A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Philadelphia Phillies Family Fun Day!

I can’t think of a more American way to spend summertime with family, than to watch a good old baseball game.  On the 4th of July I took my family to see the Philadelphia Phillies host the Baltimore Orioles, and what a game it was.  We arrived about an hour and a half before first pitch to enjoy the stadium and all its goodies.  Citizen’s Bank Park here in Philly is more than just a ballpark.  It’s built to bring the whole family together.  Young and old

and everyone in between have plenty of options. 

There’s something for everyone in the gift shop and vendors scattered around the main level.  Ashburn alley has mini games for the kids to play including a hotdog launcher, wall climb, pitching cage, and a mini home run derby.  On the day we went it was extremely hot outside, but a quick walk through the water misting area and the family fun were enough to make it comfortable. 

Then we were off to grab some food and drink.  When we arrived at the new “Boardwalk Eats” area, we were surprised that there were so many more options than just hotdogs, peanuts, and cracker jacks.  Now wait.  I know you’re probably thinking that those are crucial baseball necessities during a game, but why not have more options?  There were large smoked turkey legs, brisket tacos, vegan and regular cheesesteaks, edible cookie dough, pulled pork sandwiches and more.  The foodie in me was having a hard time deciding, but ultimately I went with “the big dog”, which was a kielbasa sandwich. 

After our bellies were full, we grabbed some lemonade for the kids, and a beer for my husband and I.  Then we were off to watch the game.  The Phillies won, but Baltimore put up a great fight for one of the most entertaining games I’ve seen in a while. 

We grabbed some snacks throughout the game, a few refills, and made some great conversation with people who we met around us in our seats.  Oh, and speaking of seats… we were behind the Orioles dugout on the third base line.  The view was spectacular, but Citizen’s Bank Park does not have a single bad seat.  Even the ones all the way at the top provide a great view of the field.

All four of us in the Pipito household are eager to return again soon for another fun day of baseball, family, and eats. 

Checkout the full video

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Travel

2018 Mazda 6

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Today I guess is a day full of Mazda reviews just for you. The 2018 Mazda 6 has to be my favorite from the line.  It’s such a stylish vehicle in my opinion. As some of you may know I am an extra on the new Creed 2 movie coming out in November.  About 3 weeks ago I was on set for a whole week going back in forth to my house and the studio.

It was a lot of late nights and early mornings and I have to say that the Mazda 6 really gave me the comfort in needed for the commute. I even had lunch in the car a couple of times with the sunroof open. It’s my husband’s favorite car as well. You can’t go wrong with the room, comfort and safety this car brings.

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I remember a couple of people on set asking me which Mazda type this was and they thought it was such a sharp looking car. I don’t want to keep rambling about the same things, but this is up there with some high quality ones in my opinion.  This was perfect for my family of 4 with plenty of room for the kids and great trunk space.

Here are few other features

BODY
LED headlights with auto-leveling
LED Daytime Running Lights
Auto-off headlights
Variable-intermittent windshield wipers
Body colored power side mirrors with integrated turn signals
Body colored door handles and bumpers
Integrated rear-window antenna
LED Combination Taillights
Dual exhaust outlets with chrome tips

COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
Dual-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter
Power windows with one-touch auto up/down
Power automatic door locks
Cruise control with steering wheel-mounted controls
Electronic parking Brake
Remote keyless entry system with “answer back” feature
Remote release for trunk, hood and fuel door
Push-button start
And much more

SEATING & TRIM
5-passenger seating
Cloth-trimmed sport seats
6-way manual driver’s seat with manual lumbar support and height adjustment
6-way manual front passenger seat
60/40 split fold-down rear seatback with remote trunk operation
Leather-wrapped steering wheel
Leather-wrapped gear selector
Carpet floor mats

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Visit https://www.mazdausa.com for more information on all of their models

Travel

2018 Mazda CX-3 Grand Touring AWD

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Back in March I had the opportunity to try out the . I thought that I had this review ready for you guys but it seems as though my computer decided not to save my work. So here goes.

I had a couple of family gatherings which meant a lot of grocery shopping & picking up all those party needs.  The Mazda CX-3 only had a limited amount of space for all my goodies and the kids. Keep in mind this is a smaller SUV. It has a pretty cool look but has small headquarters where you feel closed in. The seats are always comfortable which makes up for the lack of space. No one wants to be in a small cabin and not have comfortable seats. If you are looking for a smaller SUV with pretty decent gas mileage this may be the car for you.

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Below you will find some other details on the 2018 Mazda CX-3.

CABIN
•       Air Conditioning
Climate Control, A/C
•       Seat Trim
Leather Seats, Premium Synthetic Seats
•       Windows
Power Windows, Rear Defrost
•       Seats
Bucket Seats, Rear Bench Seat, Heated Front Seat(s), Pass-Through Rear Seat

SAFETY
•       Safety Features
Traction Control, Stability Control, Blind Spot Monitor, Cross-Traffic Alert, Child Safety Locks, Brake Assist, Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors, Daytime Running Lights, Headlights-Auto-Leveling
•Air Bags
Front Side Air Bag, Passenger Air Bag, Front Head Air Bag, Rear Head Air Bag, Driver Air Bag, Passenger Air Bag Sensor
FUEL
Fuel
29 MPG

Tech
Cargo Shade, Navigation System, Telematics, Heads-Up Display, Engine Immobilizer, Back-Up Camera, Rain Sensing Wipers, Variable Speed Intermittent Wipers, Intermittent Wipers, Automatic Headlights, Fog Lamps, Steering Wheel Audio Controls, Bluetooth Connection, Trip Computer, Adjustable Steering Wheel, Leather Steering Wheel, Cruise Control, Keyless Start

Remember to visit https://www.mazdausa.com for full details

Travel

2018 Hyundai Sonata Limited

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As we all know by now the Philadelphia Eagles are the Super Bowl champs. A memory that will last a life time for us Philadelphians. I was able to experience the parade after the big win. I drove down with the 2018 Hyundai Sonata.

The Sonata is a great midsize sedan perfect for my kids who are 7 and 9, giving them plenty of room in the backseat without any fighting. It was great on gas as well especially driving back in forth from the city and the parade.

After all the excitement I had some tv segments lined up. I was impressed with the trunk size and able to fit all my props and bags with no problems.

Here are a couple of other features that I really enjoyed. Standard features in the Sonata include Bluetooth, a USB port, a 7-inch touch-screen display, and Hyundai’s Blue Link infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Available features include a power sunroof, a nine-speaker Infinity premium audio system, satellite radio, an 8-inch touch screen with navigation, and wireless device charging.

The Blue Link infotainment system is intuitive and responsive. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard, meaning every Sonata has easy-to-use smartphone connectivity features.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Hyundai Sonata the highest rating of Good in five crash safety tests. Standard active safety features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and lane change assist. Available features include adaptive headlights, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear parking sensors, pedestrian detection, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control.

Visit http://www.hyundaiusa.com

 

A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

The Woodloch Resort

 

I’m excited to share this amazing place with all of you. My family and I had the opportunity to head to The Woodloch Resort here in Pennsylvania. This resort has so much to offer that my kids said it is 2nd to Disney World!  
We arrived on a Friday afternoon and were greeted by a staff that was super friendly and provided us with all the information we needed for our weekend stay. She gave me a calendar and stated that everyday their calendar changes to different shows and activities for the family. We were all excited about this because usually resorts only offer the same activities everyday. Below I made a video so you can checkout all the fun.  There’s a lot for all ages there!

 


Next we parked our car at the lot where our room would be. They have a bus that picks you up every ten minutes from your hotel to take you to the activities throughout the resort. Our room was the perfect size for a family of 4 with young kids. It had 2 queen size beds and a pull out sofa with a full mattress. 2 TVs, 2 full bathrooms and a mini refrigerator. We also had a gorgeous view of the lake.
Now let’s chat about the food, which of course is usually my favorite part. We had a 3 meal plan, which means 3 meals a day of course but every time it was a 3 course meal. Our waitress Courtney was absolutely one of the best waitress I have ever had. Super friendly and helpful. The food was delicious and the desserts were fabulous.

After dinner that night we went to the arcade and had some family fun. The kids also wanted to go for a late night swim. The following day we enjoyed some breakfast and decided to have some fun and enter the cupcake competition. We didn’t win but we had a blast, and met some new friends. Then we went snow tubing. Afterwards we had a great lunch and I had an appointment for a little massage at the spa. The spa is located at Woodloch Spa Resort which is an adults only resort perfect for a romantic getaway or for a girls’ weekend. I could had stayed at the spa all day. After my massage I got to enjoy the dry and wet sauna and hot tub. You can checkout all the spa services here https://www.woodloch.com/spa/
That night we went to dinner and enjoyed the amazing show in the club area. They had dancing to start then the show was about the best performances of the last few decades at Woodloch.  To end the night they had a family friendly comedian. What a fun night to make memories with our kids.

Our last day came quickly.  We had some breakfast and then went off to drive some go karts and checkout the petting zoo. The petting zoo included pony rides and adorable little animals.  
To close it all out we had lunch and the kids wanted to go to the craft room and create some fun art to bring home.  My only regret is that we didn’t get to stay longer, but it was one amazing get away. 
Thank you Woodloch Resort for having us. We made some memories that will last us a life time. We can’t wait to return in the summer to see what else Woodloch has to offer. Make sure to visit and plan your visit https://www.woodloch.com/

 

 

 

A Platter of Thoughts · Travel

2018 Toyota Avalon

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I’ll keep this little review short and sweet. The new 2018 Toyota Avalon had great comfort, quality and impressive fuel economy. We drove all around and had a little mini getaway a couple of weeks ago in the Pocono mountains of Pennsylvania, and the fuel mileage was great.

The kids loved that they had enough leg room to stretch out in the back seat. This has now become one of my favorite sedans. It also had great speed and performance on all those windy mountain roads. A pleasantly surprising feature was the automatic high beams that came in handy on dark roads.

I think this is the perfect car for parents with grown kids or even a family just starting out. Also there are an abundance of airbags, five-star crash-test ratings, and advanced active safety tech. Which to me is super important when traveling with a family. Visit https://www.toyota.com for more information.

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A Platter of Thoughts · Travel

2018 Mercedes E400 Coupe

 

 

I’m excited to share another beautiful car with all of you.  Meet the 2018 Mercedes E400 4Matic Coupe. This car is super stylish, as if it came off of a car runway.  The interior is stunning, providing you with all the latest luxury.  Beautifully comfortable seats that even massage your back and an excellent Burmester audio system make it even more noteworthy.  You would think that a coupe wouldn’t be comfortable for 4 people but I️ was surprised at the leg room the backseat had and how comfortable it was.  It’s roomy and perfect for backseat passengers.

The E400 Coupe excels on wide, open highways, where it maintains speed effortlessly. Providing you with a 3.0-liter twin-turbo V6 that makes 329 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque in the E400.

Let’s breakdown some of the other amazing features. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth are the standard smartphone connectivity tools. Other highlights include ambient interior lighting with 64 color choices (may we suggest a calming Cerulean during the day and daring Magenta at night?), heated armrests, and a rockin’ Burmester sound system.


Every 2018 E-Class Coupe comes standard with a backup camera, electronic stability control, active braking assist, and two Pre-Safe® technologies that activate before an impending crash. When the vehicle senses it will be T-boned, the front seats automatically push driver and passenger three inches towards the center of the cabin. The intelligence of the car is outstanding. Also can’t forget to mention the panoramic roof, leather trim, 12.3-inch widescreen. Make sure to checkout my video below. All and all I give this car a 9 out of 10. For more information visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/index
Travel

Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May Review

I have been going down to the jersey shore points for as long as I can remember. My family would always go into Wildwood Crest and stay, and always head over to Cape May for dinner. Now that I’m a parent we still keep those traditions but this time around we find ourselves staying in Cape May.  The beaches and the town is just so delightful and full of history.

One of the places that I have always wanted to stay and visit was Congress Hall.  If you know Cape May then you know that the big yellow building in town facing the ocean is that landmark.  The grounds are beautiful with its gorgeous gardens.  Last week we finally got that opportunity to stay at Congress Hall, and it exceeded all of my expectations.  It’s rich history and comfortable bedding are just some of the great aspects there.


Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly staff. We checked in and went to see what our room had to offer. It had 2 queen sized beds, 2 chairs for relaxing, a tv, bathroom with an antique tub and a modern standup shower (and let me tell you it was gorgeous).

After checking in we wanted to take the kids down to do some activities. The hotel offers so many fun family and kid activities. There is also a nice bar outside on the Veranda. After the activities we hit the pool and to my surprise there was a pool staff ready to find a comfortable lounging area for you. They give you fresh towels and set up the layout chair for you.

Afterwards we headed back to the room to wash up and get ready for dinner at the Rusty Nail, which I will do a separate review on for the restaurants we enjoyed.

We left the restaurant and walked back to the hotel on the beach. It was such a nice night that we decided to stay out on the patio which has plenty of rocking chairs to enjoy the scenery. The kids had a ball playing hide and go seek, and we also played the “corn hole” yard game and enjoyed a refreshing beer.


It really was a wonderful night. The next morning we had reservations at The Blue Pig Tavern. This restaurant was inside the hotel which was convenient. They also offer lunch and dinner. I’ll post the review on that with The Rusty Nail.

After breakfast we went to the beach for a while. The service that the Congress Hall offers on the beach was outstanding. They have chairs and umbrellas complementary for all guests. If you want something a little more private or intimate they have cabanas. You can also order food on the beach and have the waiters/waitresses bring it to you.

Our stay was amazing. I can’t wait to return and visit longer. I have always heard amazing things about Congress Hall and they are all true. I have had friends that have had weddings there which look like a dream. If you find yourself in New Jersey or need a place to stay, Congress Hall is a must.  Visit http://www.caperesorts.com/hotels/capemay/congresshall/ for more information.

Travel

2017 Ford Flex

 

I think we have all seen those boxy cars on the road and wondered if they were comfortable and easy to drive.  Well I had the opportunity to try out the Ford Flex. I was skeptical about this car, but this is where the saying comes in “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  This car was fantastic. It felt like an SUV because of its roomie space and drove like a standard car. I have driven a lot of vehicles and I have to say this is by far one of the most comfortable cars to drive on a trip. The only problem I had was that it was an odd car to park, but that could be because I’m not used to the shape.  I think this is something that goes away after time. 

The Ford Flex was perfect for our little family. Especially when the kids didn’t want to sit next each other it had a 3rd row fitting up to 6 people. 
Safety: 
Standard safety features for all 2017 Ford Flex models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, emergency telematics via a paired cellphone, and Ford’s MyKey system that monitors the vehicle and allows owners to set certain limitations and alerts for valets and teen drivers.
Optional inflatable second-row seat belts are available for all Flex trims. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is available on the SEL and standard on the Limited. Paired with the Limited’s optional adaptive cruise control is a forward collision warning system that pre-charges the brakes for maximum responsiveness but does not brake automatically like some rival systems.
In crash testing conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety, the Flex earned the top score of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. It received the second-best score of Acceptable in the small-overlap front-impact test.

Performance & MPG

The standard engine for all 2017 Ford Flex models is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels by default, but all-wheel drive is an option for SEL and Limited trims. Though EPA fuel economy estimates are not yet available for the 2017, we don’t expect them to change from last year. The 2016 Flex with this engine was estimated to return 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) for the front-wheel-drive model and 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway) with all-wheel drive.

The Limited trim is eligible for the optional turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that increases output to a heady 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine, as are steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive EcoBoost Flex Limited accelerated to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, a quick performance for a mainstream three-row crossover. Fuel economy was downgraded slightly to 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).

Properly equipped, the Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds, regardless of engine choice. 

Visit Ford.com for more information

 

Travel

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Culinary Series

I remember as a child going to a lot of theme parks and carnivals during summer break.  My parents would pack food and we would get in the car and make some amazing memories.  I was excited when I got to partner up with Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom on this adventure.  My kids have never been to Dorney so this was bound to be a good time.  We decide to surprise the kids on the way there. 

Once I spilled the beans they kids were ecstatic.  Upon arrival we got our tickets and map.  My kids are 7 and 8.  My daughter has always loved roller coasters and thrill rides.  My son on the other hand has always been scared.  But that day it was different.  Out of nowhere he wanted to try something thrilling.  They are too small for the big roller coasters but Dorney Park has the perfect area for littler ones that are just as fun for them.  We headed to Planet Snoopy and our kids enjoyed every ride there.  My son even went on his first little roller coaster called Woodstock’s Express, which I have to say was a lot of fun and had a little thrill to it.  After that my son was set on going on everything.  The fear just like that went away.  It’s amazing how fast we as adults forget those moments as a child. The thrill of just enjoying the little things.  After going on a couple other rides throughout the park we decided to eat some food. 
New this summer, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is happy to host the Summer Culinary Series!  Served in their brand new Parkside Pavilion catering facility. They offer an all you can eat buffet with different food themes throughout July and August.  Here are the themes and prices for the remaining weeks, and also other foods throughout the park.

July 29-30 & August 5-6, 2017
Hawaiian Luau: Featuring a pig roast, pulled BBQ chicken and pork served with Hawaiian BBQ sauce. Includes Hawaiian chili meatballs, smoked corn, mango pineapple slaw and more.

August 12-13 & 19-20, 2017
Summer Clambake: Includes one clambake bag with clams, mussels, shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage. Plus all you can eat hamburgers and hot dogs.

Season passholders only pay $12 per person for each of the Summer Culinary Series events. Plus if you already have an All-Season Dining Plan, you can trade one of your daily credits in for only $5! 

Regular guests pay $20 while kids and seniors are $5.00. 

A special combo admission ticket and Culinary Series meal ticket is $53.

The menu inside Parkside Pavilion is served from 5:30 to 8:00 pm each day of the event.

• Dorney Park will be providing guests with a number of new and unique dining experiences to enjoy this summer, including Papa Luigi – a new addition to our offerings for the 2017 season.  It will serve fresh dough pizza made with fresh toppings and Philly Cheesesteaks.  Other food offerings include:
o Smokehouse BBQ: Looking for a can’t-miss dining experience? Try Smokehouse Barbecue where you can find slow-smoked meats and traditional sides for the best BBQ dinner around!
o Burger Barn: Serving up the double cheeseburger, the Burger Barn will have you covered if you are looking for a juicy burger!
o Chicken Shack: Come for your chicken fixing! This location offers everything chicken! Serving chicken fingers, chicken & shrimp, grilled chicken sandwiches, boneless chicken wings, chicken caesar salad and beverages.
o Chickie’s & Pete’s: Home of the World Famous Crabfries®! Stop in and enjoy Crabfries® or an order of Crabby Sweets® while catching your favorite sports on TV.
o Monster Grille: Have a monster of an appetite? Then be sure to stop by the Monster Grille for a Philly style cheese steak.

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All and all we had an amazing time making memories that will last us a life time. For more information visit https://www.dorneypark.com/

DISCLOSURE: This is a partnership with Blog Meets Brand and Cedar Fair. Opinions are my own.