It was a mostly nostalgic weekend around these parts…
I celebrated my 20-year (eek!) high school reunion this weekend. On Friday night, I met up with my Magnificat High School Class of 1999 classmates at Townhall.
From old yearbooks to 90’s music to a montage of old pictures and memory books, it was a trip down high school lane.
We were in the new upstairs room at Townhall, which was the perfect space for a group! From a private bar to plenty of seating and mingling space to cute decor, this is a great spot!
The specialty drink for the evening was the Blue Streak, the Magnificat mascot (and a darn tasty drink, too).
It was so fun catching up in person with everyone!
On Saturday evening, I went back to Magnificat itself for the reunion weekend Mass. My dear friend Melissa was singing at the Mass and it was a wonderful chance to be reminded how much the mission of the school means to me still.
I also got to show Jeffrey around a little bit and he met some of my former teachers, which was really fun!
I was a bit ambivalent about attending reunion, especially since I’ve stayed so much more in touch with my college alma mater than my high school one. But I’m really glad I went and reconnected with that place and those women who meant a lot to me.
From slides to pony rides to hay bale and corn mazes to buying pumpkins and the best apple cider on the planet, a trip to Patterson’s will leave you fully immersed in that fall feeling, no matter what the weather is going to be like this week!
Patterson’s Fun Fest is open daily through Sunday, October 27. Admission is $5 per person on weekdays and $8 per person on weekends. Don’t miss your chance for some good old fashioned fall fun!
It was a busy, fun, outdoorsy weekend (yes, this is the right blog and I said outdoorsy). Let’s get right to it…
Matthew, Jeffrey, and I embarked on an overnight camping adventure with Matthew’s siblings and cousins and their kids. As you know (or can probably surmise), camping is a bit outside my wheelhouse. But Jeffrey was excited to go and I ended up having a really great time!
We spent the weekend on Matthew’s cousins’ property in Thompson. We made a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores…
…we took a creek walk and went waterfall sliding…
…we went canoeing…
…we watched fireworks…
…and just generally had a good time with family in nature. Tobey even joined in the fun!
Being that we’re not big campers, we needed some supplemental gear, which is where CampRents came in.
CampRents is a local company that rents backpacking and camping gear and can get you outfitted for everything from backyard camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.
We rented a one-person tent (to add to our three-person tent), sleeping bags and pads, and a headlamp. Everything came cleaned, packed, and ready to go.
When we were done camping, we just packed everything back into the bag to return. This is an easy, cost-effective way to try out new gear or get yourself ready for an adventure that might not happen often enough for you to buy your own supplies.
All in all, I survived the great outdoors and even enjoyed it!
***Disclosure: I received complimentary rental items from CampRents. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.
On Sunday, after returning to civilization and showering, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for an hour-long vinyasa flow with a beer chaser taught by Alicia.
Alicia’s accessible, but still challenging, teaching style was the perfect thing to wake me up on Sunday morning (and get out some of the sleeping-on-the-ground stiffness). Plus, it’s always fun to practice outside, especially on such a beautiful morning!
After class, we stayed to chat and enjoy a beer. I highly recommend the Passionista Wit!
If you’re interested in starting your Sunday with a little detox to retox, Alicia is teaching another Yoga + Beer event at Platform on Sunday, August 18. Cost is $20 and includes an hour-long class plus a beer.
You can also trade your beer for wine when Alicia teaches Yoga on the Viaduct on Wednesday, July 31, with incredible sunset views and a social at Luca Italian Cuisine to follow. Cost to attend is $25 and includes an hour-long class, glass of wine, and appetizers. Both events benefit the Arthritis Foundation.
***Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest blog post from Lauren Reed about one of Cleveland’s most iconic spots: The West Side Market. Read along as she takes you through the history of the Market and some of her favorite vendors. I added a couple of my own photos.***
Just seven years ago, in 2012, we celebrated the Centennial of Cleveland’s West Side Market. As it stands today, the West Side Market is the oldest continually operating municipally owned market in Ohio.
Located in historic Ohio City, the West Side Market was originally built to replace Pearl Street Market. Once construction started in 1908, the market became one of the three public markets in Cleveland that served the growing immigrant population in the 20th century – and it is the only one out of those three that remains open to this day.
In late 1973, the market entered into the National Register of Historical Places. Much later in 2008, the West Side Market was named one of the “10 Great Public Places in America” by the American Planning Association.
Throughout the years, the West Side Market has done a terrific job at attracting and maintaining a solid base of consistent consumers. There are many vendors that pop into one’s head when they think of the West Side Market.
Some of the well-known favorites are Ohio City Pasta, Ooo…Fudge, Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, Pierogi Palace and D.W. Whitaker Meats.
I grew up with a ton of Italian influence on both sides of my family. Every time we go to the West Side Market, we always make it apparent that a visit to the Ohio City Pasta stand is a must! At their stand they have a variety of pasta types all accompanied with a variety of tastes and health benefits. My personal favorite is the assorted ravioli because it looks and tastes amazing!
Similar to growing up with an Italian influence, I am also surrounded by a very strong Polish denomination within my family. My grandma always says that no one can make pierogi like her mother did, but the Pierogi Palace is a close second! Everything at this stand tastes incredibly fresh and it is something that you can’t quite experience with frozen store-bought food.
The West Side Market is also home to a variety of healthy vendors with delicious options. Some of the most noteworthy include The Basketeria Organics and King Produce.
The Basketeria Organics is a vendor that sells solely organic fruits and vegetables. Within the same commodore, you will find King Produce which sells Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables in addition to their selection of tropical fruits.
The location of the West Side Market itself is gorgeous. Growing up in Cleveland you were supposed to understand and promote the “rivalry” between the east and west side of Cleveland. I grew up on the east side of Cleveland about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.
As I grow older and am in my 20s, I have to say (regretfully) that the west side truly is the best side. ***Editor’s Note: Agree to disagree, Lauren. Mad love for both sides of town!***
The West Side Market is right next to the bridge that connects the west side to the downtown area. Within walking distance of the market are various restaurants, little getaway spots, and outside-of-the-box fun!
The future for the West Side Market varies on which vendors you ask. Some vendors blame the increase of rent for affecting the traffic of shoppers. Some vendors note that there has been a decrease in shoppers while others disagree.
The future of the West Side Market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers. Be sure to plan your next grocery trip or weekend plans around visiting the West Side Market and all of its wonderful vendors including two of my favorites Theresa’s Bakery and EuroSweets!
Happy Home Opener, Cleveland! There may be snow on the ground, but the home opener means summer is just around the corner…
So, how did I fill the chilly last weekend of March? Let’s get to it…
On Saturday, Matthew and I met up with our friends Ritch and Denise for a brewery crawl. Ritch has a goal of hitting a certain number of Cleveland breweries by a certain birthday (numbers withheld because we’re all getting older), plus it was just Denise’s birthday, so what a fun way to celebrate!
We started at Saucy Brew Works, where we love the food just as much as we love the beer.
We shared the Nashville Hot Chicken and Bees Knees pizzas and definitely couldn’t decide which we enjoyed more.
From there, it was a short walk to Bookhouse Brewing. This cozy, bookstore style brewery made us want to sit there all day. I had a sampler and really enjoyed all the (fabulously-named) beers I tried: Patio Season, Maybe Partying Will Help, River of Memories, and Reasons to be Cheerful.
Next up: Brick and Barrel Brewing, where we played board games while enjoying our brews. I had a Roasted Out of My Gord pumpkin porter, because if this cold weather is sticking around, so is my love for porters and stouts.
Our final stop was Terrestrial Brewing Company, which was filled with great beer, but also with sweet fuzzes. I love bars that are dog friendly. I spent most of my time hanging out with the pets (sorry, friends).
It was a fun afternoon and such a great reminder of how many awesome breweries we have in Cleveland, who are putting out creative, delicious beer! We also picked up a bunch of stamps in our Cleveland Brewery Passport!
We had so much fun (and amazing seats). The Monsters games are action-packed and really family-friendly, which make them a favorite sporting event choice for us.
Plus, the Monsters commitment to the American Cancer Society was really touching and made it an even better night out.
The Monsters auctioned off a special commemorative purple jersey to raise funds, as well as showing videos throughout the game and having people make support signs for those in their life impacted by cancer.
When everyone waved their purple rally towels, it was a sight to see!
Stay tuned for my on my growing involvement with the American Cancer Society…
***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Monsters to help promote the Purple Game. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets and a parking pass. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
I had no idea going in that Helen Welch, the lead singer, is a Cleveland resident who has performed at places like Nighttown, so the local connection had me enjoying the show even more.
After the show, we grabbed dinner at Nuevo Modern Mexican. There’s something about having guacamole and a margarita while it’s snowing that just makes you feel like you’re shaking your fist at the weather.
Gosh, I can’t wait for patio season!
We shared the habanero jelly guacamole and then I had the Cuban sandwich, which was meaty and flavorful!
For dessert, I had the manzana gallette because I seriously cannot pass up an apple dessert.
It was a great way to end a great weekend! How was yours? What are you doing to celebrate the Home Opener?
Hey, hey, it’s March! We welcomed the new month with a fun weekend out and about in Cleveland.
But before we were out and about, we were in and cozy. On Friday night, I made BBQ chicken mac ‘n cheese (recipe here).
Before I made the mac, I cooked the chicken wrapped in foil packets at 250 degrees for 2 hours. This made the chicken tender and perfect to fork shred, which was the exact right consistency for the mac ‘n cheese.
Pair this with Matthew’s homemade Old Fashioned and you have a perfect little Friday evening meal!
Children’s Theater Series
On Saturday, we had the third of four shows in the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square. This one was “Emily Brown and the Thing,” about a little girl and her stuffed rabbit who have many adventures after bedtime.
We didn’t know the story going in and found the show to be engaging and funny. I love taking Jeffrey to see live theater, especially in the incredible theaters at Playhouse Square!
Lunch in Ohio City
From there, we headed over to Great Lakes Brewing Company for lunch. I always enjoy going to the brewpub because, while you can find Great Lakes beer all over, there’s always something special on tap at the pub.
I tried the Imperial Buzzcut Nut Brown Ale, brewed with honey and hazelnuts, and Matthew had the same. We both really enjoyed this smoothy, nutty beer!
To eat, I had the Fitzgerald burger, with bacon, smoked cheddar, Edmund Fitzgerald BBQ sauce, and onion straws.
Flavorful and juicy, this was one delicious burger! The fries were particularly good, too!
Matthew had the Sweet & Salty Pork pizza, with smoked pulled pork, cucumber, green pepper, onion, mozzarella, goat cheese, garlic oil, and orange lavender honey.
He ate the entire pizza (!), so my guess is that it was quite tasty!
Jeffrey loved his chicken fingers, too! The brewpub atmosphere for a weekend lunch is wonderful for kids, too!
The Buckeye Sundae was the perfect sweet treat. Jeffrey is pretty much all of us when it comes to Mitchell’s…
What a fun family day!
***Disclosure: I received a gift card from Great Lakes Brewing Company as part of my partnership with Lyft. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
On Sunday, I attended a Sprinkle for my dear friend Mariah, who is expecting a little girl in May. While Mariah has two boys already, it was so fun to fete her new arrival with lots of pink clothes and toys.
I also had to snag her this adorable onesie from Anne Cate!
We had a great ladies lunch, with bellinis, homemade pesto and chicken, salad, fruit, and pastries from Luna Bakery & Café.
When I got together for Galentine’s Day with my girls Alicia and Amanda, we had our very different tastes on display.
Luckily, we had dinner at Ohio City Galley, a restaurant incubator with four different mini-restaurants, so our different tastes could all be satisfied under one roof!
Ohio City Galley is a chance for chefs to essentially test a restaurant concept rent-free, with the Galley Group providing marketing, space upkeep, and the like. Ohio City Galley’s current restaurants are Poca Casual Mexican, Sauce the City, Tinman, and The Rice Shop.
I chose the BBQ Pork Belly from The Rice Shop, served with sticky rice, honey mustard kale, and sambal sour cream.
The dish was flavorful and the pork belly was the perfect balance of crispy and tender.
Alicia and Amanda both chose dishes from Poca Casual Mexican: the Al Pastor tacos and the Oaxacan tamales. And while I didn’t sneak any bites, they were very happy with their choices. We also shared some of the guacamole with the most delicious masa chips!
For dessert, the apple fritters from Tinman, served with caramel sauce and Apple Jacks ice cream were a decadent and delicious end to our meal.
The bar at Ohio City Galley is also serving up creative treats. I enjoyed a Moses Cleveland, with bourbon, herbed plum syrup, citrus, and soda.
We also got to help the bar manager Daniella practice four signature Galentine’s cocktails, all of which were unique and delicious.
Pro tip: Go to Ohio City Galley during happy hour (Monday through Friday, 5-7pm) for half off all drinks and specials at the restaurants!
With it’s haute cafeteria-style environment, tasty drinks, and creative cuisine, Ohio City Galley is the perfect way to try something new and satisfy everyone’s different tastes in one place!
I make an exception to starting the season early when it comes to holiday brews! Eight Crazy Nights is spicy, not too heavy, and a tasty seasonal pour.
The launch was a lot of fun, with music from the Ohio City Singers and lots of tasty nibbles from Collision Bend’s menu. The bianco pizza and the Collision Bend popcorn, with chicken schmaltz, Mexican pepper mix, lime zest, and pecorino, were my favorite bites of the night!
Eight Crazy Nights is available on tap at the restaurant, as well as in cans in your local store (I’ve already confirmed my local Heinen’s has it!)
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the launch of Eight Crazy Nights at Collision Bend Brewing Company. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Parents Night Out
Part of my job as one of the Room Parents for Jeffrey’s class was to plan Parents Night Out. This evening was a chance for the Pre-K parents to connect with each other outside of the drop-off line and without kids clamoring for attention.
Nighttown was so easy to work with setting up the event and the service was spot on! We had a selection of tasty (and generously-sized) appetizers, including egg rolls, bruschetta, chicken satay, and mushroom tarts.
It was a fun evening of catching up with friends and meeting people outside of school! We even got to hear some of the awesome live music that Nighttown had that evening before we had to get home to relieve babysitters of their duties!
I love when we can find something to do on a night out with friends that involves an activity, not just drinks and dinner. It sparks conversation, encourages interaction, and just makes the evening more unique.
So, when Perplexity Games invited us to come in for an evening in one of their escape rooms, I jumped at the chance. Matthew and I teamed up with our friends Deborah and Kevin to try to crack the case of the Eliot Ness Escape Room.
I love the Cleveland theme to this escape room! Set in the time of Eliot Ness’s tenure as Safety Director in Cleveland, the escape room challenges you to find the ledger of a crooked city commissioner.
Through various clues, hidden doors, and fun surprises (and a couple clues from the watchful eyes), we had the chance to step back in time, work together, challenge our brains and our speed, and have a great time!
We were able to find the ledger with just a minute and a half to spare (you have an hour in the escape room.)
But even if we hadn’t cracked the case, we would have had a wonderful time! The escape rooms at Perplexity Games are about challenging problem-solving, not feeling trapped or scared.
All the escape rooms are designed by the owner’s family, who share a love for gaming and found games to be a way to connect as a family. Along with the Eliot Ness Escape Room, there is the Clockwork Caper Escape Room and the T.I.T.U.S. Escape Room. Each room is priced at $30 per person and can hold different maximum numbers (Eliot Ness – 12, Clockwork Caper – 8, T.I.T.U.S. – 5.)
Perplexity Games is also in the process of building two holiday escape rooms called The Naughty List, which can each hold 10 people and will be perfect for holiday parties.
Perplexity Games is family-owned and operated, creative, fun, and located in the perfect neighborhood for an evening out – Ohio City. For your next couples night out, team-building, or game night, check them out and see if you can crack the case too!
***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Perplexity Games and received complimentary admission for four to the Eliot Ness Escape Room. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Last night, I got to hang out with some fabulous fellow blogger babes while getting hands-on with making candles, bath bombs, and lip balms, which was really a fantastic way to spend a Thursday night.
Cleveland Candle Co. invited us in to not only check out their amazing pre-made products, but make our own too. Cleveland Candle Co. has a huge selection of fun, delicious, lovely smelling candles, with seasonal favorites, food and drink scents, and specialty scents (the Black Tie, trust me).
All of their products are produced with local ingredients (90% of the waxes used are sourced from Ohio) and all USA-made glass. Plus, Cleveland Candle Co.’s candles are soy wax and use all-natural ingredients, so they burn clean and smell wonderful.
To create our own custom candle, we started by exploring the scent wall and choosing scents we liked. Then the girls at Cleveland Candle Co. helped us create a blend based on the scents that worked for us. They could help make our candles fresher, sweeter, spicier…whatever our preference.
My perfect blend, which I titled “Fall AF,” includes Apple Orchard, Mulled Cider, Crackling Firewood, and Orange Spice. So fall. I can’t wait to cozy up with it.
Then we got to mix custom bath bombs, choosing our own scent and color. My blue Spa Day bath bombs will make for a relaxing soak, if I can use them before Jeffrey does! He loves bath bombs!
We also created our own custom lip balms, getting to choose the perfect oil, butter, and scent to make our lips luscious. My blend included cocoa butter, blood orange and vanilla infusion essential oils, grapeseed oil, and Vitamin E.
My balm’s name? Orange You Glad You Kissed Me 😉
It was so fun to not only support a local small business committed to quality products, but to feel like part of the process in creating our own items. I am NOT a crafty person, as we know, but the team at Cleveland Candle Co. made everything easy and fun.
Plus, we could bring in our own beverages and snacks, so we definitely had a party with wine, stuffed peppadews, and Reese’s cups, which is the trifecta of an amazing meal.
For pre-made products perfect for treating yourself or those you love or for a totally fun and unique party idea (birthdays, bachelorettes, any given Thursday), be sure to check out Cleveland Candle Co., with locations in Mentor, Coventry, and Ohio City.
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary candle, bath bomb, and lip balm workshop at Cleveland Candle Co. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***