Why? Entertaining by Design Giveaway!

I can’t believe the holidays are almost upon us, which means lots of chances to have family and friends over for a meal. To give you some inspiration for your table, the Ohio Design Centre is hosting Entertaining by Design, an annual tabletop showcase, with tablescapes created by top interior designers.


New this year is a Patron Party and Gala on Thursday, November 6 to benefit North Union Farmers Market. Attendees will get a first look at the designs, as well as specialty cocktails, savory small bites, live music, and the chance to bid on unique auction items. Tickets for the Patron Party and Gala are $100.

Then, on Friday, November 7 and Saturday, November 8, the sprawling Ohio Design Centre showrooms will be open to the public to take in these beautiful table designs and get inspired for your own holiday (and beyond) entertaining.

There will be the opportunity to vote for the People’s Choice Award, as well as see how your own personal choices match up with the winners chosen by a celebrity judge panel, including Brandon Chrosotowski from EDWINS restaurant and Charity D’Amato from i heart cleveland.

The showrooms will be open from 11am-7pm on Friday and 10am-4pm on Saturday. Tickets are $10 at the door to peruse the beautiful designs and proceeds similarly benefit North Union Farmers Market’s education and access programs. Or you can enter to win two tickets to the public table viewing good for either Friday or Saturday 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 for which holiday you need decorating inspiration.

2. Leave a comment if you like Ohio Design Centre and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @ohdesigncentre 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 to get inspired at @ohdesigncentre #entertainingbydesign to benefit @NUFarmersMarket thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-29L

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, October 27 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Ohio Design Centre to help promote Entertaining by Design. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away to the public table viewings. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? The Splash Infuser!

Recently, I had a chance to email interview Tim Hayes, CEO and founder of Cardboard Helicopter and chief inventor of the Splash Infuser.


Not only has Tim invented what sounds like a fabulous product, but he is also contributing to Cleveland’s entrepreneurial and creative culture and spirit. So, let’s hear what he has to say:

Tell me about Cardboard Helicopter. How did you get started?

I felt like I’ve had an entrepreneurial spirit my entire life, whether it was selling Kool-Aid, having my own landscaping company, or making and selling t-shirts, among other things. Years later, after graduating from the Cleveland Institute of Art’s industrial design program, I worked and learned from some amazing companies in the region. However, I quickly decided that I was done working for others, and started to pave my own path to work for myself and one day start a company. Alone, I started designing and inventing products to license out to companies for royalties. After I started to gain some momentum, I asked some creative and talented friends to be involved. From there, Cardboard Helicopter was born. The name is about having limitless imagination and thinking without boundaries, and was conceived from the first time I remember using my imagination as a child. I had a large cardboard box, and told everyone in the house that I would be able to make it fly by the end of the day. Obviously, physics and other factors prevented the box from flying, but I kept creating and building things throughout my life. Our website can be found at www.cardboardhelicopter.com.

What is the Splash Infuser?

The Splash Infuser concept came to me earlier this year after I got bored with regular water and started infusing it with fresh fruit. I purchased a few tumblers with infusers built in, but they seemed to only really work after letting the fruit soak in the water overnight. I felt like there had to be a better way to infuse your drinks more rapidly. My team and I started brainstorming and testing different concepts, and eventually determined that our current design functions the best. We’re hoping the Splash Infuser will motivate consumers to forgo sugary, high-calorie beverages and start experimenting with creating their own healthy concoctions. Also, with homemade cocktails gaining popularity, the Splash is a great way to craft your own naturally flavored liquor!

What advantages does the Splash Infuser have over other infuser bottles?

The 2-piece infuser features a patented muddler lid that allows the user to twist and mash the ingredients, rapidly infusing your beverage with natural, healthy flavors. Also, we designed the Splash to accommodate as many ingredients as possible, while being able to fit inside most drinking containers. Many of the current infuser products on the market are fixed to larger containers, limiting their versatility and making them more difficult to clean.

What is your favorite way to use the Splash Infuser?

We’ve experimented with hundreds of flavor combinations for infusing both water and liquor, including using ingredients like chocolate, coffee beans, black pepper and yes, even bacon. One of my personal favorites is the cucumber and rosemary Splash infusion. The cucumber adds a nice subtle flavor, while the rosemary provides a terrific aroma to your beverage, creating a very smooth and refreshing drink. A few other crowd-pleasing Splash recipes were a lime, pineapple, jalapeno and cilantro infusion, as well as strawberry, lemon and mint. There are thousands of possible ingredient combinations, and we urge users to experiment with their favorite fruits, herbs, veggies and spices!

Tell me about the Cleveland background of Cardboard Helicopter and Splash Infuser.

When I was finishing up my time at CIA, I noticed a lot of my peers were looking for jobs in bigger markets like Chicago and New York. I understood their desire for a change of scenery, but I knew I eventually wanted to make my mark here in Cleveland. To be honest, there was no other choice for me. Cleveland, and the state of Ohio, has so much to offer in terms of manufacturing and innovative resources, not to mention we have a huge cost of living and cost of running a business advantage compared to many other cities. My team is made up of other passionate Clevelanders, and we are proud to grow our business here.

How can we support getting the Splash Infuser to market?

After paying for the production tooling, we are turning to the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter to help make the Splash a reality. People who are interested in learning more can find our campaign page by visiting www.splashinfuser.com. There, they will be able to donate to our project, and receive the Splash Infuser and other great rewards just by pledging. For example, those who donate $15 would receive two Splash Infusers if we hit our goal next month. If we reach our goal, we will start manufacturing here in the US immediately, with shipments going out in December. If we don’t reach our goal, your donation is never collected. So if you’re interested in owning the Splash and helping out a local small business, please visit www.splashinfuser.com and check out our rewards, or share with others that might benefit from the Splash Infuser!

Splash flyer front_Page_2

Good luck to Tim and the Cardboard Helicopter team with the Splash Infuser and all your creative efforts! Thanks for keeping your entrepreneurial drive in Cleveland!


Why? Forbidden Games!

On Friday evening, Matthew and I got a sneak peek at the newest exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

Photo-Eye (Foto-Auge) (detail),1927, printed 1938–40. Anton Stankowski (German, 1906–1998). Gelatin silver print, montage, from negatives with handwork; 10.9 x 14.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund 2007.122. © Stankowski-Stiftung

Photo-Eye (Foto-Auge) (detail),1927, printed 1938–40. Anton Stankowski (German, 1906–1998). Gelatin silver print, montage, from negatives with handwork; 10.9 x 14.5 cm. The Cleveland Museum of Art, John L. Severance Fund 2007.122. © Stankowski-Stiftung

A collection of Surrealist and Modernist photography, Forbidden Games offers a glimpse into these disciplines with 167 photographs, movies, and interactive components.

Matthew experiments with a photo light board at Forbidden Games

Matthew experiments with a photo light board at Forbidden Games

The photographs are interesting and creepy and startling and impressive, all at once. As Matthew reminded me, these were created mainly from the 1920’s to 1940’s, without the help of Photoshop to aid in the unique images.

Aside from the first glimpse at the new exhibition, we also got a sample of cocktails and small bites from Provenance, the restaurant within the Cleveland Museum of Art. Provenance is currently offering a prix fixe menu inspired by another exhibition at the Museum: Maine Sublime: Frederic Church’s “Twilight in the Wilderness.”


We nibbled Maine lobster cake, pan-seared venison with juniper jus served on top butternut squash, sweet corn succotash in a Brussels sprout leaf cup, and house-made whoopie pie with salted caramel cream.

PicMonkey Collage

The small bites definitely left me wanting to try the entire prix fixe Maine-inspired menu, which is available at Provenance for both lunch and dinner.

Forbidden Games is open now through Sunday, January 11, 2015 and is free to the public. Guided tours of the exhibition are available in November and December on Tuesdays at 11am and 2pm and on Wednesdays through Sundays at 2pm.

A 240-page catalog by curator emeritus Tom Hinson, photo historian Ian Walker, and independent curator Lisa Kurzner was created to accompany the exhibition and can be purchased at the Museum for $29.95 (soft cover) or $39.95 (hard cover).

The November MIX: Couture happy hour will also center on Forbidden Games and feature a runway show with Surrealist-inspired designs. MIX: Couture is on Friday, November 7 and tickets are available online.

There are so many ways to experience the exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, through not just seeing them, but attending events themed around those exhibitions or even enjoying a meal inspired by one. Immerse yourself in the Cleveland Museum of Art!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a media preview of Forbidden Games with a guest. While there, we received a complimentary soft-cover photo catalog that accompanies the exhibition. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a busy weekend! So much so, that I’m saving the first part of our Friday evening – a preview of the newest exhibit at the Cleveland Museum of Art – for tomorrow. Stay tuned!

The second part of our Friday was a birthday dinner for our dear friend Scott at Urban Farmer.

IMG_0722We started our dinner with a lovely surprise – a complimentary cheese plate filled with delicious options!

IMG_0714Matthew and I shared the beef tartare, which I knew from my last Urban Farmer experience, is a dish not to be missed! The quality of the beef is fantastic, but I also love the little additions with this dish: the brioche toast and deviled egg.


For dinner, we shared the New York Steak Tasting, which features 6-ounce cuts of White Oak grass-fed, Creekstone corn-fed, Ohio Proud twenty-one-day dry aged, and (for an additional cost), Imperial Ranch Wagyu.


We also added on the candied bacon and bacon jam. For our side, we split the twice-baked Fingerling potato tart with sour cream, bacon, and chives. There is nothing to say about the candied bacon and potato tart except YUM! Both were amazing and I highly recommend adding them to your entree.

The steak tasting is more than enough to share, especially with a shared appetizer and side dish (which are family-style anyway). The tasting was a great way to get to know the different types of beef served at Urban Farmer and do an immediate comparison of flavor and texture. Our favorites were the dry-aged and the Wagyu, but explore the tasting and decide for yourself!

How on earth we found room for dessert, I don’t know. I had the sweet corn pound cake with buttered popcorn ice cream. I may have found a tie for The Greenhouse’s popcorn pot de creme. And Matthew chose the decadent Guanaja chocolate pate, with dried fruit, olive oil ice cream, and sea salt.

PicMonkey Collage

This was my first off-the-menu dining experience at Urban Farmer and it lived up to my very high expectations. When you know a dinner will be a splurge, it is so nice when it is worth every penny and calorie.

On Saturday morning, I volunteered with Playhouse Square Partners at our first annual Halloween Town. The event featured crafts, photo opps, candy, hot cider, raffles, and a chance for the kids (and grown-ups) to show off their costumes.

PicMonkey Collage

The Connor Palace Theatre lobby was all decked out for Halloween and everyone seemed to have a great time! It was a fun way to get into the Halloween spirit!

Later on that day, we stopped up at Broadview Heights’ indoor Halloween event with Jeffrey. My dad’s business, Tireman USA, has its headquarters in Broadview Heights and participated in the event with a festive table, juice for the kids, and an appearance by the Michelin Man.


Halloween is quite a big holiday, with lots to do to celebrate, especially with little ones!

Sunday was spent relaxing and taking in a showing of “Gone Girl” with my Mom. I read the book, but was really impressed with the intensity of the movie and would say this is one where either the book or the movie are equally entertaining.

How was your weekend?

***Disclosures: While at Urban Farmer, we were presented with a complimentary cheese plate for our table. I am a member of the board for Playhouse Square Partners, which sponsored Halloween Town. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Halloween Events!

There are plenty of Halloween events coming up with scary fun for all ages. Check ‘em out:

Image Source - cedarpoint.com

Image Source – cedarpoint.com


Where: Cedar Point

When: Fridays (6pm-12am), Saturdays (11am-12am), and Sundays (11am-8pm) until Saturday, November 1

How much: Starting at $39.99 for adults

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - playhousesquare.org

Image Source – playhousesquare.org

Halloween Town

Where: Playhouse Square Connor Palace lobby

When: Saturday, October 18 from 10am-12pm

How much: Family four-pack $40, $14 for children, $8 for adults, discounted admission for PALS members

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - clevelandmetroparks.com

Image Source – clevelandmetroparks.com

Boo at the Zoo

Where: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

When: October 16-19 and 23-26 from 6pm-9pm

How much: $8 for non-members, $7 for members, free for children 2 and under

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - momfabfun.com

Image Source – momfabfun.com

Trick or Treat Street

Where: I-X Center

When: October 18-19 and 25-26 from 11am-8pm on Saturdays and 11am-7pm on Sundays

How much: $13.99 for general admission, $9.99 for 60+, free for children 2 and under

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - greaterclevelandaquarium.com

Image Source – greaterclevelandaquarium.com


Where: Greater Cleveland Aquarium

When: October 17-18 and 24-25 from 6pm-9pm

How much: $11 for non-pass holders, $10 for pass-holders, free for children 2 and under

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - westgateohio.com

Image Source – westgateohio.com

Halloween Extravaganza 

Where: Westgate Shopping Center, sponsored by Inland Real Estate Corporation

When: Saturday, October 25 from 1pm-3pm

How much: Free

More info: Click here

Image Source - q104.cbslocal.com

Image Source – q104.cbslocal.com

Q104 Boo Bash 18

Where: Dave & Buster’s

When: Friday, October 31 at 8pm

How much: $10 in advance, $15 at the door

More info and tickets: Click here

Image Source - prosperitysocialclub.com

Image Source – prosperitysocialclub.com

Supper Club Halloween with Lounge Kitty

Where: Prosperity Social Club

When: Friday, October 31 at 8pm

How much: Admission is free, drinks and food on your own

More info and reservations: Click here

Have a spooky and fun Halloween!

***Disclosure: I am a board member of Playhouse Square Partners, which sponsors Halloween Town. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Playhouse Square Partners Wine and Canvas!

I’m not a very artistic person, but sometimes it’s really fun to step outside your comfort zone and try something different. Which is just what I did on Monday night with my friend Jennifer at Playhouse Square Partners‘ Wine and Canvas event.

We all started out with our blank canvases and an example painting to aspire to create. Under the step-by-step instructions from our teacher, a rather abstract image began to take shape.

Assured that our paintings would ultimately look like something, we continued to sip our wine for artistic inspiration and follow along.

By the end of the evening, everyone had their own unique interpretation of the fall scene we were creating.

Our instructors for the evening were from Wine & Canvas, which puts on both public and private events where you can get creative (and tipsy, if you want). I think our finished products look pretty good, from a distance…

One of the great things about Playhouse Square Partners is that we not only have theater-centered events, but also fun evenings like this one too!

***Disclosure: I am a board member of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was absolutely perfect fall weather this weekend! All of Cleveland was either in a pumpkin patch or an apple orchard (or a tailgate lot) and that’s exactly how it should be!

Speaking of pumpkin patches, on Saturday afternoon, Matthew, Jeffrey and I attended Pumpkins in the Park, put on by the John Carroll University Cleveland Alumni Chapter.


There were fun crafts for the kids, along with apple cider, candy, and tons of delicious cupcakes from Main Street Cupcakes (it’s good to have alums who own cupcake shops!).

PicMonkey Collage

It was a fun afternoon, enjoying some beautiful fall foliage and seasonal treats and activities, as well as catching up with JCU friends and their families.

Saturday evening, Matthew and I had a Playhouse Square date night planned. We started out at the brand new Hofbrauhaus, which just opened on Friday. More accurately, we were in line for the brand new Hofbrauhaus. The place was packed and, with only an hour before our show, we decided to save getting in for another day and just enjoy beer and hot pretzels on the patio.


From what we could see of the inside, the German beer garden feel has been replicated, with long tables packed with people enjoying traditional food and beer. There is live music, dancing on the tables is encouraged, and the whole place was just alive with patrons of all ages!

Hofbrauhaus is open from 5pm to midnight Sunday through Thursday, and from 5pm to 2:30am on Friday and Saturday. There is a grand opening event scheduled for October 22 and the restaurant starts taking reservations as of November 1. This is definitely a fun new spot to check out!

From there, we went to see Motown the Musical.


We were lucky enough to win loge tickets to the show when our team won the Playhouse Square Partners Trivia Night. So, we had great seats for a show filled with classic Motown songs that had the audience singing (and, by the end, dancing) along. Motown the Musical runs through Sunday, October 19 at the State Theatre and tickets are still available.

On Sunday, we attended a Texas-themed birthday party for Matthew’s dad, who grew up in Texas and attended the University of Texas. We of course busted out our authentic Texas cowboy boots and even Jeffrey got into the theme.


There was also Tex Mex food and Shiner Bock beer to complete the Texas theme. It was a relaxing afternoon with family and the perfect way to wrap-up a wonderful weekend (including an amazing Brown win!). How was your weekend?

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


Why? L’Amour du Vin!

Last night, Matthew and I attend the Arthritis Foundation‘s L’Amour du Vin fundraiser. We met up with these fine folks for an evening of wining and small-bite dining.


I seem to always find a new must-try restaurant at this event. Last year, it was Bistro 83 (who kept it up this year with some tasty spicy salmon cakes). This year, it was 41 North. Offering food in both VIP and the main room, 41 North brought delicious dishes that were as good to eat as they were nicely plated.


In the VIP room, 41 North offered pork belly and swordfish. In the main room, they offered shrimp and grits and short ribs served on top apple risotto. After all these bites, I’m convinced I need to head out to Vermilion for a full meal there!

Other favorites of the evening was the gnocchi from Gatherings Kitchen, the smoked trout salad with apples and pumpkin seeds from AMP 150, the pulled pork sliders from Parker’s Grille and Tavern (loved the added jalapeno slices), and the lamb from Taki’s Greek Kitchen.

PicMonkey Collage

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the wonderful desserts, including oodles of Snoogles (and other pastries) from Kiedrowksi’s Simply Delicious Bakery and decadent chocolates from Sweet Designs (the cocoa nib truffle was my fave).


There were plenty of delicious red and white wines to go with all the great food, along with Brown-Forman bourbon cocktails in the VIP room.


We also entered the wine pull raffle, which not only scored us a great bottle for home, but a chance to win a Caribbean cruise (we didn’t).

I also have to take a moment to give a lot of praise to the planner of last night’s event, Alicia. L’Amour du Vin was Alicia’s last event for the Arthritis Foundation, as she is leaving her current role for a new, exciting, and perfectly-suited position at Evolution Yoga. You can read all about her upcoming new professional adventure here.

Alicia doing her thing

Alicia doing her thing

I am so proud of all that Alicia accomplished at the Arthritis Foundation and for following her heart to this new job! And what a way to go out, with one incredible party!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I received two complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions (on events and career decisions alike) are 100% my own.***



Why? St. Jude Give Thanks Walk!

You have to love when fitness and a good cause combine! The St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. is returning to Great Northern Mall in North Olmsted on Saturday, November 22.


The walk is a 5K that laps the mall 4 times and steps off at 10am. Strollers and wagons are welcome. There will be family fun activities and food lasting beyond the walk and participants are encouraged to stay and enjoy.

You can register as a team or as an individual. Registration is free and there is no fundraising minimum. However, there are fun incentives at different fundraising levels, including a t-shirt for the $35-$99 level, a tumbler for the $100-$249 level, and a tote bag for the $250+ level.

All proceeds benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which advances cures and prevention for catastrophic pediatric diseases through research and treatment. As a new mom, even typing the phrase catastrophic pediatric diseases makes me shudder, but thank goodness for places like St. Jude that step in to help when things like that happen.

Click here to register for the St. Jude Give Thanks. Walk. and start your fundraising for this wonderful organization! Last year’s walk saw 600 participants raise over $65,000 and the hopes are that this year’s walk will bring even larger totals.


Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Abby DelaMotte, winner of 2 tickets to see The House Jacks. Tickets are still available online for tomorrow night’s concert.***

The fall weather really hit this weekend, didn’t it? I’m in denial that it’s October, but I think it’s time to face facts: this year is flying by!

On Friday night, Matthew, Jeffrey and I went out to dinner to celebrate Matthew’s dad’s birthday. We went to Bravo!, which has solidly good Italian offerings and is an easy place to take the wee one. It was a nice evening celebrating a wonderful man. Here’s hoping this year brings you lots of love and happiness, Alan!


Saturday proved that I will eat ice cream no matter the temperature, as I met up with Kimberly for the soft opening of Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City.


Mason’s has a great selection of ice cream, from traditional flavors like chocolate and vanilla to more inventive offerings like peanut butter s’more and Nutella. I enjoyed the Rising Star Coffee ice cream. I also snagged a sip of Kimberly’s hot chocolate, which is some of the best I’ve ever had. Not only does Mason’s offer tasty treats, but the folks who run it are super sweet too.


Follow @masonscreamery on Twitter to stay up-to-date as they work out their winter schedule.

From there, it was off to my friend Samantha’s surprise birthday party at LockKeeper’s.


Her husband Dave pulled off a total surprise gathering of family and friends to fete the birthday girl. It was a really nice afternoon, with good food, wine, and conversation.


LockKeeper’s has private party rooms upstairs and the menu choices ranged from short ribs to salmon. It was a great spot for a party!

Sunday was a day to catch up around the house, play with Jeffrey, and just relax. I also tried my hand at pork schnitzel, which turned out really well (not as good as Sterle’s, but still good).


Also, Alton Brown’s roasted broccoli recipe may be my new favorite way to eat those particular greens.

All in all, it was a great weekend! How was your’s?