All About the Bag! + giveaway

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Hey Cleveland! Happy (faux) Spring! Wasn’t this weekend weather wild? We rode bikes, cleaned out the garage, played at a few playgrounds, went for a run and had the windows and doors wide open letting the fresh spring-ish air flood our home. I hope you enjoyed the weekend and cheers to the week ahead.

This week is filled with so many wonderful events around town…but today I want to tell you  (and I have TICKETS to giveaway!!!) about a fashionable, fundraiser event happening THIS WEDNESDAY; the 4th annual All About The Bag, to benefit the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.

I had the privilege of attending this incredible evening event last year and I gotta say, it was truly an awesome night out filled with fashion shows, a silent auction of many chic handbags, some great cocktails, food and tons and might I add, incredible people watching…everyone was dressed to impress!

The good news is there are still a few tickets left (this event will for sure sell out) and you can go snag yours their website here. For one lucky fashionista I have a pair of tickets to giveaway. Just tweet me “@iheartclev I’d love to attend the 4th #allabouthebagCLE for @HungerNetworkGC…winner will be chosen by random by Tuesday evening at 5pm!

Don’t miss the All About the Bag event this Wednesday, February 22nd, 6:30-10:30 at Landerhaven. It’s seriously gonna be amazing! Good luck to one lucky winner!

SPONSORED POST : I was invited to share about the fashionista fundraiser in exchange for a pair of tickets as part of the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland’s social outreach. Thanks for supporting this local organization while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Happy Valentines Day (Brunch)!

IMG_5230Happy Valentine’s Day all my fellow CLE lovers! I hope you are embracing this day filled with love, chocolate and flowers. Congrats to Laura Hood on winning the Valentine’s Day prize package and thanks again to all of the incredible businesses who participated in the prize including Blair Ritchey, Revive Spa, Bombay Taxi Boutique, Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes & Lovely Paperie & Gifts!

Over the past weekend I had a few friends over for a little “Galentine’s Day” get together and brunch. There is nothing I love more that lots of pink decorations, balloons, roses, chocolate, bubbles and lots of great conversation with some gal pals.

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When my guests arrived we had a bit of bubbly, a few carafes of coffee, some chocolate dipped strawberries and fresh croissants from On the Rise Bakery. 

IMG_1914IMG_1903IMG_1905bFor lunch I made a homemade tomato soup, a bubblegum-pink-hued raspberry vinaigrette tossed spinach salad and an open-faced, fried egg, avocado, tomato and cheese tartine topped with a toasted bread heart crouton. It was the perfect balance of healthy and decadent as a mid-day treat.

IMG_5214For dessert there was a plethora of sweets to choose from…and more bubbly of course. It really was a great way to spend a Saturday and catch up with some of my friends. If you are ever thinking of wanting to entertain, I gotta say brunch is a great excuse to get some friends together for a casual get together…give it a shot.

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Happy Valentines Day friends. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to swing by this online brunching place, I heart you! (Merci Shibani for some of the pretty photos!)

  CLE “HEARTS” Watershed!

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Planning for your weekend parties? Perhaps a small gathering with friends that you love? Looking for a couple of creative Valentine’s Day cocktail recipes? Do I have a few yummy creations for you!

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While doing a bit of brainstorming for the February holiday I was also bantering with a friend of mine that works at Watershed Distillery. We were sorta just going back and forth on the day happenings when all of a sudden we had planned a photoshoot of fancy cocktails for you guys. It’s one of my favorite things about Cleveland, the ability to collaborate and enjoy each other’s talents and treasures…and so these recipes were born!

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If you are not familiar with Watershed Distillery these guys are based out of Columbus but you can find their products all around Northeast Ohio…thankfully so! Watershed Distillery was built to make exceptional spirits. Firmly rooted in the belief that success doesn’t happen overnight and certainly not by chance, Watershed seeks to create and celebrate change within the community and beyond. I have had the opportunity to get to know this company over a few years and you can count on everything they make being both delicious and the best quality spirits found around.

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Please enjoy these incredible cocktail recipes responsibly, with friends and loved ones! Go find your pretty glassware, throw in a few cherries, berries or candies and make these drinks extra special…Cheers!

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Thanks to Watershed Distillery for agreeing to collaborate and give these drinks a shot. I look forward to sipping on a few of these real soon!

  Baked with Love! (sponsored)

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Happy almost the weekend everyone! Are you prepping for all the Valentines Day love and fun the next few days? I’m prepping to host a “Galentines Brunch” this weekend and trying out a bunch of new recipes. Thought I would share one of my favorite creations today…A Chocolate Zucchini Heart Cakes.
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I discovered this recipe on a Clotilde Dusoulier’s French cooking and lifestyle blog way back somewhere in 2004. I’ve made it in various shapes, from the standard bread loaf to fancy little tarts, for everyday indulgences to entertaining friends, this recipe is one you will want to come back to time and time again….plus it is perfect to make when you have too many zucchini and don’t know what to do with it all!
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Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup : unsalted butter (at room temp or 1/2 cup olive oil for a savory taste, plus butter for the pan)
  • 2 cups : all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup : unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp : baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp : baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup : packed, light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp: pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp: instant coffee granules
  • 3 : large eggs
  • 2 cups : unpeeled grated zucchini, from about 1 1/2 medium zucchini
  • 6 oz/half a bag : good-quality bittersweet chocolate chips
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Directions!
• Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 10-inch round springform pan or a 8 1/2-inch square pan or in this case I used a mini heart shaped silicone pans. (You can find a fun selection of heart bakeware on the Wayfair site…I had to pick up a few pieces myself!)

• In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer (or by hand in a large mixing bowl), beat the sugar and butter until fluffy. Add the vanilla, coffee, and eggs, mixing well between each addition.

• In a large mixing bowl, combine the zucchini, chocolate chips, and about a third of the flour mixture, making sure the zucchini strands are well coated and not clumping too much.

• Add the rest of the flour mixture into the egg batter. Mix until just combined; the batter will be thick.

• Fold the zucchini mixture into the batter, and blend with a spatula without overmixing. Pour into the prepared cake pan, and level the surface.

• Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer onto a rack to cool for 10 minutes, run a knife around the pan to loosen. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar or a chocolate glaze if desired.

I really enjoyed making these little cakes. Ninja Toddler & I wrapped each one up in cellophane, tied a bit of bakers twine on them and brought them to school as an early Hearts Day gift for teachers and friends. It is a great recipe, promise!

SPONSORED POST : I was invited to share a Valentines Day baking recipe in exchange for some baking swag as part of Wayfairs social outreach. Thanks for supporting this online resource while allowing me to create special content like this for iheartcleveland!

  Valentines Gifts + GIVEAWAY!

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Hello CLE friends! How is your week been? I can’t believe it is February already! Don’t you just love the start of a new month? I love how it gives us a clean calendar, a sense of a fresh start, the ability to set new goals and start again. When February rolls around, it is a good time to check back in on the goals we set in January. Are you working towards those new goals? Have you already forgotten about them? Come back, revisit, start again….and if all else fails there is always Valentines Day candy!!!

I LOVE, heart, ADORE February. I love celebrating those I love, my man, our toddler, my sisters, gal pals, design team and more, Valentines Day is always one I love to make special. We don’t have exact plans for the holiday yet, but I am sure there will be pretty flowers and some yummy chocolate involved. We typically don’t go to dinner on cupids holiday, opting instead for a movie and cocktails or something like that instead…what are your plans for the “lovely” holiday?

If you are looking for a gift for someone you care about I have assembled a few recommendations from local Cleveland businesses. (Plus read though this post because there is a killer giveaway below!)

A new spa in Gordon Square; REVIVE SPA is an intimate, skin-wellness destination. Located within the arcade (behind Honeycomb Salon), this new spa offers various massages, the best facials…and even couple massages! I love the owner Chrissy, and I swear she is one of the best in town. Give her a shout, let her know we sent you and she will take 10% off on your gift certificates for your honey…mention promo code iheartcle.

For all your stylish friends, BOMBAY TAXI has an incredible selection of unique earnings and many other indian-inspired accessories that would make awesome Valentines Day gifts. I love these graphic, gold square earnings…they go with everything making them a go-to for an everyday luxury fix. For these and other pieces make sure to shop the site and place your orders by February 7th.

Does your bestie have a sweet tooth like mine? If so, a Valentines Day cookie bundle from KELSEY ELIZABETH CAKES would be a “sweet” holiday gift! Kelsey and her team have a special holiday sweet treat menu available on their website, go take a look and place your orders today! trust me, you can’t go wrong with a gift from one of Cleveland’s best bakeries around. PLUS they now have a Rocky River location, it seriously is adorable. Go swing by, say hi, grab a cookie and wish them “Happy hearts Day” from me.

If your lady friend has incredible style and outstanding taste, a hand crafted, leather bag from local designer BLAIR RITCHEY would be an amazing surprise. I have a few “Blair bags” and I can honestly say, they are seriously my favorite. The leather is so soft, their silhouettes striking and her sense of color is just perfect for these drab Ohio days. Isn’t this Pak Mini in the two-tone snake skin killer? It would go really well with a hot pink dress I have…perfect for a night out on the town with my girlfriends…I might just have to buy it.

Lastly, when all the holiday indulging is over and you want to revisit your resolutions, pick up this bright, happy Swell water bottle from LOVELY PAPERIE & GIFTS. You can’t go wrong with a new water bottle and a gift certificate for a long walk, holding hands with your love to make Valentines Day the perfect way to rekindle good health in this new year. Also, if you are looking for the perfect Valentines Day card for your honey, friend, sister, teacher, etc Lovely has an incredible selection of the most chic paper goods designers around. They have the perfect card for any need you may have, plus this month buy two cards and get a free third card…to celebrate them turning 3 yrs old. Happy birthday Lovely, we love you.

So now that I have shared these fantastic gift destinations…have I got the best gift for one lucky winner. Each of the generous small business owners above have offered to give one lucky winner a gift, in the spirit of love. This “I Heart CLE Valentines Day prize package consists of an hour massage from Revive Spa (valued at $80), A pair of gold earrings from Bombay Taxi (valued at $15), six sugar cookies from Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes (valued at $20), a $125 gift certificate to any bag on BlairRitchey.com and last but not least, a hot pink Swell water bottle from Lovely Paper & Gifts (valued at $45.) To enter follow the rafflecopter below! Good luck & thanks to all the vendors who provided fun swag to all of my readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway