Why? Pittsburgh!

This weekend, Alicia, Melissa, and I took a little girls weekend road trip to Pittsburgh. It started with plans to see Sara Bareilles (who wasn’t coming to Cleveland), but turned in to a great chance to get away and explore a different city.

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We’ll start with the original purpose of the trip: seeing Sara Bareilles perform. I hadn’t see her live since her show at House of Blues maybe 8 years ago. She was fantastic! Her voice is gorgeous, her lyrics are captivating, and her personality makes me think we would totally be besties (call me, Sara).

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She played lots of favorites, as well as a bunch of songs from the musical she penned, Waitress and songs from her new album “Amidst the Chaos” (I am seriously hooked on “Fire” and “Poetry by Dead Men” from that album).

We stayed in an AirBNB, which is such a perfect way to travel, especially with a group. We saved money over a hotel, plus we had common area space for hanging out, ordering a ridiculous amount of Thai food which lasted us the whole weekend, and just generally getting more time together in a cozier environment.

We weren’t far from Carson Street, which has a ton of bars. The vibe/crowd is somewhat like the Warehouse District. We checked out Mario’s South Side Saloon, Carson City Saloon, and Local Bar & Kitchen.

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Carson Street is definitely a fun, young, busy place to be. When we were down there on Thursday night, we were in the midst of a ton of Steelers fans watching the game, but we managed to find one other Browns fan in the craziness!

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For dinner before the concert, we went to Morcilla, a beautifully-appointed tapas restaurant in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Much like the AirBNB, a tapas meal allows for a more communal experience.

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Some of the favorites from our table were the Marcona Almonds (lavender sugar, sea salt, EVOO); the Roasted Pepper Conserva (habanada and sweet carmen peppers, sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic); the Oxtail Montadito (caramelized onion, machon cheese, baguette); and the Crispy Fried Sunchokes (butternut squash romesco, za’atar).

Don’t skip the churros with chocolate hazelnut sauce for dessert!

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The food was flavorful, the service was spot-on, and the restaurant was just charming!

Speaking of food, we also grabbed a couple great breakfasts while we were in town. We couldn’t resist a trip to the famous Pamela’s Diner.

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Their crepe-style hotcakes are so good! I got the specialty ones with apples, walnuts, and caramel!

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We also checked out Cafe Moulin, a small creperie in the Shadyside neighborhood. Since we couldn’t decide between savory and sweet, Alicia and I shared the Tivoli (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, pesto) and the Cheese Cake (marscapone, chocolate chips, berry compote).

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This place is delicious and adorable!

Beyond that, we also explored the Strip District, which kind of feels like the West Side Market writ large.

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Lots of delicious food shops, as well as some kitschy stores, to explore.

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So, that was our trip. We certainly found a lot to enjoy in Pittsburgh, but more than that, we had such a great time just being away and having plenty of uninterrupted moments to laugh and talk and catch up.

Have you been to Pittsburgh? What are some of your favorite places there?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Can you guys believe it’s November already? I definitely can’t! Here’s what the first weekend of the month brought…

Grunge Party

On Friday night, my friend Anne invited me to her law firm’s 20th anniversary party. Since the firm was formed in 1999, they decided to have a 90’s grunge-themed party.

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Never one to miss the opportunity to enjoy a good theme party, I snagged a Nirvana tshirt and flannel off Amazon, found some chokers and dark lipstick at Target, and channeled my inner angst.

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It was a really fun night and I was impressed that a group of lawyers could host a party with such a laid-back theme!

Playing With Fire

Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I caught an advance screening of “Playing With Fire,” which opens nationwide on Friday, November 8.

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The movie is about a group of smoke jumpers who end up having to care for three kids after a daring rescue. Predictable antics ensue. The movie was funny and heartwarming and featured some awesome supporting actors, such as Keegan-Michael Key and Judy Greer.

It’s definitely a great movie to see with your kids!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the advance screening of Playing With Fire In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the screening.***

Brenna’s Birthday Party

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I were transported to jolly old England at Brenna’s Peppa Pig-themed birthday party. Alicia did an amazing job with the theme and everything from the decor to the food was spot on!

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There were donuts from Brewnuts, cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, and gorgeous linens from L’Nique Specialty Linen.

Plus, good friends, prosecco, lots of laughs, and so much fun celebrating this very special three year old!

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So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, pre-Halloween weekend, so let’s get right to it…

Designer Dress Days

On Friday morning, I stopped by the 51st annual Designer Dress Days sale to benefit NCJW Cleveland.

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Held at the Mandel JCC, this sale has something for every fashionista, from exclusive designer labels to cashmere to furs to handbags.

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I scored an amazing deal on this stunning dress off the Celebrity/Influencer rack.

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It was donated by Kimberly of Modern Musings and I just cannot wait to wear it out on the town (perhaps to the event I’ll be blogging about tomorrow).

The sale is still on today, October 28, from 12-8pm and tomorrow, October 29, from 10am-7pm. And today, everything is 20% off the already amazing prices! So stop by and grab yourself some fabulous new finds for your wardrobe, all to benefit a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by NCJW Cleveland to help promote Designer Dress Days. In exchange, I received complimentary admission to the preview day and compensation. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Burntwood Tavern Dia de los Muertos

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Lisa for dinner at Burntwood Tavern to enjoy their limited-time Dia de los Muertos menu.

We both started with the Perfect Margarita, served on the rocks with Patron, Grand Marnier, lime, and a salted rim.

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We shared the Pacos Nachos, with smoked pork carnitas, colby jack cheese, crispy jalapenos, peppers and onions, avocado salsa, pico de gallo, and queso blanco.

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Hearty and filling, these were delicious nachos!

For my entree, I had the Baja Fish Tacos, with beer-battered cod, cole slaw, queso rico, chipotle aioli, and rice & beans.

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The rice & beans were not your typical Mexican rice & beans, but they were tasty. And the fish was tender and flaky, with a nice kick from the chipotle aioli.

The Dia de los Muertos menu is available at all Burntwood Tavern locations through Sunday, November 3, with options from tacos to burritos to chicken tortilla soup. Over on Instagram, I’m running a gift card giveaway for $50 to Burntwood Tavern to check it out for yourself. The giveaway closes on Tuesday, October 29 at 11:59pm, so hop over and enter!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Burntwood Tavern to help promote the Dia de los Muertos menu. In exchange, I received two complimentary entrees and two complimentary margaritas. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we kicked off our fourth season as subscribers to the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square.

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The first show was Jungle Book, a re-imagined version of the classic tale, with a great message about conservation mixed in. Every year, Jeffrey becomes so much more engaged in the stories taking place on stage!

While the season ticket packages are sold out for this year, stay tuned in March for when the 2020-2021 season is announced. This a great way to introduce children to live theater in a way that is friendly and accessible, while still challenging their imaginations.

Gesu Young Families Truck or Treat

Trunk or Treat events have become quite popular over the last few years with church groups and schools, where families can decorate their cars and let their kids trick or treat in an enclosed area.

The Gesu Young Families group hosted their Truck or Treat on Saturday night, but it turned into a Gym or Treat due to the weather!

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There was a DJ, pizza, and plenty of candy! Our Trunk or Treat design came from my friend Sarah who created this adorable Toy Story-scape and was kind enough to let me borrow it! It was definitely a hit with the kids!

Trunk or Treat was a fun night and a great precursor to all the Halloween action coming this Thursday.

Gesu Blue-Gold Game

On Sunday, we bundled up and headed to the last game of Jeffrey’s soccer season: the Gesu Blue-Gold game.

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All the Kindergartners played each other, enjoyed pizza and snacks, and generally celebrated the end of a fun season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Designer Dress Days!

It’s almost time for one of the most fabulous clothing sales in town: Designer Dress Days presented by NCJW Cleveland.

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The 51st annual Designer Dress Days (“DDD”) is a wonderland of fashion finds from designers such as Vince, Theory, Alice and Olivia, kate spade, Tory Burch, Georgio Armani, and more.

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Happening Friday, October 25 through Tuesday, October 29 (excluding Saturday) at the Mandel JCC, Designer Dress Days not only lets you find lovely fashions at great discounts, but it also lets you support the amazing programs and community volunteer efforts of NCJW Cleveland.

My favorite part of Designer Dress Days, aside from the fabulous finds, are the over 250 volunteers who help make this shopping experience fun. They will help you navigate the sale, ooh and aah when you try things on, and just generally make your time at DDD so pleasant.

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I had a chance to preview some of the items that will be available at this year’s Designer Dress Days and you do not want to miss out on this!

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There will also be a special rack of items donated by local celebs and influencers, so be sure to check that out!

Designer Dress Days dates and times are:

Friday, October 25 – Preview Day ($20 entry fee this day only) – 10am-4pm

Sunday, October 27 – 10am-4pm

Monday, October 28 – 12pm-8pm

Tuesday, October 29 – 10am-7pm

Get yourself a gorgeous new dress or handbag and contribute to a great philanthropy, all in one spot!

***Disclosure: I was asked by NCJW Cleveland to help promote Designer Dress Days. I was invited to an influencer preview event, received compensation, and will receive complimentary admission to the Preview Day. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a low-key weekend, which after last weekend’s birthday busy-ness, was much-needed.

Sunrise Yoga

On Saturday morning, I headed down to the Cleveland American Heart Association Heart Walk for a sunrise yoga class with my girl Alicia.

GrooveRyde, where Alicia teaches on Monday nights (take her GrooveFlow class…your thighs will hate you, but thank you), was one of several local businesses supporting the Heart Walk with additional fitness offerings, fun booths, and more.

I forgot how different it is to practice on the grass, though. You’re using different muscles to stabilize and you’ll definitely feel the difference the next day!

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The view of the city at sunrise makes it worth it though!

Soccer

So, I’m officially a soccer mom!

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Jeffrey joined the school soccer team and had his first two games on Saturday morning. From learning which way to kick the ball (mostly because of kicking it the wrong way) to agreeing to play defense, then immediately asking “What’s defense?,” it was equal parts heartwarming and hilarious.

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But I’m so proud of Jeffrey for trying something new and for the coaches for doing a great job exposing the kids to soccer specifically and sportsmanship generally.

Birthday Dinner

I also snuck in one last birthday dinner at my parent’s house. We had delicious, huge crab legs from Lobster Brothers, tasty sangria, and a decadent ice cream cake from Mitchell’s.

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Despite the candles literally singeing my hair (the hazards of a bigger number birthday), it was a lovely celebration. My presents also added two new leopard-print items to my ever-growing collection!

How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

I spent the weekend celebrating my impending birthday and it was nothing short of perfection…

Winery Hopping

On Saturday, I gathered some of my favorite ladies and went winery hopping in Geneva. We started at Laurentia Winery, which has fast become a favorite of mine thanks to their excellent wines (their Cabernet Sauvignon is incredible) and beautiful tasting room.

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We ordered tons of nibbles for the table, from cheese and charcuterie boards to a brie, fig, and pork belly flatbread (I didn’t share, but it’s my birthday party, dammit) to hummus and more.

Plus, a trio of decadent desserts made even more special with the sweet additions of Mariah’s candles and sparkly “Happy Birthday.”

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From there, we headed to M Cellars, where a bottle of their fantastic Brut Rosé enjoyed on the patio with live music convinced Elizabeth, Alicia, and I that summer is not quite done yet!

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Consider this my application to be an M Cellars model 😉

Our final stop was Harpersfield Vineyard for some Pinot Noir and veggie pizza.

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This cozy, dog-friendly winery has quickly become a must-stop because of the relaxed atmosphere and delicious food.

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It was a perfect afternoon exploring some of my personal highlights of Geneva wine country.

Indians Game

On Sunday, my friend Anne took me to the Indians game, because I love me some birthday week baseball as much as some birthday week wine.

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Not only did we bring home a win, but we enjoyed some patio time at Thirsty Parrot and a Ballpark Sundae from Sweet Moses, too.

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It was a lovely weekend taking in some of my favorite places in Northeast Ohio with some of my favorite people! How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Taste of the Browns!

Despite losing on the field in the home opener, the Cleveland Browns still scored a big win this week at FirstEnergy Stadium. The 21st annual Taste of the Browns fundraiser to benefit the Greater Cleveland Food Bank was hosted on Monday night and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to feed the hungry in our community.

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The event brought together Browns players and alumni, fantastic chefs and restaurants, and fans of the team and the city, all to help those in need. Fifty percent of the people served by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank are children or the elderly, so this event truly benefits those least able to help themselves.

From Chomps…

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to stadium views…

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…to foodie friends…

…to the delicious dishes, this event was a taste touchdown!

Some of my favorite dishes included the braised lamb with corn masa from Momocho

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…the tuna tartare tacos from Fahrenheit

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…the sliders with OBJ sauce (spicy!) and my favorite pork cracklins from B Spot Burgers

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…the wild boar bolognese from Johnny’s Downtown

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…and the scallop ceviche from Barrio Tacos, which I gobbled without getting a picture!

I’ve always been impressed with the Browns organization’s commitment to the community and the star power that helped make last night a success is no exception.

Cheers to a successful fundraiser for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and a successful season for the Cleveland Browns!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Taste of the Browns. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Chefs Unbridled!

One of my favorite foodie events of the year is Chefs Unbridled, to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center. Not only is the food always outstanding, but the setting is picturesque too.

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The weather was just perfect on Saturday night for this year’s event. Outside the tent, we enjoyed samples from Tom’s Foolery Distillery

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…and Crooked Pecker Brewing Company. The Driftwood Group food truck was also on hand with delicious offerings like hangar steak, halibut, and their famous tater tots with yum-yum sauce.

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Inside the tent, there were tasty morsels from some outstanding Cleveland chefs, along with live music, a spirited live auction, a wine pull, and a special appearance from Willie, one of Fieldstone Farm’s therapy horses.

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The dishes I most enjoyed from the evening were the flavorful duck breast with fried farro from Flour Restaurant

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…the truffled bologna sandwich from The Black Pig (bonus points for serving it on an English muffin…I love those!)…

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…the Tinman burger from Tinman, which is one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in ages…

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…the lobster mac ‘n cheese with a delicate sauce that didn’t detract from the lobster from The Driftwood Group

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…the apple tart, which was fall dessert at it’s best, also from The Driftwood Group…

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…and the simple, delicious cacio e pepe agnolotti from The Union Club.

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All of this food, wine, and fun raised money for Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which serves over 1,000 children and adults with special needs by connecting them with horses and teaching them independence, social skills, and more.

It was another year of perfection (and accidental outfit twinning with Jen) at Chefs Unbridled!

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***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? S’mores Pairing with Sweet Costo!

This week, my dear friend Maria and I had a super sweet evening with Sweet Costo at Western Reserve Distillers.

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But before we got to the s’mores pairing, we grabbed some dinner at Distill Table. There’s a whole menu of cocktails at Distill Table named after local landmarks, which is so fun.

Maria dove right in to the s’mores theme of the evening and had the Mastick Woods, with High West Bourbon, High West Campfire, smoked syrup, chocolate bitters, graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.

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I had the Memphis Kiddie Park, with Old Overholt Rye, Orgeat, HM Peach Cordial, Angostura, and ginger beer.

We shared the Crispy Brussels, with whipped lemon ricotta, bacon, honey, and ciabatta to start. And by shared, I mean devoured!

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For dinner, I had the Coconut Curry Shrimp Quinoa Bowl, with toasted quinoa, peppers, tomatoes, basil, salted almonds, and fresh lime. This was a flavorful, but not spicy, curry.

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Maria had the Twin Peaks Farm Meatloaf, with potato puree, crispy onions, and pineapple ketchup. Both were elevated, delicious comfort food dishes!

Then we headed next door to Western Reserve Distillers for the s’mores pairing event. Shelby of Sweet Costo created four original s’mores desserts, that were paired with a red wine, an Imperial stout, and Western Reserve Distillers whiskey.

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We had a s’mores candy bar (marshmallow forward), a s’mores macaron (chocolate forward), and a “traditional” s’more with homemade graham crackers. There was also a shot of graham cracker liquor in a marshmallow cup!

Shelby kicked off the pairing by not only explaining the desserts, but why she felt the drinks were good compliments to them. She also gave us the history of s’mores! From there, the tasting was self-guided. You could try each beverage with each dessert and decide which pairings you enjoyed best.

Personally, my favorites were the macaron with the red wine and the traditional s’more with the Imperial Stout.

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Western Reserve Distillers also created amazing s’more-themed cocktails for the evening It was a sweet evening of delicious food, tasty cocktails, and lots of good girl talk!

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Why? Zoo Clues and Brews!

I’m having a “challenge my brain” kind of week! Last night, Matthew and I met up with Julia and Ben for the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Zoo Clues and Brews scavenger hunt.

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We started out by fortifying ourselves with snack and adult beverages. I swear, whatever Cleveland Whiskey brings, I’m drinking!

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Driftwood Catering provided tasty bites, like sliders, Mediterranean and avocado bruschetta, corn dogs, and pretzel bites with cheese.

Then it was time for the scavenger hunt. Some teams wore costumes or matching shirts to show their spirit and creativity. My two favorites were the team dressed as “Sorry” game pieces and the team that named themselves “Bear Crawl.”

Our team, the Drama Llamas, did pretty well, although we didn’t complete all the questions. There is a lot of ground to cover at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo! You can have up to six people on your team and it’s definitely your best strategy to have more people and split up during the hunt.

We did get to see lots of the Zoo’s cute critters, from rhinos to bears to takin to tigers.

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We also learned some interesting new facts about the Zoo’s animals. I confess to not always reading the exhibit signs when I’m there with Jeffrey, so this was a chance for me to do that and then dazzle the other moms on our next play date at the Zoo (I shouldn’t be that Mom, right? Right.)

It wasn’t just factoids to find on the scavenger hunt. There were photo challenges too!

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Anytime you can be somewhere after hours, beer in hand, engaged in some friendly competition, you’re bound to have a good time.

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Zoo Clues and Brews was put on by The Herd, the young professionals group of the Cleveland Zoological Society. They plan events throughout the year, including Sunday Strolls through the Zoo and networking nights at Terrestrial Brewing. If you’re a YP looking to get more involved with the Zoo and its conservation efforts, check out The Herd!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Zoo Clues and Brews. In exchange, I received a complimentary team registration for the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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