Double Date

No trip to Boiler country is complete without a visit here!

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Interior of Mackey got some cool upgrades this year!

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The thing I love about this venue is every seat has a great view. Lots of new banners, flags, and big screens! It looked really great in there.

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As we are talking about 2 bigs, we were guessing where Haarms is from. Sweden? Finland? The boys in front of us turned and said “Netherlands.” I think they were his brothers… tall and skinny.

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We didn’t get to see this light show, but damn this is cool!

1 more stop to surprise this guy!

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Jack O My Lanterns

A few years ago, a friend told me about a Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular down in KY. It sounded neat, so I put it on my To Do list for a later time. This year, it came time to check it off! Who wants to go with me?

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These guys did! The event boasts 5,000 jack-o-lanterns carved by area artists. 5,000? I didn’t even know what that meant. I knew this would be cool, but I had no idea the grand scale this show was about to be. This guy broke mascot code by talking. Boo. I still needed my pic!

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Luckily a co-worker had gone the weekend before and gave me some great tips about the long wait we would have to enter Iroquois Park. We took snacks to keep the energy up and finally it was pitch black and time to see this thing! Holy shit, it was amazing from the first step!

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My camera won’t do these jack-o-lanterns justice. The precision that these artists have was unbelievable! Recognize these guys from Sesame Street?

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Amazing Cheshire cat display!

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Oh Johnny!

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This hummingbird one caught my eye. It lit up so beautifully.

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Our whole party just kept saying, “I can’t believe it!” We were absolutely dumbfounded.

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Then you turn around and they have jack-o-lanterns in trees!

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Really high up!

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This artist even made an Otter on a pumpkin look cuddly.

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Stole this from CS much better camera phone. This exhibit is put on by Passion for Pumpkins Inc., a multimedia production company with over 27 years of experience in redefining fall by transforming any landscape into an illuminated organic gallery. (Excerpt from their website) They thought of EVERYTHING! Even dancing twinkle lights shooting up into the trees.

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Trees

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I titled this one, Pumpkin Butt.

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After we finished and picked our chins up off the ground, we all agreed. We’ll be back again. This is a sight to see over and over.

Definitely need to level up our carving party this year!!

Meet Myrtie

Thanks to a few fundraisers, my parents have bought us some interesting gifts. A first pitch. A wheelbarrow full of beer. So, it was our time to return the favor with a gift from our Big Fun event. Meet Myrtie!

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Myrtie is a 1920s Model A roadster! On a crisp October Saturday, we were treated to a ride down to Brown County to have lunch at the Artist Colony with DS, JL, and Gordo! As I planned this event for my parents, DS says that they would bring a 2nd touring car so CS and I could tag along. Our motley crew!

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He even fit in the rumble seat!

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It instantly felt like we were in a parade because all the cars passing by were waving and honking at us! It was hilarious!

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Mom & Dad opted to ride in Tater, another 1920’s touring car. It had a roof and air conditioning. And matched Mom’s outfit perfectly!

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We enjoyed the winding countryside of Brown County.

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We made it to Nashville Indiana, where everyone was outside enjoying the fall afternoon. People were lining the streets. Again, parade time waving like we were part of something bigger. Had a great lunch at the Artist Colony where I learned Mom had never been to Nashville before. WTF?! With all the shopping she could do, I promised to bring her back when we could be on our own timeline. For today, we let her go in 2 stores. Ok, time to go!

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Thanks Nashville, we’ll be back!

Diavolo Date Night

Can’t head back to campus without visiting 2 of my favorite spots! Stop #1 for dinner!

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Then over to Loeb Playhouse to see the recent AGT top finalist, Diavolo, perform. Clearly this student was not taught theatre manners. Come on kid, get it together!

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The show was titled Passengers. Act I did not excite us. The dancing and movement was very rhythmic, but the props were not. They used large hard wood white boxes. CS says, “It’s like a office full of cubicles.” Well, they portrayed that one right with the name of Act I being “Cubicles”. Act II brought on the big structures we were waiting for. It well made up for Act I! Lots of jumps, slides, and tumbling.

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The trip wouldn’t have been complete without a stop # 2 to the ole’ NC to visit my friend the Piano Man!

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Where he kindly kept reminding the audience how old I was. He forgets, he ages too even though everyone around him stays the same age. 20 years and he still rocks the full room!

NYC – Day 6

Agenda:
*See everything we haven’t done yet!
*More shopping
*Pack

How do you survive a week in a hotel room with your Mother? Eye mask and noise cancelling headphones.

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Thanks for the pic Mom! These tools always make for a great night’s sleep. For our final day in NYC, we tied up some loose ends to see the Empire State Building and do some damage at Macy’s.

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Hopped on and off the buses again to catch all the sites we could. By the end of the day, our energy was sapped so we were ready for some hearty Italian from Carmine’s. While we waited for our RSVP, we popped into Gulliver’s Gate right next door. GG was on the list of 10 top hidden gems in NYC to visit. Had no clue what is was, but nothing had disappointed us yet! It was the world in miniature form! We started in NYC just showing the population of buildings.

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Then you got into the real details of the exhibit. 9/11 Memorial pools.

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We even made the jumbo-tron in Times Square!

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Well, tiny jumbo-tron…

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Over the pond to visit England!

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France

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The Taj

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These photos do not do it justice! The details are amazing. You get a metal key on a lanyard when you check in, so you can interact with each of the countries and make the display come to life. Mission Control monitoring every bit!

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Carmine’s was ready for us as our bellies were rumbling. Carmine’s was family style. We got the evening special chicken dish and the popular lasagna dinner. Some serious portion control was in order!

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K and I put the adults to bed, and finished off the night at The View, a revolving rooftop restaurant on the 38th floor of the Marquis. What. A. View.

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Before I pulled my eye mask down, I captured one last memory of the city that never sleeps. Good night NYC!

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NYC – Day 5

Agenda:
*9/11 Memorial
*Lady Liberty
*Broadway show – Hello Dolly

Even in this tall city, The Freedom Tower stands out from the crowd.

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Beautiful calming fountains dedicated to all those tragically lost encompass the land where the Twin Towers once stood. Ground Zero took my breath away.

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Inside gave you a look into the depth, literally, of this life changing event for our country.

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The survivor stairs that gave many a chance at life.

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After that, it was time to see what does make our county great, today. Not again. Today. Lady Liberty via the free Staten Island Ferry!

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Selfies with the Statue!

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Ferry hair. Don’t care.

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A beautiful free way to see the cityscape of NYC.

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Back on land, we cleaned up and headed across the street (again) to Shubert Theatre. Better Midler and David Hyde Pierce were awaiting our arrival to see the classic Hello Dolly! The only tickets we bought pre-arrival to NYC.

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The show was a classic Broadway production! And Bette was a doll to watch perform live and really enjoy her roll not too seriously. What an end to our trip! Are we ready to go home yet?! No!

NYC – Day 4

Agenda:
*Broadway show – Hamilton
*Shopping!
*Steak dinner

Our hotel, Marriott Marquis is in the heart of Broadway. Big question for us was what shows would we see? We all agreed Hamilton was at the top of the list, but all websites were quoting $600+ per seat! Too rich for our blood. We’ll pick other shows.

Monday as we are walking in to call it a night, we pass by the Richard Rodgers Theatre and box office where Hamilton is playing. There were people in there. Ummmmm…. K and I say “Moms! Let’s give it a try.” We get to the front of the line and just ask what’s available. They had tickets for the Wednesday matinee 10 rows back center stage $229 each. That we CAN afford! We couldn’t believe it! We were fumbling to get our credit cards out so fast like the tickets would disappear!

We slept in Wednesday morning because our first event of the day was Hamilton at 2pm!

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Mama, we made it happen!!!

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Brilliantly written show. The rapping was phenomenal. I feel very privileged to say I saw this show on Broadway.

We capped off our evening with some shopping at my all time favorite TJ Maxx! I couldn’t help myself even in NYC! I was having shopping withdrawals. Then Mom requested a steak dinner. Simple Google searches were our best way of finding really good restaurants, and it nailed it with the Gallagher’s recommendation. Mom and I split a filet because they were so big! Great way to have a night cap!

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NYC – Day 3

Agenda:
*Live with Kelly & Ryan
*Gray line Uptown bus tour
*MoMa
*Nap

K & I were eager beavers to find out what live shows we could see while in NYC – SNL, JF… Our Moms like the morning shows, so we quickly scored tix to Kelly & Ryan, Live! It broadcasts at 9am, so we had to get up early to get in line even though we had tickets. We were all dreading the 6 am alarm. Get these girls some breakfast then lets… wait.

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It was a exciting experience. My mother made me be on live TV as a child and I failed and so did she for not preparing me, and my bawling on the car floor ensued. This time we could relax behind the camera, mostly. Our guests were Demi Moore & David Muir!

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Kelly and Ryan were very courteous and friendly during the breaks, lots of the selfies and autographs. The audience was a little more aggressive then I expected trying to get the celebs attention. We sent messages back to the Midwest to make sure we were scheduled on the DVR!

As were were scoping out where to get lunch, we noticed a lot of police and barricades set up on the street. Trump was leaving his building. We got locked in. It could have been a decoy, but I saw the shadow of the hair in the middle SUV.

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I was more on the lookout for snipers. After a meal at Burger Heaven, we made our way to MoMA. Selfie with the Van Gogh Starry Night!

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Shout out to BD and his Piacsso piece!

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I was most excited to see a Pollack in real life!

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I was hoping we would see some outdoor art and bam! Hippo Ballerina sculpture was across the street from Lincoln Center.

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Everyone was starting to get slap happy. It was nap time. On our way back, I found my parcel of land in this big city!

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Hopped on the bus to get home and enjoyed views of The MET,

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and Central Park

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The Apollo

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Not joking, you see everything on these bus tours! After our nap, we were ready to fill our bellies. Bring on the Mexican cuisine for dinner!

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We ate like kings all week!

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NYC – Day 2

Agenda:
*Gray Line Downtown bus tour
*See hanging chickens in China Town (Carole request)
*Broadway show – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Since this was our first trip to NYC, K said the best way to see the whole city is on the bus tour. These guys were selling tickets right out our hotel door. One guy was willing to work with us and we scored the 2 day price for 5 days. This Downtown tour has 20+ stops on it! But before we got on we the bus, we had to check TKTS for a Broadway show. I love Willy Wonka, old or new version. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was playing next to the hotel. We were able to score tickets 50% off 10 rows back. I was giddy! More to come with that, on with the tour!

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The architecture in this city is amazing. Seeing from the roof top of the bus with a great tour guide adding his colorful stories about the history was absolutely the way to see this city.

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Flat Iron district!

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My motley crew!

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Best part about these tours is you can hop on and off as my times a day you want. So we hopped off in China Town. K wanted chicken on a stick. Carole wanted to see the chickens hanging in a store front. I wanted to get the hell out of there. It smelled terrible with the open baskets of seafood and meat. Barf.

After a few twists and turns, we found ourselves in the middle of the San Gennaro Festival in Little Italy. Yes, this food looks much better!!!

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Let’s eat lunch! Il Cortile provided a fabulous meal for our first outing.

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We hopped back on to finish the tour, but wait. We were rerouted because the President and the UN was in session. Streets were closed off. This fact would affect our route several times in the coming week.

We made it back, freshened up, and walked across the street to see Charlie @ the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre!

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Carole was a skeptic. How could they pull this off on a stage? But they did, it’s Broadway! They’ll figure it out! Everything from the Bucket bed, the Factory doors, and the magic inside with the glass elevator. Top 2 moments of the show was 1st, the Oompa-Loompas happened! The actors were on their knees using their hands as feet of the orange little bodies. It was fantastic!!! I can’t describe it,  you just have to see it! 2nd moment… a tiny squirrel came across the floor, then as they enter the shelling room, the actors were in full human size fluffy squirrel suits chasing Veruca Salt around! I was not expecting that and I was thrilled to see it! This show delivered and everyone in our party loved it!

Bucket List for Mama – NYC – Day 1

Mom started planting NYC-trip-seeds early this year. She slyly added the words “It’s a bucket list trip.” Who can say no to that even if she’s not at death’s door. As I started pondering how to make the trip happen, I knew my HLP had to come along. She’s well traveled to NYC and would be the perfect tour guide. When I approached her about the endeavor, she says “I can’t go without my Mom, she’ll kill me.” And, the Mother-Daughter trip was born. Off to NYC we go! Lots of emails and planning were exchanged. We were going to make this week count!

Agenda Day 1:
*Arrive safely to NYC
*Check in to the Marquis
*Experience Times Square

All the boys wanted to make sure we Midwest girls could handle the Big Apple. Lots of selfies allowed us to check in back at home. From JFK:

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Times Square is nuts! Oddly it was a smaller space than I expected. Camera angles make magic on TV. Yet it was busier than I could ever imagine!

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As we walked around, I noticed some plain dressed people with ear pieces like FBI. What’s up? Then I spied the movie trailer and didn’t recognize any stars, but we watched anyway. Who knows what this is/will be?

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We made our way over to Rockefeller Tower and Plaza. I still fail at the country flag game. Fun to see a daily TV space for real.

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Like a tourist, I was constantly checking the map to see what was around us. #1 spot I wanted to take Mom to was St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Just around the corner? Let’s go! We weren’t sure if they would even be open on a Sunday night. Unbeknownst to us, they were!!! They had an exhibit showcasing the Relics Of St. Padre Pio on display. It was quite an impressive turn out. We said a prayer for our family back at home.

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And I asked Mom to take a pic of me praying at the altar. She says quite frankly, “If this is a joke, I’m not taking a picture. I’m not going to hell for that.” I assured her that I was serious and was going to be thankful for lots of wonderful things I have in my life, including her. Now, TAKE MY PICTURE!

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After attending the Catholic Church, which should we attend this week? This was literally right outside our hotel door.

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Good night TS. I’ll see you tomorrow.

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But before our night ended, this perfectly describes this one…

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