Category Archives: Winter

Cuddled up at Cleveland Zoo’s Animal Attractions

Cleveland Zoo Animal Attractions

10th Annual Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Zoo Rainforest

Ever wonder how Willy, the Cleveland Zoo’s 13,000-lb bull elephant, gets along with Kallie, Martika, Shenga and Moshi, the herd’s female elephants? Want to know more about mating behaviors of the Zoo’s other creatures big and small?

At last week’s Animal Attractions I got my fair share of answers to the birds and the bees at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

Hosted by the Cleveland Zoological Society, Animal Attractions raises money to support the Cleveland Zoo and its various programs.

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Ohio Blogging at Whole Foods University Heights

Ohio Blogger Meetup at Whole Foods Cleveland

Valentine’s Day is only a couple days away. If you go out to celebrate, WhyCLE has Cleveland Valentine’s events for every sense and Bite Buff has some delicious dining options for you.

Me? Scott and I keep it quiet on Valentine’s Day because we celebrate our anniversary the following week.

This year, we’ll be checking out the new Die Hard movie and then picking up a dinner for home. After last week’s Ohio Blogging Meetup at Whole Foods Cedar Center, we have some inspiration.

Audree Sinnett and Ines Rehner speak at Ohio Blogging Whole Foods Meetup

Whole Foods Market Wine Buyer Audree Sinnett and Sweet Designs’ Ines Rehner

This was Ohio Blogging’s 3rd annual trip to Whole Foods. And as last year demonstrated with a pizza making contest, they always have something delicious up their sleeve.

This time around the theme was “Chocolate Three-Way” featuring a selection of chocolate-infused tastings.

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Recap: SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody at PlayhouseSquare

SPANK at PlayhouseSquare - Girls Day Out

Girls Day Out at PlayhouseSquare’s SPANK! (at Hanna Theatre now-Jan. 27)

This weekend was spent loading new furniture into our house. After more than a few speedbumps (like half our couch arriving in the wrong shape and color), I was clamoring to escape for a couple hours.

SPANK! The Fifty Shades Parody at PlayhouseSquare was to the rescue.

I’ll be honest. Before the curtain went up on Sunday’s performance, I wasn’t sure what I was getting myself into. I never had any huge desire to read Fifty Shades of Grey, but having worked backstage on another parody musical for two years, I have a soft spot for them.

And the one thing I learned while working on Menopause the Musical is when you stage a spoof, you have to completely give yourself over to the source material.

If the crowd at Sunday’s show was any indication, the cast of SPANK! did just that.

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Events Around Cleveland: Jump Back Two Spaces Edition

Bummed that Jump Back Ball is still over a month away? Unable to go this year?

Fortunately, there are a few things going on in Cleveland between now and February 23 to wet your Jump Back whistle.

Get a Clue! Trivia Night

Jump Back Ball is hosted each year by PlayhouseSquare Partners, the theatre’s young professionals group.

However, Partners doesn’t stop there.  From our annual OSU tailgate to theatre outings, dine-arounds and putt-putt in the Palace, we’re busy year-round with events for Cleveland’s under-40 and young-at-heart crowd.

Our next event is Thursday, Jan. 17: the first annual Get a Clue! Trivia Night at Black Dog Kitchen & Bar in downtown Cleveland.

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Animal Attractions at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Animal Attraction

Each year when October rolls around, I marvel at the number of birthdays that fall during the month.  And then I do a little math, count back 9 months, and it all makes sense to what people were doing a lot of the previous February.

The Cleveland Metroparks Zoo understands that couples like to get close(r) this time of year. So escape the cold and cuddle up at the 10th annual Animal Attractions on Feb. 7.

From 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. in The RainForest, the Cleveland Zoological Society hosts a series of fun and educational presentations about what makes hearts go a-flutter at the Zoo.

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GIVEAWAY: Girls’ Day Out at PlayhouseSquare’s SPANK!

One of my favorite Girls Days Out from last year at Jen’s wedding

UPDATE: In addition to entering my giveaway below for SPANK! at PlayhouseSquare, you can increase your chances of winning by checking out Smitten in Cleveland’sWhyCLE’s and Life in the CLE’s giveaways going on now.

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I find that when I need to blow off steam, a Girls’ Night (or Day) Out is the best remedy – whether it’s yoga with Poise in Parma or @CLEYogi, or a Sunday of Les Mis, crafting and Downton Abbey.

If you want to make like Cyndi Lauper and have fun, I have 2 upcoming girls’ nights and a giveaway for you:

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5 Recommendations for Wintertime Fun in Cleveland

Today is the Ohio Blogging Association‘s All State Blog Swap where bloggers from all around the state are swapping posts.

This guest post is by Danielle from Find Time for Fun. Born and raised in Northeast Ohio, Danielle wanted to share her love of the area with her two young children but  struggled to find information about family friendly activities. Visit FindTimeforFun.com to learn about events, attractions and ideas for fun at home.

Then visit Poise in Parma to read the rest of today’s All State Blog Swap posts and check out my post Clue Into Cleveland’s Top 5 for Out-of-Town Guests.

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Winter is right around the corner, which means the snow will be here before we know it!  While winter certainly isn’t my favorite season, I do try to make the best of it.

Thankfully, Cleveland offers many fun wintertime activities; some will have you playing outside while others will help get you into the Holiday spirit.  Below are my five recommendations for winter fun in Cleveland.

The Chalet in Mill Stream Run Reservation (photo from www.clemetparks.com)

Tobogganing at the Chalet in the Mill Stream Run Reservation – Remember how much fun it was to go sled riding when you were young?  Channel your inner child this winter and go Tobogganing in the Cleveland Metroparks.  The Chalet has two 1,000-foot refrigerated ice chutes that can operate with or without snow and are open from the end of November to the middle of March.

Snowshoeing at Penitentiary Glen Reservation – Lake Metroparks offers nearly 7 miles of snowshoeing trails for guests to explore.  Beginners can start with the Peppermint Trail, a short quarter-mile loop.  Snowshoes can be rented by the hour or by the day, and rental is available daily from the middle of November through early March.

Rink at Wade Oval in University Circle

Outdoor Ice Skating at the Rink at Wade Oval – There is something about ice skating outdoors that makes it even more enjoyable.  This winter, get the full ice skating experience at the outdoor Rink at Wade Oval.  Admission is FREE and Skate Rental (if needed) is only $3 per person.  The Rink is open from the end of November through the middle of February.

Lolly the Trolley Holiday Tours – Riding through Cleveland on Lolly the Trolley is a great way to see the city.  Add Christmas lights and decorations to the mix and you have a truly unique and memorable experience.  During the month of December, there are a number of Special Holiday Tours including: A Christmas Story House Tours, Silver Bells Plus Tours and Family Fun Night Tours.

2012 Glow at the Garden (photo from www.cbgarden.org)

Glow at the Garden – While visiting The Cleveland Botanical Gardens is always a great option, it is especially enjoyable during the holiday season.  From late November through the end of December guests can view the decorated trees and gingerbread houses while listening to Christmas music, ride on the garden express train, decorate their own gingerbread houses, and do some holiday shopping at the gift shop.

Those are just some of the events and activities that make winter in Cleveland fun.  Leave a comment below and let us know some of your favorite wintertime activities in Cleveland. 

PlayhouseSquare Doubleheader: Jump Back Ball Kick Off and Staging Success Premiere, Nov. 15

Celebrate PlayhouseSquare’s next 90 years at Jump Back Ball

This year one of Cleveland’s landmark institutions is celebrating its 90th birthday. As the country’s largest performing arts center outside of New York, PlayhouseSquare engages our community and attracts over one million guests each year to 1,000+ annual events.

But that wasn’t always the case.

Although PlayhouseSquare was downtown Cleveland’s cinematic and entertainment destination for many years, the post-WWII flight to the suburbs combined with a growing interest in tv, led to both the proverbial and literal wrecking ball landing at the door of PlayhouseSquare’s theatres.

Who saved PlayhouseSquare, though?

It’s an empowering story that exemplifies the resilient, passionate attitude I love about Cleveland. And on Thursday, Nov. 15, you can experience it when a new documentary on WVIZ/PBS tells the story of the volunteers, civic leaders and organizations who put PlayhouseSquare on its remarkable road to renewal.

Thanks to fundraisers like Jump Back Ball, PlayhouseSquare is able to provide arts entertainment and education for Northeast Ohio

Staging Success: The PlayhouseSquare Story blends nostalgic older films and photos with stunning new footage and interviews from the people that helped usher PlayhouseSquare into a new era.  It premieres Thursday, Nov. 15 at 8pm (encores: 11/16 at 9 p.m., 11/18 at 4 p.m. and 11/22 at 10 p.m.). Find your WVIZ/PBS channel at ideastream.org/programs/channel_guide.

While the Staging Success story has a happy ending, PlayhouseSquare still needs your support to continue this vibrant renaissance for future audiences.

Hands down my favorite way to support PlayhouseSquare’s mission is to snag a ticket to Cleveland’s craziest party – the 22nd annual Jump Back Ball on Feb. 23, 2013.

As much fun as I had planning last year’s Jump Back Ball, I’m ecstatic this year to have been selected as one of PlayhouseSquare’s Jump Back Ball bloggers.

Especially because this year’s Jump Back Ball co-chairs Maurie and Sam have picked a fantastic theme: Jump Back 2 Spaces, featuring decor, activities and surprises from some of your favorite board games.

Feb. 23, 2013 at PlayhouseSquare’s State Theatre

Now you’re probably thinking – February 23 seems like it’s really far away.

However, as someone who has attended and volunteered for Jump Back Ball in the past, trust me when I say this: you want need to get your tickets now!

Fortunately, before you tune into Staging Success on Thursday night, PlayhouseSquare is hosting Jump Back Ball’s Kickoff Happy Hour.

Stop by the Market Garden Brewery from 5:30-7:30pm on Nov. 15 to enjoy free apps, drink specials and prizes. PLUS buy your tickets at the lowest price they’re ever going to be!

Enjoy a pint of Market Garden’s Festivus at the Jump Back Ball Kick Off

So why should you buy your Jump Back Ball ticket at the Ticket Kickoff Party?

  • You’ll save the most money. Attending the Kickoff Happy Hour is the only way to get tickets for $135 each. The price increase the next day by $20.
  • No handling fees. When the ticket price goes up the next day, each ticket will also have a handling fee. But if you buy tickets in person at the Kickoff Happy Hour, you don’t have to worry about any fees.
  • You can sign up for a payment plan. I really like the payment plan option. I use it every year because breaking my purchase up over the course of 4 months makes it really easy on the bank account.
  • Last year’s event sold out very early. If you want to go to Jump Back Ball, don’t wait — each year the event sells out earlier than the year before.  The earlier you purchase tickets, you’ll not just save money but also guarantee your spot.

If you haven’t attended Jump Back Ball in the past, it’s an evening of fine food, drinks and entertainment wrapped in a creative spirit. The State Theatre will be transformed into an homage to board games like Monopoly, LIFE, Clue, and Candy Land, with guests invited to dress up either in their finest or a theme-inspired outfit.

My suggestion: Save even more on your ticket by becoming a PlayhouseSquare Partner. One of the many perks of the tax-deductible Partners membership (starting at $100 for 1-2 people) is you get to enjoy a ticket price of only $110 at the Kick Off (limit 2 tickets).

If you buy 2 tickets to Jump Back Ball at the Kick Off, the $50 difference between the regular price and the Partners discount makes up for half of your membership. While the other half is made up by the tax deduction, invitations to other social, networking and volunteer events and an assortment of other perks.

And the best part about buying a ticket to Jump Back Ball or becoming a member of Partners on Nov. 15? You can go home that night, tune into WVIZ and know you’re Staging the Success of PlayhouseSquare’s next chapter.

Keep an eye on Clue Into Cleveland and playhousesquare.org/jumpbackball over the next few months for more information about Jump Back 2 Spaces.

Disclosure: I was invited to blog about Staging Success and this year’s Jump Back Ball in exchange for one general admission ticket to Jump Back Ball 2012. I will also be attending an advance screening of Staging Success as both a blogger and PlayhouseSquare Partner. My opinions on Jump Back Ball, though, are always 100% my own. Aerial photo of PlayhouseSquare is courtesy of PlayhouseSquare.

Embracing Winter: Brite Winter Fest and Cleveland's First Urban Iditarod

Looking to get outside and enjoy this Cleveland winter? The Brite Winter Festival returns this Saturday 2/18. (photo from britewintercleveland.com)

After the last week of snow, I think we are able to say that winter is finally here.  And just in time for two events that aim to celebrate Cleveland’s snowy season:

This Saturday from 5-10pm, Brite Winter Festival returns for its third year.  The event originally started as the creators’ proactive, grassroots approach to stave off the brain drain they were seeing in Cleveland among their fellow college graduates.

With Brite Winter, they wanted to give Clevelanders a chance to get outside and discover that our winters don’t just need to be tolerated – they can actually be a lot of fun.

For their third annual fest, they’re changing locations and bringing Brite Winter to Bridge Ave. and W.26th in Ohio City.

My favorite game from last year's Brite Winter Festival: Giant Skeeball!

The festival will feature art and games — and sometimes a combination of the two.

Artists from the Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland Museum of Art’s Community Arts Department, IngenuityFest and local companies like cyancdesign will take over the main festival grounds as well as some of Ohio City businesses to present their art installations.

One of my favorite games from last year – giant skee-ball – is back, along with other games like a Climbing Race Game, Light Fight and a Catapult Smashdown.

This year's Brite Winter moves to Ohio City. Pictured is last year's festival lighting up The Flats. (photo from britewintercleveland.com)

And for festival-goers’ listening pleasure, Brite Winter has eight venues and over 35 bands performing when I last counted.

Something that’s different this year: the festival will feature one outdoor stage and seven indoor venues like Bon Bon Cafe, Great Lakes Brewery and Joy Machines Bike Shop. So if you do need to take a break and warm up from the cold, you’ll have a lot of options for music.

The festival and all music performances are free and open to the public, though donations are always welcome. You can read my recap of last year’s Brite Winter here.

The Cleveland Urban Iditarod descends on Ohio City in March - part relay race/part street theatre to raise money for Harvest for Hunger.

In March, Ohio City will play host to another unique event when Cleveland’s Yo-Yo Syndicate demonstrates that being out in the cold can be enjoyable and help raise money for a local cause.

The Yo-Yo Syndicate, creators of IngenuityFest’s Doodle Bar as well as Cleveland’s branch of Dr. Sketchy, are helming the first-ever Cleveland Urban Iditarod on March 4th.

What is an urban iditarod?

While the real Iditarod is the famous long-distance race where a team of dogs tow a sled across Alaska’s frozen tundra, the Cleveland Urban Iditarod is almost the same thing. Except that instead of dogs, it’s people; instead of sleds, it’s shopping carts; and instead of Alaska, it’s Cleveland.

Have fun with your Urban Iditarod team -- dress yourselves and your cart up like this team from the Chicago Iditarod did. (photo from theyoyosyndicate.com)

Teams of 5 (4 to pull the cart, 1 “musher” who’s behind steering) must fill their cart with 40 pounds of canned food and race it through the course. The carts can be decorated (it’s even encouraged as long as the decorations don’t violate the guidelines) and racers can wear the craziest costumes they can pull together. All of this will help raise food and money for the Cleveland Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger.

Urban Iditarods have been held in places such as Portland, Boston, Cincinnati and Chicago (where over $18,000 was raised for their local food bank), but this is the first time Cleveland will be hosting one.   With themed teams and contests at each stop, the Iditarod is part relay race/part street theater and will bring Cleveland’s creative community to the Ohio City neighborhood.

The race starts at 11:30 a.m. and the entire route is about 5.5 miles with 20 minute stops at each local west side location. The Market Garden Brewery, who’s also planning the first Ohio City Ice Carving contest that day, will be hosting the Urban Iditarod after party.

If you register online by Feb. 24th, the team fee is only $45 (it goes up to $65 through March 2nd; $100 the day of). The cart deposit is $35, which each team will get back once they demonstrate the cart has been taken home with them after the race.

The "Epic Epicness" of an urban iditarod! The Chicago Iditarod (pictured here) helped raise over $18,000 for their local food bank. (photo from theyoyosyndicate.com)

Although there’s officially only a month left of winter, with Brite Winter and the Urban Iditarod there are a lot of opportunities left to get out and enjoy it.

What do you have planned for your end-of-winter festivities?

 

Jump Back Ball 2012, Part 1: A Look Behind the Looking Glass

Last year's Jump Back Ball filled the State Theatre with revelers

Before joining PlayhouseSquare Partners, I used to hate this time of year.  I’d get all pumped up by the craziness of the holidays; and then once January hit, it was like popping a balloon…instant deflation as the pace of things abruptly came to a halt.

Now this time of year means one thing: Jump Back Ball season!

This year’s Jump Back Ball is February 25th, so we’re in full scale planning mode between now and then.

Like last year, I’ll be posting a series of entries over the next couple of weeks that goes behind the scenes of Jump Back – from the food and entertainment, to the decor and costume ideas.  If this is your first — or fifteenth — time attending, hopefully you’ll find it helpful in planning out your night.

I’m particularly excited for this year’s Jump Back Ball – not because I’m co-chairing it (ok, maybe that’s a bit of the reason), but because I really like the theme we picked:

I’ve loved how excited everyone has gotten over what they’re going to wear (there are a lot of great costume ideas out there!), how the Decor Committee is going to transform the State Theatre into Alice’s Wonderland, and all of the other treats PlayhouseSquare Partners will have in store at the 21st Annual Jump Back Ball.

If you want to see what the fuss is about, you should act fast.  As of this afternoon, we only had 50 tickets left to sell. Call Molly Franz at 216-348-5265 asap to order yours.

 

So why should you go to Jump Back Ball? 

The annual party is PlayhouseSquare’s largest fundraiser, raising $140,000 last year.  It’s the perfect excuse to dress up (anything from suits to tuxes, cocktail dresses to formal wear is fine) or dress in costume. And each ticket includes all the food you can eat, an open bar, 2 bands, a silent auction and other activities. The festivities take place in the State Theatre, which is my favorite part about the event since you get to dance on the stage.

This year, the VIP pre-party is being catered by AMP 150.  Chef Ellis’ team did an amazing job during last year’s VIP Party so I’m glad one of my favorite Cleveland restaurants is back.   Plus, I can’t wait to see what Chef Jeff Jarrett – also well-known for his creativity and farm-to-table approach – has up his sleeves now that he’s taken the helm at AMP 150.

Chef Jeff Jarrett and AMP 150 will be the featured restaurant at this year's VIP pre-party

The main dinner is being catered by Sammy’s.  From the glimpse I got at the menu, a few of the items I’m excited for include the Alice-inspired Tea Sandwiches, “Caterpillar” Pasta, and “White Rabbit” Salad. Later in the evening, they’ll also be serving up a Mad Hatter Tea Party with a variety of desserts, teas and coffee.

If you’ve attended previous Jump Back Balls, you know the drinks are free-flowing — with multiple places to whet your whistle throughout the State. And, ladies, get excited because the Seagram’s Ladies Lounge is back! Last year I somehow missed this bar in the women’s restroom so I will be making it my mission to stop by this time around.

Of course, there is much more to Jump Back Ball than just eating and drinking.  Leading up to February 25th, I’ll be posting once a week with a focus on the different aspects of the party.

Come back next week for some help with costume ideas and in the meantime, go get your tickets before they sell out!