Category Archives: eats around town

  Family fourth fun. Sponsored by Wayfair

Happy Fourth of July week friends! It’s been a crazy, fun, busy last month for our little family. We traveled to Nashville for one of our friends’ weddings, we have had tons of family visiting for birthdays and celebrations. We have taken time off to get outside and enjoy this magical time of year to live in Cleveland. We have cooked and baked and grilled and entertained and now I am currently loving all things take out, HA!

For the holiday week, I wanted to make something special for our family that was both festive and simply low calorie. We have had Mitchell’s ice cream cake living in our freezer for the past few days and while I love me some mint chocolate chip; dairy doesn’t agree with me like it used too. Enter “superhero, layered sugar-free Jello” to the rescue!

If you’ve ever wanted to make a layered jello treat but thought it might be too time intensive or even challenging, let me assure you it’s so simple you can’t go wrong. I bought three Jello flavors (blueberry, raspberry, and strawberry) which were perfect for red, white and blue holiday fun.  I made one flavor about every three hours, making the Jello and simply pouring it over the other flavor and popping it back in the fridge to obtain the different color layers.

For the adults, we made the dessert treat in fancy wine glasses and for the little ones we opted for smaller, low profile glass bowls. We served the treat with fresh blueberries and strawberries for our guests to decorate their own dessert masterpiece with. The kids LOVED them and the adults appreciated the simple, low-calorie fun. Next time you are looking for a simple, but super festive and fun dessert I highly recommend a fancy Jello treat!

Side note: Our little ninja turned four last week…he loves celebrations, making dinner and having friends over. He had the best time with this festive fourth of July dessert…and loved that we were all eating them together!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Wayfair for including my story about a simple 4th of July dessert as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

 

 

 

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  Spring notes!

Hey CLE friends. Hope you are enjoying the holiday weekend, especially with all of our recent hot, summer weather. I personally love it; the sky is blue, the trees have bloomed, I am able to head outside without being bundled in a coat, I’ve even busted out my sandals…everything is good.

I must apologize for being MIA as of late. I have been juggling so many things and something just had to give. Hence my lack of regular postings here on my little place in the social world. So…you might ask what I’ve been up to these last few months? Lots of fun and exciting things I assure you…but here are few things, reviews & reminders!

First off, my husband and I have been spending our weekends truly putting our blood, sweat, and tears into updating and refreshing our Cleveland house..which will soon be hitting the market for sale. The home is located on West 116th, up the street from both the Clifton Ave, Starbucks drive-through and the new Lucky’s market (more to come on that below!) It is a 5 bedroom, 2 bath home and is perfect for someone looking to be close enough to Lakewood, Edgewater and Downtown but is looking for an affordable city option. I will post more details in the coming weeks, I can’t wait to share photos once we have it all set to sell!

These last few weeks have also been filled with new Cleveland, business openings; always a fun time to explore new places. I was invited to attend the opening of Lucky’s Market and it did NOT disappoint. Founded in Boulder, Colorado this grocery store is really cool and super smart. I loved all of their affordable, private labels brands as well as their prepared foods department. I can just imagine, this summer, heading down to Edgewater Beach with a quick pit stop at Lucky’s for “grab and go” picnic supplies. Go check out this new food hub, it’s really nice.

Have you ever been to The Capital Grille at Legacy? OMG! How have I not known about their happy hour until now? A few weeks back I visited for the launch of their new happy hour menu and honestly I was blown away. Not only were the menu selections, the craft cocktails and the wine pairings delicious…it is VERY well priced. Available Monday-Friday in the bar area, the team at Capitol Grille offers bottles of craft cocktails for $10; perfect for sharing! Pair one of these with their “Butcher Boards” of either Mini Tenderloin Sliders ($12) or Korean Fried Chicken Sliders ($10) (both delicious favorites!) and you can honestly have an entire meal for around $25 which is quite the steal for anywhere. Grab your girlfriends and plan to head over to Capital Grille for a solid happy hour feast…did I mention they also a handful for $8 wines? I mean…so GREAT!

Next weekend marks the annual Flyways not Highways benefit for the Nature Center at Shaker Lakes. I attended last year and I gotta tell you…SO GOOD! I attend a lot of social functions and fundraisers but this might be my favorite of the entire summer. We can actually walk from our house over to the Nature Center so the walk over starts the fun. The event has a serious cocktail hour, followed by dinner and then a dessert bar and dancing! Oh, and last year we all walked home through the woods…Blair Witch-style…I hope we do that again this year. If this sounds like fun to you, I think they have a few tickets available. Get yours today!

Quick PSA…I went to the North Union Farmers Market at Shaker Square last weekend and they have locally-grown, FRESH strawberries. Go early as they were sold out by 9:30!

Have you ever heard of the fast-casual chain, “Hello Bistro?” Mr. C. and our little Ninja stopped by for their opening event and were pleasantly surprised with all of the healthy options. They have many different salads for when you are feeling like eating healthy and a variety of burgers for when you want a treat. If you are like me you will order a big salad but then snack on a few of their REALLY good fries. It’s all about balance; HA! This new restaurant is located in “Beachwood Place” (La Place) next to a new Orange Theory fitness destination. One fun thing about Hello Bistro is that you can do all of your ordering online and swing in to pick it up..the perfect way to eat from home but not have to cook…or even better…an incredible beach picnic! Give them a try this summer and welcome them to CLE!

As summer approaches I always want to do lots of updo’s and wild, crazy braids to keep my hair out of my face. Over the winter I volunteered to let my long hair be done-up and photographed for a stylists portfolio. I’m so glad I did because Haley at Lather Salon in Rocky River literally does incredible, creative updos & braid crowns that everyone needs to know her. We were having some family photos taken the other night and she gave me the coolest braid crown..I wish I could do that to my hair every day! Thanks, Haley, I can’t wait to come see you again!

My last tidbit of fun stuff (besides the new West Elm opening in Pinecrest!!!)  is a reminder for all of you runners out there to sign up for Cleveland’s 18th Annual Race for the Place next Sunday, June 3rd to support the Gathering Place;  a place for people who have been touched by cancer. In celebration of National Cancer Survivors Day, the event offers a one-mile and chip-timed 5K for walkers and runners alike. I am looking forward to hitting up the course with my little runner for a quick run and a longer afternoon give-back celebration! For race details and sponsorship opportunities visit their site.

So…that’s what I’ve been into! Looking forward to summer-half-day Fridays in our design studio as a fun way to truly embrace all that Cleveland summers have to offer. Fingers crossed you have a great weekend. Happy kick off to summer to everyone!

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  What I learned from Whole 30!

Hi, my name is Charity and as of today I am a proud “graduate” of the Whole 30, healthy living program.

Have you heard of Whole 30 before? In short, the program is a short-term nutrition reset, designed to help end unhealthy cravings and habits, restore a healthy metabolism and balance the immune system. You practice this way of eating for 30 solid days to complete the entire program.

The program consists of selecting foods that are clean. Fruits, veggies, and proteins (chicken, shrimp, steak & eggs) while eliminating any processed foods, dairy, alcohol and sugar or soy.

While I thought I was going to be lost without my morning yogurt, evening cheese, and red wine, I found other yummy things to substitute just fine. Pinterest & the Whole 30 website became great sources of recipe inspiration. Mr. C and I had a shared page for all sorts of recipes that we would share with one another to keep mealtimes creative and super yummy.

Everyone keeps asking if it was “hard” and to be honest it really wasn’t. I’m not saying it wasn’t full of situations when I wanted to quit…it totally was. It was SUPER tempting to dip into my sons Easter basket for leftover chocolate eggs and jelly beans but I resisted. It was not super fun to stay home while everyone celebrated Tribe Opening Day. I had to pass up a few fun bloggers dinners (and drinks) out and that was very unlike me. And…OMG…the cooking and cleaning up and cooking and prepping was OUT OF CONTROL, but we made it.

So while it wasn’t HARD per say, it was a focused effort for 30 days to eat clean and control exactly what went into my body.

My 3 biggest takeaways from our Whole 30 experience.

#1 Meal prep is key.
Sunday evenings were reserved for chopping, dicing, hard boiling, roasting and grilling. I tried my best to make a weeks worth of “grab-&-go” breakfasts as well as some key dinner options that would eventually roll into leftover lunches. If I wasn’t able to get all my prep done, it really made for some late weeknights. There is no way around this part of the experience, there are no shortcuts to eating clean just a bunch of cooking and even more clean up.

#2. The scale isn’t the only validation.
If you know anything about Whole 30 you know you are NOT supposed to step on a scale the entire 30 days. As someone who has always had the case of the “yo yo’s” I HAD to know how all the clean eating was affecting my weight. To be honest, in the end, it didn’t make a huge difference, a nominal weight loss but there were many other motivators. One afternoon I got a “congratulations” notification from my Fitbit that my resting heart rate had dramatically dropped so that we pretty cool. I also saw a difference in my blood pressure and as someone who has a family history of high blood pressure, this was assuring. So while I didn’t loose a bunch of lbs, I gained health measurements that made all scrubbing pots and pans worth it.

#3. Better sleep. Glowing skin.
Since I wasn’t being “over-served” for 30 days, morning wake-ups were easy peasy. Weekend mornings I bounced out of bed ready to take on the day and I could go strong into the night not feeling sluggish or tired. I don’t think I ever experienced the infamous Whole 30 “tigers blood” but instead for sure had a level of alertness that carried me through the entire 30 days. My skin also benefitted from the clean eating approach. I’m not sure if it was all of the kombucha mocktails or the lack of baked goods, but I don’t think I had one imperfection during the month. I actually had a few “your skin looks great” compliments and I just smiled and chalked it up to lack of alcohol, pizza, and chocolate.

Next steps? So what’s my strategy for next steps? I plan to eat mostly gluten and dairy-free and to limit my alcohol, grain, and legume intake. Eating things like bread, beans, and rice only a couple of times a month, rather than daily. I will slowly re-introduce alcohol but not every night, two glasses approach…at least not for now. Have you done Whole 30? Have any special tips for me? Want to geek out and talk about ghee and coconut aminos? Drop me a note and we can all geek out together!

(photo of homemade pickles…I also have become a huge fan of homemade ketchup…both without any sugars!)

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  (sponsored) Dreaming of my Indian Pina Colada cocktail!

Hello friends, happy spring! Recently I have been reflecting about our trip to India. While I loved so many aspects of the adventure, one of the things I discovered that I thought I would share was the bright yellow, Indian Pina Coladas!

We were out at the pool and feeling very festive and tropical when the server came by our patio chairs to see if we wanted a drink. From across the pool, I spotted a bright,  yellow drink all dressed up with multiple, cocktail umbrellas…I knew I had to try one. The server assured me it was a Pina Colada and while I was hesitant at first (I normally don’t love these coconut, suntan lotion-type drinks) I was feeling vacationy and went for it.

When it arrived I was totally BLOWN AWAY by how delicious the drink was. Not thick, not perfumy, just pure pineapple, coconut, and rum! I knew when I got home I was going to try and create it for summer nights by the pool. So I thought I would give my recipe version a shot.

INGREDIENTS (makes two drinks)
1) 1 cup ice
2) 1 cup diced pineapple, fresh
3) 2 ounces coconut water
4) 2 ounces white rum
5) Pineapple slices & mint for garnish

Place all ingredients in your blender and voila! You have a “healthy” Indian-inspired Pina Colada! I’m telling you, it is so light but with a subtle coconut flavor but a fresh, bright pineapple taste. Pour it into a playful glass, add some mint, a pineapple slice and enjoy!

Once you try this light version of the traditional cocktail you will never want anything else. Promise! So cheers to discovering new cocktails while away and the teaching yourself how to make them once you get home…it is a perfect memory that keeps on giving!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Wayfair for including my story about my Indian Pina Colada as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

 

 

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  The remodeled Ritz Carlton Cleveland

It isn’t every day when us Moms & Dads have the opportunity to slip away for even one night and experience luxury accommodations, fine dining and all of the fun amenities so close to home. So when The Ritz Carlton dropped me a note to come and experience their newly renovated hotel we could not pass up the night away.

Mr. C and I met downtown after work to a very warm welcome from the valet, the hostess, and the front desk staff. Their warm and genuine hospitality seemed like we were their old friends who we hadn’t seen one another in years. The newly remodeled lobby has more of an open concept design than the previous, more compartmentalized floorplan, giving it a more cool and fresh vibe. When you exit the elevators to the lobby you are immediately immersed into a very special atmosphere including a hopping lobby bar, their new fine dining restaurant called TURN, the concierge/check-in area and last but not least many little chic conversation seating areas. I especially love how the new bar is surrounded on three sides with plenty of space to meet friends and enjoy their creative craft cocktail menu selections; we will come back to that later!

Our room was on the club floor which included access to the club lounge. The longe is seriously the perfect place to hang out without actually have to go out. I can envision staying on this floor in the future for the perfect girls night away or perhaps for an overnight during the upcoming film festival. Their lounge was stocked with really great snacks and drinks and in the morning we even were able to have breakfast before we headed home. The staff was so pleasant and took the time to tell us all about their local offerings including beef jerky from the West Side Market, fresh local cheeses, chocolates and other local maker treats. They taught me how to use the help-yourself wine dispenser (dangerous, HA!) and how I could sample a few varietals or enjoy a full glass depending on the button I selected; it was super cool. The new club lounge is filled with some vibrant pieces of contemporary artwork and overstuffed; but with great lines, new upholstered pieces made specifically for relaxing.

After a glass of wine and some snacks, we went back to our room to get ready for dinner at Turn. The newly remodeled rooms feature marble-laden bathrooms including a no-fog mirror in the shower (perfect for shaving!) and some killer travel bath supplies by Asprey. I love the new bedding and furniture and applaud whatever designer chose the nightstands complete with charging stations built into the sides, next to the beds. I also loved their small directional reading lights tucked into the headboards for when you feel like doing a bit of night reading… when you can’t sleep. Speaking of sleeping..we haven’t slept so well in almost 3 years and I attest it to the fluffy Beautyrest For the Ritz Carlton Mattress which Mr. C stripped away the sheets to find the brand of the mattress for when it’s time for us to get a new one …it was that good.

We got dressed and headed downstairs where Monic and Jim walked us through the actual new TURN menu. We started dinner with fresh, micro green salads…I swear I’ve been craving more and am considering stopping down for lunch next time I am downtown to enjoy this salad. For dinner, I had the scallops paired with fresh Ohio City Pasta ravioli and Mr. C had the glazed short ribs, both really great dishes. We also had the brussels sprouts to share and I would highly recommend them if you love them as much as we do. Instead of dessert, we enjoyed their signature “Smoking Man Manhattan” which is infused with cedar-chips smoked tableside. and topped with some Luxardo cherries…a bit of sweet and a touch of smoky…SO GOOD!

As we were wrapping up our dinner experience the lobby was transforming before our eyes featuring a younger, more stylish crowd to groove the night away with the live DJ who was in the house. We hung out with some friends for a final nightcap and then headed up to our room to sneak in a bit of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” from the comfort of our bed.

All in all, I would highly recommend the newly remodeled Ritz Carlton as the perfect Cleveland staycation away from your daily routine. I think they did a wonderful job at the renovations and while I am a bit of an old lady at heart, I appreciate all of the updates and improvements…especially all of the new contemporary art hung throughout the hotel. Thank you to the Ritz for inviting us to experience all of the awesome changes you have undergone. You really did a wonderful job and didn’t miss a detail. We can’t wait to return and enjoy that club lounge a bit longer next time!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to The Ritz Carlton Cleveland for inviting me to explore their remodeled hotel and share my experience as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this business, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

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