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Thursday, January 29, 2015

two words: cookie con.

to cap off an awesome weekend, the girls and i got up nice and early on sunday morning, grabbed a starbucks and headed off to pasadena.

i'd heard about the first-ever cookie con via facebook a few months ago.  i actually didn't need to hear much past the words "cookie con," because duh.  and after submitting a request for a press pass, amazingly enough, i was approved and added to the list of media attendees.  WUT.

we parked across the street at paseo colorado, and the first thing we noticed (besides the incredibly long line to get in) was a local news van.

lucky for us, my press pass allowed us to bypass that crazy line and head right inside to check in and receive our wristbands.

outside, the ribbon cutting ceremony was taking place with special guest ron ben-israel from the food network.

the doors officially opened at 10:00, and a steady stream of folks started making their way inside, us included.  we wandered around the perimeter of the exhibition floor, searching for the special VIP lounge that was supposed to be offering an exclusive breakfast for members of the media.  when we came across the kid zone, though, we stopped so the bean could check it out.

the nesquik booth was still being set up, with cornhole games and pallets upon pallets of chocolate milk.

we stopped here, though, and the bean had fun painting her nails with non-toxic, natural, even edible nail polish.

after promising her that we'd return to the kids zone later, we finally found that VIP lounge.

it was crazy jam-packed, but we said hello and nabbed samples from most of the vendors there.

yes, i had some wine.  i even liked it.  heh.

also, massage envy was there offering free rubdowns.  i'm not really all about getting massages out in public like that, so we bypassed it in favor of another scone.  or a macaron.  maybe it was a cookie?  i don't remember.

just outside the lounge area was something that caught the teen's eye.  free customized candied apples, packaged to go?  she signed up real quick.

and something else caught the teen's eye - a glimpse of two ladies in blue tops who she recognized from one of nanette's parties and also from our participation in the opoli launch party.  i was super embarrassed when they recognized me, because i know i totally had the deer-in-headlights look on my face.  i finally got it when they reminded me where we'd met before.  mor-ti-fied, that was me.  ack.  they were still nice enough to take a picture with me, though.

from there we just wandered.  the floor was getting super crowded, and it was hard to get decent pictures.  i did stop at one booth to pick up some cookie cutters that i needed for my ever-growing stash, and giggled at this onesie:

there was a little hello kitty love even at cookie con.

this food scale looked interesting, but they didn't even have one to demo.  all they had were empty boxes and flyers.

the bean discovered (and inexplicably) fell in love with raw milk.  well, okay - i took a taste from her sample and found that it was delicious...but i'm thinking that the fact that it was whole vs. the skim that we usually buy made it extra good.  and the information i read in the brochure later on convinced me that we should totally switch.  it's definitely more expensive than regular pasteurized milk and doesn't last nearly as long, but it fits in my quest to reduce/eliminate processed foods from our diet.

there were beautiful cakes and cookies on display, but this is about as close as i could get to them.

more sampling.

these little quarter-sized cupcake kisses were really cute, but not for the prices they were charging.  3 bites = $4.  yikes.

how cute are these aprons?  i don't wear aprons, but if i did, i'd have snapped one up.  instead, i let the bean pick something out as a reward for putting up with the craziness of the expo.

plus, she got to spin this wheel for both me and the teen.  she scored a 50% off coupon and one of their t-shirts.

ron ben-israel was up on the stage discussing...something.  i couldn't really hear much, but he had quite a captive audience.

oh!  we did manage to meet a few of the kids from masterchef junior, one of our favorite shows to watch together.  we loved dara the bow girl, although i admit that i had to look up the other two to confirm who they were.  i remembered them as soon as i saw their official MCJ pictures, but wow, they've all grown up quite a bit since their stint on tv.

i thought it was pretty funny that the bean was clutching her raw milk as she posed with the nesquik bunny.

photo ops!

 and the official cookie con photo booth.

strangely enough, our favorite samples (and the only things we actually bought!) were healthy snacks:  melissa's clean snax, loaded with pumpkin, chia and flax seeds and pronutz (whose nutz??), pistachios grown locally and dipped into probiotic-filled yogurt and chocolate coatings.  seriously, these things are all so tasty.

 the last thing we did was wait in line for the bean to get her face painted.  my little pony, of course.

that's a wrap, cookie con.  till next year, of course.

outside, there was still quite an impressive line of folks waiting to get in.  yikes.

plus another news van.

after all of the sugar we'd just eaten, we were desperate for something savory and healthy.  where else to go, but here?

can i tell you that the pizza catona i ordered was the BEST thing ever?  it was a simple pizza with tomato sauce and mozzarella...but topped with prosciutto, burrata and arugula and served with fresh oregano, parmesan and a chili oil.  holy moly, was it good.  and i devoured every bit of it in one sitting.

back at home, i took everything out of our bags and surveyed the swag.

while we had a ball and got to enjoy quite a lot of samples from the vendors, i read a lot of reviews later that complained of crazy long wait times, shoulder-to-shoulder crowds, not-so-VIP treatment for those who sprung for VIP tickets.  the organizers of the event posted apologies via social media and explanations for what had gone wrong, and i hope that those who were disappointed will give them a shot again next year.  they've already promised a bigger venue and an extra day of fun, and i'm thinking that even with those two improvements, it'll be a super fabulous con.  after all, inaugural events almost always have hiccups or two or three...but as long as the powers that be are willing to hear feedback and pledge to improve for next time, what more can you ask for?

now i'm off to eat more clean snax.  seriously, guys...so good.

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