Why? Glow Giveaway!

Now that Thanksgiving dinner is cleared off the table and our food comas are lifting, it’s time to officially kick off the Christmas season. An event that has become one of my most favorite holiday traditions is Glow at the Cleveland Botanical Garden.


Glow transforms the Cleveland Botanical Garden into a winter wonderland of decorated trees, imaginative gingerbread houses, twinkling lights, tasty holiday treats, and festive music.

The trees were decorated by various garden clubs around the theme “Flights of Fancy.” You’ll see everything from birds to blimps on these trees!

PicMonkey Collage

Photo on the right courtesy of Poise in Parma

This year, the gingerbread houses are scattered throughout the trees and poinsettias, which I think is a nice change and a great way to experience all the elements of Glow at once. There are some amazing gingerbread houses on display, all created by local folks.

PicMonkey Collage

You can get some inspiration and then create your own gingerbread house while at Glow (house kits range from $16-$25).

You can take a ride on the Garden Express train, which takes visitors out to the Children’s Garden and back to see the beautiful outdoor lights display. There’s also an incredible and expanded indoor train display, that visitors of all sizes will enjoy!


For the little ones, stop in the Nature Room for pretend camping (complete with pretend roasted marshmallows), wooden snowman building, and some furry friends.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo on the left courtesy of Poise in Parma

Glow is a wonderful way to celebrate the season with family or as a date night. Glow is going on now through January 3, with extended evening hours on Wednesdays and Fridays. Tickets are $16 for non-member adults, $12 for non-member children, and free for Garden members. You can purchase tickets online.

Or you can enter to win a 4-pack of tickets to Glow right here! Here’s how to enter (you can do one, two, three, four, or all five entries, just leave a separate comment for each):

1.Leave a comment telling me which part of Glow you’re most excited to see (e.g., gingerbread houses).

2. Visit the Cleveland Botanical Garden and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

3. Follow @clegarden on Instagram and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following.

4. Follow @cbgarden and @WhyCLE on Twitter and leave a comment here letting me know you’re following both.

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

I want my holidays to Glow at @cbgarden thanks to @WhyCLE: https://whycle.wordpress.com/2015/11/27/why-glow-giveaway #giveaway

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, December 1 at 11:59pm and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Media Preview Open House of Glow. I will also receive 4 complimentary tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Happy Thanksgiving!

Since tomorrow will be filled with cooking, baking, eating, and lots of family time, I wanted to pause now to give thanks…

For this man, who is the best start and end to each day I could ask for.


Photo credit: Adventure Photos

For Jeffrey, who brightens life more than I ever realized was possible.

PicMonkey Collage

Photo credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

For our wonderful little family, with whom I cherish every moment.


Photo credit: Lane Baldwin Photography

For amazing parents and parents-in-law, who enrich our lives and Jeffrey’s life.

PicMonkey Collage

For girlfriends old and new, who keep me sane, share joy and pain with incredible selflessness, and make life so much fun.

PicMonkey Collage

And for so much more…for the opportunity for meaningful volunteer work; for beautiful, gritty Cleveland; for the chance to travel; for yoga; for our puppies; for this blog; for every little thing.

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein

Here’s hoping your gratitude overflows this year and that your table and your heart are full. Happy Thanksgiving!



Why? Weekends!

Other than our visit to Kringle’s Inventionasium, the weekend was a nice mix of going out and staying in. On Friday morning, Jeffrey and I met up with friends for story time at the Cleveland Heights Noble Neighborhood Library.


One of the great things about this library is that the children’s area is downstairs, away from the rest of the library. This lets the kids play, sing, and have fun without bothering the other patrons.

Friday and Saturday evenings were both much-needed nights in. I got to use some of our Fresh Fork Market provisions to make some tasty meals. Friday night, I made caramelized butternut squash (recipe here) and cider-Dijon pork chops (recipe here).


This was like fall on a plate! Saturday, I made roasted Brussels sprouts and cauliflower with glazed carrots (recipe here) and lemon parsley swordfish (recipe here). I need to make time to cook real meals at home more often!

On Sunday, the whole family met up with friends for a Kindermusik Thanksgiving-themed class and a lovely dinner afterwards at Fire Food and Drink.

Matthew and I both started our meal with the pumpkin soup, which was rich, creamy, and delicious.


We also both chose the crispy duck confit with mushroom spaetzel for our entrees. Matthew got the large portion (pictured) and I got the small, which has one piece of duck rather than two.


You know I can’t resist ordering duck and this was a particularly good choice. The crispy skin, the richness of the mushrooms, and the smoky duck flavor made this a perfect dish.

While Fire doesn’t have a kids menu, you can order things like grilled cheese, buttered noodles, or cheese pizza to keep the little ones happy with good food too. Also, the popovers on the appetizer menu seemed to be a winner with kids and adults alike.

For dessert, I couldn’t pass up the popcorn sundae, with salted caramel sauce and pecans. While it’s not popcorn pot de crème, it was definitely tasty!

The staff at Fire did a great job keeping our whole table fed and happy and the three kids did an amazing job of behaving and eating and having fun. It IS possible for the whole family to enjoy a nice meal out and not just at Panera! I don’t get to Shaker Square enough, either, so this was a good reminder to visit more often.

So, that was my weekend. I’m glad I had some down time to rest up for the busy holiday week ahead! How was your weekend?


Why? Kringle’s Inventionasium!

Christmas has always been my favorite holiday, but even more so now that I’m getting to see it through Jeffrey’s eyes. The wonder and the magic of the season are even more present. We got a head start on our holiday magic this weekend when we toured Kringle’s Inventionasium.

Kringle’s Inventionasium is a Cleveland creation and a truly magical way to get in the Christmas spirit. From the moment you arrive, you are treated as a super special top inventor, who will help Mr. Kringle and his cohorts create toys and more.


You receive lab coats and are warmly welcomed by Mrs. Clara Deangelis Kringle and Charlotte Hollyhop, Mr. Kringle’s personal assistant.


As you make your way through the Inventionasium, you’ll receive “instant messages” from Mr. Kringle, like the one Charlotte is holding in this picture. They will tell you where to go and what Mr. Kringle needs you to do.

You’ll visit the Hall of Founders, where you’ll meet Taffeta “Taffie” Saltwater, as well as your personal tour guide for your trip through the Inventionasium.


You’ll get to explore the Brainstorming Room, where the inventors use magical foam to help create prototype toys.


And you’ll meet Professor Ignatius Glytch in the toy testing room and help to test some of the Mr. Kringle’s newest inventions.


Inventors will get to create their own unique puppets in the Puppet-Making Room under the guidance of Grace Atlas…


…and their own unique toys under the guidance of Ezekiel “Slick” O’Zackery.


And I almost forgot about the Everlasting Snow! You’ll help Oona “Blind” Eyebright to create one of Mr. Kringle’s newest and most amazing inventions: everlasting snow!


After all this hard work, you have of course earned yourself a private audience with Mr. Kringle himself.


Kringle’s Inventionasium is unique, spirited, and visually amazing. All of the folks you encounter in the Inventionasium are full of fun and want to make the tour an incredible experience for your child. When Jeffrey was completely smitten by the trains more than the puppet-making, Grace and our tour guide happily obliged and combined puppets and trains to make Jeffrey smile.


As a parent, there isn’t anything better than seeing looks of pure joy and wonder on your child’s face and meeting people who are completely dedicated to making those looks happen.


While Jeffrey had a great time, I will say that the recommended age of 3-and-up is spot on. There were definitely elements of the tour that he will get more out of as he gets older, plus he will be more able to understand the characters and transition from room to room quicker. Which means I can’t wait to go back and do it again in a couple of years, as the adults clearly have as much fun as the kids!


Kringle’s Inventionasium is open for self-guided and exclusive tours now through December 24. The self-guided tours include the chance to explore the Inventionasium for an hour, a private audience with Mr. Kringle, a coloring book, and a balloon. The exclusive tours include your own tour guide (who magically knows things like your favorite color, pets names, etc.), a photography package, and a featured toy, in addition to the things on the self-guided tour.

There are peak and discount rates for both types of tours. Spots are filling up fast for the exclusive tours, so check it out and book soon online.


And if your little ones are younger and not ready for the full Inventionasium experience, you can take advantage of the Kringle’s Quick Snap, which will get you a private audience with Mr. Kringle without the Inventionasium tour.

I am completely overwhelmed by the creativity, magic, and holiday cheer we felt at Kringle’s Inventionasium. For a fun time that is uniquely Cleveland, put this on your holiday must-do list!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Kringle’s Inventionasium. In exchange, I received a complimentary exclusive tour, as well as 3 complimentary train tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Poinsettia Place Giveaway!

‘Tis the season! I heard Christmas music on the radio this morning and everyone is officially starting to feel festive. The Junior League of Cleveland wants to help get you in the seasonal spirit and help you accomplish some of your holiday shopping, too.


On Saturday, December 5 from 10:30am-2pm, Poinsettia Place, the Junior League of Cleveland’s signature holiday event, is taking place at the Ritz-Carlton Cleveland. This is sure to be a lovely ladies morning to enjoy with friends.

The event will feature a light brunch and holiday shopping from local vendors, as well as antiques from the Junior League’s Treasures in the Attic sale.  All proceeds from this event will go toward supporting the Junior League’s civic leadership development and community programs designed to continue their mission of women building better communities.

Tickets are $60 each, but if you purchase multiple tickets the price drops to $55 each. 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 leave a separate comment for each):

1. Leave a comment telling me who you’d be shopping for at Poinsettia Place.

2. Visit Junior League of Cleveland and Why CLE? on Facebook and leave a comment here letting me know you visited both pages.

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

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

I want to attend @JLCleveland Poinsettia Place thanks to @WhyCLE:  https://whycle.wordpress.com/2015/11/20/why-poinsettia-place-giveaway #giveaway 

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, November 24 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Junior League of Cleveland to help promote Poinsettia Place. I will receive 2 complimentary tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Skip the Dishes Giveaway!

There are days when cooking dinner just isn’t in the cards. You need a break, you didn’t get to the grocery store, you know…life happens. So, that’s why Skip the Dishes, a new-to-Cleveland food delivery service is so great!


Skip the Dishes offers free online ordering from restaurants in your area. If you plug in downtown Cleveland, you’ll find an expansive list of local favorites, including Ty Fun, Mama Santa’s, Dynomite Burgers, Le Petit Triangle, and, our choice for our order, Banana Blossom. All you need is your location and either the website or app to find your options.

You can choose your order time, let the restaurant know any special requests, and track your order via GPS. The GPS tracking is great! You can see in real time where your curry is located.

Delivery orders include a small delivery fee, which goes right to your delivery driver. Average delivery time is under 45 minutes.

Skip the Dishes has had great success in many cities in Canada and is now available in Cleveland and Columbus, with Cincinnati coming soon.

This is a great way to get tasty food from some of your favorite restaurants without having to leave the house! If you want to check out Skip the Dishes for yourself, I have a giveaway for a $50 gift card to try the service for your next no-cooking night!

Just click on this link to find some easy ways to enter to win: a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, November 24 and the winner will be notified the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote Skip the Dishes. In exchange, I received a $50 gift card to try the service for myself and a $50 gift card to giveaway. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

It was a lovely weekend filled with lots of fun, so let’s get right to it! On Friday morning, Jeffrey and I had a play date at the Children’s Museum of Cleveland.

PicMonkey Collage

I was glad to get another chance to go to the Museum before it closes on January 3, 2016 to prepare for a move to a new location in Midtown (read more about the move here). And while Jeffrey enjoys the Museum now, I’m also excited to see what the new space will bring!

Friday evening, Matthew and I attended the opening of Yard House at Crocker Park.


I had been to Yard House locations in Colorado and Arizona and was impressed with their extensive craft beer selection and tasty American fare. Our local Yard House continues that experience. The beer list is huge and nicely divided up into categories to aid selection.


I stuck with local seasonal favorites: Fat Head’s Holly Jolly and Great Lakes Christmas Ale. Merry Beer-mas!

We got to sample a huge selection of items from the menu, made into bite-sized portions for the evening. Favorites included the blue crab cakes, classic cheeseburger, blackened swordfish street tacos, spicy Thai chicken pizza, and angel hair pasta.


Yard House is a nice addition to the Crocker Park mix and I expect you’ll find me there sipping a Christmas brew in between holiday shopping runs! They have a special holiday menu through January 3 that includes items like lobster mac ‘n cheese and apple-brined pork chops, as well as seasonal adult beverages. Yard House is now open, so check it out!

Saturday, through a last-minute cancellation, we had no plans! None. For the first time and probably only time in recent memory (especially with the holidays coming). So, we did a lot of this…


And ate stuffed pepper soup (recipe here) and just had a marvelous day. Someone remind me to leave things unscheduled more often!

We also celebrated the sixth adoption-versary of our small fuzz, Tobey.


From being single and living in a condo to what my life is now, a lot has changed over the last six years, but Tobey has stuck with me through all of it. And I couldn’t love him more!

On Sunday, we took our parents out to dinner as a “thank you” for all their help while we were traveling recently. We went to Harry’s Hofbrau in Mentor, which is in the location of the former Match Works Tavern (same owners, just a new concept).


The food and beer were quite tasty. Matthew and I both enjoyed the jagerschnitzel, which is veal schnitzel with a rich mushroom gravy. It seems like schnitzel is all the rage these days, so it’s nice to have an east side outpost to get our fix!

So, that was my weekend: a nice balance of busy and relaxed. How was yours?

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the opening of Yard House with a guest, at which we each received complimentary food and 2 drink tickets. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? L.L. Bean at Legacy Village!

Have you noticed that Cleveland has been attracting a lot of new retail lately? From local stores expanding their reach to national retailers opening up shop here, our retail scene is booming (and just in time for Christmas)!

Yesterday, I got a VIP sneak peek at one of the newest additions to Cleveland’s retail scene: L.L. Bean at Legacy Village.

PicMonkey Collage

This is the 25th retail location in the U.S. for the Maine-based retailer. The store is bright, big, and packed with everything you need to make the outdoors more fun and fashionable. There is also a great stock of holiday items, from ornaments and stockings to gift items for everyone on your list.

My favorite shopping buddy came with me and found a couple things that caught his eye…

Yes, I purposely put him in a puffer vest to go to L.L. Bean

Yes, I purposely put him in a puffer vest to go to L.L. Bean

Plus, L.L. Bean chairman Shawn Gorman told me that the store won’t just provide you the gear to enjoy the outdoors, they’ll also be planning events such as snowshoeing activities through the L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery School to help you get out and play.

There are a ton of great events planned for the Grand Opening of the L.L. Bean store this weekend:

Friday, November 13 – The store opens at 9am. The first 200 people through the doors will receive gift cards of varying values from $10 to $500! The Bootmobile will be on hand as well (I met Eddie, the Bootmobile driver, and he’s as awesome as you would imagine a Bootmobile driver would be).

Saturday, November 14 – L.L. Bean’s Outdoor Discovery School will offer free fly-casting and archery lessons, slacklining, and more. Plus, the Bootmobile, of course.

Sunday, November 15 – Kids Day with activities with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops and plenty for families to enjoy. L.L. Bean has a partnership with the Scouts and the kids this weekend will be earning a special L.L. Bean badge.


Plus, did I mention the Bootmobile?!

There’s so many great reasons to be one of the first guests at the new L.L. Bean at Legacy Village! I hope to see you out there this weekend as we welcome another great retailer to the Cleveland area!

***Disclosure: I was invited to attend the L.L. Bean VIP opening. I received a swag bag while at the event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Lucky’s Cafe!

On Monday, we were welcomed back to Cleveland by our dear friends in the best way possible: with a delicious brunch at a favorite local gem, Lucky’s Cafe.


We started with delicious drinks from the coffee bar: a chai tea latte and a decadent hot chocolate buried in whipped cream. For my brunch, I chose the gingerbread waffles with cinnamon, apples, caramel drizzle, and whipped cream.


What a seasonally on-point and tasty meal! I have to say, the chai tea latte enhanced the whole experience…this might be the perfect pairing!

My friend had the biscuits and gravy with soft scrambled egg. She was nice enough to share a bite with me and these are a savory, comforting, warm treat!


The kiddos shared a ooey, gooey grilled cheese that was devoured faster than I could even take a picture of it. We also couldn’t pass up a take-home treat from the bakery case: I highly recommend the ginger chewy cookies!

Lucky’s Cafe is a Cleveland weekend brunch staple, but if you have the chance to pop in on a weekday, you’ll find a quieter, more relaxed vibe and, while the menu is a bit more limited, there are still plenty of yummy choices.

I’ve always said I’m not a big brunch gal, but with so many great brunch spots for even weekday eating, I may be changing my tune. What’s your favorite brunch spot?


Why? Vacation Recap!

Hi friends! I am back from quite the vacation! We started in Texas, visiting Matthew’s family, and then ended in Riviera Maya, doing some serious relaxing!

The family portion of the trip was really wonderful! I was so nervous about Jeffrey’s first flight(s), but he did great!


Jeffrey got to meet his great grandparents on Matthew’s side, along with lots of great aunts and uncles. It was a trip filled with a lot of love and fun!


I also rediscovered the simple pleasure of a hotel swimming pool…I can remember that being so much fun when I would travel as a kid…


Jeffrey also got to check out the beach and splash in the Corpus Christi Bay.


Since we were down in Texas for Halloween, we had to find a fun holiday activity. We took Jeffrey to the Green Halloween party at the Texas State Aquarium. It was a great event, with trick-or-treat stations, characters, and plenty of sea critters to see.


While most of our meals were at family homes, Matthew and I had a chance to get out and check out a funky little wine bar called Cactus and Vine. We walked in on one of their happy hour yoga classes, which made me feel right at home. Plus, who doesn’t love drinking wine and playing board games?!


After Texas, Matthew’s dad and Jeffrey headed back to the CLE and Matthew and I headed to Secrets Akumal, a brand new resort in Riviera Maya. We arrived at the grand opening and everything was just top notch!


Akumal is known for the snorkeling and scuba diving, particularly to see the giant turtles which call this area home.


Aside from just relaxing, Matthew planned an amazing surprise for the trip…we renewed our vows in a beautiful beach ceremony! I am still overwhelmed by this romantic gesture and couldn’t have asked for a more perfect setting to say “I do” all over again!


So, that’s what I’ve been up to for the last week and a half…I got to feed a lot of different parts of my soul, spend quality time with a lot of wonderful people, and hopefully keep a little bit of the vacation relaxation flowing in my home life…


I do have to say, though, as we drove home from the airport and I saw the Cleveland skyline, that there is truly no place like home!