a good cause

Food & Wine & What I Wore

A few weeks ago, I blogged about Chef's Fantasy, and this past weekend, Alexa and I put on our party clothes and headed over to the Ritz Carlton for our first ever Chef's Fantasy. This annual event raises funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and while I personally don't know anyone fighting this disease, I had the opportunity to listen to some really passionate supporters talk about the impact of this disease, and more importantly the impact of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in extending not only life expectancy but also quality of life for people diagnosed with this disease. I learned that while there is a rigorous disease management regimen, there have been significant advances in treatments for this disease, and each year, researchers find more ways to manage it. Overall, a very hopeful message, and one that made me wish I had followed one of fleeting childhood dreams of being a medical researcher (I was reading a lot of Robin Cook at the time.)

I wore Monique Lhuillier paired with Banana Republic pumps & a Bombay Taxi clutch, because I am nothing if not a good brand ambassador for my own boutique! 

I wore Monique Lhuillier paired with Banana Republic pumps & a Bombay Taxi clutch, because I am nothing if not a good brand ambassador for my own boutique! 

Close up of the Bombay Taxi Boutique bag, available  here  

Close up of the Bombay Taxi Boutique bag, available here 

The worthy cause aside, the event itself was a delightful mouth party! There was a VIP Happy Hour with hors d'oeuvres, more passed hors d'oeuvres at the regular Happy Hour, followed by a five course plated meal paired with wine. Truly, a Chef's Fantasy.

Croque Madame (Britt-Marie Culey from Coquette Patisserie) + Zenato Pinot Grigio. That was a REAL GOLDEN EGG!!!

Croque Madame (Britt-Marie Culey from Coquette Patisserie) + Zenato Pinot Grigio. That was a REAL GOLDEN EGG!!!

Pan-seared scallops (Anthony Romano of Sarita) + 2014 Robert Monday Napa Fume Blanc

Pan-seared scallops (Anthony Romano of Sarita) + 2014 Robert Monday Napa Fume Blanc

Mortadella Brado (Melissa Khoury & Penny Barend - Saucisson) + 2013 Light Horse Pinot Noir

Mortadella Brado (Melissa Khoury & Penny Barend - Saucisson) + 2013 Light Horse Pinot Noir

Smoked Mushroom Tortellini (Andy Dombrowski - Zack Buell Restaurants) + 2011 Chateau D'Argadens Rouge

Smoked Mushroom Tortellini (Andy Dombrowski - Zack Buell Restaurants) + 2011 Chateau D'Argadens Rouge

Pechuga con Pollo (Eric Wiliams - Momocho/Happy Dog/El Carnicero) + 2012 Broquel Malbec. Chef Eric came over to say hello to our table since Alexa knows him! Helps to be friends with an OG Cleveland blogger like Alexa!

Pechuga con Pollo (Eric Wiliams - Momocho/Happy Dog/El Carnicero) + 2012 Broquel Malbec. Chef Eric came over to say hello to our table since Alexa knows him! Helps to be friends with an OG Cleveland blogger like Alexa!

So there was an extensive dessert course by Richard Arnoldi of the Ritz, paired with Mionetto Prosecco Brut NV, and by this time I was very full and mostly focused on the bubbles, which is why I have no more pictures! There was even an after-party, but Alexa and I headed over to Touch Supper Club for hip hop night and to meet up with Nick and a whole host of friends!

Overall, a lovely time at a truly fantastic fundraiser- an experience I would highly recommend, particularly if you know anyone with cystic fibrosis. The research that is funded by events like these is truly making a difference is so many lives!

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to Chef's Fantasy in exchange for helping spread the word about this event. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting this blog so I can continue to create special content to support worthwhile charities around Cleveland!

Event Recap: 3rd Annual All About The Bag

It seems like it was so long ago when I first posted about All About The Bag! The big night was tonight, and if I had to summarize it in two words, I would say SO FUN!! If you recall, Bombay Taxi donated a one-of-a-kind handmade bag and provided goodies for the gift bag, but as a lifestyle/fashion blogger, I was also invited to be a part of the event. 

The event started off at 6 pm, with an open bar and heavy hors d'oeuvres (sliders and asian rice noodle box), which got everyone ready to have a good time (and donate generously) at the charity raffle. They had two categories of tickets: one for items valued at about $350 and under, and the other truly luxury items like a Louis Vuitton bag, and you just dropped your raffle tickets into the basket for the item you wanted. The catch was that you had to be present to claim your item if you won. In any case, the Bombay Taxi bag above was in great company with a hide bag from Haven Style and a beautiful FOUNT tote, in addition to some of the more well-known national retailers like Kate Spade and Michael Kors. There were other options as well: wine, pampering sessions, gym and studio memberships, lululemon - a nice variety for almost every fashion interest.

Yours truly with Sivan, Priya, and Charity (Iheartcleveland.com). Photo credit: Ben Crawford

Yours truly with Sivan, Priya, and Charity (Iheartcleveland.com). Photo credit: Ben Crawford

There was a lot of activity around the raffle items until 8:00 pm, when it was time for the fashion show. The show kicked off with a presentation by Brigade and proceeded to a fun awards presentation for 5 finalists from Virginia Marti College who did a Project Runway type challenge. The winner (my fave) was a fabulous young woman, Devi Crump, who designed a dress from Arizona Iced Tea packaging!

To be honest, the fashion show was the least interesting part of the night: the clothes were a little too casual-- they sent SO many people down the runway in denim- I would have liked to see some variety. (Note to any organizers reading: I volunteer to help curate next year's fashion show-- drop me a line!) Still, it was fun to cheer on our CLEbrities as they walked down the runway. 

With Charity (L) and Jessika (R)

With Charity (L) and Jessika (R)

The raffle winners were announced right after the show, and while I didn't win anything, I did get to see the winner of the Bombay Taxi Bag, who was absolutely delightful, and so excited to win!

Overall, this was a really well executed, fun event that raised some much needed funds to fight hunger in our community! It was an absolute pleasure working with the Committee that put this together, and I'm already looking forward to next year's event! 

 

Disclosure: I was provided with two tickets to attend the event in exchange for promotional help. In addition, Bombay Taxi was a donor (as described in the post). As always, all opinions are 100% my own. 

Rock the CATWALK (And a Giveaway)

One of the things I love MOST about Cleveland is how easy it is to get involved in the community- from volunteering for various organizations or joining a board, or being a part of a community development group-- the opportunities exist for anyone who wants to give back and get involved. If you don't have the time available to commit to something on a regular schedule, there is always the option to give back merely by attending a FABULOUS, FUN event. Rock the CATWALK is exactly one such event.

Hosted by The Women's Leadership Council of United Way of Greater Cleveland, this event is a fashion show, showcasing next season's hottest fashions from local boutiques and designers. Not only that, but the event also includes cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction with the opportunity to bid on items such as a Vitamix (and we all know how much I LURVE mine), A Gibson guitar, 12x$100 gift cards to Cleveland area restaurants, vacation packages to warmer climes, and the list continues…. And just in case this wasn't enough, it is being held at one of my most FAVORITE spots in Cleveland- the Atrium at Cleveland Museum of Art. If you're interested in being a part of this event, here are the details:

When: Thursday May 1, 2014 at 6:30 pm
Where: Cleveland Museum of Art
How: Tickets available here 

If you would like to take a look at some pictures from last year's event attended by over 450 people, you can do so here.

Now for the REALLY fun part. You could win TWO general admission tickets to the event by tweeting the following:
"I want to win tickets to Rock the CATWALK @UnitedWayCLE via @cleshopaholic http://goo.gl/LBt011 #UnitedForFashion" 

You may tweet once a day for additional entries!

Follow @UnitedWayCLE and leave me a comment saying you did so for one additional entry. Please make sure you leave your contact info (email/twitter handle etc) so I can reach you in the event you are picked as the winner.


Seriously, what could be more fun than giving back with fashion?! Good luck to all who enter!!! Contest ends at midnight March 30th, 2014, with the winner announced March 31st, 2014. 

Disclosure: I am receiving a pair of tickets to attend Rock the CATWALK and blog about the event. I have also received a pair of tickets to giveaway to a reader. As always, all opinions are 100% my own! 

Clambake for a Cause

As you know, from time to time, I use my blog to advocate for an organization that is very near and dear to my heart, Secondhand Mutts. I have been a Board Member for Secondhand Mutts since 2011, but have been involved with the rescue as a volunteer essentially since we brought Otto home in 2008. Since that time, Secondhand Mutts has grown tremendously! What I am most proud of as Board Member is that Secondhand Mutts has never shied away from the difficult cases, the overlooked and unwanted dogs.  Ruby was one such story.

Ruby came to Secondhand Mutts blind from diabetes. Through our incredible foster network, we were able to find her a foster home while we assessed her medical issues. Once we found out that her vision-loss was reversible, we decided that we were absolutely going to do everything in our power to restore it! A few weeks ago, Ruby underwent eye surgery, and has now successfully regained vision. In even better news, her foster mom fell so in love that she decided to formally adopt Ruby. That said, Ruby must remain on a daily regimen of insulin and eye drops for the rest of her life. All told, Ruby's rescue cost over $3,500 and she is worth every. singly. penny. I mean, look at this face!




In any case, to defray some of the cost of Ruby's care, and to honor her restored eyesight, Secondhand Mutts is hosting a clambake on October 5th. A single ticket is $45 and includes a clam and chicken dinner, and unlimited beer, wine and soda. Couples can enjoy two tickets for $80! If you're not into clams and just want to drink, you can buy drink-only tickets for $20. To see all the ticket options, and to buy tickets, please go HERE. There will be no tickets sold on site, so these are presale only!

While this is not a dog-friendly event, Ruby will be making a guest appearance to say hello and give thank-you kisses. The clambake is being held at the Pavilion of the West Side Irish American Club which is a covered outdoor facility. So, dress appropriately!!

As a side note, one of my favorite things about clambakes is the opportunity to tap into my outdoor fall wardrobe: skinny jeans, boots, cozy sweater, maybe a puffy vest....

I hope you will attend. Nick and I will definitely be there to support the cause, and I would love to see you in person!! XO

Spin for Strays III and More Secondhand Mutts Events

On April 27th, psycle played host to the Third Annual Spin for Strays to benefit Secondhand Mutts! This was, by far, the most successful Spin for Strays yet-- we sweated, we had fun, and we raised over $1,000 to benefit the pups!! None of this could have been possible without the support of dynamic duo Jenn and Scott of pscyle, and all the hardworking, generous and supportive psyclists who rode that day!

After 60 minutes of sweat, we were joined for cuddles by Secondhand Mutts Splotch and Muddy while the humans enjoyed some well-earned adult beverages.



Brooke (teaches Wednesday and Saturday), Kyle, and Alana


So sweaty! Alana, Colleen and Jenn C (teaches Sunday)


Back: Brooke, Kyle, Jenn, Jenn C, Scott
Front: Splotch, Muddy, Alana & Colleen


Best news of all, both pups, Splotch and Muddy have subsequently been adopted!!



Meghan getting kisses from Muddy


A very excited Splotch

If you're bummed that you missed this great event, there's no need to worry!

On Wednesday June 12th, Around the Corner in Lakewood plays host to yet another fun Secondhand Mutts event. This event is targeted at dog loving singles, and even though there will be no dogs at this event, it may be the perfect opportunity to make a new, non-furry friend. The event runs from 6:00 pm- 8:00 pm, and tickets are $20 in advance ($25 at the door). Each ticket gets you light appetizers, beer, and the opportunity to mingle with other singles in a very low pressure, easy going atmosphere. We will have some conversation starters if you get tongue tied, and of course, you can always just ask the person you fancy about their dog! Advance tickets are available right here. While I will not be participating as a single (duh) in the event, I will be there helping coordinate, so I hope to see you there!!!

NOTE: THE 6/12/13 EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED.