I described this festival to a friend as a smaller, less crazy version of the Feast of the Assumption and I stand by that description. Held on the East Bank of the Flats, there were tons of food vendors, music, merchandise, and beer and wine.
I couldn’t resist a serving of Luca Italian Cuisine‘s amazing sacchetti appetizer, which is truffled perfection!
Then, I headed over to the demo tent to watch Chef Fabio Salerno of Lago East Bank prepare their most popular pasta dish: lobster gnocchi.
With lobster, heirloom tomatoes, corn, truffle sauce, and homemade gnocchi, it’s easy to see (and taste) why this dish is the restaurant’s most popular one.
Chef Salerno made cooking it very approachable too…I may have to try making it myself one of these days!
CIAO! Cleveland was such a fun celebration of Italian food and heritage! I definitely hope it becomes an annual tradition!
***Disclosure: I was asked by NOIA Foundation to help promote CIAO! Cleveland. In exchange, I received a complimentary press pass to the demo tent events. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
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!
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.
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.
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).
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.”
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!
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.
Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.
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!
How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?
It was a fun, family-centric weekend! And how about this warmer weather?! We were definitely ready to get out of hibernation!
Hathaway Brown Heritage Dinner
On Friday evening, Jeffrey’s school hosted what has become one of our favorite traditions there: the Hathaway Brown Heritage Dinner. It’s essentially a giant potluck dinner, where people bring an appetizer, entree, or dessert representing their heritage.
We brought kielbasa, pierogi, and sauerkraut because Ancestry DNA confirmed I’m just as Eastern European as I thought I was!
But we also enjoyed hummus, samosas, cornbread, Mongolian beef, lasagna, and lots of other delicious dishes.
One of our favorite parts of the event is the selection of cookies and candies from around the world that you can take home. There are these delicious chocolate shortbread Scottie dogs that we just adore!
There are also crafts, games, and music from different cultures, so the Heritage Dinner is about more than just good food. The students get to experience a little bit of the world and the different backgrounds of the student body.
What a fun Friday evening!
Bowling Birthday Party
Saturday, we went to a bowling birthday party for one of Jeffrey’s friends at North Woods Lanes.
Jeffrey loved the bumper bowling and got some strikes and spares!
It’s so fun to see the kids grow up and get into different birthday activities.
I love what a small world Cleveland can be and how you can reconnect with old friends in the most unexpected of ways. I had the opportunity to spend a morning touring Skidmark Garage last week and chatting about their new non-profit wing, Skidmark CLE. And I got my tour from my high school and college classmate, Molly Vaughan!
Molly and Skidmark owner Brian have made a name for Skidmark Garage, a community garage where people can come to work on their motorcycles and share tools, space, and knowledge in a non-intimidating environment.
From talking with Molly, Skidmark has made itself an active part of the St. Clair/Superior community where it’s located with community-based projects, a welcoming vibe, and a lounge space that hosts everything from photo shoots to comedy nights for comedians just getting started to nonprofit fundraisers.
Which brings me to Skidmark CLE, the nonprofit arm of Skidmark Garage, which is seeking to expand Skidmark’s presence in the community. Skidmark CLE is supporting a mobile shop class concept designed by Molly and Brian called Motogo. Molly and Brian both have backgrounds working in education, so Motogo is a natural fusion of their skills.
Motogo encourages hands-on learning through motorcycle maintenance, teaching real-world problem solving, critical thinking, measurement, and calculations. Many schools no longer offer shop class or only do so in a vocational setting. Molly and Brian believe all students can benefit from this type of get-your-hands-dirty, work-as-a-team education.
Motogo offers three options: a full semester program, a quarter-long program, and Motogo Light, a pop-up program for community organizations. All Motogo’s programs mirror STEAM objectives for learning.
To raise money to bring Motogo to more students, Skidmark Garage is hosting a fundraiser on Saturday, February 9 from 6-10pm. There will be food stations, open bar, live music, and dancing, all in one of the coolest, funkiest environments you can find!
Tickets are currently on sale for $100. Don’t miss this chance to have a fun evening for a great cause!
***Disclosure: I was asked by Skidmark CLE to help promote the Motogo Mobile Shop Class fundraiser. I declined a complimentary ticket due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
The rest of our weekend was family-fun focused, so here we go…
Children’s Museum of Cleveland
Jeffrey had a parent/teacher conference day on Friday, so since he didn’t have school, we were looking for something fun to do. We went to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland to check out their two newest exhibits: Theater and Playlist.
Theater and Playlist opened at the end of November and give children new ways to explore their creativity at the museum. Theater has everything you need to put on a play, from a ticket booth to a tech area that controls lights and sound effects to hair and makeup stations and costumes.
Children can put on plays, musicals, puppet shows, or concerts. The creativity I saw in the different types of shows and costumes was awesome! What a cool spot for kids to explore!
Playlist incorporates shadow walls and wooden “instruments” to let children express themselves in dance and instrumentation. Playlist has different musical themes, from Latin to African to Americana.
Much like Theater, Playlist encourages individuality and creativity. It was so cool to see Jeffrey dance and perform (and not even want to leave those two areas).
If you haven’t been to the Children’s Museum of Cleveland in a bit, you’ll find all the favorites you loved, plus new exhibits to spark the imagination!
***Disclosure: I received two complimentary passes courtesy of the Children’s Museum of Cleveland. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
This was Jeffrey’s last weekend of summer break, so we decided to continue a tradition we started last year by taking a weekend away as a family. It was a pretty easy choice where to go: Cedar Point, which is easily Jeffrey’s favorite place to go these days.
Jeffrey had been requesting both beach time and to see the rides lit up at night, so we decided to stay at Hotel Breakers. This provided us some lovely beachfront access, as well as the chance to stay late at the park and be just a quick walk away from our beds.
When we arrived on Saturday, the afternoon decided to be stormy, so we started out at Breakers’ indoor pool, then had lunch at TGI Friday’s there.
By the time we finished lunch, the rain stopped and we were able to go enjoy the park.
Jeffrey is tall enough now to ride so many of the “bigger” rides, like the Matterhorn, Scrambler, Tiki Twirl, and Troika. He’s definitely a thrill-seeker!
We spent Sunday at Cedar Point Shores, soaking up the last of the summer water sliding fun.
It was so nice to get away as a family and celebrate the end of summer break together! This is definitely one of my favorite family traditions!
And today, Jeffrey starts his last year at Hathaway Brown‘s Early Childhood program.
I can’t believe he’s going into Pre-K! I’m so proud of him and excited for all the things this year will bring!
How was your weekend? Is your summer break winding down too?
This exhibit takes you through the history of plaid in fashion, starting in the time of Queen Victoria.
Mad for Plaid takes you from the early days of plaid in fashion through iconic UK designers, such as Alexander McQueen and Burberry through plaid in grunge and rock (there are even pieces on loan from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame) through 1970’s fashion to today.
There are even examples from plaid on the silver screen in the form of two costumes from “The Greatest Showman,” which were designed by a local costume designer and worn in the film by Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.
Mad for Plaid is now open and is a visually elegant way to experience the history of plaid in fashion. Also, check out StyleMe Saturdays, with monthly free programming including exclusive curator tours, themed discussion, and hands-on demonstrations from Praxis Fiber Workshop.
***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary curator tour of Mad for Plaid. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
John Carroll Reunion Weekend
It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I graduated from John Carroll University (probably because I’m still up on campus so often). This weekend, John Carroll celebrated Reunion Weekend, bringing together graduates from class years ending in 3 and 8.
Saturday morning, I attended a yoga class and the family picnic up on campus. The family picnic had great food, as well as face-painting, balloons, a bubble artist, and a sketch artist to keep everyone entertained.
Saturday evening, I attended the Reunion Weekend Mass at Church of the Gesu, then headed to dinner and dancing on the Quad. My friends and I made it a girls night at Reunion and had so much fun reminiscing about people and places from our college days.
We all met on our very first day at John Carroll, when we lived on the same floor in Dolan Hall. To be able to stay friends for all these years and celebrate Reunion together is truly something special!
The dinner, desserts, drinks, and DJ were all perfect! From toasting to National Rose Day to enjoying mini donuts from Donut Lab to catching up with friends, Reunion Weekend was filled with sweetness!
We’re already talking about our 20th Reunion, although no one quite wants to do the math on how old we’ll be for that!
Great Lakes Science Center
On Sunday, we met up with friends for a play date at the Great Lakes Science Center. Since we attended the member preview of TapeScape, Jeffrey has been asking to go back for more sticky, slide-y fun!
In addition to TapeScape, we enjoyed classic Science Center favorites like the Polymer Funhouse and checked out the cool duct tape photo opp, too.
The Great Lakes Science Center always offers something fun and educational that captures Jeffrey’s imagination and attention. It’s a favorite play date spot for sure!
***Disclosure: I received four complimentary tickets, courtesy of the Great Lakes Science Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
It was a busy and fun weekend in the CLE! Here’s what we were up to:
John Carroll University Alumni Awards Dinner
On Friday night, I was honored to receive the Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award from my alma mater, John Carroll University.
I served on the Cleveland Alumni Chapter Board for six years and was so humbled to receive this award as I completed by board term. John Carroll means so much to me and has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom received her Masters in Education from Carroll, so being able to share the Awards Dinner with her was particularly meaningful.
The dinner itself was lovely, with good food and good conversation with the other award winners and their families. The other award recipients were so deserving and have accomplished so much that it was truly amazing to be mentioned in the same breath.
I am so grateful for the chance to give back to John Carroll, to receive the award, and to get to share it with the people who mean the most to me and who supported the time and effort I put into my volunteer work.
We got to enjoy a thirty minute train ride on Thomas himself, along with lots of other train-themed fun, including train tables, model trains, and the chance to ring a real train bell!
One of my favorite parts of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad events is that they are volunteer-driven. The volunteers care so much about making the experience fun for the kids, which just adds to how special the memories made are.
Tickets are still available for this weekend’s Day Out with Thomas events, happening Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27. Click here to purchase tickets.
You can keep our family happy with the food at Happy Dog! We popped in for a quick lunch after our Thomas adventure for hot dogs, tots, and craft beer for Matthew and me. I highly recommend Masthead Falling Fruit!
Matthew and I both got Chef Symon’s Favorite, with alien pickle relish, chunky peanut butter, and Sriracha drizzle. So good!
On Saturday evening, I attended the third annual Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square. The Dazzle Awards celebrate high school theater in a Tony Awards-style event, handing out awards for everything from set design and costumes to acting. The winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress awards get to travel to New York City to compete in the National High School Theater Awards on Broadway!
I was so impressed with the talent up on stage and with Playhouse Square’s commitment to celebrating these young people. Playhouse Square Partners helps to support the Dazzle Awards, among other Playhouse Square Education and Community Outreach initiatives, so it was cool to see what our donation dollars support.
***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***
Moms, Manis, and Mimosas
Sunday, I hosted a little brunch party to celebrate my lovely mom friends. I’m so lucky to have women who are supportive and understanding and funny and caring. I’ve really found my mom tribe!
So, what better way to celebrate these fabulous friends than with brunch (I made this almond French toast and this crab strata) and Prosecco sangria and manicures?
We had time to eat and chat and pamper ourselves and it was just lovely! It’s so important to celebrate our friends and I’m glad I had a chance to do it!
It was a great weekend with family and friends! How was yours?
Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!
Pajamas and Popcorn
On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.
The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.
The Capital Grille
On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.
I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.
For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.
Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!
For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.
Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.
Breakfast with Santa
Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!
My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!
If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!