The PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT

Shannon at PEZ Visitor Center

The PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT is definitely worth the detour off of U.S. Route 95.

Chances are, you had a favorite toy growing up. You might even have that one toy that you’d kill to go back in time and not take out of its box. Twenty years ago, I started collecting PEZ dispensers, and today, I have about 10,000 PEZ dispensers and PEZ related items, kept safe in a storage closet.

When I was an RA in the dorms, I used to set all of my PEZ up and allow the residents of Terry Hall to come check out my “PEZ convention.” I’d put change in a PEZ bank and buy older PEZ from the antique store in Pioneer Square. I even spent one summer sorting through every single box of Lucky Charms, Cocoa Puffs, Trix, and Honey Nut Cheerios in groceries stores all around the Puget Sound, looking for the marked boxes that contained the limited edition miniature PEZ dispensers inside.

Get inside The PEZ Visitor Center

And recently, I had the chance to do something that I’ve always wanted to do. I got inside of the PEZ Visitor Center in Orange, CT. When you walk inside of the PEZ Visitor Center, you’re greeted with candy shaped benches and a large wall of dispensers. For a $5.00 entry fee, you get a PEZ badge on a PEZ lanyard, $2.00 in store credit, and a game piece to participate in the scavenger hunt of the day.

Here is a look at the experience:

The large display cases hold the rarest PEZ known to exist. While the first PEZ did not have a head on it (it is flat, and known as “A Regular,” meant for adults to carry breath mints), PEZ uniqueness over time has ridden on the characters represented on the top of the dispenser. If you have a chance to visit, you’ll see the Make A Face PEZ that was quickly recalled for safety concerns. Other personal favorites for me, based on age and rarity, were the boxes of wrapped Uncle Sams, Disney’s oldest dispenser of Mary Poppins, the pineapple sporting sunglasses, and all of the PEZ pals.

Rarest PEZ dispenser Cases at the PEZ Visitor Center

Inside of the PEZ Visitor Center

Participate in the scavenger hunt

Nobody is too old to play the PEZ scavenger hunt. As you peruse the Visitor Center, you look for PEZ dispensers of The Seven Dwarfs from Snow White. Here’s a nudge to get you started.

PEZ Scavenger Hunt

When you complete the card and fill in the message, you win the PEZ dispenser of the day.

Shannon at the PEZ Visitor Center

What was not in the museum

It goes without saying that the PEZ Visitor Center puts my personal collection to shame, but I definitely have many pieces that are not on display. To name just a few, my late grandmother bought me a set of hand forged PEZ pins, which are very rare. My cereal boxes were referenced on the reader board, but not presented in the flesh. My Seattle Supersonics basketball PEZ didn’t appear to be in the Sports section. I also didn’t see PEZ “mistakes,” which are a lot of fun for collectors to hunt. I have an old blue Batman on a discontinued Garfield display card, and once, I paid $1.00 for a sealed, empty PEZ package that had no dispenser at all.

Highly recommend checking out the PEZ Visitor Center

If you’re on I-95 and see the sign, pull off. Trust me, it’s highly worth it.

In front of the PEZ Visitor Center

PEZ Visitor Center

35 Prindle Hill Rd
Orange, CT 06477
Phone: 203-298-0201
info@pezcandyinc.com

http://www.pez.com/visit_us/

Traversing Big Sur and Pebble Beach in the 2014 Range Rover

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Lucky Duck looks out at a spectacular view in California.

Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to see one of the most gorgeous places in the entire country. I flew from the concrete jungle out to Monterey and adventured on the beautiful California coastline in a 2014 Range Rover. #luckyme

Old Coast Road

You can drive over the Bixby Creek Bridge, or you can hang an unexpected left and take Old Coast Road. I wouldn’t recommend it though – unless you’re in a Land Rover vehicle. It’s 10 miles of bumps, twists, turns, cliffs, and dirt. BUT, if you can get out on Old Coast Road, there are a few places to catch some sweeping views.

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Big Sur

The vast, expansive coastline of surf and lush greenery makes it hard to look at anything else from the back seat. Good thing, because there is no cell phone reception, so you’ll have to text your photos when you’re back in town.

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Pebble Beach

17 mile drive is one of the prettiest drives in the U.S. It is $10.00 per car, and completely worth it.

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Where to eat in Carmel

I had the privilege of eating at Casanova Restaurant in Carmel with Mike Serlin, Hollywood stuntman! He wore Hugo Boss, and I wore Badgley Mischka.

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We had the seafood linguini, gnocchi (their signature dish), steak, salmon, beets, Brussels sprouts… a red, a white, The Chrysanthemum… several desserts… EVERYTHING was phenomenal. What a delicious, wonderful meal.

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Super Bowl Boulevard at Times Square in New York City

Seattle Seahawks fans admire the Vince Lombardi trophy in Times Square NYC

Lucky Duck visits the Vince Lombardi Trophy on Super Bowl Boulevard.

Super Bowl XLVIII (48) kicks off in three days, but New York City is already buzzing with Seattle Seahawks/Denver Broncos excitement. Super Bowl Boulevard has shut Broadway down, from 34th Street to 47th, and today, through February 1st, you can join in the Times Square festivities.

Walk Super Bowl Boulevard

Visit the Vince Lombardi Trophy

Create a video with Snickers

Bobsledding in Times Square

Let’s go Seahawks!

Over the course of the week, I’ve been finding cool ways to celebrate my former home team. For example, I bought cupcakes with little football rings on top.

Super Bowl cupcakes

Seahawks and football rings

When I got out of the train the other night, I took a long walk to get a great shot of The Empire State Building, lit up in Seattle Seahawks blue and green.

Empire State Building lit up to celebrate Seattle Seahawks

Visit Super Bowl Boulevard in New York City

If you can make it down to Super Bowl Boulevard, you should.

Super Bowl Boulevard signage in Times Square

Katrina and I vogued on the green carpet.

Super Bowl Boulevard Step and Repeat

Shannon Truax at Super Bowl Boulevard

New York City sets up New Year’s Eve in Times Square

New York City sets up New Years Eve in Times Square

Lucky Duck visits the most iconic spot for New Year’s Eve.

Most of the world will be peering in on what’s going on in New York City’s Times Square on December 31st. And in preparation of the main event tomorrow night, things are starting to happen. As I was walking home from Cinderella The Musical last night (read my review here), I wanted to walk through Time Square and see everything firsthand.

The stage is set

Stopping by the Nivea stage, I wanted to share a few thoughts about 2014:

Shannon Truax in Times Square New Year's Eve at Times Square in NYC

Where I will be on New Year’s Eve

I’ll be where I was last year – The Gold Mansion on Long Island! Last year, I attended the party of the year, and this year, my golden invitation arrived again. #luckyme

To ring in 2013, I dressed up as a flapper and headed out to the Speakeasy, where I ate and drank things that I couldn’t imagine. I watched burlesque dancers, played roulette, danced, and shopped in the costume jewelry section (actually, you just got to take what you liked).

Shannon Truax on New Year's Eve 2013 Shannon Truax on New Year's Eve 2013 New Year's Eve

How I resolved my goals in 2013

I’m pleased with how I fulfilled my New Year’s resolutions in 2013, which were:

What I resolve for 2014

My six resolutions for 2014 look a bit different than what I set out to do this past year. I’m a different person than the gal who started 2013 back in January, and I’m committed to The Big Apple. I am excited to see how these goals play out over the next 12 months.

    1. Make big impact at work.
    2. See my family.
    3. Work out, and watch the indulgences.
    4. Involve myself in meaningful relationships.
    5. Do something “Wow” at least once per week.
    6. Do something I’ve never done before at least once per month.

I have no idea what posts will live on goluckyduck.com, and I’m fascinated to imagine what might be… Cheers!

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Snowing in Central Park

Snow in Central Park Shannon Truax

Lucky Duck enjoys the most beautiful Winter Wonderland in New York City.

Central Park in the snow is one of the most beautiful things that you will ever see. This is especially true during the Holiday season, when the beautiful windows of Bergdorf Goodman inspire, the lights of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center sparkle, the Christmas Markets are in full swing, and The Empire State Building lights up NYC in red and green.

Live reporting from the snow with Katrina

The Winter Wonderland of Central Park

Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Katrina Stahl in Central Park in the snow

Central Park in the snow

Shannon Truax at Central Park Holiday Market

A quick list of my favorite Christmas blog posts

Happy Holidays!

Lucky Duck and I wish you the best Christmas and Holiday season!

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Fall in NY: Wilkens Farm, Tarrytown, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

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Lucky Duck visits the farm and the most famous cemetery in American History.

It was the best Fall day in Upstate New York. Kristen, Saunak, Tony, and I drove up over the GWB and killed it at Wilkens Farm, Tarry Town, and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery – the area in the U.S. made famous by Washington Irving’s Classic Short Story, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, where the headless horseman terrorizes school master Ichabod Crane before Crane’s final disappearance.

Picking apples and pumpkins galore

We stopped at the bakery right away for hot, fresh Apple Cider donuts and a few treats to go. Then we set out towards the orchard and the patch. Here’s a video of me demonstrating proper apple picking, using a borrowed stick. Sure, it’s fine to see me work this big stick, but the most exciting part of the video is the video bombers, hands down.

While you can pick apples and cut Christmas trees at Wilkens Farm, you can’t actually pick pumpkins fresh off of the vine. It’s not a pumpkin patch, per se, but they do bring 1000’s in for the taking.

Shannon Truax at the patch

Wilkens Farm Pumpkins Kristen Blush in the patch WP_20131026_023

Too soon to mention Christmas?

See a field of baby Christmas trees on the right, and get a snapshot of our day overlooking beautiful East Coast Fall vistas on the left.

The Halloween Parade in Tarrytown

Can you find Lucky Duck?

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Irving’s Legend of Sleepy Hollow is set in 1790 in the countryside around Tarry Town, (historical Tarrytown, NY where we were hanging out) in a glen called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is renowned for its ghosts and the haunting atmosphere – the most famous being the Headless Horseman. As we watched the Tarrytown parade, it was awesome to see this infamous villain appear on his famous horse.

The Tarrytown community got all dressed up for the festivities, and I was impressed with the spirit. Clearly Halloween is the best time of year to be hanging out in Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow.

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Murder and Mayhem Lantern Tour at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Prior to our 2-hour walking tour through America’s most famous cemetery, we filmed an awesome Fireside Chat, via Lantern light.

Saunak, Tony, Kris, Shannon scared at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Basically, how the tour works is you and about 20 people grab lanterns and walk the cemetery with a guide who pulls off at certain headstones and tells incredibly captivating stories about the people who are buried there. Because we picked “Murder and Mayhem,” our stories were around the crazies of New York and ultimate tragedies. It was something to experience….

Tombstone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Madame Restell Tombstone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Rockefeller Tombstone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Image on left: This obelisk is where a swindled entrepreneur lies, maybe. After his son-in-law took him for everything he had, he jumped ship overseas while on a cruise. A family member went over to gather his remains, but no one knows for sure if the bones brought back were really his or not.

Image center: This is where “The Wickedest Woman in New York” lies. Madame Restell was an abortionist in the early 19th century. She had absolutely no medical training whatsoever and made a fortune. When authorities were catching up to her, she prepared a bath in her 5th Avenue mansion, dismissed her servants for the night, and slit her own throat in her tub.

Image on right: The largest mausoleum, on the highest point of Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, belongs to none other than The Rockefeller’s. This was not part of the Murder and Mayhem tour, but it’s grand enough to get a shout.

The tour ends on a seemingly modest note

But that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Strong Tombstone at Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

When you look at this headstone, you see that every family member died in 1919 – that’s not good. It either means that something happened, or there was an epidemic. In the case of the Strong family, it sadly was the former. One night after dinner, everyone went to bed. The father went to the library to read a religious devotion, and after that, he went to the shed to get his ax. You know where this is going… I will spare the details, but miraculously, the two little girls survived the attack, and in the 50’s, cemetery records show that they came to Sleepy Hollow cemetery with their own children to visit this tombstone.

Happy Halloween

Ugh, that was heavy!

To lighten the mood, here are some retro-Halloween shots of my sister and me as kids in the 80’s. Have a wonderful Halloween week!

Witch and Raggedy Ann and Lucky Duck shera-and-barbie-bride Barbie and the Rockers

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Beacon is a fantastic day trip

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Lucky Duck admires art at DIA in Beacon, New York.

My sister and I cabbed over to Grand Central Station to catch a train on The Hudson River Line, up to Beacon. (Photo by Blush Photo: http://www.blushphoto.net).

Grand Central Station and The Chrysler Building

For a little over $30.00 round trip, you can take a gorgeous ride along the river, about 75 minutes upstate to Beacon, New York, the next stop after Cold Spring, another awesome spot to visit.

Hudson River Line View

See incredible art at the DIA Museum

We started out at The DIA Museum, one of the most high impact art spaces I have ever seen. $12.00 gives you free reign to wander the enormous space that houses modern art from the 60’s to the present. The space is phenomenal – super industrial, high ceilings, exposed brick, big windows, expansive floor space. You walk from room to room and find art at every turn. At a glance, the art itself is very simple, but the environment really makes the experience one that you’ll never forget.

Here is a look at a few shots by Kristen Blush (www.blushphoto.net).

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The grounds are peaceful and calming, perfect for a picnic – so pack treats, if you’d like!

Picnic tables at DIA Beacon

Eat at Homespun Foods

But I would actually recommend that you take the shuttle from the museum for $1.75 up to the main part of town and eat there. Kristen and I enjoyed an amazing lunch at Homespun Foods. My tomato fennel soup came in a tea cup, and my Tuscan Tuna Salad Sandwich was incredibly delicious. They make all of their soups, tuna salads, and baked goods fresh from scratch right there. You can even buy cookie dough, soups, and ravioli from the case to take home with you. I was so happy that we stumbled upon Homespun Foods. Eating out in their garden was such a treat. I couldn’t recommend it more!

Tomato Fennel Soup

Shop at Dream In Plastic

We had such a great time playing in Dream In Plastic. Such a cool selection. Kristen bought a Squishables Octopus which kept the entire train entertained on the way home.

Kristen on the train

Day trips out of the city are a lot of fun. I just bought us tickets today to the Murder and Mayhem Lantern Tour at The Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, the Saturday before Halloween!

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

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