Friday, March 23, 2018

Win Tickets and Embrace Curiosity at CIFF42

Every spring, Cleveland is home to the Cleveland International Film Fest. Film lovers from all around gather at Tower City to be a part of one of the best festivals in the country. I look forward to this like a kid waiting for Santa Claus. The energy at the Film Fest is incredible - once you attend, you'll be hooked for sure!

This year the theme is Embrace Curiosity. So if you're curious what all the buzz is about, I'm going to give you some of my top picks AND give you the opportunity to win a pair of vouchers.

There is truly a film for everyone! 72 countries are represented and the films range from thought provoking documentaries and comedies, LGBTQ and local interest, to tear jerkers and animated shorts. If you are worried about subtitles, there are plenty of films without them. 

Here are three feel-good films that I am most excited about:

Tripped Up by Cleveland's own Laura Watilo Blake.
Tripped up is a fast-paced, action-packed documentary that follows Cleveland native Steve Belkin on a recent trek, giving viewers an inside look at all the exciting surprises that come with the Competitours experience. Inspired by a global scavenger hunt he participated in, he founded Competitours in 2009. The unconventional travel agency offers customers an opportunity that mirrors such reality shows as The Amazing Race. 

Anna has come to the tiny village of Puglia, Italy to fulfill her mother’s wish of scattering her ashes there. Suddenly Anna is laying in a hospital and facing possible murder charges. With the help of some villagers very eager to tell the story in their own unique way, the winding tale of Anna’s past is spun for the local police commissioner. Tulipani is the saga of Anna’s parentage, recounted with the magic of myth. It is a tale of heroes and villains, triumph and tragedy. 

Who doesn't love Mr. Rogers? This film looks back on the legacy of Fred Rogers, focusing on his radically kind ideas. While the nation changed around him, Fred Rogers stood firm in his beliefs about the importance of protecting childhood.

I bet you are curious about what other films will be at the CIFF. You can learn morebecome a member and purchase tickets.  

And you can win a pair of vouchers so you can experience CIFF42 for yourself or with a friend. Enter below using the Rafflecopter. Giveaway ends at midnight on Friday 3/30. You must provide a valid email address. Winner has 24 hours to claim the prize. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway 

** Disclaimer: I have been a CIFF member for over 10 years and currently work at the awesome firm that created their website. In addition to purchasing my own membership and tickets, I was also given vouchers for my own use as well as to give away. As always, all opinions are my own. **

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

One Day Vitamix Sale - 3/6 Today Only

If you've seen me posting about my Vitamix and have always wanted to get one, now is your chance.

Head to Amazon for a one day sale on the Vitamix 5200. Normally priced at $399.95, it's on sale for $298.94! That's $100 off and includes free shipping

Why do I love my Vitamix so much?

  • It makes the smoothest smoothies. And sauces. And soups.
  • Speaking of soups, the Vitamix actually cooks the soups while blending.
  • Homemade lemon curd is a breeze! So much tastier and cheaper.
  • Nut butters - fresh is better than store bought, plus you control the ingredients.
  • Ice cream in minutes - with no bulky container that you have to store in the freezer.
  • Did I mention margaritas? Frozen cocktails whip up in seconds with no chunks of ice. 
  • Homemade almond milk will make you swoon. Seriously - it's sooo good!
  • Clean up takes 1 minute - and you don't have to disassemble anything to do it. 
  • 10 year warranty
Head over to Amazon to order one for yourself!
Image from Vitamix

You can even make your own flours, chop ingredients, grind coffee, make baby food and more. Find out more at Vitamix. While it sounds like a lot of money for a blender, it actually will end up saving you money and making your life a whole lot easier.

They make great wedding gifts too so if someone you know is tying the knot this year, grab it now while it's one sale.

Made in the USA, the Vitamix is the very best blender you can buy. It's warranty and customer service are exceptional. Choosing a Vitamix over a blender made by a competitor helps you keep jobs right here in NE Ohio. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Film Fest Fan Package at The Ritz

The 42nd Cleveland International Film Festival is right around the corner. Starting on April 4th, downtown Cleveland will be filled with film lovers from around the world.
Photo Credit
One of the very best places to stay while you are attending the Film Fest is the Ritz-Carlton hotel downtown Cleveland. It's super convenient location attached to Tower City means you don't have to venture out into the weather. The hotel has always been beautiful, but thanks to new renovations it's better than ever.

For the ultimate VIP movie-going experience, The Ritz-Carlton Film Fest Fan Package is priced from $389 USD per night and is valid between April 4 and April 15, 2018, based on availability.

The package includes:
  • Deluxe overnight accommodations
  • Two film festival vouchers redeemable for two tickets at the CIFF box office
  • Film-themed amenity
  • CIFF 42 poster and program
  • High-speed in-room Internet access
  • Hotel valet parking
Film aficionados can enjoy event-themed menus and cocktails at The Ritz-Carlton's new TURN Bar + Restaurant. Throughout the film fest, TURN will present an optional express dining menu “Embrace Your Curiosity”  which offers local and international comfort foods that are perfect for those in a rush to get to screenings. 

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Cleveland's Finest Hors d'Oeuvre Contest Giveaway!

If you've been following this blog, you know how much I love Our Lady of the Wayside. They have been enriching the lives of individuals who have developmental disabilities and intellectual challenges for fifty years! 

Their events are always incredibly fun and delicious. They asked me to help them promote the Cleveland's Finest Hors d'Oeuvre Contest and giveaway two tickets to one of my readers. This is an event you don't want to miss!
Cleveland's Finest Hors d'Oeuvre Contest is an annual fundraiser featuring some of CLE's best chefs trying to wow you with their delicious nibbles. Sample and vote for your favorites from chefs at local gems such as Corleone's, Melt, Momocho, Tartine, Progressive Field, Zack Bruell Events and more.

WHEN:        Thursday, February 22, 2018  6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.      
WHERE:      Progressive Field Terrace Club 
TICKETS:   $80, includes two floors of appetizers, wine, beer samplings from Saucy Brew Works, a silent auction and music by Nate Jones & Jessica Shetler and Browning Avenue Jazz. 

Purchase your tickets online here. Your support helps Our Lady of the Wayside provide residential, transportation and Pathways Day Program services for over 900 children and adults with developmental disabilities. Last year this event raised $50,000! 
You can also win a pair of tickets here! Enter using the Rafflecopter below. You can also head over to Instagram for a bonus entry. Contest ends Saturday. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Some of the 2017 deliciousness

** Disclosure: I was given two tickets in exhange for promoting this event,
as well as two tickets to give away. As always, all thoughts are my own. **

Friday, February 2, 2018

5 Things Friday

1. Last Friday we visited on of my favorite off-the-radar spots. I'm almost temped to keep it to myself but I don't want to be selfish. The London Pickleworks has a goofy name and is in hard to find spot, but it's been around forever. The McPickle is a Must Do for sure. It's a much tastier version of a Big Mac and it really hits the spot. I discovered a new favorite - The Hot Pickle. It's a big dill pickle sliced into rounds and served with jalepenos and Ritz crackers. I know it sounds weird, but it's SO good. And it's only $1.75. Deal alert!
2. Both Buffy and I got our hair done. I'm so thankful that my groomer is so sweet because as Buffy gets older, she is SO bad when it comes to grooming. I give her a bath at home to reduce the stress on all of us. The joys of having a senior pet. But doesn't she look CUTE?

Yes, she is way cuter than me!
3. We went to Masthead's One Year Anniversary Can Release Party. Their pizza is soooo good!!! My favorite beer was the Barrel Aged Tiramisu Underverse - fantastic!
4. Sunday I had tea at Coquette Patisserie with The Mexitalian. The food was gorgeous and delicious! It wasn't as elaborate as tea at The Ritz or other similar places but we had a great afternoon catching up.
5. Feeling nostalgic thanks to a visit at Abuelo's - this is where Mark and I went on our 2nd date so it will always hold a spot in my heart. Happy to report it's as delicious as always! They are having a Fajitas for Two Valentine's Deal that you can take advantage of 2/8 - 2/14.

And two more because this week was that good!

6. Celebrating my dear friend Kerry's 50th birthday with tons of appetizers and amazing homemade cookies. She even had a hot chocolate bar. If you're going to turn 50, you might as well do it in style!
7. And lucky #7 - we got our plane tickets for a trip to California this summer. We're heading to the LA are to celebrate Mark's cousin's 70th birthday and we can't wait! We'll be visiting some new wineries, sightseeing and exploring in addition to attending the huge bash.

Hope you had a great week! TGIF!

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Olmsted Falls Sunoco Gas Station Hummus

Hummus is tasty and healthy, but it doesn't normally create a buzz in the foodie world. That is until some folks discovered a average looking Sunoco gas station in Olmsted Falls that happens to have a delicious surprise inside. A regular looking gas station on the outside. An amazing hummus purveyor on the inside. This is not your average gas station!
Head to the back of the store and you'll see a deli-type case with your typical lunch meats and cheeses. But the star of the show is the little containers on the top shelf.
The hummus is homemade by the owner's Mom aka MamaMary and you can really taste the love that she puts into every batch. The freshness and texture can't be beat. They offer really interesting flavors that will change your opinions of this Mediterranean treat. 
From top left: jalapeño, plain, pomegranate, and bacon (beef)

Pomegranate, dill pickle, jalapeño and kalamata are my favorites. A really delicious baba ganoush is also available sometimes. But whatever flavors you choose, make sure you get the hot pita that is dusted with za'tar seasoning.
While homemade hummus is definitely the star of the show, they also make delicious sandwiches and gyros.
We decided to try the Philly Steak Sandwich and a gyro. The Philly Steak was HUGE and could easily be shared. The gyro was demolished before a photo could be taken. It was also very big and tasty.
I love stuffed grape leaves so I had to try some of those too. They were vegetarian, fresh and a great buy. My only regret was not getting more.
I also noticed some mujadara in the case and decided to try that too. It was good, but nothing special. I really missed the onions on top.
Pro Tip: If you need to bring something to a party, grab and assortment of hummus and pita. You will definitely be asked back.
Even if you aren't someone who normally gets prepared food at a gas station, you definitely want to take the plunge and try this place. If you want to check to see what they have available before you make the trip, call ahead. Everything is fresh and they sell out regularly.

Olmsted Falls Sunoco
9796 Columbia Road
Olmsted Falls, OH 44138
(440) 235-0351

Read more

Friday, January 26, 2018

5 Things Friday

Here are five little things that made me happy this week:

1. A double date with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law at 750ml Wine Bar in Brecksville. I love this place because you can choose a bottle of wine from the retail shop on the 1st floor, pay a corkage fee, and enjoy it upstairs next to the fireplace. We tried a Kosher cabernet from Israel for the first time - and it was great!

They also have wines by the glass and a solid beer selection. They have great eats too. They have a week day happy hour and fun events. Check out the Master Somm Taste-Off Feb. 6 from 6pm- 8:30.
kosher wine, wine, Carmel Winery, wine from Israel
2. Making roasted peanuts for the first time. So easy and so good! Why have I never tried this before? Hot fresh roasted peanuts > regular peanuts in the shell. Get some raw peanuts and roast them on a rimmed baking sheet at 350 for about 20 minutes. This would be a perfect snack for a Super Bowl party!

recipe, peanuts, roasted peanuts, what to do with raw peanuts
3. Celebrating the birthdays of my two nieces. With their birthdays just weeks apart, they had a combined party for double the fun.
my niece Kerra, birthday cake, cute pigtails, three year old girlbirthday cake, my niece Mira, 5 year old girl, birthday party
4. Receiving free wine in the mail. Mancan sent me a sampler pack of their canned wines to try out. I'll be sharing details in a post soon.

Mancan, canned wine, wine in a can, Ohio company, California grapes
5. Attending Red and White on Thursday Night - the annual fundraiser for the Arthritis Foundation. Here's a photo to whet your appetite. Stay tuned for more!
porky belly, watermelon, food on a stick, party food, #AkronRedWhite

Have a great weekend and be sure to have some fun!