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.

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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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Link It Up: Must Read Posts on 8.22.2014

Sometimes as I’m going about my day, I throw various blog posts, online articles and fun YouTube video URLs in my Gmail drafts folder. Well, when I saw over 80 draft emails (90% of which were these types of links), I knew it was time to revive this blog series. I do love sharing these with you!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY AMANDA!

My great friend and fellow CLE blogger Amanda at Clue Into Cleveland (on the far right in this photo from Jump Back Ball) is celebrating her birthday this weekend, and I’m honored to join in on the fun. Read her most recent post on how she’s participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge by supporting a good friend participating in the ALS Association’s local walk. Consider donating to Jen’s team here.

TASTE OF HUDSON GIVEAWAY

Don’t forget: you have until this Monday at midnight to enter my giveaway to win two $25 dining cards to the 10th Anniversary Taste of Hudson. Click over to yesterday’s post to enter this weekend.

AROUND THE CLE

If you’re looking for some local dining inspiration, look no further than Bite Buff‘s recent series of posts when she hosted a Pittsburg blogger for a #ThisisCLE culinary tour in conjunction with  Positively Cleveland. She just posted Part Three, which included visits to North Union Farmers Market, Dante Next Door (p.s. they have gluten free pizza!), Lilly Handmade Chocolates and A Cookie and a Cupcake.  Here’s Part One, Part Two and Part Two x2 for you to catch up on if you missed the first two days.

In case you haven’t heard, Cleveland Gladiators are in the ArenaBowl happening this Saturday night. They have the chance to finally bring the good people of Cleveland a championship, so go cheer them on at The Q. More information on the team’s website.

This Sunday includes another Yoga Rocks the Park. Teresa Gorski from Vision Yoga is teaching and long time blog friend Brandon Kocher is accompanying her with his musical stylings. Purchase tickets on the event website or at Tremont’s Lincoln Park morning of the class.

Cleveland Cocktail Week is coming! My very good friend Smitten in Cleveland is very excited to celebrate this Northeastern Ohio gathering September 4th through 8th — check out her blog post for more info or the event website at cocktailweekcle.com

EAT IT UP

Fellow CLE FitBloggin’ blogger Jill shared her grilled maple bacon peanut butter and jelly sammich recipe this week. If eating this is wrong, I don’t want to be right.

This fennel roasted veggies recipe from Michael Chiarello over at the Food Network site reminds me of a dish we enjoyed while in San Francisco this past April. This WILL be made once I get my hands on some fennel!

I’m all about a recipe that doesn’t involve anything beyond a bit of chopping, boiling, blending and mixing: I’ll be making Kathryn Budig’s Time-Saving Sun Butter + Coconut Curry soon. It uses brown rice noodles, making it gluten free.

Holly Clegg’s Southwestern Sweet Potato Salad combines roasted sweet yams, crunchy corn, black beans in a light jalapeño dressing — check out the Cleveland Clinic’s Speaking of Women’s Health site for an array of info.

TWEET OF THE WEEK

“It is through your body that you realize you are a spark of divinity.” ― B.K.S. Iyengar. Rest in Peace and Thank You! #bksiyengar

Got a link to share? Put it in the comments below… and happy Friday!

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Link It Up: Must Read Posts on 11.1.2013

First day of a new month? Let’s just jump right into it then, shall we?…

FABULOUS FOOD SHOW WINNER

Congrats to entry #155 which belongs to Melanie from melanie makes – who won the Fabulous Food Show ticket giveaway. Didn’t win? Click on over to Jen’s blog today, or you can purchase tickets online at fabulousfoodshow.com


EAT IT UP

Photo Oct 26, 3 50 14 PM

As we helped a friend move to the Hudson area last week, we hit up 3 Palms Pizzeria for some traditional moving fuel. Heads up gluten free eaters: there were plenty of options here – including those ugly cookies, which were something I was very happy to discover.

Thanks to Jess for sharing this Pumpkin Cinnamon Roll Sheet Cake recipe – I now have a birthday treat for a certain redhead in a few weeks!

This recipe for Chicken Quinoa Soup from Dina might make for a perfect PTO Friday cooking fest – thanks lady.

And one of these days, I’ll make my own hummus – this recipe from the Kripalu blog looks like the perfect base.


ON (& OFF) THE MAT

Good News: Smithsonian Yoga Exhibit Will Open This Weekend as Scheduled. But even BETTER news? The exhibit is coming to the Cleveland Museum of Art in summer 2014. I’ll be first in line!

lululemon shares how to wheel, one of my favorite poses.

How to purchase and care for a yoga mat is a question I’m asked a lot – so I’m glad to see Carla had Danielle guest post on this recently.

Another goodie from the same site: I Certainly Don’t Want To Teach You Yoga.  This extrovert even struggles, so the words “yoga is finding the courage to lead, even when you want to follow” especially got me.

…and from the “lessons learned via the yoga mat files”, I handed it over to elephant journal via Want to break out of your rut? Stop sucking it up.  How I wish I could say I penned those words… especially the last statement.


THINGS I’M WORKING ON

Photo Oct 31, 8 40 00 AM

Operation-Shoulder-Get-Better is back on track after a crazy month of October. I let my usual physical fitness routing slip in October, and I’m generally feeling it all over my body this first day of November. I know how happy I was to get my shoulder back to normal operating procedure last time around – so it’s time to buckle down to find that sweetness again, and some more strength this time around.

Also, I’m always working on this:

Photo Oct 25, 7 36 08 PM

(image ℅ recently stumbling upon be the breath’s Instagram page)

Here’s to removing the unnecessary over-planning and over-thinking, the Halloween candy, and most importantly: the excuses.


TWEET OF THE WEEK


Got something – anything! – to share? Throw it in the comments below!

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