Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend in Cleveland! And while I didn’t have the chance to attend the Rock Hall Induction or the first Cavs playoff game, I am so proud of how Cleveland put on a fabulous show on the national stage!

So, here’s what I was up to as Cleveland was rocking it out:

Providence House Luncheon

On Friday, Kimberly and I attended the Providence House Annual Luncheon at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.



Providence House is a crisis nursery that is committed to ending child abuse and preserving families in the Cleveland area. Providence House was founded by Sister Hope Greener in 1981. This year, Providence House turns 37 and its founder Sister Hope turns 90.


Friday’s luncheon feted Sister Hope and raised $90,000 for Providence House.


It also introduced a powerful new brand campaign designed by Twist Creative. This campaign showcases the impact of Providence House on its residents and volunteers.

The Providence House luncheon was a wonderful way to not only celebrate the organization’s history, but also look forward to a bright and exciting future for the house. If you want to be part of that future, you can find out more online about how to donate or volunteer.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Providence House Annual Luncheon with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we attended the final show of this season’s Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square.


The show, put on by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, brought to life the sweet story of “Guess How Much I Love You” and the imaginative story of “I Love My Little Storybook.” We’ve been reading “Guess How Much I Love You” since Jeffrey was born. It was so touching to experience it live on stage together!

The shows for next year’s Children’s Theater Series are “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Rainbow Fish,” “Emily Brown and the Thing,” and “Junie B. Jones.” Season tickets go on sale May 21. We love attending the Children’s Theater Series shows and experiencing culture together as a family!

Mass and a Meal

Saturday evening, we attended the sixth annual Mass and a Meal event put on by the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. We started the evening with Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Little Italy.

Then we headed across the street to Nido Italia for a delicious family-style dinner with breaded eggplant, cavatelli, and chicken piccata.

Of course, I can’t be that close to Presti’s and not stop for a cannoli, too!

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Mass and a Meal has become a Chapter favorite event and a yearly tradition for many alumni. If you’re a John Carroll alumni, the Chapter has some great upcoming events including our Founders Day Celebration this Thursday, April 19 at Market Garden Brewery. I hope to see you there!

***Disclosure: I am the president of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Yoga Roots

Sunday evening, I met up with Mom for her first class at Yoga Roots. We took a restorative yoga class which was a great chance to recharge our minds and bodies before a busy week.

You know how much I love practicing, so I’m so excited to share that with Mom too. And I can’t think of a more supportive community than Yoga Roots to practice.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you get in on any of the Rock Hall excitement?



Why? Ajoyo Almondmilk Giveaway!

When making changes in my life, particularly in the health and wellness area, I’ve found that the best and most lasting changes come when I start small. Making sweeping changes often doesn’t last and leads to burnout. But starting small allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and steadily build lasting healthy habits.

When I was in law school, after being overweight for most of my life, I decided to join Weight Watchers and not only lose weight, but change my eating habits for good.

Gradually, I lost 80 pounds and reached my goal weight. But the weight kept coming off and I found myself fixated on becoming thinner and thinner, to the point of unhealthiness in the opposite direction. One morning, when I passed out in my apartment’s elevator on my to work out, I realized that simply being thin was not serving my overall health.


As I slowly returned toward my healthy original goal weight (and then worked to get myself back there again after having Jeffrey), I learned that the lowest number does not always make you the healthiest person.

I learned that choosing foods based on real, natural, good-for-you ingredients, rather than the lowest calorie and fat counts, would lead to better and more sustainable food choices. Artificial sweeteners and fat-free cheese might give you the momentary illusion of making a healthy choice, but long-term health comes from choosing all-natural foods that are also good for you.

I learned that exercising should not be something I do to punish my body, but rather to celebrate its abilities and maintain its strength.

I don’t take any of these lessons lightly. They are hard learned and definitely still a work in progress. But that’s just my point. Healthy choices for your body and your mind don’t happen overnight. This has been a 15 year process so far for me.

Sometimes you just need to start small. Set an attainable goal and work toward it, knowing that it’s part of a larger plan for overall health.

The folks at Ajoyo Almondmilk , part of the Ohio-based Smith Foods, understand the importance of starting small. From their website, “We begin with a seed. We are born from the soil. That’s why we believe connecting with nature has the power to better connect us with ourselves. From seed to soul. So, let’s drink in the good stuff the way Mother Nature intended, while also taking other small steps towards becoming the healthiest, happiest souls on Earth.”


For me, Ajoyo is a great way to continue achieving my goal of incorporating more all-natural foods that not only taste good, but are good for me and my family. I still struggle with breaking old habits of choosing solely based on calorie and fat counts, rather than also caring about what’s in my food. So, this is a small way I can help to break that habit, by incorporating a product that is both healthy and natural.

Ajoyo’s natural almond milk comes in original, original unsweetened, vanilla, vanilla unsweetened, and chocolate. Ajoyo has a ton of great recipes to get you started incorporating almond milk into your own “Start Small” healthy goal. I can’t wait to whip up this Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette! And we’ve loved incorporating Ajoyo into morning Vitamix smoothies!

Ajoyo would like to give you the chance to try their almond milk for yourself. The winner will receive coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo.

Here’s how to enter: just follow @ajoyobrand on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following. A simple way to start small!

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 18 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Ajoyo Almondmilk. In exchange, I received coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo Almondmilk. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful holiday weekend, filled with family and friends! Here’s what was hopping:

Dyeing Easter Eggs

On Friday, Jeffrey and I had our friends over to dye Easter eggs. We dye eggs every year and I love how Jeffrey has gotten more interested in it as time goes by.


Check out his masterpieces!

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

Speaking of annual traditions, on Saturday we went to the Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter egg hunt. This is one of our favorite holiday events!


You ticket includes an Easter egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden, which is filled with tons of candy-filled eggs, as well as fun spring decorations.


There were also crafts and outdoor games like bean bag toss and giant tic-tac-toe to enjoy. Plus there was a visit from a very special bunny in a very special bunny car!


You also got admission to the Cleveland Botanical Garden to check out their Spring Blooms event. Spring Blooms replaced Big Spring and has all the bright spring colors and flowers you’ve come to expect, but fewer children’s play elements.

We really enjoyed our morning at the Easter egg hunt! For an event that draws around 1,000 people, it is very well organized and always a lot of fun!

Dante and Justin Timberlake

On Saturday night, I celebrated my dear friend Kimberly‘s birthday with dinner at Dante, followed by the Justin Timberlake concert.


Our meal at Dante was perfect, from the aptly-named Something Fun cocktail…


…to the honey-roasted Brussel sprouts with goat cheese and polenta with pork belly (OMG, both were life-changing!)

From there, it was off to an awesome night of music with Justin Timberlake, with a special guest appearance from LeBron James, too!


What a fun night!


The rest of our weekend was spent enjoying Easter with our families. On Saturday, I prepared a traditional and locally-sourced Polish Holy Saturday feast, with pierogi from Janka Meat Products and Pierogi, kielbasa from Pinzone Market Fresh Meats, and sauerkraut from Wholesome Valley Farm via Fresh Fork Market.


On Sunday, we had Easter bunny treats to discover…


…time with both Matthew’s and my families and lots of smiles and good memories!

It was a great weekend! How was yours?


Why? Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning!

It’s definitely time for spring cleaning! We’re having people over for Easter, plus it’s just time to get the house feeling fresh and clean again. Which is why I was so excited to partner with Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning.

I know, I’m usually all about the locally-owned businesses, so I had a moment of hesitation too. But, then I learned that the Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning franchises are locally owned and operated, right in Parma (hey, that’s my old stomping grounds)!

I met with Greg, one of the owners, and we chatted everything from carpet cleaning to the Cavs and I was sold on this local business! This week, we had the carpets cleaned and I am thrilled with the results.


Not only did all the carpets get cleaned, but the area rugs too. Everything smells fresh and clean, thanks to the addition of the deodorizing spray (a must if you have fuzzy friends living with you.)


With two dogs and one kid, our carpets can definitely get dirty and well worn. I didn’t even realize how much of a difference professional carpet cleaning could make until I had it done and stepped back to admire the results.

Plus, the crew (Monde and Mike) from Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning was so professional and personable. They even found time to talk music with Jeffrey and still get everything done in no time!

In less than two hours, all the carpet in the house was clean! This is definitely a spring cleaning must!


The Cleveland-area, locally-owned Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning offers cleaning for tile, carpet, air ducts, and upholstery, as well as general handyman work. Give them a call and check a thing or two of your spring cleaning list!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sears Carpet and Air Duct Cleaning. In exchange, I received a free carpet cleaning service. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? The First Tee of Cleveland Open House!

As we gear up for spring, you might be thinking about ways to get your kids involved and active out of doors. The First Tee of Cleveland is a great option! The program teaches life lessons, build character, and instills confidence, all through learning the game of golf.


The First Tee of Cleveland will be holding Open Houses at all four of their locations on Saturday, April 7 from 10am-12pm. Here are the locations:

• Washington Golf Course (main campus), 3841 Washington Park Blvd., Newburgh Heights 44105
• The Links Golf Course, 26111 John Road, Olmsted Township 44138
• Briardale Greens Golf Course, 24131 Briardale Avenue, Euclid 44123
• Windmill Golf Center, 1511 E. Aurora Road (State Route 82), Macedonia 44056

These Open Houses are free and open to all children ages 6 to 18 and their families. Light refreshments will be served.

The Open Houses will give you the chance to learn about the First Tee’s award-winning programs, meet the coaches, ask questions, enroll for 2018, and participate in some fun golf activities.


The First Tee offers programs year-round, such as:

• School Year, After School and Saturdays
• “Try It” sessions: see what you like first, then join.
• Patty Wood Girls Leadership Experience
• Food, Fun and the Nine Healthy Habits™ winter class
• Caddie Class, late winter
• Summer Programs: Weekdays and Saturdays
• Camps in partnership with Cleveland Metroparks
• Outreach Programs in Schools & Community Groups

A couple years ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with the folks from The First Tee of Cleveland and see firsthand what they’re all about. You can read about it here.


So, if you want to learn more and get your kids involved in a positive, fun experience, make sure to check out one of these Open Houses, happening rain or shine (or snow) on Saturday, April 7!

I also have a bag of golf swag from The First Tee of Cleveland to give away. Here’s how to enter to win:

1.Visit The First Tee of Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!


Why? Pro Football Hall of Fame!

While I love taking Jeffrey to places that I’ve been before and getting to see them through his eyes, sometimes it’s equally enchanting to experience a place together for the first time. Last week, we both made our first visit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton.


The NFL was founded in Canton in 1920, which is why the Hall of Fame is located there. I was blown away by the facility, which is sleek, modern, and engaging.

When you arrive, you have the opportunity to get your picture taken by a green screen and select different fun backgrounds as a souvenir of your visit. This is great, since I usually only get awkward selfies when Jeffrey and I go somewhere just the two of us.


Jeffrey and I went on the Museum Insider’s Tour, which gives a detailed overview of some of the most interesting pieces in the collection. Our tour guide, Red, was a wealth of knowledge about the Museum, as well as the game of football itself! The Insider’s Tour is a great option for adult visitors or families with older children who want to absorb a lot of knowledge and anecdotes during their visit.

From walking through the history of football…


…to seeing the bronze busts and signature gold jackets of those enshrined there…


…to seeing mementos from record-setting games and modern items in the “Pro Football Today” gallery…

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…to seeing the Lombardi Trophy and checking out every Super Bowl ring…


…there was so much to take in!

There are a lot of interactive elements at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, including a replay booth, helmets wired with in-game commentary, a place to play Madden EA Sports, and a very cool hologram of the Hall of Fame ring that kept Jeffrey entertained for quite awhile!

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There are also movies to see, including “A Game for Life” and the Super Bowl theater.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is really an incredible tribute to the game of football and the people who made it great.


While I will confess to not being a huge football fan, I was both impressed and moved by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I enjoyed learning about something so ingrained in American culture that got it’s start in Northeast Ohio. It’s definitely worth a trip to Canton to check it out!

Admission rates are $25 for adults ages 13-64, $21 for seniors ages 65+, $18 for children ages 6-12, and free for children under 6 and museum members. You can also save $5 off your admission by using code WHYCLE when you purchase tickets online.

***Disclosure: I was invited to visit the Pro Football Hall of Fame with complimentary admission and tour, as well as a swag bag, Gift Shop gift card, and complimentary photos. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

Oh my goodness, we could not have crammed more into this weekend if we tried! So, let’s get right to it:

#HamilFlow and Ginko (hey, that rhymes)

Friday night, I watched as one of my favorite people paired two of her favorite things and, boy, was the result magical! Alicia taught a 75-minute yoga class with the music of “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Much like the musical itself, the class was inspiring, fun, and fast-paced. This class sold out fast, so stay tuned because Alicia has promised a sequel!

After class, we headed downstairs to Ginko for what is always the finest sushi in Cleveland.


Ginko always has the freshest and most inventive sushi offerings. It’s so fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs create, too!


Dessert that evening was a chocolate pot de creme, so who can resist that?


It was a perfect Friday night!

Seussical Jr.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to St. Francis of Assisi School for their production of “Seussical, Jr.” My friend Melissa was the director of the show and I was so impressed with her work and the talent of the cast!


Plus, it’s a great musical for kids to enjoy! Jeffrey especially loved seeing his friend Dean (Melissa’s son) in the cast as one of the Whos!

Cleveland Monsters Purple Game

From there, we headed downtown for the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. The Purple Game focused on raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.


There were opportunities to donate, to learn about community efforts to help those with cancer, and just generally show your support for those battling cancer.

The game also took place during the Monsters and Cavs ongoing food drive for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank‘s Harvest for Hunger program, so there were lots of ways to do good while taking in the hockey action.


This was Jeffrey’s first hockey game. From meeting the Monsters Girls and practicing his shot on the concourse to high-fiving the players before the game (check out my Insta for the video), he had a great time.

The Monsters games definitely have a family-friendly atmosphere, with lots happening on the ice in between the action and plenty to cheer about.


They also have a more family-friendly price-point than some other sports, making it easy to take your whole family (and in our case, some of Jeffrey’s godparents, too). You can check out the Monsters upcoming games and promotions online to get in on the icy fun for yourself!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the game and the opportunity to participate in the pre-game high-five tunnel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Playhouse Square Partners Brunch Around

Sunday Funday came and I decided to just keep the weekend fun going! I met up with fellow Playhouse Square Partners for a Brunch Around in the Gordon Square Arts District.

We had groups at 4 different restaurants in the area, then all met up for a cocktail together after our brunches. I had brunch at Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. Luxe has a Sunday happy hour from 11am-1pm with half-off bloody marys, mimosas, and bellinis. Talk about a Sunday Funday!

For my brunch, I chose the buttermilk fried chicken thigh, served with country gravy, braised swiss chard, and a biscuit.


This was savory brunch perfection! It had been way too long since I had been to Luxe. Now, I just need it to be warm enough for their fabulous patio to open!

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So, that was our weekend! Plenty to keep us busy for sure! How was yours?


Why? Sausalito on Ninth!

The downtown Cleveland dining scene is constantly evolving and reinventing itself. A great example of this is Sausalito on Ninth, which was formerly Sweetwater’s Café Sausalito in the Galleria. Sausalito on Ninth is now located in the IMG Building and features a revamped menu and bright new interior design as a fabulous reinvention of this 30-plus year old restaurant.

Last night, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed to dinner there to check out the new space and menu.


Sausalito on Ninth offers happy hour Monday through Friday from 3pm – 7pm. They have a nice wine and beer selection, as well as several tasty cocktail options. And they have pink lemonade, if you like that sort of thing!

We worked our way through a generous variety of menu items. Matthew and I shared the chickpea and edamame hummus, as well as the crab cakes with sriracha remoulade and fava bean salsa.

These classic appetizer items both featured unique twists that made them not only delicious, but also interesting.

Matthew and I shared the Mista salad, with pears, walnuts, goat cheese, and balsamic. Yum! Oh, and don’t skip the rolls. They are life changing.


For my entrée, I couldn’t resist the branzino special, which was a whole, flash-fried fish served with basmati rice and a Thai chili vinaigrette.


The fish was moist and the Thai chili vinaigrette added a nice sweet spice.

Matthew chose the pan-seared walleye, which is an on-menu item. The walleye came with lobster cashew gnocchi and a saffron butter sauce.


As you can tell, there is an Eastern influence to many of Sausalito on Ninth’s dishes, which is something we really enjoyed. Matthew’s dish had a lot of delicate flavors, but each one was discernible and delicious.

Jeffrey opted for a classic American cheeseburger and fries, which he devoured. Sausalito on Ninth offers kid-friendly menu choices and modifications, so that the whole family can enjoy a tasty meal. As much as we like some of the more “Jeffrey-friendly” restaurants, it’s always a treat to find a nicer restaurant that we can all enjoy.

This berry cake was the perfect end to a great meal at this new-again spot!


Sausalito on Ninth is the perfect example of a restaurant reinventing itself to be a stand-out in the downtown dining scene. The menu features familiar items with interesting twists, as well as new favorites.

The location also puts Sausalito on Ninth in a great position to make a mark in an area of downtown that doesn’t have as many restaurants. It’s a good spot for pregame food or an after-work drink that is less crowded than East 4th Street, but just as delicious and fun!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary dinner at Sausalito on Ninth with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

If it can’t be warm in Cleveland, at least the sun can shine, right? Here’s how we spent this bright, chilly weekend.

Breakfast with the Bunny 

On Saturday morning, we hopped right over St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to Easter celebrations!


Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed south to the Akron Zoo for their Breakfast with the Bunny. We started with a breakfast buffet and time for Easter crafts, plus time with the fuzzy bunny himself.


Then the kids went to an Easter egg hunt in a designated area of the Zoo, divided by age. The eggs were plentiful and easy to find, plus the kids got to trade in however many eggs they found for a sweet treat bag.


After the egg hunt, we could stay for as long as we liked to explore the Zoo, too. Even the animals were getting in on the egg hunt fun!


It was fun, albeit cold, morning and a nice way to kick off the Easter season!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Of course, we couldn’t completely ignore St. Patrick’s Day! My mom made a delicious corned beef dinner.


Pair it with a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale and you have a the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal!

Death of a Salesman

Saturday evening, Matthew and I went to see our friend Wes, who was playing Bernard in The Brecksville Theatre‘s production of “Death of a Salesman.” It had been awhile since I had attended a community theater performance and I forgot how much I enjoy the intimacy of those shows. I’m always so impressed by the talent we have right in our own backyard, too.

While Death of a Salesman ended its run on Sunday, The Brecksville Theatre has a full season of options, plus there are community theaters all over Cleveland offering great cultural experiences with homegrown talent.


I kicked off my Sunday at Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch. I’ve said it before, but Alicia’s balance of meditative mindfulness and challenging asana is really my favorite way to practice. I always feel taken care of in both body and spirit.

After class, we headed to downstairs to Dante Next Door for mimosas and conversation and delicious brunch food. I had the cheddar, bacon, scallion hash (OMG, so good) and the waffle with apples and Kentucky bourbon maple syrup.

I can never choose between sweet and savory at brunch, so I decided not to decide!

Alicia has a ton of upcoming Yoga/Brunch dates, if you want to get your Sunday Funday kicked off the right way. Cost is $15 for a 60-minute class, plus a free mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here for dates and to register.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Why? Disney Musicals in Schools!

This week, members of Playhouse Square Partners volunteered at the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share Celebration at the Ohio Theatre. This is our second year attending the Student Share and our first year volunteering with the event.

The Disney Musicals in Schools program provides select Cleveland Metropolitan School District elementary schools with licensing for a Disney KIDS musical, a costume kit, and instruction from professional teaching artists from Playhouse Square.


The 17-week program culminates in the performance of a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at the school, plus the chance to perform one of the songs on stage at the Ohio Theatre at the Student Share Celebration. This year’s participating schools were Buhrer Dual Language Academy, Franklin D. Roosevelt Elementary School, Patrick Henry Elementary School, and Nathan Hale Elementary School.

The evening began with students from all four schools in the program performing an original Disney Musicals in Schools number written by Alan Menken, called “It Starts with a Dream.”

Then, each school in the program performed one number from their chosen musical. Three of the schools chose “Jungle Book KIDS” as their musical and one school chose “Aladdin KIDS.” It was so fun to see each school’s interpretation of well-known Disney numbers through creative dance and costumes.

Our host for the evening, WEWS anchor Leon Bibb, did a wonderful job of pointing out how these types of experiences create lifelong memories and interest in the arts, sharing his own start on the stage in sixth grade.

The goal of the Disney Musicals in Schools program is to establish a sustainable musical theater program in each school. The schools who participated in this year’s program will receive licensing and show kits for next year, but the staff of the school will lead the program with less guidance from Playhouse Square, in order to establish an independent program. And next year, new schools will begin the process. Click here for information on how to apply.

Disney Musicals in Schools drives home the importance of the arts in an educational setting, as well as reminding me how fortunate I am to be able to provide Jeffrey with exposure to the arts at Playhouse Square on a regular basis. I’m proud to be a Playhouse Square donor and volunteer, helping to support programs that expand the reach of the arts and open the doors of those extraordinary theaters to all.

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***