Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Win It Wednesday(4/30)





Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


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 Win a Soapstone Griddle!! 


Ends April 30, 2014


Enter Here











Image Credit




Win a Full Circle Fresh Air Kitchen Compost Bin!!


Ends May 9, 2014


Enter Here














Win an Aurorae Combination Yoga Mat/Towel & Spa Set!! 


Ends May 21, 2014


Enter Here














Tuesday, April 29, 2014

BIC® 4-Color™ & its 4 Distinct Color Personalities #LoveBIC4Color


This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of BIC 4-Color pen for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.



Some kids go ga-ga walking through the candy isle at the store, seeing an abundance of sugary treats within their reach. Some kids are more excited about the toy isle and all the imaginative possibilities different toys evoke. Me? Take me down the office supply isle and watch me go!

From crisp, clean notebooks to the many colorful pads of sticky notes, staplers and their accompanying staples (yes, those excite me, too), rubber band balls, and the numerous pencils and pens available, I could spend hours just looking at all the shiny new supplies.

Don't judge me!

One of my favorite products to date is the BIC® 4-Color™ pen-I mean 4 Inseparable Colors in 1 Pen? How can that NOT be the coolest office supply to have on hand? Especially knowing this mighty pen is so versatile! Regardless of what mood your in or what type of appointment, birthday, or other note you have to jot down on your calendar, you have 4 different colors to color code to your heart's content.

Now THAT, my friends, is a perfectionist's dream.




Did you know that each color has its own distinct personality? You can read the individual personality descriptions below. Who knows, you may relate to and form a bond with one of them, resulting in the need to rush out and buy a pen (or multiple pens) to support your colorful inky brethren.

Blue: Blue likes himself. And with good reason: he knows that he's important. Blue cheese, blue skies, blue jeans, blue moon; he's everywhere! To prove his point, look at the names of his family members: Navy Blue, Oxford Blue, Royal Blue...Ever heard of "royal yellow"? Exactly. Let's admit it… Blue is the boss.

Green: Green is the jealous type…wouldn’t you be if your Red, Blue, and Black counterparts were used [way] more often than you? He’s a foodie. Such a foodie that he chronicles each of his daily meals on his social media profile. Because if you eat a meal and don’t take a picture of it, did it really even happen? Green has a soft side too. For example, last summer he cooked a huge cat nip cake for his beloved cat, Mr. Furrybottom. Oh, and Green still sucks his thumb. But according to him, that's an old trick to prevent him from snoring.

Red: Red likes it when things are correct. When matches are parallel and books are well aligned on a shelf. His favorite moment of the day? When it is 11:11 sharp on his digital watch. His passion in life? He has many: spelling, grammar, conjugation, calculation. And a bit of syntax on the weekend. Want to make him happy? Give him some mistakes to correct. He even makes mistakes on purpose sometimes, just for the pleasure of correcting them.

Black: He just doesn’t understand…why does it always have to be about Blue? He is not as fit as Blue although he likes to think that he's just as handsome as he is – in a different way though. (Muscles are so last season). He secretly dreams of becoming the Undisputed Master of the World but hasn't yet come up with a clear plan for this. And before we forget (although he doesn't like to talk about it), his natural hair color is blond.




While I'm not as conceited as Blue and certainly not a VIP, I do quite unapologetically love myself! Green is the jealous type and I can't help feel jealousy is a wasted emotion; although I do bond with green over our mutual love of food. Black is a little too 'world domination' for my tastes but, truthfully, I am indeed a natural blond. So therefore I think I resemble Red's personality the best!

Actually, the description is pretty spot on-so much so that, back in high school, I used to correct my sister's homework for fun. If that makes me a nerd, I fully embrace nerd-dome!

If you're like me and thrive off the thrills of buying office supplies, namely currently referring to the BIC® 4-Color™ pen, you can do so online through Amazon or Staples!

And don't forget to follow on social media where you can follow along with funny updates from each of the 4 personalities including their correlating colored spandex suites, contests, and neat things that can be done with your BIC® 4-Color™ pen.


Connect:





Which color personality are YOU? 










Visit Sponsor's Site






Monday, April 28, 2014

Mailbox Monday(4/28)






Mailbox Monday divulges into the inner workings of my mailbox throughout the week. From books to jewelry to free samples to random magazines and letters-You never know what will be in the mail this week...



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  Another surprise goodie package from Food Should Taste Good!

This package featured their newest pita puff line of snacks.
















As if my two Etsy shops and eBay wasn't enough, I found another medium to buy and sell jewelry on and it's a Facebook auction group of all things!

I saw this necklace and earring set and while it's not what I originally thought it would be, it's still pretty none-the-less.













I was the second place winner in a recent giveaway and my prize arrived this week-a lovely Wisco Pop! certified organic t-shirt!

On the tag: "Good for man, good for the land, grown and sewn in the USA"












What did YOU get in the mail this week?







Saturday, April 26, 2014

Be Mom's Flower Faerie with Teleflora.com + $75 GC Giveaway


Disclaimer: I was compensated for this post on The Eclectic Element. All thoughts and opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research into a product or service before committing to purchase as your opinions may vary. Giveaway details are at the end of this post.


When my sister and I were younger and first moved into our current house, the neighborhood had not yet been fully developed with side-to-side and back-to-back cookie-cutter houses, so we had what seemed to us at the time unending fields of tall grass, hills, trees, and wildflowers.

We loved going outside to play (this was several years before the technology boom) and one day we got the bright idea to be what we deemed 'Flower Faeries'; we picked bundle after bundle of pretty wildflowers, tied them up all nice and neatly, dropped them at people's door steps, rang the doorbell, and ran!

Sort of like ding-dong-ditch but with a less frustrated, much happier outcome because who doesn't love to receive a surprise bright and beautiful bundle of flowers?

Since Mother's Day is upon us, why not play the roll of Flower Faerie yourself and bestow the gift of your own bright, beautiful Mother's Day bouquet to make that special mom in your life smile!

Teleflora has you covered with their wide range of special bouquets for Mother's Day and beyond, all of which are different shapes, sizes, colors, and flowers combinations, guaranteeing you'll find something that catches your eye.

From their Enchanted Garden Bouquet: 


Enchanted Garden Bouquet


To their bright and sunshiny Upsy Daisy Bouquet:


Upsy Daisy Bouquet


Straight to their more exotic choices like the Imagination Blooms with Cymbidium Orchid Bouquet:



Imagination Blooms with Cymbidium Orchid Bouquet


Those are just 3 of the full page of tremendously gorgeous, vibrant, and unique floral bouquets you can choose from! And with Mother's Day coming up, how would you like to receive 20% off Mother's Day flowers? Just click the link and have the code automatically applied or upon checkout use the code BLOGSM9*

As if a cheerful bouquet of flowers for dear ol' mom wasn't enough, how about we through in a Spafinder Gift Certificate with those flowers to really treat mom well? After all, she deserves it for all that she does!

For the perfect all-in-one present why not take advantage of Teleflora's Mother's Day Spafinder deal--pick out your floral bouquet, complete with a keepsake vase, and bundle it with a $25, $50, or $100 Spafinder eGift Card which can be used at over 20,000 spa and wellness locations worldwide.



Connect: 








{The Giveaway}

 

Win a $75 Teleflora Gift Certificate!!






{The Rules}



1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

2. Contest will run from Saturday, April 26, 2014 through to Tuesday, May 6, 2014.

3. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

4. Open to worldwide!




a Rafflecopter giveaway





That's 2 mandatory entries + 48 possible extra entries which = 50 entries total!

 
Good Luck!







*Coupon code valid through until 10/16/14

Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open worldwide to individuals 18 years or older and will run from Saturday, April 26, 2014 12:00 pm CST until Tuesday, May 6, 2014 10:59 pm CST. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter.com and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 48 hours (2 days) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.








Bread Crumbs & Foreign Dresses: Sleep Texting at its Finest


If you've been a friend, reader, or fan of mine for awhile, you know I have quite the unique personality. My boyfriend put it into perspective quite perfectly the other day when he told me:

"You're a star. You might sparkle a little differently then all the other stars, but you're definitely a star."

I have a few, but one of my bizarre yet hilarious quarks is I sleep text. If you need or want a good laugh, you can check out my two previous posts about being a heavy flow kinda girl and the homeless man with my blue shoe. I was even interviewed for a sleep texting segment on CNN.com for my crazy sleepy-time antics!

For the life of me I cannot remember these "episodes." I don't remember reaching for my phone and texting these random (and I do mean random) pieces of comedic gold to people, namely my ex-boyfriend at the time and my current boyfriend, but it does indeed happen people.

Recently it happened again in the span of a month which is very rare as these sleep texting occurrences only happen maybe once every few months. The first happened mid to late January and I found out when my boyfriend came to wake me up for a early morning breakfast date. This time, there's actually photographic proof of my insanity:





To the best of my deductive reasoning skills, I believe I was attempting to convey a dream I had to my boyfriend that involved a mutual friend of ours. Did I remember said dream when I woke up to my boyfriend shaking my shoulder and asking me, "So you and Hannah fit into the play because you were wearing foreign dresses, huh?" Not for the life of me!

Honestly when he asked me that at that moment I briefly questioned his sanity. I know, pot meet kettle.

Second was a month later after he got a small sampling of my affinity for sleep texting...






So far from my sleep texting experiences, I've narrowed it down to two distinct categories: dreams and advice. As far as I can conclude, half the time my sleep texts center around a dream or dreams that I had or a piece of advice I may have deamt or thought up myself in the middle of the night that I feel is important enough to grab my phone and text it to someone.

So there you have it folks! Proof of my crazy brain at it's finest.

Now remember-Don't stuff bread crumbs into your pockets otherwise you'll have an anxiety attack. And we don't want that, do we?



Do you have any sleep texting experiences or know someone who does?







Thursday, April 24, 2014

Health Update Thursday(4/24)


I'm not going to sugar coat things for you, my dearest fans and readers.

Things with my health have been downright horrible for the past week and a half to two weeks or so. So much so that a lot of crying has been done because there's really nothing else I can do to make myself feel better. I'm literally doing everything I can think of to help, but to no avail.

I've been reduced to bed due to severe leg weakness and pain. Thankfully I'm still able to (slowly) get around whenever I'm feeling brave enough to endure the pain with the use of ol' rollin' blue (my walker).

Of course I'm expecting the woman's monthly gift ridiculously awful curse so that's sending my body into all sorts of rebellion and not-so fun things. Plus the fear that it strikes into my heart and soul every month causes me to stress out to no end.

Then, as if that all wasn't bad enough, the insomnia has kicked back in and sleeping is a nightmare (no pun intended). Especially that coupled with the severe amounts of pain I'm in; it's a wonder I get any sort of sleep at all!

Speaking of pain, among everything that I'm going through currently, they don't even hold a candle to the crazy amounts of pain my body has to endure day in and day out. It's gotten so bad that I'm living on OTC and prescription pain medicine, both of which don't even work anyway. I'm trying anything and everything natural I can think to try: teas, creams and ointments, vitamins and minerals, diet, herbs, baths and footbaths....

If you guys have any ideas for me, I'm more than open!

I have a doctor's appointment coming up in the beginning of May so we'll see what that brings.

Now it's just a matter of holding in there, continuing my efforts, and trying to keep myself busy until this passes.

And of course watching The Ellen Show cause laughter is, after all, the best medicine!





Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Win It Wednesday(4/23)





Win It Wednesday is a day for showcasing, browsing, entering, and linking up contests-Have a contest that needs a little extra exposure? Feel free to link it up!

NOTE:: Linking up your contests on my Win It Wednesday linky below automatically puts them on my Ongoing Contest Linky.

DOUBLE NOTE:: You only have to submit your contest link ONCE because I manage the ongoing list myself, deleting contests as they expire.


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 Win a Gorgeous Transformable Maxi Dress!!


Ends April 30, 2014


Enter Here








Image Credit





Win a Beautiful Earth Angel Necklace!!


Ends May 11, 2014


Enter Here










Image Credit


Win a Kombucha Continuous Brewing System Silver Package from GetKombucha.com!!


Ends May 12, 2014



Enter Here













Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Kristi Yamaguchi's 5 Tips to a Balanced Life + Prize Pack Giveaway #LifeIngredients


Disclaimer: I was provided product compensation for the below post on The Eclectic Element. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research before committing to buy a product or service as your opinions may vary.



Some of you might know the name Kristine 'Kristi' Yamaguchi from her figure skating days, winning two World Figure Skating Championships in 1991 and 1992, becoming the 1992 Olympic Champion in the ladies' single category, along with many other impressive milestones in her career including being inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005 and being a contestant on the wildly popular reality television show, Dancing with the Stars.

I remember being a huge fan of Kristi's skating back when I was younger. One of my fond childhood memories is of when my mom, aunt, sister, and I gathering around the tv to watch the figure skating competitions. Kristi was one of my favorites and watching her glide across the ice on those skates and nailing those impressive tricks was thrilling to me; at times I even caught myself holding my breath through her performance!

After she retired from her skating career, Kristi somewhat disappeared. Until I was lucky enough to be a part of her #LifeIngredients webinar sponsored by Alpine Lace Cheese with some of my fellow bloggers and learned what she's really been doing with her time!


Image Credit


Not only did Kristi get married and start a family complete with a handsome professional hocky-playing hubby and two beautiful young girls, she's a published children's book author, a philanthropist who founded her own children's literacy charity, Always Dream Foundation, and she's an entrepreneur who started her own stylish activewear line, Tsu.ya (pronounced sue-ya).

How does she do it all and keep herself balanced you ask? That's a very good question because I'd like to learn her secret!

Kristi divulged a few of her tips, tricks, and secrets to how she keeps herself motivated and balanced through whatever life has to throw at her and I've picked my top 5 favorites to share with you all:


1. Prioritize 

Let's face it, there's not enough time in the day to get everything done. The prospect of adding a couple more days to the week or a few more hours to the day is an extremely tempting idea, but not physically possible, so we need to take the few things that absolutely need to be done and prioritize those to get done above everything else. Once those are done, we prioritize a few more things and the rest, as they say, is history! And, of course, done ;)


2. Put exercise time on your calendar 

I'll be the first to admit I'm guilty of forgetting to even move when I get involved in my work, let alone remembering to take time out of my schedule to exercise! Unfortunately my health is very temperamental so I sometimes can't get a good workout in, but when my health allows, I LOVE to exercise and I need to take this tip to heart.


3. Stay connected with friends

Just this past year, I've learned how important it is to stay connected with friends. I've met new ones, re-connected with old ones, and have done a lot of fun things like karaoke for the first time, dancing, dinner dates, sex toy bingo (yes, you read that correctly), etc. Kristi even admitted she indulges in many GNOs (Girl's Nights Out) with her girlfriends, which I can totally relate since my fantastic group of girlfriends and I try to set aside one day a month for ours!


4. Take 30 minutes of 'Me Time' 

No matter how busy you are during your day, taking 30 minutes of 'me time' to do something you love and are passionate about is super important. Regardless of whether it's reading a book, taking a walk, soaking in a bath, being creative or whatever it is you love to do, DO IT! It's like a breathe of fresh air for your soul and you'll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle what ever is on your to-do list next.


5. Have your Go-to Snacks

Having some healthy go-to snacks for you, your significant other, and or your children is definitely a major thing to remember, especially if you're always on the go! Instead of opting for the temptation of a drive through and unhealthy fast food, remember packing some healthy snacks doesn't have to be hard. Even simpler is keeping those healthy snacks stocked in the fridge; it's easy as open, grab, and enjoy gilt free.

One of my favorites is an apple with creamy peanut butter!


Thanks to Tsu.ya and Alpine Lace Cheese, one of my readers is going to win a fantastic healthy living prize package to help YOU maintain a balanced life including a Tsu.ya by Kristi Yamaguchi Julia Jacket in purple and size medium*, a beautiful One Line a Day journal, and Alpine Lace Cheese free product coupon!


Connect: 






{The Giveaway}

 

Win a Healthy Living Prize Package 
courtesy of Alpine Lace and Tsu.ya! 








{The Rules}



1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

2. Contest will run from Tuesday, April 22, 2014 through to Monday, April 28, 2014.

3. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

4. Open to US residents only--Sorry everyone else!




a Rafflecopter giveaway




That's 2 mandatory entries + 36 possible extra entries which = 38 entries total!

 
Good Luck!







*Sponsors are offering the same jacket I received including size (medium) and color (purple). You will not be choosing your preferred size and color.

Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years or older and will run from Tuesday, April 22, 2014 12:00 pm CST until Monday, April 28, 2014 10:59 pm CST. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter.com and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 48 hours (2 days) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.



Sunday, April 20, 2014

Monroe and Main: Mother Daughter Spotlight & Giveaway #MMBloggerSpotlight


Disclaimer: This is a Fashionista Event Opportunity, and is hosted by Still Blonde after all these YEARS and Modly Chic. I was provided product courtesy of Monroe and Main in order to facilitate this honest review on The Eclectic Elembent. All opinions expressed below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. Please do your own research on a product or service before purchase as your results may vary. Giveaway details are located at the bottom of this post. 




Mother's Day is about to sneak up on us once again-do you have anything planned for that special mother figure in your life? Regardless of whether you have a biological mom, a step-mom, a friend you look up to as a mom (shout out to my Cyber Mommy!), a grandmother who is a mom-like figure to you or all of the above, May 11th is designated to be their special day!

Although really, every day should be their special day considering what they contribute to the world day in and day out, but I digress...

The folks at Monroe and Main get that, and that's why they provide some amazing misses and plus sized clothing and accessory options for that special person in your life and beyond. From dress up to dress down, relaxing to business-worthy chic, and everything in between, you can find whatever look you might be going for at Monroe and Main!

Being chosen to be a Monroe and Main blogger for this particular Mother's Day mother/daughter spotlight campaign was not only an extraordinary opportunity (I've been a fan of theirs since I became a Fashionista a year or so ago), but it also has a very special meaning and provided me an opportunity I might not have been able to achieve on my own; not only did I get a dress to review, but I was also extended a second dress for my mom and we were able to spend some quality time together at our local state park bonding over a mother/daughter photo shoot.

See, the thing is my mom rarely shops for herself, let alone takes the time for herself to get all dressed up. 9 out of 10 times she uses her money to buy things for my sister and I whether we need them or just happen to want them. As far back as I can remember she's always been like that and to be given the opportunity to give HER something back meant the world to me, as did the fact that we found her a dress she actually likes!  











Dress: Paisley Flutter Dress from Monroe and Main
Shoes: Thrifted ()
Earrings: Target Clearance
Bracelet: Thrifted


From the moment I first laid eyes on this dress it was love at first sight! When I initially saw the stock photo on the Monroe and Main website, everything about this dress drew me in; the femininity of it, the pop of color the pattern of the skirt adds, the flattering silhouette... 

Then the dress actually arrived at my door and I fell in love all over again! I immediately went to try it on, you know, to make sure if fit properly (the fact that I ended up twirling around the house for the next 15 minutes is completely irrelevant) and aside from being slightly big, something that's incredibly simple to fix, it literally felt like the dress was made for me. 

Like the pictures on the website, the physical dress itself was very feminine and the fit was extremely flattering! The material the dress is made out of is so silky soft and flowy that wearing the dress was such a pleasurable experience. And last but not least, the fact that the top actually fit (I have a lot of issues when it comes to being somewhat endowed up top) was a miracle in and of itself. All in all the dress and the way it made me feel left me one extremely happy and satisfied customer!








Dress: Hand-Crocheted Jacket & Dress from Monroe and Main
Shoes: Burlington Coat Factory
Necklace: Thrifted 
Bracelet: Thrifted



My mom will be the first to admit she hates dresses. I can count on one hand the number of times I've seen her (or at least remember her) wear a dress for whatever special occasion called for it at the time, but other than that she's more of a dress slacks kinda gal. She admitted that because she's a bigger girl (more to love in my opinion), dresses never really fit her right; "I'm always tugging things down and adjusting myself because they never fit right and they're just very uncomfortable," she told me. 

However, when it came to Monroe and Main's hand-crocheted jacket and dress, she had nothing but positive things to say! The dress itself is made of a very comfortable material that's both soft and stretchy which makes for a non-binding, breathable, not to mention enjoyable fit. The days of worrying over what's riding up or going awry are over! In fact, the only thing she had issues with was the dress might have been a wee bit big and she thinks she could have opted for a smaller size. If that even counts as an issue ;)

Aside from the comfort and fit, my mom thinks the best thing about this dress is its versatility. You can dress it up fancy if you chose or you could dress it down for a casual get together. You can adorn it with splashes of a variety of different colors in all sorts of accessories including jewelry, purses, scarves, shoes...It really is a dress for the imaginative fashionista!

Regarding Monroe and Main, I was extremely satisfied with not only their products, but with the company itself. You can tell they pride themselves on delivering quality products at reasonable prices as well as giving their customers a simple, easy, and enjoyable ordering experience. 

I haven't dealt with their customer service this time around but I have no doubt that's top-notch, too! 








{The Giveaway}

 

Win a Monroe and Main Mother's Day 
Gift Basket ($108 Value)!!






{The Rules}


1. You MUST use the name and email you want to be contacted with in the Rafflecopter.

2. Contest will run from Monday, April 21, 2014 through to Sunday, May 4, 2014.

3. Open to individuals 18 years or older.

4. Open to US residents only--Sorry everyone else!





a Rafflecopter giveaway





That's 2 mandatory entries + 65 possible extra entries which = 67 entries total!

 
Good Luck!


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Don't forget to check out my fellow Monroe and Main Spotlight Bloggers and enter their giveaways-the more you enter the better your chances of winning ;)








Giveaway Disclaimer: This giveaway is open to US residents only, 18 years or older and will run from Sunday, April 20, 2014 11:01pm CST until Sunday, May 4, 2014 10:59 pm central standard time. The winner will be chosen through Rafflecopter.com and be contacted within 24 hours of the drawing. You'll then have 48 hours (2 days) to claim your prize and send me all applicable information-If I haven't heard from you within that time frame, I will be forced to choose another winner. The Eclectic Element and all related parties are in no way liable or responsible for unfulfilled or damaged prizes.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2014 Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo: The Recap #GFAFExpo


Disclaimer: I was provided admittance to the Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo in Schaumburg, Illinois this past Saturday, April 12th at no cost to me to facilitate this post on The Eclectic Element. All opinions and expressions below are 100% mine and mine alone unless otherwise stated. 


Recently, this past weekend in fact, my nutritionist-to-be friend and I set out on an epic roadtrip adventure early Saturday morning to head into Schaumburg, Illinois for this year's 2014 Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo! Thankfully I had the foresight to knock myself out with a Benadryl induced coma the night before to achieve some amount of sleep before getting up at a pre-destined time of 5:45 am to start the ritual of getting ready.

 7:15 am rolled around, she picked me up, and we were off!




From where we're located it was about an hour and a half drive and we actually made it there in good time and with no issues. Two girls with mapquest directions and a GPS as backup...now that's a true miracle (you know how "reliable" mapquest and GPS are), especially if you throw in the fact that half the drive into the city we took back-roads to avoid tolls.

Illinois tolls will break you and your wallet before you know it.

Anywho, we arrived and were blown hurried inside as not to miss any of the gluten and allergen free excitement!


The Arrival





The Omission Beer booth was where the blogger meet and greet would be taking place at 10:00 am, so as soon as my friend was safely checked in and eagerly off to listen to the first speaker of the day, I got my official I'm-a-legit-important-person badge and I was off to seek out the booth so I wouldn't be late!

Of course I ended up being way early so I wandered around a little bit scanning my surroundings and finally sat down at the table provided for us bloggers and waited. Slowly my fellow bloggy people started arriving until it was time to learn about Omission's gluten free beer and their gluten extraction process.











The Expo


After the blogger meet and greet was over, we all set off in our respective directions to check out the nearly 5 to 6 rows of gluten free, allergen free companies that came to spread awareness of their name, their individual stories, and, of course, their goodies!




Wandering around and talking to a lot of these companies from the small mom-and-pop operations to the big well-known and trusted brands, I found, aside from the physical products they offered to sample, I enjoyed the stories the most.

What was the idea or initial concept that got them started? Was it a simple need in their personal lives for something gluten or allergen free? Or did they see a growing market for gluten or allergen free products and decide to venture into the entrepreneurial world? The stories that answered these questions and the stories that explained how these companies went from initial idea to standing, talking to me that day is what intrigued me and what captured my attention the most.





 The Friends

Whenever there's an event like this one that brings together bloggers from all over, you know you're most likely going to reconnect with old friends and make some new ones. I'm lucky that I got to do both this time around!

I made plans on reuniting with Ashley Sears of Crunchy Frugalista whom I had met at last year's BlogHer. We had so much fun then that I couldn't wait until we met up and hung out again! Below you can see we all had a blast at the expo, especially at the Enjoy Life's photo booth...






Then I ran into my new bloggy bff Andrea Joy of Lazy Gluten Free when perusing the Red Apple Lipstick booth. We bonded over our mutual love of the lipstick shade Berry Blast and it was an instant bond for life! 






Oh, and who can forget chillin' with the GFAF Expo Yogi of GoPicnic! What's a conference or expo without at least one mascot running around?






The Goodies

There were row after row, booth after booth of delectable gluten and allergen free goodies ranging from sauces to soups, candy to baked goods (oh, so many baked goods), to energy bars, subscription services, authors, and even pretty cosmetics.




Sadly we weren't able to experience both days at the expo so there were many booths we weren't able visit but that didn't stop us from hitting as many as we could between the time we got there and the time the expo closed at 3pm!

There were a great deal of products that my family and I buy on a regular basis, which I will say was so exciting to see in person. Instead of being star-struck by a celebrity I was star-struck by foods!

I would say a good majority of the expo's booths were food or beverage related and of the food and beverages available, there was a LOT of baked goods and sweets. Brownies, candy, pie, ice cream, and cookies...so many cookies.

Just a few of my favorites were Red Apple Lipstick, Ethel's Edibles, Coconut Bliss, Elyse Wagner, and Ardenne Farm!


The Recap


Fabulous known and newly discovered companies. Delicious gluten and allergen free products. Connecting with friends. Broken camera (sad panda Kayla).

All in all, this was a tremendous experience for myself and my nutritionist friend and I'm so happy that I was healthy enough to actually make it! I was worried when I initially filled out the form to be an official GFAF Expo blogger that I wouldn't be able to make it since it was a good month in advance, but thankfully the universe graciously allowed me this fantastic experience.

Of course following this epic adventure I payed dearly and am still paying but it was SO worth it!


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For those of you who attended this year's Chicago Gluten Free Allergen Free Expo and would love to borrow some of the pictures I took, please feel free to contact me through my email and I'll send you the un-watermarked, un-edited photos. All I ask is for credit and a do-follow link :)

And for those people who want to see more of the pictures I took, send me a friend request on Facebook to check out the full album in all its glory!


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