Why? Weekends!

Oh my goodness, we could not have crammed more into this weekend if we tried! So, let’s get right to it:

#HamilFlow and Ginko (hey, that rhymes)

Friday night, I watched as one of my favorite people paired two of her favorite things and, boy, was the result magical! Alicia taught a 75-minute yoga class with the music of “Hamilton: An American Musical.” Much like the musical itself, the class was inspiring, fun, and fast-paced. This class sold out fast, so stay tuned because Alicia has promised a sequel!

After class, we headed downstairs to Ginko for what is always the finest sushi in Cleveland.


Ginko always has the freshest and most inventive sushi offerings. It’s so fun to sit at the bar and watch the chefs create, too!


Dessert that evening was a chocolate pot de creme, so who can resist that?


It was a perfect Friday night!

Seussical Jr.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to St. Francis of Assisi School for their production of “Seussical, Jr.” My friend Melissa was the director of the show and I was so impressed with her work and the talent of the cast!


Plus, it’s a great musical for kids to enjoy! Jeffrey especially loved seeing his friend Dean (Melissa’s son) in the cast as one of the Whos!

Cleveland Monsters Purple Game

From there, we headed downtown for the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. The Purple Game focused on raising awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society.


There were opportunities to donate, to learn about community efforts to help those with cancer, and just generally show your support for those battling cancer.

The game also took place during the Monsters and Cavs ongoing food drive for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank‘s Harvest for Hunger program, so there were lots of ways to do good while taking in the hockey action.


This was Jeffrey’s first hockey game. From meeting the Monsters Girls and practicing his shot on the concourse to high-fiving the players before the game (check out my Insta for the video), he had a great time.

The Monsters games definitely have a family-friendly atmosphere, with lots happening on the ice in between the action and plenty to cheer about.


They also have a more family-friendly price-point than some other sports, making it easy to take your whole family (and in our case, some of Jeffrey’s godparents, too). You can check out the Monsters upcoming games and promotions online to get in on the icy fun for yourself!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Monsters Purple Game. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the game and the opportunity to participate in the pre-game high-five tunnel. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Playhouse Square Partners Brunch Around

Sunday Funday came and I decided to just keep the weekend fun going! I met up with fellow Playhouse Square Partners for a Brunch Around in the Gordon Square Arts District.

We had groups at 4 different restaurants in the area, then all met up for a cocktail together after our brunches. I had brunch at Luxe Kitchen and Lounge. Luxe has a Sunday happy hour from 11am-1pm with half-off bloody marys, mimosas, and bellinis. Talk about a Sunday Funday!

For my brunch, I chose the buttermilk fried chicken thigh, served with country gravy, braised swiss chard, and a biscuit.


This was savory brunch perfection! It had been way too long since I had been to Luxe. Now, I just need it to be warm enough for their fabulous patio to open!

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

So, that was our weekend! Plenty to keep us busy for sure! How was yours?


Why? Weekends!

If it can’t be warm in Cleveland, at least the sun can shine, right? Here’s how we spent this bright, chilly weekend.

Breakfast with the Bunny 

On Saturday morning, we hopped right over St. Patrick’s Day celebrations to Easter celebrations!


Matthew, Jeffrey, and I headed south to the Akron Zoo for their Breakfast with the Bunny. We started with a breakfast buffet and time for Easter crafts, plus time with the fuzzy bunny himself.


Then the kids went to an Easter egg hunt in a designated area of the Zoo, divided by age. The eggs were plentiful and easy to find, plus the kids got to trade in however many eggs they found for a sweet treat bag.


After the egg hunt, we could stay for as long as we liked to explore the Zoo, too. Even the animals were getting in on the egg hunt fun!


It was fun, albeit cold, morning and a nice way to kick off the Easter season!

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

Of course, we couldn’t completely ignore St. Patrick’s Day! My mom made a delicious corned beef dinner.


Pair it with a Great Lakes Brewing Co. Conway’s Irish Ale and you have a the perfect St. Patrick’s Day meal!

Death of a Salesman

Saturday evening, Matthew and I went to see our friend Wes, who was playing Bernard in The Brecksville Theatre‘s production of “Death of a Salesman.” It had been awhile since I had attended a community theater performance and I forgot how much I enjoy the intimacy of those shows. I’m always so impressed by the talent we have right in our own backyard, too.

While Death of a Salesman ended its run on Sunday, The Brecksville Theatre has a full season of options, plus there are community theaters all over Cleveland offering great cultural experiences with homegrown talent.


I kicked off my Sunday at Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch. I’ve said it before, but Alicia’s balance of meditative mindfulness and challenging asana is really my favorite way to practice. I always feel taken care of in both body and spirit.

After class, we headed to downstairs to Dante Next Door for mimosas and conversation and delicious brunch food. I had the cheddar, bacon, scallion hash (OMG, so good) and the waffle with apples and Kentucky bourbon maple syrup.

I can never choose between sweet and savory at brunch, so I decided not to decide!

Alicia has a ton of upcoming Yoga/Brunch dates, if you want to get your Sunday Funday kicked off the right way. Cost is $15 for a 60-minute class, plus a free mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here for dates and to register.

So, that was my weekend! How was yours? Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?


Why? Weekends!

As we jet off today for vacation, I’m reflecting on what a fun weekend we had to send us off from Cleveland!

The Beauty Room

On Friday, I headed to what has quickly become my favorite pampering spot: The Beauty Room. Seriously, mimosas and manicures get me every time!


I got my vacation manicure and pedicure looking perfect, plus Jeffrey had a chance to hang out with one of his fairy godmothers: Kimberly.

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It was a win-win!

Zen at the Zoo

On Saturday morning, I met up with my friend Katie for Zen at the Zoo, hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Ambassadors Circle.

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We enjoyed an hour-long yoga class in the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo‘s Primates, Cats, and Aquatics Building. The monkeys seemed particularly interested in our antics once we started to flow!


I love practicing in unique locations and the Zoo definitely made for a great environment for the class! Plus, we got to stick around after class to enjoy more of the Zoo’s animals.

Ambassadors Circle is the young professionals group associated with the Cleveland Zoological Society. They help raise money for the Cleveland Zoological Society and host lots of fun events, including their signature Zoo Clues and Brews scavenger hunt, scheduled for August 30.

Donut Fest

For the second year in a row, Donut Fest brought a sweet party to Red Space, with a selection of 11 amazing local donut purveyors.

Donut Fest is definitely a pace-yourself event, because you could easily over sugar yourself on all the delicious donuts. Pro tip: make lots of stops at the Hartzler Family Dairy table for their milk to wash down the donuts.

The crowd favorite award was handed to Brewnuts, whose peanut butter Nutella donuts were pretty dang amazing.

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I also have some awards to hand out (completely made up and without any trophies):

Best Traditional Offering: The creme stick from Madsen Donuts

Freshest: Peace, Love, and Little Donuts was serving their donuts warm, including these tasty raspberry zingers

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Best Fruit Donut: The apple pie donut from Circles on the Square

Best Vegan Donut: the vegan peanut butter and jelly from Holey Toledough


Most Unique: This foie gras-filled creation topped with pistachio and bacon from Urban Farmer Cleveland

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There was a ton of donut deliciousness on display at Donut Fest from traditional to truly unique! Tickets sold out in a day, so keep your eyes open for next year’s event!

Yoga at Nature Center at Shaker Lakes

Continuing my quest to down dog all over town, I attended a free yoga class on Sunday at the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. The class was taught by teacher trainees from Yoga Roots, so it was not only a great flow, but a great chance to help the teacher trainees get some experience.

If you’re interested in attending, there are two more opportunities: Saturday, February 17 at 10am and Sunday, February 25 at 2pm. Click here for more information.

It was a great weekend! I have posts scheduled for the week, so you’ll still get more Cleveland goodness here. And if you enjoy a little peek at warmth and sunshine, I’ll have plenty of that for you on Instagram this week!


Why? Weekends!

Phew! It was a super busy weekend in the CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

Cleveland Goes Red Luncheon

On Friday, I donned a sassy red dress and headed to the Cleveland American Heart Association‘s Go Red for Women Luncheon.

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The event kicks off with a fun and educational expo, with health screenings, CPR training, heart-healthy Jeopardy, photo opps, silent auctions, and more.

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I brought my best little buddy and biggest motivator to stay heart healthy with me! He had a great time too!

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After the expo, we headed into the luncheon, which not only featured a tasty, heart-healthy meal, but also speakers sharing their personal heart health stories and doctors sharing information on how to be heart healthy and recognize signs and symptoms of a heart attack, which are very different in women than in men.


The theme of this year’s luncheon was “Everyone Plays a Role,” which is really true. From donating to the American Heart Association to educating ourselves and others, we all can help to reduce heart disease as the number one killer of women. I know I want my heart to be strong and healthy so that I can enjoy life with Jeffrey!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland American Heart Association Go Red for Women Luncheon. In exchange, I received a complimentary ticket to the luncheon. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Vodka Vodka

On Friday night, Matthew and I went to Cleveland Scene‘s Vodka Vodka event at Red Space.


The event included vodka cocktails from Skyy Vodka, Three Olives, Tito’s, and Amsterdam Vodka.


I really liked the Skyy Pineapple Apple Spritzer and the Tito’s Cosmo, which was made with Cleveland’s own Pope’s Kitchen mixers.


You could also grab tasty, vodka-soaked treats like strawberries and gummy bears.


And enjoy truffles made with liquor from The Bom.


The tunes were pumping with a great DJ and there was a fashion show featuring local boutiques like Whiskey Grade and Tres Sorelle.


The atmosphere was clubby, energetic, diverse, and fun! I do enjoy a vodka cocktail and when you add in lots of local fun too, you have the makings of a great Friday night.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Cleveland Scene’s Vodka Vodka. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Hot Mommas at JBB

Playhouse Square Partners Jump Back Ball is right around the corner and this year, we are going with a group of friends who have never been to the event before. So, in order to fully chat dresses and jewelry and all the trimmings of the evening, we had a girls night in.


We’ve dubbed our group “Hot Mommas at JBB” and you can see why, obviously. I can’t wait to share one of my favorite evenings in town with these fabulous friends!


I really love that Alicia has increased her Yoga/Brunch offerings at Dante Next Door, because it means I can enjoy this perfect way to kick off Sunday Funday even more often.

My friend Beth and I met up and practiced a strengthening, opening, Alicia-patented wonderful flow. Then we headed downstairs to Dante Next Door for mimosas and brunch. I couldn’t pass up the crab cake Benedict.


The crab cakes are meaty, the eggs are perfectly cooked, and the Hollandaise adds just the right lemony tang.

The Yoga/Brunch events are a great way to spend a Sunday morning. $15 gets you an hour-long yoga flow, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee afterwards. You have two more chances in February: the 11th and the 25th. Click here to register.

The rest of Super Bowl Sunday was spent vegging with the Puppy Bowl, Justin Timberlake, and “This is Us.” How was your weekend?


Why? The Rowley Inn!

Tucked away in Tremont, caddy-corner to A Christmas Story House, is a hidden gem of a restaurant: The Rowley Inn. This place has so many things I love in a Cleveland restaurant: friendly and fun, with plenty of kitsch, but also really amazing food and drink.

We started our evening with A Pink Nightmare, a tasty cocktail with 1800 Silver, Campari, lime juice, housemade simple syrup, grapefruit juice, and a splash of Sprite.


The cocktails at The Rowley Inn are named from “A Christmas Story” and are as yummy as they are creatively named. I couldn’t pass up the Be Sure to Drink Your Ovaltine, with whipped cream vodka, Kahlua, half n half, and Ovaltine (of course).


We also got to sample the Red Ryder, with Bulleit bourbon, lemon juice, maple, and cranberry. It’s possible that I don’t actually hate bourbon, because I thought this was delicious!

The Rowley Inn offers more than just great cocktails, though. The food is billed as Cleveland-style comfort food and that is the perfect categorization. Pierogi are featured prominently throughout the menu, so you know how I felt about that!

We started with two gloriously deep-fried starters: The Rowley Inn shrimp cocktail and the fried pickles.

These appetizers started a recurring theme for the night of LOVING the sauces and toppings that came with our food. Yes, the food itself was great, but the sauces elevated the dishes and showed an attention to detail and understanding of flavors that was truly impressive.

Next up was the Southwest chicken salad, with Cajun-rubbed chicken, avocado, black beans, corn, tortilla strips, and more.


Yum! This salad was packed with fresh flavors and was a nice balance to all the heavy, comfort food we were eating.

One of our favorites of the evening was the chicken club, with avocado, bacon, Swiss cheese, lettuce, tomato, spicy mayo, and a walnut pesto that was to die for!


I want to eat this all the time.

We also tried the Cleveland’s Best Grilled Cheese, with smoked gouda, a mozzarella/provolone blend, and a touch of mayo.


OMG. I’m on grilled cheese overload because Jeffrey eats it all the time, but this was truly amazing.

Next up was the Cleveland burger, with pierogi, kielbasa, kraut, beer cheese, and stadium mustard.


This burger still cheers for the Browns, wears shorts as soon as the temperature is above 60 degrees, and loves Drew Carey. It’s THAT Cleveland. And I love it THAT much.

You think we’re done? This is a Cleveland bar, my friend. We kept eating.

The Rowley Inn says their mac ‘n cheese is so good it’ll make you wanna slap your momma. Um, apologies to my lovely mother, but yes. Yes, it does.


We also tried one of The Rowley Inn’s most original offerings: Loco Moski. This is their take on a traditional Hawaiian dish. Sauteed pierogi are topped with hamburger patty, fried egg, gravy, and caramelized onions.


It’s like poutine. With pierogi. On crack.

We rounded out the savories (and our expanding bellies) with a sample of a brunch item: chicken and waffles with gravy and perfectly spicy hot sauce.


The cinnamon waffles gave the dish the perfect balance of sweet and savory and makes me want to spend my Sunday Funday at The Rowley Inn for sure (with some more of that Ovaltine concoction too).

For dessert, it was more pierogi…


These are candied apple pierogi, filled with cooked apples and topped with candied apple pieces and caramel candies. So original!

I was flat-out blown away by the dishes at The Rowley Inn. Comfort food can  incorporate elements that excite and challenge your palate. I love all the Cleveland memories wrapped into The Rowley Inn and I love the quality and imagination of the dishes.

The bar is open every day at 5:30am (for real) and the kitchen is open daily at 11am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. And if you stop in after a visit to A Christmas Story House, you can save 10% on your food bill! Make The Rowley Inn part of your holidays and beyond!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting dinner at The Rowley Inn with a guest. I also received a gift card to use on a future visit (which I will be making oh so soon). As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

This weather, right?! What a gorgeous weekend! And a busy one too…

Light the Night

On Friday evening, Jeffrey and I went up to Hathaway Brown for their Light the Night celebration, which kicks off homecoming weekend. From balloon artists to games to music to food trucks, there was something fun for every age.


While the event was mainly to celebrate the high school athletes, Hathaway Brown did a great job of making even the youngest in the community feel welcome and engaged.


Jeffrey loves Cedar Point and I love a fall festival, so Halloweekends is the perfect combination! The Great Pumpkin Fest transforms the kids’ areas of Cedar Point with trick-or-treat stations, hay bale mazes, pedal tractors, and non-spooky haunted house, and more Halloween fun.


Plus, there are still all the favorite rides to enjoy! Jeffrey escorted Brenna on one of the car rides…how sweet are they?!


Plus, the Halloween decorations throughout the park are impressive! There are tons of pumpkins everywhere, some creatively shaped, too!


Plus, the summer-like weather and the chance to spend a day with some of our favorite people made Halloweekends quite the perfect day!


Yoga and Brunch

On Sunday, I met up with my friend Beth for another round of Alicia‘s Yoga/Brunch series at Dante Next Door. After a challenging and centering practice, we headed downstairs to brunch. By happenstance, I knew almost all of the other yogis, so I not only had a chance to catch up with Beth, but chat with other Yoga/Brunch loving friends, too.

I’m working my way through the Dante Next Door brunch menu (it’s a tough job). This time, I chose the braised beef croissant, with shortrib, Gruyere, Dijon, and fried onions. The sandwich was so flavorful and tender!


The flavors reminded me of French Onion soup, just in sandwich form. Delicious!

The next Yoga/Brunch is Sunday, October 22. $15 gets you an hour-long practice, plus a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch. Click here to register!

So, that was our weekend. How was yours? Did you enjoy the weather and cheer on the Indians?


Why? Weekends!

Happy Halloween! It was a fun-filled weekend with lots of holiday-  and Indians-related festivities. On Friday, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to the Halloween Hay Ride at the Lake Metroparks Farm Park.


The Halloween Hay Ride involves a not-too-scary ride through the Farmpark, with lots to see from Peanuts to pirate ships to Chewbacca (the only thing that scared Jeffrey).

Once you’re done with the Hay Ride, there are activities to enjoy, such as a glow dance party, hay maze, concessions, playground equipment, and more.


There are two post-hay ride path options: scary and not-scary. This makes the event great for all ages! Jeffrey also got to enjoy a pony ride!


I’m always so impressed with the Farmpark’s special events. They are well-planned, adorable, and offer a lot for a wide range of ages. We will definitely be jumping on the Country Lights tickets, which go on sale tomorrow morning for Farmpark members and Lake County residents (general public on sale November 8).

Saturday morning, we were off for more Halloween fun at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History‘s Owls and Howls party.


We met up with Jeffrey’s cousins Leila and Hannah and enjoyed not only the museum itself, but craft stations like decorating picture frames and pumpkins and making banana “ghosts” and special animal presentations.


This is the second year we’ve attended Owls and Howls and we always have a wonderful time!

Saturday evening, Mom and I went out to dinner and to watch the Indians game. We chose the bar at Fahrenheit for the right combination of delicious food and being able to watch the game. We started with the chicken spring rolls and grilled avocado with goat cheese.

That grilled avocado…amazing! Mom chose the pork chop for her entrée, served with creamed sweet corn and carmelized Brussel sprouts. The sides alone would make this a great choice, but the pork chop was also juicy and delicious!


I went with a special for the evening: seared lamb paired with lamb Bolognese. From the homemade pasta to the brightness of the peas and orange in the sauce to the rich flavor of the seared lamb, this dish was spot on!


And of course we couldn’t pass up dessert: banana cream pie for Mom and chocolate chip cookie dough pot de crème for me (let that sink in…it was heaven).


We had such a fun time eating, drinking, talking, and cheering! I can remember friends taking me to Fahrenheit back in 2003 before I moved to DC as a way to entice me to move back to Cleveland after law school (it worked, too). And Fahrenheit remains just as delicious today!

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to Mall-o-Ween at SouthPark Mall. This was our first time going mall trick or treating and I was unprepared for how crazy crowded it would be! But Jeffrey had a great time and came home with lots of good candy (we snag the Reese’s cups and 100 Grand bars for ourselves).


We had lunch at the just-opened Bar Louie at SouthPark. The burgers were tasty, but the service and kitchen are working out some hiccups (which is understandable when it’s been open for all of 3 days).

Still, it was a great spot for lunch after the candy craziness!

That was our weekend! Have a great Halloween and rest up for another late night of baseball on Tuesday!


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend (tiger time included)! On Friday, Jeffrey and I met up with friends for a play date at Headlands Beach State Park. The weather was perfect for playing in the sand, chasing seagulls, and attempting to skim rocks.


I always love spending time by the water. It had been a somewhat stressful week and I came away from that morning in such a better frame of mind. There’s nothing like the beach and how lucky we are to have so many so close to home!

We all worked up an appetite, so we stopped by Scooter’s World Famous Dawg House for lunch. What a little gem! They have a huge menu of creatively-topped hot dogs, plus burgers, ice cream, and more. I chose the Cardinal Dog with sauteed red pepper and onions. With some brown mustard on top, it was perfect!


And look at this huge order of fries! These are the fries that came with Jeffrey’s kid’s meal. Seriously. Fries for days. And so good, too! The atmosphere at Scooter’s was great as well. Jeffrey especially enjoyed the chairs by the counter that he could spin. We’ll definitely be back for more fun and tasty lunches!

Saturday morning, I headed to Yoga/Brunch at Dante Next Door, taught by the oh-so-talented Alicia. After a great one-hour flow (thanks for the hip openers, friend!), we headed downstairs to enjoy a complimentary mimosa and brunch.


Alicia, her husband Hans, and I shared the pastry box with a cinnamon roll, banana nut bread, and two filled croissants. I ordered the specialty omelette, which had asparagus, tomatoes, and mozzarella.


Fresh, fluffy brunch perfection! I love the Yoga/Brunch events. They are the perfect way to feed my soul in a lot of different aspects. The next Yoga/Brunch takes place at Dante Next Door on Saturday, June 25. Registration is $10 for your first class, $15 for returning students and includes class plus a complimentary mimosa. Click here to register.

Saturday evening, the whole family went to dinner at our friends’ house. We met through our kids being involved in similar activities and found that the adults can have just as much fun hanging out together as the kids! Our hostess made a yummy paella that has me intimidated to return the “come over for dinner” favor.


And as they’re newer to Northeast Ohio, we brought a bottle Ferrante Golden Bunches Riesling as a “hometown” gift. It paired well with our delicious food!

Jeffrey loved their dalmatian dog statue and insisted on posing with it and directing me to take his picture. The result is too adorable not to share!


It was such a fun night!

On Sunday, we attended a birthday party for one of our nieces. She insisted on a Star Wars themed party and her parents creatively obliged, with everything from a Death Star pinata to “light sabers” as party favors.


It was a great end to a really nice weekend! How was yours?


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend, but truly one of the most fun I’ve had in awhile! We kicked it off on Friday morning at Sesame Street Live: Let’s Dance at Playhouse Square. Thanks to the Partners pre-sale, we had awesome seats, as well as admission to Sunny Seats (a meet-and-greet with characters from the show).


Sunny Seats was great! Jeffrey got to meet Elmo, Ernie, and Bert. There were only a small number of kids there and each was able to get lots of individual attention. Jeffrey had an especially good time with Bert, as the two got into a bit of a dance-off!


After the meet-and-greet, we headed downstairs for the show. It was high energy and filled with favorite characters and well-known songs.


The characters often came down to dance with the audience, too!


It was truly an amazing experience to see Jeffrey “meet” some of his favorite characters and be so excited. I don’t think there’s anything better for a parent than to see your child be over-the-moon happy. It was also pretty awesome to introduce him to our beautiful theaters (he kept staring at the State Theatre ceiling and chandelier) and have him be so well-behaved in them. I can’t wait to take him to more children’s theater shows!

After the show, we met up with some friends for lunch at Hofbrauhaus. It was the perfect lunch spot for the kids! Jeffrey enjoyed chicken fingers and apple sauce and I had some schnitzel and Bavarian potato salad. Hofbrauhaus was bright, friendly, and tasty for our post-theater meal!

On Saturday morning, I braved the snow to head to Yoga and Brunch at the Cultural Center above Dante Next Door, lead by my dear friend Alicia. The Cultural Center is a lovely and peaceful spot to practice and Alicia led a creative flow with a lot of dynamic movement.


After class, we headed downstairs to get our complimentary mimosa (included with Yoga and Brunch admission) and other yummy brunch treats. I couldn’t resist the crab cake Benedict, which has become a must-order at Dante Next Door.


I had such a wonderful morning of yoga and good food and great friends! I have to love the trend of yoga classes becoming more than the practice, but also a total experience!


The next Yoga and Brunch is on Saturday, April 30. Admission is $10 if it’s your first time at Yoga and Brunch and $15 for returning students. You can register here.

On Saturday night, my parents, Jeffrey, and I (Matthew was under the weather unfortunately) attended the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter‘s annual Mass and a Meal event in Little Italy. We went to Mass at Holy Rosary Church, then headed across the street for dinner at Angelo’s Nido Italia.

Everything was served family-style. We started with thinly-sliced breaded eggplant (which even Jeffrey loved) and spinach salad.


Next, we enjoyed chicken cutlet and cavatelli with marinara.


Spumoni was the dessert for the event, but the youngest member of our party was ready for bed, so we popped across the street to Presti’s Bakery for some post-bedtime sweets to enjoy at home. I tried the chocolate cannoli cake and found it to be a perfect alternative to my usual Presti’s favorite.


If you’re a John Carroll alum and want to attend a fabulous upcoming event, join us as we celebrate the 130th anniversary of the founding of John Carroll University at Founders Day. We will be enjoying cocktails and appetizers in Crop Bistro‘s Vault Room, as well as a presentation from faculty and alumni. It’s only $10 to attend and you can register online.

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I popped over the The KidShow at Great Lakes Mall (lots of exhibitors with all things kiddo-related), but we mostly just had a low-key, lazy Sunday. Hope your weekend was fabulous, too.

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of the Playhouse Square Partners Education Committee and the vice-president of Educational/Cultural/Spiritual Events for the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Weekends, Part 1!

This past weekend, two of my best out-of-town girlfriends came to Cleveland for a whirlwind trip and some great Garth Brooks music. Since we had so many adventures and ate so much delicious food, I figured I’d split the weekend recap into two posts. This one is all about the food…

When I picked up Whitney from the airport on Friday, we wanted to grab some lunch without filling up too much, as we had a big dinner coming. So we stopped at Townhall for a delicious non-GMO lunch (including a sample of their bone broth, which will be perfect in the coming cold days).

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Whitney and I both had a salad with chilled zucchini noodles and shrimp that was both flavorful and healthy. Jeffrey enjoyed his grilled cheese and fruit, but I suspect he really just loves the balloons at Townhall!

Before the Garth Brooks concert on Friday night, Matthew, Whitney, my mom, and I had dinner at Lola Bistro. It’s been awhile since I had dinner at Lola and I was left wondering why I stayed away so long. We started with an order of the bone marrow. If you’ve never tried this dish, be daring on your next visit and give it a shot.


The bone marrow is dredged in flour and sauteed, then served with crostini and a host of accompaniments from sea salt to bacon date jam. Our server clued us in our her favorite way to eat the bone marrow, with just a bit of lemon and sea salt, and I have to agree that this simple preparation was my favorite as well.

For dinner, I chose the pork shank and Matthew had the strip steak, because no one does meat like Michael Symon. The pork shank fell off the bone just by looking at it and was so flavorful.

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Dessert for me was the Lola S’more. There are a lot of elements to this dish that all add up to a decadent delight that elevates the s’more from a kid’s campfire staple to an adult treat.


Saturday morning, before taking Whitney to the airport (when I say whirlwind, I mean whirlwind), we brunched at Dante Next Door. None of us could resist the crab cakes Benedict. Just order it. Trust me. Your weekend needs this.


Saturday night, before Garth Brooks Round 2 (yup, Round 2), our crew headed to dinner at The Greenhouse Tavern. Matthew chose the gnocchi and beef tartare to combine for quite the delicious (and beautifully plated) meal!

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Andrea and I couldn’t resist the combo of a country concert and fried chicken, so we shared the bucket of Tabasco fried chicken. I love being in a haute cuisine restaurant and ordering a bucket of fried chicken. It’s that fun and playful attitude that keeps me coming back to The Greenhouse Tavern.


Well, that and the incredibly amazing, James-Beard-Award-winning food. The girls all shared desserts, with the buttered popcorn pot de creme (a classic there), the pumpkin cake, and the hazelnut torte.


Somehow, Andrea and I found room for a burger and beer at Market Garden Brewery on Sunday before she left. I highly recommend the Franklin Castle pumpkin beer…not too sweet and just the right amount of spice! Paired with the breakfast burger, it made for a tasty lunch!


And there’s always room for Mitchell’s

More tomorrow, but there’s nothing like sharing time with good friends over good food. And I think I managed to show off some of the best Cleveland has to offer.

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Where are your favorite restaurants to take out of town guests?