Why? Jump Back Ball!

The 29th annual Playhouse Square Jump Back Ball is in the books and it was yet another incredible party!

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This year’s theme was “From Jukebox to Boombox” and people came dressed as musicians from through the decades. I had fallen in love with this dress that I picked up at the Designer Dress Days sale and, thanks to my friend Amy’s suggestion, decided to do a play on “Walk Like an Egyptian.”

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Mariah did my make-up (with almost all BeautyCounter products) and from the makeup to the headpiece to the dramatic back of the dress, I had so much fun stepping out of my usual look.

Of course, my crew all showed up looking fabulous too, from Elton Jane to Cher to a Beastie Boy to Britney and K.Fed.

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Big shout-out (and a Grammy) to Anne for being a fantastic and gorgeous date!

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Faction rocked the main stage while everyone munched on breakfast-for-dinner treats from Driftwood Catering, then danced their feet off.

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DJ Smoov kept the late night jams flowing as the crowd spilled out into the KeyBank State Theatre lobby.

This was my ninth year attending Jump Back Ball and every year I’m blown away by what a fun party it is, but also how much hard work and dedication is put in by Playhouse Square Partners on every aspect of the evening from decor to fundraising to make this event a success.

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Through Jump Back Ball and other events throughout the year, Playhouse Square Partners supports the non-profit mission of Playhouse Square, specifically the education and community outreach initiatives. And we have a lot of fun, too!

While you have to wait a whole year for another Jump Back Ball (it’s always the last Saturday in February, so mark your calendar now,) you can learn more about Partners by joining us at our Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, March 9.

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest Giveaway!

***This event has been postponed.***

Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside is always a fun and delicious night for a fantastic cause. I love a good appetizer and I love seeing local chefs have some friendly competition with each other!

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You can sample tons of tasty small bites, then vote on who should be awarded the Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre title. There is also live music from Elite Dream Band, wine and craft beer samples, silent auction items, and amazing ballpark views.

The event takes place on Thursday, April 2 at the Discount Drug Mart Club at Progressive Field. There are 14 participating restaurants, including Cleveland Chop, Tartine Bistro, Mallorca, The Woods, and Zak Bruell Restaurant Group.

Tickets are $80 and all proceeds benefit Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of supporting over 1,000 children and adults with developmental disabilities. For Our Lady of the Wayside’s clients, nursing care isn’t an option, at an annual unfunded cost of $650,000. Cleveland’s Finest Hors D’Oeuvre Contest will support Wayside’s nursing program.

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Tickets are available online or you can enter to win two tickets to the event right here! Here’s how to enter:

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which participating restaurant‘s hors d’oeuvre you’re most excited to sample.

2. Visit Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Visit my Instagram page and follow the instructions on the Cleveland’s Finest image for an additional entry.

4. Follow @OurLadyWayside 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 tickets to @OurLadyWayside #ClevelandsFinest2020 from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/02/18/why-clevelands-finest-hors-doeuvre-contest-giveaway-5 

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, February 23 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Antoine Dunn Giveaway!

What are you doing on Valentine’s Day? Part of my plans definitely include listening to Cleveland-based artist Antoine Dunn‘s new album, “Everything,” which drops on Valentine’s Day.

“Smooth and soulful are words that describe Dunn, the man and his music. Dunn’s sound channels a timeless style, embodied by Donnie Hathaway, Roberta Flack, Stevie Wonder, and Ray Charles—all sources of inspiration for his music. Contemporary artists such as John Legend, John Mayer, Alicia Keys, and Adele round out the myriad of styles from which he draws.” – source

You can preview the new album now here and pre-order for the Valentine’s Day release. I’m seriously hooked just on the snippets I’ve heard so far!

Beyond that, you can see Antoine Dunn perform live at Playhouse Square on Sunday, March 15. Tickets are currently available online and you can save 14% on tickets with code VDAY through February 14.

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Or you can enter to win two tickets to the concert right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, or all three entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me which song on the album preview is your favorite.

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

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, February 11 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? Weekends!

There was lots of time with family and friends this weekend, which is just how a pre-holiday weekend should be…

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On Friday night, Alicia, Amanda, Kimberly, and I got together for my favorite grown-up holiday tradition: TWC Christmas (the name is a long story.)

We usually meet up at someone’s house, but everyone was feeling cooking-and-hosting overwhelmed this year, so we instead opted for dinner out at one of our favorite restaurants: Dante.

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From fabulous cocktails to delicious food, Dante is always a perfect spot for an evening out. I had the Wild Boar tenderloin, with honey roasted rutabaga & Brussel sprouts and chorizo potato hash.

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This dish was tender, flavorful, and plate-licking good.

We all shared desserts, but the favorite at the table was the Caramel Apple Walnut Blondie, with apple jam filling, streusel, cider caramel sauce, and vanilla ice cream.

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After dinner, we walked over to The Spotted Owl for a Christmas nightcap.

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They have a special menu of holiday-themed drinks that are all guaranteed to make you merry. I had the Ginger All The Way and it was creamy, spicy perfection.

What a perfect night of fabulous food, drinks, and, most importantly, friends!

The Magic of Lights

On Saturday night, Jeffrey and I checked out The Magic of Lights at the Cuyahoga County Fairgrounds.

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There is a drive-through component, where you make your way through millions of dazzling Christmas lights, with themed areas like “Nativity,” “Twelve Days of Christmas,” and “Joy to the World.”

There is also Santa’s Holiday Village, where you can park and walk through the village with a light selfie tunnel…

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…inflatables…

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…”ice” bumper cars…

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…and lots of festive fun.

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The Magic of Lights takes place every day through Saturday, January 4. Tickets for a car are $20 in advance. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote The Magic of Lights. In exchange, I received a complimentary car ticket. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Platform Pub Yoga

My Sunday started out on a funday note with Platform Pub Yoga. We enjoyed a great hour-long vinyasa flow taught by Alicia, then headed downstairs for a beer, a bagel sandwich, and lots of laughs.

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It’s so nice in this busy season to take a time-out for something that totally made me feel invigorated! Plus, part of the proceeds from the event benefited Providence House! The next Platform Pub Yoga happens on Sunday, January 26.

Neil Diamond Christmas

On Sunday night, Mom and I attended Neil Diamond Christmas at Music Box Supper Club.

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The Diamond Project Band did a fantastic job, playing both Christmas tunes and classic Neil Diamond hits.

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Mom and I had a blast singing along! What a fun way to end the pre-holiday weekend!

How was your weekend? Are you ready for the holiday week ahead?

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Why? Best Party of the Year!

On Friday night, Mariah and I attended The Best Party of the Year. Any party that calls itself that out of the gate has got to deliver and the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland‘s fundraiser certainly did.

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This year’s theme was the 1920’s, so you saw people dressed as flappers and dapper dans, all living it up in a post-Prohibition world.

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There was fabulous food from great local places like Melt Bar and Grilled (the bacon and pesto on the mac and cheese was divine)…

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AMP 150

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Barrio

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Art of Sucre, Inca Tea, and more.

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There was fun music for dancing from TKO Entertainment. There was a great photo booth, a fully-stocked bar, and fantastic auction items.

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There was also the chance to help a wonderful community organization. The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland strives to help reduce hunger and enhance nutrition in the community by providing food and other health-related vital services. The Hunger Network has over 70 hunger centers throughout Cuyahoga County to serve the community.

So, a super fun and tasty and glamorous night all for a great cause? I think that has every right to be called The Best Party of the Year!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote The Best Party of the Year. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Thanksgiving weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year!

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Epic turkey cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery

Not only do I get to enjoy a delicious, traditional dinner with family, but I also get to officially kick off the Christmas season!

Great Lakes Brewing Co.

On Wednesday (it was a looong weekend), I met up with my oldest friend, Kevin, who was in town for the holiday. What better place to catch up than Great Lakes Brewing Co.?

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I always like going to the brewpub, because I can grab a brewpub-exclusive beer. This time I tried the Meow Meow Pumpkin Milk Stout, which was creamy and rich and specifically noted as being brewed by GLBC’s female brewers.

The Seared Salmon Salad, with pickled carrots, cabbage, sesame seeds, and herbed peanut dressing, balanced out the heavy beer and made for a great lunch.

It’s so great when folks come back to Cleveland for the holidays (and I get face-to-face catching up time!)

E5C4P3 Concert

Aside from all the traditional Thanksgiving fun, I also started a new tradition on Black Friday: attending the E5C4P3 Journey Tribute concert at Music Box Supper Club.

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My friend Lisa’s husband Troy is the keyboardist in this awesome band, who sound just like Journey and definitely know how to keep the crowd on their feet and rocking.

We had a gaggle of girls/Troy fans there and had a riot singing, dancing, and just generally partying the night away.

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E5C4P3 has an upcoming show on Saturday, December 14 at Legends Sports Bar in Parma, which is a fundraiser for Project Noelle. Check ’em out!

Christmas Decorating

It was also the weekend to deck the halls. Jeffrey picked out the perfect tree, as well as this festive Rudolph yard ornament.

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I got to bust out all my favorite Cleveland ornaments, which makes the house feel even more merry!

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Jeffrey made some ornaments for the “big tree” this year…

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…as well as decorated the tree in his room, too!

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So, that was the holiday weekend in this corner of the world. How was yours?

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Why? Pittsburgh!

This weekend, Alicia, Melissa, and I took a little girls weekend road trip to Pittsburgh. It started with plans to see Sara Bareilles (who wasn’t coming to Cleveland), but turned in to a great chance to get away and explore a different city.

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We’ll start with the original purpose of the trip: seeing Sara Bareilles perform. I hadn’t see her live since her show at House of Blues maybe 8 years ago. She was fantastic! Her voice is gorgeous, her lyrics are captivating, and her personality makes me think we would totally be besties (call me, Sara).

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She played lots of favorites, as well as a bunch of songs from the musical she penned, Waitress and songs from her new album “Amidst the Chaos” (I am seriously hooked on “Fire” and “Poetry by Dead Men” from that album).

We stayed in an AirBNB, which is such a perfect way to travel, especially with a group. We saved money over a hotel, plus we had common area space for hanging out, ordering a ridiculous amount of Thai food which lasted us the whole weekend, and just generally getting more time together in a cozier environment.

We weren’t far from Carson Street, which has a ton of bars. The vibe/crowd is somewhat like the Warehouse District. We checked out Mario’s South Side Saloon, Carson City Saloon, and Local Bar & Kitchen.

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Carson Street is definitely a fun, young, busy place to be. When we were down there on Thursday night, we were in the midst of a ton of Steelers fans watching the game, but we managed to find one other Browns fan in the craziness!

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For dinner before the concert, we went to Morcilla, a beautifully-appointed tapas restaurant in the Lawrenceville neighborhood. Much like the AirBNB, a tapas meal allows for a more communal experience.

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Some of the favorites from our table were the Marcona Almonds (lavender sugar, sea salt, EVOO); the Roasted Pepper Conserva (habanada and sweet carmen peppers, sherry vinegar, olive oil, garlic); the Oxtail Montadito (caramelized onion, machon cheese, baguette); and the Crispy Fried Sunchokes (butternut squash romesco, za’atar).

Don’t skip the churros with chocolate hazelnut sauce for dessert!

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The food was flavorful, the service was spot-on, and the restaurant was just charming!

Speaking of food, we also grabbed a couple great breakfasts while we were in town. We couldn’t resist a trip to the famous Pamela’s Diner.

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Their crepe-style hotcakes are so good! I got the specialty ones with apples, walnuts, and caramel!

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We also checked out Cafe Moulin, a small creperie in the Shadyside neighborhood. Since we couldn’t decide between savory and sweet, Alicia and I shared the Tivoli (fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, spinach, pesto) and the Cheese Cake (marscapone, chocolate chips, berry compote).

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This place is delicious and adorable!

Beyond that, we also explored the Strip District, which kind of feels like the West Side Market writ large.

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Lots of delicious food shops, as well as some kitschy stores, to explore.

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So, that was our trip. We certainly found a lot to enjoy in Pittsburgh, but more than that, we had such a great time just being away and having plenty of uninterrupted moments to laugh and talk and catch up.

Have you been to Pittsburgh? What are some of your favorite places there?

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Why? Nighttown!

Nighttown is a Cleveland classic, a celebrated jazz club that’s been open for more than 50 years. I’d been to a couple events there, but never just popped in for dinner, which I had the opportunity to do this week while celebrating my bestie Mariah’s birthday.

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The bar and restaurant have the feel of a neighborhood pub and you can tell that it’s frequented by regulars who are well-known by the staff. They have a great selection of cocktails, spirits, and wines to enjoy. I had an Old Fashioned that was simply made and simply delicious.

For dinner, I had the swordfish special with basmati rice, flash-fried cauliflower, and remoulade.

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Similar to the drink, the preparation was straight-forward and well-executed.

Mariah had the Halloumi Kebobs, with halloumi cheese, citrus couscous (Mariah substituted mashed potatoes), and chive oil.

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Delicious! I could serious live on halloumi.

Nighttown is participating in Cleveland Independents Restaurant Week through November 16, so you can get a three-course, prix fixe meal (only $33 for dinner) to try out something new. And you should definitely come for dinner and stay for the entertainment! Check out Nighttown’s awesome line-up of live performances here.

It might have been my first time dining at this Cleveland institution, but it won’t be my last. I loved being treated like a regular even on my first visit and look forward to actually making myself one at Nighttown!

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Why? The Best Party of the Year Giveaway!

The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland is throwing a party and they want you to know right up front that it’s going to be The Best Party of the Year!

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Held on Friday, December 6 at The Renaissance Cleveland, this party will take you back in time to the 1920s. You can dress as a flapper or someone dapper or just come as you are!

There will be food, cocktails, raffles and silent auctions, beer and wine pulls, and plenty of dancing and merriment. It will be one swanky affair!

Proceeds benefit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland, which provides food and other health-related vital services to individuals and families in need in our community.

Tickets are currently on sale for $99 and can be purchased online. You can save $5 on tickets with code WHYCLE19.

Or you can enter to win two tickets to The Best Party of the Year 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 here telling me your favorite decade for a theme party.

2. Visit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @hungernetworkgc 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 attend The Best Party of the Year with @hungernetworkgc and @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/10/30/why-the-best-party-of-the-year-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 Sunday, November 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote The Best Party of the Year. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Jump Back Ball!

There are a lot of great fundraisers in Cleveland for a lot of great causes. But the one that is closest to my heart is Playhouse Square‘s annual Jump Back Ball.

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This event is put on by Playhouse Square Partners (I’m finishing up my sixth and final year on their board this year) and has everything you could want in an amazing party:

  • 2 bands, one rocking the Key Bank State Theatre stage and DJ Smoov rocking the late night party in the Key Bank State Theatre lobby
  • Unlimited cocktails and dinner and late-night eats from Driftwood Catering
  • Gaming tables, auctions, and activities throughout the theatre and lobby
  • Awesome decor created by Playhouse Square Partners
  • Dress like your favorite rock star from the past, like you’re going to the Grammy’s, or in your finest

All of this fun benefits Playhouse Square’s Community Outreach and Education initiatives, including Disney Musicals in Schools, the Dazzle Awards, and more.

This year’s Jump Back Ball theme is From Jukebox to Boombox and you’ll leap back on a musical journey through time on Leap Day, Saturday, February 29, 2020.

Tickets go on sale today at 10am. There are three ticket levels to fit your time and budget:

  • VIP tickets for $200, which includes an extra cocktail party at 6:30pm in the Connor Palace Theatre, with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and music from Sinatra CLE
  • General admission ticktes for $120 for Partners members and $155 for the general public
  • Late night admission tickets for $75, which include admittance at 9:30pm, the late night music and eats, and activities (limited number)

Ticket prices will increase as the event approaches (in fact, General Admission tickets increase by $10 tomorrow, October 30), so grab your tickets now to secure the best price!

I hope to see you at Jump Back Ball 29: From Jukebox to Boombox!

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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