Why? Grapes Under Glass!

This past weekend, Heinen’s Downtown Cleveland and The 9 co-hosted a series of wine tasting events called Grapes Under Glass.

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These events were a great way to showcase not only the gorgeous Cleveland Trust Rotunda, but also Heinen’s expansive wine selection and The 9’s delicious food from Adega.

On Friday night, my friend Mariah and I attended the California Blue Chip Wine Experience. The event showcased “powerfully-built, highly-rated, limited-release red wines from California,” which sounded like a total palate pleaser for me!

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We each received a wine passport giving us access to a one-ounce taste of all fifteen of the wines, plus three “bonus” tastes for our favorites of the bunch. Some of my favorites included the Caymus Special Select Cabarnet Sauvignon, the Turley Zinfandel, the Quilt Reserve Cabarnet Sauvignon, and the Paul Hobbs Dr. Crane Cabarnet Sauvignon.

Mariah and I agreed that our most enjoyed wine of the evening was the Duckhorn The Discussion, so named because it was a long discussion at the winery to create a Duckhorn red blend.

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All of these big, bold reds were masterfully paired with with tapas-style food from Chef Nelly Buleje of Adega.

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The poke bowl was light and fresh, but it’s spicy sauce could hold it’s own with the wine! And the build-your-own tacos or steam buns were delicious!

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My favorite was the chicken al pastor, which packed a ton of heat! The Kogi short rib was so tender too!

For dessert, there were tobacco chocolate cookies (rich and smoky) and strawberry rhubarb tarts (the perfect balance of sweet and tart).

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The California Blue Chip Wine Experience at Grapes Under Glass was a treat for all the senses, from the beautiful surroundings to the fabulous wines and delicious food. Heinen’s and The 9 are two of Downtown Cleveland’s prettiest, tastiest, most luxurious places to be and their combined forces made this event not to be missed!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Heinen’s to attend the Grapes Under Glass California Blue Chip Wine Experience. I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Make-a-Wish Big Wish Gala!

Last night, Matthew and I attended the Make-a-Wish Big Wish Gala at the Hilton Cleveland Downtown.

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As we enjoyed the cocktail hour, we perused amazing silent auction items, all framed by incredible views of Cleveland. There were some unique and fun auction items, including a pet photo shoot with Greg Murray, a fireworks package from Phantom Fireworks called the “Grounds for Divorce,” and tickets to “Hamilton: An American Musical” from Playhouse Square.

Matthew and I always love participating in the wine pull at charity events. I liked that this wine pull gave you a hint at which type of wine you would get (red tissue paper for red, white tissue paper for white, or red and white combined for rose).

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After cocktails and auction shopping, it was time to head in for dinner. We enjoyed chicken, risotto, and desserts that were as tasty as they were adorable.

During dinner, we had the chance to hear stories from families whose child had a wish granted, as well as from Doctor Anup Patel, Section Chief of Pediatric Neurology and Director of the Complex Epilepsy Clinic at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, who has seen the tangible medical difference that having a wish granted can make in a child’s physical well-being.

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It was truly amazing to hear from families who have endured so much stress and fear over their child’s health speak about what it means to be able to take a break from the tension and enjoy moments together as a family.

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I also got to reconnect with a high school classmate, Megan, who is one of the incredible people working at Make-a-Wish to make children’s wishes come true every day!

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Wishes come in all shapes and sizes, from trips to Disney World or Hawaii to a day at the salon to getting a computer or playset to meeting the Pope, which actually happened for local Wish Kid Leonora and her family. Wishes are as unique as the child who wishes them. What is consistent about every wish is that it means the world to that child and their family.

Currently, Make-a-Wish is only able to grant one out of every two eligible wishes, which is why the Big Wish Gala, which raised over $500,000 last night, is so critical. Make-a-Wish wants to be able to grant more wishes and help even more children not only have a special day, but create lifetime memories and see medical improvement.

If you want to get involved through volunteering or donating to Make-a-Wish, click here for more information on how you can make wishes come true, too.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Make-a-Wish to help promote the Big Wish Gala. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes and Ale Giveaway!

Who’s ready to think about summer BBQ’s? I know I am! Our Lady of the Wayside wants to kick off your BBQ season at Grapes and Ale on Friday, May 18.

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Progressive Field will once again host this fabulous evening. You’ll get to sample BBQ bites from some of Cleveland’s sauciest restaurants. There will also be over 300 international wines to sample included with your admission, as well as craft beer samples available for purchase at The Corner.

Your hosts for all this food and fun will be Kenny Crumpton from Fox 8 News, Chip Kullik from Majic 105.7, and Jeremiah from Q104.

General admission tickets to Grapes and Ale are $60 and include unlimited wine and food samples, access to The Corner to purchase craft beer samples, a souvenir glass, entertainment by The Ace Molar Band featuring Todd Meany from Fox 8 News, and access to take your chance to win fabulous Chinese auction prizes.

You can also upgrade to VIP tickets, which are $125 and include all of the above plus access to a private Majic VIP area with featured wines, beers, and Tito’s Vodka cocktails, plus special hors d’oeuvres and desserts.

You can purchase tickets online now. Or you can enter to win two general admission 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 here letting me know if you’re most excited for BBQ, wine, or beer at Grapes and Ale.

2. Visit Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @OurLadyWayside 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 attend @OurLadyWayside #GrapesandAle thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2018/04/12/why-grapes-and-ale-giveaway-6 

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, April 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes and Ale. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets to give away. I declined my own tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes Under Glass!

The most elegant and expansive wine tasting event in Cleveland is back at the Rotunda at The 9 and Heinen’s Downtown ClevelandGrapes Under Glass: An Unprecedented Wine Tasting Event happens Thursday, April 19 through Sunday, April 22.

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All events will take place in the stunning Cleveland Trust Rotunda, a truly unique and beautiful place to enjoy a glass (or two or three) of wine. You will have access to amazing high-end wineries, as well as a wealth of knowledge from industry professionals.

You’ll also nibble on food paired specifically to the wines, created by The 9’s Executive Chef, Nelly Buleje, as well as Heinen’s culinary team.

The full schedule is impressive, including a Four Winemakers-Four Courses dinner on Thursday, April 19; a California Blue Chip Wine Experience on Friday, April 20; a Cognac Private Lounge and Main Tasting Event on Saturday, April 21; and a Conundrum Bubbles Brunch on Sunday, April 22.

Tickets can be purchased for individual events or in an event package, which can include overnight stays at The Metropolitan at the 9 Cleveland. Click here for more information, including pricing on events and packages, and to purchase tickets.

The Cleveland Trust Rotunda has quickly become a symbol of downtown Cleveland’s renaissance and the perfect place for a high-class event. Grapes Under Glass will be quite the event, so raise a toast!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Heinen’s to help promote Grapes Under Glass. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to the Blue Chip Wine Experience. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Market at the Food Bank Giveaway!

As spring event season heats up, I’m getting excited for a great evening of food and fun with Market at the Food Bank. Happening on Sunday, April 29 at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank warehouse, this event is not only a wonderful chance to contribute to the Harvest for Hunger campaign, but also a unique way to see firsthand where the proceeds from the event go.

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Market at the Food Bank is a strolling food and beverage event that features small bites from amazing local restaurants including BRIM Kitchen and Brewery, Mama Roberto’s, EDWINS, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, The Woods Restaurant and Lounge, Little Devil Cupcakery, and many more. You’ll also enjoy beverages from Private Reserve Fine Wines, Reggae Wines, Starbucks, Beverage Distributors, and more.

There is also a fabulous silent auction and live raffle with great prizes up for bid, all to raise even more money for Harvest for Hunger.

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Tickets are currently on sale for Market at the Food Bank. General admission tickets are $127 and include unlimited food and beverage samples, a souvenir wine glass, and valet parking. VIP tickets are $202 and include all the general admission benefits, plus early admittance to the event and access to the VIP lounge. You can purchase tickets online.

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to Market at the Food Bank right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me which your most excited to try.

2. Visit Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @CleFoodbank 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 attend Market at the @CleFoodbank thanks to @WhyCLE #HarvestforHunger #giveaway #market2018 https://whycle.com/2018/04/10/why-market-at-the-food-bank-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 Sunday, April 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Food Bank to help promote Market at the Food Bank. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Vineyard Woods!

While Matthew and I have always enjoyed the wineries in Ashtabula County, we’ve usually made a day trip out of our visit to the vines. But Vineyard Woods, which opened in May 2017, offers a cozy, comfortable, modern-rustic place to turn your winery hopping into a true weekend getaway.

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Vineyard Woods currently has two lodging options: The Oak Cottage, where we stayed, that sleeps two people and is perfect for a romantic getaway and The Vineyard Villa, which sleeps up to eight and can be rented either as an entire villa or in individual rooms (you better believe I’m already plotting a girls’ weekend there). Vineyard Woods is also opening two additional cottages this May!

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The cottages are furnished in a modern-rustic style, with lots of light, airy colors, attention to detail, and everything you need to make your stay feel homey. Scott, the owner of Vineyard Woods, used to travel frequently for work and, as such, was focused on making Vineyard Woods stand out from the typical hotel experience.

From high-quality linens to a stocked welcome basket with coffee, tea, and chocolates to a firepit and firestarter with each cabin to WiFi access to mini kitchens, you won’t want for anything during your stay.

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The views are pretty awesome, too! I can only imagine when the vines are in bloom how lovely it will look!

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We not only loved our stay at Vineyard Woods, but we also loved getting to know owners Scott and Katie, who are enthusiastic about not only their own business, but in growing the profile of the region and supporting other local businesses.

Vineyard Woods has its own vines on the property and is offering a unique opportunity to participate in the growing and wine-making process: the VIP Rent-a-Row package. You will share a row or two of vines on Vineyard Woods’ property. You’ll stay at Vineyard Woods for one night each in April (start of the growing season) and September (harvest) and participate in Pinot Noir harvest. You’ll also receive personalized updates on your vines, a case of Pinot Noir or Chardonnay made from your grapes, and a year membership to North Coast Wine Club. This sounds such a cool way to get up close and personal with the wine-making process!

Plus, while you stay at Vineyard Woods, whether part of Rent-a-Row or just for a getaway, you’ll be in the heart of some fabulous wineries. We definitely took advantage of our proximity to the wineries and hit several during our stay:

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Scott and Katie took us here, as M Cellars manages the vines at Vineyard Woods. We loved the Meritage, the cheese plate, and M Cellars’ commitment to supporting other local makers.

Harpersfield Vineyard

We enjoyed the cozy atmosphere, complete with winery pups, and the delicious tomato and pesto flatbread.

Laurentia Vineyard and Winery

We enjoyed the Cabarnet Sauvignon, the lovely cellar seating, and catching up with friend Erin and Jayson from our Puerto Vallarta trip!

Kosicek Vineyards

We enjoyed the Chancellor red wine and the fact that you could literally walk back to Vineyard Woods from the tasting room.

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It was a perfect little weekend getaway, exploring some new-to-us wineries, as well as getting the chance to check out a local business that is changing the lodging game out in Geneva and making it a true vacation destination.

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***Disclosure: I was invited for a complimentary overnight stay at Vineyard Woods with a guest. Our food and drink at M Cellars was also compliments of Vineyard Woods. Our choices of and purchases at all other wineries were on our own. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? #FunWithFish at Heinen’s!

Lent is just around the corner, which really is just an excuse for me to weekly incorporate fish and seafood into my diet. While I love fish and seafood, though, cooking it is intimidating between worrying that I’m overcooking it or worrying that I didn’t get a good product to start.

Which is why Heinen’s #FunWithFish event was so great, because it put my mind at ease on both counts.

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Held at the gorgeous Trevarrow Inc. Showroom (if you want an instantaneous desire to redo your kitchen, head there now), Heinen’s brought together cookbook author Carla Snyder, along with representatives from Catanese Classic Seafood, Philly Seafood, and Foods in Season to teach us all about how to select and cook great fish and seafood.

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Carla took us through three easy, imaginative, and delicious dishes, sure to tempt even those who might be a little wary of fish. We watched her prepare and got to sample each dish, as well as taking home the recipes and some of the essential seasonings for the dishes, too.

First was a shrimp salad with arugula, feta, ouzo, tomatoes, and fennel. The shrimp (courtesy of Philly Seafood and available at Heinen’s) were so delicious and the fresh, Mediterranean flavors allowed the seafood to shine.

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Carla’s tip for spot-on shrimp: cook them in heavily salted water and boil for only a minute, then let the shrimp set in the pot off the heat for a few more minutes.

Next was my favorite dish of the night: sole with curry browned butter, served atop roasted cauliflower. Simple, delicious, and packed with flavor!

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I would be so nervous about overcooking this delicate fish. Carla’s tip: cook on medium/high heat for seven minutes per inch of fish. This tip can be easily applied to any type of fish to create a perfectly-done piece!

Finally, we enjoyed salmon with charmoula. While all of Carla’s dishes were well-seasoned and dressed, the accoutrements still let the fish be the star of the dish.

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Carla’s tip: the fresher the fish, the less likely it is to have a “fishy” taste. Buy fresh and take advantage of Heinen’s amazing selection, as well as their ability to overnight ship fresh fish and seafood from around the country right to you.

Heinen’s also provided great wine suggestions, from champagne to rose to pinot noir to pair with each dish. One stop shopping for your perfect meal!

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Aside from all the great cooking tips, the big takeaway of the night was the pride that Heinen’s and the Heinen’s vendors take in their products. They are committed to sustainability and high-quality products, both wild and farm-raised, that taste great and that you can feel great about purchasing.

If you want to check out Heinen’s amazing seafood and fish selection for yourself, there’s no better time. Heinen’s Hook, Line and Sinker Sale takes place February 9 through February 11 with deals on shrimp, salmon, crab cakes, and more. Don’t miss out on this great catch!

I’ve been a committed Heinen’s shopper for a long time and I’m constantly finding new reasons to be impressed and further convince me not to shop anywhere else!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Heinen’s to attend the complimentary #FunWithFish event. I also received a take-home bag of Heinen’s products. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest Giveaway!

Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside has become one of the annual events that I eagerly anticipate. This event creates a friendly chef competition between some of Cleveland’s best restaurants for who will be crowned as having the Finest Hors d’Oeuvre. The winners are voted on by attendees, who are the real winners, since we get to eat all the delicious appetizers!

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The event takes place on Thursday, February 22 at the Terrace Club at Progressive Field. Participating restaurants include Tartine Bistro, Melt Bar and Grilled, Carrie Cerino’s Italian Ristorante, Momocho, Zack Bruell Restaurant Group, The Woods, and more.

Plus, there will be desserts from Cupcake Cravings; wine tastes; beer samples from Saucy Brew Works; live music; hosts Tim Richards, Jen Toohey, and Desiray Cross from Star 102; a silent auction with awesome prizes; and lots more foodie fun!

Tickets are $80 and all proceeds benefit Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of supporting over 900 children and adults with developmental disabilities through a wide range of services from transportation to housing to employment.

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Tickets are available online or you can enter to win two tickets to the event right here! Here’s how to enter:

1.Leave a comment here letting me know which participating restaurant‘s food you’re most excited to sample.

2. Head over to my Instagram page at @whycle for more ways to win!

The giveaway will close on Wednesday, January 31 and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

It was another fun, festive weekend! Here’s what we were up to:

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On Friday, my mom watched Jeffrey for the day, so that I could have my self-proclaimed “Mommy’s Holiday Get Sh*t Done Day.” The day included gift shopping, grocery shopping, party prepping, and some time for me, too.

I started my day at Brewnuts, which I had been dying to get to since they opened their storefront in Gordon Square.

The store is as adorable as the donuts are tasty. Brewnuts are HUGE donuts and a great balance of sweet frosting and not-too-sweet dough. I had a hard time deciding which to get, but I chose the mint chocolate coffee, made to look like a Frappuccino.

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Yum! Brewnuts also has a large selection of craft beer and options to make your coffee or hot chocolate boozy.

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Whether you stop for a morning treat or an after-work libation and donut, Brewnuts is an awesome, funky, tasty place to try!

The Beauty Room

From there, it was time to pamper my long-neglected toes with a pedicure at The Beauty Room in Tremont.

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I met up with my girlfriend Kimberly, which meant that the pedicure was also good for my soul! Add in some pomegranate mimosas and you have the makings of a perfect morning!

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The Beauty Room is bright, inviting, and has a wonderful selection of products and services (everything from massages and facials to blowouts to manicures) to make you feel, well, beautiful! And starting my day with so much relaxation guaranteed a productive, low-stress remainder of the day at the stores.

Goodyear Blimp Toys for Tots Drive

On Saturday, Matthew, Jeffrey, my parents, and I drove down to the Goodyear Blimp hangar to participate in their annual Toys for Tots drive.

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For a donation to Toys for Tots, you get to drive through the Goodyear Blimp hangar and see the hangar and blimp all decked out for Christmas.

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Santa is also there to greet you, as well as Marine in full dress uniform to accept your donation.

Jeffrey loved getting to check out the blimp up close, as well as any chance to have even a brief audience with Santa.

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What a cool thing to be able to see and a great way to drive donations to a wonderful cause!

Jeffrey’s Holiday Play Date

For the third year in a row, we packed our house on Sunday with Jeffrey’s friends and their families for a holiday play date.

 

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The calm before the toddler storm 

 

We played winter carnival games, did a holiday book exchange, and generally had a fun, slightly chaotic, wonderful time.

And while the food at the party tends toward the simple pizza, cookies, and brownies, I did add in a new addition this year: spiced wine (recipe here).

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This was the perfect cozy treat and I loved that I could leave it in the slow cooker to stay warm for the entire party! Plus, anytime the toddler count in your house climbs to double digits, you need wine too.

The holiday play date has become one of our favorite traditions and I love the chance for everyone to get together in this festive season!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Weekends!

Welcome to the time of year where every weekend is so packed with fun and festivities that they might burst. So, let’s get right to it!

Pajamas and Popcorn

On Friday night, Jeffrey’s school hosted Pajamas and Popcorn, a family movie night with pizza, popcorn, kids in PJs, and cookies.

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The movie was “Horton Hears a Who,” so there were also cute Dr. Seuss photo opps. It was a really cute idea and a fun way to ease Jeffrey into the movie theater experience.

The Capital Grille

On Saturday night, we met up with my parents to celebrate my Dad’s birthday with dinner at The Capital Grille.

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I started with the Blackberry Bourbon Sidecar, because apparently I like cocktails with bourbon now. I’m clearly growing as a person. Matthew and I also shared the lightly-breaded calamari with cherry peppers that give it a nice kick.

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For my entrée, I decided to be the only non-red meat eater at the table because I just couldn’t resist the evening’s fish special: grilled swordfish topped with crab gratin.

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Paired with a nice Sauvignon Blanc, this meal had lots of delicate flavors that were executed perfectly. Swordfish is one of my favorite fish and when you top it with crab…wow! My dad ordered the lamb chops, which received rave reviews!

For dessert, Matthew ordered the warm double chocolate cake with port-wine cherries and I had the apple crostada.

Each was the perfect compliment to our meal. We have never been less than totally impressed with the food and the service at The Capital Grille. And during the holiday season (until December 30), The Capital Grille will also be open for lunch from 12-3pm.

Breakfast with Santa

Sunday morning, we attended the John Carroll Alumni Breakfast with Santa. The event includes a Mass, a toy collection for Bellefaire JCB, breakfast, and of course a visit with Santa!

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My favorite part of this event has been how my friends and I have used it as a chance to gather with our kids. I spent the morning with people I’ve known for 18 years (whoa) and got to see our kids forming friendships with each other too. It’s really special, especially being up on campus with our future Carroll students!

If you’re a John Carroll alum, you have another chance to celebrate the season on campus at the annual Christmas Reception this Wednesday, December 6. It’s truly one of my favorite events of the year, so don’t miss it!

Om for the Holidays Cleveland

While Jeffrey was napping away his Santa-induced exhaustion, I headed to Om for the Holidays Cleveland.

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The rainbow in this pic. I just can’t. @namastenik led an awesome flow!

Om for the Holidays was the brainchild of Angela from Universal Architect and Scare Your Soul. It brought together not only some amazing merchants for holiday shopping…

…but also live music, coaching, community-building, and yoga.

What better way to kick off the busy holiday month than with an opportunity to not only accomplish some holiday gift-buying, but also a chance to nurture your soul with like-minded folks?

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Merry Everything, indeed!

So, that was our weekend! How was yours? Is Christmas crazy starting to creep into your life yet?

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