My Top 5 Favorite Chips

A signature part of Don’t Blink is my annual #DoUsAFlavor Lay’s potato chips review and ranking. However, do you want to know something? On my top 5 list of favorite chips, you won’t find a Lay’s item. But you will find the below snacks on it! For tonight’s blog post, I am counting down my five favorite types of chips.

I enjoy Lay’s Potato Chips, but they aren’t on my top five list.

5. Tostito’s Rounds – In my opinion, a bag of Tostito’s Rounds is the perfect snack. Salty and easy to eat, you don’t have to worry about jagged pieces piercing your gums or crumbling in an inconvenient mess like regular tortilla chips. The size and shape of the snack makes it seem like you aren’t eating as much which is a good feeling. The biggest upside, however, is that they serve as a great base for quick nachos. I love piling a bunch of them onto a plate, dropping a layer of cheese, and sending it into the microwave for a minute. Out comes an easily containable, no mess serving of nachos!

4. Fritos Scoops – I like Tostito’s for nachos but I don’t necessarily like them best for dipping. If Sidney makes her famous sausage cheese dip, I want to pair it with Fritos Scoops. Thank goodness the leader in corn chip production makes a product specifically for dipping. Unlike tortilla chips, Fritos Scoops won’t break when you swoop in for a dip. Additionally, corn chips just taste better than tortilla chips. This is why I don’t even need a dip if I am going to eat Frito’s Scoops….just give me the bag and I am content.

3. Sun Chips Harvest Cheddar – I enjoy the entire Sun Chips line, but the cheddar version is my favorite. Scrumptious to eat alone, these chips taste delicious and contain a distinctive, full flavor. When I go to Subway, I am always grabbing a bag of Sun Chips just not to accompany my sandwich but to put on my sandwich. That’s right, there is no better chip to put on a sandwich than Sun Chips. The flavor and crunch combine to put any sandwich over the top. I have ate Sun Chips since I was little and I will always be a fan.

2. Cheetos – I am laughing a bit as I write this. Yes, I understand that Cheetos might not classify as a chip on everyone’s list but I think they are close enough (perhaps this could be the new “is a hot dog a sandwich?” argument). Notice how I did not specify “Crunchy” or “Puffs” as my favorite. Truth of the matter is that I enjoy both equally, although sometimes I will be more in the mood for one over the other. The best word to describe a Cheetos snack is addicting. You can open a bag and start munching and before you know it the bag is empty and your fingers are bright orange. I really enjoy the satisfying taste and crunch of Cheetos and have no problem eating imitators either. The cheese puff is simply a wonderful creation.

1. Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Potato Chips – I prefer my potato chips thick and spicy. In a nutshell, that is the description of Tim’s Cascade Jalapeno Potato Chips, a snack based out of the Pacific Northwest. Sidney and I enjoy these chips so much that my mom will send us party size bags through the mail. The snack is simply perfect. The chip itself is pure quality, a hearty slice of potato fried until crispy and golden brown. A dynamite combination of spices is then added to pack a serious jalapeno punch to each chip. You will sweat when eating these but you won’t put the bag down. They are that good and addicting. Outside of the Tim’s brand, I still enjoy jalapeno chips but nothing beats the version that this Washington state company produces.

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Thanks for talking chips with me tonight. Did I omit a deserving snack from the list? Let me know, just make sure it has flavor and crunch. Don’t Blink.

The Opportunity to Work

Today is President’s Day. Although many people across the country have the day off because it is a federal holiday, Sidney and I don’t. But I don’t look at it as necessarily a bad thing. Instead, I frame it by telling myself that we don’t have to go to work, we get to go to work.

On days when I have to work and others don’t, I always think it is a great opportunity to reflect on how fortunate I am to not only have a job, but to have a good job.

However, I don’t focus on salary, benefits, or other perks (which are all adequate). Rather, I count my lucky stars that I have a position that allows me to make an impact.

I work on a college campus with 10,000+ young people who are living through what many say is the best time of their lives. As I do my job, I take comfort that I am sharing the same oxygen with motivated and engaged individuals who are doing their best to earn a degree and ultimately start a professional life.

The fact that I get to interact with these students on a daily basis, both via social media and in person, makes the opportunity I have even better. Whenever I present to classes, I always say that it isn’t specializing in social media, enjoying cool opportunities to travel occasionally, or working in an exploding industry that I like most – instead, it is the chance to positively influence students that tops my list.

But when it comes to truly making a positive influence, no job brings more riches than the one my wife holds. I have said it before, but there is no position more important than that of a teacher.

No one touches our society in a more crucial way than our educators. Although the burden is heavy and the mental toll steep, Sidney shows up to the classroom each morning and performs her job to the absolute best of her ability, serving as a bright spot in the lives of so many 2nd graders. She has at many times a thankless job with infinite stresses but there is never an instance when her value or talent is in question. She is always needed.

About the time Sid and I returned home from work this evening, many who had the day off had transitioned back to reality by making preparations to return to the office on Tuesday. The notion that some didn’t have to go to work while we did was no longer in play. But then again, it never mattered to us in the first place. Don’t Blink.

Ordinary Middle of Month Thursday Rundown

Must say I didn’t mind the 75 degree weather we had today in Myrtle Beach. My parents and siblings, on the other hand, are enduring a big snow storm in Spokane. So, if you are in South Carolina go ahead and cool off with my latest Thursday Rundown but if you are in Washington state feel free to warm up with it (that probably didn’t make sense at all). Here we go…

Valentine’s Day Recap – Yesterday, Sid and I repeated our Valentine’s Day tradition we started in 2017 with one minor wrinkle – we let a little person join us! Sloan participated in our card exchange early Wednesday morning. Although she didn’t have a card to give, we still gave her one (and a couple toys). Our little girl also started her own mini Lenten journey when she participated in Ash Wednesday by receiving ashes. The combination of her Valentine’s Day outfit and the dusting of ash on her forehead made for a very special photo.

Note: Last night on social media, I posted the link to my 2013 Lenten blog post instead of the one I wrote yesterday evening. Sorry for the error. You can read my 2018 Lenten blog post by clicking here.

Sloan looked great sporting her Valentine’s Day outfit and ashes.

Instagram Safety – Although it wasn’t the reason why I wanted to be on the news, I did give a couple interviews this week to local stations about protecting yourself on Instagram. Recently, a fake Instagram account tried to scam some of our students. True to the intelligence of our students at CCU, most didn’t fall for it. I spoke with WPDE and WMBF about the incident and gave advice on how to spot a fraud. Thanks to Summer Dashe and Amy Kawata for their stories.

I was on the news earlier this week discussing Instagram safety.

Reunited With A Winner – Last Friday, the Coastal softball team opened up the 2018 season by hosting Iowa State. The significance of this? The Cyclones are led by Jamie Pinkerton, the man who was hired at the University of Montana to start its softball program. Coach Pinkerton joined the Griz athletic department about seven months before I left for CCU. During that short time period I got to know Jamie and really respected how he went about beginning a program from scratch and also by how he treated me. It was no surprise that he had tremendous success at Montana and was quickly hired as the head coach at Iowa State. At the end of last week, I got to see Coach Pinkerton win his debut with the Cyclones and I also had the pleasure of catching up with him. The guy is a pure winner.

I was reunited with Jamie Pinkerton this past Friday.

Winter Olympics Review – As many of you know, I was lacking enthusiasm for the 2018 Winter Olympics. Probably because I set the bar so low, I now find myself kind of enjoying the games. Over the past week, I have watched the early morning coverage while working out at the gym and then Sid and I have fallen asleep watching the primetime coverage. Although still nowhere close to the Summer Olympics in terms of entertainment and prestige, I am blown away by the talent and fearlessness of some of these athletes.

Sloan at 48 Weeks – Sloan is wrapping up her second consecutive healthy week. She babbles non-stop and is a handful to keep tabs on, even if she is still just crawling. Her hair is really coming in and it is starting to resemble that of a little girl. She is extremely sweet in the mornings and a “little monster” (our term of endearment for her) around 7 – 9 p.m. She is starting to pull herself up and she is having a great time experimenting with real people food. On Saturday she will be 11 months!!

Here is Sloan’s 48 week collage.

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To all those people who hate Valentine’s Day, take solace that it is now over and the weekend is right around the corner. Thanks for reading! Don’t Blink.

The Journey of Lent

Today is Ash Wednesday, a major day on the Catholic liturgical calendar and those of many other Christian denominations as well. Although not a Holy Day of Obligation, Ash Wednesday mass is one of the most highly-attended services during the year. It kicks off the holy season of Lent, a period of 40 days (technically 46 days) where we prepare for Easter by trying to emulate the suffering that Jesus Christ endured by Satan in the desert over the same course of time.

What does your Lenten journey look like?

Five years ago, I wrote about Lent through the eyes of an individual. As Christians, we are not only called to fast, pray, and give alms but we are asked to do it in a private manner. The gospel clearly says that when we make a big deal about doing righteous acts, we are seeking the praise of others, not God. When we aim to earn praise from our social media followers or our friends, we will lose out on our reward in Heaven. Thus, it is important not to openly publicize or gloat about our Lenten intentions.

However, Lent is not meant to be confined solely within ourselves. Rather, over the next 40 days, the opportunities are plentiful to grow closer to Jesus as a Christian community. Daily mass, group rosary, Stations of the Cross, communal confession, bible studies, and Friday fish frys are great ways to connect with others as we journey toward Easter. Although our personal sacrifices are meant to be kept private, our desire to understand and anticipate the resurrection of the Lord is not.

In my opinion, there is no better road to take than the Lenten road. Easter is the holiest day on the calendar for all Christians and it takes preparation to properly celebrate it. Through fasting, praying, and almsgiving we give ourselves plenty of time to meditate and reflect on both the darkest hour of mankind (the Passion) and the glorious moment of redemption. It is tough to truly understand and appreciate these events if we just “wing it.”

This morning at Ash Wednesday mass, our parish administrator at St. Andrew, Fr. Roger Morgan, explained the symbolism of the ashes perfectly. He said they aren’t applied so we can “identify ourselves as part of a tribe” (i.e. Catholic, Lutheran, Anglican, etc.). Instead, they are applied to identify ourselves simply as sinners. It is pure reality. We are all sinners and there is no better way to come to grips with this and truly focus on it than six weeks before Easter.

Although most of us wiped the ashes off our foreheads at the conclusion of the service we attended, it is important to act as if they are still there. Lent is a time to humble ourselves and draw closer to God. We need to accept that we are sinners but do everything possible to overcome temptations and seek the narrow way. Don’t Blink.

Passing the Time on the Road with Wikipedia

On Sunday afternoon, Sid and I departed Charlotte and made the drive back to Myrtle Beach. When we reached the North Carolina/South Carolina border, I couldn’t help but notice the gigantic theme park outside to our right. It happened to be Carowinds, a legendary entertainment destination of the Carolinas. With the gigantic roller coasters catching my eye, I said four words to Sid:

“Teach me about Carowinds.”

While in the car on our way back to Myrtle Beach, we made the ride go by fast by playing a little “game.”

Almost three years ago, I wrote about my Wikipedia addiction. I love to reference the website if a question pops into my head. I also use it to do some leisurely reading when I have an hour to kill. In my lifetime I have used Wikipedia to look up thousands of articles dealing with fast food restaurants, breakfast cereals, sodas, sports stadiums, professionals I admire, retail stores, mascots, movies, and so much more. I start on a Wikipedia topic and then go on a wild tour as one article leads me to another.

To kill some time, I wanted to go on a little Wikipedia odyssey with Sid. Carowinds was the perfect place to start. Lucky for me, I have a nice wife who was willing to feed my curiosity and read me various Wikipedia articles.

Topic: Carowinds
Two Interesting Facts I Learned:
1. Two roller coasters in the theme park are literally built to cross the state border. Thus, after you ride one of these attractions, you will have crisscrossed from North Carolina to South Carolina numerous times in just a couple of minutes.
2. Building the park on the border and having rides cross it was all by design. Carowinds was built to create harmony between North Carolina and South Carolina. The park’s name is half “Carolina” and half “winds,” the latter referencing the winds that blow across the two states.

After learning about the theme park of Sidney’s childhood, we learned about the theme park of my childhood, Silverwood.

Topic: Silverwood
Two Interesting Facts I Learned:
1. Before Silverwood was built in 1988, the property was an aerodome complete with an airstrip and hangar.
2. The ride I remember going on the most as a kid, Roaring Creek (a smaller version of Disney’s Splash Mountain), was actually relocated from a theme park in Kentucky. As Silverwood is in Idaho, the ride had a long journey to its new home!

Talking about these theme parks had me thinking about the general history of roller coasters. Luckily, Sidney entertained my curiosity.

Topic: Roller Coasters
Two Interesting Facts I Learned:
1. Although the origin of the roller coaster traces back to the 1700s in Russia, the first recognized coaster in the United States was built in 1885 at Coney Island.
2. Roller coasters became extremely popular in the early 1900s but the Great Depression halted construction of the thrill rides for four decades. It wasn’t until 1972 that theme parks were revived and roller coasters started to be built again.

We had fueled our hunger for theme parks and coasters. It was time to learn more about the main reason for our trip to Charlotte…the Cheesecake Factory!

Topic: Cheesecake Factory
Two Interesting Facts I Learned:
1. One of the restaurant’s menu items, the crispy chicken costoletta, contains more calories (2,610) than a bucket of fried chicken from KFC.
2. The chain only operates 208 restaurants – obviously not enough because I have never lived in a place with a Cheesecake Factory location.

We switched gears again, this time looking up the movie we watched in our hotel room that morning, “The Flintstones.”

Topic: “The Flintstones”
Two Interesting Facts I Learned:
1. John Candy, Jim Belushi, Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, and Chevy Chase were all considered to play the role of Fred – it ended up going to John Goodman.
2. Rosie O’Donnell won the role of Betty because of her perfect impersonation of Betty’s laugh.

Still on my mind after eating lunch before we left Charlotte, I pressured Sid to teach me about Panda Express. However, exhausted from reading and discussing so much with me over the past 90 minutes, she said “no way.”

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Road trips that go by fast are great because they usually mean you were enjoying yourself. Taking advantage of the wonders of Wikipedia is a fabulous way to expedite time in the car. Thank you to Sid for putting up with me! Don’t Blink.

A Charlotte Cheesecake Weekend

As I mentioned in last week’s Thursday Rundown, Sidney and I had a long anticipated Saturday night getaway to Charlotte planned for this past weekend. Well, we made it back to Myrtle Beach in one piece at around 5 p.m. yesterday evening. It was just what we needed!

We said goodbye to Sloan at 11 a.m. on Saturday and hit the road. The 3.5 drive through the rainy weather didn’t seem short or long; it just seemed right. We spent our 22 hours in Charlotte in the city’s SouthPark district, a place without crazy traffic and congestion but with plenty of attractions characteristic of a big metropolis.

Sid and I as we rolled out of Myrtle Beach on our mini road trip.

Our first stop was the SouthPark Mall, a shopping center filled with “upscale” stores in a vibrant setting. As we walked through the enormous mall, Sid kept saying “we got to go in here” as she grabbed my hand and pulled me into places I never heard of before. Although oblivious to the significance of many of the stores, it was nice to just walk around without a care in the world. We got Sid’s HeidiJHale ring resized, purchased Sloan a dress, and picked up a couple other items. The highlight for me was probably the M&M cookie I got at the Nestle Toll House Café.

After we finished our mall excursion, we checked in at our hotel. We stayed at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark, a truly beautiful property. We rested in our “chic” (I love putting quotation marks around these hoity toity words) hotel room for a bit before we went off to the main event of our trip.

A look at the Charlotte Marriott SouthPark.

We had looked forward to our Cheesecake Factory date for a loooong time. So, when the hostess told us it would be a two hour wait, we didn’t think about going anywhere else. We also didn’t question the employee’s estimation. The restaurant was a complete madhouse with the large lobby area packed with hungry people standing around with pagers.

By some act of divine intervention, two seats at the bar opened up. Despite the layers of people standing behind the bar stools just waiting to pounce on the available spots, we managed to slip in. We watched the Olympics while enjoying a couple drinks and an appetizer. We slowly sipped our refreshments so we could transition right from the bar to our table. Every now and then I would walk up to the hostess and check on our status. I put our name on the list at 6:28 p.m. and at exactly 8:28 p.m. our pager went off. They weren’t kidding about the 120 minute wait.

Thankfully, we found a seat at the bar to help our two hour wait go a little quicker.

We got seated at our table and had a delightful server. Although the restaurant was out of the menu item I ordered and although Sid’s chicken was a bit dry (she always orders the Louisiana Chicken Pasta), we still had a nice time sharing a special meal…and of course the cheesecake didn’t disappoint.

Our actual dinner took well over 60 minutes, meaning we had spent over three hours inside the Cheesecake Factory walls (there are worst places to spend that amount of time). With it late and with us full to the brim, we decided to pass on our scheduled plans to see a movie. We returned to our hotel and relaxed while watching the Olympics.

A look at our 3+ hour Cheesecake Factory experience.

I can’t tell you how heavenly it was to enjoy uninterrupted sleep without constantly gazing over at a baby monitor.

That morning I woke up and attended mass at St. Gabriel Parish, a newer age Catholic church in the SouthPark area. Sidney and I ate breakfast at the hotel and took full advantage of the noon checkout time.

I attended mass at St. Gabriel Catholic Church.

After leaving the hotel, we returned to the Cheesecake Factory. We bought a couple of cheesecake slices for our in-laws who took such good care of Sloan. We then visited the Container Store, a place that made Sid reach excitement levels I had never seen out of her before. Supposedly the place is a haven for teachers.

Sid looking at the cheesecakes on Sunday.

As we perused the Container Store, I softly reminded Sid that we should probably begin our trip home. On the way out of town, we stopped at Panda Express for lunch. Although one just opened up in North Myrtle Beach, our best chance to dine at one happened to be at that moment. We enjoyed our orange chicken and then got in the car and headed home.

A look at our Panda Express lunch right before we left Charlotte.

When we picked up Sloan, she greeted us by smiling and wildly clapping her hands together. It was so sweet. We took her back to our house and started to prepare for the week ahead.

But before we went to bed, we enjoyed one final taste of our Charlotte trip. When we went back to the Cheesecake Factory to pick up cheesecake for my in-laws, we also bought a slice for the two of us to enjoy later that night. With it almost 10 p.m., Sid and I went bite-for-bite as we enjoyed a piece of cookie dough cheesecake. As we savored it, I remarked to Sidney, “Sharing a dessert like this is one of the best parts of marriage.”

Sid and I had a great 22 hours in Charlotte.

Who cares if it was short? Who cares if pretty much all we did was eat? I had a fabulous weekend with my best friend and that is all that matters. Don’t Blink.

The Thursday Rundown Parade

Thank you for visiting Don’t Blink. Whether you are a loyal reader or a first time browser, I appreciate you taking time to check out this blog. It is Thursday and that means I quickly write about five random topics. Here we go with the latest Thursday Rundown…

Chinese Dinner – One reason I am such a lucky guy is because my wife is an incredible cook. Last night, she outdid herself. Sidney made a Chinese dinner from scratch (except for the potstickers). She prepared orange chicken and made delicious chow mein. Not only was it delicious, but it was spontaneous too. I wish you all could have experienced how good our house smelled as she was cooking. Fortunate for me, I got to eat leftovers for lunch this afternoon.

Sidney made a delicious Chinese dinner last night.

A Weekend In Charlotte – This Saturday, Sidney and I will travel to Charlotte. We are going simply to relax and enjoy some time together. We will stay the night and return on Sunday. Sid and I usually get the opportunity once every two months to go out on a date but this time we get to extend it into a mini weekend. Our plans include eating at the Cheesecake Factory, watching a movie at the nearby theater, and shopping at the mall that is within walking distance of our hotel. We have looked forward to this since the beginning of January! Thanks to my in-laws for watching Sloan and thanks to my parents for giving us a one-night stay at the Marriott South Park as part of our Christmas gift!

Sidney eating at the Cheesecake Factory in Charlotte in Nov. 2016. We can’t wait to go back!

Military Parade – A hot button issue the past couple days is President Trump’s idea to have a military parade through the streets of Washington D.C. Now, I surely don’t agree with every thought our president expresses, but when it comes to this, I respond with this question: Why not?! I think it could be a wonderful new tradition. How can we go wrong honoring our military? I think the visual would be terrific and it would be something positive. I believe this can be something that would be both a powerful and moving display. With the parade, the possibilities are endless for recognizing the men and women in our armed forces. I am excited to see what the Trump Administration comes up with.

Sloan at 47 Weeks – It has been so nice having a healthy Sloan this week. She has been all smiles the past several days and super sweet. On Tuesday night she was climbing the stairs. She can easily stand up if she is holding onto something and we are trying to get her to pull herself up on her own. She can imitate noises that mommy and daddy make while simply laughing hysterically at other ones.

This is Sloan’s 47-week photo collage.

Chocolate Pancakes – What happens when you combine pancakes and chocolate? Only the best thing ever. This particular dish below caused me to hit the retweet button on my favorite @itsfoodporn Twitter account last night. Probably around 3,000 calories, and that is my legitimate/honest guess, this plate would be extremely rich but also extremely good. What do you think?

These look absolutely incredible. i have never seen anything like them before.

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I am excited for the weekend and a trip to Charlotte! Most likely no Sunday blog post but I will catch back up with you all on Monday. Enjoy the Winter Olympics. Don’t Blink.

Losing Weight The Right Way

When it comes to dieting, if I want to lose weight, I will simply stop eating as much. If that means going to extreme measures, that is what I will do. I am good at stopping cold turkey, and some might recognize that as superb discipline.

However, as I have recently seen, losing weight in a healthy manner is actually the epitome of true discipline. Opting to starve yourself will test your self-control but it cuts out a crucial component of positive body change: nutrition. Those who lose weight by sacrificing their beloved comfort foods while at the same time nourishing their bodies with nutritious substitutes are the ones actually committed to a healthy change.

My brother recently completed the Whole30 program. A regimen that requires dieters to eliminate sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, soy, and dairy from their eating palette, success is based on the motivation of the individual to prepare meals that are free from this laundry list of cooking staples that most of us eat on a daily basis.

The Whole30 program is a pretty effective dieting regimen.

Glen didn’t take the Whole30 challenge lightly. Prior to starting the program on January 1, he read a couple books on the diet and mentally prepared himself for the major change he would begin once 2018 arrived.

Throughout the month of January he spent plenty of time in the kitchen preparing accepted Whole30 meals. Despite the heavy restrictions on what he could eat, he was still able to cook Whole30 compliant dinners such as steak and chicken. He ate lots of vegetables and was extremely creative experimenting with new dishes.

Glen hit the gym as well. He found a workout buddy and they kept each other honest as they exercised throughout the entire month. He also used social media to give him structure and accountability. At the end of each night, he recapped the day by explaining how he felt both physically and mentally while using the #GlenDoesWhole30 hashtag. Not wanting to let down his followers, he strictly followed the program.

An example of one of Glen’s nightly #Whole30 tweets. I enjoyed following along.

At the end of January, my brother’s hard work had dramatically paid off. He lost 25 pounds! When it came to his measurements, he shed 2 inches off his waist, 3 inches off his stomach, 3 inches off his chest, and 1.5 inches off his thighs. The transformation was unmistakable. He not only looked much thinner but he looked younger as well.

On the left is Glen (with Sloan) at the end of December before he started Whole30. The photo on the right is of Glen in early February, fresh off completing the program.

During his entire Whole30 saga, he never cut a single corner. He stayed true to the program’s philosophy and used his willpower to reach the finish line. Glen proved that Whole30 genuinely works. Losing 25 pounds in one month is extremely impressive. So, if you are looking for a proven diet to make some positive changes, you might want to give strong consideration to Whole30. Although I wouldn’t get through a day on the program, I know for some of my readers it might be exactly what you are looking for. Great work, Glen! Don’t Blink.

Why I Bought Pepsi at the Grocery Store

Each week at the grocery store, we purchase a 2-liter soda bottle. By the time Sunday comes around again, that bottle is usually empty, thus the reason why we buy one on a weekly basis. Because variety is the spice of life, we tend to get a different flavor each time. Sure, we have about six flavors we usually choose, but seldom to we get the same flavor two weeks in a row.

This past Sunday, I made our weekly soda choice based on nostalgia. Before I elaborate, a little bit of background…

If there is one promotional/marketing strategy that was pioneered in professional sports and then seeped through to brands, it is the throwback reintroduction. For years, Major League Baseball teams would hold “turn back the clock” nights where players would wear throwback jerseys from a different era in the organization’s history. Fans always got a kick out of seeing the players wear the old colors and logos of a time long ago. For the older fans it reminded them of the past and for the younger fans it made something come to life that they had only seen in old pictures and grainy video.

In recent years, the retro trend has hit food and drink brands hard. Miller Lite and General Mills cereals are two examples of brands going back to their roots by bringing back logos and packaging from the past. Marketers will say employing this strategy shows that the product has stood the test of time and can be depended on to deliver a consistent, pleasing taste.

As a marketer myself, I understand this. However, as an average consumer, I must admit that retro packaging doesn’t necessarily make the brand more credible in my eyes, it just makes me more interested from a nostalgic/historical standpoint.

When I see something on a shelf that is wrapped in branding from the 1970s, it stands out to me. I like to look at how a company presented itself back in a different decade, it is intriguing to me. Even more powerful, when I see a product wrapped in branding from the early 1990s I can’t help but look it over. You see, I was a little kid in the early 90s and when I see a product I enjoy presented in the same way it looked when I was a 5-year-old kid, it gives me a small dose of happiness.

At the Walmart Market on Sunday, as I glanced the soda selection, I saw the soft drink of my childhood in the form that it used to be during those glory years. Staring at me was a row of 2-liter Pepsi bottles with just the simple Pepsi globe logo with no blue background. As I have mentioned in past posts, my parents didn’t let us drink soda that much growing up. An exception was when we visited my grandparents in Walla Walla. When you opened their refrigerator, it was stocked with Pepsi cans, the ones that were white with the globe logo and the Pepsi script running vertical. At the time, it represented freedom and deliciousness.

Now, in the present, that retro logo reminded me of my grandma, my grandpa, and basically my early childhood. Swayed by the throwback logo and by the fact that my father-in-law’s favorite drink is Pepsi, I threw the bottle in my cart.

I couldn’t resist; I bought the 2-liter of retro Pepsi.

I am a believer in the power of retro packaging. I think it tugs at people in many different ways and can produce impulse buys on the part of consumers. As long as the retro identity doesn’t stay around long enough to muddy waters with the brand’s current identity, I think it is a great strategy. Don’t Blink.

Super Bowl LII and “This Is Us” Recap

Last night, the three of us Resers sat down in the living room and watched Super Bowl LII. By the time the Philadelphia Eagles had pulled off the upset, Sloan was fast asleep in her crib and Sid and I transitioned to our bedroom to watch “the historic” episode of “This Is Us.” I have some thoughts on both the game and the episode.

When it came to the football that was played last night, I don’t think you could ask for much more (unless you are a Patriots fan). It was an entertaining and close game that lacked penalties and turnovers. Plenty of points were put up on the scoreboard and Tom Brady had a chance to send the game to overtime on the last drive of the game. For not having watched an NFL game from start to finish all season long, I was satisfied.

I thought the commercials were fine. I never let the cliché and expected line of “the commercials sucked this year” influence me. I thought there was a healthy mix of funny, thought-provoking, and moving ads. I especially liked the Pringles commercial (combining flavors to make new flavors, just like you can do with Jelly Belly flavors), the Hyundai Icelandic Vikings spot (loved the “We Will Rock You” remix), and the Blaze Doritos/Mt. Dew Ice cross-promotional campaign (extra points from me because last weekend I actually ate the Blaze Doritos and washed them down with a glass of Mt. Dew Ice). Although I wasn’t blown away by any commercial that I was inspired to re-watch it on YouTube, I didn’t think this year’s crop completely bombed.

Let me start by saying my wife loved the halftime show. She said she didn’t have one complaint. My review isn’t as glowing. I thought Justin Timberlake did a decent job – he performed all his hits, danced his butt off, and showed genuine enthusiasm throughout the entire performance. However, there just wasn’t a “wow” moment for me. Although not a Prince fan, I did enjoy the hologram tribute but it wasn’t enough to make Justin’s mini concert memorable for me. I was looking for something out of the ordinary. When Timberlake ran up into the stands, I thought he was going to fly back onto the field or re-appear somewhere else. I didn’t think it was going to end right there. I was also holding out for a special guest or a viral moment (besides the kid looking down at his phone). The show was good, but it wasn’t great.

Ten years from now I will remember very little, if anything, about Super Bowl LII. Heck, I don’t remember much from last year’s title game either. But it did make for a nice evening of Sunday entertainment.

**

I take partial blame for why I ultimately feel this way, but I was underwhelmed with last night’s “This Is Us” episode. Granted, I hyped it up way too much, even going as far as to blog about it. Perhaps my unrealistic expectations contributed to me briefly falling asleep during the final five minutes of the show. Although the show delivered a plot twist, it didn’t seem right to me that Jack died of smoke inhalation. Sure, it was triumphant when he busted out of the burning house with dog in tow after the family thought he was a goner, but his demise just seemed too melodramatic. I don’t want to offer up alternative ways that the show could have killed him off because that is morbid, but I think the way they did it missed the mark.

The futuristic angle at the end of the show (I was able to rewind and get caught back up after dozing off) was interesting. I am intrigued to see how they work with it in later episodes. When the Pearson siblings are depicted as their 37-year-old selves, it is in our present day as they mention current events going on in the world currently through background televisions (i.e. last night’s Super Bowl) so I am curious to see how they explain this new futuristic wrinkle.

I must say that I have had my emotional strings tugged a lot harder in several previous episodes than last night’s. But at least the mystery was solved and we can now move forward.

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Thank you, NBC, for giving us about 6 hours of programming last night. It was quite the ride. With the Winter Olympics right around the corner, let the ratings bonanza continue. Don’t Blink.