Why? Weekends!

Every year before Jeffrey starts back to school, we do a weekend away as a family to celebrate the end of summer break. The last two years, we’ve done an overnight trip to Cedar Point.

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While Jeffrey spends a lot of time at Cedar Point over the summer since we’re season passholders, he never gets to see the park all lit up at night, so it makes for a great place for our weekend stay.

This year, we stayed at Castaway Bay, so we had indoor waterpark fun, in addition to Cedar Point fun.

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Jeffrey could ride on all the slides at Castaway Bay, which is always a plus. He loved the colorful tube slides, the water roller coaster, and the wave pool!

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Plus, being season passholders, we saved on our stay, since Castaway Bay is part of the Cedar Fair family.

Of course, we spent lots of time riding the rides at Cedar Point too. From cable cars to Camp Snoopy to lots of spinny rides, Jeffrey is a ride monster!

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We also caught the last weekend of Cedar Point Nights, with lots of light-up fun and music on the beach.

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While we were at Cedar Point, a nice couple who had won one of the midway games offered their prizes to Jeffrey and another little boy, so we ended up coming home with this massive shark!

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We started a lot of conversations walking through the park with this! Jeffrey loves it and it was such a nice reminder of the kindness and generosity of the human spirit.

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We all renewed our season passes for next year and found some great deals: Matthew and I have the new Gold Pass and Jeffrey has the Pre-K Pass. The Gold Pass and the Pre-K Pass include unlimited visits to Cedar Point and Cedar Point Shores. Plus, the Gold Pass includes parking, as well as discounts on food, souvenirs, and resort stays. Check them out! Season passes make it easy to enjoy lots of fun at Cedar Point all year.

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Do you do anything special as a family before your kids start back to school?

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Why? The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom!

We all know that The Cleveland Orchestra is a world-class orchestra. But seeing The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center is also a world-class experience.

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On Sunday, Matthew and I attended a show with the Blossom Festival Orchestra and Brian Wilson, celebrating the iconic “Pet Sounds” album (as well as lots of Beach Boys classics). This was so exciting for me, since my first concert was seeing The Beach Boys at Blossom.

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But before the music even starts, there are new features at Blossom that make an evening there with The Cleveland Orchestra even more spectacular! The newly-opened Tasting Room offers wine, beer, and desserts to enjoy in the Tasting Room or take with you to your seats in a handy, yours-to-keep carafe.

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At all The Cleveland Orchestra concerts, the featured wines in the Tasting Room are themed on what the orchestra is playing. So, at Sunday’s show with Brian Wilson, the wines were from California.

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You can also order boxed lunches or picnic baskets from the Tasting Room to enjoy on the lawn or in one of the cute new seating areas.

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Beyond The Tasting Room, the Blossom Grill offers full-service, sit-down dining or you can enjoy one of the many food truck vendors lining the lawn.

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Matthew and I grabbed dinner from The Shuckin’ Shack. The BBQ pulled chicken was delicious, as was the garlic parmesan roasted corn.

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If you’re a season subscriber to The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom, you get exclusive access to Kulas Plaza, which includes a bar, food vendors, seating, restrooms, and easy access to the pavilion.

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We also got a glimpse of all the backstage action. The backstage set-up at Blossom is truly impressive and massive, with practice rooms, dressing rooms, catering services, and everything to keep shows from The Cleveland Orchestra to rock ‘n roll up and running.

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Then it was time for the show! It was such a cool throwback for me to see Brian Wilson and hear music that I enjoyed at my first concert ever. The Blossom Festival Orchestra added such great depth to the music too.

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From taking us through the entire “Pet Sounds” album to an encore dance party of Beach Boys favorites, it was a wonderful night!

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The Cleveland Orchestra has three more concerts left at Blossom this season: Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances on Saturday, August 17; South Pacific in Concert on Saturday, August 24 (a collaboration with the Baldwin Wallace Music Theatre Program); and Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back on Friday, August 30 through Sunday, September 1.

Of course, you can also catch The Cleveland Orchestra at Severance Hall. Learn more about the 2019-2020 series here.

For a magical night of music, food, and fun, don’t miss your chance to see The Cleveland Orchestra at Blossom Music Center!

***Disclosure: I was invited by The Cleveland Orchestra to attend a show at Blossom Music Center. I received two complimentary tickets to the show, a parking pass, and drink vouchers. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Matthew’s Birthday!

Last week, Matthew turned 40, which called for several celebrations…

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar

Marble Room Steaks and Raw Bar was one of the spots we kept wanting to go to, but hadn’t yet. A big birthday celebration seemed like the perfect reason to go!

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We went a bit before our reservation time, so we could enjoy a cocktail at the bar and take in the ambiance first (thanks for the pro tip, Adam and Rebecca!)

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I had the Love Potion, with Belvedere Vodka, Pama Liqueur, grilled pineapple purée, pomegranate glaze, baked coconut flakes, and cranberry juice. This was light, fruity, and seasonally perfect!

Matthew had the High on Life, with Tanquerey Gin, St. Germain Elderflower, Dolin Blanc, cucumber, mint, lemon juice, and shiso leaf.

For dinner, we shared two appetizers: Hamachi Jalapeño Crudo and Duck Confit Duo (a Korean BBQ bao bun and confit-mushroom spring rolls).

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The Hamachi was perfection and the duck was smoky and delicious. I could drink the ginger-plum sauce that came with the duck!

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For our entrees, we made our own surf and turf. Matthew chose the dry-aged Delmonico and I had the King Crab. Both were simple, but prepared very well.

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The side dishes are shareable and we split the Crispy Potato Cake, with roasted poblano and guajillo chiles, garlic, scallion, and cotija cheese. It’s like a hash brown in heaven!

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For dessert, Matthew was presented with Marble Room’s homemade special-occasion cotton candy.

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He also got the Liz’s Gilded Chocolate Cake and I got the classic Vanilla Bean Crème Brulée, served with a snickerdoodle cookie (my favorite cookie).

The food, service, and atmosphere all truly made it a very special meal!

The Lion King

From there, we walked down to Playhouse Square to see The Lion King.

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The show is playing at the KeyBank State Theatre through Sunday, September 1 and is truly something to see. You know the story, of course, but there are new songs and the costumes are incredible. Disney never skimps on production value!

Dinner at Home

On Thursday (Matthew’s actual birthday), we enjoyed a family dinner at home with tacos and birthday cake, which is a meal that can keep everyone from a 5-year old to a 40-year old happy!

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Jeffrey helped make the cake, which made it even more special!

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Masthead Brewing Co.

Then on Saturday, we gathered with friends at Masthead Brewing Co. for one last birthday celebration of this big year.

Masthead was the perfect spot to meet up: great beer, delicious food, a nice patio, convenient parking, family-friendly for those who wanted to bring their kids…

We ordered lots of pizza and pretzels to share and of course enjoyed lots of craft beer, too!

It was a fun few days celebrating! Where are your go-to birthday celebration spots?

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Why? Weekends!

We had a wild time not just at the Zoo this weekend…here’s what we were up to:

Vintage Ohio

On Saturday, my friend Anne and I (and Jeffrey) headed to the Lake Metroparks Farm Park for Vintage Ohio Wine Festival.

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This year marked the 25th annual Vintage Ohio, which brings together the best of Ohio wines, along with crafts, food, music, and more.

Anne and I already knew we liked the wines from Gervasi Vineyard, but it never hurts to taste test to confirm!

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We also discovered a nice sparkling wine from Valley Vineyards.

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Buckeye Winery offered lots of interesting flavored wines. We both tried the jalapeño wine, which I can’t imagine drinking an entire glass of, but was quite nice when you added Bloody Mary mix.

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And we both took home a bottle of the Carménère from Urban Vintner (also, there’s a winery in my neighborhood that I didn’t know about…I’m failing).

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All of us rode the ferris wheel and got some lovely views of Lake County.

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It was a fun day of great weather, great wines, and great friends!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Ohio Wine Producers Association to help promote Vintage Ohio. In exchange, I received complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Beach Days

We also spent a lot of time on the Lake Erie shore this weekend. On Saturday, Matthew competed in the AIA Cleveland Beach Day sand castle competition at Edgewater Beach. Of course, Jeffrey and I had to stop up to cheer him on!

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The team from AECOM (where Matthew works) has won the competition for the last five years straight, so they have quite the dynasty. It’s always so cool to see what the different teams create! This year, his team built “Nautical Nonsense on the Cuyahoga,” with lots of SpongeBob characters.

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There were sand castle Rock Halls and Cuyahoga Rivers and even the Game of Thrones iron throne! You can see all the castles and participate in voting for your favorite sand castle on the AIA Cleveland Facebook page.

On Sunday, we found ourselves back on the shore, but further east at Headlands Beach State Park. Jeffrey enjoyed building sand castles and being silly with his cousins!

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We’re so lucky to have great beaches in the Cleveland area and to be able to enjoy lake breezes and seashore fun!

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So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

Friday night brought one of the wildest parties of the summer to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo: Twilight at the Zoo, a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

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We started out in the VIP area. Twilight at the Zoo is an event where the VIP upgrade is really worth it: you get reserved parking, more food options, and a full bar, as well as some additional bands to hear.

We noshed on nibbles from Bonefish Grill, Carabba’s Italian Grill, Cleveland Kraut, Graeter’s Ice Cream, and Aramark.

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And the Cleveland Whiskey bourbon lemonade was the perfect summer sipper.

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Then we headed to the main event to hear some of the best bands in Cleveland. We always love Billy Likes Soda

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…and Faction, both of whom keep the crowd singing and dancing all night.

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Plus, we got to check out the Asian Lantern Festival, which was all lit up for the party-goers.

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If you want to have a wild time at the Zoo yourself, you can grab tickets this morning for another great Cleveland Zoological Society fundraiser: Date Night at the ZOOvies. The event takes place on Friday, September 6 and includes complimentary beer, wine, and appetizers, along with a showing of “The Goonies” in the Zoo’s Savanna Theater (with movie snacks to enjoy during the film).

Tickets are $90 for a couple or $55 for an individual. This event always sells out quickly, so grab your tickets ASAP! They go on sale today (Monday, August 5) at 9am!

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

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Why? Weekends!

Other than stuffing ourselves at B Spot Burgers, there was more fun to be had this weekend. Here’s what we were up to…

Cleveland Public Library Street Fair

On Friday, Jeffrey and I attended a Media Preview for the Cleveland Public Library‘s Street Fair, celebrating the library’s 150th anniversary.

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The Reading Garden was filled with artwork, puppeteers, and Glen Infante creating a mural.

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We also got to meet Eric Litwin, author of “Pete the Cat.” Jeffrey loves that book, so it was fun for him to get to chat with the author!

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The Cleveland Public Library’s Street Fair really brought the community together to celebrate such a vital part of our history and culture. Here’s to another 150 years!

Date Night

On Saturday night, Matthew and I had a date night. We started with dinner at Burntwood Tavern. I enjoyed the lobster ravioli and Matthew had the mahi mahi special.

Both were delicious!

Then we were off to see “Come From Away” at Playhouse Square. The last show of this season’s KeyBank Broadway Series was funny, heartwarming, sad, and thought-provoking.

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It not only took the audience back to their own memories of September 11 and the days following, but also made us examine how we welcome each other as members of the human family.

When we arrived at the theater for the show, the man ahead of us in the Will Call line had two extra floor seats that he generously gave us. It was so unexpected and the perfect way to start a show about the kindness of strangers!

***Disclosure: I have a partnership with Burntwood Tavern and received a Burntwood Tavern gift card. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Cedar Point Shores

On Sunday, we went to Cedar Point Shores for a day of splashing and swimming.

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It was the perfect summer day to be at a water park!

On the way home, we stopped at Krieg’s Farm Market and Custard for some frozen custard.

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Krieg’s offers weekly seasonal frozen custard specials. I had the red raspberry and chocolate swirl and it was delicious! It’s a bit off the beaten path, but worth a visit!

So, that was our weekend? How was yours?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Hope you found fun ways to stay cool on this toasty weekend! Here’s what we did:

Camp Curiosity

On Friday, Jeffrey wrapped up a week of Camp Curiosity at the Great Lakes Science Center. We chose the Race to Space camp, which centered around celebrating the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11.

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The kids made astronaut helmets and patches, moon models, and more. They heard from speakers from NASA Glenn and learned so much.

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Jeffrey had a wonderful time and grew in his knowledge of and love for all things space-related.

Indians Game

On Friday night, Alicia, Amanda, and I went to the Indians game.

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I had already been to a few games this season, but this was the first of the season without Jeffrey. And while I love his excitement for the game, it was also fun to spend time outside of the Family Deck!

We got the District tickets, which include standing room space in The Corner, as well as a beer. What a great deal! And it was Dollar Dog night, which meant cheap eats, too.

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We supplemented our dollar dogs with some pizza from Dante’s Inferno and quesadilla from Momocho. There are great local eats at Progressive Field!

Despite the heat, we had a great time and the Indians brought home a win, so that makes for a pretty great Friday night!

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Michael Angelo’s Winery

On Sunday, I met up with some Playhouse Square Partners friends for a Sunday Funday at Michael Angelo’s Winery.

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I love everything about Michael Angelo’s Winery! The setting is beautiful, the wines are delicious (the sparking rosé is my new favorite), and the food is so tasty!

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I had the crab cakes, with apple garden slaw and lemon aioli. I also snagged nibbles of the crispy Brussel sprouts, calamari, and truffle fries, all of which are perfect for sharing with a group of friends.

This is the perfect spot for your next girls’ night out or a romantic date!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy, fun, outdoorsy weekend (yes, this is the right blog and I said outdoorsy). Let’s get right to it…

Camping

Matthew, Jeffrey, and I embarked on an overnight camping adventure with Matthew’s siblings and cousins and their kids. As you know (or can probably surmise), camping is a bit outside my wheelhouse. But Jeffrey was excited to go and I ended up having a really great time!

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We spent the weekend on Matthew’s cousins’ property in Thompson. We made a bonfire and roasted hot dogs and s’mores…

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…we took a creek walk and went waterfall sliding…

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…we went canoeing…

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…we watched fireworks…

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…and just generally had a good time with family in nature. Tobey even joined in the fun!

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Being that we’re not big campers, we needed some supplemental gear, which is where CampRents came in.

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CampRents is a local company that rents backpacking and camping gear and can get you outfitted for everything from backyard camping to hiking the Appalachian Trail.

We rented a one-person tent (to add to our three-person tent), sleeping bags and pads, and a headlamp. Everything came cleaned, packed, and ready to go.

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When we were done camping, we just packed everything back into the bag to return. This is an easy, cost-effective way to try out new gear or get yourself ready for an adventure that might not happen often enough for you to buy your own supplies.

All in all, I survived the great outdoors and even enjoyed it!

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***Disclosure: I received complimentary rental items from CampRents. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Yoga + Beer at Platform Beer Co.

On Sunday, after returning to civilization and showering, I headed to Platform Beer Co. for an hour-long vinyasa flow with a beer chaser taught by Alicia.

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Alicia’s accessible, but still challenging, teaching style was the perfect thing to wake me up on Sunday morning (and get out some of the sleeping-on-the-ground stiffness). Plus, it’s always fun to practice outside, especially on such a beautiful morning!

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After class, we stayed to chat and enjoy a beer. I highly recommend the Passionista Wit!

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Plus, the whole event was a fundraiser to benefit the Arthritis Foundation. What a win!

If you’re interested in starting your Sunday with a little detox to retox, Alicia is teaching another Yoga + Beer event at Platform on Sunday, August 18. Cost is $20 and includes an hour-long class plus a beer.

You can also trade your beer for wine when Alicia teaches Yoga on the Viaduct on Wednesday, July 31, with incredible sunset views and a social at Luca Italian Cuisine to follow. Cost to attend is $25 and includes an hour-long class, glass of wine, and appetizers. Both events benefit the Arthritis Foundation.

Splash Park

Sunday afternoon, we cooled off with friends at the Lyndhurst Spray Park.

This is one of our favorite places to go in the summer, because it’s always bright, clean, and has a lot to keep all ages entertained.

It was the perfect end to a fun summer weekend! How was your weekend?

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Oh my gosh, you guys. It’s JULY! When did that happen?! Here’s how we closed out the last weekend in June…

John Carroll Alumni Volunteer Summit

I spent a good part of my weekend up at John Carroll University attending the inaugural Alumni Volunteer Summit, which was truly energizing and inspiring.

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Image Source: @jcualumni 

The Summit brought together alumni volunteers from various university departments and areas of the country to share ideas, learn about the university’s vision for the future, and eat ice cream overlooking our beautiful alma mater’s campus.

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We kicked off the Summit with a cookout outside of Murphy Hall, spent Saturday hearing from various departments within the university, and ended with a party on the Quad with a band and food trucks.

Matthew and I stuffed ourselves with pizza, mozzarella sticks, and truffle fries from Sauced Wood Fired Pizza (the firecracker chicken pizza is so good).

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As one of the incoming members of the Alumni Association Board, the Summit was a great chance for me to connect with other Board members and get ready to once again give back to a place that has given me so much.

Dear Evan Hansen

On Saturday night, Matthew and I attended one of the final Cleveland performances of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

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This deeply moving, funny, true, heavy, beautiful story made me laugh, cry, and think about loneliness, human connection, parenting, and so much more. I was so glad we had a chance to see it!

Cedar Point

On Sunday, we met up with our dear friends (and some of Jeffrey’s godparents) Amanda and Scott for a toasty, fun summer day at Cedar Point.

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Jeffrey is enjoying his new height and was able to ride Thunder Canyon for the first (and second and third) time this season.

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From rides to lunch at Famous Dave’s to ice cream at Toft’s to fun with some of our favorite people, it was a perfect summer Sunday!

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How was your weekend? Do you have big plans for the holiday week?

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Why? Weekends!

Was this weekend not the most glorious kickoff to summer?! Oh my goodness, we soaked up every moment of it!

JCC Camp

Friday wrapped up Jeffrey’s week at the Mandel Jewish Community Center‘s Anisfield Day Camp.

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The kids got to swim, play dodgeball and Simon Says, do crafts, run a ninja course, and generally burn a lot of energy and get really dirty, as kids should in the summer.

Jeffrey had so much fun and I managed not having my buddy with me all day better than I thought I would, so it was a win all the way around!

Brim Kitchen and Brewery 

On Friday night, I met up with my friend Elizabeth for dinner at Brim Kitchen and Brewery.

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Brim has a great rooftop deck, as well as a second floor that soaks up lots of wonderful sunlight. Brim brews their own beers, as well as having a tasty cocktail menu. I enjoyed the Pom Delight, a Belgian light ale brewed with pomegranate.

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For dinner, I had the Buttermilk Fried Chicken Sandwich, with yum-yum sauce, pickles, and house coleslaw.

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In an effort to be healthy, I swapped the truffle fries for grilled asparagus and was totally happy with that choice.

It was a fun and yummy kick-off to the weekend!

Cuyahoga50

On Saturday, the entire family celebrated Cuyahoga50, the 50th anniversary of the Cuyahoga River fire that sparked a national wave of environmentalism.

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For the third summer, Matthew rows crew on the Cuyahoga River with Western Reserve Rowing. He had a regatta on Saturday morning, so Jeffrey and I went down to cheer him on and take in the Cuyahoga50 events too.

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We got to check out the Blazing Paddles event, see the Never, Ever Give Up installation, and just generally enjoy the amazing transformation the Cuyahoga River has undergone.

It made my heart so happy to see how many people of all ages were out and about on the River!

Indians Game

Saturday afternoon, we celebrated another big Cleveland anniversary: 25 years of Progressive (cough, still Jacob’s, cough) Field.

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The giveaway for the game was a replica ballpark, which is currently in Jeffrey’s room, but I might be stealing it back soon!

The weather was perfect to take in an Indians win, enjoy a beer and some Momocho nachos, and generally feel like summer.

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Heck’s Cafe

Between activities on Sunday, I met up with my mom for lunch at Heck’s Cafe in Avon. The weather was perfect for sitting outside and enjoying a champagne mule.

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I had the Asparagus Salad, with mixed greens, avocado, tomato, black sesame, and a lemon ginger vinaigrette. I added seared tuna for a delicious, light lunch.

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I love dining al fresco this time of year!

Engage Cleveland YP Week

Stay tuned tomorrow for my recap of my Sunday spent doing activities with Engage Cleveland’s YP Week, which is happening now!

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