Tag Archives: chocolate

R is for Roller Coaster Tycoon

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Screenshot_2013-05-12-19-55-12I’m sorry, when did spring decide to take a hiatus from western Pennsylvania?  We have a freeze warning in effect tonight, and the high tomorrow is only supposed to hit 53??  It’s May, weather gods, I would like some nice springtime weather!  And don’t tell me “Wednesday is supposed to hit 83!”  That’s too hot for May!!  I want nice 60 and 70 degree weather for a few weeks, is this too hard to ask for??

**end rant**

Another wonderful weekend is just about in the books, and boy am I tired!  I love weekends where you sit back on a Sunday night and wonder whether you need a weekend to recover from your weekend.  Sitting on my bum watching movies all weekend is not my idea of a good time.  Riding roller coasters in the pouring rain, well…it’s not my idea of fun either, but it’s certainly an adventure!! 🙂

So this weekend I traveled home to see my family, and we spent Saturday at HersheyPark.  It sounds like a great plan for a day off, until you wake up on Saturday to be met with pouring rain.  Ah, May showers bring…more pollen?  I’m not sure what May showers bring, but they certainly don’t help you cram as many coasters into one day as possible.  Being Days, though, we crammed into the car anyway and decided we would make the best of the day at Hershey, regardless of the weather.

Apparently we weren’t the only ones who thought it was worth making the trip to the park on Saturday.  There were a ton of people there, even though it had been raining steadily since Friday evening.  No worries, though, Hershey was still able to keep a few rides open despite the rain, including a few roller coasters.  Ever ride the Great Bear in a downpour?  No…??  You don’t know what you’re missing!  When the lift hill chain clicks onto your car and gallons of water/brake lubricant come pouring down on your head from the top of the car, that’s when you know you’re really living!!! 😀  Honestly, it really is quite a rush!

With all the rain, though, we killed some time in the video arcade playing pointless games that no one will remember three weeks from now.  20130511_114814Their video arcade is decent, they have everything from Dig Dug to Fruit Ninja, and it’s all rain-free!  I managed to get third highest score on Galaga, one of my favorite old-school video games around.  I even took a picture to show all of you haters! 😉  Read ’em and weep, boys, a long way from second, but bronze medal at HersheyPark’s video arcade goes to me!!  😀  If only they had an old NES Duck Hunt game for me to destroy as well!!

The rain was not letting up for the longest time, though, so we kept riding through the rain and the wind, looking incredibly awesome the entire time.  There’s something to be said for my sister Allison who managed to keep all of her makeup in one piece even while dealing with all of the weather elements.  If only I had her mad skills.  303057_4746289222702_1648917783_nThis picture is the two of us as we pulled into the station of the Lightening Racers after completing the ride.  We’re soaking wet and freezing cold, having just hurtled 55MPH through the storm, but you know what, it was certainly a memory maker!  “Ride a wooden roller coaster in a torrential down pour” can now be checked off of my bucket list!

The storm FINALLY passed though, giving us a chance to dry out, get some food in our system, and wait for the big rides to finally test run and open up for the afternoon.  Even though I’ve been to HersheyPark dozens of times, there are definitely rides that I love to ride every time I’m there, and I wasn’t missing them just because a storm interrupted most of our morning.  We managed to squeeze in rides on the Great Bear, the Wild Cat and Wild Mouse, the Lightening Racers, Reese’s Xtreme Cup Challenge, Sky Rush, SooperDooperLooper, Fahrenheit, and Storm Runner.  That’s a lot of coasters!  I have to say, no matter how many coasters they add, Hershey’s hidden gem of a coaster will always be the Great Bear.  I’ve never been on a coaster that is as much fun as that one.

942112_625352842242_1034145897_nEventually we headed over to Chocolate World, Hershey’s shameless plug to entice you to buy lots of candy.  And I have to admit, they have a good thing going there, it’s so hard to resist all the candy!  Are you telling me you want me to actually go into this room that’s filled from top to bottom with Reese’s products and not walk away with something in my hands?  Ha, fat chance!!  It’s just too good to be true.

And yes, for those of you who were worried, I did manage to squeeze in an awesome Hershey Ride tour, despite the rain and heavy crowds.  Can’t pass that up, even with the cheesy music and talking animatronic cows.  Free candy is free candy!! 🙂

The only thing that could have made my Saturday day better was a Penguins win…oh wait, that definitely happened late Saturday night!!  Best day ever!!

All that walking/running/drying out/riding really wore me out, though.  A 4 hour car ride was NOT what I wanted to do today, but I am definitely glad to be back home.  Now I’m just trying to gear up for another work week at Initech, and a few less coasters in my day-to-day activities.

I hope you guys have a fantastic week, and that the weather gets warmer ASAP!  I’ll be back next week with a new adventure as I try to play catch up a little bit!!

Lis

P.S. Forgot to mention this earlier, but my sister and I found this gem in HersheyPark as well.  Why does this exist??

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Next Week: R is for Roller Coaster Tycoon

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Holy Cinco de Mayo, it’s May already!!  Where has this year gone??  We’re in May already???  Really?!?!?

Like many things in my life, I’ve let this blog slide a little.  It’s not to say I don’t care about my blog, it’s just that life, and it’s oddball ways, has kept me super busy for the past few months, making it hard to find time to blog.  Maybe that’s a good thing…maybe it means I have a life again. 🙂

I’m hopping back on the blogging bandwagon, though, with a brand new adventure next week with one of my favorite people in the world: my sister Allison. ali When you share a room with a person for fifteen years of your life, you inevitably become close to them, even when you swear on your assortment of blond-haired Barbie dolls that you won’t.  We’ve definitely had our moments as sisters (what sisters haven’t??) but we have a lot to celebrate next weekend.  It’s her birthday, Mother’s Day, and a blog entry on my blog all rolled into one!!  Who has time for arguing when there’s so much celebrating to do!?!

Since I’ll be making the loooooooooooong trek home to my parent’s house next weekend (the middle of Pennsylvania is probably the dullest landscape on the eastern coast), I figured we should try to squeeze in as much fun as possible when we’re there.  This will include a stop at one of my favorite places in the world (ironically located in the middle of that awful Pennsylvanian landscape I dread driving through: HersheyPark).

For anyone who does not actually know me and my family, we are amusement park junkies.  So many people I know tell me about how their family vacations growing up were caravan trips to the beach, where they spent marathon hours on the sandy shores building sandcastles, boogie boarding, and watching their skin darken.  Their family vacations consisted of laying around, slapping on the sunscreen, and watching the world float by.

I think my family took one beach vacation like that, and we became really bored.  We Days are movers and shakers: vacation isn’t about relaxing to us, it’s about seeing new things, having fun, and learning how far we can push the boundaries of family bonding time before we want to explode (max: 5 days).  It’s about laughing too much, eating what we shouldn’t, and running around to different amusement parks throughout North America.  As a family, we love amusement parks.

At my current age, I can safely admit to you that I am a roller coaster junkie.  I can’t get enough of them.  My first front seat ride was at the age of 7 on the Phoenix at Knoebels Amusement Resort.  I remember, to my horror, as family members ran up the exit ramp to make sure I really wanted to sit in the front seat.  Yes, silly adults, I wanted to sit in the front seat.  I was 7!  Clearly old enough to handle a top 5 best wooden roller coaster in the world.  Who wouldn’t be ready for that??  Since then, I’ve ridden on most of the top roller coasters on the east coast, as well as Knotts Berry Farm and Disneyland out in California, and cannot get enough of them.  It’s such a rush.

One park in Pennsylvania that has a TON of roller coasters is HersheyPark.  As a family we’ve been going there since I was born (it’s only 90 minutes away from our middle-of-nowhere town), and as the park has expanded so have the rides.  Some top notch coasters reside there, and next weekend we’ll be taking a spin on a few as we head back to one of my all-time favorite parks.

I love HersheyPark because the entire park, actually, the entire town is built around one man, one company, and one amazing  brand: Hershey’s Chocolate.  I’m not saying it’s the best chocolate bar I’ve ever had in the world (it’s not), but who can resist a delicious Reese’s Cup, especially those Easter eggs??  At HersheyPark they have this dumb tour ride you can go on where it shows you how they make chocolate.  chuck e cheeseIt’s so cheesy, it looks like one of those old Chuck E. Cheese animatronic shows they used to show us as kids.  Remember how scary those things used to be??  No wonder they nixed those in the early 90s, who wants to eat pizza when this fabulous gang of creepers is staring at you!  But seriously, I think the pizza place sold these dumb things to HersheyPark when they dumped them, and HP in return reused them to teach kids how chocolate is made.  It sounds dumb, and it really is.  Yet for some reason I have to ride this ride every. single. time. I’m there.  Maybe it’s because at the end of the ride you get free candy.  Or maybe I’m just being nostalgic for a childhood that, like Power Rangers, Dunkaroos, pogs, and Sock’em Boppers, has been left behind in the last millennium, never to be resurrected again.  Wow.  This blog post just became super deep.

So next week is HersheyPark week!!!  🙂  And my sister’s birthday (anyone have any birthday present ideas for a soon-to-be-24-year-old who loves J Crew??).  And Mother’s Day!!  So much to do in one 48 hour period!!

For now, I’m heading out for a run (more on my suicide mission later this week).  Maybe the endorphin rush will help me forget about these Chuck E. Cheese creatures staring at me.  Maybe…

Have a fabulous week!

E

X is for eXact Change

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Ah, Thanksgiving weekend is almost over, can this really be happening?  Do I have to return to Initech tomorrow?  Any Powerball winners willing to give me some quick cash??  Anyone…anyone…??

Well, while you all decide if you want to give me money for nothing in return (the answer to that is always YES!), let me tell you about my fun weekend supporting small businesses and shopping with the holiday rushes.

For those of you who didn’t see last week’s blog post, I decided to go out on the town this weekend and spend some money in the local community.  My goal was to take $20 down to the Strip and see just how close to the $20 I could spend before leaving.  And, if I played my cards just right, I wouldn’t go over my $20 limit either.

So Saturday morning was a cold morning here in the Burgh.  The temperature sat around 22 degrees, and the wind was gusting at over 20 MPH.  Not really a day for outdoor shopping.  But, let’s be honest, I’m up for anything these days, so I bundled up, grabbed a warm hat, and headed down to Duquesne to pick up my brother Matt.  He’s on Thanksgiving break, but had to stay to work at Apple, so he had some time to kill with his sister.  Tagging along to the strip apparently sounded like the perfect way for him to spend his Saturday morning too.

Before we arrived at the strip, though, we ended up smack dab in the middle of a parade.  Nope, not making that up.  We were driving downtown, made a left at a light, and boom, we found ourselves in the middle of what looked to be a Christmas parade.  Complete with floats, marching bands, and even a surprise visit from Santa.  It was pretty amusing to watch as we drove the opposite way down the same street, except for the moment when the Fred Flintstone balloon started to blow away from his handlers and head straight for my car.  Crisis was adverted, though, and Fred resumed his normal route on the parade street.

We did manage to snag some free parking, which is a blessing in disguise down in the Strip District…why pay $10 to park when I can walk 3 blocks and park for free?  That’s just what we did, which meant my 20 wasn’t broken until I headed into the chocolate store to Christmas shop.  No, this isn’t a candy store: it’s a chocolate store.  They have chocolate from all over the world, and it smells so incredibly heavenly in there.  I’ll be honest, some of it is a bit over priced, but I guess that’s the sacrifice you make for Japanese candy bars not sold in the United States.  I bought a few Christmas presents for people, spending $12.45.

Next it was on to the Yinzer store, for 1,000 rounds of Gangnam Style and more Hines Ward jerseys than you could possibly hope to ever wear in a life time.  Sorry Steeler fans, I still don’t own ANY Steeler apparel, and I didn’t buy any yesterday either.  Contact me if you’d like to donate something to my hopeless cause.

I did go to the Asian supermarket, though, and buy some yummy food, because Matt wouldn’t go into the fish market with me.  They had salmon and mango sushi, and still that wasn’t enough to convince the boy!  So we headed into the Asian market instead.  We were the only people in there who spoke English as our first language, but I’m kind of OK with that.  I love Asian markets, and bought some cookies before I left.  3 boxes, $1.97, bringing my total for the day up to $14.92.

So now what to do?  I have $5 left to spend, and want to spend it all.  I could buy a $5 purse the man swears to me is real Coach, but I have a sneaking suspicion he’s just trying to make the sale.  I could buy some fresh pineapple, $1 each, that look and smell so delicious.  Or, I could fight traffic, and humans, and head to the Pittsburgh Popcorn Company.  Guess which option I chose 🙂

Now, let me be honest with you, I did go over my $20 limit there.  However, I bought two bags of popcorn, one of which I’m giving away to a friend as a gift.  The one bag was $3.85, the other bag was $3.75, so if you only count the one bag I bought for myself, my total for the day comes to $19.27.  Not too shabby when you look at my $20 limit!!  Only 73 cents off!  Now, again, I know I went slightly over with my second bag purchase, but it’s the holiday season, the time of giving more than you should, and helping others to be happy.  Apparently I really like to give by buying extra bags of chocolate peanut butter kettle corn!

Over all, the challenge I set for myself this week was wildly successful.  I managed to snag a few small gifts for friends and family, treat myself to some delicious Asian cookies, and stuff myself full of Spicy Cheddar and Bacon popcorn (It’s one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten!)  Plus I got to hang out with my brother, something I don’t do nearly enough.  I’d say this was a weekend, and a $20 bill well spent.

Off to relax for these final few hours before I return to work tomorrow.  Christmas break cannot get here soon enough.  What am I talking about, though, I have so much vacation time over this coming month it’s not even funny.  I am busy in the coming weeks setting off to see friends and family all over.  Not to mention I have several dozen cupcakes to bake for customers.  So much to do!!

Have a wonderful week!  I’ll be back next week with my next Alphabet Adventure!!

Lis

Next Week: X is for eXact Change

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Word to the wise: remember to take your eye makeup off before crawling into bed.  No matter how tired you are, you will regret it in the morning when your pillowcase looks like a shoe shiner’s rag, and your eyes are red and watery.

I’m back!!  A fantastic weekend is in the books (almost), and Turkey Day is quickly approaching.  I feel the retail Christmas pull a little more this year…there’s this huge urge to get my Christmas decorations out RIGHT NOW and set everything up.  Patience, young grasshopper, the holiday season will soon be upon us.  For now, I will merely enjoy the sparse Thanksgiving decorations I have up, until it’s time to bust out my themed Christmas decorations.

I’m excited about next week’s adventure, because it involves careful planning, traveling, and a general exploring, three things I love.  Since my launch of this website, a lot of people have asked me about X is for eXact Change, mainly because they have no idea what it meant.  I haven’t told too many people, because I wanted to keep it a surprise, so now that the moment’s finally here, I want to shout it from the rooftop: NEXT WEEK I’M GOING ON AN ADVENTURE!!

So I got the idea for X is for eXact Change from all of those Food Network shows, $40 a Day, and stuff like that.  If you’re not a Food Network fan, the premise of these shows is simple: a host is dropped into a city, given a set amount of money ($25, $40, etc.) and must eat 3 meals in one day for that amount of money.  Sounds pretty easy until you remember how expensive eating out is…plus you have to factor in tipping, and all that fun stuff.  It’s actually a bit more challenging than one might think.

I decided I wanted to try it, though, but I wanted to put a twist on it: I want to see just how much I can do in downtown Pittsburgh for $20.  And I want to see how close I can get to spending all of it in one setting.  Am I helping the economy or what?!?!

Next week, then I’ll be heading down to the Strip District for a fun afternoon.  For those of you out-of-towners, the Pittsburgh Strip District is NOT the Red Light District, a common mistake. 😛  It’s more like a cultural district, not in the sense that the theater and opera are there (there’s an ACTUAL Cultural District where those are located), but because there are a million different mom and pop stores that you can shop in for real, homemade, fresh foods.  Homemade pierogies in the Polish deli; hand rolled pasta in the Italian market; rice in bags as big as me in the Asian market; homemade tamales at the Mexican store and restaurant.

On top of that, there are all kinds of great places to eat, such as a Vietnamese restaurant, a chocolate store (yes, those things do exist!), an Italian bar that loves dem Stillers, and a fanciful 1950s diner.  There’s also a Pittsburgh Sports appearal store, a used bookstore, some art shops, one of those “fell off the back of the China truck” stores where you can get Nike and Apple knockoffs for $20, and more.  It’s such a cultural melting pot, and such a fun place to visit.

So visit I will.  With $20.  The first test will be to try to snag some of the available but limited free parking…fingers crossed!!  And then we’ll take my money, and see just how much I can buy with it.  Should be a fabulous time.

If you’d like to join me on an adventure down to the Strip District, let me know.  If not, stop back next week to see exactly how well I did with my spending!

See you soon!!

Lis

 

Irony of Ironies

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(I Google imaged searched “irony” and this is the picture that popped up.  Makes sense).

Election tomorrow.  This isn’t a political blog.  I don’t care who you vote for, and I don’t want you to know who I vote for.  Any political posts will be deleted and the user blocked.  And that’s all I’ve got to say about that topic.

Anyway, I was sitting in my state exam today, trying not to fall asleep (a windowless hotel conference room heated to 78 degrees…you do the math) when a fun little fact popped into my head.

A few weeks ago, when I went hiking for my alphabet weekend, all these health blogs, hiking blogs, outdoor blogs, fitness blogs, you name it, were liking my post.  I had a ton of foot traffic from it all.  You health nuts sure know how to ban together on the Internet.

Two weeks later, my next alphabet weekend is about consuming as much garbage as humanly possible in one weekend, to celebrate those guilty food pleasure we never get to eat.  And you know what…not one junk food, cooking, diabetic friendly blog liked that post.  Not one. It makes me wonder if junk food addicts are afraid to admit they’re junk food addicts, or if none of them blog.

So let’s see what kind of love I can get on this post.  If you consider yourself a tree-hugger, a hiker, a health food guru, a North Face wearing, Whole Food shopping, heart rate monitoring type of person who loves the outdoors, and working out, and being healthy, and you happened to stop by here because you searched “Healthy Hiking Addict”, then like this post and let me know.

Likewise, if you eat icing out of a can, find it strenuous when you have to be outside for 30 minutes, love sweatpants but hate sweat, and just generally love to eat fatty, high-sugar, deep fried, rolled in peanut butter and dipped in chocolate goodness, then like this post and also let me know.  (Even if it’s a secret love that no one knows about)

We’ll tally this up in a few days and look at the results.  Hikers, you’ve been loyal so far, don’t give up on me.  Junk fooders, you have some lost ground to make up for!!

Aaaaaaaaand GO!

Lis