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Experiencing Philadelphia for the First Time – DAY 1

January 19, 2016 in Food and Drink / Trips in Eastern United States

On Christmas day my boyfriend gave me the best gift he possibly could have: the gift of Chase Rice.  Quite literally.

To explain further, Bran bought us tickets to the Chase Rice show with meet and greet passes for Christmas.  If anyone knows me well in person, they would know that I have a mild obsession with the country singer.  The closest show to us, however, happened to be in Philadelphia, PA.  So Friday January 8th, we took our first road trip to Philadelphia.  I’m not really sure what took us so long, as it’s a mere 2 hours away from home!  But it was a great opportunity to check out a city that I hadn’t been to before.

Geno’s VS Pat’s

We couldn’t check into the Wyndham until 4pm, so when we arrived in Philadelphia around 12pm, we had quite a bit of time to kill.  Our first stop?  The infamous “cheese steak corner”.  Everyone told me before I went that day to make sure I tried Geno’s Steaks and Pat’s King of Steaks.  I can honestly say I had never even heard of the 2 places until then.  After doing a little bit of research, I learned that these 2 competitors seem to have their own fan bases – and usually people prefer one over the other.  I also learned there is an official lingo when ordering a Philly cheese steak!  Can I get a whiz wit….?  😉

Brandon got his hands on a Geno’s sandwich (with whiz) while I opted for Pat’s (with provolone).  The Geno’s sandwich was dripping with grease and I have to admit, it tasted a bit artificial to me.  Maybe it was the cheese whiz?  Maybe it was the steak itself?  I don’t know.  I preferred the Pat’s cheese steak out of the 2 places.  Neither one of them really impressed me, however.

My not-so-professional analysis?  They are both overrated tourist traps.  But hey, at least we can say we tried them both.


Killing Time

After our little trip to cheese steak corner, we headed across the street to kill some time at a local bar called South Philly .  We we’re the only ones in there, aside from the bartender.  Then again, it was a Friday afternoon…..and barely over 12pm!  It was a casual bar that was clearly a popular Philly sports spot, as it had sports team pennants and autographs all over the walls.  We hung out for a while before we decided to move on.


A Show We Won’t Soon Forget

That evening we caught a cab from the Wyndham to the Fillmore in Philadelphia.  We arrived 2 hours early since the show was general admission, and the line really wasn’t as bad as we had expected.  Tucker Beathard opened the show (he’s a newbie to the scene and fantastic, BTW) followed by The Cadillac Three (they were AWESOME) and of course Chase Rice being the final act, performing not only his hits like “Ready, Set Roll” and “Gonna Wanna Tonight”, but also singing some fun covers.
This show was in my top 5 for sure.  The energy of the performers was amazing and the crowd was electric.  We made a few friends, got GREAT spots, and had an unbelievable time.  I really liked this venue.  The staff was friendly and everything was smooth sailing.  Oh, and while we didn’t get much time with him, Chase Rice was a very friendly guy!  And just as gorgeous in person….just sayin’.

 

Day 1 was a blast, but I was exhausted.  Day 2 we would see much more of the city…..

ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT REVIEW & HOLIDAY GIVEAWAY!

November 24, 2015 in Everything Else / Reviews

adoramapix coupon code for metal prints

There are 2 things that I am absolutely passionate about: travel and photography.  Fortunately, the 2 go hand in hand with one another, which means I end up with a ton of amazing memories to preserve after every trip!  Thankfully, my friends at AdoramaPix have made it easy for me to do just that.

AdoramaPix asked me to review one of their metal prints, and I get to give one away to ONE lucky follower!  And don’t worry – this is a completely honest review.  Wondering how to win?  Scroll to the bottom of the page.

Even if you don’t win, everyone can take advantage of this exclusive 25% discount on all metal prints!  Be sure to type in pxjennl25 at checkout.  Hurry – you only have until 12/15 to take advantage of this offer!


SELECTING YOUR METAL PRINT OPTIONS

You have plenty of options when ordering your custom metal print.  There are various finishes that differ in appearance depending on the subject matter of your photo.  I chose “glossy silver” for the my OBX Horse Silhouette image.  If you need help selecting the best finish for your photo, check out their video comparing skin tones on both white and silver.

ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT SCREEN SHOT


There are quite a few shapes and sizes you can select from when creating your metal print.  In this case, I chose the standard rectangle.

 

ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT SCREEN SHOT

 


I think one of my favorite features about their website is the fact that you can see the image quality after uploading it.  If the photo resolution isn’t high enough, the meter on the left will let you know.  This ensures you get the highest quality print possible.  Handy right?

ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT REVIEW


SHIPMENT

My print came in a cardboard box, while also supported by another layer of cardboard and wrapped in saran wrap.  It seemed to be nice and tight, keeping it safe from dents and dings along its way to Maryland.

ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT REVIEW ADORAMAPIX METAL PRINT REVIEW


REVIEW OF THE METAL PRINT

I really love how sturdy the print feels.  It’s thick but not bulky.  I opted for the float option, so it sits slightly off of the wall.  The best part with this?  No need for a frame!
 I’m really happy with the quality of the metal print.  The tones and contrast are nice and the colors are accurate.

I was a little concerned as to the best way to clean this because it is prone to fingerprints when handled.  After directly asking the folks at AdoramaPix, they assured me that cleaning it is simple.  You may simply use a soft cloth and a non-abrasive cleaning solution, such as Windex, to get the job done.

I have yet to hang my photo (other than for snapshots for this blog) simply because I need to make some space available on the walls of this little apartment.

The lighting wasn’t fabulous in my room – and for this I apologize!  But I really do love the results.  The metal luster really gives it a nice professional appearance.  I foresee many more metal prints in my future.  Now, are you ready for your own?  See below.

 

WIN A CUSTOM METAL PRINT!

So do you want to win your own?  Simply comment below and you’re in the drawing!  Want another shot at winning?  Comment on the Instagram comment post AND the Facebook contest post!  One winner will be selected on Black Friday, November 27th!  Everyone has 3 chances to win – only one comment on each social media contest post counts in the drawing!

The prize is an 11×14 metal wall print from AdoramaPix!  This is 100% FREE!  You don’t even have to worry about the shipping!

Be sure to visit www.adoramapix.com for more information and other great gift ideas this holiday season!

 

GOOD LUCK & HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

Camping in Lost River, West Virginia

September 29, 2015 in Trips in Eastern United States

Have you ever heard of Lost River, West Virginia?  I’m not going to lie….prior to Labor Day weekend, I hadn’t!  I’m pretty sure most people haven’t.

Labor Day weekend, we camped with my mom in a tiny little campground in a desolate little area of West Virginia called Lost River.  Lost River sits in Hardy County, located in North East, WV just over the Virginia border.  There isn’t much around it.  As a matter of fact, I had zero cell service the entire time.  It is very rare that my cell phone actually says “no service”, especially with Verizon, but that weekend it did.

LOST RIVER, WVThe campground we stayed at, Lost River Campground, was a bit of an oddity.  The scenery was beautiful, but the campground was tiny and sat right next to a road.  The road acted as a dividing line between the tent and RV spots.  This made camping there a little bit sketchy because speed demons would fly down the road, making it a scary experience at times!

Right up the road there was a man-made lake that people were fishing and boating in.  There really was very little to do in the area, but this provided some sort of entertainment for anyone equipped for it.  The campground did have a pool, volleyball net, fire rings, and a surprisingly squeaky clean bath house.  Despite the isolation, Lost River was extremely picturesque and we all had a great time! Take a peek at our photos below….

 

Floating down the Shenandoah River – Harpers Ferry

August 25, 2015 in Everything Else / Reviews / Trips in Eastern United States

Recently, Brandon (my boyfriend), his son and I met up with some of his family to utilize tubing vouchers he purchased from River & Trail Outfitters.  It was a perfect day to float on a river, but I have to admit, I have mixed emotions about the experience.  This was my very first time river tubing.  Brandon had been before but I wasn’t able to join those times so I wasn’t completely sure what to expect.

We left fairly early that Sunday morning, as our appointment time was at 10:30am.  It was about an hour and a half drive from Baltimore to Harper’s Ferry, a drive that I am all too familiar with.  Once we got to the main building to check in, the parking situation was horrendous.  There were very few spaces and the place was busy.  After a few minutes of driving up the road looking for a spot, we turned around to head back to the main parking area and were marshaled into a spot by an employee.

We were given a few documents to sign for safety and liability.  As it turned out, we were told there was another location about 10 minutes away that we had to drive to.  So we hopped back in the car and to the next location.

After making it to the next location, we checked in at the little booth and were told we could give them our car keys to ensure they are safely kept rather than taking them along the river.  So after handing them the keys and hearing the list of instructions, we grabbed a life vest (which wreaked of mildew from previous tubers) and waited at the picnic tables for the green “pickle bus.”

We waited for what felt like a lifetime because there was only one bus driver (or at least only one that I noticed).  We were instructed to pick a tube color, some had the center cut out where as others did not.  You could also purchase an “upgraded” tube that had a head rest on the back.  Floating coolers were also available for an extra fee of $10.   When we picked our tubes, we were to hand them to the bus driver so he could load them into the trailer.  As everyone filtered through the line, we sat and waited on the big green school bus, ready to go to our THIRD location of the day.
The bus driver was friendly and cracked a few corny jokes while yelling over people talking loudly on the bus.  He was attempting to explain what we should expect on our river floating adventure.  He mentioned that creating a ripple in the water will deter the occasionally seen river snake, and that the float would take approximately 2 hours to complete.  An intercom would have been handy, however, as his voice couldn’t compete with everyone else’s; he was extremely difficult to hear.  After a short ride up the road, we were dropped off at an opening in the river (which appeared to be shared with the company River Riders) and we were on our way.

River & Trail Outfitters recommends that people wear shoes other than flip-flops when floating on the river.  It seems this is because the river is very shallow and rocky.  Also, flip-flops fall off easily.  I figured this out as I tried jumping onto the tube only to lose my shoes twice.  Fortunately, I was able to find them pretty easily so they weren’t gone for good!

As we slowly floated, I took notice to the fact that the river was very crowded.  Not only with people tubing, but also people in various stops along the river that were swimming.  It was disappointing to find quite a bit of trash littering the sides of the crowded waters.  Many people had coolers full of alcohol and some even had music.  This was definitely a beer drinkers kind of activity!

There were points where the scenery was better than others, and a couple of short areas where the water was more rough than others.  Some areas were so shallow that our tubes would get stuck on the rocks below.  The river was calm.  REALLY calm.  There were times when we wondered if we were even moving at all.  When we made it to the point that we could actually see the parking lot that we were to stop at, I was starving and ready for the ride to end, but it was a tease.  Although we could see the ending point, it would still be another 45 minutes until we were able to reach it.

It was about 2 hours, as we were told, until we finally made it back to the parking lot.  We decided to eat lunch at their own Blue Heron Grill since it was the only choice on the premises.  Most people brought their own food but we were unprepared!  We approached the grill, which ended up being nothing but a dingy old food truck.  I’m not going to lie, it looked sketchy.  I’m no diva, but I was expecting something different when I had read there was a grill on site.  A woman manning the truck showed us the tiny menu of overpriced food.  A simple hot dog was $5!  I guess that’s how they can make a few extra bucks since no other food is close by.  Rather than having a register at the truck, she sent us over to the same booth we left our keys at, to pay for the food.  They would then give us a ticket to bring back over with our food choices.

The Blue Heron Grill

The Blue Heron Grill

I watched as she made the food.  She pulled out a bag of Food Lion french fries and dropped them in the oil to cook.  As she prepared the hot dogs, she didn’t use gloves or anything.  Lord only knows where her hands had been and she was handling everyone’s food.  Gross!  I don’t need 5-star restaurants by any means, but a certain degree of sanitary measures would be nice.  If anyone wanted onions on their food, the customer was told to get it straight out of the container it was sliced in.  Needless to say, the food was lackluster and the prices were ridiculous.

The kids enjoyed the tubing trip and so did the adults that had alcohol to take along.  Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate the river ride, but I was bored.  Next time I think I would opt for the next level up, but we had young kids on this trip so the “mellow” river experience was necessary.  We did end up going around once more only because the kids really wanted to.

So here are the pros and cons of this experience:

PROS
Great for kids and families
The river was safe and calm
There was plenty of parking at the float site
Staff was very friendly

CONS
The river was a little too calm/slow (for my liking)
Things were unorganized
Seemed understaffed
Food was significantly overpriced and the truck looked straight out of a horror film
The food
Port-a-pots seemed as though they has never been cleaned
The river was very crowded
Parking was terrible at the first location

 

Would I do this again?  Probably not.  But they have plenty of other experiences to try.  Harper’s Ferry is beautiful so I always love going there, but I think next time I will opt for the zip-lining, whitewater rafting or whitewater rapids tubing.  It’s a great idea for people with young children and/or a lot of time to kill.  Oh and…..bring your own food.  😉

SNICKERDOODLES BAKERY AND COFFEE HOUSE REVIEW – Hampstead, MD

December 27, 2014 in Reviews

Snickerdoodles is located in a small Hampstead shopping center.  Having tried quite a few of their drinks, I have to say that i’ve never found one that I don’t like.  The best part of Snickerdoodles has to be their wide array of yummy baked goods!  Everything looks absolutely delicious – and everything that I have tried IS delicious.

I only wish their atmosphere was slightly less commercial.  I have mentioned before that I love that “coffee house” feel, and this place being surrounded by an Italian restaurant and Rita’s Italian Ice, it doesn’t quite have that vibe.  Nonetheless, they have a wonderful selection of goods.  Be sure to try them out!

Click Here to View their Website

I rate Snickerdoodles 3 bugs!

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