Why? Weekends!

It was a pretty low-key weekend around here, thanks to the weather. Sometimes Mother Nature makes us slow down and that’s OK!

Home Cooking

With being snowed in comes the opportunity to do some home cooking. I’ve been trying to find meals that everyone will like. Think: kid-friendly, but with enough flavor to keep the grown-ups happy too.

Friday night, I made baked chicken tenders with this recipe. What I really liked about this recipe was the batter incorporated Dijon mustard and mayonnaise, which gave the chicken more flavor than a standard egg wash.

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I cheated a bit by using Heinen’s prepared foods for our potato side dish. But those stuffed twice-baked potatoes were hard to resist and Heinen’s prepared foods are so yummy!

Then on Sunday, we ventured out to my parents’ house. Jeffrey had been requesting to crack (not eat) crab legs and since the rest of us all enjoy the eating part, we figured we’d put him to work.

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We did get Jeffrey to eat a couple bites of his handiwork too. The king crab legs were from Lobster Brothers and were sweet, tender, and delicious!

Family Yoga

On Sunday, we attended a family yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center.

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It’s tough to find a yoga class that allows both parents and kids to practice together (click here to read my post for Northeast Ohio Parent on where to find kids yoga classes.) So, Matthew and I were really excited for the chance to practice with Jeffrey.

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The class incorporated yoga poses, breath work, and meditation, all in ways that were fun, engaging, and accessible for the kids.

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The family yoga class is held once a month at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. Cost to attend is free for members and $10 for non-members. The next class is on Sunday, February 17, with sessions at 10am and 11am. Click here to learn more and register.

So, that was our quiet winter weekend. How was yours? Did you stay warm and snug or venture out?

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend, Matthew and Jeffrey traveled to Texas to celebrate Matthew’s grandma’s 90th birthday.

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Since we weren’t sure how I’d be feeling post-surgery, we decided I would skip this trip. And while I definitely missed seeing the family and celebrating Grandma and eating lots of brisket…oh, wait, I actually ate lots of brisket here (but more on that tomorrow)…

I did manage to scare up some fun around here, even with my best guys gone.

Disney on Ice

On Friday night, I took my dear friend Mariah and her son to see Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party.

Before the show, we got to attend an exclusive meet-and-greet with the main mouse himself (speaking of 90th birthdays)…

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…and enjoy a delicious fajita bar dinner catered by Aramark.

Then it was off to the show! What an amazing spectacle!

 

From the costumes to the acrobatics to the chance to see so many favorite characters, Disney on Ice really delivered on the magic and fun.

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I’m so glad I was able to enjoy the show with two of my favorite people and see the wonder and excitement that it brought!

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party is in Cleveland through Sunday, January 20 at Quicken Loans Arena, with evening shows on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18 and three shows a day on Satuday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20. You can purchase tickets online.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets, a meet-and-greet character dinner, and Disney on Ice swag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Girls Night In

Saturday evening, I hosted a Girls Night In, because what else is a lady to do when she has the house entirely to herself?

We enjoyed lots of food and wine and girl talk, which was just good for my soul. You know when I only took one picture that it was a good night!

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Oh, and that is a gigantic bottle of rose, which I found at Heinen’s (and is actually quite good, not just impressively sized.)

One of the things I knew I had to have on my table (especially with a vegetarian and a vegan coming) was Mama Mary’s Hummus.

You may have heard of Mama Mary’s as the “gas station hummus,” which has garnered tons of local press attention and even a spot on Cleveland Magazine’s Best of Cleveland list.

I have to tell you, the hype is warranted. This is truly the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. For the party, I chose the traditional, roasted red pepper, and jalapeno. They were all fantastic! Mama Mary’s Hummus is now available at 7 different locations: click here to find the one near you!

Spa West

Another key component of a weekend of “me time” was spa time with my mom. We went to Spa West, which is truly such a lovely and relaxing environment.

From the welcome tea to the calming music to the cozy relaxation room, you immediately feel more zen just walking in.

I had a signature pedicure with a hot stone leg massage and not only do my toes look ready to return to my yoga mat, but my legs feel soft, smooth, and stress-free.

The next time you want to treat yourself or have a perfect girls day out, check out Spa West!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my BBQ-eating adventures, but for now, I’m off to get ready to welcome Matthew and Jeffrey home! What would you do with a weekend to yourself?

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Why? Weekends!

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Ours was a nice balance of time out and time at home, so let’s get right to it…

Michael Angelo’s Winery

On Friday night, I met up with my friends Anne and Kim at Michael Angelo’s Winery.

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The winery is huge and beautifully decorated, with lots of seating options from at the wine tasting bar to tables to cozy chairs and couches.

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I started with a wine flight, which let me sample four different wines. I chose the Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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I really enjoyed all my selections, except for the Pinot Noir (which, admittedly, I don’t have as much experience with in general.)

We decided to share a couple appetizers: the crispy Brussel sprouts with maple aioli, mint, and lemon and the confit chicken wings with soy garlic sauce.

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Both were quite tasty! The pizzas coming out of the kitchen all looked amazing, too!

In addition to the food and wine, you can snag yourself some of Michael Angelo’s well-known bakery items, from bread to macarons to paczki. There is also a shop with coffee, candy, and bottles of wine for purchase.

The winery quickly filled up on Friday evening and is clearly deserves it’s new “hot spot” status with food, wine, and atmosphere that are all on point.

Yoga and Oils

Saturday morning, I went to an event that combined something I know really well (yoga) with something I don’t know as well (essential oils.)

Held at Borrow – Curated Rentals & Design, the event started with a presentation on doTERRA Essential Oils, with a sample of their Balance oil to take home.

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Then, Alicia led us through a Slow Flow and Yoga Nidra combination that left us feeling refreshed and intent on the year ahead.

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Alicia graciously let me just hang out in my own restorative poses in the back, but I was definitely able to reap the benefits of the relaxation and the chance to set a mantra for 2019.

Mine? “I am at ease.”

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Plus, Borrow was just a lovely environment for this event, with lots of beautiful lighting and vintage items all around. I want one of these swings at home, stat!

The Rest of the Weekend

We spent most of the rest of the weekend taking down the Christmas decorations. It was definitely time to do it, but I also just don’t like that job, except when it’s done.

Since we were all working so hard around the house, we needed some sustenance, so I made a winter time favorite: hatch chile and chorizo mac ‘n cheese.

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I use this recipe, but add in some loose chorizo that I brown and mix in. When you can get hatch chiles from Heinen’s next summer, grab as many as you can and freeze them. That way you can enjoy these smoky, spicy peppers all year!

We also went to a 10th birthday party for Iain, who Jeffrey calls “my big friend Iain.” Pizza, cake, and lots of chances to play made for a perfect Sunday Funday for these guys!

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So that was our weekend. Hope you enjoyed the very not-January-like weather!

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Why? Affogato Cat Café!

This week, Affogato Cat Café opened in Tremont. Jeffrey is obsessed with cats, so a visit to Affogato made it onto our 2019 Bucket List and was quickly accomplished.

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Affogato is co-owned by three young, entrepreneurial folks, two of whom are John Carroll alumnae. As you can imagine, I was excited to discover that bit of trivia!

There is a small (think: four tables) café area, with coffee house drinks and treats, all with fun cat-themed names. Jeffrey had a Meowcaron and I had a Café au Lay on My Keyboard.

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The café uses lots of local products, like Rising Star Coffee and Storehouse Tea.

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The café area has windows that look into the cat lounge. To enter the cat lounge, you need to make a reservation for a one-hour time frame. Weekday reservations are $10 per person, weekend reservations are $12, student reservations are $8, and a 10-hour day pass is $49. Children are welcome and those over 5 years old require a separate reservation.

Before you enter the cat lounge, you get a review of the cat lounge rules and then it’s kitty time.

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The cats in the lounge currently range in age from 8 months to 13 years, with all the different energy levels and personalities that go along with it.

Jeffrey’s favorite was Trish Panda, who enjoyed playing string toy games and even let Jeffrey pet her a bit.

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With the exception of Prince, the resident cat, all the cats in the lounge are adoptable through the Cleveland APL.

The cat lounge has everything from cozy places to curl up with a furry friend to desks to work. There are phone chargers, books, games, and cat toys…everything you need to make a visit fun, productive, relaxing, or whatever else you might be seeking.

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I’m seriously wishing I saved my papasan chair from college after seeing how much Jeffrey liked this one!

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I am a confirmed dog person, but I did find the residents and the concept of Affogato Cat Café to be really sweet. Adoptable animals always have a special place in my heart Affogato provides a great way to find a new adoptable pet or just have some cozy kitty time. Jeffrey certainly loved it, if his individual goodbyes to each cat are any indication.

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Affogato is now open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-9pm. Remember, if you want to visit with the kitties, you need to make a reservation online.

 

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? 2018!

2018 was, well, a year. To be completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve on a good year and this year was more challenging than most. I’m having a hard time separating the bad from the good, so I’m mostly just ready to welcome a new beginning.

But when I look back on it, there were certainly fun moments in 2018, along with a lot of growth, strengthening of relationships, and deepening of commitments.

In 2018, we ate…

…we drank…

…we traveled…

…I yoga-ed and barre-d…

 

…we sported…

 

…we got cultured…

 

…and we got to the Point.

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We loved…

 

…and lost.

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And my kid grew into even more of an extraordinary, funny, smart, inquisitive human.

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It’s been a hell of a year and while I’m honestly not sad to see it go, I do hope the lessons, the growth, and the friendships stay with me into 2019.

May the New Year land softly, however you may feel about 2018. XO

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Why? Hudec Dental and Cleveland Monsters!

This weekend, we got to enjoy a great partnership between two of my favorite Cleveland partners: Hudec Dental and the Cleveland Monsters.

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Hudec Dental provides electronic message boards and a dasher board during the games. The dasher board gives game attendees access to the Hudec Dental Monsters website, which lets you know when you can visit the Hudec Dental activation booth, at one Monsters game per month.

The activation booth features games, prizes with an up to $300 value, and an interactive photo booth! The next Monsters game featuring the Hudec Dental activation booth is on Sunday, January 6.

Hudec Dental is also the sponsor of the post-game skates, which last for 45 minutes after the game and are free for game attendees. You can rent skates or bring your own for some of your own on-ice fun!

Perhaps the most visible part of the Hudec Dental partnership with the Cleveland Monsters is the Zamboni, with the bright, friendly Hudec Dental colors and “Relax. And smile.” tagline.

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Everyone loves watching the Zamboni!

Jeffrey was lucky enough to be able to ride on the Zamboni after the second period of the game. What a blast!

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He had such a good time, waving to the crowd and flying around the ice! He even got introduced to the crowd and was on the Humongotron!

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Beyond the Zamboni ride, the Monsters game was packed with lots of family fun, including a kids jersey giveaway, lots of fun entertainment between the action of the game, Sully the mascot, and the family-friendly price tag for tickets. Check out tickets and promotions.

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For a sports experience the whole family will enjoy, head on out to a Cleveland Monsters game. And for a dental experience the whole family will enjoy too, head to your neighborhood Hudec Dental!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing brand ambassador relationship with Hudec Dental. In exchange, I received a parking pass, three game tickets, and a Zamboni ride at the Cleveland Monsters game. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was another festive weekend in the CLE! Don’t you just love this time of year?! Let’s go to it…well, 2/3rds of it (stay tuned tomorrow for more)…

Breakfast with Mr. Kringle

On Saturday, we had breakfast with a true Cleveland original: Mr. Kringle from Kringle’s Inventionasium.

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Along with his friends Fancy and Eyesley, Mr. Kringle attended a bright, fun, festive breakfast buffet at The Burnham at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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The breakfast buffet featured eggs, waffles, French toast, sausage, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, ham and pork belly, and the best bacon I’ve ever eaten (it is possible I ate an entire pound myself).

We also decorated cookies…

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…and had so much time to be creative and fun with Mr. Kringle and friends. One of the things I love about Kringle’s Inventionasium is that it encourages a child’s imagination and creativity (and humor)!

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The Hilton has been decorated this season in the bring, imaginative style of Kringle’s Inventionasium.

You can even spend the night in the Mr. Kringle Suite, available through January 5. The suite has been festively decorated for a magical holiday experience!

You can also visit Kringle’s Inventionasium at Tower City Center through December 30. Click here to plan your visit.

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to attend a complimentary Breakfast with Mr. Kringle. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Holiday Play Date

And on Sunday, in what has become an annual tradition, we hosted Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date for his friends (and ours). As the kids have gotten bigger and the invite list longer, we decided to have the play date at a community room, rather than our house.

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We rented a room at the Mentor Civic Center, which made the party easy and fun (plus the kids loved the view of the ice rink)!

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There were games and prizes…

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…pinata pandemonium, crafts…

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…delicious pizza from Longo’s Pizza, cookies from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, and mini chocolate peppermint bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

It was such a fun afternoon and a great way to celebrate the season!

So, that was most of our weekend! Stay tuned tomorrow for some Zamboni action!

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Why? Disney on Ice Giveaway!

As you may know, we recently got back from a magical trip to Walt Disney World. But we can actually keep the Disney magic going right here in Cleveland when “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” skates into Quicken Loans Arena.

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The show will include favorite characters undertaking daring and exciting quests and rescue missions. Characters will include those from CoCo, Moana, Frozen, Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Aladdin, along with Mickey Mouse and pals.

“Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” opens on Friday, January 11 and runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through January 20. Opening night tickets start at $15 and kids tickets for all performances start at $15.

For the first time ever, you can add on a special 45-minute character experience: “Storytime with Belle.” You’ll hear Belle tell the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” meet Belle and Mickey, get photo opps and a keepsake photo, and more. “Storytime with Belle” tickets are $60 per person and require a corresponding event ticket.

We attended Disney on Ice last year and it was a truly magical and fun evening! These tickets make a great holiday gift for the little ones in your life!

Tickets for “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” and “Storytime with Belle” can be purchased online, at the Quicken Loans Arena box office, by phone at 888-894-9424, or at Discount Drug Mart locations.

Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to opening night on Friday, January 11 at 7pm right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries right here, just leave a separate comment here for each entry):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which character(s) your kid will be most excited to see on ice.

2. Visit Disney on Ice and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Hop on over to my Instagram page for additional entries.

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

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win @DisneyonIce tickets from @WhyCLE #giveaway #disneyonice http://whycle.com/2018/12/11/why-disney-on-ice-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Saturday, December 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party.” In exchange, I will receive three complimentary tickets to opening night, a meet and greet dinner, and Disney on Ice swag, as well as four opening night tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Punch Bowl Social Putt Club!

So, it’s officially become “we don’t go outside” season in Cleveland. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up all your favorite activities. Punch Bowl Social just opened an indoor miniature golf course that will keep you swinging through the winter months.

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Punch Bowl Social Putt Club is the only one of it’s kind across all the Punch Bowl locations nationwide. Manager Mike Mauser told me that the reason for that is twofold: Cleveland’s weather is the perfect testing ground for indoor activities (but we love CLE anyway) and Cleveland boasts the largest Punch Bowl square footage across the country.

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The course is 1,800 square feet of miniature golfing goodness on the first level of Punch Bowl Social. The course features 9 holes of fun, with a Nordic Woodland theme. The decor is spot-on and features local artists Charley Francis and Cleveland Blacksmithing.

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We tried out the course and found it to be both challenging and fun! Jeffrey loved it, but Matthew and I found it tricky enough to make for a good game for us too.

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There are drink stations at each hole, so you can properly secure your delicious Punch Bowl beverage while you play (the Orchard & Oak is my forever favorite there).

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After our round of golf, we grabbed dinner. Matthew and I were both feeling the fried chicken vibes, with the Chicken ‘n Waffles for him and the A La Bama Chicken Sandwich for me. We also shared the Sriracha Peanut Fries with pork. So delicious!

Punch Bowl Social Putt Club is open daily and does not accept reservations. Stop in to add a little breath of summer to your winter months!

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