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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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, pre-Halloween weekend, so let’s get right to it…

Designer Dress Days

On Friday morning, I stopped by the 51st annual Designer Dress Days sale to benefit NCJW Cleveland.

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Held at the Mandel JCC, this sale has something for every fashionista, from exclusive designer labels to cashmere to furs to handbags.

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I scored an amazing deal on this stunning dress off the Celebrity/Influencer rack.

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It was donated by Kimberly of Modern Musings and I just cannot wait to wear it out on the town (perhaps to the event I’ll be blogging about tomorrow).

The sale is still on today, October 28, from 12-8pm and tomorrow, October 29, from 10am-7pm. And today, everything is 20% off the already amazing prices! So stop by and grab yourself some fabulous new finds for your wardrobe, all to benefit a great cause!

***Disclosure: I was asked by NCJW Cleveland to help promote Designer Dress Days. In exchange, I received complimentary admission to the preview day and compensation. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Burntwood Tavern Dia de los Muertos

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Lisa for dinner at Burntwood Tavern to enjoy their limited-time Dia de los Muertos menu.

We both started with the Perfect Margarita, served on the rocks with Patron, Grand Marnier, lime, and a salted rim.

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We shared the Pacos Nachos, with smoked pork carnitas, colby jack cheese, crispy jalapenos, peppers and onions, avocado salsa, pico de gallo, and queso blanco.

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Hearty and filling, these were delicious nachos!

For my entree, I had the Baja Fish Tacos, with beer-battered cod, cole slaw, queso rico, chipotle aioli, and rice & beans.

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The rice & beans were not your typical Mexican rice & beans, but they were tasty. And the fish was tender and flaky, with a nice kick from the chipotle aioli.

The Dia de los Muertos menu is available at all Burntwood Tavern locations through Sunday, November 3, with options from tacos to burritos to chicken tortilla soup. Over on Instagram, I’m running a gift card giveaway for $50 to Burntwood Tavern to check it out for yourself. The giveaway closes on Tuesday, October 29 at 11:59pm, so hop over and enter!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Burntwood Tavern to help promote the Dia de los Muertos menu. In exchange, I received two complimentary entrees and two complimentary margaritas. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Children’s Theater Series

On Saturday, we kicked off our fourth season as subscribers to the Children’s Theater Series at Playhouse Square.

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The first show was Jungle Book, a re-imagined version of the classic tale, with a great message about conservation mixed in. Every year, Jeffrey becomes so much more engaged in the stories taking place on stage!

While the season ticket packages are sold out for this year, stay tuned in March for when the 2020-2021 season is announced. This a great way to introduce children to live theater in a way that is friendly and accessible, while still challenging their imaginations.

Gesu Young Families Truck or Treat

Trunk or Treat events have become quite popular over the last few years with church groups and schools, where families can decorate their cars and let their kids trick or treat in an enclosed area.

The Gesu Young Families group hosted their Truck or Treat on Saturday night, but it turned into a Gym or Treat due to the weather!

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There was a DJ, pizza, and plenty of candy! Our Trunk or Treat design came from my friend Sarah who created this adorable Toy Story-scape and was kind enough to let me borrow it! It was definitely a hit with the kids!

Trunk or Treat was a fun night and a great precursor to all the Halloween action coming this Thursday.

Gesu Blue-Gold Game

On Sunday, we bundled up and headed to the last game of Jeffrey’s soccer season: the Gesu Blue-Gold game.

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All the Kindergartners played each other, enjoyed pizza and snacks, and generally celebrated the end of a fun season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Republic Food and Drink!

This week, I met up with fellow Playhouse Square Partners members for a dine-around in the Playhouse Square District.

At our dine-arounds, we select four restaurants that are geographically close together and split into small groups to enjoy a meal. Then we all meet up for an after-dinner drink together.

In the Playhouse Square District, we visited Ghost Light Restaurant and Lounge, Yours Truly, Puente Viejo, and Republic Food and Drink, all close to the theaters and great choices for pre- or post-theater dining. Our after-dinner drink was at Parnell’s Pub, a perennial Partners favorite.

I was in the group at Republic Food and Drink, which is a part of the Driftwood Group. This relatively-new restaurant occupies the former Otto Moser’s space and has transformed the old deli standby it into a comfortable, modern, delicious spot.

The list of bourbon cocktails alone had me happy! But the expansive menu of elevated comfort food sealed the deal. Our table shared the Pub Onion to start, a crispy-fried Vidalia onion with Carolina Gold Ranch.

I couldn’t pass up the Chicken Fried Chicken, with whipped potato, bourbon bacon green beans, and black pepper gravy.

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The chicken was tender and the breading was crisp. The potatoes and gravy were well-executed and the bourbon bacon green beans could make anyone eat their veggies.

Other comfort food favorites around the table included the Baked Mac ‘n Cheese, the Pork Schnitzel, and the Short Rib Stroganoff.

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As we head into Fall, the menu is perfect for cooler nights…warm up with an Old Fashioned and some Short Ribs!

And if you want to explore the Playhouse Square District with Partners, join us on Monday, October 7 for our Recess Scavenger Hunt to benefit arts education. Tickets are only $10!

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

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Why? Playhouse Square Partners!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off our programming for 2019-2020 with an Oktoberfest-themed membership open house at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland.

From cheap liters of beer to yummy pretzels to the chance to get to be among the first to know the theme for the upcoming Jump Back Ball, there was a lot of fun to be had!

Speaking of Jump Back Ball, this year’s theme is From Jukebox to Boombox. The party of the year takes place on Saturday, February 29 and tickets go on sale on October 29. You won’t want to miss it!

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But Partners is so much more than just Jump Back Ball. We plan monthly events that range from networking to socializing to volunteering and fundraising. Our fundraising efforts support Playhouse Square’s Community Engagement and Education initiatives, such as Disney Musicals in Schools and the Dazzle Awards.

I’ve been involved with Partners for eight years now and am completing my sixth and final year on the Board. I’ve seen firsthand how much fun we have, how much good we do, and how amazing it is to be connected to Playhouse Square, which is truly an icon in the Cleveland community.

If you’re interested in joining Partners, you can learn more about our membership levels and benefits here. You can also join me at one of our upcoming events:

  • September Monthly Members Meeting on Monday, September 16. Join us for a Happy Half Hour, followed by committee break-out sessions where you can learn more about the various Partners committees and help us plan upcoming events.
  • Partners Dine Around on Monday, September 23. Choose one of four restaurants in the Playhouse Square District and dine with Partners members. Afterward, all the groups will meet up for a nightcap at Parnell’s Pub.

I hope to see you at one of these events and that you’ll save the date for Jump Back Ball!

***Disclosure: I am the communications co-chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Tours of Cleveland!

Even when you think you know a place, there are always stories you haven’t heard before. This week, I had a chance to hear some new Cleveland stories as I went on a walking tour with Tours of Cleveland.

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I took the Cleveland From the Inside Walking Tour, which takes you around to several Cleveland landmarks to explore the interiors of those buildings.

Scott, our tour guide, was both personable and knowledgeable, with a ton of great facts and anecdotes at his fingertips. As a former college tour guide, I was also impressed with his ability to walk backward while talking to the group without falling over!

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While I don’t want to give away what you’d see and hear on the tour, I will highlight the places we went…

We started at the Old Stone Church, which I had never been inside before.

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Next was the Society for Savings building, which has some fascinating murals with a message.

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Then we explored the impressive lobby of the Federal Reserve Bank. It was neat to hear stories of the security measures installed with the original building in 1923.

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Our next stop was the Cleveland Public Library, which is celebrating its 150th year.

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If you haven’t been up to the third floor of the library, there is an amazing collection of chess sets, miniature books, and more that is worth a look.

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Then we meandered through the Arcade, the country’s first indoor shopping mall.

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We stopped in the Cleveland Trust building, which now houses the downtown Heinen’s.

And the tour ended at Playhouse Square, with stops in the Ohio Theatre and Connor Palace Theatre lobbies, as well as the house of the KeyBank State Theatre.

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It was fun to step inside buildings that sometimes I just walk past and also to hear more of the history of the art and architecture of the buildings. Cleveland has a rich and storied past and Scott did a wonderful job bringing that to life.

Tours of Cleveland offers two different public walking tours: Downtown Highlights and Cleveland From the Inside. Both tours are approximately two hours long and cost $22 per person. You can also book Tours of Cleveland for corporate or private groups. Click here to book a public or private tour and learn more about our amazing city!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Tours of Cleveland to help promote their walking tours. In exchange, I received a complimentary tour admission. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Other than stuffing ourselves at B Spot Burgers, there was more fun to be had this weekend. Here’s what we were up to…

Cleveland Public Library Street Fair

On Friday, Jeffrey and I attended a Media Preview for the Cleveland Public Library‘s Street Fair, celebrating the library’s 150th anniversary.

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The Reading Garden was filled with artwork, puppeteers, and Glen Infante creating a mural.

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We also got to meet Eric Litwin, author of “Pete the Cat.” Jeffrey loves that book, so it was fun for him to get to chat with the author!

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The Cleveland Public Library’s Street Fair really brought the community together to celebrate such a vital part of our history and culture. Here’s to another 150 years!

Date Night

On Saturday night, Matthew and I had a date night. We started with dinner at Burntwood Tavern. I enjoyed the lobster ravioli and Matthew had the mahi mahi special.

Both were delicious!

Then we were off to see “Come From Away” at Playhouse Square. The last show of this season’s KeyBank Broadway Series was funny, heartwarming, sad, and thought-provoking.

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It not only took the audience back to their own memories of September 11 and the days following, but also made us examine how we welcome each other as members of the human family.

When we arrived at the theater for the show, the man ahead of us in the Will Call line had two extra floor seats that he generously gave us. It was so unexpected and the perfect way to start a show about the kindness of strangers!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Burntwood Tavern and received a Burntwood Tavern gift card. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cedar Point Shores

On Sunday, we went to Cedar Point Shores for a day of splashing and swimming.

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It was the perfect summer day to be at a water park!

On the way home, we stopped at Krieg’s Farm Market and Custard for some frozen custard.

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Krieg’s offers weekly seasonal frozen custard specials. I had the red raspberry and chocolate swirl and it was delicious! It’s a bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit!

So, that was our weekend? How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? DANCECleveland BalletX Giveaway!

DANCECleveland is going all out for the 2019 National Dance Day on Saturday, July 27, with an ADF in CLE Summer Dance Festival that includes free community dance classes, a Take a Hike Tour, and Community Dance Day around the Playhouse Square district. Classes are for all ages and abilities and free, although registration is encouraged.

DANCECleveland’s celebration of National Dance Day will conclude with the dance company that is the darling of the Vail International Dance Festival and their own hometown of Philadelphia: BalletX.

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BalletX will make their Cleveland debut in an evening of works by some of the most exciting choreographers creating work today. Founded in 2005, the company has been applauded for their athleticism, emotion, and grace while challenging the boundaries of classical ballet. Having toured to prestigious venues around the world, it is so exciting to welcome them to Cleveland.

The performance will take place at 7:30pm on Saturday, July 27 in the Ohio Theatre. There is a pre-performance chat in the theatre that begins 45 minutes before the show.

BalletX Tickets range from $20-$45 and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to BalletX 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 https://whycle.com/2019/07/05/why-dancecleveland-balletx-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 Wednesday, July 10 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by DANCECleveland to help promote the BalletX performance. 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? Playhouse Square Partners at Bin 216!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners celebrated the end of our (fiscal) year with our fifth annual wine tasting night at Bin 216.

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This event has become both a staple and a favorite for the organization. This year’s theme was South American wines and we enjoyed five courses of small bites and wines that were perfectly paired.

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Our first course paired Leyda Sauvignon Blanc with Asparagus & Egg Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette.

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You really can’t go wrong in my book with either asparagus or Sauvignon Blanc!

Our second course paired Tilia Chardonnay with a Seared Scallop over Sweet Corn Purée and Herb Oil.

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This particularly chardonnay was very oaky and on its own was not my favorite, but when paired with the food, it was quite good.

Our third course paired Root 1 Carmenere with Devils on Horseback.

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This peppery, delicious red wine was perfect by itself, but became even more delicious when paired with the chorizo-stuffed dates of happiness. (This was my favorite course, can you tell?)

Our fourth course paired Catena Malbec with Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Chimichurri.

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Much like the first course, this course paired two can’t miss items for me: Malbec and chimichurri.

Our fifth course paired El Enemigo Bonarda with Marinated, Smoked, and Grilled Portobello Mushroom Risotto.

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The risotto had a delicious, smoky taste to it which matched the wine nicely and added a depth of flavor you don’t always get with this kind of dish.

All in all, it was a delicious evening trying some new-to-me wines. Bin 216 is a great pre- or post-theater stop, with ambiance (check out that view of the beautiful Ohio Theatre lobby), delicious food, and great wines.

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And if you’re interested in getting involved with Playhouse Square Partners, we’re starting our Jump Back Ball 29 planning on Thursday, July 11 at Market Garden Brewery. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh my gosh, you guys. It’s JULY! When did that happen?! Here’s how we closed out the last weekend in June…

John Carroll Alumni Volunteer Summit

I spent a good part of my weekend up at John Carroll University attending the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Summit, which was truly energizing and inspiring.

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Image Source: @jcualumni 

The Summit brought together alumni volunteers from various university departments and areas of the country to share ideas, learn about the university’s vision for the future, and eat ice cream overlooking our beautiful alma mater’s campus.

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We kicked off the Summit with a cookout outside of Murphy Hall, spent Saturday hearing from various departments within the university, and ended with a party on the Quad with a band and food trucks.

Matthew and I stuffed ourselves with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and truffle fries from Sauced Wood Fired Pizza (the firecracker chicken pizza is so good).

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As one of the incoming members of the Alumni Association Board, the Summit was a great chance for me to connect with other Board members and get ready to once again give back to a place that has given me so much.

Dear Evan Hansen

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of the final Cleveland performances of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

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This deeply moving, funny, true, heavy, beautiful story made me laugh, cry, and think about loneliness, human connection, parenting, and so much more. I was so glad we had a chance to see it!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends (and some of Jeffrey’s godparents) Amanda and Scott for a toasty, fun summer day at Cedar Point.

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Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.

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From rides to lunch at Famous Dave’s to ice cream at Toft’s to fun with some of our favorite people, it was a perfect summer Sunday!

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How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?

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