Category Archives: Guest Posts

Guest Post: BLTs – The Ultimate Locally Sourced Summer Sandwich

Update: I wanted to apologize for a blog fail on my part as I accidentally only posted part of Sarah’s recipe in my original post. The full post with complete recipe is now updated below.

As much as I enjoyed my vacation and spending time visiting Virginia with my family, it’s good to be home in Cleveland. Because we got in late last night, Sarah from Cooker Girl is guest-posting for me today as I catch up on things.

Check out her site for mouth-watering recipes like the one below. And if you want to enjoy your own Cooker Girl creation (like the delicious She-Hulk birthday cake she baked for me), email her at sarah (at)

BLTs are one of my favorite sandwiches, and have been since I was little.  I love BLTs any time of year, but with tomatoes currently peaking, conditions are perfect for the ultimate locally sourced BLT.

A few years ago Michael Ruhlman had a challenge to create a BLT from scratch (grow your lettuce and tomato, make the bacon and mayo, bake the bread).  Some people went so far as making mayo from eggs laid by chickens they’ve raised, or grew then ground wheat to make flour for the bread.

Now I’m not saying you have to go that far for a local BLT, but you can still make it as local as possible AND be reasonable.  The Cleveland area has many wonderful markets that feature local food, and they’re all packed with the summer’s bounty.  Check out one of the North Union Farmer’s Markets,  West Side Market, Miles Farmers Market, or even Heinen’s to find local ingredients.  No matter where you live, there is bound to be a market near you!

Since a BLT is so simple to make, I propose that you at least try making your own mayonnaise.  I swear it’s really easy and you don’t need any special equipment or whacky ingredients.  It only takes a little bit longer than toasting the bread for your BLT.  Once you’ve got the basic mayo, the flavor possibilities are endless.  My favorites are spicy mayo (add your fav hot sauce or chili powder) or pesto mayo (just add pesto).

Your Market Shopping List:

  1. Bacon
  2. Lettuce
  3. Tomato (please don’t store them in the fridge!)
  4. Bread
  5. Eggs
  6. Lemon (I don’t know if there are actually any local lemons, but you might as well get some while you’re shopping)

Homemade Mayonaise

Adapted from Michael Ruhlman

Yield: about 1 cup

1 egg yolk

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp water

1 tsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)

1/4 tsp mustard (yellow or dijon)

1 cup vegetable oil

Combine yolk, salt, water, lemon juice and mustard in a large bowl.  Fold a hand towel into a ring on the counter and set the bowl in this ring to hold it steady while you whisk.  Using a whisk, stir the ingredients together.
Slowly add a few drops of oil as you begin to whisk; when the emulsion becomes creamy, you may increase the speed with which you add the oil to a thin stream. From the beginning the mixture should be thick enough to hold its shape and look luxuriously creamy. Add the oil too quickly and it will break (turn soupy).  When all the oil is incorporated add lemon juice to taste.
Cook’s Notes:
 – If the mayonnaise is too thick, it can be thinned by whisking in a little water.
 – If it breaks, put a teaspoon of water in a clean bowl and start the process over by dribbling in the broken mayonnaise while whisking.
Okay everyone knows how to put together a BLT right?

Toasted Bread






Toasted Bread

Please note that I like to put the T in the middle of the B and L.  I create a barrier so the toast doesn’t get too soggy from the juicy tomatoes.

Head over to Cooker Girl to check out my recipe for Bakin’ Bacon.  It’s a quicker, easier and cleaner way to cook bacon for a crowd.

Sarah Berridge blogs recipes at Cooker Girl and she recently starting baking for the public.  Please contact her if you have an bakery needs!

Guest Post: What Not to Buy in Cleveland

Today’s the last day of my twenties and I plan on spending it doing nothing except sitting by the water and maybe eating some fresh crabs.

Hopefully, I’ll get the rest and relaxation I need because once we get home we’ll be busier than usual playing host to a few out-of-town family and friends throughout September. Thankfully, Julie is here today to tell me what we should and shouldn’t do when people come to visit Cleveland.

Julie looking fabulous at WhyCLE’s wedding

Hey guys!

My name is Julie and I blog at Wearing Mascara. I live in Lakewood and couldn’t be happier there! Major thanks to Amanda for letting me crash on her blog today!


So there you are, awaiting your best friend’s arrival in the city you love: Cleveland. Or, maybe you are a visitor of Cleveland. In both scenarios, you want a cool Cleveland-related product, either for yourself or your friend. You ask yourself, “What do I buy?” While that’s a good question to ask, I challenge you to consider what not to buy in Cleveland. With so many awesome products here, I’m going to explain just that and some alternatives.

What Not to Buy in Cleveland:

Frozen Tater Tots

You know, I totally get it. You’re at the grocery store and you see them, with a gold light and a smokey aura surrounding them: Tater Tots. They are cheap, {not healthy} and you just know your guest will love them. But, you must hold back, my friend. It turns out that just around the corner, there’s this awesome restaurant called Hodge’s that will give you free tater tots. AND, they are awesome little taters. Taters, that when put in front of you, you regret even going out to dinner with whoever you are with because you want them all for yourself. Put back the frozen taters, pick up some ice cream instead, and take your beloved friend to Hodges for free tater tots that come with every table (oh, and I didn’t even mention their corn bread…mmmm).

Cheap Beer

Your best friend was actually your college roommate. You have memories of sipping Natty Light together on the porch of your favorite fraternity while “studying” for your math final the next day. Natty Light is a cheap way to enjoy socializing in college and even though it tastes like pee, you drink it because you’re on a college budget. Instead of going for the Natty {pee} Light, pick up a Great Lakes variety instead. I recommend the Dortmunder Gold Lager. Cheers!

A Shirt From {Instead Chain Store Here}

You, my friend, have a great sense of style. In fact, your friend who is visiting you covets every look you have. He/she wants to own your closet and will borrow every piece of clothing if he/she could. “Please, please, buy me some clothes for my birthday!” says your friend. Even if you don’t have a good sense of style, head over to the CLE Clothing Company and pick out something for your friend and yourself. Anything you buy from there will look good. Plus it’s local, Cleveland themed, and super handsome/cute… what could be better?

Blah Chocolate

Both you and your pal have a sweet tooth that reminds you of the days when your metabolism was so high that you could eat anything {Oh, those were the days}. While it’s tempting to pick up random chocolate bars and goodies at your local Giant Eagle, make another stop to Malley’s Chocolates. With 22 locations throughout the area, there’s no excuse not to make a quick stop to pick up your favorite variety. I’m obsessed with their Famous Fudge Sauce.

Papa Johns, Pizza Hut, etc.

As tempting as it is to go for a chain pizza place the moment your friend walks off the airplane, consider going to a local spot instead. Since I’m lazy and don’t like to travel far for pizza, I’m going to give you my favorite pizza place in Lakewood, my current residence: Angelo’s. They are great for eating in and take out. Now, my mouth is watering for their deep dish. Want more pizza ideas? Check out Bite Buff’s post and the comments section for great ideas!

Well, there you have it. To be honest, I could have written so much more. The City of Cleveland just offers so much that it would be ludicrous not to buy something local, especially for you and your out-of-town friend. Now, please excuse me while I grab my Malley’s Famous Fudge Sauce and a spoon…



Guest Post: Smitten with Tremont's Wine and Design

As you read this, I’m on the road to Virginia to spend the week with my family. While I’m gone, I have a few local bloggers clue-ing into the things they love about Cleveland.

First up is Kimberly, who not just shares my enthusiasm for this city, but is also a wonderful friend (and is usually wearing an outfit I want to steal). Thanks, Kimberly, for taking the time to share a bit about Wine & Design!

With Why CLE and Kimberly at Velvet Tango Room

Hi all! I’m Kimberly from SMITTEN…in cleveland, where I write about everything I’m smitten with, be it food, fashion, beauty or home. While Amanda is taking some time off, I wanted to share one of my most favorite shops in Cleveland with you.

Wine & Design is one of those treasures that unless you happen upon it, you might just miss it. Located on Starkweather in Tremont, it sits right next to St. Theodosis church. Just a few steps away from Lilly’s Chocolates and Lucky’s Cafe. Wine & Design is the perfect urban mix of stylish home furnishings and delightful, affordable wine finds. The concept works well and also serves as home base for owner Greg Morris’ interior design business.

This little boutique draws you right in with their gorgeous renovated storefront and artfully decorated windows. Once inside, you immediately feel welcomed and at home. There is an easy feel about the space and that has a lot to do with Greg’s charm and passion. Wine and accessories line the walls mixed with local art, custom  furniture and whimsical gift ideas. It’s like you’re stepping into a friend’s home. A friend with really great taste.

Stop in on a weekend for a wine tasting. You’ll find quite an impressive collection of wines under the $20 mark and Greg is always quick with a recommendation.

All the wines they carry are handpicked (or should I say tasted) to ensure you go home with the perfect bottle. Also available are a few more expensive wines and champagnes perfect for gifting.

Aside from the delectable wine and modern-yet-spirited housewares is a unique design business. Greg has designed everything from personal homes to public spaces and has even helped out with a few set designs for movies that have been filmed here.

Have a few pieces you love for a room and not sure where to go next? Looking for the perfect sofa or table? He takes on every project, no matter the size, with incredible insight and passion all wrapped up in a laid-back exterior.

Many times I’ll pop in looking for the perfect hostess gift or a bottle of wine for dinner with friends. You will find exactly what you’re looking for and have it wrapped and ready to go.

Keep an eye out for their monthly wine tastings which are larger than the weekend ones and typically feature 4-5 wines and nibbles. One visit and I guarantee you will be smitten too.

treats at a monthly tasting

Guest Post: Not So Clueless in Clothing Anymore

Last week Scott and I took a drive out to Moreland Hills to visit J3 Clothing Company.

We met up with Smitten…in Cleveland, Wearing Mascara, Blog – The New Black and Life in Cleveland for a blogger get-together hosted by the store. After thoroughly enjoying pizza from their next-door neighbor Flour, we spent our evening learning more about this unique, locally-owned men’s clothing store.

I was in a mood to mix things up today, so since Scott is J3′s target audience, he’s guest blogging about our experience there.  Enjoy!

J3 is located at 34105 Chagrin Blvd. in Moreland Hills

I am very thankful to have been extraordinarily lucky in life. Maybe not in money, and maybe not in looks, but where it counts: with people who love me.

Two of these people have been my Mother and my Wife.

Of the many things each has done for me, the only thing pertinent to this blog post is that they have single-handedly rescued me from looking like a sloven idiot, one taking over for the other as I progressed through life.

J3 Clothing Co. puts customers at home with funky art and decor throughout the store

My Mother saved me from embarrassment at school (or at least additional embarrassment beyond my tall gangliness and nerd-preferences) by making sure I didn’t leave the house in plaid shorts and wrinkled t-shirts. And my Wife saves me from unemployment by making sure I don’t go to work in that same outfit…literally.

I still fit in those shorts.

The point that I am verbosely making here is that my opinion of clothes is quite simple; I can’t go out naked and, as far I am concerned, clothing is clothing. Those same shorts that I somehow snuck into my Mother’s shopping cart nearly two decades ago cover me up just as legally as any designer pants. So why bother spending money on something that gives the same socially-required results of something I already own?

The answer to that question is quite simple. At some point during that period called “college” when I was released unsupervised into the wild, Amanda managed to see past whatever travesty I had managed to put myself in (note my eternal gratitude there). From then forward I have welcomed and benefited from her ability to guide me in a fashionable direction.

But she, like all wives, deserves to have a husband who can look good on his own without requiring her involvement. In fact, I’ve come to realize that I like dressing well and looking good for her.

The shelving and displays were built by local businesses A Piece of Cleveland and 44 Steel

The trouble is…I don’t really know how. Someone’s always been around to do it for me, and my mind hasn’t absorbed any of it. And I’ve walked into plenty of large men’s clothiers across many states and not really known if the pre-fab suit I’ve just had tossed over my shoulders looks good because it does or just looks good because the person aching for a sales commission has convinced the ignorant fool staring at three mirrors that it does. I’ve long known that I’ve needed some sort of alternative I can turn to which can help me look good for Amanda without requiring her input.

And that’s where J3 Clothing Company enters the picture.

Let me pause here to elaborate a little bit about what Northeast Ohio’s newest independent men’s store is about (liberally plagiarizing the bits from their website that I like). Between the three founders – JB Dunn, Jack Madda, and Joe Paster – the store benefits from “a collective 65 years experience in the men’s clothing industry.” They claim to have “examined, refocused, and reinvented our business with one goal in mind – to create a comfortable shopping environment for our clients, customers and friends where the clothing is most suited to your lifestyle.” On top of that, they’ve designed their sales space with a lounge that “invites you to relax, watch the game, enjoy an event or simply visit.”

I must say…I agree with those claims.

Not something you’d expect to find in a men’s clothing store – a chandelier made from repurposed glassware

I visited their Moreland Hills location thanks to Amanda being invited to a hosted blogger event. Already knowing that there will be people one knows there helps put one in a relaxed state, but upon arrival I was personally greeted by JB and Joe (Jack was assisting another customer), who did make me feel right at home. Their enthusiasm for their store – both the items for sale and the items those items were sitting/hanging on – was infectious.

They gleefully motioned around to things I couldn’t buy – the reclaimed wood and metal display stands and decor created by local artisans like A Piece of Cleveland and 44 Steel. Even the clothing itself – such as the belts displayed in a cross-hatch pattern – was uniquely displayed with a laid back feel.

The wood and glass details and decoration gave the store a comfy feel…something I’d want to set my NES up in and play a little Super Mario Bros 3.

In fact, I don’t think there was a point where either JB or Joe showed any desire for me to actually move on to browsing their wares…which was a very appreciated feeling. I was the one who initiated the browsing, and they let me wander about the store at my own pace, always clearly available should I need them but never hovering, waiting for me to tug at the line.

An item I really loved – a jacket by Aether, a company founded by documentary filmmakers who wanted outerwear that used technical materials in a more sophisticated form

Now, I’m not going to lie…when I turned over the first price tag I had a bit of sticker shock. Before then I don’t think I’ve ever seen a piece of fabric with a price tag attached to it which used 4 numerals…all to the left of the decimal.

But, after my audible gasp, I reminded myself of two things, the first being this: my whole life I’ve been going to sub-par clothing stores. My reaction was basically like that of someone who has driven pedal cars all their life and has now walked into an actual car dealership. I’ve simply never been somewhere where they sell you the right things for what they’re actually worth.

The second thing I reminded myself of was that there were other things in the store, and after that first random price check I found plenty of items which had only 3 and 2 numerals to the left of the decimal. And, honestly, the pricing is irrelevant. After going back to JB and Joe and talking clothes and shoes in a little more detail, it was clear that they were more interested in finding the items that were the right look for me over the ones that had the highest price tag.

Building on their experience it was revealed that I could bring in some of the old suits I had inherited from various great uncles and other relatives and the sharp-eyed gents at J3 would tailor them to actually fit me…if it was an outfit worth wearing. Understandably the suits purchased at their store would take preference over ones brought in from elsewhere, but just knowing that was an option made me smile.

I couldn’t get Scott to give up his sneakers – until he saw this shoe. Victory is mine! (Thanks, J3!)

Unfortunately I had not come to J3 that day prepared with the time or money to buy a proper outfit. I was prepared, however, to outfit myself with some new socks. I picked out a pair of comfy black ones, and Amanda selected a blue pair with a racing stripe (which, I believe, will make me go faster). As of now I am still quite satisfied with this purchase, which is good since Joe had indicated we had chosen wisely.

But make no mistake, I will be heading back to meet with JB, Joe, and Jack (who I met briefly before leaving) again. They are the ones who will be able to guide me into the outfit that I know Amanda deserves to have me dressed in. After my visit to J3 Clothing Company I have no doubt that their 65 years of experience will make use of their amazing selection to outfit me in the proper style and cost.

After all, I’m the man who has a pair of plaid shorts which have lasted him 20 years that I don’t want to wear anywhere. Buying a suit that actually looks and feels good that I’d want to wear everywhere would be absolutely worth it.

I’ll still pale in comparison to the amazing woman at my side, but it will be a pale in something that fits.

My personal favorite picture of today’s guest blogger Scott (or as he likes to call himself “Husbanonymous”)

About the Guest Blogger

Scott Hicken is the much kinder half of Team Clue Into CLE (seriously, I’m the lucky one – he doesn’t give himself the credit he should).  In addition to the being the guy behind the camera when I drag him to blogger stuff, he stays busy archiving his collection of vintage video game systems and managing the long-running webcomic His latest project is the reimagining of Golden Age comic book heroine The Purple Tigress, currently in production.  Stay up-to-date with the progress of this comic at

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the J3 Clothing open house in exchange for tweeting and blogging my thoughts about it. I asked Scott to blog about it because I thought he would have a more personal perspective on the subject. The opinions provided here are 100% his own.

Guest Posting on Eat.Drink.Cleveland about "Strip"-ping

Head over to Eat Drink Cleveland for my guest post on Avon’s Strip Steakhouse

This week is all about guest blogging! First on Monday, I was over at WhyCLE, sharing about Global Cleveland and how the work they’re doing with newcomers and boomerangs is a reason to love this city.

And yesterday I jumped over to Eat Drink Cleveland with a guest post about an Avon restaurant that’s risen high on Scott’s and my favorites list.

Eat Drink Cleveland is currently enjoying the bright lights and long nights of Las Vegas, and while she’s gone I’m happy to share my experiences eating and drinking in Northeast Ohio.

With all of the restaurants Cleveland has to offer, it was a little difficult to decide on what I wanted to blog about; however, after a few recent visits to Strip Steakhouse in Olde Avon Village, I knew I’d have to share my steak-loving experience there.

4 words to wet your appetite: Apple. Honey. Bacon. Butter.

So if you haven’t checked it out yet, head over to Eat Drink Cleveland for Guest Post: Strip Steakhouse by Clue Into Cleveland.

And then come back here tomorrow for a preview of a few festivals going on in Cleveland this weekend!

The Cowboy, Strip’s 22 oz. bone-in ribeye

#WhyCLEWedding and Guest Blogging about Global Cleveland

The happy – and newly married! – couple

On Saturday morning, Scott and I woke up early, got dolled up in our dress and suit, and headed out to the eastside for “the wedding of the century.” Sorry, Duchess Kate, I’m talking about @WhyCLE and @TheRealCLEGuy! ;)

The day was filled with a very lovely, spiritual ceremony in the morning at St. John Vianney, with a reception later that evening at Landerhaven.

In between, Scott and I had lunch at the Willoughby Brewing Company for the first time with Teams Poise in Parma and Smitten in CLE, checked out the very unique wonders at Downtown Willoughby’s Cabinet of Curiousities and enjoyed a wine tasting with Cooker Girl, her husband and Eat Drink Cleveland.

The ladies celebrating after the ceremony

We rolled back into our driveway around 1am on Sunday morning after a crazy day filled with so much love and fun.

Landerhaven Executive Caterers really impressed – from the cocktail hour on the patio (Scott couldn’t get enough of the coconut chicken) to the grandness of the aptly named Grand Ballroom and the dinner they provided (it’s hard to choose but I think the mushroom/potato cake was my favorite of the many dishes).

I was probably most impressed, though, by the dancing skills of my fellow bloggers in attendance –  in addition to Smitten, PiP, EatDrinkCleveland and Cooker Girl, it was great partying with Wearing Mascara, Cleveland Food and Brews (who’s about to get married himself!), Miss WineOH and Lane Baldwin Photography.

This was taken after one of many marathon dance sessions — time to re-hydrate!

Scott’s and my “fierce” dancing skills  (I’m saying this with complete sarcasm) were nothing compared to many of theirs.  Seriously, there could have been (and should be) a Blogger Dance Off!  My money would be on Cooker Girl or @Hansmatic (it’s always the quiet ones who bust the best moves!).

The best part of the wedding, though, wasn’t the food or the entertainment. This was #6 of 7 weddings Scott and I have attended since October, and my favorite part about all of the ceremonies is seeing how each couple expresses their love uniquely.  It was a delight to share in Jen and Matt’s day and celebrate a truly compatible couple continuing their journey together.

Reception fabulousness with Julie, Kimberly and Alicia

Now that the wedding is over, the Romes (so awesome to finally say that!) are going on a much needed vacation, but WhyCLE’s not.  For the next two weeks, head on over and enjoy guest posts on Cleveland boutiques, food, running and a bevy of other topics.

I’m proud to be kicking things off with a spotlight on a great local organization – Global Cleveland.  After attending their newcomer and boomerang happy hour a couple of weeks ago, I knew they’d be the perfect subject for my guest post.

So head on over to Why? Global Cleveland! and learn more about how you can get engaged in this worthwhile initiative focused on building the region’s resources and talent, while fostering a community that is welcoming to all.

Why do I love Cleveland? Check out one of the reasons over at WhyCLE today!

Whether you’re a newcomer looking for employment and other Clevelanders to meet, a boomerang returning home to CLE, a local company looking to expand or someone interested in contributing their time and talent, there are many program available.

Congratulations again to the new Mr. and Mrs. Rome!

Guest Post: Fashion Week Cleveland Recap

The only downside of heading out of town for friends’ wedding festivities is that I’ve had to miss out on a lot of Cleveland’s recent events – like Fashion Week Cleveland.

Fortunately, I was able to turn to the most fashionable lady I know and ask her if she wanted to blog about FWC for me. Thanks, Elizabeth Grepp, for your guest post:

Many thanks to guest blogger Elizabeth, her sister and Sarah for sharing the sights of Fashion Week Cleveland on Clue Into CLE!

This past weekend was the conclusion of the 9th annual Fashion Week Cleveland (FWC) and I couldn’t have been more thrilled when Amanda asked me to cover their GlamJam and Gala events for her.

After all, Women’s Wear Daily called FWC “…a regional phenomenon that’s become the nation’s third largest fashion week.” Put that in the win column, Cleveland!

FWC ran two weekends starting May 5. My lovely galpal, Sarah, agreed to tag along with me for their first weekend of festivities and work the camera at GlamJam.

Elizabeth and Sarah make the rounds at FWC’s GlamJam

We started our evening with a pre-show dinner at Chinato and then made our way over to the Halle Building for an evening of fashion and music from the region. Outside the building, folks were lined up to dine at local food trucks Fired Up Tacos, Hodge Podge and Nosh Box.

Once inside, the evening featured dancers, installation art, wearable art, and performance art culminating in a casual fashion show.

And, of course, there was music. My favorite band of the evening was Columbus-based Matt Reed & TGP, who played a set that would please anyone who digs hip hop or Micheal Bublé.

Columbus-based Matt Reed & TGP performing at GlamJam

Unfortunately, I was too consumed with what was going on upstairs to snatch a stellar seat for the GlamJam Runway show. The last row was my ultimate destination and since the runway wasn’t raised, it was difficult to see.

However, it was worth it after I ended up next to a lovely gentleman named Frank. As it turned out, Frank’s girlfriend is Amanda Sader who was second in charge for the Gala the following weekend.

Model Mia steals the show at GlamJam

Talk about a stroke of good luck! Throughout the show I got the inside scoop from her about the designers. Hands down, my favorite moment of the evening was pint-sized Mia who stole my heart with her lovely wearable art.

There was an after party at the Wyndham and we popped in to check out the scene but were too pooped from fashion to stay out and party with the models and designers. Maybe next year…

The Sisters Grepp pose for a photo while they wait for the doors to open at FWC’s gala

I consider myself a fashionista but my sister puts me to shame. Since she attended Fashion Institute of Technology and minored in photography, I asked her to be my date for the Black Tie Gala on the 12th.

After much obsessing over what to wear, we found ourselves in similar outfits: color in a sea of black!

Because we were so excited for the evening, we made sure to arrive promptly at 7:30 to take advantage of our VIP tickets.

However, despite my best efforts to sneak in multiple times, we waited outside for about 45 minutes before the doors opened.

I tried to snoop once we were in, even asking Sader what had happened. No one seemed to know. Perhaps it was their way of building suspense for the event? While I didn’t mind waiting, I was surrounded by many displeased people.

Even Fashion Week Cleveland’s cupcakes had fashionable accessories

The food was provided by L’Albatross, Stone Mad and Flour. Sadly, being of the vegetarian persuasion, I couldn’t indulge in any of the food. Instead, I lived vicariously through my sister. She gave the food two thumbs up.

In the VIP area, there was more food and free drinks as well as vendors set-up with items for sale and raffles.  I spent a lot of my time meandering through the silent auction, looking over items ranging from unique pieces of couture to free shoes from Crocs.

Because I was drinking cans of Yuengling and couldn’t eat most of the food, I didn’t even realize that the wine or food had run out early until people told me after the event.  So much for being aware of my surroundings!

While we wandered, we were entertained by the musical stylings of the band, Night. Jenna, their lead singer, also had art in a gallery that evening.

After they were done performing we went downstairs to watch the evening’s runway show.  Again, I got stuck too far back to be able to see anything below torso level. An intermittent video feed from the event made viewing somewhat easier.

The fashions on the runway overshadowed many of the hiccups from the pre-party

Just like the previous weekend, I ended up next to another fashion insider for this show! Shannon went to Kent State University and studied Fashion Merchandising. She was there to support designer Trista L Grieder of Profig Designs.

FWC’s founder Donald C. Shingler said a few words before the runway show and then we were shown a video montage of hot spots in Cleveland. After that, things kicked off with Barbara Rubright’s collection, with clear influences from Chanel.

The rest went by in a blur but my favorite collection of the evening was by Jamie Powell. Her Americana throwback style was adorable and the models were wearing sailor hats. It was love at first sight!

Jamie Powell’s line featuring an Americana throwback style and sailor hats was love at first sight for Elizabeth

Each attendee was given a schwag bag with goodies from the sponsors that included everything from dots lip gloss to mini aveda shampoos.

Despite some kinks in the event planning, the fashion at FWC was trés chic and I look forward to seeing how they improve for the 10th annual FWC next year!

About the Guest Contributor:

Elizabeth Grepp is a Cleveland boomeranger, yoga teacher, kindness advocate, wannabe foodie and a vintage enthusiast. Weekends she can be found exploring CLE+ or traveling to visit friends in exotic cities, like Columbus. You can follow her on twitter with the handle @cleyogi!

Elizabeth takes a moment from the fun of GlamJam to jot down notes on the evening

Disclosure: Amanda, here – I was invited to attend Fashion Week Cleveland in exchange for hosting a giveaway and previewing it.  Because I was unable to attend, Elizabeth Grepp attended on my behalf to blog about it.

Guest Post: Market at the Foodbank Recap

Because Scott and I were at a wedding last weekend where this happened:

I had to miss out on this year’s Market at the Foodbank. Fortunately, Kate Galo (you may remember her from this and also this guest post) was able to attend and blog on my behalf. Enjoy her recap below along with photos from Sarah Casto!

Guests get a taste of local restaurant and beverage purveyors as well as the facility that benefits from the evening’s event – Cleveland Foodbank itself.

I think it’s fair for me to say that I am still growing into my foodie ways, still getting my knowledge of what’s really innovative ingredient-wise, and which just-opened restaurants are super hip. As a person who ate tortilla chips and some grape tomatoes for dinner, I don’t exactly have a particularly discerning palate, and I am willing to eat just about anything.

So when Amanda let me know that after running a great giveaway for the Market at the Foodbank event (congratulations again, @Dawgpndgirl!), she would be unable to attend, I very graciously said, “If you insist, I will go try inventive morsels of food from prestigious Northeast Ohio restaurants and delicious wines while supporting one of the most well-known local charitable organizations. If I must.”

Our good friend Sarah Casto and I dusted off our camera and notebook respectively, and headed over to South Waterloo Road!

Silent Auction prizes included romantic weekend getaways, Cleveland sports tickets, family-friendly birthday parties, dining packages, tours, and more!

The Market at the Foodbank is the Cleveland Foodbank’s annual Harvest for Hunger fundraiser, showcasing restaurants and catering companies from Rocky River to Solon, assisted by Celebrity Servers, and featuring exciting prizes in their Silent Auction and Raffle.

Doing my preliminary research, I was doubly excited to see that this year’s Market at the Foodbank was taking place at the actual 110,000-square-foot community food distribution center. In previous years, the benefit has been held at the Galleria on East 9th Street in downtown Cleveland.

I really enjoyed walking into the dramatically lit and decorated distribution center. I have been there in the past to assist with sorting or with dropping off food and seeing the transformation of a space that can be usually described as “warehouse” into a lit and musical party space was a treat for attendees. Several commented on being able to see firsthand the results of the hard work and fundraising of the Cleveland Foodbank.

Table 45, sharing a table with Chinato, offered a variety of fresh and tasty sushi.

Attendees of the event worked their way through the large distribution center, with chefs and catering companies set up in the open spaces and up and down the aisles, each offering one or two signature items from their restaurants and kitchens, beautifully served. With almost 50 different restaurant and beverage distributors, there were plenty of options for the dessert lovers to vegans.

Baker Leah Smith, cookie purveyor of Bake My Day, said she loved the friendliness and enthusiasm. She shared my surprise at the amount of attendees sampling the Ohio-themed cookies (Browns, OSU and Harvest for Hunger colors graced the sugar cookies) and said how much she appreciated the chance for her start-up bakery to be a part of the event.

Columbus-based start-up Bake My Day served Harvest for Hunger and Cleveland Sports Team themed sugar cookies.

Brandon Chrostowski of L’Albatros Brasserie in Cleveland, now in his third year of participating in the event, noted that there was great energy having the benefit in the warehouse, as well as the importance of letting people really see where their support goes. Attendees sampling L’Albatros’ foie gras and charcuterie certainly seemed to enjoy it!

Current food trends call for fresh herbs, vegetables and fruit, and healthier meals. The Cleveland Foodbank is undertaking several programs to achieve this goal, with Produce to People distributing over 5 million pounds of donated fruits and vegetables to Cuyahoga County communities; Mobile Pantry, where Foodbank trucks are sent to a central location and clients can pick up a three-day supply of food; and Community Gardens, with local agencies and Foodbank staff working together to plant and maintain gardens on the Foodbank property.

To promote community gardening and increased use of fresh fruits and veggies in homecooked meals, Cleveland Foodbank plans to use on-site gardens for education as well as food.

Development Officer Stephanie Mowls let me know that the Foodbank is aiming to double the amount of produce distributed by 2014, and to begin including cooking demonstrations and recipe cards, so the Foodbank‘s clients will also receive ideas for food preparation.

And how to prepare this produce and fresh food? Ben Bebenroth, chef at Spice of Life catering company and Spice Kitchen & Bar, had a great idea. While I slurped down the potato and wild ramp soup that he and executive chef of Spice of Life Brandon Walukas showcased, Ben discussed their restaurant’s commitment to high standards for where their food is sourced from, in working with local farms, and being able to use what’s in season well.

Ben Bebenroth, chef at Spice of Life catering company and Spice Kitchen & Bar, puts the finishing touches on his Potato and Wild Ramp Soup sip.

To that end, he suggested using some of the fresh herbs and vegetables that a client might get from the Foodbank to make a salted herb vinaigrette with vinegar, salt and any herbs you might have on hand in a metal saucepan, using low heat and a little time to make a dressing that can be served over salad, noodles, potatoes, or really any piece of food that’s laying around and could use a little spicy vinaigrette drizzle (a fuller version of the recipe that Ben directed to me is at Edible Cleveland).

And despite Sarah and I not winning anything from the raffle (prizes included Cleveland Indians tickets, an iPod touch, gift baskets and more) or the Silent Auction (among the many offerings were Colorado skiing vacations, tickets to Legally Blonde at the Beck Center, cooking classes at the Western Reserve School of Cooking), we, along with the Market at the Foodbank’s 1000+ attendees, enjoyed the music, the food, the chances to win, and the opportunity to contribute to our fight against hunger.

Opportunities to support the Cleveland Foodbank can be found here: (select Donate Funds or Volunteer from the options to the left).

Kate and Sarah enjoy one photo in front of the camera.

About the Guest Contributors:

Kate Galo is a homegrown Clevelander who enjoys restaurant dinners, visits to theaters and museums, and gin cocktails. She used to blog a lot more but then she decided she wanted to spend more time reading other people’s blogs.

Sarah Casto used to live near Columbus, Ohio, but became a Clevelander last year. She enjoys photography, exploring Cleveland’s art and food scenes, and volunteering at the Cleveland Museum of Art in her free time.


Disclosure: Amanda, here – I was invited to attend Market at the Foodbank in exchange for hosting a giveaway and previewing it.  Because I was unable to attend, Kate Galo and Sarah Casto attended on my behalf to blog about it.

Guest Post: Eat Drink Cleveland's Resolution Recipes

Scott and I at Austin's Salt Lick, after stuffing ourselves on the best BBQ we've ever had.

When you read this, I’ll be on the road somewhere between Texas and Ohio. Austin was stunning and Jodi and Rusty the perfect hosts. I can’t wait to share how Scott and I managed to find a little bit of Cleveland over 1000 miles away and I hope you’ve been enjoying the guest posts while I’m gone.

Last week, Finding the Time shared her giveaway for tickets to the Near West Theatre benefit (if you haven’t already, enter here). Today, Crystal from Eat Drink Cleveland has some cold-weather recipes to try out this winter.

Before I learned she wrote a blog about Cleveland food, I became friends with Crystal through NEO Food Tours as she has been a longtime supporter of the organization (learn more about her in this Focus on Foodies Q&A).

I’m already missing Austin’s 70-degree temperatures, so these recipes will be the perfect way to re-acclimate to the cold weather once I’m back!


Hi! I’m Crystal from Eat Drink Cleveland. When Amanda asked me to do a guest post for her while she is having a fabulous time on vacation, I was totally honored!

I absolutely love her blog about all the fun things to do around the CLE. When trying to come up with a topic, I read her post about their delicious sounding Christmas dinner. Amanda talks about how she is totally terrified of cooking at home and has just started stretching her comfort level and hitting the kitchen. If you know me or read my blog, you know I love to eat out. But I also really love to cook and do it regularly.

In honor of Amanda’s blossoming cooking skills, and to help everyone keep their New Year’s resolutions about eating healthier and losing those extra pounds, I’m going to share some of my favorite healthy recipes with you that are super easy…even if it’s your first time in the kitchen!

1. Citrus Kale salad 

Beautiful salad for the holidays thanks to the bright red and green colors.

This is a new recipe that we recently tried that is now a staple. It’s so healthy and delicious! The original recipe came from the Feb. 2012 issue of Whole Living magazine.  Here is my version:

  • 1 bunch kale, torn into bite sized pieces
  • 1 T fresh lime juice
  • 2 T citrus olive oil
  • 1 piece fresh ginger, grated (about 1T)
  • 1/2 fresh pomegranate (about 1/2 c)
  • 2 T red onion, chopped
  • 1/4 c toasted walnuts

Put kale leaves in a bowl. Drizzle olive oil, lime juice and ginger on top. Rub into leaves until well coated and kale is bruised. Add remaining ingredients and S+P to taste.


* Drain kale very well. If it is damp, the dressing won’t stick.

* If you don’t have citrus olive oil, add segments of clementines, tangerines, or mandarin oranges to the salad.

* I used a lot more ginger, closer to 2 tablespoons.

Raw kale salad with clementines.

2. Crystal’s Cherry Delicious Brussels Sprouts

Toast nuts in dry pan until fragrant.

  • 1 pound brussels sprouts, cut in quarters
  • 1 c toasted pecans or slivered almonds
  • 1 large sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 c dried cherries
  • 1/2 c golden raisins
  • 1 T EVOO
  • 1 T herbed butter

Toast nuts. Set aside. In same pan, saute onions in olive oil until soft. Add brussels sprouts and cook until just tender but still firm. Add herbed butter and fruit. Season with S+P to taste.

* Even people who claim to hate brussels sprouts love these. (I bet Scott will too!)

* I always double the recipe because they are soooo good!

* I use Creekside Creamery Garden Herb Butter from Costco. You can substitute plain butter and herbs of your choice.

Crystal's Cherry Delicious Brussels Sprouts

3. Barley Stuffed Acorn Squash

  • 2 acorn squash, cut in half
  • 2 small zucchini, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup dried chopped dates, cherries, raisins
  • 1/2 slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cooked barley
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. cayenne pepper
  • 1 t. Adobe seasoning
  • S+P

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place squash cut side up in shallow baking dish.  Liberally salt the inside of the squash. Add 1 c water to pan and set aside. Saute onions and zucchini in olive oil until tender. Add garlic, dried fruit, almonds and stir until fruit plumps. Add cooked barley and seasonings – mix well. Adjust seasonings to taste. Scoop mixture into acorn squash halves. Cover with foil and bake until squash is tender, about 40 minutes.

These recipes are all perfect for the colder months and won’t break the bank or your diet plans! They are healthy, easy to make and won’t keep you in the kitchen for hours. I hope that 2012 is a happy and healthy year for all of you.  Now get cooking!

Guest Post: Namaste or Should I Go to Cleveland? Bikram Yoga Arrives!

While I’m enjoying a weekend with my incredible in-laws in New Jersey, a friend from my Philly theatre days shares how Bikram Yoga’s recent arrival in Ohio led her to “flee to the Cleve.” I’ll be back Monday with an (overdue) recap of my first attempt at a Cleveland Clam Bake!


Danielle shares her love for Bikram Yoga at Bikram Yoga Cleveland -- Ohio's first studio of its kind.

Hello Clue into Cleveland readers!   In another lifetime, Amanda and I were theatre nerds together in Philadelphia through the Walnut Street Theatre’s apprenticeship program.  She was having nightmares over A Christmas Carol‘s group sales, while I was getting shoes thrown at me from irate CATS audience members. 

Fast forward six years and Amanda is loving life in Cleveland as a skilled and successful editor lady, while I’ve been fundraising for nonprofits myself – and getting hooked on Bikram Yoga – in San Francisco.   

My Bikram Yoga addiction led me to an intensive nine-week yoga teacher training program in Los Angeles with Bikram Choudhury himself this past summer, but when I returned to SF I knew I couldn’t teach full time in San Francisco for long before I’d go broke and be living in a box, offering yoga lessons for spare change. 

That’s when I discovered Bikram Yoga Cleveland – a brand new studio opening in September 2011, the very first official Bikram studio in all of Ohio!  I had some wonderful phone conversations with the owner, Jeannine LoConti, and it sounded like a great fit – and I really liked the idea of being a part of a new yoga studio right from the beginning.  So I stuffed my car to the brim, drove across the country…and here I am! 

Now Amanda has generously given me a bit of time and space to introduce you, her loyal readers, to Bikram Yoga Cleveland!  Hopefully I’ll convince you to come check out our clean and beautiful, welcoming studio! 

The newly opened Bikram Yoga Cleveland in Shaker Heights

We start, of course, with…What is Bikram Yoga?

Bikram Yoga is a sequence of 26 Hatha Yoga postures (and two breathing exercises) selected and developed by Bikram Choudhury.  These postures, performed in the same order each 90 minute class, systematically work every part of the body, to give all the internal organs, ligaments, and muscles everything they need to maintain optimum health and maximum function. 

And yes, it’s hot in there; we heat the room to 105 degrees with 40% humidity. 

The heat in Bikram Yoga helps students safely get into poses like these

Wait, what?  105 degrees?!

Bikram likes to use the metaphor of forging a sword to explain the need for heat (I’m quoting from his “Bikram’s Beginning Yoga Class” book): “Suppose you are going to make a sword.  You start with a piece of fine steel and the first thing you do is put the steel in the fire and heat it up.  When the steel is hot, it becomes soft.  Then you can hammer it and slowly you make it change shape to the sword you want…now, if you don’t heat it up and start hammering the cold steel, nothing is going to happen to the steel, but you break your hand, the hammer, your arm.  The same thing happens when you do any exercise, even Hatha Yoga, in a cold environment.” 

The heat makes you less likely to strain, to pull a muscle, to hurt yourself.  You’re more flexible and malleable, just like that fine piece of steel. 

Also, when you exercise in a hot, humid room, you sweat.  You sweat a lot.  And that has such a wonderful, detoxifying effect on your whole body.  When you walk out of that room, and you’ve worked every muscle and joint in your body and sweated out every toxin, you will feel AMAZING.  There’s no high like a Bikram Yoga high, I promise you that! 

Bikram Yoga Cleveland’s studio space

So what do I actually get out of it besides this “yoga high” business?

Weight loss, reduced stress, better endurance, more energy, improved immunity, a stronger heart, expanded lung capacity, relief of chronic pain, toned muscles, prevention and rehabilitation of injuries, detoxification, increased balance, strength and flexibility, increased willpower and mental strength…to name a few! 

That all sounds marvelous, but I’m a beginner and I’m frightened.

Don’t be!  The great thing about Bikram Yoga Cleveland is that because we’ve only just opened, we have a wonderful mix of beginners and advanced students alike.  And because every class is structured the same, you’ll feel more familiar with the poses and start seeing improvements in balance, strength and flexibility within only a week or two!  

Besides, in Bikram Yoga it doesn’t matter how flexible you are, how close you can get to the full expression of the posture – as long as you’re doing it 100% the right way, you’re getting 100% of the benefit, regardless of how deep you can go, how long you can balance.  Bikram Yoga is for everyone!  After all, as Bikram says, “you’re never too old, never too bad, never too late and never too sick to do the yoga and start from the scratch once again.” 

Before or after a Bikram class, there's a lounge and shop to peruse

Okay, I admit it, I’m intrigued.  How do I learn more?

There’s lots of useful information on our website,   And stop by any time, we’re happy to answer any questions!  We’re located on Fairmount Circle by John Carroll University.  There’s plenty of free parking in the adjacent lot. 

See you in the hot room! 

– Danielle

When she’s not teaching or practicing yoga, Danielle is blogging about it at