a giant bubble!

We’ve attended this event for two years now with Jeffrey and before that, we took our nieces. There is something for kids of all ages and interests to enjoy (including the awesome adult treat stations)!


Why? Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland!

Now that downtown Cleveland is the hot spot to live, a host of lifestyle amenities are popping up around there too. Adding to that mix is Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland, a beautiful new space offering both yoga and barre classes.

Barre Fly and Yoga Strong both began in Canton, where they currently operate as separate studios. But the Cleveland location combines the two into one space, allowing you to easily take classes from both styles.

Barre Fly offers classes in barre, pilates, barre booty lift, aerial yoga, lyra hoop, and their signature classes (H)HIIT and BarreFly.

(H)HIIT stands for Hammock High-Intensity Interval Training and involves 15 minutes of resistance band work and 15 minutes of aerial hammock time. This would be a great choice for those working downtown looking for a quick workout!

Most of Barre Fly’s classes involves some aerial element in the suspended hammocks, making them different than your average barre class.


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend to kick off the unofficial start of summer! Friday was Jeffrey’s second birthday, so we had a day of fun things planned to mark the special occasion.

We started at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, where we checked out the fish, turtles, and even got to see the diver show.

The Aquarium is a great place to explore and Jeffrey loves the shark tunnel and sting ray tanks especially. It’s also such a great example of repurposing space. For example, there are now jellyfish swimming in what was the Powerhouse’s chimney. Pretty cool!

We worked up an appetite, so we headed to a family-friendly favorite for lunch: the Winking Lizard. Since Jeffrey was born at a reasonable time of day (not 3am), we make sure we’re all together on his official birthday time. The past two years, we’ve met up with Matthew for lunch and been able to celebrate as a family.

Friday evening, we had our parents join us at the house for a Winnie-the-Pooh themed dinner, which meant a lot of honey incorporated in the recipes and puzzle pieces repurposed to be place markers for the guests.

I made fried chicken with Ancho honey (recipe here), honey roasted red potatoes (recipe here), and golden sweet cornbread (recipe here).

Jeffrey also got to open his birthday present: a Power Wheels Kawasaki Teryx. He loves it, although steering isn’t exactly his forte quite yet (he nearly hit me right after I took this)!

Over the weekend, we also checked out the Cleveland Scene Taste of Summer event on the East Bank of the Flats.

If you would have told me three years ago that I’d be going to a summer festival with my son down in the Flats, I don’t know that I would have believed you. It’s incredible to see how bustling and revitalized the East Bank area is now!


Why? Bar 145 Avon!

Sometimes when I get invited to blog-related events, it takes some convincing to get Matthew to come with me. But when I told him we got invited to a burger and bourbon tasting, there was no hesitation!

So, we headed out to Bar 145 Avon for an evening of great gastro pub food and a couple unique bourbons. Bar 145 specializes in “Burgers, Bands, and Bourbon,” and I have to agree on the two out of three we got to try.

We started with orders of two of Bar 145’s most popular appetizers: the warm baked pretzel bites and fried cheese curds.

I could have devoured the whole plate of either of these appetizers. And the cheese fondue with the pretzel bites was smooth, creamy, and delicious!

We got to sample three different types of burgers: the Americana, the Balsamic Bleu, and the Cry Baby (an off-menu special available until mid-February).

The Americana is a classic cheeseburger, with American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo, served on toasted brioche. The Balsamic Bleu features Stella bleu cheese, balsamic glaze, arugula, and shaved carrots on a toasted pretzel roll. And the Cry Baby features cajun mayo, onion straws, and cheese on an onion roll.


Why? Cleveland Furniture Bank!

I always love the chance to spotlight local organizations that are doing work to better the lives of those in Northeast Ohio. So, when I was invited to tour the Cleveland Furniture Bank, I jumped at the chance to learn more about this nonprofit.

Ironically, before I even was contacted about the tour, Matthew and I decided to donate a box spring and mattress to the Cleveland Furniture Bank. As an aside, the donation process was easy and the team from the Cleveland Furniture Bank made pick-up of the items quick and convenient.

The Cleveland Furniture Bank uses mattress donations for the Beds for Kids Campaign.

The beds are provided to children between the ages of 2 and 17.  This year, the program began adding cribs for donation for children under the age of two. Each year over 1,200 beds have been given to those in need.

The Cleveland Furniture Bank also partners with over 200 local agencies through their voucher program, which allows people in need (usually those transitioning out of homelessness or shelters) to select basic furniture to start their home.

The mission of the Cleveland Furniture Bank is sustained not only by furniture donations from individuals (click here to fill out a donation form) and local business like Levin Furniture and Arhaus Furniture, but also by sales from their expansive Thrift Store.


Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

One of the biggest parties of the summer is coming to Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on Friday, August 4. Of course I’m talking about Twilight at the Zoo!

Twilight at the Zoo brings together a wide array of local bands scattered throughout the Zoo for a wild good time! From Disco Inferno to Abby Normal and the Detroit Lean to Funkology to CRAIC, the bands cover lots of different genres of music and will all get you dancing through the night.

Also, new this year is Club Twilight, featuring a DJ and dance floor!

All of the fun is for a good cause, too! Proceeds from Twilight at the Zoo benefit the Cleveland Zoological Society and their work caring for not only the animals in the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, but also their educational and conservation programs.

Tickets for Twilight at the Zoo are now on sale online. General admission tickets are $75 in May, $80 in June, and $85 in July and August. Zoo members can save an additional $5 off tickets in May only! General admission runs from 7pm-12am and includes all bands, small bites, and complimentary Samuel Adams beer, wine, and soda.


Why? Dreaming of a Day at Legacy Village Giveaway!

There are a lot of places I want to go once we’re able to be out and about in the world again. But one of my favorite one-stop locales for everything from great food to great shopping to great times is now just down the road from me. And I find myself dreaming of a day at Legacy Village.

I want to take a class at barre3

I want to sweat with Liz and Nina and Kristen and curse the resistance bands. I even want to do diamonds, that’s how much I miss barre3!

I want to get a gorgeous blowout at Drybar because I have somewhere fabulous to go.

I want to get some adorable clothes at LOFT and Lily Pulitzer and White House Black Market.

And I want to wear those clothes to a decadent dinner at The Capital Grille.


Why? Well, Part 3…

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted here, which tells you what’s happened to time lately. It both seems like forever that we’ve been doing this and just yesterday that we were living normal lives.

It’s been a weirdly busy time in my own life and that combined with the lack of “traditional” Why CLE? content has kept these pages quiet. My therapist and I talked about how life keeps moving forward, even now. Even when it might not feel like it. And that’s been true for me.

As you might have seen on social media, Jeffrey and I moved last weekend to University Heights. Having gone to John Carroll and with Jeffrey at Gesu, this feels so much like coming home. I love the new house and Jeffrey has declared it to be “phenomenal,” so I’ll take that endorsement.

So, now that I’m settled and some of the packing, moving, personal life dust is starting to settle, I wanted to check back in here. I also wanted to share some things that I’ve been loving in this time…

All the online yoga! Yoga Roots offers both live and recorded class options and I’ve loved being able to practice with familiar faces like my teachers Heather, Aimee, Justine, Katie, and Lainie. Plus, my girl Alicia has been offering weekly online Platform Beer pub yoga on Facebook Live, as well as her Grooveryde classes. It’s been so nice to not only stay active, but to do it with teachers I love and trust!


Why? Authentically CLE!

Remember in my last post when I said that life keeps moving forward, even in this time? One of the things to come out of this time was a chance for me to step back from the day-to-day of this blog and think about what I wanted it to be.

I am incredibly proud of this space and what it’s been for almost nine and a half years. What started as a very depersonalized, almost guidebook look at Cleveland turned into a space to share my adventures around town; the places and people and things that I love; and the way my life has changed in that time.

But I found myself wanting to do…maybe not more, but different. A new way to share my stories and others’. So, as most amazing things in the quarantine, the idea for Authentically CLE came out of a somewhat boozy Zoom call.

And through the amazing talents of Ashley from Little Leaf Design, my vision came to life.

Why CLE? will continue to exist in this space, but all new content will be posted on Authentically CLE. You’ll notice my social handles have switched over as well. Head on over to the new site now to read a bit about how this all started for me and my first post on one of my good friends who is about as authentic as they get.