Five Below Fun for the Family

Thursday, October 29, 2015

I'm going to brag on my step-daughter for a moment here. 

When the kind people of Five Below reached out about a partnership that included a $50 shopping spree for my step-kiddo I couldn't wait to tell her.

She loves shopping at Five Below and points it out to me every time we drive by, so I knew this truly would make her day. Trust me when I tell you, there was quite the high pitch scream of excitement when I gave her the good news!

What I didn't expect was what came out of her mouth next, "Can I give one of the gift cards to another kid shopping in the store? Like a RAKE (Random Act of Kindness)!"

My eyes immediately teared up. Here I am all excited to give HER the opportunity to pick out fun, high quality gear at an amazing price and she's excited to give the opportunity to another kid.

Melt my heart, sweet child, MELT IT.

I didn't want to capture a photo of the family that Maria gave a $10 Five Below gift card, but I smile just thinking about it.

We had so much fun shopping at Five Below. Admittedly, I don't go there often without the kiddo, but after this most recent trip that will change. I'm already thinking about stocking stuffers and gifts for my nieces and nephew.

From collectible Pokemon trading cards and Shopkins to room decor to media accessories to sports there's something for every kid or tween on your list. Plus, kids can go in there and spend their own money because all items are $1 to $5.

Talk about a haul right? A poster, super cool safe, Shopkins, Duct Tape that we used for our Halloween costume, Cleveland Cavaliers cup, neon bouncy ball, Ty plush cat, "#" battery powered light for her room, sunglasses and a hilarious pizza themed t-shirt for CK.

Maria would have brought the whole Five Below store home with her if she could, and to think that she could have had more but decided to make someone else's day makes me very proud to be her step-mom.

Thanks to the great people of She Speaks and Five Below for providing this fun and unique opportunity for my family, it's one we won't soon forget.

Editors note: This is a sponsored post, but as always, opinions are 100% my own.

#MyCLEPhoto + Hilton Cleveland Downtown Getaway

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Interested in a free weekend stay for two in Downtown Cleveland? Who wouldn't be?

The oh-so-close-to-being-completed Hilton Cleveland Downtown is sponsoring a contest to help curate art for the hotel. They're asking Clevelanders to submit photos in and around Cleveland showing their CLE pride in front of their favorite locations and landmarks. Selfies work too!

The final product will be a swanky mural full of submitted photos that will be unveiled when the Hilton opens in Downtown Cleveland in June 2016. 

There are two ways to submit your photos to not only be included in the art, but also to win that fabulous getaway:

1. Upload your photo via the My Cleveland Photo website

2. Use the hashtag #MyCLEPhoto on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Admittedly, I had more fun than anticipated looking through my semi-recent Instagram photos, tagging some of my favorites for inclusion in the mural.

Case in points:

Fun at the inaugural Ohio City Street Festival with Shibani and the kiddo!
Taken from my car on West 25th Street in Ohio City post-morning Harness Cycle spin class. The West Side Market was just about to wake up, guys.

That Corn Maze Life at Mapleside Farms
Scene from one of my bike rides in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park Ohio & Erie Canal Towpath

I mean, these are all #MyCLEPhoto worthy, right?

So what photos will you be adding to the Cleveland Hilton's mural? I bet you have more than you think on your iPhone, add them today and who knows, you just may be the grand prize winner!

Door to Door Organics is the epitome of #joydelivered

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

We order everything else online, so why not order local organic fruits, vegetables and more to be delivered right to your door?

Enter Door to Door Organics.

I've participated in weekly farm buying clubs in the past, Fresh Fork Market is a great Cleveland example, and while I enjoyed my subscription, the lack of flexibility in my weekly order caused me to waste perfectly good food.

Once I got into my weekly Door to Door Organics deliveries, I realized that what I loved most is that on Monday morning I'd sign into my account and meal plan. You can add, subtract and modify your entire order or produce box prior to delivery straight from their website.

Not in the mood for bananas? Simply swap them out for another fruit or vegetable of your choice. Planning on making (spoiler alert) zucchini bread? Make sure you load up on extra zucchini!

It's not just about produce though, one can purchase bread, snacks, dairy, etc. or my family's favorite, Smoking Goose Applewood Smoked Bacon. If it wasn't for Door to Door Organics, we never would have found this brand which is now a household staple. 

Here's an example of a box I received over the summer, those organic chicken thighs went right into my Yiayia's chicken and noodle recipe. I can even order my local favorite Good Greens bars - a win for everyone!

It may still be sunny and warm in Northeast Ohio, but let's not fight fate, fall is officially here, and my brain goes straight to Browns football, apples, pumpkins, Sunday soups and zucchini bread. I just love being in the kitchen this time of year.

So I may have jumped the gun when I made my "famous" zucchini bread a few weeks ago, but the time is now, and I highly recommend you add this, or any of the amazing Door to Door Organics recipes, to your collection.

Zucchini Bread
- 3 cups flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

---- Combine above dry ingredients and put aside in large bowl.

- 1 1/4 cup chopped nuts (I use walnuts, but pecans are good too.)
- 1 cup raisins
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups oil (I use half oil and half applesauce as a substitution.)
- 3 cups grated zucchini (Beautiful, organic and delivered straight to my door!)

---- Beat eggs, vanilla and oil well. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined. Add zucchini, raisins, nuts and mix well. Pour mixture into two greased and floured 9x5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 1/4 hours and ENJOY!

Guys, once you go home delivery you never go back and who better to try than Door to Door Organics. Interested in signing up? Click here to receive $10 off your first order.

Or, wait for it, you can win one of three $50 gift certificates for good food I'm giving away right here on the plum!

To enter, complete one or all of the following:
1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite fall food.

2. Tweet the following. You can tweet once per day, but must leave a comment each time telling me you did so.

I want #joydelivered to my doorstep from @dtdorganics, @clevelandsaplum!

3. Share on Facebook - - leaving a comment on this post telling me you did so.

You have until end of day Tuesday, September 29th to enter - GOOD LUCK!

Disclosure: I was provided a gift certificate from Door to Door in exchange for this brand partnership. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Gardening with Petitti's Garden Center

Monday, August 24, 2015

With this being our first round of seasons at #HalleysCarriage, we had to start from scratch when it came yard maintenance. We have nearly an acre of land that's covered with 100+ year old trees, overgrown bushes and patchy grass coverage in addition to being home to all sorts of wildlife.

It's actually wonderful surroundings, but the elderly woman who lived in our home before us hadn't properly maintained the yard in years, and we've basically spent the entire summer cleaning/digging out our flower beds - a solid first step.

But as we continue to prep for fall planting, I couldn't just leave our yard flowerless for the summer. Enter lots of big, beautiful pots to fill with colorful, hearty flowers.

But what to plant? All my favorite go-to annual flowers were full sun and I have nothing but shade.

Also, I had to think about the deer.

Exhibit A: a friendly, flower eating deer straight chillin' in my backyard.

Deer resistant: a phrase that never crossed my mind until I moved into a home adjacent to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park.

Enter Petitti Garden Center, Northeast Ohio's premier garden center. Their knowledgeable staff walked me aisle by aisle helping me pick out flowers and plants that would be most likely to survive (and thrive) in my new yard.

Admittedly, I didn't listen to all their advice, which is probably why I'm going to need a slightly altered plan for spring 2016, but I'm confident that my yard is going to improve year over year.

An easier portion of our outside to maintain, the front porch, has plenty of sun and from what I can tell thus far, no real deer interference. Bring on the big beautiful pots!

CK and Maria helping me pick out two glazed clay pots for our front porch at Petitti's.

Top left: the day we planted the annual flowers - Penta, Lantana and Bacopa - in our new pots. Top right and bottom: growth progress after a month or so - blooms for days!

While we may not want to admit it, summer is basically over, and I'm already thinking about my fall planting and spring planning -- mums, flower bed prep, weed killing, grass seeding, perennial planting and leaf removal.

There's so much to do! Luckily, Petitti Garden Center, and their nine locations in Northeast Ohio can help. I even already have a date set over Labor Day weekend with my Mom to make a trip to the Avon location for yard prep.

If you plan on doing the same in the upcoming weeks I have a giveaway for you - a $50 gift certificate to Petitti's!

To enter, complete one or all of the following:

1. Leave a comment on this post telling me your favorite flower, tree or bush.

2. Tweet the following (You can tweet once per day, but must leave a new comment each time letting me know you did so.)

Hey, @Petittis - help make my garden grow with a $50 gift card from @clevelandsaplum!

3. Share this post on your Facebook page - - leaving a separate comment letting me know you did so.

You have until end of day Tuesday, September 1st to enter to win - GOOD LUCK!

Editor's note: I've partnered with Petitt's Garden Center to help bring this contest to you. As always, opinions are my own.

It's patio weather in Cleveland!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When it comes to summers in Cleveland, when one has the opportunity to sit on a patio, one sits on a patio.

Alternately, when one has the opportunity to sit on a patio with a Lake Erie view, you run as fast as you can to sit on that patio.

Case in point, Pier W

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, Piew W is one of Cleveland's finest dining establishments. Known for a critically acclaimed seafood menu and a breathtaking view of Downtown Cleveland, every trip I've ever made to the restaurant, whether for brunch or a happy hour on the patio, has been spectacular.

This includes my most recent trip to kick off this summer's patio season..

Friends on the patio!

Hanging out with some of my favorite CLE Bloggers, Allison, Shibani and Alana. Our heads may be covering the Cleveland skyline but I promise it's there!

My love of oysters knows no bounds. I mean, we had our own personal oyster shucker!

Sunset over the lake photo? Check. Here's mine and Alana's dates for the evening, Seanski and Edie hamming it up for the camera - thanks for the photos, Alana! Good times had by all.

Champagne, oysters and sunset aside - another favorite from the Pier W patio menu were the crispy pork wings which I'm still craving to this date.

Thanks again to the fine folks at Pier W for inviting myself and my fellow Cleveland blogger friends to this event - as always though, my opinions are my own.

Happy Tuesday, kids - the sun is shining, so go find a patio!