Author Archives: charity

  Services, tips & tricks of 2019

Well hello, hello! It’s been WAY too long my friends. I think my last post was in October and then the end-of-the year push happened at our design studio and with a busy holiday season at the studio, hosting a large Thanksgiving feast and all the festivities the holidays (& my December birthday,) something had to give.

I do know that many of us stay connected through instagram and for that I am thankful. I so enjoyed all the encouraging comments during December with regards to my self-imposed month of a #ShimmerandShineChallenge. It is a total passion project for myself and fuels my fashion creativity to a shiny new level. Thanks for those of you who played along, you guys are the best.

As I have been reflecting over 2019 and things that worked and things that maybe could be improved on, I kept coming back to these little tricks, products and services that I have discovered over last year and I thought you might like to know them as well. Nothing grandeous, but as a working parent who owns a business and would rather squeeze in a glass of wine with her friend then hit the grocery store on the way home, any little thing to make life sweeter is worth sharing. This is not a sponsored post but an honest sharing of things I know and love…check them out.

Okay, first up Instacart. I just had my 1 year anniversary with this service and I never want to grocery shop without “her” ever again. Did you know that Instacart offers personal shoppers at more than Heinen’s and Aldi’s? Along with Costco (you DON’T even have to be a member!) they recently added Target to their lineup so between those four stores I am totally covered. Using instacart has allowed me time to sit down with cookbooks and recipes to plan out the week. I easily select ingredients as I check my cabinets for things we already have and stuff we need; eliminates the “why do we have 3 jars of peanut butter?” issue. I know some of you are skeptical on having someone else pick out your produce and other items and yes, I still LOVE to go to the farmers market for my weekly fix of hydroponic grown lettuces, but in my experience the shoppers of Instacart are about 95% accurate and for that I am thankful. I love that I don’t have to go to the grocery store and negotiate with our son what special snack or cereal he can or can not get, makes shopping simple and fun. Sometimes I will let him pick one thing out on the app, so we can shop together from our pj’s on the couch. Now I do admit, I have ordered a few wrong sizes of things here and there and like anything else with practice the entire ordering process gets way easier. Also, if you do make a mistake or if the shopper substitutes for something you don’t want, the customer service is SO GOOD that they make me want to shop from there time and time again. I have heard a few of you say you don’t want to shop from there because of the single-use plastic bag usage…well I have great news, all of the vendors I have shopped from recently have all changed over to paper bags making this company even more love-able than before. If you don’t use this service, give it a shot…It helped give me a few extra hours a week in 2019 and for that I am thankful.

I know I may be late to the party, but last year I started to slowly transition to more organic household products. I found a company called Grove Collaborative that offers many safe household and bath+body products that I seriously love. Each month they send me a notice to see if I am running low on any products (detergent, glass spray, hand soap, etc.) a quick scan around my kitchen and I can reorder my organic products at a discounted rate and with free shipping. Plus, they have a few private label products that are not only effective but nicely designed, enter the laundry detergent. The laundry detergent arrives in a recycle-able refill bag which you pour into their frosted glass pitcher that is not only looks beautiful on our counter-top but also measures out how much of the concentrated cleaner should go into each load, beauty and function…LOVE. Plus as I do a bunch of laundry I feel so great that I am not recycling those big Tide plastic jugs that I had been doing for many, many years. Convenient, great design AND doing something good for our world!!! I am sold and you should check them out.

When it comes to solid tricks to making our household work smoothly, it all comes down to Sunday prep days. I literally set aside most of Sunday afternoon to prep all sorts of meals and munchies for our week ahead. Packing our lunches have never been easier and with a few soups and freezer meals prepped, weeknights are way easier than they used to be. Recently we do about a dozen hard boiled eggs for breakfasts, we make chia seed puddings with leftover nuts, berries and apples form the previous week, I try to make a new soup and a freezer chicken and veggies type meal for the crock pot and I do my best to clean and prep all of our produce to resist any lazy mid-week thoughts of why we shouldn’t cut up the cauliflower. Anyone want to come over and prep some Sunday? I swear it is a bunch of fun and you feel so prepared going into the work week, it truly is Sunday FUNday!

I’m sure I am late to the party on this one, but in 2019 I really started diving into Audible.com. whether for my drive to work or just the daily household chores, I could use that time to listen to the latest self help or fiction darling. Currently I am loving listening to some of the popular bios because they actually read them…LOVED Becoming by Michelle Obama and This Will Only hurt a Little bu Busy Phillips. Do you have any good tricks to getting all the “reading” done? This has allowed me to keep up while not falling asleep and re-reading a chapter over and over again when I finally go to bed. Thanks audible for bringing me back to loving books.

So those are just a few services I love, habits we created and fun ways that I created joy for myself and my family last year. Hope you might have found them helpful…can’t wait to see what 2020 holds for us! Cheers Cleveland friends, lots of love!

  Designer Dress Days THIS WEEKEND!!!

YOU GUYS! There is an INCREDIBLE fashion sale going on this weekend for a great cause and you simply MUST go check it out! It’s called the Designer Dress Day Sale and “designer” is the key word. They have so many great brands for sale including many high-end designers, but they also have some great basics for fall/wintr including racks and rows of cashmere, coats and athleisure outdoor wear.

The Designer Dress Day Sale is National Council of Jewish Women Cleveland’s (NCJW/CLE) four-day annual sale, a 50-year-plus landmark event in the community. DDD features designer finds at fantastic prices boasting beautiful new and gently worn, coveted-brand clothing, purses, fine and costume jewelry, scarves, furs, dresses, etc. (think: Chanel, Prada, Vince, Free People, and more!). More than 250 volunteers help to make this sale exciting and a major source of funding for NCJW’s projects, initiatives and programs. The sale is a well-oiled machine. From the kind welcome, to the help trying things on, to the many volunteers at check out…everyone makes this sale exciting and memorable.

I had the opportunity to visit the sale yesterday and came home with a bunch of fun finds including two 1970′ vintage sweaters, a pink JCrew tote and a few holiday gifts for my sisters and mom. I’m thinking of going back tomorrow to take a look at the fur and jewerly room, as I feel like there were some incredible finds that I may have missed. Check out my instastories for some more pics from the visit yesterday.

They are open today at the Mandel Jewish Community Center through Tuesday so grab your friends and go find a bargain for a good cause at the Designer Dress Day Sale!

  An evening with M Cellars Select Collection

Have you ever been out to Geneva and visited some of the amazing wineries of Northeast Ohio? One of my favorites is the exquisite vineyard out at M Cellars.  Last summer I had the opportunity to visit this family-owned winery and what a complete TREAT it was.

Speaking of treats, this past weekend I had a few friends over to celebrate the end of summer, good food, and even better wine; compliments of M Cellars. During the evening we had the opportunity to experience the chosen wines of this year “M Cellars Select Collection:” the vineyard’s wines made from their estate vines.

We kicked off the evening with some of the Brut Rosé paired with a charcuterie board. We tasted their Reserve Chardonnay with our watercress, roasted beets, and goat cheese salads. Keeping things casual I served an assortment of flatbreads paired with an M Cellars Reserve Pinot Noir and then finished the evening with a homemade stone fruit tart and a glass or their 2017 Meritage. To say it was a delicious and indulgent evening would be an understatement.

From bubbly to bold reds, The M Cellars Select Collection  gave us the perfect introduction to the premium wine grown and produced close by in Ohio’s Grand River Valley.

Over the next few weeks, purchase their 4-bottle, Select Collection and you can choose one of their upcoming, intimate vineyard-to-bottle tour of the vineyards and tasting; complete with special wines and small bites with the winemakers or sommelier. This collection and day trip opportunity would make for the best gift for any wine lover in your life…plus the wines are delicious; trust me! To find out more about this opportunity, check out their site and follow the easy steps to purchase your collection and schedule your vineyard tour. Who wants to join me? Let’s do it!

SPONSORED POST: Thank you to M Cellars for inviting us to experience their new M Cellars Select Collection. Thank you for supporting this creative, wine-loving business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Ready. Set. Eat. : A Jump on Meal Prep (sponsored)

Hi CLE friends! Hope you guys are prepping for a fun Labor Day weekend ahead. So many great things to do around town from holding onto summer activities (beach trip, ice cream, boating & more!) to prepping for fall (yard work, county fairs & back to school shopping) it is going to be a busy weekend for sure.

This past week has also been a jam packed week for my family. Our little guy started Kindergarten last week and while he loves it, it for sure adds a few more prep elements around the house. From prepping his clothes the night before, to packing his lunch, to doing his worksheets and practicing his guitar…weeknights are a whirlwind. To try and make after-work time easier on all of us; Sundays are filled with LOTS of meal prepping to help make dinners easier for the whole family.

Last Sunday I spent the afternoon cleaning TONS of produce. From snapping homegrown beans, to roasting cauliflower, to dicing up peppers, making small jars of mirepoix, grilling chicken and hours slow roasting tomatoes…food prep makes work and school nights better around here.

Last weekend I bought Roma Tomatoes specifically to slow roast (275 for 4 hours) and add to salads, sandwiches and dinner time for that extra healthy and yummy topping. I made sure they were cooled down before I stored them in the fridge in some of my new fridge containers that I found on Wayfair. Give them a try, they are so yummy.

Also, cleaning and prepping our produce and proteins on Sundays help make weeknight, family dinners so easy that there is no excuse not to eat at home. For dinner the other night, I simply stir fried green beans, broccoli, peppers and chicken breast (topped with roasted tomatoes and basil) for an easy, quick dinner meal.

Since we cook a lot at home; I love new pots and kitchen tools. Recently I bought a new Le Creuset pot for meal prep and a bunch of  glass storage boxes for make ahead meals. I donated some of our older kitchen things and our new kitchen additions have been making meal prep extra special.

Last nights dinner was super simple, so I thought I would share. I took the cleaned and prepped peppers, broccoli, beans, chicken and mushrooms and sautéed them in ghee and a handful of spices. I topped each bowl with the roasted tomatoes and basil and voila! Dinner was served in under :20 minutes. I’m telling you, with these new kitchen “toys” and a few hours on the weekend…cooking during the week can be very easy and quick.

I hope I have inspired some of you to make time over this upcoming holiday weekend to prep for next. It doesn’t take a lot of time and with a few new, kitchen pots and storage containers I promise you will thank me!

SPONSORED POST: Thank you to Wayfair for inviting me to share a few ways to make weeknight dinners better. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Fall decor finds over at Wayfair

It’s feeling like fall and I am itching to do a few more decorating projects before the holidays. Nothing huge, switching out some small furniture pieces, updating some kitchen things, perhaps a new house plant or four!

I have plans to hit up a few vintage stores over the next few weekens, and one of my designer friends is going to swing by to give me here thougths on a few of my decor ideas. I’t fun to brainstorm with fellow creative friends on furniture picks and more.

For some other pieces I found some things over at Wayfair. Here are just a few of my fall picks below; check them out!