Headed to Alt Summit!

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Good morning my Cleveland friends! Hope your week has been wonderful, exciting and filled with fun. It’s Wednesday and I couldn’t be more thrilled to head off to Hopkins and jump on over to Salt Lake City to attend this years Alt Summit Conference.

This gathering of predominantly women-owned business owners, makers and bloggers makes my heart skip a beat. As a small business owner and designer I often seek out learning opportunities to better myself, to fill my creative energy pot and to be constantly inspired. I can’t think of a better conference to attend that “Alt.” While I will be learning about better photography tricks (god knows I can improve), ways use video in my work, partnering with others and other creative topics, one thing that I love about this event is the fashion. I mean, the attendees go over-the-top with regards to style, for me it’s like visual crack.

As a new Mom I too am looking forward to dressing pretty (sans spit up) and layering the accessories one workshop to the next. I have way overpacked…seven pairs of shoes for just a  few days…but feel pretty good about my picks. I mean, for these types of all day long learning events you want to be stylish AND comfortable am I right?

I am bringing (1) a new Boden dress I got for my birthday. The bright bold bird print is playful and makes me smile, plus I don’t often wear blue but I am pretty confident in the bold hue. My shoes for this dress are super old Payless Christian Siriano purply-blue suede booties…it pays to be a bit of a shoe hoarder. I am bringing my pink Kate Spade clutch as an added pop of bold color for this outfit. For travel and casual creative chat (2) I’m gonna rock at CLE Clothing Company sweatshirt declaring my love for our city…seriously I’m loving this comfy sweatshirt, everything they make is so fun and represents our city so well. As I loose all this baby weight I am rocking some Denizen Jeans from Target, they look so polished and fancy yet they are affordable during this time of transition, I would highly recommend you check them out. I’m going to be toting all my conference materials and my computer around in my new Blair Ritchey tote. Gotta love spreading the word about a lovely Cleveland-based designer who has the talent to produce such luxurious leather goods, I love this bag. Lastly (3) I am packing lots of pink and polka dots including this overcoat by Kate Spade and these pink pixie pants also from Target, a mix of high end and everyday for this traveler makes me happy.

This will be my second time attending the conference and I am looking forward to grabbing coffee with style maven Hillary, talking retail and kids with Kim, discussing design with Chicago designer MJ, and being inspired by all things DIY with Andrea. It is a time to set goals for the year, to engage with other like-minded attendees and I’d be lying if I wasn’t pretty excited to get a few nights of solid sleep.

Have a great rest of your week. Follow along in my Alt experience on instagram @charity216. Cheerio!

  Baby fun update!

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Hey friends. How was your weekend? I hope you were able to get out and enjoy the warmer temps, melting snow and sunshine, a great winter weekend in the CLE! Happy MLK Day and happy day off to many of you.

As you probably know by now, Mr. C and I had a little boy this past summer; “Baby Ninja.” Being a new parent is no joke, I mean it’s really hard. We love our little guy with all our might but I would be lying if I didn’t say we miss sleep like nothing else in the whole wide world. We have a handful of friends in the same new parent boat and it’s fun to get together and commiserate about lack of sleep together…over a few cocktails no less, wink.

This past Saturday we went out to Luxe Kitchen with another CLE couple who had a baby just a week before Baby Ninja. It was so fun to swap stories, ask questions and together cheer each other on for those small baby accomplishments. I am still amazed how quickly Baby Ninja continues to grow, to change and to develop as his own mini personality.

While I typically write about things happening around CLE town, from time to time I do like to share what is going on in our lives and I thought a Baby Ninja update along with the products we are currently loving would be a fun way to start the week.

Baby Ninja is sitting up, playing by himself and has started eating big boy food like oranges and bananas. A fun new product to keep homemade baby mush, think bananas and sweet potatoes are the locally designed and reusable product the Press Pouch, a must for any new mom. For clean up I used to keep the Seventh Generation organic lavender dish soap just for washing his bottles but I just started using it on all of our adult dishes, I love how thick it is, goes a long way and makes everything smell like fresh spring.

Baby Ninja likes many of the classic toys that I too used to play with including the colorful ring stacking toy. He hasn’t started actually stacking them but loves to chew on the rings to soothe his sore gums, whatever works. Now that we have moved him from the sink into his new Munchkin duck bath tub he is actually starting to enjoy his bath time including splashing around with his many bath toys. I never envisioned my grown up bathroom being overtaken by toys, scrubbies and inflatable ducks…anything for the babes. Just recently instead of placing every book in his mouth he seems more interested in good illustrations and exciting story lines, “Ninja” by Arree Chung is one of our favorites. Every night before bed we are in the habit of a diaper change and mini baby massage, I LOVE the smell of Babyganics orange blossom, smells like a creamsicle making him good enough to eat.

Lastly Baby N is quickly growing out of most of his baby onesies; he is very tall for his age. Instead of our normal baby blue snap up’s recently he has been rocking some good jeggins and fun bold sweaters; isn’t this bright yellow “like” sweater from the Gap too sweet?

So just a little baby  update paired with some of the little things we are using at our house to keep all of us pretty happy…while we are dreaming of the day when we actually sleep again! New parents, any other new things I should try or explore for Baby N? What cool toys, books or food fun are you loving? Have a great week everyone!

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  giveaway : CIFF Get Shorty tickets

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As many of you know the Cleveland Film Festival is seriously one of my favorite annual happenings in this town! This year, the 39th Annual Cleveland Film Festival (CIFF) runs March 18-29, 2015 and we are already counting down the days. The majority of the 350+ films will be shown at Tower City Cinemas, but CIFF will also be taking some screenings on the road to at least 10 neighborhood locations venues like the Beachland Ballroom, Cedar Lee Theatre, Chagrin Cinemas (Bainbridge), the Akron Art Museum and more.

Every year the festival hosts a series of “Film Feasts” prior to the festival. These parties are a way to engage the community, cultivate new film buffs and celebrate the arts, all while promoting the upcoming Festival.

The “Get Shorty” Film Feast evening is always one of the most popular, and this year the event takes place January 29, 7pm at Capitol Theatre. Join us as we review each short film and get ready to pick your favorite for this years upcoming festival. Before the films, guests will gather next door at the Arcade where they will enjoy food and beverages provided by Culinary Occasions. Get Shorty, like all Film Feasts, is open to the public. Tickets can be purchased at clevelandfilm.org for $100 each. For your ticket and for more information visit them online or friend them on Facebook.

Or enter to win two free passes to the evening’s excitement right here! Leave me a comment about why you’d like to win or tweet me at “@iheartclev I’d love to attend this years @CIFF Get Shorty film feast night!” Winner to be drawn by Monday, January 26th. Good luck!

*This post is part of this years festival awareness campaign. I was given two tickets to the Get Shorty film feast in exchange for this post. As a regular festival-goer my thoughts are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting this organization that allows me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  giveaway : Heinen’s Game Day recipe & gift card

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Hey guys! Happy almost big game day to you. Do you have plans to invite the gang over? Binge on chicken wings, nacho’s, beer, pizza…and Bourbon Infused Pulled Pork Sandwiches?

I’ve got to say, ever since having Ninja Max the crock pot has become my friend. There is nothing better than coming home and having your home smell like home-cooking. Plus, it’s pretty easy and right now easy is good…the easier the better. So here is this amazing game day treat recipe…

Bourbon Infused Pulled Pork Sandwiches
– 3 onions
– 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
– 1 teaspoon mustard powder
– 1 teaspoon cinnamon
– 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
– Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
– 1 3lb pound boneless pork shoulder (also called pork butt,) trimmed of excess fat
– 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
– 1 cup bourbon (I used Maker’s Mark)
– 1 bottle of Heinen’s Two Brothers Barbecue sauce
– A bag of prepared coleslaw, mixed with a dash of mayo
– Pickles!

Hein3Cut all of your onions into big chunks, place in the bottom of your slow cooker. Mix your brown sugar, mustard, cinnamon, cumin, salt & pepper into a rub. Rinse and trim excess fat from your pork butt, pat dry. Rub spice mixture all over the cut of meat, gently place on top of onions. Pour your vinegar and bourbon around the bottom  of the onions. Cover and let cook for 6 hours on high. After 6 hours I pulled out the pork, discarded the onions but kept a half a cup of the liquid and shredded the meat…watch out it’s hot! I placed all the shredded pork back into the slow cooker, added the half cup of liquids and the bottle of barbecue sauce and let simmer on low for another hour. Very easy and so delicious.

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Add some pulled pork to one of Heinen’s bakery slider brioche buns, top with some coleslaw and a few pickles and you have the perfect half time snack for you and your team.

photo 3To help you with your own game day recipes, I have a $50 Heinen’s gift card to giveaway to one lucky reader. To enter to win, comment here and tell me your go-to football snack recipe or tweet me “@iheartclev my game day recipe is _______#Heinens.” Winner to be announced Monday, January 19th…Good luck!

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*This post is part of Heinen’s Game Day Recipe campaign. I was given a gift card in exchange for a post about my favorite game day appetizer. As a regular Heinen’s shopper my thoughts are 100% my own. Thanks for supporting this business that allows me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Welcome Mellow Mushroom

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Hello & happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, spent some quality time with friends and family and perhaps even caught some of the Golden Globe fashions last night. SO many pretty dresses…made me start thinking about a dress for this years Playhouse Square Partners – Jump Back Ball…have you got your tickets and your dress yet? SO FUN!

Our weekend was pretty jam packed. After spending last week with the flu bug (sorry for the lack of posts I just couldn’t do it folks) it was time to get out of the house and breathe some fresh air. It actually was the first weekend spent alone just me and Baby Ninja and honestly it was a blast. Let’s just say the kid likes to grab brunch, do a bit of boutique shopping and stroll around the mall. He especially loves hitting up new restaurants around town…enter Rocky River’s newest dining destination Mellow Mushroom!

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Baby Ninja and I met a friend at the fun opening party and it was seriously hopping with many families, kids welcome. We kicked off the evening with a starter of meatballs (above) I liked how they were presented on the cute mini skewers, perfect for sharing. For dinner we had the Holy Shiitake Pizza with salads…so delicious. MORE! →