This July 4th, Americans will spend more on beer, wine than fireworks

Americans will spend $1.6 billion on Fourth of July beer and wine, surpassing the amount they are expected to spend on fireworks, according to a new report from WalletHub.

And AAA found that a record 48.9 million Americans plan to travel over the holiday, a 4.1 percent increase from last year.

“This holiday builds on the strong travel demand seen for Memorial Day, and with schools now out of session across the country, families coast to coast are eager to travel,” Paula Twidale, vice president of AAA Travel, said in a news release.
For those living in Philadelphia or spending their holiday in the city, Visit Philadelphia compiled an Independence Day guide describing the annual Wawa Welcome America festival, which includes the Party on the Parkway, free or pay-as-you-wish entrance to 22 museums and attractions, and a birthday party at the Independence Visitor Center with Betsy Ross.
AAA warned travelers of delays near major cities, and the mix of commuters and holiday travelers on Wednesday was expected to make it the worst day for traffic. Delays nationwide are expected to increase about 9 percent, but around major cities, commutes could take up to four times as long.
“With record-level travelers hitting the road this holiday, drivers must be prepared for delays around our major metros,” said Trevor Reed, transportation analyst at INRIX Inc., a Washington-based transportation analytics company.
The Fourth of July celebrations include an expected $1 billion being spent on fireworks, $6.8 billion on food, and $5.4 million worth of imported American flags, according to the WalletHub report. And 150 million hot dogs are eaten each year.
Although more Americans (61 percent) plan to have a cookout than celebrate with fireworks (40 percent), Philadelphia city leaders still encourage residents to leave the fireworks to those trained to set them off.
Last year, five people died from fireworks-related injuries nationwide, according to a report from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
“While it can be tempting to get in on the action on July Fourth and other holidays, we always encourage Philadelphians to leave fireworks to the experts,” Mayor Jim Kenney said in a statement.
Most Americans do celebrate the nation’s Independence Day, but the National Retail Federation found in a separate report that total spending on food items is down about 5.5 percent from a high of $7.15 billion in 2017.
Still, Americans seem to be getting into the patriotic spirit. Two-thirds of Northeast Americans own an American flag and say they have themed-apparel, according to the report from the National Retail Federation and Prosper Insights & Analytics.
Americans seem to be spending more on Independence Day in the Northeast, too. The retailers group found that this region will spend an average of $78.40 on food, anywhere from about $7 to $12 more per person than the Midwest, West, and South.

 

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Rebecca – Chapter 17 – The Return – Part 2

I’m just happy she’s appeared with almost magical timing as my relationship with Cherie is being scattered by the white wings of destiny.

How’s your romantic life, Rebecca?

“Total shit. Nothing. I’m never good at that. I don’t want to get into it right now. It’ll just spoil the moment. Are you seeing anyone?”

Interesting how Rebecca deflects everything back to me. I haven’t seen or heard from her in two years. Every time I ask her a question, she pushes the dialogue back to me. Where has she been? What happened over the last two years in South America?

“I met a girl on Tinder a year and a half ago and it was good for a while, but it’s not so good now. I think the relationship may be riding off into the sunset.”

“Really? What’s she like?”

“Black girl. Pretty. Fit. 28 years old. Has a 7 year old son. Never married. Ex pays support but doesn’t spend much time with his son. White guy. Cherie worked at MacDonald’s for 10 years and is now in her senior year getting her BS in Psychology. She’s majoring in neuroscience and works at Children’s Hospital. She’s a great girl and going places, but like I said, it feels like she’s under so much pressure with work and her kid, I can feel it affecting our relationship.”

I paused. I thought about how much I’ve been struggling with Cherie lately. Everything. I thought how much I loved everything about Cherie and then how our relationship was failing. Why was I telling her all of this?

“It is what it is, Rebecca.”

“What does that mean, Chaz?”

I took a healthy sip from my cocktail. “I think the distance factor, plus we’re always apart and busy has put a lot of pressure on us.”

“Do you miss her?”

“I enjoy her company, but I never miss her when she’s gone. I know that sounds cold, but I enjoy my time alone. I really do. It’s hard now that I’ve gotten older to start the machine to be energetic and romantic. This place in my life… I like to interface with people and activate my energy, but having to be that… is somewhat difficult.”

“Do you mean sex?”

“No. That’s automatic and one of the very best parts of our relationship. It’s always good with Cherie.”

“Really?”

“Yea, It’s just the distance and schedules that’s killing this relationship. I’m not on the dopamine rush I once was with Michelle and Annabelle. (Type either of these names into the Search widget on the Homepage and you can read both their series. Read Michelle Before Annabelle) That was foolish behavior then, but happy just to be with Cherie… but ready for her to leave at any time.”

“I can only imagine what you think of me.”

“I haven’t seen you in a two years, but come on Rebecca, you have cred. We have a little history. We can hang. What are you asking?”

“Look… I’m sorry for all of the flake in the past, but I’m working in the city now. I’m at Penn Medicine. Can we at least hang occasionally?”

I don’t know. Are you up for all of that?”

“Do you still have the hookup at Square 1682?”

“Of course….”

“Can we just meet and chat over life and free chardonnay?”

“Oh course, because we’re getting killed here for drinks right now. I never go anywhere I  have to pay full price for anything.”

“Well I want to sit with you in your favorite bar and be in your life, Chaz.”

“Yea, but we still have tonight. I’m happy to see you.”

Rebecca flipped her hair and grasped my hands. I can smell the sweet faint fragrance of either her perfume or her hair. It’s intoxicating. Her gaze penetrates my soul.

Those emerald eyes.

“Chaz, I need you in my life. You’re so good.”

“I know stuff about life but I just want to go home and watch Netflix. I mean, not now, but that’s what I normally do because I’m so busy with work and I’ve compartmentalized my tiny social life.”

“I get that. Even in the last year I’ve realized what’s important in life. My health, surrounding myself with good friends and family, working to keep a roof over my head, and paying down my damn student loans.”

“That’s pretty much what your whole generation is going through now, but it’s good if you’re starting to see what’s really important in life. I’ve kind of cleared out the detritus in my life over the last few years. I cut off all the crazy women, and recently had to let go of some of the men friends I’ve collected in my life. I like to work as you know, but in order to meet my obligations, I need to work quite a bit. I don’t mind it at all, I love to be busy, but when I’m off from work I need to decompress and do what I want. It’s usually only one day off a week and for right now, that’s all I need.”

“I know, right? I’m usually on the phone all day and dealing with doctors and stressed out with patients, that by Friday I’m just ready to cut loose and go crazy, or collapse on my couch for the weekend!”

“Have you seen anyone romantically?”

I’ve been back for over six months now… I’ve been on some dates. Some longer than others.

“Oh… six months? So you’ve been back awhile.”

“Yea, I’m sorry. I just needed some time…”

That’s weird. She’s been back from South America for over six months and I hear nothing? What the hell? Gotta stay cool. Don’t want to blow this, but it doesn’t make sense.

“So, yea… dating?”

“Yea, and like I said, I’ve been in a few short relationships, but those guys turned out to be assholes. So they’re gone.”

“What happened?”

“The usual, Chaz. Hot guy, seems nice but ends up just being a clumsy oaf.”

“The classic toads every girl kisses before finding her prince in her late twenties.”

“Yea, but what if I kiss all these toads and there’s no prince at the end of the journey? My lips are dry, Charles.”

Most girls in their late twenties after being burned out from empty dating, settle on a guy they think is less worse than all of the other shit they’ve dated previously.”

“Really? Do you know anyone like that?”

“I do. So I know it can happen.”

But I’m only 23! Am I going to have to wait for years to find Mr. Right?”

“Don’t rush it, Rebecca. Let it happen naturally. You can waste your time swiping left and right on a bunch of leftover losers, or simply let love find you. You’re a beautiful young lady. Make good choices and good things will happen.”

Rebecca eyed me skeptically.

I did the same. Am I stepping back into something I don’t really want? I don’t want to be the mentor guy anymore. I can’t let Rebecca’s wiles pull me back into that role. The ear to listen. The shoulder to cry upon. The quiet port in the storm.

“I guess. Anyway I have an early meeting tomorrow morning. Do you mind if we call it a night?”

“Sounds good to me, dear. I sure don’t miss those days of meetings and deadlines anymore.”

“Yea. You’re lucky you don’t have to deal with that shit anymore.”

“Never going back.”

We get the check and Rebecca kicks in half. (Great girl!)

We step out into the dark alley of Ranstead street. We walk up to 20th and Market while she summons and UBER.

“I really appreciate you meeting up with me tonight, Chaz.” She grasps my hands in hers.

“It was my pleasure. It’s always great seeing you, and I’m glad you’re doing well and on the right track.”

A dark sedan pulls up to the curb. “Oh, here’s my UBER. Text me about Square 1682?”

“I will.”

“Promise?”

“I promise!”

Rebecca hops up on her tip toes and plants a swift, sticky kiss on my lips.

“Gotta go!” She giggles.

I watch as she gets in the back seat of the car. Her blue dress rides up her thighs and I briefly marvel at her caramel colored, well turned legs. The door shuts and she looks at me for a moment through the window. She gives me a knowing, sly smile and then waves, as the car pulls away from the curb and disappears in traffic down East Market.

She did that on purpose and knows I was checking out her gams.

I begin my walk home. It’s been an interesting night.

My mind still spinning from Rebecca’s sweet kiss.

I’m about a block from my house when I get the text.

“Home safe! Thank you for a wonderful evening. It was sooo good to see you again!”

“You too, dear.”

“Text me about Square! xoxo

 

God, I live a charmed life.

 

Oh shit! I forgot to set up a date with Kita!

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Rebecca – Chapter 16 – The Return – Part 1

“I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life. The brandied berry offers no quarter.”

I texted Rebecca back with a warm response. Not too much exuberance. Let her know I’ve been busy and that it was great to hear from her.

I had to be cautious. I’ve cut all of the crazy people that caused me pain out of my life.

Not that Rebecca had done that, but at this point I had to be careful.

I just have to be cautious now because I don’t want any drama in my life anymore. I only surround myself with good people.

Period.

“I know you’re busy, and I know I’ve been absent, but I would really like to catch up with you and see you even if it’s only for one drink.”

No matter what’s going on with Rebecca or any of the other women friends in my life, I can’t refuse if they reach out to me.

I’m overjoyed at my age that I get to spend time with these lovely ladies, and they trust and respect me enough to want to hang with me.

I’m honored.

“Where shall we meet?”

A day passes.

“Ranstead Room, Thursday night after 8pm.”

“Perfect. I’ll see you then. Looking forward to catching up.”

I have to keep it light.

Quite frankly, I’m counting the days. We have history. Our previous dates. Unrequited love. Lust. I don’t know. I don’t know what this is, or what she wants. But somehow I’m driven to meet her. For god’s sake… this girl’s been gone for two years!

I’m a beauty addict and I can’t resist the draw of a lovely girl. I could be in the worst mood, and if a pretty girl comes in the salon and chats with me, it all falls away.

I understand the drop of dopamine, and live for it to extinguish my ever-present anxiety and depression. No one knows what it’s like except those that have it, but it’s a real thing. Some of us have risen above it without medicine, because there wasn’t any when we were growing up in the 60’s and 70’s.

 

I’m sitting in the Ranstead Room. It’s a back alley bar that’s sort of a speakeasy in the city. I know Rebecca knows about it, or I would have guided her properly, but she’ll be here soon.

I’m at a booth.

Alone.

I have a very expensive, toxic cocktail before me. The room is always dark. Dark blues, and R&B fill the room. Tasteful paintings of nude women adorn the walls. The bar is illuminated by candles. The men’s room is adorned with a photo of a young, handsome Ron Jeremy. The music that plays is some sweet R&B from the 70’s. This place is Disney perfect for a cool retro speakeasy in 2020.

What am I doing here?

I just want to have a drink with my friend, I assure my lying self.

I miss Rebecca. I’ve been struggling with Cherie and her schedule. I’m not justifying, we’re fine, but it would be nice to meet with Rebecca for a minute and catch up.

What if she doesn’t show up?

I look down into my vermilion Manhattan and contemplate my life.

The brandied berry offers no quarter.

 

The air in the bar moves…

The door opens, and everything changes.

A young woman enters the bar. She’s 24. Her hair is brown and flows about her face like ribbons of dark chocolate. She’s wearing a one piece dark blue dress. It clings to her every curve. It ends at the beginning of her caramel thighs. She’s wearing heels that have ribbon straps that are tied around her ankles.

Her legs are spectacular.

I’m stunned.

She runs her fingers through her hair and throws it off to the side in a wave, as she strides toward me. Her skin is darker from the South American sun.

I’m speechless.

“Is this seat taken, sir?”

I’m losing my mind even after a potent cocktail at the sight of this exquisite beauty.

“Umm… It’s yours… Rebecca.”

Why does she always have this power over me?

Don’t question it, Be cool.

“Can I get a Cosmo?” she says as she eases into the booth like a cat. (Totally wrong drink to order in a place like this)

Rebecca looks so beautiful I want to bash by head on the table. But I must remain cool so I don’t lose my 50 years of experience.

God… She’s breathtaking.

She places her order and the drink arrives. “Did you bring me here to hide me, Chaz?”

I like that she called me Chaz.

“No. I just like this bar for its discretion.”

Rebecca takes my hands in hers. (dainty fingers tipped with manicured white polished nails)

“It’s good to see you again, Rebecca. You look amazing. It’s been so long. What’ve you been up to? I thought you were going away for three to six months, but you’ve been away for two years.”

“I know… I thought maybe you forgot about me.”

“Well, yea, I kinda did.”

“What?”

“I’m kidding! Come on… what was it like? I’m just happy you’re okay and you’re sitting right here now.”

“You look good too. Maybe a little older…”

“Stop. I’ll pretend I didn’t hear that,”

“No… I’m sorry. I just meant you looked good. Distinguished.”

“Alright. Decent save. So… what was it like down there?”

“It was amazing working with all of those people in South America. An eye opening experience. I’m sorry I was out of touch, but once I got down there I sort of lost touch with everything but the work.”

“Really? It was that immersive?”

“Yea. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced.”

“Well, I’d love to hear all about it!”

“Can we wait to get to all of that until next time?”

“Umm.. yea. No problem.” (odd)

“To be honest, I’ve been a bit lost, Charles.”

I like that she’s using the real name, too.

“That’s okay, I’ve been there too.”

Rebecca squeezed my hands, “I’m tired of that.”

“Yea, I mean… me too.”

“I’m really happy to see you. You’ve always been amazing to me.”

“Rebecca, I’m just happy to see you.”

“Yea, but you’ve always been different to me. You’re not like anybody I know.”

“I get that a lot. Because I don’t want anything. I just like being alone.”

“Me too, but I’m happy you agreed to meet me tonight.”

“How’s Lorelei?”

She’s great. Went from hostess, to food runner to server at Bar Bom Bon and is killing it. Still vegan and in a relationship with Kyle for the past 5 years. So, solid kid.” (While describing her my signature move is to whip out my phone and show the person I’m talking to a recent photo of her.)

‘That’s great. I’m glad she’s doing well. Wow, she’s so beautiful.”

Everybody says that about my daughter. It’s like they’re amazed that came through me.

“It’s great to see you after all of this time, Rebecca. I honestly didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”

“Why?”

I don’t know. I just felt that we were in two different worlds, and you’d moved on like so many others. We’ve lost a lot of the old crew.”

“Oh, thanks a lot, so I’m like ‘so many others’...”

“No. I just thought that young people get busy and they move on to career, relationships and family.”

Rebecca took a long pull on her drink. “Not all of us, Chaz. What are you up to?”

“I’m doing everything I can to never go back to the rat race. I work at the salon and will be managing a restaurant in Rittenhouse next month, so I think I may finally be able to escape corporate America’s prison. I just like to work, And there’s a way to do it if you’re just willing to work hard. Most people are too lazy for that. I think I’ve finally found a happy balance to my life.”

“How’s your social life?”

“It’s good. Monday after work I went home and watched Netflix, Tuesday met with my friend and closed my favorite bar, Wednesday, had dinner with Church, and last night I took my employee out for gelato at one the best restaurants in the city. So, rockin’ while I keep all wheels on the ground. How’s your life been?”

 

Tune in tomorrow for the conclusion!

 

 

Thank you for reading my blog. Please read, like, comment, and most of all follow Phicklephilly. I publish every day.

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Romantic Thanksgiving date ideas

A lot of people believe that Thanksgiving isn’t Thanksgiving unless you spend it stuffing yourself silly with food, surrounded by annoying uncles and aunts. But for couples without children or whose families are far away, Thanksgiving can be a wonderful opportunity to spend some romantic time together without distractions. So skip all of the stress this Thanksgiving and plan a special day for just the two of you with one of the ideas below.

Cook a meal together for two

While playing hostess to your in-laws and simultaneously cooking a Thanksgiving meal for 10 may seem like a recipe for panic attack, cooking a turkey together with your best guy is filled with sexy opportunities. Envision sipping wine together as you stir the cranberry sauce and let your imagination run wild!

Have someone cook a meal for you

For those of you who think cooking is a chore rather than a delight, there’s nothing like enjoying a Thanksgiving dinner out on the town. Simply make a reservation, show-up and voila! While other women are spending the day slaving over a stove, you and your man can enjoy all of the pleasures of eating a five-course, candle-lit meal with none of the work.

Stay at a B&B

Holidays are so few and far between, why not extend your Thanksgiving into a Thanks-weekend and spend four days being thankful you’re not at home?

Go somewhere warm

Or even better, chuck the idea of a traditionally chilly Thanksgiving and relax the weekend away, basking in the sun at a tropical resort. The trees may not change color in Florida or the Bahamas, but there is still a lot of holiday cheer to be found there.

Watch a parade

You don’t even need to go anywhere to enjoy a romantic Thanksgiving. Sipping hot chocolate and holding hands together while watching a local parade can be just as lovely.

Or snuggle on the couch

Don’t even get dressed! Thanksgiving is one holiday that’s made for sleeping in, so don’t hesitate to ignore that alarm for once. You can always TiVo the parade and watch it later.

Volunteer at a soup kitchen

For couples in pursuit of the true meaning of Thanksgiving, soup kitchens and charity organizations are always in need of volunteers on the holiday when attendance is even higher than usual.

Go see a movie

One of my favorite Thanksgiving traditions is going out to the movies with my boyfriend, just the two of us.

 

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Murder Mystery Weekend – Chapter 3

Just before we got to her apartment, Teresa stopped, and pointed to a park bench.

“Can we sit here for a minute?” It was a lovely spot, opposite a pretty little park. The late summer day was bright and sunny, without the excessive humidity that had tortured us through the month of July. Yet I felt a sudden chill.

We sat down together. Teresa slowly swept her long hair back, and turned to face me.

“Colin, I have to tell you something.” she said. Normally, I’m a pretty optimistic guy, but those words sounded like the footsteps of doom. I swallowed, and nodded.

“I really, really appreciate your help with this.” she continued. “And I’m looking forward to seeing how it will all turn out. But I have to tell you now: this weekend won’t be about you and me. Do you understand?”

I didn’t understand at all, but I nodded as if I did. Teresa was watching me closely – did I mention that she was very bright?

“We aren’t going to be getting back together this weekend, Colin. I’m going to be very busy running the game, for one thing. And then there’s Lena to look after – she won’t know anybody else but me, at first. You could help me out there – be nice to her.”

“I want you to make this long weekend about you. Have fun. Solve the puzzles. Don’t spend your time flirting with me, or going out of your way to be helpful. You don’t have to try to impress me. I want you to just relax and enjoy yourself.”

“Flirt with the other women. Sleep with them.” Teresa saw the look of surprise in my eyes. “I mean it, Colin. We’ve always been frank with each other on that subject. I don’t want you to think about me romantically this weekend. Get drunk, if you want. Have a fling. Flings.”

– “This is one of the weirdest conversations I’ve ever had.” I said.

Teresa took me by the hand. “Colin, please. This is very important to me: tell me that you understand.”

– “I do. I get it.” I told her.

And I did understand. If I was busy chasing Teresa all weekend, trying to get back together with her, it would interfere with her running the murder mystery. It would also leave me frustrated; she was making it clear.

But I did say that I was an optimist. I understood something else very clearly: Teresa said that we weren’t ‘going to be getting back together this weekend‘. She also said that she didn’t want me to ‘think about her romantically this weekend‘.

Those were her exact words.

Why would she specifically say ‘this weekend’? Not once, but twice. She could have said that there was no chance of us getting back together, ever. Period. But she didn’t.

Which meant that there was hope for us yet.

We parted with a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. Then I went on my way. I waited until she was out of sight before I started to smile.

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=254

 

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A Unique Gift – Chapter 1

This is part one of a new series I want to write that mixes mind control with transformation elements. This is the first time I have written something primarily based on mind control and while this first part is very smut heavy later parts will have more focus on the mind control aspects for other purposes (as well as smut). I hope you enjoy and please give me feedback, it would really help!

*****

Jack sighed as he made his way to college. At nineteen he felt he should have more of a handle of his life than he did. He was stuck taking classes he didn’t enjoy and working a job he hated to pay for those classes. He had barely any friends and he hadn’t had sex in almost a year. Overall life was pretty dull. He sat down in his least favorite class, economics. Not only did he find the subject exceptionally boring it was taught by his least favorite teacher Miss Jameson.

She was extremely attractive and Jack, like most guys in the class, had grinned when they first saw her walk into their classroom. She was tall, just shy of six feet tall, with long legs, curved hips, a small waist and generously sized breasts. There had been quite the debate over whether they were D or DD. She didn’t just have the body, she had the face to match. She was very pretty with green eyes that was typical of someone with her red hair which she always wore in a neat bun.

Obviously with a teacher like that it was no surprise all the guys had been excited when they first saw her but it had been short lived. They had all soon realized she was a complete bitch. Always serious, always angry and always willing to berate her students for the most minor of transgressions. Jack had quickly learnt to keep his head down, keep quiet and stay under her radar. Which for the most part had worked. He folded his arms and rested them on his desk with his chin perched on top of them as she began her lecture.

She droned on and Jack felt himself getting sleepy as he listened. He wasn’t in the mood to take notes so instead he rested his head on his arms. He didn’t even realize he had fallen asleep until he suddenly heard someone shouting, loudly. He looked up to find the whole room staring at him and Miss Jameson seething with anger.

“I’m sorry am I boring you?” She asked.

“No sorry,” Jack apologized. This was the last thing he needed today.

“So what have I spent the last ten minutes talking about?” Miss Jameson asked. Jack tried to think, he looked at the clock and felt a pang of panic, he had been asleep for almost forty minutes.

“I don’t know,” he admitted to much smirking from his class mates.

“Come see me this evening, we need to have a talk about your performance in this class,” Miss Jameson clipped before turning to the rest of the room and continuing her class. Jack groaned, the last thing he wanted was to spend another hour with her at the end of the day. It wasn’t like detention like back in high school, no that was easy. Turn up, sit there for an hour, catch up on homework and leave. No this was worse. This was going to be an hour of being lectured and berated by the queen bitch.

By the time he got home Jack was exhausted. He made his way back to his house, which was a short drive from campus. It was the only time in his life he had ever been lucky. It was actually his sisters house, she was seven years older than him and seemed to be the lucky one of the family. She had graduated from the same college he was now attending and landed and extremely high paying job, which to Jacks fortune, meant she would be spending most of the next four years out of the country.

As such she had let Jack live in her house. It was close to the college and meant that she didn’t have to sell her house or worry about leaving it vacant for months at a time. So other than a few weekends here and there when she would be home, Jack had the house to himself. He unlocked the door and almost missed the small box someone had hidden behind the plant pot by the door. He picked it up, briefly wondering what was in the small package and went inside. He put the package down and made himself some dinner.

 

https://lapetitemort17.wordpress.com/?p=80

 

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