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…
…I yoga-ed and barre-d…
…we got cultured…
…and we got to the Point.
And my kid grew into even more of an extraordinary, funny, smart, inquisitive human.
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
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!
Every year, Playhouse Square Jump Back Ball, put on by Playhouse Square Partners, is one of the hottest parties in town. This year, the 28th annual Jump Back Ball is Jumping Back Across the Pond for a British-themed evening of fun and frivolity.
Jump Back Ball is also a party with a purpose. The proceeds from the event benefit Playhouse Square’s education and community outreach initiatives, including the Dazzle Awards and the Disney Musicals in Schools program.
General Admission tickets start at $120 for Partners members (join here) and $155 for the public and include a buffet dinner on the KeyBank State Theatre stage, live music and dancing on stage, house and mezzanine activities, a late-night buffet, and live music and dancing in the State Theatre Lobby.
VIP tickets are $200 and include a cocktail reception and entertainment in the Connor Palace Theatre in addition to all the perks of General Admission.
For the first time, Jump Back Ball will also be offering Late Night tickets for $75 with admission starting at 9:30pm and including the house and mezzanine activities, late-night buffet, and live music and dancing in the State Theatre Lobby. There will be a limited number of Late Night tickets available.
Tickets go on sale online and via telephone on Monday, November 5 at 10am. Jump Back Ball always sells out, not only because it is a fantastic party, but also because it supports a fantastic cause.
So, pip, pip, cheerio and mark your calendars for Monday to buy your Jump Back Ball tickets!
***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary VIP tickets. I am also the Communications Co-Chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Held at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland, the event brought together chef-inspired takes on favorite kids’ foods and drinks, along with a DJ, silent auction, and wine pull to raise funds for the Children’s Hunger Alliance mission of providing nutritious food to children across Ohio by partnering with local community organizations.
I snagged a nice bottle of sauvignon blanc from the wine pull and Melissa scored a Vitamix from the silent auction!
Plus, it was fun to spend an evening in a place where we often take our kids to play. I’m reminded how lucky we are to be able to provide as we do for Jeffrey and how important it is to help those less able to do so.
***Disclosure: I was asked by Children’s Hunger Alliance to help promote Eat Like a Kid Again. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Put on Your Boogie Shoes
Friday night, Matthew and I transformed ourselves into a classic Cleveland couple for the Charles Bowlus Charities Put on Your Boogie Shoes fundraiser.
This annual event was held this year at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown and featured some delicious food stations (build your own mac ‘n cheese FTW), delightful drinks, and one of our favorite local cover bands: Faction.
Everyone in attendance went all out with their costumes! Some of our favorites included the Scooby Doo group, the Handmaid’s Tale handmaids, and the Chipotle burrito.
***Disclosure: I was asked by Charles Bowlus Charities to help promote Put on Your Boogie Shoes. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
We all really enjoy these shows! They introduce children to live theater in a setting that is accessible. Children can talk quietly during the performances, attend pre-show workshops, and the shows are all around one hour long.
We’ve found the performances to be thoughtful, engaging, and fun!
While season tickets are sold out for the 2018-2019 season, you can purchase individual tickets for the remaining shows, which include “The Rainbow Fish,” “Emily Brown and the Thing,” and “Junie B. Jones.”
Grossology and Spooktacular Science
Since Sunday was rainy and cold, we decided to spend time indoors with two of Jeffrey’s godparents: Amanda and Scott (follow their super fun adventures on Tow for the Road!)
The Great Lakes Science Center was hosting their Halloween party, Spooktacular Science, with monster dance parties, glow-in-the-dark slime, and exploding pumpkins.
If you purchase an entrée at all six participating restaurants, you are entered to win a private dinner for eight prepared in your home by Chef Zack Bruell.
Those overachievers who completed the Tour de Bruell by July 4 were entered into a drawing to win a progressive dinner through all six of the restaurants hosted by the Chef himself.
Last week, the winners of the progressive dinner, along with some very lucky bloggers…
…gathered to eat our way through all of Chef Bruell’s restaurants on the Tour de Bruell.
We started at Table 45, located at the Intercontinental Hotel. Chef Bruell told us that this sleek, modern restaurant is his favorite from an aesthetic standpoint. Our course at Table 45 consisted of deliciously fresh sushi,
as well as a cocktail called the Champagne Floh, made with champagne, Elderflower liquor, and local Floh vodka.
From there, we boarded a chauffeured limo bus with the Chef (sidebar: sometimes being a blogger lets you do ridiculously awesome things) and headed to our second stop: Parallax.
Parallax is the oldest of the six restaurants and, if you asked me prior to this progressive dinner, my favorite (I think it still might be, but this night made it harder to choose). At Parallax, we enjoyed scallops that just melted in your mouth.
Then it was off to our third stop: Alley Cat Oyster Bar. Alley Cat not only boasts an amazing seafood and fish selection, but also incredible views!
This course consisted of ridiculous huge shrimp cocktail, oysters on the half shell, and a mini version of Alley Cat’s seafood charcuterie board.
Everything was fresh and delicious and the seafood charcuterie board was a unique twist on a common concept.
Halfway through the tour! We got back on the bus and headed to Chinato. Located right at East 4th and Prospect, this is the perfect stop before a game or concert downtown!
The Bolognese sauce at Chinato has slow-roasted pork shoulder and is incredibly rich and flavorful!
Back on the bus for a short jaunt to Playhouse Square for stop five: Cowell & Hubbard. This restaurant prides itself on getting theater-goers to the show on time, while still providing the highest quality food and service.
Our course here was trout that actually made me like trout!
Finally, we ended our evening on the most lovely, secret-garden patio at L’Albatros Brasserie, with a sensational cheese plate and grapefruit sorbet.
It was truly a treat not only to experience all these restaurants, but to hear their history from Chef Zack Bruell himself. It’s also easy to appreciate his impact on the Cleveland culinary scene when you visit all the restaurants in one night. The sheer variety of cooking styles, menu, décor, and clientele served is impressive.
I’m so grateful I had the chance to tag along with the lucky Tour de Bruell winners. And the Tour isn’t over yet, so if you want to send your summer out with some great food, you have until September 3 to complete the Tour for a chance to win a private, in-home dinner. Trust me, the color commentary alone from Chef Bruell makes this a prize you’ll want to win!
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Tour de Bruell progressive dinner. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
The exhibition includes many of Kusama’s paintings and early work, as well as seven of her immersive Infinity Mirror Rooms.
There is even a room called Where the Lights in My Heart Go, which is exclusive to the exhibition in Cleveland.
Your time in each room is limited to 20-30 seconds, as the artist intended, which is just enough time to take it all in and snap a few pictures.
The final room in the exhibition is the Obliteration Room. Each guest receives a sticker sheet and can add their own personal mark to the room. Jeffrey especially loved this hands-on part of the exhibition!
Infinity Mirrors is truly an amazing sensory experience! The exhibition is at the Cleveland Museum of Art through September 30. Each Monday of the exhibition, the Museum releases a limited number of tickets at 9am. Click here for more details.
On the advice of pretty much everyone who has seen the show, we both listened to the wordy, complex, fast-paced soundtrack before seeing the performance. It definitely helped to keep us focused and let us absorb more of the sets, staging, and amazing choreography.
Without giving too much away, Hamilton is compelling, funny, heart wrenching, and thought provoking. We enjoyed every moment of the nearly three hour performance and will certainly be talking about it for weeks to come.
It’s extraordinary that we have a performing arts center like Playhouse Square that could book a six-week run of this celebrated show! Hamilton is here through August 26. Every day, there is a lottery for 37 tickets to the show. You can get more details on how to enter here.
Even though it was pouring, we still enjoyed the colorful, unique festival, although we got fewer pictures than we would have liked!
The Asian Lantern Festival features 40 larger-than-life lantern displays, featuring everything from Asian animals to architecture.
There are also nightly performances of acrobatics and music, plus the chance to see the zoo creatures after hours.
The Asian Lantern Festival takes place on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights through August 19. Tickets can be purchased here.
All of these cultural events made me think how lucky we are to live in a city with world-class cultural institutions that can attract world-renowned exhibitions and performances. Plus, so many of these incredible cultural happenings are great for the whole family! If you’re a Hamilton fan, you’ll understand why I say, “Look around, look around, at how lucky we are to be alive right now…in the greatest city in the world!”
Jeffrey brought his own personal rubber ducks with him to meet Mama Duck, which was so sweet! The duck was at the Sandusky Festival of Sail, so we also got to check out some tall ships while we were there.
But let’s be honest, the real mission of the trip was to see the duck! And she was adorable!
Friday evening, we met up with friends for dinner at the recently-opened Barrio in downtown Willoughby. We ordered the special guacamole with charred watermelon and chevre, which was the perfect summer guac!
I ordered one of the suggested tacos and then built two of my own. I’m always nervous when I make up my own creations, but these were pretty tasty! I love the mango habanero salsa. Oh, and the short rib. But not together. Make your own creation. See how it goes!
The Flying Fig
Saturday morning, I went to brunch at my favorite brunch spot in town: The Flying Fig. From the food to the atmosphere, it’s always a win.
I was having a hard time deciding between sweet and savory (the classic brunch dilemma, right?!), so I went with the loaded breakfast potatoes and cornmeal biscuit with crème fraiche and berries. Perfect carb-a-licious combo!
Partners 1980s Prom Murder Mystery
On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended a totally rad prom that took us back to 1985!
It was put on by Playhouse Square Partners and we were all involved in the action, getting to play different parts and figuring out whodunnit!
From the costumes to the décor, it was a great night and so fun to be a part of the Murder Mystery Mayhem! And Matthew got a certificate for correctly figuring out the murderer!
I also think he deserves an award for his awesome Miami Vice-like threads! We both found our outfits at Goodwill, which had exactly what we needed for a small price tag (my dress was $5)!
OK, so I think we just live in Sandusky now. We were up there for the second time in a weekend for a trip with friends to Cedar Point.
We usually stick to our tried-and-true favorites at Cedar Point, but we did discover a new thing to love: Funnel Fries!
They’re funnel cakes dough, made into fries, and dusted with powder sugar. And you need them in your life. So good! They made a hot, fun day with the kiddos a bit sweeter (we shared with the kids…sort of).
It was a fantastic weekend with food, friends, 1980s fashion, and a big duck! How was your weekend?
The American Dance Festival 2018 will feature a series of performances and workshops celebrating many different styles of dance. There will even be free community events on U.S. Bank Plaza, including a Silent Disco on Saturday, July 28 and salsa dancing on Tuesday, July 31.
On National Day of Dance, which happens on Saturday, July 28, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago will put on a high-energy performance that is sure to be crowd favorite at the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square at 7pm.
Tickets for the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago performance are currently on sale online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to see Hubbard Street Dance Chicago on National Day of Dance 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 style of dance.
2. Visit DanceCleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.
3. Follow @dancecleveland and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.
4. Follow @DANCECleveland 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 celebrate National Dance Day with @DANCECleveland thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway http://whycle.com/2018/07/11/why-dancecleveland-giveaway-2
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, July 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!