#Sponsored What being a Rachael Ray and Nutrish fan, (make that SUPER FAN!!) means to me #NutrishPets

Rachael Ray Nutrish has sponsored this post, but all opinions are my own.

Wow, where do I begin? I have been a fan of all things Rachael Ray from as  far back as 2001 when her show, 30 Minute Meals first debuted on The Food Network.  That is a whopping 15 YEARS!!!

Today, on what just happens to be Rachael Ray’s birthday, it is only fitting that I share with you why I have a major “girl crush” on Rachael, and why Dakota has only eaten Nutrish since 2008, long before he or I EVER had a blog, and approximately FOUR YEARS before I was blessed and honored with the opportunity of being a Brand Ambassador for Nutrish.

nutrish birthday post dakota cake One of many things that I love about Rachael is the fact that she is  SELF MADE. She worked hard for MANY years in various food-related positions, before the public even knew that she existed. She had (and has), a devotion to her family, and often credits her Mom,  Grandfather and Dad for instilling the love of food in her that she has today. I also love that Rachael Ray is  down-to-earth, often has a  self-effacing demeanor and  is funny. I love her raspy voice, her hearty laugh,  and the fact that she NEVER presented herself as a “Chef” but as a “Home Cook.”  That resonated with me and still does. Being a self-professed “foodie”,  I also consider myself to be a “home cook.” 30 Minute Meals, back in the day, was the answer to my prayers. What could be better than recipes that were easy to understand,  that used food that I often would have on hand, that I could put on the table FAST, presented by someone who instilled my trust? I was hooked! My “girl crush was born!!”

Rachael Ray is REAL,  she is someone  like me, who drops food on the floor (“it’s not a party until the tomatoes fall on the floor”), she burns toast, and isn’t perfect. That’s Rachael Ray to me, REAL, HONEST, RELATABLE, just like the ingredients in her recipes for humans, and in the recipes for her brand, Nutrish.

I followed Rachael all over the Food Network from 30 Minute Meals to Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels, to $40 A Day.  If it was a show on the Food Network with Rachael Ray on it, I was all over it!! I also bought as many of her cookbooks that I could get my hands on.

nutrish birthday post cookbooks

#TBT just a sampling of the MANY cookbooks that I have of Rachaels

 

I endured bitter cold temperatures years ago in order to get a wristband that would enable me to meet her at a book signing that was held in the Detroit area way back in 2007.

#TBT Will cherish this forever!

#TBT Will cherish this forever!

Nutrish birthday post italian cookbook

#TBT I was presented with Rachael’s cookbook that came out last year by my friends at Nutrish!

I subscribed to her magazine:

I have bins and bins FULL of Everyday With Rachael Ray, the magazines shown here aren't even a fraction of the number of them that I have kept.

I have bins and bins FULL of Everyday With Rachael Ray, the magazines shown here aren’t even a fraction of the number of them that I have kept.

I have her cookware, I watch her show as often as I am able.

In 2007, the same year I endured those freezing temps for a chance to meet Rachael at the Detroit book signing, Dakota had recently joined our family. Also in 2007:

“with help from pet nutrition experts, Rachael Ray created Nutrish super-premium food and treats for dogs inspired by recipes from her own kitchen. In 2014, we were very excited to grow the brand into the world of cat food. “

I remember being over-the-moon- ecstatic when I heard the news! This was a no-brainer. I already trusted, had tested, and loved Rachael’s recipes for humans, I KNEW that she had a mad love affair with her dog. I TRUSTED that if Rachael fed her OWN dog Nutrish, then Nutrish it would be for Dakota. I already loved and respected the person BEHIND the brand, soon I was to fall equally hard FOR THE BRAND….NUTRISH. I NEVER LOOKED BACK.

 “Whether intended for dogs or cats, Nutrish recipes are made with simple, wholesome ingredients like real meat or fish, and do not contain poultry by-product meal or fillers.”

The recipe that Dakota eats most often is:

Super Premium Food for Dogs

Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe

Photo Courtesy of the Nutrish website, click on the photo to visit!!

Photo Courtesy of the Nutrish website, click on the photo to visit!!

Real U.S. farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient

Rachael Ray™ Nutrish® Real Chicken & Veggies Recipe is made with simple, natural ingredients, like real U.S. farm-raised chicken, combined with wholesome vegetables, plus vitamins & minerals.

U.S. farm-raised chicken is the #1 ingredient

No poultry by-product meal, fillers, wheat or wheat gluten

No artificial flavors or artificial preservatives

Dakota is now nine years old and I am proud that he has been a Nutrish dog for almost as long as he has been alive!!! I am also proud that Rachael Ray GIVES BACK!

Logo courtesy of Nutrish. Click to visit their website!

Logo courtesy of Nutrish. Click to visit their website!

 

A portion of Nutrish proceeds go to Rachael’s Rescue®, which was created to help animals in need. To date, over $14MM has been donated. This money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these unfortunate animals. 

All of the Rachael Ray Nutrish products are available where you shop for your family’s groceries, making specialty recipes accessible and convenient for every pet parent.

Back in the days BEFORE I ever had a blog, I was an  INFORMAL “ambassador-of-my-own-choosing” telling anyone who would listen, how much I loved Rachael Ray since I first discovered her on TV in 2001.  Approximately 4 years ago I had the honor of becoming one of the Nutrish Ambassadors which I am to this day. It is an honor to represent Rachael Ray, someone I have admired for many, many years, and  Nutrish,  her dog and cat food that both of my boys LOVE!

Thanks to Rachael Ray Nutrish, I visited places I never would have, one of them being a dream come true!!! A few years ago my husband, myself and other Nutrish Ambassadors were in New York to see her show!

When I got out of the cab at our hotel, THAT SIGN with Rachael on it outside her studio was the FIRST THING I SAW!! I was SCREAMING!!

#TBT: When I got out of the cab at our hotel, THAT SIGN with Rachael on it outside her studio was the FIRST THING I SAW!! I was SCREAMING!!

In my opinion there is nothing more natural, or more special than when love, admiration and respect for a PERSON evolves into a love of their BRAND.  Dakota and I wish nothing but happiness for Rachael Ray, today, ON HER BIRTHDAY and EVERY DAY!!

Sorry about our rather "used" bag, but that is what happens when your pet actually EATS the food they represent!!!!

Sorry about our rather “used” bag, but that is what happens when your pet actually EATS the food they represent!!!!

Dakota and I hope that if you haven’t made the “switch to Nutrish” that you will make TODAY the day that you make that switch!!

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BlogPaws Bliss thanks to Nutrish®-Thankful Thursday

Before I write another word, I want to make it clear that this is NOT a commercial.  At the heart of this blog post is the belief in a brand, as well as the person behind it.

click on the logo to visit the Nutrish website for more deliciousness!

click on the logo to visit the Nutrish website for more deliciousness!

Long before I had Dakota’s blog, he was eating  Nutrish®. Why? Because I have been a fan of Rachael Ray’s from the time her first 30 Minute Meal shows aired on The Food Network. In those first shows she wasn’t the star that she is today. She was, by her own admission, a “home cook” NOT a chef. Her first shows were a tad awkward, she seemed tentative and reserved, a far cry from the bubbly, talk show host, magazine magnate and household word in the kitchen that she is today. What I saw in her then, and what I see and relate to now, was that she was and is REAL. She seems approachable, she drops food  “it isn’t a party until the food falls on the floor” and she burns toast. Yes, she burns toast. Just like you and me.

rachael ray

I knew that she used to test recipes on her first dog, a pit bull named Boo,  in her cozy cabin kitchen in the Adirondacks. She COOKED for her first  dog, she cooks for her current dog, Isaboo,  she cooks for her family. She is a home cook, like ME and like  many of YOU.

I own the majority of her cookbooks, I subscribe to her magazine, I watched nearly every episode of every show she has been on, beginning with  The Food Network and beyond.

Dakota became a part of our family in 2007, Rachael Ray began her dog food company, Nutrish®, in 2008.  As soon as  Nutrish® was available in Michigan, it was served to Dakota. He has eaten it ever since, long before his blog began in 2011.  It is the ONLY dog food that he is served.

Did you know that sales of  Nutrish® goes towards Rachael’s Rescue? Rachael’s Rescue was created for “forgotten pets”, for those that have no one to love them. 

There is nothing, and I mean NOTHING better than being given the opportunity of representing a brand that you LEGITIMATELY USE,  that you LEGITIMATELY BUY, you BELIEVE IN THE BRAND, AS WELL AS THEIR PRODUCTS.  Yes! I  AM yelling! I will shout it from the rooftops! Writing blog posts about a brand and products that you love  are not  a chore, you aren’t nervous about what you are going to say, or what the brand will think, why? Because you legitimately LOVE THE PRODUCT. When you love and believe in a product, the rest is gravy, whatever you have to say will come naturally, it comes from the heart, it comes from actually being a regular consumer of the product.

BlogPaws is another love that I first discovered in the fall of 2009. Without BlogPaws I wouldn’t know a thing about blogging. When I first discovered BlogPaws it was to me, a gift from the Gods!

BlogPaws 2013 Alyson and I Nutrish

Imagine my excitement when a brand that I LOVE approached me to be a “brand influencer”, and offered to sponsor my trip to BlogPaws 2013. I felt as if I had come full circle. I was ecstatic. It was a dream come true. I jumped on that opportunity the way Dakota jumps on his Rachael Ray Nutrish soup bones. If I had a tail it would have wagged. I wasn’t just on an airplane flying to BlogPaws, I was floating on air!

I took this from the plane!

I took this from the plane!

Meeting the Nutrish®team at BlogPaws was a true delight! They are just as warm and personable as the wonderful woman behind the brand that we are representing.  Having dinner with them and my fellow blogging friends who were also sponsored,  the night before the official kickoff of BlogPaws, was a treat whose flavor will stay in my mouth forever!  Especially due to the delicious Tiramisu we had for dessert!

BlogPaws 2013 Tiramisu with Nutrish

Without Nutrish® I wouldn’t have met and connected with other bloggers who were sponsored by Nutrish®for BlogPaws. Without Nutrish®I wouldn’t have FINALLY met fellow dog bloggers,  Jodi Stone of Heart Like a Dog, Sugar The Golden Retriever’s Mom, Rosalyn,  Jen from My Brown Newfies,  Carrie from Tales & Tails, Aimee and Chuy from Irresistible Pets,  the list goes on and on, and I apologize for not mentioning everyone!

Chuy of Irresistible Pets

Chuy of Irresistible Pets

Without Nutrish®I wouldn’t have experienced all that there is to experience at BlogPaws from the Professional Product Review session presented by Rose Hamilton (Pet360). Carol Bryant (of  BlogPaws and Pet360) and Jeff Davis.  Nor would I have been able to learn from, and enjoy the  down-to-earth and wise Kimanzi Constable who presented his workshop,  The Key to Marketing with Social Media, which I enjoyed immensely.

Jeff Davis, Carol Bryant and Rose Hamilton

Jeff Davis, Carol Bryant and Rose Hamilton

For those who have stuck around to read this blog-post-turned-into-a-tome, I thank you! If there is a brand that you would love to work with, I am here to tell you it is NOT all about the numbers. It is EVERYTHING about “doing more than is expected” (as I learned in the Professional Product Review session and was thrilled to learn that it  was something that I was already doing), and about partnering with a brand that you truly believe in, that you would use NO MATTER WHAT.

BlogPaws 2013 Dakota at Nutrish

Thank you Nutrish® for your wholesome food, treats, and bones, for making my Sheltie smile, and thank YOU for the honor of representing you at BlogPaws and beyond! YOU ROCK!