Girl’s Night Out at Olive Garden

What hard-working woman doesn’t need a night out with the girls?

We all need the occasional break from our routines to gab, gossip and get together.  It is a sort of release of all the day’s, week’s, month’s troubles and anxieties.  With that in mind, I was so thankful to receive an invitation to Olive Garden’s Tastes Event for my girlfriends and me.  Olive Garden has a well-established record of hospitality, so I looked forward to the evening, knowing that my friends and I would be pampered as we tasted and tested out the new dishes it now offers its guests.  However, we – with our high hopes, could not have imagined the amazing attention we received.

So, as I mentioned we were invited to a tasting event, sampling the new menu that Olive Garden now offers its guests.  I had heard that they had re-vamped the menu, but as with so many other things, I assumed it was media-hype, a ploy to get people into the door.  However, as my friends and I were about to find out, they really have added variety to their menu.

One of the most notable and exciting changes you will notice when you go, is the change to their famous endless salad.  Be not alarmed – there is no change to the dressing, and you have the option to keep it the same way as it always has been. However, if you are up for it, you can add your choice of two salad toppings.  The topping we sampled was one comprised of kale, tomatoes, and mozzarella cheese- also known as a caprese salad. The other one Olive Garden now offers is antipasti Italian meats and cheese salad.  These toppings sit on top of the already delicious salad Olive Garden is known for.  They add a surprising fresh healthy taste to your dinner.  We all enjoyed it very much.

Olive Garden Salad Toppings

Throughout the evening, we sampled eleven – yes you read that right – eleven different courses!  Many were very surprising.  One dish I really enjoyed was the Chicken Meatball sandwich. It is very reminiscent of a sandwich you would order at the Melt, however the one at Olive Garden is just the right portion!

Olive Garden Menu

Olive Garden Menu

Jacquie’s Favorite: Lasagna Fresca with Shrimp


My favorite dish was actually on the healthy menu!  Can you imagine?  The Garlic Rosemary Chicken was divine.  The chicken was juicy and flavorful.   It comes with a side of mashed potatoes.  The whole dish melts in your mouth.  Anyone on a diet, or just wanting to watch what they eat would no doubt be impressed with this selection.

Olive Garden MenuAs I mentioned at the outset, this was a night for me and my girlfriends, Jacquie and Erin to reconnect, and Olive Garden did a great job of facilitating that for us.  The service was unparalleled.  We were catered the whole night by the entire staff at the Middleburgh Heights Olive Garden.  They were a fun group of managers, servers, hostesses, and bartenders and made our night truly special.  The adage, which is as much of a cliché, as it is true – “girls just want to have fun!” proved to be the night’s motto!  We were able to meet and greet new friends in the Cleveland area, be pampered beyond what we expected, and laugh and eat until we couldn’t anymore.

Olive Garden new menuA very hearty thank you!  I hope your next trip to Olive Garden is a fun and tasty as ours was.

Follow us on Instagram to see pictures of this fun event:  Kay at hey.Cleveland and Jacquie at ClevelandKiddos

Also be sure to follow us on Twitter!

To Learn More About Olive Garden’s New Menu Click Here

Olive Garden Menu

Olive Garden Menu


Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest May 3-4, 2014Hey football lovers!!!

The largest gathering ever of Pro Football Hall of Famers available to fans is coming to the I-X Center in Cleveland, Ohio for the first-ever Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest!

This once-in-a-lifetime show of shows will kick off May 3-4.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest will give fans the opportunity of a lifetime to get up close and personal with 100 Hall of Famers including Jim Brown, Joe Namath, Barry Sanders, Lynn Swann, Terry Bradshaw, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp & Franco Harris among unprecedented gathering of 100 Hall of Famers.

There are four separate shows that make-up the two-day Fan Fest (see showtimes below). Each show will feature different Hall of Famers.

Show 1 – Saturday, May 3 from 10 AM to 3 PM
Show 2 – Saturday, May 3 from 4 PM to 9 PM
Show 3 – Sunday, May 4 from 10 AM to 3 PM
Show 4 – Sunday, May 4 from 4 PM to 9 PM
This ultimate fan experience will have more than one million square feet of engaging activities perfect for everyone from the die-hard to the casual football fan.

For more information, check out their website!

I’m also offering BOGO deal on Tickets over on my blog as well as a giveaway for 2 free general admission tickets. Go to to enter!

Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest May 3-4, 2014

To catch all the updates about Fan Fest and connect with other fans, follow @ProFootballHOF onTwitterFacebook and Instagram. Join the conversation using #FanFestHOF. – See more at: Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest 

Disclosure: I was asked by the Cleveland I-X Center to help promote the Pro Football Hall of Fame Fan Fest.  In exchange, I will receive 2 media passes  for myself and 2 general admission tickets to give away. As always, all opinions are 100% my own.

Lunch at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank April 25th!

Spring is here and the Greater Cleveland Foodbank is sponsoring another Food Trucks event on April 25th and June 6, 2014 from 11 am to 2 pm!

Make your lunch plans for next Friday now, and support Harvest for Hunger!

When: 11:00am – 2:00pm

Where: Greater Cleveland Food Bank 15500 S. Waterloo Rd. Clevel, 44110 map

Enjoy an al fresco lunch at the Greater Cleveland Food Bank while supporting Harvest for Hunger and sampling the fare of some of Cleveland’s finest food trucks.

The food trucks will be at the Food Bank on April 25th and June 6th.

A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Harvest for Hunger campaign.

Food Trucks are back April 25th at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank April 25th

Food Trucks are back April 25th at the Greater Cleveland Foodbank April 25th

Cleveland Lake Erie Monsters

The following is a post I wrote today over on Cleveland Kiddos: (Be sure to check out the original post for the giveaway!)

With only 5 games left in the season, it might seem a little late to be talking about Lake Erie Monsters Hockey, but …. there are still 5 games left so really, it’s NOT too late!

The Lake Erie Monsters have been in Cleveland since 2007!  Have you had a chance to go to any games?  If not, here’s a few reasons why you really need to get to the Q and check them out!!

Before the game even begins, there is so much excitement for the whole family as you walk around the concourse!  My kiddos were instantly excited to check out the different FREE activities including photo props, hair and face painting, sign-making, temporary tattoos, interactive games, music and special performances by the Monsters Hockey Girls.  You can also try to find the Monsters mascot Sullivan C. Goal (get it? 😉  and get a picture with him!


Sullivan C. Goal – photo via Lake Erie Monsters

The games themselves are action packed, interactive, and very entertaining!  There’s honestly never a dull moment! We especially like the Mullet Brothers.

The Lake Erie Monsters Mullet Brothers

The Mullet Brothers – photo courtesy of Lake Erie Monsters

Throughout the season, fans can also expect a lineup of special theme nights and exciting giveaways.

You may not think of hockey as being “family friendly”, but the Lake Erie Monsters do an excellent job providing  family entertainment for a really excellent value.

Tickets start at only $10 and they also offer a Monsters Family Value Pack !

Visit the website and find out about other values and fun, such as the KIDS CLUB and Kids Parties!   Also on the website you can find out more about the Monsters Hockey Club to see what kind of perks they provide for members and fans at the game!

My family enjoys the Monsters games a lot and when I contacted them to tell them I wanted to write about them on Cleveland Kiddos, they offered a free family four pack to one of my readers!

Head over to Cleveland Kiddos blog today to enter to win 4 tickets to one of the following games:

  • Thursday, April 10th at 7:00 vs. Utica
  • Friday, April 11th at 7:30 vs. Utica
  • Sunday, April 13th at 5:00 vs. Rochester
  • Tuesday, April 15th at 7:00 vs. Hamilton

Giveaway Ends: Thursday April 3 at Midnight (EST).

I will announce the winner on Cleveland Kiddos on Friday April 4th.

photo courtesy of the Lake Erie Monsters

photo courtesy of the Lake Erie Monsters

For more information or to purchase tickets, log onto You can also purchase tickets by calling 216.420.0000

photo courtesy of Lake Erie Monsters

photo courtesy of Lake Erie Monsters





This really says it all!

“Cleveland has never followed anyone else’s rules, we made our own. That’s because the city where rock was born knows a thing or two about passion, freedom and doing things your way. Sure, there’s been pressure. But under the right conditions, pressure can create diamonds.

So, if you like a bit of grit mixed with sophistication in a place where you can eat bucatini pasta served with beef jerky, dance to world music on the front lawn of a renowned art museum or do yoga in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – and all in a city where we don’t take ourselves too seriously – then come to Cleveland. We’d love to have you join us.

We’ve never been flashy, trendy or perfect. And for that, you’re welcome.”


Visit for more, and check out #ThisisCLE on Twitter and Instagram!

Feeding Cleveland

Last night I had the privilege of attending the 2nd annual Market at the Foodbank to benefit the Harvest for Hunger campaign, thanks to a drawing I won from Bite Buff. ”


My husband and I really enjoyed ourselves at this event as we got to walk around the foodbank enjoying a variety of delicious food and drink from various Cleveland Restaurants.

More importantly though, our eyes were opened to  the hunger problem that faces many in Cleveland and how the Cleveland Foodbank and the Harvest for Hunger Campaign is making a difference.

To be honest, I didn’t know anything about the Cleveland Foodbank before this event. I was even surprised to see I pass it all the time on Rt 2.

The Harvest for Hunger is a “21 county-wide food and funds drive coordinated by the Cleveland Foodbank. For every one dollar raised at this event, the Cleveland Food Bank can provide enough food for four nutritious meals to a local hunger center.”

According to Cleveland Foodbank’s About page, they, in a nutshell, are “an innovative method for confronting the critical issue of hunger in our community… a single clearinghouse that can solicit, collect, sort, and distribute food in a more efficient manner, ensuring improved operations for local charities in the Greater Cleveland area.”

The event was held right at the Foodbank this year. What a great idea! Guests were able to walk around the warehouse and see how this facility is really putting donations to full use in the community’s fight against hunger. I was quite impressed!

The event had a big impact on my husband and I. When you don’t have to worry about where your next meal is coming from, it can be easy to forget that there are many many out there who are not as fortunate. What a great cause this is and what a beautiful facility!  I definitely plan on doing more to help including volunteering.

I was not asked to blog about this event, but I was really moved, and wanted to share it with others, who like myself, may not be very familiar with it. Please, check out the Cleveland Foodbank’s web page to learn more about them and see how you can help make a difference!

Supe’s on!


I thought I would share some of my favorite Cleveland Memories with you on Thursdays in honor of TBT.

Who remembers this red-nosed Cleveland superhero clown, known as SUPERHOST!?


Superhost was created and portrayed by Marty Sullivan, a TV personality at Cleveland’s WUAB Channel 43, from 1969 to 1989.

When I was little, we only had one TV in the house and every weekend, the TV was Dad’s.

We didn’t really like his syndicated show choices which included Star Trek, Kung Fu, and M.A.S.H., but on Saturday afternoons, Dad would pop up a big bowl of popcorn, (seasoning it with butter and Accent, which I think is basically MSG, (yes…. I know! But it tasted amazing!)) and Supe was on!

I also wasn’t a fan of the the monster movies that Superhost showed but I watched anyway so I wouldn’t miss any of the clips and skits, before and after the commercials, of the superhero clown.

For some reason I also thought it was so funny when Superhost’s alter ego was dressed in a suit, seriously reporting the news.

Here are a few articles I found online about this Cleveland icon:

What are your SUPERHOST memories?

Coming Clean about my Cleveland 1/2 Marathon Training

My bio on my Twitter page simply states “Training for the Cleveland half-Marathon May 19, 2013! I like #treadmilltweets.

I don’t remember when I decided I was going to run the half-marathon in Cleveland again this year, but it was at least 4 months ago.

I remember getting so pumped up about my training! I was really going to do it right this year!

I picked up this favorite of mine: 20130321_114028

I posted Coach Jenny’s 14 week “Run Half Marathon” schedule right to my calendar:


And I even created a new Twitter account where, I have to say, I have received a lot of support and encouragement from other Cleveland Marathon runners-to-be! (Thanks!!)

It’s now week 6 of my training and guess how many days I have trained! Well, if you follow me on Twitter, and you guessed TWICE due to the fact that I have only tweeted about two runs in the last 6 weeks, you would be CORRECT!

So now the big question… do I still run the Cleveland half-marathon on May 19th?

I must admit, I was ready to throw in the towel.  Two years ago, I had much better weather for training. This year, we have had so much more snow and I’m really not a fan of the treadmill (the only joy I find on the treadmill is my treadmill tweets!)

After receiving some encouragement from friends and other fellow runners, I have decided that I still really do want to try to run Cleveland! I still have a good 8 weeks left. I was hoping to really train hard for 14 weeks but I am now going to train hard for 8 weeks and set my half-marathon goals accordingly!

Starting today!

Thanks again to everyone for all the positive vibes and here’s hoping for some warmer Cleveland weather real soon!

West Side Market for beginners

The West Side Market

photo from

One of my very favorite things about the city of Cleveland, is our West Side Market.

Like many of you, I was so sad to hear about the recent fire, but very happy to see that efforts are already in place to reopen the market as soon as possible!

I have so many memories going there as a little girl with my mom and sister. It was always a special treat to stop at the candy store and get some of those “candy dots” or a smokie from whichever meat stand my mom shopped at.

candy dots (1)

Today, I live a little distance from the market myself, but it’s still my all-time favorite place to buy groceries and it is so worth the drive!

Shopping at the market is a very different experience than shopping at your typical grocery store. If you have never been to the West Side Market, you really should make it a goal to check it out when they reopen!

In the meantime, here are some things that you should know before you head out!

Tips for West Side Market Newbies:

Hours of operation! The market is NOT open every day! They are open on MONDAY & WEDNESDAY: 7am – 4pm  and FRIDAY & SATURDAY: 7am – 6pm

Friday morning is personally my favorite day to shop, but it’s also the busiest! It’s also very busy right before a holiday! 

Set Up: The market has two main sections; a produce arcade, which is an open air section where you can buy pretty much any produce your heart desires, and the Market House, which is a closed-in area where you can buy everything else.

If you are shopping in the winter, be sure to bundle up!

Every stand is owned by different vendors so you have a lot of choices when it comes to where to buy your food. This can be a little intimidating at first, but after a couple of visits, you will have a pretty good idea of where you prefer to shop. And you will love the variety available! You can find things at the market that are hard to find anywhere else.

Payment: Some stands, especially in the produce arcade, only accept cash, so be sure to have plenty of cash on hand. I also like to carry a notebook to keep track of how much I have spent.

BYOCart:  There are no grocery carts at the market. I have my own cart and I have been stopped so many times  by people asking me where I got it.  I found mine on Ebay.  You can google “shopping carts” and you’ll find a lot to choose from!  If you are only buying a few items, you won’t necessarily need one, but if you are doing big shopping and you don’t want to keep running bags out to your car, I would highly recommend investing in a portable shopping cart!

Take your time!  As you venture through the market, be sure to take your time and browse the stands. Many vendors will have samples for you to try and in the produce arcade, you can count on vendors calling out to you, vying for your attention. This is just part of the experience of shopping at the market. I used to feel bad for not stopping at every vendor  and while you can’t possibly buy from everyone, don’t let that stop you from taking a moment to check them out.

For your first visit or two to the market, plan to spend a couple hours, if you can,  so you can get to know the different vendors and what they offer. Talk to them. Let them know it’s your first visit. Most vendors are very helpful and friendly. They want to establish a relationship with you because they want you to come back to them! They may even give you a first-time visit discount. You will be amazed that by your second trip, many of them will recognize you and even address you by name!

Grab a map and circle your favorite places or jot down notes about what each vendor offers. You will soon get to know where you want to buy certain items and you can use the map to make your future trips more efficient.

Eat it now! You’ve heard it said that you should never shop hungry? Well, that is not a problem at the West Side Market! There are several places where you can stop and get something to drink and/or a bite to eat. Here are some of my favorites:

A word of caution: For the most part, shopping at the West Side Market is a really positive experience. It can be a lot of fun and you will really enjoy getting to know your way around. Always pay attention to how your food is being handled and to what you are being sold. The majority of vendors are very clean and honest, but it still doesn’t hurt to keep your eyes open.

In the produce arcade, tell the vendor that you would like to pick your own produce. On a few rare occasions, I’ve come home with a bag of moldy berries. If you take your time and pick your own produce, however, this should not be an issue.

I, like so many others, really miss the market right now. I hope you will do your part to support this precious Cleveland icon when it is back up and running and hopefully this information will help make that a little easier for you!

Be sure to check out the official West Side Market webpage for more information!

In the meantime, what is your favorite feature of the West Side Market? Do you have any other tips for first time marketers? Do you have any other questions about your first trip to the market? Please share your thoughts and questions in the comments!

Grocery Shopping in Cleveland

I’d like to start today’s post by saying, I HATE GROCERY SHOPPING! I mean, I truly, absolutely detest it!

I would probably enjoy the necessary routine, if the closest grocery stores to me fell into my favorite top 4 Cleveland area grocery stores! But of course, they don’t.

With that being said, here is my list of the 7 places I normally shop for food in Cleveland, in order from my favorite, to not-so favorite.

(Click on the pictures to access each stores website.)

#1 West Side Market




Whole Foods


Trader Joes





Gian tEagle


How does your list compare to mine? Chime in on the comments and let me know your favorite places to shop for food in Cleveland!

Tomorrow I will write more about why I love the West Side Market so much!!!