Author: tinapizzuti

About tinapizzuti

Your trusty tour guide..

Chicago & Boston – 6/30-7/3

Hey friends..turns out I’m a really bad blogger. I do a bunch of stuff and then when I’m home, I’m super lazy. Sorry about that… I actually don’t even know why I decided to write tonight considering it’s one of my busiest weeks of the year (I think it’s called procrastination?).

Back in the spring, I convinced my old college roomie to go see James Taylor with me at Wrigley Field. After we bought the tickets, I also had this random thought that we should go to Boston the following weekend. So fast forward to the end of June…I take off the entire week for a little stay-cation (side note…bachelorette party and this amazing photo happened:

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Are we awkward or what? Also I drove that massive van and I’m extremely proud of it.)

…and Thursday is finally here when I can once again see my boy James Taylor (I had already seen him in Peoria at the end of May). I drove up to Ali’s house and rode with her parents into the city. I’m obsessed with Ali’s mom, Betsy.

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First I’ll start by saying that I was super thrown off by the metal detectors and the bag searches that forced us to miss seeing/hearing Jackson Brown..I don’t even know why I’m mentioning that since I literally have no idea who Jackson Brown is. I was just waiting for James to play.

Ali and I had an amazing time hearing James Taylor. He is incredible. I can’t express how obsessed with him I am, so I’m just going to share some random photos that we took throughout the night. Unfortunately I don’t have a ton of photos of JT…for several reasons: 1. We were kind of far away and 2. I was pretty drunk by the time he came on stage and didn’t think to document it with my phone.

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(This is a pic of James singing Angels of Fenway… one of my current faves. Download it. Asshole Cubs fans booed during the song.)

So here you go with a couple photos…

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I basically died seeing this..

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Thoughts on my samurai bun?

Any who, fast forward to the next morning and our 7am flight out of O’Hare to Boston Logan. Our flight was on time and we were happy campers. When we got to Boston, we immediately purchased T passes so we wouldn’t look like such tourists and navigated our way around the city on the T like we were back in London and using the Underground.

Our first day in Boston was spent walking the Freedom Trail. There were so many really cool sites to see. I wouldn’t recommend paying the $3 to see Paul Revere’s house.. It was weird that it was air conditioned. They had air conditioning in 1760?

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I think my favorite part of our first day in Boston was discovering the North End which had a bunch of really cool Italian places.. we ended up going to this amazing place for dinner that night…La Famiglia Giorgio. The BEST Italian food I have ever had…which is saying bunch since I’m Italian and my mom makes some of the best gravy out there (and I am 100% obsessed with Mama D’s in Newport Beach…literally ate there once a week for a year). Then I had a really rough time figuring out how Uber works in Boston. Now that I’m writing that, I feel like a huge idiot.

The next day we went to Cambridge to visit Harvard and did a bit of shopping. The best shopping was on Charles Street in Beacon Hill. There’s a T stop right at the beginning/end of the street. So many cute shops…you have to check it out if you are in Boston.

I was the most excited about this day because it was the day that we were going to Fenway to watch the Red Sox. So I’m just going to fast forward to that part and share a bunch of super random pics.

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I’m pretty sure you can see the excitement on my face just from purely standing on Yawkey Way.

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Freaking Cubs fans. So annoying. Ali is cute though.

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The game was SO BAD… we snapped through most of it.

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The Angels were kicking the Sox ass all night long… so I just constantly had two beers in my hands. Not sure what the ending score was…but I think it was something like 21 to 1. I’m trying to block it out. Whatever… I was at Fenway, seeing my Red Sox, drinking beer with my best friend… never been happier.

Once we left Fenway, we headed back to our hotel and stopped off in a random bar near our place and became friends with these guys from Texas. They were just the best and I loved hanging out with them for a few hours. Don’t we look like we’ve been friends forever?

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The next day was a travel day for us…but since our flight didn’t leave until the late in the afternoon, we took this time to pick up some stuff that we wanted to bring home… like Mike’s Pastry. Since it was Harborfest, we walked through a really cute open market and came across a lot of really cool vendors…didn’t buy anything, but sure loved their stuff (mostly because I had ZERO room in my luggage).

While we were only in Boston for 3 days, it was such a great trip and the highlight of my summer. Ali and I both found decently priced tickets from Chicago to Boston… and I just drove up from Peoria and parked at her house. Although I know that this isn’t about Peoria, but as I’ve said before… we are still super accessible to really great places and I’m all about going out and exploring and taking weekend trips. So hit me up if you want a visitor or a travel companion.

I’ll try to do a better job of writing about more to do in Peoria.. I have a few things in the queue, but I can’t  guarantee that I’ll be writing about any of it super soon. I’ll try though, promise! I guess I’ll get back to watching the DNC and drinking my captain and diet. XO

tp

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Tumbling at the Fon du lac Park District

Internet friends–I’m back again for the summer!

Today I’m going to tell you about something I’ve been doing for a few months now–adult tumbling class through the Fon du lac Park District. As I was trolling around on Instagram, I noticed a video of my friend Brittany tumbling at the gym and immediately texted her and asked her for more info. The following week, I started tumbling with Brittany and a small crew of adults of all ages.

Every Friday night at 5:00pm, you can find me at the Fon du lac Recreational Courts and Skate Park…there’s a huge tumbling and cheer gym right next door.

Jon Williams is the man in charge and probably my favorite person. He used to teach me tumbling when I was 4 years old at the Gingerbread House in Peoria Heights.

I was a little nervous to go my first time, but it was nothing to be scared of! I am probably one of the youngest in the class of 15 to 30 students. The class is for all skill levels–it seems like there are two types of students: those who want to learn how to tumble (cartwheel, backflip, etc.) and those who are reliving their glory days (and relying heavily on muscle memory).

When I first get to the gym, we all stretch on our own until class begins..which is when conditioning starts.

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Conditioning consists of running around the gym, stretching, partner stretching, pushups,  ab work out (including 100 v-ups…kill me) and handstands. As I’m writing that out, it doesn’t sound so bad…but it’s about 45 minutes of conditioning and it sucks. But then the fun part starts–we get to tumble!

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The class gets divided in two.. Jon and another coach work with the crew learning to flip and the rest of us work primarily on the tumble track. I’m not a REALLY good tumbler… I tumbled when I cheered back in high school and a little in college just for fun. My first day I had to get back into my groove…but now that I’ve been going for a few months, I have seen huge improvement with my skill level. I can land my back tuck..which I have NEVER been able to do.

I wish I had more photos to share…but I was busy tumbling.

I definitely recommend checking out tumbling with Jon Williams.. whether you want to get more limber or see if you can still bust out a full. You can register for classes here. Click on the ReCpro button at the bottom of the page. If you aren’t ready to commit to a 6 week class, I think you can just show up and try out the class for $20-ish. Don’t be shy..you can always count on me being there (except this coming Friday.)

Thanks for swinging by! I have great intentions of updating as much as I can over the summer so stay tuned!!

tp

 

Bike Ride & Frozen Spoon – 6/16

After taking a week off from the ice cream tour, Melissa and I were back at it! This time was a little bit different because we decided to take a little bike ride first!

We started at Melissa’s house and biked through a few neighborhoods.


  Look mom! No hands!

We biked for awhile before heading to Frozen Spoon, which is located inside Michael’s Italian Feast in Germantown Hills.


The selection isn’t huge, but Melissa and I found something we both liked. I got Heaps of Love which was a combination of cookie dough, brownies, caramel and other things of the sort. Melissa went with Superman which looked so gross in my opinion..but she says its a mix of vanilla, cherry and blue moon (not the beer, the ice cream flavor).

Here is the usual pic of us with our treats.

  Once we finished up, we rode our bikes over to my parents house where I dropped mine off because I was tired of carrying it around in the back of my car and we headed back to Melissa’s house…Melissa on her bike and me walking. It took us forever. 🙂

Anyway, while I did enjoy ice cream for dinner again, Melissa and I were a smidge disappointed by the selection. It was still a great little evening and a nice ice cream place in Germantown Hills.

I’m not sure what will be coming up next…but stay tuned because I’m sure it’ll be great! (I hope it’ll be great!)

tp

Costs: 2 ice cream cones cost me $6.24… So $3.12 each if you get one scoop in a sugar cone.

Sculpture Walk Peoria – 6/6

This is coming at ya a week late…sorry! I was out of town part of last week. 

Before I headed to Memphis, I checked out the Sculpture Walk in downtown Peoria. It kicked off with a 3 hour showing with the artists. From 3pm to 6:30pm last Saturday, I had the opportunity to check out the sculptures and chat with the artists.

  
It starts on the corner of Washington St and Harrison St…if you’re a moron with maps like I am, just google the Maxam building in Peoria and start there. 

  

These sculptures will be on display for a full year in downtown, so it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re near the riverfront! 

Here are some photos of my faves:

This one was especially special because the artist is married to my friend Sally! My mom and I both voted for this one as the People’s Choice!  
 I also really liked this one because the artist was super cool. Also I love ceramic animals and this looks like some that I have at my apartment (except a million times bigger).  
  

  

So I don’t think that this one is actually on the walk…but I included it anyway 🙂

  

This one was also special to my mom and I because my mom knows the artist, Fischer Stolz, AND he works at Bradley. Plus it was nice that he took a lot of time to talk to us about his inspiration for this piece. 

  

  

  

Obviously Linda and I had to get a quick selfie. 

  

This one was also a lot of fun because tons of people were climbing on it like it was a jungle gym. I did not climb it mostly because I was wearing a dress. #missedopportunity

 

Please take some time to check out the Sculpture Walk in downtown Peoria. It’s really cool and it’s really FREE!! Text me and I’ll go with you…mostly so I can climb up that red one. 

If you want more info, check out their website: http://www.sculpturewalkpeoria.org/

I’m hoping to be back again tomorrow with an ice cream post!

TP

**BONUS MATERIAL**

It’s not worth writing an additional post on this, so I’m just going to tell you about two things I checked out last week.. One was an amazing experience but has nothing to do with Peoria and the other was a total bust..

1. FedEx St. Jude Classic Danny Thomas ProAm: I had the opportunity to host a few amazing donors in Memphis last week and while I understand that not everyone would get this chance, I still wanted to share a few photos and prove why I was MIA for a week so are you ready for a photo dump?

   
     

2. Tremont Turkey Festival: My pal, Allison, had written about the Turkey Fest on my blog a few years ago, so I was going to check it out with my parents, sister, brother in law and niece… Just get a few turkey sandwiches, some pie and call it a night. Well I guess we got there too late because they literally ran out of turkey. What? Yes. You heard me correctly. The Turkey Festival ran out of turkey. All they had were turkey livers and gizzards. Uh no thanks. We left and went to Bernardis. And I got this one photo: 

Sorry Tremont, I’m over you.  
In other news, I did go see Spy and Jurassic World and both are worth the $13. I also went to a really fun St. Jude event in Yates City which I’ll hopefully tell you about next year because I didn’t take many photos mostly because my hands were always full with two beers. 

  
Ok bonus material over. 🙂

Uncle Bob’s – 6/3

As promised, weekly ice cream stops are becoming a thing. Thank goodness because then I don’t have to actually make dinner and I just eat ice cream instead. 

Melissa and I ventured to Eureka to check out Uncle Bob’s earlier this week before our walk. 

 
Eureka is surprisingly close to where I live and it was a very nice country drive..really made me feel like a small town girl for 12 minutes. 

Uncle Bob’s is located in the downtown area, just past the courthouse. It’s open until 10pm and wasn’t super busy. Now I know if I get a UB craving at 9:45pm, I can haul ass over to Eureka and still make it. 

  
When we parked and walked in, Melissa immediately noticed the large spoon that doubles as a door pull. I didn’t get a great photo of it, but she did mention her love for giant silverware many times throughout our visit. 

The ice cream selection is pretty good; but not 31 flavors like your typical Baskin Robbins. The quality definitely makes up for the fairly limited selection (especially compared to that crazy list at the Ice Cream Shack of Sunnyland. 

   
 

I immediately went to my go-to, cookie dough, but Melissa explored the flavors a bit more. And she landed on butter brickle. 

The next step was to choose our cones. I asked about the different choices because two looked super similar and I was confused. 

The choices were regular waffle cone, waffle cone dipped in chocolate, waffle cone dipped in chocolate then dipped in sprinkles and waffle cone hot off the press. I went with waffle cone hot off the press and Melissa had the waffle cone dipped in chocolate then dipped in sprinkles. 

Everything is handmade and hand dipped. So I actually got to see my cone come to life and Melissa’s chocolate dip with sprinkles was fresh. Each cone also comes with the standard 2 scopes. While we waited we looked around the shop and I got really pumped on their non-ice cream food. 

  
I am a total sucker for a chili cheese dog so I cannot wait to go back and try one out. 

We got our cones and headed outside to chill. It was actually kind of chilly but still a great night for ice cream. 

Obligatory ice cream shot:

   
 

Per the usual, I scarfed mine down pretty fast (it was my dinner, ok???) while Melissa took her time. One downside to the hot off the press cone is that it’s not as sturdy or crunchy as a regular cone. So there was one point that I literally ate my ice cream cone like a taco. I’m sad that I missed this particular photo op. Needless to say, it was a little messy but the shop girls let me wash up in their sink. 

We also had to get my usual pic by the sign before we left. 

  
(See I knew cookie dough would be a great choice :))

Melissa said she liked her butter brickle, and that it tasted about as expected and was a step up from your typical vanilla. My cookie dough was the shit. So good and super doughy which I really love. 

I can’t wait to go back…for both the ice cream and the chili cheese dog. Also major bonus for this place was a drive thru…is that a thing now?

See you soon…I’m checking out the Sculpture Walk later this afternoon!

tp

Costs:

A waffle cone with two scoops will cost you $5 (#worthit)

Disney World – 5/29-6/1

Ok woah–when did Peoria get a Disney World?

I realize that this post is going to be a little bit of a stretch, but I wanted to share with you the ease of traveling out of our local airport and the fun that can ensue! So bare with me as I write a novel and share photos with you!

About a month or so ago, I got in touch with my friend, Heather, who lives in Orlando and works for Disney. I told her that I wanted to come see her for a few days and visit Disney World. I knew Allegiant Air flew direct from Peoria to Orlando, but I was always kind of annoyed with Allegiant since they charge you FOR EVERYTHING and your “cheap” airfare ends up costing about as much as it would if you were to just fly American. I checked flight prices anyway and got a STEAL–flying out of Peoria in Friday and back Monday afternoon. It was the PERFECT little getaway for me and the price was incredibly reasonable. I decided to pay to select my seat and bring a carry-on. The flight itself cost me $86. All of the other fees cost me $130… meaning I went to Florida (round trip) for $216.

This trip was a no-brainer for me because I thought that a flight plus a free place to stay and 2 days for free at Disney were TOTALLY worth $216.

So I packed up my shorts and took the warm weather with me to Florida. (Sorry, I heard you guys had a really cold weekend 🙂

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Flying out of PIA is a breeze. Free parking, one terminal, 20 minutes from my apartment. However, this particular day at the airport was a zoo. I used to be quite the frequent flyer and would arrive at the airport 20 minutes (literally) before my flight was about to take off. This time, however, I got there about an hour before my flight left and I’m so glad I did because Friday’s are apparently always crazy. I actually had to wait in the security line for at least 30 minutes (that never happens in Peoria). I made my way to the gate and waited..

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I don’t mean to be a travel snob (although I totally am), people do not understand airport etiquette. Please feel free to read my guide to airports that I wrote 5 years ago.

A fun a little part of boarding the aircraft included walking onto the tarmac. I am only kidding myself when I say “fun” because it’s actually not fun to me at all and more horrifying. I don’t trust those orange cones to corral all of the passengers into a neat little line. I won’t go into my weird thoughts about unauthorized people trying to crawl into the belly of the plane.

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I was assigned to 4F… the other person in my row was 4D… you know what that means? 4E was an empty seat. This is a gift to all those who travel. Why yes, I will put my book, iPhone, iPad and banana peel in this spot that I will deem no-mans-land.

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My rowmate and I had an unspoken agreement–he gets the extra tray table for his snacks (he had MOUNTAINS OF SNACKS), I get the seat for all of the things that help keep me occupied on this 2 hour flight.

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I haven’t flown by myself in a few months (I used to be one of those badass business travelers) so when we hit some rough air while climbing to our cruising altitude all I wanted was my mommy or someone to explain to me the physics of how and why planes fly. Instead “DEAR GOD!” and “Hail Mary, full of grace” were on repeat in my head.

I’m happy to report that I did land safely in Orlando. Heather was right on time picking me up and we headed back to her pad to hang with her husband and eat dinner… we had to rest up because the next day was DISNEY DAY!IMG_0798

So let’s talk Disney! Heather and I made a little plan for the weekend–Saturday we would visit Animal Kingdom and Epcot and Sunday we would visit Hollywood Studios. We left her house around 8:30 on Saturday, grabbed Panera for fuel and headed to Kilimanjaro.

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So before you get all cranky about me stealing your warm weather, let’s take a look at what we were driving into on our way into Walt Disney World. Uh.. yikes. Also I left my umbrella and raincoat at home in IL (and my apartment key too).. double–no triple yikes.

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Luckily it started raining right as we were parking. THANKS ORLANDO!! It was only sprinkling a smidge, so we braved the weather, waited for the tram and then RIGHT as I sat down BAM… torrential downpour. I guess I was covered by the roof of the tram, but I was also sitting on the outside edge and in a puddle. Things were really looking up for us.

Once we got into the park, our first stop was an obvious one:

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Yeah, we needed ponchos.

Ok, THEN we went to Kilimanjaro for our safari!!

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How authentic is this rig!?

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Haley was our tour guide and she was the shit. Totally hilarious and super informative.

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I really liked the last photo just for the kid in the side mirror.

After our safari, we went to ride Expedition Everest. This was a really fun rollercoaster in Asia. At one point, a yeti tears up the track of the rollercoaster and you fly backward in your little cart… I was literally panicked for a second, but since Heather wasn’t freaking out, I assumed that it was part of the ride. Turns out I was right… and I’m an idiot.

Anyway, we walked around Animal Kingdom for quite awhile. I stopped at a shop to get a hat to cover up the damage the rain did to my poor hair. There is SO much to see… but the main focal point is the Tree of Life. It’s incredible! So here is a photo of me in my new hat in front of the Tree of Life!

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Before I continue, I need to inform you all of a challenge my friend, Melissa (from the first ice cream post), put me up to… that was getting photos of me doing handstands all around Disney. CHALLENGE ACCEPTED, CONTE!

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Heather suggested that we check out the Lion King show in the middle of the day… they do one performance every hour and it was unreal… basically the greatest hits of the Lion King.

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After the show, the weather began to clear up for the rest of the day… yay! On to Epcot!

Heather and I spent the rest of the day at Epcot.. she got us Fast Passes to help us bipass 60+ minute wait times for some of the best rides. But first things first:

IMG_0825This is my jacked-out-of-my-mind-because-I’m-at-Epcot photo!

As we were leaving our lunch spot, we walked past this thing called Character Spot.. we did this on a whim. Mostly I just wanted to get my photo with Minnie so my niece Ivy would think I’m awesome. Character Spot was totally worth the 10 minute wait–I got the opportunity to get my photo with 3 different characters!

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(The selfie I took with Minnie ended up on Snapchat… so I hope you saw that amazingness…)

We used our Fast Passes for Spaceship Earth, Soarin and Mission: SPACE before we traveled through the World Showcase… which is when I got my handstand on. (I’ll try to remember where I was for each photo)

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Norway!

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Mexico!

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Canada!

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United Kingdom

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Paris!

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Morocco!IMG_0863

Dude, stop staring.IMG_0857

Japan!IMG_0853

Italy!IMG_0844

Germany!

I guess I missed China… and the United States. Woops. Bye Epcot!!

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After we made our way across the world, we headed over to the Polynesian Resort to meet up with Heather’s husband for Dole whip and fireworks! IMG_7653I was so tired at the end of the day, that I could barely get my handstand in… also I was kind of drunk.

IMG_0894Heather had to take this photo like 20 times. My shoulders were burning.

Obviously I slept well that night… only to wake up early the next morning and do it again at Hollywood Studios! Heather suggested getting to the park right as it opened and going straight to Toy Story Mania–apparently the line gets incredibly long as the day progresses AND you can’t get a Fast Pass. Luckily we only had to wait in line for about 45 minutes… definitely worth the wait! So fun… although Heather totally kicked my ass.

We had Fast Passes for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror (one of my faves–plus it’s different from the one at Disneyland in California!) and Star Tours, plus saw a few other shows–Beauty and the Beast, Indiana Jones, and Lights, Motors, Action. We were in the midst of Star Wars weekend, so Hollywood Studios was crazy busy and had the best people watching on the planet… our motto for the day was “I’m not judging you, but I definitely notice you.”

We left Hollywood Studios just in time as a huge rainstorm came… we drove to Downtown Disney in a monsoon so I could pick up a gift for my niece. Then we ended up sitting in Heather’s car for 30 minutes to let the rain pass… it was actually nice to sit in air conditioning for an extended period of time.

I wanted to go to Downtown Disney specifically for a Minnie hoody and a build-your-own Mr. Potato Head.

IMG_7659 IMG_0899One of my favorite things to do when in a Disney park is to get the build-your-own Mr. Potato Head. It’s the best gift (for yourself or a friend) because you get all kinds of interesting accessories for Mr. Potato Head that you wouldn’t find at your local Toys-R-Us. So of course I got one for Ivy and myself.

And this Minnie hoody… omg.

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So that’s a really quick version of my trip to Orlando. I realize that not everyone has a friend who works at Disney who can get you into all of the parks and be your personal tour guide… but the idea behind this post is to get you to think outside of Peoria! go visit your friends! take an Allegiant flight somewhere for the weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!!

tp

Lunch Carts Downtown – 5/28

Hey y’all! I’m actually back, I wasn’t just a one hit wonder this time around! I’m actually writing this as I embark on a pretty extravegent adventure. Unlike this post that I’m writing, it has nothing to do with eating!

Today I’m going to tell you about a nice little lunch break I had earlier this week with my mom and her gym friend (and my new friend), Natalie! I’m all about lunch.. It’s my favorite meal of the day and I always love going out to lunch. Some of the best advice my other ever gave me was “never say no when someone asks you to go out to lunch.”  Simple advice but really good advice. 

I was actually the one who initiated the lunch invite between my mom, Natalie and I.. But that’s besides the point. We all met downtown because Natalie works at the CAT facility in downtown Peoria… So she kind of showed us the ropes since she frequents the carts. 

Due to our schedules we met at 11. And when I pulled into a spot downtown, one of my favorite songs came on and I knew it was going to be a glorious lunch hour.

   
There are all kinds of great local options for lunch… Crepes (we are going back for the crepes), Mexican, Korean, chops and hotdogs. I made the choice for Korean and my lunch buddies followed suit. 

  
I got a half order of the James Shin Special which is half Korean beef and half teriyaki chicken with rice and a Diet Pepsi. Excellent tip from Natalie–you can (and should) order half. Also Natalie and my mom ordered green beans with their lunch, but I just stuck to the protein and carbs. 

   
You don’t have to wait long for your food which was a good thing because I was starving. We looked for a shaded area and sat down to chow down and chat.   

 Aren’t they cute? You know what else is cute? My James Shin Special..  

  

Aren’t I so authentic with my chopsticks??

Lunch was delightful. I didn’t finish my Shin Special but can damn near close. I think my mom took some of hers back to work with her but ended up finishing it before the day was over.  
    
I cannot wait to try more of the carts on a beautiful day just like this one. It actually made me want to work at CAT downtown for like 2 seconds. There are still so many to try and I can’t wait to go back! Plus I made a new friend, Natalie! And beyond the food, it was just nice to get out and be in the fresh Peoria air!

Stay tuned for more to come on Monday because this next post is a doozey! Plus I promise to stop writing about places to eat and start writing about stuff to DO. 

See you next week, all four of my followers (75% of them being my family members 🙂

tp

Costs:

James Shin Special with Diet Pepsi – $5