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Approximately 37% of families say that vacations make them happy, and there's arguably no better place to take a trip with your loved ones than the Happiest Place on Earth. Some people love Disney parks so much that they wish they could live there. And in a certain way, some Disney fans have managed to do just that. They may not live in Cinderella's castle or on Main Street, USA, but they visit so often that the Magic Kingdom is like their second home. In many cases, these fans document their magical experiences on social media for all to see. A select few have even managed to create a massive following and foray their love for Mickey Mouse into full-fledged careers -- without ever working as a formal Disney employee.

AJ Wolfe doesn't even live in the Sunshine State. She resides in Texas, where she's been writing her Disney Food Blog for the past decade. But you'd never know she wasn't a season pass-holder, considering how frequently she posts and how in-depth her features can be. Her mouthwatering photos delight her social media followers, who engage regularly with her account to stay on top of all of the latest Disney park food trends. With 438,000 Instagram followers (and counting) and millions of monthly website readers, Wolfe was able to turn her passion for magical eats into a lucrative career.

Although Wolfe still resides in Dallas, she now employs staff members who do live in Florida. She also makes a trip to the parks approximately once per month to check out what's new. When she travels, she does so alone -- and she schedules four to five meals per day so she's able to try as many items as she can. Although her Disney days can last from 6 am to 2 am (far beyond the "rope drop to fireworks" mantra that many diehard Disney fans adopt), she told People that every experience is still as magical as it always was.

Wolfe explained, "I started the blog because I love the parks. They just carry a real enchantment for me. I always like to build in time for myself to hang out in the parks and ride some rides. That's part of the benefit of doing this as a job."

Not only does Wolfe live solely off her blog earnings (thanks to the in-depth Disney food guides she has available for purchase on her site), but she's also had a hand in making a number of new food offerings go viral. And unlike many influencers, she's been able to maintain a certain degree of anonymity; she purposefully tries to keep a low profile so that Disney cast members and others don't know who she is when she shows up to conduct her research. Although she says she's had managers offer to comp her meals, she always pays her way for the sake of transparency.

"I’ll go up to them and say, ‘I’m sorry, but this is something that we have to pay for in order to remain unbiased for our readers,'" she explained to People. "And frankly, it's better for them as well because if I have to write a review that says you paid for it and it's a good review, nobody's going to trust that."

And trust her, they do. Wolfe is seen as a food authority in all things Disney, due to her continued presence on various social networking and content creation platforms. You can scarcely conduct a search about eating at Disney World without stumbling upon one of her posts -- and many fans wouldn't dare plan a trip without consulting her blog or Instagram first.

But Wolfe isn't the only one whose devotion to all things Disney has transformed into a professional path. Bloggers like The Disney Chef and influencers like Styled By Magic have found a bit of fame and fortune, thanks to Disney-related content. Disney has also made moves to embrace social media influencers, hosting events for content creators and forging partnerships to promote new offerings.

Of course, if you want to get in on the magical action, you can't simply email Disney's PR representative and request tickets -- not without having something to back it up, at least. You'll need to work on growing your audience and creating stellar content that will appeal to fellow Disney lovers. Not only will you likely need to outsource SEO services to ensure fans can easily find your blog, but you'll also want to focus on a specific niche of the Disney lifestyle to cover. Instead of food, that might be fashion (like new clothing lines sold in the parks or the Disneybounding trend) or hidden secrets of Disney history. While there are already successful bloggers and influencers doing both, carving out your little corner -- and doing it better than anyone else -- is one of the best ways to get noticed. 

That's all easier said than done, especially given that these platforms are becoming more saturated by the day. What's more, it will take a lot of hard work to make your Disney dream a reality. But as Walt Disney would probably tell you, "it's kind of fun to do the impossible."

Of the four styles of BBQ this country boasts, Texas BBQ is the most well-known. The famed pit barbeque creates smoked meats so flavorful that side dishes are secondary: one article in The New Yorker stated, "you don't hear a lot of people talking about the piquancy of a restaurant's sauce or the tastiness of its beans; discussions are what a scholar of the culture might call meat-driven."

When you have a product so good that it stands alone -- and is purchased by the pound, even in restaurants -- the urge to change or alter it in any way seems nonexistent. However, when you take into account the popularity of Tex-Mex, a combination of Mexican and southwest U.S. cuisines, the concept of a delicious food mishmash is too good to pass up.

Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of KISS announced today that they will offer free food to every TSA employee working without pay throughout the partial government shutdown at their family-friendly Rock & Brews Restaurants nationwide.

"We are proud to operate restaurants at airports and respect the diligent, hard work of each and every TSA employee to ensure the safety of travelers," said Simmons and Stanley in a joint statement. "They touch our lives daily, and as long as they are working without pay, the least we can do is provide them with a delicious meal to show our support."

No party is complete without festive food for the occasion, even if your guests dressed in their best ugly sweaters for the event. If you want to serve up the best samples of the season, try these festive shots and drinks that put the "spirit" in Christmas spirit.

Thursday, December 06 2018 09:02

Avocado: The Fruit of Evil that Plagues America

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The other day, my wife and I were shopping at Mariano's with our girls and she said "Look, they have a guacamole bar." Puzzled, I asked why she would point out such a thing to me? After all, she's been living with me for 21 years and knows how much I despise the avocado. "Some people like it," she said. Still, I was surprised that this would be a point of interest - especially since I can't recall ever seeing my wife consume any avocado-based food items, so my curiosity shifted to concern: is it possible that the avocado mafia (perhaps those "Avocados from Mexico" people) had gotten to her?

They say that "winter is coming," but as far as I'm concerned, it's already here in the snow-covered landscape of northern Illinois. While Game of Thrones is still hot, beer should be served cold as snow, and on Black Friday the crew at Cooperstown, NY-based Brewery Ommegang unleashed their fourth beer inspired by GoT.  King in the North, a beer brewed for Jon Snow, is the fourth and final beer in this year’s Royal Reserve Collection, a series of four limited release beers, each designed and brewed as an homage to one of four epic figures engaged in the battle for the Seven Kingdoms.

According to the brewery: "King in the North pours jet black with a thick tan head. Aromas of roasted malt, coffee, and chocolate blend with those of oak, bourbon, and vanilla. The flavor is rich and full with notes of chocolate, vanilla, coffee, and roasted malt up front followed by smooth bourbon and a hint of oak. The finish is thick and chewy with oatmeal creaminess, and pleasant lingering roast. King in the North pairs well with funky aged cheeses, rich dark meats and decadent desserts. It also makes a great dessert on its own."

Jon Snow Beer

They say it's intended to "sustain a leader through a long, dark night," and I could see that. After downing a sample bottle that arrived here at Rock Father™ HQ, I can attest to the fact that there's some heft to this brew!

King in the North is available in draft and in 750ml bottles at the brewery, with bottles and a limited-edition gift pack featuring all four Royale Reserve Collection Beers available through specialty retailers. It would make a great gift for the hardcore Game of Thrones fan! Want even more GoT gift ideas? Check out my friends at Entertainment Earth.

gotbeer

Game of Thrones Disclosure:

I'm always upfront and honest about things here in the virtual pages of The Rock Father™ Magazine, so with that I feel obligated to reveal that other than watching a YouTube supercut of Emilia Clarke saying "dracarys" to her dragon to unleash all kinds of firepower, I have never seen an episode of Game of Thrones (we don't have HBO). Maybe I'll catch it somewhere down the line. 

As always, please consume your royal beverages responsibly.

Cold and flu season is upon us -- hopefully, you're as prepared as possible. But getting the flu shot, washing your hands, and using sanitizing wipes can only go so far, especially with flu viruses being able to survive on surfaces for up to 48 hours. One of the best ways to keep your body healthy and strong enough to fight off viruses is by strengthening it from the inside. To do this, you should consume foods and drinks that have immune-boosting qualities. So to keep you healthy this cold and flu season, here are a few foods and drinks that can help give your immune system a much-needed boost.

This week, news hit the wires that General Mills has launched a search for talent in hopes of bringing their famed "Monster Cereals" characters to life on-screen. The cereals have been a breakfast staple for decades, and as the new "Work With the Monsters" website points out, they've been on the fringes of Hollywood since the 60s - but they've never had a big break of their own. Recent years have seen the Monsters enter the toy departments through licensing agreements with Mattel's Hot Wheels brand, Funko, and even Big G Creative for this year's excellent Monster Crunch Game. Now it's finally time to take things to the next level, and that means that I need to remind the folks at General Mills about something: I have the winning pitch. In fact, back in 2015, General Mills' Kevin Hunt invited me to call in and record a bit for the Monster Cereals episode of the A Taste of General Mills Podcast, and in this 2012 article I first mentioned publicly that I'd been sitting on a treatment for a General Mills Monsters movie - one that could easily be adapted into a binge-worthy television series.

If you think that it will soon be too cold to enjoy delicious frozen ice cream, then you're making a terrible mistake. With 1.5 billion gallons of ice cream and similar desserts produced in the United States annually, there's no reason why it should all be eaten during the dog days of summer. While almost everyone thinks of ice cream as a perfect summer treat, there are plenty of excellent ways to enjoy it once the temperature drops.

Sometimes, you just need the perfect beer to enjoy on a crisp fall night. If you choose your drinks based on the time of year, you're not alone; eighty-four percent of craft beer drinkers like to choose their beer depending on the season. Of course, not everyone likes every type of fall beer, specifically when it comes to pumpkin beers. Most people fall into one of two camps with pumpkin beer: love it, or hate it. For those of us in the latter group, here are three other types of beers to try this fall.

The marriage of barbecue flavors and Mexican dishes is perhaps one of the most natural in our country. Cooking meat in big Texas smokers infuses them with incredibly delicious flavors, while the spices and complimentary sides in Mexican cuisine help bring out the meat's inherent smokiness. Dive into this ultimate fusion food by learning about what it is, where you can find it, and how to make your own.

Last week, Jimmy Kimmel returned to his hometown of Brooklyn for another string of shows. While there, the mighty Wu-Tang Clan showed up to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of their debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) by performing a few tracks  (watch: C.R.E.A.M., Protect Ya Neck) after which RZA and Method Man sat down with Jimmy to answer some "ridiculous questions" over CÎROC Black Raspberry cocktails. Check out some video below...

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