charity

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!

Fashion to Fight Hunger

I have a VERY exciting announcement: for the very FIRST time EVER, Bombay Taxi will participating in a charity auction to raise much needed funds to fight hunger in Northeast Ohio. 

Wait, what?! Let me back up a bit… two years ago, a team of committed volunteers came up with the concept of ALL ABOUT THE BAG, using fashion to fight hunger. In its first year, the event raised $60,000, upping the stakes to $75,000 in year two. In this, its third year, the team is seeking to raise $100,000 in what will hopefully be yet another sold out event. When I heard about this admirable mission, naturally I wanted to get involved. So this year, for the first time ever, Bombay Taxi is donating a unique, handmade bag that will be auctioned off to raise money towards the cause. I won't say a whole lot about it (yet), except to say that it is 100% sparkly, and 100% fabulous. In addition to a handbag auction, there will be a raffle by Alson Jewelers, a fashion show by Beachwood Place and Brigade, and many more exhibits and fun surprises. 

If you'd like to get involved (and bid on some amazing bags), you too can buy tickets to attend the event on Thursday, February 25th, 2016 at Landerhaven. Or, even better, you can WIN A PAIR OF TICKETS by leaving me a comment and letting me know of your dream fashion item (please also make sure you leave me your email address so I can reach you.) Mine is the Cartier LOVE bracelet, in case you were wondering. Good luck to all who enter, and I look forward to seeing your comments.

 

Disclaimer: My boutique, Bombay Taxi, is providing a bag for auction. I received two general admission tickets in exchange for helping spread the word about this event, as well as two general admission tickets for this giveaway. Winners must reside in the continental U.S. and must be able to make their own way to the event. Sweepstakes ends at 11:59 pm EST on Tuesday, February 2, 2016. One winner will be announced on Wednesday February 3rd. No purchase necessary. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. To learn more about the event, please visit the event website here

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! 

Don't Be a Square...

2014 has been an incredibly exciting year for me so far: if you follow me on twitter, then you know that this is my last week doing my day job for a while. Starting Monday, I'm taking a six month sabbatical from my normal work to help run the intern program for my employer. I cannot even describe how  excited I am to have to this opportunity-- its going to be a complete 180 from what I'm doing now, and an incredible way to develop some new skills! 

But if you thought that was the only change I've had this year, then you would be wrong. In early February, I joined the Board of the very newly founded Young Professionals group of The Cleveland Orchestra- The Circle

The premise of The Circle is very simple: For $15/month ($20 for 2 people), your membership includes tickets to 6 concerts a year (one every other month). On the non-concert months, you will have a unique opportunity to network or volunteer and generally get to know other young professionals in the area. While the 6 concerts a year are intriguing and appealing on their own, its the non-concert months that offer a really unique experience.

February was a non-concert month, and our unique experience was a behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming presentation of the opera The Cunning Little Vixen. Yeah, you read that right--- THE OPERA IS BEING PRESENTED IN CLEVELAND IN MAY!!! The evening began with a short discussion led my Mark Williams, Director of Artistic Planning at the Orchestra. Mark told the story of how one night at a bar, he and director Yval Sharon  came up with the idea to bring The Cunning Little Vixen to Cleveland. Performed in Czech, The Cunning Little Vixen is a challenging, yet quick (only 90 minutes!) piece, the examines the transience of nature. 



Mark Williams (far right), Yval Sharon (immediately to his left) and the rest of The Cunning Little Vixen conceptual team. 


Then came an interesting piece of news--- this will not be a typical operatic presentation-- this one will be a multimedia presentation featuring live music and singing, video AND animation!! And THEN we got a peek of what that would look like, and I pretty much died and went to heaven.

Here are some screen shots from the presentation. The pictures don't really do it justice, but the best way I can describe it is this: the end result with have live performers of course, but the set itself will be animated and presented across three massive video screens, creating a panoramic video. The animation is a combination of digital animation and hand-drawing, creating a semi-3D experience. Its sorta like 80s Saturday morning cartoons + Pixar + live musical. And yes, there will be subtitles. 



The presentation and sneak peek was then following by drinks + snacks, and an opportunity to actually meet and talk to the director, animators and artists, who are incidentally really young, impossibly cool, interesting people. One of the artist/animators is actually going to have a show on adult swim in the next few months! I also spent some time chatting with some of the young musicians, who are incidentally all also members of The Circle and frequent its events! Who knew the Orchestra was this fun and approachable?!?!

Needless to say, I am SUPER excited to see this presentation live in May--- did I mention that TICKETS ARE INCLUDED WITH THE CIRCLE MEMBERSHIP?!?!?!? Some of the upcoming events include a Fridays@7 concert on March 7th, and a behind-the-scenes tour of Severance Hall on April 8th! Additional details on the upcoming events available here and while there's still work to be done on online membership, you can join (you can do a 6 month trial membership) The Circle by calling 216-231-1111. 

So if you're looking to experience something unique in Cleveland, or are looking to expand your current circle of friends and meet other interesting young professionals with similar interests, I hope you will consider joining The Circle. 

Disclosure: I am a paying member of The Circle. I am also a Board Member for The Circle. All opinions, as always, 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