Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas! Tizzel's Final Christmas Countdown 2014

In keeping with the tradition of the last day of the countdown, Tizzel brings you some Miltary Homecomings! We're happy to see our soldiers getting to spend time with their loved ones this holiday season.

Christmas - Military Homecomings

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Day 9 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

The joy of coming down the stairs on Christmas morning....over 25 years.

Day 9 - Twenty Five Christmas Mornings


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Day 8 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

In 1997 the best selling holdiday album was Hanson's "Snowed In". The boys gave us some remakes of classic songs and a few original ones that are still on holiday party playlists.

The first video is from 1997 (looks like a tv special) with the band singing Merry Christmas Baby. The second video is their new holiday song Finally It's Christmas. This recent video was part of a webcast from at the end of November.

Day 8 - Hanson Christmas then and now

Monday, December 22, 2014

Day 7 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

The Dukes of Hazzard tv show has become popular again thanks to the reuniting of Tom Wopat and John Schneider for a Christmas album. In today's countdown we feature a few minutes of the Christmas episode that shows all the characters getting along. Our second clip is of Tom and John doing their twist of "Baby it's Cold Outside".

Day 7 - The Dukes




Saturday, December 20, 2014

Day 6 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

Holiday gatherings and drinking go hand-in-hand. Here are a few beer ads that celebrate the season.

Day 6 - Beer Ads



Friday, December 19, 2014

Day 5 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

One of the best Christmas films is Miracle on 34th Street (1947 version). It's been remade several times, but no version comes close to the original. Today's videos feature the theatrical trailer of this classic and a video by Holiday Hysteria filled with trivia about the film.

Day 5 - Miracle on 34th Street Trailer and Trivia



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Day 4 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

It's no secret that Team Tizzel loves reggae and Jamaica. As children of the 80's we totally enjoy Bryan Adams and Pee Wee Herman in the MTV studios doing "Reggae Christmas".

As a bonus, we added a video someone shot in Negril of the the beach singers. We love Negril and enjoy watching the impromptu performances available for a small tip.

Day 4 - Reggae Christmas

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Day 3 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

It's great when you can mobilize a city's police force to do your bidding. In this case, a nice man empowers law enforcement to give gifts to the community. Some great reactions from recipients in this one. Don't forget to Pay it Forward this holiday season.
Day 3 - Secret Santa Saves Christmas

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Day 2 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

Today on the countdown we visit Vienna, Austria for their Christmas Market. Vienna is rated as one of the best cities to visit for Christmas and this video gives a glimpse into why it's a great holiday destination.

Day 2 - Vienna Christmas Market 2013


Day 1 of Tizzel's Christmas Countdown

We are back at it again! Team Tizzel is giving you a little relax time by the fireplace. For the next ten days we'll be posting fun Christmas-related videos. Think of it like a digital Advent Calendar. Don't forget to keep checking back.

Day 1 - Chicago Blackhawks Sing-Along Christmas Album

Tizzel is not really a hockey fan, and certainly could not name a person in this video, but he thought it was funny and creative.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Epcot Videos

We put together 2 other videos from our recent Disney World trip:
First, we have our Dash to Soarin' video. When staying at The Boardwalk Hotel we enter Epcot through the back door (International Gateway). The park is supposed to time the gate opening so folks coming into International Gateway arrive at the attractions the same time as front gate guests. They were a bit late in letting us through that morning and we needed to get to Soarin' before the line formed. This is a chronical of our journey.
The second video is of the new Flag Waving show in Italy. It covers about 1/2 the show with some reactions from us thrown in at the end.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

December's Charity of the Month: Heifer International

Charity of the Month is the newest way Team Tizzel is helping to support some very worthy organizations. As part of this program, we will dedicate a post to a charity that we will sponsor through the month by donating Holly's training run money.

October: In November we sponsored Toys For Tots because kids should have toys for Christmas. We will be donating $125 plus a matching gift to Toys For Tots. You can still donate by following this link.

December's Charity:

Heifer International

Who doesn't want to give someone a baby goat? For over 70 years Heifer International has given people the gift of livestock that puts them on the road of long-term financial independence.

From Heifer's website:


We empower families to turn hunger and poverty into hope and prosperity – but our approach is more than just giving them a handout. Heifer links communities and helps bring sustainable agriculture and commerce to areas with a long history of poverty. Our animals provide partners with both food and reliable income, as agricultural products such as milk, eggs and honey can be traded or sold at market.

When many families gain this new sustainable income, it brings new opportunities for building schools, creating agricultural cooperatives, forming community savings and funding small businesses.

At first the idea of giving people animals sounds like a joke, but it all makes sense when you learn about how a flock of ducks or a pig can really impact someone's like. It's fun to browse the catalog and look at the animals. Click the picture below to go to their catalog and consider making a donation:


Sunday, November 30, 2014

Route 66 Marathon Report and Video

Here is Holly's Route 66 Marathon Race Report:

I have been looking forward to this race for years. The Route 66 race is known for their very cool medals and an overall great events. Unfortunately, all of my recent racing caught up to me and I came down with what I thought was IT Band syndrome. I didn’t run hardly at all in November and it still was bothering me. As a last ditch effort I went and saw my Orthopedic doctor on Monday before the race. He agreed it was my IT Band and took an Xray to check for arthritis and bone spurs. All good there so he decided to give me a cortisone shot in my knee. Ouch! It hurt and it was very sore for the next few days. I also started PT to help strengthen my hips and glutes so it doesn’t come back. I was nervous at how my knee would hold up during the race, but we had non-refundable airplane tickets and lots of friends going to the race so we decided to go and if I had to pull out of the race I would.

We got to Tulsa Friday night and went right to the Expo to get our bibs and stuff. The shirts were very disappointing. Same shirt for the 5k, half and full marathon and they were short sleeved cotton. They also didn’t have a lot of race merchandise. After the Expo we met up with our friends and went out for dinner at Naples FlatBread.

Saturday was the 5k. Dave, Michael and I just walked it to save my IT band. It was raining slightly and then more heavily towards the end. We were hoping the rain would move out for the rest of the weekend.

After the 5k we did some local Tulsa activities. Not a whole lot to do and then we went to dinner with everyone at Ti Amo. Great place. Back early to the hotel and just rested up for the race in the morning.

Race Day and the weather looked perfect. A little overcast, and a bit warm and windy, but no rain! The start area was very organized and we even managed a last minute bathroom stop before the start. The start was AMAZING. A ton of confetti is shot off for each of the corrals. It was so cool. Helen, Michael, Stan and I were off and running. I was hoping to stay with the group, but wasn’t sure how the knee would feel. We had some great race chasers! Dave and Pam did a great job following us along the course and delivering us Pepsi’s, oranges, chips, etc.

The race course was much hillier than we expected it to be. We also went out a bit fast, but I was so anxious to get past mile 7 where my pain usually starts that, I didn’t slow down. We get to mile 7 and things still feel good. My IT band didn’t bother me the whole race. Unfortunately not running for a month, combined with the super hilly course took its toll. By mile 15, I said to Stan I was done! Not good. We still had a long way to go. We started walking up the hills and running down them. Even then I was still struggling. Everyone was great and stayed with me even though I told them to go on without me.

The course did have plenty of beer options as well. It was nice to have a few sips of beer on the course. Spectators were great and lots of creative signs.

This course also has a detour they call Center of The Universe. It’s an area where you can hear a cool echo. We took the detour. It’s a mile 25.5 and it adds .3 to the course. It’s the worlds shortest Ultra. When you do the detour they give you a beer and a cool coin. This was really fun and I’m glad they offer it. After the detour it’s only a short distance to the finish and I was so happy to cross it with all my friends. I even got a high five from Bart Yasso. I got my 50 State Route 66 Marathon medal and it is huge. Very excited to have this race checked off my list. 26 states done. 24 to go!


Dave's Comments
At first I was looking forward to going to Tulsa. I learned the city was developed during the Art Deco era and thought that would be cool to see. I also thought it would be like the movie Cars with strange Route 66 artifacts. Finally, the band Hanson is from Tulsa so I expected to see a little of their influence. The Art Deco was the highlight. The Route 66 attractions were sparse and Holly was the only one to see a Hanson reference on the course. Our hotel was on the wrong side of town (in more ways than one) placing us on the complete opposite corner of the entertainment district. We did enjoy McNellie's twice for lunch since they had great food and a terrific beer list.
Race Chasing was pretty easy. Road closures were kept to the course only and not any side streets. The one trick was to get on the one street that threaded the needle of the course after the start line. Stan's wife Pam was with me and it was great to have company, an extra navigator, and an extra set of hands. The marathon had an app that overlaid the course map onto an actual city street map and that helped us immensely in making decisions. We watched from the start line, miles 2, 5.5, 9.5, 12, 15, 16, 16.8, 18.5, 20, 22, Center of the Universe, and the finish. 13 times total. We did miss Mile 11 by seconds, but called an audible to make it to Mile 12.
We sustained ourselves on Kind bars from the race expo and gas station coffee.
Here's the video:



Friday, November 21, 2014

Epcot Bench Talk

Usually we take some video during the entire length of our Disney trips. This trip was a little different.... We didn't really start filming until the end of the trip. Dave attributes this to always having something to eat or drink in his hand (it was a Food and Wine Festival Trip). We sat down on a bench in Epcot in the middle of the last day and recorded a recap (until that point) of our trip. Thrown in are some segments from the Magic Kingdom opening show, Festival of Fantasy Parade, Swan & Dolphin Food and Wine Classic, and other items. The rest of the post will include some talk about the Food and Wine Classic and some photos.

Swan and Dolphin Food and Wine Classic

One weekend a month the Swan & Dolphin hotels (on Walt Disney World property) hold their own food festival. You can choose to buy food tickets and pay as you go, or pay one price for full access from 5:30-9:00. The all-access price this year was $89. For an extra $20 we bought access to the beer garden, which gave us some added food items to sample like pretzels, sausages, and wiener snitchzel, plus 20 beers. Totally worth it. The festival price includes a plastic souvenir wine glass and the beer tent price included a festival plastic beer glass.

The set up was nice, albeit a little crowded at points. Food was easy to access the first half hour and last hour of the festival. Some of our favorites ended up being pasta dishes. Il Mulino's black pepper campanelle and Cabot's mac and cheese were delicious. The tacos were great and the fish and chips were cooked perfectly. In our video we show Dave trying the shrimp cocktail steamroller. The special food in the beer garden was delicious as well.

There was live music all evening with three bands taking the stage. One of the bands was a Frankie Valli tribute. Strange at first, but oddly enough enjoyable. Saturday (the night we attended) had fireworks for the hotels' 25th anniversary.

We tried a bunch of wines and found some we really enjoyed. The beer garden had a decent mix of beers that thankfully included some stouts and porters along with the pale ales.

The only downside to the evening was the weather. It was in the low 50's (which feels like the 20's in FL) with a wind kicking up at points. We went inside at several points to find some warmth. If we ever plan another trip for WDW this time of year we will be sure to try to book it for the weekend of this event. It was fun and a reasonable value for the quantity and quality of offerings.

Other Fun!

Upper-left is one of the Dawa Bar's (Animal Kingdom) new specialty Bloody Marys. There are four to choose from and this one included a beef jerky garnish. The upper-right drink is the Maelstrom margarita from La Cava in Epcot. Not worth it, but looks pretty. The bottom drinks are from The Brown Derby in the Studios. Holly got the martini flight and Dave got the Manhatten.


We were finally able to see The Festival of Fantasy Parade in the Magic Kingdom. This is a total overhaul of the former parade and is worth seeing multiple times. New floats plus a lot more street performers in between the floats. There were a ton of moving elements on the floats. Holly took this nice picture of the Frozen characters. The dragon shot is a screen capture from Dave's GoPro video.


New Shows at Epcot

We'll start with the positive. We walked by the new dance troupe in Morocco. Although we only caught a glimpse it looked like they were engaging the crowd. We wanted to go back and see the full show but they weren't performing again during the rest of our stay.

The flag wavers in Italy were somewhat interesting, but there's not a repeatability factor here. They were all from Italy and seemed very happy to be in Epcot performing. Worth seeing once. We have a longer video of the Flag Wavers we will release in the next few days.

The Lumberjack Show in Canada needs to go. Not just because they replaced Off-Kilter, but because it is an awful show involving chainsaws. We can't believe Disney removed live music for chainsaws and ax throwing.

Saw this at the Expedition Everest Store. Fun!
Our Test Track car. Dave largely responsible for the ugliness.
We watched Dream Along with Mickey from this angle. Holly enjoyed getting the characters to wave as they exited stage each time.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Wrap-up Part Two

In Part One of our Epcot's Food & Wine Festival wrap-up we went through the Discovery Passport pages covering the left side of The World Showcase. We'll continue on the the right side of World Showcase in this post. If you want to see good pictures of the food vs. Dave's awful photos check out The Disney Food Blog.

Items we had at Japan and Morocco were ok. The Gyoza was bland and did not come close to the goodness over at China. The Kefta Pocket might have been the better choice than the shrimp over at Morocco.

Belgium and Brazil were very popular booths. Holly enjoyed the Potato Leek waffle while Dave preferred the chocolate one. The beers offered at Belgium were a let-down since you can get them anywhere. Some non-generic Belgium beers would have been nice.

Flavors at the Brazil booth stood out. Great combinations. Of course we had overcooked fish and cold cheese bread.

France changed up the escargot this year. No more puff pastry. Instead they were served in a pie-crusty tart. Good, but not like before. The gratin was good, especially if you like mushrooms.

We skipped the Lobster Pie in Ireland since we've had it many times before and just needed a snack at the time we hit the booth. We went with the cheese. It was good - it was cheese.

We miss the chicken sausage from Canada. The beef was just  ok. We didn't get a medium-rare piece so it was a little tough and salty.

Our experience a few festivals ago with the griddle cheese was not very good. This time, things went just about the same. Just not good - and we got a cool piece. Greek food is just not for us.

But what is up our alley is pairing champagne with a Cronut (Croissant Doughnut). That was awesome!

The food at Puerto Rico had promise, but did not deliver. Blander than expected, but Holly loved the Mayo Ketchup served with the Frituras.

Last two:
Hawaii's Pork Slider was a repeater. The sweet and sour chutney was perfect for a pork sandwich. We skipped the beers here since we can get Kona at home.

In Scotland we really enjoyed the scallop. Finally, seafood prepared perfectly. We tried the barrel aged beer. It was good, but barrel aged beers tend to have too much of a liquor taste we don't look for in a beer.

Overall, the festival was fun. Having the Swan &Dolphin Food &Wine Classic to add-on to the weekend made the quick trip totally worth it. It may be a while before we make another trip down for the Food & Wine Festival because there is a large element of same stuff, different year. With Off-Kilter gone there's less of a reason to spend so much time wandering the Showcase. If you can time a favorite band with your visit that can change the whole way you experience the festival.

Bonus food: Our first night in town we stayed at The Animal Kingdom Lodge and dined at Jiko. This is one of our favorite restaurants. Holly stuck to our go-to items: wild boar tenderloin appetizer and the filet over mac and cheese. Dave also had the filet but went with the carrot soup with garlic ice cream for the appetizer. Everything was excellent as always!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

2014 Epcot Food & Wine Festival Wrap-up Part One

While assembling this post we have determined he will never be a food photographer. When he actually remembered to take photos 1/2 of them were blurry or poorly lit, while the others are just meh. If you want to see photos of anything related to the festival, we (strongly) encourage you to check The Disney Food Blog for AJ's superior coverage.

One of our favorite things to do at the festival is to grab a free Festival Passport and collect all the stamps. To collect the stamps you need to visit each festival booth that lines The World Showcase; usually 24-27 of them. This year Disney threw in the existing counter service stops as well and gave them each one signature item. So now we have 34 stops. We considered this unfair and against the spirit of F&W. You do not need to buy anything to collect the stamps so we should stop complaining. After collecting all booth stamps you can get a completion stamp at the Festival Center.

We split the festival over two separate visits to WDW this year. The first visit we had items from about 1/3 of the booths and rounded out our passport in November. During the last trip we spent three afternoons/evenings at the festival and found we had more than enough time to hit all the booths. A good plan of attack for future trips would be to hit another theme park in the morning, then the festival in the afternoon and evening. Booth traffic was especially light during the last hour of park hours - perfect for dinner.

Eat to the Beat shows are fun and crowded. In September we had reserved seats for all three Hanson shows. In November we were scrambling to find two seats for 38 Special 25 minutes before show time. American Pavilion area was pretty busy during Boyz II Men (didn't bother for seats - listened to a few songs while sitting by the fountain).

It looks like the Flower and Garden Festival will see a return of the mini Food and Wine Festival.
Terra was the vegan booth - something we were not interested in. However, the Blackened Chick'n was one of the most flavorful items at the festival. The Paperboy red was like Greek wine: port with some water pouring in it - yuck!

We loved both the skewer and empanada at Patagonia. Dave actually called the empanada his favorite item (it was great as far as empanadas go).
New Zealand mussels were awesome. We really should have had a second helping. The bread crumbs put them over-the-top.

During the trip Dave had several iced coffees at Joffrey Coffee carts so that was the food item at all coffee carts that we tried.

Craft Beer was inside the closed Odyssey restaurant. They had a nice area set up with pub tables and smooth jazz playing in the background. Most beers here were easy to find in a grocery store so we didn't sample much. The muffuletta was ok, but the real winner was the snack mix.

Australia shrimp were good. Nice mix of everything.

The tacos in Mexico were really good, but not as good as the tacos at the Swan and Dolphin Food & Wine Classic (post to come).

We visited Farm Fresh many times. We got the hash twice - Great dish! This kiosk had two great beers - Uinta's Ba Ba Black and Duke's Cold Nose Brown Ale. Ba Ba is one of our favorites and Cold Nose has now joined that list.

We had China's Mongolian Beef twice and loved it (Dave got beyond the mayo). Black Pepper Shrimp was ok.

The Kimchi dog in South Korea was ok.

The beef in Africa wasn't as good as it was in other years - too salty. The bobotie was tasty and the wines were pretty good.  On our first visit the stamp was broken so a cast member signed our square.

We skipped the special items at The Refreshment Port and visits there were for Yuengling refills.

To try everything at Brewer's collection we shared two flights of four oz beers. One flight was the lighter beers and the other the darker beers. We enjoyed the darker flight.

Singapore's mahi had great flavor, we just got an overcooked portion.

The German bratwurst and pasta were our dinner after the marathon Hanson sets. We repeated the pasta another time because it was that good.

Poland - the sausage was good but the pierogi was similar to Mrs. T's.
In Italy we had the ravioli - they phoned it in.
Liberty Inn was a beer stop (who eats here?).

Five and Drum also a beer stop. We did try Hanson's Mmmhops. Ok for a Pale Ale, but we are not fans of the genre.

The Slider at Hops and Barley was decent and the we enjoyed the lobster pasta. Lots of pieces of lobster.

At Block and Hans we tried a wine for the fun of it. Nothing too exciting with the red blend.

That takes us 1/2 way around the World Showcase. We will follow up with the second half of the Festival Passport in another post. We'll close up with a quick review of The Hollywood Brown Derby patio in Disney's Hollywood Studios.

The patio is a separate seating area and small bar attached to The Brown Derby restaurant. A hostess will seat you. It seats maybe 30 or so people at a time. We just missed arriving at opening so no seats were available. We put our name on the list and timed it right to arrive back for a short table wait. The outdoor menu is more appetizer and sandwich focused, but you could order food from the inside menu. Since we were hitting the festival we split an order of waygu sliders. Excellent choice. We opted for two beef as opposed to one beef/one duck. Holly had the martini flight and Dave the Jack Diamond (a Manhattan). We look forward to future visits.