Why? Jump Back to the Future!

As I mentioned on Monday, somehow I managed to get through childhood, adolescence, and a lot of college TBS watching without seeing “Back to the Future.” Sure, I missed some pop culture references here and there, but overall this didn’t bother me too much. Until this year’s theme for Playhouse Square’s Jump Back Ball was announced.


Image Source – playhousesquare.org

If I was going to attend an event themed around this iconic movie series I should probably have some idea what this iconic movie series is all about. Over the weekend, some friends and I watched the first and second movies in the series and now I am definitely feeling inspired about Jump Back Ball costumes and decor.

I’m hoping someone wears a hat like this:

Image Source - smosh.com

Image Source – smosh.com

Or a cool puffer vest/”life jacket” like this:

Image Source - theguardian.com

Image Source – theguardian.com

And, of course, I hope Nike puts a rush on their self-lacing shoes!

Image Source - cnbc.com

Image Source – cnbc.com

I’ll now understand when people say, “Great scott!” or “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!”

And I’m excited to dance the night away with my handsome date as we get Enchanted Under the Sea:

Image Source - seeing-stars.com

Image Source – seeing-stars.com

Jump Back Ball is always a fun party, but it should be especially cool to see the State Theatre decked out to celebrate the “Back to the Future” movies that so many people love from childhood (or, this past weekend). Plus, with so many eras to choose from within the movies, the costumes, music, and decor possibilities are endless!

Tickets are still available for $195 for general admission and can be purchased online. Driftwood Restaurants and Catering will once again be providing the delicious dinner for Jump Back Ball and Eugene Ross and Company will be providing the main stage entertainment with swingin’ big band sounds. Remember, this isn’t just a fun party…it also benefits the non-profit mission of Playhouse Square!

And if you want to get a sneak peek and lend a helping hand with the decorations for the evening (all of which are created by Playhouse Square Partners), you can attend Shop Nights, starting on January 28. For a complete list of Shop Night dates, times, and details, click here.

I hope to see you at Shop Nights and Jump Back Ball as Playhouse Square Partners takes you back…to the future!

***Disclosure: I am a board member of Playhouse Square Partners. Also, I was asked by Playhouse Square to help promote Jump Back Ball. I will receive one complimentary ticket to the event, when I purchase one ticket of equal value. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***



Why? Weekends!

It was a pretty relaxed weekend, which was definitely welcome after all the holiday hustle and bustle. On Saturday, I decided to both honor one of my New Year’s resolutions (get back to yoga) and cash in one of my Christmas presents (a 10-class pass to Harmony Yoga) at the same time.

It had been awhile since I practiced in a heated studio and I forgot how much the heat can take it out of you, especially after a 75-minute challenging flow. But it felt great to be back on my mat and I hope I can keep up a regular yoga schedule in 2015!


While I was yoga-ing, Matthew and Jeffrey were at a swim & gym class at the YMCA. It’s a great way for Jeffrey to learn, play with other kids, and get some one-on-one time with his Dad, too!

Saturday evening, Alicia, Amanda, and their husbands came over for a multi-purpose visit. First, they got to spend some time playing with their godson.


I love that Jeffrey has godparents who are close by and can get to see how he’s growing and changing!

Second, we ate massive amounts of delicious Thai food from Thai Orchid. This is my go-to take out spot and the food is always super tasty. I tried something new this time: the Thai Curry Puffs appetizer. Light, flaky dough is filled with chicken, vegetables and curry spices. Yum!

Third, we watched “Back to the Future,” which I had somehow never seen before!

PicMonkey Collage

I was motivated to finally see this 1980’s classic, since this year’s Playhouse Square Jump Back Ball theme is “Jump Back to the Future.” More on my thoughts on the movie and JBB prep later this week!

It was a really fun evening and we all agreed that we need more nights of just hanging out with take-out food, cozy sweaters, and good friends. As much fun as going out can be, staying in can be just the right thing too!

Sunday was another lazy, cozy day, as evidenced by how I found Matthew and Jeffrey when I got home from grocery shopping:


How was your weekend? Are you feeling a nice post-holiday-schedule slow-down?


Why? Pearl of the Orient!

There are certain places in Cleveland that seem to fall into a black hole for me. I mean to get there, I hear great things, but I somehow never actually make it to the spot. Pearl of the Orient was one of those places. I had sampled their food at various events, such as the Silver Spoon Awards, but had never gotten there for a meal.

Last night, we met up with our dear friends Nathan and Lane for dinner at Pearl of the Orient. We were happy to find out that on Thursday evenings, bottles of wine are 50% off with the purchase of two dinner entrees.


After warming up with a bit of wine, we selected our dinner choices. Pearl of the Orient has an expansive menu, with lots of traditional Chinese food favorites, plus a whole section of Thai selections. They also feature traditional Peking duck, but it requires 24-hour notice to prepare!

For my dinner, I chose the firecracker beef, which had Chinese chili peppers, pineapple, onions, stir-fried beef, and a ginger garlic sauce, topped with crushed peanuts.


The sweetness of the pineapple nicely offset the chili spice and the beef was tender and flavorful. Definitely a cut above your standard Chinese food!

Matthew had the orange chicken, a traditional favorite that again was a notch above in quality.


All menu items come mildly spiced, but you can choose to make them spicy. Matthew and I both ordered the spicy versions of our dishes and found the heat to be present, but certainly not too strong.

I’m glad I finally got a chance to enjoy a meal at Pearl of the Orient! It’s easy to see why it’s a favorite for Chinese food in Cleveland! There is currently a special on the restaurant’s website for 10% off your dine-in purchase of $20 or more – click here for the coupon.

What restaurant has been on your “need to try it” list for awhile?


Why? Animal Attractions!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Congratulations to tristan (Comment #9) randomly-selected winner of two tickets to Something White Bridal’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar happening this Sunday, January 11. Please check you email for details. If you didn’t win, you can still purchase tickets online.***

It’s cold! At times like this, our thoughts naturally turn to warmer spots like the Bahamas or The RainForest at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo!

Animal Attractions Postcard 2015

On Thursday, February 5, warm up inside The RainForest with food, wine, critters, educational presentations, live music, and silent auctions. All this fun benefits the Cleveland Zoological Society, which supports the Zoo and the Zoo’s educational programs.

This adults-only event features tasty nibbles from Butcher and the Brewer, Merwin’s Wharf, Tremont Tap House, AMP 150, and more. There is also an open bar with libations from Samuel Adams and Rain Organics Vodka, as well as a wine tasting!

ANAT wine tasting

Plus, you’ll have the opportunity to explore The RainForest, both on your own and through several interesting, fun, and a little bit cheeky presentations from Zoo staff. You can also get hands-on with some of the critters!

ANAT meet an animal

The Cleveland Zoological Society puts on great events and this is always one of my favorites! Check out my recap from last year if you need more proof of all the fun to be had at Animal Attractions.

Tickets are $65 (Zoo members pay $60) and are on sale now online. I hope to see you enjoying food, fun, and the toasty atmosphere at Animal Attractions!

***Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland Zoological Society to help promote Animal Attractions. In exchange, I will receive two complimentary tickets to the event. Matthew and I are also Zoo members. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Weekends!

***A bit of blogkeeping: Have you entered to win two tickets to Something White Bridal’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar? Check it out! Remember, you can tweet daily for additional entries.***

There was one last gasp of holiday celebrating to be done this weekend. Saturday evening, Matthew and I met up with the usual suspects to ring in the new year at one of our favorite restaurants: Pier W.


Pier W is celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2015 and, as a special thanks, you will receive a complimentary glass of champagne and a flute to take home when you dine there during the first 50 days of the year. What a great start to the meal!


We ordered appetizers to share, including the iced seafood tower, which features lobster, shrimp, crab salad, mussels, and more!


For my entree, I selected the shrimp and scallop linguine, with a Cajun cream sauce, pancetta, and peas. The sauce was not too heavy and there was plenty of perfectly-cooked seafood in this well-balanced dish.


Matthew chose the swordfish special, with chick pea polenta sticks and cucumber salad. As usual, the fish was ultra-fresh and delicious!


For dessert, I had the cinnamon roll, served with cream cheese ice cream and chocolate-covered candied bacon (you read that right, it was heavenly, and yes, it’s an entire piece of bacon). Matthew chose the chocolate mousse cake.

PicMonkey Collage

It was the perfect way to kick off 2015! The company was lovely, the food was spot-on, and the service and atmosphere were perfect. Pier W hasn’t rested on its laurels in these past 50 years (even though they could). They keep the menu fresh, creative, and delicious. Make sure that you celebrate their anniversary with them!

Full and happy, we had one more celebration to drop in on: my friend Jennifer’s birthday bash at XYZ the Tavern. We enjoyed some craft beers in the relaxed atmosphere of this fun Gordon Square spot while feting a wonderful friend!

The rest of the weekend was spent close to home, hanging out with the little man and avoiding taking down Christmas decorations. How was your first weekend of 2015?


Why? Boutique Bridal Bazaar Giveaway!

With the holidays comes a lot of engagements and, therefore, a lot of wedding planning to be done in the new year! Something White’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar is here to make that planning easier!


Described as an “atypical bridal show,” the Boutique Bridal Bazaar happens on Sunday, January 11 at The Silver Grille in the Higbee Building. A host of great local vendors will be on hand, including Fair Rarity Flowers, Fear’s Confections, Piccadilly Artisan Creamery, Dante Lucci Salon, Western Reserve Historical Society and more. You can get a look at everything from dresses to cakes to venues!

There will also be a Something White fashion show, featuring former brides in their dream dresses!

Tickets are $15 in advance ($20 at the door) for general admission and $50 for VIP admission. VIP tickets include a swag bag, a glass of champagne, admission to the fashion show, and 10% off one item from Something White, including dresses!

This is the perfect afternoon for a bride-to-be or a great way for a bridesmaid to treat her friend. It’ll be glamorous, fun, and packed with great local makers who will fashion a spectacular wedding!

Tickets can be purchased online or you can enter to win two general admission tickets right here! Note, the winner can also use their winnings to take $15 off the price of each VIP ticket. 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 what part of wedding planning you’re most excited about.

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

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

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

I want to attend the #BoutiqueBridalBazaar thanks to @SomethingWhiteB and @WhyCLE: http://wp.me/p1fb9r-2e4

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

The giveaway will close on Tuesday, January 6 at 11:59pm and the winner will be announced the following day. Good luck!

***Disclosure: I was asked by Something White Bridal to help promote the Boutique Bridal Bazaar. In exchange, I will receive two general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.***


Why? Happy New Year!

I’ve been sitting here staring at a blinking cursor, not sure what to write in this post. This last year was so filled with momentous change and the year ahead promises to be so filled with adventure that I’m at a loss for words.

What I am sure of is the people in my life who made 2014 amazing and who will make 2015 even better.

Jeffrey, who made me understand what the phrase “light of my life” truly means.

PicMonkey Collage

Matthew, who I’ve known is a wonderful man and a fantastic husband, but who I never imagined I could love as much as I do when I see him being a father to our son.

PicMonkey Collage

My parents, who are unfailing and constant in their love and support.

PicMonkey Collage

My girlfriends, who keep me sane, who keep me in touch with “me,” and who have ridden this crazy roller coaster of a year with me.

PicMonkey Collage

And to Cleveland, for continuing to inspire the love and passion that goes into this blog and that defines every reason Why CLE?.

Image Source - cleveland-cpa-firms.com

Image Source – cleveland-cpa-firms.com

For everything that 2014 was and everything that 2015 will be, CHEERS and Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours a year filled with happiness!


Why? Weekends!

And by weekend, I mean the extended holiday “weekend” that started on Wednesday and just wrapped up yesterday. This year, Christmas was all about Jeffrey and his first Christmas was really quite something!

On Christmas Eve, we went over to my parents’ house for a traditional Eastern European meatless meal (breaded fish, mashed potatoes, and creamed peas), opening lots of presents, and going to Christmas Eve Mass. Jeffrey took to opening presents like a pro, even though he was occasionally more interested in the paper than in what was inside the wrapping.


After we got back home and cookies, milk, and a carrot were placed on the fireplace for Santa and Rudolph, it was time to get the little guy into bed. But not before taking a moment to contemplate the magic of Christmas Eve.


I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Christmas and I thought I did a good job holding on to some sense of wonder and joy in the season, but I had no idea how joyous and how magical it would be seeing it through Jeffrey’s eyes. Even at his age, Christmas morning was a really special moment.


Is all that for me?!

Santa brought this Fisher-Price car as Jeffrey’s “big” gift and I think he was pretty happy about it!


After Christmas morning at our house, we headed to Matthew’s dad’s place for Christmas Round 3. Not only were there plenty of presents, food, and fun, but we had an opportunity to update the family photo.


I’m very lucky to have in-laws who are truly family to me!

Saturday, we met up with my friend Chris, his wife Emily, and their son Luke for breakfast at Joe’s Deli. Chris is a dear friend from high school, which means we’ve known each other nearly 20 years (eek!). I’ve always been so glad that we’ve stayed in touch all this time, but it was especially cool to have our sons, born less than a week apart, meet each other! I think they hit it off and hopefully a new 20-year-plus friendship has started!

On Sunday, my parents provided Matthew and me with a much-needed date afternoon. It was so nice to have some time to relax together after all the holiday hecticness. We started with brunch at Flour: eggs Benedict for him, the chicken and waffle special for me, and a shared order of the short-rib and mushroom hash.

PicMonkey Collage

The hash, served with a spicy hollandaise sauce, was my stand-out favorite of the meal. It was flavorful, earthy, and entirely delicious! The fried chicken on the waffles was also really tasty, but the dish could have used a bit more syrup for the waffles.

From there, we did a bit of shopping (I found my Jump Back Ball dress!) and then ended on a sweet note at Mitchell’s Ice Cream, with a Holiday Fudge sundae for Matthew (substitute dark chocolate peppermint ice cream for an even richer treat) and a root beer float for me.


It was the perfect way to wrap up a perfectly wonderful holiday weekend. How was your holiday/weekend?


Why? Weekends!

I told you it was a weekend chock-full of holiday fun, from Holiday High Tea to lots of other celebrations. On Friday, Matthew did some scout blog reporting from his work holiday lunch at Bourbon Street Barrel Room in Tremont.

PicMonkey Collage

He enjoyed the pretty decor and tasty NOLA food at this new spot. His meal was the Jean Lafitte, which is a combo of shrimp, catfish, and hush puppies, with citrus slaw and bistro sauce.


Bourbon Street Barrel Room is open for lunch and dinner and, in true NOLA fashion, has an extended happy hour from 2-7pm every day! I can’t wait to get my hands on some of their Cajun cuisine!

On Saturday evening, we had the third annual TWC Christmas celebration, which is by far one of my favorite holiday traditions! I always enjoy spending time with these lovely ladies and their husbands and we are especially merry at the holidays.

PicMonkey Collage

We’ve established the dinner menu over the last three years and it’s always a treat: lots of good appetizers, lamb, pork tenderloin, savory bread pudding, Brussels sprouts with bacon, and some sweet indulgences too. This year, Kimberly brought some bubbly from Dante, with a special holiday wish for all of us from one of the group’s favorite chefs!


From dinner to the White Elephant exchange to Cards Against Humanity to general perfect times with best friends, we couldn’t have asked for a better TWC Christmas!

Sunday brought another holiday tradition, this time from Matthew’s family: the annual cookie baking/exchange extravaganza. I always look forward to not only the time with family, but the tasty treats we get to take home.

It was a fun weekend, but by the end, I think Jeffrey’s reaction said it all:


We’re definitely ready for that long winter’s nap!