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

Hors d’Oeuvre. Appetizer. Finger food. Nibble. Whatever you call ’em, I love ’em. I could make a meal out of hors d’oeuvres. I love the talent and creativity of packing an entree’s worth of flavor into a bite.

Which is why Cleveland’s Finest Hors d’Oeuvre Contest to benefit Our Lady of the Wayside has become one of the events that I eagerly anticipate. This event creates a friendly chef competition between some of Cleveland’s best restaurants for who will be crowned as having the Finest Hors d’Oeuvre, as voted by attendees.

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This year’s contest takes place at Terrace Club at Progressive Field on Thursday, February 16. Participating restaurants include Tartine Bistro, Zack Bruell Restaurant Group, The Driftwood Group, Merchant Street, Carrie Cerino’s, Momocho, Aurora Inn, and more.

Plus, there will be desserts from Cupcake Cravings, wine and beer samples, live music, hosts Tim Richards, Jen Toohey, and Desiray Cross from Star 102, and lots more fun!

Tickets are $80 and all proceeds benefit Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of supporting children and adults with developmental disabilities through a wide range of services from transportation to housing to employment. This year marks Our Lady of the Wayside’s 50th anniversary and there has never been a better time to support this amazing organization!

Tickets are available online or you can head over to my Instagram page at @whycle for details on how to enter to win two tickets to the event!

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

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Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend in the CLE! To balance out a packed schedule on Saturday and Sunday, we stayed in on Friday evening. I tried out a new recipe: chipotle chicken stuffed brown sugar acorn squash.

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If that sounds like there was a lot going on, there was, but it was so good! Definitely an interesting and spicy twist on baked chicken and squash!

On Saturday, we had Matthew’s company holiday party. I like that they schedule the party in January, when some of the busy-ness has died down. This year’s soiree was held at The Arcade, which made the perfect twinkly venue for a belated holiday celebration.

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From a buffet of tasty food to a DJ to a chance to win some great raffle prizes, the company put on a really nice evening. I always enjoy the chance to put faces with names that I hear from Matthew, too! We had a lovely time in certainly one of Cleveland’s loveliest venues!

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On Sunday, we met up with friends Robin and Aaron for dinner and a show at Playhouse Square. We started with dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. While there are a plethora of options near Playhouse Square, Cowell & Hubbard is one of my favorites!

Through January 31, all of Zack Bruell’s restaurants are offering Restaurant Week, featuring 3-course, $33 meals (you can also add wine pairings for an additional $15). While you can still order from the regular menu, the Restaurant Week menu provides a cost-effective way to try appetizer, entrée, and dessert.

Matthew ordered from the Restaurant Week menu and selected the Mediterranean salad, the pasta du jour (with an anise cream sauce and roasted vegetables), and the chocolate pot de crème.

That’s a lot of bang for 33 bucks! I ordered from the full menu, because Cowell & Hubbard has duck paprikash and OMG, I needed that in my life.

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The duck was smoky and tender, the olive spaetzle added a nice saltiness, and the sauce was light and flavorful. What a delicious dish!

And of course I can’t pass up dessert. The chocolate hazelnut torte was a decadent treat!

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Robin and Aaron enjoyed a burger and pizza, respectively. Cowell & Hubbard offers a wide range of menu options, so that everyone can find the perfect pre-theater meal.

From there, it was off to see “Into the Woods.” The Fiasco Theater Company presented a stripped-down, almost improv style version of this Sondheim classic musical.

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I was impressed with the talent, humor, and wide range of abilities of the actors, who not only played multiple characters, but all the instruments in the show as well.

“Into the Woods” runs through Sunday, January 29 at the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square and tickets are still available. For a unique look at fairy tales (and Sondheim, for that matter), check it out!

So, that was our weekend. Lots of time in downtown CLE, which I always love! How was yours?

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Why? Bar 145 Avon!

Sometimes when I get invited to blog-related events, it takes some convincing to get Matthew to come with me. But when I told him we got invited to a burger and bourbon tasting, there was no hesitation!

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So, we headed out to Bar 145 Avon for an evening of great gastro pub food and a couple unique bourbons. Bar 145 specializes in “Burgers, Bands, and Bourbon,” and I have to agree on the two out of three we got to try.

We started with orders of two of Bar 145’s most popular appetizers: the warm baked pretzel bites and fried cheese curds.

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I could have devoured the whole plate of either of these appetizers. And the cheese fondue with the pretzel bites was smooth, creamy, and delicious!

We got to sample three different types of burgers: the Americana, the Balsamic Bleu, and the Cry Baby (an off-menu special available until mid-February).

The Americana is a classic cheeseburger, with American cheese, lettuce, sliced tomato, onion, pickle, and mayo, served on toasted brioche. The Balsamic Bleu features Stella bleu cheese, balsamic glaze, arugula, and shaved carrots on a toasted pretzel roll. And the Cry Baby features cajun mayo, onion straws, and cheese on an onion roll.

All of the burgers were perfectly cooked! The name of the restaurant actually comes from the temperature of a perfectly-cooked medium rare burger. Bar 145 focuses on sourcing local, fresh products and creates an exceptional burger. From the classic Americana to the inventive Cry Baby, there’s something for everyone. And the truffle fries…mmmm…

And if you’re feeling creative yourself, Bar 145 offers Stack Your Own, which allows you to select everything from the type of patty to the bun to the toppings to create your perfect original burger.

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But we were there for more than just awesome burgers. General Manager Gerard Stefan knows his bourbon and took us through tastings of both Jack Daniels Single Barrel and Blanton’s Single Barrel. I will confess that I’m not a bourbon drinker, especially straight, but Matthew is and enjoyed both of these new-to-him bourbons.

Bar 145’s tagline is “Red Chucks, White China.” The restaurant blends great food with a casual, fun atmosphere. They also bring in DJs and local cover bands every weekend so you can dance off those truffle fries. Tricky Dick is playing there on Friday, January 20 and Old Skool will be performing on Saturday, January 21.

So, for a great burger, some unique bourbon, and a fun time, check out Bar 145!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the burger and bourbon tasting event at Bar 145 with a guest. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? #ClevelandGoesRed!

As February approaches, the American Heart Association is gearing up for Go Red for Women, a month of raising awareness of heart disease in women. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.

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This is a cause that’s been dear to me for awhile. In 2007, my mom was diagnosed with Prinzmetal’s angina. She has been under the care of a cardiologist and her symptoms are controlled. But her diagnosis served as a wake-up call of both the prevalence of heart disease in women and the need to do what we can to keep our hearts healthy.

The American Heart Association offers a lot of healthy living tips, from physical activity to stress management to healthy eating. The “6 Simple Steps for Your Whole Family to be Heart Healthy” has become an easy touchstone for me to make sure we’re staying on track.

I think we do a great job at making time for physical activity, both as a family and individually. Jeffrey is a really active kid and it’s easy to find ways from SkyZone to Playground World that he can get in plenty of exercise (and we can sneak some in too).

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Matthew is a member of the YMCA of Greater Cleveland and I practice yoga daily, either at a studio or at home (or on East 4th Street), which helps with stress management too.

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We also do a good job with cooking healthy. We’ve been a member of Fresh Fork Market for five years now, which provides us with fresh vegetables and fruits to incorporate into our meals. Their weekly emails with what you’re getting in your bag make meal planning easy, too!

We could definitely use some work on simplifying our schedule, though! Which is why I like the “take baby steps, not giant leaps” reminder in the 6 steps.

I try to involve not just Matthew and Jeffrey, but my parents in these simple steps too. My mom and I met up last week to cook an easy, healthy lunch together from the Go Red for Women cookbook.

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We made Chinese Flank Steak and it was really delicious! Packed with veggies and lean meat, this was a great choice and a nice reminder that eating healthy can be tasty too.

Plus, I’m pretty sure cooking and having lunch with my mom accomplishes the stress management goal too! That lady is good for my heart!

So, how can you get involved with Go Red for Women? Well, first of all, wear red on Friday, February 3, which is National Wear Red Day. This easy and stylish choice helps raise awareness of heart disease and the efforts to fight against heart attacks and strokes in women.

You can also attend the 2017 Go Red for Women Health Expo & Luncheon on Friday, February 10 at the Cleveland Convention Center.

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At the luncheon, you’ll have the opportunity to browse the informative expo, with information and give-aways; participate in health screenings; bid on silent auction items; and enjoy a healthy lunch along with inspirational stories about how heart disease has impacted real women.

Tickets for the luncheon are $250 and proceeds benefit local projects focused on research, education, and advocacy. You can purchase tickets online. Or you can enter to win two tickets to the Go Red for Women Health Expo & Luncheon 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 which of the 6 Simple Steps for Your Whole Family to be Heart Healthy you most want to focus on in 2017.

2. Visit the Cleveland American Heart Association and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

4. Follow @ClevelandAHA 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 there when #ClevelandGoesRed! Thanks to @ClevelandAHA and @WhyCLE:  https://whycle.com/2017/01/12/why-clevelandgoesred #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 Friday, January 27 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

Want Even More Red?! Read the articles from other local bloggers below!
Learn about Protecting Your Heart with Shibani from She In The Cle
Add hints of red hues to your interior design with Danielle Harper DeBoe
Show some love for heart healthy tacos with Reena Goodwin
Strike a yoga pose with Alicia Hansen

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland American Heart Association to help promote Go Red for Women. In exchange, I received a swag bag and one complimentary ticket to the Go Red for Women Expo and Luncheon for myself, as well as two tickets to the Expo & Luncheon to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Red & White on Thursday Night Giveaway!

Did you make a New Year’s resolution to get out more? Or maybe to try a new restaurant or two? Then I’ve got the event for you: the 20th Anniversary Red & White on Thursday Night to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio.

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Happening Thursday, January 26 at Quaker Station at the University of Akron, this event brings together some of the Akron area’s finest restaurants with wine samples, silent auctions, and an exclusive VIP lounge for a evening filled with fun and philanthropy.

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You will get to enjoy both savory and sweet small bites from Bistro on Main, BOMBA Tacos and Rum, Saffron Patch in the Valley, The Twisted Olive, Nuevo Modern Mexican and Tequila Bar, Chocolates by Erin, and more.

VIP guests will enjoy music from local artist Angie Haze while sampling exclusive tastings from Chef Dante Boccuzzi, sweet treats from The West Side Bakery, high-end wines offered by Wine Trends and other surprises, as well as access to all the general admission food and drink.

Plus, all the proceeds from the event benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio, which is working to help the over 2.6 million people in Ohio living with arthritis.

Tickets are $85 for general admission and $125 for VIP admission. If still available, ticket prices will increase by $10 at the door. Tickets are available online.

Or you can enter to win 2 general admission tickets to Red & White on Thursday Night right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment here telling me from which you’re most excited to sample food.

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

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

4. Follow @ArthritisFDN 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 attend #akronredwhite thanks to @ArthritisFDN and @WhyCLE: https://whycle.com/2017/01/06/why-red-white-on-thursday-night-giveaway-2 #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 Sunday, January 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation, Northeastern Ohio to help promote Red & White on Thursday Night. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary VIP tickets for myself and two general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

Baby, it’s cold outside! So we tried to keep ourselves moving this weekend to stay warm! On Saturday, I attended a Balance & Brews event called Danijela Day. Danijela is a yoga teacher who was recently diagnosed with leukemia. The Balance & Brews community came together on Saturday morning to practice and raise a toast and some funds to help support her treatment.

The event was held at the gorgeous BurkleHagen Studios, which were generously donated for the practice. BurkleHagen specializes in food photography and their studio space is modern, impeccably decorated, and boasts one heck of a view!

Led by Danijela’s good friend, Erika, the practice was sweaty and spirited and a good balance of serious and light. Afterwards, we all enjoyed beers donated by Jackie O’s Brewery and FaceTimed with Danijela, who is currently receiving treatment.

It was a meaningful and inspiring morning and a good reminder that yoga is about so much more than just the physical practice!

While I was at Balance & Brews, Matthew took Jeffrey to Build-A-Bear Workshop because the two of them are actually trying to make my heart completely melt.

Jeffrey has a new teddy bear (with a Cleveland Indians sweatshirt no less) and he and Matthew made some sweet memories too!

Saturday evening, we went out to dinner at Tres Potrillos because I was craving some margaritas and eating my body weight in chips and salsa. I ordered the nachos del mar, with scallops, shrimp, crab, cheese sauce, and pico de gallo.

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I was impressed at both the quantity and quality of seafood on the nachos! Matthew ordered the carnitas tapatias and the pork was tender and flavorful. Jeffrey is really into the “Dragons Love Tacos” book, so he had a beef taco.

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You’re never to young to learn how to try to keep taco filling in the shell! And we three-way split the fried ice cream for dessert.

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We really enjoyed our meal! The food was great and the restaurant was perfect for the whole family.

We didn’t have much planned for Sunday other than getting things done around the house. And since this cold weather has me craving comfort food, I made ham pot pie for dinner (recipe here).

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So, that was our weekend! How was yours?

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Why? Jump Back Ball Happy Hour!

Playhouse Square’s huge party, Jump Back Ball, is just under two months away! And while there’s lots to do to prepare for the big night (I checked “get a dress” off my list at the Nordstrom Semi-Annual Sale), there’s also time to party before the party.

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Playhouse Square Partners is hosting a wine tasting Jump Back Ball Happy Hour at The Wine Spot on Wednesday, January 11 starting at 6pm. Attendees will sample six different wines, paired with appetizers from Pope’s Kitchen, all for just $15.

While at the Happy Hour, you can also purchase wine to donate to the Jump Back Ball wine pull, one of the most popular parts of Jump Back Ball and a huge part of the event’s fundraising success. Simply purchase a bottle of wine valued at $20 or more to donate to the wine pull. The Wine Spot will store the wine and deliver it to Playhouse Square for Jump Back Ball.

If you’d like to attend this fun evening with good food and good wine, please RSVP to Sarah at sarah.stengel @ playhousesquare.org or 216-640-8408. Payment will be processed at the event.

If you still haven’t gotten your tickets for Jump Back Ball on Saturday, February 25, what are you waiting for?! Tickets are $155 for Partners members general admission, $180 for public general admission, and $250 for VIP admission and can be purchased online. And if you’re interested in helping create the décor for the evening, please consider joining us for a Shop Night or two. The schedule is here.

***Disclosure: I am the vice co-chair of Playhouse Square Partners. I was also asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I will receive one complimentary ticket to the event when I purchase one ticket of equal value. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Great Lakes Science Center!

Last week, Matthew was off from work and we were in search of fun things to do that would entertain the whole family. So, he, Jeffrey, and I headed to the Great Lakes Science Center for their Winter Week, which incorporated extra activities into the Science Center, including carpet skating, making ice cream with liquid nitrogen, and dancing in the snow indoors!

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Geared toward families on winter break, Winter Week added festive seasonal fun to the Science Center! Jeffrey particularly enjoyed the carpet skating, which involves scuffing along on the carpet on furniture moving pads with twinkly lights and holiday decorations all around.

While we were there, we also explored other parts of the Great Lakes Science Center, including the NASA Glenn Visitor Center. Jeffrey loved climbing the moon rocks and pretending to be an astronaut fixing things in space.

We also checked out the BioMedTech Gallery, with DNA to build and cities to construct.

We also took in a film at the Cleveland Clinic Dome Theater. We saw “Tiny Giants,” which amazed Jeffrey with the chipmunks and mice and amazed us by the magnitude of the screen!

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Our last stop was the Design Zone, a traveling exhibition at the Science Center through January 2. Not just this exhibit, but so many parts of the Science Center are very hands-on, which is wonderful for a toddler! Frankly, I was amazed at how much there was for Jeffrey to enjoy!

The Great Lakes Science Center is perfect family spot for hands-on fun and learning! Check it out soon!

***Disclosure: I was given complimentary general admission tickets and parking to the Great Lakes Science Center. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland!

Now that downtown Cleveland is the hot spot to live, a host of lifestyle amenities are popping up around there too. Adding to that mix is Yoga Strong + Barre Fly Cleveland, a beautiful new space offering both yoga and barre classes.

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Barre Fly and Yoga Strong both began in Canton, where they currently operate as separate studios. But the Cleveland location combines the two into one space, allowing you to easily take classes from both styles.

Barre Fly offers classes in barre, pilates, barre booty lift, aerial yoga, lyra hoop, and their signature classes (H)HIIT and BarreFly.

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(H)HIIT stands for Hammock High-Intensity Interval Training and involves 15 minutes of resistance band work and 15 minutes of aerial hammock time. This would be a great choice for those working downtown looking for a quick workout!

Most of Barre Fly’s classes involves some aerial element in the suspended hammocks, making them different than your average barre class.

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Yoga Strong focuses on heated vinyasa-style classes, but also offers slow flow and a combination strong flow and yin yoga as well.

I had the chance to take Emily’s strong yoga class last week and found it challenging and fun, with a lot of unique transitions and poses. There is definitely a focus on strength and core work! The strong classes also incorporate arm balances and inversions.

The space itself is beautiful, with a comfortable sitting area for before classes, full showers and changing areas for both women and men (especially great if you’re working downtown and pop in to take a class), and a boutique featuring merchandise from brands like lululemon and Spiritual Gangster.

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Barre Fly is currently offering half-price Thursdays, with half off a single class (normal drop-in cost for either studio is $17). All class packs and unlimited passes can be used at both Barre Fly and Yoga Strong, which makes checking out two different styles of workouts very easy. There is also a new student special at both studios for $80 for 30 days unlimited (1 class per day per studio). You can check out all the pricing and schedule options here and here.

Emily explained to me that yoga and barre compliment each other well: the flexibility gained in yoga is helpful in barre classes and the toning and soreness that come from barre classes is relieved by yoga. Having taken both types of classes in the past, I can see how they would work together well. And Yoga Strong + Barre Fly has certainly created a bright, modern, lovely space for them to do just that!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Barre Fly + Yoga Strong to attend a complimentary class of my choice. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

We capped off a busy, wonderful holiday season this weekend and rang in 2017! And I don’t know about you, but I’m kind of ready to get back on a normal routine, as fun as the holidays were.

But before normalcy returns, we have one more holiday weekend to talk about. Friday afternoon, I met up with my friend Adrienne who was in town from Colorado. I was able to snag a bit of time with her during her busy visit. And I couldn’t think of a better spot to take her than The Greenhouse Tavern.

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We ordered the always-amazing chicken wing confit (even more amazing when on happy hour for only $9) and I got my favorite rose prosecco that they serve, while Adrienne went for the Greenhouse Ale on happy hour special. The Greenhouse Tavern is such a great representation of Cleveland’s fabulous food scene, plus any chance to show off East 4th Street is also fantastic. It was the perfect spot to catch up!

From there, I made a quick stop by Nadine‘s house for some long overdue in-person catching up, then it was off to a family holiday party. I was the only person attending from my branch of the family tree and I finally felt like a grown-up, sitting around the table drinking, laughing, and getting filled in on everyone’s everything.

Saturday morning, Jeffrey and I headed to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo for their Noon Year’s Eve Party. I was even more excited to be there when I found out that it was kicking off the Cleveland Metroparks centennial year. I can’t wait to see all the things the Emerald Necklace has in store to celebrate!

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The weather was chilly but manageable and it was nice to be able to take a spin around the outdoor parts of the zoo. The tigers were particularly active and I caught this amazing picture of Jeffrey with one of the beautiful cats.

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I’ve said it before, but the Rosebrough Tiger Passage is truly extraordinary! And during the New Year’s countdown, the zoo’s director, Dr. Chris Kuhar, teased that there will be another new cat exhibit coming in 2017!

Back to the Noon Year’s Eve festivities, the kids could make party hats and share their re”zoo”lutions (ways to help animals and the planet in the next year), have a dance party, and participate in a noon countdown with tons of confetti and fun.

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It was a really great way to involve Jeffrey in celebrating the new year, since keeping him up until midnight would be nothing short of craziness!

As for Matthew and I, after a quick stop with Jeffrey at a friend’s house for a New Year’s party, we spent the evening at home with a fancy dessert (prepared by Matthew), some prosecco, and “The Secret Life of Pets” (a must-watch, for real).

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It was a low-key New Year’s Eve (we made it to midnight, though!) and frankly a wonderful way to bring in 2017!

On Sunday, we went over to my parents’ house for dinner. Typically, my mom makes the traditional Eastern European pork, dumplings, and sauerkraut. But this year, she spun the tradition and made a standing pork roast with apple pecan stuffing and mashed potatoes.

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It was incredibly delicious and I think everyone, even my grandpa, liked this new take on the traditional New Year’s meal.

So, that was our weekend! I have to say, I’m feeling pretty good about the way we sent out 2016 and welcomed 2017. How was yours?

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