Friday, February 21, 2020

i definitely want s'more

after competition was over, we took the bean to a pretty forgettable spot for sushi dinner.  well, she was perfectly satisfied with it - which is all that really matters anyway, right?  but we definitely made up for a mediocre dinner with a pretty fantastic dessert stop that took us a little out of our way.  totally worth it.

knowing very well how much i love all things marshmallow, the old lady had shown me an instagram account for a place called toasted mallow.  they do custom s'mores and milkshakes using fresh ingredients and housemade marshmallows in all kinds of flavors.  and of course, it was nowhere near home - more like gilbert, arizona.  but when the hub pulled up yelp while we were finishing dinner, i was pretty stoked to find it on the list of recommended places.  15 miles away from where we were, but he's always such a good sport in indulging my shenanigans.  and so about 20 minutes later, we were pulling up here:

it was pretty empty when we walked in, but there was a lady working behind the counter and the most delicious smell that greeted us as soon as we stepped inside.

the wall on one side was lined with shelves stacked with various flavors of marshmallows to take home, along with some fun layered treats in a jar.

at the counter, you could also pick out gourmet marshmallow pies and pops.

the s'mores menu was pretty extensive, along with a "build your own" option.

i knew the bean would be more interested in a frozen treat, and there were plenty of those to choose from too.

i opted for the butterfinger s'mores, but asked for chocolate marshmallows in place of the peanut butter ones.  she was happy to make the switch and piled them into a graham cracker bowl before torching the tops to make them all melty and gooey.  then she topped that with peanut butter sauce, chocolate ganache, butterfinger bits and threw in a couple of mini peanut butter cups for good measure.

we got about halfway through it before i was really sweet-ed out.  but man, was it good:

as for the bean, she went with the frozen hot chocolate - basically a chocolate shake with hot chocolate mix whipped in and then topped with marshmallow fluff.

they had a couple of cute shirts for sale too, which we spied on the way out.  they'd gotten a lot busier since we came in, but still took the time to wave and thank us for coming in.

the shelf stable items are available for purchase from their website, and we definitely walked out with a bag full of treats to take home and share with the old lady and her special friend.  if you happen to be in the area and are looking for something sweet, definitely go here.  so good, and super friendly!  i wish they had one at home.  i could use one of those s'mores right now.  mmmmmm.

Thursday, February 20, 2020

trying to earn that bid

we all slept in on comp day, knowing that we didn't have to have the bean in the coach's room until 11.  it was nice to just kind of relax and get ready at a leisurely pace before packing everything up and making the 20-minute drive to downtown phoenix.  there, we had time to stop at a dunkin donuts for a quick bite and head on into the hyatt for hair and makeup.

of course, because it's us, we realized that the bean had forgotten something she needed back in the hotel room.  d-oh!  and so we headed back out to scottsdale without a moment to spare.  the hub dropped us off at the door to run inside and get the bean dressed and ready while he headed back out to gas up the truck and then make our way back to phoenix...all within half an hour.  luckily, all she had to do was literally change into her uniform and then we even had time for a couple of pictures before he barreled back in to pick us up.

"look mom, it's like a late valentine!"

and then immediately after i took that, "i can't believe you took a picture of a leaf."  oy, kid.

we somehow managed to get back to the phoenix convention center right on time, with the hub dropping us off again while he headed off to find parking.  the team was gathered in front of the hall, making sure everything was in place and then taking lots of pictures.

the coaches took the girls inside for warmups then, and we found seats easily inside.  there was even a full concession stand open offering hot food, which was a really nice change from the usual garbage we find at these things.  instead of settling for a 7-eleven style hot dog and chips we were able to order grilled chicken sandwiches and burgers - i guess that doesn't sound like much of an upgrade, but believe was definitely better.

the bean's team took the stage first, and as always i was beaming with pride the entire time.  i wish she weren't in the back this year though, because i kept losing her as i watched them perform, but that's okay.  they killed their routine, and we were super proud of them all.

the squad's oldest team provided the very last performance of the day, and they were pretty phenomenal.  and when it came time for awards, everyone was over the moon to find out that they'd won a fully paid bid to quest championships at disney world next month.  the bean's team earned a bid for the competition as well, which was pretty exciting.

once we got home, after a long parent/athlete meeting followed up by lots of juggling and decision making, they decided to take everyone who wanted to participate and combine them into one big ol' honking team.  you know what that means?


ahhhhh yeah.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

road tripping to phoenix

the bean's next cheer competition was in phoenix, and it just so happened that it was the end of the second trimester (!!!) and she only had a half day of school on the day we needed to hit the road.  that gave me enough time to bust out my britney t-shirt and get in a session at orangetheory with the old lady first:

oh, and it happened to be valentine's day so she had free dress at school as long as she wore either red, pink or purple.

while she was at school the hub and i had time to run a couple of errands and grab some coffee.  my barista must've been feeling extra festive, or she liked the heart-printed top i was wearing (which i never did get a picture of, but that's okay).

we didn't get to leave right on time, but we got pretty close.  by 1:30 we were on the freeway and making our way east.

pretty soon we were in the palm springs area, as evidenced by the rows of windmills we drove past.

and then we crossed the border into arizona and lost an hour.

a gentle reminder:

a good amount of the drive was pretty boring, with not much to see.  but we did get to watch a very pretty sunset as we drove through the desert.

the competition was at the phoenix convention center, but the hub prefers to stay in scottsdale.  for this trip, he'd booked us a suite at the scott resort.  it was pretty dark by the time we got there, so my pictures aren't super.  but the rooms were very cute and the bean was elated when she realized that she had her own space to spread out in.

it was already after 9:00, so we decided to stay on the property and hit the hotel's restaurant for dinner.  it's cuban-themed, which was perfectly fine with us.  we started with some plantains and chips with some delicious black bean dip:

 and for some reason i got a bug up my butt to pick something healthy as my entree, choosing the baby kale salad with grilled skirt steak.  it was really good, although it seemed like i kept chewing on that kale and it wasn't disappearing.  even by the time i tossed my fork down and called it a night, it still didn't seem like i'd eaten any of it.  heh.

 and then we shared an order of the churro doughnut holes with guava and white chocolate dipping sauces for dessert.

awwww, he's my valentine.

just outside the restaurant they were playing movies and offered popcorn, but it was late and we were all pretty beat.  i'd love to come back here sometime when we have time to relax and enjoy all of the amenities.

the hub was even going to head out to check out a cool cigar lounge he'd found, but he was wiped out and ended up passing out cold around 11.  still, it was a great start to a fun weekend.

Friday, February 14, 2020

"it's not a scarf, mom"

yeah, i'll explain later.

mommy & me time with the old lady continued on monday, when we headed out to the west side for something super fun:

oh yes.  britney spears "the zone" is one of those pop-up experiences that we love so much, and we decided to head out that way when it was just the two of us.  no one else in our family would have appreciated it as much as we knew we would.  britney was the old lady's very first concert way back when she was about 3, and she had dolls and the tour bus play set and shirts all sorts of fun stuff.  i'd known about this when it was first announced, but it wasn't till one of my friends tagged me in a post on facebook that i asked the old lady if she wanted to go.  and we were amused to see that even the spots in the parking lot were painted pink:

it was fairly early and so when we walked in, we were greeted happily by the staff that was waiting at the check-in desk.

since the experience was about an hour long, we were encouraged to hit the restroom before we started, and even that was fabulous.

and right outside the restroom, a taste of what was to come:

we waited here for our guide and another father/daughter couple to get scanned and wristbanded.

our first stop:  britney high, made to resemble the set from the "baby one more time" video.  we were invited to take a seat and watch a quick safety video.

the next room was the locker room, where you could check out the gear inside several of the lockers and pull on the pink sparkly "fire alarm."

 the official britney high gym.

here you could write a quick note to britney which we were assured would be given to her at some point during the run of the pop-up.

then it was time to go out into space...via the "oops, i did it again" video set.

"but i thought the old lady dropped it into the ocean at the end?"  well, here it is.

this was a special photo op that you could pose on, just like the one that britney rolled around on in the video.  we may have taken advantage of it, but the resulting photos look so ridiculous that i just can't share them.

next up:  the "stronger" set.

her duet with madonna - "me against the music."

here, too, was another photo op - actually, a video.  you grab a cane and do some dancing against the wall and the video clip they'd send to the app you downloaded on your phone at the beginning would magically add britney dancing on the other side of the wall with you.  we let ourselves be talked into doing the video, but remember that i'm a terrible dancer and the old lady flat-out refuses to dance at all.  it's so embarrassing that even me, the oversharer extraordinaire, won't ever post it.  heh.

then it was time for a "toxic" flight aboard brit air.

 when you answered this phone, you'd hear - what else? - britney herself telling you "it's britney, bitch."

when we "landed," we were at the "circus."

 i'm not sure why i felt the need to pop my leg for this picture.  it just came naturally.

 boomerang op!

 the old lady decided to lower herself carefully into the ball pit for a quick photo.

but of course, i went all in and did a total trust fall:

that ball pit was clearly made for adults vs. smaller kids, because it was really deep.  like, when i landed i was a good foot below the surface and i couldn't get my bearings to push my way out.  the old lady told me later that she could actually feel me starting to panic, and she and the guide talked me through it until i was finally able to find my feet on the bottom and make my way out of there.  sheesh.

time to go to church:

here's where we met the snake...a la "i'm a slave 4 u."

the cage with the snake to pose with was another boomerang opportunity, and we both went for it.

of course, that's when i asked the old lady to take a quick still photo and i inexplicably wrapped that snake around me like i was accessorizing for the snow.  "it's not a scarf, mom!" she said, and everyone in the room started cracking up.  when we were done laughing at me, she took another, slightly more appropriate photo.

the next photo op was for the "paparazzi," for a magazine cover.

 and the final room of the experience.

 of course, there was a shop here with merchandise exclusive to those who went through the pop-up.

but we chose to head on out of there and check out the merchandise we'd walked through briefly when we first arrived.  they also had a few of britney's actual costumes used in videos and the dress she'd worn in her appearance in "star search" when she was a little girl.

i had to work hard to talk myself out of grabbing one of these.  i would've taken it happily to orangetheory and to barre classes, but honestly, the last thing i needed was another water bottle.

we were both amused at this wall.

all the merchandise was really fun, and we had a blast going through it all to pick out some souvenirs to take home.

while we hadn't really known what to expect (because we avoided looking at posts and photos online), we were pleasantly surprised at how much fun we'd had as we went through the whole thing. i'd been a little anxious about how much the old lady would enjoy it, again because she doesn't dance, and it was all about britney after all.  but we both had a really good time giggling through it together, and it made for more fun memories to look back on later.

plus, we've got that ridiculous video that will never see the light of day.  muahahahahahahaha.
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