Monday, May 21, 2018

Memorial Day Recipe Ideas






Can you believe summer is almost here! Where did spring go? No, seriously, where did it go?!











Here in Kansas, we’ve gone from freezing temperatures to 90-degree days. Springtime lasted about a week! Did that happen where you are?

At the end of March, I said goodbye to my downtown apartment and moved to a house on the outskirts of Topeka. I'm sharing it with my mom, who says she moved from Missouri to Kansas to keep an eye on me, but everyone knows I'm the one keeping an eye on her!

One of the best things about the new house is having a yard. I wasn't even settled in yet, but I had someone come till up a part of the backyard for a garden!


The other great part is being able to have a grill again. I've missed food made over the fire! 




With Memorial Day approaching, I went through some past blogs for some of my favorite start-of-summer recipes I thought you might like to try this weekend:

           




Ribs with Homemade Rub and Sauce

            










            








            















Enjoy the start of summer—even though it’s already begun here!


Monday, April 23, 2018

Cruising New England in the #BuickRegalTourX


I love my home in Kansas. The wide-open spaces, views that go on for miles, constant breezes, and warm people have stolen my heart. Still, after almost 20 years of living in New England, I do get homesick at times for the tree-covered mountains, rocky beaches, and antique towns of our nation’s birthplace.


So, when the Buick folks offered me a trip to Vermont to test out their new Regal Tour X, I jumped at the chance! (Check out the disclaimer below.) I would spend a few days in Woodstock (the place where people go skiing, not the home of the famous rock concert), pay a visit to friends in New Hampshire, and check out some sites in historic Concord and Boston, Massachusetts.

I stayed at the Woodstock Inn and Resort (stay tuned for a post on that terrific place). The trip was supposed to happen in March when the resort and the Regal would have looked like this:

 (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for Buick)
Unfortunately, the Nor’easters that brought all of that beautiful snow kept me from going.

By the time I got there in April, most of the snow was gone and the leaves and flowers hadn’t shown-up for spring yet. Still, Vermont was beautiful:


The car was a dream! It handled the busy streets of Boston as I navigated my way from the airport to the highway headed towards Vermont. I liked the Lane Keep Assist, which would gently steer the car back into the center of the lane if I ever drifted towards the line. It was kind of strange at first, but I got used to it. I also loved the Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert. An amber start and car icon would light up in the side mirrors if there was a car in my blind spot. Believe me, that feature came in handy changing lanes in a city like Boston!


The interior of the Regal Tour X was huge. While in Woodstock, I had just stopped in the parking lot of the local grocery store when a man came up to the car and asked if it was the new Regal. When I said yes, he asked to look inside. His reaction was, “That back seat is as big as a limo!”

The season most of us know as spring is called Mud Season in New England. It’s the price everyone pays to transition from the snowy beauty of winter to the flower-packed beauty of spring. This meant instead of testing out the Regal’s ability to drive in the snow, I got to see what it could do on muddy roads. The All-Wheel Drive kept me steady and the suspension made even the bumpiest roads a smooth trip.

Afterward, this beauty needed a bath:



If I had to pick my three favorite things about the Regal Tour X, they would be:

1. The heated steering wheel! Just think…no gloves. The steering wheel heated up almost instantly.
 
 (Photo by TalismanPHOTO for Buick)
2. The panoramic sunroof: I loved all the light it let into the car. It was cloudy for most of my stay, but when the sun did break through, there was a sunshade I could close to help keep the car from getting too hot. However, since it was cold, I just left it open. I took this photo through the roof:



3. The navigation system: The built-in Navigation system, which is part of the Buick Infotainment System panel, was easy to use. Just type in where you want to go, and it tells you what to do! In this case, it took me by the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Boylston Street.



Runner-up: The Wi-Fi system. You can connect up to seven devices to the system! I logged in my phone and my laptop, both of which worked at speeds comparable to my home system. (Here is a post I did about the system if you want more info.)



If you’re in the market for this type of car, I would highly recommend the Buick Regal Tour X. I completely fell in love with the car and hated to give it back. Now it’s on my wishlist to buy…hopefully soon!


Disclaimer: The Buick people paid for my trip to Vermont and gave me the use of the Regal for my entire stay. However, the opinions in this blog post are entirely my own, and they are not paying me to make this post. All the photos are my own unless otherwise noted. 


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Fun in Wichita for both Basketball Fans and Non-Fans





Are you headed to Wichita for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament? Be sure to give yourself enough time to explore all the city has to offer. The folks at #VisitWichita sent me a few suggestions. Ways for fans to participate in NCAA-related activities will start on Wednesday, March 14, and run through Saturday, March 17.






Thursday: Sessions 1 and 2 will be played at INTRUST Bank Arena. Fan Fest will begin two hours prior to tip-off and will take place to the north of the arena on St. Francis in between William and Douglas Avenue, which will be closed to traffic from 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, through 5 p.m. Friday, March 16.

Plus, Fan Fest and more than a dozen parties and fan events will be hosted directly around the arena and in surrounding districts such as Old Town and the Historic Delano District during the week of the tournament, providing a variety of ways for locals and visitors to enjoy the tournament.

Designed to be a fun, festive environment, the event will include food trucks, a live DJ, a “Big Shot” basketball game and more.

Friday: Tournament games will not be played in Wichita on Friday, March 16, but fan events and area attractions will be open and welcoming fans.

“Friday is an opportunity for visitors to tour the city – and Wichita has something for everyone,” said Santo. “While basketball fans will find a variety of sports bars and fan events, from downtown and beyond, to catch the games playing in other cities, those wanting to visit any of Wichita’s more than 33 museums and other attractions like the Sedgwick County Zoo, the iconic Keeper of the Plains, urban art tours or Tanganyika Wildlife Park, will enjoy a whole day to explore.”

My favorites spots in Wichita:






Wheat State Distilling: They make vodka out of wheat and corn. They also make other tasty spirits and serve a wonderful charcuterie plate for an appetizer.

















Public at the Brickyard: They make amazing pizza, plus a lot of other dishes, using local ingredients.

















The Farris Wheel: A fun shop where you’ll find just about any candy imaginable!












The Anchor: Great food and drinks with a fun, relaxed pub atmosphere.


















The Kitchen: While this place serves really good food, the cakes are amazing!















Scotch and Sirloin: Did someone say steak?















Jimmie’s Diner: Old-school diner atmosphere with terrific chicken fried steak and cinnamon rolls.





Saturday: St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, will consist of Session 3 games and plenty of parties to mark the holiday, such as Wichita’s 12th annual Historic Delano District’s parade and Brick + Mortar’s Irish Fest 2018.

A full list of fan festivities can be found here: www.visitwichita.com/fan-events. A variety of other resources can be found at www.visitwichita.com/welcome-basketball-fans.