Timeless Summer

Isn’t it hard to believe sometimes that we’re already deep in the midst of the Summer season? Whether you consider the unofficial start of summer as Memorial Day, or the actual start on June 20-21st, Summer is in full-swing. When I was younger and in school, I lived for summer. All year, I would anticipate its arrival, eager to spend the days milling around the house, catching up on movies and TV shows, spending endless amount of time outside, taking walks with friends, shopping at the mall, attending concerts, and of course, traveling somewhere new on family vacation.

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Growing up, I was fortunate enough to be able to often choose or help decide on a locale for the family vacation. Since childhood, I’ve loved traveling and being able to visit somewhere new and unfamiliar. Traveling is often where I gain some of my best inspiration and serves as a catalyst for hopes of the future. Though I don’t presently travel nearly as much as I would like to these days, it’s always a joy to me to be able to reflect back on some of my most memorable vacations and summers:

  • Disney World – It’s not hard to understand why Disney World is often at the top of my list when I think back on favorite vacations. I’ll never forget the first time my family and I visited Disney World. I was young, a newly-minted 4-year-old having turned 4 at the beginning of May. It was July of 1992 and not only was it my first visit to Disney World, but it was also my very first plane ride. Having battled through numerous ear infections as a baby and young child, I had tubes in my ears at the time and as a result, ended up at the urgent care clinic once we landed, for yet another ear infection. However, I didn’t let the infection derail our vacation. Upon arriving at the hotel, we quickly unloaded our belongings and finally made our way to the Magic Kingdom. From first glance at Cinderella Castle, I was in complete awe. I recall standing directly in front of the castle transfixed and unable to move. There it was, right before me. Though, given the young child I was, at the time, I couldn’t understand or make sense as to why I wasn’t able to go inside. So for a brief time, I stood there sobbing to my mom, asking why I wasn’t allowed to go inside and though I can’t recall exactly what she said to me, before I knew it, I was happily running along with my sister, Hope, enjoying the rides and park. The next day, it was the character breakfast at the Grand Floridian Hotel. How incredible it was to enjoy a meal with my favorite characters. From the Mickey Mouse Belgian Waffles to posing for photos with Pluto and friends, it’s one experience I’ll never forget. As I grew older, I visited Disney World with my family several other times, including twice with Hope, for Spring Break. The most recent visit, though not so recent anymore, given it was in May 2009, I rode my first upside-down roller coaster – the Rockin’ Roller Coaster. Though I was fearful, it’s one moment in my life where I faced my fears headfirst and never regretted it.
  • The Bahamas – In the summer after 7th grade, my family and I visited the Bahamas. First, we flew into Florida, then transferred onto the smallest plane I’ve ever seen or flew on, onto the island of the Bahamas. We were greeted by a small airport, humidity and an environment I’d never encountered before. From the soda that tasted strangely different, opposite sides of the road we drove on, and the first dilapidated hotel we were supposed to stay in, I wasn’t at all sure at first if I actually wanted to be there. Though, my impressions quickly shifted as we changed our hotel reservations upon seeing one of the newest hotels on the island – Our Lucaya (the name is now changed, but upon it first opening, it was called this). It was a sprawling and beautiful resort, complete with several restaurants, a dance club and various pools and spas. My family and I were in complete awe at the sight of it. As we made ourselves comfortable, Hope and I were eager to visit both the pool and dance club. Though we were very young at the time, we made our way to the dance club and ended up learning the dance – “The Casper Slide,” prior to it even arriving in the United States! Despite enduring one of the worst sunburns I’ve ever received, our Bahamian vacation was one of the best; from bargaining at the straw markets, to dancing at the night clubs, and lounging by the pool, it was the true epitome of a relaxing escape.
  • Arizona/Las Vegas/New Mexico – What an incredible adventure this trip was! Looking back, perhaps this was one of the last times I truly felt carefree and energetic in my life. When we made this trip, I was roughly 16 at the time. I felt comfortable and secure in my life, eager to explore and discover a new climate and area of the United States. Having sang the song “Route 66” numerous times that year in my choir class, I was excited to finally see it up close on this very trip. When the trip first started, we arrived in Phoenix, Arizona at the height of one of the hottest weeks of the year. The town was desolate given it was the middle of the afternoon and the peak of the heat. We quickly learned to take shelter during this time and emerge only when the heat had decreased. Though it was more of a dry heat versus the humid heat we were used to, it was still barely bearable. The environment, however was beautiful. Vibrant sunshine, turquoise, handmade jewelry adorned many of the stores and the store windows, and a desert-like atmosphere. It was unlike anything I’d ever personally encountered and it was breathtaking. One evening, we quickly learned it was monsoon season and ended up spending a large amount of time in the hotel restaurant, chatting and joking around with the restaurant employees. Days later, we hopped into the rental car and made our way to Las Vegas. Much of the trip to Vegas was a whirlwind since at the time, my sister and I were only teenagers and couldn’t do much and we quickly made our way to New Mexico, for the last leg of our trip. It was there when we finally encountered the infamous Route 66. Seeing the sign for the road was surreal in itself, but the best part was being able to encounter a new climate and destination. Our brief time there included some of the best Mexican cuisine I’ve ever enjoyed and a pleasant feeling of the summer warmth in the evening, free of humidity.

Though this is only a sampling of the summer trips/vacations I’ve enjoyed, they are often the ones that stick out most to me. There is a whole world out there I’d love to someday see, but until then, it’s always fun to reflect on pleasant pastimes, especially in the midst of Summer. Wherever you happen to be this Summer season, I hope you’re enjoying yourself and taking in each moment.

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Savor the Summer: A Final Summer To-Do List

Happy August, to you! I hope you’re first day of the new month has been a pleasant one! Over here in suburban Pennsylvania, it’s been a soggy one, filled with lots of intermittent downpours and a generally dreary day. I hear tomorrow, Sunday and Monday will be sunny ones, however, so that brings my spirits up, a bit. Anyhow, I wasn’t quite sure I was going to post today, but ultimately felt inspired in the latter portion of the day. This morning, as I watched some of my favorite anchors on the news, they chatted about the month of August and how it always reminds them of Summer drawing to a close, despite Summer’s actual end date is the end of September and not in fact, August. I could relate to all they said, in that to me, August always brings up memories of school supplies, purchasing new clothes, and checking off Summer activities I hoped to engage in earlier in the season, but for some reason, hadn’t gotten the opportunity or around to doing it. I thought for a lighthearted/fun post, today I would share with you some of the activities/trips I still hope to engage in prior to the end of the Summer season! If I’ve forgotten some that you enjoy, please share with me, I’d love to hear and am always looking for inspiration! Before I compile my list, allow me to quickly brief you with my morning nourishment:

Breakfast (August, 1, 2013):

1 container Chobani Blood Orange yogurt: (This was a first for me and I enjoyed it. It was a unique taste, one I’ve never really encountered before. I think blood orange is such a creative choice for a yogurt flavor. It’s not one of the traditional flavors, such as blueberry or strawberry, and I like how it stands out. Plus, Chobani is one of the few brands whose yogurts are 6oz as opposed to the 5.3oz among other brands. If you haven’t tried this flavor yet, I encourage you to give it a try!)

1 cup Special K Red Berries (Yay, they have returned! I was excited to dig into these today, as I was routinely consuming the Special K Multigrain Flakes, which I love, but I think the red berries truly complement the flakes and add a pleasant sweet flavor. PLUS, I’ll let you in on a little secret of mine: you know what made this cereal taste extra yummy this morning? The fact that when I sauntered on over to Kelloggs.com to look at their coupons, there just so happened to be a brand new one for Special K Red Berries just sitting there, anxious awaiting for me to print it! Oh and print it, I did, which made for an excellent deal at Pathmark this week, given they were on sale! Score!)

1 cup Giant-brand Puffed Rice Cereal (Classic and appropriately combined with my red berries, this morning!)

1 Banana (I tell you, I am really on a kick with bananas. They have been the ideal amount of ripeness and sweetness; they couldn’t get any better!)

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Now, back to today’s musing: my final summer “to-do” list!

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  • Fruit Picking: (Sadly, I have yet to go fruit picking this summer. Though I’m disappointed having missed out on both strawberries and blueberries; two types of berries which I am truly fond of, it was recently brought to my attention, that another Summer fruit I absolutely adore will soon be ripe and available for picking – PEACHES! Yes, peaches are just about ready to be picked and enjoyed at local farms. Therefore, I am *determined* to complete my summer with peach-picking and I know just the place for it!)

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  • The Beach: (I know, if you’re a beach fan, or even if you aren’t and you’re aware I live within an hour’s driving distance to the New Jersey shore, you’re probably in shock at my confession! No, sadly I have not visited the beach yet, this summer. Although, I will say, I’ve never been a huge fan of beach, I do enjoy some relaxation in the sun and sand. I think it would be fun to lay in the sand, reading one of the many novels I’ve been devouring this Summer, with a fun, refreshing lemonade (Chick-Fil-A Diet Lemonade, anyone?) or iced coffee in hand!

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  • Visit New Hope in the evening: (If you’re not familiar with New Hope, Pennsylvania, it is a small, picturesque town about 30 mins or so, from me, filled with lots of little stores, restaurants and bars. It’s fun to visit in the Summer months, as it is relaxing to walk around and explore the new sites and scenes. Before the summer ends, I’d like to visit at night, catch some live music and enjoy myself!

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  • Wear a Sundress: (I know, I really could wear a sundress any day this Summer, but I’ve been waiting for the ideal moment. Perhaps I could combine wearing a sundress with visiting New Hope in the evening? Sounds like a plan to me!)

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  • Eat an Rainbow-Sprinkled covered Ice Cream Cone: (Again, you might be thinking, couldn’t I do that any day? Truth is, yes, I probably could, but as with wearing a sundress, I’ve been waiting for the ideal moment. It’s not every day I go out and buy an ice cream cone and I’d like to be able to enjoy and savor it! Plus, in my opinion, the warm Summer sun is the ideal time to treat oneself to one!)

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I’m sure I could probably add several more goals to this list, but I’ll keep it short and sweet!

QUESTION: What are some activities you’d like to still do this summer? Or, what have been some of your favorite activities/trips, you’ve done this summer?

TALK TO ME: Talk Shows I’m Tuning Into!

Good Morning, to you! It’s a late Friday morning here in suburban Pennsylvania and I’m wishing you a good start to your weekend, wherever you are! I hope this weekend is a pleasant one for you, filled with lots of fun, relaxation, and enjoyment in the Summer sun! If it’s a heat wave where you are, as it is here, please be sure to keep cool, hydrate and check on loved ones, friends, and pets! Just my little Public Service announcement to all you! Anyhow, I decided to keep today’s musing a lighthearted one, sharing with you some of my favorite TV talk shows, because many of them are sources for imperative and significant topics, one which can stimulate deeper thinking and at least, conversation, which can occasionally be controversial. However, before I divulge my favorites, I bid you my morning nourishment:

1 container America’s Choice (Pathmark brand) Light Coffee Yogurt (In the past, I didn’t think I liked coffee flavored yogurt, but when I tried this brand, I ended up really enjoying it. It is refreshing with a subtle coffee flavor, light brown in color and easily combined with whatever it may be mixed with. A side note: I actually chose a Lemon Raspberry yogurt for this morning, initially, however, I found it unpalatable, due to the lemon flavor. I’m not a big fan of lemon yogurts, I routinely find them to be too acidic and not really the taste I am looking for.

1 cup Wegman’s Brand Chocolate Cheerios (You’ll see below, I am picturing name-brand Chocolate Cheerios, only because unfortunately, I was unable to locate a photo of the Wegmans version. If you’re unfamiliar with Wegmans, it is one of my favorite grocery stores for the sole purpose of it’s uniqueness! It has a sleek design, filled with organic and mainstream items, plus an abundant area for prepared foods, hot bar, pizza, bakery. It is one of my favorite lunch/dinner spots! The possibilities are endless. Anyhow, I’ve been wanting to try Chocolate Cheerios for awhile now and finally was able to purchase them the other day. The store version was $1.99 compared to potentially $4 in the store (without a coupon), so the price was right. I really enjoyed Chocolate Cheerios, it really does have a very strong chocolate flavor, so if you’re not a big chocolate fan, I wouldn’t suggest these. Otherwise, it is a standout cereal, with the ability to flavor whatever it is combined with. It was a little treat on this Friday morning! Dessert for breakfast!

1 cup Special K Red Berries (I chose this cereal this morning to combine with the Chocolate Cheerios, because I thought the red berries mixed with chocolate sounded particularly tasty. I’ve seen the Chocolate Strawberry Special K on shelves before and actually purchased a box for the first time, but haven’t dug into it yet, because I already have several open boxes of cereal, but will eventually get there. This was a good combination choice this morning!)

1 Banana (Oh, goodness. I really am starting to frustrate myself each morning with these bananas! This was yet another one from the Target bunch I’ve been complaining about these past few days. With my frustration mounting, I grabbed a knife, sliced off the skin at the top and rescued the remaining part of the banana. It was better than using my poor, natural nails to extricate the banana skin! All in good fun though, the banana was very tasty, otherwise, I’m happy to report.

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NEW YOGURT ANNOUNCEMENT:

Before I share my other thoughts with you today, I just wanted to inform you, in case you haven’t already heard about a new variety of Greek yogurt I am VERY excited about!

YOPLAIT GREEK BLENDED: (flavors – Coconut, Tangerine, Blueberry, Pineapple, Vanilla, Strawberry Raspberry). I’m not quite sure when these will be hitting stores or if they have already (I, personally have not spotted them yet), but they sound great! The flavors are unique to those that are already on shelves and sound like it will definitely be a welcome addition to my yogurt repertoire!

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Returning to today’s scheduled musing; talk shows! Years ago, I became interested in talk shows after beginning college. Before college, I never really had the opportunity to watch talk shows, as I was in school at the times they aired and never took the time to record them for later viewing. However, once I started college, the times I had classes allowed for me to catch a couple episodes when I returned home, or while I was completing assignments. I came to truly love and value them, watching seasoned Journalists pour themselves into their work, providing their opinions, sentiments, and sometimes touching on controversial topics. All the same, they were able to provide humor, as well, making me feel as though I was watching friends on-screen instead of simply a host on a television talk show. Below, are some of my favorites with a brief explanation as to why they are on my list of must-watch shows!

  • The Katie Couric Show – One of the newer ABC talk shows, I can recall nearly a year ago when advertisements for her talk show were airing. I would often say to my mom how I wasn’t sure I liked her or would really want to watch her show. My hesitations stemmed from preconceived notions I held about her, however, the day her show began, I decided to watch and see how I felt. From that moment on, I was hooked. If I’m not watching her live, I will often record her for later viewing. I find her to be genuine, true to herself, and an overall pleasure to watch. She inspires me with her strength, courage and bravery, truly revealing much of what she has been through and currently struggles with. On-air, she has revealed her battles with self/body image, Bulimia, the tragic death of her husband due to colon cancer, underwent a colonoscopy on-air, and frequently tweets about her insomnia issues. She doesn’t try to hide or conceal who she actually is on her show and to me, it’s something I value and appreciate it. At the same time, she also has a sense of humor, which can make for a lighthearted, down-to-earth vibe.

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  • The Chew – Back when The Chew first started, I taped a couple episodes and was uninterested. However, last year, I decided to record an episode and see how I felt. I ended up absolutely loving the show, most of the hosts and the dishes they create on-air. All of the hosts (Michael Symon, Clinton Kelly, Carla Hall, Daphne Oz, and Mario Batali) are seasoned professionals with culinary training and expertise, a sense of humor and have excellent on-screen chemistry. They are a pleasure to watch as they try out new recipes, ideas and contraptions on-air. They often bring audience members on stage for cooking competitions, trivia contests, and other fun segments. One day, I’d love to be in the audience and be able to partake in some of the on-air stints. Plus, they also have a cookbook available for purchase and one that will be hitting bookshelves in the Fall! Also, I appreciate the mix of ages among the hosts, ranging from Daphne’s 27 on up, creating appeal for viewers of any age.

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  • The Dr. Oz Show – I’ve been a fan of Dr. Oz for years. To me, he appears genuine and truly invested in bettering the lives of his patients and viewers. An actual physician, he provides his expertise and knowledge on-air, and is never afraid to learn something new. On his show, he doesn’t appear to be conceited or a “know-it-all,” rather he is open to learning about new foods, topics, and medical advancements and seems to welcome guests to share their knowledge with him. I’ve learned a lot from his show and have come to trust his opinions.

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  • The Rachael Ray Show – What a fun TV show! I’ve been a fan of Rachael’s since watching her consistently on The Food Network, truly one of my favorite channels. I love the little phrases she coins (EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Yummo, Stoup – a combination of soup and stew, among others). She is versatile and real with her guests, allows them to cook alongside her, and truly demonstrates how passionate she is about cooking. I like that she is honest with her audience, even admitting she isn’t particularly a fan of baking, but encourages others (i.e. Buddy Valestro from “Cake Boss”) to take the reigns and show her audience how baking is done.

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  • Live with Kelly & Michael – In a way, Live with Kelly & Michael and I have a love-hate relationship. Sometimes, I absolutely love the show, and appreciate how Kelly Ripa can think of a random, quirky, fitting thought at any time and improvise flawlessly, while other times, it can be exasperating. All in all, though, I like how both Kelly and Michael are real on the show. In fact, when Hurricane Sandy hit last Fall, Kelly shed visible tears on air and recounted the times she and her family spent at the Jersey shore, being a Jersey native herself. Her pain and anguish was real and genuine and could be felt through the screen. Most of the time the show is lighthearted and humorous which is something I enjoy, especially during days or mornings that are particularly stressful.

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  • Good Morning America – Routinely, I affectionately refer to Good Morning America as simply, “GMA.” This a show I have watched live on nearly a consistent basis throughout the years. Usually, I will never stray from the show to turn on a different channel. Each morning, I rely on seeing them, watching Sam Champion enthusiastically report the weather, laughing and sharing quirky exchanges with his co-hosts, hearing Lara Spencer report on the breaking Hollywood News of the day, and rooting for Robin Roberts, who visibly battled cancer and other ailments on-air. Each of the co-hosts are inspiring and brilliant Journalists, traveling and working above and beyond, to share with their viewers all that is happening throughout the world. As someone with former dreams of becoming a Journalist, the co-hosts on GMA are reminders to me of why years ago, I longed to become a professional, reporting and writing and truly learning about people. Not only is GMA a morning television program, but to me, they are my trusted friends and confidantes.

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There are several other television talk shows I am fond of (Ellen, occasionally The View & The Talk, The Doctors), but those I’ve mentioned above are the few which are particularly close to my heart. I’ll be the first to admit, I am a lover of words and media, whether it is television programming (talk shows and the news), magazines, newspapers (yes, the printed, tangible kind) or social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest) I like to be in contact and in the know. I like to be able to share my thoughts and opinions and watch others do the same.

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite talk shows? Would you ever want to host your own talk show?

FUN in the SUN: Top Summer Activities!

It’s Tuesday! Happy Heat Wave! It’s toasty outside, (but according to my favorite meterologist, 6ABC Philadelphia’s Adam Joseph, the humidity is at a minimum, so it’s just the way I like it!), so I figured what better idea than to share with you some of my favorite Summer activities to delight in?! This time of year, more than ever, I long to be outside in the warmth, soaking in the sun, natural Vitamin D, and enjoying nature. However, before I indulge you with some of favorites, it’s customary I share with you my morning nourishment:

Breakfast (Tuesday, July 16, 2013):

1 container Wallaby Pear Australian Yogurt (Oh boy, I wanted to like this, I really, truly did. My whole reason for deciding to purchase it was because of the flavor – Pear. Since first trying Chobani Pear several weeks ago, I’ve been on the hunt for other Pear yogurts, as well, finding the Pear flavor to be satisfying and refreshing. However, this morning, I opened the yogurt, believing it would be thick, as many other yogurts are, though I was gravely mistaken and taken aback! Upon me beginning to stir, the yogurt quickly began seeping out of the container onto the counter, as thin as water or skim milk! I couldn’t believe it. If I hadn’t seen it pour out of the actual container with my very own eyes, I would have believed it to be thinned out milk! As disappointed as I am to admit it, sadly I will not be purchasing this brand of yogurt again. Hey, at least I tried it though!).

1 cup Giant Store Brand Puffed Rice Cereal (Understated, but an ideal addition when served with other cereals, yogurts and other assorted add-in’s, definitely give a try sometime, if you haven’t already!)

1 cup Kashi Simply Maize Cereal (This box is quickly approaching it’s end and I am saddened. It truly is a yummy cereal, with it’s subtle sweetness. I’m hoping a semi-decent sale will emerge in stores very quickly!)

1 Banana (Fun story with the bananas – I know, lately I haven’t been having such great luck with my friendly fruit, but all in good fun. Anyhow, the other day, I opted to purchase my stack of bananas at Target. If you aren’t are, Target now only sells Bananas wrapped up in packs of 3lb’s each for $1.79 – disclaimer: this might be regional pricing, so check before purchasing. I like my bananas on the colder side, so before consuming, I like to place them in the refrigerator to chill. This time though, I stuck them too far in the back of the refrigerator, in more or less the coldest spot, and ended up freezing the top half of the poor banana! Thinking about about it now, I should have photographed it to share it with you, but in any case, the top half of the banana was frozen and slightly crusted in ice, plus, the top half of the banana was browned, while the bottom was still an abundant yellow! Definitely made for an interesting look, to say the least!

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Now, back to today’s musing, which I am highly enthused about: my favorite Summer activities! Today, I’ll be sharing with you just a couple (roughly 4 or so), some of which you may have very well already taken part in!

TOP SUMMER ACTIVITIES:

  • Winery/Vineyard Wine Tastings/Tours: For a number of years, I have been a fan of wine tasting! Actually, a tradition was started amongst my mom, sister and I, where on my birthday (May 3) or on a day, a couple days prior or subsequent to my birthday, we would choose a different wine trail, or set of wineries to visit for a tasting and occasionally, a tour! Living in Pennsylvania, in the suburbs of Philadelphia, we are fortunate that the the wine trails and wineries are abundant (i.e. Bucks County Wine Trail and Brandywine Valley Wine Trail). We are also extremely close to New Jersey (i.e. Mercer County – Princeton area), which is also afforded with a host of wineries, so we have the best of both worlds. Many wineries offer complimentary tasting, depending on the number of people you arrive with and also depending on the winery itself. Other wineries, may charge a small fee ($6 or less) and also provide with you with the glass you try the wines in. Of course, naturally, there are other wineries who may charge a larger fee, but there are always those out there who are complimentary or whose fees are minimal. I do suggest checking out the wineries websites or calling beforehand to confirm fees, so there are no surprises, if you are trying to be frugal with your wine tasting, as I often am! For me, when wine tasting, I like the host to be knowledgeable about the wine and descriptive as I taste each pour. I tend to prefer wines on the sweeter side (Moscato is a favorite of mine!), so I will typically inform them of this at the beginning of the tasting, so they can customize my experience.

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  • Factory Tours: Some of my fondest memories of the Summer as a child, include my family’s visits to various factory tours throughout the state and elsewhere. Traveling west towards the country in Pennsylvania (i.e. Lancaster County, etc), we were able to visit the Herr’s Snack Factory Tour (if you’re unfamiliar with Herr’s, they make very tasty chips, pretzels and other snack foods and are located in Nottingham, PA). To my knowledge, the tour is free and during the tour, they provide you with a sample of a freshly baked chip! When I was younger, I was particularly excited to visit the Herr’s Factory, as their BBQ chips were a frequently lunchtime snack for me! Also, in Pennsylvania, Sturgis Pretzel Company still provides tours, where you can see the process of hard pretzel making and even have the opportunity to twist your own pretzel, which you can take with you, after it’s baked! Other states, such as Vermont, have a factory, you just might be familiar with… Ben & Jerry’s! It’s a factory tour I’ve aspired to partake in and one I think looks fun and interesting! From what I’ve heard, they even provide samples! Some of my fondest memories as a teen are of sitting at the kitchen table, spoon in hand, digging into a fresh batch of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia (in my opinion, Ben & Jerry’s just isn’t the same when it’s scooped into a bowl, digging into the actual container is the way to go!). It is also my understanding that one of my favorite organic yogurt companies, Stonyfield Farm, also provides farm tours in their New Hampshire location! Sounds like a plan to me! Last, but certainly not least, Yankee Candle has an entire “village” in South Deerfield, MA, dedicated to their candle-making process, complete with restaurants and other learning opportunities! As a huge candle fan, more specifically, Yankee Candle, this is definitely a spot on my list to visit someday!

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Yankee Candle Village – South Deerfield, MA

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Herr’s Snack Factory Tour – Nottingham, PA

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Ben & Jerry’s Factory Tour – Waterbury, Vermont

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Julius Sturgis Pretzel Bakery – Litiz, Pennsylvania

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Stonyfield Farm Yogurt Works and Visitors Center – Londonberry, New Hampshire

  • Seasonal Fruit Picking: Given I live outside of the city, there are many farms close by, some even just a couple miles down the road from my home, which offer seasonal fruit picking! During the summer months, at these farms, blueberries and peaches are plentiful and ripe for picking! Some of my favorite local spots for picking include: Styer Orchards, Shady Brook Farm, and my top favorite – Terhune Orchards in Princeton, NJ! Not only do each of these farms offer fruit picking, but each of them also has an abundant farm store, filled with lots of unique finds and foods to try and taste! In the Fall, each location offers apple picking, hayrides and traditional Fall festivities! For me, personally, I love local produce and love to support local agriculture and farming! Plus, the fruit is ripe, juicy and flavorful!

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  • Outlet Shopping: This time of year is ideal for outlet shopping at some of my favorite larger outlet centers, such as Tanger, Premium Outlets, etc. These outlet centers offer an array of stores, in typically an outdoor setting. Not only are there clothing, jewelry, and other merchandise available for purchase, but also unique restaurants, fast-food chains and other interesting food vendors are plentiful. It gives visitors a chance to indulge in the warm sun while doing some leisurely shopping and browsing!

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  • Sun Bathing: This time of year, without needing much explaining, ideal for sun bathing and relaxing in the sun! Of course, remember to apply sunscreen! When sun bathing, I like to bring a book or magazine with me and take a journey into the lives of my favorite book characters (Book Suggestion: “Beautiful Day” by Elin Hilderband – Hilderband’s latest on bookstore shelves, having just finished reading it, I highly recommend it! It’s exciting and kept me glued to the pages!)

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Happy Summer! Whichever activities you choose to engage in, enjoy and have fun!

QUESTION: What are some of your favorite summer activities?