Travel

Hotel Vanity Kit

On our recent trip to the O’Brien Historic Boutique hotel in the wonderful San Antonio, TX (one of my favorite cities), I was delighted to find a “Vanity Kit” in the bathroom amidst the Joseph Abood soaps and toiletries.  What would be found nestled inside this sweet little box?  We will soon find out…

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Honestly, I really had no idea what would be included.  I mean, what do you think is in a Vanity Kit?  I opened it up and at first glance I could see something that looked like q-tips and some cotton things.

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I wasn’t sure exactly what was included so I gingerly took the small package out of the box.  The anticipation was killing me!  😉

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Inside the box was an emery board, some very soft cotton squares and several q-tips.  I suppose that those items could take care of just about any vanity need that I may have.

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I of course googled “hotel vanity kit” and apparently there’s a whole industry for this.  Who knew? 

(((hugs)))  ~lisa

 

 

Travel

The Kennedy Center

We had another tour set up by our Congressman while were in DC.  It was at the Kennedy Center and I really hadn’t thought much about what we would or wouldn’t see when we went.  As you enter you are greeted by a gallery of flags. 

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It was for me, just a regular tour as far as tours go.  We were able to see some interesting things and some behind the scenes things as well.  We were able to see one of the auditoriums but were unable to see the main one as they were preparing for some sort of performance. 

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Here’s a cool shot of the seats.  They were pretty comfy.

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What do you notice when you tour somewhere?  I tend to notice or take an interest in things other than what are pointed out for us.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the docents sharing with us the history and interesting anecdotes etc.  I just tend to see some other things that many folks miss. 

Like the lights.  I love chandeliers and unusual lighting. 

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We walked out onto a terrace where they often have parties.  It had a wonderful view.

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As you look to the right of the terrace you will notice some buildings.  One of them is the Watergate Hotel. 

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Part of the tour included the opportunity to see a performance.  I thought we would be seeing this in one of the auditoriums but it was actually held in an area off of the main foyer. 

Again, some cool chandeliers.

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Our tour ended and we hurried to get in line for the free performance.  We were told that it gets crowded and they were right. 

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As part of its effort to make the performing arts available to everyone, the Kennedy Center offers a free performance every day on the Millennium Stage in the Grand Foyer.  These performances of music, theater, and dance feature emerging and established artists from the Washington area, across the nation, and around the world.  For more info you can go to Kennedy Center Millennium Stage

Our performance featured Peter Horr, Violoncello and Henri Sigfridsson, Piano. 

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The gift shop is always one of my favorite places to visit. 

 

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They had these beautiful miniature dresses.  I so wanted to get these even though I have no practical use for them. 

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I’m not a trained ballet dancer but I totally wanted to buy these shoes and wear them.  They just look so awesome to me.

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They had a cool patch that I bought to add to my collection.  🙂 

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Another cool thing that I found was this awesome payphone!!  When was the last time you saw one of those?  It even had phonebooks!  I was doing a ::happy dance:: 

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Have you ever been to the Kennedy Center?

What cool things have you seen on your latest trip?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

 

 

 

 

Travel

The White House…and our non-tour of it…

Because of the sequestration we were not able to take a tour of the White House.  Now please don’t think this post is an open invitation for a debate on politics.  This post is merely a description of my very brief visit to the White House.  Here goes…

TA DAH!!!  We are on our tour of the front of the White House!  WoooHooo!!  This was as close as we could get and would have to do.  I was disappointed but hey…stuff happens.

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It’s really a very beautiful building. 

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I’m not sure what this was about…

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I don’t even remember if the scroll was written in English or not.  Just kind of interesting seeing this right on one of the streets. 

And I don’t know what this was about either…

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The lady “manning” the display was nice.  Chatted with the guy in the pic for a bit but I never really understood what the issue was. 

One of the things that I LOVE about travel is the different and interesting things that you can see.  Much different than where I am from but that is what makes travel so awesome.

And there were folks on segues.  I may have to try it sometime.  I think I might feel kind of silly until I got the hang of it.  But even then I might still feel silly.  Or I might feel super cool and important.  I guess I’ll just have to try it and see.

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I really wish we had been able to tour the White House.  It would have been cool but I’m sure we’ll visit again and then maybe we’ll get our chance. 

  • Have you ever toured the White House?
  • Have you ever visited DC? 
  • What are your travel plans for the coming year?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

Peterson House

Across from Ford’s Theatre is the Peterson House.  We naturally went across the street to visit it as well. 

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I didn’t know this until we were there, but the Peterson house is where Lincoln died. 

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On the tour you can see the bed he laid in when he passed and a lot of old stuff.  And I think old stuff is cool so I enjoyed my time there. 

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Did you have a View-Master as a kid?  I didn’t but I thought they were so cool. 

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I love this stuffed Abe with the little mini stuffed Abe. 

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  • What museums have you visited lately? 
  • Where will your next adventure take you?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

Ford’s Theatre

When you think of visiting DC, do you have in your mind a mental list of places that you have to see?  I do and for me, Ford’s Theatre was definitely on the list. 

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A visit to the Ford’s Theatre campus traces the story of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency, assassination and legacy and is such an iconic part of American history that we just had to see it. 

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It’s also a National Historic Site so I was able to get my National Parks passport book stamped!  WoooHooo!! 

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The beginning of the tour…

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Here are some things you will see when on the tour.  There were so many things that I just picked a couple that kind of came to my mind.

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This is a piece of bunting from the flag that flew over Fort Sumpter during the Civil War was presented by Mrs. Archibald Hopkins in July, 1929.  I just think it’s cool because it really just looks like some threads but it was from a flag and it’s old.  And I liked how Harry signed the note. 

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These medals and medallions just look old and of course, they are.  I just think it would be cool to have something like this.  Not that I’d really do anything with it.  It would just be cool to have.

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I was just trying to see what he was reading but I am too short to do it discreetly. 

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It’s amazing how I can talk my husband into posing with statues and stuff.  He’s always such a good sport.

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One of the things that I am slightly obsessed with is learning about a person’s final moments.  You know how they showed those photos of Lady Diana’s final moments in the elevator before she died?  Well that kind of stuff just fascinates me.  I know it’s a bit morbid but it makes me think about what if something had been different then maybe they’d still be here? 

Well the point of that whole story is the reason I took this pic.  It gave me that same curiosity about his final moments. 

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Here is the famous box at the theater.

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We didn’t actually get to tour the box which was kind of a bummer.  One of the Park Rangers was saying it was because it was crowded with lots of school tours that day.  Really?  Well then can they let parties of two or less go see it?  Or give me a special tour?  The answer was no to both when I asked.  And yes, I asked.

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When my sister got married in 2008 she gave us bridesmaids a canvas tote bag with our initials monogrammed on it.  It was plain so I decided to jazz it up with some patches I had collected on previous trips.  Now every trip I go on, I look for patches.

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I thought this was a pretty cool one.  I now have a dilemma.  I have no more room left on my tote bag.  I’m not sure what to do now.  Maybe a blanket?  If you have any ideas on what I should do with them, please share! 

I also collect smooshed pennies.  They are also known as smashed pennies.  Pressed pennies.  Elongated coins.  Whatever you call them, I collect them. 

Are they legal?  In the United States, U.S. Code Title 18, Chapter 17, Section 331 prohibits “the mutilation, diminution and falsification of United States coinage.”  The foregoing statute, however, does not prohibit the mutilation of coins, if the mutilated coins are not used fraudulently, i.e., with the intention of creating counterfeit coinage or profiting from the base metal (the pre-1982 copper U.S. cent which, as of 2010, is worth more than the one cent in the United States).  Because elongated coins are made mainly as souvenirs, mutilation for this purpose is legal, when location of the coin presser has the permit from the mint to do so.

So there you have it folks.  I’m not breaking any laws.  At least where elongated coins are concerned. 

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Did you know that Abraham Lincoln’s image has been on the front of the penny since 1909?  Lots of fun and interesting facts that you can learn.  You can click HERE to learn more! 

  • Do you collect anything when traveling?
  • What things do you like to take pics of when traveling?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

The Old Post Office – Washington DC

One of the cool places that we came across was the Old Post Office.

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As I have mentioned before, Marvin had just retired from the Post Office so this was of course a place we had to stop and explore.

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According to their website, “Originally built in 1899, The Old Post Office Pavilion embodied the modern spirit that was sweeping the country. Today, our architecture and spirit of innovation continues to evolve and thrive.

Once the first government building to have its own electric power plant, today we continue to electrify — with the help of The DC Preservation League. And, thanks to forward-thinking people, you can now stroll through The Old Post Office Pavilion and experience both its glamorous past and fun-filled present with international food, eclectic shopping and musical events … All designed to entertain lunch, mid-day and after work audiences all week long.”

So once inside you realize it’s not like a postal museum or anything although they did have some things to look at.  It does have shops etc. and you can go up into the tower which we did. 

Now I know I’m not the only person that this happens to but glass elevators freak me out a bit.   It’s like you are too close to the edge or something.  Things could happen.  That involve falling and stuff. 

Despite my fears we rode the elevator up. 

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As you enter the bell tower area there is a plaque above a window.  I love the peeling paint and the brick being revealed behind it.

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Here is what the plaque says:

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One of the bells up close. 

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From the Old Post Office website,

The Congress Bells

In honor of our nation’s bicentennial in 1976, the private Ditchley Foundation of Great Britain presented a set of English change ringing bells to Congress. In April 1983, the bells found a permanent home in the Old Post Office clock tower. They were dedicated as an everlasting symbol of friendship between the two nations.

The 10 Congress Bells range from 581 to 2,953 pounds and are replicas of the bells in London’s Westminster Abbey. They were made at Whitechapel Foundry which had cast the Abbey’s bells four centuries earlier. The bells are in the key of D major.

The practice of change ringing combines the disciplines of art and science to produce a unique form of music. Change ringing involves continuously changing the order in which the bells strike. The method of producing these changes is precise and requires extensive training, practice and concentration.

A full peal, which is a continuous performance that takes up to three and a half hours to complete, is rung in honor of the opening and closing of Congress and on state occasions, including all national holidays. To achieve this feat, the tower hosts a weekly practice session for the bells’ stewards, members of the Washington Ringing Society of the North American Guild of Change Ringers.

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The views from the tower were awesome.  Love looking around the city from there. 

We could see the Washington Monument which was under construction at the time we were there.  

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You may have thought that I was trying to take a pic of the Capitol in the distance but you are wrong.  It took me a bit but I was able to take this awesome close up of the wires.  😉

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They did have some items on display.  Here’s a “vintage” mail bag. 

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Some first day of issue items.

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And as we were leaving I gave this sign a H!GH 5 for being awesome!  Seriously, I don’t know if they give you tickets for walking to fast or something in DC but I didn’t want to find out.

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  • What fun unexpected places have you visited lately?
  • Do you have any fears that you have to face when traveling?
  • Where will your next adventure take you?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

A Visit With Owney, Mascot of the Railway Mail Service

I am a HUGE fan of the Roadside America (your online guide to offbeat tourist attractions) website.  In fact, I rarely travel anywhere without first researching where I am going on the website and the app on my phone, and this trip was no exception.

Case in point, we were visiting DC and I wanted to know what odd and unusual roadside attractions that I definitely had to see.  I saw the info about  Owney, the stuffed Postal Dog and knew that it was definitely on the list.  Our trip to DC was to celebrate my husbands retirement after 29+ years of service to the USPS so this cool attraction fit right in. 

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At the top of the escalator, before you head down to the Smithsonian National Postal Museum, there is a statue of Owney greeting you. 

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National Postal Museum – 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE, Washington DC
Hours:  Daily 10 am – 5:30 pm.
Phone:  202-633-5555
Admission:  Free!

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

So here’s Owney up close and personal.  Don’t let the glassy eyed stare fool you, he was a cute little dog. 

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This little guy was a stray and the USPS mail clerks grew to love him.  He had found his “forever home” except his “forever home” was not just in one place! 

He started taking trips and as the card above mentions, Owney collected tags, tokens, trinkets and medals from his travels.

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I love seeing little quirky things like this.  They are little nuggets of useless info that I will store in my brain for later use.  You never know who might ask if anyone knows who the mascot of the railway mail service is…and I’ll know the answer!

Me – “Alex, I’ll take animal mascots for $1000.”
Alex – “This dog is the mascot of the U.S. railway mail service.”
Me – “Who is Owney?”
::ding::  ::ding::  ::ding::

And then I’ll get the answer right and probably win a million dollars or something. 

I picked up some *OWNEY* postcards to mail to all of our grandkids. I thought it would be cool for them to receive some mail from Nana and Poppy while we were on our trip so I bought a bunch of postcard stamps before we left.  Seriously, I’m singlehandedly trying to revive the whole postcard/snail mail industry.

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-Photo of postcard at the National Postal Museum

  • Have you ever checked out the Roadside America website?
  • What cool places have you been lately or what quirky things have you seen?

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

The Smithsonian National Postal Museum

My husband is a retired mailman and the trip to DC was his retirement trip, so of course we just had to visit the Smithsonian National Postal Museum

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The National Postal Museum, a Smithsonian Institution museum, is located in the old Post Office building next to Union Station in Washington, D.C. The Museum was created by an agreement between the Smithsonian Institution and the United States Postal Service in 1990 and opened to the public in 1993.

Museum Hours
The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., except December 25. Admission is free.

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

As we rode the escalator down to the museum, the first thing that caught my eye was an LLV – Long Life Vehicle.  This is the type of vehicle that my husband drove for the last 15 or so of his 29+ years with the United States Postal Service

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Of course they also had a mailbox.  For his retirement party I made one of these out of cardboard to hold all his retirement congratulations cards. 

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My version of the mailbox, which I think turned out pretty good if I do say so myself.

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Here is Benjamin Franklin, First Postmaster General.

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They had lots of cool displays and here are some things that caught my eye.

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One of the permanent exhibits that they have, that I particularly enjoyed, was the Mail Call exhibit.  Mail Call explores how the military postal system works and why the mail is an important resource.  Types of mail, transportation methods, and postal workers have all changed over time.  Through innovations in technology and organization, mail has become more diverse and military mail services more reliable. 

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An example of a “Post Office” on a Navy ship. 

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This exhibit hit closer to home as I am a military mom.  The role of the Post Office takes on a greater importance when the mail becomes one of your primary sources of connecting with your loved one. 

One of the activities that they had was a mail sorting “game”.  Marvin tried his hand at it and he did pretty good!

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-Photo of a card provided at the National Postal Museum store

I played a “sorting game” with this vintage machine.  You had to push certain buttons to sort the mail.

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As you can see, I sent most of the letters on the right path.  Yea me!!

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Marvin posing with Mr. Zip

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Me with Mr. Zip. 

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We had a lot of fun and if you have time I recommend stopping by as there are lots of interactive displays to enjoy with your family. 

  • What museums have you seen recently?
  • When is the last time you mailed a letter? 

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Travel

The Moon Rock

Have you ever touched a rock from the moon?  Well I have.  Twice. 

The first time I remember was when I lived in Fredericksburg, VA and we went on a field trip to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.  I thought it was so cool to touch a rock that had been on the moon.  Just seemed unreal to me that you could do that. 

Travel forward in time and I now had the opportunity to touch that rock again and I wasn’t going to miss it.  It seriously was top on our list of things to see/do while in DC.

We made our way to the Air and Space Museum and right there in the main lobby was the Moon Rock.  I made my way to it and had Marvin snap a pic of me touching that magical moon rock.

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I took a pic of Marvin touching it as well.  I wanted him to have this awesome opportunity too! 

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That’s my cool story of the day folks, what’s yours? 

(((hugs))) ~lisa

Food · Travel

The Dairy-ette Review

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9785 Ferguson Rd  Dallas, TX 75228     (214) 327-9983

Keep your eyes open when heading to the Dairy-ette.  It’s a small place that we actually missed the first time we passed it.  We quickly turned around and are so glad we did.

A trip to the Dairy-ette is like traveling back in time.  The history of the Dairy-ette began when a husband and wife team, Ed and Andy Prikryl, opened for business in October of 1956.  This original 50’s diner makes the freshest REAL French fries, homemade root beer (served in a frosty mug!!) and some of the best burgers you’ll find in the Dallas area. 

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I can’t even begin to tell you how yummy this is!!  Very creamy and smooth. 

If you’d like, you can eat in your car, under the red and white awning, where a friendly carhop will bring your food to you. 

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Or you can do like we did and go inside and sit in one of their comfy booths.

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Or you can even choose to sit at the counter.

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Whatever you decide just prepare yourself and your tummy for a real treat.

They still have the original soda fountain, cash register, car hop trays and their famous root beer keg.  This is so cool because it holds the home made root beer AND it says Coca-Cola on it!  Bonus!

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What would you like to try?

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I chose the burger and fries. 

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It was really good.  Had a tad too much mustard but I consider that my fault as I did not specify “easy on the mustard”.  Now about the fries. 

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Fries are a funny thing that many people have strong opinions on.  Do you have a favorite fry?  Some folks swear by crinkle cut fries.  Others say the hearty steak fry is definitely the best.  You also have the die-hard McD’s French fry fans…of which I am one.  How did these fries compare?  The only difference really, to me, were that they were a bit greasier.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing.  You need to go and try them and tell me what you think. 

(((hugs))) ~lisa