Chef's Widow Loves Sleigh Bells

Every now and then the Chef & I get to let loose and partake in some adult activity. Last week the  Chef talked me into going to see one of his favorite bands, Sleigh Bells. The band had eaten at the restaurant and gave our entire staff tickets to the show. We called our babysitter and headed downtown to House of Blues:  

Alexis, rockstar extraordinaire leading lady of Sleigh Bells enjoying some Noodlecat

The Chef & his Widow

Raging

Alexis sends Chef some love

The show was AMAZING times infinity. Alexis is by far the best front women of a band I have seen in I can't tell you how many year. Her voice is wicked powerful and the show she puts on is so ROCKSTAR. I must admit that when I first heard Sleigh Bells album I wasn't impressed but after watching and listening live I can declare myself a fangirl! If you like rock & roll and you like drum & bass/techno/dubstep then Sleigh Bells is for you. Check 'em out!!

 

Have you seen any good shows this summer? Any shows coming up that can't be missed?

Chef's Widow Summer Beverage of Choice is an Aperol Spritz

I fell in love with an aperitif in Italy and there is no going back. Between the hours of 5 and 7 the cafes and patios in Italy are filled with a sea of sparkling orange. Having thrown Campari to the wayside, the Italians now indulge in my new favorite summer beverage, The Aperol Spritz:

The Chef & I have teaching bartenders all over CLE how to make a spritz

Aperol Spritz

3 parts Prosecco

1 part Seltzer

3 part Aperol

Ice

1/2 Slice of an Orange

Serve in a stemmed wine glass for effect. 

ENJOY!!

Spritz!!

Eyelash Extensions + Giveaway

Bloggers can be such vain mo fo's and I'm no exception. Most of my vanity gets lost in translation, partly because I have no time for it and partly because the mom in me secretly wants to wear sweatpants and wife beaters all day. Every now and then the vain girl inside of me wants to look hot. I want heads to turn when I walk into a room and I want the Chef to do a double take and then ask me for my number. Looking good has always made me feel good and the month that the Chef went away, I definitely did not look good. While the Chef was in Italy for a month I turned into that girl. I wore yoga pants in public and didn't put on makeup once. Seriously, not once. I think I even managed to go old school hippie and skip the shower for multiple days. No need to shower if I'm not getting any ya know? By the time his trip was coming to an end, the minis and I began to get ready to meet him. As I started packing for our trip, I noticed what a hot, hot mess I had become. My eyes were dark, my skin translucent, and my hair looked like a bad ombre job. I was most definitely not scoring a 10 on the hotness scale.

I decided I need to get beautified. I needed my swagger back before I could see the Chef.

Awhile back I got a message from Christine who runs Skin Deep. Skin Deep is a studio that offers all sorts of permanent makeup and paramedical procedures including breast cancer areola restoration. Christine was curious if I had ever considered getting eyelash extensions. I replied with a 'what in the hell are eyelash extensions?' Turns out eyelash extensions are individual eyelashes glued to your own eyelash that last about a month and make your eyes look like they always have mascara on. They look like falsies but you can't feel them at all. Being the lazy vain person that I am, I agreed to test them out for my trip to Italy. I headed to Christine's studio, Skin Deep and went for it.

A few hours later and my eyes were no longer my own:

Please ignore my dark circles. Sleep was limited that month.

The lash extensions took about 2 hours but have lasted the entire month of June. We left for Italy the following day and the while we were travelling didn't I apply mascara once. All I did, was brush and go. The eyelash extensions that Christine gave me were super duper convenient, beautiful and fun.  I would easily get them done again for every single vacation we take. Hell, I might even start getting them normally. 22 days after Christine gave me eyelash extensions and I look like this. Not bad right?

still with the dark circles jeesh, do I ever sleep?

 

Christine of Skin Deep Permanent Makeup*** has generously offered all of you good people $50 off of an eyelash extension service. All you need to do is mention Chef's Widow when you make the appointment. Christine is also donating a full eyelash extension to one of you lucky readers in the form of a fabulous giveaway!!!

To enter all you need to do is tell me your most INDULGENT beauty treatment or service in the comments. I will pick a winner this Friday. Good luck bitches.

 

****Besides from donating this awesome giveaway Christine also does really amazing work for breast cancer survivors. From Christine:" The most important work I do is tattooing aureolas for women whom have lost theirs due to mastectomies. It's such a terrible thing when these brave women believe they are deformed after surviving such an ordeal." 

Share The Shearer's

Since I started blogging well over a hundred years ago, I have received thousands of requests to promote products on this blog. At the beginning getting free shit was totally cool but then I saw how there really was a price. By reviewing anything sent my way I could possibly alienate the people who come here everyday to ready my brand of crazy. No bueno.

So I stopped with the random reviews of stupid crap and promised myself to only review things I really could stand behind. Then I got asked to have a potato chip party.

I don't do potato chips. I make potato chips from scratch and I sure as hell don't buy 'em.

When Shearer's contacted me to host a potato chip party, my immediate reaction was absolutely not. How could I have a party where I served food that I don't even have in my house. I wrote back explaining my view on potato chips and why I couldn't take part. I soon received an email explaining that not only was Shearer's a local company but they were also the greenest food plant in the world. She obviously had done her homework when choosing bloggers. It's very hard for me to say no to a company that takes environmental stewardship seriously.

I accepted the challenge and started planning a party. I knew my girl OhMommy had accepted the potato chip mission so I inquired How about we do a blind wine tasting party and have potato chip palette cleansers? Can't get much classier than that...

She was OBVIOUSLY in.

 

Our Share the Shearer's blind wine tasting party was an absolute success. Everyone loved the wine and the chips were gone within no time at all. I even ate some!

Big thanks to Shearer's, OhMommy, The Greenhouse Tavern, and all of you ladies who made it out for the fun!

xo

 

International Children's Festival

One of the things I miss most about living in New York City is the plethora of amazing events geared towards children. When we lived there all I had to do was open a Time Out Kids or hop onto Go City Kids to find many options for whatever day I was looking to do something in the city with the boy.

Even when we were in NYC briefly last fall, I went out to GoCityKids and found an amazing puppet show blocks away from our apartment, the next day we walked to Prospect Park and went to the Zoo, the day after that we went to storytime at Brooklyn public Library. I never once had to worry about what to do with the kids. It was AWESOME.

 

It's not that Cleveland doesn't offer events for the kids, it does. This city has an incredible amount of options for introducing culture to the kids. From museums to art classes, to story times and plays, Cleveland has options. The problem in my humble opinion is the amount & consistency of the events the city offers.

I think that the lack of events in our fair city is the lack of demand. The modern day suburban family goes downtown for two reasons, sports and shitty pop concerts. The majority of these suburban families would rather spend their time walking around a mall eating at TGI McHoulihan's then walking and living through the fantastic city of Cleveland.

I know exceptions to this broad generalization of course, for example my friend OhMommy. OhMommy is a suburbanite (whether she likes to admit it or not:) with three kids. She regularly searches out events for her family to participate in that are located downtown. She wants her children to know both lives, urban and suburban. I can't speak for her but I think our philosophies are close to the same. The more cultural experiences our children have, the more ready they will be for the real world. I stress the word experiences as I believe each urban experience plays a huge role in the lives of our children. It introduces them to a new part of life, one they don't will not see in the suburbs. OhMommy and myself live this mantra. We take our kids downtown, we introduce them to foods they won't find at Crapplebee's, we walk the streets with our kids and we are proud to do so. Our simple belief in the future of downtown drives us to do so and if every suburban family would mimic OhMommy's passion for downtown, I am sure the calendar of events for children downtown would surge.

Well my friends, I think that surge has begun. It is starting off slow but it's there. I know this when I hear that one my favorite events from last year is back.

The International Children's Festival is held by Playhouse Square and it is one of those events that makes me believe Cleveland is on the right path towards growth again. This is the second year and I am so proud to say that my kids will get to experience this incredible festival brought to our city by Playhouse Square. Last year's festival was a highlight in our year. The intimacy of each show we saw made my kids feel like they were the only ones in audience. The talent this year is equally if not more stunning than last. There are countless shows from all over the world that will entice each and every one us, big or small.

5 Days in May will feel like we live back in the big city. As a family, we will walk the streets of downtown Cleveland thinking about what our city can grow to be. We will know that we are a part of our city's future, that each thing we do in Cleveland contributes to our bringing our city back to life. We will walk to Playhouse Square and I will tell me kids that someday they will be walking their own kids down this same street, only instead of it being a monthly or weekly trip downtown, they will live here. They will raise a family here.

I encourage you to fall in love with your city. Embrace what it has to offer. Go downtown! Go to Playhouse Square! Take your kid's to the International Children's Festival! Be a part of re-building our once was thriving city.

One of you lucky peeps is gonna get to see how great the CLE is first hand. I am giving away 4 tickets to the Saturday (May 7) show, Room on a Broom.

 

You can win these tix a few different ways:

  • First way to win is to leave a comment telling me your favorite thing to do in the CLE with your kids. If you don't have kids, just tell me your favorite thing about the CLE.
  • Tweet the following:"I wanna win @playhousesquare kids festival tix on @chefswidow http://tinyurl.com/3op94lk " Make sure to leave me a comment with your tweet.
  • Share this blog post on FB. Again leave a comment with your link.
  • Link this post on a your blog. Leave a comment with your blog post link.
  • >

You can do one, two, are all of these things. Each comment left will be one entry. Please remember to put your email in the comment so if you do win I can actually get the tickets to you! xx

I will be picking the winner next Monday May 2nd. Good Luck!

The Lunch Servers are Back!

Our restaurant rocks man. Not only do we serve kick ass food but the majority of our staff are seriously the most creative people in the CLE. Nathan and David, our most dedicated lunch servers, show us that they are for reals, the funniest people that work out The Greenhouse Tavern.

If you don't know The Lunch Servers be sure to friend them on the FB or check them out on the YouTube. They are freakin' hilarity.

Happy Hump Day yo.

Root Down with Chef's Garden

In our quest for optimum health, the Chef & I have gone veg. Not sure how it happened but I can honestly say I like it.  I have never been that big of a carnivore so it's not too different for me, but watching the Chef eat only fruit and veggies all day is somewhat shocking.  The man is the definition of carnivore.  However, he made a life decision, that was only strengthened after his mother , a lifelong carnivore, had a massive health scare due to her cholesterol.

He made the change and is not only 30 lbs. lighter, but more energetic as well!  Granted I am sure he will go back to carnivore once he gets down to his ideal weight.  I think his intake of meat will lighten but his love of animal is too great to be a veg forever.

The Chef, now consuming a massive amount of vegetables decided that my grocery shopping couldn't keep up with his calorie burning metabolism. He decided to call his buddy Farmer Lee. Farmer Lee, if you don't know, is by far the most infamous farmer in the world.  He provides veggies for some of the best chefs in the world as well as the President of these old United States.

Not too shabby.

The Chef & Farmer decided that a weekly vegetable box would probably be a good fit for our family. We are now on our second box and I cannot believe we didn't do this sooner.  The veggies are frankly, phenomenal.

Last night the kids and I went to town on Farmer Lee's root veggies.  The boy had wanted pancakes so we decided to mix it up a little.  We decided to make Rainbow Root Cakes, a play on traditional potato pancakes using root veggies.

It's an easy dish, full of vegetables & nutrients, and the kids LOVE it!

Rainbow Root Cakes

3 Cups of Shredded Root Veggies (let sit in a colander for about 30 minutes to drain excess water)

(we used carrots, potato's, parsnips, radish, and turnips)

3 Green Onions (white parts sliced only)

2-5 Tbsp Flour (we used whole wheat flour)

1 egg

1 egg white

Tsp Salt & Pepper

1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Beat the eggs in a small bowl.  In a large bowl, add the shredded veggies, egg mix, flour, salt & pepper, and green onions.  Let sit.

While veggie mixture is sitting, heat frying pan with olive oil.  Be careful not to burn the oil.  Once pan is hot, add veggie mixture.  We used an ice scream scoop to measure.  Flatten down scoop with a spatula and let cook.  Flip and repeat.

Serve w/ sour cream or yogurt.

Bon Appétit!

If you are interested in getting farm fresh vegetables delivered to your home, please check out Chef's Garden.  They have quite a few different boxes to fit  your lifestyle.  I am madly in love with Farmer Lee & Chef's Garden and am so happy they found a place in my kitchen.

Holiday Cards

I take my holiday cards seriously. I have vivid memories of our family getting a Christmas letter each year from my dad's friend Skip.  I had never met Skip or anyone in his family for that matter, but every year I raced to the mailbox looking for that letter.  You see, Skip and his family worked in the peace corps and lived in Swaziland.  Thir adventures and life were so foreign to me, but every Christmas, I got to walk in their shoes, even if for only a moment.

When the Chef and I started our family, I couldn't wait to introduce the world to our new son.  I remembered Skip's amazing letters and cards and let them inspire me to do the same.  Starting in November I begin the search for my favorite card.  When I first had Catcher, our card list maxed out at 50.  Now the Chef and I send over 200 Christmas cards.

When deciding on the holiday card I will send to over 200 people., I look for the following features:

  • Recycled paper (this is #1 because we do send so many cards)
  • Design, design, design!  I love me so cool looking cards.
  • Price.  Obvy.  We send over 200 cards and I really don't want to be financing them.  Meh.

This year I have decided to use Shutterfly for my holiday cards.  While perusing the interwebs I noticed that their holiday photo cards were right up my ally, gorg in design and way affordable.  The only problem, is that there are so many cards to choose from, I am having a hard time picking my fave.

That's where you come in friends.  I need your help.  I'll tell you my top three and you tell me your favorite holiday photo card. Ready?

Set?

Go!

1.  

2.  

3.  

So friends, which card is Team Widow gonna be sending out this year?

Shutterfly is offering YOU 50 free cards. Check it. All you have to do is blog about their cards.  Sounds pretty good to me!

This post is part of a series sponsored by Shutterfly. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Hanes Silk Reflections + Giveaway

Autumn has fallen.  You know what that means right? TIGHTS SEASON has officially begun.

I love me some tights.  My obsession  with hosiery began while living in Italy.  I was walking to the market one brisk fall day, I had to get to class but my eye got caught in a storefront window.  Black netting, fishnets, and braiding called my name as I entered the Mercado Calzetteria.  The stockings that covered the wall were pieces of art, each design so intricate and stunning, I knew I was in trouble.    My legs were in love.

Since that day on the mean streets of Trento, I have become obsessed with stockings.

I have a collection the collection.  It is by far the best collection of hosiery any Clevelander has ever had.  I buy them when I travel, I buy them online.  When we went to Paris three yeas ago, the only thing on my mind was tights.  Parisian tights.  I searched the streets of Paris  and finally on our last day in the city of love, I hit the jackpot.  An undisclosed amount of money later, and I was one satisfied lady.  The Chef, not so much.

When Hanes contacted me about their new Silk Refliections line of sheer tights I thought to myself, how in the hell can I wear Hanes on my sticks?  These legs are covered by the finest designers from Paris and Italy.  How could these Hanes Silk Reflections even compare?

The fact is, they don't.  They are not works of art.  They are just plain tights with a hint of sheer.  The crazy thing is that before Hanes contacted me to review their product, I didn't have one single pair of plain black tights.  Not one single pair. What kind of fashion minded thirty something doesn't even own a pair of black tights?  Lamester.

I decided that I needed to speed up the review process.  I would wear the tights to work at the restaurant one night and really let their ass get kicked.  As most of you know our restaurant has four floors.  When I work, I walk up and down stairs all night (in heels no).  Wearing a pair of my fancy schmancy tights to work usually ends up  in snag or worse, a tear.  I tend to shy away from wearing them to work because of this.  Last Saturday I decided to go balls out and wear my new silk reflections to the restie.

My legs looked rockin', but would the tights stand up to the fours hours of stair climbing ahead of me?

1200 stairs later and my legs still looked silky and new, run, snag, & tear free.  My feet not so much.  Thinking my next review may have to be some fancy foot creme.

If you would like to try out Hanes Silk Reflections, I am giving away an awesome prize package of each color to one lucky winner! All you have to do is leave a comment telling me your favorite fall accessory.  You can also tweet (@chefswidow) about this giveaway or FB it for an additional entry.  Just make sure to leave me an additional comment for each.

Winner will be picked a week from today by random.org.

If you don't want to wait to win, Hanes Silk Reflections are available for ten bones at department stores nationwide.

In non-hosiery news, my friend Mickey is up for Cosmopolitan's Bachelor of the Year.  They select one hot doode out of thousands and thousands from each state.  Mickey won Ohio. Now let's help him win it all!  Voting also enters you in a drawing for $400 swag bag.  Boo.  Freaking.  Yah. You can vote everyday until October 10th.

Happy Monday Chicka's.

Vitale Skin Wheatgrass Starter Kit

Like I said when I first announced that I would be opening a shop on The OpenSky Project, I will only sell products I have tested and love.  With that in mind, let me introduce you to my new favorite face cleansing regime, Vitale Skin Wheatgrass. Vitale Skin Wheatgrass sent me a starter kit to test out.  I took it to Napa with me and then when we came home I tossed it in my gym bag.  Of course between the wine and the spa in Napa I completely forgot to use it, however when the kit reappeared at the gym, I became a faithful follower.

I hate washing my face.  I don't do it.  Never have.  But now that I am working out five days a week for two hours a day, I started to notice some serious breakout on my mug.  I decided to try the Vitale Skin Wheatgrass 3-in-1 regime.  Within days, my sweat driven breakouts had disappeared and my soft skin was back.

Vitale Wheatgrass comes with a cleanser (perfect for after the gym), a facial scrub (good for those dry days), and an oil free lotion.  These three elements driven by wheatgrass have become a part of my daily routine and I am so glad they did!  Although I am not a big fan a face washing, this kit really allowed be to be ok with the whole process.  The smell of the sweet wheatgrass and the feather like feel of the lotion made it possible for me to turn into a daily face washer.  Quite a feat if I might say so myself.

Buy Now

If you would like to try out the Vital Skin Wheatgrass Starter Kit please check out my store, Widow Faire or click the Buy Now button above.  For the month of September I am offering a 30% off coupon to the first five people that purchase something in Widow Faire.  All you have to do is enter the code: THIRTYWIDOW on checkout.  It is good towards any item in my store (including the Vitamix)!  I have been adding a bunch of stuff that I love including a compost tea kit, a really cool salt block, & a funky customized silhouette.

xo

CW

Hot Humid Hair

As most of you know, I spent the past four-days in New York City for the BlogHer conference.  I had the most amazing time and yes, I will get to that soon, but first I must address something much more important. Humidity and my hair.

New York summers are not my favorite.  The streets smell of garbage, the air is hot, and sometimes breathing in tastes’ like maple syrup.  The heat is stiff as it hovers between skyscrapers.  The pavement burns through the soles of shoes and walking tends to be painful.  To summarize, it can be really gross.

But anyway, back to my hair and the oh so humid big apple.

We arrived on Thursday at 4pm.  I had showered that morning and by 5.03pm my hair was flaccid and filthy.   The first event started at 6pm so I knew a full hair washing was not in my future.

Thankfully, a few weeks prior to my travels, I had started to set up my Open Sky shop.  As a welcoming gift, the Open Sky Project offered me anything out of their stores.  I obviously chose dry hair shampoo.  Duh.  Who wouldn’t?  Being a beauty product junkie, I had heard of dry shampoo.  My bestie Amanda swears by it but I could never justify spending the high price tag that Sephora has.  Why would I when I could just wash. my. damn. hair.

It came in the mail the day before I left Cleveland.

I wasn’t gonna pack it,

I was just going to a conference,

I would have plenty of time to wash, blow dry, and flat iron my hair.

Hah. Freakin’. Hah.

Little did I know that the New York air would take hold of my tresses and suck all of the shine, straight, and luster right out of each strand.

Oscar Blandi saved my ass at #blogher10.  Even when I showered and gussied up, my hair would eventually end up looking like Lindsay Lohans' after a night out in LA.  It was bad.  Really, really bad.

All it took was a quick spray and then a quick shake.  Voila! Oscar Blandi volumizing dry shampoo spray saved the day. It made my hair go from cracked out and oily to this at a moment's notice:

A quick spray in the Waldorf bathroom and I was on my way

I am very excited to have Oscar Blandi volumzing dry shampoos spray as my first item for sale in my Open Sky shop.  It saved my hair in Manhattan and I can’t believe it took me this long to find out about. Today is the first day shoppe is open.  I am not going to flood my store with products as I want to be sure that I can 100% stand by them.  As of now all I have available for sale is this amazing dry shampoo, that leaves no residue and DOES NOT test on furry little animals.  Yay!

Today I would also like to offer all of you, my kick ass readers, 25% off any item in my Open Sky shop until August 16th . Just use check out code EXCITE25 at the end of your transaction (if you go for the shampoo it is $13).  Happy shopping yo!

xoxo

Widow Faire on The Open Sky Project

If you haven't noticed, there is a countdown going down on my blog.  Look right yo. I am very excited about that countdown because it means something exciting and new is coming to Chef's Widow!!

Wanna know what???

Too bad bitches.

I kid.  I kid.

On August 10th twenty ten, Chef's Widow will become a shopkeeper.  You heard it hear first. Chef's Widow will start her very own store with The OpenSky Project.   Widow Faire will feature eclectic & local products I choose and that will be available to you, my lovely readers at affordable prices.  Widow Faire will focus on items that I often talk about here: food, clothes, shoes, bags, kid stuff, and more!  I plan on highlighting many local items as well as many brands that I have learned to trust of the years (of being an incessant shopaholic;).

It's gonna be a rockin' and you can come a knockin'.

So what do you want to see in my little 'ole shoppe?

Girls Gone Style: Widow Edition

Getting my Twiggy eye on

A few months back I had signed up to do a makeover with one of my favorite bloggers' Girl's Gone Child.  She had recently started doing a feature on her blog called Gone Styled.  Being a fan of Rebecca's amazing & eclectic style I thought why not?  I had always considered myself in the know regarding fashion but ever since we opened the restie I have most definitely let my style sense pass me by...

I knew I had some events coming up that would require a kick ass outfit so I went for it.  I decided that I was looking for an outfit for the Cleveland International Film Festival Opening Night Gala, I would be blogging for the festival and thought it would be a perfect time to go gone styled.  Rebecca went to work (and work she did, hours & hours were spent finding the perfect look) and the rest is history.  Check out my spectacular mod makeover on Girls Gone Styled today:

(click on the pic above to view full makeover & enter a giveaway for a rockin' new bag)

Special thanks go out to some pretty amazing ladies:

~Rebecca Woolf, author, blogger, mother, fashionista extraordinaire!  I had a blast and learned so much.  Since the makeover I have put a lot more thought into what my outfits end up being.  You rock it girl And that dress has become staple.  I love love it.

~Josie Maran Cosmetics for all of the amazing makeup.  I will be soon writing a post on how the JM lipstick has changed my life.  Loves.

~Hair Thursday for the spectacular styling advice as well as the introduction to Moroccan oil.  I am addicted!

**congrats jennkate on winning the creativity for kids make your own book kit.  please email me chefswidow at gmail dot com and I will get it out today!

Widow Digs Boudreaux's Butt Paste

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of Boudreaux's Butt Paste. All opinions are 100% mine.

From birth to twelve months Biggie Smalls was in cloth diapers.  Her bum was always soft and adorable and rash free.  After a year our diaper service moved on so we started using traditional diapers.  We used chlorine free diapers however no matter what Biggie always developed a diaper rash.  I had never used anything on her bum before the rash and had no idea what I should use.

Cue...  Boudreaux's Butt Paste

The company had sent me a sample and I decided to go for it.  Until I got the BBP I had been using another zinc based booty ointment that seemed to work allright.  Biggie’s bum was especially bad when I started using BBP due to someone (not naming names) leaving her in her diaper for way too long.  Within 24 hours her rash was gone and her baby bum was smooth once again.

Not only do I like the fact that Bordeux's Butt Paste actually does what it promises to do, it is easy to apply and smells way better than other products in it’s category.  A bonus for my way too sensitive nose.

Chef's Widow gives Boudreaux's Butt Paste an A for Ah-Maz-ing.

If you have a baby whose bum gets red every now and then I would recommend getting yourself a free sample of BBP.  It’s the jam.

Visit my sponsor: Boudreaux's Butt Paste

BlogHer Sponsorship YO

After not having the greatest time last year at the BlogHer conference, I was unsure about my return to this year's event.  Then I found out it was being held in NYC & I knew I had to go. I'm too in love with Manhattan not to.  The only problem I could see in attending would be the expenses.  The conference itself is $200, the hotel another $400, airfare could be up to $300, not to mention food & booze.  I had to get a (blogher) sponsor. Last year I had met quite a few bloggers who had their entire trip paid for by a company sponsorship.  In return for the sponsorship these bloggers handed out free samples, wrote about the company on their blogs, & used social media to promote #blogher & their sponsor together. My search for a sponsor started simply.  I had recently spoken to a local toy company, Creativity for Kids regarding an issue I was having with one of their products.  My son had been given a Solar System kit and we ran out of clay (I think one color was missing).  I called the company expecting nothing and was given everything.  Their customer service was to die for. She assured me that she would send a replacement immediately and that she would tell the product testers of the fault.  I was floored and in product love.  I had (hopefully) found my BlogHer sponsor.

I did a little online research and found out that they are a local Cleveland company.  I had always wanted to promote local but was unsure of how to do that on a national level. Creativity for Kids will allow me to do that.  They are local but their toy kits are sold all over the country & they have also won multiple Dr. Toy awards.  They are a rockin' kids company that I am sure you are familiar with:

So, I reached out.  They responded and I found myself with a partial sponsorship to BlogHer.  I will be promoting them on this blog as well as dong some awesome product giveaways (scroll down)!

I am thrilled not only for the sponsorship but also for the company I will be keeping.  OhMommy & I decided a while back that we would be roomies.  We both love wine and we both rock kick ass shoes, you couldn't ask for a better combo.  We also decided to go rogue and stay at The Waldorf, because everyone should stay at the Waldorf at least once in their lives...I may or may not be channeling my inner Greta Garbo for the weekend:

How hot is Greta?  Whew...those eyebrows...damn.

Moving on...

Today I am going to give one of you AWESOME peoples a Creativity for Kids Create Your Own Book kit.  The kit is great, it comes with 2 hardcover books that your children can illustrate and write in.  My mini's loved this project.

What I need from you is some help regarding my BlogHer sponsorship.  I want to know local companies that are trying to go national or that are national.  I want to be able to promote a company that can get their product nationwide but are located here in Northeast Ohio.  I am also looking for a company that aligns itself with what I believe in: sustainable food, the Earth, children, local, so if you are not a Clevelander, I would love to hear suggestions of this nature.  Let me know in the comments and I will pick a winner next Friday the 23rd.

Bonne chance bitches.

If you are interested in sponsoring me (ahem Waldorf-Astoria) for the BlogHer conference, please email me: chefswidow @gmail dot com.

Cleveland Film Festival: TIMER themovie

Our first date in almost 8 months

Last night I had the privilege of attending opening night of The Cleveland International Film Festival. The festival screens some great films from around the world, and we would even get to meet some of the festivals' producers and directors.   You might not get the chance to stay the night in any Britannia hotel rooms or other hotels around the world, but you do get a real taste of international culture.

So the Chef & I got dressed up and headed downtown.  We stopped for a quick drink at the Velvet Tango Room, the Chef ordered a gimlet and I enjoyed a proper Hemingway Daiquiri:

The way a proper daiquiri should look courtesy of the VTR

We arrived at the festival moments before the film began and settled into our seats.  The theatre was packed and our excitement was piqued.  All around us people had smiles on their faces, so proud to be a part of such a spectacular Cleveland event.  The writer/director and producer of the film were introduced and before I knew it Timer had begun.

Shhhh...Timer is about to begin

The film was great.  It was beyond original and quite funny.  Timer is about a girl searching for love in a world that follows the prediction of a computer implant.  The theme is basically a countdown to love.   The characters were quirky and the acting was honest and real.  Emma Caulfield's portrayal of Oona, the anxiously sweet orthodontist desperately searching for her one, was spot on. It also didn't hurt that the male lead in the movie was way easy breezy on the eyes. (I may have to add him to my top five.  Hee hee)

Bottom line: I dug Timer.

I found myself (as well as the entire theatre) laughing throughout it's entirety.  A perfect fit for our night out. After the film was over we headed down to the opening night gala in search of drinks, bloggers, and friends.  We happened to run into the director/writer Jac Schaeffer and producer Jennifer Glynn of Timer.  We even invited them down to the restaurant for dinner.  Hope to see you tonight ladies!

Jennifer & Jac, producer & writer/director of Timer

The Cleveland International Film Festival is one of the many great aspects that prove that there are people in this city who want to see it grow and move forward.  There are so many people in this city who actually believe in this city  and who can actually see the future of a cooler Cleveland.  We are lucky to have such movement in a town that has been stagnant for way too long.

Chef Jonathon Sawyer & Director of CIFF Patrick Sheppard

I am proud to be a part of such a phenomenal event for our city and I can't wait to check out more films over the next 11 days...

If anyone is going to see Out of Place tonight let me know.  I'll be there with bells on.

I am also over here today talking about my buddy Mike Symon.  Show me some love on this gorgeous spring day!

How Vicks VapoRub Saved My Life (last night)

I have been sick for what seems like ONE HUNDRED years.  It's nothing crazy like that pig flu but it still sucks bad. Basically I have a glorified head cold that never goes away.  I think it does...then the sniffling and the watery eyes make their return. On top of that, I have developed this cough that only comes at night.  It keeps me up.  All night.  Long.

The Chef left 3 days ago and I think I have slept for about 5 hours.  Last night I lost my mind. The kids haven't been sleeping well and I am, frankly, a hot hot mess.  I just kept coughing and coughing and coughing.  I had to do something so  I went on my brand new computer (thanks chef!) and searched for tips on how to make a night cough disappear.  As I googled my brains out I kept coming up on this site that swore putting Vick's VapoRub on your feet would make the cough disappear therefore allowing sleep.  Having tried everything (besides going to the doctor) I gave it a chance.  I slathered Vick's all over my feet (tweeting while doing so), put socks on, and closed my eyes.

I woke up 8 hours later to a grumpy 4 year old and a naked singing toddler.  Thank you Vicks VapoRub.  Thank you.