Thursday, January 2, 2020

The Ice-Cream Tour 2019

So Much Fun!

 Of all the trips we have been on this was by far the most fun because it included the ice Cream Tour and you guys know just how much I love ice-cream. To start off we drove into New York City on the way to the Jersey Shore, which was our final destination. When it comes to amazing ice-cream and milk shake treats there is no better place then New York City where all the fantastic spots reside. One of my absolute faves and the first spot we hit was Black Tap NY, they're known all over for their amazing Crazyshakes and burgers so we decided to stop in for lunch. Now mind you the night before we left for our trip I came down with thee worst flu and was more than sick, by the time we arrived in downtown Manhattan I was feeling a little bit better but still a little nauseous which was not the best, especially considering I was about to invoke on the most awesome food and ice-cream trip EVER!! It was really hard to get into it with the normal magical excitement that I usually have, hence my many prayers to feel better asap. When we arrived at Black Tap I couldn't wait to get started, so naturally we ordered the shakes first. 


The location we went to on 35th Street has a milkshake bar where you can watch them make your shake, so we just couldn't help ourselves. First up was the Pumpkin Pie Shake, it was themed for Thanksgiving and topped with a piece of pumpkin pie, a yummy turkey lollipop, plenty of whipped cream and a cherry all piled atop a pumpkin pie shake, in a mini marshmallow and vanilla frosting rimmed glass. The shake tastes like a big bite of pumpkin pie, wow was it delish and right on point. 



Then was the birthday cake shake, a piece of birthday cake, plenty of whipped cream with a cherry on top, all piled atop a cake batter milkshake, in a rainbow sprinkle and vanilla frosting rimmed glass. The vanilla shake is perfect because it balances the sweetness of the cake and brings it to the perfect level of yummy!


Then is the cotton candy shake for the absolute sweet-tooth diva, its a tuft of cotton candy, a lollipop, rock candy and whipped cream all piled high atop a strawberry milkshake, in a pink and pearl chocolate and vanilla frosting rimmed glass. This is the one that will give you a major sugar rush and it's so worth it!!


Next up is the Churro Choco Taco, another amazing concoction as I'm a big fan of churros especially when caramel is involved.....yah feel me?...LOL!!
It's a Choco Taco ice-cream with two extra crunchy churros, whipped cream and a dulce de leech drizzle all piled atop a cinnamon toast crunch milkshake in a cinnamon toast crunch and vanilla frosting rimmed glass. OMG my favorite by far, and I love that they give you plenty of whipped cream. definitely not stingy!!


The 5th and final shake we got was the Cookie Shake which is topped with a chocolate chip cookie ice-cream sandwich, crumbled cookies, whipped cream and chocolate drizzle, all piled atop a vanilla cookie milkshake, in a cookie crumble and vanilla frosting rimmed glass. 
If you are a lover of chocolate chip cookies like Rob, then this is the shake for you.


Finally after we finished shooting the shakes we ordered lunch...lol! Yeah a little backwards but this is The Ice-Cream Tour so the ice-cream is first!! I ordered the Black Tap Impossible burger because to be honest I have been very curious see what they taste like with all the recent craze. Rob ordered the Miso Salmon Salad with a side order of onion rings. 


Let's just put it this way the burger tasted like a regular burger and a good one at that, I was more than blown away. I was watching Rob lick his fingers while I was eating so the salmon and onion rings must have been great too. As yucky as I felt being sick the food was too good not to enjoy, and I'm happy to say by the end of our visit to Black Tap NYC I was feeling much better. After hours of crazy shakes and filling our bellies we headed over to a spot that I have had my eye on for some time via Instagram called The Stackery, it's located in The Lodge at Bryant Park during the colder months of the year. They have some amazing chimney cakes filled with all types of amazing fillings and hot drinks. 


I ordered the Yule Want S'more (seen right) which is filled with Nutella, a graham cracker cheesecake whip, and topped with bruleed marshmallow, graham cracker and hershey chocolate. Sounds amazing right? With me it's always s'mores for the win!! Rob ordered the Santa's Strudel (seen left) and that is filled with a honey crisp and fuji apple house made strudel, topped with "Schlagsahne" cream, apple crumble and caramel. Sounds amazing as well right? They both were to die for, and just like Black Tap are aways coming up with fun holiday themed items. I recommend you follow both @BlackTapNYC & @TheStackery on Instagram for some grammable and mouthwatering shots, I know I do!!


Our next stop was at Besfren Cafe, which was not far from Time Square on 5th Ave. We were up for a little matcha and taro yumminess in a cone, that comes complete with orchids. Yes I said orchids, it's not often your cone comes with flowers and it makes for a great picture. Normally matcha isn't my favorite but we decided to give it another try and to my surprise it was quite delicious at Besfren Cafe. I really like the taste of the taro with it, I guess for my taste buds that's the secret. 


Well by the time we were finished at the cafe it was starting to get dark and we still had the drive from NYC to the Jersey Shore so we headed back to the garage to get the car and headed out for the hotel. i think I had forgotten just how insane New York City traffic was until we were leaving the city at rush hour, on a Friday night. It took us 3 hours to get to New Jersey...yikes! Either way it was all made second fiddle, the relief of reaching the hotel because once the sun went down I started feeling nauseous again, which was not a welcomed feeling. I had been feeling better the good part of the day and was not happy to have that sick feeling return. We stayed at the Ocean Place Resort right on the boardwalk, in Long Branch New Jersey. What a relief it was to check in and be able to take a shower and relax, the best part about our suite was the bedroom being surrounded with views of the beach and boardwalk. We also had a huge balcony that would make thee absolute perfect chill spot in the summer months as it looked right down onto the beach as well. 



I loved that it was clean, roomy and super nice. It's hard for me to relax anywhere but home but Ocean Place was so comfy it really wasn't hard to settle in and enjoy, which I thought I was going to do but my stomach had other plans. It wasn't long after 8pm that I started getting sick all over again, trust me it wasn't pretty. Thank goodness for the huge hot shower which helped a great deal. I wasn't able to get to sleep until 4am but as soon as I woke up I started feeling much better which made me look forward to the rest of our trip and hoping I was done with whatever bug I had.







They also have indoor and outdoor pools, a full spa, a hot tub and sauna, a gym, room service and a in house restaurant. We really enjoyed a couple games of pool while we were in the lobby game room. Not to mention there is a great little shopping center with all kinds of great restaurants and shops that is about a 5 minute walk from the hotel's front doors. The next morning bright and early we want down and had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and headed out to explore the area, coincidentally our last two stops on the tour were in that particular shopping center. The two spots are Coney Waffle, home of the Show Stopper Freakshake and yes it's definitely a show stopper, along with Stewart's home of the REAL ice-cream soda. 




We stopped in Stewart's first, there's something nostalgic about an ice-cream soda for me, I guess it's ice-cream in general really...it invokes or reminds me of those good childhood memories, when life was good and you didn't have a care or worry in the world. You also didn't have to stress about any of the things we do as an adult like paying bills, meeting deadlines and much much more. Shoot stress didn't exist for me at that age. Stewart's has a special soft serve, it just has an amazing vanilla flavor that goes perfect with an orange soda. I sure wish there was one in my area, and check out the fun decor it's insanely cute. 



After Stewart's we had lunch at a great little Greek spot across the street, I was only able to eat a lentil soup because of my stomach which did help me to feel a bit better. It was looking like a pattern was starting to form, and not a good one at least not when the sun went down. it seemed now for 3 days I was feeling better in the morning and sick at night, it was looking like I had the flu. I'm happy to report though that for the first time in days I was back to normal and finally got a good nights sleep, only after all of my Ice-cream tour stops were finished...go figure!!
Anyway after lunch we finally got to stop into Coney Waffle where we met Jason who made us thee coolest freakshake EVER!!




It's called the showstopper and wow was it piled high with everything. I picked a cotton candy ice-cream for the milkshake, then piled on top was an ice-cream cone complete with a scoop of icecream, an ice-cream sandwich, a waffle cone with 2 scoops of ice-cream, a wall of cotton candy complete with a lollipop, chocolate bar, and lots of gummy and sour candy. Note I didn't eat this shake I gave it away to a table of 6 kids that made it disappear in a matter of seconds...lol!! It was more fun to watch them devour it by far, then we ordered a churro ice-cream sandwich followed by a showstopper cone. 



As you can see everything is super colorful and amazing, plus Jason was super helpful and creative which is the coolest when you're an influencer. I love working with people that enjoy being extra as F with the ice-cream concoctions!! If you're ever in New Jersey I definitely recommend them, they have a few locations in the state and an amazing Instagram account as well, check it out along with all of their amazing creations. Did I mention their ice-cream is Kosher? Yup so you know it's the best of the best.


After we ate and shot immeasurable amounts of ice-cream we headed back to the hotel to settle in for the night and enjoy the many amenities of Ocean Place Resort. I took advantage of then hot tub as well as the room service, we had a reservation to eat at the hotel restaurant the next day which was Thanksgiving. In the meantime we schmyed around the hotel and relaxed until the next morning when we ate breakfast and walked the beach for a few hours. I saw so many people walking their dog and it was at that time I really started missing Piper. I wanted to bring her but she doesn't do well in New York City, she get's really stressed around all those people so we decided against bringing her. By the time dinner came I was feeling really hungry and feeling much better so I was more than happy for Thanksgiving dinner, the hotel restaurant had an amazing buffet with carving stations and all the trimmings. Let's just say we were more than stuffed by the time we were done ....we waddled our way back to the room for a very cozy nights sleep. All in all our trip was amazing and the stay at Ocean Place was amazing, Rob and I were talking about how we would love to see it in full swing so we will be going back in spring or early summer. We are more than excited due to the great experience we had this time, I was almost sad to go home. Then I remembered it was time to get Piper which made the drive home seem soooooooo long. The roadways were packed with people driving home from their Thanksgiving travels, so it took us 6 hours to get home when it should have been 3 or 4.


We made it just in time to pick Piper up from Debondale before they closed and headed home. Have you guys ever noticed that no matter where you go, no matter for how long, that there's no place like home? 
Happy New Year Everyone, I hope you enjoyed my recap of The Ice Cream tour, we will be doing many more in the future. I'm looking forward to sharing more with you in 2020!!

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Staying healthy with Piper and Freshpet

Thank you for sponsoring this post Freshpet, all experiences and opinions are mine and mine alone. 



Let's Get Fit!!

 Ever since my birthday last year I have been making a serious effort to get and remain healthy, by making better choices for Piper and I, such as exercising on a daily basis, eating better, higher quality, healthier foods. Avoiding heavily processed foods and sodium are on the list as well. All of the garbage that's bad for our bodies I have been avoiding as much as possible.
The first and most important part of our daily routine would be exercise, this get's the heart pumping and which is very important to keep it strong and functioning properly. I live right up the street from a a huge 1/4 mile track at Randallstown High School high school, we go there 3 days a week and walk 2 miles. On top of this in the morning and evening I take walks with Piper in our neighborhood.  My friend and neighbor along with her dog walk with us and because of this I've learned something very important about daily exercise, when you have a partner to do it with, you are much more successful at it because you have someone else to keep you company and to talk to. This keeps me from getting bored which is the number one reason I would stop my daily routines in the past. We usually meet up in the warmer months of the year bright and early at 6am (to beat the heat), and we walk for around one hour. Then when the colder months set in, let's say from November until April my friend and her pup go to Florida, so with my (talking) walking partner gone and the cold weather as a deterrent I have to really get my determination on point. It's at this point that Piper being my only walking partner becomes much more important. I know how much she loves her walks and when she's happy I'm happy, so that keeps me from missing days. I wait until the sun is fully up around 8 or 9 am we get bundle up and get moving. Plus I do much better when it's just her and I because we walk faster, she always pushes me to keep it moving due to her literally being the energizer bunny. She walks super fast and never runs out of energy, so it's also very important that I feed her the best quality food with the right ingredients to fuel her little active self.





What a task that was because Piper can be really picky when it comes to her food. I had a real task of finding not only something that was made of quality ingredients to give her the energy she needs, it also had to taste good enough to where she would eat it. After doing some research I came across Freshpet dog food, I love it because it's made with all natural ingredients, no preservatives or additives, and it's refrigerator stored so it's fresh and full of protein. I know I'm very particular about what I put in my body and I'm the same with what Piper's is eating as well, even better she absolutely loves it. Her favorite is the multi-protein complete meal, it's full of chicken, beef, egg, salmon and veggies. They have all types of different recipes and choices for you to choose from, that way you can get the food that's right for your dog or cat. Yup that's right they make both dog and cat food. Check out their website "Freshpet" for more info on this amazing brand, if your pup is anything like Piper he or she will absolutely love it because it's real food, not some dried up ingredients that have been sitting on the shelf for who knows how long. Freshpet is just what Piper needs to stay fueled up for our more than active lifestyle. It's the changes that I have made for us both that will keep us healthy and living long and happy lives together. I've given up soda and sugary candy, in tandem with the daily activity I have lost 30 pounds which is for sure a win-win because being overweight is super unhealthy for both of us because in older age it will open you up to a lot more ominous and not so good ailments. I also read that by adding a vigorous fifteen minute walk to your daily routine can add years to your life, in the grand scheme of things that's a small price to pay. 



I have also been wanting to work some type of gym routine in to perhaps tone up my body after loosing the weight. I have also been swapping out snacks like cookies and junk food for things like apples, granola bars and fresh veggies with some light dressing. When it comes to Piper's snack I did the same thing, I found out that Freshet has fresh meat treats and chews of all kinds and there are many different flavors. Piper loves the Dog Joy Wood Smoked Turkey Bacon, she literally does a little dance when she sees me with the bag. Nothing makes me smile more than seeing her so thrilled about what she's eating, especially because I know it's not full of a bunch of junk like the other brands. Did I mention they have an amazing price point as well, yeah it doesn't get any better then Freshpet. They are also conveniently located in many stores, just check out the "Store Locater" on their website to find a store near you that sells Freshpet
Trust me your pup will definitely thank you for the deliciousness.






Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Birthday Weekend Getaway & A Giveaway!!

"Epic Birthday Getaway!"

(Me enjoying the lobby common area of The Melrose Georgetown)

Hello Luvs, I'm super excited to be sharing my Birthday weekend getaway to DC with you all, we had so much fun exploring Georgetown DC. I also can’t wait to tell and show you all about the luxury boutique hotel we stayed in called The Melrose Georgetown, located at 2430 Pennsylvania Ave, Washington DC 20037.  WOW where can I start? We arrived at the Melrose on a Friday around noon, and we were more than pleased to find out that the hotel was just an 8-10 minute walk from the center of Georgetown, right where all the great shops and restaurants are. Once we left our car with valet we checked in and headed up to our suite, wow was the entrance and common area more than grand. It’s covered in all types of classy decor covered in marble and granite, as I told Rob if this is an indicator of how amazing the suite will be I think we are really going to love our time here. 


 (Front lobby entrance and bar)

 (Lobby common room in the Melrose)

(Grand entrance and front desk)

Boy was I right, the suite was beautiful. Just as you walk in the door the is a cute little office with a desk just off to the left. I really enjoyed how they themed the cedar around the constitution, perfect touch for DC. The as you proceed straight ahead you walk into the living room area complete with a cozy couch and coffee table to the right, an arm chair and ottoman to the left, right next to the dresser and big screen television. Then there was a huge picture window with a great view of of the area, and finally down the hall to the left was a bedroom with a queen sized bed and another big screen television. A little further down the hall to the left was the bathroom, all decked out in marble tiles in a law and white color combo. It was more than enough room for Rob and I to spend the next couple days, and OMG the bed was super comfy with crisp clean bedding and pillows. I’m one of those people that finds it very difficult to feel at home in hotel beds, at the Melrose I had no problem relaxing in and sleeping soundly. Once we got settled in and hung up our clothes we got dressed and walked down to the Georgetown waterfront to look for dinner. 


 (Office)

 (Bedroom)

 (Living room)

 (Bathroom)

The weather was absolutely perfect and because it was a Friday night there were so many different people, all scattered about and walking around just enjoying all the many restaurants to choose from. There where yachts docked on the peer and the sun was just setting so e sat down at some outdoor tables and just enjoyed the scenery. Nothing is more fun than eating a good meal and doing a bit of people watching...lol! After we finished eating  we stopped into a gelato shop that we saw on the walk up... for a couple scoops of course. Then we headed back to the hotel to relax and rest up for a day of birthday fun, we had plans to do a couple shoots and go out for dinner. When we made it back to the room we enjoyed some fruit, cheese and a glass of wine before turning in and because we slept both cozy and comfortably, we were able to get up bright and early the next morning. 


(Fruit, cheese and wine at The Melrose before bed)

We made sure to stop into the hotel restaurant on our way out and boy was it good. I had an egg white omelette and Rob had the waffles topped with fruit... both were amazing. Needless to say we ate breakfast there the next morning as well, it was that good. Once we filled our bellies we set out for Main St in the heart of Georgetown, there is a great little spot up there called Greenworks Florist, it has pink floral walls that are beautiful and I was very eager to take some pictures there. On the way back we stopped into several stores and shops to look around and explore though I have to say I didn't buy anything but an ice-cream cone. We did stop into Kate Spade where I saw thee single cutest little french bulldog bag, only bummer was to small, I could barley fit my wallet so that was a no go. We also came across some cute walls, so you know we had to stop and shoot a couple pictures. By the time we got back to the hotel it was almost 4pm and we were exhausted, so we settled in and relaxed until 7pm when we had a reservation at Jardenea the hotel restaurant. 

(The old Greenworks Florist in Georgetown)

(Cute alley mural we came across in Georgetown)

(Blind Whino Painter Church)

Wow that was a dinner to remember, everything from start to finish was delicious. First I ordered the barley and lentil soup and Rob ordered a fall and mixed greens salad, as well as some cheese brioche’ dinner rolls. For our entrees I got the fillet and Rob ordered the blackened rainbow trout, both meals were seasoned just right and cooked to perfection. It's very rare that we both love everything about our meals, and eat everything on our plates...or in this case everything they put on the table. The dinner rolls were sooooo good with their cheesy centers. Finally for dessert I got the southern pecan pie and ice-cream, Rob got the vanilla cheesecake and chocolate ganach. My pecan pie was so good and perfectly paired with the vanilla icecream because it was still warm. Let’s just say by the time we left the restaurant we were stuffed and more than ready for bed, plus we had to get up early the next morning for breakfast and start heading back home. 

(Soup and salad appetizers at Jardenea) 

(Filet at Jardenea)

 (Pecan pie and ice-cream dessert at Jardenea)

It was a bummer the weekend was over so fast, but as they say time flies when you’re having fun. I just had to make one pit-stop before we checked out at noon, you guys know I don’t go anywhere without finding the amazing sweet treats that the area has to offer so I can share it with you. I did some area searches and realized that not one but two spots I had my eye on for some time were not that far away from our hotel. I was more than excited!! The first one is a place called The Salt Line, they have some amazing desserts and freak shakes that I had been reading about for a minute. Not only are they delish they are also super decked out with all kinds of yummy toppings like donuts, candy, marshmallows and then some. Plus they aren't just a sweet shop they're also a full serve restaurant and bar with fresh seafood. 

(The Salt Line Freakshake)

(Marion Berry from IceCream Jubilee)

I also stopped into Ice Cream Jubilee which is about 2 or 3 blocks away, you know I had to stop into both. I got a double dip of Marion Berry at Jubilee, it was all piled high in a fresh rainbow sprinkle waffle cone, OMG you guys it was amazing. The flavor profile is epic...a yummy berry flavored ribbon, mixed with graham cracker and super fresh vanilla. If they sold it in gallons I would have bought 5, that's how yummy and rich it was. They make their icecream fresh daily and are always combining so many unique and amazing flavors that all work together, like a harmonious song that make your tastebuds straight up want to sing. These are 2 great spots I whole heartily recommend to you guys if you are in DC, trust me your tummy will thank you. Well after our icecream escapades we headed back to the hotel to pack and set out for home, back to Baltimore. On the way Rob and I made plans to make it a yearly tradition to get away on our birthdays, to basically take some time to ourselves to just relax and recharge. I have been learning to pay more attention to self care, it's always important to take time for you, especially when you have hectic on-the-go busy lifestyle like we do. I know one thing, we will definitely be going back to The Melrose. I plan to see what other locations they have in the US because I’m excited about the adventures and possibilities ahead. For more info on The Melrose Georgetown check out their website at: www.melrosehoteldc.com, see if there is a location near you. 

 (Me relaxing in the Melrose Lobby)
(The view from our suite)


(Breakfast at the Melrose)

(Me enjoying the cherry on top)