Category Archives: Holidays

Why? Weekends, Part 1!

This weekend, Matthew and I decided to have a “staycation babymoon,” if only to see how many made-up words we could use to describe one weekend. We did so much great stuff, I have to break it up into two posts! Not only was it a fun and relaxing weekend, but it was a great reminder that you don’t have to leave home to find plenty of new and different things to do.

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Friday evening, we went on the Grape Escape wine train on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad. This was the first time on the Scenic Railroad for both of us and the sold-out Valentine’s event seemed like a great way to check it out.

All aboard!

All aboard!

The menu consisted of five Italian wines, paired with small bites supplied by Moe’s Restaurant. This proved a particularly good deal for Matthew, since he got to have all my wine! Our first course was prosecco paired with garlic and herb cheese and crackers.

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All the appetizers were cold to make serving/transporting easier. Our second course was pinot grigio paired with a mixed greens salad with cranberries, nuts, and goat cheese.

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All of the servers and trainmen on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad are volunteers. You can tell they just really enjoy and have a passion for the railroad. Unfortunately, since it was winter, our ride took place in the dark and we didn’t get to appreciate much of the scenery. We did get a glimpse of the Boston Mills/Brandywine ski areas and downtown Peninsula, though.

Our third course was “broken-heart” pasta salad, served with a light red wine (the varietal escapes me now).

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Our fourth course was a chicken salad croissant, served with the first of two chianti wines. And the sweet finish to the evening was chocolate mousse with strawberries and shortbread cookies, served with a fuller-bodied chianti.

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It was a fun and unique way to spend Valentine’s Day and I always enjoy crossing something off my Cleveland to-do list. There are monthly Grape Escape and Ales on Rails rides on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad (click here for more information), along with many other special events for everyone from adults to families. Hop on board and explore the beauty of our area’s national park, as well as the neat throw-back feeling of riding the rails.

How did you celebrate Valentine’s Day?


Why? Upcoming Events!

As we head toward Valentine’s Day and even beyond, there are lots of great activities to enjoy around town, whether with your sweetie, your friends, or yourself!

Orchid Mania

Now through Sunday, March 9

Cleveland Botanical Garden

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Come see the beautiful Cleveland Botanical Garden filled with sensuous and mysterious orchids. There is also an Interior Design Showcase, Ask the Orchid Doctor, and programs for all ages. Admission is free for Garden members and $11 for non-member adults. Click here for more information.

Go With Me!

Friday, February 7 at 7pm

MOCA Cleveland

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MOCA Cleveland wants to make connecting with people fun and easy. Come to the museum for a fun night of schoolyard games like dodgeball, parachute, and musical chairs. All are welcome, singles and couples alike! Tickets are free for MOCA members and $10 for non-members. Click here for more information.

Mother-Daughter Tea Social

Sunday, February 9 at 2pm

Willoughby Hills Community Center


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Have a lovely ladies afternoon, complete with tea, lunch, desserts, favors, and activities. Proceeds benefit Operation Shower, which throws baby showers for pregnant women whose husbands are deployed in the military. Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children 12 and under. Click here to purchase tickets.

Lago Valentine’s Dinner

Friday, February 14 and Saturday, February 15



There are a lot of great places to go for a romantic Valentine’s meal, but dining in one of Cleveland’s newest hot spots, Lago, is sure to be a win! Treat your senses to a delicious prix fixe Valentine’s meal, with amuse bouche, entree, appetizer and dessert. Cost is $125 per couple and includes a prosecco starter and a rose. Click here for more information and to make reservations.

The Nature Conservancy Dinner Meet-Up

Wednesday, February 19 at 6:30pm

Tommy’s Restaurant

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Tommy’s Restaurant is the winner of the 2013 Nature’s Plate Award for Cleveland and the Nature Conservancy is gathering to celebrate the win. All dinner checks for those attending will be discounted by 10% and there will be a discussion of how the Nature Conservancy is bringing together unexpected partners to help the environment. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

All About the Bag

Wednesday, February 26 at 6pm

Executive Caterers at Landerhaven

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Come out for an evening of fashion and fun to benefit The Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland. There will be a fashion show, local celebs, an auction, and a raffle! Tickets are $55 for general admission and $125 for premier admission. Click here for more details.

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend a preview of the Lago Valentine’s Dinner and the Go With Me event at MOCA Cleveland, both with complimentary media passes. Due to scheduling conflicts, I declined both invitations. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

Hello! Friday night, I was supposed to attend the MIX: Celebrate happy hour at the Cleveland Museum of Art, but was unable to go. Luckily, giveaway winner (and occasional Why CLE? roving reporter) Katie provided me with some fabulous pictures from the event.

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This month’s MIX celebrated the completion of the expansion and renovation project at the Museum. Katie reported that the newly-opened galleries look fabulous!

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I can’t wait to get to the Museum and see the new galleries. Make plans to check them out for yourself, perhaps at next month’s MIX, happening Friday, February 7.

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On Saturday, most of the day was spent out and about shopping. Matthew and I picked out and ordered our nursery furniture! We absolutely love what we chose and can’t wait to get started making the nursery look cute and homey.

We purchased our furniture from Berg’s Baby and Teen Furniture, which has a great selection and really good service. There was something about placing that order that made things feel very real!

My Saturday night plans fell through, so I spent the evening curled up on the couch, binge watching episodes of “Gilmore Girls,” which I was perfectly happy to do. Matthew, on the other hand, had a busy evening helping out with a wedding photo booth!

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The very talented Lane Baldwin Photography has expanded her services to offer photo booths for weddings, parties, and other events. Her husband Nathan runs the booth and Matthew has helped out twice now with the printing and logistics. There’s props and lots of silliness, as well as great pictures! For more info on the photo booth services, click here.

Sunday was spent de-Christmasing the house, which is truly one of my least favorite tasks. I also made this tasty supper using some leftover holiday ham and Brussels sprouts we got from Fresh Fork Market. All in all, it was a low-key weekend, but a good one!

How was your weekend? Are you prepared for the upcoming snow and cold?

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Museum of Art to help promote MIX: Celebrate. In exchange, I received 2 tickets to the event, which I was unfortunately unable to use. Matthew was compensated for his time assisting with the Lane Baldwin Photography photo booth. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Happy New Year!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to MIX: Celebrate at the Cleveland Museum of Art? Check it out! Today is your last day to enter. Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

Happy New Year! Now, let me confess that I’ve always dreaded (OK, kind of hated) New Year’s Eve. It’s always just seemed like a lot of hoopla and a lot of money and for all the house parties, hotel parties, dinners, and bars that I’ve spent various New Year’s Eves in, I’ve never had that great of a time. The one thing I do appreciate about New Year’s, though, is a chance to reflect on the year gone by and the year to come.

Image Source - freepik,com

Image Source – freepik,com

Without taking you down the recap road, I’ll share one of my biggest realizations from this year: I’ve been lying to myself and about myself. My whole life, I would tell you and myself that I hated change. Yet, the course of my life would show you a whole lot of change and anything but a miserably unhappy person. I was a gypsy in a lot of ways for a long time: I changed addresses constantly, I switched jobs somewhat frequently, and most of my friends didn’t bother learning the latest guy’s name. And I had a great time.

So, now that I’m in the 30-year house and a job that I like, married to the man of my dreams, and having the time of my life with life, maybe this whole hating change thing is becoming more accurate? Um, no. Because at the end of May, we’re going to shake up our world again in a momentous way (not that being pregnant hasn’t already started the shift).

In reflecting on not just 2013, but my life in general, I’ve come to the conclusion that I definitely do not hate change. I’m willing to shake things up, in big and small ways, all in pursuit of what I most want: fulfillment. As I’ve gotten older, with things like a mortgage and a baby-to-be, maybe that shaking up is a little less seismic. But it’s still there: the knowledge that if something isn’t serving me, isn’t growing me, I’m not afraid to change the situation to find something that does serve me and grow me.

As we enter 2014, I resolve to embrace the changes (I love ‘em, after all) and to continue to reflect upon and be honest with myself, about myself. It’s the only way I can be honest about myself with others, after all.

What’s your New Year’s Resolution?


Why? MIX Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Jessica @ Anchored in CLE (Comment #32), randomly-selected winner of catering for 20 people from Chipotle. Please check your email and respond by the end of the day or a new winner will be chosen.***

While it may be a bit late to be making New Year’s Eve plans, I have a way you can start your 2014 at a stylish and fun party, happening this Friday, January 3 at the Cleveland Museum of Art.

MIX: Celebrate is the January installment of the monthly first-Friday happy hour series at the Museum and will be celebrating the completion of the Museum’s expansion and renovation project.

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The party goes from 5-11pm, with cocktails, a chance to take in the Museum collections, and music from DJ Rekha and DJ Dongo. DJ Rekha spins a “signature hip-hop infused blend of contemporary electronic dance with Bhangra and Bollywood sounds.” It’s sure to be a packed dance floor and a great evening!

Tickets are $14 in advance ($7 for Museum members) and $16 the day of the event ($9 for Museum members). You can purchase tickets online or you can enter to win two tickets right here!

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

1. Leave a comment telling me the best New Year’s party you’ve attended.

2. Leave a comment if you like the Cleveland Museum of Art and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @ClevelandArt 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 MIX it up in 2014 with @ClevelandArt and @WhyCLE:

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 Wednesday, January 1 and the winner will be notified by email the following day. Good luck and Happy New Year!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Museum of Art to help promote MIX: Celebrate. In exchange, I will receive 2 tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win catering for 20 from Chipotle? Check it out! Today is your last day to enter. Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries!***

I hope you all had a lovely holiday week! Matthew and I were both off on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, but decided to take the rest of the week off as well. It was so nice and relaxing! We had all the busy holiday time with friends and family, but also plenty of time to hang out around the house, watch DVDs, play board games, make paninis (we never use our panini maker), and just chill out.

So, in lieu of a play-by-play recap, here are some of my favorite photos from the week:

Time with friends and their little ones

Time with friends and their little ones

Reading "'Twas the Night Before Christmas" to CLEbaby

Reading “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas” to CLEbaby

Opening gifts at my parents' house on Christmas morning

Opening gifts at my parents’ house on Christmas morning

Matthew's dad's modified "Ho Ho Ho" sign. O-H-

Matthew’s dad’s modified “Ho Ho Ho” sign. O-H-

Matching pink hats with my niece, Hannah

Matching pink hats with my niece, Hannah

It was a very kate spade Christmas

It was a very kate spade Christmas

Hope your holiday week was wonderful too!


Why? Weekends!

It was a very merry weekend, filled with lots of pre-Christmas fun! On Friday night, Matthew and I attended my company’s holiday party.


As this is my first holiday season at this job, I wasn’t sure what to expect from the party. It was a really lovely evening, with good food, music and dancing, some fun prizes, and time to hang out with co-workers in a relaxed setting. We had a great time!

Saturday brought another holiday party, this time with the “Tri-County Wives Club” (Alicia, Amanda, Kimberly, and spouses). This is our second annual holiday party and it has become one of my most favorite holiday traditions.

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There’s always plenty of food and bubbly (alcohol-free champagne FTW), a white elephant gift exchange, rounds of Cards Against Humanity, and just lots of time to celebrate the season with our closest friends.


Sunday morning, I met up with Mom to see the holiday classic “The Bishop’s Wife” at the Capitol Theatre. Once a month, the Capitol Theatre shows a classic movie on a Sunday morning for only $5. It’s a great way to enjoy an old-time movie on the big screen!

After the show, we headed over to the just-opened Jack Flaps in Ohio City. This “urban breakfast shoppe” offers gourmet, unique pancakes, waffles, French toast, and more.

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I chose the Malted Milk Crunch waffle, topped with chocolate ganache, malted crunch, and cereal milk whipped cream. All the waffles and pancakes are served with cinnamon butter and maple syrup, too. The waffle tasted a bit like a Whopper candy. It was delicious, but incredibly rich!

Mom had the Graham Cracker waffle, with Nutella, graham crackers, and bruleed marshmallows.

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Her assessment of the food was the same: delicious, but so rich! We also tried a side of the maple brown sugar bacon, which is not to be missed! I saw at least 3 other things on the menu I want to try, so I’m sure I’ll be back. Jack Flaps is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 7am to 3pm. Check ‘em out!

How was your weekend? Are you ready for Christmas?


Why? Glow!

On Wednesday night, Matthew and I met up with friends Beth and Enzo to enjoy some seasonal magic at the Cleveland Botanical Garden’s Glow.


Glow decks the Garden out in poinsettias, twinkling lights, Christmas trees, and gingerbread houses. The Christmas trees are decorated by various garden clubs from around the area. One of my favorites was the “Memories of Cleveland’s Past” tree.


By far, my favorite gingerbread house was this stunning replica of the Old Stone Church.


But there were a lot of other notable houses, showcasing creativity and ranging from cute to dramatic.

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And while it was chilly, we did wander outside to see the lights scattered throughout the garden. Plus, we were able to pop into the greenhouse to warm up afterwards!

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Glow is open through Sunday, January 5 and has evening hours until 9pm on Wednesdays and Fridays. Glow has a lot to offer both adults and children. You’ll find everything from a Glow bar with Great Lakes Christmas Ale and a gift shop filled with beautiful gifts to a train and elf house, complete with a slide. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children. Head on out to Cleveland Botanical Garden and get yourself some holiday Glow!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Botanical Garden to help promote Glow. In exchange, I received 2 complimentary tickets to the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? New Year’s Eve Events!

As much as I like to take my holidays one at a time, when it comes to New Year’s Eve, you have to start planning before Christmas! There are lots of fun and festive ways to send off 2013 and ring in 2014 around Cleveland.

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Here are just a few:

Cleveland Rocks NYE 2014 – Electric Ice

This is a free festival open to all on Public Square, sponsored by Ohio Homecoming. Hometown comedian Drew Carey will be back in town to host the festivities. There will also be fireworks, live music, food trucks, a beer garden, and much more.

Windows on the River New Year’s Eve 2013

Three banquet rooms filled with food, entertainment, fun, and some beautiful views of downtown Cleveland will help you ring in the new year. General admission tickets are $100 and include open bar, hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, and a champagne toast. VIP admission tickets are $150 and add admission to the Greater Cleveland Aquarium, top shelf alcohol in the VIP lounge, a swag bag and more. For more information and to purchase tickets, click here.

Brew Year’s Eve

If champagne isn’t your thing, check out Great Lakes Brewing Co.’s annual Brew Year’s Eve bash. There will be a DJ and live music, a photo booth, and, of course, lots of beer! Tickets are $60 and include heavy hors d’oeuvres and 3 drink tickets. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets.


Dining in Cleveland can be a fabulous experience any night, but a lot of our restaurants bring their A-game for New Year’s Eve.

Pura Vida has dinner seatings from 4-10pm, and a house party starting at 10pm with open bar, appetizers, music, and a breakfast brunch. Cost for the house party is $125 per person (you save $25 if you had earlier dinner reservations). Click here for more information.

Crop Bistro is offering a six-course tasting menu for $95 per person, with a champagne toast at midnight. The lavish elegance of Crop is a beautiful way to ring in 2014!

The Greenhouse Tavern will serve an impressive 11-course New Year’s Eve dinner, with reservations accepted between 5-9:45pm. Cost is $99 per person. There are optional beverage pairings and a champagne toast, too. Click here for more information.

No matter how you ring in 2014, be safe! Here’s a handy list of cab companies in the area.

Where will you be celebrating New Year’s Eve?