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!
The view of the city at sunrise makes it worth it though!
So, I’m officially a soccer mom!
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.
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.
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.
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!
I spent the weekend celebrating my impending birthday and it was nothing short of perfection…
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.
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.”
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!
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.
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.
to stadium views…
…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…
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.
The dishes I most enjoyed from the evening were the flavorful duck breast with fried farro from Flour Restaurant…
…the truffled bologna sandwich from The Black Pig (bonus points for serving it on an English muffin…I love those!)…
…the Tinman burger from Tinman, which is one of the tastiest burgers I’ve had in ages…
…the lobster mac ‘n cheese with a delicate sauce that didn’t detract from the lobster from The Driftwood Group…
…the apple tart, which was fall dessert at it’s best, also from The Driftwood Group…
…and the simple, delicious cacio e pepe agnolotti from The Union Club.
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!
***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.***
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
We started out by fortifying ourselves with snack and adult beverages. I swear, whatever Cleveland Whiskey brings, I’m drinking!
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.
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!
Anytime you can be somewhere after hours, beer in hand, engaged in some friendly competition, you’re bound to have a good time.
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.***
I had already been to a few games this season, but this was the first of the season without Jeffrey. And while I love his excitement for the game, it was also fun to spend time outside of the Family Deck!
We got the District tickets, which include standing room space in The Corner, as well as a beer. What a great deal! And it was Dollar Dog night, which meant cheap eats, too.
We supplemented our dollar dogs with some pizza from Dante’s Inferno and quesadilla from Momocho. There are great local eats at Progressive Field!
Despite the heat, we had a great time and the Indians brought home a win, so that makes for a pretty great Friday night!
I love everything about Michael Angelo’s Winery! The setting is beautiful, the wines are delicious (the sparking rosé is my new favorite), and the food is so tasty!
I had the crab cakes, with apple garden slaw and lemon aioli. I also snagged nibbles of the crispy Brussel sprouts, calamari, and truffle fries, all of which are perfect for sharing with a group of friends.
This is the perfect spot for your next girls’ night out or a romantic date!
It was a busy, fun, outdoorsy weekend (yes, this is the right blog and I said outdoorsy). Let’s get right to it…
Matthew, Jeffrey, and I embarked on an overnight camping adventure with Matthew’s siblings and cousins and their kids. As you know (or can probably surmise), camping is a bit outside my wheelhouse. But Jeffrey was excited to go and I ended up having a really great time!
We spent the weekend on Matthew’s cousins’ property in Thompson. We made a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores…
…we took a creek walk and went waterfall sliding…
…we went canoeing…
…we watched fireworks…
…and just generally had a good time with family in nature. Tobey even joined in the fun!
Being that we’re not big campers, we needed some supplemental gear, which is where CampRents came in.
CampRents is a local company that rents backpacking and camping gear and can get you outfitted for everything from backyard camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.
We rented a one-person tent (to add to our three-person tent), sleeping bags and pads, and a headlamp. Everything came cleaned, packed, and ready to go.
When we were done camping, we just packed everything back into the bag to return. This is an easy, cost-effective way to try out new gear or get yourself ready for an adventure that might not happen often enough for you to buy your own supplies.
All in all, I survived the great outdoors and even enjoyed it!
***Disclosure: I received complimentary rental items from CampRents. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.
On Sunday, after returning to civilization and showering, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for an hour-long vinyasa flow with a beer chaser taught by Alicia.
Alicia’s accessible, but still challenging, teaching style was the perfect thing to wake me up on Sunday morning (and get out some of the sleeping-on-the-ground stiffness). Plus, it’s always fun to practice outside, especially on such a beautiful morning!
After class, we stayed to chat and enjoy a beer. I highly recommend the Passionista Wit!
If you’re interested in starting your Sunday with a little detox to retox, Alicia is teaching another Yoga + Beer event at Platform on Sunday, August 18. Cost is $20 and includes an hour-long class plus a beer.
You can also trade your beer for wine when Alicia teaches Yoga on the Viaduct on Wednesday, July 31, with incredible sunset views and a social at Luca Italian Cuisine to follow. Cost to attend is $25 and includes an hour-long class, glass of wine, and appetizers. Both events benefit the Arthritis Foundation.
***Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest blog post from Lauren Reed about one of Cleveland’s most iconic spots: The West Side Market. Read along as she takes you through the history of the Market and some of her favorite vendors. I added a couple of my own photos.***
Just seven years ago, in 2012, we celebrated the Centennial of Cleveland’s West Side Market. As it stands today, the West Side Market is the oldest continually operating municipally owned market in Ohio.
Located in historic Ohio City, the West Side Market was originally built to replace Pearl Street Market. Once construction started in 1908, the market became one of the three public markets in Cleveland that served the growing immigrant population in the 20th century – and it is the only one out of those three that remains open to this day.
In late 1973, the market entered into the National Register of Historical Places. Much later in 2008, the West Side Market was named one of the “10 Great Public Places in America” by the American Planning Association.
Throughout the years, the West Side Market has done a terrific job at attracting and maintaining a solid base of consistent consumers. There are many vendors that pop into one’s head when they think of the West Side Market.
Some of the well-known favorites are Ohio City Pasta, Ooo…Fudge, Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, Pierogi Palace and D.W. Whitaker Meats.
I grew up with a ton of Italian influence on both sides of my family. Every time we go to the West Side Market, we always make it apparent that a visit to the Ohio City Pasta stand is a must! At their stand they have a variety of pasta types all accompanied with a variety of tastes and health benefits. My personal favorite is the assorted ravioli because it looks and tastes amazing!
Similar to growing up with an Italian influence, I am also surrounded by a very strong Polish denomination within my family. My grandma always says that no one can make pierogi like her mother did, but the Pierogi Palace is a close second! Everything at this stand tastes incredibly fresh and it is something that you can’t quite experience with frozen store-bought food.
The West Side Market is also home to a variety of healthy vendors with delicious options. Some of the most noteworthy include The Basketeria Organics and King Produce.
The Basketeria Organics is a vendor that sells solely organic fruits and vegetables. Within the same commodore, you will find King Produce which sells Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables in addition to their selection of tropical fruits.
The location of the West Side Market itself is gorgeous. Growing up in Cleveland you were supposed to understand and promote the “rivalry” between the east and west side of Cleveland. I grew up on the east side of Cleveland about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.
As I grow older and am in my 20s, I have to say (regretfully) that the west side truly is the best side. ***Editor’s Note: Agree to disagree, Lauren. Mad love for both sides of town!***
The West Side Market is right next to the bridge that connects the west side to the downtown area. Within walking distance of the market are various restaurants, little getaway spots, and outside-of-the-box fun!
The future for the West Side Market varies on which vendors you ask. Some vendors blame the increase of rent for affecting the traffic of shoppers. Some vendors note that there has been a decrease in shoppers while others disagree.
The future of the West Side Market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers. Be sure to plan your next grocery trip or weekend plans around visiting the West Side Market and all of its wonderful vendors including two of my favorites Theresa’s Bakery and EuroSweets!
Oh my gosh, you guys. It’s JULY! When did that happen?! Here’s how we closed out the last weekend in June…
John Carroll Alumni Volunteer Summit
I spent a good part of my weekend up at John Carroll University attending the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Summit, which was truly energizing and inspiring.
The Summit brought together alumni volunteers from various university departments and areas of the country to share ideas, learn about the university’s vision for the future, and eat ice cream overlooking our beautiful alma mater’s campus.
We kicked off the Summit with a cookout outside of Murphy Hall, spent Saturday hearing from various departments within the university, and ended with a party on the Quad with a band and food trucks.
Matthew and I stuffed ourselves with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and truffle fries from Sauced Wood Fired Pizza (the firecracker chicken pizza is so good).
As one of the incoming members of the Alumni Association Board, the Summit was a great chance for me to connect with other Board members and get ready to once again give back to a place that has given me so much.
Dear Evan Hansen
On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of the final Cleveland performances of “Dear Evan Hansen.”
This deeply moving, funny, true, heavy, beautiful story made me laugh, cry, and think about loneliness, human connection, parenting, and so much more. I was so glad we had a chance to see it!
On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends (and some of Jeffrey’s godparents) Amanda and Scott for a toasty, fun summer day at Cedar Point.
Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.
From rides to lunch at Famous Dave’s to ice cream at Toft’s to fun with some of our favorite people, it was a perfect summer Sunday!
How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?