Why? Market at the Food Bank Giveaway!

You are cordially invited to enter a wonderland of food and drink, taking over the impressive Greater Cleveland Food Bank Distribution Center on Sunday, April 30.

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Market at the Food Bank is an annual benefit that raises money for the Harvest for Hunger campaign and last year brought in more than $260,000. When every dollar raised for Harvest for Hunger provides 4 meals, that’s a huge impact on our community!

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So, what is Market at the Food Bank? It’s a strolling food and beverage event that features small bites from amazing local restaurants including EDWINS, Bomba Tacos and Rum, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Plum Cafe & Kitchen, Crust Pizza, TownHall, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, and many more. You’ll also enjoy beverages from Private Reserve Fine Wines, Vino Veritas Winery, Starbucks, Buckeye Vodka, and more.

There is also a fabulous silent auction and live raffle with great prizes up for bid, all to raise even more money for Harvest for Hunger.

Tickets are currently on sale for Market at the Food Bank. General admission tickets are $102 and include unlimited food and beverage samples, a souvenir wine glass, and valet parking. VIP tickets are $202 and include all the general admission benefits, plus early admittance to the event and access to the VIP lounge. You can purchase tickets online.

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to Market at the Food Bank right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me which your most excited to try.

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

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

4. Follow @CleFoodbank 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 Market at the @CleFoodbank thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/03/30/why-market-at-the-food-bank-giveaway-2 #giveaway #HarvestforHunger

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, April 4 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Market at the Food Bank. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets to give away. I declined my own 2 general admission tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Mia Bella Restaurant!

In a town that is packed with amazing restaurants, it can be tough to get around to all the places you want to go. I consistently heard great things about Mia Bella Restaurant in Little Italy, but I had yet to eat there.

On Sunday, we met up with friends for dinner at Mia Bella. We all met when our kids were in the same class at Goldfish Swim School…who knew swim class would produce such great adult friendships too?!

Matthew and I started by sharing the crab bruschetta, a special for the evening. The flavors were light and citrusy.

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For my entrée, I had the veal ravioli with artichoke, marinara, and basil. This traditional Italian dish was done perfectly and I enjoyed every single bite!

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Matthew chose the cheese tortellini, with tomato cream sauce, peas, and prosciutto. He also added a chicken breast to his meal. Mia Bella’s cheese tortellini was named a Taste of Little Italy Award Winner and it’s not hard to see why. Creamy, spicy, rich, and delicious…this dish had it all!

Our tablemates branched out beyond just the amazing pasta selections. The Chef’s Favorite pizza, with pesto, chorizo, smoked mozzarella, onions, and peppers, received rave reviews.

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The ribeye steak with baked rosemary potatoes and asparagus was also devoured!

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For dessert, the chocolate decadence (a light and airy mousse with a ganache shell) and the sea salt caramel chocolate soufflé (more lava cake than soufflé, but still delicious) made sweet endings to a lovely evening.

I’m so glad I finally got to Mia Bella Restaurant and I’m sure we’ll be visiting again soon! What is a restaurant that you keep meaning to try, but not getting around to?

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Why? Weekends!

The weather has finally turned warmer and everyone was out and about everywhere this weekend. No kidding, any place we found ourselves from errands to dinners was absolutely jammed. And that made me so happy! Get out there and stay out there!

I indulged in two studio yoga classes at Harmony Studios this weekend (usually I’m happy to sneak one in to my schedule).

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That, plus a barre class at Barre 3 Solon on Friday morning, left me feeling all the strong, centered, and (good) sore vibes!

On Saturday afternoon, I headed up to John Carroll University to speak on an alumni panel as part of Celebration Day, which brought admitted students in the class of 2021 (!) up to campus to learn more about their potential school.

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I was so pumped to see the #ThisisCLE sign up on campus!

It was great to chat with these students and their families about the impact of John Carroll not only on your college years, but beyond. Obviously, John Carroll was and is still a huge part of my life and it’s exciting to see people at the beginning of this journey!

Saturday evening, Matthew and I met up with new friends James and Jamie (we all met at Jump Back Ball!) for dinner at Ginko.

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In my opinion, Ginko has the freshest, tastiest, and most creative sushi in town. I always have to order the spicy scallop chips, with scallop, tobiko, scallion playfully served on top of Pringles. We also shared the spicy and flavorful blistered shishito peppers.

Then it was on to the sushi. From unagi with foie gras (yes, just yes) to sea bass (my first time having this sushi style and it was amazing) to the specialty Eye of the Tiger, Zeppelin, and Ginko rolls, every bite was spot-on delicious.

As we lingered and chatted, we realized we needed dessert and a nightcap. So, we headed right upstairs to Dante for just that. The Chocolate Decadence, the Chai Creme Brulee with spiced cookies, and the unbelievably vegan and gluten-free Cherry Tart all made appearances at our table and were fantastic!

What a great end to a really fun and yummy evening! It’s hard to beat a progressive dinner done Dante-style!

Sunday, in an effort to use up some of our Girl Scout cookies, I whipped up a batch of Thin Mint Brownies (recipe here). They are rich and minty and really delicious!

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If you have some extra Thin Mints around, I definitely recommend this as a way to use them!

And stay tuned tomorrow for a recap of another delicious weekend dinner, this time at Mia Bella.

So, that was our finally-feeling-like-spring weekend. How was yours?

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Why? Cleveland Botanical Garden Big Spring!

Spring is slowly coming to the outside world, but while we’re waiting, we can experience all the warmth and beauty of spring at Big Spring at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.

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From the moment you walk into the Garden, you can smell the beautiful flowers. And then you look up and see these whimsical flower umbrellas scattered throughout the lobby.

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It feels bright and welcoming and exactly how Spring should. If you head into the Garden of Fun, there’s a ladybug maze (with a train this year…it’s like the knew Jeffrey was coming), the Mad Hatter’s tea party, Toadstool Dress-Up Theater, and fun paddle boats to sail. This area is perfect for little ones to explore and enjoy!

 

There’s also the Discovery Log, with little critters to see, as well as a fairy garden and some areas on hands-on exploration upstairs.

For the grown-ups, the beautiful flowers, butterfly releases, and oversized chess and checkers games will charm you. Weather-permitting, there are also outdoor activities planned in the Hershey Children’s Garden.

Big Spring is happening at the Garden from now through Sunday, April 23. Admission is $12 for adults, $8 for children ages 3-12, and free for children 2 and under, as well as members of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. The Garden is open 10am-5pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays; 10am-9pm on Wednesdays, and 12-5pm on Sundays.

Come experience the wonder of Spring, even before the outside world catches up to it!

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Why? Every Bean Boutique!

One of the toughest parts of raising a child is trying to let them be who they are without society’s expectations and roles boxing them in. Jeffrey has always naturally gravitated toward cars and trucks, blues and greens…typical “boy” things. But he has plenty of girl friends his age who would go toe-to-toe with him in a Hot Wheels race.

The other day, Jeffrey picked out a toy for himself at the store: a stuffed Rainbow Brite horse (Starlite!). When the woman ringing us out asked if this was for my daughter, I was shocked. It’s a horse. With a rainbow mane. If that’s not cool regardless of gender, I don’t know what is. Besides, how much does this child of the 80’s love that my kid owns something Rainbow Brite? A lot. That’s how much.

So, you can imagine how much the ungendered message of Every Bean Boutique resonated with me.

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I’m going to let Nikki Yeager, the mom and entrepreneur behind Every Bean Boutique, tell you about it in her own words (my questions are in bold and Nikki’s answers are in italics):

Tell me about Every Bean Boutique. How did you get started?

I have an 18 month old son at home and I love hand-me-downs. We have an equal mix of boy and girl hand-me-downs and always dressed our son in whatever was most comfortable, most practical and/or most fun. To us, it didn’t matter what he was wearing because clothing isn’t, by nature, gendered. It’s just fabric meant to serve a purpose (warmth, shelter, etc.) and we favored the options that served that purpose best. 
When we started getting negative comments from other parents and even our own family members, we realized how big of an issue we’ve made dressing children in “gender appropriate” clothing. I want to remove that categorization. My son loves to wear headbands like me and shoes like his dad. That doesn’t mean anything about him besides the fact he thinks his parents are cool and wants to dress like us. 

I want every kid who would like to express himself/herself through clothing to have a brand that allows them to do just that. Parents who would like high quality clothing options, regardless of the sex of their child, should also have a place to find that. In my mind, the majority of kids like tutus. Bodysuits are always a good idea for infants and toddlers. And yes, even little girls should have pockets to put cheerios and rocks in. So I set out to make all of those items and present them in a way that didn’t exclude any children or parents from purchasing.

What has been the response to Every Bean’s message? 

So far, the response has been overwhelmingly positive which is a little surprising because I had anticipated more push back. What’s the most interesting part of engaging with customers about our mission is seeing who is most touched by our message. I started Every Bean assuming I’d be appeal almost exclusively to parents who were young, liberal and primarily living on the coasts. What I’ve found is the opposite — the most enthusiastic fans have been middle aged, Midwestern women who have grown children and are now buying products for their grand kids. For example, one woman told me a story of her now adult, married son who wore pink, purple, green, blue, yellow… really, every color when he was young. He got a lot of joy out of expressing himself with weird, bright clothing. One day she took him to a store to pick up some new clothing and he stood in front of a girls’ clothing rack for about 10 minutes starting. Finally, he pulled himself away and said “Oh! Mommy, I get it. Pink is for girls and blue is for boys!”. He never wore pink again. He was a five year old boy and because we force this idea of gendered clothing on our children, he had to give up one of the things he got joy from. At five years old! 

What are some of your most popular items?

Our popular items depend largely on where people find our brand. People who shop online love our one-piece bodysuits. Everyone seems to be split on the “Anything I want to be” and “So many colors in the rainbow” design. However, anyone who sees our products in person loves the tutus. I’ve had a really hard time finding a way to photograph them in a flattering light, but their quality speaks for themselves in person. Plus, who makes an adjustable tutu?! Almost no one else. 

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Where can we buy Every Bean products?

Right now you can buy our products online at everybean.boutique or contact me directly at everybeanboutique@gmail.com and I can put you in touch with one of several Sales Consultants who sell Every Bean directly to consumers. For those of you who prefer traditional shopping, we’re in discussions with two Cleveland boutiques right now to carry our products and we’ll announce those as soon as our products hit their shelves.

Tell me your Cleveland story. What do you love about the city? Favorite places to go, with or without your son?

I grew up on the East Side and am incredibly thankful for my upbringing. Because Cleveland is a relatively small city, I found it easy to explore my interests and find support for my different projects early on. It’s much easier getting attention when you’re in a smaller pool of people!

Now that I’m a grown up, I moved to Ohio City where we found a lot with two houses on it and I have to say, I adore the price of real estate here. I’ve spent some time in NYC and it gave me a very different level of appreciation for what I can get for my money in Cleveland. We moved my parents and grandma into one house and me, my husband and baby into the other so we all live in one spot now. I don’t know any other city where we’d be able to both afford and find that type of living situation. It’s incredible to have so much family around to help when you have a little one. 

As for favorite places to go, I spend a lot of time by myself working from coffee shops. In particular, Phoenix Coffee and Passenger’s Cafe in Ohio City. When I’m with the baby, we almost exclusively go to The Big Egg on the Detroit Shoreway. It’s just a little diner with cheap food, but the women there have nearly adopted my son. They know him by name and treat him like a king when he arrives. Whenever we walk over, you’d think he was headed to Disney World based on his excitement level. 

What’s next for Every Bean Boutique?

Pants! Actually, if anyone reads this knows someone who can do small batch manufacturing/construction of baby goods, please let me know. We have a design for soft cotton pants with cargo pockets (because for some reasons my son had pockets on literally every pair of pants he had, but my friend’s baby daughter started seeing fake-pockets by 9 months) and leggings in outrageous patterns. 

We’re hoping to expand our physical presence in both boutiques and medium size stores and eventually, on a larger scale, make retailers reconsider how they arrange and market clothing to children. A simple redesign of most stores’ displays could create a free environment for kids to pick up any clothing they like, rather than what they’re being told is “appropriate”. When we communicate with anyone who is helping to promote or sell our brand, we always offer educational material on how to present clothing in a non-gendered way and how to discuss that concept with consumers. Hopefully we’ll eventually see a fundamental change in how clothing is sold. 

I hope Nikki’s enthusiasm and positive message resonate with you as much as they do with me. I’m only sorry I can’t squeeze Jeffrey into those onesies anymore! And to give you even more incentive to head on over to Every Bean Boutique for your little or someone else’s, here’s an 10% discount code: just enter code LAUNCH10 at checkout!

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Thanks to Nikki for sharing her story with me and for doing such awesome things in the CLE!
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Why? Pinot’s Palette!

Last month, my sister-in-law Elizabeth and I got together for a fun girls’ night at Pinot’s Palette. Wine and paint events are really popular, but what sets Pinot’s Palette apart is the fact that you’re doing your painting (and drinking) in studio space specifically designed for this type of experience.

From lots of trained artists helping you create your masterpiece to access to all the additional supplies, framing materials, and so on that you could need to the right space and lighting, Pinot’s Palette certainly makes sure you have the right environment in which to create your work of art. You can even go back during Open Studio hours to get some help making touch-ups if need be.

Of course, there’s also the full bar, in case you need some liquid artistic ability. From wine to beer to mixed drinks, you can find a nice selection of options to unwind while you paint.

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Elizabeth and I went on an evening featuring a painting of the Cleveland skyline as seen from Edgewater Park. From the buildings to the Cleveland script sign, this painting had it all. And while my finished product might not be a total masterpiece, I do think my love for Cleveland come through in it.

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Pinot’s Palette has two locations in Northeast Ohio: Olmsted Falls and Woodmere. The evening events are perfect for a girls’ night or a group outing (there was a corporate group in attendance when we were there). Evening classes are open to children 13 or older with a paid adult. Pinot’s Palette also offers “Little Brushes” classes that take place during the day and are designed for families with children ages 7 and older.

Both studios offer a variety of paintings, from artistic to playful to Cleveland-themed, so you can find the painting event that will let you create a picture that will look perfect in your home. I’m not a very artistic person, but I genuinely had a great time at Pinot’s Palette, thanks to the company and the great staff.

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Check it out next time you want to unleash your inner artist!

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Why? Weekends!

The luck o’ the Irish was with us for a fun weekend! On Friday morning, a leprechaun visited our house and left these adorable sugar cookies (from Luna Bakery & Cafe) as a more fun, festive breakfast option.

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I love how excited Jeffrey gets about holidays at this age! It makes celebrating them a lot of fun. And while our St. Patrick’s Day celebrations have changed from bar-hopping…

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Back in the day…

to cookies for breakfast and dinner with my parents, we can still have a good time (and corned beef, beer, and an Irish coffee for dessert).

On Saturday morning, my friend Tracy and I met up for a SkyFit class at SkyZone. This was quite a tough workout that combined cardio, strength training (thanks for the arm strength, yoga!), and stretching, all on the trampolines. While I’m not sure this will be a regular in my workout rotation, it was a fun way to spend an hour and I always appreciate a friend who’s willing to try something new!

Saturday afternoon, we took Jeffrey to his first Easter egg hunt of the season (already?) at the Broadview Heights Rec Center.

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The aquatic Easter egg hunt had plastic eggs floating in the pool that the kids could grab while splashing through the water (and since registration was divided by age, it was easy and safe for the kids). The eggs were traded in for a seasonal goodie bag with bubbles, stickers, and more.

Plus, after the egg hunt, we got to meet the Easter Bunny, enjoy juice and cookies, and make a craft, too.

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As I mentioned, Jeffrey is getting so much more excited about each holiday, so this was a fun way to kick off the Easter season!

On Sunday, Jeffrey’s weekend of fun and sweets-eating continued with his friend’s birthday party. The party was PJ Masks-themed. I definitely wasn’t up on this, but the characters are super cute, particularly my little super hero!

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We had a fun, family-centered weekend. Now we’re just ready for some warmer, dryer weather! How was your weekend? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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Why? Soul Connect Tribe!

One of my favorite parts of blogging is getting the chance to connect with passionate Clevelanders doing amazing things in our city. Soul Connect Tribe first caught my eye on Instagram, with inspirational quotes and lots of positive messaging. Seriously, this feed is like a warm hug.

From events like alternative girls nights out to a Galentine’s Day celebration, I loved the events I was seeing and I loved the vibe. I had to know more. Well, what’s beautiful about Katie, the founder of Soul Connect Tribe, is that she’s all about connection. Not just posting, but really connecting.

So, she didn’t think I was weird when I said we needed to grab drinks (or she didn’t let on) and when we sat for two hours at Humble Wine Bar the other night, it felt like I was there with an old friend.

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So, what is Soul Connect Tribe? It’s a little bit of everything soulful: coaching, Tribe gatherings, collaborative events,  and online community. Katie is a trained soul coach. My first question: what does that mean? Katie explains it herself here, but what really resonated with me was this explanation: she doesn’t get you through something, she gets you to something.

Soul Connect Tribe also puts on Tribe gatherings and collaborative events, from girls’ nights that give you the opportunity to connect with others in the Tribe to the new Sunday Soul Sessions, a walk and talk group coaching experience in the Cleveland Metroparks.

For me, Soul Connect Tribe’s mission is analogous to a lighthouse. It’s a beacon to like-minded ladies who want to connect in a safe space; who want to talk about their hopes and dreams and gain some guidance in finding the path that is right for them; who want to tap in to their inner power and inspiration, but maybe need a little push to find it.

And I can tell you that Katie is all heart, full of genuine caring and compassion, so easy to talk with, and super passionate about what she’s doing with Soul Connect Tribe. So whether it’s one-on-one coaching, a Tribe gathering, or just dipping your toes in the warmth of the social media feeds, you’ll gain so much by connecting with Soul Connect Tribe!

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Why? Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo Giveaway!

As thoughts turn to Spring and we clean up from those crazy windstorms, I’m sure there are lots of home improvement projects that are making their way to the top of the to-do list. Which is why the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo is coming at just the right time!

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From March 24-26, the Cleveland Convention Center will be filled with exhibitors, celebrity guests such as Hillary Farr from “Love It or List It” and Jeff Lewis from “Flipping Out” and more.

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Aside from the celebrities and exhibitors, other show highlights include:

  • The Design Lodge, a 1,400 square foot show home designed by Weaver Barns
  • The Builder’s Association Housing Resource Center, with  access to industry professionals for 15-minute one-on-one sessions to answer your questions
  • The Marketplace, where you can shop artisans and other vendors
  • Club Cambria with beverages, light snacks, and live entertainment

If you have a home improvement project and need a spark of inspiration, check out the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo. Tickets are $8 online ($5 for children ages 6-12) and $10 at the door. You can also save an additional $1 per ticket by using code CLEHR17 at checkout when you purchase online.

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Or, you can enter to win two tickets to Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo right here! Here’s how to enter: you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each.

1. Leave a comment here telling me what home improvement project you’re hoping to undertake this spring.

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

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

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

I want to attend the Cleveland Home & Remodeling Expo thanks to @GreatBigShow and @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/03/16/why-cleveland-home-and-remodeling-expo-giveaway-3 #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, March 21 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a weekend filled with eating, shopping, and yoga, which is pretty perfect, if you ask me! On Friday, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I met up with Matthew’s dad for a traditional Lenten fish fry at St. John Vianney church.

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Fish fries are everywhere in Cleveland this time of year, but the church ones, with homemade food and friendly little old ladies tend to be my favorite. We enjoyed breaded fish, mac ‘n cheese, pierogi, and more.

From there, I headed to a special Balance & Brews event at Athleta. Aside from a great one-hour practice, we also got a chance to save 25% off on all the merchandise in the store.

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As is only appropriate for our weather lately, I bought both a puffer coat and a sundress. Balance, indeed.

On Saturday, we took Jeffrey to another show as part of the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square. We saw Dino-Light, a magical and heartwarming tale presented by Lightwire Theater.

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I loved how Jeffrey was really engaged with the story and is still talking about some of the characters. There is something so special about live theater and to have a way to experience that with your children in an environment designed for them is really wonderful.

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Then, it was off to meet up with my friend Sara at Banyan Tree for a trunk show for the local activewear line of Grace & Ricci.

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The line is versatile, comfortable, and made to go easily from out-and-about wear to workout right to your washing machine. Their motto of #SweatWithGrace certainly seems to be true. You can sweat with grace and style, too!

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And while Saturday’s event was a one-time trunk show, you can regularly purchase Grace & Ricci online or at Cleveland Yoga Beachwood.

Sunday, I spent my afternoon at a yoga workshop focused specifically on balance poses at Harmony Studios. These poses have always been a challenge for me, so I really appreciated the chance to take a deeper dive into how to do the poses and keep my focus and composure.

Plus, the workshop was taught by one of my favorite and long-time teachers, Michael, which added a level of trust and understanding to the process that was really helpful.

 

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I see you Half Moon. And I got you.

 

What a great way to end my weekend/start the new week! How was your weekend? Do you have a favorite local fish fry that you enjoyed?

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