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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Why? Disney on Ice Giveaway!

As you may know, we recently got back from a magical trip to Walt Disney World. But we can actually keep the Disney magic going right here in Cleveland when “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” skates into Quicken Loans Arena.

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The show will include favorite characters undertaking daring and exciting quests and rescue missions. Characters will include those from CoCo, Moana, Frozen, Toy Story, The Little Mermaid, Peter Pan, and Aladdin, along with Mickey Mouse and pals.

“Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” opens on Friday, January 11 and runs Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays through January 20. Opening night tickets start at $15 and kids tickets for all performances start at $15.

For the first time ever, you can add on a special 45-minute character experience: “Storytime with Belle.” You’ll hear Belle tell the story of “Beauty and the Beast,” meet Belle and Mickey, get photo opps and a keepsake photo, and more. “Storytime with Belle” tickets are $60 per person and require a corresponding event ticket.

We attended Disney on Ice last year and it was a truly magical and fun evening! These tickets make a great holiday gift for the little ones in your life!

Tickets for “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party” and “Storytime with Belle” can be purchased online, at the Quicken Loans Arena box office, by phone at 888-894-9424, or at Discount Drug Mart locations.

Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to opening night on Friday, January 11 at 7pm right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries right here, just leave a separate comment here for each entry):

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which character(s) your kid will be most excited to see on ice.

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

3. Hop on over to my Instagram page for additional entries.

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

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

I want to win @DisneyonIce tickets from @WhyCLE #giveaway #disneyonice http://whycle.com/2018/12/11/why-disney-on-ice-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 Saturday, December 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote “Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party.” In exchange, I will receive three complimentary tickets to opening night, a meet and greet dinner, and Disney on Ice swag, as well as four opening night tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Goldfish Swim School Giveaway!

This holiday season, skip the toy store and give the little ones in your life the gift of swim lessons instead! While supplies last, Goldfish Swim School is offering discounted holiday packages for the little swimmers in your life!

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The Goldfish Swim School Holiday Package includes 2 months of group or advanced swim lessons, Annual Membership fee, a limited-edition Goldfish towel, a Bubbles bath toy, a Bubbles storybook, Goldfish goggles or an iPlay swim diaper, and 3 family swim passes. This $290 value can be yours for only $195.

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Swimming lessons provide essential skills and confidence that last a lifetime. Kids learn safety skills while having fun, making friends, building confidence and learning life lessons. Kids love Goldfish’s fun, tropical environment and 90 degree pools. Parents get the peace of mind knowing that their loved ones are learning an essential life skill based on our proven curriculum. There’s no better gift than that!

Which is why Goldfish Swim School (with locations in Northeast Ohio in Fairview ParkCleveland EastHudson, and North Canton) is giving away one of the above-mentioned holiday packages right here!

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment with the age of your little swimmer who would be using the holiday package.

2. Visit your Goldfish Swim School of choice (Cleveland EastFairview ParkHudson, or North Canton) and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @goldfishswimschool and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

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

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

I want to win a holiday swim package from @goldfishswim and @WhyCLE #giveaway  http://whycle.com/2018/12/07/why-goldfish-swim-school-giveaway-3 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will end on Wednesday, December 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Winner will be chosen at random. Note that lesson dates and times are subject to availability.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Goldfish Swim School to help promote their Holiday Gift Packages. In exchange, I will receive holiday gift package of the winner’s choice to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Holidays at Legacy Village!

‘Tis the season to enjoy Legacy Village even more than you usually do! There are so many ways to enjoy this festive time of year, while also being in the perfect spot to get your holiday shopping done, too!

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Snap a picture in front of Legacy Village’s beautiful tree and create your own personal joy!

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This fun, interactive photo stop is a must-have for your Instagram feed! Plus, when you share your picture on social media with the #CreateJoy hashtag and tag Legacy Village, you will have the chance to win a Legacy Village gift card!

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Follow Legacy Village on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for more contest details!

Free Photos with Santa

On Saturdays and Sundays from now through December 23, you can stop and see the big man of the season! Santa will be available for photos from noon to 4pm.

"Night of Lights', Legacy Village, Lyndhurst, OH.

Your first photo with Santa is free, courtesy of Legacy Village, Q104, and L.L. Bean. Additional photos and packages are available for purchase.

Your Santa visit also helps a great cause. For every free photo taken, $5 will be donated to Cleveland Clinic Children’s. Portions of photo packages purchased will also be donated. And your kids can make a greeting card to be sent to children in the hospital.

Santa will be located at Guest Services on Main Street, between Starbucks and Janie & Jack.

Holidays in the Village

Adding to the merriment at Legacy Village, it’s the return of Holidays in the Village. On Saturdays and Sundays from December 1 through December 23, there will be live music, children’s activities, gift card giveaways, costumed characters, ice carving demonstrations, and more.

Family-friendly activities will be held on Saturdays from 1-3pm and live musical performances with local choirs and bands will be held on Sundays from 1-3pm. For a full schedule of activities and performances, click here.

This is the perfect season to enjoy not only all the great food and shopping that Legacy Village has to offer, but all the holiday joy too!

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

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Why? Weekends!

It was a fabulous holiday weekend, filled with family, food, and fun! Here’s the recap…

Sugar Pines Farm

I love Thanksgiving and we had a fabulous run of back-to-back dinners with family, but on Friday, I was ready to kick off the Christmas season. Step one was to get a Christmas tree.

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We headed to Sugar Pines Farm for a cut-your-own tree experience. It was so fun to pick our tree, cut it down, and haul it back ourselves!

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Sugar Pines Farm also has a bonfire and s’mores, wagon rides out to see Santa, and a snack shack with yummy things like funnel cakes, roasted nuts, and hot chocolate. More than just getting a tree…it was a total experience!

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Plus, the tree is just beautiful and looks fantastic all decorated!

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Holiday CircleFest

On Friday evening, we all headed to University Circle for a little preview of Holiday CircleFest, which happens this coming weekend.

Holiday CircleFest includes a Polka Skate with the Chardon Polka Band on Friday night; a holiday market, horse-drawn carriage rides, and live music on Saturday; and free admission to museums, live music, horse-drawn carriage rides, ice carving, and photos with Santa on Sunday.

This weekend, we checked out the Rink at Wade Oval, which is a centerpiece of the Holiday CircleFest events. Unfortunately the Rink wasn’t frozen enough for skating yet, but we can’t wait to go back and let Jeffrey have his first ice skating experience!

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The Rink is open through February 18. The lights around the Rink make it just a lovely holiday spot!

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We then headed over to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for Glow. Glow is a wonderland of Christmas trees decorated by garden clubs…

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…gingerbread houses created by talented and creative Clevelanders (Jeffrey and I had the tough task of judging these houses)…

…the Garden Express train…

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….and delicious holiday treats and fantastic live music.

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Glow is happening at the Cleveland Botanical Garden every day except Mondays through January 5 and is a lovely holiday tradition!

***Disclosure: I was asked by University Circle to help promote Holiday CircleFest. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets to the Rink at Wade Oval and Glow. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Tannenbaum Trail

On Saturday, my mom and I checked out the Tannenbaum Trail put on by the Ohio Wine Producers Association.

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A ticket for the Tannenbaum Trail gets you a wine sample, small bite, and ornament at 13 different Geneva-area wineries, as well as an 18-inch tree to put your ornaments on.

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Mom and I started Ferrante Winery and hit six other wineries too: Laurello Vineyards, South River Vineyard, Red Eagle Distillery, the Winery at Spring Hill, Maple Ridge Vineyard, and Grand River Cellars.

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We had a great time exploring the wineries and getting some fun souvenirs to take home with us! The Tannenbaum Trail is a yearly happening and for a small price, you can check out lots of wineries, get a cute Christmas decoration, and you have three weekends to complete the trail!

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So, that was our weekend! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

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Why? Wildroots Night Out!

The holidays are coming, which is the perfect time to create gifts and goodies for those you love. Legacy Village is partnering with Wildroots for two Wildroots Night Out events that will allow you to get hands-on in creating things for the holiday season.

The first Wildroots Night Out takes place on Thursday, November 29 from 6-8:30pm in the storefront next to LOFT.

Caroline of Cozy by Caroline will host a Knitting Class where you will create your own cozy headband. The class is designed for those who have never knit before or only dabbled a bit.

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You will learn how to and make your own headband, as well as enjoy light refreshments and small bites. Cost to attend is $35 plus Eventbrite fees and includes all the materials for the project, as well as the small bites and refreshments. Tickets can be purchased online.

Then, on Thursday, December 6, the second Wildroots Night Out will happen with Click’s Cookies.

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From 6 to 7:30 in the storefront next to LOFT, you’ll decorate 12 sugar cookies with delicious frosting and sprinkles to wow your friends, coworkers, or cookie exchange participants.

You can choose from four different themes: Oh Christmas Tree, A Christmas Story, Winter Wonderland, and Oh Holy Night. Tickets are $35 plus Eventbrite fees and include all the cookies and supplies, plus small bites and light refreshments. You can purchase tickets online.

Wildroots Night Out events at Legacy Village are a perfect way to connect with friends during this busy time of year, as well as make gifts for those you love! Don’t miss them!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship 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? Walt Disney World!

We’re back after a fantastic vacation in Walt Disney World. This was a great time to go, not only because the weather was a lot warmer than it was in Cleveland, but also because Disney was completely decked out for Christmas.

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We stayed at the Polynesian Village Resort. Located right on the Monorail, it was easy to get to all the parks, plus the hotel’s theme was fun and beautiful.

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We took advantage of the holiday proximity and attended Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, with dessert stations, a Christmas parade, and snow on Main Street (seriously, the most magical thing ever.)

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The Magic Kingdom remained the favorite of our parks, with tons of rides for all of us to enjoy.

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Jeffrey also loved the newly-opened Toy Story Land at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, with bright décor, fun rides, and character meet-and-greets from the movies.

 

If you go, get lunch at Woody’s Lunch Box!

 

And Matthew and I had a lot of fun at Epcot, where we picked one food or drink item from each country for a great around-the-world experience!

 

My mom came with us, which made for great family bonding time! It also gave Matthew and I the chance to sneak in a date night at the Spirit of Aloha luau dinner, with great food and a high-energy hula show.

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Matthew even got chosen for part of the audience participation dancing!

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I loved seeing how excited Jeffrey was to meet his favorite characters, go on roller coasters, and just generally have a magical experience!

 

And now it’s great to be home and gear up for the holidays in Cleveland!

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