event recap: “Get Unique” Fete 2012 at L’Nique Linens

As I continue to refocus on my passions, it was time to reconnect with one that’s been not only a profession but a hobby: event planning. One reason why I love it is the transformation aspect: taking a blank canvas and turning it into something grandiose and fabulous. One of Cleveland’s best examples of this happens annually and I finally had the chance to check it out on Thursday, March 22. That evening, I attended a networking event at L’Nique Linens in Valley View in order to get reconnected with my event planning roots.

From the invitation: The 2012 fete will feature exciting new tenting ideas, lighting, floral concepts, lounge decor, inventive ideas in catering, cake artistry and much more! Attend 3 separate “acts” in one night and get wowed by amazing food, drink and decor displays.  You’ll meet new people, learn about new services and be able to tell your own story to prospective partners.

Each guest’s entrance fee went towards raising funds for the Search Foundation, an organization which supports event professionals confronted with a catastrophic occurrence and fosters, develops and promotes educational initiatives for the advancement of the industry. It’s a great organization doing great things, so it was the best $20 I spent in awhile.

I want to emphasize just how much transformation occurs in prep for this event. I’ve worked with L’Nique Linens on several of my events over the years and have a great warehouse and showroom on the south side of our city. For an example of the “before” pics, head over to L’Nique’s Facebook page. It will give you a better idea of the amount of work that goes into the process of creating this event.

The festivities began at 5:30PM with the first act: the Preview Party. Guests were treated to the VIP parking treatment via M.V.P. Valet Parking before entering the huge tents that would host the first and last parts of the party. The tents – by Everything Tented – were HUGE and easily held the hundreds of people that came out for the event. Funny how in March in Cleveland, they got lucky with the perfect weather evening: no need for heaters when it’s 80 degrees outside!!

When the invitation said they were “rolling out the red carpet”, they weren’t kidding:


Guests received a signature cocktail with their registration info while enjoying treats from Bella Catering & Events:


So many sweets to choose from, I snagged a few bites of their chocolate covered popcorn. It was a great representation of the ever popular “Candy Bar” option that serves as a great treat for your guests.

I quickly found my way into the Lasting Impressions Lounge where two bars, several food sections and RUN AVRIL RUN (Cleveland’s “Dance Your Butt Off” Band) were ready for the crowds:


During that first portion of the evening, I ran into so many familiar faces, including Twitter folk @divabling, @NickTheHouse, @rft3 & @diva_ling; Shannon from the Downtown Cleveland Marriott, and Brent from Pretzalicious, whom makes some ridiculously good chocolate confections:


I also had the chance to meet vendors that I’ve worked with in the past but never met face to face. Case in point: my favorite rentals guy Bob from Lasting Impressions. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve called him in a jam, to only have him save the day. He had seen me talking to Brent and finally caught me to introduce himself. Surprise, surprise: I was buzzing around the room too quickly! It was so so nice to not only but a face to the name, but to reconnect with an old friend.

While the second act wasn’t supposed to start until 7:00PM, I had a hook up that allowed me to sneak into the L’Nique warehouse before the crowds. Inside the warehouse, guests would be treated to an array of visual and edible treats as vendors created several mini parties. They included the “Modern Deco Glam” concept with design by Heatherlilly:


Next up: the “Something Chinoiserie” concept with design by Something New Floral & Event Design:



On the other side of the warehouse, the “Les Lumieres Roses” concept with design by Plantscaping Blooms and treats from The White Flower Cake Shoppe:


…and my favorite of the evening: this tablescape designed by Neil Lesson Décor Floral:


I also got a kick out of these cupcakes from the kind ladies at West Side Bakery:


As for that hook up that got me in before the crowds? It was the fine team at The Chubby Cook! They came ready to please once they were assigned the “Enchanted Forest” concept. Their spread – which was quite visually impressive – included their tasty red pepper house made hummus:


…a wild mushroom pizza (very fitting of their “Enchanted Forest” theme):


…and their uber yummy ratatouille and sweet and sour eggplant, both served over polenta:


Their team knocked it out of the park yet again! It wasn’t just me that felt that way – they were quite busy sharing their love of great food the entire evening. I was really proud to see my former co-workers (and my beautiful mother!) having such a successful showing but having a great time in the process.

Having the chance to connect with new people during that second portion of the evening was tremendously fulfilling. It’s fun to see where people’s passions lie in the wide world of event planning. It’s even more exciting to see ideas be created in front of you after a brief introduction. The energy was high as potential events were being brainstormed around the room. It was inspiring to watch.

As for the third act, my carriage was about to turn into a pumpkin, so this Cinderella had to high tail it back to her Cobalt. But based on all the photos, Rock the House definitely did just that, entertaining the crowd until the wee hours of the morning. Check out this Facebook photo album c/o @NickTheHouse for proof. You know when my fabulous mentor Deb Hermann loses her shoes it was a damn good time!!

LONG STORY SHORT:  I had high expectations for this event, but boy, were they blown out of the water. I was amazing at the high quality of service and product put forth that evening that I was compelled to share it with my Facebook friends:


All of the vendors that participated have a lot to be proud of and I thank them all for sharing just what Cleveland can do. Finally, a huge thank you and congrats to Angela, Deidre, Vince and the entire team at L’Nique Linens for a wonderful evening. I can’t wait for next year’s!

guest post from PIP Aunt Kathy: rumaki at Girls’ Night In

A MEMO FROM THE CEO OF PIP: I asked my fabulous Aunt Kathy to guest post after enjoying not only her company, but a certain appetizer at a recent get together. That subconscious foresight is coming in handy this morning: after an amazing yet exhausting weekend at yoga teacher training weekend, I’m happy to hand over the blog to a trusted PIP team member!


Hi Everyone: PIP Aunt Kathy here.  I am not a blogger but I’m a fan of some of the NEO bloggers.  I love reading WhyCLE and recently started to read SMITTEN…in Cleveland, just to name a few.  But my overall favorite is Poise in Parma.  Not only is Alicia my niece but sometimes I show up in a blog.  My wonderful niece asked me to guest post and I’m taking up her on the offer.

Recently, Alicia’s mother, my sister, had a Girls’ Night In party at her house in Chagrin Falls.  Since I love to cook and hate to go to a party empty handed, I told my sister that I would bring Summer Pizza along with some other stuff.  Thursday night before the party, I started off baking the crust for the pizza.  Instead of the typical 18 minutes or so in the oven, I accidentally baked mine a little bit longer.  The crust came out a bit darker than I wanted it.  But I talked myself into believing that it was okay and still edible. 

The next morning, I decided to finish the pizza and made the ranch cream cheese topping.  I carefully spread it out over the crust and was pretty proud of myself that it was coming all together… until I somehow knocked the cookie sheet off the counter and onto the floor.  As Murphy’s Law would have it, it fell cream cheese side down.  I tried to convince myself that no one would notice the plethora of black cat hair that was now a “topping” on my summer pizza.  But, I came to my senses and realized it was a goner.

I didn’t want to show up empty handed so I frantically looked through my kitchen to see what I could pull together for an hors d’oeuvre.  I found a pound of bacon in the freezer and 2 cans of whole chestnuts in the pantry.  Thank God I stocked up during Chinese New Year sales at Giant Eagle. The light bulb switched on over my head and I knew I had a plan.  I quickly went through my very well organized collection of recipes and found my recipe for rumaki. 

Typically, rumaki is made bacon wrapped around a scallop, shrimp or a chicken liver baked with a barbeque sauce.  But, in the “poor man’s” variety, you can use a whole water chestnut. 


That night at the party, after I found myself inhaling the fourth or fifth rumaki, I realized I never missed the cat hair covered summer pizza.

PIP Aunt Kathy’s “Girls’ Night In” Rumaki


  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 2 – 8 ounce cans of whole water chestnuts drained
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup chili sauce 


  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Cut the pound of bacon in half. Wrap one half strip of bacon around a water chestnut and secure it with a wooden toothpick.  Place in a shallow baking dish. 
  • When done wrapping, place baking dish in the oven for 20 minutes. 
  • While the wraps are baking, in a small mixing bowl combine the brown sugar, mayonnaise and chili sauce to make a BBQ sauce. 
  • After the wraps have finished baking, transfer them to a second baking sheet to remove them from their grease. 
  • Pour the sauce over the warps and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until the bacon is crispy. 
  • Serve hot and enjoy!

Many thanks to PIP Aunt Kat for sharing this recipe: while her summer pizza is quite good, her rumaki is FTW!

yoga teacher training: and so it begins

The yoga pants have been washed and the textbooks have been purchased:

The anatomy worksheets have been printed and the journal to document this process has been selected:


And that writing prompt I was struggling with last month? It’s been finished for awhile now. I took full advantage of the 1000 word count limit (983 words to be exact) and found the words that explained what brought me to yoga:

As I practiced more and more during the Fall of 2011 and the Winter of 2012, I noticed huge shifts in myself – emotionally, physically and mentally… The emotional shift has been the hardest but most rewarding to go through in the past six months. When I am on my mat, I feel like I can do anything. I am courageous. I am strong. I am alive. I struggle with those things when I am off my mat. I used to second guess myself and my abilities on a regular basis, allowing self-doubt to always win out. But the more and more I practice, the more and more I find myself putting myself out there in other situations. Not being afraid to try something new. Not being ashamed of my history with anxiety and depression. Not being chained to the habits that once ruled my life. Yoga has brought me back to the person I once was: happy, healthy and excited to be alive.

But even with all that prep work, the concept of starting teacher training (TT) to be a fully certified yoga teacher by November still seems like a dream – until Tuesday. It was a day filled with great news on where my future is headed, but also just little moments with people that instilled the belief in me that I can do this. The sense of gratitude I was feeling could only be expressed by these words:


And around 8:00PM that night, I looked at Hans and said, “I’m going to be a yoga teacher”, finally believing it for the first time. His response: “Yes you are, and a damn good one at that.”

And that question of “why do I want to be a part of a broader yogic community?” The answer is simple: I want to be a part of something bigger than me – and that’s happening at Nishkama through the asana of a practice and the people that practice there. As I said in my writing assignment:  Yoga’s about good people sharing their love for something that is pure and honest. We all need more of that in our lives and I am happy to help share it with the world.

So with my Manduka mat, my lululemon Wunder Unders and a solid confidence in myself, let’s see the places I go…

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