fall happenings


Hey friends, happy new week to you. It was another great fall weekend to be living in Northeast, Ohio, don’t you agree? Our backyard looks like an abstract painting of yellow, orange and deep red hues as the trees loose their leaves prepping for the impending winter ahead.

Over the weekend we attended the first of hopefully many barn parties at Spice Acres (photo above,) home to Jackie and Ben Bebenroth. Nestled in the Cuyahoga National Valley this farm/homestead is a busy city dwellers dream country escape. If they ever open the farm to the public again you’ve got to try and get a ticket and go explore. Plus, great news…from the ticket sales of the dinner the family was able to buy a new (used) tractor to help in farming the land, congrats you guys!

In addition to the farm dinner, we took a long walk with Baby Ninja in the Rocky River Reservation and again, so many captivating fall colors. We are so lucky to have such a stunning parks system so close and so accessible to everyone. This fall try and get out and go for a walk, a run or a ride on your closest Metropark trails. So pretty.

Besides all of the outdoor fall activities there are a few fall/Halloween-focused events that I wanted to let everyone know about…

>“Shuck yeah!” : This new fall event celebrates oyster time in the CLE. Hosted by Cleveland Scene Magazine and nestled in Tyler Village, come get yourself some oysters, a craft beer, listen to some good tunes and enjoy your fall Saturday (the 25th.) PLUS, after you’ve shucked your oysters, chef Zach Bruell will be hosting an oyster toppings bar complete with many flavor enhancers from the classic mignonette to pesto to a spicy cocktail sauce…go ahead, try them all.

> Boo at the Zoo : Looking to entertain your “little animals” look no further than the Cleveland Metroparks and their annual Boo at the Zoo event. Not only is the month of October free admission for all kids, next weekend; October 23rd-26th is the final weekend for the spook free Halloween celebration. Get your tickets here.

> Westgate Mall Halloween Extravaganza : Saturday, October 25th from 1-3pm, the shopping plaza will host pumpkin carving/decorating, crafts, trick o treating and more. If you need to run to “Tarjay” this would be a great time to drag the kiddo’s with you…getting errands crossed off your list while still satisfying the little ones with, snack size candy bars and pretty pumpkin decorating. Sounds like a win win!

> Fall ice cream : I haven’t been able to check it out personally but I keep hearing wonderful things about the new Mason’s Creamery in Ohio City. This week try and get over to visit this new shop, have a few scoops salty caramel, smores or something pumpkiny. Ice cream is so much more tempting to me rather than Halloween candy.

> Circus in town : This weekend is the annual visit of the Ringling Bros and Barnum Bailey show “Built to Amaze.” Grab your friends and go check out the clowns, elephants and trapeze artists at the Q.

> Chelsea’s : It’s time to get your costumes on for next weeks holiday hoopla. Get yourself over to Chelsea’s Vintage and Costume Rentals for those last minute party rentals or for the perfect costume finishing touches they literally have every costume need possible.

Just a few fall, Halloween events for you to explore. Have a great week everyone. Cheers!

  Garden of Flavor

gardenofflavorHello & happy Thursday everyone. Hope your week  is rounding out to be a good one and you’ve already made some fun plans for the upcoming fall weekend.

I am slowly starting to ease myself back to working out and eating well since Baby Ninja has arrived. I’ve taken a few killer spin classes, gone for many long speed walks, a few yoga classes plus recently I just discovered some amazing quick youtube workouts for in a pinch.

Another thing I am doing to get me feeling better about myself and upping my sleep deprived, energy level is drinking a few green juices. Not as a cleanse but as a supplement to my everyday nutionial intake. Enter the Garden of Flavor cold pressed juices in Mean Green and Green Harmony flavors.

At first I wasn’t a fan of the very herbal tasting green juices, but as the weeks progressed I really got to like them. I didn’t only drink juice, I ate normally but still felt a feeling of accomplishment as I incorporated more greens into my daily menu. I tended to drink the Mean Green in the car on my way into the studio giving me a little boost during the early morning, while the Green Harmony was an afternoon pick-me-up treat. Typically I’m more of a  sweet juices drinker but now I honestly have come to appreciate and even crave the green juices.

And while I was expanding my juice horizon I had never tried Tumeric Tonic and WHOAH…can we say AH. MAZE. ING? While it didn’t feel as clean and refreshing as the green juices, this spicy concoction made me feel sharp, in control and refreshed all the way through every vain.

Never would I have imagine that I actually crave these fresh juices but after having them for a few weeks I actually gravitate to them in the grocery store…in fact after a crazy work day I normally would grab a bottle of vino for a nice glass of red…but today I actually bought the Tumeric Tonic as a treat for getting through the day in one piece.

If you’ve been revisiting your 2014 resolutions as of late and one of the line items was to eat better, to feel better and to east more green leafy vegetables, you really should try and explore the entire line of Garden of Flavor fresh juices. I was a skeptic at first but now I am LOVING them and wishing I could drink more and more of them. Delicious!

*I was invited to experience green juices by Garden of Flavor as part of the companies marketing efforts. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting this business that makes fresh juices in Northeast Ohio great but that also allows me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Dinner out at La Dolce Vita

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The other night I had the pleasure of dining with friends in Little Italy at La Dolce Vita. I have to say the food, the wine but most of all the company was better than any blog post could rightfully do justice.

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Being a westsider, I admittedly forget about this dining destination when it comes to planning a night out. However after the meal we had I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the italian feast destination to everyone.

When we first arrived, we were welcomed by the owner and offered a delicious Protocolo wine. It was lighter than my normal go-to Malbec selection but still very full-bodied and delicious. From the wine, we had a selection of starters including eggplant parmesan, fresh mozzarella  and an heirloom tomato salad, not to mention lots of warm bread…Delicious.

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For dinner we had a selection of prawns and risotto, “Clams Tarantino,”  a little bit of veal and some good pasta with red sauce. I was so full, but there was more…

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For dessert we were treated to Ripasso wine, tiramisu and a small canoli to top off the entire Italian feast. Seriously the food was very good and the company, even better. It’s amazing how a bit of wine, a lot of garlic and some great laughs can really take an okay day and make it over-the-top-wonderful.

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Next time you are looking for a true Italian feast remember the gem that has been nestled at the corner of Murray Hill and Mayfield Road for over twenty five years; La Dolce Vita!

*I was invited to attend dinner at La Dolce Vita as part of the companies marketing efforts. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting this business that makes Italian food in Northeast Ohio great but that also allows me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!


  New Giant Eagle Market District

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The other day I was invited to the grand opening of the new Giant Eagle Market District located south in Strongsville. Typically I am not able to make events during traditional work hours but when I heard who would be cooking breakfast I had to somehow get myself to this event…and thank goodness I did!

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From the moment I entered this new store I was blown away. You might think, you’ve seen one grocery store you’ve seen them all…but this is not the case. This new space is gorgeous, amazing artwork at every turn, stunning interiors, product displays to drool over, it truly is a grocery shopping mecca.

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Not only is the shopping experience pretty cool, they also have a full service restaurant, a Starbucks and a really cool bar inside the store. Nothing like grabbing a cold brew while you make your weekly shopping list before exploring the store.

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Along with the typical grocery store necessities, they have an exquisite sweet shop with many varieties of homemade truffle and chocolate creations.

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Their fish and meat department boast many exotic and hard to find items including rack of elk and fresh python.

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The bakery has an assortment of cakes, cupcakes and custom cookies…Browns cookies anyone?

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I would be remised if I didn’t tell you about their sell serve bulk candy, teas, salts, nuts, spices and more…that section was my favorite!

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But wait there was more…Mr. Mario Batali was there in person to open the new store, sign autographs in his latest cook book and do a handful of cooking demo’s throughout the day. I had the opportunity to chat with “Mario” about our Westside Market vs Seattle’s Pike Place Market (where he grew up) and he admits, our market is way more “shopable” that our pacific northwest market friends. We had some quiche and then we got a guided tour of the new store and then it was time to watch him work his magic.

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The new store has a state of the art gourmet kitchen that will offer cooking classes on a weekly basis. Everything from a hands on learning series to more of a demonstration format, to kids classes and parties, there will be many opportunities to get in their and learn.

For the demonstration Mario worked alongside of Giant Eagles CEO, Laura Shapira Karet to create an amazing eggplant sandwich which we all got to taste…so yummy.

I would for sure recommend next time you are up for a grocery shopping adventure and have a bit more time to browse, drive yourself down to Strongsville and discover what a Market District is all about…you won’t be disappointed, I promise.

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*I was invited to attend the special Grand Opening of the new Strongsville Giant Eagle Market District grocery store as part of the companies marketing efforts. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting this business that makes grocery shopping in Northeast Ohio great but that also allows me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Fall happenings!

photoHello and happy BROWNS WIN to all. Thanks Hoyer & team, you guys were amazing! What an incredible fall weekend we had. I hope you were able to get outside and enjoy the sunshine and fall happenings.

Saturday I hit up the Flea with a pit stop into the Indigo Imp Brewery. Thanks to the owners for mixing up this creative fall shandy for me…part Old City Soda in Grapefruit and part Blonde Bomshell, makes a wonderful fall afternoon treat. Never been to Indigo Imp? Check out their listing of brewery events to find out when you can swing in for a sample of their small batch brews.

If you weren’t able to hit up the flea, the Sunday Market in Hingetown hits West 29th and Detroit this upcoming weekend…Sunday from 10am-4pm. I am planning on stopping by the parisian-style street fest post Harness Cycle’s first annual “Running the Bridges” road race. While I am not planning on actually running the race (not there yet,) Baby Ninja and I are going to cruise along with the baby jogger and enjoy being out and about in downtown CLE. Are you interested in the race? Check out the registration page to secure your spot.

To continue the fall weekend fun we packed the car with a few 8 year olds and headed south to explore Mapleside Farms and their fall festival. If you’ve never been it truly is a magical fall experience. From Corbo’s apple fritters to a massive “bounce cloud” (think bounce house without walls on sand) to all sorta of apples and don’t forget elaborate face painting and a paintball zombie hayride. If you are looking for a well-oiled, fall festival machine (plus a few caramel apples) head down to the farm this upcoming weekend, fingers crossed for another great weather weekend.

While the weekend was amazing, I’m really looking forward to this upcoming weekend farm dinner with friends at the Spice Acres Farm nestled in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. The proceeds from this dinner will go to help the Bebenroth Family as they repair and “grow” the farm. You can either buy tickets to the entire dinner or for just the after hours bonfire and marshmallow roast. For details visit the event brite page and to learn more about their efforts watch their kickstarter video, it is so well done.

So needless to say, it was a busy and fun fall weekend…but if you are looking to immerse yourself in the fall fun, there is still plenty to look forward to. Go get your apples and pumpkins on. Happy fall everyone.