Author: tinapizzuti

About tinapizzuti

Your trusty tour guide..

The Ice Cream Shack of Sunnyland – 5/26

Oh snap… guess who’s back?? ME! TINA! TP! T! LITTLE T! (Whatever you want to call me) In the flesh/text!! I’ll be here with you all summer to share some of the best and worst things happening in Central Illinois! I have quite the extensive list running in my phone, so this summer will hopefully be one of the best yet!!

What better way to kick off my comeback tour than a little trip to the local Ice Cream Shack?? I was going to do a week of straight ice cream posts and then decided that I probably wouldn’t be able to fit into my jeans by the end of the week… so maybe this will be a weekly occurrence? Or maybe not, knowing my track record.

Anyway, I made my friends Kate and Melissa take a little trip to the beautiful town of Sunnyland to check out the Ice Cream Shack… (http://www.icecreamshackofsunnyland.com/ please just go to that website, if only for the waving ice cream cone)

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I’m pretty sure there has never been a better photo taken of me… I should probably change my FarmersOnly.com profile picture to THIS! (kidding!)

Back to the importance of this post… the ice cream. The Wizards. Yes, you heard me correctly, not a Blizzard (Bliz, I miss you!), a WIZARD. It’s the Shack’s version of the Blizzard and it’s a million times more delicious! But before I get to that, can you take a moment for this menu!?

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Just WOAH! How do you even decide!? I think there are approximately 10,000 items on their menu. I decided pretty quickly, but Kate and Melissa thought pretty long and hard about their Wizards (sidenote: there was NO question, we were obviously getting Wizards…I might come back for the chili cheese dog, though).

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After we placed our orders, we waited on pins and needles as our creations were handcrafted.

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Can we take a moment for the chocolate hand print of death below the window??

Anyway, there he is… my knight in shining dairy, ready to save me from starving to death (I skipped dinner) and deliver my chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter Wizard.

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Hello lover! A big gob of cookie dough and peanut butter sauce?? While I “made up” my creation (I know, extra points for being SO creative), Melissa got the Take 5 Wizard (a spin off the delicious candy bar) and Kate got the Scotcharoo Wizard.

We plopped in the shaded seating area off of the parking lot and right in the middle of the DRIVE THRU LANE.

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This wonderful place of magic has a drive thru… no need to get out of your car for your Puppy Chow Wizard. Just order from the comfort of your heated leather seat and wait for the little elves inside the Shack to make your dreams come true.

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I finished off my treat in almost record time, while Kate and Melissa savored theirs. We even had to go back to get a Take 5 Wizard to go for Kate’s hubs.

My Wizard was delightful… I kind of wish there were more cookie dough chunks, but I’m also not too hard to please in the ice cream department, so I was very happy with my choice. Kate said her scotcharoo wiz was her amazing. “Perfect amount of crunch mixed with a chew chocolate top.” Melissa said her Take 5 wiz was the “a perfect mix of anyone’s favorite things. None of the ingredients overpowered each other. Perfect mix of salty, sweet, and peanut buttery!” General consensus: we would all order them again… but we’re pretty curious to try out the other 9,997 flavor combos.

If you’re in the Sunnyland area, swing by The Ice Cream Shack of Sunnyland… I promise you won’t be disappointed!! And please let me know if you want to go on my next ice cream excursion with me!

TP

Costs:

My “specialty” wizard was $3.50

Marshall-Putnam County Fair – 7/7/11

Are you happy to see me?? I’m back to write about some summer happenings. Nothing like being 6 months behind!! This post comes just in time for the first snow storm in Central Illinois…although I am writing remotely from my hotel in LA so I’m not feeling the frostbitten burn of cold weather–rather sunshine, smog and 75 degree weather.

Anyway, I was supposed to tell you about the Marshall-Putnam County Fair Demo Derby…but, per usual, I had one too many beers in the beer tent before the derby and skipped the whole dang derby. My bad. So instead I will tell you about the fair…and the food…and tractors…and my friends Allison and Lindsey who helped me with this adventure.

I need to clean my windows like woah. So before we were drawn to the beer tent like moths to a flame, we got stopped for some good old carnival food.

Now Gibby’s Grill didn’t offer funnel cakes in the shape of Jesus’ cross…But they definitely didn’t disappoint. I went with the classic brat, shared fries with Linds and Allison, and of course grabbed a beer in the beer tent…which is where we landed to enjoy our food.

Ah, home sweet home!

And you know they carded us first. Just keeping it legal, Henry!

But first, we cheers to the evening. Also, get used to Allison making that face. I guess she thought she was a T-Rex all night?

And it started getting dark…and the place started filling up with some of Marshall and Putnam County’s finest folks! While we missed the derby, we heard the whole thing–screeching tires, revved engines, things popping…honestly I have to say that I enjoyed the company of Lindsey and Allison more than watching rednecks smash crappy cars into each other.

And I guess at some point I left to grab us a funnel cake… It was delicious (I’m just assuming from Allison’s face because I actually don’t remember at all)

And I guess I liked it too!

Side note: Obviously since this post I have cut my hair even shorter–should I grow it back out to this Bieber-y look?

Anyway, I’m saying that I left the tent at some point because I ended up with two beer tent bracelets?

And before we left the tent to explore the rest of the fairgrounds, we had to get our little groups picture…duh!

Since this ain’t my first rodeo county fair, I knew exactly where I wanted to go next–the beef barn. Cows are absolutely my favorite animal! (You would think I would be a vegetarian)

These cows are living the life…covered barn, friends around, lots of fans blowing…it was like a Courtyard Marriott for Angus beef. While Allison and Lindsey don’t have a boner for beef and farms the way I do, they happily checked out the cattle with me as well as the goats….which we got yelled at while trying to take this photo:

“THE GOATS NEED THEIR SLEEP!”

So off to the fabulous display of tractors we went. There was quiet the spread of Case International Harvester combines…I was in love! The pictures speak for themselves…

OMG. Seriously? It was absolutely time to go home. Allison took the drivers seat for the way home. What a champ! She even listed to me tweak out about the blue lights in my car. She thought I was a stoner for sure.

So now I’m a little depressed and I wish it was summertime again…Well there are new adventures to be had and hopefully I will post again within the next 3-4 months! HA! Although this is motivating to make me be more active again…so maybe you will be hearing more from me! BOOM!

Stay classy Marshall/Putnam!

TP

Psst! I have NO CLUE what I spent…probably not a lot. I have a feeling the MP was cheap cheap cheap….although if we would have actually gone to the derby, it would have cost us an additional $10-15.

The Human Element at the Peoria Art Guild – 10/8/11

ZOMG. Guess who’s back? You don’t know? Well, it’s me..and I know I’ve been gone for quite awhile but I’m back and just a little worse for the wear. And are you mad that I’ve been away for a few months? Yes. (I’m just assuming) Do I care? Not really…. Why? Because you’re still reading this.

Anyway, I’m so excited about this post because it’s very close to my heart. This past weekend, my lovely sis hosted an art show at the Peoria Art Guild.

So Jen hasn’t had an art show in hot minute…and by hot minute I mean a hot 8 years…so naturally everyone in my family and the entire Peoria area was so pumped to hear that Jen would be participating in the Peoria Art Guild’s Color Series. The best part of this show? SHE DID A PAINTING OF YOURS TRULY!!!!!!

Before I unveil the masterpiece that is myself on a canvas, I’ll walk you through the show with some pictures I snapped on my iPhone (my dad still has the camera that I used in posts past).

When you walk in, check out the artists statement–it helps the exhibit make sense to us common folk. Here is a picture of my dad reading it to us before the show started:

 And my mom listening…

And there were snacks–which I am all about.

Before everyone got there I got some awesome pictures with the artist herself…

And a throw back (we did this “pose” at her first art show)…

Ok and before we get to the actual art part…here’s one of my proud father, my sister and I:

Also, that cow painting is my favorite, so if you want to buy it for me, I wouldn’t be mad.

Now lets get to what this whole post is about–the Human Element:

Does this painting look familiar?

Lets wrap this post up with me posing by my painting….

So attractive.

Jen’s stuff will be at the Art Guild in downtown Peoria through the end of the month (they’re open 9a to 5p Monday through Friday)–I strongly recommend swinging by to check it out when you get the chance. You can also find some of her work on Facebook.

Well I’m glad to be back. Hopefully I’ll be posting some more stuff in the future–not making any promises though!! I also need to brush up on my writing skills…and my jokes. I don’t feel funny.

See you around this fall!

TP

Psst!

No cost breakdown for this–because it was F-R-E-E!!!

Freedom Ink-7/1/2011

Hola TP’ers! Sorry to start this post with a disappointment, but my homegirl did NOT get any ink done (despite the best efforts of the Campaign To Tattoo Zombie Abe Lincoln On Tina’s Cute, Little Foot—there’s always next year, folks!). This is Allison of the Tremont Turkey Fest entry, and I’m here to report on the experience at Freedom Ink, the premiere tattoo shop in Peoria.

To give you an idea of the sort of establishment we are dealing with, my bro Jeffrey and I scheduled our appointments weeks in advance; this is not the joint you stroll into half-drunk, looking to get SIGMA KAPPA forever emblazoned on your nether regions. Additionally, Freedom Ink consists of three artists, Stephanie, Zack and the owner Tim. We didn’t see Tim, but a lot of his artwork was on the walls, and it was all super impressive. Zack, who did Jeffrey’s work, was practically a Zen-master; dude was so chill, I wanted to check for a pulse. Stephanie was my artist, and she did a bangin’ job, considering the huge baby she was working with.

Yup. That’s me.

For the un-tatted in the audience, here’s how the process works. First, the artist makes a mock-up of your preferred design, which is made into a sketch and applied like a temporary tattoo. Here’s what mine looked like:

Ignore the palor of my skin, not unlike raw chicken/Ignore the pallor of my skin-tone, which is not unlike the hue of uncooked chicken.

Lucky for me, Stephanie quickly got down to business. Freedom Ink, it must be said, is cleaner than your doctor’s office, and I’m not just saying that because they comped my tat in exchange for my positive review (just kidding, they didn’t!). Trust me, when the needles came out, I was looking for any reason not to go through with this plan, and cleanliness (or lack of) wasn’t going to be my out.

If you’ve never gotten a tattoo before, I’ll spare you the details of the pain. Stephanie told me it varies depending on the location of the tattoo, although she said foot tattoos rank up there with the neck. Booyah, naysayers, I’m not a total wimp.

Really, half an hour after it started, it was done. Stephanie could tell when the pain was pretty bad, and she did really wonderful, efficient work. Here’s the finished product:

Ta-da!

Jeffrey’s tattoo, the St. Jude feet with script around his leg (if you’re curious, he used La Dispute lyrics: We are only the extent to which we love), took about an hour. His artist Zack was pretty quiet, which Jeffrey said he preferred. I wish I could say he was whiney or flinchy, but unfortunately my baby brother only smirked through the entire thing:

No pain never.

Pain aside, we are both super pleased with our tattoos. My family is big into the St. Jude runs (between four of us, we have more than 25 years of pounding rural Illinois roads in August heat like the happy fools we are), and I’m really glad I got the tattoo. It’s a nice reminder to focus on what’s important in life.

Don't hate us cuz you ain't us.

Shameless plug for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay…if you’re looking for a worthy cause to share your wealth, visit this online donation page: https://waystohelp.stjude.org/sjVPortal/public/displayUserPage.do?eventId=162351&programId=301&userId=628317.

Cost: my tattoo, without tip, cost $100.

Ludy’s & Princeville Fireworks–7/3/11

I hope you get comfortable because this next post is a long one.

Apparently in my friend Jessica’s household it’s a tradition to hit up Ludy’s in Kickapoo before heading to the Princeville fireworks. I had planned on writing about Ludy’s at some point this summer and had never heard about the Princeville fireworks, so I tagged along. (I’m really great at being the 3rd wheel…although in this case I was like the 19th wheel.)

So off we go to Kickapoo (it was located right next to Hurlaturd, heh….. It was a joke.)

And we seated ourselves in the back room because there wasn’t enough room at the inn..I mean, in the main part of the burger joint.

After we did a little furniture rearranging, we were able to get our army of people at one long table. We quickly made our dinner and drink selections… I got a plain cheeseburger and shared a bucket of beer with Jim and Jess… the whole table shared a few baskets of fries……and then watched the boys play pool and Duck Hunt…or whatever the 21st century version of that is.

I loved getting my ice cold beer in a bucket.

And then finally my food! Most people at the table had a date to split their food with–they would get the burger and the tenderloin and share because according to our waitress, Mary, they are both the bomb.com.

Here is my dinner:

And here is half of Jim’s tenderloin:

For those who tried both the tenderloin AND the burger, it seemed as though they thought the tenderloin was better…I had a burger to myself and only had a bite of the tenderloin and thought the burger was better–it was a fat, juicy patty and sooo good. I would probably recommend going with the burger for your first visit to Ludy’s.

Did we stop at dinner? Of course not! I think I forgot to mention that it was JIM’S BIRTHDAY yesterday….and Jess brought a funfetti cake (my favorite kind of cake) for everyone to enjoy…. so we sang happy birthday and took a celebratory lunchbox shot.

Hell yes! Happy birthday Jim! (the picture above isn’t Jim…but the one of the guy by the cake is)

Although we were running a few minutes late, we packed up the cars and headed out to the sticks for some fireworks in Princeville! Ahh–God’s country!

OMG–there were SO many people. I was not expecting this.

I even ran into ONE person I knew–Alyssa…except I didn’t get my picture with her. I did get my picture with my 2 friends—Jessica and Jessica:

The people that put this shindig on go All. Out.

Skydivers? Really? Yep. Really.

It was super cool. And of course, there was awesome people watching. Who doesn’t love seeing a 4 year old digging through a cooler of beer?

I think that some of Peoria’s finest (AKA–the families of Peoria Notre Dame) and some of Peoria’s cheapest (AKA–the families who love anything free… AKA–ME!) were all represented at this giant gathering.

Oh yea, and what doesn’t scream Americana like tattoo’s??

Pretty bad ass. And then there was me…

I didn’t have a tattoo, but I did have plenty of Land Shark. Fins up!

And as you can see, it was getting a little dark…that means it was time for FIREWORKS!!

I think this next picture is my favorite.

Annnd one more firework picture…

And naturally, Jess and I missed the finale because we were inside using the bathroom. Woops.

But even though the fireworks were over, we weren’t ready to leave yet. Jim and Mark thought shotgunning a beer seemed suitable. (In honor of Jim and America’s birthday, of course!)

Hell yes! America!

I even got my picture with a member of the Bomb Squad–the dudes who are behind the scenes lighting off the explosives!

Say hi to Mike!

Ok! And one last picture of the night….walking back to the car!

Phew! A successful pre-4th-of-july party!! And an extremely long post!

So I kind of knocked 2 things out in this adventure–Ludy’s was wonderful. My parents (when they are being sweet bikers) ride to Ludy’s all the time–maybe I’ll head back with them some time. I will definitely be back for the Princeville fireworks. I wish I could tell you where exactly they are located…but I have no idea. Somewhere in Princeville?

There are more festive, Fourth of July activities happening today. Party in the USA!

Be safe!

TP

Pssst! Ludy’s break down (Princeville fireworks were FREE!)

Cheeseburger: $5.15

Fries: $3.80

Bucket of 5 beers: $10.00 (I had 2 so really for me it was $4.00)

Total: $12.95

Old Settlers & Other Places in Metamora–6/25/11

So..um..this is getting posted about a week late. Sorry guys. I hope you forgive me…and if you don’t it doesn’t really matter because I’m posting anyway.

So last week I hit up the festival (of course) in my hometown of Metamora…Old Settler’s Days!! It was super rainy and gross out.  Seeing all of the rides and tents standing in the rain made it a little sad.

Doesn’t that Cotton Candy stand look so sad and unmagical all dark and wet looking?

Anyway, we headed straight over to St. Mary’s food tent to grab some dinner.

I went the healthy route and got a tenderloin with cheese fries and a Diet Coke.

That is some serious festival food. And it tasted like magic! The only problem was finding a dry table for us to sit at…we found a cozy one between the housewives of Metamora (one was my old babysitter from the 90’s) and part of MTHS’s incoming freshman class (the braces and Aeropostle clothing gave their age away). Very entertaining either way you look at it.

My friends Jeff and Lindsey wanted some pie…so they each got a piece (Linds got apple and Jeff got cherry…I think) and I picked up a piece of rhubarb pie for my mom.

(Jeff LOVES getting his picture taken)

(So does Linds :))

After we ate we quickly walked around the square to see the booths–although most of the vendors were packing up. Of course we had to get a picture of old Abe!

We handled the rain for about 2.5 seconds and did what everyone in a small town does when there’s nothing else to do….go to the bar. We were lucky enough to catch the Scoreboard on it’s last night in operation.

And of course there was a band..

But shoot we were bored with the Scoreboard…it was too loud and the crowd seemed too old. Off to Home Turf!

Ahhh…much better! We were able to find a table, the beer was cheaper and I put 5 bucks in the jukebox… a mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jason Aldean, Fall Out Boy and Alkaline Trio played throughout the bar. (Yea, I choose that mix of jams..judge me)

After a couple rounds, we headed out to SUE’S PLACE–my favorite spot in Metamora.

At Sue’s there was even cheaper beer, more old high school friends and shuffleboard! Look at us just tossing money at the bartender…

This is pretty much the best group ever..

After Schertz and I dominated at shuffleboard, we walked alllll the way back through town to hit up Barbie’s…the final destination of a festival turned bar crawl! (This blog is making it look like I drink a lot…I don’t really…I mean, it all depends on your perspective…why am I trying to justify myself to you?)

Anyway, Barbie’s was hoppin’…. they even had karaoke and you know how Linds loves karaoke! Plus the DJ had lots of fun hats!

(I love the Angels–actually I love Santa Ana so therefore I also love the Angels)

I wish I remembered what Lindsey sang…I’m going to guess it was a show tune.

I think at this point it was about time for us to head back home… and I have no more pictures which means I have nothing else to write about. Oh and btw, I didn’t have my regular camera on this night so all of these photos were taken with my iPhone…not too shabby.

Anyway, I need a break from bars and festivals… I’ve got some other really fun stuff on deck for this week…yes, I actually planned out the next week so I won’t be such a slacker!

Happy 4th Peoria!

TP

Pssst!  I honestly have no idea how much I spent… it was a lot since I bank rolled Linds.

Pubs on Prospect in Peoria Heights–6/23/11

You thought I fell off the bandwagon, didn’t you? I didn’t… I just haven’t written about anything mainly because I’m lazy and partly because I wasn’t feeling creative or witty and reading a noncreative or witty blog just isn’t as fun. Anyway, last Thursday Lindsey and I hit up a few watering holes in Peoria Heights.

What started as one quick drink turned into a mini bar crawl. Linds and I first met up at Tavern on Prospect.

We ordered a drink while we discussed life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

You can’t tell, but that little bowl is full of Gardetto’s–it was the perfect pairing with our brews. I got a Summer Shandy and Linds drank Sam Adams. To be honest, we weren’t really feeling the over 40 crowd at the Tavern…maybe it was too early in the night (7pm) or Thursday just isn’t a bumpin’ night for them…either way, we decided to roll out and head down the world’s most beautiful drive to Publik House (also located on Prospect, if you didn’t catch that).

I didn’t get any outside shots of Publik House–think fire engine red and old skool Boston. They had a way more interesting selection of beers…also Linds said there food is the bomb.com (I don’t know if she used that reference exactly, but it was something like that) so we also browsed their menu. Check out this interesting beer selection… once in particular stuck out to us.

The best part was getting to know the manager/bartender, Bender. (hehe) He’s actually a close friend of my sister and brother-in-law but he was super cool to me and Linds. He let us try a few different beers before we settled on one…including Arrogant B (which we decided we weren’t Arrogant B’s and it was too hoppy)…so we end up with Two Brother’s Domaine Dupage–best part about the beer–it’s locally made (sort of) in Warrenville, Illinois! WIN! And we also ordered the Bacon and Bleu Fries…

Uhh…YUM. And I’m pretty sure they’re fat free, so that’s also a bonus.

So as Linds and I are minding our own business and admiring the fine mermaid sculpture, we notice Lindsey’s friend Matt and his friend Doug at the other end of the bar! FUN! So we kicked it together for the rest of the night.

Instant friends. So did we end our night at PH? Of course not, going home is like quitting and quitting is for losers and we are definitely not losers, so we continued our way down Prospect to T-n-T’s! We heard they have karaoke on Thursday nights and while I’m not much of a singer (unless you consider singing a duet with my dad to Jimmy Buffett’s “Why Don’t We Get Drunk and Screw” on my 21st birthday…), Linds has some pipes and she’s been known to sing a mean showtune or two.

And as soon as I walk in, who do I see? Two of my long lost buddies from M-town. Photo op!

I am not actually that tall. They were holding me up to be normal human size. So after I exchanged a few laughs with Joe and Nate, I met my new crew at the karaoke table. Linds was already on deck to sing, but first we had to listen to a few other people “sing” so we entertained ourselves.

This is our impression of the lucky waving cat that Matt bought me recently when he was on a trip to Japan.

And this is us looking normal.

And this is us plus Matt…he just HAD to get his picture with us, what a diva 🙂 (This is a really attractive photo of me and Matt by the way…actually no, Linds is the only one lookin’ fly)

FINALLY! It was time for Lindsey to show the patron’s of T-n-T’s what it means to karaoke!! She nailed “Out Tonight” from Rent.

Woo Yea! You go, Linds!

After Lindsey brought down the house, it was time for us to head out. There are plenty more pubs to hit on Prospect–perhaps we will continue the crawl for another slow and lonely Thursday.

Be safe, Peoria.

TP

Psst! I wish I could give you a cost break down, but I didn’t keep a running tab of things. Sorry!