Why? Weekends!

What a beautiful weekend in CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

Lola Bistro

On Friday night, Mom and I met up for dinner at Lola Bistro. It was the perfect night to sit outside and take in the great weather and the game night crowds on East 4th Street.

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Lola Bistro is in the process of unveiling a new menu. Our server told us Chef Symon was recently in town to help develop the new dishes. For our appetizers, we selected one new dish and one classic one.

The Beef Cheek Pierogi, with mushrooms and horseradish crème fraiche, is still on the menu and is so delicious!

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We also enjoyed the seasonally-perfect Tomato Salad, with fresh and pickled tomato, peaches, almonds, dill, and farm cheese.

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Mom had the Strip Steak, with stilton au poivre, frisee, pickled shallots, and chives. The steak was perfectly done, simple, and delicious.

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I had the Duck and Foie Gras Meatloaf, with celery root puree. The slices of meatloaf were thin, almost like terrine, and the flavor was smoky and rich, with just the right amount of foie gras.

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For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the 6am Special, another item I’m so glad stayed on the menu. This decadent dessert has brioche French toast, maple-bacon ice cream, and roasted apple.

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Mom had the My Dad’s Favorite Cake, with lemon cake, strawberry buttercream, lemon curd, raspberry jam, and vanilla bean ice cream. I love the combination of berries and lemon!

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It was a fantastic dinner! The new menu at Lola Bistro is definitely worth a visit or two!

House of Blues Foundation Room

Then we headed down the street to the Foundation Room at House of Blues Cleveland.

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The Foundation Room is a membership-based space at House of Blues, with a great menu of cocktails and food;

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a funky vibe, with lots of cozy spaces;

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and a gorgeous new flower wall from CLE Flower Walls on the patio overlooking East 4th Street.

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Foundation Room membership benefits range from food and beverage discounts to exclusive presale access to backstage tours. Click here to learn more about the various membership levels and elevate your House of Blues experience.

***I was invited to a complimentary event at the Foundation Room, with cocktails, food, discounted parking, and a swag bag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cleveland Garlic Festival

On Saturday, Jeffrey and I had a stinkin’ good time at the Cleveland Garlic Festival.

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This annual event is a fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market and supports not only the markets around town, but also their Access Programs, Mighty Locavores, and more.

I had the cool opportunity to be a judge for the beef competition of the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. Chefs from Nomad Culinary, CLE Kraut, and EDWINS Leadership & Restaurant Institute presented their beef and garlic creations.

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I was blown away by the creativity, plating, and downright deliciousness of all the food!

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Congratulations to Nomad Culinary, who won the competition. It was a tough choice picking a favorite, for sure!

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We also checked out all the varieties of garlic for sale, the live entertainment, and the kids area! There is so much to do at the Cleveland Garlic Festival! This is definitely an annual tradition for us.

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival and to judge the Top Chef Garlic Grill-Off. In exchange, I received four weekend passes to the Garlic Festival. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

We actually had a few other things this weekend, including another festival, stopping by Matthew’s regatta, and a baptism, so you get the picture…it was a busy weekend!

Since Jeffrey starts school this week, I’m glad we squeezed in so much fun! How was your weekend?

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Why? Handpicked: A Bridal Event Giveaway!

Are you planning a wedding? Or do you just like perusing fabulous local boutique vendors and daydreaming about your big day? Then Handpicked: A Bridal Event is for you.

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Handpicked is a styled photo shoot meets cocktail party meets bridal fair, where an intimate and fun environment allows you to connect with vendors that are perfect for you in a natural, low-pressure way. There will interactive areas including Beauty Bar, Styled Suite, Collaboration Corner, and more.

The sixth annual Handpicked: A Bridal Event takes place on Wednesday, December 5 from 6pm at Creative Clubhouse, located at 3615 Superior Avenue in Cleveland.

Vendors include Baci Designer, Art of Sucre, CLE Cookie Dough, L’Nique Specialty Linen Rental, Thyme Catering and Special Events, Oak & Honey Events, The Wandering Wardrobe, Wanderlust Jewelers, and more.

Tickets are now on sale for $20 and include valet parking, cocktails, tasty bites, and a Handpicked Guest Favor. You can purchase tickets online or you can enter to win two 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 for what part of your big day you’re most in need of inspiration from Handpicked.

2. Visit Handpicked: A Bridal Event and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @HandpickedEvent and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment here letting me know you tweeted:

I want to attend @HandpickedEvent thanks to @WhyCLE #handpicked2018 #giveaway http://whycle.com/2018/11/27/why-handpicked-a-bridal-event-giveaway-3 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment here each time you tweet.

The giveaway will close on Friday, November 30 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Handpicked: A Bridal Event. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to give away. I declined my own two tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Recycled Wedding Boutique Giveaway!

Are you planning a wedding? Then you know that things can be expensive, especially for items that you’re only using once! The Recycled Wedding Boutique seeks to help with that problem by connecting soon-to-be-wed couples with recently-married couples selling new, gently used, and vintage items.

View More: http://mannandwifephotography.pass.us/rwbwinter-2017

Put on by Oak & Honey Events and Baci Designer, the Recycled Wedding Boutique creates an eco-friendly, economical way to find fabulous finds for your big day! The Recycled Wedding Boutique also supports a non-profit at each event. For the next event, attendees can donate kitchen and pantry items for the Ronald McDonald House of Akron.

The Recycled Wedding Boutique takes place on Saturday, November 10 from 10:30am – 1pm at the John S. Knight Center in Akron. Tickets are now on sale for $20 for a Skip the Line ticket and $5 for General Admission. You can purchase tickets online.

View More: http://mannandwifephotography.pass.us/rwbwinter-2017

Or you can enter to win two Skip the Line tickets right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, or all three entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me for what part of your big day you’re most in need of inspiration from the Recycled Wedding Boutique.

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

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, October 23 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Recycled Wedding Boutique. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

 

Why? Legacy Village Wedding Hop!

Are you getting married soon?! Planning a wedding can take a lot of effort, but it can also be a lot of fun! Which is why you should hop over to Legacy Village for the inaugural Wedding Hop on Sunday, March 11.

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You can preregister online and check-in at 11:30am and then you’re free to explore the participating retailers at your leisure. See all the ease that the one-stop shopping of Legacy Village can offer from finding attire and accessories to snapping up unique gifts for your bridal party to planning your rehearsal dinner to registering for all your heart’s desires.

Participating retailers include Lilly Pultizer, Jos. A. Bank Clothiers, Things Remembered, Merchant’s Mrkt, Ethan Allen, Ladies & Gentlemen Salon & Spa, Hyatt Place Hotel, and more. Participating restaurants include Capital Grille, Bar Louie, The Melting Pot, and more.

For a complete list of participants in the Wedding Hop, click here. Hop on over to Legacy Village and see how easy and fun planning your wedding can be!

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

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Why? Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner!

Since it was finally feeling like fall this weekend, it was the perfect time for the Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark.

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Our evening started with a horse-drawn carriage ride to the beautifully-refurbished machinery barn, which was decked out in rustic elegance, setting the tone for the event.

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While we nibbled on appetizers and enjoyed the first of our Debonne Vineyards pairings (a nice Riesling), we also had the opportunity to try pressing apple cider or take a stroll through the Farmpark’s apple orchard and learn more about apple trees.

Then it was time for the sit-down dinner. Our first course was pumpkin soup, with yummy notes of sweet potato and butternut squash, which paired nicely with Debonne Vineyards’ Pinot Grigio.

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Our main course from J&J Catering was pork osso bucco braised in apple and served with layered white and sweet potatoes with candied pecans.

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I was blown away by this dish. The pork was fall-off-the-bone, melt-in-your-mouth tender. The flavors of fall delighted your palate in every bite. It was truly an incredible course. It was paired with a Rose Pinot Noir from Debonne Vineyards.

And finally, we ended our evening with an apple dumpling with peanut butter sauce, paired with Debonne Vineyards Chardonnay.

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I would eat these apple dumplings every day! And the apple and peanut butter combination was so comforting and delicious!

It was a truly lovely and seasonal evening. The setting was filled with rustic charm, the food was extraordinary, and the wine was nicely paired. All of this for only $45 per ticket, which is an incredible deal!

And if you’re looking for more fall fun at the Farmpark, check out the Corn & Pumpkin Festival happening October 7-8!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Apple Harvest Pairing Dinner. In exchange, I received two complimentary registrations for the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

There was so much going on around town this weekend! We were busy bees, going here and there and everywhere. Friday evening, I met up with my lovely sister-in-law Elizabeth for dinner and drinks. I happened to hear about a winery down in Wadsworth and she lives down there, so this seemed like a perfect way to discover Filia Cellars.

We started with a wine tasting, catered to our individual preferences (dry for me, sweet for Elizabeth). My favorites were the Hannah, a blend of Petit Sirah, Syrah, and Grenache, and the Isabella, a blend of Cab and Cab Franc.

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Not only were the wines tasty, but the atmosphere at Filia was great! The winery has taken over an old house and filled it with cozy and adorable decor, plus utilized the backyard as a patio with live music and a local food truck.

Filia also allows you to bring in your own food, so we picked up take-out from The Galaxy Restaurant. I had the Toscano pasta, with shrimp, langostinos, and cherry tomatoes, served over cheese-filled pasta.

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This paired really well with my wine choices! It was a lovely evening, discovering a great winery, as well as having some wonderful girl time to catch up.

On Saturday morning, we took Jeffrey to the Mentor CityFest for the parade. He had fun seeing all the trucks and bands and whatnot, but he also loved getting lots of candy! he tried his first sucker and I think he might be hooked!

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I think he was mad the band didn’t hand out suckers 

That afternoon, we headed over to the Cleveland Garlic Festival for some fragrant fun. My first stop was the Cafe Avalaun stand for garlic fries. These were SO tasty! And I love all the high-quality, all-natural ingredients they use there.

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We headed to the Mighty Locavores area next to let Jeffrey run around and have fun with push tractors, hay bales, and lots more fun.

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Then it was time to eat! We got our dinner from Zest Cleveland, where Matthew enjoyed the Zest Melt (pulled pork, slab bacon, egg, cajun potato, and smoked mozzarella) and I had the Gumbo Ya-Ya. Both were delicious! Of course we couldn’t pass up Mitchell’s ice cream for dessert and a stop at the craft beer tent for some garlic beer from The Brew Kettle.

And we couldn’t leave without some garlic to use in our home culinary adventures. We picked up a variety pack from Thaxton’s Organic Garlic, with a handy cheat sheet as to the varieties and their flavors. Plus, the folks from Thaxton’s are so great!

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The Cleveland Garlic Festival is a fundraiser for North Union Farmers Market, but it’s also just a really fun summer festival!

Sunday, it was time for Alicia‘s flamingo-themed baby shower! From the decor to the favors to the delicious and adorable cake from Michael Angelo’s Bakery, everything was just perfect to help get ready for the new arrival.

Plus, Kimberly came up with the brilliant idea to find flamingo outfits to wear for the shower! I can’t wait to wear this fun dress again!

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I’m so excited for my dear friend and her growing family! And from all the fun at the shower, I know that feeling is shared by many!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was asked by North Union Farmers Market to help promote the Cleveland Garlic Festival. In exchange, I received two complimentary weekend passes to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Happy Anniversary!

Today is Matthew’s and my second wedding anniversary. We pretty much agreed that remembering to say “Happy Anniversary” to each other was a victory and that we’d have to make time to celebrate once we have an older-than-six-day-old baby.

Matthew and I tend to have all of our milestones around this time of year:

June 6, 2010 – First Date

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Not from our first date, but close enough

June 3, 2011 – Engagement

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June 2, 2012 – Married

Image Credit - New Image Photography
Image Credit – New Image Photography

May 27, 2014 – Birth of our son

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It’s been a whirlwind four years and there is absolutely no one else I would rather take this journey with. I love you with all my heart, Matthew, and can’t wait to see what our next Junes (and every other month) bring.

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Why? Anniversary!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to Dishcrawl Cleveland’s Neighborfood event? Today is your last day, so check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

Yesterday was Matthew’s and my one year anniversary. It’s hard to believe a year has gone by since our wedding! It’s cliché, but time really does fly.

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Photo Credit: New Image Photography

I couldn’t have known how different being a wife would feel from being a girlfriend and being a fiancé. It’s not really quantifiable or explainable, but it’s there.

I couldn’t have known how much I’d love saying “my husband”or hearing Matthew say “my wife.”

I couldn’t have known how this first year would strengthen us, challenge us, nurture us, and delight us.

I couldn’t have known that June 3, 2012 (the day after we got married) and every day that followed it would be genuinely more important than June 2, 2012.

I couldn’t have known how much my love would grow in a year.

I couldn’t have known all these things, but I feel like I should have known them. Because sharing this life with Matthew is the only thing that could have made all these things true.

Photo Credit: New Image Photography
Photo Credit: New Image Photography

I love you more than anything, babe. Thanks for an amazing year one! Here’s to innumerable amazing years to come.

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Today is the last day to enter to win a $25 gift card to B. Lux Boutique! Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

For every crazy, Jump-Back-Ball-type weekend, there is the low-key, mostly-relaxed weekend. Balance is a good thing. This weekend, I found myself back in the flow at Harmony Yoga. I was away from my regular studio for a couple weeks, taking workshops at Nishkama Yoga and Pink Lotus Yoga. While I enjoyed my workshop experiences, it felt good to get back to Harmony, which is how I know I found a studio I like.

Plus, our teacher on Saturday morning dropped this yogi knowledge bomb on us:

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So true!

Saturday evening, Matthew and I met up with my parents for the John Carroll Cleveland Alumni Chapter‘s first Mass and a Meal event. The idea of these events is to pick a neighborhood to both attend Mass and share a meal with other John Carroll alumni. We attended Mass at Holy Rosary Church in Little Italy, followed by dinner at Trattoria on the Hill.

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For dinner, most of our table chose the chicken marsala, which had a delicious, dark brown gravy packed with mushrooms.

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Mass and a Meal was a great chance to connect with other alumni, while spending an evening in a wonderful Cleveland neighborhood! If you’re a JCU alum, check out the Alumni Calendar for other great upcoming events!

On Sunday, Matthew and I spent most of the day visiting with his sister, brother-in-law, and their adorable girls. They’re growing up so fast, that even a few weeks seems to make a huge difference in them!

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I got to spend lots of time in kitchens, both helping make dinner in the actual kitchen and helping my niece “cook” in her play kitchen.

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It was a perfect, low-key weekend! How was your weekend?

***Disclosure: I am a member of the board for the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Honeymoon!

Hi, dear readers! I’m back! I hope you enjoyed the guest posts while I was away. It feels like forever since I’ve blogged and while there’s lots of Cleveland goodness coming up on the blog this week, I wanted to recap one last wedding-related thing: the honeymoon!

Matthew and I had a couple requirements for our honeymoon destination: 1. It had to be someplace neither of us had been before. 2. It had to be tropical and beachy and relaxing.

We found the perfect spot at Anse Chastanet resort in St. Lucia. We had a room with an open-air sitting room with a panoramic view of both the mountains and the sea. Waking up to this view every morning isn’t too shabby…

We went on some excursions as well. We toured St. Lucia’s volcano, which is not in danger of exploding, thank goodness! However, all the rocks are still steaming and the pools of mineral water are at boiling temperatures.

We also got to tour the plantation where the fruits and vegetables for the resort are grown. It was like The Culinary Vegetable Institute gone tropical! We got to taste okra, sour fruit, and raw cocoa beans, right from the plants.

My favorite excursion was the half-day sail on the resort’s sailboat.

We’re on a boat…with rum punch!

We got to see more of the beautiful island and do a bit of snorkeling. The waters in St. Lucia are crystal clear and the island is known for fabulous snorkeling and diving.

Squid!

Matthew also took a beginner’s SCUBA course while we were there (I chickened out). Anse Chastanet is a five-star diving resort, so what better place to do it?

Anse Chastanet also had daily yoga classes, which we went to almost every day we were there. Our instructor was great and I actually felt like I maintained a good practice while we were gone.

And since this is me, I can’t forget to tell you about the food! The resort had four restaurants, onc of which changed its menu every night, so there were a lot of delicious options. Some of our favorites included curried goat, mushroom mac n’ cheese topped with a poached egg, and any of the locally-caught fish.

In between all the excursions and yoga-ing and eating, there was plenty of time for lounging on the beach drinking tropical drinks…

…playing in the Caribbean Sea…

…and just generally having a perfect honeymoon!

Not only are we so glad we took a honeymoon trip, but we’re so glad we went right away. It was the perfect chance to unwind, unplug, and have time to just be us. And while that solitude bubble might be burst, real life is pretty amazing too! We’re happy to be back and excited for a fun summer as newlyweds in CLE!