Weekend Recap – City Love

This past weekend has been NON-STOP! It was a blast and it was centered around family and all of the things we love about this city.  The weekend started on Thursday night for us at a fundraiser wine tasting for the nonprofit I’m on the board of, JDBCF.  It was a fun evening, and it was hosted at a fun cozy spot in the Gordon Square area called Toast.

My cousins were in town for the weekend, so I was giving them the cities best picks for yummy eats and places to see while the explored the city Thursday and Friday.  We finally got to connect with them for dinner at our go-to summer spot; Collision Bend, Friday night.  Collision Bend has a great menu and perfect views and it’s always a great spot to show-off our city.  Saturday morning we started the day with our fitness class, then headed to the parks to rent some kayaks! Another fun way to see parts of our city and do something a little off the beaten path when visitors are in town.  B and I try and kayak at least once a year, so it was fun to get out with the family.

Saturday afternoon we switched gears and families and celebrated our nieces 3rd birthday – it was Moana themed, which now makes me slightly curious about the movie to see what all the fuss is about (unfortunately I can only post photos of the delicious sweets due to political reasons)! We ended the evening back home with some patio drinks and laughs with family story time. Sunday morning we took my cousins down to another park and showed them the endless city and lake views and the Solstice Steps.  Just another part of our city that we often take for granted and might get overlooked by visitors as well.  We then #brunched at the aunts house they made a few casseroles, including a french toast one that we’d never had before – and it was Ah-ma-zing!  I’m definitely going to be sharing the recipe in a future post!

It was a jammed packed weekend and it was great spending some extra time with our cousins that we usually see in small doses! Plus we got to do a few of our favorite things in our city. ❤

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Weekend Recap – Twilight Festivals

The first weekend of August is officially under our belts and we of course kicked it off with a boom!  Friday we started the night with some porch drinks with our friends before we headed off to the Twilight at the Zoo. Ironically, Friday was 5-years to the date when we’d gone to the same event with the same two friends, it was our own little reunion and celebration! And the weather was drastically different from 5-years ago, we were sweating our bums off and this year we were freezing our bums off! But it was still fun because we were with great company at an awesome event.

Twilight features 20-bands throughout the zoo, Sam Adams Beer, an assortment of wine and other alcohol in addition to food stands throughout! You explore the zoo while sipping and snacking, with a few dance moves thrown in between! Not to mention the animals are still out, we were able to swoon over the Tigers, awe at the Grizzly and adore over the other bears and wild life.  If you’ve never been, it’s definitely an event to plan for next summer – tickets sell out fast!

Saturday was full of cleaning around the house, but I made sure to take a break to head down to the Art’s Festival in town with Moz and my friend, Sarah! I’m so glad I did too, it was a nice way to break up the day and get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine and support local artists.  Not to mention, bought some kettle corn and fresh squeezed lemonade – the best!!

We will definitely be having a busy August, but hopefully a bit relaxing as well. This upcoming weekend is my bridal shower, so the wedding planning is getting real!

Weekend Recap – CVNP Topography

B and I had the honor of being guests at the Cuyahoga Valley National Park’s Topography event, Saturday night.

Not knowing what to expect, I was quickly blown away by the array of food, all supplied and catered by Spice Kitchen & Bar and the interactive cocktail experience while enjoying the trail system, leading us to an open field of beautifully dressed tables set for 200. A seated dinner was served at 8:15, it started with a salad and then family style dishes for the main meal. The food and service was exceptional.
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We were lucky to be accompanied by a great group of friends for this incredibly unique dining experience. After dinner we were able to sit around camp fires, sipping cocktails and enjoying the perfect summer night. A band played in the distance, while various tents were set up with bars or desserts!

The event supports and raises money for Trails Forever, with helps protect and preserve the CVNP trails.   B and I will definitely be heading back to check out the park in the future to enjoy some hikes.  If you have a chance, keep this event on your radar for next year, especially if you want to enjoy an unforgettable evening at a beautiful, local, national park with the best local cuisine.

Weekend Recap – Family Fun

Whenever my weekends are especially fun, it always makes Monday’s that much harder but it’s the good weekends that also help plow through the work week!

This weekend was certainly a busy one and non-stop.  My parents arrived in town Friday afternoon and we had plans for “happy hour” at my aunts before we went to Twilight at the Zoo.  Well “happy hour” lasted a bit longer than expected and between the good company and the heat, we never made it to the zoo! Whoops. Instead we went to a late dinner at a local wine bar and got some yummy pizza (yes, cheat day!)

Saturday we woke up, enjoyed some fresh coffee and then started the day with an appointment at a potential wedding venue. It was an awesome venue, but not sure if it’s the one. From there we ran a few errands and then picked up the pups to hit the road to my aunt and uncle’s house.  We went boating with them and my cousin Hailee for most of the afternoon.  It was a perfect day to be out on the water and work on the tan.  We used to go out on their boat almost every summer with the rest of the extended family but haven’t done that in yearrssss. So it was fun to be back out on the lake, go tubing and enjoy some beverages and laughs with the family.  It was especially nice to spend some more time with Hailee, as I get older, I try not to take for granted the time I get with my cousins we all used to see each other so much and now it’s rare treats!

We all took turns tubing. I always forget how intense it is, it’s always a little scary yet thrilling thing to do, I definitely scream a lot and laugh (my voice was a bit scratchy the rest of the night!) haha, my Uncle Ron does a good job at stirring and getting some waves.  B and I went out twice and survived the first but I fell off the second time.  My dad and B also hit some good waves and got some air, so much that the tube was flipped upside down!  We were definitely all sore the next day. #GettingOld But, in between tubing we did relax and enjoy the lake, sunshine and company.

Eventually we headed back to my aunt and uncle’s house for a cookout, to eat the yummiest marinated chicken breasts, corn on the cob and fruit salad. It was perfection. We ended with some apple crisp pie before hitting the road back home. It was a long day! We definitely all slept good.

Sunday we went to church and the brunch (at our favorite spot; Jammy Buggars) we then headed to the house and squeezed a few small home projects in, so my dad could help us out with!  It was another beautiful day, finally cool (and by cool: low-80’s) so we enjoyed a little puppy play date with our neighbors and got a few other things done around the house.  Another great weekend in the books and another week of life to live.

Here’s to a successful week!

Weekend Highlight: Kayaking

It has been toasty toasty this past week, but I know we haven’t been the only ones roasting.  Our humidity was nearly 80% on Friday. Gross! Not to mention, we don’t have AC … *smiles* … so it’s been even more unbearable, we broke down and bought a window AC unit for our bedroom, so we at least can sleep at night, after sweating all day! So a little mission this weekend was to ‘beat the heat’ whether it was going out to eat at a restaurant to cool down or hanging out at our neighbors to soak up some cool air!

Saturday morning we headed to the Metroparks with some friends and rented kayaks!! Living close to a large lake, I often take for granted the amenities or extracurricular activities that’re available to us within minutes from our house. So I was happy when some friends recommended we go kayaking.

It got off to a little rough start, with the oh so friendly woman at the kayak rental.  We luckily were able to rent kayaks for 1-hour, after she scolded us to make reservations and how you have to make reservations, especially on the weekend, oh and if we were even 5-minutes late coming back we would be significantly up-charged and it would throw off the rest of the day because they were so booked. She was so nice.IMG_4555So after we got through that, we were able to jump in two tandem kayaks and head out on the river with sights of the lake! It was relaxing after B and I got into our grove and  were able to enjoy the scenic views along the river of the private yacht club and large beautiful homes flanking the river. We were able to make it out to the lake with plenty of time, after the fear of god was instilled in us to not be a single minute late back to the rental area. So it was just enough time to paddle around the lake, enjoy the view and then head back down the river. IMG_4537FullSizeRender

The water and breeze from the lake was refreshing, while still being able to soak up some of the hot summer sun! After we dried off a bit, we headed for some bottomless mimosas and brunch at a nearby spot – yum!

Safe to say, B and I will definitely be doing this again before the summers end! We might just try out another rental spot and will definitely make reservations ahead of time, regardless of where we go! *winks*

Christmas in July Party

Confession! I love Christmas!! And what better than to have an excuse to pull out some decorations, drink some Christmas Ale and have a bunch of your friends over, than Christmas in July!  This upcoming Monday is officially 6-months until Christmas, so next week and weekend are an excuse to throw a party. If you haven’t made this a tradition yet, I highly recommend it, regardless of how all out you go!

Here is your go-to guide for everything you’ll need to throw an epic Christmas in July party this year!

Food/Snacks:  The best part about all of these ideas is that they’re easy, a little healthy and super cute! You can also do a cheese spread in the shape of a tree or a wreath. Also bust out those Christmas cookie receipts and make some good ol’ cut outs or peanut butter cup cookies, they’ll be a hit.

Drinks: Our local breweries always release some of their Christmas Ale’s around this time, so it’s definitely a treat and fun to snag a glass or 6-pack. Add a cinnamon sugar rim to your glasses for an extra treat for you and your guests! Next up, red and green jello shots – yup! It’s a must, not to mention easy and refreshing, and perfect for your Christmas in July festivities. I like to serve with pop-rocks poured on top, so yummy.  Last but not least, find a punch that is both refreshing and light but still hits those Christmas sentiments you love – like this Cranberry Orange Punch, make in bulk and you’re ready for a fun night.

Decor: Have some old Christmas wrapping paper that you’re sick of seeing every year? Wrap some empty boxes as accents around your space.  Pull out some colored lights and string them up in the back yard, garage, or shrubbery.  No need to go crazy here, any other lawn ornaments that’re sitting around put them on prime display!

Dress Code: Asking that your guests dress in red and green or even throwing on an ugly Christmas sweater helps make this party an event.  If it’s mostly couples you can request that each couple comes as a “Christmas Couple” an excuse to get creative!

Details: This is when Pandora really comes in handy, click on your favorite holiday tunes station (mine is, Mariah Carey Christmas) and the mood will truly be set! You can also play a favorite Christmas movie on repeat, either in the house or out in the garage – Elf and Home Alone never get old.  Finally, napkins, plates, and cups that are red and green help add to the theme without breaking the bank – check the Dollar Tree!

Remember all of these things will really bring your Christmas in July theme to life while being able to enjoy a cold Christmas Ale on a hot summer day and all your nearest and dearest by starting a new tradition!

Happy Christmas in July!!