Category Archives: Charity

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to David Fearn (Comment #93), randomly-selected winner of 2 tickets to the sold-out Date Night at the ZOOvies put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society. Please check your email for further details. Thanks to all who entered!***

It was a lovely summer weekend in Cleveland! Friday kicked off the weekend right, with everyone in a great mood celebrating LeBron James’ return to the Cavs. Seriously, the excitement and general good vibes that came out of that announcement will keep Clevelanders smiling for awhile!

My Friday afternoon was spent with Mom and Jeffrey at Crocker Park. I started with a pedicure at Charles Scott Salon, while Mom strolled around with the kiddo. What a nice way to relax!

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After that, it was time for lunch at 87 West. I had the Devils on Horseback (chorizo-stuffed dates wrapped in bacon with sticky soy glaze), the vegetarian tacos, and the deconstructed s’more dessert.

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While I’m not a vegetarian (see, chorizo and bacon), the tacos were a really great choice, packed with flavorful fajita veggies, slaw, corn salsa, and edamame. They were surprisingly filling, too.

That evening, Matthew, Jeffrey, and I met up with Matthew’s dad for the St. John Vianney church festival.

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From games to funnel cakes to the Euclid Beach rocket car to live entertainment, the festival was the perfect family evening out.

On Saturday, Matthew and I had a date night planned so that we could enjoy the Luau on the Lake, to benefit Shoes and Clothes for Kids.

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Luau on the Lake is held at Wendy Park at Whiskey Island. Saturday was the perfect night to be there, with nice breezes off the lake and a beautiful sunny sky. We met up with some friends, including Kimberly and my giveaway winner Rachel, who was also enjoying a nice child-free date night.

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We sipped on island cocktails like pina coladas and margaritas (Matthew enjoyed the Kona Brewing Big Wave beer from Hawaii) and noshed on a tasty Caribbean-themed dinner courtesy of Aramark, with chicken, pulled pork, and rice. There was a cornhole tournament, sand volleyball, and a limbo contest. And I happened to recognize one of the limbo participants

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It was a fun night for a great cause! For every dollar donated to Shoes and Clothes for Kids, the organization can purchase $20 worth of new clothes and shoes for low-income children in Northeast Ohio. That’s a lot of bang for your buck!

As we were leaving and taking in the skyline view, I thought that not only does Cleveland have it pretty good right now, but so do I!

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How was your weekend? Did you celebrate LeBron’s return?

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Shoes and Clothes for Kids’ Luau on the Lake. In exchange, I received two complimentary Big Kahuna VIP tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Date Night at the ZOOvies Giveaway!

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is not just for kids and there are a host of events that prove just that! On Friday, August 22, Date Night at the ZOOvies is an adults-only evening of food, drinks, zoo critters, and an outdoor movie, which also raises money for the Cleveland Zoological Society.

From 7-8:30pm, you can enjoy the Australian Adventure and African Safari areas of the Zoo, along with beer, wine, and light appetizers.

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Then, at 8:30pm, head over to the Zoo Amphitheater to watch “Ghostbusters” under the stars and munch on movie snacks like hot pretzels and popcorn.

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Date Night at the ZOOvies is a very popular night out and is sold out for this year! But, no fear if you missed out because you can enter to win 2 tickets 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 your favorite line or scene from “Ghostbusters.”

2. Leave a comment if you are fan of both the Cleveland Zoological Society and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you are.

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

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

Who you gonna call? I want to win tickets to see Ghostbusters at @CleveZooSociety’s #DateNightattheZoovies from @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-210

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

The giveaway will close at 11:59pm on Sunday, July 13 and the winner will be announced the following day. The winner and guest must be 21 or over to attend. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Date Night at the Zoovies. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. All images courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes and Ale!

On Friday night, Matthew and I attended a great summer event: Our Lady of the Wayside‘s Grapes and Ale fundraiser.

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Held at Progressive Field, Grapes and Ale combines food, music, silent auction items, and, of course, wine and beer tastings into a fun strolling picnic. And what’s a picnic without friends to enjoy it with?!

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There were saucy BBQ offerings from restaurants such as Famous Dave’s, Hot Sauce Williams, Battery Park Wine Bar, and 100th Bomb Group. I enjoyed the Famous Dave’s plate of sausage, a chicken wing, and cornbread. But my favorite nibble of the night was Battery Park’s BBQ beef brisket with ancho chile slaw. The sauce had a delicious sweet tang and the slaw added just the right amount of heat.

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100th Bomb Group’s peach BBQ sauce and mango slaw were both tasty, but the ribs were way too difficult to eat while trying to hold a wine glass and maneuver through the crowds.

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Speaking of holding a wine glass, there were over 50 different wineries represented in this year’s tasting, including the new Cupcake Vineyards wine truck, which was a very popular spot!

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I stuck with “known quantities” for my wine choices (wines I know I love), such as Petite Petit, Cline Ancient Vines Zinfandel, and Predator Zinfandel.

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Matthew enjoyed some new finds in the craft beer area, including a surprisingly good Russian Imperial Stout from Leinenkugel’s.

The whole time, we were enjoying great music from Colin Dussault’s Acoustic Side Project, as well as taking in great views of Progressive Field.

photo7 (1)It was a fun night for a great cause, supporting Our Lady of the Wayside’s mission of “providing residential, respite, transportation, and day programming service for 500 children and adults with developmental disabilities.” Our Lady of the Wayside’s next fundraising event is the Amateur Golf Championship on Monday, August 11. Click here to register for the event!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes & Ale. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Playhouse Square Partners!

There are a lot of “young professionals” groups in Cleveland that help promote networking, connect you with a great organization, and provide opportunities for socialization and service. Playhouse Square Partners is one of those groups and, in my entirely biased opinion, the one you should join!

Playhouse Square Partners raises money to support the cultural enrichment brought to Cleveland by Playhouse Square; puts on the biggest party of the year with Jump Back Ball; gives members early ticketing access to Playhouse Square shows and discounts on Partners events including JBB; opens up volunteer opportunities at events such as the International Children’s Festival; and hosts fun events throughout the year, such as this past Monday’s Pub Trivia Night.

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Held in the Kennedy Theatre at Playhouse Square, which looks like a small Irish pub, this event was a great way to mingle with other Partners, enjoy drinks and small bites, and test your smarts in categories like “Cleveland,” “Current Events,” and “Playhouse Square.”

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For the second year in a row, the team I was on (aptly named “We’re Not Cheating”) won first place! Each couple on the team won a pair of loge tickets to see Motown the Musical in October. I’m convinced we won this year because of our good luck charm!

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Matthew and I joined Partners last year and I served as co-chair of the Jump Back Ball raffle committee. After that, I was incredibly honored to be not only nominated to the Partners board, but also chosen as New Partner of the Year! Partners gives you a chance to not only have a good time, but to get involved and to be recognized for your efforts.

So, if you’re looking for a fabulous organization to join or if you just want to hang out with me more often, check out Playhouse Square Partners. There are several levels of membership, so you can pick the financial commitment that works best for you. By the way, you do not have to be a member of Partners to attend our events, so watch the online calendar and come give an event a try if you want to test the waters before committing to membership. Hope to see you at a Partners event soon!

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

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Why? Twilight at the Zoo!

On Friday, August 1, the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is going to get even wilder than usual for the 21st annual Twilight at the Zoo.

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Twilight is a fundraiser put on by the Cleveland Zoological Society, but it’s also a huge party, combining 18 local bands, zoo critters, food, beer, and wine into one amazing night!

The bands represent a wide variety of musical styles from the 70’s and 80’s with Disco Inferno, swing with Joe Bell and the Swing Lizards, country with Robbing Mary, blues with Shady Drive, and much more.

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This year, all bands will be under tents, so if the rain comes like it did last year, the bands will still play on!

Ticket price is $75 for general admission, which includes all entertainment, light appetizers, and unlimited Sam Adams, Twisted Tea, wine, and soda. VIP ticket price is $150, which includes the above, plus priority parking, open bar, a special VIP band, and expanded food selections from some great Cleveland restaurants.

The price goes up in July, so buy now! Tickets can be purchased online. Also, you can enter to win tickets over at Poise in Parma until Friday and stay tuned to the Cleveland Zoological Society’s Facebook page for more chances to win!

This year will be my third time attending Twilight at the Zoo and it is truly one of my favorite events of the summer! Plus, it benefits our wonderful Cleveland Metroparks Zoo. Pick up your tickets today and I hope to see you rocking out under the stars, next to the lions!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Twilight at the Zoo. In exchange, I will receive 2 complimentary VIP tickets. Images courtesy of the Cleveland Zoological Society. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Luau on the Lake Giveaway!

It’s summertime in Cleveland and what better place to enjoy this season than Wendy Park at Whiskey Island? On Saturday, July 12, the park will be turned into a luau fit for a Tiki god for the Shoes and Clothes for Kids Luau on the Lake.

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There will be food, drinks, music, a limbo contest, sand volleyball, and, new this year, a 24-team cornhole tournament. The winner of the cornhole tournament will receive a cornhole set and 4 Indians tickets. All this lakeside luau fun benefits Shoes and Clothes for Kids, which provides no-cost shoes and clothes to children in need.

To help get you ready for the luau, there will be a kick-off happy hour on Thursday, June 12 at The Clevelander. Your $20 admission gets you unlimited drinks and an appetizer bar, plus you’ll be entered into a raffle to win a Big Kahuna package for the Luau on the Lake and be able to purchase Luau on the Lake tickets at the lowest price.

Tickets for Luau on the Lake are $40 for general admission/$50 for Big Kahuna VIP admission through June 13, when the price for each goes up $10. General admission includes unlimited food, beer, wine and soft drinks. VIP admission includes all that, plus three island cocktails, a lei, souvenir cup, and tote bag.

You can purchase tickets online or you can enter to win two Big Kahuna VIP tickets 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 your favorite beach/island destination.

2. Leave a comment if you like Shoes and Clothes for Kids and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both.

3. Follow @SC4K 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 be a Big Kahuna at the @SC4K Luau on the Lake thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1Z2 #SC4KLuau14

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, June 15 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Shoes and Clothes for Kids to help promote the Luau on the Lake. In exchange, I will receive 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets for myself and 2 Big Kahuna VIP tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Grapes and Ale Giveaway!

What do you get when you combine over 200 different varieties of wine samples, loads of craft beer samples, nibbles from some fabulous BBQ joints, and live music, all at Progressive Field? It’s Our Lady of the Wayside‘s summertime fundraiser, Grapes & Ale, happening Friday, June 27.

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This event continues to grow and will be spread across expanded space at Progressive Field this year. Also new this year will be the Cupcake Vineyards wine truck. I find their white wines particularly refreshing on a hot summer day, so I’m excited for this addition to the event!

Colin Dussault’s Acoustic Side Project will be back this year, playing great dance-able tunes. There will also be BBQ to sample from restaurants including Famous Dave’s, Hot Sauce Williams, and Battery Park Wine Bar.

Tickets are $50 for the premiere grand tasting, which includes wine samples, BBQ samples, admission to the beer garden with craft beer for purchase, and a souvenir glass. VIP tickets are $125 and include all of the above, plus admission an hour early for a special private wine blind tasting. You can purchase tickets online or you can enter to win 2 premiere grand tasting tickets right here.

Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, or all four entries, just leave a separate comment for each time):

1. Leave a comment, telling me your favorite summer wine or beer to sip.

2. Leave a comment if you like Our Lady of the Wayside and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @OurLadyWayside 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 sip and get saucy at Grapes & Ale with @OurLadyWayside and @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1Yp

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, May 25 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Our Lady of the Wayside to help promote Grapes & Ale. In exchange, I will receive 2 premiere grand tasting tickets for myself and 2 premiere grand tasting tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Silver Spoon Awards Party!

Wednesday night, Matthew and I went to one of the hottest foodie events in a town that is pretty flush with foodie events! Of course, I’m talking about Cleveland Magazine’s Silver Spoon Awards Party to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeastern Ohio.

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We met up with the usual suspects, including event-planner extraordinaire, Alicia. The VIP area was a wonderful palate of of chevron linens and candles and white leather couches: very plush! Society Lounge was whipping up cocktails, including gin fizzes and Manhattans.

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Not only were the drinks a big hit, but the awesome bartenders made ordering a cocktail a show to behold. I also have to give Society lots of credit for whipping two different mocktails on the fly that evening! Also in VIP were Cork & Cleaver Social Kitchen, which was named Best New Restaurant, and Red, the Steakhouse, serving up some tasty nibbles.

Downstairs on the main floor was so much delicious food, you couldn’t possibly take it all in! Blue Point Grille served up raw oysters.

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Continuing on the “food that looked delicious, but I couldn’t eat” theme was Driftwood Restaurants deconstructed tuna roll, which got a lot of rave comments.

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I spent most of my evening sitting upstairs while Matthew was the world’s best food runner, picking out lots of tasty treats for me to try. Some favorites of mine included the mini reubens from Lucky’s Cafe, the szechuan beef from Pearl of the Orient, the shrimp tempure sushi from Pacific East, the cannoli from Mama Roberto’s, and the ropa vieja from Paladar Latin Kitchen and Rum Bar.

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Aside from the delicious food, there was great entertainment from the St. Edward Trash Talkers and silent auctions and raffles galore.

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In it’s 20th year, the Silver Spoon Awards Party outdid itself once again! It was a fabulous night and we can’t wait for next year!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation to help promote the Silver Spoon Awards Party. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary VIP tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Photography Class!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Awhile back, I got Matthew a certificate for a walk-around photography class. I figured an excuse to learn something new and play around with his camera would be something he would enjoy. Little did I know I’d also get a guest post out of it!

The class was given by J. Ambrozica Cleveland boomerang who has been involved in a bunch of different ventures in the city. Matthew wrote a recap of his experience and I’m happy to share his guest post with you.***

J. offers a beginner class as well as an advanced one, which is the one I took. The classes start out at his studio with a great view of the downtown Cleveland skyline.  We talked through the experiences of the people in the class and then headed outside.  The day was beautiful and warm and perfect for doing anything outside.

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We took a couple hours to simply walk around the neighborhood, looking for inspiration.  J. would stop us every block or so, and point out an opportunity to use the area and the natural light around us to improve our photos. We each got to practice some new techniques, taking portraits of the other students and being a model for their work.

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At the end of the 3 hour class, we went back to the studio to check out the images we had taken on the computer.  It was a good time to review what we had learned, see what worked and what didn’t while it was still fresh in our minds.  It gave me some thoughts on how to try things again the next time. The best part of the class was watching how the other students and J. looked at the surroundings and found ways to see and manipulate the images we were aiming for. It was a very relaxed class, and I thoroughly enjoyed spending a morning taking a new look at the City.

At the studio, J. was setting up for a photography show he is putting on later this month.  He’s had the great fortune to travel all over the world with his camera and has come away with some amazing images of exotic places.

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I enjoyed getting a preview of the some parts of the show and looking at his memories of some places I’ve been too. On Saturday, May 24 at 5:00pm, the gallery will have a night to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the G-70 Chemosabes‘ Light the Night Walk team.  For $25 there wll be music, hors d’oeuvres, a charity raffle, painting and more.  Tickets are $20 online or $25 paper ticket or at the door. Check out this link for more information and to purchase tickets.

***Again, thanks to Matthew for the recap of his photography class. I should get him gifts he can blog about more often!***

Why? Market at the Foodbank!

Last night, Matthew and I attended the Greater Cleveland Foodbank‘s Market at the Foodbank fundraiser.

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This strolling food and wine event helps to raise money for the Harvest for Hunger program. Every $1 raised through ticket sales, raffle, and silent auction contributes 4 meals to Harvest for Hunger.

We met up with Kimberly, Chris, Alicia, and PIP Mom and started working our way through the tables.

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There were some great dishes to sample. Some of our favorite savory dishes included Anna in the Raw‘s watermelon salad, AMP 150‘s pea soup, Pearl of the Orient‘s szechuan beef on a wonton crisp, and Tri-C Hospitality‘s prosciutto panini and carrot soup.

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There were a ton of dessert options, as well (almost to the point of the choices feeling a bit lopsided – I think I ate more desserts than savory food). A definite favorite was the berry and apple crisp topped with vanilla ice cream from Lucky’s Cafe.

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The kid in me (literally, haha) couldn’t resist Melt Bar & Grilled‘s cereal treats, with Cap’n Crunch, Coco Puffs, and Froot Loops treats on a stick.

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Aside from the food, there was plenty of wine and beer choices, for those who could enjoy such things.

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There was even a local celebrity spotted: Arthur Chu of Jeopardy fame. Being a fan girl, I of course managed to snag a picture with him!

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While I felt the food choices to be a bit heavy on the desserts and was generally surprised at how quickly the tables ran out of food, it was still a nice event for a great cause! The Greater Cleveland Foodbank has a couple other upcoming events worth checking out. On July 10, the inaugural BrewHaHa will combine local comedians and local craft beers for an evening of lagers and laughs. And in September, the spectacular Taste of the Browns returns to First Energy Stadium. Both are great ways to support the Foodbank and have fun at the same time!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Greater Cleveland Foodbank to help promote Market at the Foodbank. In exchange, I received 2 general admission tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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