Category Archives: Holidays

Why? Weekends!

My pre-Thanksgiving weekend was already stuffed (haha) with food and family time! On Friday night, Matthew and I went out for a quick date night dinner at Olivor Twist in downtown Willoughby. This is a longstanding favorite spot, thanks to their extensive and creative martini list and tasty food.

Since the place was packed, we grabbed a seat at the bar. You can still order the full menu there and we’ve always had great service regardless.


We started with the stuffed peppers appetizer, filled with chorizo sausage and cheese and topped with tomato sauce. These had just the right amount of heat and were a great start to our meal.


For our entrees, Matthew chose the mac ‘n cheese with lobster, which put him in a bit of a food coma. The bites I snagged were really good…packed with lobster meat and a delicious creamy sauce.

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I had the pan seared scallops, topped with apple mango chutney and served with rice pilaf and broccoli. The scallops were perfectly cooked and I really enjoyed the sweetness of the chutney. But the sides left me wanting more in terms of flavor and texture. They didn’t take away from the scallops, but they didn’t add to them either.

For dessert, we shared a slice of chocolate tort in all it’s dense, rich deliciousness.


It was a great date night!

On Saturday, we attended our niece Leila’s fourth birthday party, which of course was adorably themed around the movie “Frozen.” It’s hard to believe Leila is four already! The only picture I managed to get was with Leila’s sister, as the birthday girl barely sat still all day, but that’s to be expected!


On Sunday, we celebrated my Dad’s birthday with good food, good wine, and good company. Mom made an excellent dinner and we ended the evening with cassata cake from Dad’s favorite bakery, Baraona’s.


It was a great weekend, although I was hoping for a few less calories heading into the Thanksgiving week! I’m off this entire week and am so excited to get ready for the holiday and spend some time with my little man! How was your weekend? How is your pre-Thanksgiving week shaping up?


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.

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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.

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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? 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 

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win two tickets to Entertaining by Design at the Ohio Design Centre? Today is your last chance, so check it out!***

What a perfect fall weekend! The weather was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun pre-Halloween activities planned. But, let’s start out on Friday morning instead. My friend Stephanie and I have been meaning to make plans, but schedules being what they are, getting together has been tough.

Then we realized that we pass the same little donut shop in the mornings and the idea for a donut date was born. So, Friday morning, I met up with Stephanie for coffee, donuts, and lots of catching up at Royal Donut. This was my neighborhood donut shop growing up and is still my favorite.

Stephanie mentioned how nice it would be to be retired and just sit and chat in the donut shop all day. I definitely agree, but since we’re not, we had a quick donut date and then it was off to work.

On Saturday evening, Matthew and I took Jeffrey to the Hauntaquarium at the Greater Cleveland Aquarium.


Jeffrey was a lion and we were his keepers (literal hat-tip to Amanda and Scott for letting us borrow their hats.) The aquarium was decked out with Halloween decorations, trick-or-treat stations, spooky music, and there was even a Pirate Party in one of the upstairs rooms. I wasn’t sure about Halloween activities for this year, but Jeffrey loves watching our fish tank at home, so I figured it was worth a shot.

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Jeffrey absolutely loved watching the fish and turtles and we heard lots of excited squeals from him. This was definitely a fun event that even a little one could enjoy!

For not so little ones, the Greater Cleveland Aquarium is hosting the Lake Erie Monster Bash for those 21+ on Friday, October 31, with zombies haunting the aquarium, a dance party, a costume contest, and more. Tickets are $35 and can be purchased online.

On Sunday, we had an opportunity to show off Jeffrey’s other Halloween costume at a special Kindermusik Halloween party.


There were songs for both kids (“5 Little Pumpkins”) and grown-ups (“Ghost Busters”) and fun games and it was yet another great way to celebrate the holiday with Jeffrey.

So, we had a very kid-centered Halloween weekend, but what I love is that we’ve been able to balance weekends like this with weekends of dinners with friends and grown-up fun too. It’s certainly not an easy tight-rope to walk, but we’re doing our best and seeing how happy Jeffrey was this weekend, I think we’re doing OK!

How was your weekend?


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:

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? 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.

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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.

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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:

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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? Weekends!

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend! Wasn’t the weather just perfect?! Our weekend was busy with lots of cookouts and friends and family time, as holiday weekends tend to be.

On Thursday evening, our friends Jeff and Erin, who are married AND share a birthday, had a dual birthday cookout. This was Jeffrey’s first cookout and, seeing as he slept through most of it, I’m not sure how impressed he was.

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Matthew and I were very impressed with Erin’s cooking, however. From ribs and chicken on the grill to an orzo salad to a variation on The Greenhouse Tavern‘s “devils on horseback,” the food was quite tasty!

On Friday, we celebrated the Fourth with my family, which always involves plenty of good food, good margaritas, and good times.

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Saturday brought the third annual Poise in Parma cookout/birthday celebration. Any excuse to spend the day with these fine folks is alright with me!

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There was the usual grilling, eating, chatting, Honey Hut Ice Cream devouring, and Cards Against Humanity playing. I was so excited because Hans saved me a Great Lakes Brewing Christmas Ale to enjoy as my adult beverage of the day.

photo4 (4)This was one of the drinks I particularly missed this past holiday season and Hans was kind enough to remember and save me one! And it was as good as I hoped it would be!

So, all in all, a fabulous Fourth of July weekend! How did you celebrate the Fourth?



Why? Happy 4th of July!

Whether it’s a cookout, fireworks, or just a chance to relax, here’s hoping you have a fun, safe, and happy 4th of July!

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“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.” – Albert Camus

“As Mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see America among the foremost nations of justice and liberality.” – George Washington

“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, to assure the survival and success of liberty.” – John Fitzgerald Kennedy