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Archive for "Things to Do"

Chocolate Kingdom

Posted on August 11, 2017 by under Things to Do, Travel.    

Since Brian and I arrived in Orlando a day earlier than usual, we decided to do some exploring. We found this place called Chocolate Kingdom conveniently located across from the Orange County Convention Center. Anyway, we’ve been coming to #ZINCON for several years and we didn’t even know this place existed. I suppose this is because (a) we’ve never really had that much time to spend exploring and (b) it’s kind of tucked behind the Walgreens, which we have never, ever ventured beyond.

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Apparently, Sarah was familiar with the place because it’s right across from the Red Roof Inn where she and her convention roomies usually stay but the running joke is, because the of the business’ nondescript façade, it’s some kind of front for some sketchy operation. Yeah, we probably watch too many movies. Jokes aside, they do kind of need to work on their storefront more than a smidge.

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The business looks pretty legit once you’re inside. It’s just the outside that looks sketchy. LOL. Besides taking a tour, you can also purchase various truffles. They have lots of different kinds to choose from.

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A tour had just started when we got there but they were nice enough to let us join the one that was in progress. They next one wouldn’t have been for another hour or so. Honestly, I’m not sure we would have gone through with the tour had we not be able to do it right then and there.

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Our tour guide told us that we hadn’t really missed anything, just a little cartoon where the prince talks about the chocolate shoes and all of that.

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The tour, which talks about how you end up with a chocolate bar from a cacao bean, is definitely geared for children. They have little cartoon videos they play at each point of the tour.

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Here are a few pictures of our tour guide.

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The interactive parts of the tour included shooting marshmallows into the dragon, eating a candy-coated cacao bean, drinking a weird chocolate concoction similar to how it would have been served in the early days when chocolate was first discovered, and sampling some chocolates as we went.

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Some of the other things we tasted were a bit iffy but I was definitely not averse to sampling the processed chocolate.

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We got to taste some dark, milk, and white chocolate shoes.

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This is one of the old school tools that they use to process the chocolate and turn it into something delicious for us all to enjoy.

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Incidentally, chocolate – whether white, milk, or dark – has some pretty basic ingredients. You can see them listed in the photo above. High quality chocolate doesn’t require much. Unfortunately, chocolate makers these days add a bunch of other fillers. So, remember, the fewer ingredients the better.

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At the end of the tour, you can purchase one of these delicious candy bars that they make right before your eyes. You can also customize them to add your favorite mix-ins. Brian and I didn’t buy any though, because we were pretty much eating chocolate (various forms of it) throughout the factory tour.

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That’s pretty much the story of our Chocolate Kingdom tour. Before I sign off though, I’m leaving you with this: here are top ten reasons to feel great about eating chocolate. Enjoy!

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Carlos O’Kelly’s Summer Drink Tour

Posted on August 5, 2017 by under Free Stuff, Things to Do.    

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Speaking of drink tours, Brian and I are scrambling to finish my Carlos O’Kelly’s summer drink tour. This is a “ladies only” offer so all of the drinks are pretty frou frou. Brian is more of a beer drinker so he hasn’t been much help. I suppose he could drink the Cuba Libre.

I’m a light-weight and can usually only drink one drink each time so this drink tour is taking FOREVER to complete. Although, since we’re down to the wire, I made an exception last night and drank two. The promotion ends on Labor Day.

These are all of the drinks you have to drink in order to complete the tour and earn your reward:

  • Patrón Top Shelf Margarita
  • White Peach Sangria
  • Blackberry Long Island Tea
  • Raspberry Gin Slushy
  • Horchata Rum Shake
  • Corazón CocoLoco
  • Pink Paloma
  • Blue Lagoon
  • Jumbo Margarita
  • Cuba Libre
  • Blueberry Ginger Mojito
  • Blackberry Mint Julep Margarita

The ones in bold are my favorites with the Horchata Rum Shake being my favorite of the favorites. It tastes like a milkshake. You can’t taste the liquor at all! It would be awesome if I could just drink 12 of those. That wouldn’t complete the drink tour, though.

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I bet you’re wondering what’s the point. Your reward is an amazing set of handblown Mexican glassware. You get the glasses after you complete six drinks and then you get the bottle once you complete all 12 on the list.

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Honestly, I’m not as concerned about getting the bottle but I do want two sets of the glasses because three glasses is just an awkward number to have. I want a pair of each. I got my first set of glasses a few weeks ago but then we left for #ZINCON and so now I’m trying to pick the tour back up.

I only need a couple more drinks on my new punchcard so I’m hoping to get my second set of glasses this weekend. Hurrah!

P.S. It’s not too late to start your tour. Wendy started hers last night. I gave her one of my punchcards that already had one punch on it. After her two drinks last night, she only needs three more to get her glasses. Come join us!

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Wichita Wicked Brew Tour

Posted on August 3, 2017 by under Community, Date Ideas, Things to Do.    

Have you gotten your Wicked Brew Tour shirt yet?

Brian and I have been diligently getting stamps on our passport in hopes of earning our shirts before the deadline or they run out of shirts. I actually completed my passport already and got my shirt. Brian would have completed his already too, except he left his passport in one of his shorts and it ended up getting obliterated in the laundry a few weeks ago.

Being the persistent people we are, he’s decided to start over and I decided to start over with him. So, I may have talked him into starting over. I mean, how are we going to be matchy-matchy if he doesn’t get his Wicked Brew Tour shirt?

I got my first shirt in a Medium size and I now want one in size Small. That’s pretty much my motivation for starting over with him. Anyway, we need a few more stamps but we’re getting there slowly but surely.

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I’m not generally a coffee drinker but this whole Wicked Brew Tour has got me drinking way more coffee than I’ve ever drank before. Brian is a coffee addict but he don’t really like the kind I drink. He likes to drink his coffee black — plain and unadulterated. He was really excited for the beer drinking part of the tour, though.

The Wicked Brew Tour has got us visiting places we don’t normally get around to visiting. Here are a few photos.

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The picture above is from our trip to the Donut Whole a few weeks ago.

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This one is from River City Brewing Company. Incidentally, the night that we decided to go there for dinner was the same night as Automobilia and that was a real treat. Mostly for Brian but I enjoyed watching his eyes light up as he walked up to his favorite cars.

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Automobilia surrounded River City so we decided to look check out the car show while walking off our dinner. There were 1500+ cars on display downtown from Washington to Broadway. It was car heaven!

We’re really enjoying the tour so far and I think we’d enjoy it even more after we get our Wicked Brew shirts. I’m hoping we can get the rest of the stamps in the next two weeks because the deadline is just around the corner. I sure hope they have some shirts left!

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Garage Door Opener Saga Continued

Posted on July 26, 2017 by under Home Ownership, Things to Do.    

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Brian spent most of the day on 4th of July finishing what he and Chad started on Sunday afternoon: the partially complete garage door opener installation.

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He tweaked and tweaked and tweaked. I wasn’t much help except I got to push the button every time he was ready to test it. He would make some minor adjustment and then he would tell me to push the button and then he would make some more changes and then I’d have to push the button again. I suppose I saved him from having to go up and down the ladder multiple times so I was useful that way.

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Touchdown! He was so excited when he finally got it to work. Here’s a video of him explaining the whole thing.

While he was doing most of the troubleshooting — before my button-pushing part — I met Stephanie at North YMCA so we could take Melissa’s special 4th of July Aqua Zumba class.

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It was a blast! And, I’m happy to report, my Apple Watch survived it’s second water test (an hour of being submerged in the pool) with flying colors.

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I must say, I much prefer taking Aqua Zumba to teaching it specially when it’s 100+ degrees outside. If you’ve not tried Aqua Zumba before, come join us at Andover YMCA on Saturdays at 8:45 AM. We only have a few more weeks left before they close the waterpark. (SIDE NOTE: Hideki is filling in this Saturday while I’m at ZINCON but I’ll be back next weekend.)

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Later that day we went to Cory and April’s for a real-deal 4th of July BBQ, complete with ribs and deviled eggs! Mmmm, yum!

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April also served a bunch of festively colored food such as red, white, and blue jello, rice crispies cake, and cupcakes.

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And Cory made this delicious, fruity concoction called ambrosia. It tasted heavenly!

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Unfortunately, we couldn’t stick around for a second, post-fireworks dinner. We had to get back home to comfort our dogs. Not so much Molly, who we are convinced has gone completely deaf in her old age because not only do fireworks not bother her like they do most dogs but she pretends not to hear us whenever we call her so I’m thinking maybe she’s not pretending — LOL — but Saki gets really anxious that she starts shaking.

Honestly, I didn’t mind missing the fireworks portion of the festivities. I love watching the pretty fireworks in the sky but I’m not a huge fan of the loud, booming fireworks on the ground — specially the ones thrown at me. No thanks!

That pretty much concluded our holiday weekend. It was quite and uneventful, just the way we like it. We both still have our fingers and toes and didn’t incur any injuries. I call that a fantastic weekend!

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Hall of Heroes at Exploration Place

Posted on July 25, 2017 by under Date Ideas, Things to Do.    

Brian and I finally used our Exploration Place membership a few weeks ago. We went to check out the new Hall of Heroes exhibit. It’s actually pretty cool.

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Here are a few pictures.

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Okay, so I took more than a few photos. Brian and I were like two children in a candy shop. Everywhere you looked there’s something interesting to look at, read or interact with and, Brian being the comic book buff that he is, all of it was right up his alley. Brian and I completed several tasks to test our superhero powers, including the vertical jump test and the hang time challenge.

The station that I liked best among all of the stations, is the one where you have to answer true and false questions (about everything that you’ve learned at the various stations) in order to get the code to the vault that holds the answer to question “What is humanity’s last hope?”

I won’t ruin it for you but I’m sure you can guess the answer. I thought it was an awesome message for kids, though.

What I liked best about the entire day is seeing how excited Brian got about each exhibit and how eager he was to share all of his comic book knowledge. It was such a fabulous day date and to think we never would have had the opportunity had we not taken the Monday before the 4th of July off.

He loved the exhibit so much that I’m actually thinking of taking him to the Capes and Cocktails event next month. I think it would be the perfect way to kick off the weekend of our 15th wedding anniversary.

In the meantime, if you haven’t been to the Hall of Heroes, we highly recommend it. It’s a traveling exhibit so it’s only here for a limited time. It’ll be flying on out of the museum on January 1.

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