Why? Birthday!

They say it’s my birthday…

 

So, after becoming a parent, I find I mark the passing of years much more so with Jeffrey’s birthdays than with my own.

That said, I’m still an absolute nut for my birthday. Just slightly less of an absolute nut than I used to be. I use this time of the year as an excuse to see the people I love the most, go the places I love the most, and do the things I love the most.

This year has been no exception and it’s been a pretty amazing birthday week so far. Thanks to all of you who have made in so special in person or virtually!

I find myself reflecting a lot this birthday and not totally ready to share (or even totally understand) all of those reflections. But I will say this…

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Photo credit: @joyfireburn

I feel like I’m coming back around to something deep inside me that’s been lost for awhile. I feel like I’ve regained confidence and strength that were hiding. I feel like I’ve lived enough to know that I don’t know what this year holds, but also that I’ve lived enough to know that I can handle it.

If this is 38, I’ll take it.

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy holiday weekend in Cleveland. Here’s what we were up to…

Totally 80’s Birthday Party

On Saturday, my friend Denise hosted a Totally 80’s Birthday Party for her husband Ritch. From the decor…

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…to the drinks…

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…to the music, everything was on-point 80’s themed.

Of course, we went all out with our 80’s looks too, including making good use of the crimper that Denise found on Amazon!

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It was a fun party with lots of good food, good friends, and good times!

Balance & Brews

On Sunday, I met up with Alicia, Lisa, and Ann for Balance & Brews at Bookhouse Brewing.

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Balance & Brews is preparing for a hiatus in its weekly beer and yoga schedule, so it was great to sneak in one more class before the break, especially since it was taught by Balance & Brews founder, Melissa.

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After class, we enjoyed both the beer and the books at Bookhouse Brewing!

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I love this cozy little spot with great beer!

Cleveland National Air Show

On Monday, we went to the Cleveland National Air Show: a staple in any Clevelander’s Labor Day Weekend plans. Usually we just watch the show from a distance, but this year we went inside the show grounds at Burke Lakefront Airport.

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Not only do you get an up-close view of the planes and get to see lots of passes that aren’t visible from a distance, but there are also lots of aircraft to explore on the grounds of the show.

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Some of our favorites this year included the U.S. Air Force F-35A Lightning II, the Mike Wiskus Airshows, the USA Golden Knights, and of course the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds.

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It was certainly an impressive display of flying talent, as well as the incredible machines that are part of the US military.

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The Cleveland National Air Show is a financially self-sufficient non-profit, which means that your ticket proceeds help to continue putting on this world-renowned air show.

I can remember sitting in my grandpa’s driveway watching the planes from the Air Show when I was growing up. It was so cool to be able to see them up close on the Air Show grounds.

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to the Cleveland National Air Show, courtesy of Destination Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

How was your holiday weekend?

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Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy holiday weekend, filled with friends, family, and favorite traditions.

Cleveland Botanical Garden Easter Egg Hunt

I’m big on traditions, especially at the holidays. And as a parent, I love taking Jeffrey to the same event year after year because it really illustrates how much he’s grown.

The Cleveland Botanical Garden‘s annual Easter Egg Hunt is one of those holiday traditions for us.

From the egg hunt in the Hershey Children’s Garden (luckily we were in the second hunt and the rain stopped)…

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…to seeing the gardens in spring bloom…

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…to meeting the Easter Bunny…

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…to fun games and crafts, there’s so much to enjoy.

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We also got to experience the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Amazing Butterflies, which is open through Sunday, April 28. Kids get to work their way through a maze and take a journey from caterpillar to butterfly, with tons of fun, hands-on elements.

This is definitely an annual tradition we will keep!

Easter Fun

The rest of the weekend was filled with more traditional Easter goodness, from dyeing eggs with friends on Friday…

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…to dinner with Matthew’s family on Saturday, to which he brought this sinfully good carrot cake (recipe here)…

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…to church and dinner with my family on Sunday…

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…it was a weekend full of good food, favorite traditions, and people we love.

Whether Easter, Passover, or just a regular weekend is what you celebrate, I hope you had a great one!

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Why? Weekends!

It was a low-key weekend, which is exactly what I needed after just returning from a trip (and traveling again this week!)

Yoga Roots 30+ Social

On Saturday evening, I attended a social for everyone who reached 30 or more classes in the Yoga Roots fall challenge. Of 186 people who participated in the fall challenge, 27 of us reached 30+ classes!

Held at the home of studio owners Scott and Kim, the social was a great chance to celebrate reaching 30+ classes, meet other yogis, and see each other in something other than yoga pants! I was surprised how many of us didn’t know each other, just from being on different class schedules!

There were delicious nibbles from the studio’s neighbors: Gigi’s on Fairmount and On the Rise. I could eat Gigi’s bruschetta and On the Rise’s raspberry bars all day! And there were custom cookies from Sarah, one of the Yoga Roots teachers.

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I’ve talked before about really finding a home at Yoga Roots and Saturday night was just another example of why that is so true. Yoga Roots is genuinely a community, not just a studio, which is what keeps me coming back (and has me geared up for the spring challenge, too)!

Family Yoga

Sunday morning, we attended the monthly Family Yoga class at the Mandel Jewish Community Center. This has become one of our favorite family activities. Each month, the class is a bit different, but always explores mindful movement, breath work, and meditation in a way that’s fun for all ages.

This month, the kids participated in an obstacle course that involved my friend Robin and I being bridges in both down dog and plank as the kids crawled under us!

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So, we got some exercise in too! The next Family Yoga class takes place Sunday, April 14, with sessions at 10am and 11am. Cost to attend is free for Mandel JCC members and $10 for non-members. You can sign up online.

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On Sunday, my dad took Jeffrey to the I-X Center for the Piston Powered Auto-Rama.

A love for cars is something Dad and Jeffrey have shared basically since Jeffrey was born and seeing the joy they both get from sharing car experiences is so fulfilling.

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Jeffrey got to sit in the world’s fastest car…

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…as well as see dragons and robots, so the afternoon was a total win for him!

St. Patrick’s Day

We celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at my parents’ house, with plenty of corned beef and Great Lakes Brewing Company Conway’s Irish Ale.

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It was a lovely, quiet weekend! How did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?

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Why? Local Valentine’s Day Gifts!

Nothing says love to me like shopping local, female-owned businesses. So, since Valentine’s Day is coming up, I thought I’d round up some of great gift ideas, whether to help you complete your shopping or just round out your own personal wish list!

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Photo by rawpixel.com from Pexels

Chocolates

Two of my favorite female-owned chocolatiers can be found in Lakewood: Fear’s Confections and Sweet Designs Chocolatier. You can also find Fear’s Confections at Merchant’s Mrkt at Legacy Village.

Flowers

As for flowers, Lush & Lovely Floristry makes unique and, well, lovely bouquets. Or stop in to Blossom Cleveland‘s flower bar and build your own personal bouquet.

Sweet Treats

If cookies or other dessert treats are more your speed, put in an order with Annie’s Signature Sweets (her lemon lavender cookies are unique and the perfect shape for Valentine’s Day) or stop in and check out the wide selection of dessert deliciousness at Luna Bakery & Café.

Jewelry

Want to give (or get) something sparkly this Valentine’s Day? Both Bombay Taxi Boutique and Oceanne Jewelry are local and female-owned with beautiful, unique pieces to choose from.

Wine

What lady wouldn’t like a little vino for Valentine’s Day? CLE Urban Winery is female-owned and makes award-winning wines (I really enjoy the C-Town Cabernet Sauvignon).

Bags

For a lot of gals, it’s all about the bag. So, where can you find a perfect purse from a local, female-owned business? Go for the modern classic leather bag from Fount or grab a city-pride wristlet or tote from Anne Cate.

This Valentine’s Day, there are lots of ways to get the presents you or your significant other want, while supporting local, female-owned businesses! You’ll be showing some creative Cleveland ladies the love too!

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Why? 2018!

2018 was, well, a year. To be completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of New Year’s Eve on a good year and this year was more challenging than most. I’m having a hard time separating the bad from the good, so I’m mostly just ready to welcome a new beginning.

But when I look back on it, there were certainly fun moments in 2018, along with a lot of growth, strengthening of relationships, and deepening of commitments.

In 2018, we ate…

…we drank…

…we traveled…

…I yoga-ed and barre-d…

 

…we sported…

 

…we got cultured…

 

…and we got to the Point.

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We loved…

 

…and lost.

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And my kid grew into even more of an extraordinary, funny, smart, inquisitive human.

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It’s been a hell of a year and while I’m honestly not sad to see it go, I do hope the lessons, the growth, and the friendships stay with me into 2019.

May the New Year land softly, however you may feel about 2018. XO

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Why? Just-a-Buck!

Are you feeling the Christmas pressure? There’s so much to do this time of year. I especially notice it now that Jeffrey is in school…presents for teachers and friends and his swim instructor and…

So, what I really need is a place where I can get a lot done for not a lot of money. That’s where Just-a-Buck comes in. Everything is, you guessed it, just one dollar.

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On my recent visit, I snagged wrapping paper, tons of stocking stuffers, and even some fun 2019 novelty glasses to get us prepared for New Year’s Eve too.

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Just-a-Buck is neat, organized, and has everything from home goods to gift items to daily necessities.

But the best part about Just-a-Buck isn’t the selection or the price, but the fact that shopping there supports Solutions at Work. SAW is the non-profit partner of the Cuyahoga County Board of Developmental Disabilities. SAW provides employment, training, and career growth for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Just-a-Buck employs individuals through Solutions at Work and gives them meaningful job training in a supportive work environment.

So, for all your last minute holiday shopping necessities, stop by Just-a-Buck, with two Northeast Ohio locations in Parma and South Euclid.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Just-a-Buck. In exchange, I received gift certificates to shop at the South Euclid location. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was another festive weekend in the CLE! Don’t you just love this time of year?! Let’s go to it…well, 2/3rds of it (stay tuned tomorrow for more)…

Breakfast with Mr. Kringle

On Saturday, we had breakfast with a true Cleveland original: Mr. Kringle from Kringle’s Inventionasium.

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Along with his friends Fancy and Eyesley, Mr. Kringle attended a bright, fun, festive breakfast buffet at The Burnham at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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The breakfast buffet featured eggs, waffles, French toast, sausage, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, ham and pork belly, and the best bacon I’ve ever eaten (it is possible I ate an entire pound myself).

We also decorated cookies…

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…and had so much time to be creative and fun with Mr. Kringle and friends. One of the things I love about Kringle’s Inventionasium is that it encourages a child’s imagination and creativity (and humor)!

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The Hilton has been decorated this season in the bring, imaginative style of Kringle’s Inventionasium.

You can even spend the night in the Mr. Kringle Suite, available through January 5. The suite has been festively decorated for a magical holiday experience!

You can also visit Kringle’s Inventionasium at Tower City Center through December 30. Click here to plan your visit.

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Hilton Cleveland Downtown to attend a complimentary Breakfast with Mr. Kringle. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Holiday Play Date

And on Sunday, in what has become an annual tradition, we hosted Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date for his friends (and ours). As the kids have gotten bigger and the invite list longer, we decided to have the play date at a community room, rather than our house.

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We rented a room at the Mentor Civic Center, which made the party easy and fun (plus the kids loved the view of the ice rink)!

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There were games and prizes…

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…pinata pandemonium, crafts…

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…delicious pizza from Longo’s Pizza, cookies from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, and mini chocolate peppermint bundt cakes from Nothing Bundt Cakes.

It was such a fun afternoon and a great way to celebrate the season!

So, that was most of our weekend! Stay tuned tomorrow for some Zamboni action!

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Why? On the Rise Artisan Breads!

If you follow my Instagram stories, you know that you can usually find me at On the Rise Artisan Breads on weekday mornings. They have seriously the best flat white I’ve ever had: it’s an amazing combination of fantastic coffee, Hartzler Family Dairy milk (no fat-free here), and Ellen the barista’s gorgeous latte art.

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It doesn’t hurt that On the Rise is filled with the most glorious smells of baking bread, croissants, the signature Jennifer cookie…even when I don’t indulge in a treat, just the smells of them make me happy.

On the Rise is offering some delicious holiday specialties to help you celebrate the season with local, artisan pastries.

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The Panettone is the On the Rise take on a traditional Italian sweet bread, packed with candied citrus, raisins, and vanilla bean.

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The Panettone is $13.50 and is the perfect hostess gift or additional to your Christmas breakfast table.

And the Buche de Noel cake is a gorgeous, decadent dessert centerpiece (and dessert should always be the centerpiece, if you ask me). Vanilla chiffon cake is wrapped around chocolate mousse, then topped with swiss chocolate buttercream, meringue “mushrooms” and “trees,” and a chocolate pistachio truffle.

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The Buche de Noel is $50 and serves 10-12 people.

Beyond these signature specialties, the On the Rise holiday menu also includes Cranberry Walnut Levain, Chocolate Cherry Bread, Cranberry Open-Faced Croissant, Chocolate Ganache Pecan Tart, Caramel-Poached Apple Bread Pudding, and Pear Frangipane Tart.

For all your holiday treats, from an individual nibble before a day of shopping to a perfect addition to a party to a delicious breakfast for the family, head to On the Rise Artisan Breads. I’ll be there, with a flat white in hand!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote On the Rise Artisan Breads’ seasonal offerings. In exchange, I received a complimentary Panettone and Buche de Noel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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