Why? Weekends!

We had lots of family-centered fun this weekend! Let’s get right to it:

Birthday Party at Greater Cleveland Aquarium

On Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I went to a birthday party for one of his school friend’s at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.

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We’ve been to the Aquarium several times, but never for a birthday party. I was really impressed with everything the party included. There was a party room with a submarine the kids could play in, crafts for the group, pizza and cake, and even a visit from a turtle!

The party also included admission to the Aquarium for the kids to check out all the sea critters. What a fun morning!

Fall Flyer

On Sunday, we hopped aboard the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad for their Fall Flyer trip.

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The Fall Flyer is a two-hour, non-stop ride that takes you though the Cuyahoga Valley National Park to take in the beautiful fall foliage.

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We rode on the Silver Lariat, one of the new California Zephyr cars. The Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad recently added four cars from the California Zephyr line which have dome seating; luxurious seats; tables; and more amenities.

 

We enjoyed taking in the fall sights, including changing leaves, the Cuyahoga river, lots of bikers and runners on the Towpath, and tons of people visiting Szalay’s pumpkin patch. We also enjoyed tasty snacks like hot dogs and popcorn from the dining car.

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Every time we take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad, I’m so impressed with the volunteers who work as Conductors, Trainmen, and more. They truly make the experience so enjoyable!

The fall colors will only continue to become more striking, which makes the Fall Flyer a perfect choice for a fall weekend activity. The Fall Flyer runs every Saturday and Sunday in October at 9:45am and 1:30pm from the Rockside Station and 11:30am and 3:30pm from the Akron Northside Station. Tickets start at $25 per person. Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was invited to take a ride on the Fall Flyer and received three complimentary tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

That was our weekend, aside from watching lots of Cleveland sports, of course! How was yours?

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Why? Wildroots at Legacy Village!

On Saturday, September 22, Legacy Village will host Wildroots, an awesome artists marketplace, where you can not only find fabulous items, but also connect with artists and makers.

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From 10am to 6pm, you can peruse over 50 vendors from Northeast Ohio and beyond, with everything from home décor to vintage goods to jewelry to contemporary art.

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The event will also include yoga on the lawn from 12pm-1pm, live music, children’s activities, and more!

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Wildroots is a free event and is in it’s first year at Legacy Village. Don’t miss this chance to spend the first day of fall outside, enjoying some great local shopping!

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

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Why? Chefs Unbridled!

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of our favorite foodie events: Chefs Unbridled to benefit Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center.

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This event brings together a collection of talented Cleveland chefs, all of whom prepare delicious small plates to be enjoyed while strolling the big tent on the Chagrin Valley Hunt Club grounds.

The weather was cooler and the chefs were thinking cozy, fall flavors. Chef Scott Kuhn and Chef Chris Hodgson of the Driftwood Group prepared seafood chowder and fried burrata, both of which were warm and satisfying.

Speaking of warm and satisfying, the tomato risotto from the Union Club of Cleveland fit that bill too! And the slightly spicy, totally tender pork ropa vieja from Sol was delicious!

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The newly-opened Polpetta was on hand with chicken meatballs with Thai peanut sauce over veggie fried rice. Yum!

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And Chef Demetrios Athenos’ stuffed dates wrapped in bacon were the perfect bite-sized nibble.

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All of this food and fun (and friends)…

 

benefited Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center, which helps children and adults with disabilities, PTSD, and other physical and emotional challenges, connect with horses and find comfort and growth through these relationships.

 

The live auction, which included two in-home dinners provided by Driftwood Group, raised over $60,000 for Fieldstone Farm!

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What a fabulous, fall-like evening for a wonderful cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Fieldstone Farm to help promote Chefs Unbridled. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Yoga in the Village!

Fall in Northeast Ohio is such a wonderful time for outdoor activities! Which is why I’m so excited for Yoga in the Village: Flow into Fall!

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Head to the lawn at Legacy Village on Thursday, September 20 at 6:30pm to enjoy a 60-minute, all-levels yoga class taught by Alicia Hansen, one of my favorite yoga teachers. For $15, you get the yoga class, plus a $5 Legacy Village gift card and swag bag with goodies from Legacy Village merchants.

Plus, you’ll not only be doing something good for you, but for the fuzzes, too! A portion of ticket proceeds will be donated to the Geauga Humane Society’s Rescue Village.

I hope to see you at Flow into Fall. You know I can’t resist a yoga class!

***Disclosure: I have a standing agreement 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.***

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Why? The Burnham!

Hotel restaurants in Cleveland should no longer be called “hotel restaurants.” The name carries the connotation of unimaginative food that you’re stuck eating in some random city because you don’t know where else to go. Cleveland’s hotel restaurants, on the other hand, take food, drink, and ambiance to another level and turn into destinations in and of themselves, both for locals and visitors.

This is certainly true of The Burnham, located in the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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Named for one of the city’s original architects, The Burnham’s menu pays homage to Cleveland’s roots, while also celebrating the city’s status as a destination worthy of the most fervent foodie. You’ll find pierogi and kielbasa on the menu, but also gnocchi and pork belly.

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But I’m getting ahead of myself in my excitement. Let’s start with cocktails: a Sacre Bleu for me, with Watershed Vodka, St. Germain, lemon, lavender, and butterfly pea flower. And a Manhattan for him, because Matthew can’t resist bourbon.

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For our starters, we decided to share the lobster bisque with cognac whipped cream and puffed pastry and the buttermilk fried calamari with green tomatoes and key lime aioli.

Our server Jessica insisted we couldn’t pass up the Ohio City Pasta shitake mushroom and potato pierogi, served with caramelized vegetables (pictured above). All the starters were delicious, but my favorite elements were the unexpected ones, like the caramelized vegetables with the pierogi or the green tomatoes with the calamari.

And we definitely saved some of the lobster bisque to enjoy with our bread service from On the Rise Artisan Breads. Now would be a good time to point out that The Burnham sources from local businesses like On the Rise, Ohio City Pasta, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, and Watershed Distillery. And you know how much I love that!

For entrees, I chose the crispy skin salmon with Ohio City Pasta sweet pea and sun-dried tomato gnocchi, charred onion, and asparagus coulis.

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As with the appetizers, the accoutrements of this dish are what took a delicious, perfectly-cooked piece of salmon to another level of tastiness. The sun-dried tomatoes and sweet peas balanced each other so well.

Matthew chose the scallops and pork belly, with sweet potato puree, charred onions, and bacon jam.

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If you read that last sentence, you’ll know that there is literally nothing not to like in this dish!

Then came dessert. I blame Jessica, our server, for the fact that three desserts appeared on our table, but the fact that they all disappeared is all on us! Matthew and I chose the cherry crème brulee and the spiced caramel pumpkin tart, respectively.

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But then Jessica insisted we couldn’t miss the sweet potato cheesecake and, oh, was she right!

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I am not a cheesecake fan by nature, but this light and fluffy version, topped with toasted marshmallow and candied pecans and set atop a graham cracker crust had me cleaning the plate.

From the cocktails to the food to the service, our dinner at The Burnham was everything you’d want a downtown date night dinner to be. Don’t miss getting there while the fall menu is available. And order the third dessert…you’ll be glad you did!

Oh, and if you’re at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown before Saturday, be sure to check out the Hilton Passport Project.

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This traveling project, which aims to raise the number of Americans who have their passports (currently only 41%) is in Cleveland to help you get your free passport photo, fill out an application with help from a State Department representative, and check out some amazing Hilton properties you can then visit with your new passport.

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to tour the Hilton Passport Project and enjoy a complimentary (excluding cocktails) dinner at The Burnham. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Evercrisp Apples at Heinen’s!

One of the many reasons I love shopping at Heinen’s is the high-quality and unique selection of produce. Just in time for holiday baking, Heinen’s is now carrying EverCrisp Apples.

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EverCrisp Apples look like Fuji Apples and taste a bit like Honeycrisp Apples, with a crisp, firm, sweet taste. But the main unique characteristic is how long this apple will hold it’s firm texture, even when cooked. You don’t even need to store them in your refrigerator to maintain the quality!

I recently had the chance to pick up some EverCrisp Apples from Heinen’s and try out some recipes with them. First, I made Apple Skillet Cake, a warm and comforting fall treat.

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This moist cake incorporated ingredients such as sour cream, apple cider, lots of spices, and EverCrisp Apples. I loved the spongy texture of the cake and the unique crisp bite of the EverCrisp Apples. I definitely endorse adding a big scoop of Mitchell’s Vanilla Bean Ice Cream on top!

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This is the perfect thing for a fall dessert (and I definitely ate the leftovers for breakfast)!

Speaking of breakfast, I also made Apple and Gruyere Mini Frittatas with EverCrisp Apples. The recipe started with sauteed onion, wilted spinach, and apples divided into muffin tins.

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Then top this savory and sweet mixture with eggs, gruyere, and milk and bake.

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This made a delicious breakfast which was mostly savory, with a touch of sweetness from the still-crisp apples.

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And while I made this just for Matthew and me, this recipe would be perfect for a holiday breakfast for a group/family!

Don’t miss EverCrisp Apples, now available at Heinen’s through January and perfect for all your holiday baking and cooking!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Heinen’s to help promote EverCrisp Apples. In exchange, I received a Heinen’s gift card to purchase ingredients. As always, all opinions (as well as my choice of recipes) are 100% my own.***

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Why? Legacy Village Home District Showcase at Arhaus!

As we head into fall and start thinking about holiday entertaining, your home might need a little refresh. That’s where the Legacy Village Home District Showcase comes in. These events, which happen at LV Home District retailers on select Wednesdays, give you access to home design experts sharing their knowledge, plus light refreshments, prizes, and more.

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On Wednesday, October 25, Arhaus Furniture will present New Trends in Furniture and Color and Tabletop Displays. You’ll learn how to mix and match various patterns, styles, and colors in your home, as well as how to achieve a quick and easy design change using accessories.

There will be light refreshments from Legacy Village restaurants, as well as the chance to win Arhaus gift cards in various denominations. The event is free and open to the public, but pre-registration is encouraged. Register for the event here. This is sure to be a great way to get ready for the new season with a home decor refresh.

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

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Why? Family Halloween Events!

Have you noticed that Halloween events are everywhere these days? It’s a fun holiday to celebrate and there are lots of ways to enjoy as a family:

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What: Hauntaquarium

Where: Greater Cleveland Aquarium

When: Fridays and Saturdays, October 20, 21, 27, and 28 from 6-9pm

What: Trick or treat stations, animal encounters, crafts and experiments, games, magician, face painters, costumed SCUBA divers, and more

Tickets: $12 for non-members, $10 for members, free for kids under 2. Buy here.

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What: Boo at the Zoo

Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

When: Fridays-Sundays, October 20-22 and October 27-29

What: Trick or treat stations, carousel and train rides, a Monster Mash Dance party, Zoo admission, and more

Tickets/admission: $10.50 for non-members and $9.50 for members in advance (add $1 if purchasing at the gate). Buy here.

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What: Mall Trick or Treat

Where and When: 

Great Lakes Mall Trick or Treat is Wednesday, October 25

Eton Chagrin Boulevard Boo-Tique Trick or Treat is Thursday, October 26

South Park Mall Mall-o-Ween is Sunday, October 29

Great Northern Mall Mall-o-Ween is Sunday, October 29

What: Trick or treat around the mall stores

Tickets/admission: Free

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What: Owls & Howls

Where: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

When: Saturday, October 28 starting at 10am

What: Games, crafts, pumpkin decorating, animal enrichment, museum admission

Tickets/admission: Free for members, included with general admission for non-members ($15 for adults, $12 for children ages 3-18, $12 for seniors, free for children under 2). Buy here.

However you celebrate, have a fun, safe, and happy Halloween!

Why? Boo at the Zoo!

As Halloween approaches, it’s time for one of Cleveland’s favorite Halloween traditions: Boo at the Zoo at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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This year, Boo at the Zoo is expanded this year to three weekends: October 13-15, October 20-22, and October 27-29. There are also an expanded number of trick or treat stations, as well as unlimited 4-D Theater movies, carousel rides, and train rides, in addition to long-time favorites like the Monster Mash Dance Party and Magic Show. Plus, you’ll see the Zoo decorated for the season, as well as get to see the Zoo animals.

If you are a Zoo member, Boo at the Zoo tickets are $9.50 in advance and $10.50 at the door.  For non-members, tickets are $10.50 in advance and $11.50 at the door.

On Sundays, you can also purchase a dinner package with kid-friendly food, entertainment, and character visits. Cost for Boo at the Zoo and the dinner package is $27.50 for Zoo members and $28.50 for non-members.

This will be our third year attending Boo at the Zoo and it is truly one of our favorite ways to celebrate Halloween in one of our favorite places in town.

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Click here to purchase tickets. Hope to see you at Boo at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I attended the media photo call for Boo at the Zoo. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

This weather, right?! What a gorgeous weekend! And a busy one too…

Light the Night

On Friday evening, Jeffrey and I went up to Hathaway Brown for their Light the Night celebration, which kicks off homecoming weekend. From balloon artists to games to music to food trucks, there was something fun for every age.

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While the event was mainly to celebrate the high school athletes, Hathaway Brown did a great job of making even the youngest in the community feel welcome and engaged.

Halloweekends

Jeffrey loves Cedar Point and I love a fall festival, so Halloweekends is the perfect combination! The Great Pumpkin Fest transforms the kids’ areas of Cedar Point with trick-or-treat stations, hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, and non-spooky haunted house, and more Halloween fun.

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Plus, there are still all the favorite rides to enjoy! Jeffrey escorted Brenna on one of the car rides…how sweet are they?!

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Plus, the Halloween decorations throughout the park are impressive! There are tons of pumpkins everywhere, some creatively shaped, too!

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Plus, the summer-like weather and the chance to spend a day with some of our favorite people made Halloweekends quite the perfect day!

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Yoga and Brunch

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Beth for another round of Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch series at Dante Next Door. After a challenging and centering practice, we headed downstairs to brunch. By happenstance, I knew almost all of the other yogis, so I not only had a chance to catch up with Beth, but chat with other Yoga/Brunch loving friends, too.

I’m working my way through the Dante Next Door brunch menu (it’s a tough job). This time, I chose the braised beef croissant, with shortrib, Gruyere, Dijon, and fried onions. The sandwich was so flavorful and tender!

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The flavors reminded me of French Onion soup, just in sandwich form. Delicious!

The next Yoga/Brunch is Sunday, October 22. $15 gets you an hour-long practice, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register!

So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy the weather and cheer on the Indians?

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