Why? Boo at the Zoo!

It’s hard to believe it’s almost Halloween! And while there are lots of spooky and not-so-spooky ways to celebrate around Cleveland, one of my favorites is Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s Boo at the Zoo.


This annual event combines all the animal fun of the Zoo with the festivities of Halloween for a kid-friendly great time.


Earlier this week, the Zoo started to get the animals in the Boo at the Zoo spirit with some pumpkin feedings. The elephants, tigers, and bears all got to enjoy some pumpkin snacks (cinnamon and nutmeg sold separately).

At Boo at the Zoo itself, there is so much to enjoy, from a hay maze with fantastic light-up and inflatable decorations…


to trick or treat stations to friendly animals to visit with…


to a dance party to the chance to get encased in a giant bubble!


We’ve attended this event for two years now with Jeffrey and before that, we took our nieces. There is something for kids of all ages and interests to enjoy (including the awesome adult treat stations)!


Plus, the Zoo staff and volunteers really make this a special experience and are so wonderful with the kids! Despite the rain, we had a blast and Jeffrey clutched his treat bag the whole way home. We didn’t use his costume due to the weather, so stay tuned for that!

This year, Boo at the Zoo runs October 20-23 and October 27-30 from 5-9pm each night. Tickets are $8.50 for Zoo members, $9.50 for non-members, and free for children under 2. Buy your tickets ahead, as the price goes up by $1 if you purchase at the door (and there’s no guarantee if you wait…last night was sold out).

New for 2016, you can enjoy a special character dinner starting at 4pm on Sunday, October 23 and Sunday, October 30. The dinner includes a buffet with chicken fingers, mac ‘n cheese, desserts, and punch, as well as visits from costumed characters and other entertainment. Your dinner admission includes all the Boo at the Zoo fun too. Click here to purchase character dinner tickets.

Definitely make Boo at the Zoo part of your Halloween celebrations for a roaring good time!


***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the media preview for Boo at the Zoo. I purchased my own tickets to attend the event itself. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Entertaining by Design Giveaway!

Can you believe it’s almost the holidays?! If you’re like me, you start to think about decorating your home for this festive season and maybe even changing up some of your typical decorations. Which makes Entertaining by Design a perfectly-timed event.


On Friday, November 4 and Saturday, November 5, the Ohio Design Centre will be filled with 30+ spectacular themed tabletop, dining and entertaining vignettes created by Cleveland’s most talented interior designers. Having attended this event in the past, I can tell you that these designs truly are spectacular and inspired and you will leave with some amazing ideas. You also get to vote for your favorite designs!

Tickets to check out these gorgeous tablescapes are $10 at the door. There’s also a kickoff Patron Party & Gala on Friday, November 4 that is sure to be a great time! All proceeds from the Patron Party and the general Entertaining by Desgin event benefit Malachi House and their mission of serving the terminally ill.

You can enter to win two general admission tickets to check out Entertaining by Design and get inspiration for your holiday entertaining. Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me what upcoming event for which Entertaining by Design will provide you inspiration.

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

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

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

I want to attend Entertaining by Design at @ohdesigncentre thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/10/20/why-entertaining-by-design-giveaway-3 #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 Monday, October 24 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Entertaining by Design. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to give away. I declined my own two complimentary tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a fabulous and sparkly birthday weekend, filled with my favorite people and favorite things!

On Friday, I tried a new-to-me yoga studio, Yoga Roots. I’m always a little nervous checking out a new studio, but considering that Yoga Roots had Alicia‘s stamp of approval, I figured I’d be perfectly happy there. And I was! From the challenging flow to the heated floor (how brilliant) to the awesome playlist, it was a great class!

Also on Friday, we attended a homecoming festival at Jeffrey’s school. There were food trucks (I loved my dinner from the Barrio truck) and music and plenty of fun to be had! It’s a great tradition and I love getting Jeffrey involved with his school!


Saturday evening, Matthew threw me a birthday party at Punch Bowl Social. This was a great place to meet up, with lots of things to see and do. From bowling to karaoke to tons of sports to watch to tasty food and drinks, there was something for everyone!

Our attentive server helped make sure we had plenty of tables and that we didn’t run out of libations and munchies (the chips and dip are so delish). And the fun, relaxed atmosphere made everyone feel comfortable!

I loved what a wide cross-section of my life was represented at the party, from someone I’ve known since kindergarten to friends I’ve met through activities with Jeffrey.


I am so honored that everyone spent their Saturday evening with me and am ridiculously touched by the sweet presents and notes too! As cliché as it sounds, having such great friends is the best birthday present a girl could ask for!

Sunday started with two of my favorite things: yoga and shopping! I went to my home studio, Harmony Yoga, for a great flow (that happened to be free with my birthday coupon)! When I left the studio, the Wandering Wardrobe truck was parked nearby and so I couldn’t resist stopping in and picking up a cute sweater and dress for my fall wardrobe. I always go a bit out of my comfort zone with their clothes and I never regret it!

Then we had dinner at my parents house, where my mom made my long-time favorite meal: roast beef with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and carrots. I love fancy food, but nothing beats the comfort food standards! It was lovely to have time with family and have Jeffrey sing Happy Birthday to me!


I couldn’t have asked for a sparklier, more fun weekend! How was yours?



Why? Weekends!

It was a great holiday weekend in the CLE! We kicked things off on Friday by meeting up with friends at one of our favorite play date spots: Memphis Kiddie Park. Jeffrey loves the rides and I love that the size, crowd level, and pace are perfect for his age.


Look at that face! Pure joy! I think we have a burgeoning ride monster on our hands!

Friday evening, Matthew and I met up with Kimberly and Chris for dinner out on the patio at Pier W. Much thanks to Mark and his awesome staff for not only flawless service and delicious food, but also for saving us a table and surprising us with complimentary appetizers!

Matthew and I shared oysters, lump blue crab cocktail, and scallop ceviche. I also snagged a couple bites of Matthew’s halibut taco. Everything was so fresh and yummy!

Plus, you can’t beat the gorgeous view of Cleveland from the Pier W patio. After dinner, the wind kicked up a bit too much off Lake Erie, so we headed downstairs to the lounge for after-dinner cocktails and dessert, accompanied by the Pier W piano player.

The desserts were as tasty as they were pretty.


I had the lemon semifreddo, with frozen lemon and blueberry mousse, blueberry coulis, creme Anglaise, and coconut almond granola. This is a perfect summer dessert!

It was a perfect evening of non-stop talking and delicious food at one of Cleveland’s classic restaurants!

On Saturday, Matthew and I took Jeffrey to the Fairport Mardi Gras. There was lots of summer carnival fun to be had, from rides to live music to classic fair food (I can never resist the elephant ears)!


Jeffrey played his first game of chance and won a new blue race car for picking the right duck!

IMG_3517 (1)

I love summer festivals! And Fairport Harbor is such a cute town! They’re hosting the Tall Ships this coming weekend.

The rest of the weekend was spent with family, as we hosted Matthew’s family for a BBQ on Sunday, then headed to my parents’ house for the same on Monday. Lots of good times with family and friends, plenty of good food, and some time to just relax. Well done, America! Thanks for having such a great birthday weekend!


***Disclosure: We were surprised at Pier W when the manager comped the majority of our food bill. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming…

It was another fun and busy weekend! On Friday morning, Jeffrey and I went to a program called Toddlin’ Towards Nature put on the by the Lake Metroparks. These programs take place in various parks on different nature themes. This one was “Beach” and took place at Fairport Harbor Lakefront Park.


The program included a story, snack, craft, and the chance to explore the beach by digging in the sand and learning more about the animals that live in the water and near the beach. It was a really fun morning!

Toddlin’ Towards Nature programs are only $5 and always provide an enjoyable nature experience. Click here to search and register for upcoming programs.

Friday evening, Matthew and I headed to the John Carroll University reunion weekend Friday Night Fiesta. The Friday night of reunion weekend is open to all Cleveland-area alumni, which gives you a chance to return to campus and visit with friends who might not have been in your class year.

The Friday Night Fiesta featured tasty Mexican food and a complimentary sangria bar, which was pretty popular with our table.


Add in live music and perfect weather and you have a great evening!

The next morning, I was back up at John Carroll to practice a complimentary yoga class on the quad. While practicing on the grass can be a challenge, especially in balancing poses, I always love seeing the sun and trees while doing sun salutations!


Alicia taught the class and did a wonderful job not only with the poses, but with incorporating a thoughtful meditation that focused us all on our time at John Carroll.

After class, Alicia, Jeffrey, my mom, and I headed over to Sweet Melissa in Fairmount Circle for brunch. I couldn’t resist the peanut butter pancakes. So fluffy and delicious!


And the ranch sauce on the breakfast potatoes is so good. I could have eaten a whole plate of just the potatoes and sauce!

Saturday evening, we had friends over for dinner at our house. The kids ran around the backyard and the grown-ups had fun catching up. I made a recipe perfect for summer patio dining: chicken and vegetable kabobs (recipe here).


On Sunday, we hosted our families for a Father’s Day celebration. I made flank steak with a garlic lime tequila marinade (recipe here). So yummy! For Matthew’s present, Jeffrey got him a puzzle from Portrait Puzzles that features a picture of the two of them from our recent Disney trip.


Portrait puzzles definitely make for fun and unique gifts. And I got Matthew a piece of decor with a favorite quote from Destination Tree. It was a great day celebrating our favorite dads/granddads!

How was your weekend?

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


Why? Happy Anniversary!

From our first picture together (on Date 3)…


…to our first trip…


…to getting married…

Photo credit: New Image Photography

…to starting our own family…

Photo credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…and to all the adventures that are to come…

Photo credit: Adventure Photography 

Happiest of anniversaries to the very best of husbands. I love you, always and all ways.


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend to kick off the unofficial start of summer! Friday was Jeffrey’s second birthday, so we had a day of fun things planned to mark the special occasion.

We started at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, where we checked out the fish, turtles, and even got to see the diver show.

The Aquarium is a great place to explore and Jeffrey loves the shark tunnel and sting ray tanks especially. It’s also such a great example of repurposing space. For example, there are now jellyfish swimming in what was the Powerhouse’s chimney. Pretty cool!

We worked up an appetite, so we headed to a family-friendly favorite for lunch: the Winking Lizard. Since Jeffrey was born at a reasonable time of day (not 3am), we make sure we’re all together on his official birthday time. The past two years, we’ve met up with Matthew for lunch and been able to celebrate as a family.


Friday evening, we had our parents join us at the house for a Winnie-the-Pooh themed dinner, which meant a lot of honey incorporated in the recipes and puzzle pieces repurposed to be place markers for the guests.

I made fried chicken with Ancho honey (recipe here), honey roasted red potatoes (recipe here), and golden sweet cornbread (recipe here).


Jeffrey also got to open his birthday present: a Power Wheels Kawasaki Teryx. He loves it, although steering isn’t exactly his forte quite yet (he nearly hit me right after I took this)!


Over the weekend, we also checked out the Cleveland Scene Taste of Summer event on the East Bank of the Flats.

If you would have told me three years ago that I’d be going to a summer festival with my son down in the Flats, I don’t know that I would have believed you. It’s incredible to see how bustling and revitalized the East Bank area is now!


The Taste of Summer featured East Bank restaurants and bars like Lago, Crop Sticks, Big Bang Dueling Piano Bar, Punch Bowl Social (their free bags of cheddar popcorn were a hit), and Bold. There was live music, big inflatables for the kids, and of course plenty to watch along the Cuyahoga River.


I couldn’t resist trying the Crop Sticks chicken skewer with curried cotton candy. And while Jeffrey looks skeptical (there’s chicken under there?!), it was a totally tasty treat that I could enjoy while meandering through the festival.


I hope the Taste of Summer becomes an annual event and that the Flats continue their awesome comeback!

On Monday, we had a very typical all-American Memorial Day with a parade…

…and a cookout with fabulous friends (kudos to Alicia and Hans for hosting and to #FranktheFuzz for being the perfect playmate for Jeffrey).


So, time with family and friends, plenty of good food (including those pastries we got to make), and gorgeous weather?! Summer, you’re off to a perfect start!


Why? Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

Two years?! Where have these last two years gone?! There are no words that can accurately describe how incredible this journey has been so far or how much love we feel in our hearts for our amazing little boy.

So, I’ll leave this here. I can’t listen to it without ugly crying, so you know it has to be good, right?

Happy, happy birthday, Jeffrey! I hope this day and this year bring you the magic you bring us every moment!


Why? Weekends!

Aside from our decidedly not-springlike weather, it was a lovely first weekend of April! On Friday night, I attended Namaste Day, a yoga event put on by Balance & Brews. Held at Pose Cleveland, this event combined a creative and challenging flow designed to get you a bit off-center…


…with some Dogfish Head Namaste beer after the practice…


…and a community art project in the form of this mural currently on display at Pose Cleveland (which, if you haven’t been, has such a cool, urban, repurposed warehouse feel).


I’ve been to Balance & Brews events before and I am so excited for how they are growing and changing! There really is a community feel to these events, which you can sense even before the beer starts flowing. Adding in the community art project as part of Namaste Day only added to the camaraderie, as well as the chance to step outside of the every day and live the intention to off-center ourselves.

Balance & Brews has a great slate of yoga and beer events coming up in April at Hofbrauhaus, Butcher & the Brewer, Platform Beer Co., and Market Garden Brewery. They are also taking the show on the road this summer to various breweries, including Jackie O’s in June. Click here to learn more and sign up.

On Saturday, Jeffrey and I headed to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium. I always love taking Jeffrey somewhere that he hasn’t been in awhile, to see how differently he reacts. We took Jeffrey to the Aquarium’s Halloween party for his first Halloween (so, a year and a half ago now) and hadn’t been since.


It was no surprise that he loved it! From the giant tortoises to the sharks to the stingray tank, where I honestly think he could have sat all day, he was enthralled.


One of the things I loved is that the rooms in the Aquarium are contained enough that I could let Jeffrey walk from tank to tank without worrying if he would take off too far. Also, the Aquarium allows the kids to get up close and personal with the animals.

We had such a great time that we joined as members of the Aquarium before we left! It’s really a great deal too…one more visit will pay for our membership. We’re definitely looking forward to our next visit soon!

On Sunday, we had a belated Easter celebration with Matthew’s side of the family. I finally got to see “Frozen” with my nieces (who may have inadvertently given away the ending about three minutes in). And I always love to see Jeffrey with his cousins!


They definitely had a great, silly time together!

It was a great weekend, as usual! And despite Friday’s intention of off-centering myself, I found it to be a great balance of family and “me” time.


Why? Weekends!

It was a fun holiday weekend filled with family and food! On Friday, we had one of Jeffrey’s friends over for coloring Easter eggs and making bunny crafts. This was Jeffrey’s first time coloring eggs (he seemed too little for a lot of the Easter stuff last year). I love this picture…his face seems to say, “You want me to do WHAT?”


The kiddos also enjoyed cookies and cupcakes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery. We got a lot of our holiday sweet treats from Michael Angelo’s and enjoyed all of them. I especially loved this lamb cake that was as tasty as it was cute!


On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to his first Easter Egg Hunt at the Cleveland Botanical Garden. There was so much to do at this event, from the Easter egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden (every child got to find 10 eggs filled with candy, stickers, and toys)…


…to exploring live critters in this cool log tunnel and having outdoor fun with bubbles…


…to enjoying Big Spring, with it’s Ladybug Labyrinth, paddle boat crafts, and Mad Hatter Tea Party…


…to an audience with the Easter Bunny.


This might have been our first time at the Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt, but I can safely say this will be part of our Easter traditions from here on out!

Saturday evening, we had our families over for a traditional Holy Saturday dinner with kielbasi and sauerkraut. We get our kielbasi from Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats and it is always SO good! Sunday was another tradition-filled day, with Mass with my family and a huge dinner of Easter ham and all the fixings.


Jeffrey of course got a visit from the Easter bunny, who brought lots of goodies, including this Step 2 Naturally Playful Picnic Table, which will be perfect for lunch breaks in long days of playing outside (soon, right?).


So, that was our holiday weekend. Lots of food, lots of family, lots of fun! How was your weekend?