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.


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.***



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!


Why? The Harlem Globetrotters!

Yesterday, Jeffrey, Matthew, and I got to watch some fun and fantastic basketball action when The Harlem Globetrotters took over Quicken Loans Arena.


Before the game, we checked out the Magic Pass event, which is part meet-and-greet, part activity fair, and all fun!

Jeffrey got to meet Globie, the Globetrotters mascot…


…as well as several players from both the Globetrotters and their opposing team, the Washington Generals.


Jeffrey was also able to get his Harlem Globetrotters basketball (newly-purchased by Mom and Dad) autographed. Although I think the concept of autographs eludes him at this age, since he asked why the players didn’t write HIS name on the ball!

With the Magic Pass, Jeffrey was able to bounce like a Flying Globie…


…then watch the real Flying Globies…

Photo credit: Matthew

…and shoot baskets on the court…

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…then watch how the big guys do it.

Jeffrey says, “He got stuck on the net” and laughs every time someone dunks. (Photo credit: Matthew)

The funny, silly, and athletic feats all delighted the fans.


I also loved how sweet and welcoming the Globetrotters were with even their smallest, newest fans and appreciated getting to know a little more about their many community outreach programs, such as the ABCs of Bullying Prevention and S.M.I.L.E. It was a great family afternoon!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Quicken Loans Arena to help promote The Harlem Globetrotters. In exchange, I received three tickets and Magic Passes for myself and 4 tickets and Magic Passes to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Holiday Events!

Phew! We have been on a tear through holiday events this year. And while some get rounded up into weekend recaps, I wanted to give you a rundown on some of the others for both kids and adults.

Country Lights

One of our favorite holiday traditions is Country Lights at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. This event incorporates so many different fun holiday activities from a wagon ride through extensive outdoor light displays…


…to model train displays in winter wonderland scenes…


…to cookie decorating (SO much frosting)…


…to Santa’s toy workshop. The workshop is by far my favorite part of Country Lights. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the elves help your child build and decorate a wooden toy of their choosing.


It’s such a neat, hands-on experience for the kids. And the workshop looks like I imagine Santa’s workshop would, with snow and singing and loads of glitter.

Country Lights is sold out for 2017, but definitely put it on your holiday list for 2018!

The Polar Express

I try not to play absolute favorites among holiday events, but The Polar Express on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad might be #1 for me. The ride brings the story from the book and movie to life. It is heart-warming and fun and everything you could want from a holiday event.


Each train car has an elf and a conductor who make the magical story of “The Polar Express” come to life. On your way to The North Pole (AKA Peninsula during the rest of the year), you hear the story of “The Polar Express,” drink hot chocolate, and eat cookies, in your PJ’s of course.


When you reach the decked-out North Pole, you are greeted by a cavalry of (volunteer) elves, reindeer, and other Christmas characters.


Santa boards the train here and visits with each child on the way back home, gifting magic bells to the kids too.



Jeffrey told me he could hear the bell ringing because he believes in Santa! It doesn’t get more magical than that!


On your return trip, you also sing carols and just generally arrive back home in the most festive mood you could imagine.

The Polar Express is sold out for 2017, but definitely put it on your holiday list for 2018.

Holidays in the Caribbean

On one of the coldest, windiest days of the year thus far, members and friends of Playhouse Square Partners were feeling quite tropical at our Holidays in the Caribbean happy hour at Margaritaville Cleveland.


We had the entire “5 o’clock Somewhere” bar area to ourselves to enjoy boat drinks and munchies and beachy tunes. We also each got a lei to add to our festive ugly sweater attire!


And my gift exchange gift seems particularly spot on, especially given that the theme of our upcoming Jump Back Ball is “2018: A Space Odyssey!”

Margaritaville was the perfect place to celebrate the holidays and dream of warmer days ahead!

Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop

Imagine lots of people dressed up in their most, ahem, festive attire, heading from bar to bar at Legacy Village. Add in pictures with Santa, fun decorations, and a treat bag that included an insulated “Solo cup,” red and green sunglasses, and a jingle bell necklace.

The Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop was fun and festive! It also definitely got you chatting with your fellow  hoppers, as you compared attire (fashion note: holiday llama sweaters are big this year).

Various bars at Legacy Village offered discounted food and drink specials for the evening. Some of our favorites were the Candy Cane martini from The Melting Pot


…the calamari and specialty martinis from Bar Louie


…and the yummy pork nachos and “Jingle Bell Juice” (bourbon and blood orange) at Granite City Food and Brewery.


All this festive hopping was for a good cause, as a portion of proceeds benefitted the American Cancer Society. Cheers!

What holiday events have you been enjoying this season?

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball and will receive two complimentary VIP tickets for the event. I also have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. I purchased my own tickets to the Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop.***


Why? Weekends!

It was another fun, festive weekend! Here’s what we were up to:


On Friday, my mom watched Jeffrey for the day, so that I could have my self-proclaimed “Mommy’s Holiday Get Sh*t Done Day.” The day included gift shopping, grocery shopping, party prepping, and some time for me, too.

I started my day at Brewnuts, which I had been dying to get to since they opened their storefront in Gordon Square.

The store is as adorable as the donuts are tasty. Brewnuts are HUGE donuts and a great balance of sweet frosting and not-too-sweet dough. I had a hard time deciding which to get, but I chose the mint chocolate coffee, made to look like a Frappuccino.


Yum! Brewnuts also has a large selection of craft beer and options to make your coffee or hot chocolate boozy.


Whether you stop for a morning treat or an after-work libation and donut, Brewnuts is an awesome, funky, tasty place to try!

The Beauty Room

From there, it was time to pamper my long-neglected toes with a pedicure at The Beauty Room in Tremont.


I met up with my girlfriend Kimberly, which meant that the pedicure was also good for my soul! Add in some pomegranate mimosas and you have the makings of a perfect morning!


The Beauty Room is bright, inviting, and has a wonderful selection of products and services (everything from massages and facials to blowouts to manicures) to make you feel, well, beautiful! And starting my day with so much relaxation guaranteed a productive, low-stress remainder of the day at the stores.

Goodyear Blimp Toys for Tots Drive

On Saturday, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I drove down to the Goodyear Blimp hangar to participate in their annual Toys for Tots drive.


For a donation to Toys for Tots, you get to drive through the Goodyear Blimp hangar and see the hangar and blimp all decked out for Christmas.


Santa is also there to greet you, as well as Marine in full dress uniform to accept your donation.

Jeffrey loved getting to check out the blimp up close, as well as any chance to have even a brief audience with Santa.


What a cool thing to be able to see and a great way to drive donations to a wonderful cause!

Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date

For the third year in a row, we packed our house on Sunday with Jeffrey’s friends and their families for a holiday play date.


The calm before the toddler storm 


We played winter carnival games, did a holiday book exchange, and generally had a fun, slightly chaotic, wonderful time.

And while the food at the party tends toward the simple pizza, cookies, and brownies, I did add in a new addition this year: spiced wine (recipe here).


This was the perfect cozy treat and I loved that I could leave it in the slow cooker to stay warm for the entire party! Plus, anytime the toddler count in your house climbs to double digits, you need wine too.

The holiday play date has become one of our favorite traditions and I love the chance for everyone to get together in this festive season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?


Why? Weekends!

Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!

Pajamas and Popcorn

On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.


The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.

The Capital Grille

On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.


I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.


For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.


Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!

For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.

Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.

Breakfast with Santa

Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!


My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!

If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!

Om for the Holidays Cleveland

While Jeffrey was napping away his Santa-induced exhaustion, I headed to Om for the Holidays Cleveland.

The rainbow in this pic. I just can’t. @namastenik led an awesome flow!

Om for the Holidays was the brainchild of Angela from Universal Architect and Scare Your Soul. It brought together not only some amazing merchants for holiday shopping…

…but also live music, coaching, community-building, and yoga.

What better way to kick off the busy holiday month than with an opportunity to not only accomplish some holiday gift-buying, but also a chance to nurture your soul with like-minded folks?


Merry Everything, indeed!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours? Is Christmas crazy starting to creep into your life yet?




Why? Legacy Village Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop!

The holidays are fun and festive not just for kids, but for adults, too! Legacy Village invites you to a grown-up way to be jolly at the Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop, happening Thursday, December 14.


From 5-9pm, participants can enjoy access to exclusive Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop drink and appetizer menus from the participating Legacy Village bars and restaurants. Hop on over to Bar Louie, California Pizza Kitchen, Granite City Food and Brewery, Brio Coastal Bar and Kitchen, The Capital Grille, and The Melting Pot for festive libations and jolly bites!

You’ll also receive giveaways courtesy of Legacy Village and a photo opportunity with Santa Claus (available until 8pm). Plus, it’s the perfect reason to wear your most fun, outrageous holiday sweater in public (and maybe get some of your holiday shopping done as you’re hopping around)!

Tickets are $10 per person and a portion of the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society. So, you’ll not only have fun, but benefit a great cause too! You can purchase tickets online. Hope to see you at the hop!

And check out info on all the other great Legacy Village holiday events here and here.

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Cleveland Zoo Memberships for Christmas!

As you’re starting your holiday shopping (if you’re almost done, I don’t want to hear it), I have an awesome gift idea and a way to save on it, too.

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Since Jeffrey was born, we’ve had a membership to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Membership to the Zoo through the Cleveland Zoological Society is great because it allows you to experience the Zoo as much as you want, at your own pace.


You also get access to Zoo special events, including Boo at the Zoo, Twilight at the Zoo, and the Zoo’s camps for kids over winter break and summer.


Plus, you’ll not only be opening the door to amazing experiences, you’ll also be helping the Zoo’s efforts in conservation, research, and education. A portion of every Zoo membership goes directly to this mission.

More and more, I find giving the gift of experience is an awesome present that keeps on giving throughout the year. And with a Zoo membership, it’s easy and fun to find something to add on for the little ones to open, like a cute stuffed animal that clues them in to the wild animals they’ll get to experience.

If you’re ready to give the gift of Cleveland Zoological Society membership, to yourself or someone else (I don’t judge buying presents for yourself), you can save 15% on a new membership by using code WHYCLE at checkout.

There are lots of membership options, from those perfect for a couple to those great for a big family. While you’re at it, check out the Cleveland Zoological Society holiday shopping guide for even more inspiration. And, since it’s #GivingTuesday, check out the Give for Gorillas campaign, with the goal of raising $5,000 for gorilla conservation.


I hope this helps check an item (or two) off your gift-giving list this season!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote zoo membership. In exchange, I received a complimentary membership renewal for myself, as well as the discount code for readers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Legacy Village Holiday Celebrations!

As the holiday season kicks into high gear this week, Legacy Village has a lot of ways to get the whole family in the spirit!

Black Friday Survival Kits

On the busiest shopping day of the year, the first 150 shoppers to stop by the covered area near Starbucks and Contessa Gallery will receive a Black Friday Survival Kit with store coupons, specials, and samples; healthy snacks; bottled water and more! It’s everything you need to make your Black Friday successful! The kits will be passed out starting at 10am. One kit per person, must be 16 years or older to receive a kit.

Visit with Santa and Help a Great Cause

Every Saturday and Sunday from November 25 until December 23 from 12-4pm, you can visit with the man of the moment: Santa Claus! You will receive a free photo, courtesy of Legacy Village, L.L.Bean, and Q104. For every photo taken, $5 will be donated to Cleveland Clinic Children’s.


You can also purchase additional photo packages, with proceeds benefiting Cleveland Clinic Children’s. And while you’re there, your family can make greeting cards to be delivered to the patients at Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

What a great way to get in the holiday spirit and benefit a wonderful cause, too!

Holidays in the Village

Every weekend from December 2 through December 17, you can get festive while getting your shopping done at Legacy Village. There will be family activities on Saturdays from 1-3pm, live music on Sundays from 1-4pm, costumed characters, gift card giveaways, and lots more festive fun!

The Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

Speaking of getting in the holiday spirit for a good cause, the annual Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis happens on Sunday, December 10 at Legacy Village. There is a 5K Run/Walk, as well as a 1-mile Family Fun Run.


Festive attire is encouraged! All proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio.

Pet Photos with Santa

Legacy Village wants your whole family to have a very merry holiday season, which includes your furry friends too. On Wednesday, December 13, bring your pets to Legacy Village for Pet Photos with Santa from 6:30-8:30pm at Guest Services (next to White House Black Market). Proceeds from the photos benefit Geauga Humane Society Rescue Village.

This holiday season, Legacy Village is the place to be for holiday shopping, philanthropy, and festivities for everyone! Don’t forget the Home District Showcases and stay tuned for info on an Ugly Sweater Bar Crawl too!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I will receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was another fun weekend in CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

Solon Fit Crawl

On Saturday, I met up with friends for the Solon Fit Crawl. This fitness bonanza benefitted the Greater Cleveland Food Bank. Go Team Orange!


I joked that the last time I did a crawl, it was going to bars (but it’s really true)! This crawl took participants to four different Solon workout studios, with 25-minute classes at each stop.

Our first stop was Oasis Yoga and Fitness for a quick vinyasa flow (we got to keep the towel, too).


Next up was TITLE Boxing Club, where we all got a bit punchy.

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Our penultimate stop was at barre3 Solon to get strong and centered.


And we ended our day with the high-energy circuit at Orangetheory Fitness.


Predictably, yoga and barre3 were my favorites of the crawl, but I was a bit charmed by Orangetheory Fitness (and probably would have enjoyed it even more had it not been our fourth and final stop).

Along the way, we received treats not only from the studios but also from Vitamix, Raw Trainer (OMG, that Notcho Cheese is amazing), Athleta at Beachwood Place, and the Womb Wellness Center.

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I enjoyed trying some new fitness options, as well as some familiar ones, plus getting to help a great cause and laughing a lot as we attempted to complete the crawl. What a fun, unique, fit idea!

Burntwood Tavern

The unofficial final stop on the Solon Fit Crawl was obviously Burntwood Tavern, where we saw many fellow crawlers after the event.


We took advantage of their 4-6pm, seven-days-a-week happy hour (!!!) with $4 glasses of house wine and half-priced appetizers and flatbreads. The shrimp tacos and chicken avocado flatbread (and wine) were the perfect post-crawl treat!


What a great deal and a good opportunity to talk while not wheezing on a treadmill!

Brenna’s First Birthday Party

On Sunday, we had a magical unicorn-themed birthday party to attend for the lovely Brenna!

Alicia and Hans planned a perfect party, with adorable details, delicious food (thank goodness I fit crawled the day before!), and lots of love!


I always feel like the first birthday is just as much a celebration for the parents for making it through the first year, so congrats to these fabulous folks for thriving, smiling, and starting their unicorn off so well.

And I love seeing the friendship developing between Brenna and Jeffrey!


You guys have lots of years of shared events ahead, if your mommas have anything to say about it!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?