Why? Engage Cleveland Next Generation of Women!

Yesterday, I spent my afternoon learning, laughing, and being inspired by some amazing Cleveland women at the Engage Cleveland Next Generation of Women event. It was the inaugural year for this event, held at FirstEnergy Stadium, which brought together young female professionals to listen to women who have risen to great heights in their careers and had plenty of wisdom to share.

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The format for the speakers varied between presentations and interview-style conversations, which allowed the speakers to really play to their speaking strengths and share their messages effectively.

We heard from Lisa Zone, Managing Director at Dix & Eaton on “What do you want to be known for? How to create your personal brand and sell yourself.” Lisa shared a great mix of personal experience, as well as practical advice on how to create that elusive personal brand.

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My favorite line from Lisa’s presentation was when she said, “If you’re trying to be all things to all people, you’ll end up being nothing to everyone.” It’s so true and definitely something I find myself struggling with balancing in my own life. But a powerful and succinct personal brand can help you make choices that keep you from trying to be all things to all people.

Next we heard from Micki Byrnes, President & General Manager of WKYC Channel 3 Cleveland, who spoke on “Critical and uncomfortable conversations: how to negotiate and broach tough topics.” Micki’s blend of humor, honesty, and awareness of how the workplace has evolved for women was really refreshing! Her empowering message of, “You go in and get what you want. Own it. You’re good at what you do.” definitely got the audience fired up!

Amy Shannon, President of Pinnacle Leadership Solutions, gave a hands-on, interactive talk on “Voicing your wants and needs: Learn how to sell yourself, speak up and ask for what you need.”

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An important part of voicing your wants and needs is using more assertive and direct vocabulary and removing hedges, apologies, and disclaimers. We all got to practice this skill with our tablemates and it’s harder than you would think, but Amy gave us good tips to make these language changes a lasting habit.

Teresa Metcalf Beasley, a Partner at Calfee, Halter & Griswold talked about what was my most anticipated topic: “There’s only 24 hours in a day: How to prioritize your personal, civic, and professional responsibilities.” Teresa spoke about her many responsibilities at work, at home, and in the community and gave helpful tips on how to balance them, including the permission to walk away (gracefully) from opportunities that are no longer serving you.

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Kirsten Ellenbogen, President & CEO of the Great Lakes Science Center, spoke about “Decide like no one is watching: How to effectively make decisions to navigate your career and personal life.” Kirsten, like many of the speakers, addressed the importance of understanding not only your own decision-making style, but the styles of those around you, in order to communicate effectively and reach meaningful consensus.

Finally, Kim Manigault, EVP and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at KeyBank talked on another topic I was very excited to hear: “Finding your tribe: How to find your people to help you thrive and grow.” Similar to Lisa’s message, Kim discussed trying to be everything to everyone, saying, “We put so much pressure on ourselves to be everything to everyone and then don’t hold anyone accountable to be anything for us.”

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Kim stressed the importance of being open to everyone, but also willing to prioritize those relationships with people who not only you respect, but respect you in return. And as you can probably tell from the picture, Kim was quite engaging in her presentation!

It was truly a great afternoon of learning from women who have come so far in their careers and are engaged and invested in the Cleveland community. It was also a great chance to meet other young professionals looking to be the “next generation of women” influencing Cleveland.

Engage Cleveland puts on events throughout the year and their signature Cleveland Young Professionals Week, with over 30 events in one week, is happening June 23-30, with everything from fitness to learning to networking to community service. If you want to get engaged in Cleveland, check it out!

***Disclosure: I was asked to be a media partner for the Next Generation of Women Event. In exchange, I received a complimentary ticket to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? St. Vincent de Paul Society Kentucky Derby Party Giveaway!

It’s almost time to bust out a big hat and a mint julep! The Kentucky Derby is almost here and you can enjoy it at the Great Lakes Brewing Company Tasting Room, while contributing to a great cause too!

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The St. Vincent de Paul Society is hosting it’s 18th annual Kentucky Derby Party presented by the Community West Foundation to raise funds to support the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s multiple hunger centers, which nourish 13,000 men, women, children and seniors each month.

The Kentucky Derby Party will take place on Saturday, May 5 from 4-8pm at the Great Lakes Brewing Co Tasting Room. The party will feature a live showing of the Kentucky Derby on the big screen, horse betting, a hat contest, silent auction items up for bid, raffles (you could win up to $1,000), prizes, authentic Derby fare, and mint juleps and Great Lakes Brewing beers.

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Tickets for the Kentucky Derby Party are $75 and 50/50 raffle tickets are $10 per ticket or 3 for $20. Both admission and raffle tickets are currently on sale online.

Or you can enter to win two tickets to the Kentucky Derby Party right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment and tell me what you would name a race horse.

2. Visit St. Vincent de Paul Society and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @svdpcle and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @svdpcle and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend @svdpcle #DerbyDayCLE thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/04/19/why-st-vincent-de-paul-society-kentucky-derby-party-giveaway-2 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 24 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by St. Vincent de Paul Society to help promote the Kentucky Derby Party. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend in Cleveland! And while I didn’t have the chance to attend the Rock Hall Induction or the first Cavs playoff game, I am so proud of how Cleveland put on a fabulous show on the national stage!

So, here’s what I was up to as Cleveland was rocking it out:

Providence House Luncheon

On Friday, Kimberly and I attended the Providence House Annual Luncheon at the Renaissance Cleveland Hotel.

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Providence House is a crisis nursery that is committed to ending child abuse and preserving families in the Cleveland area. Providence House was founded by Sister Hope Greener in 1981. This year, Providence House turns 37 and its founder Sister Hope turns 90.

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Friday’s luncheon feted Sister Hope and raised $90,000 for Providence House.

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It also introduced a powerful new brand campaign designed by Twist Creative. This campaign showcases the impact of Providence House on its residents and volunteers.

The Providence House luncheon was a wonderful way to not only celebrate the organization’s history, but also look forward to a bright and exciting future for the house. If you want to be part of that future, you can find out more online about how to donate or volunteer.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Providence House Annual Luncheon with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we attended the final show of this season’s Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square.

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The show, put on by the Mermaid Theatre of Nova Scotia, brought to life the sweet story of “Guess How Much I Love You” and the imaginative story of “I Love My Little Storybook.” We’ve been reading “Guess How Much I Love You” since Jeffrey was born. It was so touching to experience it live on stage together!

The shows for next year’s Children’s Theater Series are “The Ugly Duckling,” “The Rainbow Fish,” “Emily Brown and the Thing,” and “Junie B. Jones.” Season tickets go on sale May 21. We love attending the Children’s Theater Series shows and experiencing culture together as a family!

Mass and a Meal

Saturday evening, we attended the sixth annual Mass and a Meal event put on by the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. We started the evening with Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Little Italy.

Then we headed across the street to Nido Italia for a delicious family-style dinner with breaded eggplant, cavatelli, and chicken piccata.

Of course, I can’t be that close to Presti’s and not stop for a cannoli, too!

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Mass and a Meal has become a Chapter favorite event and a yearly tradition for many alumni. If you’re a John Carroll alumni, the Chapter has some great upcoming events including our Founders Day Celebration this Thursday, April 19 at Market Garden Brewery. I hope to see you there!

***Disclosure: I am the president of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Yoga Roots

Sunday evening, I met up with Mom for her first class at Yoga Roots. We took a restorative yoga class which was a great chance to recharge our minds and bodies before a busy week.

You know how much I love practicing, so I’m so excited to share that with Mom too. And I can’t think of a more supportive community than Yoga Roots to practice.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you get in on any of the Rock Hall excitement?

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Why? Bakersfield Cleveland!

A restaurant that bills itself as tacos, tequila, and whiskey sounds pretty fabulous, right? On Friday night, Matthew and I got a delicious sampling of what Bakersfield Cleveland has to offer, which is not only great food, but a relaxed, friendly atmosphere too.

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We started with Bakersfield delicious margaritas, any of which can be made spicy with the addition of jalapeno and Serrano peppers. I really enjoyed the pineapple margarita, with el Jimador Blanco, Licor 43, pineapple, agave nectar, and fresh lime.

We also dug into housemade salsa and guacamole, along with queso with chorizo, black beans, and pickled jalapenos.

I love the add-ons to the queso dip! So savory and filling!

Next up was the Willie salad (named after Willie Nelson), with romaine mix, roasted chicken, bacon, black beans, tomato, corn, fresnos, queso fresco, and buttermilk dressing. The salad was light and bright, with lots of fresh flavors.

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We then got to try three different kinds of Bakersfield’s tasty tacos, all on tortillas made in-house. The Baja shrimp had delicious lightly-breaded shrimp, chipotle lime crema, guacamole, red cabbage, pickled fresno, and chive.

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The cochinita taco had anchiote-braised pork, pickled red onion, habanero hot salsa, and cilantro. The pork was super tender and flavorful! And the salsa had a delicious heat on the back.

We also tried a seasonal taco with chicken, kimchi, black beans, and queso fresco. I really loved the flavorful heat on this taco!

We got to end our meal with Don Julio 1942, a fabulous sipping tequila that shows what kind of great hospitality and dining experience you’ll have at Bakersfield. For a fun atmosphere, with creative and delicious Southwest cuisine, check out Bakersfield!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary dinner at Bakersfield with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Make-a-Wish Big Wish Gala!

Last night, Matthew and I attended the Make-a-Wish Big Wish Gala at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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As we enjoyed the cocktail hour, we perused amazing silent auction items, all framed by incredible views of Cleveland. There were some unique and fun auction items, including a pet photo shoot with Greg Murray, a fireworks package from Phantom Fireworks called the “Grounds for Divorce,” and tickets to “Hamilton: An American Musical” from Playhouse Square.

Matthew and I always love participating in the wine pull at charity events. I liked that this wine pull gave you a hint at which type of wine you would get (red tissue paper for red, white tissue paper for white, or red and white combined for rose).

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After cocktails and auction shopping, it was time to head in for dinner. We enjoyed chicken, risotto, and desserts that were as tasty as they were adorable.

During dinner, we had the chance to hear stories from families whose child had a wish granted, as well as from Doctor Anup Patel, Section Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Director of the Complex Epilepsy Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, who has seen the tangible medical difference that having a wish granted can make in a child’s physical well-being.

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It was truly amazing to hear from families who have endured so much stress and fear over their child’s health speak about what it means to be able to take a break from the tension and enjoy moments together as a family.

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I also got to reconnect with a high school classmate, Megan, who is one of the incredible people working at Make-a-Wish to make children’s wishes come true every day!

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Wishes come in all shapes and sizes, from trips to Disney World or Hawaii to a day at the salon to getting a computer or playset to meeting the Pope, which actually happened for local Wish Kid Leonora and her family. Wishes are as unique as the child who wishes them. What is consistent about every wish is that it means the world to that child and their family.

Currently, Make-a-Wish is only able to grant one out of every two eligible wishes, which is why the Big Wish Gala, which raised over $500,000 last night, is so critical. Make-a-Wish wants to be able to grant more wishes and help even more children not only have a special day, but create lifetime memories and see medical improvement.

If you want to get involved through volunteering or donating to Make-a-Wish, click here for more information on how you can make wishes come true, too.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Make-a-Wish to help promote the Big Wish Gala. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes and Ale Giveaway!

Who’s ready to think about summer BBQ’s? I know I am! Our Lady of the Wayside wants to kick off your BBQ season at Grapes and Ale on Friday, May 18.

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Progressive Field will once again host this fabulous evening. You’ll get to sample BBQ bites from some of Cleveland’s sauciest restaurants. There will also be over 300 international wines to sample included with your admission, as well as craft beer samples available for purchase at The Corner.

Your hosts for all this food and fun will be Kenny Crumpton from Fox 8 News, Chip Kullik from Majic 105.7, and Jeremiah from Q104.

General admission tickets to Grapes and Ale are $60 and include unlimited wine and food samples, access to The Corner to purchase craft beer samples, a souvenir glass, entertainment by The Ace Molar Band featuring Todd Meany from Fox 8 News, and access to take your chance to win fabulous Chinese auction prizes.

You can also upgrade to VIP tickets, which are $125 and include all of the above plus access to a private Majic VIP area with featured wines, beers, and Tito’s Vodka cocktails, plus special hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

You can purchase tickets online now. Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know if you’re most excited for BBQ, wine, or beer at Grapes and Ale.

2. Visit Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @ourladywayside and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @OurLadyWayside and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend @OurLadyWayside #GrapesandAle thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/04/12/why-grapes-and-ale-giveaway-6 

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes and Ale. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets to give away. I declined my own tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes Under Glass!

The most elegant and expansive wine tasting event in Cleveland is back at the Rotunda at The 9 and Heinen’s Downtown ClevelandGrapes Under Glass: An Unprecedented Wine Tasting Event happens Thursday, April 19 through Sunday, April 22.

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All events will take place in the stunning Cleveland Trust Rotunda, a truly unique and beautiful place to enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine. You will have access to amazing high-end wineries, as well as a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals.

You’ll also nibble on food paired specifically to the wines, created by The 9’s Executive Chef, Nelly Buleje, as well as Heinen’s culinary team.

The full schedule is impressive, including a Four Winemakers-Four Courses dinner on Thursday, April 19; a California Blue Chip Wine Experience on Friday, April 20; a Cognac Private Lounge and Main Tasting Event on Saturday, April 21; and a Conundrum Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, April 22.

Tickets can be purchased for individual events or in an event package, which can include overnight stays at The Metropolitan at the 9 Cleveland. Click here for more information, including pricing on events and packages, and to purchase tickets.

The Cleveland Trust Rotunda has quickly become a symbol of downtown Cleveland’s renaissance and the perfect place for a high-class event. Grapes Under Glass will be quite the event, so raise a toast!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Heinen’s to help promote Grapes Under Glass. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to the Blue Chip Wine Experience. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Market at the Food Bank Giveaway!

As spring event season heats up, I’m getting excited for a great evening of food and fun with Market at the Food Bank. Happening on Sunday, April 29 at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank warehouse, this event is not only a wonderful chance to contribute to the Harvest for Hunger campaign, but also a unique way to see firsthand where the proceeds from the event go.

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Market at the Food Bank is a strolling food and beverage event that features small bites from amazing local restaurants including BRIM Kitchen and Brewery, Mama Roberto’s, EDWINS, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Woods Restaurant and Lounge, Little Devil Cupcakery, and many more. You’ll also enjoy beverages from Private Reserve Fine Wines, Reggae Wines, Starbucks, Beverage Distributors, and more.

There is also a fabulous silent auction and live raffle with great prizes up for bid, all to raise even more money for Harvest for Hunger.

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Tickets are currently on sale for Market at the Food Bank. General admission tickets are $127 and include unlimited food and beverage samples, a souvenir wine glass, and valet parking. VIP tickets are $202 and include all the general admission benefits, plus early admittance to the event and access to the VIP lounge. You can purchase tickets online.

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to Market at the Food Bank right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me which your most excited to try.

2. Visit Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @clefoodbank and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @CleFoodbank and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend Market at the @CleFoodbank thanks to @WhyCLE #HarvestforHunger #giveaway #market2018 https://whycle.com/2018/04/10/why-market-at-the-food-bank-giveaway-3 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Sunday, April 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Market at the Food Bank. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Ajoyo Almondmilk Giveaway!

When making changes in my life, particularly in the health and wellness area, I’ve found that the best and most lasting changes come when I start small. Making sweeping changes often doesn’t last and leads to burnout. But starting small allows you to feel a sense of accomplishment and steadily build lasting healthy habits.

When I was in law school, after being overweight for most of my life, I decided to join Weight Watchers and not only lose weight, but change my eating habits for good.

Gradually, I lost 80 pounds and reached my goal weight. But the weight kept coming off and I found myself fixated on becoming thinner and thinner, to the point of unhealthiness in the opposite direction. One morning, when I passed out in my apartment’s elevator on my to work out, I realized that simply being thin was not serving my overall health.

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As I slowly returned toward my healthy original goal weight (and then worked to get myself back there again after having Jeffrey), I learned that the lowest number does not always make you the healthiest person.

I learned that choosing foods based on real, natural, good-for-you ingredients, rather than the lowest calorie and fat counts, would lead to better and more sustainable food choices. Artificial sweeteners and fat-free cheese might give you the momentary illusion of making a healthy choice, but long-term health comes from choosing all-natural foods that are also good for you.

I learned that exercising should not be something I do to punish my body, but rather to celebrate its abilities and maintain its strength.

I don’t take any of these lessons lightly. They are hard learned and definitely still a work in progress. But that’s just my point. Healthy choices for your body and your mind don’t happen overnight. This has been a 15 year process so far for me.

Sometimes you just need to start small. Set an attainable goal and work toward it, knowing that it’s part of a larger plan for overall health.

The folks at Ajoyo Almondmilk , part of the Ohio-based Smith Foods, understand the importance of starting small. From their website, “We begin with a seed. We are born from the soil. That’s why we believe connecting with nature has the power to better connect us with ourselves. From seed to soul. So, let’s drink in the good stuff the way Mother Nature intended, while also taking other small steps towards becoming the healthiest, happiest souls on Earth.”

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For me, Ajoyo is a great way to continue achieving my goal of incorporating more all-natural foods that not only taste good, but are good for me and my family. I still struggle with breaking old habits of choosing solely based on calorie and fat counts, rather than also caring about what’s in my food. So, this is a small way I can help to break that habit, by incorporating a product that is both healthy and natural.

Ajoyo’s natural almond milk comes in original, original unsweetened, vanilla, vanilla unsweetened, and chocolate. Ajoyo has a ton of great recipes to get you started incorporating almond milk into your own “Start Small” healthy goal. I can’t wait to whip up this Summer Strawberry Vinaigrette! And we’ve loved incorporating Ajoyo into morning Vitamix smoothies!

Ajoyo would like to give you the chance to try their almond milk for yourself. The winner will receive coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo.

Here’s how to enter: just follow @ajoyobrand on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following. A simple way to start small!

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, April 18 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Ajoyo Almondmilk. In exchange, I received coupons good for four free half-gallons of Ajoyo Almondmilk. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Legacy Village Restaurant Week Giveaway!

Restaurant Weeks have become a popular way to be able to check out a new restaurant or rediscover an old favorite for a great deal. Legacy Village is once again offering their Restaurant Week, from Monday, April 9 through Sunday, April 15.

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Diners can enjoy $25 prix fixe meals at Bar Louie, Brio Coastal Bar & Kitchen, California Pizza Kitchen, Granite City Food & Brewery, and The Melting Pot and $38 prix fixe meals at The Capital Grille. You can check out all the different Restaurant Week menus here.

To sweeten the deal even more, Legacy Village Restaurant Week diners can also complete a contest form to be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card to each of the participating Legacy Village Restaurant Week restaurants. And each night, a diner will be selected to win a $50 Legacy Village gift card!

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To help you take advantage of Legacy Village Restaurant Week, I have a $50 Legacy Village gift card to give away right here!

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment here telling me which restaurant at which you’d use your gift card.

2. Visit Legacy Village and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @legacyvillage and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Follow @legacyvillageoh and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

5. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win a gift card from @WhyCLE to enjoy @legacyvillageoh Restaurant Week #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/04/04/why-legacy-village-restaurant-week-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Saturday, April 7 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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

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