event preview: FLAVOR, a Scene Magazine event (+ an Instagram GIVEAWAY)

From company holiday party to shopping to cookie baking to gift wrapping to family get together to wishing you had more PTO time at the end of at the year to get it all done (no, just me on that last one?!), December can completely get away from a girl very easily! That’s why it’s SOOOOO nice to have something out of the usual holiday to-dos to look forward to. And this week that thing is Scene Magazine‘s FLAVOR food and drink event.

Scene Magazine and I invite you to celebrate the best in Cleveland’s culinary scene at the 2017 edition of FLAVOR this Thursday, December 14th from 7-10PM at Cleveland History Center’s Crawford Auto-Aviation Collection in University Circle. This VIP-style soiree brings together leading Cleveland restaurants and bars allowing Northeast Ohioans to enjoy select beers, wines, cocktails and gourmet bites.

A highlight of FLAVOR every year is the IRON FORK Chef Competition. Chefs will be tasked with making an entree and an accompanying Woodford Reserve cocktail including the Secret Ingredient in both which will be announced right before the competition begins. The dish and cocktail will then be judged by a panel and winner takes home the bragging rights for years to come!

FLAVOR benefits Kids Kicking Cancer, which offers dietary innovation and exercise programs to encourage year-round fitness at home, and activities for children receiving inpatient care at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital.

Tickets are $40 in advance and $55 at door. Tickets include unlimited food samples from more than 30 restaurants, 6 drink tickets for craft cocktails, spirits and wine samples plus access to the Iron Fork competition.

Get your tickets to Scene Magazine’s FLAVOR event HERE

BONUS: Visit my Instagram feed TODAY — I’m giving away two tickets for this Thursday’s FLAVOR event over on IG!

Scene Magazine always so much to offer — visit their website at clevescene.com and follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. We’ll see you Thursday night at this year’s FLAVOR event!

Disclosure: Images c/o Scene Magazine. Scene Magazine invited me to help promote their 2017 FLAVOR event on Thursday, December 14th. In exchange, I will receive two admissions to the 2017 event and two to giveaway. All thoughts and opinions are always my own. 

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My Fourth Annual Holiday Gift Guide

It’s that time of year! For the past three years, I’ve shared my Holiday Gift Guide — here’s 20142015 and 2016. They were such huge hits, so I’ve gathered up Round Number Four for inspiration this December… and just in time for all your holiday shopping! 

GIFTS FOR THE MAMA BEAR (& HER BABY BEAR)

I shared on Monday all the details about Goldfish Swim School’s holiday packages – both include swim lessons plus a retail package to one of our three local Goldfish locations. YES, these are lessons for your kids, but depending on their age, you get to get in the water too. Even if they are old enough to swim on their own, getting to watch them is a blast!

With so many motherly duties to tend to, it’s very easy for a mom to lose their sense of style. Get the mama in your life a gift card or something special from a local boutique. Cleveland’s best include Room Service, Banyan Tree and Evie Lou.

Sparkles will always catch the eye (and heart) of your favorite mama. Bombay Taxi Boutique has a lovely array of earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and more with something for everyone. I have a few simple pieces, but I wear them often!

Most mamas need options on what to do with their little ones, so why not gift the mom in your life a membership/annual pass to a nearby museum, zoo, attraction or place to go? If you’re local to Northeast Ohio, my suggestions: Cedar PointCleveland History Center, Cleveland Zoological Society, Great Lakes Science Center (check out the NASA Glenn Visitor Center items!) and the new Cleveland Children’s Museum.

GIFTS FOR THE FOOD LOVER

The Pope’s Kitchen Hot Sauce Gift Pack is or the array of garnishes available in the online shop. Rumor has it that Clark is working on adding olives to his offerings. Can’t wait for those!

I’m still obsessed with our Vitamix A3500 that I received at a meetup at The Vitamix Store in Solon earlier this year. It’s 110% worth every penny, but if you’re looking for a more price-friendly option, check out their Certified Reconditioned machines. Our original Vitamix was certified reconditioned and it worked like a new model!

Your Secret Santa paring has a sweet tooth, you say? Get them some chocolates from Fear’s ConfectionsLilly Handmade Chocolates or Malley’s. Rather go the baked goods route? Visit Kelsey Elizabeth Cakes, Michael Angelo’s Bakery or Wild Flour Bakery.

GIFTS FOR THE YOGA ENTHUSIAST

A gift certificate to your yogi’s favorite studio or classes never is a bad idea for a present. And as a personal plug: if your loved one is a fan of my Yoga Brunch sessions, I now have 2018 dates listed and can create and send you a gift certificate to give to them. Let me know!

If you can’t make it to the studio, I recommend some much needed tools for a solid home practice: mat, strap and block – Manduka is my favorite brand for all three; and an online class subscription – I like the teachers on YogaGlo.

Sign your favorite yogi up for Universal Architect’s Yoga Inspired Monthly Intention Shirt Club. I shared my thoughts on the program earlier this year — I LOVED it! Rather be one and done? Check out the rest of the shirt designs here.

Unfortunately, your practice can wear you out and even make you sore from time to time. I like to have a topical pain reliever like China Gel or BioFreeze on hand at all times. Makes for an excellent stocking stuffer.

GIFTS FOR THE DOG LOVER — & THEIR DOG

IHeartDogs.com is a phenomenal site that lives by its Dogifesto and gives back to shelters plus raises money to provide service dogs for veterans in need. I was gifted this bracelet – I wear it frequently with my malas – and this hoodie is my mantra for when a lint roller isn’t available.

Dog mom pro tip: splure on a high quality leash. We have a Wilderdog offers climbing rope carabiner leashes that are made and assembled in the USA and are backed by a lifetime warranty. Even with our power-chewer pup, it’s in excellent shape after a year plus of daily dog walks!

Speaking of that power chewer, Frank loves his Kong toys, Nylabones and tennis balls. I’d love your suggestions on other good options for those pups that have to have something to carry/chew at all times!

GIFTS FOR THE CLEVELANDER

A gift certificate for theater tickets makes for an excellent gift that is available from most theaters in the area.  The Bard Card is Great Lakes Theater’s gift card. Playhouse Square offers the buyer to receive a gift card in the mail or via an eCard electronically. Both have great productions going up in 2018!

Emily Roggenburk, local Aerial Photographer + Apparel Designer, has some fun stuff in her holiday shop. I’m in love with this eggnog pullover — you Christmas Ale lovers will agree.

Cuyahoga Collective is a purveyor of goods embracing life on the north coast. The item that caught my eye: the West Side Market centennial print, available in four different designs.

This Cleveland Latitude Longitude Pillow from The Salvage Boutique is an adorable offering that would look perfect in someone’s home. This boutique also offers some great workshops if you’re looking for more of an experiential offering!

CLE Clothing Co. is giving back this holiday season: when a hat, pair of socks or hoodie is purchased from their stores or online, Cleveland Clothing Co. will donate one to a local shelter & non-profit organizations serving those in need. Like a needed an excuse to buy one of their shirts!

Need more CLE inspiration? Check out cleveland.com’s 25 gifts that are perfect for anyone that loves Cleveland.

What fun items is on your holiday gift guide this year??  

Disclosure: Some affiliate links are included (Manduka items, dog toys). All thoughts and opinions are always my own. 

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GIVEAWAY: Goldfish Swim School Holiday Package

It’s no secret that we’re fans of Goldfish Swim School — I shared back in the summer what each of us LOVED about our time in their Saturday morning Mini 1 classes. Some thought we were crazy for starting Brenna in swim lessons at the age of 4 months, but believe it or not, it’s the perfect time to get your child accustomed to the water! Plus pictures like this one is what I lived for all spring long!

Now with locations in Fairview Park, East side (in Warrensville Heights) and its newest Northeast Ohio option in Hudson, Goldfish is well-known among Cleveland families for being a great resource not only for teaching your kids swimming skills, but also in teaching them confidence, accomplishment and pride. And just in time for the holidays, Goldfish is making it easy for you to give the gift of swimming to the children in your life!

c/o Goldfish Swim School

Goldfish Swim School currently offers two different holiday packages perfect for kids ready to have some fun in the water:

  • The Group Lesson Package – $189 (a $270 value): 2 months of group lessons, annual membership fee, Bubbles stuffed animal, Goldfish towel, goggles and 3 family swim passes.
  • The Mini 3 Lesson Package – $239 (a $320 value): 2 months of Mini 3 lessons (appropriate for ages 2-3 years old), annual membership fee, a Bubbles stuffed animal, Goldfish towel, reusable swim diaper and 3 family swim passes.

And as a gift to you, I am partnering with Goldfish Swim School to give away a holiday swim package to one lucky winner here on the blog this week!

TO ENTER: In the comments of this post, tell us which package you’d love to gift to your little one and you’ll be entered to win your choice of either package! Register your comment — plus gain additional entries by liking the Fairview ParkCleveland East Side (Warrensville Heights) and Hudson location Facebook feeds, and following Goldfish Swim School on Instagram and Twitter — on the Rafflecopter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please note: Lesson dates and times at Goldfish Swim School are subject to availability. A winner will be chosen at random using the Rafflecopter widget. Contest ends this Friday 12/8 at 11:59pm. Winner to be selected the morning of Saturday 12/9 and announced on the blog’s Facebook page that day. 

Check out all the great classes and programs Goldfish Swim School has to offer at their website. Stay in touch with their Northeast Ohio locations via:

Thank you Goldfish Swim School for making this giveaway possible! Happy swimming during the holidays to you and yours! 

Disclosure: To help promote their Holiday Gift Packages, Goldfish Swim School will provide a holiday gift package to the winner of this giveaway. My daugher will also receive complimentary swim lessons. All opinions are always 100% my own

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Buy-One-Get-One FREE Yoga Brunch Offer for this Sunday!

I offered a Yoga Brunch Black Friday deal last week, so why not keep the deals coming this Friday?!

I personally invite you to join me this Sunday, December 3rd for our next Yoga Brunch session. As a reminder: I teach a 60-minutes all-levels yoga class at 9:30am every other Sunday at The Cultural Center above Dante Next Door in Cleveland’s Tremont neighborhood.

Your $15 class registration includes a complimentary mimosa or coffee at brunch after.  Too busy to stay for brunch? No worries — just come for class and be on your way after!

Now for today’s deal!…

Sign up for THIS SUNDAY’s class today (Friday 12/1/17) or tomorrow (Saturday 12/2/2017) and you’ll get a buy-one-get-one free offer of one free class in January or February 2018!**

I am so excited to offer this BOGO offer… and even more excited to offering MORE yoga to you in the new year! All you have to do is register for the 12/3 class — no promo code needed. I’ll do all the work for you in getting you registered for your BOGO class too!

Register at the Eventbrite page NOW to save your spot!

Please note: Pre-registration is required either by signing up at the Eventbrite page or emailing me in advance at aliciamhansen@gmail.com. 

** I am currently working on the 2018 Yoga Brunch schedule — that’s coming to the blog very soon so you can save-the-dates! This offer is not applicable with any other offers / discount codes.

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