Why? Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week Bring on the All Stars!

We all know that there are tons of great restaurants in Downtown Cleveland and that this summer Cleveland is hosting the MLB All Star Game. So, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance combined these two things for their Restaurant Week kick-off event, entitled Bring on the All Stars.

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This 4th annual Restaurant Week kick-off event will be held on Thursday, February 28 from 5-7pm at the Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade. You will be able to sample dishes from over 20 restaurants participating in Restaurant Week, who will be competing for the Judge’s Choice Award that night.

There will also be live cooking demonstrations from restaurants like Adega, Johnny’s Downtown, and Hodge’s; Cleveland sports mascot appearances; a DJ; and fun giveaways.

Participating restaurants in the Bring on the All Stars kick-off event include Blue Point Grille, Luca Italian Cuisine, Pizza 216, and Southern Tier Brewing Company. Click here for a complete list of participating restaurants and a schedule of cooking demos.

Tickets are currently on sale for $35 early bird admission through this Friday, February 22 (the price goes up to $45 after that). You can also purchase VIP tickets for $100 for 1 ticket or $150 for 2 tickets. VIP admission includes valet parking, open bar, access to the VIP Lounge at the event, and access to the Jack Casino Library Lounge after the event. Click here to purchase tickets.

This is the perfect way to help narrow your choices for where to eat during Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week (happening March 1-10) and enjoying the All Star food and fun that downtown has to offer!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week Kick-Off Event. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my  own.***

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Why? Cru Uncorked!

For Valentine’s Day, Matthew and I decided to enjoy a special, romantic dinner at a restaurant we’d been wanting to check out: Cru Uncorked.

Cru Uncorked is a French restaurant in a lovely chateau setting. The restaurant has multiple rooms, fireplaces, and a cozy, unique ambiance. For Valentine’s Day, Cru Uncorked had a special limited menu of appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

We started with cocktails: Different Light (sparkling wine and cranberry shrub) for me and Vixen’s Heart (Cynar, Glenlivet Nadurra, Amaretto, smoked grapefruit oil, and salt tincture) for Matthew. The cocktails were deliciously crafted!

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For our first course, I chose the Crab and Shrimp Louie with avocado, tomato and horseradish glaze, mustard crème, petite greens, and citrus red pepper oil.

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Light and fresh, this was a lovely way to start my meal.

Matthew went with a classic: Steak Tartare, with Parmesan fondue and salsa verde.

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For my entrée, I had the Heritage Pork Chop with lentil ragout, sunchoke, savoy cabbage, and sauce chasseur.

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Perfectly prepared, with lots of earthy, autumnal flavors, I really enjoyed this dish!

Matthew had the Sea Scallops Grenobloise, with brown butter, lemon, capers, parsley, butternut squash, and maitaki mushrooms.

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The delicate flavors all complimented each other perfectly on this dish.

With our entrees, we both enjoyed amazing glasses of wine: Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon for me and Cakebread Chardonnay for him. Cru Uncorked has a fantastic by the glass and by the bottle wine list and knowledgeable servers to help you pick the perfect pairing.

For dessert, I had the Mocha Crème Brulee, with was light, creamy, and so good!

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Matthew had the Baked Alaska, with pistachio ice cream, raspberry sorbet, and Chambord chocolate sauce.

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The meal, the service, and the atmosphere were truly something special from top to bottom. While the portions were small, everything was spot on in terms of preparation and we left feeling satiated without being overly full.

For a truly special experience, check out Cru Uncorked!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a low(er)-key, family-centric weekend for us, which is always a nice break, especially after a super busy weekend previously.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series

Saturday afternoon, Jeffrey got to experience his first Monster Jam when the Triple Threat Series roared into Quicken Loans Arena.

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Jeffrey was excited to not only see the big trucks, but also wear his noise-cancelling headphones (seriously, that might have been the bigger excitement for him).

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The Triple Threat Series featured crowd voting after each round, so it was fun to pick and cheer for our favorites.

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This is definitely one of those “boy mom” experiences that I never thought I’d be doing, but when I saw how much fun Jeffrey had, it made it worth it! This was a great, family-friendly activity!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Mom’s Birthday Dinner

On Saturday, I made a three-course birthday dinner for my mom. She’s usually the one having us over to eat, so it was nice to be able to make a fancy meal for her instead.

Our first course was Tomato Basil Crab Bisque (recipe here). Slightly spicy, thick and creamy, this was a great first course for a winter meal.

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For the second course, I made Veal Osso Buco (recipe here) and Creamy Parmesan Polenta (recipe here).

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The osso buco smelled so delicious while it was cooking and came out very tender and flavorful!

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For the polenta, I would suggest cooking it slightly longer than the recipe suggests or giving it a little time before serving to set up. But it was the perfect flavor complement to the osso buco.

For dessert, Jeffrey helped me make a Raspberry-Fudge Fantasy Torte (recipe here).

 

I love the combination of chocolate and raspberry! And the whipped cream frosting is a nice, light change of pace.

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It was a fun night celebrating our wonderful mom/grandma!

Family Yoga

On Sunday, we took another Family Yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center.

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These have quickly become a favorite family activity, with a great mix of activity, meditation, and breath work geared to Jeffrey’s ability and attention level.

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The next class is on Sunday, March 17, with sessions at 10am and 11am. The class is free for Mandel JCC members and $10 for non-members. You can register here.

Winking Lizard

After yoga, we went to lunch with friends at a favorite for all ages: Winking Lizard.

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From a great beer selection for the grown-ups to a tasty kids menu to bowls of popcorn for group munching, everyone can find something to enjoy!

What a great Sunday Funday!

So, that was our low(er) key weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Ohio City Galley!

When I got together for Galentine’s Day with my girls Alicia and Amanda, we had our very different tastes on display.

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Luckily, we had dinner at Ohio City Galley, a restaurant incubator with four different mini-restaurants, so our different tastes could all be satisfied under one roof!

Ohio City Galley is a chance for chefs to essentially test a restaurant concept rent-free, with the Galley Group providing marketing, space upkeep, and the like. Ohio City Galley’s current restaurants are Poca Casual Mexican, Sauce the City, Tinman, and The Rice Shop.

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I chose the BBQ Pork Belly from The Rice Shop, served with sticky rice, honey mustard kale, and sambal sour cream.

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The dish was flavorful and the pork belly was the perfect balance of crispy and tender.

Alicia and Amanda both chose dishes from Poca Casual Mexican: the Al Pastor tacos and the Oaxacan tamales. And while I didn’t sneak any bites, they were very happy with their choices. We also shared some of the guacamole with the most delicious masa chips!

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Photo Credit: Alicia

For dessert, the apple fritters from Tinman, served with caramel sauce and Apple Jacks ice cream were a decadent and delicious end to our meal.

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The bar at Ohio City Galley is also serving up creative treats. I enjoyed a Moses Cleveland, with bourbon, herbed plum syrup, citrus, and soda.

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We also got to help the bar manager Daniella practice four signature Galentine’s cocktails, all of which were unique and delicious.

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Pro tip: Go to Ohio City Galley during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 5-7pm) for half off all drinks and specials at the restaurants!

With it’s haute cafeteria-style environment, tasty drinks, and creative cuisine, Ohio City Galley is the perfect way to try something new and satisfy everyone’s different tastes in one place!

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Why? Nikki’s Collar Club!

If you have pets, you know that they’re family and you want to make sure they’re happy.

Last week, I had a chance to make our pups super happy with daily visits from Nikki’s Collar Club.

This locally-owned and operated company offers both dog walking and pet sitting services. Unlike some dog walking services, Nikki’s Collar Club is owned and managed in Cleveland and the dog walkers have contact and supervision in the area.

Before our services started, Nikki came over to meet with me and chat about the pups and our needs (and our Magnificat High School alumnae connection).

I also filled out an online profile with information and pictures of Tobey and Fitz, with everything from the location of treats and leashes to veterinary and vaccination information.

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Our pups are older and don’t need as much physical activity, but they sure enjoyed pets, treats, and attention from Nikki!

Every day after her visit, I’d receive a text message update on how the visit went, which was a perfect way to check-in.

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With online scheduling and text message updates, Nikki’s Collar Club not only makes your pets’ lives happier, but it makes your life easier with simple, streamlined services. For dog walking, you can select based on length of the visit: 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or one hour.

I also can’t wait to try out the pet sitting services on our next weekend getaway. I’m confident in Nikki’s Collar Club’s professionalism and caring! And the option to leave our pups at the house together, especially as they get older, is so appealing.

Nikki’s Collar Club covers a wide service area in Northeast Ohio. If you have furry family members who could use some extra TLC while you’re at work or traveling, click here to get started with Nikki’s Collar Club. Tobey and Fitz give them two big tail wags!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Nikki’s Collar Club. In exchange, I received a complimentary week of 20-minute dog walking services. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Hudec Dental Relax Smile Serve Scholarship!

You know I love nothing more than a local business that’s doing good in the community. Which is why I’m so excited to tell you about the Hudec Dental “Relax. Smile. Serve.” Scholarship!

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This scholarship is designed to reward college-bound seniors who have improved their communities through service. Since the Relax. Smile. Serve. Scholarship program was launched in 2016, Hudec Dental has awarded over $60,000 to 60 deserving students.

This year, Hudec Dental will award a total of 18 scholarships totaling $20,000. The requirements for the Relax. Smile. Serve. Scholarship are as follows:

  • Valid proof of a cumulative or current semester GPA that shows a minimum 3.0 GPA. This can be a report card, transcript, or letter from a school counselor or principal.
  • College Bound Senior from Northeast Ohio (or Youngstown-area) high school in 2019.
  • A 500-word essay answering the following question: How did you change the quality of life in your community through service?

There are 18 scholarships available for 2019: 16 valued at $1,000; 1 valued at $1,500; and 1 valued at $2,500.

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If you or someone you know is a college-bound senior from a Northeast Ohio (or Youngstown) high school, you can apply online through April 5 to receive up to $2,500 to support your academic growth and reward your service to your community.

Hudec Dental will host an awards ceremony in April to honor the Relax. Smile. Serve. Scholarship winners.

Hudec Dental is not only doing good in the community, but also encouraging, honoring, and supporting others who do, too. That’s something to smile about!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing brand ambassador relationship with Hudec Dental. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Greatroom!

Have you been inside the newly-renovated Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Tower? From the lobby to the M Club to Armando’s barber shop and the Public Square Market to Trilogy Fitness Spa and Salon, the hotel has a fresh, open, modern new look and lots of new amenities.

Part of the new look and feel is Greatroom, a casual dining restaurant and bar that is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

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Greatroom offers yummy food, crafted cocktails, a welcoming atmosphere, and tons of fun special events (like Wine Down Wednesdays, specials related to concerts and sports events, and more).

We had a chance to get a taste of Greatroom’s dinner menu last night and it was diverse and delicious! My drink of choice was the After Midnight, with bourbon, vanilla, and cinnamon. Smooth, warming, and oh-so-good!

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I started with the Maple Hickory Glazed Brussel Sprouts, which would make anyone want to eat their veggies!

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Matthew had the Edamame Hummus, with pita and vegetables for dunking. Fresh, tasty, and with a nice smooth consistency, this was a great shareable starter.

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For my entree, I had the Veal Short Rib, which was served with a warming, filling stew that had Moroccan spices, chickpeas, and roasted vegetables. This was a unique twist on a short rib dish!

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Matthew chose the salmon, served with Brussel sprout pesto and roasted vegetables: a simple dish that was very well executed.

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For dessert, I had the salted caramel apple cheesecake tart. A cross between cheesecake and apple crumble, this dessert struck a great balance between the two and was quite delicious!

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Matthew had the hot chocolate cake, a mini bundt cake with traditional hot chocolate toppings. Just like it’s namesake, this cake was warm and comforting.

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Greatroom is a great (haha) option not only for guests of the hotel, but also for downtown workers in Key Tower and beyond. From starting your day with a satisfying breakfast (I want to go back for the Broken Egg Sandwich) to grabbing a good lunch to winding down with a cocktail, there’s something for everyone at any time of day.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary dinner at Greatroom with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a super busy weekend in the CLE, so let’s get right to it…

Partner Yoga

On Friday night, Matthew and I took a Partner Yoga workshop at Yoga Roots. Both of us have practiced for a long time, but never like this!

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Led by Yoga Roots teachers Sharon and Nick, the workshop put you and your partner in poses together, from feet touching in child’s pose to planking on top of each other!

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The room was filled with lively conversation and laughter. It was a great way to not only connect with your partner, but to build connections within the Yoga Roots community too. After class, we grabbed some wine and snacks for a little picnic on our mat.

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This was a fun and unique date night and a cool way to expand our practice!

Donut Fest

Saturday, we continued our annual tradition of attending Donut Fest.

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Held at RedSpace, this event brings together 12 donut purveyors to offer samples of their tasty treats, along with local coffee vendors to help wash it all down.

This year, some of our favorites included the chocolate strawberry creme stick from Jack Frost Donuts

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…the chocolate clementine donuts from Fiona’s Coffee Bar and Bakery

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…and the sour cream donuts from Goldie’s Donuts & Bakery.

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While Donut Fest is definitely a sugary overload, I feel like the bakeries have moderated the sample size from the first year, so you can actually enjoy something from each of the shops. Plus, who doesn’t love the chance to taste test so many different types of donuts under one roof?!

Anne Cate Studio Opening

Saturday night, my friend Mariah and I attended the grand opening party for Anne Cate‘s studio space in Mentor.

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This space is part office, part production studio, which can also sell some of the skyline merchandise. It’s sleek, modern, and perfectly pretty in Anne Cate’s signature pink and black!

I can’t wait to see what fabulous things Anne Cate has in store (haha) for this space!

Partners Brunch Around

On Sunday, I joined some of my fellow Playhouse Square Partners for brunch in Tremont. We had groups at 4 different Tremont restaurants and I was lucky enough to land at Fat Cats.

As one of Tremont’s longest standing restaurants, Fat Cats has stood the test of time and remains a delicious spot to eat. I had the Williams Wake Up Breakfast Sandwich, with egg, avocado, bacon, and slaw.

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Served on lightly grilled bread and with a side of sweet potato fries, this was a perfect brunch item: sort of breakfasty, sort of lunchy, and totally yummy!

After our brunches, the groups from the various restaurants all met up for a drink at The Flying Monkey Pub.

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What a great Sunday Funday!

Bright Ideas

After that, I headed to The Brecksville Theatre to see my friend Wes in their production of “Bright Ideas.” This show is a campy and fun look at parents trying to get their kid into a very exclusive preschool.

We definitely laughed a lot and found some very relatable moments in the show. It’s playing February 15, 16, and 17 and you can purchase tickets online.

So that was our busy weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Monster Jam Triple Series Threat Giveaway!

Being the mom of a boy has brought with it some new interests for me. I am better versed on superheroes and more adept at LEGOs than I ever thought I’d be. One of those new interests is, of course, large vehicles.

Which brings me to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series, coming to Quicken Loans Arena with four shows on February 16 and 17.

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Monster Jam events feature larger-than-life trucks driven by world-class athletes. Monster Jam has some of the most loyal fans in motor sports, who come back time again for unscripted, adrenaline-packed action.

Plus, at the end of every event, there is a fan vote to determine the champions. You truly become part of the action at an event that is fun for the whole family.

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Scheduled drivers for the Cleveland shows are Blue Thunder driven by Matt Cody, El Toro Loco driven by Mark List, Grave Digger driven by Brandon Vinson, Monster Energy driven by Coty Saucier, Monster Mutt Rottweiler driven by Cory Snyder, Scooby Doo driven by Myranda Cozad, Zombie driven by Ami House and Pirate’s Curse.

Monster Jam Triple Threat Series tickets start at $15. You can also purchase a Pit Party Pass for $15, giving you up close access to the trucks and drivers for photos and autographs. You need to purchase a corresponding event ticket along with each Pit Party Pass. Tickets are on sale online, by phone at 888.894.9424, or at your local Discount Drug Mart.

Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to the show on Saturday, February 16 at 7pm. 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’d take to the Monster Jam Triple Threat Series.

2. Visit Monster Jam and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both page.

3. Hop over to my Instagram page for additional entries.

4. Follow @MonsterJam 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 #MonsterJamCleveland tickets from @MonsterJam and @WhyCLE #giveaway #mjcle https://whycle.com/2019/02/08/why-monster-jam-triple-series-threat-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, February 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Feld Entertainment to help promote Monster Jam Triple Threat Series. In exchange, I will receive complimentary tickets for myself and tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Better Than Good Snacks!

Do you struggle with wanting something sweet or salty to munch, but finding yourself drawn to snacks that are less than healthy? *raises hand*

Better Than Good Snacks is a local company that understands and wants to help make your snack time healthy and filling.

Better Than Good Snacks was started by Dr. Tina Mahajan, a physician and mom whose son was diagnosed with cancer. During her son’s chemotherapy, he was constantly craving junk food. So, Tina sought to create a snack that would satisfy his junk food cravings without the junk.

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Better Than Good Snacks are protein puffs with 16 grams of protein per serving and 2 servings of fruits and vegetables, that are non-GMO, gluten-free, soy-free, nut-free, and 98% lactose-free.

They come in 4 delicious flavors: Ranch, Jalapeno Cheddar, Barbecue, and Salted Caramel. So whether you’re craving salty, sweet, or spicy, there’s something for you! I tried all four and they are delicious! Plus, I found myself filled and satisfied after eating them, with long-lasting energy that I could feel good about.

Speaking of feeling good, proceeds from each bag on Better Than Good Snacks go to cancer patients at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Want to give Better Than Good Snacks a try? I have a deal for the first 100 people to claim it: 50% off a four-pack of full-sized Better Than Good snack bags, with all four flavors for just $7.99. Click here to order.

And if saving money wasn’t enough incentive to order today, Better Than Good Snacks will be donating 100% of the proceeds from this promotion to University Hospitals Angie Fowler Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer Institute!

Healthy, delicious, philanthropic, locally-based snacks…snack time doesn’t get better than that!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Better Than Good Snacks. In exchange, I received a complimentary sample of the snacks. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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