event recap: 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

As I continue to let go of my event planning days, I’m  enjoying being a guest, attendee and participant at local functions again. No longer do I walk into a room and ask “I wonder where they rented their linens from” or “I hope there’s enough space for that restaurant vendor in that corner”. It’s hard to turn off the event-logistics monkey mind!

But in an attending the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis here in Cleveland this past weekend, I would find myself with my biggest post-event-planning-career challenge to date. But as I planned this race in 2012 and in 2013 as a former employee of the organization, I knew it would be easy to fall into the fun.

lets go grady dog picmonkey

 {Grady’s excitement just could not be reigned in.}

Our team — Team Grinch Paws — came together in full force: my husband, my brother, my friends and I joined together on Sunday, December 14th at Legacy Village. We of course started with a pre-race Starbucks pit stop.

baby j's first 5K

I was so happy that Jen from WhyCLE? and her family signed up to walk the one-mile Family Fun Run option. Baby J seemed to love every moment of his first 5K experience. He’ll be running the full 3.1 miles in no time!

As the rest of our team ventured out for the full 5K, Grady and I made up our own two mile version of the course. Grady’s excitement for the day had us power walking at a good clip! As we went along, it was a joy to come across friendly faces, even crossing paths with the event photographer, Orville from Orville McEachron Photography:


{Photo ℅ Orville McEachron Photography — check out all 400+ of the race photos over at his Facebook page.}

Confession: In planning this event twice, Sunday was the first time I actually walked the course. (We drove it several times each year, don’t worry.) I know understand what the runners meant by this being a more challenging 5K than others in the Northeast Ohio area — there are a few rolling hills through the old TRW campus that make for a good hike!

LONG STORY SHORT: Team Grinch Paws did wonderfully at this year’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis! My brother Drew finished second in his age group with a 20:15 — such a speed demon!  Lisa — @lisasands1 over on the Twitter — rocked her first 5K after taking time to train this Fall.  My non-runner husband Hans “enjoyed” his last minute decision to run the 3.1 miles. (We’re working on our post-run stretch routine for next year!)

Photo Dec 14, 10 33 03 AM

As for Grady and I, we walked our two mile course in a little over a half an hour, making time to stop and say hi to some old friends and work colleagues along the way. It felt great to be out in the brisk December air supporting an important cause working towards eliminating a disease that effects more than 1.3 million Northeastern Ohioans. Supporting a local non-profit, getting in some exercise and having a highly enjoyable time? What a great start to our Sunday!

Want to donate to the Arthritis Foundation? You can click over to our team page and still give through this month. Thank you in advance!

Want to stay in the know for 2015?  Keep up to date with all the CLE Jingle Bell Run/Walk happenings by following its Twitter handle at @JingleBellCLE.

Disclosure: I am a former employee of the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeastern Ohio. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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Interview with Michael Horsely from White Christmas (a guest post at PlayhouseSquare’s Behind the Curtain blog)

As I serve as a blogger for PlayhouseSquare‘s Community Engagement and Education department this year, I will take you behind the scenes of each KeyBank Broadway Series show and interview a member of the show’s cast, crew or creative team. The third show in the 2014-2015 series is White Christmas.

I have a serious confession to make: before this interview, I had NEVER seen the movie. Thank goodness for Redbox! So while I go add the DVD to my Amazon.com Wish List, you should visit the PlayhouseSquare’s Behind the Curtain blog to read my interview with Michael Horsely, the music director from White Christmas.


White Christmas comes to Cleveland December 2 – 14 as part of the KeyBank Broadway Series at PlayhouseSquare. For more information, please visit the show’s page on the PlayhouseSquare website.

Many thanks yet again to the wonderful staff at PlayhouseSquare for including me as a PlayhouseSquare blog contributor for the Broadway Buzz program KeyBank Broadway Series. Next up:  Pippin…  

Want to read my previous interviews? Check out:

Learn more about PlayhouseSquare with all of their social media happenings: follow PlayhouseSquare on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare, or on Instagram at @playhousesquare.

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#GivingTuesday {Cleveland edition}

Today is #GivingTuesday – a day where “charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world  come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.” (from their website)


In the spirit of the day (and as a former non-profit staffer), taking a moment to mention those local non-profits I’ve worked with in the past year seemed appropriate. I’m hoping I’m not forgetting any!  Even if you’re not ready to donate millions dollars to each and every single one (a non-profit employee’s dream, ha!), maybe take a moment to check out their websites, give them a follow and learn more about what they are doing to help Northeastern Ohioans — and in some cases, people all over the country and world.


Cleveland Museum of Art: still reflecting on the fabulous yoga exhibit this past summer

Cleveland Public Theatre: The Santaland Diaries run through December 21st, 2014!

Great Lakes Theater: A Christmas Carol runs through December 23rd, 2014 – a family favorite.

PlayhouseSquare: plenty of holiday options for you to check out, and Jump Back Ball is practically around the corner in February…

Tri-C Jazz Fest: can’t beat good jazz in the summer time, right?!


Cleveland Zoological Society: Is it time for Twilight at the Zoo yet? Go visit the zoo in the winter time too!

Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park: If you follow my Instagram account in the summer time, you know just how much time I spent here in 2014

Great Lakes Science Center: This NASA family can’t get enough of the space inspired exhibits


Arthritis Foundation — pssssst: Join my Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis team today by visiting the race website.

Bright Pink: What a great first FabFest they threw here in Cleveland in September!

Cleveland Animal Protective League: Where my mom adopted her cat, Scout!

Fieldstone Farm Therapeutic Riding Center ”engages the therapeutic power of our horses to discover and nurture the special abilities of individuals, families and communities.” (from their website)  So happy to learn more about this organization this year.

Greater Cleveland Food Bank: remember $1 helps provide 4 meals to Northeastern Ohioans in need

GM HART Animal Rescue: Where my mom adopted her dog, Chase!

Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland‘s mission is “to reduce hunger in our community by providing food and linkages to other vital services for hungry people, especially children and families by actively participating in a coordinated response to people in need.” (from their website)

Veggie U: If you can, get out to Milan to check out The Chef’s Garden and the non-profit first hand.

Stay in the know:
Follow @GivingTues on Twitter, on Instagram at @GivingTuesday & over on Facebook  — and be ready well in advance of the 2015 event.

Which other non-profit is doing good work here in Cleveland? Who are you supporting on #GivingTuesday?

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