NOOMA: a #CLE success story (& GIVEAWAY)

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing information about this product, I received a NOOMA care package for myself and one to give away to a reader. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

Over a year ago, two brothers kindly agreed to meet me at my office. They arrived with big smiles, bright eyes and a travel cooler filled with their brand new, still-in-the-product-testing-phase product, NOOMA.

I would then start to run into Brandon and Jarred Smith EVERYWHERE:

…Within the week at Evolution Yoga where I had just started teaching yoga.

…Then I hosted them for a sweaty Saturday morning flow at my yoga class that December.

…Then I would see them at pretty much every yoga event, CrossFit competition, spinning studio, Heinen’s grocery store… I wondered if they had cloned themselves!

And everywhere they went, they told their story (from their website): 

“Our focus has always been on putting together a replenishing electrolyte blend without the acid or preservatives. We made this happen in a great tasting formula with only quality ingredients and cut out the extra sugar and calories. NOOMA is electrolyte hydration you can trust to feel your best.”

It’s been fun to watch them grow since nearly “day one”. To see the product package designs, to taste test the flavors (Chocolate Mint is still my favorite, but that Blueberry Peach is a super close second in my book), to the many chats we’ve had over the past year — the Smith brothers and their team have worked their tails off to find success. Not too shocking for an Cleveland born company, right?!

A few months ago, they sent me a care package including plenty of their product, some recipe ideas and this uber cute, soft tee:

…and then after a recent meeting spoiled me with a few extra cases:

Seriously. SO much generosity. Their kindness knows no end!

And in this week of thanks, the NOOMA team and I want to thank YOU for supporting Cleveland businesses like theirs with a GIVEAWAY of THREE cases of NOOMA, plus one of those above pictured bags to a lucky PIP reader! Enter at the Rafflecopter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

You have until this Thursday, November 27th at 12:00AM EST to enter. The winner will be announced later on Thanksgiving morning. Yogis, runners, CrossFitters and other fitness fanatics near and far are welcome to enter this giveaway!  Enter to win today!

Disclosure: In exchange for sharing information about this product, I received a NOOMA care package for myself and one to give away to a reader. My thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.

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event recap: 2014 Fabulous Food Show (AKA that time I met Tyler Florence)

Disclosure: In return for offering a giveaway for tickets to the 2014 Fabulous Food Show, I received  media passes to attend the show at the IX Center. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Every year when the Fabulous Food Show rolls around, I get giddy. After  attending three of the previous eight years of the event put on by the IX Center, my favorite parts of the show are the opportunities to learn more about various techniques in the kitchen.

But when this year’s celebrity chef line up was announced, my heart skipped a beat: my chef crush — Chef Tyler Florence — was coming back to Cleveland to present on the show’s main stage. I saved the date of Sunday, November 16th on my Google Calendar and waited patiently for this year’s event to arrive. Not only would my poor husband have to deal with me freaking out about meeting another man, it was on a Browns Sunday game day. God bless my redhead.

Hans and I started our visit to the show Sunday morning with the VIP Experience to meet Chef Florence. Go big or go home, right? He has a new cookbook out — Inside the Test Kitchen: 120 New Recipes, Perfected — which is filled with new techniques for the kitchen to maximize efficiency and flavor.  Less time and energy for a better product? This is my kind of thinking.

Chef walked around to the tables filled with Fabulous Food Show attendees eager to meet him — snapping photos and signing cookbooks along the way. Before I knew it, he  walked over to our group — which included Melanie from Melanie Makes and her two daughters — to chat about  food, but also everyone’s favorite Disney movie, Frozen. 

tyler florence fab food show

Chef was super cool — exactly as he comes off in all of the Food Network shows he’s been a part of. He was super gracious to chat with us, as well as snap a few photos, which I am really grateful for. It’s always fun to meet someone that has taught you something from afar, so thanks Chef for your time.

Managing to still be standing post chat, we did our best to enjoy everything the Fabulous Food Show had to offer:

fab food show 2014

Top left clockwise: Chef Florence and his finished Eggs Benedict, my copy of Edible Cleveland with my media pass, hanging out with Melanie from Melanie Makes, Cincinnati’s favorite ice cream and a visit to see Pope’s Kitchen and Catering stand.

I could spend an entire weekend of the Food Show just sitting in the Main Kitchen Theater. I love hearing these food professionals share their techniques and tales.  Chef Michael Symon’s pasta cooking demo had superior tips and a lot of humor — and that Michael Symon laugh!  Chef Florence shared information on how to poach 12 eggs at one time (his secret: in a water bath in a hotel pan in the oven) and how to spatchcock your turkey this Thanksgiving holiday (link to how to do this method on the SF Chronicle site). Those two sessions alone were such an inspiration to get back in the kitchen — I wish we could have stayed for more.

LONG STORY SHORT: So I met my chef crush, and didn’t pass out. Overall a successful trip to the Fabulous Food Show, I’d say! Plus it didn’t hurt to go home with some of Pope’s Kitchen’s BBQ Sauce (which is delicious, BTW — pick it up at the Cleveland Flea this weekend).  Year nine of the Fabulous Food Show was a blast — let’s see what year ten brings in 2015!

Disclosure: In return for offering a giveaway for tickets to the 2014 Fabulous Food Show, I received  media passes to attend the show at the IX Center. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

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PumpkinFest (or how I threw my first surprise party)

The winner of my Fabulous Food Show giveaway (℅ random Rafflecopter.com pull) is Rachel from itsahero.com! You can still purchase tickets at the Fabulous Food Show website.

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

When I was sixteen, my parents threw a surprise birthday party for me. I still have the “happy birthday” banner that hung in our garage that afternoon — it’s displayed on my fridge even to this day. What a fun feeling it was to have a rush of gratitude overcome you so suddenly!

As long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to throw Hans a surprise party. In past years, I’ve remembered this only days before his birthday. But this year, I remembered in early October — giving me plenty of time to gather up the troops and make a plan.

This was also a little self indulgent, I’ll admit — I’ve NEVER planned a surprise party before. Out of ALL the events over ALL the years! It was time to make sure I held on to my event planning talents by having some fun with this one. Here’s what came in handy in the process…

A CREATIVE THEME

That came easily, all thanks to Hans’ favorite fall food: pumpkin. (He’s on pumpkin pie number seven for 2014, BTW.) With a lot of help from my friends, the menu came together with pumpkin items I didn’t even know existed:

pumpkin fest dessert

…plus a couple non-pumpkin items. Let’s just say we ate very well that night.

A GAME PLAN TO GET HIM OUT OF THE HOUSE

I have to give full credit to my brother here. Drew came over the Monday before (questioning my last minute event planning skills) with the idea to ask Hans to go see a three-hour space-themed movie mid-Saturday afternoon. #jackpot Drew and Hans were gone by 2:45PM, giving me plenty of time to clean, prep food, get dolled up and greet guests before they returned at 6:30.

 PUMPKIN FEST HANS

Sure, his eyes are closed, but look at that smile. And those jazz hands. #onlyagleekalwaysagleek

A GREAT GUEST LIST OF FAMILY & FRIENDS

These people — plus my unpictured brother, mom and Hans’ best friend — all pitched in, while managing to keep it all a secret for the past few weeks…

pumpkin fest group shot

 …all for one very happy redhead. Somehow, he had no clue — so all and all, I guess it was a huge success! Now if only I talked my mom into making two of those cheesecakes… there is a full holiday season ahead of us though. Keep the pumpkin coming!

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