Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yummy cocktail

I am current home sans access to a car. Mr. B is currently down in Atlantic City with some friends . With my license. We went to the Phillies game last night, and in an attempt to not take my purse, I entrusted Mr. B with my license. Unfortunately, I forgot to ask him for it before he left today. When I realized this, he was at least 20 minutes away and I was at Hallmark getting a communion, confirmation, 2 mothers day cards and a birthday card. Crap.

At this point, Mr. B was not coming back to give me my license, so I stocked up at the Wegman's around the corner an proceeded home cautiously. I bought myself some dinner and a bottle of European Blood Orange Soda. Sounds delicous, right?! I thought about just having it by itself, but then I remembered I had some vanilla vodka in the liquor cabinet. ( it's more of a wine cabinet with some liquior in it)

I mixed up about 1/3 vanilla vodka and 2/3 Blood Orange Soda on a glass full of ice and viola! I had myself a cocktail or 4...but who's counting?! Try it, it's delicious!!

-Mrs. B

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Back from Vacation (Reviews)

Mr. B and I got back from our wonderful vacation super early (1 am) Friday morning. We stayed 3 nights at an all inclusive in Montego Bay and 3 nights at a really small boutique resort in Negril. I think we booked the trip two weeks before we went, which is so out of character for the both of us. We did it because we've both been so overwhelmed with work commitments, school work, house selling stuff and everything else in between that we just needed some time for just the two of us to do nothing. And we did do absolutely nothing for a week and now I'm finding it hard to get back into the groove of things. Tomorrow is Monday and I'm dreading it so much that I want to call out. Is that bad?

So on to the trip details, pictures and reviews...

We booked our trip with the help of and We kind of started the whole booking process backwards in a way. We wanted to stay at this fabulous boutique hotel, The Rockhouse Hotel, but they only had 3 nights available due to an upcoming wedding. So we snatched up those three nights in an amazing premium villa and decided that we needed to tack on 3 nights to the end of the trip or 3 nights to the beginning. We looked for hotels within an hour or so cab ride from Negril and found so many nice looking hotels. We settled on the Grand Palladium Lady Hamilton and Jamaica Resort. The reviews from Trip Advisor were wishy washy, but it was relatively inexpensive and seemed nice.

I won't bore you with the details of the multitude of things that went wrong before we actually made it to Jamaica. All that stress melted away once we got to the resort. We booked a transport from the Montego Bay Airport to Grand Palladium (GP) with Clive's Transport Service, which was one of the recommendations we got from Trip Advisor (TA). The rates were much cheaper than other places and we didn't want to get stuck on a bus with a million other people. Before we left for GP, we set up the rest of the pick ups for the trip with the airport representative.

Grand Palladium Review

It took about an hour or so to get to GP from the airport and it's actually right outside of Montego Bay. We were greeted with some complimentary rum punch at check-in. Our room wasn't ready yet, so they strapped some wristbands on us (which you had to wear the entire time...woo-hoo weird tan line) and told us to get some lunch, go to the bar and come back in a few hours. We went downstairs and had some lunch in one of the buffet restaurants. There are three huge buffet restaurants on the resort and they all pretty much serve the same food, although some of them are open at different time slots. The food was pretty good. Nothing amazing, but nothing really gross. They had a good selection of healthy and not-so-healthy foods and the fruit was amazing. We've never had such good pineapple in our lives!

We went back to see if our room was ready, and it wasn' big deal, so we went to one of the bars. We had just sat down with our drinks and a group of 4 people come in and start playing cards. Guess where they were from? South Jersey. Unbelievable...we travel thousands of miles and see people that live a few miles away from us. Strange, huh? After a few drinks, we went to check on our room and it was ready, but at this point it had started to rain. We took a nice, soggy transport ride to the Lady Hamilton side of the resort (even though we booked with the Jamaica side...both on the same resort, just split on different sides). Our room was on the first floor of villa #35 (3504) and we had a nice view of the ocean, some mountains in the distance and one of the resort's three beaches.

The room was nice, but we did find a few critters during our stay which included a cockroach, some spiders and lots of gnats and mosquitoes. Bring bug spray and try not to bring anything scented because the bugs will eat you alive at night. The room had air conditioning, but it never seemed to get really cool in the room and our clothes always felt damp. Nothing really dried in the room.

Our Room

View from our room

The grounds were gorgeous including the massive pool. Thousands of people could fit in there without it feeling crowded. We went to the beach one day and Mr. B got so burned snorkeling that we sat at the pool the other two days. There were plenty of chairs at both the pool and the beach, but towels were scarce. We went and picked them up around 9am and always had one, but I did see people walking around complaining they didn't have any left. I didn't think that the grounds were so large that it was hard to walk them. Alot of people on TA complained about walking everywhere, but I think they were just super lazy. We did go to the gym 2 days while we were there and it was sufficient for a quick workout. Nothing fancy, just a handful of treadmills, 2 ellipticals, some mats, a few benches, a set of dumbbells and some universal machines. It was so hot in there though; like a fricking sauna, so we never stayed longer than 30 minutes.

One of the beaches

Massive pool

In addition to the buffet restaurants, they also have 'a la carte' restaurants. The lines for all the restaurants were out the door anytime after 6 or 6:30. All of them require reservations you make that night and it's included in the all-inclusive price. We only went to the Mexican restaurant and it was just ok. Nothing spectacular, but good.

Overall, we had a pretty good time here. The drinks were pretty strong, although they are served in small cups. The food was decent and it was much better than what I was expecting from the TA reviews. We'd definitely go here again, maybe with a group of people next time. I'm glad we went here first before going to Rockhouse Hotel (RH), because it was alot more lively and more of a party atmosphere.

Rockhouse Hotel Review

Let me just say that I already had extremely high expectations of this place from the amazing pictures on the website and TA, as well as the reviews. This place just looks like it oozes sexy solitude and relaxation from every inch. We used Clive Transport to take us from GP to RH and they were on time. We had the car to ourselves and the ride took about an hour. The driver had the windows open, so by the time we got to RH we were drenched and cranky. The front desk staff greeted us with a complimentary glass of rum punch and told us our room wasn't ready (we got there at about 1pm and check-in is at 3pm). They said to go hang out by the pool, get some lunch and they'd call for us. So we took our drinks and went off exploring.

One of the pathways on the property

The grounds here make you feel like you're in some kind of secluded jungle. It was kind of a maze to get back to the pool from the front desk area, but we made it and hung out in the pergola they use for yoga in the morning. It was so nice to just sit there, relax and overlook the ocean. After we finished our drinks, we did some more exploring of the property and took tons of pictures. A guest even came up to us and asked if we wanted him to take our picture....this was already much different than GP, everyone was so friendly.

Twenty minutes after we got to Rockhouse and I already felt uber relaxed. Could it have been the rum punch?!

After exploring, we decided to take a dip in the saltwater pool and grab some lunch from the poolside bar. We split the BBQ chicken sandwich, which was delicious and made right there. Eventually, the front desk called the poolside bar and told us our room was ready. We were in Premium Villa #5, which is on the other side of the resort past the Rockhouse Restaurant. Our room was exactly how I expected it; rustic and romantic and pretty minimalistic. I didn't expect that the windows would only be shutters, no glass, and the doors would not shut tightly, but it all added to the rustic feeling. The bed had a mosquito net that we used every night, but we still ended up with lots of bites on us from sitting outside after sunset. We had a nice little porch outside of our room that had two wooden chairs and it overlooked a sunning pad that we shared with our neighbors. Our room was situated in a little cove of the property and we had 3 different accesses to the water, which any of the other guests can also use. There is no TV in the room, but there is a mini-fridge with beer, water and some sodas (for a fee). Most people go to the local supermarket called the Hi-Lo and just pick up some beer to stock up the fridge and save some money. A cab ride there will run you about $5.

Our room

Premium Villa #5

Sun pad

The cove right by our room with access to the crystal clear water

Mr. B jumping off a cliff. I am no where near as crazy and did nothing of the sort!

The shower and the toilet were both outside in separate rooms. It was nice to shower outside, but it was a little distracting because the road is so close to the back of the rooms. There were constantly people zooming by in cars honking their horns and yelling. You couldn't really hear it inside the room though. There was also a small issue with hot water...there basically was none. After a day or so, we kind of got used to it. It's pretty hot outside, so you really don't need scorching hot water when you shower. Having the toilet outside was strange and I wish it were inside. The backs of the rooms are pretty much right on the walking path to other rooms and Push Cart, so people are constantly walking back and forth just a few feet from where you're trying to use the facilities. It's not a high-traffic area by any means, but still something to consider. The sink and dressing area were situated behind a half wall that the bed backed up to. It was a decent-sized space and we had plenty of room for our clothes, etc. We did have a little incident with a cockroach that crawled into a gap between the sink and the stone countertop. That was the only huge bug we saw inside the room and Mr. B took care of that with the quickness :)

It was really amazing how close everything is to the water and it is so unbelievably relaxing and beautiful. You can't help but fall in love with this place. We explored the water a little bit and then got ready for dinner. We made reservations for 6:30 at the Rockhouse Restaurant when we checked in (definitely recommend making reservations!) and we sat down just in time to see the sunset. Dinner was great; I had the Old Time Synting, which was a soup of sorts of different fresh seafood and Mr. B got this when we ate at Rockhouse Restaurant on our last night.

Every morning we ate breakfast at the Rockhouse Restaurant. It was a little on the expensive side, but it was within walking distance and what the heck, we were on vacation! I don't drink all, and every morning I had at least a cup of their Blue Mountain Jamaican coffee. It's delicious!!! I also suggest trying the callaloo, which is a leafy green veggie that is amazing. We had lunch every day at the poolside bar; Mr. B always got the BBQ chicken sandwich and I got the grilled snapper sandwich. The drinks were pretty good here; Mr. B stuck to the Purple Rain drinks and I fell into a groove of getting the Lime Daiquiris...I love rum and lime together :) Our second night at RH we ate at Push Cart, which is another restaurant that's right next door and adjoined to the property. We got a jerk sample platter with chicken, pork and shrimp and the shrimp was by far the best thing we ate. The drinks were just ok here...don't get the Watermelon Cooler! It was horrendous!!!!

Dinner at sunset at Push Cart

I honestly can't say enough about how beautiful this place is. I had to keep pinching myself because it didn't seem real or even possible that a place is gorgeous could exist. Everything just seems so well thought out and planned and natural...simply amazing.

Sunset over the pool our last night at Rockhouse :(

We got massages together at the spa and I was expecting a little more. I've had plenty of massages before and this was probably not in the top 5. I don't know what it was that made it just ok or what could have made it better. Both of us prefer to be in our own rooms when we get massages and I had asked for separate rooms, but they put us together anyway. It's just kind of distracting with other people in there and hearing them talking/moving.

The staff here was friendly, but I was expecting more of a personal touch due to the smallness of the resort. At full capacity, it only holds about 60 people. We said 'hi' to them more than they said 'hi' to us, which was quite different from when we were at GP where all of the staff greeted us when they saw us. Chevon at the poolside bar was definitely the exception; he was super friendly and always added a little extra rum to my drinks ;-) That could be why I liked him so much!! They have a happy hour from 5pm till sunset at the poolside bar where you can get 2 for 1 drinks. This made me happy!

Mr. B and I would definitely go back here again and we'd probably try to stay in the same vicinity near PV #5. I'm not sure if it's really worth staying here if you're not in a villa or a premium villa. Next time we go, we'd probably venture off the property more. We thought about going to Rick's or some of the local restaurants, but really just wanted to relax and do nothing. We had such a relaxing time at RH that it felt like we were there for weeks and we were only there for a few days. I wish we could have stayed longer and I can't wait to go back!

Friday, April 9, 2010

St. Joseph

Here's the picture I promised this morning.
Prett huge, huh?

He's been sitting in the window for about a day now and it's starting to creep me out. We have him facing out the window and the way his head is tilted down makes it look like he's staring at something.

See?! Super creepy, but I hope he brings us some luck!

-Mrs. B

Welcome, Spring...

...or is it Summer? The weather in NJ the past few days was nothing short of bazaar. 90 degrees in April...crazy, huh? Unfortunately, with that gorgeous weather came pollen. Tons and tons of pollen and guess who's allergic to pollen? :::points finger at self::: THIS GIRL. Lovely.

I have never been so miserable due to allegies in my life. I swear, each year the news says, "this year will be worse than the last". How is that possible? I spent most of last night lying on the couch with my eyes closed because if I got up, I got dizzy and saw spots and if I opened my eyes they burned. I sneezed at least 50 times yesterday and my poor nose has the telltale redness to prove it. I better be ok for Jamaica or I'm gonna freak out.

In other news, my aunt found a statue of St. Joseph for me and I promptly put him in our window. Supposedly, if you bury St. Joseph he will help you sell your house. Sounds kind of like a superstition to me, but what the heck...I'll give it a try. The only thing with my aunt's statue is that it's massive; over a foot tall. There's no way I'm going to dig a 2" deep hole in the ground, put this thing in and not get reported to our condo association by some nosey, bored neighbor. I'll take a pic and upload it when I get home. We're doing an open house on Saturday because we have plans Sunday, so I really hope this does the trick.

- Mrs. B

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

It's been awhile...

Work and school have kept me pretty occupied lately and I haven't had much time to do anything else. We had an impromptu showing 2 weeks ago, but nothing came of it. Since then we haven't had any showings or open houses.

Mr.B and I just booked a last minute vacation to Jamaica. I can't wait to sit in the sun by the ocean sipping some cold tropical drinks. We haven't had a vacation since last May and I honestly can't even concentrate at work. I hope the weather is nice and we get good rooms and good service. I'll be sure to post pics and reviews when we return.

Since yesterday we've been eating really clean and I'm finding that hard to do with all the Easter candy in work. We also revamped our workout plan for the next 2 weeks to get us in the best bathing suit shape possible before we go. Right now I'm craving chocolate something fierce and this sugar free gum is not quite cutting it.

Last night I had to restrain myself from going to Sonic and getting a lime real fruit slush (my favorite!) or to the local ice cream place for a vanilla and orange sherbert twist. Ugh...they are both so delicious and this hot weather in NJ makes me want something cool and refreshing like that even more. I went and looked at the calories on line and that kept me from going. I've already lost 4 lbs since January and I'm trying so hard not to break my momentum. Eating well is hard, especially when the majority of the people around you eat junk.

I have to admit that I did go a little overboard with the eating on Easter, but it really could have been worse. My family gets babka once or twice a year and this year we found an amazing babka to replace the bakery that closed about 5 years ago. L&M Bakery's babka tastes pretty much the same as Village Bakery's babka before it closed. I'm pretty sure I ate at least half of one by myself. Completely divine and delicious. My mom asked if I wanted to take some home and it pained me to say no, but I knew I'd scarf it down if I took some home.

Once again I got roped into doing the Easter egg hunt but I justified it by saying that all the money I got would pay for stuff in our Jamaica trip. I gave all the candy to my little cousin to keep me from eating it. I have a feeling I'm going to be guilted into doing the egg hunt until we have kids of our own. There's already been things I said I'd stop doing once I got married, but that hasn't stopped my family from making me do them. Ah, families...aren't they great at guilt trips?

- Mrs. B

Thursday, March 25, 2010


I'm on the train to DC with about an hour left till I get there so I have plenty of time for updates. We haven't had any more calls for showings since this past weekend, but I'm hoping that we'll hear something soon. I took off work tomorrow as a little reward to myself for all the work I've been doing for my work project...the one I'm presenting today. I plan on getting some good sleep, catching up on my DVR, and doing some cleaning. The house is looking a little dirty right now because I haven't had a spare second this week.

Mr. B's dad stayed with us this weekend and we finally ended up going to Moore Brothers Wine Shop. They had such a great selection of wines and they were pretty cheap too! The staff was super helpful and we'll definitely be going back. In fact, we took a bottle of wine to a byob last night that we got from there and it was really good. It was much different than we're used to, but the change was good.

Here comes the usual train headache that I get, so off I go to study my slides.

- Mrs. B

Monday, March 22, 2010

Too busy to blog

I've been so busy recently that I haven't had time to blog or crochet at all. All of my spare time has been devoted to cleanig, homework, work-work and more cleaning.

We got zero feedback from the realtor at Tuesday's showing even though we called him and left a message. Nice, huh? Saturday we got a call at 1pm for a showing at 3pm that day. Our listing specifically says 24 hour notice and we had Mr. B's dad staying with us. We called that realtor back to reschedule and she hasn't called back either. We're offering a commission so why are these realtors being so jerky?

This week is jam packed with school, travel for work, and a huge work presentation down in DC. I'm hoping that my life will calm down a little starting in April, but I feel like everything is only speeding up. A vacation is sorely needed...

- Mrs. B

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Showing #1 Tonight!

Tonight is our very first showing. I'm super excited and nervous at the same time. I just hope they show up!

I got the call last night from a realtor. His client saw our new listing and wanted to see it right away. Of course he didn't call until almost 9 last night and our house wasn't in showing condition. An hour and a half later I had ripped through the house like a tornado leaving everything spotless instead of destroyed. Note to self: keep house tidy at all times. I spent the rest of the night tossing and turning. Hopefully the client will be interested. He's a renter whose lease is expiring at the end of April. It would be a quick move and settlement, but I think we could do it.

Wish us luck!

- Mrs. B