adventure

Hello Philly

Just a 24 hour pit stop in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. 1 full day is what I had but I planned to see and do a ton.

The first stop was to feed my belly of course. A quick stop for cheese steak at the famous corner in Philadelphia where you will find Geno’s and Pat’s. Which would I choose? I opted for Pat’s. I had to learn how to order which was harder than it needed to be. Then off to find a seat to enjoy the foodie treat. My belly was full. Steak, provolone cheese, onions, and peppers were loaded to the max on big hoagie bun.  Maybe not my favorite meal of my trip but overall I can said I had a Philly cheese steak from one of favorite local hot spots. 

Time for the sweet tooth spot. Insomnia cookies for the win. A sampling of sugar, snickerdoodle, macadamia nut, double chocolate, blueberry and chocolate chip cookies went In the box. Nobody needed the cookies, but we all opted to spurge and get the cookies. We all nibbled at each. Sugar was my favorite. Surely we were going to have a sugar overload at any moment after this stop.

On to the city we went, twisting and turning on a million one way streets. Looking up at the magnificent buildings and their architecture on the way to the hotel. Parking in the parking garage was an experience. Super low ceiling, limited turning radius, and very narrow pathways. 
The next adventure after parking was exploring the area by foot and stopping in on the shops that were open late. An Italian dinner in the city streets. Interesting setups by each restaurant to accommodate outdoor seating. An interesting sight to see including the various designs and creativity involved. This was a side of the pandemic I had not yet experienced. I observed the financial cost to set up power outside for lights. Shelter to be built. Weather proofing elements. And one can’t forget the curbside appeal to make people want to stop. Some had fancy chairs while others had old ones that I’d assume wouldn’t matter if they got weathered or stolen. Interesting walk to say the least.

A good night’s sleep nestled high in the sky on the 16th floor was a great experience. The view was amazing and the location was perfect. Early rise to walk to the Liberty Bell. Photo op one was in the books. A walk in the other direction took us to Love park for a photo op. This was slightly disappointing but also sad. Many homeless people were nestled in this park in the morning as they rose. From young to old. Made me wonder about their stories. 

A shift down the road with all the worldly flags was a beautiful sight. It led to the Rocky steps and statue. The one and only Rocky Balboa steps. Of course I ran them multiple times. I took photos. I FaceTimed those who couldn’t be there with me. We even had a virtual run. That was a first for me. But so much fun. We toured ourselves but ran into the walking tour many times thus we felt we did a good job planning our stops.

A little further down the road was boat house row. A picturesque water side view of the row of boat houses and their boats. I enjoyed the waterside view more than the street view but it was a new experience nonetheless. This area was a great place to run, walk or ride a bike. The weather was perfect on this day to tackle a nice flat surface for some light exercise. 

As we circled back many miles and hours later we hit the Reading Market. An interesting place full of vendors. Mostly food options. I grabbed a coffee and some sweets. Not a smart choice of fuel for the body but more a celebration of the city’s offerings. We nibbled on:

A colossal cinnamon bun 

A chunky slice of white cake

A creamy pumpkin roll slice

An enormous crumb cake 

All were full on sugar rushes! All were amazingly good. None of them were finished. All of them were tasted. We tried not to be wasteful but we did opt not to finish our plates. Time to load and go. Off to the airport. One last stop we shall have.

In the last of the 24 hours we hit Chickie’s & Pete’s, a local spot near the airport close to the sporting venue. A massive dining space. An interesting menu. For me it was the lobster roll for my meal. An overstuffed bun toasted to perfection. Slivers of celery, onions and just the right amount of seasoning. A nice treat for the end of a whirlwind 24 hours.

My belly is full as I sit on my flight writing. My heart swells from the memories made. My smile is big daydreaming of my next 24 hours of adventures. Where will I go? What will I see? Who will I meet? Who will I travel with? It’s all a mystery for now. Maybe a story will follow. Maybe it won’t.

I hope you enjoyed my 24 hour summary of Philadelphia. Maybe you will get there one day and choose the same route or travel new route. For now this city is off my list of tourist stops. 

fitness and nutrition, healthy hacks

Ahoy There!

Ahoy there! Chips Ahoy! flavored protein from Ghost is simply amazing. This might actually be my most favorite protein of all time and I really don’t even like most protein powders. 

For starters, most days I struggle to fuel my body with its needed protein level. I know I’m not alone either. Many struggle in this area but it’s a critical piece of my recovery and meal planning. In order to hit my defined goals, I have to use protein to supplement meals. Specialty flavors or hiding protein in something like orange juice helps me a lot.

I’ve added protein to shakes. I’ve added protein to coffee. I’ve purchased salted caramel to watermelon to vanilla and so on. Some taste better than others that’s for sure. I’ve shared protein samples with friends to test out new flavors so I don’t end up with a tub of blah protein. Sometimes I’m lucky sometimes I’m not.

Today I feel like I hit the jackpot. I feel like I’m having cookies and milk but I’m really just having protein and water. It’s a fair compromise since I smell chocolate chips and it even had some grit to its texture. Served over ice makes it smooth.

Just thought I’d write a quick blog about this protein hack in case it can help somebody manage their macros or just offer a new spin on Chips Ahoy! and milk. A much healthier option for sure.
As I sign off, I’m wishing you a happy and healthy day. Hats off to chips ahoy protein makers.

adventure

Ice Cream

Who wants ice cream? This girl I suppose. I haven’t really beeen a super big ice cream person but in the past few months I’ve been tempted or teased by available options especially when traveling.

I was on trip to Maryland and had a chance to grab an ice cream at a local dairy farm shop. It was delicious. Tons of homemade flavors that were ever so creamy and tasty. This has been my favorite treat this summer and I’d classify it as a must stop again spot.

On another adventure in Colorado I had a different ice cream experience. Here you picked your flavor but you got Mix-ins. I opted for the tasty cream flavor and mixed in some graham crumbles. The little gritty feeling and taste made this one a good choice. On the flip side my kiddo opted for cinnamon ice cream which was good if you tasted it solo but she chose all the crazy fixings like colored sprinkles and others. That dulled the ice cream flavor and left it half eaten or more wasted than eaten. Two similar experiences, two different outcomes. This was good but not great when I consider available options.

I have a spot I hit in the mountains on my travels to the farm. Locally made. Creamy. Limited flavors but the best butter pecan I have ever had. Hours of operation are limited and the lines are long so I don’t stop often. When I do stop, I enjoy the indulgence.

Then I was in the famous area of Hershey, Pennsylvania where I once again landed in an ice cream shop. Here it was Hershey ice cream that was served of course. They had many flavors but not out of this world creations. This was a big disappointment for me. The ice cream seemed like what you would get in the grocery store. A big dud for me.

Now as I got this calendar reminder for ice cream it was yet another sign to see what was out there on my next trip. Cape May, NJ area had a big selection. Funny though I was going to have an afternoon treat before dinner after a day by the ocean. Fate said otherwise. Most shops were closed and don’t open until 4 or 5pm. Had to skip the ice cream as the good rating places were not open during my available time to indulge.

Late night it was for me at the end of the short stay. A trip to Ben and Jerry’s shop on the street. I got two scoops of my favorites smeared on a cookie. No cone for this girl. A soft freshly baked cookie bottom. Such a treat. Maybe the same flavor from the local grocery store but the vibe was present in the locally-owned shop on the stretch of street that folks visited for shopping and dining. This store flavor was different than the Hershey experience above. Kudos to the Ben and Jerry brand for consistency in their deliverables. 

My ice cream adventures surely added to my waistline this summer but it also took me down memory lane. Visits to boardwalks and barn-like shops when I was a kid to get a treat. I even extended the experience to my mom who doesn’t get out as often these days. Taking a pint to go can make for a great delivery to a loved one. It was nice to reciprocate with my kids and share the stories of yesterday when sharing some sweet treats on the road too.

Orange sherbet from the local dairy stand where I grew up will still have my most memorable days of childhood but today I look to add to my list with my kids and savor the flavor of many places in as many new towns as we get the chance to explore.

Travel with an open heart and an eye for adventure but keep Yelp close for a sweet treat stop to fill in a bit of your day. You can skip the calorie or carb count for a few hours!

adventure

Living the Chocolate Life

Only in the great state of Pennsylvania can you be on Chocolate Avenue, turning onto Cocoa Avenue leading to the Chocolate Museum. The sweetest place on earth, they claim. Yes, I am in chocolate heaven in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Home to Hershey chocolates and Hershey Park. A chocolate-themed amusement park.

While here I walk down memory lane from times when I was a child visiting Hershey Park and all its wooden roller coaster memories to times I took my kids when they were little. It’s amazing what scenery can do to trigger your memories. 

My youngest is in tow this trip. She doesn’t remember her last trip here but she likes the country flair of the corn stalks on the roadside for what seems like miles. However, just around the corner there is the vision of old and new coasters. Hearing her dialogue on the old wooden coasters is mesmerizing.

Hop into town and you see light posts designed as chocolate kisses adding to the ambiance. Oh how I love flair and this town has it. From small town ice cream shops to local vendors on the the town square.

My hotel is next to a car museum housing many interesting items. An old-time bus is out front peaking interest from the roadside. A little further up the path is the Hershey Kisses mobile. Three wrapped kisses forming a vehicle. I never saw this until today. Made me think of the Oscar Meyer Weiner mobile that I have posed with dozens of times. So much fun to adventure to new places and see what is beyond your normal. It’s also cool to visit a place at different age points. I’m sure my visit here was more candy focused when I was a kid to ride focused when I took my kids to now me taking it all in as a mature adult.

My lens may be the same but my visions are different. Just like the light post above. Each view or angle of the post offers a different perspective.  As I travel I look for unique photo opportunities and try to use my imagination to create lasting memories. The sign below captured my thoughts along the way to Hershey, PA.

O

Off I go to explore in chocolate town. As I explore I know I’m using my imagination to fill in the blanks for my next adventure. Sending you virtual kisses from Hershey, PA.