Why? All Star Game!

OK, I promise this is the last of the wall to wall MLB All Star Game coverage. But as I sit here sunkissed and happily exhausted, I would be remiss if I didn’t put down a few thoughts on Cleveland’s moment in the spotlight:

Play Ball Park was a blast! From the World’s Largest Baseball…

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…to the memorabilia from the National Baseball Hall of Fame…

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…to the hands-on activities…

…there was something for every age of fan.

Working the magenta carpet at the T-Mobile Derby After Dark Party was a bit surreal. And Francisco Lindor is as gracious as you think he is. And his smile is as mega-watt as it seems on television.

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Photo Credit: Manny Wallace, Cleveland Scene Magazine 

The Red Carpet event prior to the MLB All Star Game was quite the spectacle. To see East Ninth Street turned into a massive red carpet…

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…to see so many talented players arriving at a pinnacle moment in their career…

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…to just see this ballpark and city that I love so much just bursting with energy…

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I honestly can’t overstate what an incredible few days it’s been to be a part of the All Star excitement.

We have so much to be proud of, from cultural institutions to restaurants. Cleveland is an amazing destination and there should be no question that we can show all of our visitors an incredible time.

But more than that, Cleveland really shines in times like this, not just with the ability to pull of a large national event, but in our ability to be warm, welcoming hosts.

Did you take part in any of the All Star festivities?

***Disclosure: I received complimentary tickets to Play Ball Park and media access for the Red Carpet courtesy of Destination Cleveland. I was invited to cover the magenta carpet at the T-Mobile Derby After Dark Party. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Zoo Clues and Brews!

On Wednesday, August 21, the Cleveland Zoological Society‘s The Herd (the young leaders group) is hosting a super fun, after-hours scavenger hunt through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

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Team Ostrichological Signs!

Zoo Clues and Brews, presented by Great Lakes Brewing Co., 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.

There are prizes for the winning team and most spirited team, so think of a fun team name, as well as costumes or tshirts, hashtags, and real time posting throughout the event to show your enthusiasm.

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The event will also include the chance to purchase raffle tickets for additional giveaways. You’ll enjoy complimentary small bites from Driftwood Catering, as well as beer, wine, soft drinks, and water.

Registration is now open for this great evening of after-hours animal excitement! A team of six people costs $240, a team of four people costs $160, and a team of two people costs $80. Click here 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 Herd, too! Hope to see you on the hunt at Zoo Clues and Brews!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Zoo Clues and Brews. In exchange, I will receive a complimentary 6-person team registration. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Caruso’s Coffee!

The best part of waking up is something local in my coffee cup. Recently, I had a chance to sample several varieties of coffee from Caruso’s Coffee.

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Formed in 2003 as a family business, Caruso’s Coffee harnesses Mike Caruso, Sr.’s nearly 40 years of experience in the coffee business. Caruso’s uses only the finest Arabica beans, which are custom-roasted to order for coffee shops and roasted in various flavors for consumers, packed the same day, and shipped within 24 hours of roasting. This process ensures the highest quality coffee!

Caruso’s roasts and blends a wide assortment of Fair Trade Organic Coffees. Their roasting facility is certified organic by OCIA (Organic Crop Improvement Association) International.

Caruso’s offers a variety of roasts to meet your tastes. Full City roast is their standard and most popular roast. Caruso’s also offers Viennese, French and Italian, each of which gets progressively darker. Light roast is available upon request.

I sampled four varieties of Caruso’s Coffee: Erie Island Coffee Co. Perry’s Brew, Caruso’s Coffee Sumatran Viennese, North Coast Coffee Co. Ohio City Blend, and Zack’s Brews Parallax Blend.

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I tend to like medium-bodied coffees, while Matthew likes bold, dark roasts. My favorites were the Parallax Blend (ironically my favorite of Zack Bruell’s restaurants) and the Ohio City Blend. Matthew loved the smoky Perry’s Brew. Both of us enjoyed the Sumatran Viennese for easy waking up.

I love encouraging you to shop, eat, and drink local as much as possible. And what better way than to kick off each morning with delicious locally-roasted coffee that is perfectly suited to your taste? Check out Caruso’s Coffee today!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Caruso’s Coffee. In exchange, I received four complimentary bags of coffee chosen by Caruso’s. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? DANCECleveland BalletX Giveaway!

DANCECleveland is going all out for the 2019 National Dance Day on Saturday, July 27, with an ADF in CLE Summer Dance Festival that includes free community dance classes, a Take a Hike Tour, and Community Dance Day around the Playhouse Square district. Classes are for all ages and abilities and free, although registration is encouraged.

DANCECleveland’s celebration of National Dance Day will conclude with the dance company that is the darling of the Vail International Dance Festival and their own hometown of Philadelphia: BalletX.

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BalletX will make their Cleveland debut in an evening of works by some of the most exciting choreographers creating work today. Founded in 2005, the company has been applauded for their athleticism, emotion, and grace while challenging the boundaries of classical ballet. Having toured to prestigious venues around the world, it is so exciting to welcome them to Cleveland.

The performance will take place at 7:30pm on Saturday, July 27 in the Ohio Theatre. There is a pre-performance chat in the theatre that begins 45 minutes before the show.

BalletX Tickets range from $20-$45 and can be purchased online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to BalletX 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 telling me your favorite style of dance.

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

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

4. Follow @DANCECleveland 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 celebrate National Dance Day with @DANCECleveland thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/07/05/why-dancecleveland-balletx-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 Wednesday, July 10 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by DANCECleveland to help promote the BalletX performance. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? The West Side Market!

***Editor’s Note: Today we have a guest blog post from Lauren Reed about one of Cleveland’s most iconic spots: The West Side Market. Read along as she takes you through the history of the Market and some of her favorite vendors. I added a couple of my own photos.***

Just seven years ago, in 2012, we celebrated the Centennial of Cleveland’s West Side Market. As it stands today, the West Side Market is the oldest continually operating municipally owned market in Ohio.

Located in historic Ohio City, the West Side Market was originally built to replace Pearl Street Market. Once construction started in 1908, the market became one of the three public markets in Cleveland that served the growing immigrant population in the 20th century – and it is the only one out of those three that remains open to this day.

In late 1973, the market entered into the National Register of Historical Places. Much later in 2008, the West Side Market was named one of the “10 Great Public Places in America” by the American Planning Association.

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Photo Credit: Tall Hair Creative

Throughout the years, the West Side Market has done a terrific job at attracting and maintaining a solid base of consistent consumers. There are many vendors that pop into one’s head when they think of the West Side Market.

Some of the well-known favorites are Ohio City Pasta, Ooo…Fudge, Campbell’s Popcorn Shop, Pierogi Palace and D.W. Whitaker Meats.

I grew up with a ton of Italian influence on both sides of my family. Every time we go to the West Side Market, we always make it apparent that a visit to the Ohio City Pasta stand is a must! At their stand they have a variety of pasta types all accompanied with a variety of tastes and health benefits. My personal favorite is the assorted ravioli because it looks and tastes amazing!

Similar to growing up with an Italian influence, I am also surrounded by a very strong Polish denomination within my family. My grandma always says that no one can make pierogi like her mother did, but the Pierogi Palace is a close second! Everything at this stand tastes incredibly fresh and it is something that you can’t quite experience with frozen store-bought food.

I wouldn’t consider myself a “sweets” person but Ooo…Fudge and Campbell’s Popcorn Shop are two places that cannot be missed during your next trip to the West Side Market. Lastly, D.W. Whitaker Meats is the one stand that both my mom and dad swear by.

The West Side Market is also home to a variety of healthy vendors with delicious options. Some of the most noteworthy include The Basketeria Organics and King Produce.

The Basketeria Organics is a vendor that sells solely organic fruits and vegetables. Within the same commodore, you will find King Produce which sells Ohio-grown fruits and vegetables in addition to their selection of tropical fruits.

The location of the West Side Market itself is gorgeous. Growing up in Cleveland you were supposed to understand and promote the “rivalry” between the east and west side of Cleveland. I grew up on the east side of Cleveland about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area.

As I grow older and am in my 20s, I have to say (regretfully) that the west side truly is the best side. ***Editor’s Note: Agree to disagree, Lauren. Mad love for both sides of town!***

The West Side Market is right next to the bridge that connects the west side to the downtown area. Within walking distance of the market are various restaurants, little getaway spots, and outside-of-the-box fun!

Some of the most popular businesses in the surrounding area include Ohio City Burrito, Townhall, Great Lakes Brewing Company, and the home to newly reigning baseball state champions at Saint Ignatius High School.

The future for the West Side Market varies on which vendors you ask. Some vendors blame the increase of rent for affecting the traffic of shoppers. Some vendors note that there has been a decrease in shoppers while others disagree.

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Photo Credit: Angela Fach Photography

The future of the West Side Market is ultimately in the hands of the consumers. Be sure to plan your next grocery trip or weekend plans around visiting the West Side Market and all of its wonderful vendors including two of my favorites Theresa’s Bakery and EuroSweets!

***Editor’s Note: To read more posts from the author, be sure to check out her online portfolio and marketing blog for Sixth City Marketing!***

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Why? Playhouse Square Partners at Bin 216!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners celebrated the end of our (fiscal) year with our fifth annual wine tasting night at Bin 216.

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This event has become both a staple and a favorite for the organization. This year’s theme was South American wines and we enjoyed five courses of small bites and wines that were perfectly paired.

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Our first course paired Leyda Sauvignon Blanc with Asparagus & Egg Salad with Tarragon Vinaigrette.

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You really can’t go wrong in my book with either asparagus or Sauvignon Blanc!

Our second course paired Tilia Chardonnay with a Seared Scallop over Sweet Corn Purée and Herb Oil.

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This particularly chardonnay was very oaky and on its own was not my favorite, but when paired with the food, it was quite good.

Our third course paired Root 1 Carmenere with Devils on Horseback.

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This peppery, delicious red wine was perfect by itself, but became even more delicious when paired with the chorizo-stuffed dates of happiness. (This was my favorite course, can you tell?)

Our fourth course paired Catena Malbec with Grilled Chicken Kabobs with Chimichurri.

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Much like the first course, this course paired two can’t miss items for me: Malbec and chimichurri.

Our fifth course paired El Enemigo Bonarda with Marinated, Smoked, and Grilled Portobello Mushroom Risotto.

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The risotto had a delicious, smoky taste to it which matched the wine nicely and added a depth of flavor you don’t always get with this kind of dish.

All in all, it was a delicious evening trying some new-to-me wines. Bin 216 is a great pre- or post-theater stop, with ambiance (check out that view of the beautiful Ohio Theatre lobby), delicious food, and great wines.

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And if you’re interested in getting involved with Playhouse Square Partners, we’re starting our Jump Back Ball 29 planning on Thursday, July 11 at Market Garden Brewery. You don’t have to be a member to attend. Click here to learn more and RSVP.

***Disclosure: I am the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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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? Tri-C Jazz Fest!

Last night, the 40th anniversary year of Tri-C Jazz Fest kicked off at Playhouse Square in swinging, soulful style.

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Tower of Power opened the festival with a funky, raucous performance that brought the audience to their feet several times.

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With a fantastic horn section and an easy-on-the-eyes lead singer who also is insanely talented, this concert certainly set the stage for a weekend of “le jazz hot.”

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After the concert, we popped over to the VIP after party, with sips and nibbles and more live music.

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That’s the theme of the weekend for Jazz Fest: anywhere you go in the Playhouse Square District, you’ll hear live music. From free outdoor performances on Friday and Saturday to ticketed concerts in the theaters to kids activities to cooking demos to local food and craft vendors, you can spend two full days enjoying a fully immersive cultural experience.

For me, Tri-C Jazz Fest is one of those annual events that really illustrates the breadth and depth of Cleveland’s cultural might. The festival commands performances from jazz legends and brings all walks of life together to celebrate what is called “the original American art form.”

For a swinging good time, head to Tri-C Jazz Fest this weekend!

***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 well as access to the VIP After Party. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Punch Bowl Social Summer Specials!

By now, my love for Punch Bowl Social is well-documented. From delicious food that utilizes lots of local ingredients and providers to a fun environment with tons of games and entertainment options to those cocktails and punches…

Last night, we got a chance to sample some of Punch Bowl Social’s latest seasonal menu additions. Matthew tried the featured punch: The Watermelon Polo Bowl, with Sauza Blue Reposado Tequila, Teakoe’s Watermelon Spearmint Tea, McClary Bro’s Watermelon Shrub, house-made strawberry syrup, and fresh lime juice.

I had the It’s a Mer-Man’s World, with Old Forester Bourbon, Teakoe’s Pineapple Papaya Tea, house-made cardamom syrup, Bacardi 8, and fresh lime juice. What light, refreshing summer drinks!

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And there’s no better place to enjoy them than Punch Bowl Social’s rooftop bar, offering great views of the city, Lake Erie, and the rest of the Flats East Bank.

We started our meal with a new appetizer: Umami Bomb Chips and Dip, with charred onion, sour cream, garlic, shiitake mushrooms, and anchovy, served with celery sticks and sea salt kettle chips.

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This dip was creamy, salty, savory deliciousness! It’s a great spin on the classic chip and dip combo.

For Matthew’s entrée, he had the Mediterranean Salad, with crispy falafel, marinated feta, marinated cabbage, romesco, hummus, tzatziki, mixed lettuce, and sumac lemon vinaigrette.

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This salad is a trip around the Mediterranean, with lots of different styles and flavors incorporated. And what a bright, colorful presentation too! It’s not often that just a salad fills Matthew up, but he was completely satisfied after this one.

I had the Shrimp Burger, with butter lettuce, roma tomatoes, pickled red onions, Old Bay mayonnaise, on a sesame seed bun with rosemary fries on the side.

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Much like a crab cake sandwich, the Shrimp Burger was hearty, packed with shrimp, and a great summer sandwich option.

Jeffrey devoured the Lil Knock, the kids menu cheeseburger, in between rounds of Candy Land at the table.

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For summer fun, summer sippers, and summer seasonal menu items, you can’t go wrong with a trip (or two) to Punch Bowl Social!

***Disclosure: I received complimentary food items at my visit to Punch Bowl Social. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Engage Cleveland YP Week!

This week, Engage Cleveland has a jam-packed schedule of events to help YPs get engaged to Cleveland. YP Week features events from fitness to networking to lunch and learns to wine tastings.

On Sunday, I took in two events that illustrate the wide range of activities happening this week. I started my day at Play: CLE for an open gym.

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From climbing walls to ninja courses to zip lines, Play: CLE offers tons of adventurous fitness options.

The Engage Cleveland event let you explore everything Play: CLE has to offer, while meeting other YPs in a fun, interactive activity.

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Then I headed to Blossom Cleveland for a build-your-own-bouquet workshop.

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Blossom Cleveland’s Flower Bar specializes in local flowers. You can build your own bouquet with flowers and greens priced per stem, have one built for you, or host an event or celebration there.

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Again, the interactive nature of the event allowed you to not only check out a great local business, but build relationships with fellow attendees too.

We also enjoyed some decadent treats, including Engage Cleveland-branded Oreos, from Cake Bites & Other Delights (try the mocha cake bite).

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From belays to bouquets, there is something for every interest during YP Week. You can volunteer, network, work out, and eat and drink, all while exploring Cleveland and meeting new friends.

There are still plenty of great activities left in the week, so check out the schedule and get engaged to Cleveland!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Engage Cleveland YP Week. In exchange, I received complimentary registration to the events of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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