that time we time traveled (a PlayhouseSquare Jump Back Ball 24 event recap)

I had high hopes for myself in planning our attendance for this year’s PlayhouseSquare‘s Jump Back Ball. With our previous years’ visits in 2011, 2013 and 2014, I knew my over-scheduled life usually leads to last-minute planning tendencies. As much as I reminded myself that “Jump Back Ball is coming”, unfortunately my time management skills were tested again… so much so, it even felt like we were the ones time traveling — quite fitting for this year’s theme, Back To The Future. How the day flew by…

2:30PM Starting my day at the yoga studio, I finish leading my sankalpa workshop — by going a half an hour over… this should have been my first indicator of how the day would go. Clean up, wrap up and am on my way home…

4:00PM At the gym, I’ve got one last attempt to get those Michelle Obama arms to round out my  new Ralph Lauren dress, picked out by Hans and purchased in the past 72 hours.

5:30PM After one last errand to TJMaxx to buy a handbag, it’s time to curler it up. (These are my mom’s — she received them as a wedding shower present in 1980.)

JBB24 curlers

6:30PM Hair done and fully dressed, we jump in our car and head on north towards downtown… with one quick stop.

6:40PM Drive-by my mom’s to borrow a pair of dangly earrings — and let her take a photo of us similar to one that she used to take before our high school dances. She’s the cutest! 

7:10PM We arrive at PlayhouseSquare, find our way to the State Theatre and meet our friends up on the stage.

JBB24 TWC

We then head right over to the buffet tables featuring the delicious offerings from Driftwood Restaurant Group. From their signature cornbread, I loved all the options like trout, chicken ala king, cornbread, whipped potatoes and broccoli. I could have gone for seconds, but I knew they’d had treats later on in the evening to enjoy.

7:40PM Time to take a moment for a formal picture before things got going. This threw one of us for a loop.

JBB24 collage

8:00PM As the snacks are one of Hans’ favorite parts of Jump Back Ball, we stop for Pretzel Check Number One. Won’t be ready for awhile — come back later we were kindly told. We wander around a bit and head back to the stage.

JBB24 trio

9:00PM Pretzel Check Number Two — still not ready. Come back at 10PM. To the bar we go… We run into a little bit of everyone — one of Hans’ coworkers, CLE blogger and social media users, many of the hard-working staff members of PlayhouseSquare that I’ve gotten to know over the years… plus complete strangers that become fast friends. I adore this part of events like this — getting to catch up, to chat and to connect again.

9:57PM It’s a well documented fact that we’re suckers for a photo booth:

10:05PM PRETZEL TIME for Hans! Driftwood dessert table time for me! #MiniCheescakesFTW

JBB24 pretzel

I might have grabbed a tater tot or two as well…

10:15PM I borrowed someone’s hover board and met up with Doc Brown and the rest of our friends in the State Theatre lobby for the last night dance party — and selfie session. #sorrynotsorry

JBB24 lobby

We danced. We sang. We laughed. The late night dance party is always our favorite part of JBB.

11:40PM Hans and I meander back into the State Theatre for a bit more photo fun.

JBB24 fun

On the left: At the clock tower. On the right: you can take the yogi out of the yoga studio…

12:00PM With big smiles and sore feet, it was time to jump in our DeLorean and head home for the night, but not without one last moment soaking it all in.

JBB24 end of night

LONG STORY SHORT: Great Scott, did we have a great time enjoying ourselves at this year’s fundraiser! Congrats to all the PlayhouseSquare Partners, the volunteers who worked so hard to create a fun night for Clevelanders to enjoy. Thanks again to the entire team at the non-profit — I love working with them on so many projects and being able to support an organization that has provided so many memories over the years.

Want to know more about PlayhouseSquare? Stay up-to-date with all of their social media happenings: follow PlayhouseSquare on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare, or on Instagram at @playhousesquare.

Disclosure: I was asked by PlayhouseSquare to serve as an official blogger for the 2015 Jump Back Ball event and to help promote the event and related happenings. In exchange for sharing  information and purchasing one event ticket, I received one complimentary ticket to the event. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Ohio Blogging Association December Meetup at TownHall

I’ll admit it — it’s hard to believe I had the energy, creativity and time to plan monthly blogger meetings in the past. Don’t get me wrong — there hasn’t been a blogger meet up that I didn’t enjoy attending! The Northeastern Ohioans who have come to an Ohio Blogging Association meet ups over the years are some of the most fantastic people I’ve met. And since we were way overdue — and an opportunity was presented to me — I thought “let’s get something on the calendar” to celebrate the end of another year.

When Townhall reached out with the offer to host the OBA at its Ohio City restaurant, excitement grew to bring the bloggers here to learn more about what they are doing with their menu — and all at one of my favorite spots to grab gluten free fare.

Photo Dec 15, 6 42 37 PM

Get to know the restaurant a little better (from their About page):

Our product philosophy is written all over our menu. Organically driven, sustainable, and locally sourced. We offer a variety of gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options that are delicious, and nutritious. Our drink menu is marked not only with daily fresh squeezed juices, but also features specialty crafted emulsive cocktails that are made fresh to order, spiked milkshakes, a notable whiskey menu, and 36 rotating local/regional American craft beers on tap.

Townhall is very excited to share they are working towards being 100% GMO free by the beginning of 2015. With their health conscious menu, this probably doesn’t surprise many. Committing to something like this is a grand undertaking. But based on our experience that evening, their team is on the right track.

We all came from around Northeastern Ohio convened last Monday night to learn more — in attendance:

After some lively chatter around the tables (it had been since June we last all gathered together for the OBA “Sweet Up” at Mitchell’s Ice Cream with Edible Cleveland), TownHall treated us with appetizers to start:

town hall app collage

Monday nights are Vegan Nights at TownHall, so my table mates enjoyed the steam buns made with black bean, quinoa and falafel.  I couldn’t wait to tackle the largest crudite platter I’ve ever seen. Paired with a white hummus and a kalamata olive dip, look for this new item to be hitting TownHall’s menu in the near future. I plan to order it again!

For my entree, I ordered the thyme seared Nova Scotia salmon with cauliflower puree, Brussel sprouts and a local maple cider reduction.

Photo Dec 15, 7 30 20 PM

Three of the ladies along side of me all ordered the lamb as their main, which looked OUTSTANDING, and I started to kick myself for not doing the same. But then upon diving into my fish, I was so happy I made the choice I did. The salmon was perfectly prepared, and I’m still trying to figure out how the chef got the puree to taste exactly like mashed potatoes. One other blogger ordered the same and had no clue that the puree was made from  cauliflower! I was so glad I tried something new-to-me instead of sticking with my favorite, their Thai peanut bowl.

For dessert, TownHall provided several skillet chocolate chip cookies topped with Mitchell’s vanilla ice cream:

town hall dessert collage

From the “coolest thing I’ve seen in awhile” file:  a Crowler 32-ounce, flash-sealed can of any draft beer they serve — perfect to take home to enjoy during the holidays. To close everything out, TownHall provided a mini tasting of Townhall’s emulsive cocktails, made with various liquors and fruits, making for a sweet way to end the evening. Overall, it was a well-rounded, delicious meal and an insightful look into what TownHall has planned for 2015!

Keep up with:

Disclosure: TownHall’s PR contact reached out to me with an invitation to coordinate an Ohio Blogging Association meeting at the restaurant. TownHall provided appetizers, entrees and select beverages tastings that evening.  My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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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:

10869482_393189920833335_2788335850565453133_o

{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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