Why? Dirty Dancing Giveaway!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win tickets to the Cleveland Auto Show? Today is your last chance to enter, so check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

There are those movies you will watch every time they are on; that you know line by line; that never seem to get old.

DD_Logo_WhiteOnPink (1)Dirty Dancing is definitely one of those movies. From “I carried a watermelon” to “No one puts Baby in a corner,” the movie has become part of our collective pop cultural consciousness.

And now the iconic movie is on stage as a high energy musical, being performed at the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square through Sunday, March 22. It’s all the classic music, romance, and fun of the movie, brought to life on stage.

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Image courtesy of Playhouse Square

Tickets are available online and range from $30-100. You’re sure to have the time of your life (yes, I went there)!

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Image courtesy of Playhouse Square

And to help you have that good time, I have two tickets to give away for the performance on Tuesday, March 17! 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 your favorite line or scene from Dirty Dancing.

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

3. Follow @playhousesquare 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 have the time of my life at Dirty Dancing thanks to @playhousesquare and @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2hl

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

The giveaway will close on Sunday, March 8 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Dirty Dancing. In exchange, I will receive two tickets to give away. I declined two tickets to the media night performance of the show, because I already had purchased my own tickets. Also, I am a member of the board of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Cleveland Auto Show Giveaway!

The Cleveland Auto Show zooms into the I-X Center from March 7-15.


Aside from all the great cars you can check out, there will be indoor and outdoor ride ‘n drives that let you get a hands-on experience with some of the auto show vehicles; a giveaway for a 2015 Hyundai Sonata; Millionaire’s Row, featuring Rolls Royce, Maserati, Aston Martin and more; and a classic car competition and auction.


There will be appearances by Cleveland sports legends throughout the show, including the one and only Bernie Kosar on March 11. And March 9 is Family Fun Day sponsored by Medical Mutual, where all attendees 15 and under get into the show for free!

Tickets are $13 for adults and $11 for ages 7-12 and 62 and older. Children under 6 are free. You can purchase tickets online. Parking is complimentary.

Or, you can enter to win two tickets to the Cleveland Auto Show, good for any day of the show, 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 and tell me which of the show’s attractions you’re most excited to check out.

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

3. Follow @CleAutoShow 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 the @CleAutoShow from @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2hf

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 Thursday, March 5 and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the Cleveland Auto Show. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the show for myself and two tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Jump Back Ball!

FEB 28 2015 18:00 Enter the Jump Back to the Future VIP Party at the Connor Palace Theatre at Playhouse Square. Stop at the Lexus photo booth to document the fun you’re about to have and how handsome your date is.


FEB 28 2015 18:15 Peruse the Connor Palace Theatre lobby enjoying the evening’s signature cocktail, the Flux Capacitor, a blend of Buckeye Vodka, tropical fruit mix, and club soda.

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FEB 28 2015 18:30 Nibble on tasty VIP small bites from Driftwood Restaurants and Catering, including calamari, cavatelli with lamb bolognese, mini bruschetta, and prosecco ice cream. Yes, prosecco ice cream.


FEB 28 2015 19:00 Enter the State Theatre and join the throngs of other excited Clevelanders (and some out-of-town friends) who are ready for a fabulous evening.


FEB 28 2015 19:15 Marvel at the handmade decorations created by Playhouse Square Partners that take you right into scenes from the “Back to the Future” movies. Maybe even find the sign you helped to make at a Shop Night.

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FEB 28 2015 19:30 Make your way to the stage of the State Theatre and grab a libation from the champagne bar or the Buckeye Vodka ice luge (or both). Fill up your dinner plate with haute comfort food like chicken a la king, cornbread, and mashed potatoes, also from Driftwood Restaurants and Catering.


FEB 28 2015 20:00 Enjoy the Motown music provided by Eugene Ross and Company, which is a perfect fit for the Enchantment Under the Sea dance decor. Mingle with friends and take in how fabulous everyone looks.

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FEB 28 2015 21:00 Wander around the State Theatre and have your palm or tarot cards read, try your luck at the raffle, silent auction, and wine pull, and stop for a photo by the iconic clock tower.


FEB 28 2015 22:00 Return to the State Theatre lobby for late night dancing with music from Thunder Gun Express and late night eats from Driftwood.


FEB 28 2015 23:59 Head home with tired feet, a camera full of selfies, and the knowledge that you not only had a fantastic evening. but you also just supported one of Cleveland’s finest institutions. Immediately mark your calendar for Jump Back Ball 25.

***Disclosure: I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. In exchange, I received one complimentary ticket when I purchased a ticket of equal value. I am also a member of the board of Playhouse Square Partners. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Cleveland Botanical Garden and Platform Beer Co.!

I should probably just call this post “Why? Thursday!,” instead of searching for something that would tie the two subjects of this post together. Frankly, I had a lovely little day yesterday and wanted to share it with you.

Jeffrey and I spent yesterday afternoon at the Cleveland Botanical Garden taking in Orchid Mania. This year’s Orchid Mania is themed on New Orleans and there were images of Mardi Gras everywhere, from bright colors to jazz music to beads. There was also a display of clothing created by Kent State University fashion design students, themed on orchids.

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The Cleveland Botanical Garden is the perfect spot to spend an afternoon, especially this time of year, when warmth and bright colors are hot commodities. Orchid Mania is on until Sunday, March 8 and includes Orchids After Dark on Wednesday evenings until 9pm. Tickets are $11 for non-member adults and $6 for non-member children. Admission for members is free. Click here for more information and to purchase tickets. Jeffrey and I highly recommend it!


Yesterday evening, I met up with my friend Anna for another Balance and Brews event (read my thoughts on Balance and Brews here), this time at Platform Beer Co.


After our one-hour vinyasa yoga class, we headed down to the pub for a tour and some beers. The guys at Platform are not only creating tasty beers, but they’re also offering a 12-week training course to help the next great brewery owner get started.

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I particularly enjoyed the Platform Alouette, a Belgian farmhouse saison. Platform also offers a diverse draught list on non-house beers for your enjoyment. And they’ve partnered with various local chefs, so that there are tasty food options each evening.

All in all, it was a lovely little Thursday with both good mom time and good adult time. Can’t really ask for much more than that!

***Disclosure: Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? JCU Experience Projects!

This post is mainly geared toward John Carroll University alumni, so I thank the rest of you for your indulgence. But, you may want to read on regardless because this is pretty cool thing that’s going on…

JCU Experience Projects is a crowdfunding campaign that kicked off yesterday and runs through Monday, March 16. The goal is to fund six campus projects that could use a boost from alumni support.

Not only do the JCU Experience Projects help out great campus programs, but they give you, as the alumni who is donating, a bigger sense of involvement. This isn’t giving $20 to a $20 million campaign. Rather, each of the JCU Experience Projects is a relatively small-dollar project, so even the smallest contribution makes a genuine impact on the bottom line.

So, what are the JCU Experience Projects? Each project highlights a different area of the JCU experience, from academics to athletics to service. Click on each link for more details on the project.


The Labre Project – The purpose of the Labre Project is not only to feed the homeless, but to offer them friendship.

Trick or Treat at JCU – Every year, the Residence Hall Association provides hundreds of local children the opportunity to go trick or treating in the John Carroll residence halls.

Crisis Mapping – Crisis mapping is the use of many forms of data and analysis to provide real-time situational awareness of an ongoing crisis, natural disaster, or conflict zone.

Entrepreneurial Development in Honduras – During Spring Break, students, professors, and representatives of Hope for Honduran Children teach economics and business skills at Flor Azul Farm, an orphanage.

The Carroll Ballers – Five nights each week, 60 Carroll students visit several juvenile detention centers in Cuyahoga County, using the power of basketball to teach teamwork and leadership and to instill friendship with detention center residents.

JCU Pep Band – Often referred to as a “Wall of Sound,” the Pep Band is a group with big spirit.

Surely one or more of these projects or aspects of life at Carroll impacted your time there. Now is your chance to keep that part of the JCU experience going for current students. Donate today and keep your eye on the website to see how your project’s crowdfunding efforts are going.

The JCU Experience Project is not just a fun, creative, interactive way to raise money. It’s also a great way to see that we all can make an impact on a place that made a huge impact on us!

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


Why? Weekends!

It was a relatively quiet weekend, which is good considering this coming weekend is going to be crazy busy with Jump Back Ball! Saturday morning, I went to my usual class at Harmony Yoga, but with a substitute teacher. For some reason, practicing with a new-to-me teacher always makes me a little nervous. But it was a great class and I left feeling refreshed. And my thighs are still burning today, which means it was more than just refreshing!

We had planned to go to the Cleveland Botanical Garden with Jeffrey to take in Orchid Mania on Saturday afternoon, but the roads were not so great with all the snow, so we decided to stay home instead. Orchid Mania is still on at the Garden through March 8, so hopefully we’ll have a chance before then to take in the beautiful blooms.

Since we were homebound on Saturday, I made a tasty pork loin roast in the slow cooker, with a balsamic honey glaze and paired it with some roasted purple Peruvian potatoes, all from our Fresh Fork winter share bags.

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On Sunday, we attended a first birthday party for our friends Beth and Enzo’s son, Luciano.


It was so sweet to see Jeffrey and Luciano playing together and to get a glimpse and some ideas for Jeffrey’s first birthday party, which will be here before we know it!

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It was a lovely afternoon and I’m so happy we could help celebrate the birthday boy!


It’s rare to have such a low-key weekend and, even if the weather forced on some of it, I was glad for the relaxation! Here’s hoping it’s a quick, smooth week heading into all the fun of this coming weekend!

***Disclosure: Matthew and I are members of the Cleveland Botanical Garden. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Paczki and Fish Fry!

It’s probably wrong to say, “Happy Lent,” but there’s certainly a lot of good, traditional eating that goes on around this time of year. Tuesday was not just Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras, it was also Paczki Day! Paczki are a Polish bakery treat that are similar to donuts, but puffier and traditionally have poppyseed or fruit filling.

When I lived in DC and Denver, you never heard the word paczki. In fact, when I was living in Denver, it took a lot of Google searches to find one small Polish bakery in a somewhat suspect area of town just to track down paczki. And there were no crazy lines to buy them!

Not so in Cleveland, where our Eastern European heritage is strong. I started my Paczki Day with some traditional paczki from Michael Angelo’s Bakery.


Grandma giving Jeffrey his first “taste” of paczki

An Italian bakery that makes traditional paczki? Yup, they are delicious! I liken it to my mom and I being two nice Eastern European girls who make good lasagna. There’s some cultural crossover.

But, like anything else, Cleveland has also put it’s own twist on paczki. Rudy’s Strudel in Parma created savory paczki and beer paczki this year. And Mitchell’s Ice Cream teamed up with Rudy’s to serve up ice cream paczki. Amazing!

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You could choose any Mitchell’s flavor for your paczki (I had the toasted hazelnut), topped with a dollop of homemade whipped cream. I hope these tasty treats come back around next year!

But now that the paczki indulgence is done, it’s time for Lenten fish fries. It seems like every church, dive bar, and even fancy restaurant wants in on the fish fry action.

Image Source - cleveland.com

Image Source – cleveland.com

Cleveland.com has a great Fish Fry Guide of local non-profit fish fries, including times, prices, and offerings (for me, finding a fish fry with both mac ‘n cheese and pierogi is hitting the jackpot).

And my inbox is already filling up with restaurants offering fish fries, too, including Lure Bistro and Grovewood Tavern. Cleveland Magazine’s Fish Fry Guide includes restaurants, as well as non-profits, so check it out!

Paczki and fish fries are huge parts of Cleveland culture this time of year, so be sure to enjoy where you can! Did you have paczki on Paczki Day? Where is your favorite fish fry?


Why? Pope’s Kitchen!

You’ve heard me mention my friend Clark Pope’s tasty products here before, from his Bloody Mary mix to his Fig and Cocoa jam. But Pope’s Kitchen also does catering, from large to small events. For my Mom’s birthday this past Sunday, I wanted her to have a special dinner, so I contacted Clark about whipping up a meal fit for the birthday girl.

Clark arrived about an hour before dinner, to finish up preparations. He and his staff came prepared with everything to cook and serve the meal. They plated the food, cleaned up the dishes, and generally made this by far the most relaxed dinner party I’ve ever hosted!


Clark had the challenge of creating a menu that could appeal to everyone from 30-something foodies to my 90-year-old grandfather, who is a meat and potatoes guy. Those were the only parameters I gave Clark and the menu he created was delicious! Everyone is still raving about the dinner!

Our first course was salad with field greens, spinach, goat cheese, strawberries, walnuts and a strawberry balsamic vinaigrette.

IMG_1943A delicious, light start to the meal! Next up was a tomato basil bisque that had just the right amount of texture and seasoning.


Our main course was flat iron steak, purple Peruvian potatoes, and asparagus. All of us were members of the clean plate club! The food was not only delicious, but it was the perfect amount to leave you satisfied but not overly full.


We also had two of Clark’s own sauces to enjoy with dinner: a Brazilian chimichurri (so fresh and tasty) and his signature Burning River hot sauce, which my grandfather would pretty much have eaten straight out of the bottle.

The dessert was creme brulee, but with a tasty twist. The bottom layer of the creme brulee was a handmade spiced chocolate sauce that had us all wanting to lick the bowls.


If you’re looking for a different way to celebrate a special occasion, I can’t recommend Pope’s Kitchen Catering highly enough. The food and service were both spot-on and, as you can see, they created a lot of happy customers!


Happy birthday, Mom! And thanks to Clark for helping to make it so special!


Why? Weekends!

It was quite the weekend of eating, which seems appropriate to talk about on Fat Tuesday (or, if you’re me, Paczki Day). On Friday evening, my Mom and I enjoyed a Galentine’s dinner at Mario Fazio’s. I completely failed to get any pictures documenting the yummy food we enjoyed!

Mario Fazio’s has delicious, traditional Italian food, with warm, family-like service. We brought Jeffrey with us and everyone was so sweet to him, including offering to bring him things he could enjoy too, like applesauce and mashed peas. Given Jeffrey’s current relationship with peas, it was better that we passed on that in public.

We started with the baked stuffed hot peppers, which pack a nice pop of heat, balanced by sweet Italian sausage. Mom had the Maine lobster risotto, which is generous with the seafood and decadently rich. I enjoyed the Doreen’s Pasta, with is baked penne with meat sauce, a veal meatball, Italian sausage, and mushrooms, topped with cheese. We were almost to full to enjoy the sample of cassata cake that comes complimentary with every meal! Luckily, it was a small slice and we persevered!

On Saturday night, I had plans with my favorite Valentine for a romantic date night.


While Matthew and I are fortunate enough to be able to have a lot of “grown up” social time, it had been awhile since we had an evening out with just the two of us. That made for a perfect Valentine’s present!

We had dinner at Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse. While I had tasted Fleming’s food at events previously, I had never dined at the restaurant. We started with a recommendation from my sister-in-law: the baked brie in puff pastry with apples and candied walnuts.


The brie was excellent, although we could have used either more apples or some crostini to pair it with. We both chose the Valentine’s Day three-course dinner, with a scallop with goat cheese polenta, the Fleming’s salad, and a petite filet with crab meat and Bearnaise sauce paired with an 8-ounce lobster tail.

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The food was solidly good and the service pleasantly unhurried, considering how full the restaurant was that evening. While Fleming’s lacks the creativity of Urban Farmer or the precision of Red, the Steakhouse, it was still a nice meal and a lovely chance to relax with my best guy!

How was your Valentine’s (or Galentine’s) Day? Come back tomorrow to hear about one more fabulous dining experience in the weekend o’eating!


Why? Happy Valentine’s Day!

Even when I was single, I always liked Valentine’s Day. It’s a chance to celebrate love, whether that’s for your significant other, your family, your friends, (your city?) or all of the above.

So, whether you’re a #Heartbreaker…


A one-woman man…


Or just someone surrounded by lots of love…



Have a very happy Valentine’s Day!