Why? Weekends!

It was a fun weekend in Cleveland, as we bounced between spring and winter weather…

Disney on Ice

On Friday night, Jeffrey and I attended opening night of Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.

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Disney always puts on a fantastic show, between great costumes, fun songs, and amazing skating and acrobatics.

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We got to see favorites from Frozen, The Incredibles, Toy Story 4, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Lion King, and more.

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Our seats were in the “Extra Magic Zone,” so we had lots of up close time with the characters! Jeffrey’s face says it all…it was a magical show!

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Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures is at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse through Sunday, January 19, with shows on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Click here to purchase tickets. If you use code WHYCLE, you can save on tickets to the 7pm shows on each day.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Disney on Ice. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

JCU Alumni Retreat

On Saturday morning, I attended an alumni retreat at John Carroll University. I always love being back up on campus, but I find it especially conducive to reflection for me.

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The retreat focused on releasing things from the past year that were no longer serving us and cultivating healthy habits for the year to come. The retreat even started with an hour-long yoga flow, which you know always puts me in a great mindset!

One of the most moving parts of the retreat was when all the participants wrote down on flash paper something they wanted to release moving into 2020. We each lit the paper on fire and watched our something be released into the air.

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I got so much out of both our personal reflection time, as well as the group sharing that we did. Campus Ministry and the Cleveland Alumni Chapter did a fantastic job planning a meaningful morning!

Winter Wonder Cleveland

On Saturday afternoon, I made a return to Winter Wonder Cleveland, which is fun, interactive “Instagram museum” where you can play and get some great photos, too.

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Since I first visited Winter Wonder Cleveland, there are some new interactive elements at the Griswold House, as well as some new artwork from Platform Beer Co

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…and an even more in-depth mirror room.

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Winter Wonder Cleveland is open through Sunday, January 26. There’s so much more than just Christmas fun to experience here. Instagram museums are becoming the hot new thing and Cleveland has its own for just a bit longer, so check it out while you can. For hours and tickets, click here.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Winter Wonder Cleveland. In exchange, I received complimentary admission. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Phunkenship Barrel Room Yoga

On Sunday, I checked out a familiar yoga teacher (Alicia) in a new-to-me setting (Phunkenship by Platform.)

Phunkenship is Platform Beer’s dedicated sour-beer facility, which also has a very cool taproom for enjoying those sour beers. I had a The Wolf at the Door, a dark-chocolate raspberry stout.

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But before enjoying the beers, we enjoyed an hour-long vinyasa flow in Phunkenship’s barrel room.

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Alicia is teaching at Phunkenship on the second Sunday of every month, so check out the schedule for some savasana and sours combined! For $15, you get the hour-long class, plus a beer. The laughs are free!

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So that was my weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Blogiversary!

Every year on this day, I throw myself a little party to celebrate Why CLE? getting one year older. What started as an outlet for me to share my love of Cleveland and have a way to write creatively has lasted for NINE years and grown to encompass social media accounts and readership I never could have imagined.

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Photo Credit: Nick Brilla 

I say this every year and every year it is even truer: I am so grateful for your readership and, in so many cases, your genuine friendship. On the list of things I never would have expected to come out of writing a blog is the real and awesome community that I get to be a part of.

This all started from and continues to be about a crazy love for Cleveland; a desire to celebrate it’s awesome people, places, and things; and a need to express myself in a creative and authentic way.

This last year has brought some new amazing adventures:

And so much more…

As always, I want to give something back to all of you to thank you for your readership. All you have to do is leave a comment on this post and I will randomly select one winner to get a $25 gift card to the Cleveland restaurant of their choice and one winner to get a $25 donation to the Cleveland non-profit of their choice.

I am humbled at the things I get to do, the stories I get to share, and the chance to ever grow my love for Cleveland and share my life with you.

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Photo Credit: Nick Brilla

Here’s to what will certainly be an incredible ninth year of Why CLE?

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Why? The West Side Market!

***Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest blog post from Lauren Reed about one of Cleveland’s most iconic spots: The West Side Market. Read along as she takes you through the history of the Market and some of her favorite vendors. I added a couple of my own photos.***

Just seven years ago, in 2012, we celebrated the Centennial of Cleveland’s West Side Market. As it stands today, the West Side Market is the oldest continually operating municipally owned market in Ohio.

Located in historic Ohio City, the West Side Market was originally built to replace Pearl Street Market. Once construction started in 1908, the market became one of the three public markets in Cleveland that served the growing immigrant population in the 20th century – and it is the only one out of those three that remains open to this day.

In late 1973, the market entered into the National Register of Historical Places. Much later in 2008, the West Side Market was named one of the “10 Great Public Places in America” by the American Planning Association.

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Photo Credit: Tall Hair Creative

Throughout the years, the West Side Market has done a terrific job at attracting and maintaining a solid base of consistent consumers. There are many vendors that pop into one’s head when they think of the West Side Market.

Some of the well-known favorites are Ohio City Pasta, Ooo…Fudge, Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, Pierogi Palace and D.W. Whitaker Meats.

I grew up with a ton of Italian influence on both sides of my family. Every time we go to the West Side Market, we always make it apparent that a visit to the Ohio City Pasta stand is a must! At their stand they have a variety of pasta types all accompanied with a variety of tastes and health benefits. My personal favorite is the assorted ravioli because it looks and tastes amazing!

Similar to growing up with an Italian influence, I am also surrounded by a very strong Polish denomination within my family. My grandma always says that no one can make pierogi like her mother did, but the Pierogi Palace is a close second! Everything at this stand tastes incredibly fresh and it is something that you can’t quite experience with frozen store-bought food.

I wouldn’t consider myself a “sweets” person but Ooo…Fudge and Campbell’s Popcorn Shop are two places that cannot be missed during your next trip to the West Side Market. Lastly, D.W. Whitaker Meats is the one stand that both my mom and dad swear by.

The West Side Market is also home to a variety of healthy vendors with delicious options. Some of the most noteworthy include The Basketeria Organics and King Produce.

The Basketeria Organics is a vendor that sells solely organic fruits and vegetables. Within the same commodore, you will find King Produce which sells Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables in addition to their selection of tropical fruits.

The location of the West Side Market itself is gorgeous. Growing up in Cleveland you were supposed to understand and promote the “rivalry” between the east and west side of Cleveland. I grew up on the east side of Cleveland about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.

As I grow older and am in my 20s, I have to say (regretfully) that the west side truly is the best side. ***Editor’s Note: Agree to disagree, Lauren. Mad love for both sides of town!***

The West Side Market is right next to the bridge that connects the west side to the downtown area. Within walking distance of the market are various restaurants, little getaway spots, and outside-of-the-box fun!

Some of the most popular businesses in the surrounding area include Ohio City Burrito, Townhall, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the home to newly reigning baseball state champions at Saint Ignatius High School.

The future for the West Side Market varies on which vendors you ask. Some vendors blame the increase of rent for affecting the traffic of shoppers. Some vendors note that there has been a decrease in shoppers while others disagree.

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Photo Credit: Angela Fach Photography

The future of the West Side Market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers. Be sure to plan your next grocery trip or weekend plans around visiting the West Side Market and all of its wonderful vendors including two of my favorites Theresa’s Bakery and EuroSweets!

***Editor’s Note: To read more posts from the author, be sure to check out her online portfolio and marketing blog for Sixth City Marketing!***

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Why? 2019 Blog Bucket List!

Hey there, 2019! I’ve been thinking about this new year from a blog perspective in terms of where I’d like to go that I haven’t been.

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So, here’s my current 2019 places-to-go bucket list:

1.Il Rione Pizzeria – How have I not been to this place yet?! I’m pretty sure I could house one of those pizza solo.

2. Flight Cleveland – While I’m in the neighborhood for Il Rione, obvs. I like my Bucket Lists to be efficient.

3. Affogato Cat Café – OK, this is on Jeffrey’s bucket list. And we’re going today. So I mostly like just being able to already check something off.

4. Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar – See my reasoning for #1. How have I not been here yet?!

5. The Georgia O’Keefe: Living Modern exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art – Georgia O’Keefe is a sorority sister of mine. And I’ve heard the exhibition is a stunner.

6. More general day trip/small trip exploration. Jeffrey is getting to be a great road trip buddy. We’ve had a blast on our Columbus drives. Currently on my list to get to: Toledo, Pittsburgh, Amish Country, and Cincinnati.

7. Nell and Rose – This just looks like a great place to shop!

8. The Van Aken District – In the same vein, I want to get some more local boutique shopping on at this new spot.

9. The Lake Erie Bluffs in the Lake Metroparks – Spectacular views of our Great Lake? What’s not to love?!

10. The Tremont Greek Fest – I live for summer fairs and festivals and this is somehow one I’ve never been to. Is it less crazy than Taste of Tremont?

What’s on your 2019 bucket list?

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Why? Blogiversary!

Hi there, guys! This is one of my favorite blogging days, when I celebrate the anniversary of Why CLE?

This year, it’s my 8th blogiversary. And I say something like this every year, but I honestly can’t believe I’ve gotten to do this for so long. I am so grateful for those of you who have been reading since the beginning and for those of you who just started reading and for those of you in the in between.

I’ve gotten to explore so much of my favorite town and show it off to strangers!

I’ve deepened my love for Cleveland and it’s amazing people!

I’ve written 1,610 blog posts!

I’ve (sort of) figured out Twitter and Instagram!

I’ve met some of my best friends and just incredibly cool and engaged folks through social media!

I’ve had incredible experiences with this city’s institutions, makers, and organizations doing fantastic work in the community!

I’ve eaten a lot of food!

I’ve gotten to be on TV (bonkers)!

I’ve gotten to be a small part of your Cleveland life and you’ve been a huge part of mine!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for these past 8 years; for growing with me, supporting me, and choosing (because what you read on the Internet is 100% your choice) me. I adore you, I adore this city, and I adore celebrating made-up holidays!

To thank you for 8 great years, I am giving away a $25 gift card to the Cleveland-area restaurant of your choice and a $25 gift card to the Cleveland-area boutique of your choice. There will be two winners: one for the restaurant and one for the boutique.

To enter to win, just leave a comment here letting me know which restaurant or boutique you’d choose.

Ooh, and hop over to Instagram for an additional chance to win!

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend still felt like summer to me! So, despite the appearance of pumpkins later on in my post, I’m hanging on to the end of summer…

Brewnuts

On Friday morning, while the kids were in school, I went with my friends Mariah and Ashlie to Brewnuts for their Harry Potter-themed donuts that were available this weekend only.

Brewnuts not only makes gigantic, creative donuts, but they come up with lots of fun theme days to sprinkle even more magic on the donuts. I opted for a Sorting Hat donut, whose yellow buttercream filling told me I was a Hufflepuff.

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Add in a Butterbeer latte…

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and the cute, tiki-themed decor…

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and you have the makings of three very happy moms!

Bloggy Con

On Saturday, I attended Bloggy Conference, a conference for bloggers. Held at Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers, the location was perfect for soaking in a bit more of summer.

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We heard speakers on everything from SEO to brand ambassadorships and had a chance to connect with other bloggers from around the country.

This was my first blog conference, despite how long I’ve been doing this, and I really feel like I came away with some valuable insights into things I can implement with the blog, as well as things that I don’t want to change.

Small City Taphouse

Since we were spending the night in Sandusky, I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants out that way: Small City Taphouse.

This restaurant boasts 80 beers on tap, which obviously means you have to get a flight because it is impossible to choose just one.

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My two favorites from my flight were the Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing and the Haunted Hayride Pumpkin Ale from Masthead Brewing.

Small City Taphouse also has a full sushi and Asian cuisine menu. The TNT roll, with tuna and jalapeno was a great choice, as was the spicy egg noodles with beef.

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If you find yourself in Sandusky, definitely check out Small City Taphouse!

Cedar Point Halloweekends

On Sunday, my best guys joined me at Cedar Point for Halloweekends.

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From trick or treating through Kiddie Kingdom…

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…to trying out the new-this-year challenge course…

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….to catching the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown parade…

…there was so much to do on top of the rides that Jeffrey always loves. It was a fall festival in summer-like weather!

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Halloweekends continue every weekend through October 28, so don’t miss this chance for some family-friendly thrills and treats!

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Lane Baldwin Photography Photo Shoot!

It had been awhile (and some hairstyle changes) since my last photo shoot for blog pictures. So, I reached out to my super talented and super sweet friend Lane of Lane Baldwin Photography.

We spent a fun morning around downtown Cleveland taking pictures from North Coast Harbor…

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…Playhouse Square.

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

Lane snapped photos I can use from Instagram to Facebook to blog posts and beyond. And she captured everything from the perfect wide shot of the city…

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…to amazing head shots and close ups.

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

 

 

The photos in this series are some of my favorites. We were literally standing on an island in the middle of Euclid Avenue during morning rush hour with me in a ball gown. Super casual 😉

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

I’m so happy with the results of our photo shoot and wanted to share some here now. You’ll be seeing more of these across my pages in the days and weeks to come.

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

Thanks, Lane, for being amazing to work with, for sharing my vision and adding your own, and for making me feel super comfortable!

I hope y’all like these as much as I do!

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Why? Lucky Number 7!

Today is a dual birthday: my grandfather turns 93 and Why CLE? turns 7. And one has no idea what the other one is!

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So, first and foremost, happy birthday, Gramps! From WWII to the Cleveland Police force to helping raise me, so much of his life has been spent in service. That kind of commitment is inspirational. And I love that he and Jeffrey have a relationship! Jeffrey is lucky to have that!

As for the blog, truly, I can’t believe it’s been seven years. So much has changed since I started writing, for Cleveland, for myself, and for the blogging medium.

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When I started this blog, Cleveland wasn’t on the national scene as a must-visit place. As most of you know, the title of the blog came from the idea of having to explain why I moved back to Cleveland to people who lived here.

When Why CLE? began, all the pieces for Cleveland’s amazing renaissance were starting to fall into place, but to see the arc of it over the last seven years has been remarkable and inspiring. I don’t get asked Why CLE? nearly as much anymore, but I keep telling you why because preaching to the choir is how you get them to sing.

As for me, this blog has followed my own arc. Much like Cleveland, the pieces were starting to fall into place for my own personal renaissance when I started the blog. But even I couldn’t imagine all the things life would bring, from marriage to motherhood to an ever-evolving career path.

The blog has adapted to this arc and I am so grateful for being able to grow and change, yet still maintain your readership and interest.

The blogging medium has changed too. Instagram wasn’t on the radar when Why CLE? started and attention spans were a wee bit bigger than they are even now. For me, I’ll always be drawn to the longer-form writing, to content that supports the pithy social media posts (which absolutely have value and are fun in their own right).

I guess all this is to say that, as I look back, there’s been a lot of changes over the last seven years, but I am so grateful to still be here, in my little corner of the Internet, chatting with you. The readers, the friendships, the insanely amazing experiences, and the chance to deepen my love and appreciation for this incredible city are things I don’t ever take for granted.

As a small token of my appreciation, I have a Cleveland mystery box giveaway for you. There are some great things in the mystery box, including restaurant gift cards and fun local products.

All you need to do to enter is leave a comment here introducing yourself. Maybe I know you already, but it’s always nice to know who my readers are and a little bit about why you’re here.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, December 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day.

Good luck! And thank you for an awesome lucky seven years!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Northeast Ohio Parent!

If you follow along on Facebook and Twitter, you may have noticed me sharing posts and articles that I’ve written for Northeast Ohio Parent.

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I’m really excited to add this writing to my repertoire. It allows me to go more in depth about fun things to do with your kids around town and highlight some of the many amazing family activities to do around Cleveland. I also want to focus on how parents can have fun without kiddos. I did a post on how to plan a fun “Moms Day Out” and also want to do a post on great date night options.

I’ve also started a recurring series called “On the Town Survival Guide,” which focuses on tips on how to maximize fun and minimize stress when taking your kids to certain places. So far I’ve tackled Cedar Point and Cleveland Indians games and am planning posts on theater outings and fine dining.

If you pick up the July print issue (online version here) you’ll find an article I wrote on helping your children put on a fabulous lemonade stand. And stay tuned to the August issue for an article on the top 10 things to do before summer is over.

Northeast Ohio Parent is a great resource and honestly one of my go-to’s even before I started writing for it. You can find a list of upcoming events, get parenting tips, learn about area schools, and more. Plus, there are a host of great local bloggers covering a wide range of topics from a more personal angle.

If there are topics you’d like to see covered for Northeast Ohio Parent, let me know! I’m always open to new ideas. And if you’re a Northeast Ohio parent, bookmark the site for lots of great local information!

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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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