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

Group shot

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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My weekend in Maine

The Portland Head Light

Lucky Duck enjoys the view at The Portland Head Light.

I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend in the Pine Tree State, thanks to my amazing host, who went out of his way to make sure that I had a blast.

Beautiful views at Cape Elizabeth

Cape Elizabeth was the perfect way to begin my very special weekend in Maine. When I pictured a Maine lighthouse in my head, this is exactly what I pictured. The real thing didn’t disappoint.

The grounds were truly spectacular, and the duck sandwich at Food & Wine Mag noted, Duck Fat, was delish!

The Portland Head Light Fort Williams Duck fat

A real fireside chat

My wonderful host chopped firewood in advance of my visit and bought me ingredients to make smores – all in the name of giving me, for the very first time, an authentic fireside chat! Here, he serves as my cameraman, while my friend and I chat fireside.

Fresh Maine lobstahs, straight from the lobster pound

Everything on my bucket list was coming true, left, right and center – and Maine lobsters really are as good as I’ve heard. We went to a lobster pound and picked our lobsters out of a huge tank.

Before After
Maine Lobsters Maine Lobsters

Huevos Rancheros for breakfast before we go shopping

Anyone who will cook with me is awesome, in my book. After some serious grocery shopping and recipe searching, look at what I got on my first morning waking up in Maine! Lucky me.

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Making breakfast Huevos Rancheros

 

Following a happy plate, I was taken shopping in L.L. Bean’s flagship and outlet mall. I bought a super hot North Face black jacket and some other odds and ends.

LL Bean flagship LL Bean flagship

My favorite souvenir is from The Salty Lobster

As I mentioned, Maine lobsters have been on my bucket list for years, so you can imagine my pure delight when I wandered into The Salty Lobster and found this bracelet, photographed in my selfie below, all decked out in maritime garb. It is made from legitimate nautical rope, lobster rubber bands, and marine grade hardware. It came in a bait bag used in lobstering. Made in Maine. Yes! If you’re interested in finding a piece like this for yourself, check out their website (www.thesaltylobster.com) or shoot them an email at thesaltylobsterfreeport@gmail.com.

My maritime outfit

The Cumberland Country Fair

My timing couldn’t have been better. I was able to attend the Cumberland County Fair!

I visited livestock, saw a 500 pound pumpkin, ate a huge pickle, and won the horse racing stand. Sadly, I didn’t win the raffle for the freezer-ready pig.

Cumberland County Fair in Maine Cumberland County Fair in Maine Cumberland County Fair in Maine
Cumberland County Fair in Maine Cumberland County Fair in Maine Cumberland County Fair in Maine

A surprise in my bag

When I got home the next morning, I was fishing some items out of my oversized carryall, and look at what was slipped in there to surprise me. On the back was a very thoughtful note.

My surprise card

A big thank you, from the bottom of my heart

It was an incredible weekend, and I am deeply touched that somebody went through so much trouble to make sure that I had an amazing vacation in Maine. My bucket list was not disappointed, and this was truly the greatest way to end an incredible month overall.

Cumberland County Fair in Maine

Kayaking on The Hudson River in New York City

Kayaking on The Hudson River in New York City

Lucky Duck is out at sea.

I love the water. When I moved to New York City from Seattle last summer, I picked a spot in Manhattan close to The Hudson River Park. Chelsea is awesome. I live right next to The High Line, Chelsea Market, and Chelsea Piers, and I go running along The West Side Highway all the time. The WSH is one of my very favorite places in all of New York City.

Be spontaneous

Today, after running seven miles down to Battery Park City and back along the WSH…

Proof

…I stopped at a sign that caught my eye – FREE KAYAKING at The Downtown Boathouse! The spirit of spontaneity came over me, and I popped off my Mizuno sneakers, grabbed a pink and black life preserver that matched my outfit, and giddily walked down the dock to snag a yellow kayak.

Kayaking on The Hudson River in New York City

Let me quickly digress

Some of the BEST things that have happened to me over the last year came about because I allowed myself to fully live in a moment and do something unexpected. Here’s a quick list of a few of my top five favorite spontaneous moments this year.

Kayaks and creatures and skyline, a-hoy!

Kayaking on The Hudson River in New York City

Kayaking on The Hudson River in New York City

There’s still time

Free kayaking on The Hudson River runs through October 14th on the weekends. New York City is so cool.

Shannon Truax kayaking on The Hudson River

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Twitter hosts #TwitterOnTap at The Standard Hotel

#twitterontap

Lucky Duck toasts Summer 2013 with Twitter at The Standard Hotel rooftop.

Wow. Twitter knows how to throw a bash. As I walked in and immediately was greeted with champagne and a fresh crepe, I knew that the night was off to a great start.

We were thrilled to be enjoying a beautiful night on the roof of one of New York’s hottest locations.

#twitterontap #twitterontap #twitterontap

 

 

Love my new friends

#twitterontap

Getting in to The Boom Boom Room

As I was leaving the killer event, I saw the heavily guarded door of The Boom Boom Room just ahead of me. Should I try to get in?! Of course…. and I did get in, based on my shoes. It’s magical in The Boom Boom Room. And, it’s one of THE most exclusive places in the city. Hands down.

Inside of The Boom Boom Room

Inside of The Boom Boom Room

View from the roof is breathtaking

The Boom Boom Room View

Little did I know, and I never could have imagined, that two new friends would buy me a very elaborate present to enjoy while getting to know each other.

Cristal in The Boom Boom Room

Cristal in The Boom Boom Room

After drinking our Cristal, we were treated to Buddakan for a very elaborate meal, fancy cab, port, and all the works. It was honestly a New York Minute that I will never forget.

Choose your own adventure

I was perfectly content leaving the Twitter party. My two new friends were amazing. Twitter threw a fab soiree. I loved my crepe. But as I walked out and saw that door to The Boom Boom Room, it was like a “Choose Your Own Adventure” novel.

When you approach the end of #TwitterOnTap, you walk out to the lobby and see a heavily guarded door in front of you. If you grab your coat and walk out with your friends, go to page 10. If you say goodbye to your friends and approach the guard, go to page 20.

Path #2 really worked out well for me last night. And what’s so weird is that that was the second time that a man bought me a bottle of Cristal in New York City, and the third time that I was randomly treated to Buddakan. New York is pretty cool. In a year, I’ve lined up so many New York Minutes… and I’m proud of that. It’s not an easy city.

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