Why? Winterfest!

There are so many ways to get in the spirit of the upcoming holidays in Cleveland! Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing with you some of my favorite holiday events around town so that you can get all merry and bright, too!

On Saturday, November 29, the Downtown Cleveland Alliance is putting on Winterfest, presented by Huntington.

Image Source - downtowncleveland.com

Image Source – downtowncleveland.com

This event has a special place in my heart. As a child, my Mom and I would go down to Public Square every year for the lighting ceremony. I can remember my sense of awe and wonder at how beautiful downtown Cleveland looked all lit up for Christmas.

And now Winterfest has grown into an event that runs down Euclid Avenue and encompasses even more of downtown Cleveland, with lots to do for all ages and interests. This year, Playhouse Square is serving as the home base for Winterfest, as Public Square is under construction.

At Playhouse Square, there will be a Holiday Pop Up Shop, with great gift items from local artists and makers; family-friendly entertainment with Popfusion; team mascot appearances; gourmet food trucks; choral music from the Old Stone Church Choir; the Festival of Trees at the Allen Theatre; a photo op with the #thisisCLE sign; and, to top it all off, the lighting ceremony, with accompanying concert and fireworks.

But the fun at Playhouse Square is only part of Winterfest! There will be free horse-drawn carriage rides stepping off from the Cleveland Public Library. Also at CPL, there will be a toy train depot, a performance by the River Valley Ringers hand bell chorus, stories and crafts, live reindeer, ice scuplting, and carols and cookies.

Image Source - downtowncleveland.com

Image Source – downtowncleveland.com

Tower City Center will feature a Toy Soldier & Fairy Godmother Holiday Show at three different times throughout the day at the Grand Staircase, with meet and greets to follow. There will also be the Holiday Express Train Ride, Kringle’s Inventionasium, Bruce the Talking Spruce (a Cleveland classic!), and Chillin’ with Kringle at the Hard Rock Cafe.

5th Street Arcades will feature the Cleveland Bazaar for holiday shopping.

Tri-C Hospitality Management Center will host a free public after party for post-lighting cookies, hot cocoa, and Santa photo ops. There will also be Santa photo ops during the day at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument.

East Fourth Street will have hot cocoa and marshmallows available all day. Erie Island Coffee Co. is celebrating Charlie Brown Christmas with a 10% discount for anyone sporting Charlie Brown wear. For more adult-like beverages, stop in at Society Lounge, which will also have live Rat-Pack-style holiday tunes or Wonder Bar, which has created an exclusive Cleveland holiday beverage with Cleveland Whiskey. And Crossroads at House of Blues will feature live holiday music in the evening.

Horseshoe Casino will again feature the Holidays at the Higbee display, which hearkens back to Cleveland’s Higbee department store windows of old. The Ritz Carlton will continue their annual Gingerbread House display. And Winterfest kicks off Downtown in December Lolly the Trolley tours as well.

Phew! There is so much to take in with this year’s Winterfest and truly something for everyone! I can’t wait to attend and get in the holiday spirit in a particularly Cleveland way. For more details on times, locations, and everything Winterfest, click here.


Why? Balance & Brews!

So, I was just talking about needing to make more time for yoga in my life, which is why I’m so excited to tell you about a new way to get both time on your mat and drink some great local craft beer!

website front page

Balance & Brews combines vinyasa yoga with a brewery setting for the ultimate detox to retox experience. The Balance & Brews mission is simple and pretty awesome: “To create balance by joining two inspired worlds: we see unity in yoga, and beauty in a great beer.”


Each Balance & Brews event features a 60-minute vinyasa yoga class, followed by a brewery tour with the brew experts and a pint of house beer, plus time to mingle with your fellow yogis and beer lovers. Balance & Brews events are held at the brand-new Butcher and the Brewer and the always-fabulous Market Garden Brewery.

The instructors for Balance & Brews, Melissa and Alyssa, are equally passionate about both yoga and beer. Having taken many of Melissa’s classes at Harmony Yoga, I can tell you that you not only get a great workout, but you leave with your soul feeling really refreshed after her class.

Plus, you can’t beat the price! $20 gets you the yoga class, the tour, and a pint! Seriously, this balances well in your life and your wallet.


So, how can you get in on the action? Balance & Brews has several events planned through December:

Saturday, November 22 at 3pm at the Butcher and the Brewer – register here

Tuesday, November 25 at 6pm at Market Garden Brewery – register here

Saturday, December 6 at 3pm at the Butcher and the Brewer – register here

Saturday, December 27 at 3pm at the Butcher and the Brewer – register here

Tuesday, December 30 at 6pm at Market Garden Brewery – register here

Sure, the holidays are super busy, but what better time to treat yo’self to some balance?! I’ll be attending the event on December 6, so stay tuned for my thoughts and a giveaway for an upcoming Balance & Brews event! I hope to see you on your mat and to raise a pint with you after!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Balance & Brews to help promote their events. In exchange, I will receive one complimentary admission to an event. All images courtesy of Balance & Brews. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It’s not often that my weekends start on Thursday evening anymore (who misses college sometimes? *raises hand*), but this weekend I got to start to unwind before 5pm on Friday. I met up with a handful of other hearty souls who braved the weather to attend the JCU Alumni social at Willoughby Brewing Company.


Over beers and pizza, we warmed up and chatted all things JCU and beyond. We also collected donations for The Labre Project, in which students prepare meals and distribute needed personal items for the homeless.

I of course took home a crowler (Willoughby Brewing’s genius 32-ounce take-home can) of our favorite Peanut Butter Cup Coffee Porter, along with a baked potato pizza, both of which were perfect for a cold and blustery evening.

The JCU Alumni Office has a ton of great holiday events coming up, including Breakfast with Santa and a swanky grown-up Christmas reception. You can find out more and register for these events online.

On Saturday evening, I met up with Alicia for a special yoga class taught by one of my favorite yoga teachers, Ylonda at Inner Bliss Yoga Studio. I used to take Ylonda’s classes regularly when she taught at Nishkama Yoga and have always found her to be challenging and inspiring (and a lot of fun).


Saturday’s class not only involved a tough vinyasa flow, but also began and ended with chanting and included Ylonda’s amazing cello skills. It was an intense 75 minutes and the energy in the room at the end of class was palpable. It made me realize that I need to prioritize getting back to my mat, both for my body and my mind!

After class, a bunch of us headed over to Sweet Melissa for dinner. I started with the soup-of-the-day, cream of asparagus, and a Breckenridge Brewery Christmas Ale, a seasonal favorite.


Both were perfect warm-me-up starters. For my entree, I chose the pulled chicken risotto, with butternut squash and dried cranberries.


This was a really tasty dish and all of the flavors shone through individually. The portion size was perfect too! Since we were at Sweet Melissa, I couldn’t pass up dessert, but got it to take home and split with Matthew. The cassata cupcake was a good choice, although I would have liked a bit more filling.

IMG_0948Overall, it was a perfect evening that nurtured my body and my soul in a lot of ways! I’m never disappointed when I make time for yoga (or my favorite yogis)!


Sunday was spent mostly around the house, although we did take Jeffrey to a fun Kindermusik Thanksgiving party (no pics, as I refuse to spoil his Turkey day outfit before the big day). I love how Kindermusik also has holiday-themed events in addition to the regular classes!

Matthew and I did a ton of cooking with our Fresh Fork items, including a Brussels sprout, potato, and ham hash with egg white and Hollandaise on top for breakfast; a delicious apple cake; and roasted Brussels sprouts and salmon for dinner (recipe here).


All in all, it was a lovely weekend! How was yours?

***Disclosure: I am a member of the board of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Liebster Blog Award!

Early this week, I was nominated for the Liebster Blog Award by Glam Karen.

Image Source - glamkaren.com

Image Source – glamkaren.com

The idea is for bloggers to help promote each other and expose their readers to different, fun, inspiring bloggers. So, I’m super flattered to have been nominated and happy to make this a fun, light-hearted Friday post.

Part of the Award is to answer 10 questions posed by the person who nominated you. So, here we go:

  1.  What does blogging do for you? So many things! Blogging is a much-needed creative outlet. It also lets me explore Cleveland and all that it has to offer, both through the pitches I’ve been fortunate enough to receive and through my own curiosity/desire to have something new to write about. It’s also introduced me to people with shared interests, some of whom have become the best of friends.
  2. What quote best summarizes your attitude towards the fall season? “Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird, I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” – George Eliot
  3. Cupcakes or Cookies? Cookies.
  4. What have been all of your pets’ names?  (start from childhood….) Serena (golden retriever), Felicity (golden retriever), Bailey (golden retriever), Bella (chow/yellow lab who belonged to my ex), Tobey (golden retriever/cocker spaniel), and Samantha (golden retriever/black lab)
  5. What’s the one thing you cannot travel without? I always bring my own blow dryer. I have the OneStyling Legacy and I just love it. The hotel blow dryers are always inferior.
  6. What is the BEST night out you’ve had recently? Over the summer, Matthew and I went to a Tri-C Jazz Fest concert, then the Friends and Family preview of Trentina. The food was incredible, but it was also just a really relaxed evening and a great chance for the two of us to spend time just us.
  7.  What places are you dying to see within the next five years? I really want to travel to Italy with Matthew, but realistically, that probably won’t happen until Jeffrey is much older. I never would have said Disney World until 6 months ago, but I know I want to take Jeffrey there and can’t wait to see his reaction to it. I’m also always about tropical vacations and would love to show off Cabo (Matthew has never been and that’s my favorite beachy spot).
  8. Would you spend a week without technology?  A day?  A few hours? I would, I just don’t nearly as often as I should. When we went on our honeymoon, we didn’t touch our phones for 10 days and it was pretty blissful, once the withdrawal shakes went away.
  9. What’s your favorite quote right now? “I do not at all understand the mystery of grace. Only that it meets us where we are, but does not leave us where it found us.” -Anne Lamott
  10. What’s the best piece of advice you would give to yourself if you traveled back in time? All of this is for a reason and it’s all going to work out, better than you could ever have imagined.

Now it’s my turn to nominate some of my favorite bloggers (and not re-nominate from Karen’s list!):

Alicia from Poise in Parma

Amanda from Clue into Cleveland

Kimberly from Smitten…in Cleveland

Rachel from It’s a Hero

Nadine from Blog – the New Black

Maria from The Style Letters

Jaclyn from Sharing My Sole

Cleveland Chick from Happiness is a Hot Pierogi

Heather from Mile 26 and More

Rachel from CLEfashionista

Image Source - glamkaren.com

Image Source – glamkaren.com

Here are your 10 questions:

1. What’s the funniest story that’s come out of your blogging?

2. What restaurant do you just have to be eating at these days?

3. Is it too early for Christmas music?

4. What extracurriculars were you involved with in high school?

5. Which Cleveland sports team is your favorite?

6. What are you hoping to find under your tree this year?

7. What keeps you blogging?

8. Pumpkin Spice or Peppermint Mocha?

9. If you could do any job in the world, what would you do?

10. Snow: yay or nay?

If you’re nominated, I hope you’ll consider participating. And if you’re just reading, check out some of these blogs that might be new-to-you and I hope you had fun learning a bit more about me, too!


Why? Fabulous Food Show Giveaway!

***UPDATE: Congratulations to Cheryl Scheckel (Comment #41), randomly-selected winner of 2 general admission tickets to the Fabulous Food Show! Please check your email for details.***

It’s that time again: time to enter an extravaganza of celebrity chefs, demos, tastings, and retailers at the Fabulous Food Show.


The Fabulous Food Show is taking place this weekend, from Friday, November 14 through Sunday, November 16 at the I-X Center. There will be appearances by celebrity chefs Carla Hall, Ingrid Hoffman, Tyler Florence, Nadia G, and of course our hometown favorite, Michael Symon.

There will also be great demos, presentations, and tastings including the Healthy Living Stage presented by Vitamix, Taste of the Neighborhood, and the Grand Tasting Pavilion. Add onto all that tons of exhibitors with food, culinary tools, and more to make you just as fabulous as the celebrity chefs!

General admission tickets start at $24.99 online, with higher-priced options for reserved celebrity chef seatings and more. Click here for details and to purchase tickets. Or you can enter to win two general admission tickets, good for any day of 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 and tell me which celebrity chef you most want to see at the Fabulous Food Show.

2. Leave a comment if you like the Fabulous Food Show and Why CLE? on Facebook letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @FabFoodShow and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you’re following both.

4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want @WhyCLE to send me to @FabFoodShow! http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2b3

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

The giveaway will close on Thursday, November 13 at 12:00pm and the winner will be contacted via email that day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Fabulous Food Show. In exchange, I will receive 2 general admission tickets to give away. I declined my own 2 complimentary media passes due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Jump Back Ball 24 Kickoff!

Last night, Playhouse Square Partners kicked off the fun, excitement, and ticket sales in preparation for Jump Back Ball 24, happening on Saturday, February 28, 2015. The theme for the upcoming Jump Back Ball is Jump Back to the Future.


In keeping with the theme, there was a surprise for the attendees of the kickoff happy hour last night: a DeLorean parked just next to the Hofbrauhaus was available for photo ops and general ogling.

PicMonkey Collage

The DeLorean will also be on display at Jump Back Ball, so you will have another chance to see this fine machine up close and personal!

It was a packed house inside the Hofbrauhaus, with many people taking advantage of the early ticket discounts and grabbing their tickets before a sure-to-be sell out. There were also plenty of tasty appetizers (pretzels FTW), massive mugs of beer (I seriously had to have Matthew carry mine for awhile), and raffle prizes for those who donated personal care items to the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.


Matthew and I continued our ridiculous streak of good luck at Partners events by winning two tickets to this Friday’s Melissa Etheridge concert! The kickoff to Jump Back Ball always gets me excited for the main event. When you see how many people turn out to buy tickets and the amount of energy in the room, you know it’s only going to get bigger and better at Jump Back Ball itself.

So, if you missed the kickoff, but still want to get in on the Jump Back Ball fun, what can you do? Tickets are now on sale online. VIP admission is $250 and general admission is $180. Tickets sold out in 10 days last year, so don’t delay in purchasing!

If you already scored your tickets, but want to continue feeling the excitement up to the event, you can join the Jump Back Ball committee, which meets regularly to plan everything from decorations to activities to raffle for the event. You can also volunteer at any (or all) of the Shop Nights, at which all the decorations for Jump Back Ball are created. I was on the committee last year and I’ve attended Shop Nights for the last three years and both are a lot of fun! Click here for more information on how to help with the planning of Cleveland’s hottest party.

And, of course, you can also join Playhouse Square Partners, which puts on Jump Back Ball, but does so much beyond just this annual party!


Did you get your Jump Back Ball tickets? Are you already getting excited to Jump Back to the Future?

***Disclosure: I am a member of the board of Playhouse Square Partners. Also, I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. I will receive one complimentary ticket to the event when I purchase a ticket of the same value. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy and fun weekend! Saturday afternoon, I stopped by the Entertaining by Design event at the Ohio Design Centre. The intricate and beautiful tablescapes designed by local interior designers were really impressive!

PicMonkey Collage

From Madame Butterfly to Red Hot Holiday to a Candyland Christmas, the designers really brought their unique ideas to life. If only my holiday table would look this nice! Even better, this year Entertaining by Design was a fundraiser to benefit the North Union Farmers Market‘s education and access programs.

On Saturday evening, Alicia planned a surprise birthday party for her husband Hans, centered around Hans’ favorite flavor: pumpkin!

1796645_10152469014293693_4466602890716165049_nThere was pumpkin chili, savory bread pudding, pumpkin chevre, pumpkin tortilla chips, pumpkin beer, pumpkin pie, pumpkin cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory’s recipe, and my go-to pumpkin cookies (recipe here).


It was a fun night filled with all things pumpkin and a great way to celebrate the birthday boy! I’m just happy we all managed to keep it a surprise, too!


On Sunday, I attended the John Carroll Alumni All Souls Mass and Brunch. It was held at St. Ignatius High School, which used to be John Carroll’s campus. I made sure to dress Jeffrey appropriately for the event in his mini St. Ignatius uniform of a blue blazer and khaki pants.


Nothing like a little indoctrination into Jesuit education at an early age!

If you’re a JCU alum, we have an Alumni and Friends Social coming up this Thursday, November 13 at Willoughby Brewing Company. We’ll be enjoying their great craft beer, as well as collecting donation items to benefit the JCU Labre Project (and you get entered into a raffle for Cavs tickets if you bring a donation). You can get more details and RSVP here. Hope to see you there!

All in all, a lovely fall weekend! Although I might be pumpkin-ed out for a bit after Saturday night! How was your weekend?

***Disclosures: I was asked to help promote Entertaining by Design. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to attend the table showcase. I am a member of the board of the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? My Cleveland Favorite Things List!

Earlier this week, Oprah released her yearly list of Favorite Things to help you with your holiday gift-giving. Now, not every item on the list is crazy expensive or even just plain crazy, but it got me to thinking about a favorite things list of my own that would be a little more within reach.

So, here are local items that are on my Favorite Things list, fabulous for either giving or getting! All are from Cleveland companies, so you know you’re supporting the local economy, while still scoring really cool gifts!

Item: I Liked Cleveland Before it Was Cool Shirt 

Image Source - cleclothingco.com

Image Source – cleclothingco.com

From: CLE Clothing Co.

Price: $25.00

Why: It’s cheeky, fun, and, in my case, completely true. Let everyone know you’re not a fair-weather Cleveland lover!

Item: Phoenix Coffee Company CLE Blend

Image Source - phoenixcoffee.com

Image Source – phoenixcoffee.com

From: Phoenix Coffee Company

Price: $12.00 for 12 ounces

Why: Who doesn’t love waking up with something local in your cup?

Item: Sterling CLE Chic

Image Source - shopbanyantree.com

Image Source – shopbanyantree.com

From: Banyan Tree

Price: $50.00

Why: I received this necklace from Matthew last Christmas and hands-down get the most comments on it than any other piece of jewelry. It’s adorable!

Item: Malley’s Milk Chocolate Rainbow Wafers

Image Source - malleys.com

Image Source – malleys.com

From: Malley’s Chocolates

Price: $12.75 for 16 ounces

Why: There’s something about these classic discs of chocolate goodness that are childlike and easy and fun.

Item: Terra Verde Handmade Wine & Gold Soap Bar

Image Source - terraverdehandmade.squarespace.com

Image Source – terraverdehandmade.squarespace.com

From: Terra Verde Handmade

Price: $8.00

Why: For the Cavs fan in your life, who also likes to be clean and smell great.

Item: Willoughby Brewing Company Crowler

Image Source - willoughbybrewing.com

Image Source – willoughbybrewing.com

From: Willoughby Brewing Company

Price: $9.00

Why: A 32-ounce can that can be filled with any of Willoughby Brewing’s craft beers. It stays fresher and is a more manageable amount than a growler. What a cool concept!

Item: Pope’s Fig-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

Image Source - popeskitchen.com

Image Source – popeskitchen.com

From: Pope’s Kitchen

Why: These are great as a an easy addition to any meal and taste delicious!

Item: Cleveland Museum of Art Membership

Image Source - clevelandart.org

Image Source – clevelandart.org

From: Cleveland Museum of Art

Price: Starting at $55.00 per year

Why: Yes, the Museum is free, but membership gets you access to special exhibitions, events, and more! It’s the Art Museum “plus!”

Item: Vitamix Professional Series 750

Image Source - vitamix.com

Image Source – vitamix.com

From: Vitamix

Price: $639.00

Why: Because there has to be at least one pricey item on a Favorite Things list, Oprah said so. Seriously, whether you go with the Professional Series, Classic Series, or Certified Reconditioned Series, you cannot go wrong with having this multi-purpose tool in your kitchen!

So, what would be on your Cleveland Favorite Things list?


Why? Disney’s Newsies!

It was a quiet weekend and start to the week, which usually just means something really big is brewing! Last night qualifies, as Mom and I had incredible third-row center seats to see “Disney’s Newsies” at Playhouse Square.


A lot of you probably remember loving the “Newsies” movie, which came out in 1992 (cue feeling old.) I vividly remember listening to the soundtrack cassette tape over and over in my Walkman. And while “Seize the Day” is certainly the well-known anthem from “Newsies,” my own personal favorite song has always been “King of New York.” I was surprised at how many other songs I remembered while at the show last night, though…Disney certainly knows how to write soundtracks that stick with you!

But, no matter which songs you loved from the movie (or even if you never saw the movie), the “Newsies” musical is a rousing, fun, energetic romp through the story of turn-of-the-century kids selling newspapers and their gutsy decision to take on the powers that be.

What I especially loved about the musical was the athleticism and talent displayed in the dance numbers. The cast were all perfectly on cue with each other and the stage was often completely filled with wall-to-wall dancers. My preference with musicals tends toward the big, bold, bright, 1940′s-esque shows, so a show with lots of chorus, big dance numbers, and a lot of heart is right up my alley.

“Newsies” shows its playful side off-stage too. There is a fun photo op, where you can get your picture in the “pape,” just like the newsies!


If you share on social media with the hashtages “#SeizetheDayCLE” and “#NewsiesonTour,” you might just see your face on the Playhouse Square screens as you’re leaving the show!

There’s also really adorable “Newsies” merchandise! Just in time for hat season, I love this new addition to my collection:


If you already have tickets, you are in for quite the fun evening! If you want to get in on the energy of “Newsies,” tickets are extremely limited.

But, the #SeizeSingleSeats option can help! You use the pick-a-seat map to choose a single seat (meaning the seats immediately next to it are both already sold). Buy your ticket and in addition, you get a concession voucher good for pre-show or intermission, plus a “Newsies” swag bag! Think about it: you get to see the show, you get some fun bonus gifts, and you’re not going to talk during the show anyway, right? No, you’re going to be watching those adorable newsies sing and dance their hearts out!

“Disney’s Newsies” runs at the Connor Palace Theatre from now until Sunday, November 16. Check it out if you can. I promise you’ll have a high-energy evening and be humming and toe-tapping throughout the next day!

***Disclosure: I was invited by Playhouse Square to attend the media night of “Disney’s Newsies” with a guest. I received two tickets to the show, as well as a Newsies tote bag and newsboy cap. All opinions, love of hats, and obsession with musicals from my childhood are 100% my own.***