Why? Weekends!

As of today, we have two weeks left of Jeffrey’s summer break. Just two weeks! So, we’re going to get in every bit of summer goodness we can. Here’s what we were up to this weekend…

Lake Metroparks Farm Park

On Friday, we met up with friends Lane and Nolan for a play date at the Lake Metroparks Farm Park.


Jeffrey is so sweet with Nolan! The Farm Park was the perfect way to bridge the age gap between the boys by giving them things to see and do that they could both appreciate.

Photo Credit: Lane

It was a lovely little summer Friday afternoon!

First Watch

Saturday morning, Mom and I met up for brunch at First Watch. I really love the food at First Watch, plus any place that brings me a pot rather than a cup of coffee is speaking my language!

I ordered the Elevated Egg Sandwich, with bacon, Gruyere, avocado, mayo, and lemon-dressed arugula.

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I loved the freshness of the avocado and lemon paired with the richness of the bacon and Gruyere. So good!

Mom chose the seasonal Elote Mexican Street Corn Hash, with seasoned potatoes, roasted sweet corn, chorizo, Cotija cheese, and chipotle crema.


Spicy, sweet, and satisfying! First Watch is a great breakfast spot!

Buckeye Beer Engine

Then it was off to our friend Kevin’s 40th birthday party at Buckeye Beer Engine. While Buckeye Beer Engine is known for their craft beer selection, I found myself enjoying their bourbon cocktails, including the bourbon ginger mimosa.


We also chowed down on their boneless wings (the spicy garlic Parmesan are on point), crab cakes, and pierogi. It was a fun afternoon of good drinks and good food to celebrate a good friend!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we found ourselves at Cedar Point once again, this time for our annual trip with Amanda and Scott.


As Jeffrey’s godparents and huge Cedar Point enthusiasts, Amanda and Scott are the perfect folks for a day at the amusement park. They love going on the rides with Jeffrey and I can see their relationship with him deepen each time we go.


It was a beautiful day to be up at the park too! We’re squeezing in as many Cedar Point trips as we can before the summer is through!


So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Are you feeling the back-to-school blues too?


Why? Weekends!

Other than having a howling good time at Twilight at the Zoo, there was lots of other happenings this weekend. Here’s what we were up to:

AIA Cleveland Sand Festival

For the last four years, Matthew and some of his AECOM colleagues have competed in a sand castle building competition put on by AIA Cleveland. It’s always so cool to see the beach filled with sandcastles built by actual architects!


This year, the AECOM team created a Harry Potter themed sand sculpture that looked incredible and took home the judges’ award for the fourth year in a row!


The competition takes place at Edgewater Beach and there are awards from both judges and the public. You can follow along at @CleSandFest to vote for your favorite (cough, AECOM, cough.)

Babes and Babies Who Brunch

On Sunday morning, my friend Maria had Alicia and me over with our kiddos for a lovely brunch!


Maria and I have been friends since a fateful English class (and living in the same dorm) in our freshman year at John Carroll.

It’s always so great when friendships stand the test of time and evolve to fit where we are in our lives now.

Jeffrey took this, thus the finger photo bomb

And it’s even more fun to see our kids getting along too!


I swear Brenna was having fun! We all had a lovely morning!

Blossom Music Festival

Sunday night, we found ourselves back at Blossom Music Center for another Cleveland Orchestra concert.


This time, we brought Jeffrey and met up with friends who also brought their sons. From the “Under 18s Free” tickets to the Young Audiences guide, the Cleveland Orchestra goes out of its way to make these concerts accessible to all ages.


Jeffrey enjoyed listening to the orchestra and picnicking outside just as much as we did! I love being able to expose him to culture in a way that is fun and accessible to him!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?


Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

When a fundraiser hits 25 years, you know it’s a party that has the fun figured out! Twilight at the Zoo celebrated 25 years of rocking the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo while raising money for the Cleveland Zoological Society.


Twilight at the Zoo fills the Zoo with bands of every style from rock to country to swing. Some of our favorites include Billy Likes Soda


…and Faction, who always do amazing mash-up sets, like their tribute to boy bands!

There is always plenty to eat and drink, from hot dogs and popcorn chicken to Sam Adams and Angry Orchard Cider.


And we got to see some of the zoo critters, even if it was past their bedtime.


We enjoyed the VIP area, which included mixed drinks and food from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish, House of Blues Cleveland, and Texas de Brazil.


This year we also got to see the incredible Asian Lantern Festival as part of our time at Twilight at the Zoo, which definitely added to the festive atmosphere!


As always, Twilight at the Zoo was an evening of good friends, great music, and fun times!


Cheers to 25 more years of howling at the moon at Twilight at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I received four complimentary VIP tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Yoga in the Village!

What do you get when you combine a great outdoor venue with yoga and delicious food and drinks?


You get Yoga in the Village: Balance, Bliss & Brio! Head to the lawn at Legacy Village on Thursday, August 9 to enjoy a 60-minute, all-levels yoga class taught by Alicia Hansen, one of my favorite yoga teachers (and favorite humans).

Then head to the patio at Brio for cocktails and seasonal appetizers. Tickets are $20 and include the yoga class, one beer/wine/cocktail at Brio, and a selection of seasonal appetizers to share with your classmates.

Plus, you’ll not only be doing something good for you, but for others, too! A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation, Ohio.

I hope to see you at Balance, Bliss & Brio. You know I can’t resist a yoga class (or a glass of wine)!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Lane Baldwin Photography Photo Shoot!

It had been awhile (and some hairstyle changes) since my last photo shoot for blog pictures. So, I reached out to my super talented and super sweet friend Lane of Lane Baldwin Photography.

We spent a fun morning around downtown Cleveland taking pictures from North Coast Harbor…

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…Playhouse Square.

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

Lane snapped photos I can use from Instagram to Facebook to blog posts and beyond. And she captured everything from the perfect wide shot of the city…

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…to amazing head shots and close ups.

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography



The photos in this series are some of my favorites. We were literally standing on an island in the middle of Euclid Avenue during morning rush hour with me in a ball gown. Super casual 😉

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

I’m so happy with the results of our photo shoot and wanted to share some here now. You’ll be seeing more of these across my pages in the days and weeks to come.

Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

Thanks, Lane, for being amazing to work with, for sharing my vision and adding your own, and for making me feel super comfortable!

I hope y’all like these as much as I do!


Why? Weekends!

It was one of my favorite weekends of the summer: the weekend of our annual backyard BBQ. But that wasn’t the only fun this weekend. Let’s get to it…

Swensons Drive-In

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I found ourselves in need of lunch, so I pulled us into Swensons Drive-In.


Swensons has a crazy cult following and it’s easy to see why. The service is fast and friendly and the food is cheap and delicious! Jeffrey loved the novelty of having a tray of food hooked onto our car window!

He enjoyed the kid’d hot dog and I dove into a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and pickle.


It’s fast food that totally lives up to the hype. Oh, and don’t skip the milkshakes!

Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

On Friday night, I stopped up at the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.


This festival combines the best in Irish food, beer, and music into one fun-filled weekend. There were creative Irish food options like the Irish eggrolls and Reuben raft from Hooley House and the Irish street corn from Gunselman’s Tavern.

I also got to hear a variety of live music at various stages around the Festival, some of which was paired with traditional Irish dancing, too!


The Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival attracts nationally-known musical acts, which adds to the excitement of the weekend. It was a fun Friday night raising a pint to lots of Irish traditions!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival. In exchange, I received complimentary admission tickets, as well as $10 in food tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Annual Backyard BBQ

When Matthew and I moved into this house just over six years ago, we knew we had a great house and yard for entertaining. So we started a tradition of hosting a summer backyard BBQ, which has evolved from lots of beer drinking by the fire into the wee hours to lots of kids running around.


It’s always one of our favorite evenings of the summer! My dad mans the grill and makes burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausage sandwiches. Everyone gets a chance to just relax and have fun. One of the best parts of the evening is how well friends from different places in our lives come together.

People have actually gotten to know each other through coming to this event each year! I was especially excited this year to get to hug my friend Beth, who had completed the Velosano ride that morning!


A great new addition to the BBQ was the Bunch o Balloons, which are water balloons that fill a bunch at once and self-tie.


Water fun doesn’t get easier than this! The weather was perfect (despite lots of predictions of rain all week) and we had an amazing summer evening that ended with this kind of silly fun…


It doesn’t get any better!

Sunday was spent cleaning up from Saturday and making this delicious Portuguese barbecue chicken to pair with my Heinen’s Portuguese wine finds.

How was your weekend?



Why? Boss Dog Brewing!

Cleveland has been experiencing quite the brewery boom! It can be hard to keep up, but I do it for you guys, right?! I had been wanting to check out Boss Dog Brewing Company in Cleveland Heights after hearing lots of positive feedback about both the beer and the food.


On a recent visit, I tried both the Put-N-Berry, a honey ale with a touch of blackberry, and the Gimme S’more Porter, which was served with a toasted marshmallow on top.


I enjoyed both beers! The Put-N-Berry was perfect for summer sipping and the Gimme S’more was full of flavor and fun (who doesn’t love a toasted marshmallow?).

For my dinner, I chose the chicken fried duck, which is topped with maple chipotle drizzle. Oh my goodness, so rich, so flavorful, so good!

My friend Melissa got the Portobello mushroom sandwich, which she really enjoyed. She was pleased with all the vegetarian options on Boss Dog’s menu.


Boss Dog is also part of the Cleveland Brewery Passport through Destination Cleveland. This passport includes 30 local breweries that you are encouraged to visit. After you make a purchase of beer, food, or merchandise at the brewery, you can receive a stamp on your passport.

Stop by Destination Cleveland when you hit 8 stamps for a Cleveland bottle opener or all 30 stamps for entry into a getaway drawing. You can grab your passport at the Destination Cleveland offices downtown or at any participating brewery. This is such a cool incentive to try new places and explore the great local beer scene in Cleveland! And if you’re looking for a place to start, I say give Boss Dog a try!



Why? Weekends!

It was a great weekend! So, let’s get right to the recap…

Sandusky Festival of Sail

On Friday, I drove up to Sandusky with one mission: see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.


Jeffrey brought his own personal rubber ducks with him to meet Mama Duck, which was so sweet! The duck was at the Sandusky Festival of Sail, so we also got to check out some tall ships while we were there.


But let’s be honest, the real mission of the trip was to see the duck! And she was adorable!


Friday evening, we met up with friends for dinner at the recently-opened Barrio in downtown Willoughby. We ordered the special guacamole with charred watermelon and chevre, which was the perfect summer guac!


I ordered one of the suggested tacos and then built two of my own. I’m always nervous when I make up my own creations, but these were pretty tasty! I love the mango habanero salsa. Oh, and the short rib. But not together. Make your own creation. See how it goes!


The Flying Fig

Saturday morning, I went to brunch at my favorite brunch spot in town: The Flying Fig. From the food to the atmosphere, it’s always a win.


I was having a hard time deciding between sweet and savory (the classic brunch dilemma, right?!), so I went with the loaded breakfast potatoes and cornmeal biscuit with crème fraiche and berries. Perfect carb-a-licious combo!

Partners 1980s Prom Murder Mystery

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended a totally rad prom that took us back to 1985!


It was put on by Playhouse Square Partners and we were all involved in the action, getting to play different parts and figuring out whodunnit!


From the costumes to the décor, it was a great night and so fun to be a part of the Murder Mystery Mayhem! And Matthew got a certificate for correctly figuring out the murderer!


I also think he deserves an award for his awesome Miami Vice-like threads! We both found our outfits at Goodwill, which had exactly what we needed for a small price tag (my dress was $5)!

Cedar Point

OK, so I think we just live in Sandusky now. We were up there for the second time in a weekend for a trip with friends to Cedar Point.


We usually stick to our tried-and-true favorites at Cedar Point, but we did discover a new thing to love: Funnel Fries!


They’re funnel cakes dough, made into fries, and dusted with powder sugar. And you need them in your life. So good! They made a hot, fun day with the kiddos a bit sweeter (we shared with the kids…sort of).

It was a fantastic weekend with food, friends, 1980s fashion, and a big duck! How was your weekend?



Why? Weekends!

Could this weekend have been more glorious? It was a perfect summer weekend in Cleveland! Here’s what we were up to…

Everyday Heroes Activity Center

On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with friends to check out the Everyday Heroes Activity Center at the Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage.


Everyday Heroes highlights ways that we can all be everyday heroes, such as kindness and gratitude.

Kids can also dress up like everyday heroes, put on a puppet show, “build a better world” with blocks, and lots more.

This exhibit is a great way for kids to learn how they can be heroes in their everyday lives and show appreciation for the heroes they encounter.

The Everyday Heroes Activity Center is open through Sunday, August 12 and is $10 for everyone 12 and older, $5 for children ages 5-11, and free for children 4 and under. You can purchase tickets online here.

Square 22

On Friday night, my friend Denise and I checked out Square 22 in Strongsville.


From creative cocktails to an extensive dinner menu, Square 22 had a lot to offer. I started with the rich and delicious chicken paprikash soup.


While this is definitely not a summery dish, I couldn’t resist the spaetzle, rich broth, and tender chicken.

For my entree, I chose the jumbo sea scallops, served on top of blue crab risotto, with wild mushrooms, asparagus, and capers.


The scallops were well prepared and I enjoyed all the accompaniments with the dish…for me, you can never can wrong with mushrooms or asparagus! I didn’t get a lot of crab flavor in the risotto, but it was nice and creamy.

After all that, I was pretty stuffed and opted for another drink instead of dessert (this is a real rarity, as you know). Square 22 is pricey, but the food and drinks are nicely done and it’s a good addition to an area that has a lot of casual and chain restaurants.

Cedar Point

Jeffrey, Matthew, and I spent our entire Saturday at Cedar Point with friends, having an absolute blast!


Jeffrey is tall enough to go on a lot of rides now and he enjoyed checking out the Himalaya and Lake Erie Eagles especially.


The Sky Karts have become a favorite as well and a great way to check out the whole park!


From rides to lunch at the in-park Melt Bar and Grilled to playing arcade games, it was a perfect summer day!

Birthday Party

Then, on Sunday, there was more opportunity to soak in the gorgeous weather at a friend’s birthday party at the Orange Leisure Pool.


With a zero depth wade in and lots of splash elements, along with a water slide and lap pool, this pool has something to keep everyone happy! And we definitely had a fun time!

So, that was our weekend! How did you get out and about to enjoy?


Why? Weekends!

Phew! What a steamy weekend in CLE! I was trying to stay cool all over town…here’s what went down this weekend:

Lyndhurst Spray Park

On Friday, we met up with friends at one of our favorite summer spots: the Lyndhurst Spray Park. This is such a great splash park, with lots of options for all ages, a playground next door, and it’s really well-maintained.


Plus, with it being so hot, the best place to be was in the water!

#ShineBright Yoga

Saturday morning, I met up with Alicia for #ShineBright yoga under the GE Chandelier at Playhouse Square.


Brianna Halloran led us through a spirited and (thank goodness since it was so hot) easy flow, with time for selfie breaks and dancing, too!


I’m constantly reminded to be so grateful for this amazing city and the very cool events that take place here!



On Saturday night, I found myself back down on Playhouse Square with Matthew. We had dinner at District, which is a great spot for a pre-theater bite. They have a rose flight that is just the right thing for summer sipping!


I had the swordfish with herbed compound butter, served over roasted jalapeno and lemon risotto.


The flavors were spot on and this was a great summer dish with just a bit of a kick.

Matthew had the gnocchi with cilantro pesto, avocado, and grape tomato. He also added shrimp and chicken.


This was a really interesting and delicious spin on gnocchi!

The food was so good, but the portions are small, so I would suggest adding on a salad (we split the caprese) and dessert (the peach cobbler for me and the Belgian chocolate ganache for him).

Tri-C Jazz Fest

From District, we headed over to Tri-C Jazz Fest to see Common and Jose James perform. Tri-C Jazz Fest has risen to prominence, attracting bigger national acts, as well as offering a huge street festival with free outdoor concerts.


Jose James played an awesome set of Bill Withers hits, including an incredible version of “Lean on Me.”


Common then came on to play a high-energy set showcasing some of his best music throughout his career. It was a great night enjoying innovative, amazing music in one of Cleveland’s strongholds of culture. I can’t wait to see who Tri-C Jazz Fest brings to town next year.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the concert of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Alicia’s Birthday

Sunday was spent celebrating one of my dearest friends, Alicia. We started with one of her Soul Flow Sunday classes at Elevated Dance Headquarters.


Alicia’s usual class style of creative flow combined with lots of time for reflection was even more elevated with this meaningful birthday practice. Plus, we got to enjoy cupcakes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery after class!

Then it was off to Punch Bowl Social for an afternoon of drinks, food, and karaoke fun! I got to hang out with some lovely ladies…



…I got to eat lots of delicious food (the sriracha peanut fries and the It’s Nacho Mama’s come highly recommended by, well, me)…


And then it was time for some epic karaoke styling!


Oh my goodness, what a way to spend Sunday Funday! It was the perfect way to celebrate our friend and kick off what is hopefully a fantastic year for her.

Backyard BBQ

I capped off a busy weekend with Lane and Nathan at a great family backyard BBQ. I got pelted with water balloons by various four year olds and I made this tasty pasta salad that is definitely going to become a staple for summer BBQs.


So, that was my Hot in Cleveland weekend. How was yours?