Join me this Sunday for the last Yoga Brunch of 2017!

It’s been a great year of getting back into the yoga teaching game. To celebrate, I hope you’ll join me this Sunday for the last Yoga Brunch of 2017!

The details:

  • Who: Me teaching yoga, you practicing yoga; then all of us eating brunch after!
  • What: a 60-minutes all-levels yoga class followed by brunch at one of my favorite Cleveland chefs’ brunch spot.
  • Where: yoga class is at The Cultural Center above Dante Next Door in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood for  Class starts at 9:30am. 
  • When: Next session is this Sunday the 17th. Class always starts at 9:30am.
  • Why: Because you need a good reason to treat yourself this holiday season!

BONUS: Your class registration includes a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch after!

Can’t stay for brunch this time? It’s okay — just come for class, then be on your way after!

Ready to sign up? Register now at the Eventbrite page.

p.s. Dates for my January and February 2018 Yoga Brunch sessions are now up on the Eventbrite page and the Facebook event page. Good news: I’ve moved to offering classes 3 out of 4 Sundays a month! Invite your friends or come solo — all are always welcome!

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What I Learned From My Second (Dog) Child’s First Two Years

THIS DOG. This madman. This wack-a-doodle.

In case you haven’t met him yet, this is Frank and today is his second birthday.

He’s my shadow – I go somewhere, he goes there too.  He’s my personal trainer – he power walks (read: DRAGS) me around the neighborhood twice a day, morning and night. He’s often a jerk – he steals pillows, shoes, hamburgers. He insists on eating socks… and throwing them up shortly after.

And I am his person. I originally thought I was my first dog’s person, then realized Grady’s heart belonged to my brother – he’s got his bags packed to go to Drew’s to officially start his retirement there any day now.

Hans, Grady and I were living our lives as our little family of three for a loooooooong time — more than nine years — when we suffered a significant loss that left me with a hole in my heart. I desperately needed to fill it and, for whatever reason, I thought a second dog would be the best fit. Somehow I talked Hans into that idea as well — him seeing me with a golden retriever puppy after teaching a yoga class that Thanksgiving morning sealed the deal. By the first Saturday in February, Frank officially joined our family and things were never the same.

Frank was your typical puppy times 100. Always chewing, biting, mouthing. Always barking. Always trying to play with his puppy brother, which Grady wanted NOTHING to do with. We realized fast Frank was going to be more high maintenance than Grady ever was, but we were committed to the challenge.

…and then two weeks after Frank joined our family, we discovered we were pregnant with our baby girl. We weren’t joking when we nicknamed 2016 the year of the #HansenExpansion.

Those nine or so months of Frank pre-Brenna were wild, as most are with a puppy. In order to prep all of us for the baby’s arrival in the Fall, we did everything we did to train Grady with Frank – some of it worked, a lot of it didn’t. By his six month mark, we knew we needed professional assistance and signed him up for K9-5 dog training sessions. This time, most of it worked, only a bit of it didn’t. He ate and pooped A LOT. He tried our patience A LOT. I’m 99% sure his introduction to our family ended up getting Grady sick for a lot of 2016 (via Frank’s fancy lamb puppy food).

After months of doggy shenanigans, Frank had made me so upset so many times that I started to question if adding him to our family was the best idea in the first place. And where does a pregnant lady’s crazy mind go: If I couldn’t make adding a puppy to our little family work, how the hell was I going to make adding a baby work?

For so much of our marriage, I was so afraid to change our family dynamics. Hans, Grady and I were content with life as it was for nearly a decade. We had our routines, we knew what to expect from each other. I questioned why any of that had to change. Then we added the dog that challenged everything we knew — just like Brenna would nine months later. As we hit roadblocks with Frank, I would joke with Hans that he was training us for parenthood — instead of us training him for being a dog.

And the most important part of Frank’s training? He gave me those first glimpses of knowing my heart had more room to love than I previously ever knew. Did he make me mad? Yes, but he showed me how to forgive faster. Did he test me? Yes, but his trouble was always worth the challenge. Did he always love me unconditionally? Yes, even when I was swore that I didn’t know what I was going to do with him. (Huh – a lot of this sounds like how most parents feel about their kids, right?!)

Ultimately, Frank fast tracked me for parenthood. Me — the girl who was terrified of becoming a mother, most of which stemmed from a lack of knowledge and the fear of unknown. Like any theater major, I needed a dress rehearsal and Frank was our leading man in our production. Those nine months we had were never going to fully prepare me to be 100% ready for our child to arrive, but having our larger-than-life fuzzy family member gave us the closest experience of preparation that we were ever going to get. Who needs a 6-week parenting course when you have a wild-child Golden Retriever in your family?!

In related news: I want to wish my incredible mother, Michele, a very happy birthday. Yes, Frank shares a birthday with her, which makes sense as they share the same vibrant, passionate spirit. If you see her today – either online or IRL – wish her your best. We all love you, Mom!

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This entry was posted in Family.

event preview: FLAVOR, a Scene Magazine event (+ an Instagram GIVEAWAY)

From company holiday party to shopping to cookie baking to gift wrapping to family get together to wishing you had more PTO time at the end of at the year to get it all done (no, just me on that last one?!), December can completely get away from a girl very easily! That’s why it’s SOOOOO nice to have something out of the usual holiday to-dos to look forward to. And this week that thing is Scene Magazine‘s FLAVOR food and drink event.

Scene Magazine and I invite you to celebrate the best in Cleveland’s culinary scene at the 2017 edition of FLAVOR this Thursday, December 14th from 7-10PM at Cleveland History Center’s Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection in University Circle. This VIP-style soiree brings together leading Cleveland restaurants and bars allowing Northeast Ohioans to enjoy select beers, wines, cocktails and gourmet bites.

A highlight of FLAVOR every year is the IRON FORK Chef Competition. Chefs will be tasked with making an entree and an accompanying Woodford Reserve cocktail including the Secret Ingredient in both which will be announced right before the competition begins. The dish and cocktail will then be judged by a panel and winner takes home the bragging rights for years to come!

FLAVOR benefits Kids Kicking Cancer, which offers dietary innovation and exercise programs to encourage year-round fitness at home, and activities for children receiving inpatient care at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Tickets are $40 in advance and $55 at door. Tickets include unlimited food samples from more than 30 restaurants, 6 drink tickets for craft cocktails, spirits and wine samples plus access to the Iron Fork competition.

Get your tickets to Scene Magazine’s FLAVOR event HERE

BONUS: Visit my Instagram feed TODAY — I’m giving away two tickets for this Thursday’s FLAVOR event over on IG!

Scene Magazine always so much to offer — visit their website at clevescene.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll see you Thursday night at this year’s FLAVOR event!

Disclosure: Images c/o Scene Magazine. Scene Magazine invited me to help promote their 2017 FLAVOR event on Thursday, December 14th. In exchange, I will receive two admissions to the 2017 event and two to giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are always my own. 

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My Fourth Annual Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year! For the past three years, I’ve shared my Holiday Gift Guide — here’s 20142015 and 2016. They were such huge hits, so I’ve gathered up Round Number Four for inspiration this December… and just in time for all your holiday shopping! 

GIFTS FOR THE MAMA BEAR (& HER BABY BEAR)

I shared on Monday all the details about Goldfish Swim School’s holiday packages – both include swim lessons plus a retail package to one of our three local Goldfish locations. YES, these are lessons for your kids, but depending on their age, you get to get in the water too. Even if they are old enough to swim on their own, getting to watch them is a blast!

With so many motherly duties to tend to, it’s very easy for a mom to lose their sense of style. Get the mama in your life a gift card or something special from a local boutique. Cleveland’s best include Room Service, Banyan Tree and Evie Lou.

Sparkles will always catch the eye (and heart) of your favorite mama. Bombay Taxi Boutique has a lovely array of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and more with something for everyone. I have a few simple pieces, but I wear them often!

Most mamas need options on what to do with their little ones, so why not gift the mom in your life a membership/annual pass to a nearby museum, zoo, attraction or place to go? If you’re local to Northeast Ohio, my suggestions: Cedar PointCleveland History Center, Cleveland Zoological Society, Great Lakes Science Center (check out the NASA Glenn Visitor Center items!) and the new Cleveland Children’s Museum.

GIFTS FOR THE FOOD LOVER

The Pope’s Kitchen Hot Sauce Gift Pack is or the array of garnishes available in the online shop. Rumor has it that Clark is working on adding olives to his offerings. Can’t wait for those!

I’m still obsessed with our Vitamix A3500 that I received at a meetup at The Vitamix Store in Solon earlier this year. It’s 110% worth every penny, but if you’re looking for a more price-friendly option, check out their Certified Reconditioned machines. Our original Vitamix was certified reconditioned and it worked like a new model!

Your Secret Santa paring has a sweet tooth, you say? Get them some chocolates from Fear’s ConfectionsLilly Handmade Chocolates or Malley’s. Rather go the baked goods route? Visit Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes, Michael Angelo’s Bakery or Wild Flour Bakery.

GIFTS FOR THE YOGA ENTHUSIAST

A gift certificate to your yogi’s favorite studio or classes never is a bad idea for a present. And as a personal plug: if your loved one is a fan of my Yoga Brunch sessions, I now have 2018 dates listed and can create and send you a gift certificate to give to them. Let me know!

If you can’t make it to the studio, I recommend some much needed tools for a solid home practice: mat, strap and block – Manduka is my favorite brand for all three; and an online class subscription – I like the teachers on YogaGlo.

Sign your favorite yogi up for Universal Architect’s Yoga Inspired Monthly Intention Shirt Club. I shared my thoughts on the program earlier this year — I LOVED it! Rather be one and done? Check out the rest of the shirt designs here.

Unfortunately, your practice can wear you out and even make you sore from time to time. I like to have a topical pain reliever like China Gel or BioFreeze on hand at all times. Makes for an excellent stocking stuffer.

GIFTS FOR THE DOG LOVER — & THEIR DOG

IHeartDogs.com is a phenomenal site that lives by its Dogifesto and gives back to shelters plus raises money to provide service dogs for veterans in need. I was gifted this bracelet – I wear it frequently with my malas – and this hoodie is my mantra for when a lint roller isn’t available.

Dog mom pro tip: splure on a high quality leash. We have a Wilderdog offers climbing rope carabiner leashes that are made and assembled in the USA and are backed by a lifetime warranty. Even with our power-chewer pup, it’s in excellent shape after a year plus of daily dog walks!

Speaking of that power chewer, Frank loves his Kong toys, Nylabones and tennis balls. I’d love your suggestions on other good options for those pups that have to have something to carry/chew at all times!

GIFTS FOR THE CLEVELANDER

A gift certificate for theater tickets makes for an excellent gift that is available from most theaters in the area.  The Bard Card is Great Lakes Theater’s gift card. Playhouse Square offers the buyer to receive a gift card in the mail or via an eCard electronically. Both have great productions going up in 2018!

Emily Roggenburk, local Aerial Photographer + Apparel Designer, has some fun stuff in her holiday shop. I’m in love with this eggnog pullover — you Christmas Ale lovers will agree.

Cuyahoga Collective is a purveyor of goods embracing life on the north coast. The item that caught my eye: the West Side Market centennial print, available in four different designs.

This Cleveland Latitude Longitude Pillow from The Salvage Boutique is an adorable offering that would look perfect in someone’s home. This boutique also offers some great workshops if you’re looking for more of an experiential offering!

CLE Clothing Co. is giving back this holiday season: when a hat, pair of socks or hoodie is purchased from their stores or online, Cleveland Clothing Co. will donate one to a local shelter & non-profit organizations serving those in need. Like a needed an excuse to buy one of their shirts!

Need more CLE inspiration? Check out cleveland.com’s 25 gifts that are perfect for anyone that loves Cleveland.

What fun items is on your holiday gift guide this year??  

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are included (Manduka items, dog toys). All thoughts and opinions are always my own. 

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