Category Archives: retail therapy

  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!

  Currently Loving in CLE • June & July

Hi friends. Happy SUMMER!!! It was such a wonderful 4th of July, long-weekend holiday…don’t you agree? To be honest, we didn’t leave the neighborhood much; but instead, we stayed around home and just hung out, swam, rode bikes, went to the farmer’s market, hit up an estate sale and watch a ton of Stranger Things! It was pretty incredible.

Since it’s summer… I have a long list of things I am currently LOVING so I thought I would combine my June and July list here. Just a bit of this and that but a few fun things you might also enjoy…here we go!

The Nautica Queen
A few weekends ago my family spent a few hours on a Saturday cruising the Cuyahoga and Lake Erie on the Nautica Queen. While the water was still a bit muddy from all of the rain, the ship was shiny from port to starboard. We had a bit of lunch downstairs and then after made our way up to the top deck to take in the views and get a bit of sunshine. Everyone seemed to be having a blast. There were balloon artists for the kids, a DJ mixing “yacht rock” for those of us who love the 80’s and plenty of servers to quickly bring you a corona or Moscow Mule…everyone wins! I would love to get a group of girlfriends together for a brunch cruise before the end of summer…mimosas on top deck anyone? Thank you to Nautica Queen for inviting us to cruise around and explore all that the ship offers, we had a blast.

Si Jolie; French fashion in Cleveland
Just in time to celebrate Bastille Day join the talented curators at the Cleveland History Center as they celebrate the opening of their newest exhibit…Si Jolie; French Fashion in Cleveland. This new exhibit highlights how Paris fashion motivated Clevelanders to travel abroad, influenced local fashion, inspired the golden age of department stores, and how significant fashion was socially. This Sunday they are having a Bastille Day party in the historic Hanna-Bingham Mansion & Garden and I’d love to see you all there. Show off your best garden party attire while you sip champagne and enjoy this exhibit that showcases French fashions in Cleveland from early 1900’s until today. Get your tickets today! 

Lilly Pulitzer for summer!
Speaking of fashion…if you are craving a touch of pretty with a pop of pattern head over to Lovely Paper and Gifts in Rocky River to get your Lilly Pulitzer fashion fix. Last month I had the privilege of getting glammed up and walking the runway in Lovely’s second annual Lilly fashion show. I wore three different Lilly-looks including a casual blouse with white jeans, a maxi sundress, and a work-friendly tank and sweater combination..all of which I loved and could easily wear every day. Kate and her “Lovely team” welcome all of us to come by and check out this summer’s looks including clothes for your little girls, athleticwear, dresses for summer parties and casual work attire. Bring on all the bright colors…happy Lilly summer.

The Lakehouse Inn
If you are looking for a getaway that is both close to home and feels like a world away, look no further than The Lakehouse Inn at Geneva on the Lake. Last year I visited the Inn with a few friends and to our surprise, it was simply delightful. First off the FOOD…so good. We had dinner at Crosswinds Grille and everything that chef Nate served was truly delicious. Our room was adorable and would make a great girls-weekend escape complete with two bedrooms, a living room and a tiny kitchenette perfect for serving up some of their wine and local cheese at happy hour. Along with boutique accommodations and gourmet food offerings, the Inn also has an on-premise day spa perfect for mani’s, pedi’s, massages and more. Best part? The Lake Erie sunsets as you have dinner down by the water, truly magical. Check out their website for more info on this Inn on the Lake, it’s such a gem. Thanks again to the team at the Inn for hosting our group, we had such a good time and can’t wait to come back.

So just a few great things, finds, events, destinations all happening in the CLE this summer. Hope you all have a great week!

  Dining Alfresco!

Sponsored by TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel  

It’s summertime! The month of June is perfect for taking your weeknight dinner routine outdoors. At our house, we have a tray that hangs out in the kitchen. The tray is filled with stacks of melamine plates, outdoor cutlery, and acrylic drinkware…basically, everything we need to take dinner alfresco.

As a working mom, I pride myself on doing a bunch of meal prep on Sundays which help make weeknight dinners easy-er. However, with the addition of the summer grilling season, it only gets better. Throw on some chicken burgers and locally-grown veggies to your hot grill and voila…dinner is served. Easy peasy. Don’t forget summer popsicles for dessert! Our little guy’s favorite part of eating outside…popsicles with no bowls…drips encouraged.

One thing we are always very conscious about when eating outdoors is ensuring we keep the mosquitos at bay. My 4 yr old and I are pretty prone to be eaten by mosquitos (we must be extra sweet) and so anything we can do to repel mosquitos for dinner time is also a plus. Enter the stylish TIKI Brand Torches and TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel. I received a few of these sleek, white and gold Table Top Torches which when filled with the TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel keep the mosquitos far away. The slight scent of cedar is a pleasing outdoor smell and doesn’t get in the way of the barbecue grill smell wafting through the backyard.


Another thing I love about these new, chic Table Top Torches is their easy, adjustable flame knob on the side of each torch. The little knob allows me to easily adjust how high the flame is at dinnertime when we all sit down to eat.

There is something about eating outside in the summertime. It automatically feels like vacation, relaxed, simple, fresh. Dinnertime outside should be spent without mosquitos. With the addition of TIKI Brand Torches and TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel to any alfresco table, there is proven mosquito repellency that will help keeps mosquitos far away even after all the hotdogs are gone.

If you are interested in these torches or TIKI Brand Bitefighter Torch Fuel, I am happy to offer 25% off and free shipping if you follow the link http://www.tikibrand.com/signup?utm_source=partner&utm_medium=blog&utm_campaign=iheartcleveland

Happy alfresco dining everyone…except the mosquitos!

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with TIKI Brand.

  Stephen M. Tokar Closing Up Shop & Moving to Europe

You guys! Do I have a SALE for you!

Like to throw parties? Always in need of extra seating, table cloths, candle holders and floor-to-ceiling painted, mid-century-inspired backdrops? (HA!) You MUST attend the decor sale-of-the-century hosted by Stephen Tokar of Tokar Events.

Stephens career has spanned over 40 years here in Cleveland. From a young, flower-shop helper to designing events for influencers like Martha Stewart and Gloria Vanderbilt. Tokar was the official event designer of the Republican National Convention and he also regularly partners with the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Cleveland Indians for many events needs.

I had the opportunity to walk through his warehouse of amazing things and to say I was “WOWED” is an understatement. From floor to ceiling there are gorgeous urns, candlesticks, chandeliers, pillows, and artwork that could be integrated into your next party or forever in your home. Don’t even get me started on the mid-century tables or faux boxwood hedge walls (I’m trying to find a reason I “need” one!) everything looks like it could have come from a gorgeous design magazine.

Why is Stephen liquidating, you might ask? Well, he is truly doing something we’ve all dreamed of…packing up and heading abroad to start something new and fresh. Having Hungarian roots, Stephen has decided to move to Budapest with plans to open a boutique, clicks-and-mortar business that sells international religious accessories, relics, and collectibles. Best of luck Stephen, you will be missed by the Cleveland events and party scene but we all admire you for following your “second life” dreams!

The sale takes place at Stephens midtown Cleveland studio at 7029 Euclid Avenue from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 30-31 and June 1, 2019. Prices range from $5 for designer pillows and candlesticks to $2,500 for Italianate room-sized garden pergolas and gorgeous Grecian statuary.

Thanks for sharing a bit of behind the scenes of your collection with me Stephen. Cleveland you MUST get to the sale as soon as it opens…there are so many treasures you won’t want to miss! Happy treasure hunting…and even better, happy new adventures to all!

HOSTED POST : Thank you to Tokar Events Design for inviting me to explore their incredible pre-auction. Cleveland, thanks for supporting this business at it changes and grows, while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Get your backyard summer-ready on Mother’s Day weekend!

Sponsored by TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel

May is here! Otherwise known as “prep-your-yard-for-summer-month.” If you are anything like me the first weekend in May, also known as Mother’s Day weekend, is the weekend we used to help do yard work and plant flowers for my mom. In turn, it has actually become quite the tradition around our household as well.

We make a big pot of coffee, pack up our travel mugs and head to the garden center for a few loads of mulch, flowers and impulse yard accessories (because its Mother’s Day of course). Can we say TIKI Brand torches and new throw pillows?

Then we spend a good chunk of the weekend prepping our outdoor summer-living space for summer for great entertaining success. I love being outside enjoying the spring air, spending time together as a family and being active (mulch = loads of steps!). Our son plays in the dirt and climbs the trees, running out his 4-yr old extra energy, making bedtime super easy.

Looking for the perfect gift for your mom? Wouldn’t an afternoon prepping her yard for summer be a great way to show her how much you love her? Check out the tips below and I promise your mom will be as happy as a little garden gnome.

1. Light up & deMosquito! Mother’s Day weekend is a great time to fill up your mom’s TIKI Brand Torches with their TIKI Brand BiteFigher Torch Fuel. Not only does this product help keep the mosquitos away from mom and the whole family, but it also lets the whole gang hang outside without the uninvited guests who buzz and bite! TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel’s citronella and cedar formula has proven mosquito repellency and comes in an Easy Pour bottle for fewer spills and less mess. It’s ideal for use with all TIKI Brand torches and tabletop torches and comes in a variety of sizes.

2. Clean out old man winter. Spend a few hours raking, blowing leaves and sweeping up any lingering fall or winter debris. At our house this consists of fallen leaves, branches and acorns…lots of acorns.

3. Pull out the patio furniture. Wipe it down, hose off the cobwebs, give it a new coat of spray paint. Whatever it needs to make it feel new and refreshed for the summer ahead.

4. Shop till you drop. Buy a few, fun outdoor accessories. Remember, summer in Cleveland is a relatively short season. Therefore, everyone is working for the sunshine-filled, summer weekends. Don’t wait until 4th of July weekend to pick up your throw pillows, trays of acrylic pool-side drinkware and glittery beach floats. Get them this weekend…your mom will love it!

5. Prep for planting. While it still might be a little too cold for planting impatiens and zinnias, you can prep all your planter boxes with fresh potting mix making sure to remove any of last summer’s plant root debris and leaves. Then, when the sun finally warms up the ground, plant away!

I hope these 5 tips give you a few great ideas of how to spoil your mom on Mother’s Day while also getting a few home chores done in time for summer outdoor fun.

We got a jump start on our yard prep last weekend and ended the day reading books outside on our back patio. While I am normally concerned about mosquitos biting my little guy, with our TIKI Brand Torches lit the mosquitos stayed far away. I especially loved the new matte black and gold torches that we put around the patio. They felt very mid-century in style and matched out outdoor patio furniture nicely. I also loved the smell of the TIKI Brand BiteFighter Torch Fuel, it wasn’t super overpowering but just enough so you knew the mosquitos would get the point to stay far away! If you are interested in these torches or TIKI Brand Bitefighter Torch Fuel, I am happy to offer 25% off and free shipping if you follow the link here. Happy summer, happy Mother’s Day, happy yard prep and almost summer fun!

Disclosure: This post was written in partnership with TIKI Brand.