Category Archives: Shopping

Scott’s Take: Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo, Sometimes Smaller is Better

Scott’s stepping in for me today with his review of the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo. Considering he does most of the home improvement projects in our house, I figured he might be better suited for this one. Plus, it gives me an excuse to share this photo from the show:

Scott and Dinosaur

I’ve been very eager to get into the Cleveland Convention Center (CCC) ever since construction completed. I’d read varying reports of how others experienced and explored the subterranean show space, and I wanted to see it for myself.

I love conventions and have been to my fair share of convention spaces. The Cleveland Convention Center’s unique construction intrigued me. So when we had the opportunity to attend The Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo (H+R Expo), which was hosted within Cleveland’s new expo center, I was quite excited.

Home Show Floor

The overhanging question, of course, is how both the H+R Expo and the CCC compare to their big brothers, The Great Big Home & Garden Show and the I-X Center respectively. I can summarize the comparison for both with one statement: sometimes smaller is more satisfying.

Regarding the show space itself, the most noticeable thing stepping into the CCC is that it is shockingly, pleasantly quiet. As Amanda and I walked around we encountered large groups, especially in the back where a presentation was going on, but never did I hear the dull background “roar” of noise I’ve come to expect from similarly larger convention halls. It generally felt that if I could see it, I could hear it, but not much buzz beyond that was getting to me.

Being underground, the CCC has none of the high windows that can be seen at the I-X Center. But their absence did not bother me or give me a sense of being contained beneath the street level. Both the I-X and CCC rely on artificial light regardless of the presence of windows, and the lack of them meant there was nothing to remind me of the “outside world” and my relativity to it. Once I was in the CCC and walking around, I didn’t think twice about my sea level altitude. It was nice.

The CCC’s more compact square footage also meant that food, drink, and restrooms never felt like a hike. We didn’t partake of any of the food, but the available options appeared clean, bright, and had reasonable lines. A leisurely pace from one end of the show space to the other would only take a few minutes, so if you’ve traveled into the middle of the expo, almost everything is fairly close to you in every direction.  The convention center’s location in downtown Cleveland also means if you want to venture outside for a restaurant, you have plenty of options.

Looking at the H+R Expo itself, the smaller number of sellers was actually really nice. Although there were some stands I remembered seeing at The Great Big Home & Garden Show, this wasn’t a bad thing because they were stands I was happy to see again.  And each booth seemed truly relevant to the “Home and Remodeling” theme. If you’ve ever walked around a large convention’s floor, you sometimes run into vendors who are only tangentially (or not at all) related to the show’s niche. The reduced availability of spaces actually created more relevant variety.

Pod Home

Of course, the smaller space means less grandeur. There were some awesome things to see – such as the inflated pod house pictured above and some pieces we recognized from a beer garden that had displayed at the Great Big Show. But we didn’t find any massive gardens or landscapes constructed in the CCC.

The upside of this is that I wasn’t completely beat after our first walkthrough of the aisles and displays. Amanda and I actually shopped at the H+R Expo.  For the first time in a long time when we said “We’ll come back and get this after we’ve looked around,” we really did go back and do it. We bought a hanging planter, wine mixers, and bar ware.

While I’ve found The Great Big Show is great for generating ideas and checking out things we may buy in the future, the H+R Expo was small and focused in such a way that I actually had the energy to spend some money then and there.

Cleveland Blastmaster

So to wrap things up, at the end of the day the CCC’s smaller size and the H+R Expo’s more focused theme meant that it didn’t feel like the end of the day when Amanda and I left.

I can confidently say that the Cleveland region is quite big enough for two convention centers and two home shows, where one is more about grandeur and concept and the other more about personal experience. Because a funny thought struck me as we were coming out of the Cleveland Convention Center’s Home and Remodeling Expo: this was the first time I’d been to a convention where I actually had the time – and energy – to stop and smell the roses.

Well, flowers anyway. It was a nice change of pace.


Disclosure: I was invited to attend the show with a guest, in exchange for hosting a giveaway.

Giveaway: Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo at the Downtown Cleveland Convention Center

UPDATE: After removing one pingback and one duplicate entry:

Home Expo Winner

Congratulations entry #7 – Jenny S – for winning this giveaway!

Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo 2

Working at E9th and St. Clair, I’ve had the chance to watch the last few years’ construction on the Cleveland Convention Center from our office windows. However, while I witnessed the drastic transformation that Lakeside Avenue underwent, I still haven’t been inside.

That changes when the first-ever Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo takes over downtown March 14-16.

Not only am I looking forward to checking out the convention center, I really want to see what this brand-new show has up its sleeve.

This expo is specifically focused on home remodeling, decor and improvement. Although it’s hosted by the same group that does the Great Big Home and Garden Show, the 2014 Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo includes a number of different features such as:

Perrino Vignettes: Mayfield Heights’ Perrino Builders and Furniture will present idea spaces for remodeling and decorating, including kitchen renovations, a pub and wine bar, and a home theatre.

Grow Cleveland Pavilion: Stop by the Whole Foods-sponsored pavilion for tips on urban living and small-space gardening. Local organizations promoting the growth of Cleveland, area farmers markets and food sampling from Whole Foods will also be available.

Ultimate Garage: If you’ve ever seen the inside of our garage then you know we need some major help in cleaning it out. Ohio’s EncoreGarage will showcase garage organization and renovation ideas including flooring, wall-mounted custom cabinets for flexible storage, and durable all-steel organization products to store tools, bikes, sporting equipment, and gardening supplies.

CasaBubble: And because this just sounds intriguing … check out the inflatable CasaBubble, a new way to sleep under the stars without worrying about mosquitoes, pollen, allergens and humidity issues.

Casabubble 5

Ty Pennington, Rehab Addict’s Nicole Curtis, CTV design expert Ramsin Khachi and Room by Room’s Matt Fox will also present throughout the weekend.

When you’re done at the Expo, stop by the Great Lakes Science Center, Public Square, or one of downtown’s many restaurants and attractions. Need ideas? Check out this guide I put together for another convention in downtown Cleveland.

Tickets for the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo cost only $10 at the box office, $8 online. Save another dollar by using promo code CIC when you buy online.

I’m also giving away a pair of tickets to the event. How to enter: Do one, some, or all five of the entries. A separate comment is needed for each.

There are 5 Easy Ways to Enter the Giveaway
**You must leave a separate comment on this post for each entry**

1) Visit then leave a comment on this post with one thing you’re  excited to see at the first Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo.

2) Follow @GreatBigShow and @ADHicken on Twitter and leave one comment on this post telling me you did both.

3) If you’re a fan of Clue Into Cleveland and Home and Garden Events on Facebook, leave one comment on this blog post letting me know. If you’re not yet a fan, you can become one here and here.

4) Tweet the following and leave one comment letting me know you tweeted:

I want to win tickets to the first-ever #CLE Home + Remodeling Expo. Enter @ADHicken’s @GreatBigShow giveaway:

You can tweet once per day for additional entries. Just leave a separate comment each time you tweet.

5) Subscribe to Clue Into Cleveland via a feed tracker like Bloglovin’ or Feedly and leave one comment letting me know you did. This can also include signing up to receive email notifications in the top-right “Subscribe” section of this page.

You have until March 10 at 11:59 pm to enter. will select the winner, which I will announce on March 11. Remember to leave a separate comment for each entry and please note that individuals cannot win multiple Home and Remodeling Expo giveaways. Good luck!

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the Cleveland Home and Remodeling Expo with a guest in exchange for hosting a giveaway. My choice to post about this and any opinions are 100% my own.

Springtime Sights from the Great Big Home + Garden Show

Great Big Home and Garden Show

I keep repeating to myself “Spring will be here soon. You’ve seen worse winters.” as if it will warm my chilly bones and make the bumpy commute to work better. However, there are moments where my patience for this year’s winter has worn thin and I need a better reminder that I’ll soon be enjoying summer days at Cedar Point.

Attending the Great Big Home and Garden Show last weekend was the boost I needed. Everywhere we turned we saw the vibrant green of Spring.

We saw many plants and flowers…

Great Big Home and Garden Show - Flowers

Got home improvement and landscaping ideas from the experts…

Great Big Home and Garden Show - Ahmed Hassan

And even played some pinball at The Pinball Shoppe‘s booth!

Great Big Home and Garden Show - Pinball

I will have you one day, Space Station pinball machine!

Out of everything we saw, The Ohio Valley Group‘s Beer Garden was the best. They partnered with Great Lakes Brewing Company for a garden dedicated to GLBC and other Ohio beer.

There was the beer bottle chandelier, the topiary wall cut into the shape of all of the Great Lakes, and various fountains and light fixtures made from brewing and bottling materials.

The highlight, though, was the beer tap waterfall.

Great Big Home and Garden Show - The Ohio Valley Group Beer Garden

Although my all-time favorite garden is from the year they were Classic TV-themed, Ohio Valley Group’s beer garden reminded me of all my favorite parts of warm weather: Hanging out at one of Cleveland’s awesome patios. Sipping wine while overlooking Geneva’s vineyards. Enjoying a game of lawn bowling in our backyard.

Although I’m definitely ready for Spring, if it’s going to take its time getting here, I’ll be ok.

Great Big Home and Garden Show - The Ohio Valley Group Beer Garden

You still have a few more days to visit the Great Big Home and Garden Show, which runs through February 16. You can read about the show’s other features and programming in my Great Big Home and Garden Show preview.

Buy your tickets online and save. Online tickets cost only $11, plus take another $1 off by using promo code CIC when you check out online.

Disclosure: I was invited to attend the show with a guest in exchange for hosting a giveaway and sharing my opinion after the show. The opinions here are 100% my own.

GIVEAWAY: The Great Big Home and Garden Show at Cleveland’s I-X Center

UPDATE: After removing pingbacks and 2 duplicate entries, congratulations to entry #2 – Carly for winning this giveaway. Please reply to my email confirming you can attend by noon 2/5.

Great Big Giveaway Winner

Win 2 tickets to Cleveland's Great Big Home and Garden Show, February 8 through 16

Win 2 tickets to Cleveland’s Great Big Home and Garden Show, Feb. 8-16

Today’s a big day in the Hicken households.  Scott’s parents and grandmother are coming to Cleveland! Not next year, not next month, not next week. Today, we gain new neighbors.

With a new house comes the fun of new home improvement and gardening projects. There’s even a tree house in the backyard that has Scott’s dad’s name all over it.

This week’s giveaway couldn’t be better themed because I have a pair of tickets to The Great Big Home and Garden Show for you!

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Guest Post: Inspired by the Boutique Bridal Bazaar

Although I couldn’t make it to Something White’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar, I knew the ticket would go to better use after talking to my recently-engaged friend Ali. Today she shares what she saw, who she met, and what she learned at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar. Thanks, Ali!

Something White's Boutique Bridal Bazaar

Something White’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar

When my lovely friend Amanda allowed me the opportunity to take her place at the Boutique Bridal Bazaar hosted by Something White, my first thought was, “Well, I guess I SHOULD probably start planning my wedding…”

My wonderful fiancé asked me to make it street legal in September, after 5+ years of happily dating and cohabitating.  I tend to err on the side of “if it ain’t broke…” but in this case, I was very excited that we decided to take this next step together.

That being said, the wedding planning scene is daunting. I didn’t know where to start or who to ask, and the internet, in this state of confusion, is not your friend. So, upon reading Amanda’s post about the Something White event, I thought, “This is it… professional help!”

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Giveaway: Win 2 Tickets to Cleveland’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar

Update: After removing 1 pingback and 1 non-entry comment, congratulations to entry 7, Kate for winning this giveaway.

Boutique Bridal Giveaway Winner

Win 2 tickets to Cleveland's Boutique Bridal Bazaar - January 12, noon-4pm

Win 2 tickets to Cleveland’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar – January 12

As I look ahead to 2014, I can’t believe that Scott and I will celebrate not just our fifth wedding anniversary this year, but also an entire decade together. A decade?!? Where did all of that time go? On top of that, we’re traveling to DC in a few weeks for Scott’s sister’s wedding.

With all of this going on, I’ve been thinking a lot about our wedding. At the time, I thought it was a good idea to DIY our invitations, centerpieces, favors, and more. It was a lot of fun and allowed us to put a personal touch on things, but these were the pre-Pinterest and Etsy days and it wasn’t easy.

Fortunately, today’s bride has all of these tools at her disposal, as well as events like Something White’s Boutique Bridal Bazaar.

On January 12 from noon til 4pm, the beautiful Tudor Arms Hotel will host off-the-beaten-path vendors, decor and fashions for Cleveland couples looking to add a unique, avant-garde twist to their wedding.

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Holly Jolly Holiday Shopping: 10 Shop Local Events in CLE

MOCA Cleveland's holiday shopping event ArtScape

MOCA Cleveland’s holiday shopping event ArtScape

Scott and I spent last Friday at Cleveland’s Museum of Contemporary Art for their annual holiday shopping event ArtScape. The last time we visited MOCA was for a Tri-C JazzFest concert. This time, their versatile lobby was transforrmed into a pop up shop of jewelry and design gifts.

It was a great place to start our holiday shopping with local artisans like Jason Radcliffe’s Forty Four Steel, Brandon Holschuh, Michelle Pajak-Reynolds, and LAM Design Studios.

We also had a chance to look at the museum’s current exhibits, Simon Evans’ Only Words Eaten by Experience and Michelle Grabner’s I Work From Home. We particularly liked Evans’ work, which consisted of small pieces of paper, tape, and white-out compiled into diagrams, maps, flowcharts and diary entries cataloging his day-to-day life.

A section of Simon Evans' Shitty Heaven, Scott's and my favorite piece of the entire exhibit because of things like 'Anton Chekhov Who Owns a Steakhouse in Heaven(tm)'

A section of Simon Evans’ much larger “Shitty Heaven.” This was Scott’s and my favorite piece of the entire exhibit because of notes like ‘Anton Chekhov Who Owns a Steakhouse in Heaven(tm)’

MOCA features many other events throughout December to enjoy the museum’s space and the current exhibits, including Free First Saturdays (Dec. 7), One Hour One Work (Dec. 11), and a concert with Daniel Lippel co-presented by the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society (Dec. 12).

If you missed your chance to start your holiday shopping at ArtScape, though, don’t worry. I have 10 events to help you shop local in November and December.

Check them out and if you have any suggestions of other holiday shopping events, leave a comment below. 

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Giveaway: Compassion from Fashion to Benefit The Gathering Place and Rainbow Babies

Update: After removing pingbacks and duplicate entries, congratulations to entry 16, amanda @minky80.

CFF Winner


Compassion from Fashion, Nov. 23 to benefit The Gathering Place and University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Compassion from Fashion, Nov. 23 to benefit The Gathering Place and University Hospitals (UH) Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Last June I ran my first Race for the Place 5K, a fundraiser for The Gathering Place. From support groups and nutrition classes to medical libraries and their HairPeace Wig Salons, The Gathering Place provides programs for anyone affected by cancer in Greater Cleveland.

I ran it for my dad, who beat melanoma and two rounds of lymphoma with a smile on his face and strength that continues to amaze me. 

My dad, cancer survivor and fashionhound

My dad, cancer survivor and fashionhound

On Saturday, November 23, you’ll have the chance to support The Gathering Place’s mission — and you don’t need to lace up a pair of sneakers to do it.

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Guest Post: A Dog Day in the CLE

One reason I love having local guest bloggers stop by is that I get a lot of great ideas on how to spend a day in Cleveland. Today’s post by Ann McDonald from Dogs in the CLE makes me wish my cat Chloe wasn’t such a homebody.

Guest blogger:

Guest blogger:

First of all, I want to thank Amanda for letting me guest post on her blog. As a blogging newbie I am excited to be featured on her blog – one of my favorites to read to find out what’s going on the CLE.

One of the reasons I started blogging about dog-friendly places in Cleveland was to find more places I could take my dog. Before I got a dog I had no idea the guilt that I would feel leaving him for long periods of time. Lucky for me I have discovered there’s enough dog-friendly places in Cleveland that it’s possible to spend your day with your dog and still get out and enjoy the city.

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CLE Quick Clues: Upcoming Events in Cleveland

Giveaway Reminder: Wednesday, July 3 is the last day to enter my Luau on the Lake giveaway.
I’ll announce the winner on July 4. Good luck!

Since cutting down my blog posts to twice a week, there’s been a lot I’ve wanted to write about but haven’t had time to. So, in lieu of cloning myself for the purpose of blogging (I don’t know what Scott would say about that!), I put together this list of upcoming events in Cleveland and other news that caught my eye.

Upcoming events in Cleveland: MIX Americana at Cleveland Museum of Art - July 5

MIX Americana at Cleveland Museum of Art – July 5

An All-American MIX: The next MIX event at the Cleveland Museum of Art is this Friday, July 5. To celebrate Independence Day, the museum is taking MIX outdoors onto their beautiful south steps. If you’ve ever been to Solstice, you’ll know what an incredible place it is for a party. MIX: Americana will feature local Ohio brews, music from Akron’s indie folk band Bethesda, and art programming celebrating the American art collection. Tickets are $8 in advance, $10 at the door, FREE for members.

Finding Time for the 4th: This Fourth of July is going to be a quiet one in the Hicken household. I’m looking forward to redecorating my home office now that I have a desk moved in (no more typing on my coffee table!), and then maybe heading down to Cedar Point to watch some fireworks. Not sure where to go in your area for fireworks and Fourth of July festivities? Find Time for Fun has this comprehensive list of Northeast Ohio celebrations. And don’t forget the Port of Cleveland Tall Ships Festival July 3-7.

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