Sweet Defeat

As my mortal enemies and various nemeses may or may not know, there are a few key methods to defeating me in battle. Most of those are a direct attack upon my Achilles heel, which is my sweet tooth. I actually make a concerted effort to eat “healthy,” which would be much easier if I liked more vegetables, but if you pelt any of the following items at me during combat, you will likely be able to take me out. Or at least distract me long enough to kick me, or something. Anyway…

1.) Klondike Bars – I am the physical embodiment of the Klondike Bar motto. As in, I would do (almost) anything for a Klondike Bar. As long as it’s legal, of course. I remember back in the Old Times™ when they only had, like, two flavors to choose from, but now the freezer aisle is full of succulent and mouth-watering flavors. But my favorite will always be Neapolitan, or, as I call it, Napoleon. The mint chocolate chip ones are a close second, though. Ooooh, and Heath bar, and Oreo…all of them, actually.

2.) M&Ms – My go-to movie theater snack! I would probably destroy the concession stand in a fit of rage if the ushers were to ever tell me they were sold out. Though my love for original M&Ms shall never be eclipsed, I recently tried the white chocolate ones and experienced true love for the first time in my life. I have not been able to find them since – not even at the M&M store in Vegas! But someday, I’m sure we’ll meet again…

3.) Pop Tarts – If you leave a box of chocolate chip Pop Tarts unattended in my presence, I will steal them. All of them. I take no prisoners, no hostages. There will be nothing remaining when I am done, not even crumbs. BUT this only applies to a select few flavors. I’m a sucker for s’mores and the classic brown sugar cinnamon, but the chocolate chip are my favorite. Y’all can keep those bizarre flavors – pumpkin cheesecake, Jolly Rancher, maple bacon, etc. I have no time for that.

4.) Sour Patch Kids – I have long imagined that my eventual downfall will come in the form of a small, creepily-shaped sour-yet-sugary piece of candy. Especially the blue ones, as they are the most diabolically delicious. They could cut off my pigtails and I legit would not care, as long as I’d get to eat whichever little tastebud-destroying monster did the deed. Whenever I go to the movies, I typically get M&Ms as my snack, but these are a close second – it really comes down to my mood at the time, or the genre of the film I’m seeing…  yes, I know that’s weird.

5.) McFlurries – I don’t eat an exorbitant amount of fast food – though I do find it delicious – because I am at least 62% health conscious when it comes to making decisions about my diet. But if you put me in a McDonalds, I will order a McFlurry, and it will be an M&M one – unless it’s March, in which case my order will be a Shamrock Shake. One time I made the effort to go to a McDonald’s on my own, which I never do, and their McFlurry machine wasn’t working. I nearly suffered an internal meltdown and left without ordering anything. I will say, though, one highlight of my past jaunt to England was the different types of McFlurries they had.

6.) Oatmeal Creme Pies – Whenever someone at work or a friend of mine tries to pawn food off on me, I’m usually able to resist it. But one time, a coworker asked me if I wanted his Oatmeal Creme Pie because he didn’t feel like eating it, and instead of my usual platitudes, like “Oh, you can just save it for later!” or “No thanks, I’ll pass this time!” I snatched it out of his hand so fast I’m surprised I didn’t take some of his fingers with me. This is the only Little Debbie snack that has such a powerful effect on me, though I do love me some Cosmic Brownies, too.

7.) Cereal – Picture it: a 20-21 year old college English major, who lives alone in a sleepy Massachusetts suburb and does not enjoy the typical college parties or hang-out experiences, and spends most Friday nights marathoning Hoarders and eating cereal for dinner. Cereal is an all-day snack for me. I only eat organic cereal, though. Like Nature’s Promise stuff. So I’m not a total pig.

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If you’re in need of a new read, check out my YA novel, I’m With You! The ebook is only $1.99 or (£1.55) and paperback is $9.99 (£7.99) on Amazon Amazon UK. Nook book is also $1.99 and paperback is $9.99 on BN.com.

 

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Viva Las Vegas!

When my sister and her fiance announced that they planned to hold their wedding in Las Vegas, I was… apprehensive. My image of Vegas has always leaned in the “den of debauchery” direction, where I would be a fish out of water. I barely drink, I’ve never gambled, and I have no interest in strip clubs or anything of the sort. I’m not morally opposed to any of that, it just isn’t for me. But, since my sister graciously bestowed the title of Maid of Honor upon me, I had no choice but to go.

Just from walking along the strip each day I saw an Elvis impersonator on a motor scooter, was verbally accosted by a male stripper dressed (well….partially dressed) as a cowboy, was called a “naughty girl” by a female stripper in a risque police getup, politely rebuffed all folks attempting to hand out fliers, and saw numerous feathered and glittery showgirls strutting among the crowd. But Vegas really is what you make of it.

img_20180901_0744021300954137.jpgThough I didn’t indulge in much stereotypical “Vegas” behavior, I still had the time of my life.

First of all, dry heat is SOOO much better than the soupy, jungle-esque humidity that’s been assaulting south-central PA all summer. Yes, it’s the desert out in Nevada, and it is hot – but it’s not a gross, heavy heat like it is here. However, the brilliance of the sun pierced my 50spf sunscreen like scissors through paper, and I was very close to having noticeable tan-lines for the wedding ceremony. Fortunately, frequent slatherings and protective sunglasses kept the worst at bay. The lack of rain probably sucks long-term, though, so I doubt I’ll be moving west any time soon.

img_20180906_211505747688568.jpgThe food is great, if expensive… but if you’ve ever vacationed in a big, bustling tourist destination, that’s no surprise. The best meal I had was probably the shrimp and grits at Pub 1842, which is the restaurant of chef Michael Mina located in the MGM Grand. It was expensive, but it’s the one meal I had that I felt was 100% worth the high price tag. My other favorite meals were the french toast at PBR Rock Bar and Grill, which is very reasonably priced, and Pink Box Donuts, which are sinfully delicious. The poutine appetizer at Robert Irvine’s was also spectacular. I wish I’d made it to one of Gordon Ramsay’s restaurants, but I did get a photo op outside of Hell’s Kitchen. $56 for a Beef Wellington is a bit outside my price range, regardless.

The food might be pricey, but the cost of alcohol in Vegas is insane, so if you’re ever planning on partying it up out there, plan your budget accordingly. I can count the drinks I had over the course of the five days on one hand, and one was at an open bar, but it still hurt my wallet. For reference, I got three drinks at the pool one day (not all for me) and my bill was $60. At breakfast one morning, my meal was $8 and my drink was $13. I mean, I totally get it – it just made me glad I’m a lightweight. And the drinks I did get were fantastic.

Now, I want to get to the actual point of this post, so we’re going into bullet-point mode for a bit…

  • img_20180902_1548112035817839.jpgThere’s a ton of things to do/see on and around the strip for folks of all dispositions. There’s even a Chocolate World, which was a shock to me – someone who is from an area near the actual Hershey, PA.
  • Every casino/hotel has enough inside of it that you technically don’t even need to leave the place you’re staying to have a fulfilling vacation. I stayed at the Tropicana, but also explored Caesar’s Palace, the MGM Grand, New York, New York, and The Cosmopolitan, and wish I’d had time to see more.
  • The Bellagio Fountains are so cool to see. We watched “The Star Spangled Banner” and  “Time to Say Goodbye,” which were brilliant, but my sister got to see “My Heart Will Go On” at night, which I’m sure was a treat.
  • Walking past the Hard Rock Cafe on our last morning, ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me” started to play. It’s like they knew I was walking by.
  • Everyone working at the various hotels, restaurants, and attractions were all pleasant and nice, and I don’t recall personally encountering anyone who was grumpy or rude. Basically, the hospitality in general is five-star.
  • My parents and I decided to check out a Cirque du Soleil show, and we settled on KA. It was a beautiful performance and top-tier quality show and I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an entertaining night out. My aunt and uncle saw the Beatles-themed show, LOVE, and raved about it as well. They also saw Penn and Teller, but you probably don’t need me to tell you that they were impressed.
  • I won $20 on a slot machine at the airport, though it was technically a net profit of $18. I like slot machines now, but I can see how they are addicting and know to quit when I’m ahead.

img_20180901_161944_578907505970.jpgBut the true highlight of my trip was getting to spend time with friends and family, some of whom we don’t get to see very often, and – of course – getting to see my older sister marry her soulmate… who is now her husband! I know when folks think of a Vegas wedding, they imagine a tacky chapel, a gaudy, rented dress and pale-colored suit, and a short ceremony officiated by an Elvis impersonator.

I mean, it could have been like that – but it wasn’t.

It was simple and lovely, well-thought out, full of joy and enthusiasm, and I’m so happy that they included me in their special day. The ceremony, out on the terrace at the Tropicana and put together by some very patient coordinators and planners, was beautiful. About 30 friends and family members made the trip to see the nuptials, which is impressive for a destination wedding. And the reception at Robert Irvine’s afterward was wonderful, though, while we were waiting for the room to be ready, the wedding party (except for me, who could not care less, and a few others) and guests were all crowded around the restaurant’s television watching the Penn State game, and I’m pretty sure everyone in the establishment knew that we were from PA after some very ardent reactions. It was rewarding to see my sister and her new husband enjoy their day and get to start their life together. And the cake was bomb.

I know they say what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas… but I couldn’t resist writing a post about this trip because I’m so happy for my sister, and look forward to seeing her and her husband star this new chapter in their life.