sights and sounds {new year’s edition}

I realized I forgot to share one last resolution on Thursday: I’d love to get in some regular “day in the life” blogging again. Little bit of structure, run-of-the-mill, top-of-my-head ramblings. Maybe even kick around a few vlogs from time to time — we’ll see where 2015 takes us…

Like 99% of us, the end of the holidays means the beginning of a return-to-normal dietary regimen, which I happily have already been embracing with green smoothies since Christmas. But knowing a dinner at one Cleveland’s most celebrated restaurants was on the calendar for the first weekend of the new year, I left room for one more splurge at Pier W this past Saturday night.

pier w full collage

A sampling of the food served ordered that night — I’m on a salmon kick at the moment, forgive me.

I do love dining with a group of close friends you know so well — the conversation is lively (℅ a few random Cards Against Humanity cards) and they are down for sharing the infamous Pier W seafood tower. Check one off the bucket list! Our server Erin was phenomenal, the food was spot-on across the board and the complimentary champagne (& flutes to take home) in celebration of the restaurant’s 50th anniversary was the perfect surprise! Now when can we go back for happy hour…

Speaking of those smoothies, an orange a day keeps the doctor away:

smoothie

I’ve been keeping my annual & dreaded beginning-of-the-year cold at bay with a combo of vanilla almond milk, protein powder, greens (either kale or spinach), frozen berries and one orange. The burst of vitamin C is working!

As for the current yoga playlist selections to adore: I just stumbled upon James Vincent McMorrow and I must say I’m in love with the soul coming out from his music — or just the fact that there’s a flamingo on one of his album covers.

You also have got to check out his Higher Love cover. It’s my new favorite tune to start out class as we get grounded and moving.

As for something more lively, I’m still grooving to this mashup:

Two of my favorite songs from last year, all in one fab track. The Evolution Yoga yogis had a blast flowing to this during my Christmas morning Holiday Sweet Heat Flow. It’s hard to believe it’s been almost two weeks since then! Our Christmas tree came down town — I must admit I miss the twinkle lights in our family room.

But don’t get me wrong: I’m very content it’s January. Based on the conversations I’ve had with my yoga students, friends and family, it seems like most of us are ready for some routine and normalcy again — all while figuring out what changes await us in the new year. I’m processing the process myself, but I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of finding that sweet spot in a new situation. Here’s hoping the balance comes to us all sooner rather than later!

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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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#ThisisCLE Healthy Living Blogger Tour: Part Two

Disclosure: I partnered with Positively Cleveland to host an out-of-town blogger for a two-day healthy living tour. All expenses (meals, activities and transportation costs) were paid for by Positively Cleveland. I also received a swag bag of Cleveland items.  As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

If you read my Part One post from Monday, you know that Positively Cleveland reached out to me to coordinate a #ThisisCLE Healthy Living Tour with Ami from Fit With Flash.  After adventuring around the East side Friday night and in Ohio City that rainy Saturday morning, Ami jumped in my car and we headed south to Valley View to the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad’s Rockside Station:

If you follow my Instagram feed, you know just how much I adore 1) biking on the towpath 2) the combo of the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, Cleveland Metroparks and Ohio-Erie Canalway.  This had to be an activity I shared with Ami with her time in Northeast Ohio.

Prior to the rain, we had plans to meet up with the great team from Cinecraft Productions (who would be filming a portion of our afternoon activities) to take the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad from Rockside Station to Boston Mill Station, to then ride the ten miles back north on the towpath. But a limited train schedule and one muddy trail led to a change of plans.

Lucky for us, the rain cleared out as Cinecraft taped their first segments with Ami under the covered train station stop. Outfitted with our bikes courtesy at Cleveland Bike Tours (Anne and Joe are the BEST in town!), the crew filmed us riding over bridges and paved trail ways along the canal near Thornburgh Station (where Malley’s and Yours Truly are located).  In the two hours of taping, I was thankful for the Go Pro cameras the crew utilized (can’t wait to see the footage) and the almonds that Ami had to fuel us through the afternoon!

Ami, the very seasoned traveler, offered to take Uber from various locations during our time together. As someone who depends on their car to get them everywhere, I have to admit it opened my eyes to the service it provided. Generally, she had a very easy time finding someone to pick her up and drop her off where she wanted to go – without much hassle… except for that little bit of shenanigans she encountered during her Uber ride as she worked her way to meeting me at The Greenhouse Tavern for our early Saturday night dinner. (On the bright side of things, she did get a few extra steps in because of it!)

As GHT is known for using local ingredients of all types – including produce, protein, and grains – I knew it would be a solid meal choice before the Indians game later that evening. Our server jumped right in with suggestions and recommendations, helping us place a well rounded order. Ami raved over her strip steak, and I couldn’t get enough of the red farm basket tomatoes appetizer (w/ dill, dehydrated nicoise olive, lucky penny feta & cucumber – amazing!), kale salad and the burger (sans bun). It’s so easy to eat gluten free at GHT, another reason why I love to pop in there for a pre-game or pre-show meal.

And then we were off down East 4th and on our way to Progressive Field for the Cleveland Indians game.  We arranged for seats in the Social Suite that evening where Ami had the finest in Northeast Ohio social-media baseball-watching seating possible — and apparently the best place to catch a foul ball that night!

As another Social Suite ticket holder caught that ball, Ami didn’t get to take that home as a souvenir unfortunately — maybe next time she comes to town to cheer on a Tribe win!

LONG STORY SHORT: As we kicked back in the Social Suite — snacking on peanuts (the perfect healthy-living ballpark treat) — Ami and I couldn’t believe how fast the time together went.  In the whirlwind of it all, it made me appreciate my town even more. While I focused on showing Ami spots that are near and dear to my heart, explaining why I loved them so made me appreciate them more. Open your eyes to all the great things you have around you, Cleveland — and not just when your newly found blogger friends make their way to the North Coast!  Many thanks to Ami from Fit With Flash for visiting and Positively Cleveland for making this blogger tour possible!

Check out Ami’s POV of her time in Cleveland: her “Part One” post is up and ready for you to read!

Disclosure: I partnered with Positively Cleveland to host an out-of-town blogger for a two-day healthy living tour. All expenses (meals, activities and transportation costs) were paid for by Positively Cleveland. I also received a swag bag of Cleveland items.  As always, thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. 

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