Why? The Capital Grille Generous Pour!

It’s no secret that I think The Capital Grille is a fabulous spot for everything from an after-work drink to a fabulous dinner. And right now, during The Generous Pour promotion, it’s also a the perfect place to enjoy some phenomenal wines for a great deal!


From now through September 2, you can add The Generous Pour to your meal at The Capital Grille for only $28. The Generous Pour features Duckhorn Wines from Sauvignon Blanc to Rose to Cabernet Sauvignon.


You can try all the wines or trust your server or yourself to pair certain ones with your meal. Sample something new, find one (or more) that you love, and drink up! This is a great deal, particularly since some of the wines included are $30 per glass outside of the promotion!

We got to experience The Generous Pour with the wines paired perfectly with selections from The Capital Grille’s menu. We started with the Grand Plateau seafood platter, with jumbo lump crab, North Atlantic lobster, shrimp cocktail, and oysters on the half shell.


The Grand Plateau paired well with the Sauvignon Blanc and the Rose of Pinot Noir, which is an exclusive blend for The Capital Grille’s The Generous Pour.

Next, the lobster and crab cakes, packed with delicious seafood, were paired with the same wines for even more seafood yumminess!


To round out our seafood experience, the sea scallops with asparagus and parsnip puree paired perfectly with the Decoy Chardonnay.


So often when I go to The Capital Grille, I just focus on steaks, but this scallop entrée was delicious and I would definitely order it again!

We then enjoyed a trio of The Capital Grille’s finest steaks: bone-in ribeye, dry-aged New York strip with shallot butter, and lamb chops.


You can, and should, put that shallot butter on everything! These meats were paired with four different Duckhorn red wines: Migration Pinot Noir, Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, Canvasback Cabarnet Sauvignon, and Paraduxx Proprietary Red Blend.

The two Cabernets were my favorites, but the Paraduxx was also a perfect pair for the flourless chocolate espresso cake we enjoyed for dessert.


Whether steak or seafood, appetizers or entrees, there are wines in The Generous Pour that are the perfect compliments to your taste. And for only $28 for access to all these incredible wines, it is the dining deal of the summer!

Don’t miss out on The Capital Grille’s The Generous Pour through September 2. Make your reservations today!

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



Why? Heinen’s Wine Finds!

One of my favorite things about shopping at Heinen’s is that they go out of their way to find new, interesting, delicious products. This week, I got to sample some of their newest offerings in Spanish and Portuguese wines, cheese, and prepared foods.


Heinen’s wine buyers recently traveled to Spain and Portugal and selected some fabulous wines to be sold at your local store. These wines really over-deliver on quality. The most expensive wine we tasted retails for $19.99, with some with price points as low as $7.99!


Since Spanish and Portuguese wines aren’t as familiar to most of us, Heinen’s trains its wine experts to make comparisons to more well-known varietals.

The Pedrera White Blend is much like a Sauvignon Blanc and was my favorite of the white wines we tried. I also enjoyed the Pedrera Red, which is a red wine that can handle a slight chill, making it a great choice for summer BBQs. Both of these wines retail for only $7.99!

We also sampled a truly special wine: Herdade de Rocim Amphorae, which is made in clay pots that are hundreds of years old. This unique wine is smooth, complex, and delicious.

The wines were all expertly paired with Spanish and Portuguese cheeses. The Naked Goat from Spain, Drunken Goat (which is cured in red wine), and 4-month aged Manchego were favorites for me.


All of these cheeses are available at Heinen’s and can be paired perfectly with wines, thanks to the cheese and wine experts at your local store.

Heinen’s prepared foods department is also getting in on the Spanish and Portuguese theme with some new offerings: tortilla de papas, which is a potato omelet topped with chorizo gravy; patatas bravas, which are whole potatoes with smoky paprika seasoning; and blistered shishito peppers.


The chorizo gravy is amazing and the blistered shishito peppers are perfect for a light appetizer nibble. We also got to enjoy paella prepared by one of Heinen’s chefs. Look at the delicious crust!


I also learned that port wine is so named because it originated in Portugal, so of course we got to enjoy some port, too! Heinen’s made red and white port cocktails, which were light and sangria-like, just right for summer!


You can read more about Portuguese ports and how to make the port cocktails here.

This summer, travel to Spain and Portugal just by stopping by your local Heinen’s and creating a perfect meal from wine to cheese to entrees!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Heinen’s to attend a complimentary wine and food tasting with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Zoo Clues and Brews!

On Wednesday, August 29, the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s Ambassadors Circle is hosting a super fun, after-hours scavenger hunt through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Zoo Clues and Brews allows teams to join in a friendly competition of finding the answers to clues by exploring animal exhibits and interacting with Zoo staff. Through the Scavify app, teams can upload answers and photos and see in real time how other teams are progressing through the scavenger hunt.

Photo Credit: Dale McDonald Photography

There are prizes for the winning team and most spirited team, as well as the chance to purchase raffle tickets for additional giveaways. You’ll also enjoy complimentary small bites, as well as beer, wine, soft drinks, and water.

Teams are encouraged to come up with a creative name/theme and dress to match! You’ll see people dressed from matching t-shirts to full animal costumes!

Team reservations open on Monday, July 9 at 9am. If you are an Ambassadors Circle member, you can make your reservations early, starting Thursday, July 5 at 9am. A team of six people costs $210, a team of four costs $140, and a team of two people costs $70. Click here on July 9 to register your team!

All this friendly competition benefits the Cleveland Zoological Society and gives you a great chance to interact with members of the Ambassadors Circle Young Professionals group.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zoo Clues and Brews. In exchange, I will receive a complimentary team registration. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

Phew! What a steamy weekend in CLE! I was trying to stay cool all over town…here’s what went down this weekend:

Lyndhurst Spray Park

On Friday, we met up with friends at one of our favorite summer spots: the Lyndhurst Spray Park. This is such a great splash park, with lots of options for all ages, a playground next door, and it’s really well-maintained.


Plus, with it being so hot, the best place to be was in the water!

#ShineBright Yoga

Saturday morning, I met up with Alicia for #ShineBright yoga under the GE Chandelier at Playhouse Square.


Brianna Halloran led us through a spirited and (thank goodness since it was so hot) easy flow, with time for selfie breaks and dancing, too!


I’m constantly reminded to be so grateful for this amazing city and the very cool events that take place here!



On Saturday night, I found myself back down on Playhouse Square with Matthew. We had dinner at District, which is a great spot for a pre-theater bite. They have a rose flight that is just the right thing for summer sipping!


I had the swordfish with herbed compound butter, served over roasted jalapeno and lemon risotto.


The flavors were spot on and this was a great summer dish with just a bit of a kick.

Matthew had the gnocchi with cilantro pesto, avocado, and grape tomato. He also added shrimp and chicken.


This was a really interesting and delicious spin on gnocchi!

The food was so good, but the portions are small, so I would suggest adding on a salad (we split the caprese) and dessert (the peach cobbler for me and the Belgian chocolate ganache for him).

Tri-C Jazz Fest

From District, we headed over to Tri-C Jazz Fest to see Common and Jose James perform. Tri-C Jazz Fest has risen to prominence, attracting bigger national acts, as well as offering a huge street festival with free outdoor concerts.


Jose James played an awesome set of Bill Withers hits, including an incredible version of “Lean on Me.”


Common then came on to play a high-energy set showcasing some of his best music throughout his career. It was a great night enjoying innovative, amazing music in one of Cleveland’s strongholds of culture. I can’t wait to see who Tri-C Jazz Fest brings to town next year.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Tri-C Jazz Fest. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the concert of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Alicia’s Birthday

Sunday was spent celebrating one of my dearest friends, Alicia. We started with one of her Soul Flow Sunday classes at Elevated Dance Headquarters.


Alicia’s usual class style of creative flow combined with lots of time for reflection was even more elevated with this meaningful birthday practice. Plus, we got to enjoy cupcakes from Michael Angelo’s Bakery after class!

Then it was off to Punch Bowl Social for an afternoon of drinks, food, and karaoke fun! I got to hang out with some lovely ladies…



…I got to eat lots of delicious food (the sriracha peanut fries and the It’s Nacho Mama’s come highly recommended by, well, me)…


And then it was time for some epic karaoke styling!


Oh my goodness, what a way to spend Sunday Funday! It was the perfect way to celebrate our friend and kick off what is hopefully a fantastic year for her.

Backyard BBQ

I capped off a busy weekend with Lane and Nathan at a great family backyard BBQ. I got pelted with water balloons by various four year olds and I made this tasty pasta salad that is definitely going to become a staple for summer BBQs.


So, that was my Hot in Cleveland weekend. How was yours?



Why? Sonoma & Ohio Wines!

On Sunday night, Matthew and I attended Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Uncorked, Unplugged, Unforgettable at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.


Co-hosted by The Wine Road and Ohio Wine Producers Association, this event brought together some of Sonoma’s and Ohio’s finest wineries for a rockin’ tasting event.


We started in the VIP area, with Sonoma wine samples and conversation with the wine makers from ACORN Wines, Moshin Vineyards, Pech Merle, and Viszlay Vineyards.


From Sauvignon Blanc to Pinot Noir to Cabernet Sauvignon, these wineries presented some of their finest, paired with descriptions of the wines, wine-making process, and Sonoma region.

Then it was on to the Grand Tasting event, which included both Sonoma and Ohio wineries, along with passed appetizers and special break-out tasting seminars hosted by the American Wine School.


We discovered new favorites from both Sonoma and Ohio wineries alike, with varietals we knew we enjoyed and ones less familiar to us. Many of the Sonoma wineries were able to take orders on the spot for anything you enjoyed tasting.

There was also a silent auction of interesting wines to benefit the Wine Road Family Fire Fund, assisting those Wine Road families impacted by the recent wildfires. There is a continuing online auction if you’re interested in participating!


Sonoma and Ohio may seem like an unlikely wine pairing. Just as I’ve learned to appreciate some red wines with fish, I’ve learned to think outside the box in general with wine pairings. Sonoma and Ohio wineries have similar values in farming and many are small, family-owned, and hands-on from the grapes to the tasting rooms.

There was a lot of camaraderie and appreciation in the room, not just fueled by wine being consumed, but by a genuine respect and appreciation for each other’s craft. Oh, and there was a lot of great wine, too!

We’ll definitely be making our stops at the Ohio wineries this summer and dreaming of a Sonoma vacation to come!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Uncorked, Unplugged, Unforgettable. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Ohio & Sonoma County Wines!

Ohio is becoming a hot spot of wine production and now the Ohio Wine Association is pairing up with Sonoma County’s Wine Road to present Sonoma & Ohio Wines: Unplugged, Uncorked & Unforgettable.

This event will take place on Sunday, June 24 at the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame, providing an iconic backdrop for a fabulous night of wine tasting.

The Grand Tasting Experience takes place from 7-9:30pm and includes passed appetizers, live music from Stan Miller, and wine tastings from both Sonoma County and Ohio wineries.

There will also be “Just a Taste” 20-minute tasting intimate seminars from Marianne Frantz of the American Wine School, focused on Rhone varietals, Rose, and Pinot Gris, Gruner, and Gewurztraminer. These seminars are limited to 20 people each.

The Sonoma County wineries include Alexander Valley Vineyards, Christopher Creek Winery, Korbel Champagne Cellars, Notre Vue/Balverne, Viszlay Vineyards, and more. The Ohio wineries include Ferrante Winery, Gervasi Vineyard, M Cellars, South River Vineyard, and more.

There is also a VIP Experience that includes valet parking and a seated winemaker-led tasting featuring 8 Sonoma County wines, as well as admission to the Grand Tasting Experience.

The event will feature a silent auction with proceeds benefitting the Wine Road Family Fire Fund, helping 60 families and their employees along Wine Road who were impacted by the wildfires in Sonoma County.

Tickets are currently on sale for $150 for the VIP Experience and $65 for the Grand Tasting Experience. You can also save $5 on your Grand Tasting Experience tickets by using code WHYCLE. Click here to purchase tickets.

This is sure to be a fabulous night of local and national wines in an amazing venue!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Ohio Wine Association to help promote Ohio & Sonoma County Wines. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP Experience tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was another busy and fun weekend in Cleveland, so let’s dive right in!

Mad for Plaid

The Cleveland History Center of the Western Reserve Historical Society recently opened a new exhibit, Mad for Plaid.


This exhibit takes you through the history of plaid in fashion, starting in the time of Queen Victoria.


Mad for Plaid takes you from the early days of plaid in fashion through iconic UK designers, such as Alexander McQueen and Burberry through plaid in grunge and rock (there are even pieces on loan from the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame) through 1970’s fashion to today.


There are even examples from plaid on the silver screen in the form of two costumes from “The Greatest Showman,” which were designed by a local costume designer and worn in the film by Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron.


Mad for Plaid is now open and is a visually elegant way to experience the history of plaid in fashion. Also, check out StyleMe Saturdays, with monthly free programming including exclusive curator tours, themed discussion, and hands-on demonstrations from Praxis Fiber Workshop.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary curator tour of Mad for Plaid. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

John Carroll Reunion Weekend

It’s hard to believe it’s been 15 years since I graduated from John Carroll University (probably because I’m still up on campus so often). This weekend, John Carroll celebrated Reunion Weekend, bringing together graduates from class years ending in 3 and 8.


Saturday morning, I attended a yoga class and the family picnic up on campus. The family picnic had great food, as well as face-painting, balloons, a bubble artist, and a sketch artist to keep everyone entertained.


Saturday evening, I attended the Reunion Weekend Mass at Church of the Gesu, then headed to dinner and dancing on the Quad. My friends and I made it a girls night at Reunion and had so much fun reminiscing about people and places from our college days.


We all met on our very first day at John Carroll, when we lived on the same floor in Dolan Hall. To be able to stay friends for all these years and celebrate Reunion together is truly something special!

The dinner, desserts, drinks, and DJ were all perfect! From toasting to National Rose Day to enjoying mini donuts from Donut Lab to catching up with friends, Reunion Weekend was filled with sweetness!


We’re already talking about our 20th Reunion, although no one quite wants to do the math on how old we’ll be for that!

Great Lakes Science Center

On Sunday, we met up with friends for a play date at the Great Lakes Science Center. Since we attended the member preview of TapeScape, Jeffrey has been asking to go back for more sticky, slide-y fun!


In addition to TapeScape, we enjoyed classic Science Center favorites like the Polymer Funhouse and checked out the cool duct tape photo opp, too.

The Great Lakes Science Center always offers something fun and educational that captures Jeffrey’s imagination and attention. It’s a favorite play date spot for sure!

***Disclosure: I received four complimentary tickets, courtesy of the Great Lakes Science Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

So, that was our weekend! How was yours?





Why? Zippity Zoo Doo!

On Friday night, Matthew and I were swept away to the Asian Highlands at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.


The Cleveland Zoological Society‘s annual Zippity Zoo Doo fundraiser celebrated the newest exhibit at the Zoo with a party filled with Asian food and décor. We nibbled on delicious crab Rangoon, salmon poke bowl, crispy noodle salad, and firecracker chicken, prepared by The Driftwood Group.


There were also fun, summery drinks like Moscow mules and “frose rose” (frozen rose).

This year’s event was set up to meander through part of the Zoo, allowing you views of many different Zoo animals as you walked between food stations.


Of course, the highlight was a sneak peek of the new Asian Highlands exhibit, which opens to the public tomorrow, June 12. Asian Highlands is beautifully designed, with an open feel and overhead animal pathways, similar to the Rosebrough Tiger Passage.


Asian Highlands is home to the Zoo’s red pandas, snow leoapards, and Amur leopard, which is one of only 40 left in the world!


The Amur leopard was quite active on Friday night and showed off the new animal pathways, as well as how close you can get to the animals in this amazing new exhibit.


Zippity Zoo Doo is also a fundraiser for the Cleveland Zoological Society, so there were opportunities to contribute to the Zoo’s conservation and educational missions through silent auctions (check out my girl Alicia‘s awesome donation, which quickly was bid out of my price range)…


…a wine pull with the most amazing wine bags…


…and Giving Tree donations.

We also had a chance to mingle with the Ambassadors Circle, the young professionals group of the Cleveland Zoological Society, and hear about some of their fun upcoming events, including their Zoo Clues and Brews Scavenger Hunt.

From the theme to the event set-up to the new exhibit, Matthew and I agreed this was our favorite Zippity Zoo Doo yet! Be sure to check out the new Asian Highlands exhibit opening tomorrow on your next trip to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zippity Zoo Doo. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? The Capital Grille Cocktail Time!

When you combine two of my favorite things, cocktail time and The Capital Grille, you’re bound to get an amazing result!

The Capital Grille’s new Cocktail Time menu delivers the quality you’ve come to expect from the restaurant, but with more casual and price-friendly options.

Matthew and I recently got a tour of the Cocktail Time menu and can tell you that the choices would make any hour, or many hours, happy! We started with the bottled cocktails: the Nine to Five (Tito’s Vodka, fresh tangerine juice, and elderflower cordial) for me and the Churchill (Maker’s Mark Bourbon, lemon juice, and hibiscus honey syrup) for Matthew.

Both of these cocktails were delicious and perfect for seasonal summer sipping! The Cocktail Time menu also features a third bottled cocktail, the Slow Ride, with 1800 Silver Tequila, fresh grapefruit juice, and ginger syrup, as well as discounted wine and local craft beer.

We then got to taste an array of sliders, all available on the cocktail menu. Everything on the sliders, from sauces to pickles, are made in-house by Chef Anthony. The mini tenderloin sliders with wild mushrooms and herbed Boursin cheese were incredibly tender and juicy.

The candied bacon cheeseburger sliders with white cheddar and bacon jam were a tasty twist on a traditional bacon cheeseburger.

Hands-down our favorite of the sliders was the Korean fried chicken sliders. These are only available at six Capital Grille locations nationwide. They pack a nice, flavorful heat in the sauce, balanced with the peanut slaw and house-made pickles.

So freakin’ good. I’m salivating just writing about it.

The Cocktail Menu also features shareable appetizers, including the tender lamb lollipops, topped with 15-year aged Balsamic.


The Cocktail Time menu is available in the Lounge area at The Capital Grille from Monday through Friday, 4pm to 7pm. The lounge area is not just a bar, but a genuinely nice place to relax and unwind at the end of the day. And the Cocktail Time menu offers a great chance to enjoy high-quality food and drinks at a reasonable price.

While we were at The Capital Grille, we decided to sample a couple items from the Spring Menu as well: the tuna tartare with mango, avocado, and Sriracha and the burrata salad with Balsamic-glazed pears, prosciutto, and arugula.

The tuna tartare is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. And speaking of perfect blends, a bite with all the elements of the burrata salad is the definition of the perfect blend!

What a sweet night at a place that has quickly become a favorite of ours for special occasions!

With the addition of the Cocktail Time menu, this will quickly become a favorite after-work happy hour spot as well.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a complimentary tasting of the Cocktail Time menu at The Capital Grille. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend in the CLE! Here’s what we were up to:

John Carroll University Alumni Awards Dinner

On Friday night, I was honored to receive the Rev. William M. Bichl, S.J. Alumni Volunteer Service Award from my alma mater, John Carroll University.


I served on the Cleveland Alumni Chapter Board for six years and was so humbled to receive this award as I completed by board term. John Carroll means so much to me and has been a huge part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom received her Masters in Education from Carroll, so being able to share the Awards Dinner with her was particularly meaningful.


The dinner itself was lovely, with good food and good conversation with the other award winners and their families. The other award recipients were so deserving and have accomplished so much that it was truly amazing to be mentioned in the same breath.

I am so grateful for the chance to give back to John Carroll, to receive the award, and to get to share it with the people who mean the most to me and who supported the time and effort I put into my volunteer work.


Day Out with Thomas

Saturday morning, we boarded a train for Sodor at Day Out with Thomas at the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad.


We got to enjoy a thirty minute train ride on Thomas himself, along with lots of other train-themed fun, including train tables, model trains, and the chance to ring a real train bell!


One of my favorite parts of Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad events is that they are volunteer-driven. The volunteers care so much about making the experience fun for the kids, which just adds to how special the memories made are.


Tickets are still available for this weekend’s Day Out with Thomas events, happening Friday, May 25 through Sunday, May 27. Click here to purchase tickets.

Happy Dog

You can keep our family happy with the food at Happy Dog! We popped in for a quick lunch after our Thomas adventure for hot dogs, tots, and craft beer for Matthew and me. I highly recommend Masthead Falling Fruit!


Matthew and I both got Chef Symon’s Favorite, with alien pickle relish, chunky peanut butter, and Sriracha drizzle. So good!

Dazzle Awards

On Saturday evening, I attended the third annual Dazzle Awards at Playhouse Square. The Dazzle Awards celebrate high school theater in a Tony Awards-style event, handing out awards for everything from set design and costumes to acting. The winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress awards get to travel to New York City to compete in the National High School Theater Awards on Broadway!

I was so impressed with the talent up on stage and with Playhouse Square’s commitment to celebrating these young people. Playhouse Square Partners helps to support the Dazzle Awards, among other Playhouse Square Education and Community Outreach initiatives, so it was cool to see what our donation dollars support.

***Disclosure: I am the co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Moms, Manis, and Mimosas

Sunday, I hosted a little brunch party to celebrate my lovely mom friends. I’m so lucky to have women who are supportive and understanding and funny and caring. I’ve really found my mom tribe!


So, what better way to celebrate these fabulous friends than with brunch (I made this almond French toast and this crab strata) and Prosecco sangria and manicures?


We had time to eat and chat and pamper ourselves and it was just lovely! It’s so important to celebrate our friends and I’m glad I had a chance to do it!

It was a great weekend with family and friends! How was yours?