counter for blogspot

travel

My Trip to Krispy Kreme – Day 2

by Nicole on January 28, 2013

Yesterday I told you all about Day 1 of my awesome trip to Krispy Kreme for their 2012 Blogger Summit at their headquarters in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.  Today will be day 2! It was a short 2 day trip but we got a lot packed into those 2 days!

The day started early with breakfast at the lovely Graylyn Conference Center.  The food was really yummy and it was nice to have something savory in advance of the doughnut tasting we knew was coming!

Here is a fun infographic celebrating 75 years of Krispy Kreme!

The picture  below is Keri Lyn from She Saved and myself from Day 1 – I meant to include it in yesterday’s post but it didn’t make it.  I thought it was a cute picture!

As the bus left The Graylyn for the Krispy Kreme headquarters on Day 2, Keri Lyn snapped this shot of me.  Here you can see how pretty The Graylyn is!

We started off the day with a coffee and doughnut pairing.  This was a really great experience and here you can see the placemat that described each of the coffees – Krispy Kreme has 3 coffees, a house blend, a dark roast and a decaf.  I don’t drink much caffeine, if any, so I sipped the 2 with caffeine and drank some decaf.  We tried the coffees without any cream or sugar and it was suggested to try the doughnuts paired with the black coffee as well.

 

Here are my 3 coffee tastes:

 

And here are the doughnuts with the coffee.  We had another hot original glazed (yum!), a raspberry filled (a new favorite), a blueberry cake and a Kreme filled (double yum!).  The coffee was so good paired with the doughnut, even without any cream or sugar! There were unlimited doughnuts there – it was nice to be able to take small tastes from each kind…or not so small tastes, lol!

 

After the tasting we had a Q and A with the chefs which was fun.  we got to ask them all kinds of questions and tweeted their answers out.  That morning and early afternoon we got to meet folks from marketing, distribution and the international arenas.  Krispy Kreme is very popular in other countries such as Mexico and the Philippines and we got to hear about some of the delicious creations they come up with for other countries like Nutella doughnuts – how yummy does that sound? We also got to do a cocoa tasting which was super informative and very tasty! We had a delicious lunch and then got to make our own doughnuts and coffee beverages! This was fun and I made a creation with dulce de leche filling topped with white chocolate! I honestly couldn’t even take a bite of it though, I was so stuffed from all of the sweets I ate that day!

The weather was starting to get bad and so we headed to the airport a little early.  Luckily I got on an earlier flight to Atlanta which ended up leaving almost at the time my flight was supposed to leave.  I later found out that the flight I was supposed to be on was over 4 hours delayed and I would have missed my connection!

I arrived home really late that night but was so excited about the great trip I was on.  I learned so much about the Krispy Kreme brand and have such a positive vibe from the awesome people  met there.  The doughnuts were amazing and I had a great time!

Krispy Kreme sponsored my trip but I was not required to write about it. All opinions are my own.

Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!

{ 42 comments }

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclaimer/disclosure/privacy policy for details.

Krispy Kreme Trip – Day 1

by Nicole on January 27, 2013

Last week I had the opportunity to go to Winston-Salem, North Carolina on a trip sponsored by Krispy Kreme! My good blogging friends Karen from Koupon Karen and Keri Lyn from She Saved also went and we got to meet some other very cool bloggers on the trip. Krispy Kreme did a great job of getting a diverse group of bloggers from all over and I’ve added many of their blogs to my reader since the trip.

It was an early morning flight for me and I was met by a Krispy Kreme representative and someone from The Graylyn, the hotel we were staying it. The Graylan was amazing and even though it was raining when we arrived I could see how beautiful the property was. My room was really nice and each room was different. They even had a small freezer stocked with Good Humor ice cream which we meant to try but were totally stuffed throughout this trip!

We had a few minutes of down time and had a delicious lunch at The Graylyn.  I got to meet some of the other bloggers and then we got on a bus to head to the Krispy Kreme plant! This was an exciting moment!

We entered the building and saw their motto above the door.  Isn’t it beautiful?

 

Krispy Kreme makes a dry mix that gets sent to stores and commissaries all from this one plant we were in.  It’s made with a secret recipe and while we did get to touch the envelope from the vault (see picture) we didn’t get to see the actual recipe! I love that it’s a top secret thing and so protected.

The plant we saw had large vats where they hold things and storage of the dry ingredients.  They print their own bags and fill them and those get sent to the stores and the commissaries.  The picture above is in the commissary inside the plant.  Commissaries are like local factories where they make the items you see in the grocery and convenience stores.  They make the items and local delivery drivers come and take them to the stores.  They go every other day to the stores to make sure the items are fresh! Krispy Kreme is all about freshness! The picture above is them making original glazed donuts.  Yum.  Did you know a Krispy Kreme original glazed has 190 calories? I was going to say only because it’s really not a lot for such a delicious piece of food!

 

How good does this look? Right after this we were each given a box of 6 original glazed HOT! Everyone waited until we got on the bus and then all you heard was  a chorus of “mmmmm” as everyone dug in.  It was our first doughnut of the trip – but certainly not our last!

 

Here is the filling station at the commissary we were in – we got to try one of these machines the next day.  You do 2 doughnuts at a time and stick them onto these metal spindles, press in and boom, the filling squirts into them.  It was cool.

After our tour of the plant and commissary we went to Old Salem.  I didn’t know anything about Old Salem before this trip and it was fun! It is a restoration of Old Salem which was inhabited by the Moravians.  We got to see how they would have lived, try some of the food, etc.

We headed back to The Graylyn for a few minutes and then off to the Spring House restaurant.  The chef was there to serve us and we had a lovely salad with local greens, I had the filet and the dessert was this delicious pecan chocolate tart with a Krispy Kreme streusel.  It was yummy and the perfect end to a great day!

 

We headed back to the hotel and were exhausted! At that point I had been awake for 19 hours and headed to bed.  I knew we had a full schedule the next day and couldn’t wait to meet the folks at Krispy Kreme for a day of hands on fun and deliciousness!

Krispy Kreme sponsored my trip but I was not required to write about it.  All opinions are my own.

Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!

{ 16 comments }

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclaimer/disclosure/privacy policy for details.

My Trip to ALDI!

by Nicole on October 20, 2012

I was so excited when the nice people at Aldi invited me on a trip to their Chicago area headquarters last week! The trip was perfectly planned and while short we definitely packed a lot in and I feel like I learned a ton about Aldi!

Aldi is a German-based grocery chain that features mostly their own brand products at a huge discount.  I wasn’t sure what to think as I have only been in an Aldi one time before but I was willing to be open and give it a chance.  I was happy to hear that Aldi will be expanding its presence in south Florida very soon as they open a distribution center in Royal Palm Beach.  I’m hoping they come to St Lucie County! Right now my closest stores are in Delray Beach (an hour south) or Palm Bay (an hour north).

I arrived in Chicago and met Krystal, the Aldi Mom! Her site is about all things Aldi and I love how she is reviewing the products! We were whisked away to The Herrington, a gorgeous boutique hotel in Geneva, Il.  My room was really nice and you better believe this Florida girl had that fireplace on in the room!

We were taken on a cute little bus to Aldi Headquarters in Batavia, IL.  The building was really nice and super clean.  We were welcomed and ushered into the test kitchen which was so cool.  We did a Switch and Save challenge where we blind taste tested the Aldi product versus the national brand.  I couldn’t ever tell which was which and most times liked them both equally.  This part was what sold me – why pay more for a product that tastes the same as a lower priced product? We tried the wine, cheese, crackers, sparkling juice, etc.

Then we heard from Janice Stahl, a food stylist who is also an avid Aldi shopper! She went over some fun holiday entertaining tips and gave some great examples as to how we can use Aldi products to keep our holidays perfectly planned and totally classy! Check out these cool centerpieces and decorations using clear glass containers and fruit!

We were served a full holiday dinner including spiral sliced ham and a delicious green bean casserole.  The Aldi website features some great recipes you can make using Aldi products! I tried one last weekend and will be posting the recipe in this week’s Nicole’s recipes – it was delicious! The food was great and the Aldi test kitchen chefs helped to serve us.  We all left very full and headed back to the hotel to go to sleep.  We were excited to find milk and cookies waiting for us in our rooms at The Herrington – yum!

The next morning we headed to the Aldi store in Batavia, IL and were given an in-depth store tour by one of the Vice Presidents.  He gave us some great information.  Did you know every Aldi product has at least 3 bar codes on it? There are UPC’s all over the product and this helps the cashiers go super fast through your items.  Also, the cashiers do not bag your items, you can bag them yourselves if you brought bags or buy a bag there.  Also, you need a quarter to get a shopping cart but no worries, you’ll get it back when you return it.

I loved this part of the experience.  The VP was super knowledgeable and it was great to be able to see what he was talking about in practice at the store.  Everything they do is very purposeful and for a reason that makes you have the best experience as possible with the lowest cost to Aldi and to you in return.  The eggs are on a sliding cart right from the distribution center and all they have to do at the store is wheel the cart to the case where the eggs are.  Items are stocked in boxes where you just rip of the top and stack.  We watched an associate stock chips in just a few minutes.

The store we went to was really bright and clean.  It was larger than the two stores I have been to in Florida.  The produce looked great and I really coudn’t wait to shop at our Aldi when I got back home.  I loved hearing recommendations from the other attendees as to what items their families really liked.  One of the things that struck me the most was that Aldi pays cashiers starting at $12.65 per hour and offers medical insurance for just $10-$15 per month even to part-time employees.  This is a great service and so important for the community.

Then we went back to the headquarters for a guacamole challenge! We each had the chance to pick up an item form the store to supplement the list they gave us beforehand of what was available in the Aldi test kitchen.  I grabbed this cool pumpkin salsa with the thought of making a fall guacamole. It didn’t win a prize but I loved tasting everyone’s guacamole! And I’m glad I got to try the pumpkin salsa, it was yummy!

We had a delicious taco bar lunch served by the Aldi test kitchen chefs again! I loved the carnitas, they were super yummy! Then it was time to say goodbye and head home.  Since we had to go to Miami on Sunday I decided to stop into an Aldi store and do some shopping, non-perishable only of course because of the distance from the store.  Hopefully one will open closer to me soon so I’ll be able to go weekly and shop there!

I was disappointed that all of the winter holiday items I saw in the Geneva store were not yet in the south Florida stores.  I had my eye on this chocolate covered marzipan pound cake and it was nowhere to be found! I think it will be here just in a few weeks.  Many of you probably don’t know that I speak fluent German and have spent a lot of time when I was younger in Germany.  I love marzipan and Aldi had a good selection of German goodies for the holidays – yum!

Aldi paid for my trip to their headquarters.  My opinions remain my own and I was not required to write at all about my trip.  I did because I think the experience was a great one!

Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!

{ 17 comments }

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclaimer/disclosure/privacy policy for details.

PGA National Resort & Spa Girl’s Day Out

by Nicole on June 8, 2012

I recently got to spend a super day at the PGA National Resort and Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida with my friend Liz.  Liz lives in Miami and we don’t get to see each other too often so a spa day in Palm Beach Gardens sounded perfect to us! I was even more excited to find out about the fabulous Girl’s Day Out package that the spa currently has!

For just $99 you’ll get to spend the day using the spa facilities, get a mini treatment (your choice of mani/pedi, mini massage, mini facial or salt glo), lunch, babysitting for the day and the use of the famous Waters of the World Pools! Amazing, right? The babysitting is provided by the kid’s club at the resort and I think is worth the $99 on its own probably! Add in the spa facilities, a great lunch and your treatment and I couldn’t believe there wasn’t a waiting list.

Liz and I got to the spa first thing in the morning and got a great tour of the property.  The resort pool is zero entry and is breathtaking.  The resort is undergoing a massive renovation this summer and I can only image that it will get even better than it already is!

The hotel lobby has a bar right in the middle of it and once per month is the venue for a Girl’s Night out, a free event to showcase local boutiques.  I loved the modern decor and it didn’t have a stuffy vibe like some other hotel lobbies have.

The spa entryway was modern and welcoming.  The salon is one side and the spa is on the other.  We were checked in very efficiently and welcomed warmly by all of the staff we encountered.

They have a really cute boutique in the entryway where all of the creams and treatments are for sale as well as some fun Lily Pulitzer clothing.  The selection was really nice for a small spa shop and Liz even bought a bright Lily Pulitzer bathing suit during her visit!

The spa’s signature scent is a fresh apricot and I was able to try out the products in the shower.  I LOVED them and was excited to see them for sale in the spa shop as well.  They smelled super yummy and I loved how my hair and skin felt after my shower.

There is a female lounge as well as a co-ed lounge where they had teas and fruit available.  The locker room was large and the lockers had our robes waiting in them.  We both had booked massages a la carte from the Girl’s Day Out Package and had those first.  The treatment rooms were decent sized and I had a great massage! After the massage I waited a few minutes in the lounge and was called for my mini-facial.  The mini facial was part of the Girl’s Day Out package and was 25 minutes.  There was no steam or extraction but I got a great head, face and arm massage as well as some helpful skincare treatments.  I left feeling very refreshed!  I then went out to the Waters of the World pool area.

The pool area was phenomenal.  There was staff at your beckon call, getting towels, adjusting umbrellas, providing water, etc.  There were 3 pools and a spa outside.  One pool was a regular pool and the other 2 pools had imported minerals – one from the dead sea and the other with sea salt from the Pyrenees in France.  This was very unusual and it felt great soaking in the two specialty pools.

Each pool was its own temperature and we spent several hours soaking and getting some sun and shade.  We were served our lunch at the pool – with the Girl’s Day Out Package comes your choice of 2 courses.  I chose the shrimp gazpacho and the tuna salad sandwich.  Liz chose the turkey wrap and the key lime dessertini.  Our food was very yummy and healthy and it was nice to share a meal outdoors.

At the end of the day we went back into the locker room area and took the BEST shower I have ever had in these showers.  We got to use the apricot scented shampoo and shower gel and found our goodie bags which contained travel sizes of the apricot scented items – yay!

We both left totally relaxed and recharged.  Liz told me she had a fabulous day and her favorite part was the dead sea pool and the steam room.  We have already made plans to go back and do another Girl’s Day Out at the Spa at PGA National! For more information check out the Spa at PGA National’s website – they have some awesome monthly specials you should check out!

PGA National Resort & Spa was kind enough to provide complimentary Girl’s Day Out packages for myself and my guest.  All opinions are 100% my own!

Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!

{ 3 comments }

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclaimer/disclosure/privacy policy for details.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek Review

by Nicole on December 7, 2011

Name of Resort Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek

Price of Rooms starting at just $119 per night through December 25, 2011

Where can you reserve rooms: online at Wyndham

Description of Product:The hotel, conveniently located at 14651 Chelonia Parkway, is managed by Wyndham Hotel Management, Inc. and resides alongside the Wyndham Bonnet Creek Resort, a 1,149-unit timeshare resort operated by Orlando-based sister company Wyndham Vacation Ownership.

The new construction hotel joins three Wyndham® properties in serving Orlando-area business and leisure travelers: Wyndham Orlando Resort on International Drive in Orlando, Wyndham Lake Buena Vista Resort on Hotel Plaza Boulevard and the Reunion Resort and Club Wyndham Grand Resort in nearby Reunion, Florida. Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek also joins the prestigious Wyndham Grand® Collection, an ensemble of distinguished hotels with the Wyndham Hotels and Resorts® brand that represent one-of-a-kind experiences in key destinations with refined accommodations, attentive service and relaxed surroundings.

Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek offers 400 guest rooms and suites that overlook the property’s 10-acre lake and Walt Disney World parks. Each room is appointed with contemporary furniture; a 40-inch, flat-panel television; high-speed wired and wireless Internet access; black granite surfaces; True Blue® Spa Bath & Body Works® amenities.”

Review of Product: I was lucky enough to stay at the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek last weekend.  We had an awesome time and this property was fabulous! We stayed  for 2 nights and took advantage of many of the awesome amenities the resort has to offer.  We arrived on Friday afternoon and were immediately greeted by the valet.  I was amazed at how fast the valets were with our car each time we needed it.  I have had to wait a long time at other Orlando hotels.  As you enter there is some delicious flavored water waiting for you.

 


We checked in very quickly and noticed that each staff member at the resort smiled, made eye contact and seemed genuinely concerned that we have an excellent visit. The view right when you walk inside the lobby is of the pool area and the surrounding properties and is beautiful.


 

 

 

We were struck by how NEW everything was.  There was that great new smell everywhere and the furniture was all very nice. The hotel is done in muted blues, purples and browns and the feel is very zen as you can see from the lobby.

See what I mean about the gorgeous colors? The furniture was all so unique and the seating everywhere was super comfortable!There was even a coffee shop serving Starbucks coffee in the lobby that was open until 10 pm each night!

This was the view from our room.

Of course, I’d love to show you the room but before I could take a picture of the untouched room it was promptly made messy so you’ll have to take my word that the picture below from the website is exactly what the room looked like!


The best part of the room was an alcove between the bathroom and the bed area with bunk beds and a small flat screen TV – perfect for kids.  Noah LOVED the bunk beds! There was also a child height sink near the bunk beds which made getting ready in the morning a whole lot easier! The resort had  a lot of activities for kids such as this cool kid’s room downstairs.

There was also a fun bachelor room with couches, a TV and a pool table! There really was something for everyone at the resort!

On our first night there we sat in the lobby lounge area before dinner.  The seating was very comfortable and they had a very unique drink menu with holiday martinis – we tried one that had a sweet potato reduction in a glass rimmed with graham cracker crumbs – yum! The restaurant in the resort was very elegant and I loved that they offered 2 free hours of kiddie camp time when the adults dined at the restaurant!

My favorite part was the spa at the resort.  It was small but had great amenities and the experience shower they had there was amazing! We had massages, they had a peppermint towel massage special for just $99, very reasonable for a 50 minute hotel spa massage.  They even had cool areas outside for you to get your massage!

We didn’t go to any of the Disney parks but there were frequent shuttles to take you all over if you needed them.  We used our weekend as a staycation of sorts (since we live only 100 miles away) and relaxed and recharged at the resort.  So whether you’re doing a Disney/Universal kind of vacation or just looking for a place to relax, definitely consider the Wyndham Grand Orlando Resort Bonnet Creek.  The resort just opened in October and is waiting for you with special deals starting at $119 per night through 12/25/11.  If you’re traveling to Orlando this resort should be at the top of your list – it’s definitely at the top of mine!

 

 

 

 

 

I received a 2 night stay at the resort to complete this review at no charge but my opinions remain my own.

Check out HOT Amazon deals on your favorite items!

{ 7 comments }

This post may contain affiliate links. Please refer to my disclaimer/disclosure/privacy policy for details.

ss_blog_claim=961cecac235106d217f0414d8c8364e5