Why? L’Amour du Vin!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Alicia doing her thing

Alicia doing her thing

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

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

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Why? St. Jude Give Thanks Walk!

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

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

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

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

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

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Why? Weekends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Why? Joe’s Deli!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Today is your last day to enter to win 2 tickets to see the a cappella group The House Jacks. Check it out!***

As fall sets in and the weather gets cooler, a girl just wants some comfort food. It doesn’t have to be fancy or trendy, it just has to be good, traditional food, served in an atmosphere where the clientele range from the very young to the senior citizens. Enter Joe’s Deli.

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Joe’s is a longstanding west side favorite. I went to high school with a girl whose family owns the restaurant and I can attest that this is a family-owned, Cleveland-hometown spot. Jeffrey and I met up with my friend Michelle for dinner at Joe’s last night.

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So, this picture is from her bachelorette party, not from last night. But who knew then that we’d be switching spots as to who was pregnant?! I’m so happy for Michelle’s upcoming addition and it was great to get together and chat about everything from babies to jobs.

Anyway, back to Joe’s…a must-order item is the matzoh ball soup.

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It is chock full of chicken, veggies, and matzoh balls and is a perfect comfort food. For my dinner, I chose the liver, topped with onions and bacon and served with mashed potatoes.

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From tasty traditional hot plates to deli sandwiches to a ridiculous dessert counter with chocolate chip cookies as big as your head, Joe’s is a great spot for a not fussy, solidly good meal. All the grandmas oohing and ahhing over Jeffrey didn’t hurt either!

Where is your favorite comfort food spot?

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Why? Namaste, One Night for One World!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to see the a cappella group The House Jacks at Shaker Heights High School? Check it out!***

Namaste means, “I bow to the divine in you.” It means showing respect to that which is special and sacred in each of us. International Partners in Mission is hosting its 12th annual Namaste! One Night for One World Cultural Celebration Benefit on Thursday, October 16, giving attendees a chance to show the respect of Namaste to those who work so hard for this wonderful organization.

At the Namaste Benefit, you can enjoy stunning views of the Cleveland skyline from the Ariel International Center, while nibbling on international cuisine, sipping wine, listening to live music including jazz guitarist Lee Bush, and perusing crafts and silent auction items from around the world.

More than ten of IPM’s Project Partners from around the world will also be on hand that evening to share stories about their countries and the work of IPM.

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Before Namaste, there will also be a unique immersion experience and VIP reception with Peter and Dorothy Nyong’o, who are active in Kenyan politics and non-profits and are also the parents of Oscar-winner Lupita Nyong’o, as well as Joseph Cistone, the CEO of IPM.

Namaste is sure to be a fun evening to benefit IPM’s wonderful work around the globe and it is a great way to show Cleveland’s support for this organization that calls our city home. Tickets are $100 for Patron VIP level, $40 for general admission, and $15 for students and can be purchased online.

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***Disclosure: I was asked by International Partners in Mission to help promote Namaste. In exchange, I was offered complimentary tickets to Namaste. I declined due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? The House Jacks Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to cshillz (Comment #27), randomly-selected winner of 2 general admission tickets to the Arthritis Foundation’s L’Amour du Vin fundraiser. Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online.***

I love me some a cappella  music. When I was in college, a friend had an all a cappella show on John Carroll radio that I listened to religiously. More recently, Matthew and I took in the Straight No Chaser show at Playhouse Square and loved every note.

Now, The House Jacks, a five-man a cappella group who have performed on The Sing-Off and Pitch Perfect, are bringing their harmonies to Shaker Heights High School for a public concert on Tuesday, October 7. The concert is part of Shaker Heights Schools’ commitment to performing arts education.

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Group member Austin Willacy can attest to this commitment, as he is an alumnus of Shaker Heights High School. Aside from the public concert, The House Jacks will be artists-in-residence for two days, hosting private workshops for choir students.

Tickets for The House Jacks’ concert are $25 for general admission, $15 for seniors and Shaker staff, and $10 for students and can be purchased 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 leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment letting me know what song you’d most like to hear The House Jacks cover in their concert.

2. Leave a comment if you like Shaker Heights Schools and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @ShakerSchools 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 win tickets to see @thehousejacks at @ShakerSchools thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-288

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

The giveaway will close on Friday, October 3 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Shaker Heights Schools to help promote The House Jacks concert. In exchange, I was offered 2 tickets for myself and 2 tickets to give away. I declined my tickets due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to the L’Amour du Vin fundraiser? Today is your last chance, so check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

It was another fun weekend in Cleveland! On Saturday, Jeffrey turned 4 months old, which meant another series of pictures. I can’t believe how much he is changing!

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Saturday evening, we met up with our friends Chrissy and Mike for dinner at one of our favorite downtown Willoughby casual spots: The Wild Goose. From a great beer selection to tasty stone oven pizzas, The Wild Goose has everything you need for a relaxed dinner.

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Matthew and I split the Dirty Sanchez pizza, with chorizo, BBQ sauce, green and jalapeno peppers, and a blend of cheeses. We also enjoyed the spinach, artichoke, and sundried tomato dip to start. It was a fun evening catching up with good friends!

On Sunday, we went up to my alma mater, John Carroll University. It was Homecoming Weekend and we attended the Mass and Brunch as part of the weekend of festivities. We also got to see the beautiful new St. Ignatius Plaza that was completed this summer.

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While I don’t necessarily miss eating in the dining hall (where we had brunch), I always love being up on campus. It’s especially fun to take Jeffrey up there and imagine him being in college someday! He’s already been passed out on campus!

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How was your weekend? Did you enjoy the fabulous weather?

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

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Why? L’Amour du Vin Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to Courtney (Comment #11), randomly-selected winner of 2 tickets to the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. Please check your email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online.***

Coming up on Thursday, October 9 is a fabulous fundraiser to benefit the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeast Ohio Chapter: L’Amour du Vin. This event takes place at the Avon Oaks Country Club and is a tasty mix of great wine and great food from Lorain County.

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In the main room, restaurants from Aladdin’s Eatery to AMP 150 to Parker’s Grille & Tavern will be serving up great eats. Kiedrowski’s Simply Delicious Bakery will be on hand with snoogles! The VIP lounge will feature food from 41 North, which is sure to be delicious.

Aside from all the food and wine, there are silent auctions, raffles, and live music! What an evening! General admission tickets are $65 and VIP tickets are $95. Or you can enter to win two general admission 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. Check out the list of participating restaurants and leave a comment telling me which you most want to try.

2. If you like the Arthritis Foundation NEO and Why CLE? on Facebook, leave a comment letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @ArthritisFouNEO 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 win tickets to #LAmourduVin from @ArthritisFouNEO and @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-27X

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

The giveaway will close on Monday, September 29 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Arthritis Foundation to help promote L’Amour du Vin. In exchange, I will receive 2 VIP tickets for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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Why? Upcoming YP Events!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win 2 tickets to the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival? Check it out! The giveaway closes tonight. Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries. 

Also, can you spare 30 seconds to help fight hunger?

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Help the Greater Cleveland Foodbank bring this much-needed grant to Northeast Ohio by voting online. Click the link, type “Ohio” in the blue bar near the bottom of the page, and click the “Vote” button beneath the Greater Cleveland Foodbank’s name and logo. It’s that easy!***

There are some awesome events coming up in October specifically geared toward young professionals. Check ‘em out!

#cleYPweek – Monday, October 6 – Sunday, October 12

Engage! Cleveland is sponsoring the first ever YP week from October 6-12, with fitness classes, lunch and learns, and evening networking events, all geared toward connecting young professionals with each other, YP organizations, and the city. You can check out the complete events calendar here.

Playhouse Square Partners October Dine Around – Tuesday, October 7

Image Source - playhousesquare.org

Image Source – playhousesquare.org

Join members of Playhouse Square Partners for their quarterly Dine Around event. The October dine around will take place in Tremont. Small groups will dine at Dante, Fat Cats, Press Wine Bar, Lolita, and South Side. Following dinner, all the groups will meet up for a nightcap at The Flying Monkey. This is a great way to get to know other Partners and have a tasty meal. You do not need to be a current member to attend. Click here for more information and to RSVP.

The Cleveland Orchestra Gala – Saturday, October 11

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The Cleveland Orchestra Gala is taking place Saturday, October 11 and the Orchestra is extending a limited number of tickets to young professionals. This black tie affair includes an orchestra performance, cocktail hour, and an exclusive YP post-concert reception with food from Chef Douglas Katz. Young professionals can purchase discounted tickets for $250. If you are a member of The Circle, the Orchestra’s YP group, tickets are $175 (and there are a lot of other benefits and cool events for Circle members). You can purchase tickets by calling 216-231-7558 or emailing gala@clevelandorchestra.com. Deadline to purchase is Monday, September 29.

YP CLE Ambassador Summit – Thursday, October 23

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Positively Cleveland is sponsoring a YP CLE Ambassador Summit to brainstorm ideas to get more Cleveland residents to recommend our city as a vacation destination. Held at the Ariel International Center, the Summit is an open forum to share your ideas and love of Cleveland, as well as a great opportunity to meet other YP’s who are passionate about this town. Registration is free, but space is limited. Click here to register.

It’s a great time to be a young professional in Cleveland, with so many fun ways to get involved!

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

jenclesig_pur

Why? Chagrin Documentary Film Festival Giveaway!

I’m always amazed by the number of unique cultural opportunities we have available to us in Cleveland. Coming up October 8-12, the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival will bring 68 films representing 20 countries to various locations around Chagrin Falls.

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Aside from a wide array of films, the festival will include a kick-off 5K on Sunday, October 5 to benefit the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society’s Northern Ohio Chapter, a Sundae Sunday with audience-choice films and a sundae bar, kick-off and closing parties, a panel discussion with filmmakers, and much more.

An All-Fest Pass is $70 and can be purchased online. You can also purchase tickets to the Opening ($20) and Closing ($15) events, as well as tickets for individual films. Or you can enter to win two film 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. Check out the list of films and leave a comment telling me which you’d most like to see.

2. Leave a comment if you like Chagrin Documentary Film Festival and Why CLE? on Facebook, letting me know you like both pages.

3. Follow @chagrindocfest 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 attend the @chagrindocfest thanks to @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-27K #CDFF14

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

The giveaway will close on Thursday, September 25 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival. In exchange, I was offered an All-Fest Pass for myself and 2 film tickets to give away. I declined my All-Fest Pass due to scheduling conflicts. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***

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