Why? Roses and Rosé at Heinen’s!

It’s rosé season! Personally, I don’t think it ever stopped being rosé season, but this light, fruity wine certainly reaches it’s peak consumption during the spring and summer months.

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It’s perfect for patio drinking, day-drinking, and pairing with the lighter foods you’re cooking this season.

Last night, Heinen’s celebrated both rosé wine and roses, with an event that included a rosé and cheese pairing, as well as a flower arranging tutorial.

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When we arrived, we were greeted with a glass of Bacio della Luna Pinot Brut Rosé. This sparkling wine was vibrant, crisp, and one of my favorites of the evening.

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It was paired with a Caseificio Truf 3 Latti, a cow, goat, and sheep milk cheese with truffles. Creamy, dreamy, earthy yumminess!

We then sampled six non-sparkling rosés, each paired with cheese and all available at your neighborhood Heinen’s:

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  • 2018 The Palm by Whispering Angel, paired with Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper
  • 2018 Confidencial Rosé, paired with Mayfield Road Creamery Plain Havarti-Holstein
  • 2018 Rodney Strong Rosé of Pinot Noir, paired with Saint Angel Triple Crème Brie
  • 2018 Alexander Vineyards Rosé of Sangiovese, paired with Ubriaco Prosecco Cheese (it’s bathed in prosecco, not unlike myself)
  • 2018 Viallet Rosé, paired with Beecher’s Dutch Hollow Dulcet
  • 2018 Diving into Hampton Waters Rosé (from Jon Bon Jovi’s winery), paired with Mackenize Creamery Chevre with Herbs de Provence

Of these wines, the Rodney Strong and Confidencial were my favorites. So, I learned I really like rosé of Pinot Noir! I also learned that rosé can be made from any red wine grape and that the trend as consumers is toward lighter-colored rosés, which does not necessarily mean better quality.

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I love that Heinen’s incoporated local cheese from Mayfield Road Creamery and Mackenzie Creamery into the tastings. The store does a wonderful job at stocking wines and cheese that range from hyper-local to around-the-world.

For our floral arranging demonstration, we learned to always keep your flowers in cold water, cut them once you bring them home from the store, and create your arrangements by looking at them from the side perspective, which is what your dinner guests will see when they are on your table.

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Of course, Heinen’s offers a lovely selection of fresh flowers to help you create the perfect centerpiece for your own Roses and Rosé party!

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Alicia is super excited about the wine and cheese

Spring has sprung, so if you need me, I’ll either be in the Heinen’s wine aisle or sitting on my porch sipping my rosé! Cheers!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Roses and Rosé event at Heinen’s with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Oh, it was a weekend of eating! From Market at the Food Bank to our other weekend adventures, we enjoyed so much good food!

Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria

On Friday, we met up with Julia and Ben to help them get another entry in their Pizza Diaries series at Biga Wood Fired Pizzeria.

Biga is a favorite pizza spot for us. We love their selection of wood-fired, authentic pies, always focused on local, seasonal ingredients.

To make ourselves feel a little bit healthy, we started with the wood-roasted broccolini with lemon, parmesan, and garlic.

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Then it was into the pies. We shared the Biga Pesto (homemade pesto, roasted tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, and mozzarella); the Cerino (house made sweet sausage, roasted artichokes, red sauce, fresh mozzarella, and basil); and the Ramp (ramps, bacon, garlic, mozzarella, and rosemary cream).

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My favorite was the Cerino, which was well-balanced between toppings, sauce, and cheese and hit that “traditional pizza” taste on the head.

I’ll let Julia and Ben share more of our thoughts on the pizza, but suffice it to say, everyone left Biga feeling stuffed and happy!

Rosewood Grill 

On Sunday, I joined some fellow bloggers at a brunch at Rosewood Grill, which just rolled out their new brunch menu. We got an expansive taste of the menu and my biggest takeaway is how well-balanced it is.

There are plenty of sweet options, savory options, breakfast options, lunch options, salads, and decadent desserts. There’s something for every brunch taste, which is a tricky needle to thread.

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I started with the Good Morning Manhattan, with Watershed Private Barrel Bourbon, orange marmalade, and sherry. Who says bourbon isn’t for brunch?!

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Rosewood Grill treats brunch like a full meal, with appetizer and dessert options on the menu. Do not miss the Millionaire Bacon, crusted with brown sugar and cayenne!

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Or the Coo Coo 4 Cocoa Puffs, with boozy milk: a grown-up treat that will make you feel like a kid again!

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And I have two coupons to give away for a complimentary brunch appetizer at Rosewood Grill for the first two people to comment on this post!

If you’re into sweet brunch options, my personal favorite was the Brioche French Toast, with peanut butter mousse, bacon, strawberry, and Ohio maple syrup.

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The Lemon Ricotta Pancakes with mixed berry compote will also satisfy your morning sweet tooth!

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On the savory side, the Fried Chicken Benny, with buttermilk biscuit, sausage gravy, egg, and hash browns…

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…the Sausage and Egg Tacos, with cheddar, peppers and onions, guacamole, and salsa roja, and the Short Rib Hash, with peppers, onions, sunny side up eggs, and creamy horseradish were all stand-outs.

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If you’re looking for something lighter, the Maine Lobster Chop, with asparagus, roasted corn, cucumber, tomato, scallions, and herb yogurt dressing is the perfect summer salad!

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And if you want decadence, look no further than the Chocolate Torte or Cherry Cobbler.

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Rosewood Grill’s brunch offers something for every taste (and you should taste all of it!) The food is flavorful, incorporates a lot of local ingredients, and is elevated while still being approachable. Brunch is offered at all three Rosewood Grill locations (Hudson, Strongsville, and Westlake) on both Saturdays and Sundays from 10am-2pm.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary brunch at Rosewood Grill. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So, that was our weekend: tons and tons of fabulous, local food. How was yours?

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Why? Il Rione Pizzeria!

You guys, I am just flying through my 2019 Blog Bucket List! This week, I finally got to Il Rione Pizzeria, which had so much hype, I was wondering if it could possibly live up to my high pizza expectations.

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Spoiler alert: It surpassed them!

I met up with Alicia and Amanda for a proper girls’ night. We started with aperol spritzers, which were light and delicious and perfect for warmer weather.

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We then shared the meat and cheese plate, with San Danielle prosciutto, coppa, and rosemary ham. Amanda proclaimed this was the best Italian bread she’d ever had and I concur. It was crispy, but still soft and chewy. So good!

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We shared the clam pie, with middleneck clams, pecorino, garlic, and oregano, and the sausage pie, with red sauce, mozarella, sausage, roasted peppers, sauteed onions, garlic, and parmesan.

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The pies had a thin, chewy crust and were loaded with thoughtfully-chosen, flavorful toppings. This was just damn good pizza!

Il Rione’s menu keeps it simple: the meat and cheese board, a few salads, and the pies. You can choose a “suggested pie” or build your own. I’ve learned my lesson after build-your-own flavor debacles to take the suggested route.

The restaurant is small and fills up quickly. Arrive early or prepare to hang out with a spritzer or two at the bar. Either way, you won’t be sorry you stopped in to this cozy, haute casual, thoroughly delicious spot!

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Why? Toledo!

Remember my 2019 blog bucket list? One of the things I wanted to do was take more day trips around Ohio.

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Yesterday, Jeffrey and I checked off a day trip to Toledo with the help of our friends Haylie and Zak (remember when they came to visit me in Cleveland) and our new pals at Destination Toledo.

We started our day at the National Museum of the Great Lakes.

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From tales of shipwrecks…

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…and WWII aircraft carrier practice drills…

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…the Great Lakes have a storied history to share.

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The National Museum of the Great Lakes has plenty of hands-on elements that kept Jeffrey entertained, too!

We also had a chance to visit the Col. James M. Schoonmaker, once known as the Queen of the Great Lakes.

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Our guided tour let us see the sheer size and majesty of this ship.

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Captain Jeffrey approved!

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Then it was off to lunch at a location of a Toledo classic: Packo’s at the Park, located right near the Toledo Mud Hens stadium.

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This casual café serves loaded hot dogs, as well as Hungarian classics of stuffed cabbage and chicken paprikash.

Tony Packo’s is a Toledo institution and has attracted national attention. The walls are covered with autographed hot dog buns signed by famous visitors from actors to politicians.

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Tony Packo’s is also known for their pickles (you can try the sweet hots at B Spot). I ordered some fried pickles to share with the table and didn’t share any!

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Next up was Jupmode, because everyone loves city-themed merchandise! The store is fun and funky, with a pinball machine…

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…and a wall of very good puppers who have visited.

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I couldn’t resist this Lin-Manuel Miranda-themed shirt and I am currently wearing it as a write…

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Then it was off to Imagination Station, a wonderland of science-themed fun for all ages!

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I especially enjoyed the Popnology: From Sci-Fi to Wi-Fi special exhibit, open through April 28.

Imagination Station lets you truly experience science, from becoming a human yo-yo (Haylie was brave enough to try it) to flying a flight simulator.

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Imagination Station is bright, fun, and engaging…a perfect place to spend an afternoon with your kiddo and kids at heart!

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We said goodbye to Toledo with a stroll through Promenade Park, which especially comes to life in the summer with a splash pad and outdoor concert series.

It was a jam-packed day that gave us a taste of the family fun that Toledo has to offer.

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You know I’m always encouraging you to explore Cleveland, but there are also lots of other great places to explore in Ohio, so take a day trip beyond your backyard and see what you can find!

***Disclosure: We received complimentary admission to the National Museum of the Great Lakes and Imagination Station and complimentary lunch, courtesy of Destination Toledo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Jump Back Ball!

Saturday was the annual Jump Back Ball put on by Playhouse Square Partners. This year’s theme was Jump Back Across the Pond and the guests came decked out as everything from royalty to musicians to wizards.

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The VIP Party had the royal family make an appearance…

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…including the Queen’s corgi (in reality, Murray, who belongs to Beard and the Broad).

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We also enjoyed specialty cocktails from Tito’s Handmade Vodka and Pope’s Kitchen, high tea inspired appetizers from The Driftwood Group, and music from North Coast String Quartet.

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Then it was off to the main event, with more great food and drinks, music from Abby Normal & the Detroit Lean on the main stage and Faction on the late night stage, and tons of fun British-themed photo opps, all created by Playhouse Square Partners members.

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This was our eighth Jump Back Ball and I’m amazed how, every year, we have such an incredible time at this truly unique, fun, epic event!

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Oh, and did I mention it’s all to benefit Playhouse Square’s community outreach and education initiatives, such as the Dazzle Awards and the Disney Musicals in Schools program?

What a bloody brilliant evening! Stay tuned for next year’s theme announcement and ticket sales kickoff in Fall 2019!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. I am also the co-chair of the Communications Committee for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Ohio City Galley!

When I got together for Galentine’s Day with my girls Alicia and Amanda, we had our very different tastes on display.

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Luckily, we had dinner at Ohio City Galley, a restaurant incubator with four different mini-restaurants, so our different tastes could all be satisfied under one roof!

Ohio City Galley is a chance for chefs to essentially test a restaurant concept rent-free, with the Galley Group providing marketing, space upkeep, and the like. Ohio City Galley’s current restaurants are Poca Casual Mexican, Sauce the City, Tinman, and The Rice Shop.

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I chose the BBQ Pork Belly from The Rice Shop, served with sticky rice, honey mustard kale, and sambal sour cream.

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The dish was flavorful and the pork belly was the perfect balance of crispy and tender.

Alicia and Amanda both chose dishes from Poca Casual Mexican: the Al Pastor tacos and the Oaxacan tamales. And while I didn’t sneak any bites, they were very happy with their choices. We also shared some of the guacamole with the most delicious masa chips!

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Photo Credit: Alicia

For dessert, the apple fritters from Tinman, served with caramel sauce and Apple Jacks ice cream were a decadent and delicious end to our meal.

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The bar at Ohio City Galley is also serving up creative treats. I enjoyed a Moses Cleveland, with bourbon, herbed plum syrup, citrus, and soda.

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We also got to help the bar manager Daniella practice four signature Galentine’s cocktails, all of which were unique and delicious.

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Pro tip: Go to Ohio City Galley during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 5-7pm) for half off all drinks and specials at the restaurants!

With it’s haute cafeteria-style environment, tasty drinks, and creative cuisine, Ohio City Galley is the perfect way to try something new and satisfy everyone’s different tastes in one place!

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Why? Perfectly Imperfect Produce!

There’s nothing I love more than when a person not only recognizes a problem, but comes up with an innovative solution. That’s exactly what Ashley Weingart did when she launched Perfectly Imperfect Produce.

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Ashley’s family has been in the produce business for four generations. Ashley saw that the industry had a lot of food waste due to buyers’ shifts in demand or desire for “perfection” in the product.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce rescues produce that would otherwise go to waste, but is perfectly good for consumption. The items are unique in size, shape, or color, as well as those considered surplus crops.

Not only does Perfectly Imperfect Produce help to reduce food waste, they also help improve access to healthy food. For every box purchased, a donation of produce is made to local food pantries through the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.

We got to hear about Perfectly Imperfect Produce’s mission, as well as taste some of their delicious produce last night at Prep Kitchen CLE, which is a gorgeous space that is available for rent for meetings, social gatherings, and the like.

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Aubrey of That’s What She Eats, who works with Perfectly Imperfect Produce to create recipes with their produce, created some delicious nibbles: sweet potato slices, roasted cauliflower, curry hummus, and butternut squash mac.

We also got to fill our own box of Perfectly Imperfect Produce, with items like apples, pears, ginger root, squash, and mango.

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You can get in on your own Perfectly Imperfect Produce box with various options, such as organic, all fruit, and all veggie. You can also pick your size and frequency of delivery. Yes, I said delivery. All this great produce is delivered right to your door! Click here to see your options and order.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce is available in Cleveland and Columbus. Rescue some produce and do something good for you, for the food industry, and for those in need!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Perfectly Imperfect Produce to attend a complimentary influencer event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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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? 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? HaylieStory in Motion!

Awhile ago, I met up with Haylie from HaylieStory and Zak from Zak Films to film a City Surge video all about Cleveland.

From the West Side Market, to East 4th Street, to Playhouse Square, we checked out some of the best that Cleveland has to offer.

I tried to pick places that really highlighted the culture, food, and people that make Cleveland so awesome!

And now, I’m so excited to share the final product with you.

For more awesome City Surge videos, along with thoughts on travel, life, and fun, follow along with #HaylieStory! Thanks to Haylie and Zak for spending such a fun day with me around Cleveland!

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