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.
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!
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…
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.
Add in a Butterbeer latte…
and the cute, tiki-themed decor…
and you have the makings of three very happy moms!
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.
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.
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.
If you find yourself in Sandusky, definitely check out Small City Taphouse!
Today is a dual birthday: my grandfather turns 93 and Why CLE? turns 7. And one has no idea what the other one is!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
Well, hi there! Today marks six years of Why CLE?! How crazy is that?! I say something similar every year, but I honestly can’t believe how the blog (and all the social media platforms that go along with it) has grown and evolved and lasted.
I am consistently honored and humbled by you, my readers. Thank you for six years of friendship and support, for giving me the space to grow and change here. From the online friends to those who have turned into some of my closest friends, I value our connections.
I am also so grateful to the organizations who trust me to write about their events and initiatives. Being able to share your good work and partner with amazing Cleveland institutions is always a thrill.
Cleveland has had an incredible year and this has certainly been a uniquely fun one about which to write. Six years ago, I really felt like I was convincing people of Cleveland’s coolness. Now, I get to simply add my voice to the chorus of those singing Cleveland’s praises. But that doesn’t make the singing any less exciting or fun. To see this incredible renaissance, to be a small part of those on the ground floors of Cleveland hype, is so amazing!
As I reflect on this year, I’ve been feeling more and more called to service. I know that Cleveland is rich with service opportunities. But I’m not exactly sure where to start.
For those of you who have been reading for awhile, you know that I like to give something away on my blogiversary. So, this year, I’m giving away my time. And I’m asking you to help me decide where to give it.
Leave a comment on this blog post telling me about an organization in Cleveland with which you volunteer your time. I really want you to also have an investment in wherever this is.
I’ll reach out to you and we’ll schedule a time in 2017 to volunteer at that organization (hopefully together if you’re open to that).
You have until December 31, 2016 to leave a comment.
The volunteer opportunity must be within the Cleveland area.
The volunteer opportunity cannot require special skills (e.g., it can’t require the volunteer to be a nurse or other professional occupation).
If for some reason, the volunteer opportunity does not fit with my moral compass, then I will politely decline. I totally respect wherever it is you donate your time, but it’s better for you, me, and the organization if I believe in their mission too.
If it’s OK with you and the organization, I will blog/tweet/Facebook/Instagram about the volunteering.
I’m hoping to not only raise awareness about places where you can volunteer, but also find a standing volunteer commitment for myself. I’m really excited to make service a recurring theme in year 7 of Why CLE? and I hope you can help me out with that!
Thank you again for all the wonderful years and here’s to more!
So, this birthday, I’m feeling much more reflective on the year that’s come before than I usually am. Typically, I’m all about what’s next, but I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on what’s come before.
Here are a couple nuggets that I’ve learned over this last year (or so). Hopefully I’ll carry them with me into the year that is to come…
I actually like myself! Somehow, my assessment of my self esteem stalled out around junior high (when I definitely did not like myself). I steadily grew in confidence and independence, but I would still say that I didn’t like myself all that much. Maybe I was confusing humility (which I think is a good quality in measure) with not liking myself. But either way, over the last year or so, I’ve accepted the fact that I do think I’m a pretty good person (with the confidence to wear glitter booties in public.) I screw up for sure. But on balance, I like who I see in the mirror.
I can filter myself and still be authentic. This is a tough one. What you see on the blog, Insta, Twitter, Facebook isn’t the whole picture. And I think you know that. But that doesn’t mean that the slice I show there isn’t real, authentic me. I struggled with feeling like maybe I was putting on a face that wasn’t genuine. But I’ve learned the balance between sharing pieces that are surely real and still keeping things for myself.
Friendships are a great challenge with great rewards. Similar to leaving my self esteem assessment in junior high, I thought I left friendship challenges there too. But in every stage of life, as we navigate new experiences, we make and break friendships and it is a challenging thing to handle. Why do some friendships fall away? What makes others stick? How can I be for someone the friend they actually need me to be and not just the friend I think they need me to be? I have absolutely no answers other than to say that acknowledging the challenge and the process has been it’s own reward. When you stop expecting it to be easy, but know that the process has a great reward and that not everyone is going to fit as a friend, you are more able to participate in the process.
My capacity for love is greater than I ever could have imagined. I discover this daily with Jeffrey. He has made my heart more open not just to him, but to everyone in my life. I have no intention of being a self-congratulatory mom, but I do know that my love for my son exceeds where I thought my capabilities ended.
No age, whatever the number, is all that scary when you’re happy with your life. The other night, I had a dream where I told someone from my past that, among other things, I am genuinely happy with my life. And I knew that deep down for a long time. But somehow it was time for me to really know it. Live it. Say it. Daily. Joyously. Into the next year with head held high and a world of possibilities in front of me.
Cheers to a great year past and a great one ahead!
It’s here! The new look of Why CLE? is complete! So much thanks to the fabulous Brosteins and their friend David, who moved me over to whycle.com, designed the new graphic from my scattered description of what I wanted, and made the new layout look so pretty.
The whole idea with the new graphic is to show the different parts of my life that are incorporated into Why CLE?, all played out with Cleveland as the backdrop. So you’ll see “me” on the graphic as a wife, a mom, and a friend.
This is exactly what I had in my head and I cannot thank David enough for making it come to life or the wonderful Brosteins for all of their patience and help through the process.
I hope you love the new look and I hope it feels as fun and fresh to you as it does to me.