Surprise! I'm back.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

It's been almost a year to the date since I published my last post on Cleveland's a Plum.

Shall we blame 2016 for my absence? Sure. Let's simply pretend that the election year was so traumatic I couldn't muster up the energy to write. 

Truthfully? Blogging just wasn't a priority. Social media has changed so much since I started this little slice of the internet in 2008, and I found myself experimenting with more real-time platforms like Snapchat and Instagram Stories.

But you know what? I miss blogging, so I'm going to put my $10 clevelandsaplum.com annual domain name renewal fee to good use and write for me.

It's factual that as my day job writing responsibilities increased, my bandwidth for personal writing decreased. And while I've never been comfortable saying, "I'm a writer," it sure does make me happy.

So here we are, nine years, 1,139 posts and a year-long sabbatical from blogging later and I'm back!

And the good news is.... Cleveland is still a Plum, except that now I'm not the only one who thinks so.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have a blog design to update and personal goals to set.

Happy Thursday, kids.


Cardinal Maids Cleveland -- Get Your Time Back!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Happy 2016, kids! I hope your holiday was as wonderful and family filled as mine.

I must admit though, as magical as the month of December was, it was also overwhelmingly busy. Between work travel to San Francisco and extended holiday visits in St. Louis and Canton, I'm surprised I found enough time to decorate our home and purchase and gift wrap presents for over 30 people.

Luckily, there was one thing that helped me find the time to get every thing knocked out and alleviate some of the stress. Cardinal Maids, a Cleveland-based professional cleaning service came to my home on a Friday morning and cleaned it from top to bottom while I was out running errands.  

You guys have no idea what a relief it was to not spend my weekend cleaning bathrooms and mopping floors. You see, I'm not much of a cleaner. I grew up with a cleaning service coming to the house every two weeks. I'm excellent at picking up clutter, not so much at scrubbing tile.


Enter Cardinal Maids.

Without a question the professional cleaners are good at what they do, my house was immaculate, but what I think really differentiates their offering is the easy online ordering process. Simply provide the details of your home, any add-ons that you may want, pick an available date and time and you're done. It's that easy!

If you're in the Cleveland area and looking to recoup some of your precious time, I highly recommend you hire Cardinal Maids - you deserve it.

Confession time, I'm about to share my ulterior motive here, so do you want to know the real best part of this experience? CK loved it so much he has agreed to bring Cardinal Maids back once a month. No joke, he kept mentioning over and over again how nice it was to not have to clean and how he didn't feel guilty relaxing on a Saturday afternoon. He's officially a convert.

Praise the cleaning gods (hands in the air emoji)!!!

Disclosure: I was offered a complimentary house cleaning in exchange for this post. As always, the opinions expressed are my own.


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! http://bit.ly/1Fs72FF

3. Share on Facebook - http://bit.ly/1Fs72FF - 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.