Why? Flavors of Northeast Ohio!

I’ve been really fortunate throughout this blogging adventure to get to attend a lot of fabulous fundraisers. One that has been on my must-attend list for a long time was Flavors of Northeast Ohio to benefit the American Liver Foundation Heartland Division.

This unique event brings together several amazing local chefs, who are each given a table of guests for whom they create a multi-course dinner, paired with wine. The menus and tables are themed with the chefs’ creativity, making the evening a full sensory experience.

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But before you even enter the ballroom and take a seat at your table, you can nibble on delicious passed hors d’oeuvres from the participating chefs, enjoy a signature cocktail (this year’s was a painkiller from Porco Lounge & Tiki Room), and bid on auction items or participate in the wine pull.

My table was created and catered by Chef Chris Kafscak of Nomad Culinary. The theme was Game Night and the tablescape was filled with board game fun.

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For our first course, we slurped up some delicious game of Life “College Ramen,” which was much tastier than any ramen I ever made in my dorm room! This course was paired with Kendall Jackson Avant Chardonnay.

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Next up was “Professor Plum & Colonel Mustard in the Kitchen with the Salad,” a fun play on classic Clue characters in the name and a tasty salad too. This course was paired with Robert Mondavy Private Select Rye Barrel Aged Red Blend.

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Our next course was simply titled “Lox,” a high-scoring Scrabble word. In reality, the course featured salmon two-ways with a tasty faro, asparagus, and olive salad. This course was paired with Beringer Bros. Tequila Barrel Aged Sauvignon Blanc.

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From Candy Land, our next course was Gloppy’s Pierogi with Chocolate Red Wine Beef, paired with Juggernaut Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon. You had me at pierogi, but the tender, flavorful beef was delicious too!

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Our last course, themed on Sorry, was White Chocolate Cheesecake paired with Dark Horse Sparkling Brut. The game-board presentation of this dish made it almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

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All of this delicious food and culinary creativity helped to raise $116,000 for the American Liver Foundation Heartland Division and put the 15-year total for this Flavors of Northeast Ohio event at $1 million!

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I may have checked this off my must-attend bucket list, but I’ll certainly be attending this amazing event again!

***Disclosure: I was asked by American Liver Foundation Heartland Division to help promote Flavors of Northeast Ohio. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Sunbeam Holiday Boutique Giveaway!

It’s time to start thinking about holiday shopping! The Sunbeam Holiday Boutique is the perfect place to get the gifts you need!

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Taking place November 6, 7, and 8 at The Country Club in Pepper Pike, Sunbeam Holiday Boutique features more than 30 vendors from all over the country selling jewelry, apparel, fine clothing, stationary, delectables, and gifts for the home.

There is an opening night party on Wednesday, November 6, where you can be the first to shop the vendors, as well as enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres. Tickets for the opening night party are $135 and can be purchased online.

The Boutique is open to the public on Thursday, November 7 (10am-9pm) and Friday, November 8 (10am-3pm) for $10 admission.

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There is also a Ladies Night on Thursday, November 7 from 6-9pm, where a master sommelier will guide you through a French champagne tasting. Admission is $20 and includes the tasting, a glass of champagne, and light hors d’oeuvres. Tickets can be purchased online.

All of this shopping fun benefits Vocational Guidance Services, a non-profit that serves people with disabilities and other barriers to employment. Admission fees, as well as a portion of vendor proceeds, go toward helping Vocational Guidance Services provide a full range of vocational rehabilitation services, as well as paid work opportunities, to nearly 4,000 individuals with physical disabilities, mental disabilities, a history of incarceration or addiction, injured veterans, or other barriers to employment.

You can enter to win one of two sets of admission tickets to the Sunbeam Holiday Boutique, good for November 7 or 8 including the Ladies Night, right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment here for each):

1. Leave a comment here telling me who you’re shopping for at the Sunbeam Holiday Boutique.

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

3. Follow @vgsjob 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 win tickets to @vgsjob Sunbeam Holiday Boutique from @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/10/24/why-sunbeam-holiday-boutique-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 Tuesday, October 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sunbeam Holiday Boutique. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary admission tickets for myself and two admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

Aside from brunching, there was lots of other fun to be had this weekend! Here’s what we were up to…

Boo at the Zoo

One of our favorite Halloween traditions is attending Boo at the Zoo at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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This year, Jeffrey is dressing up like a race car driver for Halloween, complete with a gas can treat bag and a wagon that I turned into a race car.

We cruised through the Zoo, stopping at the trick or treat street, the dance party…

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…getting encased in a giant bubble…

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…meeting characters…

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…and making our way through the hay maze.

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There was lots of fun stuff to explore and the weather was perfect! Boo at the Zoo continues on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 5-9pm through Sunday, October 27. You can purchase tickets online.

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On Saturday, I met up with my friend Anne to celebrate her birthday at the wineries in Geneva. This has quickly become a favorite spot to celebrate birthdays, with so many great places to go!

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We started at M Cellars, where the Brut Rosé and some tasty snacks were enjoyed by all!

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Anne brought these hilarious wine glass markers to keep our glasses in check throughout the day!

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I was also super excited about these glasses I found from Lulusimonstudio for Anne’s birthday present. They say “Partners in Wine,” which is perfect because Anne and I co-chaired Playhouse Square Partners together!

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Our next stop was Cask 307, which I had not been to yet.

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Despite not being a fan of chardonnay, I really liked the bourbon chardonnay there. The chicken and goat cheese flatbread is also delicious!

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My final stop with the group was Harpersfield Vineyard for some pinot noir on the patio.

The lovely fall weather, the tasty wines and food, and the fabulous company made for such a fun day! I hope Anne had as wonderful a birthday as she so deserves!

Red Wagon Farm

On Sunday, Jeffrey and I took advantage of the beautiful weather with a visit to the Pumpkin Festival at Red Wagon Farm.

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There is so much to do, from a corn maze to a hay ride through fields filled with fun scarecrows…

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…to a kids hay play area…

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…to picking out a perfect pumpkin.

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It was a great fall afternoon! The Pumpkin Festival at Red Wagon Farm continues every weekend through Sunday, October 27. Admission is free, but activities such as the hay ride and corn maze require payment.

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? The Capital Grille Wagyu & Wine!

By now, I think you know that I love dining at The Capital Grille. The ambiance, service, drinks, and food are always top notch. But last night, I discovered a more relaxed, affordable side of The Capital Grille that made me love it even more!

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Wagyu & Wine is a promotion in The Capital Grille lounge area that runs now through November 17. For only $25, you get to choose one of three delicious Wagyu beef burgers, each expertly paired with a Napa Valley wine.

 

Seriously, this is a phenomenal deal, especially because the choices of both burgers and wine are out of this world!

I had a chance to sample mini versions of each of the burgers. The Wagyu Cheeseburger, with fried egg and Havarti cheese, is simply decadent, with the richness of the Wagyu and egg complementing each other so well.

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It was paired with my favorite wine of the night: Beaulieu Vineyard Carneros 2016, made specifically and exclusively for The Capital Grille.

The Wagyu Burger with Capital Grille steak sauce, grilled onions, and Vermont white cheddar was my favorite burger of the night. This tasted like French onion soup mixed with a burger.

It was paired with Beringer Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

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Finally, the Wagyu Mushroom Burger, with soy-braised shiitake, Jarlsberg cheese, and truffle aioli. Pro tip: order a side of the truffle fries and extra truffle aioli, at which point you actually turn into a truffle!

This burger is paired with Stags’ Leap The Investor 2014.

Wagyu & Wine is a great deal not only because of the delicious flavors and pairings, but because of the high quality of both the burgers and wine included in this promotion. Stop in to The Capital Grille at Legacy Village before November 17 to experience it for yourself!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary Wine & Wagyu tasting event at The Capital Grille with a guest. I also 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.***

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Why? Wine Down and Sweets Café Giveaway!

When I met Tammy, the owner of Wine Down and Sweets Café in Strongsville, she told me that the spot is more than just a coffee shop, café, bakery, or wine bar. It’s a place to have an experience. And that’s certainly true.

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From cozy and cute décor, a selection of board games, a focus on local wines and beverages (hi, M Cellars and Pope’s Kitchen), and a full food menu, Wine Down and Sweets Café has everything you need to have a full, relaxing, fun experience.

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From a gourmet coffee bar and decadent single-serve cupcakes, brownies, and more…

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…to wine tasting flights…

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…to sandwiches, wraps, salads, and shareable plates…

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…this spot has more than I could have imagined when I first walked through the door.

Wine Down and Sweets Café also hosts a series of fun events, such as wine and paint, live music, and more.

To help you discover the complete Wine Down and Sweets Café experience, I have a $25 gift card to give away. 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 here telling me what you’d most like to try at Wine Down and Sweets Café.

2. Visit Wine Down and Sweets Café and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both.

3. Follow @wdsc2018 and @whycle on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

The giveaway will close on Monday, October 7 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? S’mores Pairing with Sweet Costo!

This week, my dear friend Maria and I had a super sweet evening with Sweet Costo at Western Reserve Distillers.

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But before we got to the s’mores pairing, we grabbed some dinner at Distill Table. There’s a whole menu of cocktails at Distill Table named after local landmarks, which is so fun.

Maria dove right in to the s’mores theme of the evening and had the Mastick Woods, with High West Bourbon, High West Campfire, smoked syrup, chocolate bitters, graham cracker, and toasted marshmallow.

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I had the Memphis Kiddie Park, with Old Overholt Rye, Orgeat, HM Peach Cordial, Angostura, and ginger beer.

We shared the Crispy Brussels, with whipped lemon ricotta, bacon, honey, and ciabatta to start. And by shared, I mean devoured!

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For dinner, I had the Coconut Curry Shrimp Quinoa Bowl, with toasted quinoa, peppers, tomatoes, basil, salted almonds, and fresh lime. This was a flavorful, but not spicy, curry.

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Maria had the Twin Peaks Farm Meatloaf, with potato puree, crispy onions, and pineapple ketchup. Both were elevated, delicious comfort food dishes!

Then we headed next door to Western Reserve Distillers for the s’mores pairing event. Shelby of Sweet Costo created four original s’mores desserts, that were paired with a red wine, an Imperial stout, and Western Reserve Distillers whiskey.

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We had a s’mores candy bar (marshmallow forward), a s’mores macaron (chocolate forward), and a “traditional” s’more with homemade graham crackers. There was also a shot of graham cracker liquor in a marshmallow cup!

Shelby kicked off the pairing by not only explaining the desserts, but why she felt the drinks were good compliments to them. She also gave us the history of s’mores! From there, the tasting was self-guided. You could try each beverage with each dessert and decide which pairings you enjoyed best.

Personally, my favorites were the macaron with the red wine and the traditional s’more with the Imperial Stout.

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Western Reserve Distillers also created amazing s’more-themed cocktails for the evening It was a sweet evening of delicious food, tasty cocktails, and lots of good girl talk!

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Why? It’s Still Summer at Legacy Village!

While the stores are starting to stock pumpkin spice and Halloween decorations, there is still plenty of time to enjoy summer at Legacy Village.

Dine on a Patio

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is to dine al fresco. Legacy Village has four great patio options surrounding their Lawn, where you can enjoy a meal outdoors, along with some people-watching and summer breezes.

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Stop in to Bar Louie, Brio Tuscan Grille, Wild Mango, or California Pizza Kitchen and snag a patio table to soak in the summery vibes of eating outside. Then pop over to Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory to cool down with some ice cream.

Bonus if you can do this on a night when Legacy Live is happening, so you can enjoy the live music, too!

Outdoor Events

Legacy Village’s outdoor events are a great way to hang on to that summer feeling. Legacy Live, a free outdoor concert series, continues every Friday and Saturday evening through Saturday, August 31.

Food Truck Mondays continue through Monday, August 26 to give you a tasty, picnic-atmosphere lunch option.

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Yoga in the Village has two more events this summer to get your downdog on outdoors: tonight (Tuesday, August 20) and Tuesday, September 17.

And the North Union Farmers Market continues its outdoor market packed with seasonal deliciousness at Legacy Village every Sunday through Sunday, September 29.

The Generous Pour

If you have never experienced The Generous Pour at The Capital Grille, don’t let your summer end without giving it a try!

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The event includes unlimited pours of seven wines that you can add on to your meal at The Capital Grille. It’s a perfect way to toast to the end of a fabulous summer! You can enjoy The Generous Pour through Sunday, September 1.

Lilly Pulitzer

Lilly Pulitzer is the quintessential summer wardrobe, so stop by the store at Legacy Village to grab that perfect dress, romper, or accessories to end your summer in style!

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Get a Pedicure

Before you stash the flip-flops away, treat your feet to a pedicure at Anthony Vince Nail Salon, Ladies and Gentlemen Aveda Salon and Spa, or Sola Salon Studios.

No matter how you send out your summer, there are great ways to do it at Legacy Village!

***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.***

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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.***

jenclesig_pur

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?

jenclesig_pur

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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