Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Years Eve

So, here we are on the eve of another New Year.  As I've gotten older, it amazes me just how fast 365 days fly by.  I don't realize it during the Spring or Summer, but by the time this day rolls around, I look back and think, wow, where the hell did all that time go?  When I was a kid, it felt like years dragged on forever.  As I woke up for school every morning, I couldn't wait to grow up.  Now that I'm grown up (to a degree), I want time to slow down and take a breather.  Sure, make work move faster and get me through the rough times more rapidly, but let the happy, fun, times last forever.  I'm all for new beginnings, but if there's one thing I hope for in 2014, it's for more time to appreciate the big and little things that life has to offer.

Now, that's looking ahead, but I always use this day to look back one more time before sealing 2013 forever.  For me, personally, it's been a roller coaster of a year.  I've gone through extreme ups, downs, and every loop in-between.  I celebrated 9 years with Eileen in January, went to Las Vegas for her birthday in February, celebrated my 26th in March, along with St. Patrick's Day and Lepre-Con, Enjoyed WrestleMania weekend in East Rutherford, NJ in April, finally worked a Brooklyn Nets playoff series after 5 years of losing seasons, had an amazing time enjoying the Jersey Shore and Summer fun in June, sadly lost my buddy Rocky, the worst moment of the year, in July before trying to bounce back in August when I landed a new job.  I started that in September, had to commute and stay in Upstate NY, was in a car accident that led to a new car, had an excellent Halloween season in October, celebrated both of my Parents' birthdays in November before a family-filled Thanksgiving, and rounded out the year with plenty of work and a beautiful Christmas.  Those are the low and highlights, but there was so much more that has either been forgotten or simply added to the experience.  It certainly hasn't been all sunshine and rainbows, but when is a year ever perfect?  There will always be those inconsistencies, for better or worse, that force us to roll with the punches and somehow view the glass as half full when the Universe wants us to see the opposite.  Easier said than done.

The fact that I can cram an entire year into one paragraph is the perfect indicator of just how fast a year goes by.  By the time we've reached this day, those little things are mostly forgotten and only the major events are carried into the New Year.  That's something I'd like to change this year and, to be honest, that's a big reason behind The Holidaze.  Before I started this blog, I would have never remembered the time we made a Haunted Gingerbread House or exactly what happened at Blood Manor in 2012.  Those are little things, a flash in the pan, that we'd normally only appreciate for a moment before letting it fade.  Before this site, I used to keep a daily journal which was obviously much more personal, but this was the outlet I needed at the time I began.  It's nothing big, but it's my small connection to the world and I thank you for being the largest part of it.

For as great as 2013 was for me at times, I'm ready for it to take its final bow.  While nothing really changes between today and tomorrow besides the month and year, it does feel like a new chapter and I always treat it like one.  It's a chance to start fresh, even if it's only in our mind.  We get to wipe the slate clean and write the next phase of our individual stories.  Sure, the unexpected will arrive and no matter how hard we try, we probably won't be ready.  That's the nature of every year and, let's be honest, lots can happen in 365 days.  But on the bright side, that's the beauty of it.  Think of how much greatness can occur in that time and try not to pay any attention to the other hand.  Take one day at a time and give it your all.  I know it's cliche, and we forget it at times, but let's live each day as it's our last and try to make something from it, no matter how small it may be.

As I look forward to 2014, I have high hopes.  I see bigger things for myself and I hope the same can be said for all of you.  If you're a fan of The Holidaze, you're probably a lot like me in the sense that you're a kid at heart and don't want to grow up.  Let's keep it that way because, really, we don't have to.  Maintaining that child-like innocence and ability to connect to our inner 5-year-old is what keeps us young at heart.  It's important to have fun and not always take life so seriously because life will do that enough for us on its own.  That's what I'd like to see continue on The Holidaze in 2014.  Of course, it's only possible with you.  The Holidaze received more hits than ever before in 2013 and I'm sure the next year will blow that away thanks to you!

Now, if I managed to keep your attention without the use of pictures and graphics, then have a very Happy New Year!  If you're going out, stay safe and make the most of the night.  Ring in 2014 the right way and enjoy the moment.  My Aunt always used to say "The way you start the year is the way you'll end it."  If that's true, enter 2014 with a positive mentality and a big ass smile on your face.  While you're at it, put some money in your pocket and hug your loved ones.  You can never have enough good luck!

Okay, I'm done writing my sermon on the Holidaze mount.  My preaching and words of inspiration will now conclude and the regularly scheduled programming of candy, food, cereal, and toys will now continue :)

Happy New Year!

PS. Feel free to share your New Year's Resolutions in the comments section & on Twitter @HolidazeBlog!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Post-Christmas Holidaze

Christmas is now three days old and, if you're anything like me, you're feeling those holiday blues.  I get them on November 1st, December 26th, and January 2nd.  It's knowing that another highly anticipated holiday has come and gone.  However, despite having to dedicate so much time to work and less to Christmas, I think this was a fairly successful season in terms of blogging on The Holidaze.  In previous years, I barely wrote anything at all and hardly any of it was of substance.  This year, while I may have not gotten to everything I bought and took photos of, I did get enough up to feel like The Holidaze was a small part of the 2013 Christmas season.

Taking the blog out of it and speaking personally, this Christmas was another happy one with the family.  At the end of the day, if you can surround yourself with loved ones and connect around the table through stories, laughs, food and drinks, then you know you're blessed and should never take that for granted.  While so much of the season is focused on the materialistic end of Christmas, I always try to remember what the true spirit of Christmas means to me.  Believe me, I spend more money on presents than I care to remember, but we all know it's about more than that.  Through the years, as I've matured, I've come to appreciate that, but had you told me Christmas was about family at the age of 6, I would have kicked you in the shin and asked you where my present was.  Just kidding.. kinda..

If you care to read and journey with me, I thought it would be nice to share my Christmas and the events leading up to it with my 10's of readers on The Holidaze.  So much of my month was dedicated to Christmas food and candy, but the big festivities kick in at the end of December, especially my Aunt's Christmas party on the 21st.  She loves Christmas and goes all out.  Her house is decorated from top to bottom and we always have an amazing time celebrating with the entire family.  It's here that we exchange our Secret Santa presents and take part in the annual Steal-A-Gift game.  It's a blast and I'm so happy she throws it every year.  Seeing everybody so happy, especially the kids who've invaded our family over the last 3 years, is an awesome feeling.

Because I'm not so sure about how my family members would feel about being pictured on The Holidaze, I'll keep most of their identities a secret and limit the personal stories.  For the sake of The Holidaze, I'll focus more on the materialistic end... only seconds after telling you the season isn't about that.  But hey, who doesn't like seeing what others got for Christmas?  I know I do!  To start, let's look at that Steal-A-Gift box.  If you don't know how to play, or how we play, here are the basics:  All the "kids" bring a wrapped gift and place it on the table.  When it's time to play, we all pick a number.  The first person picks and, for the most part, is usually screwed.  The second person can then open up a present OR steal from the person who already opened.  In that case, the first person would open up another present and so on and so forth.  The present I wrapped was genius and - to be honest with you - it was my Mom's idea, not mine.  I bought a box of chocolates and replaced the chocolate with money and scratch-offs.  At first everybody laughed at such a horrible gift and my cousin, who opened the gift, looked miserable.  But, had she just kept the candy sealed and not opened the cash, she would have been in the clear.  The end result?  It changed hands 4 times!

What did I get?  A remote controlled sport quad!  Yeah, for a guy who loves toys, this was right up my alley.  But truth be told, I wanted somebody to steal it so I could go again.  I knew my family was too creative for there to not be anything better hidden on that table.  To my surprise, my cousin's boyfriend actually stole the quad from me after the money was stolen from him.  Now, according to the rules, I could have stolen the very gift I brought to the party and gone home with all the money I invested into the box of candy.  But damn, that would have been messed up, huh?  I was the last to pick so I had my pick of the litter.  In the end, there was no way I was going to Grinch out and steal back my own gift, so I ended up with a $25 gift card to the Outback!  That worked out perfectly because, if you know Eileen and I, then you know we love us some Outback!  Great success!

Dessert time rolled around and, of course, it's always a highlight.  This year in particular, we all tried something new and it was thanks to my cousin, Allie.  For as long as I can remember, she's always been a fan of cooking and baking.  Whether it's a Summer BBQ or holiday party, she always comes up with something that leaves us wanting more.  Well, on this day, she made Peanut Butter & Jelly cookies that we've all been raving about since the last bite.  She didn't hype them up, she didn't even mention them, they were simply there.  If you were lucky enough to see them and try one (or three) then you're one of the few because these were gone in a hurry.  I can't tell you how she made them, what she did, or why they were so good, they just were.  Normally I say I must have been hungry, but I wasn't and my entire family agreed.  To my surprise, Allie didn't bring these to the Christmas Day party even after promising us all she would.  Utter disappointment!  If there was any downside to Christmas, it was the lack of cookies on Christmas Day ;)

My family is going through the process of entering the next generation of kids.  When my cousin Kelly was born, she was the first of my Grandparents' Grandchildren.  Phil was the second and I was the third.  In total, I have about 16 or 17 cousins that I consider "my" generation.  Well, now Kelly's son is 3-years-old and she just had a baby girl, last month.  When I am surrounded by family and look around at how many kids there are, I think a few things.  One, I'm getting old!  I'm now at the age many of the last generation was when I was born!  That's crazy!  Two, they're a hell of a lot of fun and their innocence is overwhelming and only matched by their energy.  While there are only a handful of kids at the moment, they're carrying the torch on to the next phase of family and I love what I see.  Plus, being able to pass on the Ninja Turtles??  You can't beat it.  It makes me want to have my own kids... But I'm a loooooong way from taking that step. I'm too busy being an adult kid, myself :)

The Sun set and night time arrived.  We were still days away from Christmas, but it was the perfect prelude to another beautiful holiday.  Between the lights, laughter, and Frosty the Snowman, the vibe was just right for a Christmas environment.  By that point, all I had on my mind was getting home, getting through one more day of work, and creating amazing Christmas memories on the big day.  I was in complete Elf mode and felt like decorating for Santa's arrival.  All I needed were Legos and Lite Brite!

I have many traditions throughout the year and most of them are stupid and mean nothing to anybody but me.  But, on Christmas Eve, I stick to it because it's not Christmas Eve without tradition.  I don't wrap a single thing until Christmas Eve and then I spend the entire day wrapping everything.  I purposely wait until the last minute because it relaxes me.  Lighting the Holiday Bayberry candle provides the scent of Christmas, the cluttered mess provides nostalgia, the wrapping paper provides the action, the Rankin/Bass classics provide the sound, the Christmas tree provides the illumination, and the beer provides the buzz.  It's everything I need for a sensory overload on Christmas Eve.  There have been years where I've had other obligations and that sucked.  It's the one tradition I will always have and refuse to break, but I did end early to spend the night with Eileen's family.  In my 9 years and 11 months with her, that has become tradition number two!

Finally, the main event had arrived and we'd reached Christmas Day!!  As always, it's such a magical day that I cherish so damn much.  Growing up, my parents went all out on Christmas!  When I wanted something, they got it.  Every year, there was that one big thing that highlighted the season.  Whether it was the Turtle Van or the WWF Championship title, they made sure I got what I wanted to see my face light up on Christmas morning.  Now, as an adult, they're the big things that highlight the season.  I'm so grateful to have them, my girlfriend, and the rest of my family here to celebrate.

But I'm starting to feel like Buzz McCallister at the end of Home Alone 2.
"Okay, enough with all this gooey shhhh...show of emotion."

Here are some of the materialistic highlights of Christmas and what I got :)

I think it's safe to say that I've gotten one wrestling video game on every Christmas that I can remember.  Whether it was WWF Royal Rumble for Sega Genesis or WWF WrestleMania: The Arcade Game for Super Nintendo, it's become another tradition.  Sometimes, I purposely don't buy the game on its release date just because I like getting it on Christmas.  I'm telling ya guys, I'm all about nostalgia and tradition.

This isn't something I'd say is obvious from reading The Holidaze, but I absolutely love sneakers.  You might have seen a few throughout various posts, but it's not something I know enough about to write about.  I'm not one of those guys who will wait on line for days in hopes of getting a pair of overpriced Jordans, but I love changing up my style.  If there's any way of comparing this guy from New Jersey to MTV's Jersey Shore, it's through me matching my sneakers to my t-shirt.  I'm not vain, but I like to look good.  I think I can pull it off for another few years, but by the time I'm 35, I probably have to stick with a generic pair of white Reebok's.

I haven't tried these yet, but it's a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ice Cube Tray!! Whaaaat?  That's just awesome.  This is why I can't grow up.  I need to go out, buy something juicy like a box of Hi-C Orange Lavaburst, pour it into a big glass and overfill it up with TMNT ice cubes.  It's perfect!  The only way this could be any better is if it was a cupcake pan.  If they make that (or if they ever did), I'd have my girlfriend in the kitchen for hours whipping them up.  Nobody makes 'em better!

God has gifted me with many things, and two of them are ears big enough to make the Big Bad Wolf jealous.  Okay, they're really not that bad, but they're big enough to make headphones a problem.  Everybody always talks about how great the Iphone headphones are.  Well, I tried them and they won't stay in.  I'd need duct tape to keep those suckers in my head.  It's not happening.  I've had others, including Dre Beats, but they just don't work out, especially at the gym.  Well, this may finally be my solution.  I haven't opened the box yet, but it GUARANTEES me that they'll NEVER fall out.  I'm going to do front flips, back flips, cartwheels, and walk in a straight line just to be sure.  Trust me, with my ears, walking and cartwheels lead to the same results :)

I received a bunch of clothes.  Shirts, pants, hats - you name it - but nothing beats graphic tees.  Even in the dead of Winter, you'll find me in a graphic tee and a zipped hoodie.  These are just a few to add to the collection.  Super Mario was a prelude to what was to come, Ravishing Rick Rude is going to allow me to show off my "Swag" this Summer, Boardwalk Empire is just right for a trip to Atlantic City, the Macho Man tee is finally mine and, believe it or not, that's actually my first Ghostbusters tee that I own.  All in all, a great haul!

Even though the Nets are complete garbage at the moment, they're my team and I will always support them through thick and thin.  I grew up watching the Nets, worked for them for 5 years, and consider them one of my top passions.  Everybody in my family knows how much basketball means to me and how happy this losing team makes me, so now I'll be all decked out when I go to Brooklyn for a few games.  The t-shirt, which is custom with my name and number is a nice twist because I bought Eileen a custom Nets t-shirt as well.  Great minds think alike, but she topped me with those Nets sneakers.  Those are siiiick!

Really happy to see the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Funko POP'S under the tree!  I'm a little late to the Funko party, but the Pop Collection is one that I plan on diving into.  They have so many cool characters available, but who better to kick the collection off than Mikey, Leo, Don, Raph, Splinter and Shredder?  That's how you start things off on the right foot.  Now I have to pick up a few from the Horror collection.  They'll definitely be in my possession before the next Halloween Holidaze and hopefully they'll make for great pics.  For now, these heroes in a half shell are more than enough!

This gift from my Mom and Dad to Eileen and I was bittersweet.  I absolutely love this canvas-printed photo of Rocky, but of course it struck a nerve.  After all, Rocky was a Christmas gift to Eileen in 2008 and this is our first year without our buddy.  It's been sad, but we try to remember the good times and know that he's still with us.  This gift, which is my favorite of the year, means the world to me.  Little did my parents know, but this is actually my favorite Rocky picture of all time.  Sometimes things just come together.  This one made me a little teary eyed, but just like I will right now, I moved on to happier things with him in my heart.

Have you ever heard of the OUYA?  Holy Moly, it's the most amazing gaming system on the market!!  This little box, which is no bigger than a coffee mug, has the power to connect to the Internet and allows you to download emulators.  This means you can download Nintendo, Super Nintendo, Sega, and N64!  Then, after you download every single ROM you can possibly find on the Internet, you transfer them to a flash drive and connect it to the OUYA.  Now, in the palm of your hand, you have the ability to relive the past and play every classic game you've ever had... or didn't have.  As of right now, I have over 2,000 games on my OUYA!

I spent the entire day playing Super Mario World and, let me tell ya, these games never get old!  We've come a long way in terms of graphics, but the legends live forever and now they can be yours for only $100.  The OUYA is that good and, in my opinion, a better Christmas gift than the PS4 or Xbox One would have been.  The modern games are fun and I'll have a blast playing WWE 2K14, but going back to play the games I grew up on was just as fun.  Maybe the novelty will wear off, and I guess that's possible but, for the time being, I'm living in the past and the nostalgia is wonderful.  Do yourself a favor and buy this!  If you love old games, you will be in your glory!

To conclude, here's a picture of me in a Heat Miser t-shirt shrouded in an Instagram filter.  I hope you had as great of a Christmas as I did and I'd love to hear all about your Holidaze.  If you want to share your story, or what your favorite Christmas present is, then fill up those comments or let me know on Twitter @HolidazeBlog!  As always, thank you for reading and making The Holidaze what it is.  It isn't much, but it's my way of connecting to the world and I truly enjoy connecting with you.  Without all 26 of you, I'd have no readers and no reason to write.. oh, what's that?  Oh, it's 24 now.  I lost two with that Instagram filter..

Next stop : 2014!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Dum Dums Holiday Lollipops

It's Christmas Eve!!  Tonight, Santa leaves the North Pole and ventures out into the world to deliver toys to all the good little boys and girls.  It's one of the greatest nights of the year, for so many reasons, and I've saved one of my favorite new products to review on such an amazing day!

Holiday Dum Dums Lollipops are new for 2013 and I'm so happy I found them.  I first discovered their existence on Instagram and the poster claimed they found them at Dollar Tree.  We looked, but had no luck.  So, I searched some more, using hashtags to my advantage, and saw that they were also available at Walgreens.  After one trip up, these babies were in my hands and on their way home.

Now, I found these about 3 weeks ago, but held off on opening them.  Because I've purchased and tried so many things that weren't new to the world, but only new to me, I wanted to make this one stand out.  I honestly planned on reviewing them earlier, but real life kicked my ass and I wanted to wait for it to settle down, so I could really appreciate the novelty, before sitting here to write a half-assed story.  What better day to enjoy the little things in life than Christmas Eve?

The flavors listed on the bag are what lured me in.  As soon as I saw "Gingerbread" and "Sugar Cookie," I knew this had to be mine.  Unlike the Gingerbread Oreos, these would have been something I actually bought on Ebay.  Without even trying one pop, I know it would have been a rip-off and waste of money, but it would have been worth it, if that makes sense.  Thankfully, I found them for retail value and can now see if these awesome little graphics translate just as well in taste.  As I write this, I still haven't tried one.  This time, I'm giving a live, play-by-play, taste test.  Only the photos have been taken, so far..

Besides not buying a lot of Dum Dums, I really am a big fan.  They're usually something I find in a variety bag, Doctor's office, or family member's house.  To this day, I don't think I've purchased more than 1 or 2 bags in my lifetime, and that includes this one.  In fact, I think the majority of them came from Trick-or-Treat bags as a kid.  But between the cool flavors and even cooler wrappers, these are always a hit.  Of course, we're also offered a Mystery Flavor.  Whether your a child or 26-year-old manchild, it's. about. to. go. down.


I'm kicking things off from left to right on the bag, so Merry Cherry is up first.  The flavor name reminds me of something I would have put on the Horror Hi-C boxes.  It's a perfect way of giving a traditional, almost boring, flavor a holiday name and making it feel welcome and included.  I know the deal, Dum Dums.  Now let's see how this tastes.

Like I said, I'm giving you a live taste test.  If I had more time, this would have been the perfect opportunity to upload my first video review or "vlog," but that would have cut into my wrapping.  So you'll just have to trust that I really popped this pop into my mouth for the very first time.  So far, I can tell you that this is your typical cherry flavor that borders on the line between cough syrup and Luden's Cherry cough drops.  This is common with cherry flavored candy and, really, it depends on your preference.  I'm not a big fan of Merry Cherry.  It reminds me of being a kid, pretending to be sick for a day off, and having to force down medication for my faux illness.  Sometimes there's a price to pay for 8 hours off.  In this case, it's Merry Cherry.



Okay, Sugar Plum is pretty good.  It's not too sweet or sugary and really reminds me of grape.  I'm sure that's all it really is, with a fancy holiday name, but there is a subtle difference between traditional grape pops and whatever Sugar Plum is.  It almost tastes like wine and, believe me, that aint a bad thing.  Now if only I could get a Sugar Plum buzz going.  Then we'd have a winner.



As soon as I opened the wrapper to take this picture, I was smacked with an overwhelming scent of chocolate.  That's not something I'm complaining about, though.  That's the hype and pressure that this Pop placed on itself as I go in for the taste-test.  Without even trying it, this is already in the lead thanks to its aroma and icon graphic on the wrapper.  I love stuff like that.

Okay.. I love the way this tastes.  For some reason, it reminds me of when I was a kid.  Remember those markers that smelled like real things whenever you used them.  Magic Scented Markers, I believe?  Well, if memory serves, there was a chocolate one and this Dum Dum Pop tastes exactly the way that marker smelled.  Get it?  It's like a hard Tootsie Roll and, it may be my imagination, but I think I can actually taste some marshmallow thrown into the mix.  This one is really good and perfect for the Holidaze... and holidays.



This was one of the major selling points that attracted me to these Dum Dums, but I didn't really go in with any expectations, the least of them high.  Trying to replicate the Sugar Cookie flavor seems to be fairly difficult and you can use Pebble Sugar Cookie Cereal as a reference.  In this case, it's another failed attempt.  So far, this Dum Dum reminds me of Butterscotch candy, cupcakes, and, to a lesser degree, Candy Corn.  It has a waxy look and feel to it and strays far from a Sugar Cookie.  But, with that said, it isn't necessarily bad!  It's actually really good, it just doesn't seem to be what it's supposed to be.  That's fine, it still tastes delicious.



If you don't like Gingerbread, then you probably won't like this lollipop.  This one, surprisingly, tastes a lot like Gingerbread and I'm happy to hear it (or taste it) because it was my number one attraction.  Now, the longer it stays in my mouth, the more it's starting to taste like maple syrup, but even that is welcome! It's spicy, a bit like a non-alcoholic shot of Jameson, and serves its purpose well.  If I was somebody who ate lollipops on a daily basis, then I don't think this would be one I'd have more than one day a year, but luckily I'm not that type of person and don't have to make such dire life decisions ;)



I consider Apple Cider the dark horse in this race for Dum Dum supremacy because it was the third best attraction on the holiday bag.  But, because I'm a sucker (hehe) for unique flavors that you don't normally see, I have high hopes for this one.  It reminds me of Jelly Belly Jelly Beans.  They always come up with things you'd never expect and manage to sell them perfectly.

Now, this is very sweet and very good!!  So far, this is my favorite.  I've always been a big fan of Green Apple, and that's what this is... minus the green.  It's not sour, it's not too tangy, it's just right.  It really does taste like cold apple cider.  Even the after taste reminds me of that feeling you get after you just had a few sips.  Personally, I associate Apple Cider more with October than December, but this is just too good to even care about associations.



Another flavor name that would have been on the Hi-C Horror Boxes, but I'll take it and run with Dum Dums.  It think it's pretty safe to assume that I've had this before and that the "Grinch" part isn't going to be a "part" at all, but that's okay.  Every bag needs fillers.  Every team needs a bench.

I say that as if I didn't just tell you I'm a big fan of Green Apple, but that's because this is a holiday bag of pops and there are bigger fish in the sea.  Sure, Green Apple may be my Lebron James on lollipops but, in this bag, there are a few Michael Jordans that call for higher recognition.  This is good, I've had it 1,004 times, but at least it goes to prove that this is different from the Apple Cider pop.  This is more bitter and leaves that feeling in your throat that makes you want to cough.  Ah, we are all witnesses.

By the way, if you're not a basketball fan, I understand and accept that a great deal of that paragraph is lost on you.  When I read your paragraphs on Star Wars, I'll consider it payback.



What the hell is Polar Punch?  My guess is that it's a Fruit Punch flavored lollipop, but I have no clue.  I'm even more intrigued by the fact that there was only one Polar Punch pop in the entire bag.  Is this the white shark fruit snack of the Dum Dums world?  Is this supposed to be a slushy or snow cone flavored pop?  So many questions and only one way to answer.  Let's try the one and only Polar Punch!

Wow.. I'm really not sure what this is.  It's fruity, that's for sure.  I'm getting hints of Strawberry and Watermelon.  Definitely some Kiwi and it reminds me of the blue pack of Starburst that I used to buy as a kid.  Maybe there was something in there that tasted like this.  It's frustrating that I can't pinpoint an exact flavor, but it's not Blue Raspberry and that makes me happy.  I thought I was being duped into believing this was something different.  I guess, if I have to describe this, I'd say it's a Fruit Punch flavored lollipop that isn't traditional and would maybe remind you of the blue Hawaiian Punch.  You just have to try it!



Finally, the mystery flavor!  This was another one that I was very excited to try, especially because of what I read.  Apparently, in previous bags of original Dum Dums pops, the mystery flavor was Peanut Butter and Jelly!  Now, that doesn't sound like it would be very appetizing, but that doesn't mean I don't want to try it!  If there's a PB&J lollipop out there, then I want to own it.  Even if I spit it out, it must be attempted.

However, as soon as I opened this wrapper, I knew it wasn't anything special and, in fact, was just another one of the holiday pops I had already opened.

Merry Freakin' Cherry...  Really?  Of all the flavors they could have used, and of all the flavors already in that bag, I had to open Merry Cherry??  I tried it just to be sure it wasn't something cooler, but I was right to assume that this was just another cough syrup flavored lollipop.  On the bright side, not every Mystery Flavor is Merry Cherry.  My girlfriend opened one that turned out to be Gingerbread, so at least you get some type of surprise.  I would have rathered something completely different, but the mystery flavor is really just a bonus, anyway.  It's good enough for what it is.

So, in the end, my favorites are Hot Chocolate and Apple Cider, but the entire bag is a hit.  Overall, you really can't go wrong.  I gave Merry Cherry a hard time, but even that isn't horrible.  For some of you who really love Cherry, that may be your favorite Holiday Pop!  From top to bottom, or left to right, you're going to get something that enhances the season and, really, that's what it's all about.  It's products like these that give us holiday novelty to try, talk about, and remember for years to come.  Sure, at the end of the day, they're just lollipops, but it's what you do with them and who you share them with that makes memories.  Give these to a 5-year-old and see if he doesn't remember, 20 years from now, that time you gave him a Gingerbread lollipop.  Things like this add up and mean the world to kids and grown ups alike.  That's why I saved it for Christmas Eve.  I tried every one of them alone, but I shared them with all of you.

Now, I have a Christmas party to go to in a few hours and currently have a rainbow colored mouth.  So I'm going to go brush my teeth and wrap some presents.  If I don't post again before the big day, have a Merry Christmas!!  If I do, then consider that one an extra :)

PS. I'm too lazy to go back and edit everything I just wrote, so overlook the typos and pretend I'm an excellent author!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Hot Cocoa & Marshmallow 3 Musketeers

If you're not ready for Christmas yet, then you need a shot in the eye because this holiday is rapidly approaching!  I only finished my Christmas shopping today and, of course, I'm second guessing everything I purchased.  Will this person like that?  Will that person like this?  At the end of the day, It's the thought that truly counts, but so does the gift receipt and that's why I keep everything handed back to me.  It gives me piece of mind and, now that I'm done, it's on to wrapping and celebrating.  Unlike some of you lucky bums, I'm only off from work for the next two days, but I'm going to take it, savor it, and make the most of my 48 hours.  Need a delicious way to do the same?  Go find these!

I did my research and, from what I gathered, these aren't new for 2013.  Apparently these were available last year and were pretty popular.  But see, in 2012, I didn't pay any mind to holiday products because I wasn't focusing on The Holidaze.  I barely had enough money to buy presents for my loved ones, let alone anything extra to waste on food and candy.  Thankfully, times have changed and I've been able to enjoy the best of both worlds.  Believe it or not, being able to indulge in a bag on Hot Cocoa 3 Musketeers and still go crazy on gifts for my loved ones is a blessing.  Not to mention how much my tongue thanks me.

Under normal circumstances, I generally avoid 3 Musketeers Candy.  I've always gone for the Snickers and Milky Way first and, if I had no other choice, the chocolatey trio would be my last resort for a sugar fix.  But when you read that they've changed their flavor for the season and release a Hot Cocoa with Marshmallow variety, you give the brand it's due and pick a bag up.  Believe me, it wasn't easy to find!  I looked at Target, Wal-Mart, Stop&Shop, and Shop Rite before finally stumbling across a bag at CVS.  Who woulda thunk?  It was a nice surprise, especially because I had given up my search, and now they won't go down the same drain as Gingerbread Oreo cookies.  They've alluded me once again.

Hot Cocoa 3 Musketeers minis don't look very different, but the flavor certainly is a welcomed change.  Yeah, for the most part, this is still a 3 Musketeers bar, but there's a hint of Hot Chocolate and it's enough to make this candy special.  It's obviously small, so if you chomp down and devour it with one or two bites, you're definitely going to bypass and miss the subtle flavor.  This is something you need to eat slowly and move around in your mouth.  I'm walking a fine line between sounding overly fat or sexual, but you need to suck it in order to taste it.  Sorry, there's no other way of saying it.  Put it in your mouth, suck it, swallow, and repeat.  Where your mind takes you from here is on you.  I take no responsibility ;)

If we can get our mind out of the gutter for a second, this is seriously one of my favorite Christmas candies.  It's new to me, and maybe it is to you, but it's been around for a bit and I think that's a testament to it's popularity.  If you can find them, give them a shot.  I don't think you can go wrong with this one.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Peppermint M&M's

It just seems like they're constantly releasing new M&M flavors!  I'm sure you've seen these before, because I know I have, but The Holidaze is behind on the Christmas times so I want to cover as much as I can in the short amount of time we have left.  If we're going to celebrate the season, we need to talk about everything - big and little - even if they've been released in the past.  Because next year, if these are discontinued, we can say we mentioned them.  For example, did you know there were Sugar Cookie Twix, last year?  I sure as hell didn't and now I regret missing out on the now extinct greatness!

When I first heard about these white chocolate peppermint M&M's, I was searching the Internet for various Christmas products.  This stood out to me because I couldn't find them and, on Ebay, they were selling for $15 a bag.  Really?  Were they that rare?  Was I gonna have to splurge on a bag of candy that I may not even like?  The answer is... no.  They're easy to find and readily available, somebody was just trying to cash in.  I'm sure somebody, somewhere, was suckered into the trap.  If they're reading The Holidaze, I hope they know I found stacks and stacks of Peppermint M&M's at Target.  Sorry, bud.. I was almost you.

I like how much they're using the snarky, sarcastic, red M&M to sell their products.  Out of all their characters, he's the closest thing to a used car salesman.  He gives you a smirk, points out the beauty of his candy, throws on a Santa hat to welcome your friendship, then charges you $15 for a bag you could have had for $3.  Isn't that how it goes?  He's good, and I like him, but I'll say it again - he needs a name.  I'm tired of calling him "The Red M&M."  I don't even like "Red," I just want him to have a traditional name like Joe or Bob.  It's funnier.. What would you name Red?

These were obviously going to be red and white colored and anything different would have been a disappointment and epic fail.  We knew that wouldn't happen, and that's a good thing because these are perfect for the season.  Everything from the bag design to the candy coating is red and white and emits a true feeling of winter.  You'd think blue would do a better job than red, but not when it's paired with white.  Peppermint is probably the number one Christmas flavor and nothing does it better than the Candy Cane.  Hence, red and white M&M's.  How come this stuff was never mentioned in College?  I could write pages and pages on the color of candy but couldn't write a paragraph about "The Great Gatsby."  Grown up, baby!

Usually, whenever I try these white chocolate + random flavor concoctions, I don't taste anything out of the ordinary.  Use the Candy Corn M&M's as the perfect example.  However, this time, they really hit the nail on the head and did a great job!  These are, without a doubt, my favorite Holiday M&M's and it's with good reason - the truly taste like Peppermint!  Yeah, there's the subtle hint of white chocolate, and that's to be expected, but it's not overwhelming and walks the line perfectly.  

So if you're only going to buy one of the 472 M&M flavors this season, I'd make this the winner.  They look and taste like Christmas and that's enough to make up for those damn Pumpkin Spice M&M's last October.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...