DEAR TOSTITOS: THANKS FOR THE HINT

Chips are such a solid snack option. What other food is as versatile as a chip? They go with salsa. They go with queso. They go with guac. They go with meat and beans and vegetables. They go with the pool. They go with cookouts. They go with car rides. They go with lunch. They go with dinner. They can be found at home. They can be found at friends’ houses. They can be found at restaurants. They can be found in vending machines. Whenever, wherever, with whatever chips will never let you down. 

In and of themselves, chips have a fascinating variety. Textures, flavors, health content, you name it there is something for everyone. I have to admit that some of the flavors are definitely there solely for the bold, but if you’re feeling like putting your taste buds (and possibly your gag reflex) up to the test, nothing wrong with trying it out. Then there’s the option for those counting every calorie. Poppable options. Stackable options. Dippable options. Low carb options. Low fat options. Nothing but air and cardboard taste option. Whatever floats your boat.

While there are whole grocery store aisles dedicated to the wonderfulness that is the chip, my preference is the tortilla variety. Partially because it reminds me of the word turtle, which makes me think of those adorable animals. Turtles also have an interesting variety. From super tiny to the size of boulders. From young to literally dinosaurs. And also from shy to carnivore. They’re such a funny species. Can we take a moment, as well, to appreciate their shells. Mainly how they can curl up into their shells. The OG work from home life.

Where was I? Tortilla chips! Crunchy. Salty. Flavorful. Tasty. A perfect base for nachos. An awesome dipping accessory. Fantastic to eat as is. How could you possibly go wrong?! Especially with Tostitos upping their game as of late. I’m not sure who, I’m not 100% sure when, I for sure don’t know where, or why, or how. But I do know what happened. We got graced with tortilla chips flavored with just a hint of something else.

Normally, I’m not a big fan of hints. My guessing skills are subpar at best and I usually don’t like to spend 30 minutes trying to figure out something that you could just tell me in 30 seconds. Why send me down multiple rabbit holes to answer a riddle that will do nothing for me in life. So I know what’s black, white, and red all over. You don’t see me getting promoted for that. Or on scavenger hunts … do I remember where I lost my first tooth or where the city founder loved to go eat lunch? Not even in the slightest. What an unhelpful hint. I guess we’ll be stuck here on the first clue until time travel gets invented.

Despite my experience with hints that involve a mental action on my end, Tostitos has finally given me a hint that I can get behind. Some of the strange chip flavors dive right off the deep end and give you an all or nothing experiment taste wise. Our salsa sharing friends, though, decided that people should be able to get a more mild experience. A hint of lime. A hint of spicy queso. A hint of guacamole. My goodness where have these been my whole life? You get the flavor hint and put on the best tortilla chip on the grocery market. Quality on quality. Win win.

The best part of the hinted chips is that you can up your flavor profile on them. It’s a customizable experience. Unlike a barbecue chip which is a standalone item, you can mix and match your chips and dips for the ultimate feelings snack. Dip the hint of spicy queso in actual queso. Or switch it up and get the queso and salsa combo we’ve been creating since Luncahbles were invented. Put that hint of lime in some guacamole. Or some barbecue sauce to switch things up. Obviously a hint of guac gets upped big time in the mean green dipping machine, but mix some cheese or tomato based options in for a different game. 

And why stop there? Throw some more spices on there! It’s a hint so that you can customize to your liking. So what are you waiting for? Tostitos gave you the power to create. In a manner that involves no more effort than opening a bag and a can. Then kicking it however you want to enjoy in whatever fashion you choose.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT YOUR SANDWICH BREAD PREFERENCE SAYS ABOUT YOU

Who doesn’t love a good sandwich? It’s the ultimate lunch food and can also double dip as a fantastic dinner option. Shoot, you can even make sandwiches for breakfast! And for snacks – there is literally never an eating period where a sandwich is a bad choice. The options for the goods are equally impressive. What can’t go into a sandwich? Your imagination is the only limit to what the meat of your meal will be. Doesn’t matter if you want to keep it more traditional or go on the wild side and throw some Doritos in there. Whatever makes you happy.

With all of the potential on the inside, there are an almost equally endless number of options for the outside. Everyone is different and everyone has a different preference for what’s going to hug their concoction. Now, I’m not here to judge, but I do find it interesting that different personalities tend to order the same type of carbs for their sandwiches. Take it as you will, there is zero scientific proof to this list, just pure millennial genius:

White Bread

The most basic option around – enough said

Whole Wheat / Multigrain Bread

To be healthy or not to be healthy? Throw some grains in your bread and you can feel like a California goddess, but ultimately you want the best of both worlds

Sourdough / Rye Bread

What are these? They definitely don’t sound appetizing and there are only a handful of sandwiches that pair well with them. As such, you like minimal options and are a routine person

Pita Bread

Living life on the absolute edge between sandwich and wrap and gyro. You like to explore

Hoagie Roll

Can anyone say crusty? These rolls are not for me, I don’t understand the appeal. You’re set in your habits and aren’t open to newer, fresher options

Ciabatta Roll

If sourdough and the hoagie had a child, it would be ciabatta. Though soft to the touch, weirdly dry to the tongue. You care more about hot trends than the sandwich fillings … in life you care more about the experience versus how it happens

Kaiser / Sesame Seed Bun

It’s a bagel! It’s a bun! It’s a sesame seed bun! Who doesn’t like little seeds awkwardly hanging around in their teeth post meal? These are for people who don’t give a single care about what other people think

Brioche Bun

So sweet it might as well be dessert! This is the best sandwich bun and should be available for every option. No wrong answers – you are adventurous and spontaneous and happy go lucky

Pretzel Bun

For when you want double the carbs. This is for the people who know who they are and know that a pretzel makes everything better

English Muffin

Another strange, yet popular option. For when you want to eat a sandwich, but want to hate it. A unique taste, like you, it’s not for everyone and that’s ok. You have your group and that’s all you need

Bagel

Breakfast, lunch, dinner, who cares? Bagel sandwiches are an elevated experience. You like to feel exclusive and like you’re getting something very few other people are

Tortilla

Are you looking for a sandwich or a burrito? You want to act edgy and prove that you’re a unique individual

Lettuce Wrap

Why get a sandwich if you’re going to wrap it in lettuce? Just order a salad, you’re a poser

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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COFFEE v. TEA

Ah, the morning, afternoon, evening, and late night drinks of choice for a disturbing portion of the population. The addiction that people literally cannot live without. At least not without soul crushing headaches and patches of exhaustion scattered at non-normal times throughout the day. Among other things, I’ve heard. I, to the horror of my colleagues, friends, and family, do not participate in the liquid caffeine. I’m one of those wake up, get dressed, ready to go kind of people. What can I say, I’m a natural.

Now despite my morning routine, I know that I’m an endangered species. With Starbucks popping up faster than grocery stores, our whole culture has embraced the coffee and tea movements. More than even the bacon movement. Which is probably a good thing. Certain things don’t need to be related to bacon. Including, but not limited to, bacon flavoring, bacon scent, bacon images, or adding bacon. I, also, am not a bacon fan. I’m basically an alien, I think.

Ok, moving on from the very glaring things that make me a weirdo, coffee and tea and all the caffeine! While both will give you your morning fix, there are very real differences between the two. Starting with the obvious: coffee is an addiction while tea is a hobby. Coffee is seen as more of a habit that people get hooked on and can’t seem to kick. A problem, so to speak. On the other hand, tea is healthy. It’s a good medium between needing caffeine and the no caffeine extreme.

Let’s talk about coffee first. Since c comes well before t in the alphabet, it just seems right. Most coffee that I’ve seen people drink ranges in color from black to light brown. Although, are the light brown ones really coffee, or are they milk with a dash of coffee? I have to believe it’s the latter. Which … why drink coffee if you have to add more sugar, milk, creamer, ice, flavor pumps, etc. than there is actual coffee? Why not just drink a milkshake at that point? This is what I don’t understand about coffee drinkers. Or people who go to STARBUCKS. Genuinely a question I would like someone to answer for me.

Then we have tea. Which, if I’m being honest, I think is all different variations of clear. Since it’s basically water. With some leaves thrown into it. It tastes like someone dipped the Flintstones multivitamins in hot water. There are “flavors”, but there aren’t really. Let’s not kid ourselves. You take a scoop, or a bag, or literal things from nature. They could be mistaken for certain drugs. Just saying. 

My big question around both of these options, though, is why it’s so freaking complicated. They took something simple – hot water and beans or hot water and leaves – and made whole new languages around them. I don’t even know how to order coffee, or shop for tea. There are too many options. A few would be great, but we’re at a different level. Stressful amounts of options. And everyone who participates is always so impatient to get their energy levels up that any hesitation on your part leads to multiple new enemies behind you in line.

I, personally, prefer a calmer way to start my mornings. A nice cup of water. Maybe some juice, if I’m feeling frisky. Food. Then on with whatever adventure awaits me. No coffee. No tea. No angry people. No ridiculous amount of choices. No waiting for water to heat up. No getting diabetes from my drink. Flavor. All I want. All I need. But no judgement against all of you who ride the bandwagon. There are a lot of people in my life on that path and I still love them very much.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT DO COUSCOUS, GLITTER, AND ARTIFICIAL TURF HAVE IN COMMON?

You know what’s super fun? When you live through a moment and then that moment just simply resides somewhere in your memory for the rest of time. Or until you lose your mind, whichever comes first. You experience it and then all traces of it leave your immediate surroundings for the rest of time. It’s the circle of life. The Lion King demonstrated this perfectly with Mufasa’s death. He lived on in spirit, but he wasn’t really there. And so should most things in life be. 

Certain things are good to have around after the fact. If you’re missing your significant other, for example, and they happened to have left some things at your place. If you eat the most amazing piece of cake and then the person who brought it leaves the leftovers for you. If you watch the best sports game ever and the after show just shows replay on replay of all the great plays. You get it? Occasionally it’s great to have some remnants leftover. Occasionally being the key word.

Regular things are ok to just dip out when their time in the spotlight has come to an end. Things such as food prep, outdoor materials, and craft supplies. And toilet paper … why does it always end up on the floor? Who is throwing it on the floor? Is it putting itself there? And why is it always in a shredded piece on the floor? Never like a full square. Just a wolverine on a rampage type shred. Also, why is it all of a sudden incredibly sticky when it’s on the floor? It will stick to anything, namely the rubber sole of your shoe. 

While we’re on this subject, why is the floor of every public restroom just constantly wet? My bathroom at home enjoys a dry floor 99.99% of the time. The only time it does not, is when I exit the shower. Is there a reason this doesn’t transfer to public places? Last time I checked, most public restrooms do not have public showers as well. And yet, puddles. All the time. It never dries. It’s stagnant. It is standing water and thinking about it gives me the chills. This is a crisis and I would like to know who is doing this to the restrooms of the world. It is not acceptable. It never was.

Wow, I could write an entire rant on that. I have so many more questions. But alas, that is not the journey we were destined for today. No, today we examine the crisis of cheap, tiny, circular objects found near humans all around the world. Don’t be fooled by how easy they are to acquire. It’s like a computer virus – shockingly simple to click on, but it will eff you up for a while. Days, weeks, months. It’s an all out commitment to seek out and exterminate it.

Enter the seemingly innocent physical viruses known as couscous, glitter, and artificial turf. If you’ve ever had the pleasure, nay the horror, of dealing with any of these things, you know what I’m talking about. If you have never dealt with them, well, have you never met a girl somewhere between the ages of 2-99 in your life? Because I blame the Disney princesses for the glitter issue. And the social stigma that girl and glitter must be soulmates since you can’t spell glitter without girl.

How does it not wash off? How can I clean it off all spaces, including myself, and still wake up and find it places? It’s made 50% of glue I have to believe. You barely touch it and all of a sudden it’s a part of you forever. It will show up in rooms that you never went into during your foray into the sparkly rainbow world. How? Magic? No. Demonic craft supply companies. Play with glitter, they say. It will make your life sparkly, they say. Yes, but then it won’t leave.

While glitter is probably the more well known craft curse, it is not lost on me that in recent years outdoor athletes have had to deal with an equally traumatizing experience known as artificial turf. It gets in your shoes. It gets in your bag. It somehow always ends up in your pants. It hides so nicely in a carpet. It will live under your insole for years. It’s everywhere. It is a disease. You can vacuum. You can sweep. You can shower. But it will never leave you.

And then, we have the edible portion of the post: couscous. If you’ve been keeping up to this point, you know the storyline here. It just appears. In the sink. On countertops. In the cabinets. Why? How? Make it stop. The kitchen has been scrubbed. It’s been deep cleaned. It has not seen a box of couscous in months and still … still! They pop up from time to time like the gremlins that they are. 

I don’t know who, or whom, is responsible for any of these creatures. I don’t believe they are inanimate objects. They must have some sort of advanced technology embedded deep into their tiny, miniscule little earthly bodies just to torture us. They were Siri, and Google, and Alexa before it was cool to spy on people. I bet they’ve been listening to us for years. But without a helpful counterpart which is the targeted ad.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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RANKING POPULAR HARD SELTZER BRANDS

Hard seltzers are a whole mood. Nothing says I’m here to have a good time for a long time like a hard seltzer. I mean it’s basically water after all. Just with some “natural” flavors and some sort of non-water added. Presumably alcohol, although who’s preventing someone from coming out with a hard LaCroix and scamming people. The Internet. That’s who. All the trolls and people looking to make a quick buck. Which in this case works out very well for all of us looking to get our buzz on.

Unlike beer, wine, or mixed drinks, you can drink hard seltzers all day. There’s a reason White Claw is the new unofficial Corona of the beach. Have one, have four, have a case – you can still go to dinner afterwards and feel great! In other words, it’s like drinking hard liquor without having to actually drink hard liquor. Because why do we do that to ourselves? It ends the same way every time and we never learn. Peer pressure is a true threat to the health of my liver, but still I can’t say no.

For everyone who thinks hard seltzers are for the weak, come talk to me after trying to keep up with your 7.5% IPA. Bubbles and carbs are not a good combination for efficiency in a timely manner. But this post is not about volume. It’s about quality and, like most things in life, not all hard seltzers are created equally. They are all created equally on the outside, however. I have yet to find a hard seltzer in a bottle. I have been given the option of a hard seltzer on tap, though, and I have to be real – that’s too far. A hard seltzer should come in a can, so I can take it anywhere, and be refreshing to the point where I’m not really sure if I’m drinking juice, regular seltzer, or something for adults only.

Alright, enough pregaming, let’s get to it! There are many, many, many … many options on the market right now, but some are better than others. Some are also better than most. 3, 2, 1 cheers! Here are the rankings of current hard seltzer brands. According to me. The Restless Professional. You may feel differently and I guess that’s fine. You do you. I’m doing me. There are definitely others, but for the sake of space, my sanity, and my health, sticking to more popular options:

  1. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Signature Flavors
  2. Press Premium Hard Seltzer
  3. Crook & Marker Spiked Seltzer
  4. Michelob Organic Hard Seltzer Classic Collection
  5. Truly Punch Hard Seltzer
  6. Bud Light Seltzer Retro Pack
  7. Bud Light Seltzer Remix Pack
  8. Bud Light Seltzer Holiday Pack
  9. Smirnoff Seltzer Rose Pack
  10. Natty Light Hard Seltzer
  11. Vizzy Hard Seltzer
  12. Bud Light Hard Seltzer
  13. White Claw Hard Seltzer
  14. Bud Light Lemonade Seltzer
  15. Truly Lemonade Hard Seltzer
  16. Truly Hard Seltzer
  17. Jose Cuervo Tequila Seltzer
  18. Seagram’s Hard Seltzer
  19. Mike’s Hard Lemonade Seltzer
  20. High Noon Hard Seltzer
  21. Truly Tea Hard Seltzer
  22. Truly Extra Hard Seltzer
  23. PBR Stronger Seltzer
  24. BON V!V Spiked Seltzer
  25. Wild Basin Hard Seltzer

Believe it or not, 25 only dents the currently way over-saturated seltzer market. This is my blog and I don’t feel pressure to justify, but I do think it would be fun to dive in deeper. And you can’t stop me, so here goes! Michelob and Press are clearly winners and everyone should buy them. I can, and will, drink them all day every day. Crook & Marker is a close third and very flavorful. Truly averages the bottom half of the list, but their Punch Pack is a gem. Not sure that tea is the same as water, so is it really a seltzer? Marketing says yes, but it still tastes like a Twisted Tea to me. Bud Light has found their true calling and has released several killer collections that spice up any time of year. Smirnoff and Jose Cuervo couldn’t be outdone by beer companies and make decent options as well. The rose collection is more for crisp seltzers / borderline cider fans, however.

Natty Light is the biggest surprise on this list. While I would never again subject myself to the watered down toast that is a regular Natty Light, their seltzers are surprisingly on point and their flavor combos are unique – which says a lot in the current market. Vizzy and White Claw are good, but forgettable among new competition. Seagram’s and Mike’s are known for disgustingly sweet drinks and their seltzers are no different. Still decent flavors, though, and who doesn’t love a good Mike’s Hard in the summer? Rounding it out, High Noon and BON V!V I can take a hard pass on. While their flavors sound good, the taste is nowhere near expectations. Finally, the new Truly Extra and PBR Stronger taste more like liquor than a refreshing seltzer. Though still both better than Wild Basin which tastes exactly like the name implies.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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WHAT WOULD YOU DO FOR A KLONDIKE BAR?

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream! Especially when it’s warm outside. And what is happening outside right now? You guessed it, the warm has arrived. Not just the warm, though. The humidity. That stagnant heat wave that follows you around. A never ending torture fee we all pay to enjoy a nice, natural tan, and swimmable water temps. It’s time to sweat like we’re melting. Drip like an ice cream cone. Heat up like Stephen Curry at the 3-point line. It’s summer. 

Summer is … one of the seasons. I’m not going to say where I would rank it in a list of the seasons since everyone feels differently, but it isn’t my first choice. It does have vacations going for it, at least. It also has higher electric bills, painful sunburns, and hair that don’t care. Despite some of it’s obvious flaws, nothing is perfect after all, we do get graced with frozen dessert treats. Which are like regular desserts just way better. They’re good all year long, if I’m honest, but something about eating something ice cold when it’s boiling hot is like dessert ASMR.

There are different levels to frozen dessert options. With the rise of food blogs, anything can be a frozen dessert now. Frozen dessert casseroles, frozen yogurt, frozen mousse, frozen parfait concoctions, frozen cakes, frozen fruit, etc. most of them are amazing. Sherbert on the other hand, is really only good for punches and I’m not sure why it’s marketed as a dessert … but for another time that adventure! 

Regardless, ice cream, in any form, far outweighs any of the other options, however. Put it in a cake, in between cookies, with donuts, with fruit, with more sugary things, cover it in chocolate, eat it plain, serve it soft, serve it melted – do what makes you happy. But think about this, what would you do for a Klondike bar? If you don’t know your answer right off the top of your head, are you even an American? That’s one of the best marketing campaigns from the millennial childhood. It’s one of the few that stuck with me all these years, anyways.

If we’re being honest, I wouldn’t do that much. Klondike bars are ok, but when I want ice cream I don’t want a nicely proportioned serving size where the chocolate to ice cream ratio is not ideal. Think about it – if you took all the ice cream in a single bar and put it together, it would be about a scoop. And I can’t tell you the last time I only ate one scoop of ice cream so, ergo, there’s a lot I would not do for a singular Klondike bar.

Some people feel differently. Some people would do a lot of things for one scoop of ice cream. One $2.50 scoop of ice cream. Steal a toy from a kid, throw a phone out the window, unfollow all of their friends online, kick your significant other in the shin, etc. and no judgement. Ice cream is the top of the dessert food chain. Switch the question from Klondike bar to a frozen custard concrete, though, and I too would be in the above actions. Shamelessly. I’m all about the soft serve ice cream with some extra mixins life.

So, I’m curious, what would YOU do for your favorite dessert? It can be anything within the legal realm. Well, anything is strong. But anything within the legal realm that you wouldn’t mind laughing with your grandmother about in a few months. That’s how I base most of my decisions as a full on adult. Would grandma think it’s funny? Go for it! Would grandma hate it? Maybe time to rethink. Would grandma not get it? Definitely go for it! Deal with potential regrets later.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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THANKS FOR READING, PLEASE LEAVE A TIP

On this beautiful day, let’s participate in a quick thought exercise. It won’t be hard, I promise. And I don’t break promises, so from the almost nothing you know about me, and that statement, there’s zero reason for you not to trust me. Ok, let us wander down memory lane to a time when you could buy things, anything really, and simply pay for it. List price plus any sales tax. That’s it. You pay for it, and then you grab the bag and leave feeling satisfied. How far back in time did your mind travel? 

Actually, pause, I think we should address the question in your head. Was I supposed to go far back? Technically, I gave you no real instructions other than a time you spent money, so I guess not. My bad. But, if you think about the last time the custom additional payment line was added to a receipt, it may have been a while. That’s right, I’m talking about tipping! And America, I believe we have a tipping problem. Not the tipping you experience from consuming maybe one too many adult beverages. No, I’m talking about the tipping that comes from your wallet. The tipping that you have to do math to get to. The tipping that is optional, but mandatory. 

Are you picking up what I’m leaving on the table? When was the last time you weren’t asked to leave a tip for someone? It’s getting consistently more difficult to find examples of plain old pay and walk away. We tip for everything now. Not just when eating out, back when that was a more mainstream, and safe, adventure, but we’ve gotten to a place where almost every business feels it’s acceptable to ask you for a tip. You can count on it with any food adventure. It’s almost guaranteed for any type of experience you participate in. Don’t think that retail isn’t trying to hop on this bandwagon either. Where did we go wrong?

Since this is an opinion based blog, I would like to take some time and dive into my thoughts about being asked to make additional payments on things I spend money on. If this is your first time realizing there are zero factual backings to any of these posts, I apologize. But, also, we may need to discuss your ability to interpret sarcasm. Anyways … moving on … tipping! Or robbing, you decide. I think there are limits to the number of “services” that can acceptably ask me to spend more money than my receipt says.

If you give me a fantastic tour of a distillery, then of course I’m going to tip you – excellent service pays off. If you’re refilling my drink before I even know it’s getting empty, then of course I’m going to tip you – hard work pays off. If I order food and you drive it to me, then of course I’m going to tip you – not being lazy pays off. If I, however, pick out all of my own groceries and place them on the conveyor belt, then why would I leave the cashier a tip? You’re just doing your job. And I did all the hard work, so, what is that about?

For starters, why not just factor my tip into my bill? Then I wouldn’t care. Make me calculate it, though, and all of a sudden it’s an extra expense (and an annoyance). Use mind tricks with people – make us believe that was always going to be the total. Basic math equations aside, if I do all of the work and you simply are working at the register, what on earth is making it acceptable for you to ask for a tip?

Don’t get me wrong, tipping is not something that I see as an employee problem. In fact, I actually support adding extra money so they don’t have to make whatever absurdly low hourly rate their business has decided is appropriate. The main problem is that we still have places paying people less than half the minimum wage and banking on the fact that tips will push them, on average, to the federal minimum. How horrible would it be for you to start their pay at minimum wage and allow them to earn much more than that for their hard work? Why is that like asking for the moon?

Second imagination station train of the day. If you’re at your job, and have a meeting with your manager, what do you think their reaction would be if you asked for a tip / bonus for meeting the basic requirements you were hired (and are already paid) to do? You may be job hunting the next day. You may get laughed off as a joke. You may get the silent stare of terror. You may get a snarky comment. Small chance you get a tip, though. I feel like that should be no different in the consumer industry, but maybe that’s just me.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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DEAR S’MORES: YOU MAKE ME MELT

Can you think of a better pairing than graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows? Cinnamon graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows? Chocolate graham crackers, chocolate, and marshmallows?! Wow, I just about up and went for an overnight trip to the woods. S’mores are really the highlight of any camping trip. The most exciting part about them is that the camping part of the equation is 100% optional. So, in other words, s’mores are the highlight of being outdoors.

Hold on, back up a quick second. S’mores, for sure, are the highlight for outdoor adventures. But thanks to, I’m not actually sure who … the Internet, food bloggers, food companies, millennials, Mother Nature, electric companies? Anyways, at some point, the brilliant idea was formed and distributed widely to the general population of the world that s’mores could be an indoor activity. Mind freaking blown. No need to expose yourself to the creatures that will wander over to try and nab the delicious-looking, perfectly burned, marshmallows. 

Oh, and the smoke. Listen, I love a good bonfire, but I hate the bonfire smoke and will actively move continuously around the circle to avoid it. There is nothing worse than going outside to enjoy a nice, contained and non destructive, fire only to return to the house smelling like a tobacco factory. Hard pass. That smell is something awful and is like a leech on your clothing. Even the Snuggle bear struggles to get it fully out the first time through the wash. Then you start to get weird looks and questions from people close to you – are you doing alright? Are you managing your stress in healthy ways? Are you having a MID-LIFE CRISIS? Yadda yadda yadda.

What a fun tangent we just journeyed on together! In short, I will risk smelling like a smoker if it means I can eat a s’more. However, that is not necessarily a required evil of the process anymore. Because we’re a progressive species and have things like ovens, and toaster ovens, and microwaves now. Which all happen to live where? In the doors! And require what? Zero fire! I would like to take this moment to point out that graham cracker packaging has not kept up with the innovative times in the food industry. What is happening with the packaging? How is it still awkwardly 9 (nine?!) crackers to one non-resealable pack? Who is using 9 graham crackers at once? Why is 27 an appropriate number of graham crackers? Is that 3 per person or is someone not getting a second. I’m so concerned.

Unlike the graham cracker manufacturers, Hershey’s has decided to keep up with Jones’ so to speak. Their chocolate bar packaging now conveniently has directions for making s’mores using one of the predetermined four cooking options. How cute! Like we don’t know how to make a s’more. I mean, come on, are we sea creatures? Even the cavemen had fire – shoot, they probably invented the s’more! There is not a simpler food to make, other than maybe milk and cereal. Cracker, chocolate, marshmallow, then another cracker. 

S’mores have but one instruction. Make sure the marshmallow is warm. And, if we’re being honest with ourselves, that is a suggestion. You could eat a cold s’more. It’s an ice cream flavor so it’s clearly been done before! How warm your marshmallow should be is a hot debate in the camping dessert world. I like my marshmallow to be completely burnt, other people like a light toasting, others like a pure white, massively expanded one from the microwave. No judgement, you do you. Burn that ‘mallow, melt that chocolate, and fill your insides literally glow with excitement over what is happening on your tastebuds.

If s’mores aren’t your thing, clearly you need better Google searches. Because the days of the OG chocolate and marshmallow are over. They ended the minute people started becoming millionaires as food bloggers. Anything that has any of the three iconic ingredients and can be eaten as a handheld option, can classify as a “s’more”. Why stop there, though?! Any dish can be s’more flavored now because that’s the beauty of modern day cooking. S’mores dip! S’mores cereal! S’mores lasagna! Go freaking nuts! Add peanut butter! Add caramel! Add bacon … idk whatever will make you smile.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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RANKING TWIZZLER FLAVORS

Candy is delicious and there is always a time for candy. Not all the time, but in certain moments you crave a sweet treat not involving chocolate. Which, for the record, is the real winner 99.99% of the time. But occasionally you get a craving for something more fruity and artificial by nature. Something colorful and fun. Something not in the shape of a demonic child, though – seriously what is with SOUR candy? I have never been a fan. When I want dessert, I don’t want to feel like I’m scrapping my tastebuds off one by one before I can finally get some teeth sticking gummy texture happening.

Same with hard candy … again, what? If I wanted to break a tooth I’d use my mouth as a bottle opener for the best, and most convenient, party trick around. I wouldn’t do it for a peppermint. There isn’t enough mint flavor packed into those to cover up the amount of physical and emotional pain they bring. I guess hard candy is better suited for people with patience. Similar to cooking. Why spend an hour cooking when Stouffer’s has frozen options that are easier? Why take hard vitamins when they make delicious, gummy alternatives? Why eat hard candy when you could not?

Thoughts on what does, and doesn’t, constitute real candy aside, there seems to be some candies that have stood the test of generations. One of those being the infamous licorice. It’s been around for literal centuries. And was apparently used originally to brew beer so if you weren’t on this bandwagon before, what excuse do you have now? It’s part alcoholic … well, not actually, but you can convince yourself of anything if you want to. In all seriousness, I would try a beer that had been flavored with licorice. Especially if it was cherry flavored because that is clearly the superior option.

I guess it isn’t fair of me to assume that everyone likes fake cherry flavoring. I’ll happily admit that outside of food, I too think it’s awful. Basically anything they make into liquid medicine is awful. Anywho … let’s get our opinions tangled up and rank Twizzler flavors! According to me. The Restless Professional. You may feel differently and I guess that’s fine. You do you. I’m doing me. Hershey now proudly makes 18 varieties of flavors and shapes since the OG strawberry twist wasn’t good enough, I guess. Here they are, brutally judged from best to why:

  1. Cherry Bites
  2. Cherry Nibs
  3. Orange Cream Pop Filled Twists
  4. Cherry Pull N’ Peel
  5. Watermelon Pull N’ Peel
  6. Strawberry Twists
  7. Strawberry Smoothie Filled Twists
  8. Cherry Twists
  9. Strawberry Filled Bites
  10. Strawberry Untwisted
  11. Rainbow Twists
  12. Mystery Twists
  13. Zero Sugar Strawberry
  14. Sweet & Sour Filled Bites
  15. Sweet & Sour Filled Twists
  16. Chocolate Twists
  17. Black Licorice Nibs
  18. Black Licorice Twists

While I don’t feel a need to explain myself, even I was a little shocked at where I placed some of these. Cherry, no surprises there dominates the first third of the list. It’s just freaking great! The cherry twists do lack some of the same flavor as the nibs, but still a solid choice overall. Orange Cream Pop and Strawberry Smoothie filled twists were surprisingly spot on taste wise and I’m a huge fan. You can’t go wrong with original strawberry or a fruity watermelon string-cheese like fun adventure.

Rounding out the back two-thirds of the list we start to get into the more questionable variety adventures. For example, why untwist the strawberry? The flavor was still there, but the fun was not. Rainbow twists, a lot like their Froot Loops and M&Ms counterparts all taste the same, but the vibrant colors are exciting at least. Mystery is … mystery. Hit or miss and why take the chance when so many other great options exist? Zero sugar, need I say more? Just don’t eat sweets then. We’ve previously established my dislike of sweet and sour “candies” so hard pass on those from me. The chocolate ones were by far the most disappointing since it’s chocolate … from Hershey … and a Twizzler … but alas, no. And then, of course, I have yet to meet someone who actually enjoys black licorice. At least the nibs are a smaller dose of what I’m assuming is minty molasses flavor than the twists.

Alright, jumping off my pedestal for now. If you know someone who would enjoy this post and want to share it with them, that would be awesome. Sharing is caring, after all. Don’t forget to subscribe to get these in your inbox twice weekly and follow TRP on Twitter for frequent musings. Thanks for reading!


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