Friday, August 28, 2015

Massanutten Resort in McGaheysville, VA - The Good, The Bad and the Lying

I realize this is off topic for a reality TV blog, but I want to share my experience at Massanutten Resort in Virginia.

Before I embarked on a journey to Massanutten, I'd not-so-affectionately nicknamed it 'mass of nothing'. The trip was less than voluntary (family vacation) so I was hardly looking forward to it. Fortunately, I was pleasantly surprised in many ways, but wasn't thrilled about many others.

The good:

There are lots of activities for kids. There were a lot of parks, and there were several pools. One of the pools had a kiddie pool attached to the adult pool, which was nice because you could go between the two. Kids were allowed in both the adult and kid pools, which was nice, although I think if I'd gone without kids, I wouldn't love that.

The Massanutten water park is pretty great. I don't necessarily enjoy water slides, but I do like wave pools, hot tubs and lazy rivers, so this was cool. Plus, all of the kid attractions allow adults to join the kids, so those were nice, not-too-scary water slides. There was also a nice area for little kids.

There are a lot of activities on the resort, so you can spend a lot of time doing things. Many were geared towards kids, but if you like to golf or swim, you can definitely do that.

The spa was nice. My family member thought it was overpriced, but because I'm from an area where things tend to be overpriced, it didn't bug me too much. It's a resort spa - I thought it was fair. A massage or facial will run you about $95 each, on average.

Mini golf was enjoyable. They have two courses to keep from getting too busy. That's cool.

Luray Caverns are nearby and are nice. I recommend that if you plan to go offsite. That's good for kids, unless they enjoy screaming in enclosed areas. Note: that happened a lot while we were there.

The bad:

You cannot properly utilize this resort without a car. To get to the rec center (which has arcade games from the 80s, half of which are broken), it was a two mile drive from our site. The ski lift, mini golf and family adventure parks took a while to drive to, as well. There are no shuttle buses, so if you plan to go to pretty much anything, you need a car.

Everything is expensive. The pools and gym are included with the price of your stay (including a water aerobics class), but activities cost a bunch. Golf cost $70 per person, a tie dye class is $15, Zumba is $5. The water park was $40-something. The shows all have fees, too. This can really add up. You can pay $99 for an activity card, which will give you discounts, but unless you do a lot of stuff, it's not worth it.

The lying:

A family member decided that instead of paying for four water park tickets, we should go to the sales pitch and get the talk in exchange for the free passes. Here's where things started to break down.

When booking the sales pitch, the family member was told that it would take 2 hours.

During the way-too-early reminder call, the family member was again told this would take two hours.

When we arrived at the absoutely average free breakfast (you can also choose lunch), we noted the two hours, and the guide said upfront, I think this will take more than two hours. At this point, my family member was livid, so we told this person that she'll make sure it stays under two hours. We fill out a long questionnaire. I ask about pricing and she says the manager will handle that; she's just here to show us around.

We toured a couple of resort properties (apparently we were listed as timeshare owners, even though we were using a friend's timeshare, so we saw pricey places), then went to the meetup area, where we neared our two hour limit. Our guide (who had walked really slowly through all of the housing areas) said the next step was to find a manager because he had to sign off on our visit. We waited. And waited. The two hour mark came and went. She spoke briefly to another salesperson and, as she said, texted a manager to come over. We wait and wait...she says there's a long wait because this is the time everyone wants to see a manager. Bad planning. She gives us a talk about how Massanutten has some of the lowest maintenance fees in the industry, and shows us a pricing sheet for buying a place. The quote we see is $45,000, and we're told those units are sold out. So wait - you can't tell us about pricing, but you really can? And why are you showing me something sold out, anyway? Then we were told something about how you can become a diamond member and get first priority over others, even if they want the same vacation time you do. And after that, we learned about weeks versus the end, I understood nothing about timeshares except that they make no sense.

Note that the resort talked about having the lowest fees, yet when I did some research, it seems like their timeshares are way more expensive than others. Anyway, back to the story.

The manager comes by and signs off on our papers, but not before stepping aside with our sales rep and probably talking about what snarky people we are. I got that impression when another sales rep walked by and made the 'cut the throat' motion to our salesperson...maybe he had a difficult group too. The point is, I saw it...and I probably wasn't supposed to.

Our guy signs off and we're escorted to another woman who asks us what the lowest price we were quoted was. UM, HELLO? Are you blatantly telling me you're quoting people different prices? She gave us some weird quote of $4,500 - which I guess is a week once versus buying long term - I have no idea - and walked us to a final person, who we stood around for until she handed us the water park tickets. After all was said and done, we were there for 2.5 hours, and we made our salesperson rush like crazy.

So yeah, that was my experience. Have you tried Massanutten? What did you think?

Twinning - 8/26/15

This is a quick recap of Twinning from 8/26/15.

Adam and Corey are the WORST. The way they are using Skyler and Spencer...not cool. I hope Skyler and Spencer see through them but it's unlikely.

Bennett was sick and was trying to survive.

Li and Je wanted to win the challenge so they could send Karissa and Kristina home.

The challenge showed each twin pictures of body parts - theirs, their twin's, and those of a stranger. They had to put them in the correct category. The twins with the most win.

In third place were Winston and Bennett, then Claire and Shawn in second, and Tre and Torian with a perfect score. Bennett would want Kristina and Kamila in the twin off, Winston wouldn't.

Corey thought he had Claire in his pocket by hooking up with her, yet he advised Torian about his actions with Kristina. Torian said Corey's a snake, and Corey asked for specific reasons. This led to a big argument.

Bennett ended up in the ER, which forfeited his vote for the twin off. Winston was happy because it helped keep Kristina and Kamila.

The twin off ended up being Spencer and Skyler vs. Adam and Corey. Of course, Spencer and Skyler felt bad because they thought that Adam and Corey were their friends, even though they were awful. Adam actually felt bad when Skyler was upset about it...he actually has emotions, shockingly!

Skyler and Spencer won! YEA! Congratulations, guys! Adam and Corey, you didn't play nice and you lost. And that's it for the episode.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Some Lessons Learned This Week

Here's a few lessons learned from reality TV and similar things this week:

Twinning: Do not vote for yourself for elimination. Just don't. I mean, it may seem like a good idea to learn about what it's like in the elimination battle, but there's a problem - you can lose. And they did! So Taylor and Dylan, sorry to see you go. Kamila and Kristina, nice work with your twintuition. It kept you in the game.

Catfish: Don't try to fake your story on Catfish! It will fall apart and the person who you try to make look bad ends up looking better than you do. It's a way to come out, yeah, but really, there's a better way than to end up looking like a jerk. The premise was that Hundra wanted to be a role model for her culture and come out, but instead her friend Melanie's ex-girlfriend Geralyn ratted her out, and things got nasty. There are more positive ways to be yourself.

Josh Duggar: Don't admit more than you have to! It turns out that Josh Duggar had an account on, a site for cheaters. While I think it was 100% wrong for hackers to release the site users' personal information, this was definitely interesting. Josh ended up admitting that he was on the site, had affairs and had a porn addiction. Wait, what? A porn addiction? Oh my gosh, Josh, nobody was accusing you of that! Why did you tell us? He has since retracted that part of his apology, but the internet is a thing, so it's already been reported on multiple news sources. We'll see what happens with Josh's marriage after all this. My guess is that Anna will stand by her man, but who knows.

That's all for now!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Really Quick Recap of So You Think You Can Dance 8/17/15

The show opened with the song Earth Intruders by Bjork.

J. Lo announced that someone from SYTYCD would be dancing with her on her Vegas tour.

Virgil danced to Conqueror by the Empire cast. (Lots of songs were from the Empire cast.)

Hailee danced a Broadway routine to It Don't Mean a Thing by Tony Bennett and Lady Gaga.

Neptune danced to Power of the Empire by the Empire cast.

Derek had a jazz routine to Got It by Marian Hill.

Gaby danced tap to Can't Truss 'Em by the Empire cast.

JJ was injured and couldn't dance. This automatically put her into the bottom for next week.

Virgil danced to Just My Imagination by The Temptations.

Jaja danced to Keep It Movin' by the Empire cast.

Megz danced to Canned Heat by Jamiroquai.

Jim had You're So Beautiful by the Empire cast.

Edson danced to Your Day Will Come by Son Lux.

Hailee danced to Nothing To Lose by the Empire cast.

Neptune had Milk Was a Bad Choice by Ultron.

Jim danced to Heal by Tom Odell.

Derek danced to Drip Drop by the Empire cast.

Megz had No Apologies by the Empire cast.

Jaja danced Bollywood to Nacho Re from the Jai Ho soundtrack.

Edson had I Wanna Love You by the Empire cast.

Gaby danced to I'm Really Hot by Missy Elliott.

Derek, JJ, Edson and Megz were in danger of elimination.

Edson and JJ were ultimately kicked off. Good luck in your futures.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Twinning - 8/12/15

This week on Twinning, everyone acknowledged that they're onto Cory's game. And Li and Je talked about how much they missed each other.

Tre and Torian decided to switch identities. This led to some making out between Torian (masquerading as Tre) and Shawn.

Before the challenge, the host announced that Tre and Torian had switched houses. She said they can't just let it go. In retaliation, the show had them switch houses. Torian acknowledged that this puts a target on his back.

The twins had to sort through keys to unlock blocks. They have to pull the rope of keys through the wall to unlock the blocks. When finished, they had to lock in to win.

The winners were:
Claire / Shawn
Tre / Torian
Ji / Le

Li and Je were thrilled to see each other, since they'd been apart for the whole competition.

Dylan suggested that he and his brother Taylor go into the twin off so they can learn about it against weak competitors. Nobody thought that was a good idea.

AnnaMarie cried because the pressure was getting to her.

In the voting booth, Li and Je made it clear that they'd vote in Kamila and Kristina.

It turns out that Dylan and Taylor were up against Kamila and Kristina. Kamila seemed genuinely surprised. She became very combative with Le. Kristina panicked on the other side of the door, but producers wouldn't let her in. Then Li and Je ended up in the same house, and a fight broke out. Then the episode ended. It ended! Cliffhanger! Not cool, show, not cool!

We'll be tuned in next week, for sure.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance - 8/10/15

Before we begin recapping So You Think You Can Dance, let's discuss what went on. I was absolutely appalled by the way Ariana Crowder's dance was handled.

First and foremost, this song was awful. Awful. Not creative. Not kitschy. Just...weird. Nigel criticized Ariana's smiling during the number, and I get it, but really, how was she supposed to feel anything in that song? I didn't get the emotion from the song, I can't imagine that she truly could either. And when Nigel called her Adriana....I wasn't feeling that.

Jason's comment was that the women didn't look comfortable in their dance, but really, why should they? The dance was awkward; it was almost like they were being set up to fail. It would be outside of the comfort zone for almost any dancer to do that style of dance. Yes, there were flaws in the style and execution, absolutely. But really, with that style of dance, I'm not sure even the most skilled dancer would know what to do.

Ariana wasn't the only one to get criticism this week - it sounds like the judges got meaner towards almost everyone.

Now, for the show:

The show opened up to a dance to Crystal Waters' 100% Pure Love, which continues to be an awesome song even years after it was released.

Jim and Yorelis danced first to Asht by Nebulo. Yorelis shined in this contemporary dance, per Nigel. Paula said she signed as a superstar. Jason was impressed with both Jim and Yorelis.

Yorelis was in danger; Jim was safe.

The next pair was Jaja and Edson. They danced to She Came To Give It To You by Usher feat. Nicki Minaj. Paula praised their attention to detail. Jason felt it was a basic performance with no special moments. Nigel was also underwhelmed.

Both were safe and made the top ten.

Virgil and Hailee were third. Their contemporary dance was to the song Cellophane by Sia.

Jason complimented the choices the pair made within their choreography. Nigel loved the characters they played. Per Paula, Virgil did well, although it's tough to dance with someone with as much technique as Hailee.

Hailee and Virgil both remained in the game.

Alexia and Ariana were the next pair. Their Tracy Phillips and Dominic Carbone choreographed song had the girls dancing as sexy fish. What? Alexia wasn't sure about the piece before the performance. Their song was Circus Fish by Vermillion Lies.

Nigel said the style was new and interesting. It missed the mark for him and wasn't as dark as he liked. He saw smiles that he didn't want to see. He called Ariana a dead fish on a slab. Paula wished they could have channeled Bette Midler for a mix of campiness and sexiness. Jason said it was rough for him. Alexia and Ariana didn't look like they were into the dance, and that translated for Jason.

Both were in the bottom and had the potential to be eliminated.

Megz and Derek were next, and their dance was meant to be reminiscent of a jazz club. They danced to Worth It by Fifth Harmony.

Paula said this wasn't her favorite routine. Derek needed to loosen up. Megz was told to watch her face. Paula also criticized for holding a trumpet when the instrument in the song was a saxophone. Jason said this wasn't Megz' best or worst performance. Nigel wasn't impressed with Derek.

Derek was automatically in the bottom because of his injury last week, but Megz was safe.

The next song featured Gaby and Neptune dancing to Take My Hand, Precious Lord by Ledisi (Selma soundtrack). Jason loved it. He said they lived the performance. Nigel said Gaby shined and was his favorite stage dancer this season.

Neptune was not safe; Gaby was.

JJ and Kate were the last pair to dance, and they danced to A Different Beat by Little Mix.

Nigel said this brought out their personalities but didn't show what they were capable of as dancers. Paula and Jason said the dance seemed adolescent.

JJ was safe; Kate was in danger.

The stage dancers danced to Lift Me by The Bengsons, although Jim was absent due to injury.

The street team danced to Dragula by Rob Zombie.

Yorelis, Ariana and Neptune from Team Street and Alexa, Derek and Kate came to the front of the stage to see who'd be eliminated.

The two people saved on Twitter were Derek and Neptune. That meant that we said goodbye to Alexa, Kate, Yorelis and Ariana.

You gave it a good run, ladies. All the best with your future careers.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Blaze Pizza - It's a Game Changer

I know this is off topic for a reality TV blog, but this is too good not to share. I finally got a chance to try Blaze Pizza, a new create-your-own fast pizza place. Think Subway or Chipotle, but with the best food ever - pizza!

Last night, I ventured out to try Blaze Pizza. The concept is this - you get on line and you watch as the first employee uses a machine to flatten out perfectly portioned personal pizzas. As he makes the dough, you travel to a greeter, who asks your name, which he writes down, and what kind of pizza you'd like. I believe there are three pricing tiers - plain, one topping and create your own (or the fancy ones they have pre-listed). You choose your basic option (like saying Art Lovers, which features artichokes and ricotta, or Create Your Own) and travel to the next station. Don't be afraid to choose a pre-planned flavor; you can always customize after that.

Your pizza dough is loaded onto the paper on which the greeter writes your name. You slide over to the sauce station, where you can choose from a few options, including a red sauce, a spicy red sauce and some kind of cream sauce. Next up is cheese, which includes ovalini mozzarella, regular mozzarella, parmesan, ricotta, goat cheese and feta.

Next up are the meats, which I was told are good - the person I went with had a buffalo chicken type pizza - but I skipped over those in favor of veggie toppings, including artichokes, kalamata olives, mushrooms and basil. I then accepted the employee's offer of sea salt and seasoning on top. The pizza, which is given a number on a metal stand that matches the number written on your paper sheet, goes into an open oven. You get to actually watch as your pizza gets cooked! I paid, then chatted with the friendly staff as the pizza was heated (the sign says it takes 180 seconds, which seemed about right) and stared with excitement as my pizza was removed from the oven. I opted for a pesto drizzle and arugula on top, and took my pizza on a tray to eat in store. You can also choose a to go box, if you prefer.

So how was it?

At this point, it's judgment time. The pizza looked amazing, but would it taste good? The answer is yes, it was AWESOME. With a price point just under $8, I got as many toppings as I wanted, which was amazing, and the taste was absolutely perfect. The thin crust was right up my alley, the sauce was delicious and the cheese and toppings were great. The employees were very generous with toppings; I could taste them in almost every bite.

The only concern was that the store was out of certain toppings, but because the store is new, I can see that happening. They haven't yet mastered the supply and demand that will be coming through. I think that will clear up with time. Also, I think a topping they should add is sundried tomatoes - they don't have that one at all.

Some additional notes:

For those with diet restrictions, I believe there was gluten free pizza dough and vegan cheese available. That's a great option for those who need it! Plus, you can see the calorie counts for what you're ordering, so if you can decide how healthy or indulgent you want to be for your meal. There also appeared to be salad options, but I didn't look much at those because I was there for the pizza.

If you do the math on this pizza versus ordering a traditional pie, this wins hands down. I've paid upwards of $16 for a large pie with sauce, fresh mozzarella and one topping elsewhere, so this actually comes out to be less expensive, given the extensive amounts of toppings I chose. Plus, a group can go together and get what they want. There's no need to compromise about who likes mushrooms and who likes pepperoni. And, if you eat a small snack beforehand, this pizza can last you for at least two meals.

The organization of the store was top notch. The employees were communicating well, everyone looked professional, and the team worked well together, even though things were chaotic since they'd only recently opened. The one person I spoke to most at the pizza baking station was so nice and friendly. He had great customer service skills. The staff was generally young, but whoever did the hiring did great, because all the employees were nice, kind people.

Last thing - you can order this pizza online and pick it up. Bonus points for convenience!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Listen to Ariana Crowder Talk About the Upcoming Double Elimination on SYTYCD and More!

Here's a new video from So You Think You Can Dance finalist Ariana Crowder!

Ariana speaks about the upcoming double elimination show on Monday, what it was like growing up, when she started dancing, and how she grew to love herself and how you too can have more self love.

Watch it below:

Wednesday Night Reality Recap - 8/5/15

Here's a recap of last night's reality TV shows.


Andria and David have been talking online for ten years, since Andria was very young - 12. They've also talked online and via phone. It turns out both sides of this relationship had been lying (at least a little, on Andria's part), and Christina (the female who was pretending to be David) had tried to come clean in the past. In the end, they had to admit that they were both at blame for staying in this for so long; a lot of lies and pretending had gone into this. This wasn't one of the more exciting episodes, but it was interesting to see Christina twist her story around and around and show manipulative tactics. Christina refused to show remorse when the pair met on the show, but Christina later apologized via text. Andria was no longer taking it.

Job or No Job:

In this series premiere, a woman, Gabrielle McBay, went from her hometown of Dallas, Texas to Chicago, Illinois, to find a job in a restaurant before she eventually opens her own restaurant. She was set up with three job interviews, and was coached by Jane Buckingham, a brand expert and author throughout the process. The point is to show people what they can and can't do on job interviews.

I wasn't particularly enthralled with this ABC Family show, but it does teach a good lesson about how people should be have on job interviews. Gabrielle got real criticism about her behavior - she can come off as impatient, especially regarding her future. That caused her to lose an opportunity at a job. She ended up with one out of three offers.

Dating Naked:

Kerri struggled with her date being 21 years old, which was tough because she worried about his youth. Still, she let Mason (the 21 year old) stay in the house for another week. Chris kept Fallon again, even though she's clearly manipulative and set up her competitors to fail.

Kerri also struggled with her lingering feelings for Chris, and Chris had a date with a girl who seemed cool until Fallon got her drunk, and a second date with a stripper. This girl was interesting. She came off as shy and ditzy, but then she said she'd grown up on a nudist colony and is a stripper.


The competition involved being up in the air and holding onto a rope. GinaMarie and AnnaMarie fell first. Skyler and Spencer gave up next, but it was okay because they were finally finding their stride in the house. Third out Roxanne and Nicole. Shawn and Claire were out next, followed by Torian and Tre.

The winners were:
1 - Cory and Adam
2 - Taylor and Dylan
3 - Kamila and Kristina
4 - Winston and Bennett

Drama went down between Kamila and Kristina and Li and Je. That's not surprising.

The pairs in the twin-off were GinaMarie & AnnaMarie and Roxanne & Nicole. The Maries were victorious, remaining for another week.

Escaping Polygamy:

I'm not sure if this was actually on last night (8/5) but I watched it last night. This episode showed Priscilla, a 17 year old, escape the order. The tricky part about this is that Priscilla, being a minor, could be returned to her family if she stayed in Utah. Priscilla had a tough life (she's been sent away to become a better order member in the past) and wanted to get out. The team helped her get over the border to Nevada to a safe space. Priscilla was so strong - she knew she'd be okay after she left. It was amazing considering how quickly she escaped; she was set to be married soon and had to get out before that happened. She got a text after leaving from a family member saying she wasn't welcome back home, which is great because she had no intention of returning, and it showed that her family wouldn't be going after her. She's in the clear!

Monday, August 3, 2015

So You Think You Can Dance - 8/3/15

The show opened with a dance to Love Is Free by Robyn.

Each dancer was given the chance to tell us about themselves. Jaja shared that she's engaged to her boyfriend Robbie, also a dancer. Hailee is not a natural blonde.

The girls danced a piece about female empowerment to Endangered Species by Dianne Reeves. Nigel told Hailee she's a sensation. Jaja was told she's interesting and she's growing in technique. Paula said Hailee's radiant. Jason told Jaja to continue to stretch, and told Hailee she's coming out of her shell.

Both were safe from elimination.

Neptune's fact is that he's a dad. Alexia has a blind toy poodle.

Dave Scott choreographed their dance to Flex (Ooh Ooh Ooh) by Rich Homie Quan. Paula said it was a fun routine and the dancers were committed. Jason said Alexia's improving each week. Nigel said Neptune is building each week.

Both were safe from elimination.

Derek is adopted. He was fostered by his now adoptive parents at 6 months old and adopted at two years old. JJ loves her top knot hairstyle.

During rehearsal, Derek went to a doctor and found out he hurt a muscle by his spine, and he'd have to take the rest of the week off. JJ danced with her choreographer, Leonardo to Duo De Amor by Astor Piazzola. Jason told her she brought sexy back with her Argentine Tango. JJ was told she's a credit to her team.

Both were in danger of elimination.

Ariana and Jim were next with a song choreographed by Jim Cheesman. Ariana said if she wasn't a dancer, she'd be a special effects makeup artist. Jim loves therapeutic bubble baths.

They danced to Everybody Wants to Rule The World by Lorde. Nigel felt both dancers strongly portrayed the message of the dance, suffering from depression. Paula said this was one of the best routines to showcase the pair. Ariana was complimented for keeping up with Jim step by step.

Jim was safe. Ariana was in danger again. AGAIN. Stop it, people! Keep her in the game!

Virgil and Gaby were choreographed by Al Blackstone. Virgil's fact is that he has a jazz band. Gaby would a chef on a Food Network show if she wasn't a dancer, but the problem is, she can't cook.

The pair danced to Where or When by Sammy Davis. Jr. Paula said they both make her happy. Jason said Virgil breathes life into every performance. Gaby was told her smile lights up a room.

Both were safe from elimination.

Asaf and Kate joined Sean Cheesman in a jazz routine. Asaf enjoyed donuts and peanut butter as a newcomer to America six months ago. Kate was almost kidnapped by a famous serial killer when she was four years old. Her dad was a district attorney and put someone behind bars, and Kate became a target for kidnapping. She had to have heavy security after that.

They danced an attitude driven dance to Braveheart by Neon Jungle. Jason said he didn't regret saving Asaf last week, but he's still in the danger zone. Nigel said this was much better than last week's performance, and he lived up to his name this week and danced his "asaf (ass off)". Paula said Kate looked lovely and there was no more fear. The pair worked well together.

Both were in danger of elimination.

Marissa and Yorelis were up next with a hip-hop dance by Christopher Scott. Marissa was a power tumbler, headed for the Junior Olympics. Yorelis is a go-go dancer. They danced to Let Go by Kezwik feat. Mimi Page. Nigel complimented Marissa and said it's as if Yorelis' whole body moves to music. Paula complimented both women as well. She said the choreography was very clever. Jason was slightly less impressed.

Marissa was in danger of elimination, and Yorelis was safe.

Edson and Megz were with doing a contemporary dance. Edson is a cheerleader and is now a coach. Megz has a shoe fetish, and owns 378 pairs of shoes. Their routine is about temptation. Their song was You There by Aquilo. Paula said this gave her goosebumps. She said Megz is truly amazing. Jason said it was on the best performances of the night. Nigel said this is the first time a shirt has come off on the show for a good reason. Edson was complimented on releasing his emotions.

Both dancers were safe.

And with that, we got to tweet to save JJ, Ariana, Asaf (street) Derek, Kate or Marissa (stage).

The street dancers danced to Commas by Future. The stage dancers danced to Beautiful Friends by Helen Money.

Twitter saved JJ and Derek.

The judges saved Kate and let Marissa go. They then saved Ariana and let Asaf go.

Congrats to those who made it for another week!