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 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

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. 

2017 Mazda CX-9

The last 2 weeks have been insanely busy.  We traveled to New York City and had an amazing time.  Traveling with kids of course you always want comfort and space.  We were lucky enough to have the 2017 Mazda CX-9 for this trip.  It made two hours feel like half that amount of time.  Traveling in NYC can sometimes be a headache dealing with the traffic, but it wasn’t too bad this time around because we went on a Sunday and stayed overnight.  After NYC we came back to reality.
Heading to dance class with my daughter, and baseball with my son is only part of the back and forth we do on a weekly basis.  Having the CX-9 was great because of all the storage space for those dance and baseball bags.  Carpooling for my daughter and some of her dance friends worked out great too because the CX-9 has 3 rows of seating.  The sunroof was the perfect touch, since it was quite warm on a couple of those days.
Saying goodbye to the CX-9 was tough.  I’m such a fan of SUVs and had to go back to a mini van, which isn’t bad but the CX-9 provided us with that mini van accommodation and relaxing feel.
Some awesome features on the 2017 CX-9 include:
LED Headlights with auto off and auto height control
LED Daytime Running Lights
LED Combination taillights
Three-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter (which was great for my son who has allergies)
Front door courtesy lamps
Remote keyless illuminated entry system with “answer back” feature
Push Button Start
Front door pocket illumination
Tilt & telescopic steering column
12-volt power outlets (1 front/1 cargo area)
Rear window defogger with timer
7-passenger seating capacity
2nd-row seats with tilt and slide 3rd-row access
And so much more. Visit https://www.mazdausa.com/ for more information. 

2017 Hyundai Elantra

As I mentioned in my previous, post the family and I went away to the beautiful Kalahari.  This trip was about 2 hours from our house, and traveling with kids you want comfort in a vehicle.  I had the opportunity to take the 2017 Hyundai Elantra on the road for this trip. It’s a small compact car, but was actually comfortable. The passenger space in the back was small but comfortable and standard.  This car is perfect for a couple that is just starting out or maybe for a college graduate. 

  • Quiet, comfortable cabin, especially at highway speeds
  • Lots of available technology and safety features
  • Classy and thoughtfully laid-out interior design
  • Underwhelming performance from base engine
  • Dual-clutch transmission feels clunky during slow-speed acceleration 
  • More steering effort required than in most cars in this class
  • Limited cabin space 

Luxury car technology

Elantra is the compact sedan with just about every popular luxury and technology feature. Available features include: Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™, navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen with segment-first Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology and rearview camera, plus Smart Cruise Control, just to name a few.

Safety is key, especially being a parent of 2 little ones. The Elantra has Seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag. The list of advanced safety features is long and impressive, and includes available Blind Spot Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking with segment-first Pedestrian Detection—a feature not offered on most compact class sedans.

Thanks at Driveshop for providing me with the opportunity. Visit https://www.hyundaiusa.com/ for more information.  


2017 Lexus RX 350


Lexus has been on my list of different car brands to try.  I have always been in love with the style of the car. They have sleek looks on all their models. When I got this opportunity to be able to try the Lexus RX I was excited. This car is just beautiful, providing you with so much.

RX 350 is a pleasant place to spend a long road trip. It has comfy seats with available intelligent heating and cooling.  The cabin is quiet and relaxing, and the ride smooth.
The rear seats have plenty of room for passengers and they recline, which my kids were super excited about.
The 2017 Lexus RX 350 comes with a generous list of standard features, including automatic dual-zone climate control, satellite radio with real-time traffic information, a nine-speaker sound system, a liftgate, a rearview camera, proximity key entry, and an infotainment system with an 8-inch display, Bluetooth, and two USB ports. The 2017 RX has the standard Lexus Safety System, which includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, lane departure alert, and lane keep assist.
Available features include rear cross traffic braking, a panoramic moonroof, blind spot monitoring, a multi-angle camera, smartphone integration, navigation, park assist, a hands-free power liftgate, a dual-screen DVD entertainment system, a 12- or 15-speaker audio system, and sport-tuned suspension.

2017 Lexus RX 350 Safety Features

  • Driver Air Bag
  • Passenger Air Bag On/Off Switch
  • Passenger Air Bag
  • Rear Air Bag
  • Side Head Air Bag
  • Rear Head Air Bag
  • Side Air Bag
  • Rear Body Air Bag
  • 4-Wheel ABS
  • ABS
  • 4-Wheel Disc Brakes
  • 4-Wheel Drum Brakes
  • Front Disc/Rear Drum Brakes
  • Brake Assist
  • Electronic Stability Control
  • Auto-On Headlights
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Child Safety Locks
  • Integrated Turn Signal Mirrors
  • Night Vision
  • Adjustable Pedals
  • Rollover Protection System
  • Front Tow Hooks
  • Rear Tow Hooks
  • Traction Control
  • Emergency Trunk Release
  • Blind Spot Monitor
  • Auto-Leveling Headlights
  • Lane Departure Warning
It gets above-average fuel economy for its class. 20 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway with front-wheel drive. Fuel economy drops just a bit to 19/26 mpg city/highway with all-wheel-drive models.
All in all I give this car a 9 out of 10. I’m just in love with what Lexus has to offer and I can’t wait to tryout other models and maybe even do a video for you.
Visit http://www.lexus.com/models/RX for more information.

2016 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport


December has been such a busy month from holiday shopping to TV segments and events.  While doing all this running around, I had the opportunity to try out the Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.  My opinion on this car before I go into the break down, is it’s a great little inexpensive vehicle with many uses.

The Mitsubishi Outlander Sport has a four-cylinder base engine, and a five-speed manual and automatic transmission is standard.  The acceleration on this is not on the strong side, and perhaps that’s my real complaint.  It’s a 24/31 mpg city/highway with the CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. The Outlander Sport’s ride is smooth and comfortable.

The cabin design I thought could use some updating, but both rows of seats are supportive and somewhat roomy.   The infotainment system is generally easy to use, although the one I drove did not have navigation which made things a little harder.  The Outlander Sport has good cargo capacity for the class.

 Available features include push-button start, a panoramic sunroof, automatic climate control, a nine-speaker Rockford Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and a navigation system with a 7-inch touch screen and voice recognition.
The 2016 Outlander Sport has 21.7 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up and 49.5 with them folded. The available panoramic sunroof was pretty cool, and one of the biggest ones I have seen; although it does not open. The trunk was perfect for all the shopping or traveling that some of us have to do. 
All in all I give this a 6 out of 10.


Six Flags Great Adventure


Six Flags Great Adventure is one of the biggest amusement parks in the world; with one of the largest roller coaster collections in the world.  It’s a place where Looney Tunes meet DC superheroes in a park filled with exhilarating rides.  If you’re a die-hard roller coaster enthusiast you will love six flags.  I love the fact that it does have a great selection of kiddie rides as well, but the rides are not all that it has to offer.   

My kids had such a great time but hands down their favorite parts were the animals.  We had the opportunity to have a private meet and greet with some adorable animals like Asian otters, sea lions (which were my favorite) and even got close to a male lion cub which was behind a cage, but we still got closer than you would in a zoo. 

Rocco the cub was abandon by his parents so the park took him in and cared for him.  After our meet and greets we went over to the safari ride.  I love that the park staff takes us through the safari giving us details on pretty much all the animals, on a mini tour around the world.  We even got to feed the giraffes, which is always an amazing experience.  

In the warmer months the waterpark opens, and at the holidays the fun doesn’t stop.  For more information visit  https://www.sixflags.com/greatadventure

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Food!! · Travel

Key West Largo

Key West

A favorite destination for Ernest Hemingway, Jimmy Buffett, and many more, Key West

is known for its palm lined streets and fish that is fresh enough to draw any committed

culinary traveler. With a distinct mixture of cultures, the island is not only home to a

strong seafood scene, but a tantalizing fusion of cuisines. At night, the street a lit up

with vibrant sidewalk cafes that lure in passersby with delicious scents of their

specialties. Live music and hopping bars are the perfect pairings to watch the sunset

into the Gulf of Mexico.

The Florida Keys is home to five districts, each with their own personality and

attractions that make visitors feel like they are a world away. The southernmost

paradise, Key West, is just miles from Cuba and is home to an enviably temperate

climate and a delicious array of fresh seafood set to a beautiful backdrop. Bringing

together a multitude of cultures that have made Key West home during its history, Key

West’s food scene has delicious flavors, like African and Cuban, that are difficult to find

anywhere else in the US.

As a guide to the restaurant and seafood landscape, Paul Menta of Three Hands Fish

gave us the lowdown. A professional chef and community advocate, with long locks and

a chill attitude that makes him seem more like a pro kite surfer, which he also is, Paul is

the perfect person to talk to to find out the secret dining spots of Key West. The Philly

native began his culinary career in Spain and France and eventually came to Key West

to continue his love for competitive kite surfing. An athlete, distiller, chef, and

entrepreneur, Paul has made it his mission to tap into all Key West has to offer.

His most recent venture, Three Hands Fish is a community supported fish market in Key

West. Its members, chefs and homecooks,

have access to the freshest fish, shrimp,

stone crabs, and lobster that come in on the docks. As Paul describes it, the first hand

is the hand of the fisherman, the second the market, and the third is when the fish

makes it into the hands of the individual or restaurant. Paul is proud of his market as it

brings local, traceable seafood to the people with plenty of variety to avoid over fishing a

specific species.


Key West has seafood unlike anywhere in the world and the crucial ingredient is the

water. The Gulf of Mexico mixes with the Atlantic ocean making a perfect nursery for a

plethora of fish, crab, and lobster. Not to mention, the fishermen of the region have

come together to create a sustainable plan for the future of their industry, naturally

controlling overproducing

populations that threaten to take over the ecosystem.

“Not only are visitors able to jump on the boat for themselves and go fishing in some of

the clearest waters, but they are able to sit back and relax, knowing they can find the

same fresh fish in local restaurants,” says Paul.

If you are looking for a taste of the freshest seafood right on the dock, Paul suggests

visiting The Stoned Crab restaurant. This restaurant serves up some of the best of what

Key West is known for, the stone crab, but they also do it in a stunning setting with an

unbeatable view of the water. The moment you set foot in the restaurant you will feel as

if you have traveled back in time to the 1950s. Housed in a resort built in 1956, the

restaurant keeps alive the tradition of the fishermen bringing their catches straight to

their dock, something that is no longer happening in other areas. And if you are looking

for a place to stay, Paul recommends Ibis Bay Resort, which is home to The Stoned

Crab and also has a retro feel. Stop in for fun cocktails and great seafood the restaurant

catches themselves. Head here for stone crab, lobster, Key West shrimp, and more

local fish. Be ready for a good time at The Stoned Crab!

For the diehard

cooks, go for a ride on a private charter to catch the freshest fish for

yourself. Paul recommends Lucky Fleet, chartered by Captain Moe, to take you on this

adventure and help guide you in hooking the best seasonable seafood. Moe has been

fishing the waters around Key West for over 30 years and knows his way around.

Whether you are an avid deep sea fisher or this is your first time, Captain Moe will take

you on a great adventure not just a boat ride. From sailfish to tuna or grouper, they will

lead you to the right spot.

To learn how to prepare the seafood you just caught, take a class at Isle Cook where

Paul himself will teach you how to cook local recipes and healthy meals with seafood.

“Being a chef and commercial fisherman I can tell you there is no better teacher of how

to use, care for, store, cook and eat a product than a fishermen. They have ideas and

techniques that most chefs would die for….but they have to ask…..so we spread the

word to them,” says Paul.

When visiting Key West, be sure to try fish you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

Considered local to Key West are the Hogfish, Mangrove Snapper, and as of late the

Lion Fish. Paul’s favorite? The Hogfish. This fish is caught by spear fishing, which is a

fun challenge to try. Speared yourself or not, Paul suggests serving the fish whole and

affectionately calls it the Key West Turkey, stuffed with lobster, onions, and herbs.

While you may have heard of Key West’s conch fritters, which is fried conch meat that

actually native to the Caribbean, Paul prefers to make grouper fritters. Fisherman of Key

West are able to catch the grouper right off the coast, so this is a true local specialty.

Similar to the conch fritter, the grouper is mixed with onions carrots and a traditional Key

West seafood seasoning by Key West Spice Company that is made of celery seed, salt,

paprika, and red pepper. It is simple, but fresh grouper doesn’t need an overpowering of

flavors. Once the batter is made, Paul fries the fish balls until golden and enjoys them

inside of a sandwich or as an appetizer by the water.


Grouper Fritters

Author: Paul Menta


● 1 pound Grouper

● ½cup Onions

● ½cup Carrots

● 1½Tablespoons Key West seafood seasoning

● 1 Egg yolk

● 2 Tablespoons Key lime juice

● ½cup Flour

● Coconut oil, for frying


1. Chop up, or use food processor, grouper.

2. Fine dice, onions, carrots and mix with grouper.

3. Add key west seafood seasoning, about 1½ tablespoon

4. Mix all together with 1 egg yolk and 2 tablespoons of key lime juice.

5. Add ½ cup of flour until mixture starts to form a batter.

6. Use a spoon to make balls, fry in coconut oil till brown or bake in the oven

on sheet tray.

7. As a sandwich filling instead of an appetizer, make the rounds larger.


Food!! · Travel

The Woodlands Resort


This past weekend my husband and I celebrated out 10 year wedding anniversary and 15 years of togetherness. We had the pleasure of visiting The Woodlands Resort in Wilkes barre PA.  Upon arriving we didn’t know what to expect, but once we walked inside it was like stepping into another world.  It was like a 4 star hotel with beautiful and contemporary decor.  The staff was super friendly.  

We stayed in one of the stream side suites with a beautiful view of the stream, and what Mother Nature has to offer. We wanted to explore the resort immediately, so we headed over to Crescenzo’s pizza and bar restaurant for a drink.  Afterwards we saw that there was a night club in the resort along with a live band down stairs.  Woodlands also offers a big jacuzzi and pool for guests, as well as a fitness center. That night we decide to go back to Crescenzo’s for dinner.   We ordered a bottle of wine and had some salad, pizza and chocolate cake.  The food was delicious.  Afterwards we decided to head to the club and checkout the band. 

This resort was so much fun.  I can’t wait to come back with friends.  For more information or to book a fun getaway visit http://thewoodlandsresort.com/

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