Why? Weekends!

It was a fabulous and sparkly birthday weekend, filled with my favorite people and favorite things!

On Friday, I tried a new-to-me yoga studio, Yoga Roots. I’m always a little nervous checking out a new studio, but considering that Yoga Roots had Alicia‘s stamp of approval, I figured I’d be perfectly happy there. And I was! From the challenging flow to the heated floor (how brilliant) to the awesome playlist, it was a great class!

Also on Friday, we attended a homecoming festival at Jeffrey’s school. There were food trucks (I loved my dinner from the Barrio truck) and music and plenty of fun to be had! It’s a great tradition and I love getting Jeffrey involved with his school!


Saturday evening, Matthew threw me a birthday party at Punch Bowl Social. This was a great place to meet up, with lots of things to see and do. From bowling to karaoke to tons of sports to watch to tasty food and drinks, there was something for everyone!

Our attentive server helped make sure we had plenty of tables and that we didn’t run out of libations and munchies (the chips and dip are so delish). And the fun, relaxed atmosphere made everyone feel comfortable!

I loved what a wide cross-section of my life was represented at the party, from someone I’ve known since kindergarten to friends I’ve met through activities with Jeffrey.


I am so honored that everyone spent their Saturday evening with me and am ridiculously touched by the sweet presents and notes too! As cliché as it sounds, having such great friends is the best birthday present a girl could ask for!

Sunday started with two of my favorite things: yoga and shopping! I went to my home studio, Harmony Yoga, for a great flow (that happened to be free with my birthday coupon)! When I left the studio, the Wandering Wardrobe truck was parked nearby and so I couldn’t resist stopping in and picking up a cute sweater and dress for my fall wardrobe. I always go a bit out of my comfort zone with their clothes and I never regret it!

Then we had dinner at my parents house, where my mom made my long-time favorite meal: roast beef with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and carrots. I love fancy food, but nothing beats the comfort food standards! It was lovely to have time with family and have Jeffrey sing Happy Birthday to me!


I couldn’t have asked for a sparklier, more fun weekend! How was yours?



Why? Things I’ve Learned this Last Year (or so)!

So, this birthday, I’m feeling much more reflective on the year that’s come before than I usually am. Typically, I’m all about what’s next, but I thought I’d take a minute to reflect on what’s come before.

Here are a couple nuggets that I’ve learned over this last year (or so). Hopefully I’ll carry them with me into the year that is to come…

I actually like myself! Somehow, my assessment of my self esteem stalled out around junior high (when I definitely did not like myself). I steadily grew in confidence and independence, but I would still say that I didn’t like myself all that much. Maybe I was confusing humility (which I think is a good quality in measure) with not liking myself. But either way, over the last year or so, I’ve accepted the fact that I do think I’m a pretty good person (with the confidence to wear glitter booties in public.) I screw up for sure. But on balance, I like who I see in the mirror.

I can filter myself and still be authenticThis is a tough one. What you see on the blog, Insta, Twitter, Facebook isn’t the whole picture. And I think you know that. But that doesn’t mean that the slice I show there isn’t real, authentic me. I struggled with feeling like maybe I was putting on a face that wasn’t genuine. But I’ve learned the balance between sharing pieces that are surely real and still keeping things for myself.

Friendships are a great challenge with great rewards. Similar to leaving my self esteem assessment in junior high, I thought I left friendship challenges there too. But in every stage of life, as we navigate new experiences, we make and break friendships and it is a challenging thing to handle. Why do some friendships fall away? What makes others stick? How can I be for someone the friend they actually need me to be and not just the friend I think they need me to be? I have absolutely no answers other than to say that acknowledging the challenge and the process has been it’s own reward. When you stop expecting it to be easy, but know that the process has a great reward and that not everyone is going to fit as a friend, you are more able to participate in the process.

My capacity for love is greater than I ever could have imagined. I discover this daily with Jeffrey. He has made my heart more open not just to him, but to everyone in my life. I have no intention of being a self-congratulatory mom, but I do know that my love for my son exceeds where I thought my capabilities ended.

No age, whatever the number, is all that scary when you’re happy with your life. The other night, I had a dream where I told someone from my past that, among other things, I am genuinely happy with my life. And I knew that deep down for a long time. But somehow it was time for me to really know it. Live it. Say it. Daily. Joyously. Into the next year with head held high and a world of possibilities in front of me.

Cheers to a great year past and a great one ahead!


Why? Favorite Fall Fests!

It’s unofficially my FAVORITE season (sorry for being basic). I adore fall and last year, Jeffrey and I fall fested all over the place, so I thought I’d share some of our collective wisdom on the places that are fun, festive, and fritterlicious. Hopefully this gives you some fun options for fall festivities!

Patterson Fruit Farm Fun Fest

Dates: September 17-October 30

Location: Patterson Fruit Farm, 8765 Mulberry Road in Chesterland

What: Hay stacks, tractors, corn maze, wagon ride, and all manner of apple goodness

Pro tip: Go on a weekday if you can. Weekends reach 10+ level of craziness.

Admission: $5 weekdays, $8 weekends for all over 2 years of age


Maize Valley Fall Fun

Dates: September 10-October 30

Location: Maize Valley Winery, 6193 Edison Street NE in Hartville

What: Wagon rides, a pumpkin cannon, corn maze, animal train ride, various animal races, plus a winery

Pro tip: Do your winery tasting before heading out to the corn maze for a real challenge!

Admission: $10 for all over 2 years of age


Ohio City Street Festival

Date: Sunday, September 25, 11am-7pm

Location: West 25th Street between Lorain Avenue and Bridge Avenue

What: Arts programming, the Ohio City Farm Stand and tours, live music, a Kids Zone, food and merchandise vendors, yoga, giant board games

Pro tip: Go to this. That is all.

Admission: Free


Hiram House Camp Pumpkin Festival

Date: Sunday, October 9, 10am-5pm

Location: Hiram House Camp, 33775 Hiram Trail in Chagrin Falls

What: Bounce house, hay maze, pony rides, food, crafts, Euclid Beach Rocket Car

Pro tip: You have to park at Orange High School. And the festival is spread over a massive area, so wear your walking shoes.

Admission: $5 for all over 12 years of age

The Great Pumpkin Fest at Halloweekends

Date: Saturday and Sundays through October 30 from 11am-7pm

Location: Cedar Point, 1 Cedar Point Drive in Sandusky

What: Trick or treating in the kids area, fun house, foam pit, Peanuts characters, live shows

Pro tip: This is worth the drive. It lets the kids have one last taste of an amusement park mixed with fall fun.

Admission: Cost varies based on age/height

Those were some of our favorites from last year, but I also have the Mapleside Farms fall festivals on my radar. Which fall festivals are your favorite? No matter where you celebrate, get out and enjoy the lovely weather and pumpkin and apple goodness of the season!


Why? Pope’s Cocktail Syrups!

You know I love to promote shopping (and eating and drinking) local, especially when one of my talented friends is behind the local product. So, I was so excited to try out the line of Pope’s cocktail syrups.


Clark is a good friend from Playhouse Square Partners and I’ve always enjoyed his handcrafted food products, from the Bloody Mary Mix to the Burning River Hot Sauce.

Matthew and I experimented with the Mint, Orange Habanero, Lavender Lemon, Grenadine, and Orange Vanilla cocktail syrups. At first, we mainly stuck to the suggested recipes on the labels. I enjoyed the Lavender Lemon gin daisy, with gin, tonic water, Lavender Lemon syrup, and Grenadine. I wanted some more flavor, so I doubled the amounts of Lavender Lemon and Grenadine.

The Adult Creamsicle, with Orange Vanilla syrup, vodka, and soda is deliciously like that favorite ice cream treat! And Matthew really liked the Orange Habanero syrup with bourbon.

We did get a bit creative, t00. I paired a teaspoon of the Lavender Lemon syrup with a teaspoon of honey and a glass of prosecco. Sweet and delicious!

And Matthew tried a new drink with the Lavender Lemon syrup, too. He took 2 ounces of citrus vodka, muddled with rosemary, then added 1 ounce of Lavender Lemon syrup and .5 ounces of lemon juice. You could also top this with tonic water for some fizz.


I also liked the Orange Habanero syrup mixed with tequila for a spicy and sweet compliment to Mexican food.

Pope’s cocktail syrups are a great addition to our bar. They are locally made with natural ingredients and a great deal of care. You’re not only getting a high quality product, but supporting a great local entrepreneur!

Currently, the Lavender Lemon, Mint, and Grenadine syrups are available online, but look for the other syrups to be available soon. You can also find Pope’s products at the new Legacy Village Merchant’s Market.

From now until October 31, when you use code whycle in the coupon code box at check out, you’ll save 10% on any Pope’s products purchased online. Enjoy their whole line of tasty treats and tell ’em I sent you!

***Disclosure: I was asked to try the line of Pope’s cocktail syrups and received complimentary samples. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a relatively quiet weekend around these parts, which was really nice! It gave us time to enjoy the beautiful weather and recharge our batteries a bit.

Friday evening, Matthew and I attended a gala at John Carroll University to celebrate the close of the Forever Carroll Campaign, a tremendously successful campaign that raised over $104 million for the university.


Held on campus, the gala took place in a large tent on the main quad, which of course provided a great location for photos!


The dinner was catered by Aramark and I have to say I was surprised at how spot-on the food was. We enjoyed appetizers ranging from caprese skewers to mini shrimp and grits, dinner of filet and scallops with rosemary risotto, and dessert of chocolate torte and key lime cheesecake.


We also enjoyed live music from the Tom Fries Orchestra. But beyond the food and music and great company, the gala was a wonderful chance to celebrate what John Carroll means to alumni and what the successful Forever Carroll campaign will mean to the future of the university we love.

On Saturday, I spent the morning getting a little fall makeover at Illusion Unlimited. I’ve gone to the salon forever and love being able to just show my stylist a picture and have my hair turn out exactly like I want. And this was the result:


It’s a big change but I really love it! As you can tell from the picture, I took myself for a little treat at Lilly Handmade Chocolates afterwards. I love their selection of candies, as well as the great craft beer selection for pairing.


I got a mixed box of six chocolates. Matthew and I agreed that our favorite was the Red Planet, with red wine and strawberry ganache topped with raspberry powder in dark chocolate. But I also loved the very fall-like Mandy Apple Truffle with apple cider caramel with ginger and cinnamon in milk chocolate. This one is only available through October, so get on it!

On Sunday, we took Jeffrey to a family picnic at his school. It was a great way for families to get to know each other and for the kids to have even more positive associations with the school. There was an ice cream truck on hand, with classic treats to enjoy.


The weather was perfect for the picnic and we all had a wonderful time!

So, that was our quiet little weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I am the president of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter and was invited to attend the Forever Carroll Gala because of my involvement with the chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Children’s Hunger Alliance Come out to Play!

Last night, Matthew and I got to relive a bit of our childhood mixed with some adulthood in a room filled with gigantic board games, delicious food, a DJ, and adult beverages. The Children’s Hunger Alliance Come Out to Play fundraiser combined all these things into a relaxed and playful evening at SmArt Space at 78th Street Studios (with some cool and quirky art to enjoy too).



We kicked off the evening by receiving a game passport and collecting stamps as we played various games scattered around the room. There was Operation…


…Connect 4, Jenga, cornhole…


…checkers and Kerplunk!


We also loved the free play on the pinball machines!

Mixed in between the playing, we nibbled passed appetizers like caprese skewers, mini sliders, prosciutto-wrapped asparagus, and cocktail shrimp and enjoyed a mashed potato bar (my second favorite kind of bar), all provided by A Taste of Excellence.

There were also kid-like desserts with a grown-up twist, like hazelnut liquor “dirt cups,” PB&J cookies, and Fruity Pebbles treats.

We bid on auction items, as well as took home a nice bottle of wine from the wine pull, all to benefit Children’s Hunger Alliance.


Children’s Hunger Alliance helps to provide food, nutrition education, and physical activity programs to the 1 in 4 children across the state who are food insecure. Their local office in Cleveland works directly with Cleveland schools and care programs to impact those who need it most.

The thought of any child waking up not knowing if they’ll have a healthy breakfast that morning just breaks my heart. We are so fortunate to be able to provide for Jeffrey in that way. I feel like we also have an obligation to help out organizations like Children’s Hunger Alliance where we can, too!

The theory behind Come Out to Play was to make you feel like a kid again so that you not only had a fun evening, but could better empathize with children who should worry about if Jenga is going to fall over and not if they’re going to have dinner that night. The event accomplished both goals and was both a fun and impactful evening out!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Children’s Hunger Alliance to help promote Come Out to Play. In exchange, I received two complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Emily Roggenburk Photography Giveaway!

For a self-proclaimed Cleveland-o-phile, I don’t have a ton of Cleveland swag displayed in our house. So when Emily Roggenburk reached out and I saw her gorgeous Cleveland photos, I knew that had to change.

Emily offers an incredible selection of Cleveland pictures, but the ones that really struck me were her aerial shots from the Cavs Championship Parade. Emily rented a helicopter and flew over the parade with former Ohio State player and NFL star Dustin Fox. You can read more about their adventure here.

The photos from that day are awesome and truly capture the incredible spirit of the day. My favorite (after much debate) is “Witnesses.” You can see here how we styled it in our home with other Cleveland artwork and books, as well as some Cavs memorabilia.


I can’t decide if I like it this way (above) or this way (below) better…


I keep changing it and driving Matthew crazy! What do you think?

So you can spruce up your own home with some beautiful pictures, Emily was gracious enough to offer a discount code, which will save you 50% on any of her photos ordered from her website. Just enter code WHYCLE at check-out to claim your discount.

And you also have the chance to enter to win the “Witnesses” photo in the 16×20 print size (a $149 value) from Emily’s Cleveland Championship collection! 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 memory from the Cavs championship.

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

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

4. Follow @emilyroggenburk 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 win a @Cavs championship picture thanks to @emilyroggenburk and @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/09/08/why-emily-roggenburk-photography-giveaway #giveaway #allincle

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 12 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Emily Roggenburk Photography to help promote the Cleveland Championship photos. In exchange, I received a photo of my choice to style in my home, as well as a photo to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Rollin’ on the River Giveaway!

On Friday, October 7, there will be two casinos in downtown Cleveland and one of them will benefit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. Rollin’ on the River is a trip back to the Rat Pack days of Vegas and offers a chance to swing, sip, and gamble with over 500 of Cleveland’s young professionals.

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The 10th annual Rollin’ on the River will take over the Westin Cleveland Downtown with casino games, live entertainment, food, drink, and auction prizes. Attendees can also take advantage of discounted parking and overnight accommodation rates at the Westin.

The goal of Rollin’ on the River is to raise $100,000 for The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. The mission of this organization is to reduce hunger in our community by providing food and links to other vital services to hungry people, particularly children and families.

Tickets for Rollin’ on the River are currently on sale for $75 for general admission and $100 for VIP admission (which includes early entrance and expanded food and drink options). You can purchase tickets online. And buy soon…prices increase on September 23!

Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets to Rollin’ on the River 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 casino-style game.

2. Visit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @hungernetworkgc 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 be Rollin’ on the River with @hungernetworkgc and @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2016/09/07/why-rollin-on-the-river-giveaway #giveaway #rotr2016

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, September 11 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland to help promote Rollin’ on the River. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary general admission tickets for myself and two general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a fabulous unofficial end to summer, with so many ways to get out and enjoy the long weekend! On Friday afternoon, Jeffrey and I met up with friends Tracy and Nina for our second annual outing to the Geauga County Fair. From rides to animals to yummy fair food, this is a great fair with tons to do!

On Saturday morning, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I went to check out the new Perkins Wildlife and Woods Garden Center at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.


The space is beautiful, with ramps that weave through the animal exhibits and some great views of University Circle. Jeffrey loved running on all the ramps!



What’s really amazing is that the new Wildlife Center utilizes the same amount of space as the old one, but feels so much bigger!


Jeffrey loved the slide near the otters, where he could pretend to be one himself, as well as the owls, porcupine, and the cranes (he has perfected his crane call, I’m told from a museum staff member who would know).


We also had a chance to check out the new Our Global Kitchen exhibit about how food and cooking techniques shaped cultures across the world. It’s a really neat exhibit, with a tasting kitchen presented by Whole Foods and a children’s kitchen presented by Step 2, as well.


You can visit Our Global Kitchen through Sunday, January 8 and the Perkins Wildlife Center every day from here on out at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History.

On Sunday, I met up with Alicia, Amanda, and Kimberly for a belated birthday brunch for Amanda. We went to The Flying Fig and all agreed we wanted everything on the menu. I started my meal with the Creamsicle cocktail, which somehow tastes just like a Creamsicle, but isn’t creamy.


So refreshing! And I loved the chunky sugar rim!

For my entree, I chose the corn and andouille hotcakes, with poached egg, white cheddar, and breakfast potatoes.


These were so moist and flavorful! I will be having some serious brunch cravings for these hotcakes! And we all took home some treats to go from Brewnuts and Cleveland Bagel Company. What a perfect morning of great food and some of my favorite ladies!

Later that day, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I had an all-American afternoon of taking in both the Cleveland National Air Show and a Cleveland Indians game. We found a great spot on the roof of the Playhouse Square parking deck (I might have had a head’s up that this was perfect spot).


We saw the U.S. Navy Blue Angels show and Jeffrey loved watching the planes. And in perhaps the sweetest thing ever, Jeffrey wanted to share his blue lollipop with the Blue Angels (as you can see above). I can remember watching the Cleveland National Air Show growing up, so it was great to start to share that experience with Jeffrey!

From there, it was off to watch the Indians take on the Miami Marlins. Much like our previous game with Jeffrey, we spent most of our time in the Kids Clubhouse.


While this is such a great option to keep kids entertained during the game, this visit was definitely crowded and chaotic (which really seemed noticeable only to the adults). But we also made sure to take in some of the game, too, and get a picture with Slider’s likeness.


After all that busy-ness, we spent a much-needed day at home on Monday, with some yoga for me at Harmony Studios, some yard work for Matthew, and plenty of playing for Jeffrey. What a great end to the summer, with so much wonderful family time!

How was your weekend? Did you send out the summer in style?


Why? YP Events!

Over the last two days, I’ve had a chance to attend two great young professionals events that just reinforce what an active and engaged YP community we have in Cleveland!

On Wednesday night, I attended the Playhouse Square Partners BBQ With a View. Held on the roof of the Playhouse Square parking deck, this event offered great BBQ food, beautiful lake and city views (complete with some fly-bys from the Air Show), and the chance to find out more about the Playhouse Square Partners organization and committees.


We also had some tasty libations from Pope’s Kitchen (Clark is a Partners member!) and Mancan Wine in a Can (a Cleveland company with a legit wine product).

And there was the reveal of the theme for Jump Back Ball, happening February 25, 2017. This year’s theme is Roaring Back to the 20’s, with plenty of glitz, glam, gangsters, and Gatsbys.


Tickets for this fabulous party go on sale on October 24 and are sure to sell out fast!

If you missed the BBQ or if you were there and can’t wait for the next chance to hang out with some cool Playhouse Square Partners like myself, here are a few upcoming events that are open to all:

I hope to see you at a Partners event soon! Not only do we have a great time, but we do great work benefiting the Playhouse Square Foundation!

And last night, I attended a scavenger hunt through the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo with the Cleveland Zoological Society’s Ambassadors’ Circle. Joined by Alicia, Amanda, and Scott, the “Flaming-GALS” team scavenged through the Zoo, answering questions and posing for fun photo opps.

What was so cool about the scavenger hunt was that it made you find places in the Zoo that you might not always stop to see and, in the process, you learned more about the animals and the place they call home in Cleveland.

Plus, seeing the giraffes come in for the night with the sunset behind them was pretty sweet, too!


This was the first scavenger hunt put on by the Ambassadors’ Circle, but I hope it won’t be the last. From creative team names like “Tequila Mockingbird” and “The ScAvengers” to interesting questions to silly photos (oh, and appetizers and beer and wine and great raffle prizes), this event was a winner!

The Cleveland Zoological Society’s Ambassadors’ Circle has some upcoming events exclusively for members of Ambassadors’ Circle:

  • YP Meeting on Thursday, October 6
  • Volunteer opportunities for Boo at the Zoo on October 20-22 and 27-29
  • Zoo History Tour on Wednesday, November 9
  • ZooKeepers’ Circle Reception on Wednesday, November 16

Whether you’re passionate about the arts, animals, meeting new people, or benefitting great Cleveland institutions (or all of the above), Partners and Ambassadors’ Circle offer two great ways to get involved and, I can say with authority, have a lot of fun, too!

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. And I was invited to attend the Ambassador’s Circle scavenger hunt with complimentary admission for me and a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***