Why? Weekends!

This weather, right?! What a gorgeous weekend! And a busy one too…

Light the Night

On Friday evening, Jeffrey and I went up to Hathaway Brown for their Light the Night celebration, which kicks off homecoming weekend. From balloon artists to games to music to food trucks, there was something fun for every age.

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While the event was mainly to celebrate the high school athletes, Hathaway Brown did a great job of making even the youngest in the community feel welcome and engaged.

Halloweekends

Jeffrey loves Cedar Point and I love a fall festival, so Halloweekends is the perfect combination! The Great Pumpkin Fest transforms the kids’ areas of Cedar Point with trick-or-treat stations, hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, and non-spooky haunted house, and more Halloween fun.

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Plus, there are still all the favorite rides to enjoy! Jeffrey escorted Brenna on one of the car rides…how sweet are they?!

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Plus, the Halloween decorations throughout the park are impressive! There are tons of pumpkins everywhere, some creatively shaped, too!

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Plus, the summer-like weather and the chance to spend a day with some of our favorite people made Halloweekends quite the perfect day!

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Yoga and Brunch

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Beth for another round of Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch series at Dante Next Door. After a challenging and centering practice, we headed downstairs to brunch. By happenstance, I knew almost all of the other yogis, so I not only had a chance to catch up with Beth, but chat with other Yoga/Brunch loving friends, too.

I’m working my way through the Dante Next Door brunch menu (it’s a tough job). This time, I chose the braised beef croissant, with shortrib, Gruyere, Dijon, and fried onions. The sandwich was so flavorful and tender!

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The flavors reminded me of French Onion soup, just in sandwich form. Delicious!

The next Yoga/Brunch is Sunday, October 22. $15 gets you an hour-long practice, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register!

So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy the weather and cheer on the Indians?

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Why? Yoga Outside the Studio!

More and more, yoga is asking you to unroll your mat somewhere outside a studio. And while I love a good studio flow, I also can’t help but enjoy taking my practice out and about, especially in the summer.

Over the last week, I had a chance to practice in two awesome locations with amazing views that put a great angle on my practice.

Last week, Inner Bliss Yoga Studio hosted Bliss in the Ballpark, an hour-long vinyasa yoga practice at Progressive Field.

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We got to unroll our mats on the right field deck and practice facing out to the field. I may have set my intention for another World Series appearance!

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After the practice, we could stay and enjoy a beer in The Corner and get to know some of the other baseball-loving yogis. I definitely find that, more than in a studio class, these out-and-about yoga classes offer the chance for fellowship and community after class. Don’t get me wrong: that happens at a studio, but it takes time to build. People tend to stick around and chat more right away at these classes.

This Monday, my dear friend Alicia taught a yoga class nearby to Luca Italian Cuisine on the Superior Viaduct.

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With sweeping views of the city and Alicia’s wonderful teaching style, this is one of my favorite classes in recent memory. Alicia referenced the city and the views at the beginning, but wasn’t heavy-handed about it. She let her students find their own inspiration and meaning from the beautiful surroundings.

After class, we got to enjoy a glass of wine and appetizers at Luca Italian Cuisine. Again, everyone from the class gathered and had a chance to get to know each other better.

The yoga justifies the pasta and all the glorious Luca bread I ate, right?!

Yoga outside the studio can be fun, challenging, community-building, and an all around cool experience. Keep your eyes open for more such events like Alicia’s Yoga and Brunch series at Dante Next Door and Inner Bliss’ Believe in CLE event at the Rock Hall. And for my thoughts on other outside-the-studio yoga:

Where have you practiced outside the studio? And what did you think of it?

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from Twilight at the Zoo, there was lots of other great summer fun to be had this past weekend!

Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.

On Saturday morning, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for one of my favorite combinations: yoga and beer!

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The patio at Platform was the perfect spot for an hour-long vinyasa flow led by my dear friend Alicia.

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Alicia has recently returned to teaching yoga and I had forgotten how much I enjoy her blend of challenging poses, great cues and guidance, fabulous music choices, and humor.

The class was a fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation and included an hour-long yoga class and one Platform beer. I chose the Dancin’ in the Streets saison as my beer and couldn’t pass up one of the breakfast sandwiches, made with a Cleveland Bagel Co. bagel, egg, cheese, and bacon.

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If you’re interested in another chance to practice and drink with Alicia (and me) and benefit the Arthritis Foundation, check out Sunset Yoga on the Superior Viaduct on Monday, August 14. Your $25 ticket includes a 60-minute all-levels yoga class, one beer or glass of wine and complimentary small bites on the Luca Italian Cuisine veranda and extended happy hour specials until 9:00 p.m.

AIA Cleveland Beach Day

From there, I met up with Matthew and Jeffrey at Edgewater Beach for the AIA Cleveland Beach Day.

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For the past three years, Matthew and his AECOM colleagues have competed against other architecture firms in the sandcastle competition.

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This year, the AECOM team did a play on the Cleveland Metroparks Centennial, combined with Star Wars, naturally. There was the “Centennial Falcon,” as well as tree that proclaimed, “May the forest be with you.”

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They even had a colleague dress up like Jabba the Hutt!

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There is a fan favorite contest, voted on by beach-goers at Edgewater, and a contest judged by AIA members. For the third year, AECOM won the judges’ choice as best sandcastle. It takes a lot of work and creativity to make these sandcastles and I’m so proud of Matthew and his team!

Plus, Jeffrey and I never mind an excuse to spend the day at the beach (and get some Honey Hut ice cream at the Edgewater Beach House too.)

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Aladdin’s Eatery

Saturday evening, we met up with friends for dinner at Aladdin’s Eatery. With a menu that can keep adults and kids happy, Aladdin’s is a favorite! I ordered the hummus shawarma plate, with tons of Aladdin’s delicious hummus, seasoned beef, tomatoes, and pine nuts.

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Don’t forget some of Aladdin’s amazing hot sauce, too! What a great meal!

Cleveland Indians Game

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to the Cleveland Indians game, which was his first of this season. It’s always so fun to take Jeffrey back to a place he hasn’t been in awhile to see how his interests and reactions change.

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He was much more interested in watching the game this time, as well as running the Tribe Tracker on the Family Deck, which allows you to virtually race against your favorite player.

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We all had a great time, despite the Tribe’s loss. Jeffrey loved the ball and bat giveaway, too and practiced his stance next to the new Lou Boudreau statue that was just unveiled this past weekend.

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So, that was our weekend! Lots of great summer time fun, packed into a couple days! How was yours?

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Why? Northeast Ohio Parent!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why? Weekends!

Whoa! What a kickoff to the Fourth of July long weekend…this past Friday through Sunday were packed with fun! On Friday, my sister-in-law Elizabeth and I went to the Total Package Tour, with Boyz II Men, Paula Abdul, and New Kids on the Block. But before we get to all the flashback fun, let’s talk about our pre-show dinner.

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We went to Bakersfield Tacos in Ohio City, which I had heard nothing but good things about. And the reviews were right! We started with drinks, of course. The spicy margarita packed some nice heat, but it was also just a really good margarita: smooth, and not overly sweet or syrupy.

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We shared the queso dip, which was flavorful and delicious, with light, crispy tortilla chips.

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Elizabeth and I ordered the same thing for dinner: the short rib tostada (essentially an open-faced taco) with tender short rib, fried egg, black beans, Bakersfield hot sauce, queso fresco, shredded romaine lettuce, and cilantro buttermilk ranch dressing.

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The flavors were delicious and the egg added a nice richness to the dish. I can’t wait to go back to Bakersfield and try some of the tacos and some more of their yummy drinks!

Then it was off to the concert. All of the acts sounded great and played all of their 80’s and 90’s hits, with plenty of dancing, light shows, and confetti to go along with them.

While NKOTB was on stage, they mentioned that they’ve been playing shows in Cleveland for 29 years now. I was at their shows that long ago (eek!) and it was so fun to be at another one and have just as much giddy excitement as back then!

On Saturday, we had another dinner in Ohio City and concert combo. Matthew and I met up with Alicia, as well as some of Matthew’s friends. We started with dinner at Townhall, which was absolutely packed between the gorgeous weather and lots of U2 fans grabbing a bite before the show.

I had the unfried chicken sandwich, which has cashew-crusted chicken, avocado, and spicy Bang Bang sauce. This huge, tasty sandwich might be my new Townhall favorite. The truffle fries were pretty amazing too!

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It was Alicia’s birthday, so of course a cookie skillet was part of the dinner and the birthday girl was kind enough to share some nibbles with all of us.

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From there, it was on to FirstEnergy Stadium for the U2 concert.

The band put on an incredible show! There’s something about a stadium show that is just very sweeping and grand and U2 definitely knows how to capitalize on that.

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There was a pretty stark difference between the concerts on Friday and Saturday night, but both played great shows in their own right and owned the niche they fit into.

Sunday, we headed up to Cedar Point for a day of family fun in the sun.

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Jeffrey loves the rides and kept insisting on one more ride, one more ride until we were all pretty beat!

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We ended the day with some Toft’s Ice Cream and headed home to rest up from a fun and crazy weekend!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun first weekend of April! On Saturday morning, Matthew and I took Jeffrey to see Sesame Street Live at Playhouse Square. We purchased “Sunny Seats,” which not only provide great seats for the show, but also a Meet-and-Greet beforehand.

Jeffrey got to meet Elmo, Grover, and Telly, with lots of hugs, fist bumps, and dancing (on both sides). Seeing his total excitement over getting to meet the characters was the best part of the day!

Then it was on to the show, which was themed “Make a New Friend.” From classic characters and songs to new ones, the show was bright and engaging and filled some sweet and heartfelt lessons.

 

We all had a great time and from the laughter and dancing from the rest of the audience, we weren’t alone in feeling that way!

Saturday evening, Matthew and I attended the fifth annual Mass and a Meal event put on by the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. This mainstay chapter event combines Mass at Holy Rosary in Little Italy with dinner at Nido Italia for a really nice evening! My favorite part of the event is getting to have dinner with other alums, usually people I didn’t know before, and sharing stories and memories of our time at John Carroll.

The food at Nido Italia is always so good, served family-style for our event. We enjoyed breaded eggplant, salad, bread, lemon chicken, cavatelli, and spumoni. We were stuffed! But we couldn’t be that close to Presti’s Bakery and miss a chance to take home a couple cannoli!

If you’re a John Carroll alumni looking to connect at an alumni event, click here for a list of upcoming happenings in Cleveland and beyond!

On Sunday, we hosted friends for brunch. We’ve found brunch is a great time to get people together, but since we wanted to include kiddos and all, it was easier to make brunch in and be able to linger over our bloody mary or mimosa and talk as long as we wanted.

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I made crab, roasted red pepper, and gruyere strata (recipe here) and baked almond French toast (recipe here). These two recipes made me not have to make the always difficult brunch choice of savory or sweet…just have both!

Beyond good food, the company was wonderful! I especially love seeing Alicia‘s daughter Brenna and Jeffrey playing together!

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Sunday afternoon, Jeffrey had his first race in the Healthy Kids Running Series. The program offers a five-week race series, open to ages from 2 through 8th grade. For Jeffrey’s age division, the kids run a 50-yard dash.

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Jeffrey did a great job! Beyond just the race, there’s pre- and post-race stretching and local businesses that provide healthy snacks.

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It’s such a fun activity and a great way to ease into an organized, group sport. I’m excited for next week’s race!

And to counterbalance the healthiness, we made a stop at Rosati’s Frozen Custard on the way home, which just opened for the season this weekend. The Higbee’s Chocolate Malted was calling my name!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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

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Why? Soul Connect Tribe!

One of my favorite parts of blogging is getting the chance to connect with passionate Clevelanders doing amazing things in our city. Soul Connect Tribe first caught my eye on Instagram, with inspirational quotes and lots of positive messaging. Seriously, this feed is like a warm hug.

From events like alternative girls nights out to a Galentine’s Day celebration, I loved the events I was seeing and I loved the vibe. I had to know more. Well, what’s beautiful about Katie, the founder of Soul Connect Tribe, is that she’s all about connection. Not just posting, but really connecting.

So, she didn’t think I was weird when I said we needed to grab drinks (or she didn’t let on) and when we sat for two hours at Humble Wine Bar the other night, it felt like I was there with an old friend.

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So, what is Soul Connect Tribe? It’s a little bit of everything soulful: coaching, Tribe gatherings, collaborative events,  and online community. Katie is a trained soul coach. My first question: what does that mean? Katie explains it herself here, but what really resonated with me was this explanation: she doesn’t get you through something, she gets you to something.

Soul Connect Tribe also puts on Tribe gatherings and collaborative events, from girls’ nights that give you the opportunity to connect with others in the Tribe to the new Sunday Soul Sessions, a walk and talk group coaching experience in the Cleveland Metroparks.

For me, Soul Connect Tribe’s mission is analogous to a lighthouse. It’s a beacon to like-minded ladies who want to connect in a safe space; who want to talk about their hopes and dreams and gain some guidance in finding the path that is right for them; who want to tap in to their inner power and inspiration, but maybe need a little push to find it.

And I can tell you that Katie is all heart, full of genuine caring and compassion, so easy to talk with, and super passionate about what she’s doing with Soul Connect Tribe. So whether it’s one-on-one coaching, a Tribe gathering, or just dipping your toes in the warmth of the social media feeds, you’ll gain so much by connecting with Soul Connect Tribe!

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Why? Weekends!

I feel like we packed a holiday weekend’s worth of fun into this weekend! On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with friends at The RainForest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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This is always a favorite winter play date location. How can you beat getting to see zoo animals in a temperate 80-degree environment, even in February?! We especially loved watching the new baby orangutan swing and play. He was so active and his parents looked so tired…I guess that sort of feeling really is universal!

Friday evening, I was in the mood for comfort food with a kick, so I whipped up some chorizo and hatch chile mac and cheese. I used this recipe, which doesn’t call for chorizo, but really, isn’t chorizo always a good idea?!

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I paired it with this amazing Straffe Hendrick Belgian Quad, which was recommended to me by the beer guru at my Heinen’s (you can follow him on Insta for craft beer tips here). It was a perfect meal!

On Saturday morning, Jeffrey and Matthew had a dad/son morning with friends at another favorite play date spot: the Great Lakes Science Center. From the Polymer Play Area to Build It!, the guys had a blast!

I so often get to share these experiences with Jeffrey, so I loved that Matthew had the chance for some one on one time with him!

Plus, I can’t be mad at how I spent my morning while they were there: with a yoga class at Harmony Studios, followed by a smoothie from their smoothie bar enjoyed in the gorgeous sunshine.

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Later Saturday afternoon, I attended a baby shower for our friends Lane and Nathan, who are getting ready to welcome a baby boy in April.

Everything at the shower was lovely, from the food to the décor to the favors (little daffodils that held as much promise of spring as this weekend’s weather did). I’m so excited for Lane and Nathan!

Sunday was a day of eating! I met up with Alicia and Amanda for brunch at what has become our go-to brunch spot: The Flying Fig.

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I created my brunch entirely out of side dishes, thus confirming my belief that all restaurants should offer the “Boston Market side dish meal.”

I had the taleggio polenta, the smothered breakfast potatoes (because bacon and cheese should never be optional), and the apple crisp. This was honestly the best polenta I’ve ever had: smooth, creamy, and rich. Everything from the food to the service was spot-on and made for a great brunch with two of my favorite ladies!

Sunday evening, we had dinner plans with my parents at Mama Roberto’s, so I somehow made room for more food! I had the tortelloni special, with red pepper pesto and shrimp. It was delicious!

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And Matthew had the veal Roberto, with artichoke hearts, tomato, basil, and mozzarella.

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Both of us chose really well, and ended up with plenty of leftovers to take home (along with a couple of Mama Roberto’s gigantic and legendary cannoli).

It was a really fun weekend, filled with good times with some of our favorite people! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends, Part 2!

This past Sunday was so packed with fun that it deserves it’s own blog post! We started our day at the first annual Donut Fest in Cleveland!

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Cleveland has joined the ranks of Chicago and New York City in hosting a Donut Fest. Your admission got you a donut from each of twelve vendors (mostly sample-size, thank goodness), plus three coffee samples (kudos to Hartzler Family Dairy for also offering milk as a beverage choice), a chance to vote for your favorite donut, a swag bag, and the chance to ride the wave of an epic sugar high and crash!

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I tend to be a donut traditionalist, so the chocolate crème sticks from Madsen Donuts and Jubliee Donuts were big favorites for me.

We’re all big chocolate lovers, but Matthew, Jeffrey, and I all loved the raspberry donuts from Peace Love and Little Donuts (raspberry coffee cake to be exact) and Holey Toledough (what a great name, too).

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Brewnuts had the cutest table set-up (plus a yummy and not overly sweet Salty Malty donut),

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and Red the Steakhouse and Moxie were clearly having fun.

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The Judges’ Choice winner was Peace Love and Little Donuts and the Crowd Favorite went to Jack Frost Donuts.

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But from the crowd’s general happiness, everyone was a winner at Donut Fest! This event sold out in less than a day, so be sure to stay tuned for info on Donut Fest 2018 and get your tickets early!

In order to balance out all the donuts, I spent my Sunday evening at a yoga event! GroundSwell Collective hosted CLE is my OM, an awesome event that brought together yoga, live music, a mini retreat, food, and local makers at 78th Street Studios for a fabulous collaborative evening.

We started with a soulful and fiery flow led by one of my first and favorite yoga teachers, Ylonda (you can catch her classes regularly at Yoga Strong, as well as GroundSwell).

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After the flow, we settled in with the ladies from Rock Your Bliss for a mini version of their Seven Weeks to Bliss curriculum.

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It was a meaningful, open, and inspirational conversation! After that, we noshed on delicious wraps and cookies from Cleveland Vegan and continued the conversation and fun.

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As good as yoga is for my body and soul, I loved taking the soul nourishment to an even higher level with this kind of combined yoga and bliss crafting event. I’ll definitely be on the look out for more GroundSwell Co. collaborations!

So, that was part 2 of an altogether wonderful weekend! How was yours? Do you agree that donuts are just as good for your soul as yoga retreats?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends, Part 1!

It was a fantastic and busy weekend in the CLE, so I’m breaking it down into a two-part weekend recap to fully describe all the fun.

On Friday, I attended the Cleveland American Heart Association Go Red for Women luncheon.

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This event featured both a fun and informative expo, as well as a healthy luncheon with inspiring speakers telling their personal heart health stories. At the expo, you could find out your blood pressure and BMI, learn CPR, and find out more about managing stress, all courtesy of University Hospitals Harrington Heart & Vascular Institute.

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You could also compete in Jenga, play Heart Jeopardy for cool prizes like this AHA t-shirt,

enjoy heart-healthy snacks like this beet and chickpea spread from Vitamix (How many samples is too many to take? Asking for a friend),

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and bid on some fabulous silent auction items like vineyard tours, concert tickets, and private shopping parties.

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From the sea of red in the attendees’ clothes to the amazing stories of courage and hope from the speakers to the chance to both donate to the Cleveland AHA and fill out postcards to send to legislators advocating for access to healthier food for all, the event left me all around inspired and invigorated.

There is such power in people (particularly women) coming together to make an impact: in this case to someday eliminate heart disease from it’s spot as the number one cause of death for women. Click here to find out how you can get involved in the Cleveland Goes Red for Women movement!

On Saturday, we went to a Family Fun Day party at Jeffrey’s school. The morning started with a presentation from Jungle Terry.

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The kids got to see turtles, snakes, birds, and the oh-so-adorable chinchilla.

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After the show, the gym was open for tons of running around and burning off energy. Anything that can tire Jeffrey out that much in the winter time is a good thing by me! It was a fun morning and just another example of why we love his school so much!

So, that’s part 1 of the weekend…stay tuned for donuts and yoga and bliss crafting tomorrow!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland American Heart Association Go Red for Women initiative. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket to the Go Red for Women Expo and Luncheon. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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