Content Marketing World: I’m an Official Blogger!

Guys. I am so excited to share the news that I am one of four official bloggers for THE best content marketing conference that exits (ahem, in the world): Content Marketing World! It’s insane and awesome that this event has come so far in five short years.

Joe PulizziBack in my cleveland.com days, I remember an energetic Twitter friend reaching out to see if The Plain Dealer could cover an event he was planning. Joe Pulizzi doesn’t need to ask for media coverage these days. With celebrities like Kevin Spacey closing out last year’s conference, the media can’t stay away.

Last year over 2,600 marketers from 50 countries descended on Cleveland to hear from marketing, content and social media rock stars. For 2015, to speak at CMW, you need to be beyond rock star status or need to have rocked out a previous #CMWorld event (only speakers with a 4 or 5 rating, out of 5, can return).

So why am I telling you all this now when the event is 4 months away? Well, if you plan on attending, I’d recommend doing so before May 31, 2015 because…

Using the code CMWSOCIAL, you’ll save $100 more off of the early bird prices!

If you register by May 31, you have a chance at a free 3-night hotel stay!

If you’re travelling in from out of town, now is the time to get killer deals and options on hotels! If you register now, immediately head over to the hotel portal to book your room in the CMWorld room block.

Oh and three more minor details…

John Cleese will be headlining  Content Marketing World!

John Cleese will be headlining Content Marketing World!

Washington Post senior correspondent and associate editor, Rajiv Chandrasekaran will be a keynote!

Washington Post senior correspondent and associate editor, Rajiv Chandrasekaran will be a keynote!


 

 

Barenaked Ladies will perform at Content Marketing World in Cleveland Music Hall, part of the Public Auditorium.

Barenaked Ladies will perform at Content Marketing World in Cleveland Music Hall, part of the Public Auditorium.

So, what are you waiting for? Join me at #CMWorld! Register now. And if you need some help convincing your boss to buy your ticket, leave me a comment and I’ll send you some ammo.

Disclosure: I was asked to be an official Content Marketing World blogger in exchange for one free ticket to the conference. As always, opinions are all mine.

Backyard renovations: Part 1

Spring has finally arrived in Cleveland! Normally, that would mean some gardening and planting of flowers and vegetables for us. That way the remainder of our spring and summer could be dedicated to other important things (boating). However, this year we have some major plans for our new backyard! This past week we made some progress:

Alana on a Tractor

OK, I’ll admit, there were no keys in this toy Dean wanted to keep. And I didn’t really help with any of the progress we made (minus planting a few flowers and taking care of Lulu). Here is what our yard looked like before the heavy machinery took over:

backyard before 1

This is a creek that runs through our back yard. Dean removed a portion of the fence so the backhoe could do it’s thing. RIP bridge. Cabela loved you!

backyard before 2

Our friend Christian who owns Zbin Landscaping out of Rocky River provided the tractor and backhoe and came over with a few of his crew to start the project. After they dug all the massively overgrown crap out of the yard, they put in a culvert pipe in so we could widen the bridge and open up the yard.

Backyard Zbin working

backyard  walking bridge

This will eventually be filled in more, decorated with some rocks and hopefully have grass!

We plan to spend a lot time this summer making the outside an oasis area. Stay tuned over the next few months for updates and ENJOY THIS WEATHER! :)

Meet Lulu, our new Lemon tree!

After our trip to Casa Verde, Dean and I kept talking about the beautiful lemon trees we saw at Petitti’s growing center. So when we woke up on a sunny Saturday morning, we knew a lemon tree was on our to-do list. After chatting with a few helpful Petitti’s employees, we found the citrus trees in the indoor tropical section.

I also had a beautiful planter pot on my wish list. Petitti’s may not have the cheapest accessories but they do have the most unique and gorgeous planters I’ve seen in one location! When we were heading towards the checkout, we ran into the Lemon Tree whisperer, aka Colleen. Colleen (at Avon Petitti’s) was a wealth of lemon tree knowledge and if our little Lulu ever looks sick, I know where to take her!

Lulu the Lemon Tree

She’s a beaut, but so is her pot, right?!

Everyone has been asking me: Can a lemon tree live through the winter in CLE?! They sure can. Now let’s just see if we can follow Colleen’s instructions! The tree must be transitioned indoors during the cold months, but it’s not as easy as just bringing her inside.

We love you, Lulu Lemon! Dean came up with that awesome name...

Lulu the Lemon Tree. 1jpg

PS: Congrats to Lori C. for winning the Petitti’s gift card! Love you, cuz! No, this was not rigged…

Disclosure: I was asked to partner with Petitti’s. In exchange I was gifted a $100 gift card. As always, opinion are mine.

Petitti Garden Center: Where Cleveland Gardens

Over the weekend, Dean and I were lucky enough to get an invite to tour Petitti Garden Center‘s Casa Verde, in Columbia Station. Casa Verde is where all the Petitti magic happens! 98% of the live product sold at Petitti is grown at Casa Verde.

Petitti Casa Verde Greenhouse

We were overwhelmed by not only the beauty of Casa Verde, but impressed by the magnitude of work that goes into providing the best product in the region.

Angelo Petitti guided a tour throughout the 32-acre property where he explained his story of immigrating to the US from Italy when he was 16. Dean and I assume Angelo makes an amazing homemade red sauce…and we were so very close to asking him about his tomato and basil plant secrets.

Petitti Angelo Dean

Since this is our first spring in our new house, we have a mile-long landscaping to-do list. Our yard makeover wheels were already in motion but this past weekend inspired us to kick things into gear. First and (unnecessarily) foremost: BUYING A LEMON TREE! Did you know you can cultivate fruit all year long from a lemon/lime tree in Cleveland? All you need to do is keep in in a pot and bring it to a sunlight area during the crummy Cleveland winter months!

Petitti Alana Dean

Is your green thumb calling your name? Well I have a $50 Petitti Garden Center gift card to giveaway!

You can enter by:

1. Post a comment about what you plan on upgrading in your yard this spring.
2. Tweet the following: I want to win a @Petittis gift card from @dawgpndgirl! #Petittis: http://bit.ly/1JtQFsE (You can enter once per day but must leave a separate comment each time letting me know you did so in order to count)
3. Share this post on your Facebook page (Leave a separate comment letting me know you did so)

This giveaway will run until Friday, May 1st at 11:59 pm. You can tweet daily! Good luck, gardeners!

DISCLOSURE: I was given a $100 Petitti gift card in exchange for this giveaway. Regardless, if you follow me on Swarm, you know I love me some Avon Petitti!

2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductions: #TBT

My first career at cleveland.com was an amazing five+ years. It was filled with learning how to code a website and be an online journalist (sure, college sort of taught me that), being on The Dawg Blog Live (see also embarrassing), foraying myself into the professional social media space and most memorably, covering amazing events and concerts for Cleveland’s #1 news and entertainment website (among so much more including great friends!).

Hands down my favorite event to cover: The 2009 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony!

Rock Hall Inductions 2009

Joe Perry! Michael Symon clearly waving to me! RON EFFING WOOD (and his um 18 year-old date). I’m only slighty obsessed with The Rolling Stones.

As I see more and more media coverage about April’s ceremony, I feel the nostalgia of that job that helped me become who I am today. I’ve changed a lot since 2009 and let’s be honest, Cleveland has transformed immensely as well. One thing I remember that disappointed me and my colleagues was all those celebs jetting off right after the ceremony. Let’s hope they make a week/weekend out of their trip to Cleveland this year because I know one thing to be true: CLEVELAND ROCKS.

The inductee, performer and presenter list is pretty amazing this year. So…who needs a photog or blogger to cover the 2015 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony? This girl is available! :)

Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo

BHRE_116If you didn’t make it to the Sixth Annual Great Big Home + Garden Show last month, there is another home show coming to the IX Center later this month: the Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo. And if I had to chose one or the other, I’d opt for the expo solely for the reason that I’m addicted to all things Bravo! and Flipping Out’s Jeff Lewis will be appearing on the Main Stage on Saturday, March 28 and Sunday, March 29.

Jeff Lewis

 

Some other highlights of this year’s show include:
-Chip and Joanna Gaines, Hosts of HGTV’s Fixer Upper will appear on the The Main Stage.

-Learn how shipping containers can be turned into living space at the J. Evans Custom Home Construction’s Forever Home Feature. 

-Enjoy the beauty of live butterflies up close in the Arcadia GlassHouse Butterfly Feature. 

-Music, special Cleveland Home + Remodeling Expo drink specials and light hors d’oeuvres will be part of a Happy Hour to kick-off the Expo on Friday. 

And surprise! Ha :) You can enter to win two tickets of your own to the show by:

1. Posting a comment telling me your favorite HGTV or Bravo! show.

2. Tweet the following (you can tweet once per day and MUST leave a SEPARATE comment for each tweet): I want to win two tickets to the March 2015 @GreatBigShow from @dawgpndgirl: http://wp.me/p1euS9-BI

3. Share this post on your Facebook page. Again, please leave a comment telling me you shared.

The sweepstakes will run from March 16, 2015 – March 20, 2015.

You can also use the DISH15HR discount code for $1 off to purchase tickets here.

Good luck!

Chip and Joanna Gaines 1

*Disclosure: I was asked to help promote the expo in exchange for two tickets to the show.

Is winter over yet?

Hi! Long time, no talk. I have been lacking motivation over the past few months. This routine I’ve fallen into needs to be broken: Wake up, work, workout, eat, sleep, repeat.

Sure, it could be worse but I’m feeling pretty lame as of late. I feel like I haven’t made the best effort to connect with my friends, blogging has been nonexistent (not really sure that’s a surprise to anyone, including myself), I’m eating and drinking like I’m trying to gain weight and, to be completely honest, I am getting sick of my own predictability.

When winter started, I was all smiles because I was surrounded by my best friends and fam rushing from one activity to another party back to something else that was fabulous.

The holidays were amazing…best friend laughter and family events all enjoyed in our new home!

Holiday fun 2014

Oh yeah, we even went to an awesome wedding on NYE, too:2253

Post-holiday, like most Clevelanders I’m sure, the winter woes set in hard core. It’s not that I’m depressed or anything serious, it’s just that I AM SO OVER THIS WINTER. You know, getting stuck in the ice and snow in my own driveway twice within a month is fun and all, but I”m ready for some sunshine.

Cabela in the snow 2015

To fill our hibernation this winter, Dean and I have made plenty of delicious Sunday sauce meals (my waistline is the only thing complaining), watched Netflix like there was no tomorrow (PARENTHOOD!?!?!) and I’ve personally spent more time on my couch cuddling with my doggy than I’d like to admit.

Sunday Sauce Playoff Party

This weekend we spring forward and I’m hoping that’s the kick in the ass I need to get me out of this winter weather slump.

So, what have you been up to this winter while I’ve been holed up by the fire (with wine and snacks in hand)?

2216

Great Big Home + Garden Show ticket giveaway

*Note: The giveaway has ended. @CarlyRose0711 was the lucky winner!*

A few things I’m having a hard time believing: it’s almost February (and my niece’s 1st birthday!), we’ve lived in our new pad for almost 4 months and it’s already time for the Great Big Home + Garden Show!

Cleveland_CarrierSurprisingly, there aren’t a ton of indoor home projects that we have on our home ‘to-do’ list. Not so surprisingly, my lumberjack husband has roughly 64 things he wants to do outside. OK, that’s a tad of an exaggeration but his imagination has been running wild since we moved in. For me, I’m most looking forward to enhancing our curb appeal and some fun gardening projects this spring and summer.

This is where the Great Big Home + Garden Show comes in! Dean and I plan to attend the show to get some gardening, barn, garage and landscaping inspiration at this year’s event which takes place Friday, Feb. 6 – Sunday, Feb. 15 at the Cleveland I-X Center.

In it’s 6th year, here are some highlights you can look forward to this year:

*Get inspired at a 2,400 square-foot, fully-constructed Idea Home

*Looking to pimp out your indoor/outdoor entertainment space? The 1,500 square-foot Xtend Technologies High-Tech Entertainment Home is for you

*The Garden Showcase, Cleveland Rocks-themed gardens created by some of Northeast Ohio’s top landscapers

*The combined Main Stage and Loretta Paganini Cooking Stage will be bigger than ever

*Celebrities include: Ramsin Khachi, Tom Silva, Matt Muenster and Todd Wilbur

Licensed contractor Matt Muenster posing on set.

Now let’s get to the fun part! I have two tickets to leave at the will call desk for the 2015 Great Big Home + Garden Show. You can enter by:

1. Posting a comment on this post telling me what your favorite home/garden show, book or magazine is.

2. Tweet the following (you can tweet once per day and MUST leave a SEPARATE comment for each tweet): I want to win two tickets to the 2015 @GreatBigShow from @dawgpndgirl: http://wp.me/p1euS9-Bv

3. Share this post on your Facebook page. Again, please leave a comment telling me you shared.

I am also offering up a $1 discount code if you would like to purchase tickets online. Enter code: DISH15.

Winners can enter until MIDNIGHT January 31, 2015 and will be notified by Monday February 2, 2015. Good luck!

House Hunters Cleveland: Trials, tribulations and triumph

When Dean and I sold our starter home using Zillow’s ‘Make Me Move,’ we really didn’t know what our future held. We knew we had to take the offer, pack our bags, swallow our pride and move into my parents basement, aka ‘the apartment.’

We quickly realized the Real Estate market on Cleveland’s west side (specifically Bay Village, Rocky River, Westlake, Avon Lake and Fairview Park) was on fire. There were homes that were selling before they even hit the MLS. As much as we tried to stay positive, I was feeling pretty discouraged each day as I scoured the Internet looking for our forever home.

One home that got away happened to be in Bay and was the one and only house that Dean and I were both in love with. For me, it was the city and area I wanted to be in, had an amazing kitchen and if you stood on your tippy toes could even see the lake. For Dean, it had a large attached garage along with a separate detached garage, a large backyard and a driveway that went on for days. That house sold within 8 hours of being on the market. From then on, we knew if we were in love with a home, there was no time to waste and we needed to be ready to move fast.

That situation happened again and again…but the homes never held a candle to that first one that got away. Next, we decided to make an offer on a old and outdated house in Westlake. It was on a large lot and we thought we could expand the home and build our dream house. After some shady business with the seller, we backed out of the deal.

Shortly after that, we visited another Westlake home the day it went on the market. Over dinner and drinks with my parents that same evening, we decided to make an offer that night. Of course there were 13 other offers that weekend. The sellers asked for everyone’s ‘best and final’ offer by Sunday night. We knew we had to up our offer and go above full asking price. We made it to the final two and lost out because the other buyers were cash buyers. This is when I started to get extremely worried. We couldn’t compete with that.

One hot summer Saturday I was baking in the sun on my parent’s deck when I got an email notification about a house that was right through my parents’ backyard and looked AMAZING. One quick call to my Realtor Melissa Mellon and I was in the house within the hour.

Nantucket01

The home was overpriced but I was in love. I didn’t even ask Dean to visit the house because it was out of our price range. However, the house didn’t sell that first weekend. And I had learned over the prior few months that it hadn’t sold because it was obviously overpriced.

Weeks and months went by. The price kept dropping so Dean and I visited the house (many times). We decided to go for it and submit an offer. That offer was denied. That’s when I told myself I needed to forget this house all together.

To my shock, a few weeks later, Dean had talked to the city about some projects he was interested in investigating and told me he wanted to make another offer. A few stressful days later, OUR OFFER WAS ACCEPTED.

SOLD BY KELLER WILLIAMS EZ SALES TEAM!

SOLD BY KELLER WILLIAMS!

Have you ever heard that saying good things come to those who wait? It sure is true in this instance. While we were only in ‘the apartment’ for six months, it was a major life change considering Dean and I lived together for six years on our own beforehand.

Our first night in the house.

Our first night in the house.

We’ve been getting settled in over the past two months and Cabela is happy to have her own yard again. She’s still battling the deer for full ownership though!

Cabela in Backyard

As I write this blog post, Dean is making dinner, the fireplace is lit and Cabela is on my lap. All is right in the world.

Best Fans Week 2014

The Browns have certainly stepped up their fan experience game over the past two years. Much of that is owed to Cleveland Browns President Alec Scheiner. From Swagger on the sidelines to new turnstyles at the entrances and enhanced infrastructure throughout the stadium, it’s hard to miss.

SWAGGER!

SWAGGER!

As we head into the last home game week of the season, the Browns have unveiled ‘Best Fans Week.’ This week is dedicated to us, the best fans out there.

This season has been exciting with plenty of highs and lows. But one thing I can always be certain of is having fun when I head downtown on Sundays with my crew.

dawgpndgirl-machoman

From the 10 hours of prizes kicking off this morning to the #ThrowbackThursday campaign on Thursday, the Browns are doing their part to get the fans rallying around a team that needs it’s loud champions this weekend against the Bengals.

So join me and let’s show the world why we are THE BEST FANS around. And also…JOHNNY MANZIEL!! See you Sunday, Cleveland.

Disclosure: I was contacted by the Browns marketing department to help support Best Fans Week. I was not asked to blog but did so because I love the Brownies.