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.
This event has become both a staple and a favorite for the organization. This year’s theme was South American wines and we enjoyed five courses of small bites and wines that were perfectly paired.
Our first course paired Leyda Sauvignon Blanc with Asparagus & Egg Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette.
You really can’t go wrong in my book with either asparagus or Sauvignon Blanc!
Our second course paired Tilia Chardonnay with a Seared Scallop over Sweet Corn Purée and Herb Oil.
This particularly chardonnay was very oaky and on its own was not my favorite, but when paired with the food, it was quite good.
Our third course paired Root 1 Carmenere with Devils on Horseback.
This peppery, delicious red wine was perfect by itself, but became even more delicious when paired with the chorizo-stuffed dates of happiness. (This was my favorite course, can you tell?)
Our fourth course paired Catena Malbec with Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Chimichurri.
Much like the first course, this course paired two can’t miss items for me: Malbec and chimichurri.
Our fifth course paired El Enemigo Bonarda with Marinated, Smoked, and Grilled Portobello Mushroom Risotto.
The risotto had a delicious, smoky taste to it which matched the wine nicely and added a depth of flavor you don’t always get with this kind of dish.
All in all, it was a delicious evening trying some new-to-me wines. Bin 216 is a great pre- or post-theater stop, with ambiance (check out that view of the beautiful Ohio Theatre lobby), delicious food, and great wines.
And if you’re interested in getting involved with Playhouse Square Partners, we’re starting our Jump Back Ball 29 planning on Thursday, July 11 at Market Garden Brewery. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Click here to learn more and RSVP.
***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
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?
Brim has a great rooftop deck, as well as a second floor that soaks up lots of wonderful sunlight. Brim brews their own beers, as well as having a tasty cocktail menu. I enjoyed the Pom Delight, a Belgian light ale brewed with pomegranate.
For dinner, I had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, with yum-yum sauce, pickles, and house coleslaw.
In an effort to be healthy, I swapped the truffle fries for grilled asparagus and was totally happy with that choice.
It was a fun and yummy kick-off to the weekend!
On Saturday, the entire family celebrated Cuyahoga50, the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire that sparked a national wave of environmentalism.
For the third summer, Matthew rows crew on the Cuyahoga River with Western Reserve Rowing. He had a regatta on Saturday morning, so Jeffrey and I went down to cheer him on and take in the Cuyahoga50 events too.
We got to check out the Blazing Paddles event, see the Never, Ever Give Up installation, and just generally enjoy the amazing transformation the Cuyahoga River has undergone.
It made my heart so happy to see how many people of all ages were out and about on the River!
Saturday afternoon, we celebrated another big Cleveland anniversary: 25 years of Progressive (cough, still Jacob’s, cough) Field.
The giveaway for the game was a replica ballpark, which is currently in Jeffrey’s room, but I might be stealing it back soon!
The weather was perfect to take in an Indians win, enjoy a beer and some Momocho nachos, and generally feel like summer.
Between activities on Sunday, I met up with my mom for lunch at Heck’s Cafe in Avon. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying a champagne mule.
I had the Asparagus Salad, with mixed greens, avocado, tomato, black sesame, and a lemon ginger vinaigrette. I added seared tuna for a delicious, light lunch.
No brand epitomizes summer fashion like Lilly Pulitzer, which is what all the models wore, chosen from Lovely’s huge selection of the brand.
But before we got to the fashion show, we got seriously glammed up at Stella & Shay Beauty Bar in Westlake. From a fabulous blow-out to spot-on make-up, I felt gorgeous and pampered!
When I arrived at Lovely, the always-beautiful store was transformed for the party into a garden party of Lilly loveliness.
From sips to nibbles, you could relax and enjoy while shopping.
Then it was time for the fashion show! We each modeled three outfits and I totally loved all of mine!
This maxi dress is comfortable, can be dressed up or down, and is nicely fitted, unlike a lot of maxis.
This seersucker and lace combo is my new favorite piece of clothing! It’s perfect for someone who loves Lilly, but wants something more subtle than the beachy patterns.
And these shorts and tank with the poms just scream summer days!
I had a blast and I think all my fellow models did too, don’t you?
If you love these looks or are just looking to add some Lilly to your summer wardrobe, head over to Lovely Paperie and Gifts today…it IS the first day of summer after all!
***Disclosure: I was asked by Lovely Paperie and Gifts to participate in the Lilly Pulitzer Fashion Show. In exchange, I received complimentary hair and makeup at Stella and Shay Beauty Bar, a complimentary piece of Lilly Pulitzer clothing, and access to the professional photos from Emily Millay Photography. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
The 6:30pm barre3 class will be taught by studio owner Liz and will be entirely donation-based, which means you can register for the class for free right here and make a donation at the studio when you attend.
Then head over to Brio Tuscan Grille for dinner, where 10% of your bill total will be donated to American Cancer Society ResearcHERS when you present the flyer attached in this invite.
If pasta is more your thing than planks, you can just come to dinner at Brio any time between 4pm and 10pm and present the flyer for your donation to be taken.
Then, get your flow on with my girl Alicia on the Lawn at Legacy Village with the monthly Yoga in the Village series, which kicks off on Tuesday, June 25.
Alicia will lead a sixty minute, all-levels yoga class from 6:30-7:30pm on the Legacy Village Lawn. Attendees will also receive a gift bag with a $5 Legacy Village gift card, as well as coupons and goodies from other Legacy Village retailers. Cost to attend is $15 and proceeds benefit the Arthritis Foundation of Northeast Ohio.
Stay after class and enjoy a special Yoga in the Village drink menu at Bar Louie, where 20% of your bill total will be donated to the Arthritis Foundation, as well as complimentary mini spa services from Ladies & Gentlemen Salon & Spa.
Other Yoga in the Village dates are July 16, August 20, and September 17. Stay tuned for more information on the upcoming classes.
No matter whether it’s barre3 or yoga, Brio or Bar Louie, there are plenty of opportunities to detox, retox, and do good all at once at Legacy Village!
***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events. In exchange, I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
The program was really well put together, with fun crafts and songs each day and great teen helpers. Plus, Jeffrey would come each day last week and be able to tell me exactly what he learned about fire, water, traffic, bus, stranger, and gun safety.
The event not only raises money for the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s conservation efforts and educational programming, but it also puts a swanky cocktail party right in the middle of Wilderness Trek!
We were able to explore Asian Highlands and the Rosebrough Tiger Passage while sipping cocktails and nibbling on small bites.
Driftwood Catering did a great job with the food, with everything from corn soup shooters and mini chorizo tacos passed around to lamb chop with couscous and chicken nachos to sit and enjoy.
The cocktails were delicious too…this Bourbon-y Arnold Palmer was my favorite!
We also got to feel like a kid again with Art of Sucre‘s delicious and fun cotton candy cart (I had the pink lemonade and champagne flavors combined into light, fluffy goodness).
From food to friends to fun to philanthropy, Zippity Zoo Doo had it all!
***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zippity Zoo Doo. In exchange, I received one complimentary and one discounted ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
On Saturday, we met up with friends for some fun and music in the sun at LaureLive.
I was a little apprehensive about taking Jeffrey to a music festival, but he had a rockin’ good time! Check out this awesome “air guitar” from the local Original Air Guitar!
They had a promo giveaway at LaureLive and I don’t think Jeffrey has put the guitar down since.
The weather was perfect for sitting outside and listening to a lot of great local and even international bands. I was impressed with how the festival switched from stage to stage so there was almost no break in the music and you could easily hear and see all the acts.
When the kids got fidgety, there were bounce houses, face painting, and balloon artists to keep them happy.
And while we started too early in the day to make it all the way to Hozier, we did have an awesome time and were really impressed with the whole LaureLive experience!
Cedar Point Shores
The summer fun continued on Sunday with our first trip of the season to Cedar Point Shores, where Jeffrey went on water slides and I worked on my “mom tan” (you haven’t been laying out in the sun, you’re just outside chasing after someone).
All in all, it was a busy, perfect summer weekend! How was yours?
When the James Beard Celebrity Chef Tour Dinner was announced, it was one of those events I immediately knew I wanted to attend. And while the ticket price might seem like a splurge, when you get 10 courses of phenomenal food prepared by celebrated chefs, plus wine pairings, you realize it’s a total steal!
We started the evening by getting a glimpse at the entire group of chefs, who clearly all get along so well!
Then we headed into Urban Farmer for the big event. We started with a cocktail hour with signature cocktails, as well as local beer and wine. Matthew tried the interesting Salt-Acid-Fat-Heat, with Tito’s Vodka infused with house-grown chili, Ardberg 10 year scotch, lemon, rosemary, and prosciutto and I had the light and fruity Spring to Summer, with Tito’s Vodka, aperol, grapefruit, lime, and Prosecco.
We also nibbled on passed appetizers. There was Duck & Pancetta Polpetta from Chef Brian Okin of Dinner in the Dark; “Hillbilly Crudite” from Chef Adam Bostwick of Polpetta; Curied Foie Gras on Toast from Chef John Selick of Sodexo, University Hospitals; Yukon Gold and Sartori Mini Pierogi from Chef Chris Quinn of US Foods; and Braunschweiger Mousse from Chefs Penny Barend and Melissa Khoury of Saucisson.
Our first course from Chef Karen Small of Flying Fig was a Crisped Spring Onion Crepe, with asparagus and wild shrimp, tarragon, red chili butter, lemon confit, and Heritage Lake Farm watercress.
This dish was springtime on a plate: delicate, light, and yet filled with distinct flavors.
Next was Roasted Summer Vegetables, with basil, smoked parmesan, and quinoa from Chef Justin Lucas of Urban Farmer.
The vegetables had a rich, smoky flavor and the quinoa added nice texture.
The third course was A Walk through the Chef’s Garden, with squash blossom, egg, nasturtium, asparagus, green tomato, oyster leaf, and turnip.
This dish was visually stunning, from the drop of “water” on each leaf to the perfectly runny egg nestled inside the squash blossom.
Next up was a play on a classic favorite from a hometown favorite: Chef Michael Symon of Lola, Mabel’s BBQ, and B Spot Burgers.
The Chicken Liver Matzo Balls, with summer truffles, were a gourmet and luscious spin on the classic comfort food.
Next up was what I found to be the most interesting dish of the night: Koji Cured Crispy Maitake, with wild greens and walleye bottarga from Chef Jeremy Umansky of Larder Delicatessen & Bakery.
Tangy, crispy, fresh, and delicious, this dish really showcased Chef Umansky’s unique ides.
The eating kept right on going with Ohio Wagyu Beef, with fritter, tomato chutney, carpaccio, beef fat tonnato, horseradish, rocket, quinoa, and maldon from Chef Vishwatej Nath of Urban Farmer.
What a tasty way to enjoy wagyu two ways!
Our final savory course was Lamb Loin, with napa cabbage, cannellini beans, tomato glace de viande, and celery root espuma.
From Chef John M. D’Amico of Chez Francois, this dish was so delicious, I was tempted to lick the plate. This celebrated chef rarely leaves his kitchen, so it was truly a treat to enjoy his food at this event.
We had two dessert courses, which is how I plan to end all my meals now. First was Raspberry Tea Mousse, with lemon poppy sponge, fig, lemon verbena, and rye crumble from Pastry Chef Kara Swortchek of Urban Farmer.
So many different flavors and textures at play in this bright, fruity dish!
Our final course was decadence defined and deconstructed: Dark Chocolate Toasted Rice Ice Cream, with black sesame almond chocolate cake, black sesame streusel, candied almonds, fennel caramel, coconut ginger cream, and pickled ginger chip, from Pastry Chef Annabella Andricks of The Dinerbar on Clifton.
Each course was expertly paired with wine, some local, some not. But I loved seeing some of my local favorites from M Cellars and Ferrante Winery make appearances!
It was a fun, delicious, long evening of incredible food, wine, and camaraderie.
We have an incredible food community here in Cleveland, certainly worthy of such an amazing Celebrity Chef Tour experience.
It was a busy weekend of celebrating the start of Jeffrey’s summer break and our seventh anniversary. Here’s how we acknowledged those special occasions:
On Friday, Jeffrey and I kicked off his summer break by taking a trip to our favorite summertime spot: Cedar Point.
This is the third year we’ve gotten season passes (Jeffrey has the awesome Pre-K Pass, which is such a good deal). I love the ability to go up there as many times as we want, stay as long as we want without feeling pressured to do everything in one trip, and save on food and merchandise purchases and parking.
Jeffrey loves the spinny rides and I did my best to hang in there with him!
You can climb up into some of the trucks and even take a ride in a monster truck!
It honestly felt like summer as soon as we arrived and we can’t wait for lots more trips to Cedar Point this season!
Art in the Village
Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with friends to check out Legacy Village‘s annual Art in the Village.
We strolled through all the talented vendors from Northeast Ohio and beyond, listened and danced to live music, and let the kids run around the lawn. All in all, a pretty nice way to spend a couple hours!
***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.***
An Evening in Coventry Village
On Saturday, Matthew and I had a date night in Coventry Village. We started with dinner at Pacific East. We shared the massive and delicious Sushi Bridge, with sashimi, nigiri, a California roll, and a spicy tuna roll.
We also shared the roti canai appetizer. Pacific East has a huge menu with both Japanese and Malaysian cuisine, so everyone can find something to suit their tastes.
From there, we headed to Grog Shop to hear my dear friend Melissa and her School of Rock classmates rock out in an awesome performance.
Melissa started taking drum lessons at School of Rock earlier this year and she’s already a total pro on the drums! I was so proud of her for learning a new skill and totally killing her gig.
And if you haven’t been to Grog Shop, it is such a cool, funky place to see live music (with a killer local craft beer selection), so check it out!
On Sunday, Matthew and I celebrated our seventh wedding anniversary.
We spent the day doing yoga, playing with Jeffrey in the backyard, and making dinner at home, so it was pretty perfect!
I made this delicious paella (recipe here), which was packed with everything from chorizo to chicken to shrimp to clams to lobster.
It was a lovely, relaxed day and a wonderful way to celebrate seven great years!