Why? SCENE Vodka Vodka!

Cleveland Scene Magazine is hosting Cleveland’s hottest vodka tasting party for the fifth year in a row. Vodka Vodka takes place on Friday, February 2 at Red Space Events.

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It’ll be an evening of the coldest vodka at the hottest party in Cleveland. You can sample vodka neat, dirty, on the rocks, or with a splash of soda. Vodka vendors for the evening include Tito’s and New Amsterdam.

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There will also be a fashion show featuring local boutiques, DJ Yulissa spinning tunes, and hookah available for a small additional charge.

General admission tickets are $35 in advance and $45 at the door. Your general admission ticket gets you 6 vodka samples and a souvenir glass.

VIP admission tickets are $45 in advance and $55 at the door. Your VIP ticket gets you early admission (6pm), 8 vodka samples, a souvenir glass, and light appetizers.

Proceeds from Vodka Vodka benefit the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland. Vodka Vodka is a fun way to learn more about this spirited spirit, have a great time, and benefit a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Cleveland Scene Magazine to help promote Vodka Vodka. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

So, the theme for this past weekend is: “Staying in is the new going out.” It wasn’t even because of the weather…we just had a lot of plans to hang out at friends’ houses and it was pretty perfect!

Taco Bar Night

On Saturday, we hung out with friends Ritch and Denise and their kiddos. We had a build-your-own-taco bar and the kids had lots of fun playing their version of rock band…

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…and superheroes (I had some fun with that, too).

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I volunteered to bring dessert and made this delicious and easy apple crisp (recipe here).

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Top it with some Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and you have the perfect sweet end to a fun evening!

Yoga/Brunch

The only thing more likely than yoga to pull me out of hibernation is the combination of yoga, brunch, and two of my best babes. I met up with Kimberly for Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch at Dante Next Door on Sunday morning.

A perfectly-paced yoga flow centered on balance in the new year was followed by a perfectly chatty brunch.

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Alicia is such an inspiring and motivating teacher! And the chance for some good girl time and pancakes after class made this an even more wonderful Sunday morning!

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The berry pancakes at Dante Next Door are not to be missed! You can check out another session of Yoga/Brunch this Sunday, January 21 or Sunday, February 4, 11, or 25. Cost is $15 for an hour-long yoga class, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register.

Pasta Perfection

Sunday evening, I stayed on the carb train with our friends Melissa and Tim. They make homemade pasta every Sunday and invited us over to not only eat, but help make the pasta!

 

I had never made pasta before and the process was really fun, especially sharing it with friends! And the end result was SO delicious!

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Melissa’s homemade sauce was the perfect compliment to the pasta. And after eating such fresh pasta, I don’t think I’ll ever eat boxed noodles again!

It was such a fun weekend and, except for the necessary yoga and mimosa, I’m pretty sure that staying in is the new going out! Who’s having us over next weekend?!

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Why? CycleBar Hudson!

Yesterday, I got a chance to “Rock My Ride” at the brand-new CycleBar Hudson.

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It had been a long time since I attended a cycling class and, even when I did go, I had never been to a studio like CycleBar.

I love all the red and white décor, which is CycleBar’s signature. I also love the refreshment station, perfect for fueling up before or after your ride.

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Once you enter the studio, the bikes are close together and the room is dimly lit. My instructor, Tracy, helped me set up my bike, get my shoes clipped in, and generally feel ready to ride. Tracy’s cues during the class were very helpful, both in terms of what gear to set your bike and what RPM to try to reach.

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The music was upbeat, which is perfect, since at CycleBar, you ride to the beat. I might have been singing along to “This is How We Do It,” as I gained more confidence in my ride.

We had a couple races during class, when our stats were posted on the screens. At the end of class, we received an email with our cycle stats: average RPM, class rank, calories burned, and more. As you continue to attend CycleBar classes, you can compare your results over time.

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What I enjoyed about Tracy’s class was that it was motivating without being too harsh. I wanted to challenge myself and I felt a great natural endorphin high all throughout class. Tracy said that CycleBar quickly becomes the place you want to come to celebrate good days and work out bad ones and I can see how that would be true!

To welcome you to CycleBar Hudson, the studio is offering unlimited free classes from now through January 24. Click here to check out the schedule and rock your ride risk-free!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary class at CycleBar Hudson. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? ClusterTruck!

Ever wish you could get the delicious street food of a food truck delivered to your door? Or wish that ordering in could fit every style of food that your group is craving from pizza to Pad Thai?

Well, wish no more! ClusterTruck has brought it’s brand of fun, delicious, street food-style delivery service to Cleveland.

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ClusterTruck focuses on chef-driven, delicious meals that stand up to delivery and arrive just as delicious as they are when they’re made. The ClusterTruck system is designed to fire your food so that it goes immediately to your delivery driver and then to you. In fact, most orders take 21 minutes from order to delivery.

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The menu ranges from breakfast to burgers to rice bowls to mac ‘n cheese to pizza.

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On my recent visit to ClusterTruck’s bustling and friendly kitchen, I got to sample a wide range of delicious menu items. Some of my favorites:

Mac ‘n cheese with smoked pulled pork, so cheesy and smoky and comforting!

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Buffalo chicken tots, which needs a bit of everything to create a perfect bit!

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The Pork Tenderloin Sandwich, which is tender and juicy and has an amazing meat-to-bun ratio.

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The Chicken Potsticker Stir Fry, which I can’t decide whether I like the potsticker or noodles the best.

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Fajita Short Rib Tacos, which I devoured too quickly to get a picture.

Oh, and don’t skip ordering a cookie with your meal!

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Most of ClusterTruck’s meals range between $8-$12. ClusterTruck’s delivery area is currently limited to downtown Cleveland to ensure the highest quality food experience.

For the expanding population of downtown residents and for the downtown workers looking for an awesome lunch option, ClusterTruck is great! They also make group ordering easy, where everyone can pay and have their food packaged separately.

I have two discount codes to share for you to enjoy ClusterTruck:

216WHY will earn new ClusterTruck customers a free entrée with a $10 minimum order

216YCLE will earn returning ClusterTruck customers $5 off a $20 order

For delicious food delivered right to you, give ClusterTruck a try!

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary tour and tasting at ClusterTruck. I also received a personal discount code for a free delivery. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Somewhere in Time 1870s: Satin & Soot!

Ever wanted to step back in time to the days of industry, innovation, tycoons, and Victorians? Then Somewhere in Time 1870s: Satin & Soot is the perfect party for you!

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This event is a fundraiser for the Western Reserve Historical Society and is held at the beautiful Cleveland History Center.

The event celebrates Cleveland’s rise to prominence in the industrial era and will feature many elements from the new Cleveland Starts Here exhibit.

Somewhere in Time will feature food that represents Cleveland’s Old World neighborhoods; the Fleet Avenue Tavern with polka, lager, and a shot; neck and neck racing at the Glenville Race Track; A Bit in the Cups Irish pub sing-along; signature cocktails, wine, and beer; silent auction; and a costume contest.

Costumes are not required, but encouraged. Let you creativity run wild from industrial tycoon to Victorian gal to newsboy to steampunk. And to encourage you to costume up, attendees can save 15% off a costume rental at Chelsea’s Costume Shop.

Tickets for Somewhere in Time 1870s: Satin & Soot start at $100, which grants you admission to the party at 7pm with open bar and small bites. VIP tickets are $150 and gets you into the party at 6pm with additional food, a silent auction sneak peek, and premium cocktails. If you’re young professional (30 years old or younger), you can buy a $50 ticket, which gets you into the party at 8:30pm. Tickets can be purchased online.

Somewhere in Time is a fun way to learn more about Cleveland’s own place in the industrial revolution while supporting one of the area’s finest institutions!

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Why? Weekends!

Other than our road trip to Columbus, there was plenty of other fun to keep us busy this weekend…

Duck Donuts

While we were down in Columbus, we took the recommendation of our fellow bloggers and made a stop at Duck Donuts. Duck Donuts makes hot, fresh vanilla cake donuts, to which you can add your choice of glazes, sprinkles, and drizzles.

They also make donut sundaes, which is what Matthew and I decided to order.

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The cake donut was moist and delicious, but what I learned is, much like Barrio or Happy Dog, I can’t be trusted to created my own delicious flavor combinations. I’m an order-from-the-menu girl.

Disney on Ice

Saturday night, we took Jeffrey to see Disney on Ice at Quicken Loans Arena. I can remember going to see Disney on Ice as a kid, so it was really special to be able to share the experience with Jeffrey.

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This year’s show is themed “Dare to Dream” and focuses on Disney’s strong female heroines, from Cinderella to Belle to Moana.

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Jeffrey loved the show! Disney on Ice is still at the Q for more performances from Thursday, January 11 through Sunday, January 14. If you click here and use code WHYCLE, you can save up to $10 on your tickets. It’s a fun family experience that’s full of magic!

Free Community Yoga with Awake to My Soul YTT

When I started practicing yoga, my first teacher was Ylonda, who spoiled me from the get-go by teaching an amazing blend of fired-up workout and soulful inspiration. Ylonda recently started her own yoga teacher training. And now her teacher trainees are offering free community classes every Sunday at Praxis Fiber Workshop in the Waterloo Arts District to help them gain teaching experience.

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Praxis Fiber Workshop is an awesome, artsy space and it provided the perfect location for a Sunday morning sweat session. If you’re interested, the free classes are offered every Sunday at 10:30am and will be taught by a different Awake to My Soul YTT trainee. It’s an awesome way to get some yoga in your day and help a future amazing yoga teacher, too.

Sunday Funday

Sunday evening, we had the perfect staying-in Sunday Funday with some of our favorite friends.

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We had lots of delicious food from Café Melissa

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…lots of laughs and catching up time and just a great evening belatedly ringing in the new year.

How was your weekend? Are you ready for this week’s “heat wave?”

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Why? Watershed Distillery!

On Saturday, Matthew and I took a little road trip down to Columbus for a tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery. We were already fans of Watershed vodka, so the chance to try more of their spirits with some fellow Cleveland bloggers was a big enough carrot to warrant a drive down 71 South.

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We were greeted at Watershed with a punch made from apple brandy, bourbon-barrel gin, bitters, lemon, and bubbles. The drink was clean, crisp, and nice balance of sweet and bitter flavors. And we got to enjoy at the lovely bar in Watershed’s Kitchen & Bar.

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Next up was a tour of Watershed’s distillery, which is founded in the idea that success requires hard work and that those who enjoy success should give back to the community. In fact, the name Watershed is the company’s shorthand for community and that theme extends throughout Watershed and into the surrounding community.

Watershed’s production facility is impressive and designed to create the highest-quality spirits.

Watershed uses corn and apples as the base for their vodka and those ingredients are sourced from Ohio. We got to sample the vodka; four-peel gin, which uses lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange peels for a more citrus-forward gin; and the distillery-exclusive Guild Series gin, which was finished with chamomile.

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My favorite of these was the four-peel gin, which has a light, citrus taste that made it more palatable to me than most gins.

We also got to sample Watershed’s barrel-aged spirits: bourbon-barrel gin, bourbon, old fashioned (basically the classic cocktail in a one-step pour), and apple brandy.

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I might have to take back everything I ever said about bourbon, because I drank this one straight and actually liked it! Oh, and the apples for the apple brandy come from a farm near Cleveland, so I think we’re obligated to drink a lot of it!

After the tour of the distillery and tasting the spirits straight (including the amazing Nocino, which reminds me of a spiced wine liquor), it was time for some snacks and a cocktail demonstration.

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Watershed’s Kitchen & Bar cocktail menu changes seasonally. Currently, the menu is creatively modeled on an IKEA catalog, down to the elements you need to create the drink, fun illustrations, and Scandinavian translations.

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The current Watershed cocktails are designed to be clean and minimalist, following the Scandinavian IKEA concept.  Rather than garnishing the glass with fruit, which creates a lot of waste, Watershed makes sprays of the various fruits to mist over the drinks when they are finished.

I enjoyed all three of the cocktails we got to sample, but my favorite was the Stock Home Syndrome, made with apple brandy, lemon, orgeat, and allspice dram, with a mist of Laphroaig. The drink is modeled after a late fall day and smelling leaves burning and it hits all the right notes!

The snacks from the Kitchen were delicious too!

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We enjoyed fried Brussel sprouts with black pepper honey, lemon, and mint; pork rinds with malt vinegar, Parmesan, and fermented hot sauce; crispy fingerling potatoes with roasted garlic, Parmesan, and rosemary aioli; and braised meatballs with stewed tomatoes, mixed grains, and cabbage.

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All of the food felt comforting and familiar, but also with enough of a twist to make it interesting. The Kitchen menu changes frequently, but you can check out a sample here.

If you’re down in Columbus, stop in to either the Kitchen & Bar for a drink and bite or take a tour of the Distillery (or both)! And the next time you’re shopping for spirits for a party, a gift, or just your average Tuesday, remember this carefully-crafted, incredibly-delicious, locally-committed company!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Swensons Drive In!

You know how a place gets built up in local legend? You’ll hear it whispered about reverently. You’ll see people Instagram pictures of gooey cheeseburgers and thick milkshakes. You’ll know that the food has received national acclaim, including being names Forbes’ best burger in 1999.

And yet, you still wonder if it can possibly live up to the hype. Then you pull up to your first Swensons Drive In. You’re immediately charmed by the old-school concept of someone coming out to your car (in these frigid temps no less) to take your order. You put your “Lights On for Service.”

You order the Galley Boy, the storied Swensons signature double cheeseburger with two special sauces, an order of French fries, and a mocha shake. You apologize to the freezing server who had to wait while you debated the merits of peanut butter/chocolate versus mocha for your milkshake.

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The food arrives on a tray that hooks to your car. You immediately feel the urge to put on the oldies radio station.

You dive in to the cheesy, saucy burger and in one bite understand why everyone raves about Swensons. The toasted bun, the melty cheese, the sauces that compliment without overwhelming the burger itself…it’s all magical and delicious and a perfect slice of Americana.

You also pay less than $10 for all this glorious food and wonder why you’d ever “fast food” anywhere else.

Swensons Drive-In now boasts 8 locations, including ones in Seven Hills and University Heights that are dangerously convenient for us Clevelanders. The menu includes burgers and cheeseburgers, as well as chicken, fish, bologna, and pork sandwiches. You can also get shrimp, fish, and chicken dinners; salads and soups; a variety of fried sides; and desserts. I suggest going classic for your first trip, but I’m a traditionalist that way! Leave your lights on for service!

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Why? The Corner Alley!

Matthew took the week in between Christmas and New Year off, so we were on the hunt for fun things to do as a family. We decided to go to The Corner Alley in Uptown for bowling, beer, and burgers.

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It was pretty crowded with other families who had the same idea of holiday break fun, so we killed some time waiting for our lane in The Corner Alley’s arcade. Jeffrey enjoyed playing air hockey and more, but I think he’s spent too much time at Chuck E Cheese, because he kept checking the machines for prize tickets!

We were there during happy hour, which is every day from 2-6pm at the Uptown location. That meant $2 off beers and appetizers, as well as free shoe rental for bowling. An hour of bowling fun during happy hour only cost $15!

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Jeffrey had a great time and we all benefited from the bowling bumpers. Even with the bumpers, my 3.5 year old still beat me at bowling!

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We stayed for dinner after bowling. Jeffrey and Matthew both enjoyed cheeseburgers and I had the fried chicken sliders with honey mustard and slaw, served on cheddar-jalapeno biscuits. Matthew and I also shared the Wild Turkey sweet potato bourbon fries.

All the food was really good! And while there were some hiccups in the service on that busy evening, The Corner Alley made it right by picking up the pace and then taking 20% off our bill.

For a fun family or date night, with legit food and a nice selection of local craft beers, head to The Corner Alley in either Uptown or Downtown. And if you’re in the medical services profession, take advantage of the Medical Discount at the Uptown location!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a pretty quiet end to 2017 over here. Here’s the weekend recap:

Yoga Roots and barre3

I ended 2017 and kicked off 2018 with my two favorite workouts in my two favorite places to do them: Yoga Roots and barre3. Yoga Roots helped me send out 2017 with a fabulous flow in their studio with marvelously heated floors. And barre3 started my 2018 with their “b3 All In” kick off.

It’s definitely an evolution for me to want to end one year and start another centered around workouts. But I’m committed to keeping both fitness spots part of my new year!

New Year’s Eve Party

On New Year’s Eve, we all went to a party hosted by our friends Jason and Patty. This casual, kid-friendly New Year’s Eve gathering let everyone from kids to grown-ups ring in 2018 together.

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I made Buffalo Chicken Dip for the party (similar recipe here) and we also munched on some really tasty pizza from Longo’s. Jeffrey actually stayed up until midnight to yell “Happy New Year!” and pop some confetti poppers. It was a fun way to ring in 2018!

The rest of the weekend was spent staying warm…

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…visiting family…

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…and getting ready to resume a regular, post-holiday routine this week. Jeffrey feels the way all of us do about that.

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How did you ring in 2018?

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