ST. PETERSBURG — Evan Cohn and Haris Lender were lovers who never cuddled under the same covers.
He was always too hot. She was always too cold. The blanket was never just right.
A few years ago, while the pair were still dating, Lender sewed her boyfriend some covers for his birthday. She made one king-sized blanket out of two halves: one filled with warm down for always cold Lender; the other made of light cotton for always hot Cohn. A big red heart joined the two halves in the middle.
She called it the Luv-a-cuva.
"It was just adorable," Cohn said. "I couldn't believe she made something that was so perfect for us."
Now the couple hopes it's perfect for all of America, too. Lender, a 47-year-old yoga instructor from St. Petersburg, is in the running to compete in a reality television show featuring female inventors.
The show, produced by Kelly Ripa's company, Milojo Productions, will crown a winner whose invention will be sold on the Home Shopping Network.
Back in June, Milojo Productions held an open casting call in New York in search of the next great female inventor.
Lender booked a room in the same hotel where the audition was being held. She was the first in line to audition that morning.
During a 30-second pitch, as she and Cohn rolled around the floor in a Luv-a-cuva, Lender said:
"My boyfriend and I had a very serious problem. We were sleeping together, but totally alone. Him 'schvitzing' and very warm above the covers, me trying to stay warm below the covers. It was very lonely. … Now we are both comfortable and we can play footsie all night long. The good news is he is no longer my boyfriend. He's my husband."
Lender received a "green ticket" after her audition, advancing her to the next round of the competition.
After the audition, Lender got to meet Ripa and her husband, Mark Consuelos. She is not allowed to reveal any details about the show as she waits to hear from producers.
A spokeswoman for TLC said she could not comment on the show because it is still in its preliminary stages.
Lender's covers sell for $160 through her Web site luvacuva.com. A lifelong inventor with a creative streak and a knack for word play, she hopes the Luv-a-cuva will be her big break.
"I've had quite a few different businesses that haven't really panned out," she said. "Just like every inventor, every entrepreneur, every crazy person, I wonder if this is it. We feel pretty strongly that this one could be different from the others."
Among the ideas Lender has hatched in the past: She once ran a laundry/bar concept called Scrub-a-Dub-Pub. "That was a good one!" she said.
Then there was Herb'n Yoga, a health food store with a yoga studio. "That was cute," she said.
She thought of Recipeel-off, a recipe label to be placed near a food product that could easily be peeled away. And when she passed out samples of foods in health food stores, she called them demolicious.
Cohn believes the Luv-a-cuva can take off. Just look at the Snuggie — oversized fleece blankets with sleeves. According to USA Today, more than 4 million Snuggies have been sold.
"It's amazing how many people say: 'Oh! I need that! That's me and my husband,' " Cohn said of the Luv-a-cuva. "We're hoping we can become the next Snuggie."
Times researcher Shirl Kennedy contributed to this report. Dong-Phuong Nguyen can be reached at (813) 909-4613 or firstname.lastname@example.org.