First Run As a Family of Three! (Plus Pride, BBQ and more)

Another great summer weekend filled with food, fun, drinks and family has come and gone. Why do summer weekends go so fast?

I know, rhetorical question. But seriously, even though we got hit with some rain for what feels like he first weekend in forever, we still managed to enjoy our time in Cleveland by celebrating a birthday, enjoying some BBQ, celebrating Cleveland Pride, running and more.

We started Friday night with drinks and BBQ at Mabels to celebrate B’s brother’s birthday. Look at all that BBQ¬†meat!

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It was a great night out on E 4th street – it was hot and humid but the patios were getting full.

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Saturday morning started with this little guy. And this guy. We of course had to watch the Olympics now that the track & field events have started!20160813_111014

When he went down for a nap, I hit the gym for 4 sweaty miles. It was already upper 80s and a bazillion percent humidity so I decided to stay inside and watch Mr. Robot while on the treadmill for a little. The gym was steamy also, but I’m glad I stayed inside and had my water bottle.

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Then, it was time to head to Cleveland Pride! FW had the perfect onesie to celebrate.IMG_20160813_133606 20160813_132140 20160813_132922

The weather held up so we also ended up eating outside on the patio of Rebol, the new spot in Public Square. It was really good – I made my own bowl with their noodles and poke tuna.

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That afternoon/evening it stormed on and off, so we took it easy. B picked up some dinner supplies at Gallucci’s – it was the Feast of the Assumption after all – and made us pizza for dinner. We finally broke out one of the “good bottles” of wine and enjoyed that as well. And some meat and cheese. A perfect Saturday night ūüôā

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Sunday¬†morning, FW and I watched a little of the Olympics women’s marathon and then the three of us headed out to try out the new jogging stroller! We went to a nearby trail and logged 4.25 miles, taking turns holding the stroller at different times. I’m not going to lie, running with the stroller is hard! It was the first time B and I had run together since the race we did when I was 38 weeks pregnant, I’d it was great to be out there was him again.

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We followed the run with some pastries and kombucha. Because that’s what I like to do on Sundays ūüôā

That afternoon, we hit up the outlets for some shopping! We were there until they closed and then we picked up sushi for dinner. Yes, I have sushi just about every week now that I’m not pregnant any more. It’s great!

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Some questions for you:

  • Are there any foods you eat once a week or so?¬†Yes, we eat pizza and/or sushi at least once a week ūüėČ
  • Do you like sushi? What’s your favorite?

Per usual, I’m linking up with Erin, Katie and the weekly wraps.

Friday Five: Five Things To Do In Cleveland for the Holidays

I LOVE THE HOLIDAYS. Yes caps lock is intended.

great holiday sweaters and sweater vests

Okay, I know I’ve said it enough. And the picture above probably says it all anyway. But seriously – it may have been 60 degrees yesterday (and it was amazing – I went for a run in shorts) – but don’t let the weather fool you – the holidays are here. So you missed the Holiday Flea, Winterfest and the Public Square tree lighting ceremony? Don’t worry, there’s still so much more to do in Cleveland to get you in the holiday spirit! ¬†I know quite a few people have shared their favorite holiday activities – here are 5 things that I’m looking forward to:

1. Checking out the holiday decor and lights downtown

I LOVE living downtown – it seems like suddenly overnight the festive lights, trees, and even store windows popped up, all to get us in the holiday spirit. Want to feel the holiday spirit? Start in Playhouse Square (and see a show while you’re there! Spoiler alert – check out #3) at Euclid and 14thish and take the E line trolley until you arrive at Public Square. All along Euclid you’ll see various stores with lights, flower pots overflowing with wintry decor, and more. And when you get to Public Square, get ready to be in awe of all the lights – it’s gorgeous! And don’t forget to check out the big tree, as well as the Holidays at Higbee displays. Not had enough? Head into Tower City to check out Bruce the Talking Spruce, as well as the holiday shows in the food court featuring the Toy Soldier and Fairy Godmother (and more – the whole Tower City list of events is here).

Lights around the Theatre District

Lights around the Theatre District

higbee

storefront window in the Higbee building

2. Enjoying a holiday performance from the Cleveland Orchestra

Did you know that the world famous Cleveland Orchestra and their chorus perform a series of holiday concerts each year? The concerts feature a variety of holiday music in the beautifully decorated Severance Hall. I’m lucky to be married into an Ignatius High School family – the Orchestra performs a private show for Ignatius alums and their family and I look forward to the event each year!

Here’s a sneak peak – disclaimer, I found this video on YouTube, it’s not mine:

3. Seeing a show in the Theatre district

Seeing  A Christmas Carol at the Ohio Theater at Playhouse Square has become a tradition for B and me. This Great Lakes Theater production runs through December 22, and no matter how many times I watch it (or even A Muppet Christmas Carol), it never gets old. Interested in seeing the show? If you call 216-241-6000 or go to http://www.greatlakestheater.org/tickets/shows/a-christmas-carol to order tickets, enter GLT as your promo code for a discount!

Wine @ Gallucci's!

Wine @ Gallucci’s!

4. Feasting on local treats (going to Gallucci’s and the West Side Market)

OK, OK I know you can do this any time of year – but there’s just something SO magical about the West Side Market and Gallucci’s during the holidays. Stands are decorated in the Market, holiday food comes out, and the smell of the Italian food at Gallucci’s just seems more memorable (maybe it’s the fact that I grew up with an Italian mother and those cooking smells likely got stronger during the holidays?). Anyway, one of my favorite traditions that B and I have is going to the Market and Gallucci’s, buying supplies to make pepperoni bread and sauce, and then making the meal, decorating our apartment, and watching Love Actually. Try it. I dare you not to feel in the holiday spirit after doing that!

5. Local shopping

Let’s face it – the holidays wouldn’t be the same without shopping. This year, I’m buying a lot of stuff locally – if possible. The Holiday Flea was awesome, and there are so many other upcoming opportunities to get your holiday (or personal) shopping done:

Ohio City Festival (Dec. 7): Ohio City Festival is THIS weekend! So get your gift list ready and visit local shops like the¬†Cleveland Bazaar and¬†Made in the 216. If that doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit, there’s also¬†photos with Santa, Christmas tree sales, horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday crafts for children, a photobooth, carolers, and mulled Christmas Ale from Great Lakes Brewing Company.

Holiday CircleFest (Dec. 8): Keep the festivities going all weekend long and stop by University Circle on Sunday the 8th for the Holiday CircleFest! In addition to shopping, the event in University Circle will feature horse-drawn carriage rides, ice sculpting, live music, a gingerbread house competition – and more!

Pop Up¬†Shaker¬†(Thurs/Sat/Sun through Dec. 15): Pop Up¬†Shaker¬†started last week along Chagrin Boulevard and I can’t wait to check it out! (Yes I do LEAVE downtown sometimes. See numbers 2 and 4 above)¬†This festive winter pop up combines crafting, food, and shopping and will take place Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays through the 15th.

Tremont Holiday BrewHaHa (Dec. 13-15):¬†In addition to stopping by the BrewHaHa weekend in Tremont for the famous Santa Shuffle (where the picture of ¬†B and me at the beginning of this post is from), I can’t wait to check out the Pop Up Shop and Party on Dec. 13. AND there’s even a Tremont Holiday ArtWalk!


And now, some questions for you:

  • What holiday traditions do you have?¬†Love Actually and holiday decorating. And pepperoni bread. And seeing A Christmas Carol. Use the discount code I shared and see it yourself!
  • Quick! What are five things you are looking forward to about the holidays?
  • What’s your favorite local shop?
  • Do you run in any holiday races?

A wonderful Cleveland holiday

I love the holidays. The lights everywhere. The baked goods. The cookies. The music. The Christmas Ale. The overall warmth and¬†jolliness¬†that everyone seems to espouse (especially after a few cookies and Christmas Ale!). And even though it’s not even the middle of December yet, ¬†I’m already in full blown holiday spirit!

Cleveland public square at night - all lit up

Cleveland during the holiday times is great. Public Square is lit up and there’s so much going on! In addition to a few holiday parties (not mentioned below), here’s how I’ve been celebrating ¬†– with 15 days left until Christmas!

Baking … and more baking! ¬†

Yes, as if I need an excuse for baking … but so far this year I’ve made Oatmeal Scotchies, Chocolate Peanut Butter Chip Cookies¬†and Cherry Almond Chocolate Kisses.¬†¬†When I get back to NY, I’ll likely make some more – probably some lemon bars, thumbprint jam cookies, peanut blossoms, Tuxedo Cookies, and much much more.

Some of the holiday cookies we baked for our office potluck/cookie exchange party

Some of the holiday cookies baked for our office potluck/cookie exchange party

Rocking it at the Cleveland Rocks! Awards

Each year, before the holidays, the Cleveland PRSA Chapter celebrates the best in the year’s programs and invites local PR pros to celebrate as well. This year, projects I worked on won several awards, including Best in Show! Plus, the Silent Auction I helped coordinate garnered a record number of funds to support the chapter’s scholarship fund. It was a great night and definitely wonderful to celebrate with my other coworkers and friends in the business.

Coworkers Goofing Off At Our Photo Booth at the Awards

Coworkers Goofing Off At Our Photo Booth at the Awards

Best In Show winners with our award - a guitar!

Best In Show winners with our award – a guitar!

Enjoying the Cleveland Orchestra’s Holiday Performance

Each year, the ¬†Cleveland Orchestra puts on a performance for St. Ignatius as a fundraiser for student scholarships during the holidays – and it’s amazing! They play holiday concerts during the entire holiday season for the public, but I love the Ignatius concert tradition. We get dinner in Little Italy with B’s entire family (parents, siblings, aunt, uncles, grandma, cousin, etc.), then enjoy a performance in Severance Hall by the Cleveland Orchestra. It’s a great way to get in the holiday spirit – and I love it!

third row at the Cleveland Orchestra!

third row at the Cleveland Orchestra!

Watching A Christmas Carol at Playhouse Square

This weekend, B and I got tickets (THANKS CHRIS!) to see A Christmas Carol, put on by Great Lakes Theater. We made the evening into a date, and got drinks with his brother and parents before, saw the show, and then enjoyed dinner at Cowell & Hubbard. It was a great way to spend a wintry evening ¬†– the show was great (although it made me really want to watch A Muppet Christmas Carol) and dinner was awesome. We enjoyed some beef ceviche, escargot, fois gras donuts and seafood dumplings — all food that I don’t normally order.

Escargot, beef ceviche, seafood dumplings and fois gras doughnuts @ Cowell & Hubbard

Escargot, beef ceviche, seafood dumplings and fois gras doughnuts @ Cowell & Hubbard

Giving Back with Caring Cubs

This weekend, B and I took ourniece and nephew to the zoo! Not only were we there to see some of the animals, but we were there for a Caring Cubs event. Caring Cubs is an organization I became introduced to through Bridge Builders- they¬†hold monthly events for young children, ages 2 to 7, designed to teach various lessons of social responsibility. ¬†We took Oliver and Sofia to the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, brought some new and gently used toys that were in turn donated to the Department of Child and Family Services, and then got to enjoy an animal show plus tour of the zoo afterwords. We finished up the afternoon in Little Italy, enjoying some pizza and dessert at ¬†some of our favorites –¬†Mama Santas and Presti’s.

caring cubs

Caring Cubs collected more than 500 toys!

sofia touching armadillo

zooo with children

hmm ... which cookies to choose?

hmm … which cookies to choose?

What about you? What have you been doing to get into the holiday spirit?