Why? Authentically CLE!

Remember in my last post when I said that life keeps moving forward, even in this time? One of the things to come out of this time was a chance for me to step back from the day-to-day of this blog and think about what I wanted it to be.

I am incredibly proud of this space and what it’s been for almost nine and a half years. What started as a very depersonalized, almost guidebook look at Cleveland turned into a space to share my adventures around town; the places and people and things that I love; and the way my life has changed in that time.

But I found myself wanting to do…maybe not more, but different. A new way to share my stories and others’. So, as most amazing things in the quarantine, the idea for Authentically CLE came out of a somewhat boozy Zoom call.

And through the amazing talents of Ashley from Little Leaf Design, my vision came to life.

Why CLE? will continue to exist in this space, but all new content will be posted on Authentically CLE. You’ll notice my social handles have switched over as well. Head on over to the new site now to read a bit about how this all started for me and my first post on one of my good friends who is about as authentic as they get.

Mostly, thank you from the bottom of my heart for the last nine and a half years. I hope you stick with me to see what comes next.

Why? Well, Part 3…

I didn’t realize how long it had been since I posted here, which tells you what’s happened to time lately. It both seems like forever that we’ve been doing this and just yesterday that we were living normal lives.

It’s been a weirdly busy time in my own life and that combined with the lack of “traditional” Why CLE? content has kept these pages quiet. My therapist and I talked about how life keeps moving forward, even now. Even when it might not feel like it. And that’s been true for me.

As you might have seen on social media, Jeffrey and I moved last weekend to University Heights. Having gone to John Carroll and with Jeffrey at Gesu, this feels so much like coming home. I love the new house and Jeffrey has declared it to be “phenomenal,” so I’ll take that endorsement.

So, now that I’m settled and some of the packing, moving, personal life dust is starting to settle, I wanted to check back in here. I also wanted to share some things that I’ve been loving in this time…

All the online yoga! Yoga Roots offers both live and recorded class options and I’ve loved being able to practice with familiar faces like my teachers Heather, Aimee, Justine, Katie, and Lainie. Plus, my girl Alicia has been offering weekly online Platform Beer pub yoga on Facebook Live, as well as her Grooveryde classes. It’s been so nice to not only stay active, but to do it with teachers I love and trust!

All the take-out meals! Not only is take-out a great way to support local restaurants, but it gives me a break from cooking. Some of my faves so far have been The Pompadour (because cocktails made at home just aren’t the same), Luxe, Il Rione, Le Petit Triangle (because brunch made at home just isn’t the same either), and Larder.

All the Zooms! While it’s not the same as connecting in person, it’s great to have the ability to toast birthdays, celebrate Cinco de Mayo, have a virtual housewarming party, or just acknowledge getting through another day!

All the walks! Seriously, I’m not a nature girl, but we all need to get out of the house these days. Whether it’s the Cleveland Metroparks, Wade Oval (those cherry blossoms tho…), or just around my neighborhood, a stroll makes all the difference in my day.

What is getting you through this time? What local businesses are you supporting? Let’s share ideas!

Oh, and in all the craziness that’s been going on in my life, there are some changes afoot for the blog too, so stay tuned…

Why? Dreaming of a Day at Legacy Village Giveaway!

There are a lot of places I want to go once we’re able to be out and about in the world again. But one of my favorite one-stop locales for everything from great food to great shopping to great times is now just down the road from me. And I find myself dreaming of a day at Legacy Village.

I want to take a class at barre3

I want to sweat with Liz and Nina and Kristen and curse the resistance bands. I even want to do diamonds, that’s how much I miss barre3!

I want to get a gorgeous blowout at Drybar because I have somewhere fabulous to go.

I want to get some adorable clothes at LOFT and Lily Pulitzer and White House Black Market.

And I want to wear those clothes to a decadent dinner at The Capital Grille.

And I want to let Jeffrey run around the lawn (or the closed streets at Food Truck Mondays) with his friends.

To help you enjoy what you’re dreaming of at Legacy Village, I have a $50 gift card to give away.

1.Leave a comment here telling me what you’re dreaming of doing at Legacy Village.

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

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

4. Follow @LegacyVillageOH 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 win a @legacyvillageoh gift card from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2020/05/06/why-dreaming-of-a-day-at-legacy-village-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 Sunday, May 10 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing relationship with Legacy Village, for which I receive compensation in the form of Legacy Village gift cards. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Why? Well…

I’m not sure about you, but to me, this week has been nothing short of surreal. Jeffrey is going to be home from school for three weeks. Plans are being canceled left and right. Events that I was so looking forward to have been postponed. And no one seems to know what’s going to happen next.

Photo credit: @fitnfreephotography

All of those things definitely fall under the category of First World Problems, though, right? No one I love is sick with COVID-19. I’m not on the front lines of health care or government or reporting, all of whom are just bombarded with ever-changing and unknown circumstances. Minor inconveniences and rescheduling can be managed.

Obviously, there will be less content here as we navigate closures. As a blog that thrives on being out and about, those options are severely limited. That said, you will see me posting about being out, supporting the businesses that are open. That is a personal choice and one you have to evaluate and make for yourself.

If you love where I’m going, but need to stay home right now, do that. Support that business when you feel comfortable. Let’s treat each other with kindness and understanding as we navigate our own comfort levels in these uncertain times.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and let’s turn out in force to show our Cleveland love as best we can now and completely once our city is back up and running at full speed.

Why? Bomba Tacos!

Is there anything better than a night of tiki drinks, tacos, and trivia? Last night, I met up with my friends Robin and Amy at Bomba Tacos in Beachwood for all three.

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We started with an order of guacamole with roasted garlic, pico de gallo, and goat cheese. I love the variety of chips at Bomba, with plaintain, malanga, and tortilla chips.

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I had the charred pineapple margarita, which is the perfect blend of sweet and savory and a great way to toast an almost complete work week!

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For dinner, I had the Wild Ahi Tuna Poke Bowl, with chile-lime cucumbers, avocado, sesame seeds, soy-marinated jalapenos, cilantro-yogurt sauce, and mango-coconut rice.

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Amy ordered a selection of Bomba’s diverse and delicious tacos and Robin had the Grilled Adobo Chicken Bowl.

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For dessert, we shared the churro ice cream sandwich and the seasonal donuts and honestly couldn’t decide which we loved more!

While we ate, we played trivia, which happens at Bomba Beachwood every Thursday night, with a round at 7pm and another round at 8pm.

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The questions were general knowledge, fun and challenging, and our team ended up winning! Our prize was a $30 Bomba gift card!

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So, check out Bomba the next time you’re craving tiki drinks, tacos, and trivia! And so you can be a winner too, hop over to my Instagram page for a chance to win a $50 Bomba gift card!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Bomba Tacos. In exchange, I received a complimentary meal. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Proof Craft Bar-BQ and Cocktails!

This past weekend, I got a sneak peek at a new barbecue restaurant slated to open in Tremont later this month: Proof Bar-BQ and Cocktails.

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Tucked in the ground level of prime Professor Avenue space, Proof is warm and cozy, while paying homage to Tremont’s industrial roots.

Sharing building space with Crust and Visible Voice Books, Proof is set to capitalize on its location, particularly once patio season hits, as the patio will offer a combined menu of Crust and Proof offerings.

So, let’s talk about the food. Proof is unique in the competitive Tremont restaurant market, as it is the only barbecue-focused place in the area. The brisket is the star of the show, smoked behind the restaurant with great care and technique.

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From the brisket mac ‘n cheese to the brisket tacos, the meat was tender, flavorful, and played well in these tasty dishes.

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I also sampled the delicious burnt ends, served both Texas and Kansas City style. Proof is making all their sauces in-house and will offer something to suit everyone’s barbecue taste, from spicy to sweet.

The chicharrons were the perfect crispy snack!

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And the pork and portabello tacos offered nice, non-beef options, as did the pulled pork sliders.

On the cocktail front, Proof served up some tasty concoctions, with a lot of bourbon, honey, and sweet tea influences. Southern sipping for sure!

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Proof is slated to open on Saturday, February 29. Stop by and get your BBQ on at what is sure to be a new Tremont hot spot!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting at Proof Cleveland with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Despite the rain, we had a fun weekend! Here’s what we were up to…

Grapes and Ale

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended the 20th annual Grapes and Ale fundraiser to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside.

Held at Progressive Field, the event brought together wine, beer, BBQ, and live music for a perfect summer evening.

My new summer sipper

We enjoyed BBQ-themed small plates from Element 41, Corleone’s, Smokin’ Rock ‘n Roll, Melt Bar and Grilled, Strip Steakhouse, and more.

The Sunrise Jones kept the crowd singing and dancing with awesome covers of everything from the Beatles to 80s yacht rock.

From the cool venue to the delicious food to the tasty libations, we had a wonderful time at Grapes and Ale!

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Plus, all of the fun was helping to support Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of providing opportunity to those with developmental disabilities.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes & Ale. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Strawberry Picking

On Saturday, we snuck in some strawberry picking before the rain.

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‘Tis the season for pick-your-own strawberries in Northeast Ohio and none of us can resist both picking and snacking on these sweet berries.

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We went to West Orchards Farm Market and found really easy picking. In fact, we picked 13 pounds of strawberries for everything from munching by themselves to making strawberry pie.

It was a fun family activity!

Father’s Day

On Sunday, we celebrated Father’s Day with lots of good family time and home cooking. From time for Matthew and Jeffrey to hang out to time with our parents, we had lots of ways to celebrate the dads in our lives.

How was your weekend? Did you paddle out into the world to do anything fun?

Why? Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week!

Last night, Matthew and I attended the kick-off party for Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week. It was a chance to celebrate downtown’s All Stars in both sports and restaurants, as well as get a sneak peek of what’s in store for Restaurant Week. The gorgeous Hyatt Regency Cleveland at the Arcade provided an All Star backdrop for the event.

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From Slider and Chomps to the Cavs Girls and Cavs Scream Team, there was plenty of major league excitement!

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The participating restaurants also brought their All Stars for cooking demos and serving up small bites that gave you a taste of what you can expect from their Restaurant Week menus. Some of our favorite:

Peppercorn duck breast with cherry reduction from Johnny’s Downtown

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…the pot de crème and creative take on “steak and potatoes” from Jack Cleveland Casino

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…the garlic shrimp and paella from Mallorca

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…the Viking Gold Bread Pudding with Mitchell’s pistachio ice cream from Elements Bistro on Euclid

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…the fried chicken and cornbread from Pizza 216

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…and the shrimp and corn bruschetta from Murano.
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I was amazed at how many new restaurants there are in Downtown Cleveland, offering even more tasty cuisine in the heart of the city.

Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week starts today (March 1) and runs through March 10. Participating restaurants offer prix fixe lunch and/or dinner menus that offer not only a great deal, but a great chance to check out what these restaurants have going on.

You can view the participating restaurants and menus here. Get out and about to explore Downtown Cleveland during Restaurant Week!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Downtown Cleveland Restaurant Week Kick-Off. In exchange, I received two complimentary general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Hudec Dental!

Selecting health care providers for your kids can be challenging. Not only do they need to feel comfortable with the person, but you as a parent need to feel comfortable too. Jeffrey just had his semi-annual dental appointment at Hudec Dental and we both left feeling so comfortable and happy!

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I set up Jeffrey’s appointment through the Patient Care and Support Center. They made working around school, swimming, and social schedules a breeze to get the appointment scheduled.

We went to the office located within Lutheran Hospital, which is definitely a unique location. Even Jeffrey commented on the idea of a dentists’ office inside of a doctors’ office.

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Jeffrey’s hygienist, Sandra Pierce, is also a mom and knew exactly how to connect with both Jeffrey and me. From suggesting Jeffrey open his mouth wide like a dinosaur to counting his teeth using the letters of the alphabet, Sandra’s methods made the appointment not only effective, but also fun.

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Sandra answered my questions about tooth care at home and also indulged me showing her pictures of Jeffrey riding the Hudec Dental zamboni.

After the cleaning, we saw Dr. Jez, who also quickly connected with Jeffrey through “J names” and talking about his first just-starting-to-get-loose tooth. Sidebar: this momma is NOT ready for that.

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He also reassured me that we kicked the pacifier habit in time to not do any lasting changes to his alignment. Hooray!

Jeffrey got a goodie bag of dental care items, plus a prize from the prize chest to take home. And we both got a good feeling knowing that not only are his teeth healthy, but he’s got a team of professionals who are both competent and kind helping him keep them that way.

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing partnership with Hudec Dental. Jeffrey received a complimentary cleaning and exam in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Eek! Christmas is almost here! We had such a fun weekend of holiday merriment:

Country Lights

On Friday night, we went to one of our favorite holiday traditions: Country Lights at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark.

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The most unique part of Country Lights is Santa’s Workshop, with tons of volunteer elves helping kids build a wooden toy of their choice.

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Jeffrey chose a dinosaur this year, which he got to help build, then paint and glitter to his heart’s content.

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He also got to do the elf dance and see it snow in Santa’s workshop! So fun!

We took a wagon ride through the Farmpark to see all the lights and caught a glimpse of Santa, too!

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We also got to meet the Farmpark’s newest resident, a calf named Cider.

Country Lights always sells out really quickly, so stay tuned next year for when tickets go on sale!

TWC Christmas

On Saturday, we had our annual “TWC Christmas” party: a gathering with friends and food and booze and a White Elephant exchange and games.

Alicia and Hans hosted, which gave Alicia a chance to show off some fancy linens from her job at L’Nique.

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From crab dip to caprese salad to pierogi to chocolate eggnog cheesecake squares (recipe here), we had a veritable feast! We also had a great time exchanging some unwanted treasures with our White Elephant exchange!

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Scott scored a Ronald Reagan phone from my grandpa’s house and Matthew snagged a Sam Adams cutout that I’m pretty sure I’ve seen at a Cleveland Zoological Society event before!

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We played “What’s Your Meme?” (think Cards Against Humanity, but with memes as the prompt card) and just generally had a great time celebrating the season with friends who have become family!

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Scuba Claus and Seas’N of Play

On Sunday, we met up with friends from Louisville who were in town for the holiday. They have two boys, so we wanted to find something fun to do with the kids to burn off some of their endless energy.

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We took them to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium for their Seas’N of Play holiday fun. There were festive decorations throughout the aquarium.

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Unfortunately, we missed Scuba Claus, but we did get the chance to feed the stingrays and watch the shark feeding, so that made up for it with the boys!

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Everyone had a great time and were tired out enough to go to sleep right at bedtime, giving Mom and Dad time to finish building and wrapping presents!

I hope you had a wonderful weekend and that, if you celebrate, you have a very Merry Christmas with those you love! XO

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