Why? Weekends!

This weekend still felt like summer to me! So, despite the appearance of pumpkins later on in my post, I’m hanging on to the end of summer…

Brewnuts

On Friday morning, while the kids were in school, I went with my friends Mariah and Ashlie to Brewnuts for their Harry Potter-themed donuts that were available this weekend only.

Brewnuts not only makes gigantic, creative donuts, but they come up with lots of fun theme days to sprinkle even more magic on the donuts. I opted for a Sorting Hat donut, whose yellow buttercream filling told me I was a Hufflepuff.

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Add in a Butterbeer latte…

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and the cute, tiki-themed decor…

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and you have the makings of three very happy moms!

Bloggy Con

On Saturday, I attended Bloggy Conference, a conference for bloggers. Held at Cedar Point’s Hotel Breakers, the location was perfect for soaking in a bit more of summer.

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We heard speakers on everything from SEO to brand ambassadorships and had a chance to connect with other bloggers from around the country.

This was my first blog conference, despite how long I’ve been doing this, and I really feel like I came away with some valuable insights into things I can implement with the blog, as well as things that I don’t want to change.

Small City Taphouse

Since we were spending the night in Sandusky, I had dinner at one of my favorite restaurants out that way: Small City Taphouse.

This restaurant boasts 80 beers on tap, which obviously means you have to get a flight because it is impossible to choose just one.

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My two favorites from my flight were the Big Bad Baptist from Epic Brewing and the Haunted Hayride Pumpkin Ale from Masthead Brewing.

Small City Taphouse also has a full sushi and Asian cuisine menu. The TNT roll, with tuna and jalapeno was a great choice, as was the spicy egg noodles with beef.

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If you find yourself in Sandusky, definitely check out Small City Taphouse!

Cedar Point Halloweekends

On Sunday, my best guys joined me at Cedar Point for Halloweekends.

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From trick or treating through Kiddie Kingdom…

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…to trying out the new-this-year challenge course…

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….to catching the It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown parade…

…there was so much to do on top of the rides that Jeffrey always loves. It was a fall festival in summer-like weather!

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Halloweekends continue every weekend through October 28, so don’t miss this chance for some family-friendly thrills and treats!

So, that was my weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was the unofficial end of summer and we sent it out in hot, sunny style!

Punch Bowl Social

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I got the long weekend rolling with lunch at Punch Bowl Social. The Watermelon Polo Bowl, with watermelon spearmint tea and tequila is a perfect sipper for these hot, end-of-summer days.

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And the lobster roll, packed with luscious poached lobster and a bright burst of citrus was also the perfect choice for a summer day, although I was certainly tempted by the breakfast offerings that you can order until 3pm.

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While we ate, we enjoyed some of the complimentary board games you can play at your table.There are so many ways to have fun at Punch Bowl Social!

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It’s a great spot for a lunch with your kid or a night out with friends!

***Disclosure: I was invited to a complimentary lunch at Punch Bowl Social. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cleveland National Air Show

Nothing says Labor Day Weekend in Cleveland like the Cleveland National Air Show. I have such great memories of watching the Air Show with my grandpa, so I love being able to pass on the tradition to Jeffrey.

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We headed down to Voinovich Park to take in some of the high-flying action. It’s not just watching the planes, it’s also this sort of community picnic atmosphere that happens with people all packed in to watch the show.

If you want to see some truly cool pictures of the planes, check out Matthew’s Instagram page!

Indians Game

From watching the Air Show, I walked up East Ninth to meet up with my friend (and season ticket holder) Anne to take in an Indians game.

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And while they didn’t bring home a win, nothing says summer in Cleveland like spending time at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario!

The rest of the weekend was spent enjoying a couple backyard BBQ’s with friends and family. I can’t believe it’s September and we’re starting to look toward fall activities! How did you send out summer in CLE?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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We spent Sunday at Cedar Point Shores, soaking up the last of the summer water sliding fun.

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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!

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And today, Jeffrey starts his last year at Hathaway Brown‘s Early Childhood program.

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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?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Incuya Music Festival Giveaway!

This summer, a new music festival is coming to Cleveland: Incuya Music Festival.

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Happening August 25 and 26 on the Malls in Downtown Cleveland, Incuya Music Festival will bring bands like New Order, The Avett Brothers, Cake, The Revivalists, Booker T. Jones, and more to the birthplace of rock ‘n roll. See the full lineup here.

There will be lots of other cool aspects to Incuya beyond just the music. Platform Beer Co. has brewed a special Tourbus Pilsner just for the festival, which can be enjoyed at Incuya’s beer garden or Platform’s tasting rooms in Cleveland and Columbus.

Incuya’s Foodland brings some of the best of Cleveland’s celebrated food scene to the festival, with selections from restaurants like Black Pig, The Plum, and Happy Dog, as well as food trucks such as Betty’s Bomb Ass Burgers, Smokin’ Rock and Roll, and Sauced Wood Fired Pizza.

There will also be cool photo opps from both Vitamix and Destination Cleveland available at Incuya, perfect for filling your Instagram feed.

Tickets are still on sale for Incuya Music Festival. Weekend General Admission is $135, Weekend VIP is $235, Weekend Prestige is $335, and Single Day General Admission is $85.

Or you can enter to win two Single Day General Admission tickets 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 telling me which band you’re most excited to see.

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

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

4. Follow @IncuyaFestival 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 rock at @IncuyaFestival thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway http://whycle.com/2018/08/16/why-incuya-music-festival-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 Monday, August 20 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Incuya Music Festival. In exchange, I will receive two Single Day General Admission tickets to give away. I declined my own tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

As of today, we have two weeks left of Jeffrey’s summer break. Just two weeks! So, we’re going to get in every bit of summer goodness we can. Here’s what we were up to this weekend…

Lake Metroparks Farm Park

On Friday, we met up with friends Lane and Nolan for a play date at the Lake Metroparks Farm Park.

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Jeffrey is so sweet with Nolan! The Farm Park was the perfect way to bridge the age gap between the boys by giving them things to see and do that they could both appreciate.

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Photo Credit: Lane

It was a lovely little summer Friday afternoon!

First Watch

Saturday morning, Mom and I met up for brunch at First Watch. I really love the food at First Watch, plus any place that brings me a pot rather than a cup of coffee is speaking my language!

I ordered the Elevated Egg Sandwich, with bacon, Gruyere, avocado, mayo, and lemon-dressed arugula.

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I loved the freshness of the avocado and lemon paired with the richness of the bacon and Gruyere. So good!

Mom chose the seasonal Elote Mexican Street Corn Hash, with seasoned potatoes, roasted sweet corn, chorizo, Cotija cheese, and chipotle crema.

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Spicy, sweet, and satisfying! First Watch is a great breakfast spot!

Buckeye Beer Engine

Then it was off to our friend Kevin’s 40th birthday party at Buckeye Beer Engine. While Buckeye Beer Engine is known for their craft beer selection, I found myself enjoying their bourbon cocktails, including the bourbon ginger mimosa.

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We also chowed down on their boneless wings (the spicy garlic Parmesan are on point), crab cakes, and pierogi. It was a fun afternoon of good drinks and good food to celebrate a good friend!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we found ourselves at Cedar Point once again, this time for our annual trip with Amanda and Scott.

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As Jeffrey’s godparents and huge Cedar Point enthusiasts, Amanda and Scott are the perfect folks for a day at the amusement park. They love going on the rides with Jeffrey and I can see their relationship with him deepen each time we go.

 

It was a beautiful day to be up at the park too! We’re squeezing in as many Cedar Point trips as we can before the summer is through!

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So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Are you feeling the back-to-school blues too?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Other than having a howling good time at Twilight at the Zoo, there was lots of other happenings this weekend. Here’s what we were up to:

AIA Cleveland Sand Festival

For the last four years, Matthew and some of his AECOM colleagues have competed in a sand castle building competition put on by AIA Cleveland. It’s always so cool to see the beach filled with sandcastles built by actual architects!

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This year, the AECOM team created a Harry Potter themed sand sculpture that looked incredible and took home the judges’ award for the fourth year in a row!

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The competition takes place at Edgewater Beach and there are awards from both judges and the public. You can follow along at @CleSandFest to vote for your favorite (cough, AECOM, cough.)

Babes and Babies Who Brunch

On Sunday morning, my friend Maria had Alicia and me over with our kiddos for a lovely brunch!

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Maria and I have been friends since a fateful English class (and living in the same dorm) in our freshman year at John Carroll.

It’s always so great when friendships stand the test of time and evolve to fit where we are in our lives now.

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Jeffrey took this, thus the finger photo bomb

And it’s even more fun to see our kids getting along too!

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I swear Brenna was having fun! We all had a lovely morning!

Blossom Music Festival

Sunday night, we found ourselves back at Blossom Music Center for another Cleveland Orchestra concert.

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This time, we brought Jeffrey and met up with friends who also brought their sons. From the “Under 18s Free” tickets to the Young Audiences guide, the Cleveland Orchestra goes out of its way to make these concerts accessible to all ages.

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Jeffrey enjoyed listening to the orchestra and picnicking outside just as much as we did! I love being able to expose him to culture in a way that is fun and accessible to him!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

When a fundraiser hits 25 years, you know it’s a party that has the fun figured out! Twilight at the Zoo celebrated 25 years of rocking the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo while raising money for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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Twilight at the Zoo fills the Zoo with bands of every style from rock to country to swing. Some of our favorites include Billy Likes Soda

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…and Faction, who always do amazing mash-up sets, like their tribute to boy bands!

There is always plenty to eat and drink, from hot dogs and popcorn chicken to Sam Adams and Angry Orchard Cider.

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And we got to see some of the zoo critters, even if it was past their bedtime.

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We enjoyed the VIP area, which included mixed drinks and food from Carrabba’s Italian Grill, Bonefish, House of Blues Cleveland, and Texas de Brazil.

 

This year we also got to see the incredible Asian Lantern Festival as part of our time at Twilight at the Zoo, which definitely added to the festive atmosphere!

 

As always, Twilight at the Zoo was an evening of good friends, great music, and fun times!

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Cheers to 25 more years of howling at the moon at Twilight at the Zoo!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I received four complimentary VIP tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Ohio State Fair Giveaway!

I love summer fairs, so I was embarrassed to admit that I had never made my way down to the biggest one around: the Ohio State Fair.
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On Friday, Jeffrey and I corrected that and spent a packed day at the Fair. There is so much to see and do! Our hosts at the fair took us on a tour of the livestock and agricultural areas of the Ohio State Fair.

Of course, we had to start with the butter cow display, this year made to look like a scene from “A Christmas Story.”

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We started in the Voinovich Livestock Center, where we met with folks from the Ohio Beef Council. From learning about the different cuts of meat to taking a virtual reality tour of a beef farm to seeing the cows there to show, we got a taste of everything beef at the Fair!

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We also visited with the Ohio Soybean Council in the Donahey Ag & Hort Building, where we learned more about the impact of soybeans on Ohio’s economy.

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The virtual reality tours remained a favorite with Jeffrey!

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I typically think of fairs as being about rides, games, and fair food. While there is plenty of that at the Ohio State Fair, there is also the chance to learn more about Ohio’s agricultural community and support the farmers.

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The Taste of Ohio Café boasts delicious food and drink from Ohio’s beef, pork, poultry, sheep, dairy, grape, and craft beer industries. We got to sample the pork tenderloin sandwich and it is nothing short of delicious!

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Of course, there are plenty of games, rides, and traditional deep-fried fair food, too. Jeffrey got his (my) money’s worth and then some out of his ride wristband.

And while he was riding, I was chowing down on some philly tots from Tot Spot.

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Other fair highlights included seeing the Budweiser Clydesdales, feeding the animals at the petting zoo, and just generally experiencing an amazing cross-section of what Ohio is made up of.

The Ohio State Fair runs daily through Sunday, August 5. You can purchase admission tickets and ride wristbands online.

Or you can enter to win four admission tickets good for any day of the fair, as well as some food coupons (including a free funnel cake, because you can’t go to a fair and not get a funnel cake) 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 what part of the Ohio State Fair you’re most excited to see (it better be the butter cow).

2. Visit Ohio State Fair and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @OhioStateFair 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 experience the @OhioStateFair thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway http://whycle.com/2018/07/30/why-ohio-state-fair-giveaway 

To maximize your opportunity to go, the giveaway will close on Monday, July 30 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was invited by the Ohio State Fair to attend an influencer tour of the agricultural areas of the fair. I received complimentary admission tickets, parking, and food vouchers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

It was one of my favorite weekends of the summer: the weekend of our annual backyard BBQ. But that wasn’t the only fun this weekend. Let’s get to it…

Swensons Drive-In

On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I found ourselves in need of lunch, so I pulled us into Swensons Drive-In.

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Swensons has a crazy cult following and it’s easy to see why. The service is fast and friendly and the food is cheap and delicious! Jeffrey loved the novelty of having a tray of food hooked onto our car window!

He enjoyed the kid’d hot dog and I dove into a cheeseburger with ketchup, mustard, and pickle.

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It’s fast food that totally lives up to the hype. Oh, and don’t skip the milkshakes!

Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival

On Friday night, I stopped up at the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival.

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This festival combines the best in Irish food, beer, and music into one fun-filled weekend. There were creative Irish food options like the Irish eggrolls and Reuben raft from Hooley House and the Irish street corn from Gunselman’s Tavern.

I also got to hear a variety of live music at various stages around the Festival, some of which was paired with traditional Irish dancing, too!

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The Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival attracts nationally-known musical acts, which adds to the excitement of the weekend. It was a fun Friday night raising a pint to lots of Irish traditions!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Irish Cultural Festival. In exchange, I received complimentary admission tickets, as well as $10 in food tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Annual Backyard BBQ

When Matthew and I moved into this house just over six years ago, we knew we had a great house and yard for entertaining. So we started a tradition of hosting a summer backyard BBQ, which has evolved from lots of beer drinking by the fire into the wee hours to lots of kids running around.

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It’s always one of our favorite evenings of the summer! My dad mans the grill and makes burgers, hot dogs, and Italian sausage sandwiches. Everyone gets a chance to just relax and have fun. One of the best parts of the evening is how well friends from different places in our lives come together.

People have actually gotten to know each other through coming to this event each year! I was especially excited this year to get to hug my friend Beth, who had completed the Velosano ride that morning!

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A great new addition to the BBQ was the Bunch o Balloons, which are water balloons that fill a bunch at once and self-tie.

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Water fun doesn’t get easier than this! The weather was perfect (despite lots of predictions of rain all week) and we had an amazing summer evening that ended with this kind of silly fun…

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It doesn’t get any better!

Sunday was spent cleaning up from Saturday and making this delicious Portuguese barbecue chicken to pair with my Heinen’s Portuguese wine finds.

How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Weekends!

It was a great weekend! So, let’s get right to the recap…

Sandusky Festival of Sail

On Friday, I drove up to Sandusky with one mission: see the World’s Largest Rubber Duck.

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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.

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But let’s be honest, the real mission of the trip was to see the duck! And she was adorable!

Barrio

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!

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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!

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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!

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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)!

Cedar Point

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.

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We usually stick to our tried-and-true favorites at Cedar Point, but we did discover a new thing to love: Funnel Fries!

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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?

jenclesig_pur