event recap: 2014 Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis

As I continue to let go of my event planning days, I’m  enjoying being a guest, attendee and participant at local functions again. No longer do I walk into a room and ask “I wonder where they rented their linens from” or “I hope there’s enough space for that restaurant vendor in that corner”. It’s hard to turn off the event-logistics monkey mind!

But in an attending the Arthritis Foundation’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis here in Cleveland this past weekend, I would find myself with my biggest post-event-planning-career challenge to date. But as I planned this race in 2012 and in 2013 as a former employee of the organization, I knew it would be easy to fall into the fun.

lets go grady dog picmonkey

 {Grady’s excitement just could not be reigned in.}

Our team — Team Grinch Paws — came together in full force: my husband, my brother, my friends and I joined together on Sunday, December 14th at Legacy Village. We of course started with a pre-race Starbucks pit stop.

baby j's first 5K

I was so happy that Jen from WhyCLE? and her family signed up to walk the one-mile Family Fun Run option. Baby J seemed to love every moment of his first 5K experience. He’ll be running the full 3.1 miles in no time!

As the rest of our team ventured out for the full 5K, Grady and I made up our own two mile version of the course. Grady’s excitement for the day had us power walking at a good clip! As we went along, it was a joy to come across friendly faces, even crossing paths with the event photographer, Orville from Orville McEachron Photography:

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{Photo ℅ Orville McEachron Photography — check out all 400+ of the race photos over at his Facebook page.}

Confession: In planning this event twice, Sunday was the first time I actually walked the course. (We drove it several times each year, don’t worry.) I know understand what the runners meant by this being a more challenging 5K than others in the Northeast Ohio area — there are a few rolling hills through the old TRW campus that make for a good hike!

LONG STORY SHORT: Team Grinch Paws did wonderfully at this year’s Jingle Bell Run/Walk for Arthritis! My brother Drew finished second in his age group with a 20:15 — such a speed demon!  Lisa — @lisasands1 over on the Twitter — rocked her first 5K after taking time to train this Fall.  My non-runner husband Hans “enjoyed” his last minute decision to run the 3.1 miles. (We’re working on our post-run stretch routine for next year!)

Photo Dec 14, 10 33 03 AM

As for Grady and I, we walked our two mile course in a little over a half an hour, making time to stop and say hi to some old friends and work colleagues along the way. It felt great to be out in the brisk December air supporting an important cause working towards eliminating a disease that effects more than 1.3 million Northeastern Ohioans. Supporting a local non-profit, getting in some exercise and having a highly enjoyable time? What a great start to our Sunday!

Want to donate to the Arthritis Foundation? You can click over to our team page and still give through this month. Thank you in advance!

Want to stay in the know for 2015?  Keep up to date with all the CLE Jingle Bell Run/Walk happenings by following its Twitter handle at @JingleBellCLE.

Disclosure: I am a former employee of the Arthritis Foundation, Great Lakes Region, Northeastern Ohio. All 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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TONIGHT: PlayhouseSquare’s 2015 Jump Back Ball Ticket Kickoff Party

A KIND REMINDER: You have until this Wednesday at midnight to enter to win my Fabulous Food Show giveaway

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After a week or so away in Colorado, I went through the accumulated mail and came across an eye catching postcard:

jump back ball 2015 preview

…announcing that one of my favorite Cleveland events is on its way. 

PlayhouseSquare Partners, the official young professionals group of PlayhouseSquare, is gearing up for another Jump Back Ball this winter. I’ve attended this event in 2014in 2013 and in 2011, and it has never disappointed

The 24th Jump Back Ball will take place on Saturday, February 28, 2015 — so why not buy your tickets early, save some cash and have more time for costume planning for this year’s tubular theme?!

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The Jump Back Ball 24 Ticket Kickoff Party will take place TONIGHTMonday, November 10th - from 5:30PM to 7:30PM at Hofbrauhaus Cleveland. At the ticket kickoff, you can take advantage of this special pricing structure:

  • $130 PlayhouseSquare Partners for general admission tickets
  • $160 Non-Members for general admission tickets
  • (The fine print: ticket limits apply: Public can purchase 2 Non-Partners tickets per person, Partners can purchase 2 Partners tickets & 2 Non-Partners tickets per membership, Partners Leadership Society can purchase 4 Partners tickets per membership. Ticket prices increase by $15 plus handling fees the day after the kickoff.)

INTERESTED IN JOINING PARTNERS (& SAVING ON YOUR TICKETS)? New member sign-ups will be available at the kickoff party. Here’s more info on the membership levels at the PHS website.

ENTER TO WIN: Bring a new personal care item to the kickoff and be entered into a raffle to win some prizes like Jump Back Ball 24 VIP upgrades, tickets to a PlayhouseSquare show or a night at the Wyndham for the night of the February event. These personal care items will be donated to the Hunger Network of Greater Cleveland.

RSVP at the Facebook event page for tonight’s kickoff — we’ll see you downtown for some fun, beer, pretzels and all the ticket sales PlayhouseSquare could hope for!

Want to know more about PlayhouseSquare?  Stay up-to-date with all of their social media happenings: follow PlayhouseSquare on Facebook, on Twitter at @playhousesquare, or on Instagram at @playhousesquare.

Disclosure: I was asked by PlayhouseSquare to serve as an official blogger for the 2015 Jump Back Ball event and to help promote the event and related happenings. In exchange for sharing this information and purchasing one event ticket, I will receive one complimentary ticket to the February 28, 2015 event. My thoughts and opinions are my own — as is my proud, long time support of this organization.

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