Ohio Blogging Association June Meetup at Whole Foods Market Cedar Center with Goose Island

Don’t forget – you have until Sunday night to enter the Running for Hope 5K giveaway. Race is on Saturday, June 29 in Avon Lake and benefits Love Without Borders.


Another Ohio Blogging Association meet up is history!

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The blogroll for the evening included:

I’ve been slow to get more Ohio Blogging Association meetings on the rest of the 2013 calendar. So when our friends from Whole Foods Market Cedar Center had a unique opportunity available during Goose Island Migration Week, I knew our bloggers would have a blast learning about this Chicago-based beer company. The allure of drinking beer and eating chocolate didn’t hurt either.

As in the past, we gathered at Whole Foods Market Cedar Center‘s cafe area where the store’s team took such care to provide a wonderful classroom set up all ready for the OBA members to taste and learn. The Goose Island beer list for the evening included options from their Vintage Ales line (descriptions from Goose Island’s website):

  • Sofie: “Fermented with wild yeasts and aged in wine barrels with orange peel, Sofie is a tart, dry, sparkling ale.”
  • Matilda: “Wild in character, with a slightly fruity aroma and a spicy yeast flavor… Dry and quenching”
  • Pepe Nero: “Pepe Nero is a farmhouse ale brewed with black peppercorns. His roasty sweetness melds into a lingering, earthy, black pepper finish”
  • Pere Jacques: “Brewed with loads of malt and Belgian yeast, Pere Jacques is a wonderfully fruity, malty ale.” 

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…and the part I definitely indulged in – the chocolates sampling from WILD OPHELIA, the spirited younger sister of Vosges Haut-Chocolat (descriptions from their website):

Dave drank my beer and I ate his chocolate. We made an excellent tasting pair.  If I remember correctly, he enjoyed the Matilda. I remember really loving the peanut butter and banana chocolate. I heard feedback that the bloggers enjoyed learning the basics on how to “taste” something: learning to look for notes of different flavors, different variations of certain types of food, how they work with the pairing. The 45 minute presentation was a fun activity that allowed us to take something home - other than chocolate bars!

Post-tasting, I encouraged everyone to go spend their money on the bulk flash sale (20% off bulk nuts, popcorn, oats – huzzah!) and then perhaps giving their wooden nickel (for bringing their own reusable shopper) to a good cause (*cough*cough*choose the one on the right!!*):

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Many of us took advantage of the Whole Foods hot bar post-tasting. Hello, I’m a healthy living blogger – you should have seen that one coming! I was freezing, so I grabbed some chipotle veggie turkey soup (light yet hearty, with a hint of smokiness) and a bunch of mixed greens (surprise, surprise). Other bloggers snagged options from the BBQ smoked meats hot bar, sushi and one really good looking burger. Good stuff and happy bellies all around.

LONG STORY SHORT: We ate. We drank. We ate again. We talked each others’ ears off.  It made my heart smile when Stuart shared the following feedback: “You can always tell a good meeting by the fact that people hang around long after the official ending time.”  While sometimes things get crazy, pulling together some of Cleveland’s bloggers makes it worthwhile every single time. Thank you all for attending, and thanks again to Whole Foods Market Cedar Center and Goose Island for the opportunity!

I’m always taking suggestions for Ohio Blogging Association events: leave them in the comments below. Information on the next meeting will be posted very soon – per suggestions from last night, I foresee another blogging roundtable in the horizon…

Make sure to “like” OBA on Facebook and follow us on Twitter at @OHBlogging.

Ohio Blogging Association March Volunteer Night at MedWish International

The 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Association volunteer night is in the books!

OBA at MedWish

The blogroll for the evening:

When scheduling the OBA blogger meetups, I try to do my best to make sure we schedule at least one opportunity to roll up our sleeves and give back some time and energy to our community. So for 2013, we gathered this past Tuesday night at a local non-profit doing great things here and around the world.

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MedWish International “is a not-for-profit organization committed to repurposing medical supplies and equipment discarded by the healthcare industry with the objectives of providing humanitarian aid in developing countries to save lives and reducing waste to save our environment.” (Source: MedWish’s mission statement)

Basically: they are helping people in all of these countries:

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…by doing the following: “MedWish works with a range of partners to recover medical surplus hospitals can no longer use. U.S. hospitals generate more than 5.9 million tons of medical waste each year. Much of that waste is unused medical supplies and equipment. Our Humanitarian Aid Program distributes the medical surplus we recover.” (Source: their website.)

Their headquarters located right here in Cleveland is an old warehouse – something being repurposed itself – and was filled with any piece of medical equipment that you could think of. Surgical gloves, bed pans, crutches, beds, and things you may have never even seen before.

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A non-profit social media FTW.

We took a tour of the facility that included storage space, administrative offices, volunteer sort areas and a learning center. And then we got to work.

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Those are the 100 surgical packs that we put together in what felt like a blink of an eye. Those packs will be distributed to hospitals and med centers in South Africa and Panama. Normally, that pile of materials would have ended up in a landfill. Now, they will help save lives.

Two hours of our time. That’s all it took to learn a bit about something happening here locally but having widespread implications. And that project we did is only a small bit of what MedWish does. It was an honor to be able to give back just a bit of time in this way – thank you to the kind folks at MedWish for hosting the OBA bloggers, and to those that attended.

What to get to know MedWish better? Check them out on Facebook and on Twitter. Also, their big Band Aid Bash is coming up on Saturday, April 27 at the non-profit’s warehouse. They have plenty keeping them busy!

Want to join the Ohio Blogging Association in April? RSVP by April 8 at the Facebook event page for our meetup at the Cleveland Museum of Art on Wednesday, April 17. Bloggers, blog readers, tweeters… everyone is invited!


Disclosure: I organize the Ohio Blogging Association Cleveland meetups. I reached out to the employees of MedWish to see if we could coordinate a blogger meetup opportunity. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

Ohio Blogging Association Blogger Night at Whole Foods Market Cedar Center

Our 3rd annual Ohio Blogging Association Whole Foods Market meetup is in the books!

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The blogroll for the evening:

Two years ago, the OBA held its first formal meet up at the Whole Foods Market Cedar Center. It’s become a tradition now to hold one of our first meetings of the calendar year in their dining area at the store in University Heights. But we had our work cut out for us in order to blow the bloggers away.

In 2011, we featured a raw foods demo. In 2012, we held a build-you-own-pizza throw down. Whole Foods Community Manager Lisa and I racked our brains on how to out-do ourselves from the previous years. And with the switch of months from January to February this year, we got inspired by the upcoming holiday and let the food of the season inspire us. Lisa then presented her idea for a “Chocolate 3-Way” and we ran with it.

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As the bloggers settled in with some bubbles, we dug into the Chicken Enchiladas with Traditional Mole Sauce as prepared by Chef Sarah Schoenberger.

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Seriously. This gal can cook. And she even made that mole sauce gluten-free. HOLLA.

Audree, Whole Foods wine buyer, had quite the selection of beverages ready for us. She told us all about the drinks paired with our meal included Iron Horse Wedding Cuvee (a sparkling wine), Sam Smith Chocolate Stout, Sexual Chocolate (a flavorful red) and a bonus chocolate liqueur.

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As we ate our first course, we were lead through an array of delicious chocolate offerings from Ines Rehner, the owner of Sweet Designs in Lakewood.

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This self-taught chocolatier taught us the ultimate trick to eating a chocolate-covered-strawberry, truffled up a chocolate-dipped fig and won me over with a dark chocolate almond option. All of her options were scrumptious, and Ines herself was a doll.

And as an event isn’t complete without some door prizes, many of the attendees went home with quite the array of winnings:

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That chocolate slipper filled with truffles came home with my husband. At least I know what I’m getting for Valentine’s Day…

And as though they hadn’t treated us to enough good stuff, we were sent home with Allegro “Indian Spice” Hot Chocolate in a to-go cup, a new Whole Foods reusable shopper and a gift certificate to Sweet Designs in Lakewood. What a take home gift!

LONG STORY SHORT: As we all started to come off our sugar high, it seemed like my fellow bloggers were pleased with their experience that evening. I had a blast planning this one, but it was really the Whole Foods Market staff that did all the leg work. Along with Ines from Sweet Designs, we could never do these neat activities without the creativity of our local contacts. With such another successful evening, Lisa and I better start brainstorming for our 2014 meetup now!

A big thank you to Lisa and the entire staff at Whole Foods Market Cedar Center and Ines from Sweet Designs for their wonderful hospitality! And as always, thanks to all the bloggers for coming out!

Ready to lend a helping hand in March? The Ohio Blogging Association will be headed to Cleveland non-profit MedWish International on Tuesday, March 19 to tour their facility as well as spend some time volunteering. Learn more and RSVP over at the Facebook event page.

What’s your favorite thing to splurge on at Whole Foods? 

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