Read 5 Classic Books: #1 Pride and Prejudice

I honestly think i haven’t read this. I know i have enjoyed the heck out of the movie, but never read the book. So here goes. The first of my 5 brain enhancing books.

it was a good read, although a little hard to follow at times because of the way she writes.  and they call all of the 5 girls Miss Bennett so that gets confusing.  Overall i would have to say i liked the movie better (the Kiera Knightley one).  And the whole time i was reading i was picturing the movie.  Which makes me want to watch the movie again, but i think i lent it to my lawn guy when he had to read it for school.  I should remember to ask him about that.

so do i feel better educated now?  i suppose so.  I def have a better feel for how Jane Austen writes, and if i am ever in a social situation where everyone is getting all Austenland i will be able to play along.  Which will most likely never happen, but i am now better prepared.

I feel like my next book should be a history book so i learn something useful.

i did just read The Help, which while not necessarily a true story, is certainly close enough to qualify as historical.

Potentials:

The Art of War

To Kill a Mockingbird

Call of the Wild

Wuthering Heights

Swiss Family Robinson

awesome link:

Most Beautiful Living Spaces

Movie Reviews:

Despicable Me 2: HILARIOUS.  of course.

We are the Millers:  also fairly hilarious!  would def go see, it was super entertaining.  i really heart Jason Sudeikis.

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NOLA, Part 2

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After Pat O’Brians we were bopping along Bourbon street and ran into a Bachelor party that invited us up to their balcony to throw beads! of course we went because hello, Beads? check! Balcony, check! Bourbon street? check!  i mean it was basically the title of our trip.

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Couple of takeaways here:
1. Don’t do this unless you are a party of 9 girls, woe to the guy that tries anything suspicious when you are rolling 9 strong.
2. This poor bachelor party was all excited for an influx of girls until they realized they were 80% married with kids. Too bad boys, hand over the beads!
3. As it turns out, boys on the street will also flash their chests. Less impressive than girls i am sure, but far more hilarious.  Especially the ones that eased into it, “ooo check out my abs, ooo check out my ribs, and here’s my manly chest, want some more, check the collarbone…!” Sure dude, heres some beads.

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another handy tip:  if you get bored throwing beads, try your hand at lasso-ing.  the objective: to try and toss beads so they land around someones (unsuspecting) neck.  harder than it seems!  one of the bachelors offered us $1,000 if we could do it.  This was of course AFTER Paola had already done it once.  Also i’m pretty sure they were exaggerating the $1,000.  I got bored of failing at lasso-ing and resorted to trying to drop them in the beers of the unsuspecting loiter’ers below.  It had a much higher success rate.  A free night of Beer, Balconys, Beads and the best people watching anywhere?  Thanks Ohio Bachelors! Even if you are from…Ohio.

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This is what the balcony looked like during the day…..sketcheroo.  But they did have some pretty impressive karaoke!  And that, my friends, is the end of night 2.

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Day 3!

Once again, up faaaaar too early.  But we just didn’t want to waste a second! and again i blame my sister.  We hit up Magnolia Grill for brunch in the French Quarter and it was delicious and just what we needed 🙂

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then we just strolled around the French Quarter for a while, hitting up various stores and the French market until we broke for Beignets.

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Cafe du Monde!

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After that it was over to Jackson Square for some shopping

Hello Andrew Jackson!

Hello Andrew Jackson!

Sisters on the Great Sister Trip

Sisters on the Great Sister Trip

After all that we clearly needed a drink, so we headed over to Napoleans, a bar that looks a little divey on the outside, and on the inside, until you walk through the back door into a beautiful courtyard.  Bring on the Pimms cup!

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Then it was back to Bourbon to seek out another fun bar

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note* Bourbon street smells terrible during the night, and only slightly less so during the day.  And this is in the off season!  i think i would pass out during Mardi Gras. We walked all the way to the end of Bourbon to hit up Lafittes, a Blacksmith Shop Bar

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No electricity and all wooden tables and stools, very cool! literally haha.

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after that a few girls shopped and a few of us pedicabbed it back to the hotel to start the shower cycle (9 girls, 3 showers…organization is key)

Hurricanes in hand!

Hurricanes in hand!

The three of us hatched a foolproof plan to have a pedicab race to dinner later and recruit our driver to get all his slow friends so we win.  But then we were late so we took a cab.  Le sigh.  again, 9 girls: 3 showers.

i think it was somewhere around here (or perhaps it was the 2nd night) that Dana and i taught the girls the use of “BUNNY!” which is apparently a Sherwoodism. Instead of constantly saying “quick like a bunny” when crossing crosswalks we find it’s more effective to just yell BUNNY!  It was developed to encourage my mom who thinks 6 seconds is plenty of time to cross a four lane road, in DC, at a stroll.

Dinner was at Sainte Marie and was delicious.  and then it was back to the hotel for a costume change into our superhero alter egos:

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Guess which purse is not a purse, but a box o’ wine DISGUISED as a purse?

At this point in the trip we had to be the tiredest, most draggin superheros ever.  My eyes were soooooo red from no sleep.  i looked like i had been smoking pot all day.  luckily my alter ego mask covered that.  so we went out, had some shenannigans, listened to some jazz and thats all i can reveal so as to not compromise the integrity of our alter egos.

sleep for 2 hours (literally TWO) and Peter was waiting downstairs to take us to the airport.  Most adorable taxi driver ever, we lined him up earlier when he drove us home 3 hours ago and when he got back he texted us “i’m here” “where i picked you up last night” “i’ll be here”.  Oh Peter, such an adorable, pastel plaid wearing, 20 something, Romanian.  Keep in touch.

Smell ya later NOLA!

Smell ya later NOLA!

3 airports, some amazing Italian lunch, and one minor car accident (not our fault) later, four of us arrived back in t-town.  3rd Annual Great Sister Trip in the works already 🙂

Beads, Bourbon and Beignets!

NOLA, Part 1 AKA the 2nd Annual Great Sister Trip! 070 Day 1: 9 girls arrive in Nola from from 4 different states. The day is started off by convening in our luxurious Marriott suite (note-always include a girl who works at a hotel or airline, we had hotel- check!) enjoying snacks and champagne (drank out of plastic cups through twizzlers straws of course….) once most of us had arrived we took our drinks into the streets (no open container laws! a source of glee all weekend long) and headed to the Carousel bar. A bar that revolves around the center bartenders! Super slow, but still super fun, and we had our ridic expensive drinks bought for us by an elderly gentleman in head to toe seersucker.  a little bit like Colonel Sanders…. Next stop: Riverwalk! To see the river…and riverboats…. and that was about it. 032 IMG956757 On our way to Riverwalk we stumbled upon (or perhaps feverishly stalked) a movie set!  American Heist– starring Hayden Christensen, Adrien Brody, Akon, and Jordana Brewster.  We saw none of them, but did get hit on by a grip…. After that we walked around the french quarter a little and bopped in some stores, then headed back to the hotel to pick up our last arrival.  Then it was time for a late night dinner (which is surprisingly hard to do in NOLA: bars stay open, resturants do not….) and bedtime!  We did manage to get a good christmas card pic:

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Day 2: An early morning morning wake up call (thanks to the freakishly early risers in my room…mainly my sister) led to magazine reading by the pool, then we all headed to brunch at the Ruby Slipper. 038 While it wasn’t quite the Green Eggs Cafe in Philly (let’s be honest, nothing will probably ever beat that brunch besides Channing Tatum or Ryan Reynolds bringing me breakfast in bed…) it was delicious with fun drinks.  After stuffing ourselves we decided to walk..er ride…it off on the hop-on hop-off bus tour thru the French Quarter, Downtown and the Garden District. IMG951553 We hopped off for a while on Magazine street to get in some essential, vacation, retail therapy!  We stopped at Sucre for gelato and chocolates to cap off our afternoon then sprinted home to see how fast 9 girls could get ready for dinner. Which turns out to be amazingly fast. 041 On our way to dinner:

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Dolls in doorways

Dinner that night was at Muriels…a fancy, haunted, restaurant that sets a table with wine and food each night for it’s resident ghost, the late owner.  I had my favorite drink of the trip here, a sage julep made with gin.  It was ridic and needs to be re-created at home ASAP. IMG951582 After dinner we headed upstairs to their balcony overlooking Jackson Square for a little while, then explored the super creepy upstairs red rooms, that are like a museum/boudoir/haunted house.  Where we of course had some weirdo photo shoots.

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Also Paola opened the “fake” sarcophagus and i’m pretty sure cursed us all.  (minor car accident on the way home and i get a bat in my house? coincidence? i think not.)  If you go to NOLA, eat at Muriels and make sure to explore the upstairs 🙂 Just don’t open the sarcophagus. 1004902_10201464357828295_1921065836_n After dinner we headed to Jackson Square so i could get my tarot cards read.  Nothing earth shattering, but Thanksgiving time is supposedly going to be a lively time for me…! Looked up the cards btw…not traditional tarot cards, some kind of Angel Oracle cards.  Which confuses me because i feel like religion and fortune telling shouldn’t really mix…. but it is NOLA. 046 Next stop: Pat o’Brians for Hurricanes and Dueling Pianos! Pretty sure this was my favorite part of the whole trip.  it was also where the infamous spoons made their debute!  We sat outside for a while and drank our drinks and engaged in spoon shenanigans.

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The glowing is the spoons….

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Then headed inside to listen to the dueling pianos (although really, they were more taking turns pianos) at a front row table, and loved it.  Lots of singing along, cheering, and spoon stealing. Doorman TeeJay even got in on the action and made Paola scream like she got knifed when he stole her spoon. and gave it to me, muah haha!

we look like great singers don't we?

we look like great singers don’t we?

great table, we were so close!

great table, we were so close!

this seems like the end of day 2…..but it’s not! To be continued…..Bourbon Street, Bachelor parties, and Bead throwing!

4th of July

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The 4th is always a big event with my family. The entire (ish) extended family and friends get together for a giant old school BBQ of chickens cooked on grates over a huge pit. Which of course, i failed to get a pic of. But believe you me, they are the most delicious thing in the world.

After the chickens of course came fireworks, which i also didn’t get a pic of because i forgot to put my memory card in…genius. Wanted to try out my new camera on fireworks…but fail.

here’s cousin laura, who ironically, hates fireworks:

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The rest of the weekend was spent sunning, eating, drinking, and of course paddleboarding.  Not swimming as we should to prep for the big event.

See Dana paddle

See Dana paddle

a little post-dinner paddle

a little post-dinner paddle

and the main event of 4th of July:

The 4th Annual Transcareyautic!

Which of course translates to: across the lake we swim. and then come back.  The Crew:

Where's Kevin?

Where’s Kevin?

Outtakes

Outtakes

Our best swimmer came super prepared!

Our best swimmer came super prepared!

Goals Accomplished:

1. I had a yard sale finally and got rid of a good 2/3 of the crap i had accumulated for said yard sale.  Huzzah! #minimizing.

now i just need to get the other 1/3 to Interfaith.  Oh Interfaith, why must you be closed on Sundays?  It’s so inconvenient to me…

2. Get a paddleboard and rock it.  Done and Done.  And actually thanks to the biggest headache of July, i now have 2.  Thanks Dick’s and FedEx for so carefully organizing the exchange of the first one that was missing parts!  Oh wait, thats right, you guys did jack sh*t.  I did all the organizing FOR YOU and you still messed up.  It should be super fun to see how this all shakes out.

3. Travel- none currently, but NOLA is coming right up, as is a training seminar in Ft. Worth.  Does Ft. Worth count as tropical?

The Juice Cleanse

Juice Cleanse

SO i finally did a juice cleanse. I had terrible timing of course, i had a summer cold and it was a great time to be a girl. Plus i had just gotten back from the beach, so those 3 days of clean eating before were laughable. But, i solidered on! I did the Cooler 3-day cleanse and here is a lil description from their website:

During a juice cleanse, you ease the digestive process by replacing regular meals with delicious, organic, cold-pressed vegetable and fruit juices, raw coconut water elixirs and silky smooth nut milk blends. Consuming only liquids for a few days frees energy in the body, which can then return to the essential jobs of deep inner cleansing and healing.

When you feel better on the inside, you look better on the outside. Glowing skin, bright eyes, the disappearance of hard-to-lose pounds, as well as a newfound sense of optimism and enjoyment of life, are all common results of juice cleansing.

My take?  It was oddly UNdramatic.  All three days i felt pretty good (minus the ailments above, which in case you are curious- a juice cleanse will not cure a cold…)  The juice was filling enough that, while i missed the actual act of eating and the variety, i wasn’t hungry.  Or cranky, which frankly is a miracle.  i was a little tired the first day, but that can probs be attributed more to the beach than anything.

What i drank: starting at 8AM and having one every 2ish hours. In the following order:

1: Sweet Greens: kale, spinach, parsley, watercress, apple.  This was a good one.  sweet, but light and tartish too.  Better with a little lemon.

2: This one changed every day but all were tasty, Pineapple and Ginger (the best) Watermelon and Lime (2nd best) and Grapefruit and Mint (eh…)

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3. Essential Greens:cucumber, celery, parsley, spinach, kale, dandelion greens, watercress, pear, lemon, ginger.  This one was rough.  After day 1 i began cutting it with #4, which helped.  But this was my least favorite.

4. Spicy Lemonade: lemon, lime, cayenne pepper, raw agave, filtered water.  This was also one of my favorites.  It was spicier than anticipated, but that was a nice change from regular juice.  I added this to #3 and #5 to make them better.

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5. Essential Red:carrot, beet, apple, lemon.  I thought this would be a favorite, but it really wasn’t.  I didn’t finish this one any of the three days, due to a combination of not being especially hungry and not loving it.

6. Almond nut milk: raw almonds, vanilla bean, dates, filtered water.  This one was great at night, it had a different flavor profile and was much more filling.  In fact, i didn’t wake up hungry any of the days which was a shock to me, because i wake up starving when i eat real food.

Altogether, I was taking in less than 1200 calories each day.  Which is not a lot, but i really did not feel very hungry.

Highlights: Slept great, did have a fair amount of energy, did not have the anticipated bathroom problems, and best of all: did not have to worry about cooking, meal planning, or grocery shopping! Lost a few pounds.

Lowlights: Missed eating actual real food.  I did cheat every night and have either a tiny handful of almonds, or a single cup of popcorn, just because i missed chewing.  Had to stare at the salt water taffy i brought home from the beach every night. Expensive.  Have already gained back few pounds once i started eating food.

So while the whole process was slightly underwhelming due to how normal i felt, i think i would like to try again and prep a little better.  and not have a cold.  but i will probably wait because of the cost.  If nothing else i am sure my digestive tract is well rested.

The Beach!

Went to Rehobeth with my best friend and her three kiddos for a long weekend.  It really is a beautiful beach, a beautiful area and seems to have escaped the devastation of the jersey beaches.  It was great to spend so much time with her and the kiddos. And her hubby when he joined for a few days.

don’t know these people, stock photo cause i took none 🙂

Highlights include: Kohrs Bros ice cream, grotto pizza, the beach, dolphins, wild horses, golf carts, and seafood.

Lowlights: the freezing cold half of the first day.  the way continuous days of serious suncreen application makes my eyes and face hurt.  but i will certainly take it.

New (temp) Car!

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and it’s an automatic so i don’t have to break out in hives going up the hill in Clarks Summit like last time…

Paddleboard!

Finally tried my neighbors, then went back to my house and bought one! Waiting anxiously on delivery.  First step toward having Jennifer Aniston’s abs…

thus far, not JA..

thus far, not JA..

Token pic of Olivs, in her awesome new chair i got her!

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May Flowers

i started this post on may 7th, then apparently forgot all about it…..here we go:

Movie Reviews:

Pain & Gain- Do not be misled. It is not really an action movie, not really a comedy and in all honesty, what it is, is a TRUE Really messed up story. The beginning is fairly funny, then the middle gets weird, then you think it’s almost over, and you go into the second part which gets really messed up. and then when you are thinking how horrifying things are, they remind you its a true story. My recommendation? Don’t go see it. if you are super intrigued wait till it’s in redbox. seriously.

Ironman 3- Saw it for my b-day! Super good, a little darker and slower than the others.  I mean Tony Stark is basically suffering from PTSD for the Avengers movie.  True story, that is literally (and awesomely) the premise.  Not my favorite Ironman, but i liked it as part of his story, it was nice to see him at odds with himself.  Still dislike Gwyneth Paltrow.  I just feel like she is smug as all get out.

Fast & Furious 6- Def worth seeing if you like the franchise, but again, not my favorite.  Not sure why it suddenly struck me so much in this one, but OMG: CHEESY.  I mean the lines.  It was like this installment was a soap opera.  I mean for reals. The opening credits was little montages of each character.  Lots of lil monologues about family.  there was even amnesia for petes sake!  But it was still very entertaining.  Altho for the record- I do NOT believe for one second that a car is something that can break a fall.  just saying.  5 is still my favorite.  Although maybe 7 will redeem this one.  That’s right 7.  With new villain Jason Statham!

**Disclaimer: I seem so super tough from all the movies i watch.  next movie review will kill that.  most def be all animated ones.  I mean, Monsters Inc College AND Despicable Me 2?  I’m basically peeing my pants waiting for them.

Results:

I did not get on the ballot for school board.  Super bummed about it.  And honestly, just don’t really understand.  There are two spots open, and they only accept two write in candidates (i was third, whomp whomp), So in November for the election, they are both already in.  no competition.  does not make sense to me. But regardless, it is what it is.  Although i def would have been awesome on the school board.  I have 4-5 years before my nephew is in school, so next time i need to win.

Planning

Beach in 2 weeks!

Long weekend with my bestie and her kiddos? Can’t wait! I firmly believe i need to go to the beach at least once a year to stay sane and happy.

Exercise

If i end up looking like her, do i get my very own Chris Hemsworth? That’s his wife btw.

I would really like to lose 5 pounds.  Partly for the superficial reason that i do not love the number on the scale. Partly because i am sick of my sister winning The Great Sherwood Weigh-Off.   Ramping up exercise has never really done anything for me, mostly because i associate more exercise with the ability to eat waaay more.  So this time (June) i am going to go back to basics: Move more, Eat less.  I got a fitbit (finally replaced the one that was sent to a watery grave in the washer…) and it recommended 10,000 steps a day.  Holy shit i am a sedentary person.  I bust my butt to hit 7,000 on a regular day.  So i made 7,000 my daily goal and 50,000 my weekly goal.  Also am going to try and run the lake (well work up to run, I am currently on a run, gasp, walk loop) twice a week.  On a side note- i got 10 free issues of Womens Health in the birchbox.  Better than Self, Worse than Shape.

My neighbor just got a paddleboard for his daughter.  I am super jealous, and really want one.  but i’m weighing the cost against the odds i’ll use it 5 times and then never again…. I’m a fickle beast. but i am stalking a few on ebay of course.  Also i still want a dog. That i can paddleboard with.

Another great form of exercise for June: Mowing my lawn!  guh.  the kid (man? he’s 21 now, should i switch to man?) who does this every summer won’t be home till the end of June.  Anyone who is handy with a weedwacker, come on over! i’ll pay you in beer and healthy snacks.  i’m great (ok, good) at mowing, but scared of the weedwacker.

My CSA starts next week, CAN’T wait!  Purple Pepper Farms this year, in Lake Winola, can’t get any more local than that!  A half a box of veggies should keep me eating right all summer.  at least thats the plan.

Goals

Nothing new.  Big fail there.  New Orleans is planned. Harry Potter land will be 2014 for a conference.  reflexology is still on my list.  as is a juice cleanse.  New obstacle run- i got nothing, although i am going to try and do the Army 10-miler with Dana, if i can transfer a registration.  And i am still actively minimizing.  I guess that post will be later in June after i have my yard sale.  So lots in progress, but nothing to check off yet!

April Showers

The Rains

The rain last night and this morning messed my workout schedule all up! i was going to run when i got home last night, then run again this AM. Instead i did nothing last night, and pilates this AM which pretty much guarantees i will be in pain for 2 days. stupid workout plan.

Linds and i like to set goals each month to strive for, either healthy food, or workout or both. Last month it was don’t drink Mon-Thurs. That went ok….but didn’t do great. I blame wine. This month we are trying to work out 5 days a week. Or 5 workouts a week in case we need to double up on a day. Hence the morning workout since i have plans after work.

My outfit today is ridic.  I am wearing mint green, straight, khaki crops, rolled up (per every GAP ad i see. seriously, look below), a coral long sleeve shirt, beige and white striped open, no-button cardigan, and a giant coral and nectarine drop necklace.  with gray sneaker skids.  thought it was going to be in the 60’s, where my outfit would have looked springy and breezy and perfect.  instead it’s in the 50’s and rainy, so i just look like a maroon.  a maroon who doesn’t check the weather.

See? it’s a thing. These are my pants, but mint green.

Things to be excited for

1. We just booked our plane tickets for our New Orleans trip last night!  I can’t wait for (as we are calling it) BEADS, BOURBON & BEIGNETS! Girls Weekend 2013 is in motion!

2. HARRY POTTER LAND 2014.

OHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGODOHMYGOD……Just got word my every-other-year conference to end all conferences is in Orlando next year, and our speed event is closing down Harry Potter land for a night!  When they did this in the Marvel Comic section of Universal a few years ago it was ridic.  No lines for rides, half the time it was only my sister and I on the rides, the one scenario where working with a bunch of older dudes pays off!  I am seriously so excited.  Can’t decide which nerdy route to take: do i re-read all the books before i go, or re-watch all the movies? Who am i kidding? I’ll do both.

3. Electric City Craft Brew Fest- Who wants to be our DD?

Things i like right now:

1. The Voice- now with new judges!  and i love them.  I seriously want to be a judge so i can hang with them cause they seem like so much fun.

2. Running for School Board!  Missed the petition timeslot, so i have to do a write-in campaign.  So if you live in Lemon, Washington, Forkston, Or Mehoopany Twp, Write me in in May!  Still fleshing out my plan of attack.  Which sounds super creepy when i read it back.  How bout, still planning my campaign? better?

3. Running makes me sleep so much better.  This could also be because we have had BEAUTIFUL weather for a few days and i’ve been sleeping with my windows open.  But seriously, when i work out a lot my body just runs so much better.  I sleep better, i wake up better, my back is better. Now if only i could run more than a mile at a time and under 10 minutes….

I do not look like this when i run

4. My niece now laughs alot and my sister made her laugh on the phone the other day and it was hilarious.  She sounded slightly like an asthmatic old man.  huh huh huh! can’t wait to see it in person.

5. The very concept of Jurassic Park 3D.  I mean, this is going to be terrifying right? Velociraptors in my face? It’s going to be so incredible.  I am going to be so scared! SO EXCITED!