Showing posts with label Cleveland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cleveland. Show all posts

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Vacation Prep & a Giveaway: Turning the Pickle into a fish


Our newish status as a family of four is being christened this summer during our first legit family vacation. We’re headed to the beach with five other families for what I’m calling Real World – Family Style.

Our home-away-from-home sports both an oceanfront view and a pool, so Phil and I have been talking for a while about getting the Pickle acclimated to the water with swim lessons. However, whenever it came time to actually investigate options, I started to flashback to my terror memories of my swim lessons when I was a toddler and how terrified I was of Mr. J and the pool at the Y (yes, I still remember his name and face!).

Then Goldfish Swim School invited me to try lessons, which are designed to help eliminate the anxiety that often accompanies swim lessons by providing small class sizes, year-round curriculum and warm-water, four-foot-deep pools. We tried a month of Junior 1 lessons for Dylan for free in May and signed up for continued classes since we all liked it so much! 

D loves to do his big splash!
Dylan was a little shy and tearful at the beginning of his first class so I loved that another instructor came to his lane to help him one-on-one until he became more comfortable, which didn’t take long. 

Since we’ve been going to Goldfish, D regularly asks when it’s time for swim class – he really looks forward to it! And, I’ll confess that a few times I’ve pulled out the “Do I have to call Mr. Sean and tell him about your behavior?!” in desperate times, which has always worked (Santa who?).

As a family, we haven’t formally investigated other swim class options, but everyone who has told me that their kid(s) go to Goldfish, has had great things to say. Here’s what we like about the classes and the facility:

·         The 4-to-1 student-to-instructor ratio and 30-minute length have always felt right
·         The instructors challenge the kids to improve their skills
·         We don’t have to be in the water during the class (woo hoo)
·         Close-up, glass-enclosed pool viewing area
·         Super warm water and air temperature inside the pool
·         Spacious and plentiful private changing rooms
·         Shower area right next to the pool

The alligator float is always a favorite
In addition to weekly classes, Goldfish also offers Jump Start Clinics, which are five days of consecutive swim lessons that help to get kids acclimated to the water before vacation. We thought about that option, but I didn’t think I could commit to that based on my work schedule.

Goldfish is located in Warrensville Heights on Richmond Road. One thing to note is that traffic on 271 S and Richmond is often hectic during our commute on weekday evenings. If you’re coming from the East Side, I highly recommend taking Green to Emery to Richmond – we’ve found that to be our quickest route.

Free Goldfish Swim Birthday Party Giveaway ($450 value)
The friendly folks at Goldfish are offering one free swim birthday party (a $450 value) to one lucky reader of Postcards from Christina! Invite up to 24 kids for a fantastically fun two-hour party, which includes use of the pool and party area at the Warrensville Heights location, decorations, cupcakes, drinks, invitation and more. Check out the full deets here.

Contest details: Ends 7/15/13 at 12:01 a.m.

Disclosure: I was gifted a month’s worth of lessons. All opinions are my own.

UPDATE: Due to an issue with Rafflecopter, below is an updated way to enter:



  1. Leave me a comment here (on this blog) telling me why you’d like to win
  2. Tweet the following “Win a birthday party at #GoldfishSwimCLE http://tinyurl.com/mkuunpq (then leave a separate comment on this blog letting me know you tweeted)
  3. Post a link of this blog post to your Facebook wall (then leave a separate comment on this blog letting me know you posted this to your Facebook wall)
You can enter (each of these ways) once a day until the giveaway ends. This giveaway is open to U.S residents only and all entries must have a valid email address (this is how I will contact the winner).  Once a winner has been chosen (via random.org), the winner has 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be randomly selected. 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I love Hodges' tots so much I flew out of CAK and didn't complain

OK so the second part of that statement is a lie. I totes bitched about my 6 a.m. flight out of CAK last week. I'm still recovering, which is why this post is so late (ba da bing!).

I accepted an invite to a blogger preview dinner to Hodges before planning another trip to NYC, which Phil was super excited to attend. If you know my hubs, you know that super excited is not a state he's in often, so I could not bear to disappoint him and took a super early flight out of CAK to make a meeting since I couldn't fly out Wednesday night.

OMG. Even though I stayed at a hotel near the airport the night before, it's not really fair for anyone to be around a six-month prego lady who had to get up before 5 a.m. But enough complaining, and onto the food!

I cannot be more excited to be working so close to Hodges! Chris knows his potatoes, of course (TOTS!), and I've loved the food I've sampled. The hangar steak entrĂ©e is a winner for both lunch and dinner, and the French onion ravioli is a unique dish worth trying. Here are so picked from the two meals I've had so far:

Baked potato tots

Pork and beans app
Scallop with English peas from the Chef's Garden

French onion ravioli (lunch portion)

Cool check presentation
I'm supposed to go for lunch tomorrow, and it will be my third visit in just over a week. Yay April!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Celebrating 4 years of travel blogging at Nobu

Pic: courtesy rodrigues.se

I'm celebrating my four-year blogging anniversary today!

Since I was in NYC again for work, I marked the occasion with a fantastic dinner at Nobu last night. If you remember (What? You don't remember where I ate during my trip four years ago?), I went to Nobu in London - the trip that sparked this whole blog. Like in London, I dined at Nobu in Tribeca alone, but this time by choice instead of being stood up by a reporter. :)

Since my dinner was fairly late and I wasn't that hungry, I noshed on small plates: rock shrimp, a veggie roll (no awesome sushi since I'm pregs) and life-changing veggie tempura. I tried avocado (OMG), sweet potato and pumpkin. (For a Cleveland veggie tempura experience, try the broccoli tempura app at XYZ Tavern in Gordon Square.)

I checked for rezzies earlier this week and since none were available for 29 days (!), I sat at the bar, which was actually a great spot since I got to watch all of the sushi roll prep.

So, after four years about writing about my travel adventures, what observations can I share? Here are my top 5:

  1. Even after two trips to Asia, I'm still clumsy with chopsticks
  2. When in a new city/country, if you're polite and make an effort to assimilate, locals will help you
  3. I'm so fortunate to be able to travel because of the jobs I've had, which make for low-risk and low-cost trips
  4. Having the means to travel, makes me appreciate being based in Cleveland, which is a wonderful place to live
  5. Since I've become a mom, it's important to me to instill a love of travel and culture curiosity in my kids
On that last note, it's funny -- after a trip we're planning for April, Dylan will have been in five states before he turns two. I still have more than half of all of the states to visit! And, I've still not been to Mexico. Once kid #2 comes along (Kabongo), travel will become more interesting (and expensive), but I'm optimistic!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

How to fake drink when you’re pregs & fool your co-workers – my 5 best tips


During my first pregnancy, when I was hyper-sensitive about being outed before I was ready, I masterminded all kinds of ways to fake drink during social events with co-workers and friends. This time around, I haven’t had to rely on any of those acquired skills, and I kinda miss the challenge.

My favorite story, which I haven’t even told yet to my dear friends whom I fooled (SURPRISE Michelle, Allison and Alexa!), was when I was meeting up with some friends at a restaurant in Tremont that I had been looking forward to trying, Ty Fun.

When I arrived, I realized in a panic that one of my best tricks up till that time (tip #3: pay off the bartender) was dead in the water. If you haven’t been to Ty Fun, it’s one giant room and my friends had already been seated with a clear view of me when I walked in. What to do?!!! I said hello, left my coat on my chair and said I needed to visit the ladies’ room.

From my bathroom stall, I Googled the restaurant’s phone number, called them up and asked if whoever was assigned as our server would bring me an alcohol-free version of whatever drink I asked for. The ridiculous, yet effective, convo went something like this.

Restaurant: “So what table are you at?”

Me: “My three friends are seated in the back. I have red hair.”

Restaurant: “I don’t see you.”

Me: “I know. I’m calling you from the bathroom.”

Restaurant: “Why are you calling from the bathroom?”

Me: “Because I don’t want my friends to know I’m pregnant so I can’t actually order a non-alcoholic drink. Can you please help me?!”

Restaurant: “Uh, okay.”

Of course all of my friends were drinking red wine, which is hard to fake (I have faked white before though), so I ordered the house mixed drink special…WHICH CAME OUT WITH A GIANT PINEAPPLY FRUIT ACCOUTREMENT. I don’t know how I didn’t get outed right then and there because it looked so ridiculous, but I made it!

So, without further adieu, here are my top five tips:

1. Be selective with outings – yes, it sucks to be a homebody before you even birth your little ball and chain…errr bundle of joy, but pick your battles.

2. Arrive with a co-conspirator – if you can, find a friend you can trust who can be your wingman in case your plan goes to hell.

3. Go early – if you’re on your own, get there first so you can order a non-alcoholic drink that looks legit.

4. Make friends/pay off your server/bartender – briefly explain your situation and ask them to not make a big deal about bringing you your fake drink. Tip big.

5. White wine or mixed drinks are the easiest to fake – if a friend wants to try yours, say you’re not feeling well and don’t want to give them germs.

BONUS: If you’re put on the spot, order a drink, take a sip and then fake a headache. Someone did this to me, and it totally fooled me.

What has worked for you guys? Any massive fails?