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!

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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?


Why? Weekends!

It was a lovely, love-filled weekend in the CLE! On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with friends for a play date at the Cleveland Museum of Art. As much as I love the Museum, I somehow had never taken Jeffrey there! And I had no idea what we were missing!


We spent our time in Studio Play, which offers bright, colorful, fun, hands-on ways for kids to explore art. From building mobiles to playing with shapes on felt boards to interactive touch-screens that find shapes and patterns in art, there was so much to do!


The kids especially loved the tents and kept popping in and out of those with increasing levels of giggles!


One of my favorite Cleveland locations is now a favorite for Jeffrey too! It doesn’t get much better than that!

Friday evening, I made some spicy Asian noodles and shrimp to help take away the chill. Packed with vegetables and a flavorful broth, this recipe is a new favorite in our house!


On Saturday, Mom and I celebrated Galentine’s Day and an early birthday for her (the big day is today!). We started with some super-relaxing spa time at Spa West. Mom even brought mini bottles of bubbly and some Malley’s chocolate-covered strawberries to make the day even sweeter!


After we were rubbed and scrubbed, we met up with Matthew, Dad, and Jeffrey for a family birthday dinner at Paco’s Tacos. We started with the guacamole made table-side, then headed into taco combo plates. I chose the brisket, shrimp, and pork belly tacos.


The tacos are small, but when you factor in the guacamole, rice and beans, and margaritas, it’s plenty of food! I also enjoyed the mini brownie topped with fried ice cream for dessert. It was a tasty way to celebrate Mom’s special day!

Sunday, we celebrated a quiet Valentine’s Day at home. We took Jeffrey to a Kindermusik play date with lots of love-themed songs and activities. After he went to bed, we enjoyed a delicious home-cooked dinner with crab legs and risotto (recipe here) for the main course.


For dessert, I wanted something we could enjoy without having a ton of extra. So, I found this dessert-for-two recipe for chocolate raspberry pizza and it was decadently good and perfectly sized!


It was so nice just to be able to relax at home with good food, good wine, and the best company a girl could ask for! That’s what Valentine’s Day is all about, right?

Hope you had a lovely weekend, too!

***Disclosure: Kindermusik is a client of my consulting company. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

One last extended holiday weekend recap coming your way…

On Thursday, I planned to take Jeffrey to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History for their New Year’s at Noon party, but when we pulled up at 10:30, there was nowhere to park and a huge line outside the museum! I love that so many kiddos wanted to spend New Year’s Eve with the dinosaurs, but we decided to head to somewhere a little less crowded.

We ended up at the Great Lakes Science Center and had a really fun morning! There were some special winter activities happening through last week, including an hourly snow party with music, dancing, and indoor snow!

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Yes, I wore the glitter booties. This was my New Year’s Eve out.
Jeffrey also made some model DNA, played with magnets and molecule blocks, and set his sights on working for NASA when he grows up, just like his godfather Hans!

PicMonkey Collage

I was pleasantly surprised how much Jeffrey enjoyed the Great Lakes Science Center and how much a toddler could get out of it. We’ll definitely be back (but as a heads up, the Science Center is closed for winter maintenance through Friday, January 8).

For the fourth year in a row, Matthew and I opted to stay in on New Year’s Eve and make a nice homecooked meal. Since we decided to wait until after Jeffrey went to bed to make our dinner, we started the evening with some cheese and charcuterie.

Then it was time for the main course, with a surf and turf from two of our favorite local food shops. We got our filet from Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats and our lobster tails from Euclid Fish Company.

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Add in some mushrooms and onions cooked in Lanning’s steak sauce and a delicious Old Vine Zinfandel (thanks to Kimberly and Chris for getting us hooked on this one) and you have a pretty perfect meal. Plus, we love just being able to relax, put on our pajamas, and ring in the new year in comfy style.

For dessert, we had individual tortes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery: Bailey’s for Matthew and tiramisu for me. With a split of bubbly and these decadent sweets, we celebrated the end of a fabulous year!


Friday, I started the new year off right with a vinyasa flow at Harmony Yoga taught by Melissa (also of Balance & Brews). Balance & Brews has some great events planned for the new year at Hofbrauhaus, Portside Brewery, Platform Beer Co., and Market Garden Brewery. Check out the complete schedule here.

Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with our friends Tracy and Nina for some indoor fun at Café O’Play.


Café O’Play has so many great activities to keep kids occupied, from a toddler play area to a video game floor to a large basketball area to big slides and climbing to a dance room. Plus, the café offers yummy and healthy food. I love a one-stop shop too…to be able to play and have lunch at the same location is great! I know we’ll be spending a lot of time there this winter to burn off cabin fever!

The rest of the weekend was spent de-Christmasing the house and generally getting ready for the return to a normal schedule for everyone. The holidays were so much fun, but real life is pretty good too!

How was your weekend? How did you ring in the new year?