Category Archives: eats around town

  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!







  Our morning at Play grounds

Hello & happy Friday! Hope everyone has some incredible weekend plans…always so many fun happenings going on around town. This weekend I have to focus and get serious about packing for our India adventure…we leave next week! I am apologizing ahead of time because I know I am going to be posting a lot on Instagram, to stay connected with my family…I welcome you to follow along on our trip too!

Everyone keeps asking what I am packing and my answer is “what am I NOT packing?” We are headed abroad for a wedding and this entails three days of various events and celebrations all with many wardrobe changes. The colors, the jewelry, the shoes…let’s just say I have plenty of patterns for everyone.

One of the questions I’ve been getting about our trip is “What about your little “ninja” …is he coming with you?” The answer is a firm “no.” My parents have so graciously agreed to come to Cleveland for the time we are out of town and stay with their grandson. We have a handful of fun things planned for them to check out around town including a morning visit to the new Play Grounds Cafe in Lakewood…have you been?

Founded by husband and wife duo Heather and David Mariano, Play Grounds is the most magical space for both children and parents alike. Nestled on Madison Ave (near where Hilliard intersects) this family-focused coffee shop destination has incredible coffee drinks and healthy bakery options at their coffee bar. My little guy and I stopped by the other morning before work/childcare to check it out, grab a latte and do a bit of playing. The back of the coffee shop is entirely devoted to the importance of little people play and named “the Fort;” because who doesn’t love a good fort? We stayed for just shy of an hour and we both had a blast. I was able to flip through a book uninterrupted (HUGE win!) while he explored all of their cool, different toys. It is truly amazing watching him learn to play on his own and with other kids…it brings me such joy to see him growing into his own social being. Play Grounds has designed a space that is great for parents to socialize while their kids are close, but with a little bit of freedom to grow and play.

Thank you to Heather for inviting us to come by and explore the new space. Congrats to you and your family for following your entrepreneurship dreams and making this vision of coffee and kids come together…parents of Northeast Ohio thank you too!

To stay up on “reading time” and special events, follow Heather and the Play Grounds crew here on Instagram.

(Photography by Heather and Suzanna West Photography)

  family-fajita night out at Abuelo’s

Typically you won’t find me ordering a strawberry margarita on a Tuesday night, I’m typically more of a wine drinker..but this dinner out was extra sweet and special. You see, a few weeks ago Abuelo’s reached out to invite me and my family to stop in and try their “Fajitas for Two” Valentine’s Day special, that also included margaritas and dessert. We try to eat at home during the week but it was funny, I was literally just daydreaming about Mexican food when the email came through and I took it as a sign that we had to say “yes!

Our experience at this Warrensville Heights restaurant (near Eaton Corp)  for sure did not disappoint. From the moment we walked in we felt super welcomed by the hostess who greeted us. Once seated we had an incredible server who explained the menu and the cocktails in detail.

We started our meal with strawberry margaritas, chips, salsas, and QUESO; so good! Then our server brought out their “Firecracker Shrimp” which had the perfect amount of spice for all of us. Next up was the sizzling platter of chicken, steak, and shrimp fajitas with grilled veggies. Our little guy was in awe of how the plate was sizzling and crackling when it arrived but then how quickly we were making and eating our own tacos. Honestly, we didn’t make that much of a dent in the portion (chips do that to me every time!) but not to worry, our rockstar server packed it up for us to-go…including our enjoy another time at home.

Thank you to Abuelo’s for connecting and inviting us to dinner. It was super fun to have a night off cooking at home PLUS your food, drink (s – I had 2!) and staff were really impressive. Mr C. was also pleasantly surprised that he found you them on “Door Dash” and is now schemeing to have the queso delivered late night!

If you are looking for a fun place to bring your sweetie on Valentine’s Day or anytime for that matter, visit Abuelo’s. One thing that our son thought was really cool was the sky-like ceiling in their dining room…I think he was fascinated that it looked like we were outside but nice and warm inside; super fun!

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Abuelo’s for inviting me to explore their restaurant with my family 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!







  The New Year is here!

Hello & Happy 2018! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season filled with lots of family and friend time. I hope you stayed up late, slept in later and was able to step away from the daily calendar and to-do lists. I hope you spent an afternoon baking or cooking and maybe even tried a new recipe or two. I hope you gave great gifts and opened a few treats yourself. I hope you played in the snow and snuggled under blankets and drank a cup of cocoa. It was a much needed, wonderful holiday break.

Thank you to all of my friends and those of you who read this blog who sent me and my family kind wishes when we had to say goodbye to our 17 year old pug; Sir Franklin of Marlowe. The holidays were quiet without him, but we know he is in a better place with all of his fellow old dog friends.

While the holidays are packed with excitement and wonder, I also enjoy the opportunities to start the new year off filled with new goals and dreams. I love reflecting on the past year and seeing how some goals I made for myself came (or didn’t) to fruition.

I typically break my goals out into three categories – personal, professional & fun. Last year was a great year; a year for growth and a year filled with fun.

Personally, I wanted to concentrate on wellness, take better care of my skin, and change into my pajamas more often, check check check,

Professionally studio Chartreuse dove into the world of public art, we partnered with the Cleveland Clinic on it’s first Gathering for Good event, we are currently in the midst of designing collateral alongside Playhouse Square for the summer arrival of Hamilton and we partnered with numerous other creatives and entrepreneurs in this region to develop new brands, product packaging and event materials.

Now for the FUN recap…this blog provided me the coolest opportunities to explore new Cleveland hot spots, to travel throughout Northeast Ohio including Wooster, Sandusky, Geneva, Put in Bay and numerous trips to Cedar Point (#ninjamax216 LOVES exploring the park) I am grateful for all the incredible partnerships and friendships this blog continues to make and grow. Thank you so much for the wonderful 2017!

With that said…let’s move from reflection to goal-setting as we enter the new year. I know some think that setting one or two goals is the best way to go…but for me, I love to have a smathering of goals to think about and work towards, it somehow just works and keeps me interested. So here we go…so many fun things to work towards this year, it’s gonna be awesome.

Personally…I am looking forward to finding a better balance between cardio and getting stronger. I’m such a cardio junkie that I often put strength exercise on the back burner.  I’d also love to get more serious about meal planning and Sunday afternoon meal prep. I’m hoping to hang more art in our home, to redo our front landscaping, plant more flowers outside for cutting (any gardeners out there wanna brainstorm?)  and perhaps even give our bathroom a small facelift.

Professionally…we are looking forward to some incredible new partnerships on the horizon. We are excited to be doing more projects out and about in the community with arts organizations and non-profits. We are carving out more space to have more fun with our social friends through creative posts and campaigns on platforms like Instagram and Pinterest (follow us!) Of course we want to celebrate our artist and maker friends with this years 8th annual Art in the Parc event (let us know if you’d like to come and show your work!) Lastly we are also taking on a handful of new projects for 2018; more specifically we are looking for branding and packaging initiatives…we are experts at developing product branding and creating the perfect package to go along with it!

Fun…Planning for overall more FUN in the year ahead. Perhaps re-designing this blog space to allow for larger images and a few more regular feature posts. Making more time for friends to have picnics, pizza parties and sweat dates. I am so looking forward to attending our friends wedding in India in February and making time off to see that part of the world. I also want to take our toddler skiing, sledding and camping this summer. Travel is SO fun!

Overall I am just excited to live a full, creative and colorful life with my better half Mr. C, our little ninja, the talented, creative team I get to collaborate with and all of my friends in Cleveland and elsewhere. It’s gonna be an incredible year ahead. Peace and love to you and your family in 2018!




Thank you to Erie Bone Broth for the recent incredible product samples. I have been enjoying substituting holiday-snacking with a hot mug of your bone broths instead of gingerbread cookies. I am looking forward to using your products in my meal planning efforts of 2018. Thank you!




  Simple holiday cocktails with Root 23

It’s the season for holiday entertaining! Whether it be a big holiday bash or a simple, impromptu gathering, one thing is for sure a good cocktail can really get the good times rolling. I recently was introduced to the team from Columbus who make the yummy cocktail syrups called Root 23.

ROOT 23 specializes in the farm to cocktail movement. They craft all-natural, small batch simple syrups that can be used to easily make a delicious cocktail or non-alcoholic drink with just a few ingredients!

Today I am going to share with you two incredibly simple drinks we whipped up for some holiday visitors. Seriously friends, these syrups are the perfect treat to have tucked in your bar for the most wonderful time of the year.

Vanilla, Ginger & Bourbon. We mixed up 1 ounce of the Root 23 Vanilla Ginger Syrup with 2 ounces of Bourbon; we used Maker’s but any yummy Bourbon will do. Poured over a few substantial ice cubes and topped with some cherries, perfection in a glass. It was almost like a manhattan but a touch sweeter…but not too sweet…just right.

The second simple cocktail we made was using the Root 23 Blueberry Mint syrup. We found a very pretty glass, added 1 ounce of the syrup, mixed with some dry bubbly and topped with a fresh sprig of rosemary. A bit of sweet and a touch of earthiness from the mint and rosemary. Super easy and delicious.

I was also just thinking about how great these syrups would be to give as hostess gifts at any holiday party. The bottles themselves are so pretty, just wrap them with a bow and you are all set! These syrups can be found on their site or locally at The Happy Hour Collection, Natures Oasis or if you are way out west swing by Quarry Hill Farm and their adorable farmers market store.

So the moral of this story is, if you love to entertain like I do, but you need to keep it simple also like I do, then look no further than Root 23 syrups for something special to offer your guests.

SPONSORED POST : Thank you to Root 23 who invited me to share my experience with their syrups as part of their social outreach. Thanks for supporting this local businesses, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!