Why? Barre3 Solon!

On Valentine’s Day, I had a chance to start the day with a little self-love by taking a class at Barre3 Solon. The studio was all decked out for the holiday and our teacher, Elizabeth, made love for your body and mind a central focus of the class.

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I’ve taken a handful of barre classes, but it had been awhile since I had taken one. So I really appreciated Elizabeth’s detailed explanations of the postures and moves, as well as offering a range of options and modifications for each posture.

What usually keeps me away from or makes me not want to repeat a new workout is feeling like I don’t know what I’m doing and can’t possibly keep up (Zumba, I’m looking at you). So, being able to walk into a relatively new-to-me class and feel welcome, comfortable, and like this was something I could get a handle on was really valuable.

Not only did Barre3 Solon make me feel welcome, but they made Jeffrey feel right at home, too!

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They have a beautifully-appointed play area that is staffed during the morning classes, so you can get your workout in, while your kiddo has some fun! Scheduling workout time can be a challenge, as any mom knows, so a place that offers the ability to get in your workout and ensure that your child is happy is just awesome!

The play area is not the only beautifully-appointed part of the studio. From the retail area to the complimentary water, coffee, and oranges to the towel service to the bathrooms that offer a full compliment of toiletries to freshen up after sweating at the barre, this is a great space!

I will confess to being sore for a day or two after the class, but the good kind of sore. The kind of sore that means I worked hard. While I don’t know that anything will ever replace yoga as my go-to activity, I really liked what Barre3 provided not only in the workout, but in the environment. And we all know that changing up your workout routine and using different muscles is good thing. If you want to give it a whirl, just meet me at the barre!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Barre3 Solon to take a complimentary class of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

We capped off a busy, wonderful holiday season this weekend and rang in 2017! And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of ready to get back on a normal routine, as fun as the holidays were.

But before normalcy returns, we have one more holiday weekend to talk about. Friday afternoon, I met up with my friend Adrienne who was in town from Colorado. I was able to snag a bit of time with her during her busy visit. And I couldn’t think of a better spot to take her than The Greenhouse Tavern.

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We ordered the always-amazing chicken wing confit (even more amazing when on happy hour for only $9) and I got my favorite rose prosecco that they serve, while Adrienne went for the Greenhouse Ale on happy hour special. The Greenhouse Tavern is such a great representation of Cleveland’s fabulous food scene, plus any chance to show off East 4th Street is also fantastic. It was the perfect spot to catch up!

From there, I made a quick stop by Nadine‘s house for some long overdue in-person catching up, then it was off to a family holiday party. I was the only person attending from my branch of the family tree and I finally felt like a grown-up, sitting around the table drinking, laughing, and getting filled in on everyone’s everything.

Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for their Noon Year’s Eve Party. I was even more excited to be there when I found out that it was kicking off the Cleveland Metroparks centennial year. I can’t wait to see all the things the Emerald Necklace has in store to celebrate!

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The weather was chilly but manageable and it was nice to be able to take a spin around the outdoor parts of the zoo. The tigers were particularly active and I caught this amazing picture of Jeffrey with one of the beautiful cats.

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I’ve said it before, but the Rosebrough Tiger Passage is truly extraordinary! And during the New Year’s countdown, the zoo’s director, Dr. Chris Kuhar, teased that there will be another new cat exhibit coming in 2017!

Back to the Noon Year’s Eve festivities, the kids could make party hats and share their re”zoo”lutions (ways to help animals and the planet in the next year), have a dance party, and participate in a noon countdown with tons of confetti and fun.

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It was a really great way to involve Jeffrey in celebrating the new year, since keeping him up until midnight would be nothing short of craziness!

As for Matthew and I, after a quick stop with Jeffrey at a friend’s house for a New Year’s party, we spent the evening at home with a fancy dessert (prepared by Matthew), some prosecco, and “The Secret Life of Pets” (a must-watch, for real).

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It was a low-key New Year’s Eve (we made it to midnight, though!) and frankly a wonderful way to bring in 2017!

On Sunday, we went over to my parents’ house for dinner. Typically, my mom makes the traditional Eastern European pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut. But this year, she spun the tradition and made a standing pork roast with apple pecan stuffing and mashed potatoes.

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It was incredibly delicious and I think everyone, even my grandpa, liked this new take on the traditional New Year’s meal.

So, that was our weekend! I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the way we sent out 2016 and welcomed 2017. How was yours?

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Why? Best of 2016!

So, I think a lot of us are feeling like 2016 was long and filled with a lot of negativity. But here’s the thing…like any year, there was both good and bad. And frankly, while I think there’s a lot to learn from some of the not so good things that happened this year, I’d much rather focus on the good for now.

I wanted to share my personal Best of 2016, Cleveland-style:

Best Trend

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People catching on to Cleveland’s fabulousness. The RNC, the NBA Finals, and the World Series shined an almost perpetual spotlight on our town this year. And we shone right back.

Best New Hangout

Cleveland Public Square is back this year and is an absolutely amazing gathering space! From the summer fountains and colorful critters to the Christmas tree and skating rink, it’s all happening in the Square!

Best Perpetual Hangout

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Oh, Mitchell’s Ice Cream, you have my heart. It has been suggested that I live there. I do not. But I would.

Best Sports Moment(s)

It’s honestly a toss-up for me between the Cavs winning the NBA Championship and Game 7 of the World Series, which might not have had the outcome we wanted, but had everything you could ask for in terms of excitement.

Best New Restaurant(s)

So many great additions to our dining scene in 2016! Mabel’s BBQ is everything a Cleveland restaurant should be: hearty, meaty, casual, and unpretentious, with just a bit of “yeah, an Iron Chef cooked this, you gotta a problem with that?” And The Plum Cafe and Kitchen is inventive and delicious and as pretty as it is tasty.

Best New Attraction

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The Rosebrough Tiger Passage at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo opened in June 2016. It is really beautiful and allows for an amazing, up-close experience with the tigers. Our Zoo just keeps getting better and better!

Best Staycation

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We went to Kalahari this past February and had a great time! If you’re looking for somewhere close by to get a splash of summer, I highly recommend it!

Best Vacation

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Obvs.

Best Photo Opp

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I love the script Cleveland signs that popped up around town this year! Instagram away!

Best Birthday Party

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The Cleveland Museum of Art celebrated its centennial year in 2016 with a lot of fanfare, including (my first) Solstice that packed this incredible Cleveland institution.

Best Birthday Party Runners-Up

Jeffrey’s second birthday and my thirty-fifth were both memorable and fun and wonderful!

Best New Business(es)

I love everything about GroundSwell Collective, from the practice space to the instructors to the philosophy to seeing it’s backstory on “Cleveland Hustles.” It’s been an awesome addition to Gordon Square this year! And Merchant’s Mrkt is just a great concept: local small businesses coming together to share space and sell their wares collectively.

Best Volunteer Opportunities

I’ve been honored to work with Playhouse Square Partners, the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter, and the Autism Speaks Cleveland Chef Gala Committee this year.

Best Thing I Never Thought I Would Do

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When Be Studios invited me to come in for a pole dancing class, I did what any girl would do: I rounded up some of my favorite ladies, threw on my glitter booties, and went for it! But I think the bigger part of that was feeling that I’ve grown a lot this year in my self-confidence and my ability to show that.

Best Cleveland Day

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It was hot and long and crazy and worth every minute to attend the Cavs Championship Parade. And even more than seeing the players and the trophy, I loved seeing how everyone came together and how happy and kind we all were to each other. And the confetti. The confetti was cool.

Best Jeffrey Day

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Jeffrey’s first day of school was really hard, but also really wonderful. I can’t believe how he’s grown in confidence and independence and how proud I am of him! Every day with him contains wonder and happiness, but this is the biggest stand-out from 2016.

Just the Best

What would make your Best of 2016 List? Take a moment to acknowledge the best of the year almost gone by! Here’s to an even more fabulous 2017!

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners and the President of the John Carroll Cleveland Alumni Chapter. I have been invited to complimentary events mentioned in this post at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Cleveland Museum of Art, and Be Studios. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Phew! We made it through Christmas! It was busy and fun and filled with lots of great family time.

We spend Christmas Eve with my family and enjoy a traditional Eastern European meatless meal of breaded fish, mashed potatoes, and creamed peas. We have this meal once a year and we all find ourselves craving it!

We also share the traditional Polish Christmas wafer, called oplatek, before the meal. NPR recently did an article about these and I was so happy to read about how this tradition carries on beyond just our home (article here).

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My mom also found Jeffrey the most adorable reindeer cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery. Jeffrey has been nuts for watching the original “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” this year, so this cake was the perfect treat for him!

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We went to Mass at St. Basil the Great, which hands-down has one of the best music ministry programs around! Then it was home to get Jeffrey in bed and prepare for Santa’s arrival.

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One of the things Jeffrey asked Santa for this year was a hippopotamus (gotta love that song)! So, since Santa can make all wishes come true, Jeffrey got his hippo in the form of our dog Tobey dressed as a hippo.

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This was by far my favorite Christmas present for Jeffrey, even though Tobey was less than thrilled with his situation.

Jeffrey’s big gift this year was a Step 2 Lifestyle Deluxe Kitchen. Jeffrey has already been busy making “cookie coffee,” pizza, and tacos for us in his new kitchen. I love toys that encourage imaginative play and can grow with Jeffrey for years to come. This definitely fits that bill!

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Christmas afternoon, we had dinner and more presents at Matthew’s dad’s house. My favorite part of the day was seeing how Jeffrey loves playing with his cousins. He’s finally gotten old enough to join in on the fun with them. And while I’m sure as the youngest (and the only boy) he has some torture coming his way, his cousins are genuinely sweet and wonderful with him!

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It was a fabulous Christmas! My heart is full from all the wonderful memories we made!

And now it’s off to figure out where to put all the new stuff and to figure out our agenda for the week, since Matthew took this week off between the holidays! How was your holiday weekend?

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Why? Merry and Happy!

From all of us…

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Photo Credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

…to all of you, wishing you all things merry, happy, festive, and bright, whatever and however you celebrate this time of year!

May the warmth of love, the spirit of generosity, and the kindness to all fill your heart and home!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Family New Year’s Eve Events!

So, New Year’s Eve as a parent of a little one can be a bit of a different proposition. The past few years, Matthew and I have stayed in and made a nice dinner at home for our New Year’s celebration and, frankly, I’ve been impressed we made it until midnight!

But there’s also lots of fun ways to get your kids involved in the New Year’s Eve celebrating.

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Several local places offer kid-friendly New Year’s events, so here’s a round-up of some options for ringing in 2017 with your little one.

New Year’s Eve Eve Celebration

Where: Great Lakes Science Center

When: Friday, December 30

What: A balloon drop of 2017 balloons at 2:17pm, plus lots of other fun Winter Week activities, including Ice Fishing, Dancing in the Snow, Carpet Skating, and more

New Year’s Free Play

Where: Playground World

When: Friday, December 30 from 10-11am

What: Free play and a New Year’s celebration in a 14,000 square foot indoor play area

Noon Year’s Eve

Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

When: Saturday, December 31 from 10am-1pm

What: A ball drop at noon, music, dancing, crafts, an ice carving demo, ‘ReZOOlutions’ and a special Professor Wylde’s Live Animal Show

New Year’s at Noon

Where: Cleveland Museum of Natural History

When: Saturday, December 31 starting at 10am

What: Make noisemakers and party hats, see a special New Year’s Planetarium show,  watch a dinosaur egg drop at noon

First Night Akron

Where: Downtown Akron

When: Saturday, December 31 from 6pm-midnight

What: Live music, food vendors, ice skating, fireworks to ring in 2017

Kids New Year’s Eve Party

Where: Romp n Stomp Inflatables and Fun Center

When: Saturday, December 31 from 10am-12pm, 1-3pm, or 5:30-8pm

What: Crafts, family pictures, sparkling grape juice and a ball drop, and lots of jumping play time

However you ring in 2017, I hope it’s happy, fun, safe, and festive!

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a weekend filled with homey holiday parties, which are always a favorite way to celebrate the season!

But first, on Friday morning, we had a holiday sing-along at Jeffrey’s school. I wasn’t sure how getting a class filled with 2 and 3 year olds to sing anything together would work, but I was excited to see the sure-to-be-adorable result.

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The kids danced and jingle belled along with some cute snowman, angel, and dreidel songs. The music teacher did a wonderful job not only showcasing what the kids had learned, but making the parents feel a part of the event. It was Jeffrey’s first assembly and I can’t wait to be in the audience cheering for him for years to come!

On Friday evening, we had one of my favorite holiday traditions: “TWC Christmas.” It’s such a great chance for friends to get together, eat lots of food, drink some bubbly, exchange crazy White Elephant gifts, and generally celebrate the holiday together.

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This year, we had a very special addition to the party in one Baby Brenna. So add in baby snuggles to the party and everyone had a perfect time!

We enjoyed pizza from Pizzeria Cerino,  plus homemade contributions like cranberry Boursin dip, bacon-wrapped water chestnuts, and meatballs. I’m always so grateful to have time with friends to just relax during this busy time of year!

On Saturday, there was much more food to be eaten, as my mom had Matthew, his dad, and me over for a fabulous holiday feast. From blue crab tomato bisque…

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to prime rib and twice-baked potatoes…

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…to a delicious eggnog pudding pie made with Hartzler’s Eggnog (and an adorable elf cake from Michael Angelo’s for Jeffrey)…

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everything was delicious! My mom always outdoes herself with hosting!

Plus, while we were over at their house, my dad had the chance to take Jeffrey to see a spot-on replica of Mater (from “Cars”) that lives near them. Jeffrey was so excited to see a life-sized version of one of his favorite characters!

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On Sunday, I hosted a Mary Kay party with a few of my lovely gal pals. I’m always apprehensive about hosting something like this because I like to just have friends over without them feeling pressure to buy something or do something.

But despite my apprehension, we had a great time, fueled by cranberry martinis, Buffalo chicken dip, Kahlua cake, and lots of laughter. And I actually ended up purchasing some eye shadow and serum, too.

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So, that was our weekend! And now I’m feeling that last-minute Christmas crunch, so I’ll be hitting the shops today for sure. How was your weekend?

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Why? John Carroll Alumni Events!

Last night, Matthew and I braved the cold to attend one of our favorite holiday events: the John Carroll Alumni Cleveland Christmas Reception.

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Held in the Dolan Science Center, which is impeccably decorated with gold, silver, and greenery for the season, there is always a packed house for the food, wine, and catching up that happens at this event. From cocktail shrimp in a massive ice sculpture to stuffed mushrooms to Christmas cookies, there were plenty of great eats! And while I went with wine as my beverage of choice, the Great Lakes Brewing Co. Christmas Ale was also flowing freely.

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This year, we were also treated to a visit from Coach Tom Arth and the NCAA Semifinals Trophy that the John Carroll Blue Streaks football won in a banner season of play.

I always enjoy this chance to catch up with friends both that I knew at Carroll and that I’ve met through alumni events (we met the folks pictured above at last year’s party and found each other again this year). Alumni events can lead to new friendships too! And the Christmas Reception in particular just has such a warm feeling of fellowship.

That said, there are lots of other alumni events planned for the new year, so if you’re a John Carroll alumni, please think about joining us!

  • January 7, 2017 – Family Bowling Outing at Solon Freeway Lanes
  • January 21, 2017 – Mind/Body/Soul Retreat featuring yoga, retreat, and Mass at John Carroll University
  • January 23, 2017 – Alumni Continuing Education Series featuring a poetry discussion at John Carroll University
  • January 29, 2017 – Cleveland Cavaliers v. Oklahoma City Thunder with a pre-game social at Quicken Loans Arena (click here to purchase tickets)

The Cleveland Alumni Chapter will also be offering a monthly service opportunity throughout 2017 at the Ronald McDonald House of Cleveland.

For more details on any of these events, please stay tuned to the John Carroll Alumni page. I look forward to catching up with more fellow Carroll grads soon!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was a lovely weekend, filled with holiday parties and festivities and some yoga too! Friday morning, I found myself at Luna Bakery & Café, for a perfect spot to have a nibble and get some work done while Jeffrey was at school.

I pretty much wanted everything in Luna’s bakery case (Um, a chocolate peppermint pot de crème? Yes, please!), but I decided on a chai latte and an almond croissant. And it was just delicious!

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Friday evening, my friend Anne hosted a warm and friendly holiday gathering at her new house, with plenty of wine…

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…lots of laughs (and selfies)…

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…and a gift exchange that netted me a great pair of earrings from Lucky Brand Jeans. All in all, a fun and relaxed evening!

Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to a breakfast with Santa at Cleats Club Seat Grille.

Yup, a sports bar had a breakfast with Santa and it was really very cute! The kids got to write letters to Santa, decorate cookies, and visit with the big guy himself.

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Jeffrey is so excited about Santa this year, so any chance to see him is always good!

From there, I met up with my friend Elizabeth for Balance & Brews at Portside Distillery.

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Balance & Brews combines yoga and beer for what is always a really fun time! We started with an hour-long flow led by Balance & Brews founder Melissa. The class was creative (lots of interesting transitions, like going from a folded twist to dragonfly twist) and I loved the theme of “Choose Your Thoughts Wisely.”

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Your admission to a Balance & Brews event includes the yoga class, as well as one beer at the brewery. I had tasted Portside’s beers before, but had never been to their actual location. I can’t get enough of winter beers right now, so I chose the Ice Cutter Winter Warmer, which isn’t too heavy on the Christmas spices, but is a nice warm-you-up beer.

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Balance & Brews has a ton of great upcoming events planned, including an 80’s night this Thursday at Goldhorn Brewery. Click here for a complete schedule!

On Sunday, we hosted Jeffrey’s second annual holiday play date. Jeffrey kept running around saying, “I’m so excited my friends are here!” He had a chance to play with lots of his friends and we had a chance to spend some time with our wonderful parent friends, too.

We had a ton of winter carnival-type games, like throw the marshmallow in the hot chocolate cup. We also did a holiday book gift exchange, which sent everyone home with a new holiday read.

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`We also had snowflake ornaments for the kids to paint and take home. We ordered pizza and salad from Marco’s Pizza and had homemade cookies too (I made these which were a huge hit). We of course had a variety of beverages from juice boxes for the kids to a huge selection of Christmas beers to a hot chocolate bar with a wide range of mix-ins like Bailey’s and peppermint schnapps.

Everyone had a great time! I love hosting family and friends at the holidays and this holiday play date is one of my favorite new traditions!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Bolshoi Ballet Giveaway!

Every Christmas, my Mom and I would pick a holiday show to see. We switched off between “A Christmas Carol” and “The Nutcracker.” Which is why the chance to see the world-famous Bolshoi Ballet on the big screen performing this holiday classic sounds like the perfect addition to this festive season!

On Christmas Eve, Marie’s wooden nutcracker doll transforms into a beautiful prince who takes her on a magical journey. Before they leave, they must confront the Mouse King whose army is threatening Marie…

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Danced by the Bolshoi’s principals, E.T.A. Hoffmann’s fairytale staged by Russian ballet master Yuri Grigorovich will transport children and adults alike to a world of magic and wonder for the holiday season.

There is actually an entire season of Bolshoi Ballet performances being shown on select theater screens across the country. With timeless classics, productions signature to the Bolshoi and an evening dedicated to modern choreography: the Bolshoi proves once again that it is one of the world’s foremost ballet companies.

The performances include:

December 18 – The Nutcracker

January 22 – The Sleeping Beauty

February 5 – Swan Lake

March 19 – A Contemporary Evening

April 9 – A Hero of Our Time

And I have a chance for you to enter to win 2 tickets to see the Bolshoi Ballet “The Nutcracker” at Cinemark Strongsville! Click here to enter to win!

Additional tickets can be purchased by clicking here. This Christmas classic on the big screen is sure to add magic and wonder to your holiday season!

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