Monday, July 31, 2017

Easy Cash in Your Bank Account

Honestly, there is no shortage of apps out there to help you earn cash. Some of them have been around for years and, yes, you can get money from them.

The problem is that “earn” is the key word. Most of them make you work hard to get a little money back. There are rebate forms to fill out, receipts to worry about, codes to remember, or cookies to clog up on your computer.  Dosh is different.

While you can definitely get some great deals on shopping, vacations, restaurants, and activities by clicking through on one of the fantastic offers on the Dosh app, you don’t have to work to earn money with this app.

You can receive cash back with Dosh by just living your life, spending money on things you always do.

With Dosh, you simply and safely link your credit and debit cards to the application. Then, every time you use it at a place that works with Dosh, money is automatically deposited in your account! No need to remember which places give you money and which don’t. The Dosh app does it all for you.

After the money accumulates in your Dosh account (you can see how much you’ve made as soon as you log in), you can request to have your easy cash sent right to your bank account or PayPal. There are no hassles, no waiting until the quarter is over, or until a check comes in the mail.

Once you start using Dosh and see the great offers, you’ll probably want to actually look at the app more often. New deals are added all the time. At this moment, for example, you can receive 3% cash at the Gap, 4.5% money back at Nike, and 5.2% of your purchase from Speedo.

It’s also not too late to wear that Speedo bathing suit on your summer vacation. 

Among the Dosh travel deals are hotels in New York City with up to 40% cash back and a Chicago Explorer Pass that offers $4.73 back in your wallet.  Or, how about getting $7.88 cash for taking a Viator VIP tour in Washington, DC. 

We usually come back from vacation facing bills, wouldn’t it be much better to come back and find out you have some surprise cash coming?

Whether or not you are traveling, we all need to eat and shop, so download the free Dosh app and get started receiving your cash back.

This is a sponsored post. 

Friday, July 21, 2017

Leaving Branson and Lunching at Twisted Ranch

It was the final day of my Branson, Missouri adventure with friends Brittany, Amanda, and Marsha. We had been out late celebrating Brittany’s 21st birthday, but sleeping in wasn’t on the schedule.

We packed up and said farewell to the Radisson Hotel Branson staff. 

It is a convenient hotel and they had done a good job of making it feel like home.

After we left the hotel, we drove down to Main Street, an area we had not previously made it to. 

We all looked at each other at once as we saw all the interesting shops, knowing that we would need to explore.

First, we were having breakfast with Tamra from the Branson/Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau. She had been the one who had worked so hard on providing us with a great itinerary of things to do over the last four days.

Tamra had also picked a great place for breakfast. The Farmhouse Restaurant is a popular spot in the city and their menu is inviting. She told me they were famous for their blackberry cobbler.

You never have to suggest to me more than once to have dessert for breakfast, but I added a scrambled egg on the side to make it a bit more nutritious. (It was truly delicious cobbler, and they also have it in cherry, and peach.)

Tamra joined me in blackberry cobbler, while everyone else ate a bit more traditionally, with biscuits and gravy, omelets, or pancakes.

After breakfast, we walked around town for about an hour, checking out some of the stores. We were especially drawn to Dick’s Old Time 5& 10, where we each picked up some candy and souvenirs.

I had asked Brittany to pick a place for her birthday lunch on the way home and she didn’t hesitate.

Twisted Ranch had been open in St. Louis about a year and the lines were regularly out the door.

I had contacted the manager and asked that we had a table reserved, but we arrived just before closing so there was room anyway.

The idea of Twisted Ranch is 27 types of ranch dressing you can use to dip all types of food. 

We were determined to try them all, but first we had to check out some of their cocktails.

While the food is based around ranch dressing, the drinks are centered around the location the restaurant is in. St. Louis Blues and the red Cardinals and Eagles are the basis of some very tasty libations.

We decided to go for the blue and red daquiris and margaritas, and they really hit the spot. We also were determined to go through all 27 flavors.

Since the flavor samplers came in assortments of 13, we had two, with the 27th one on the side.

Of course, we needed food to dip in the ranch.  We chose fries, mozzarella sticks (cut in squares, the most delicious I’ve ever had), and chicken wings.

We also couldn’t resist some of their Ranched Macaroni and Cheese, which included bacon and, of course, ranched dressing.

Everything at this restaurant was so good. We certainly understood where the daily lines were coming from.

As for the ranch dressings, we had our favorites: Greek, Creamy Balsamic, Buttermilk Basil, and Asian Zing.

Twisted Ranch was the perfect way to end an amazing trip to Missouri, as well as Brittany’s 21st birthday!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Amusement Park Fun and Special Cocktails in Branson

It was the last full day in Branson for Marsha, Brittany, Amanda, and I. We had a full day of fun planned, as well as a very special nighttime celebration.

We were up and out of the Radisson Hotel Branson early to head to Silver Dollar City, one of Branson’s most popular attractions.

I expected an amusement park, but I also got a period attraction that reminded me of Colonial Williamsburg.

Silver Dollar City has as many depictions of historical sites as rides, including period costumes and vehicles, an old school house, animals, walkways that looked like streets from long ago, woodworkers, a glassware maker, a pottery store, and other shops that had a lot more than your typical theme park souvenirs.

The park also has lots of shows, such as “Mean Murphy Rides Again” at the Saloon, McHaffie’s Homestead, and the Silver Dollar City Street Troupe. They also have seasonal shows in the fall and Christmas shows in December.

Unlike most amusement parks, Silver Dollar City is open through January 1st each year, and then re-opens in March. 

You can also purchase a triple ticket during the summer to include admission to Whitewater Water Park and the Showboat Branson Belle  (which we had done a few days before) dinner cruise at a discount rate.

We started with breakfast at Eva & Delilah’s Bakery. It was hard to choose free the pastries, breads, brownies, cookies, Danishes, and cupcakes.

We ended up with a cinnamon roll and sticky bun to share, and some fresh coffee to go with them.

There is no shortage of food at Silver Dollar City, from sit-down and buffet restaurants to stands for funnel cakes, sidewinder fries, tater twists, ice cream, candy, and fudge.

Marsha and I wondered around exploring while Brittany and Amanda hit the rides: 

The Giant Barn Swing, Thunderation Wooden Roller Coaster (called “the world’s most daring wood coaster” since it has three upside down twists), Firefall, and the Firespotter Roller Coaster.

We all did the train ride at Silver Dollar City, which stops for a comedy skit along the way, and the Fire in the Hole ride.

We were all very hungry and decided to go to Molly’s Mill Restaurant for the buffet luncheon. It was good and quite filling, with fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, a salad bar, a pasta bar, and more.

It was a very hot day and we were ready to go over to Whitewater Water Park. Marsha and I again took the relaxing route, spending time on the Lazy River before enjoying one of the many lounge chairs in the sun with an afternoon ice cream treat.

Brittany and Amanda went through the Pipeline Plunge, Surf’s Up Wave Pool, Kalani Towers, and Kapaui Plummet.

We headed back to the Radisson Hotel Branson in the evening. We had a late night planned and all napped for a while before dressing up.

The plan was to head to Crazy Craig’s Cheeky Monkey Bar at 10:00 and have dinner, and be there at midnight for a 21st birthday toast to Brittney.

Unfortunately, there was a bit of a mix-up with the PR rep as far as the Missouri laws were concerned. No one under 21 was allowed in the bar between 10 and midnight.

Another wrench in our plans was the fact that Branson is just not a late-night dinner town. The only place we found open for the birthday dinner was the International House of Pancakes!

We actually had fun with breakfast for dinner at IHOP and made it back to the Cheeky Monkey at 11:45.

While Brittany waited outside the door with Amanda (who had turned 21 a few weeks before), Marsha and I got the drinks ready and talked to Craig, the bar’s owner. 

He told us about his journey as a farm boy from Nebraska to Washington, DC, Panama, Costa Rica, and more, including where the monkey came from (you can read the whole story on the back of the menu in the picture).

At exactly 12:01 am, Craig personally escorted Brittany into the bar for her first official cocktails.

I picked the Cheeky Monkey Bar because of the fun atmosphere and interesting cocktails. It seemed as if every one of them made it to the birthday girl at our table! Including these:

Cheeky Monkey
Cruzan Mango, Guava, banana, and Coconut rums with a splash of tropical juices.

A Monkey’s Uncle
Svedka Raspberry Vodka, Svedka Mango Pineapple Vodka, Cranberry Juice, sour mix, and a splash of Sprite.

Grass Monkey
Cruzan Coconut rum, Deykuper Melon Liqueur, pineapple juice, sour mix, and a Cruzan 151 floater.

We closed down the bar at 2:00 am and headed back to the hotel for a good night’s sleep. We had some more birthday celebrating to do for the last day of our trip in Branson, Missouri

Monday, July 3, 2017

Bigfoot and Dixie Stampede in Branson

It was day three in Branson and I continued to enjoy this Missouri city with my friends Marsha, Brittany, and Amanda.

Our first stop for the day was at an attraction new to the city this year, Bigfoot on the Strip. 

We thought it would be a quick stop, but we soon realized there was so much to do (and eat) that it was fun for the day.

Bigfoot, a joint adventure by three locals, who also happen to be in the food business (more below), is an adventure park with unique activities to keep kids and adults occupied and having fun.

Brittany and Amanda took off for the maze immediately. It was nothing like you’d find at chuck E Cheese.

This one required a lot of climbing and crawling, with stops in a tall water tower and the opportunity to jump onto a trampoline-like pit.

Before checking out anything else, we stopped for lunch at Bigfoot’s food trucks, Big Ds BBQ and Parlor Pizza Wood Fired Pizza.

It was a unique and delicious alternative to a snack bar. Owner Darrell “Big D” Henley showed us around the state-of-the-art trucks, where they can smoke their own meats and wood-fire pizzas.

Our “samples” turned into a magnificent buffet and I couldn’t even tell you what we liked best – it was all mouth-watering.

After lunch, Brittany and Amanda hit the main attraction, the Bigfoot Action Tower, which contains two rides in one 200’ high construction.

The Gravity Bomb™ is a freefall that uses a magnetic braking system to bring the riders to a smooth, but abrupt, stop after they “fall” down from the top.

The Super Sling™ is more of an actual ride, as two people sit together and flip slingshot like into the air and back down.

After the golf, we went inside to the arcade for the 8D Action Ride. 
This goes way beyond any 3 or 4D experience I’ve had, as you get 3D glasses and laser guns, while on an actual mini bike that jerks back and forth with sound effects.

You can buy individual tickets to Big Foot on the Strip, but I recommend going for the all-inclusive package if you want to spend the day. 

It was hard to get them off the Action Tower, but Marsha and I were ready for some mini-golf and Bigfoot has a fun course that even takes you through a muraled tunnel.
We couldn’t help but notice an Andy’s Frozen Custard next door as we got in the car to leave and stopped for some afternoon treats.

We went back to the 10479934?" target="_top"> Radisson Hotel Branson
for a bit to shower and change. We had plans to go to the Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Show.

Marsha had been to the show in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, but the rest of us weren’t sure what to expect when we pulled up to what looked like a Southern mansion.

After we picked up our tickets we had time to walk through the stables and see the horses at this Branson, Missouri location.

They are switched out each show so they don’t get worn out and they were all pretty friendly.

We walked through the gift shop and into the carriage room where there is a bar (non-alcoholic drinks only) and a pre-show.

A bit crowded it was a bit crowded, but we were only in there for a short while before they called us into the main arena.

We all sat around a large circular sand-filled area for the show, which included a little of everything, with changing backgrounds, horses, riders, cowboys, dancers, wagons, and more.

There was plenty of special effects, including jumping through fire, and stunt riders. It was a lot of fun to watch.  There was a wonderful and patriotic finale.

Our place setting was complete, but without any type of utensils. You eat everything at this show with your hands, but it’s not quite as messy as it sounds.

Dinner was quite good, consisting of a small rotisserie chicken, barbecued pork loin, creamy vegetable soup (in a bowl with a handle to pick up), corn on the cob, a baked potato, a biscuit, and an apple turnover for dessert.

After the show, we went back to the Radisson Hotel Branson for a good night sleep. We had one full day left in Branson and it was going to end with a late night out.