Why? Weekends!

This weekend, Matthew and Jeffrey traveled to Texas to celebrate Matthew’s grandma’s 90th birthday.

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Since we weren’t sure how I’d be feeling post-surgery, we decided I would skip this trip. And while I definitely missed seeing the family and celebrating Grandma and eating lots of brisket…oh, wait, I actually ate lots of brisket here (but more on that tomorrow)…

I did manage to scare up some fun around here, even with my best guys gone.

Disney on Ice

On Friday night, I took my dear friend Mariah and her son to see Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party.

Before the show, we got to attend an exclusive meet-and-greet with the main mouse himself (speaking of 90th birthdays)…

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…and enjoy a delicious fajita bar dinner catered by Aramark.

Then it was off to the show! What an amazing spectacle!

 

From the costumes to the acrobatics to the chance to see so many favorite characters, Disney on Ice really delivered on the magic and fun.

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I’m so glad I was able to enjoy the show with two of my favorite people and see the wonder and excitement that it brought!

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party is in Cleveland through Sunday, January 20 at Quicken Loans Arena, with evening shows on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18 and three shows a day on Satuday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20. You can purchase tickets online.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets, a meet-and-greet character dinner, and Disney on Ice swag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Girls Night In

Saturday evening, I hosted a Girls Night In, because what else is a lady to do when she has the house entirely to herself?

We enjoyed lots of food and wine and girl talk, which was just good for my soul. You know when I only took one picture that it was a good night!

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Oh, and that is a gigantic bottle of rose, which I found at Heinen’s (and is actually quite good, not just impressively sized.)

One of the things I knew I had to have on my table (especially with a vegetarian and a vegan coming) was Mama Mary’s Hummus.

You may have heard of Mama Mary’s as the “gas station hummus,” which has garnered tons of local press attention and even a spot on Cleveland Magazine’s Best of Cleveland list.

I have to tell you, the hype is warranted. This is truly the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. For the party, I chose the traditional, roasted red pepper, and jalapeno. They were all fantastic! Mama Mary’s Hummus is now available at 7 different locations: click here to find the one near you!

Spa West

Another key component of a weekend of “me time” was spa time with my mom. We went to Spa West, which is truly such a lovely and relaxing environment.

From the welcome tea to the calming music to the cozy relaxation room, you immediately feel more zen just walking in.

I had a signature pedicure with a hot stone leg massage and not only do my toes look ready to return to my yoga mat, but my legs feel soft, smooth, and stress-free.

The next time you want to treat yourself or have a perfect girls day out, check out Spa West!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my BBQ-eating adventures, but for now, I’m off to get ready to welcome Matthew and Jeffrey home! What would you do with a weekend to yourself?

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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? Weekends!

It was another festive weekend in the CLE! Don’t you just love this time of year?! Let’s go to it…well, 2/3rds of it (stay tuned tomorrow for more)…

Breakfast with Mr. Kringle

On Saturday, we had breakfast with a true Cleveland original: Mr. Kringle from Kringle’s Inventionasium.

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Along with his friends Fancy and Eyesley, Mr. Kringle attended a bright, fun, festive breakfast buffet at The Burnham at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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The breakfast buffet featured eggs, waffles, French toast, sausage, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, ham and pork belly, and the best bacon I’ve ever eaten (it is possible I ate an entire pound myself).

We also decorated cookies…

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…and had so much time to be creative and fun with Mr. Kringle and friends. One of the things I love about Kringle’s Inventionasium is that it encourages a child’s imagination and creativity (and humor)!

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The Hilton has been decorated this season in the bring, imaginative style of Kringle’s Inventionasium.

You can even spend the night in the Mr. Kringle Suite, available through January 5. The suite has been festively decorated for a magical holiday experience!

You can also visit Kringle’s Inventionasium at Tower City Center through December 30. Click here to plan your visit.

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to attend a complimentary Breakfast with Mr. Kringle. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Holiday Play Date

And on Sunday, in what has become an annual tradition, we hosted Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date for his friends (and ours). As the kids have gotten bigger and the invite list longer, we decided to have the play date at a community room, rather than our house.

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We rented a room at the Mentor Civic Center, which made the party easy and fun (plus the kids loved the view of the ice rink)!

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There were games and prizes…

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…pinata pandemonium, crafts…

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…delicious pizza from Longo’s Pizza, cookies from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, and mini chocolate peppermint bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

It was such a fun afternoon and a great way to celebrate the season!

So, that was most of our weekend! Stay tuned tomorrow for some Zamboni action!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Blogiversary!

Hi there, guys! This is one of my favorite blogging days, when I celebrate the anniversary of Why CLE?

This year, it’s my 8th blogiversary. And I say something like this every year, but I honestly can’t believe I’ve gotten to do this for so long. I am so grateful for those of you who have been reading since the beginning and for those of you who just started reading and for those of you in the in between.

I’ve gotten to explore so much of my favorite town and show it off to strangers!

I’ve deepened my love for Cleveland and it’s amazing people!

I’ve written 1,610 blog posts!

I’ve (sort of) figured out Twitter and Instagram!

I’ve met some of my best friends and just incredibly cool and engaged folks through social media!

I’ve had incredible experiences with this city’s institutions, makers, and organizations doing fantastic work in the community!

I’ve eaten a lot of food!

I’ve gotten to be on TV (bonkers)!

I’ve gotten to be a small part of your Cleveland life and you’ve been a huge part of mine!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for these past 8 years; for growing with me, supporting me, and choosing (because what you read on the Internet is 100% your choice) me. I adore you, I adore this city, and I adore celebrating made-up holidays!

To thank you for 8 great years, I am giving away a $25 gift card to the Cleveland-area restaurant of your choice and a $25 gift card to the Cleveland-area boutique of your choice. There will be two winners: one for the restaurant and one for the boutique.

To enter to win, just leave a comment here letting me know which restaurant or boutique you’d choose.

Ooh, and hop over to Instagram for an additional chance to win!

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Why? The Oak Barrel!

So, I fell in love with The Oak Barrel when it first opened and then somehow, I hadn’t been there in ages! Well, we went for dinner with friends last week and I am happy to report that it is just as yummy as ever!

Since my last visit to The Oak Barrel, I fell in love with bourbon cocktails, so I was super excited to dive into their Drinks Menu.

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I had the Bourbon Daisy, with Four Roses, SoCo, fresh-squeezed lime juice, ginger reduction, maraschino reduction, and crystalized ginger. A little sweet, a little spicy, a little smoky…this cocktail was delicious!

We shared the baked Brie to start, with quince paste, local honey, and seasonal berries. Yum!

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Matthew and I both took a deep dive into The Oak Barrel’s pork menu choices. I had the Yucatan BBQ Pork Tacos, with picked red onion, house slaw, and cilantro.

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More sweet than spicy and super generous with the meat, these tacos were a win!

Matthew chose the Open-Faced Pulled Pork BBQ with jalapeno corn bread, house slaw, and Tabasco onions. The presentation on this is impressive, as is the taste!

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Our friends enjoyed the Vegan Falafel Sliders (with olive tapenade, pickled red onion, bibb lettuce, and tomato) and the Spicy Shrimp Tacos (with avocado, corn, white cheddar, spicy mayo, and cilantro).

Everyone loved the food, the relaxed atmosphere, and the drinks and drafts at The Oak Barrel. And old favorite that hasn’t lost it’s shine at all!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a fun and busy weekend, as I got the chance to show off more of Cleveland to my friend Jen, who was visiting from DC. Here’s what we were up to…

Laurentia Winery and The Pompadour

Jen arrived on Saturday and we decided to have a fabulous evening out and about on the town. On past visits, I’ve taken Jen toward downtown for dinner, so I decided we should head in a different direction and try the wineries instead.

We started at Laurentia Winery, which was packed on a snowy Saturday night. There was live music, a fire in the fireplace, and a lively crowd. We enjoyed the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon for me and the Gewurtzraminer for Jen, along with a charcuterie and cheese board to share.

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The wines and food were delicious and the atmosphere was both fun and relaxing. Laurentia has quickly become a must-stop for me anytime I’m in wine country!

From there, we headed to dinner at The Pompadour Bar and Tapas. I seriously cannot get enough of this cozy, delicious spot. For my cocktail, I had the Pompadour Buck, with Knob Creek Bourbon, ginger shrub, ginger beer, and angostura bitters. Bourbon and ginger are a tasty match!

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Jen had the Pineapple Upside Down Cake Martini, with cake vodka, Frangelico liquor, pineapple, and grenadine.

Jen and I have always enjoyed tapas restaurants because we get to have such a communal eating experience. So, we shared the chorizo and potato croquetas, with Spanish chorizo, potato, manchego cheese, and lemon garlic aioli…

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…the marinated roasted vegetables with goat cheese and balsamic reduction…

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…the turkey albondigas (turkey meatballs) with tomatillo mojo sauce, goat cheese, and cilantro…

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…and the braised short rib with parsnip puree, ancho chili mojo sauce, and pickled chayote.

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When (not if) you go to The Pompadour, you must order the short rib. All our other choices were also flavorful and fantastic! This place is spot-on with taste and presentation!

Yoga/Brunch

Even though Alicia has switched from Yoga/Brunch to Soul Flow Sundays, we decided to create a little throwback when we attended her class on Sunday morning, then headed to brunch afterwards.

The Soul Flow Sundays class was a classic Alicia mix of challenging poses (with plenty of modifications to keep beginners and advanced yogis happy), great stretching, and some soul and breath work too. So, an entirely perfect way to start a Sunday!

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Alicia teaches her Soul Flow Sunday class every week at 9:30am at Elevated Dance Studio in Independence. Cost to attend is $15. Click here to reserve your spot!

From there, we headed to Burntwood Tavern for brunch. I had the Nashville chicken biscuit, with sweet and spicy chicken, eggs, American cheese, sausage gravy, and crispy potatoes. So good!

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After lots of laughs and mimosas, we set about the rest of our days feeling full in body and spirit!

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Jeffrey wanted to show “Aunt Jen” one of his favorite places in Cleveland, so we took her to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Even though the weather was cool, there were still plenty of animals out and active, particularly in Asian Highlands, Wilderness Trek, and the Rosebrough Tiger Passage.

 

We also popped into The RainForest to warm up a bit after our trek around the outside of the Zoo!

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Stay tuned to the Cleveland Zoological Society’s member magazine for my article on animals to see in the winter at the Zoo, but take it from me, there are plenty to see!

Brim Kitchen and Brewery

Since we let Jeffrey pick the location for our Sunday afternoon fun, we also let him pick our dinner spot. He chose Brim Kitchen and Brewery, which made all of us happy!

I had the General Tso Cauliflower, which is an unusual choice for me, but it was so flavorful and delicious! Served with kimchi fried rice, radish, sesame, and carrot, this is one vegan dish I would order again and again!

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Matthew had the duck confit cavatelli and Jen had the mac ‘n cheese and both looked to die for, especially on a cold night.

 

Jen and I shared the apple hand pie, but inhaled it before any pictures could be taken of this fall deliciousness.

So, that was our weekend, aside from one very cute mermaid-themed second birthday party!

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I’m reluctantly sending Jen back to DC this morning after a quick stop at Fiona’s Coffee Bar.

And then tomorrow, we’re off to Disney for the rest of the week! Stay tuned on Insta for all the Disney fun and here for all the Cleveland stuff I’ve prepared for you to read while I’m gone!

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Why? Weekends!

It really feels like autumn, with the trees in all their glory! And once the rain finally stopped, it was a lovely weekend! Let’s get to all the fun…

Eight Crazy Nights Launch

These past two weeks, I’ve been starting my weekend recap with my Thursday night activities. I feel like I’m in college again!

This past Thursday, I attended the launch of Eight Crazy Nights, the holiday beer from Collision Bend Brewing Company.

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I make an exception to starting the season early when it comes to holiday brews! Eight Crazy Nights is spicy, not too heavy, and a tasty seasonal pour.

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The launch was a lot of fun, with music from the Ohio City Singers and lots of tasty nibbles from Collision Bend’s menu. The bianco pizza and the Collision Bend popcorn, with chicken schmaltz, Mexican pepper mix, lime zest, and pecorino, were my favorite bites of the night!

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Eight Crazy Nights is available on tap at the restaurant, as well as in cans in your local store (I’ve already confirmed my local Heinen’s has it!)

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of Eight Crazy Nights at Collision Bend Brewing Company. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Parents Night Out

Part of my job as one of the Room Parents for Jeffrey’s class was to plan Parents Night Out. This evening was a chance for the Pre-K parents to connect with each other outside of the drop-off line and without kids clamoring for attention.

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We held the Parents Night Out at Nighttown.

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Nighttown was so easy to work with setting up the event and the service was spot on! We had a selection of tasty (and generously-sized) appetizers, including egg rolls, bruschetta, chicken satay, and mushroom tarts.

It was a fun evening of catching up with friends and meeting people outside of school! We even got to hear some of the awesome live music that Nighttown had that evening before we had to get home to relieve babysitters of their duties!

HaylieStory

While I was a BloggyCon, I had the pleasure of meeting Haylie from HaylieStory.

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Haylie, along with her friend Zak of Zak Films, make City Surge videos where they visit cities around Ohio. So, we decided to collaborate on filming a City Surge video around Cleveland!

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We started at the West Side Market, then checked out East 4th Street, Playhouse Square, and University Circle.

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

I can’t wait to see the finished video and will share it with you once it is done! What places would you have taken Haylie and Zak?

Modern CLE

Have you been hearing about Modern CLE? There’s quite the buzz about this website that launches today!

Modern CLE is written by journalists and focuses on telling stories from a female perspective.

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There will be news, health and wellness, financial advice, lifestyle, and more content put out daily covering Cleveland and beyond from a journalistic, female point of view.

I attended the launch party for Modern CLE at Heyday Collective. There were lots of tasty treats, bubbles, and fabulous ladies!

 

I’m so excited to read along with Modern CLE and enjoy their fun, fresh, female content!

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun weekend-plus (I’m throwing an event from Thursday, too), so let’s get right to it…

Eat Like a Kid Again

On Thursday, my friend Melissa and I attended the Eat Like a Kid Again event to benefit Children’s Hunger Alliance.

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Held at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, the event brought together chef-inspired takes on favorite kids’ foods and drinks, along with a DJ, silent auction, and wine pull to raise funds for the Children’s Hunger Alliance mission of providing nutritious food to children across Ohio by partnering with local community organizations.
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We nibbled on mac ‘n cheese from Melt Bar and Grilled (did you know they have mac ‘n cheese varieties on their menu now?); spaghetti-o’s from Nora; sloppy joe’s from Saucisson; and s’mores from Annie’s Signature Sweets.

I snagged a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc from the wine pull and Melissa scored a Vitamix from the silent auction!

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Plus, it was fun to spend an evening in a place where we often take our kids to play. I’m reminded how lucky we are to be able to provide as we do for Jeffrey and how important it is to help those less able to do so.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Children’s Hunger Alliance to help promote Eat Like a Kid Again. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Put on Your Boogie Shoes

Friday night, Matthew and I transformed ourselves into a classic Cleveland couple for the Charles Bowlus Charities Put on Your Boogie Shoes fundraiser.

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This annual event was held this year at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown and featured some delicious food stations (build your own mac ‘n cheese FTW), delightful drinks, and one of our favorite local cover bands: Faction.

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Everyone in attendance went all out with their costumes! Some of our favorites included the Scooby Doo group, the Handmaid’s Tale handmaids, and the Chipotle burrito.

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The event raised funds for the Domestic Violence and Child Advocacy Center. Every year, Charles Bowlus Charities chooses a non-profit to donate this event’s funds to, always focused on women and children.

It was a spook-tacular party for a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Charles Bowlus Charities to help promote Put on Your Boogie Shoes. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

Saturday kicked off our third season as season ticket holders for the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square with a Light Wire Theater performance of “The Ugly Duckling.”

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We all really enjoy these shows! They introduce children to live theater in a setting that is accessible. Children can talk quietly during the performances, attend pre-show workshops, and the shows are all around one hour long.

We’ve found the performances to be thoughtful, engaging, and fun!

While season tickets are sold out for the 2018-2019 season, you can purchase individual tickets for the remaining shows, which include “The Rainbow Fish,” “Emily Brown and the Thing,” and “Junie B. Jones.”

Grossology and Spooktacular Science

Since Sunday was rainy and cold, we decided to spend time indoors with two of Jeffrey’s godparents: Amanda and Scott (follow their super fun adventures on Tow for the Road!)

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The Great Lakes Science Center was hosting their Halloween party, Spooktacular Science, with monster dance parties, glow-in-the-dark slime, and exploding pumpkins.

We also got to check out the newest exhibit: Grossology: The (Impolite) Science of the Human Body.

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Grossology teaches visitors the facts and science behind farts, burps, pimples, mucus, and a host of other, well, gross functions of our bodies.

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It’s fun, colorful, and super hands-on, all of which Jeffrey just loved!

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Grossology is now open and included with your admission to the Great Lakes Science Center.

So that was our weekend (plus). How was yours? Did you have some pre-Halloween fun?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend filled with lots of pre-Halloween festivities. Let’s get right to it!

Haunted Hayrides

On Friday, we attended one of our favorite Halloween traditions: the Haunted Hayrides at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark.

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We boarded the wagon and wound our way through a not-too-scary forest filled with fun decorations and enthusiastic actors.

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Once we departed the wagon, we could choose from the scary or not-scary path for some Halloween festival fun. We chose the not-scary path and enjoyed playground equipment, tasty food vendors like Corbo’s, and a glow-stick dance party.

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The Haunted Hayrides sell out quickly every year, so stay tuned next year for information on ticket sales!

Fall Fest

On Saturday, we attended the Fall Fest for the Early Childhood grades at Hathaway Brown School. Jeffrey got to debut his awesome T-Rex Halloween costume (from Pottery Barn Kids)…

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…pick a pumpkin to decorate and play fun Halloween-themed games.

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Plus, there was cider and donuts from Patterson Fruit Farm…a fall classic! We always enjoy these school parties that let the kids (and parents) connect outside of glass and have a great time!

Dinner at Red and Eagles Concert

Saturday evening, my dad and I had tickets to see the Eagles at Quicken Loans Arena (thanks, Mom!) We started our evening with dinner at Red, the Steakhouse. Dad and I made our own surf and turf with a pound of king crab legs and a 22-ounce bone-in ribeye.

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Both were perfection! We also shared the stuffed hot peppers for an appetizer and the classic creme brulee for dessert. What a great meal!

Then it was off to the concert. This was honestly one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Vince Gill and Deacon Frey (Glenn Frey’s son) did an incredible job filling Glenn Frey’s shoes.

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The hometown crowd loved all the Joe Walsh numbers, of course. The Eagles played two and a half hours of solid music and sounded incredible!

But for me, the best part of the evening was the chance to connect with my dad. We share an appreciation for classic rock (and a good steak), but we don’t often get the chance to do things just the two of us. So the evening was really special and not just because the concert was so great!

Boo at the Zoo

On Sunday, we participated in another favorite Halloween tradition: Boo at the Zoo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

From trick or treating…

…to a dance party…

…to the awesome new decorations, we love the classic Boo at the Zoo fun and there’s always something new to discover each year, too.

There’s still one weekend of Boo at the Zoo, happening Friday, October 26 through Sunday, October 28. You can purchase tickets online.

So, that was our fun, fall, festive weekend! How was yours?

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