Why? Weekends!

So, the theme for this past weekend is: “Staying in is the new going out.” It wasn’t even because of the weather…we just had a lot of plans to hang out at friends’ houses and it was pretty perfect!

Taco Bar Night

On Saturday, we hung out with friends Ritch and Denise and their kiddos. We had a build-your-own-taco bar and the kids had lots of fun playing their version of rock band…

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…and superheroes (I had some fun with that, too).

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I volunteered to bring dessert and made this delicious and easy apple crisp (recipe here).

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Top it with some Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream and you have the perfect sweet end to a fun evening!

Yoga/Brunch

The only thing more likely than yoga to pull me out of hibernation is the combination of yoga, brunch, and two of my best babes. I met up with Kimberly for Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch at Dante Next Door on Sunday morning.

A perfectly-paced yoga flow centered on balance in the new year was followed by a perfectly chatty brunch.

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Alicia is such an inspiring and motivating teacher! And the chance for some good girl time and pancakes after class made this an even more wonderful Sunday morning!

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The berry pancakes at Dante Next Door are not to be missed! You can check out another session of Yoga/Brunch this Sunday, January 21 or Sunday, February 4, 11, or 25. Cost is $15 for an hour-long yoga class, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register.

Pasta Perfection

Sunday evening, I stayed on the carb train with our friends Melissa and Tim. They make homemade pasta every Sunday and invited us over to not only eat, but help make the pasta!

 

I had never made pasta before and the process was really fun, especially sharing it with friends! And the end result was SO delicious!

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Melissa’s homemade sauce was the perfect compliment to the pasta. And after eating such fresh pasta, I don’t think I’ll ever eat boxed noodles again!

It was such a fun weekend and, except for the necessary yoga and mimosa, I’m pretty sure that staying in is the new going out! Who’s having us over next weekend?!

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Why? Weekends!

Other than our road trip to Columbus, there was plenty of other fun to keep us busy this weekend…

Duck Donuts

While we were down in Columbus, we took the recommendation of our fellow bloggers and made a stop at Duck Donuts. Duck Donuts makes hot, fresh vanilla cake donuts, to which you can add your choice of glazes, sprinkles, and drizzles.

They also make donut sundaes, which is what Matthew and I decided to order.

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The cake donut was moist and delicious, but what I learned is, much like Barrio or Happy Dog, I can’t be trusted to created my own delicious flavor combinations. I’m an order-from-the-menu girl.

Disney on Ice

Saturday night, we took Jeffrey to see Disney on Ice at Quicken Loans Arena. I can remember going to see Disney on Ice as a kid, so it was really special to be able to share the experience with Jeffrey.

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This year’s show is themed “Dare to Dream” and focuses on Disney’s strong female heroines, from Cinderella to Belle to Moana.

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Jeffrey loved the show! Disney on Ice is still at the Q for more performances from Thursday, January 11 through Sunday, January 14. If you click here and use code WHYCLE, you can save up to $10 on your tickets. It’s a fun family experience that’s full of magic!

Free Community Yoga with Awake to My Soul YTT

When I started practicing yoga, my first teacher was Ylonda, who spoiled me from the get-go by teaching an amazing blend of fired-up workout and soulful inspiration. Ylonda recently started her own yoga teacher training. And now her teacher trainees are offering free community classes every Sunday at Praxis Fiber Workshop in the Waterloo Arts District to help them gain teaching experience.

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Praxis Fiber Workshop is an awesome, artsy space and it provided the perfect location for a Sunday morning sweat session. If you’re interested, the free classes are offered every Sunday at 10:30am and will be taught by a different Awake to My Soul YTT trainee. It’s an awesome way to get some yoga in your day and help a future amazing yoga teacher, too.

Sunday Funday

Sunday evening, we had the perfect staying-in Sunday Funday with some of our favorite friends.

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We had lots of delicious food from Café Melissa

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…lots of laughs and catching up time and just a great evening belatedly ringing in the new year.

How was your weekend? Are you ready for this week’s “heat wave?”

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Why? Watershed Distillery!

On Saturday, Matthew and I took a little road trip down to Columbus for a tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery. We were already fans of Watershed vodka, so the chance to try more of their spirits with some fellow Cleveland bloggers was a big enough carrot to warrant a drive down 71 South.

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We were greeted at Watershed with a punch made from apple brandy, bourbon-barrel gin, bitters, lemon, and bubbles. The drink was clean, crisp, and nice balance of sweet and bitter flavors. And we got to enjoy at the lovely bar in Watershed’s Kitchen & Bar.

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Next up was a tour of Watershed’s distillery, which is founded in the idea that success requires hard work and that those who enjoy success should give back to the community. In fact, the name Watershed is the company’s shorthand for community and that theme extends throughout Watershed and into the surrounding community.

Watershed’s production facility is impressive and designed to create the highest-quality spirits.

Watershed uses corn and apples as the base for their vodka and those ingredients are sourced from Ohio. We got to sample the vodka; four-peel gin, which uses lemon, lime, grapefruit, and orange peels for a more citrus-forward gin; and the distillery-exclusive Guild Series gin, which was finished with chamomile.

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My favorite of these was the four-peel gin, which has a light, citrus taste that made it more palatable to me than most gins.

We also got to sample Watershed’s barrel-aged spirits: bourbon-barrel gin, bourbon, old fashioned (basically the classic cocktail in a one-step pour), and apple brandy.

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I might have to take back everything I ever said about bourbon, because I drank this one straight and actually liked it! Oh, and the apples for the apple brandy come from a farm near Cleveland, so I think we’re obligated to drink a lot of it!

After the tour of the distillery and tasting the spirits straight (including the amazing Nocino, which reminds me of a spiced wine liquor), it was time for some snacks and a cocktail demonstration.

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Watershed’s Kitchen & Bar cocktail menu changes seasonally. Currently, the menu is creatively modeled on an IKEA catalog, down to the elements you need to create the drink, fun illustrations, and Scandinavian translations.

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The current Watershed cocktails are designed to be clean and minimalist, following the Scandinavian IKEA concept.  Rather than garnishing the glass with fruit, which creates a lot of waste, Watershed makes sprays of the various fruits to mist over the drinks when they are finished.

I enjoyed all three of the cocktails we got to sample, but my favorite was the Stock Home Syndrome, made with apple brandy, lemon, orgeat, and allspice dram, with a mist of Laphroaig. The drink is modeled after a late fall day and smelling leaves burning and it hits all the right notes!

The snacks from the Kitchen were delicious too!

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We enjoyed fried Brussel sprouts with black pepper honey, lemon, and mint; pork rinds with malt vinegar, Parmesan, and fermented hot sauce; crispy fingerling potatoes with roasted garlic, Parmesan, and rosemary aioli; and braised meatballs with stewed tomatoes, mixed grains, and cabbage.

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All of the food felt comforting and familiar, but also with enough of a twist to make it interesting. The Kitchen menu changes frequently, but you can check out a sample here.

If you’re down in Columbus, stop in to either the Kitchen & Bar for a drink and bite or take a tour of the Distillery (or both)! And the next time you’re shopping for spirits for a party, a gift, or just your average Tuesday, remember this carefully-crafted, incredibly-delicious, locally-committed company!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tour and tasting at Watershed Distillery with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Corner Alley!

Matthew took the week in between Christmas and New Year off, so we were on the hunt for fun things to do as a family. We decided to go to The Corner Alley in Uptown for bowling, beer, and burgers.

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It was pretty crowded with other families who had the same idea of holiday break fun, so we killed some time waiting for our lane in The Corner Alley’s arcade. Jeffrey enjoyed playing air hockey and more, but I think he’s spent too much time at Chuck E Cheese, because he kept checking the machines for prize tickets!

We were there during happy hour, which is every day from 2-6pm at the Uptown location. That meant $2 off beers and appetizers, as well as free shoe rental for bowling. An hour of bowling fun during happy hour only cost $15!

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Jeffrey had a great time and we all benefited from the bowling bumpers. Even with the bumpers, my 3.5 year old still beat me at bowling!

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We stayed for dinner after bowling. Jeffrey and Matthew both enjoyed cheeseburgers and I had the fried chicken sliders with honey mustard and slaw, served on cheddar-jalapeno biscuits. Matthew and I also shared the Wild Turkey sweet potato bourbon fries.

All the food was really good! And while there were some hiccups in the service on that busy evening, The Corner Alley made it right by picking up the pace and then taking 20% off our bill.

For a fun family or date night, with legit food and a nice selection of local craft beers, head to The Corner Alley in either Uptown or Downtown. And if you’re in the medical services profession, take advantage of the Medical Discount at the Uptown location!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a pretty quiet end to 2017 over here. Here’s the weekend recap:

Yoga Roots and barre3

I ended 2017 and kicked off 2018 with my two favorite workouts in my two favorite places to do them: Yoga Roots and barre3. Yoga Roots helped me send out 2017 with a fabulous flow in their studio with marvelously heated floors. And barre3 started my 2018 with their “b3 All In” kick off.

It’s definitely an evolution for me to want to end one year and start another centered around workouts. But I’m committed to keeping both fitness spots part of my new year!

New Year’s Eve Party

On New Year’s Eve, we all went to a party hosted by our friends Jason and Patty. This casual, kid-friendly New Year’s Eve gathering let everyone from kids to grown-ups ring in 2018 together.

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I made Buffalo Chicken Dip for the party (similar recipe here) and we also munched on some really tasty pizza from Longo’s. Jeffrey actually stayed up until midnight to yell “Happy New Year!” and pop some confetti poppers. It was a fun way to ring in 2018!

The rest of the weekend was spent staying warm…

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…visiting family…

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…and getting ready to resume a regular, post-holiday routine this week. Jeffrey feels the way all of us do about that.

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How did you ring in 2018?

jenclesig_pur

Why? The Harlem Globetrotters!

Yesterday, Jeffrey, Matthew, and I got to watch some fun and fantastic basketball action when The Harlem Globetrotters took over Quicken Loans Arena.

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Before the game, we checked out the Magic Pass event, which is part meet-and-greet, part activity fair, and all fun!

Jeffrey got to meet Globie, the Globetrotters mascot…

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…as well as several players from both the Globetrotters and their opposing team, the Washington Generals.

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Jeffrey was also able to get his Harlem Globetrotters basketball (newly-purchased by Mom and Dad) autographed. Although I think the concept of autographs eludes him at this age, since he asked why the players didn’t write HIS name on the ball!

With the Magic Pass, Jeffrey was able to bounce like a Flying Globie…

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…then watch the real Flying Globies…

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Photo credit: Matthew

…and shoot baskets on the court…

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…then watch how the big guys do it.

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Jeffrey says, “He got stuck on the net” and laughs every time someone dunks. (Photo credit: Matthew)

The funny, silly, and athletic feats all delighted the fans.

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I also loved how sweet and welcoming the Globetrotters were with even their smallest, newest fans and appreciated getting to know a little more about their many community outreach programs, such as the ABCs of Bullying Prevention and S.M.I.L.E. It was a great family afternoon!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Quicken Loans Arena to help promote The Harlem Globetrotters. In exchange, I received three tickets and Magic Passes for myself and 4 tickets and Magic Passes to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

It was a wonderful Christmas weekend, filled with family and friends and presents and food!

Cupcakes and a Story

On Friday, Matthew and I met up with friends at White Flower Cake Shoppe for their Cupcakes and a Story event. We got to hear a sweet winter story, as well as see how to decorate 4 different Christmas cupcakes.

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While our decorated cupcakes never look quite as good as the originals, they sure are fun and tasty to make!

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Cookie Baking

From cupcakes to cookies, we spent most of our day on Saturday baking cookies and wrapping presents. I try to make everyone in the family their favorite type of cookie, so we had lots of varities from shortbread to thumbprints to double chocolate peppermint.

And Jeffrey was my best helper…or taste-tester, I should say!

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Christmas

We’re lucky to have both of our families in town and to be able to split the time between Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with everyone.

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We all got lots of great presents under the tree! Jeffrey loved his sled (and then we got enough snow to actually use it)…

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And my mom continued her tradition of buying Jeffrey musical instruments (and then sending them home with us).

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Jeffrey also scored big with some of his favorite character toys: PAW Patrol and Cars. His excitement for Christmas this year and his enthusiasm as he opened each present was really wonderful to see!

Matthew got a couple beer-themed gifts, which is perfect in such an awesome beer city! We both can’t wait to read “Cleveland Beer” and this Cleveland wooden six-pack holder from Wood ‘n What Knot (available at Merchant’s Mrkt) is perfect for parties!

My mom loved this custom cutting board that I got from Lovely Paperie & Gifts. It has a handwritten recipe from my great grandmother laser cut on it. These cutting boards are such a unique and touching way to showcase a recipe!

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Speaking of cutting boards, check out this awesome board from my brother-in-law!

And I of course got a little sparkle…

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…and a little Cleveland, which is always the perfect combo for me!

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Is it Opening Day yet?! 

Hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend and enjoy a nice week before round two of holiday celebrating!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Holy holiday festivities, Batman! What a busy, fun weekend! Let’s get to it:

TWC Christmas

One of our most-anticipated holiday evenings is TWC Christmas. “TWC” stands for the “Tri-County Wives Club,” a silly shorthand that Alicia, Amanda, Kimberly, and I came up with for our little group.

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Every year at Christmastime, we gather for way too much food, lots of bubbles and beer, a hilarious White Elephant gift exchange, and games.

It’s a relaxing night in the middle of a crazy time of year and a wonderful chance for all of us to see each other before we’re off to family commitments.

This year, we played a new game: What Do You Meme? (thanks, Jessa!). It led to lots of laughs, plus Amanda and I trying to create a new Obama-Biden meme.

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It was another merry TWC Christmas!

Cavs Wine & Gold Nation Breakfast with Santa – *sponsored*

On Sunday morning, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to the Cavs Wine & Gold Nation Breakfast with Santa at Quicken Loans Arena, a complimentary event for Wine & Gold Nation members and their families.

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There was so much to see and do, from visits with the Cavs Girls and mascots…

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…to crafts like making reindeer and snowmen…

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…to story time with the Cleveland Public Library to donuts and coffee to enjoy…

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…to a visit with Santa Claus, of course. I think Santa got a lot of requests for another Cavs championship!

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It was a fun morning and a great benefit of Cavs Wine & Gold Nation membership, which is definitely focusing on families and experiences outside just the games themselves. Cavs Wine & Gold Nation has memberships for all age levels that make great Christmas gifts!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Cavs Wine & Gold Nation membership. In exchange, I received a complimentary Cavalittles membership for Jeffrey. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Mapleside Breakfast with Santa

Because why wouldn’t you go to two breakfasts with Santa in one day? We are insane(ly festive). Our next Sunday stop was at Mapleside Farms for their first annual Breakfast with Santa.

We enjoyed a full breakfast buffet in the beautiful and rustic Mapleside Barn, with visits from Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and the Grinch.

After breakfast, we boarded a decorated wagon for a short ride over to the sweet shop to decorate (and eat) cupcakes…

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…and take a dunk in the chocolate fountain.

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Then it was another audience with Santa. Jeffrey is in this sweet spot of really understanding all the things that Christmas can mean, but also fully believing without question. It’s pretty magical this year!

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Our day ended with the create-your-own caramel apple bar, which is how days should end more often!

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Yum!

It was such a fun, festive weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Holiday Events!

Phew! We have been on a tear through holiday events this year. And while some get rounded up into weekend recaps, I wanted to give you a rundown on some of the others for both kids and adults.

Country Lights

One of our favorite holiday traditions is Country Lights at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark. This event incorporates so many different fun holiday activities from a wagon ride through extensive outdoor light displays…

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…to model train displays in winter wonderland scenes…

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…to cookie decorating (SO much frosting)…

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…to Santa’s toy workshop. The workshop is by far my favorite part of Country Lights. Staffed entirely by volunteers, the elves help your child build and decorate a wooden toy of their choosing.

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It’s such a neat, hands-on experience for the kids. And the workshop looks like I imagine Santa’s workshop would, with snow and singing and loads of glitter.

Country Lights is sold out for 2017, but definitely put it on your holiday list for 2018!

The Polar Express

I try not to play absolute favorites among holiday events, but The Polar Express on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad might be #1 for me. The ride brings the story from the book and movie to life. It is heart-warming and fun and everything you could want from a holiday event.

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Each train car has an elf and a conductor who make the magical story of “The Polar Express” come to life. On your way to The North Pole (AKA Peninsula during the rest of the year), you hear the story of “The Polar Express,” drink hot chocolate, and eat cookies, in your PJ’s of course.

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When you reach the decked-out North Pole, you are greeted by a cavalry of (volunteer) elves, reindeer, and other Christmas characters.

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Santa boards the train here and visits with each child on the way back home, gifting magic bells to the kids too.

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Jeffrey told me he could hear the bell ringing because he believes in Santa! It doesn’t get more magical than that!

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On your return trip, you also sing carols and just generally arrive back home in the most festive mood you could imagine.

The Polar Express is sold out for 2017, but definitely put it on your holiday list for 2018.

Holidays in the Caribbean

On one of the coldest, windiest days of the year thus far, members and friends of Playhouse Square Partners were feeling quite tropical at our Holidays in the Caribbean happy hour at Margaritaville Cleveland.

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We had the entire “5 o’clock Somewhere” bar area to ourselves to enjoy boat drinks and munchies and beachy tunes. We also each got a lei to add to our festive ugly sweater attire!

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And my gift exchange gift seems particularly spot on, especially given that the theme of our upcoming Jump Back Ball is “2018: A Space Odyssey!”

Margaritaville was the perfect place to celebrate the holidays and dream of warmer days ahead!

Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop

Imagine lots of people dressed up in their most, ahem, festive attire, heading from bar to bar at Legacy Village. Add in pictures with Santa, fun decorations, and a treat bag that included an insulated “Solo cup,” red and green sunglasses, and a jingle bell necklace.

The Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop was fun and festive! It also definitely got you chatting with your fellow  hoppers, as you compared attire (fashion note: holiday llama sweaters are big this year).

Various bars at Legacy Village offered discounted food and drink specials for the evening. Some of our favorites were the Candy Cane martini from The Melting Pot

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…the calamari and specialty martinis from Bar Louie

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…and the yummy pork nachos and “Jingle Bell Juice” (bourbon and blood orange) at Granite City Food and Brewery.

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All this festive hopping was for a good cause, as a portion of proceeds benefitted the American Cancer Society. Cheers!

What holiday events have you been enjoying this season?

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball and will receive two complimentary VIP tickets for the event. I also have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village to promote their events, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. I purchased my own tickets to the Ugly Holiday Sweater Bar Hop.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was another fun, festive weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

Brewnuts

On Friday, my mom watched Jeffrey for the day, so that I could have my self-proclaimed “Mommy’s Holiday Get Sh*t Done Day.” The day included gift shopping, grocery shopping, party prepping, and some time for me, too.

I started my day at Brewnuts, which I had been dying to get to since they opened their storefront in Gordon Square.

The store is as adorable as the donuts are tasty. Brewnuts are HUGE donuts and a great balance of sweet frosting and not-too-sweet dough. I had a hard time deciding which to get, but I chose the mint chocolate coffee, made to look like a Frappuccino.

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Yum! Brewnuts also has a large selection of craft beer and options to make your coffee or hot chocolate boozy.

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Whether you stop for a morning treat or an after-work libation and donut, Brewnuts is an awesome, funky, tasty place to try!

The Beauty Room

From there, it was time to pamper my long-neglected toes with a pedicure at The Beauty Room in Tremont.

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I met up with my girlfriend Kimberly, which meant that the pedicure was also good for my soul! Add in some pomegranate mimosas and you have the makings of a perfect morning!

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The Beauty Room is bright, inviting, and has a wonderful selection of products and services (everything from massages and facials to blowouts to manicures) to make you feel, well, beautiful! And starting my day with so much relaxation guaranteed a productive, low-stress remainder of the day at the stores.

Goodyear Blimp Toys for Tots Drive

On Saturday, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I drove down to the Goodyear Blimp hangar to participate in their annual Toys for Tots drive.

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For a donation to Toys for Tots, you get to drive through the Goodyear Blimp hangar and see the hangar and blimp all decked out for Christmas.

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Santa is also there to greet you, as well as Marine in full dress uniform to accept your donation.

Jeffrey loved getting to check out the blimp up close, as well as any chance to have even a brief audience with Santa.

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What a cool thing to be able to see and a great way to drive donations to a wonderful cause!

Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date

For the third year in a row, we packed our house on Sunday with Jeffrey’s friends and their families for a holiday play date.

 

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The calm before the toddler storm 

 

We played winter carnival games, did a holiday book exchange, and generally had a fun, slightly chaotic, wonderful time.

And while the food at the party tends toward the simple pizza, cookies, and brownies, I did add in a new addition this year: spiced wine (recipe here).

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This was the perfect cozy treat and I loved that I could leave it in the slow cooker to stay warm for the entire party! Plus, anytime the toddler count in your house climbs to double digits, you need wine too.

The holiday play date has become one of our favorite traditions and I love the chance for everyone to get together in this festive season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur