Why? Jumping Back Across the Pond in Cleveland!

By now you probably know that Playhouse Square Partners‘ annual Jump Back Ball fundraiser is British-themed: Jump Back Across the Pond.

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If you’re going to Jump Back Ball (or considering it), you’re probably thinking of ways to get in the British spirit. And while a trip across the pond might not be feasible, there are plenty of ways to get in the mood right here in Cleveland.

Have a spot of tea

Nothing is more British than a spot of tea, right? Whether it’s High Tea at the Ritz Carlton Cleveland or the Macaron Tea Room, mini sandwiches, scones, and Earl Grey will have you feeling like you’re in jolly old England in no time!

Visit a pub

Perhaps fish and chips washed down with a pint is more your style. If so, check out Griffin Cider House or Fox & Hound Bar & Grill for an English pub experience.

Celebrate the British music invasion

One of the biggest pop culture contributions from across the pond came in the form of music. View artifacts, listen to songs, and generally celebrate these artists at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Take a stroll through an English garden

Did you know that the British Cultural Garden is the first of Cleveland’s cultural gardens? Visit this lovely garden that celebrates Shakespeare to feel immersed in a proper British setting.

View British art

Just up the road from the British Cultural Garden, visit the Cleveland Museum of Art to appreciate the British artwork in the Museum’s collection.

Now that you’re properly in the spirit of Jolly Old England, it’s time to grab your Jump Back Ball tickets and us all that British knowledge and culture you’ve soaked up!

Tickets are currently on sale for $165 for general admission, $200 for VIP admission, and $75 for late night admission. Click here to compare levels and purchase tickets.

For now, cheerio! Hope to see you as we Jump Back Across the Pond!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary VIP tickets. I am also the Communications Co-Chair for Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Hudec Dental!

Selecting health care providers for your kids can be challenging. Not only do they need to feel comfortable with the person, but you as a parent need to feel comfortable too. Jeffrey just had his semi-annual dental appointment at Hudec Dental and we both left feeling so comfortable and happy!

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I set up Jeffrey’s appointment through the Patient Care and Support Center. They made working around school, swimming, and social schedules a breeze to get the appointment scheduled.

We went to the office located within Lutheran Hospital, which is definitely a unique location. Even Jeffrey commented on the idea of a dentists’ office inside of a doctors’ office.

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Jeffrey’s hygienist, Sandra Pierce, is also a mom and knew exactly how to connect with both Jeffrey and me. From suggesting Jeffrey open his mouth wide like a dinosaur to counting his teeth using the letters of the alphabet, Sandra’s methods made the appointment not only effective, but also fun.

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Sandra answered my questions about tooth care at home and also indulged me showing her pictures of Jeffrey riding the Hudec Dental zamboni.

After the cleaning, we saw Dr. Jez, who also quickly connected with Jeffrey through “J names” and talking about his first just-starting-to-get-loose tooth. Sidebar: this momma is NOT ready for that.

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He also reassured me that we kicked the pacifier habit in time to not do any lasting changes to his alignment. Hooray!

Jeffrey got a goodie bag of dental care items, plus a prize from the prize chest to take home. And we both got a good feeling knowing that not only are his teeth healthy, but he’s got a team of professionals who are both competent and kind helping him keep them that way.

***Disclosure: I have an ongoing partnership with Hudec Dental. Jeffrey received a complimentary cleaning and exam in exchange for this post. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? City Barbecue!

You know a restaurant is opening with some hype already going when, on media preview day, no fewer than 10 cars pulled in the lot hoping City Barbecue was already open. Spoiler alert: the Beachwood location opens to the public on Monday, January 21.

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The Beachwood restaurant will be the 46th location of City Barbecue, which started in Columbus, Ohio, and is now serving finger-lickin’ good barbecue across six states.

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City Barbecue’s mainstay is smoked meat. The Beachwood location has three smokers, which run constantly with hickory wood to smoke brisket, pork, and chicken to perfection.

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Seriously, you can smell the smoky wood in the parking lot and it just draws you in!

We got to sample some of all the meats the City Barbecue has to offer: beef brisket, pulled pork, turkey breast, chicken, St. Louis ribs, and sausage.

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It is almost impossible to pick a favorite, but for me the beef brisket and the ribs were tops. The ribs fell off the bone and had just the right amount of seasoning and sauce.

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Likewise, the beef brisket was incredibly tender and moist.

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It didn’t need sauce, although City Barbecue offers a variety of year-round and seasonal sauces from sweet to spicy. The Brushfire was my favorite of the sauces.

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We also got to try lots of City Barbecue’s delicious side dishes. Now, some of you know, I would make a meal on side dishes just about any day of the week.

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The mac & cheese, cornbread, corn pudding, and hush puppies are all not to be missed. But the standout for me was the baked beans with brisket. The sauce was so thick, it was almost like a gravy and the flavor was rich and smoky.

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Oh, and wash it all down with some lemonade!

City Barbecue has a fast casual atmosphere with food and service that are well above fast casual level. The team is invested in making both the food and the experience outstanding.

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City Barbecue is also invested in the local community. The company annually donates 10% of its profits to charity. Also, the Beachwood City Barbecue freezes and donates any surplus side dishes to the City Mission to help feed those in need right here in the Cleveland area.

The Beachwood City Barbecue location opens on Monday, January 21. You can dine in, carry out, or order catering. Check it out and enjoy some smoky, barbecued goodness!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media preview at City Barbecue with a guest, at which we received complimentary food and a swag bag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

This weekend, Matthew and Jeffrey traveled to Texas to celebrate Matthew’s grandma’s 90th birthday.

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Since we weren’t sure how I’d be feeling post-surgery, we decided I would skip this trip. And while I definitely missed seeing the family and celebrating Grandma and eating lots of brisket…oh, wait, I actually ate lots of brisket here (but more on that tomorrow)…

I did manage to scare up some fun around here, even with my best guys gone.

Disney on Ice

On Friday night, I took my dear friend Mariah and her son to see Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party.

Before the show, we got to attend an exclusive meet-and-greet with the main mouse himself (speaking of 90th birthdays)…

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…and enjoy a delicious fajita bar dinner catered by Aramark.

Then it was off to the show! What an amazing spectacle!

 

From the costumes to the acrobatics to the chance to see so many favorite characters, Disney on Ice really delivered on the magic and fun.

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I’m so glad I was able to enjoy the show with two of my favorite people and see the wonder and excitement that it brought!

Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party is in Cleveland through Sunday, January 20 at Quicken Loans Arena, with evening shows on Thursday, January 17 and Friday, January 18 and three shows a day on Satuday, January 19 and Sunday, January 20. You can purchase tickets online.

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Disney on Ice Presents Mickey’s Search Party. In exchange, I received three complimentary tickets, a meet-and-greet character dinner, and Disney on Ice swag. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Girls Night In

Saturday evening, I hosted a Girls Night In, because what else is a lady to do when she has the house entirely to herself?

We enjoyed lots of food and wine and girl talk, which was just good for my soul. You know when I only took one picture that it was a good night!

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Oh, and that is a gigantic bottle of rose, which I found at Heinen’s (and is actually quite good, not just impressively sized.)

One of the things I knew I had to have on my table (especially with a vegetarian and a vegan coming) was Mama Mary’s Hummus.

You may have heard of Mama Mary’s as the “gas station hummus,” which has garnered tons of local press attention and even a spot on Cleveland Magazine’s Best of Cleveland list.

I have to tell you, the hype is warranted. This is truly the best hummus I’ve ever tasted. For the party, I chose the traditional, roasted red pepper, and jalapeno. They were all fantastic! Mama Mary’s Hummus is now available at 7 different locations: click here to find the one near you!

Spa West

Another key component of a weekend of “me time” was spa time with my mom. We went to Spa West, which is truly such a lovely and relaxing environment.

From the welcome tea to the calming music to the cozy relaxation room, you immediately feel more zen just walking in.

I had a signature pedicure with a hot stone leg massage and not only do my toes look ready to return to my yoga mat, but my legs feel soft, smooth, and stress-free.

The next time you want to treat yourself or have a perfect girls day out, check out Spa West!

Stay tuned tomorrow for my BBQ-eating adventures, but for now, I’m off to get ready to welcome Matthew and Jeffrey home! What would you do with a weekend to yourself?

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Why? Perfectly Imperfect Produce!

There’s nothing I love more than when a person not only recognizes a problem, but comes up with an innovative solution. That’s exactly what Ashley Weingart did when she launched Perfectly Imperfect Produce.

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Ashley’s family has been in the produce business for four generations. Ashley saw that the industry had a lot of food waste due to buyers’ shifts in demand or desire for “perfection” in the product.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce rescues produce that would otherwise go to waste, but is perfectly good for consumption. The items are unique in size, shape, or color, as well as those considered surplus crops.

Not only does Perfectly Imperfect Produce help to reduce food waste, they also help improve access to healthy food. For every box purchased, a donation of produce is made to local food pantries through the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.

We got to hear about Perfectly Imperfect Produce’s mission, as well as taste some of their delicious produce last night at Prep Kitchen CLE, which is a gorgeous space that is available for rent for meetings, social gatherings, and the like.

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Aubrey of That’s What She Eats, who works with Perfectly Imperfect Produce to create recipes with their produce, created some delicious nibbles: sweet potato slices, roasted cauliflower, curry hummus, and butternut squash mac.

We also got to fill our own box of Perfectly Imperfect Produce, with items like apples, pears, ginger root, squash, and mango.

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You can get in on your own Perfectly Imperfect Produce box with various options, such as organic, all fruit, and all veggie. You can also pick your size and frequency of delivery. Yes, I said delivery. All this great produce is delivered right to your door! Click here to see your options and order.

Perfectly Imperfect Produce is available in Cleveland and Columbus. Rescue some produce and do something good for you, for the food industry, and for those in need!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Perfectly Imperfect Produce to attend a complimentary influencer event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Wild Kratts Live in Cleveland Giveaway!

The PBS Kids show Wild Kratts is a fun, popular, educational program that is coming to Cleveland with a live performance.

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The Wild Kratts Live! 2.0 Activate Creature Power is coming to Music Hall at Cleveland Public Auditorium on Saturday, May 11! Use Code WILD to get your tickets before they go on sale to the general public. Click here to purchase tickets.

Or you can enter to win 4 tickets to the show right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me who you’d take to see Wild Kratts LIVE!

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

3. Follow @PBSKids 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 see @PBSKids Wild Kratts LIVE! thanks to @WhyCLE #giveaway https://whycle.com/2019/01/09/why-wild-kratts-live-in-cleveland-giveaway 

You can tweet once per day for additional entries, just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

The giveaway will end on Saturday, January 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

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Why? United Way of Greater Cleveland Love Out Loud!

On Thursday, February 7, the United Way of Greater Cleveland will be kicking off its 2019 Community Campaign Fundraiser with an event called Love out Loud.

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The event is at Magnolia Night Club from 7-10pm. There will be a DJ, cash bar with 20% of profits benefitting United Way of Greater Cleveland, and a spoken word artist. Cost to enter is donation-based (give $1, $5, $20, whatever you can.)

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Love Out Loud will focus on those affected by displacement and its lasting impact on our communities. Displacement occurs when any household is forced to move from its residence by conditions which affect the dwelling or immediate surroundings, and which

  • Are beyond the household’s reasonable ability to control or prevent
  • Occur despite the household’s having met all previously imposed conditions of occupancy
  • Make continued occupancy by that household impossible, hazardous or affordable.

Displacement disproportionately affects mothers of single-family households, families of color, and children.

The United Way of Greater Cleveland is working to raise awareness of the problem of displacement. Their goals are to spread awareness about house evictions, housing insecurities and lead; encourage the community to imagine themselves in the “shoes” of those who are affected by it; and, ultimately, to come together to develop solutions.

Join the United Way of Greater Cleveland for Love Out Loud and help kick off the Community Campaign Fundraiser focusing on the important issue of displacement.

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Why? Weekends!

Hey guys! How was your weekend? Ours was a nice balance of time out and time at home, so let’s get right to it…

Michael Angelo’s Winery

On Friday night, I met up with my friends Anne and Kim at Michael Angelo’s Winery.

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The winery is huge and beautifully decorated, with lots of seating options from at the wine tasting bar to tables to cozy chairs and couches.

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I started with a wine flight, which let me sample four different wines. I chose the Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon.

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I really enjoyed all my selections, except for the Pinot Noir (which, admittedly, I don’t have as much experience with in general.)

We decided to share a couple appetizers: the crispy Brussel sprouts with maple aioli, mint, and lemon and the confit chicken wings with soy garlic sauce.

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Both were quite tasty! The pizzas coming out of the kitchen all looked amazing, too!

In addition to the food and wine, you can snag yourself some of Michael Angelo’s well-known bakery items, from bread to macarons to paczki. There is also a shop with coffee, candy, and bottles of wine for purchase.

The winery quickly filled up on Friday evening and is clearly deserves it’s new “hot spot” status with food, wine, and atmosphere that are all on point.

Yoga and Oils

Saturday morning, I went to an event that combined something I know really well (yoga) with something I don’t know as well (essential oils.)

Held at Borrow – Curated Rentals & Design, the event started with a presentation on doTERRA Essential Oils, with a sample of their Balance oil to take home.

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Then, Alicia led us through a Slow Flow and Yoga Nidra combination that left us feeling refreshed and intent on the year ahead.

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Alicia graciously let me just hang out in my own restorative poses in the back, but I was definitely able to reap the benefits of the relaxation and the chance to set a mantra for 2019.

Mine? “I am at ease.”

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Plus, Borrow was just a lovely environment for this event, with lots of beautiful lighting and vintage items all around. I want one of these swings at home, stat!

The Rest of the Weekend

We spent most of the rest of the weekend taking down the Christmas decorations. It was definitely time to do it, but I also just don’t like that job, except when it’s done.

Since we were all working so hard around the house, we needed some sustenance, so I made a winter time favorite: hatch chile and chorizo mac ‘n cheese.

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I use this recipe, but add in some loose chorizo that I brown and mix in. When you can get hatch chiles from Heinen’s next summer, grab as many as you can and freeze them. That way you can enjoy these smoky, spicy peppers all year!

We also went to a 10th birthday party for Iain, who Jeffrey calls “my big friend Iain.” Pizza, cake, and lots of chances to play made for a perfect Sunday Funday for these guys!

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So that was our weekend. Hope you enjoyed the very not-January-like weather!

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Why? Affogato Cat Café!

This week, Affogato Cat Café opened in Tremont. Jeffrey is obsessed with cats, so a visit to Affogato made it onto our 2019 Bucket List and was quickly accomplished.

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Affogato is co-owned by three young, entrepreneurial folks, two of whom are John Carroll alumnae. As you can imagine, I was excited to discover that bit of trivia!

There is a small (think: four tables) café area, with coffee house drinks and treats, all with fun cat-themed names. Jeffrey had a Meowcaron and I had a Café au Lay on My Keyboard.

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The café uses lots of local products, like Rising Star Coffee and Storehouse Tea.

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The café area has windows that look into the cat lounge. To enter the cat lounge, you need to make a reservation for a one-hour time frame. Weekday reservations are $10 per person, weekend reservations are $12, student reservations are $8, and a 10-hour day pass is $49. Children are welcome and those over 5 years old require a separate reservation.

Before you enter the cat lounge, you get a review of the cat lounge rules and then it’s kitty time.

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The cats in the lounge currently range in age from 8 months to 13 years, with all the different energy levels and personalities that go along with it.

Jeffrey’s favorite was Trish Panda, who enjoyed playing string toy games and even let Jeffrey pet her a bit.

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With the exception of Prince, the resident cat, all the cats in the lounge are adoptable through the Cleveland APL.

The cat lounge has everything from cozy places to curl up with a furry friend to desks to work. There are phone chargers, books, games, and cat toys…everything you need to make a visit fun, productive, relaxing, or whatever else you might be seeking.

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I’m seriously wishing I saved my papasan chair from college after seeing how much Jeffrey liked this one!

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I am a confirmed dog person, but I did find the residents and the concept of Affogato Cat Café to be really sweet. Adoptable animals always have a special place in my heart Affogato provides a great way to find a new adoptable pet or just have some cozy kitty time. Jeffrey certainly loved it, if his individual goodbyes to each cat are any indication.

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Affogato is now open Wednesday through Sunday from 11am-9pm. Remember, if you want to visit with the kitties, you need to make a reservation online.

 

Why? 2019 Blog Bucket List!

Hey there, 2019! I’ve been thinking about this new year from a blog perspective in terms of where I’d like to go that I haven’t been.

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So, here’s my current 2019 places-to-go bucket list:

1.Il Rione Pizzeria – How have I not been to this place yet?! I’m pretty sure I could house one of those pizza solo.

2. Flight Cleveland – While I’m in the neighborhood for Il Rione, obvs. I like my Bucket Lists to be efficient.

3. Affogato Cat Café – OK, this is on Jeffrey’s bucket list. And we’re going today. So I mostly like just being able to already check something off.

4. Marble Room Steak and Raw Bar – See my reasoning for #1. How have I not been here yet?!

5. The Georgia O’Keefe: Living Modern exhibition at the Cleveland Museum of Art – Georgia O’Keefe is a sorority sister of mine. And I’ve heard the exhibition is a stunner.

6. More general day trip/small trip exploration. Jeffrey is getting to be a great road trip buddy. We’ve had a blast on our Columbus drives. Currently on my list to get to: Toledo, Pittsburgh, Amish Country, and Cincinnati.

7. Nell and Rose – This just looks like a great place to shop!

8. The Van Aken District – In the same vein, I want to get some more local boutique shopping on at this new spot.

9. The Lake Erie Bluffs in the Lake Metroparks – Spectacular views of our Great Lake? What’s not to love?!

10. The Tremont Greek Fest – I live for summer fairs and festivals and this is somehow one I’ve never been to. Is it less crazy than Taste of Tremont?

What’s on your 2019 bucket list?

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