Category Archives: CLEgrandpa

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win my blogiversary giveaway for a trio of Gordon Square gift cards? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

It was a snowy weekend in CLE, but I personally thought the snowfall was really beautiful! On Friday night, my Mom threw a surprise 89th birthday party for my Grandpa at Carrie Cerino’s. The guests included many of my Grandpa’s neighbors, who not only keep him company, but look out for him too.

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We enjoyed a classic, delicious Italian dinner. I’ve been to Carrie Cerino’s many times, but I had never tried the calamari before. It is served as breaded strips of calamari that are incredibly tender and cooked just right. Matthew’s tenderloin funghetto was also quite tasty. I was less impressed with my scallops (they were small and overcooked), but the pasta side was still delicious.

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The cake from Cakes by Nadine was enjoyed by all and was the perfect end to a really wonderful evening of celebrating my Grandpa!

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On Saturday, I had a much needed day of holiday productivity. I got some Christmas shopping done in the morning and then spent the evening preparing for the Ohio Blogging Association holiday party and cookie/beer swap that I’m hosting tonight. Tobey found my domesticity boring.

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Matthew and his Dad had a more festive day, as they attended the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert.

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They both enjoyed the holiday music and the impressive lights and 3D effects that are so much a part of a TSO show.

On Sunday, we attended an adoption party for two of our nieces, Evian and Raylynn. You’ve heard me talk a lot about my nieces on the blog, but you’ve only seen pictures of two of them (Leila and Hannah) up until recently. My brother-in-law Andrew and his wife Amanda were foster parents to Evian and Raylynn for two-and-a-half years. The adoption was just finalized last month and we are now able to permanently welcome the girls into the family!

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I am so impressed with Andrew and Amanda’s dedication, love, and patience throughout the foster process! And I know we’re so happy to be able to officially call these girls our nieces!

How was your weekend?

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Why? Blogiversary!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Happy 89th birthday to my Gramps who, bless his heart, has no idea what a blog is, but deserves all kinds of love from all corners.***

Three years ago today, I started Why CLE. I seriously cannot believe I’ve been scribbling on this little corner of the Internet for that long! I’ve said it before, but I honestly started this blog with no expectation of a readership beyond Matthew and Mom; no expectation of being able to meet so many amazing and passionate Clevelanders; no expectation of attending the fabulous events we’ve attended; no expectation of being even a small part of the dialogue about this wonderful city we all love.

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This year, I find myself looking both retrospectively and prospectively. It’s been a great three years, shaped mostly by life and a little by the blog. I bought a house, got married, had a crisis of career, found a job I love, and am expecting a baby. That was all life. But I also look at the adventures that filled the gaps between the momentous things and know that a lot of those were occasioned by the blog.

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And I look at the three women who are truly my sisters and am somewhat mystified to think I never would have met them if not for Why CLE.

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Looking prospectively, I think of how my life will change in the coming months (not quite able to wrap my head around years yet). I know that my Cleveland experience will continue to be vibrant, as I discover new aspects and new ways to enjoy this town. While Cleveland is certainly evolving, so much of our lifelong experience with Cleveland involves our own lives changing and then us finding the places and things in Cleveland that have been there and now fit these changes.

Thank you all so much for the last three years: for the support, the friendship, and the listening ear. I can’t wait to see what the future holds!

As a small token of my appreciation, I have a giveaway to let a reader enjoy one of my favorite neighborhoods in Cleveland: Gordon Square. The winner will receive $10 to Cleveland Cinemas’ Capitol Theatre, $30 to Spice Kitchen & Bar, and $20 to Sweet Moses Soda Fountain and Treat Shop ($10 and $10 from Sweet Moses, who generously offered to match the gift). Here’s how to enter:

  1. Leave a comment on this post. Tell me whatever you want. Wax poetic. Write a freestyle rap. It’s your comment.
  2. Leave a comment if you like Why CLE on Facebook, letting me know you do.
  3. Follow @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment letting me know you do.
  4. Tweet the following phrase and leave a comment letting me know you tweeted:

It’s @WhyCLE’s third blogiversary and I want to win an evening in @GordonSquare gift card package: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-1OD

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

The giveaway will run until Tuesday, December 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: Sweet Moses offered via Twitter to match my $10 gift card giveaway with another $10 gift card.***

jenclesig_pur

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Today is the last day to enter my giveaway to win 2 tickets to Market at the Foodbank. Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for more entries!***

It was a wonderful weekend of friends and family celebrations! On Friday morning, I went to a butt-kicking vinyasa flow at Nishkama Yoga. I don’t get to practice at Nishkama as much as I would like, so I was happy to take advantage of one of my days off before I start my new job to get to class there (more on the new job tomorrow).

I spent the rest of the day on Friday learning how to make nut roll and poppyseed roll with Mom. This is a traditional Eastern European holiday dessert and I’m all about tradition at the holidays.

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For my first try, I was pretty happy with the results and, from the way they were gobbled up, everyone else was, too!

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Friday evening, Matthew and I met up with the usual suspects to fete our lovely friend Kimberly for her birthday. We started with the ridiculously well-priced Friday wine tasting at Wine and Design. Two delicious wines for $5? Yes, please!

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Then it was off to dinner at Dante. Matthew and I decided to share a little bit of a lot of things on the menu. I love Dante’s options of tasting or appetizer-sized portions, which gives you a chance to taste even more dishes.

We thoroughly enjoyed everything we ordered: the wild mushroom and baked brie tartlet, the Hawaiian tuna tartare, the “chunky” soup with lobster, potato, and leeks, the green spaghetti, the three-cheese polenta, and the black squid ink risotto.

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Since Kimberly and Chris are Dante regulars, Chef Boccuzzi treated us to quite the dessert spread on the house. I was so blissed out, I don’t remember the exact names of most of the dishes, but there was a chocolate and orange meringue, baklava with pistachio and cherries and cardamom ice cream, a chocolate banana crepe, and a heavenly s’mores-like sundae.

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It was a fabulous evening befitting a fabulous friend! Kimberly is truly one of the sweetest, most caring, funniest people I know and I am so blessed to have her in my life! I hope this year is her best yet!

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Saturday morning brought more yoga, this time at Harmony Yoga. Then, it was into holiday prep mode. I hosted my parents, grandfather, and Matthew’s father for a traditional Holy Saturday dinner of kielbasi and sauerkraut.

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We got our kielbasi from Pinzone’s Market Fresh Meats, which is one of my go-to stands at the West Side Market. Tradition is tasty!

On Sunday, we went to Easter Mass and had dinner with my parents and grandfather.

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I also broke my Lenten no-sweets fast (Friday night’s dessert bonanza excluded) with some yummy chocolate from Malley’s. All in all, it was a great weekend with some of our favorite people!

How was your weekend? Do you celebrate Easter? What are your traditions?

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Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: There are no words to express the heartbreak I’m sure we’re all feeling in the wake of Friday’s tragedy in Connecticut. The local United Way in Newtown has established the Sandy Hook School Support Fund and I encourage you to contribute in whatever way you can.

This light, happy weekend recap is written with full knowledge of how blessed I am to be able to have a light, happy weekend.***

We’re in the last week before Christmas! Are you feeling the crazy, cheery, busy rush like I am? I had Friday off this past weekend, so I decided to take advantage by both being productive and taking a little time for myself.

I haven’t been practicing yoga as much lately. There are a number of reasons, some valid, some not as valid as to why. So, with a whole day free and the guilt of a lot of cookie eating hanging over me, I decided to get back to class. I checked out Harmony Yoga since it’s close to home. They have a new-student deal of $10 for 10 days unlimited, so I’ll be cramming in as many classes as I can over the next week or so.

Image Source - harmonyyogastudios.com

Image Source – harmonyyogastudios.com

The power vinyasa class gave me the kick in the yogi behind I needed. When you’re holding flipped dog for 10 breaths or flowing from one-legged chair to eagle to dancer to standing splits, you remember you haven’t done this in awhile. I definitely miss practicing regularly!

After class on Friday, I met up with Elizabeth from the Lake County Visitor’s Bureau to chat about blogs. We went to the recently-opened Melt Bar and Grilled in Mentor. The only times I’ve been to Melt, I’ve stuffed myself with enough bread and cheese for a week. This time, I chose a bowl of the soup of the day and Elizabeth (a girl after my own heart) had the pierogi appetizer.

photo 1I got a pack of Goldfish crackers with my soup and we were watching Scooby Doo during lunch: childhood perfection! The soup of the day was a sausage chowder with chorizo, smoked sausage, and banana peppers – spicy, hearty, and delicious! Those pierogi looked pretty fantastic too! Plus, I had a great time connecting with another local social media gal. Elizabeth and I have some collaborations in the works, so stay tuned!

Friday evening, Matthew and I had my family over for dinner to show off the Christmas decorations and have part of Grandpa’s 88th birthday celebration.

photo 4Aside from dinner and cake, we also whipped up some eggnog martinis with Hartzler Family Dairy eggnog, which I think is the absolute best you can find. The recipe is so simple too: 3 parts eggnog, 1 part Kraken Black Spiced Rum, and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top. Cheers!

photo 3Saturday was a mix of holiday shopping and a much-needed evening at home with dinner, Christmas Ale, and catching up on the DVR.

Sunday, Matthew and I went to the Straight No Chaser concert at Playhouse Square. I’ve loved a Capella music since college and Straight No Chaser has become one of my favorites. On stage, the group is playful and funny, but also incredibly talented!

The second half of the show was dedicated to holiday music. Seeing the theaters all decorated for Christmas, plus listening to the beautiful, fun, festive songs definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.

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One of my favorite Christmas songs by Straight No Chaser is called Christmas Can-Can, which is light-hearted look at all the holiday craziness. It can make me laugh, even when driving through the crazy traffic near the malls. Since Straight No Chaser encouraged photos, video, and even took a Twitter break during the show, I figured I’d share a video of Christmas Can-Can I took at yesterday’s show:

After the concert, we met up with my family for Grandpa’s birthday part 2 at Carrie Cerino’s. This is one of those places I get to once a year for Grandpa’s birthday, but I always really enjoy it. I had the veal a la Tosca, which is pounded veal medallions with an egg and lemon breading, served with fettuccine alfredo. Very tasty, plus I have tons of leftovers for lunch during the week!

IMG_5019It was a great end to a lovely weekend full of family, food, and pre-holiday fun! How was your weekend, CLE? Oh, and have you entered to win my blogiversary giveaway? Today is the last day!

Why? Blogiversary!

It’s a very special day here at Why CLE! First, it’s CLEgrandpa’s 88th birthday, so cheers to him. Also, cheers to PIP Mom, as it’s her birthday as well!

But it’s also Why CLE’s second blogiversary!

Image Source - softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com

Image Source – softandstiffpeaks.blogspot.com

I’m amazed at what this blog has grown into in the last two years. Over the past 378 posts, I’ve strengthened, changed, and truly found my voice, with the help of you and your 2,254 comments. But numbers only tell part of the story.

My early posts were decidedly less personal and more tour guide-ish, such as this one.

It took me five months to post a picture of myself, which I did for the first time in this post.

It took me a year to start using “Jen” instead of “CLEgal” to refer to myself, which I started in last year’s blogiversary post.

Over the last two years, I’ve shared things, not just about why I came back to Cleveland, but about my weight loss, my hard lesson in Internet safety, and even my wedding.

When I started Why CLE, the blog was going to be balanced between good and bad things about Cleveland. I soon realized that I just love this city and there is more than enough snark on the Internet, so I changed to fashioning every post into a reason why I love Cleveland, hoping that you could find the common threads in my experience to hold onto for yourself. I will always be honest with you about my experiences, but at the same time this blog will always err toward the positive.

Beyond just the changes in my writing, I’ve found my love and commitment to Cleveland strengthened, my social calendar filled, and my creative muscles flexed in ways I never could have imagined two years ago. I’ve also met some of the most amazing people, done some of the most fun things, and made some of the most wonderful friends.

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Daily, I am so grateful for and humbled by those of you who read along on this journey and for the opportunities and relationships blogging has afforded me. I’m also so in debt to Matthew and my family who allow me the time and give me the support and patience when I take pictures of everything or spend hours prepping posts.

As a small token of my affection, I’d like to give away something I saw at CLE Clothing Co. that caught my eye.

photo2whycleIt’s meant to be a Christmas ornament, although I think it could also be a year-round sun catcher. Here’s how to enter to win (leave a SEPARATE comment for each entry):

1. Leave a comment letting me know your biggest and best reason why you love CLE.

2. Tweet the following phrase: It’s @WhyCLE’s 2nd blogiversary and I want to win some CLE decor: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-19o

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, December 17 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced on Monday, December 18. Good luck! And thank you for an awesome 2 years…I know blogs have a shelf life, but I hope to keep entertaining you for at least a little while longer.

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win some holiday glam products yet? Remember, you can tweet daily for more entries! Click here to enter!***

I hope you all had a fun, food-filled, relaxing Thanksgiving weekend! Mine was full of good family time and good eating, which is exactly how it should be, in my opinion.

On Thursday, Matthew and I hosted our first Thanksgiving in our new home. We moved into this house in February, so I’m really excited for our first holiday season here. We had my Mom, Dad, Grandpa, and Father-in-Law over for a Thanksgiving feast.

This year, we ordered our Thanksgiving turkey, as well as some other necessary items, from Fresh Fork Market. The turkey had a very different taste than your normal, every day Butterball. It was much fresher and a bit more gamy. It was also incredibly tender and juicy.

Almost every dish on our table had at least some Fresh Fork ingredients in them. One of the favorites was the streuseled sweet potato casserole, which had Fresh Fork sweet potatoes, maple syrup, egg, flour and butter in it. Click here for the recipe.

We also had a special bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner.

As a bridal shower gift, I received wines to be enjoyed on certain special occasions. So I was very excited to pop the cork on this bottle to toast our first Thanksgiving as a married couple.

It was a wonderful day of eating too much and spending time with family!

On Friday morning, Mom and I continued our 20-plus-year tradition of going out on Black Friday. Truthfully, we get very little gift shopping accomplished and we start later and later each year. But, we have a great time together, talking, browsing, and being a little bit silly.

As a respite from the craziness at the mall, we stopped for lunch at Rosewood Grill in Strongsville. I started with a very interesting cocktail: the 82 & Spicy. It has Hangar One Chipotle vodka, raspberry puree, lime, and bubbles. Sweet and spicy and really tasty!

We split a selection of appetizers for lunch, starting with the calamari and sushi shots.

I loved the breaded banana peppers that came along with the calamari! The sushi shots are phyllo cups, with mashed avocado and tuna, served with sriracha sauce. The sauce provides a nice kick, but these shots are good with or without the added heat.

We also shared the exotic mushroom and brie flatbread.

Brie and mushrooms are two of my favorite things and this combination was rich and earthy. The crisp sea salt crust on the flatbread added just the right texture to each bite. I definitely will be heading back to Rosewood Grill! In an area overrun by chain restaurants, it’s nice to have a foodie, independent option.

Saturday, Matthew and I loosened our belts for Thanksgiving, Round 2 with his family. Fresh Fork played a large role again, particularly in Matthew’s light, sweet apple cake dessert. This is from a recipe he found in the only English cookbook in his apartment in Italy when he studied abroad and it is one of my favorite things he makes.

It was another fun day with family, particularly catching up with our nieces who are growing up so fast and are ridiculously adorable.

Sunday was dedicated to decorating the house for Christmas. I always enjoy holiday decorating, but particularly with it being the first year in this house, I was really excited. First stop was picking out a tree.

This is only my second year having a live Christmas tree. I always had artificial trees and Matthew always had live trees. I’ve found I really like having a live tree: the smell just says Christmas! Then it was time to come home and decorate. The finished product blends Matthew’s and my holiday traditions and I know I will spend a lot of evenings snuggled up on the couch looking at the tree.

How was your Thanksgiving weekend, CLE?

Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: To celebrate Cleveland Beer Week, I’m giving away 2 tickets to Brauhaus in a Beer Garden at The Greenhouse Tavern. Click here to enter! Remember, you can tweet and share on Facebook daily for more entries.***

It was a busy weekend in Cleveland! On Saturday morning, Tobey, Matthew and I got up bright and early to participate in the Monster Mutt Dash 5K to benefit the Berea Animal Rescue Friends (ARF). Since Tobey is a rescue dog, shelters that care for and find good homes for pups have a special place in my heart. In fact, Team Tobey raised $125 for Berea ARF!

While Tobey and I had big plans to “run” the 5K, his little legs got tired around the mile mark, so we’ll tell ourselves we were one of the fastest in the Fun Walk category. Besides the race, there was a Howl-o-ween fair with lots of fun games, prizes, and vendors. We also had a great photo op with the Indians hot dogs, who kicked off the race.

Poat-race, Tobey suffered through wearing his adorable pink hippo costume (I think he’s plotting revenge against me now).

I certainly wasn’t the only pet parent making their pup dress up. We saw tons of cute pooches in costume from Eeyore to Hershey Kisses to bumblebees!

Monster Mutt Dash was a fun morning for both humans and pups! Tobey was tuckered out and slept the whole way home!

Saturday evening, Matthew and I headed to Old Angle Tavern for my friend Theresa’s 30th birthday party. The party was held in the basement room and was all decorated for a celebration.

We munched on pizza, wings, hummus, and veggies and I discovered a tasty hard cider – Magner’s Irish Cider. I’m not usually a fan of hard ciders, but this one was not overly sweet. I also just had a great time catching up with college friends and celebrating with the birthday girl!

Hope 30 is your best year yet, Theresa!

On Sunday, CLEgrandpa wanted to take us out for Sweetest Day, which is just too, well, sweet. Did you know Sweetest Day started in 1921 in Cleveland? Most people outside this area have no idea the “holiday” even exists!

We had dinner at Creekside Restaurant & Bar, which is a favorite with every generation in my family. I enjoyed the pot roast, served over a potato pancake and topped with crispy onion straws. The tender meat and rich gravy is comfort food that hits the spot!

My favorite part of dining at Creekside Restaurant is the dessert case. While I wanted a pumpkin cannoli, they were sold out and so I enjoyed a regular cannoli, while Matthew had a Guinness cream puff. So delicious!

It was a sweet end to a great weekend! How was your weekend, CLE?

 

Why? Weekends!

It was another fun weekend in Cleveland! On Friday evening, CLEmom and I attended the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National MS Society’s Locavore fundraiser. Held at Windows on the River, this event is a celebration of local food and wine. We sampled wine from Maize Valley Winery

…and ate delicious savory bites from AMP 150, Momocho, John Palmer’s Bistro 44, Corleone’s, Nosh Eatery, and more.

Kobe beef egg rolls and gazpacho from John Palmer’s Bistro 44 and meatballs from Windows on the River

There were also sweet treats from Lilly’s Handmade Chocolates and Indulgence Cakes.

Lilia from Indulgence Cakes with carrot cake cupcakes and chocolate baklava

There was music, fun, hanging out with “old” friends and getting to meet new friends, like our host for the evening, Mark Zinni from Fox 8 News.

But the best part of the night was hearing from 2012 Individual of Inspiration Award winner Adam Riedy, introduced by his best friend of 15 years, Charlene. Adam’s daily battle with MS and his inspiring and honest story from his diagnosis until now put in perspective why we were all there that evening: to raise money to help fight MS and to show support for those who daily deal with this disease.

Adam and Charlene

Locavore was a wonderful evening for a great cause! To find out more about how you can get involved with the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National MS Society, click here.

After Locavore, a few of us girls decided to introduce CLEmom to the delightful dive bar that is the Harbor Inn. Beer and conversation flowed freely and it was the perfect cap to the night.

Saturday morning, it was time to get my downward dog on at Nishkama Yoga. It was a packed house for a hot and sweaty hour and a half Asana. Practicing with Alicia and Kimberly helped me get through some marathon planks and start my Saturday off right.

On Sunday, we took CLEgrandpa out to lunch to celebrate Grandparents Day at the new Danny Boy’s in Broadview Heights. This is a pasta and pizza spot the whole family can enjoy, with plenty of delicious carbs and Sinatra music to go around. Matthew and I split the Clevelander pizza, which pays homage to Cleveland’s spot right in between New York and Chicago.

A New York-style crust is layered with cheese and pepperoni, then topped with sauce to mimic Chicago-style deep dish pizza. While I’m usually a fan of less sauce, this pizza was truly tasty! Plus, we got to spend the afternoon with a pretty great life-long Clevelander, my grandpa!

How was your weekend, Cleveland?

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Ohio Buckeye Chapter of the National MS Society to help promote Locavore. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

Why? Wedding Recap!

***A bit of blogkeeping: While I’m off on my honeymoon, I’ve lined up some fabulous Cleveland bloggers to give new Why CLE? perspectives. Today we have Alicia from Poise in Parma. Much thanks to Alicia for recapping the biggest day in my life…no pressure, right? Seriously, I’m blessed to have one of my best blogging friends writing this.***

As an event planner and a Cleveland blogger, I’m lucky to attend parties of all sizes, all around Greater Cleveland, on a pretty regular basis. But there was one event I’ve been looking forward to: Weddingpalooza 2012 featuring the #WhyCLEWedding & the marriage of our favorite CLEgirl and her CLEguy.

As Jen is one of my closest friends, I knew just how excited the entire WhyCLE Team was for this special occasion. The happy couple spent countless hours planning all the details, meeting with so many vendors (check out this and this post for details on whom they used for what) and gathering all the pieces to ensure one very happy day. Blog post spoiler: they had just that.

On Saturday, June 2nd, guests gathered at at St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Mentor for a beautiful 11AM ceremony. While plenty of tears of joy were flowing when Jen walked down the aisle, this blogger was jumping for joy: I was SO excited to see her so so happy!

 

After her entrance with her beautiful (both inside and out) mom, Jen met her handsome soon-to-be husband at the altar.

…and after one traditional Catholic mass, the priest presented them as Mr. and Mrs. WhyCLE!

I loved the bridesmaid dresses: the sleek silver color paired beautifully with the pink accents throughout the day.

That evening, Executive Caterers at Landerhaven were ready to execute all that Jen & Matt had dreamed possible for their wedding reception.

Since Jen and Matt had the Landerhaven Grand Ballroom, guests had access to an outdoor tented cocktail hour appetizers and beverages.

I knew Matt had to be please with the deviled eggs, one of his favorites!

After enjoying the lovely June evening & adult beverages, it came time for guests to be seated at the beautifully decorated tables:

Everyone was ready to welcome to newly married Mr. and Mrs. WhyCLE!

After their grand entrance, it was time for dinner. To start, lobster bisque and a summer salad with lemon poppyseed dressing:

 

For their main course, the feast continued beef tenderloin with a red wine demi-glace, potato encrusted grouper with mango salsa, porcini mushroom cake and an asparagus & carrot bundle:

The EPIC dessert bar featured an array of Viennese Mini Pastries and one amazing flourless chocolate cake (gluten free FTW), and of course this beautiful wedding cake:

 

A huge PIP thank you goes out to SMITTEN…in Cleveland whom might have a hidden talent in food blogging she’s not fully using!

After the traditional dances and blush-inducing garter moments, the dance party began and the #WhyCLEWedding Social Media Committee took over the dance floor. The DJs from Selective Sound kept the dance tunes coming all night long so we could show off our moves. To help ensure Jen’s wedding had everything it possibly could, I even secured a last minute wedding crasher. Good thing I have members of the PIP team ready, in the appropriate dress & on call, at all times! Jen & Matt’s wedding officially had EVERYTHING they could possibly wish for!!

…and before we all knew it, it was midnight and their big day had come to a close:

That picture says it all: you can feel the love in the room, the gratitude from the happy couple and the potential of what their two lives now combined as one can bring.

LONG STORY SHORT: When Jen originally asked me to guest post, I jokingly offered my idea to event recap her wedding on the blog. As we do love our social media, it seemed only apropos to continue the blogging fun of our #WhyCLEWedding hashtag. But now, I feel like I could have shared an entire series of recaps: these highlights just don’t do it justice. I am so so honored to share their special day with you – even in my fun, light-hearted, blogging way. Jen & Matt have that look: the one when you know two individuals truly and deeply love and care for one another.  They OWN that look  – and I know they’ll be giving each other that look for the rest of their lives.

So here’s to the very happy couple: Mr. and Mrs. WhyCLE – may you have many years of happy marriage filled with plenty of exciting (sometimes blogged about) adventures to come!

Why? CLE Wedding Update!

So, I was amazed at how many of you wanted to read about the wedding plans. My first wedding update post back in January was a hit! I thought I’d drop in another update post to let you know what’s going on, since we’re now less than two months from the big day!

Registering

Matthew and I registered at Crate and Barrel, Williams-Sonoma, and Macy’s. I tell you this not so you can buy us presents, but so I can tell you what was great about registering at these spots. Macy’s is obviously really convenient for just about everyone and always has sales going. The cook in both of us (and our amazing new kitchen) made Williams-Sonoma a must. And Crate and Barrel is a classic.

We went to the Crate and Barrel bridal registry event, which was so worthwhile. Crate and Barrel hosts these on Sundays twice a year. The store is “open” from 9am-12pm just to couples who are registering. You get a lot of one-on-one attention, plus fun treats.

We had faux mimosas (tip: I would have registered for more expensive things if I was drinking real mimosas), mini paninis, waffles, and more, all made with Crate and Barrel products.

To keep the peace when registering at multiple locations, switch off who controls the scanner. And then log-on when you get home and add (or delete) to your heart’s content. Seriously, I keep checking out the registries to see what’s been bought and then I get ridiculously excited or start trying to figure out where to put it in the house. I have issues.

Dress Fittings and Test Hair

I’m pretty sure there are few things less nerve-wracking than dress fittings. I’ve had my two and the dress is ready to go. Seriously, all that’s left is for Demetrios to steam it and then I pick it up the week of the wedding. Eek!

I had my test hair done this week and I love it! I’m having my hair done at Illusion Unlimited in Parma. I’ve had my hair done there for years and there’s no better feeling than having someone who knows you and who you trust working with you for the big day.

Best of all, the style looks exactly like the picture I found. I also had a mini dance party and it didn’t all come falling down or anything, so we’re safe there!

DJ

Speaking of dance party…last post I told you we chose Selective Sound as our DJ company. We met our DJ, Rick, recently to finalize all the details. Beyond just coordinating the schedule for the reception and handling introductions, Rick made music suggestions, got to know us and our tastes, and made me convinced the reception is going to be a great party. I may have selected an abnormal amount of Beyonce songs, however. I figure my bustle is the closest thing to a Beyonce booty I’ll ever have, so I might as well enjoy it!

Invitations and RSVPs

I had my “Cleveland Bridesmaids” (I have 2 out-of-town bridesmaids as well) over one Sunday to stuff invitations.

What happens when a group of Type A women set about a task? It gets done ridiculously quickly, leaving us more time to drink wine!

Before the wine...

After the wine...

Receiving RSVPs makes going to the mailbox ridiculously fun. The “no” RSVPs tend to bum me out a bit, but only because I think everyone we invited is special and important in our lives. But for the most part, it’s a total rush of fun getting RSVPs. Check back when the RSVP deadline has passed and I’m short on responses, though…

Ceremony/Church

Our ceremony is at St. John Vianney Catholic church. As part of the preparation, we spent all day one Saturday at a Pre-Cana retreat. I have to say, we weren’t initially thrilled with the idea of giving up an entire Saturday. We had just moved, there was so much to do, and so on. But it was really worth it.

There were talks from married couples in the parish, there was small group discussion with other engaged couples, and (my favorite part) we received letters from our family and friends. I opened my grandfather’s letter first. At 87, his eyesight isn’t great and his penmanship has suffered along with it, but he handwrote a 5 page letter. If that doesn’t melt you and make you feel infinitely supported, nothing will.

The Emotional Stuff

OK, so less than two months out from the wedding…very different feeling than a year away or even six months away. First, I’ve become one of those people who talks about the wedding whenever possible. As in, I would like a chai latte and by the way, I’m getting married. I probably annoy people with this (or at least confuse them). I’m honestly so crazy excited and so insanely happy that I think I’m going to burst. So, I’ll try to keep it down, but I’m not sure it’ll work…

I think the main thing I realized recently is that I’m ready. Not as in, I’m ready for June 2 and every I is dotted and T is crossed. As in, I’m ready to be married. It’s a different feeling than when we first got engaged. I was sure of Matthew and of us and our future. But it was still out there in the future. That’s why you have an engagement period, I suppose: to transition from seeing it in the future to being ready for it in the present. And I am so ready to be his wife. Wow.

So, that’s where we’re at in this crazy journey. Still to come: seating arrangements, bridal shower, bachelorette party…