Monday, March 30, 2009

Selling Our Condo

We've pretty much decided that we're going to try to sell our place, hopefully, within the next year. If you know anyone that's interested, please pass this info along.

  • 2 bed
  • 2 bath
  • 1,032 square feet
  • Washer/dryer
  • End unit on second floor
  • Cathedral ceilings in living room
  • Attic access from utility room
  • Brand new Energy Star windows (April 2009)
  • New laminate flooring and trim in entryway, main hallway and dining room (Oct 2008)
  • New tile floor in kitchen (October 2007)
  • Accent lighting under kitchen cabinets (2009)
  • Updated bathrooms (tile, vanities, toilets, mirrors, lighting, paint)
  • All new appliances (black and stainless)
  • Located in Mt. Laurel, close to 295(Exit 40) and Turnpike
  • Asking price: $185,000

For more information or to set up an appointment to view condo, please email More pictures to come.

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom--new ceiling fan and windows

Master Bathroom--New ceramic tile floor, vanity, paint, mirror, medicine cabinet, toilet, lighting, exhaust fan/light fixture and window

Living room has cathedral ceilings and a Ralph Lauren suede paint accent wall. Bay window is new.

Guest Bathroom--New tile floor, vanity, mirror, medicine cabinet, toilet, paint and lighting

Vegas, Baby!

Mr. B and I just booked a super affordable vacation to Vegas for May. I'm so excited!!! Too bad it's 2 months away. Some of his coworkers are going too. We used and promo code PSUMEM for a $65/night hotel room.

This will be our first real vacation together (minus our HM, minus Spain because that was really a work trip). Now it's time to get in shape for the pool. Gotta look better than everyone else ;)

Monday, March 23, 2009

How to replace a cracked tile

The cracked tile we were replacing was underneath our toilet, so we decided we would buy a new toilet and then replace the tile. The first thing you want to do, it take everything you can out of the bathroom. To remove the tile, you will need:
  1. Safety glasses--very important!!
  2. Work gloves
  3. An old towel--one you don't mind throwing away
  4. A hammer
  5. A grout digger--looks like a screwdriver with a triangular head
  6. A flat head screwdriver
  7. A multi-tool--looks like a spatula with all kinds of groves on the sides
The first thing you want to do is use the grout digger to get as much of the grout as possible out of the area surrounding the tile. This will make it a lot easier to get the tile out and will save you tons of time scraping once you get the tile out. Next, place the towel over the cracked tile and hit it with the hammer. Make sure you're not hitting any of the surrounding tiles, or you may end up replacing more than just one. Pieces of the tile should start coming loose.

Once you get a few pieces up, you can use the multi-tool or the screw driver to work under the loose pieces. Keep hammering until the entire tile is in pieces or pretty loose. Use the multi-tool to get up the remaining chunks of tile.

At this point, you're going to use the multi-tool to get the mortar off of the cement board or cement. Make sure if you have cement board that you're not scraping off the mesh. You can use the flat head screw driver and a hammer to chip any remaining grout off of the surrounding tiles. You should also make sure that all of the screws are set into the cement board. Some of ours were sticking up, which may have been the initial cause of the tile crack. We brought the screws up and then redrilled them to make sure they were sunken into the board. Sweep and vacuum up all of the dirt and debris. Now you're ready for the new tile.

To set the new tile you will need:
  1. Mortar
  2. Grout
  3. Trowel
  4. Spackle spatula
  5. Bucket with warm water
  6. Sponge
  7. Float
  8. Wet saw
  9. Tile trimmer
  10. Level
  11. Spacers
Since our tile only needed a little bit trimmed off of the corner, we just used the tile trimmer to get a good fit. Otherwise, you will have to make a template on your tile and cut with a wet saw. Once the tile was trimmed, we did a dry fit to make sure the tile was not sitting on the black rubber ring for the toilet.

Next, we applied the mortar to the area. We used a remixed mortar and I find it easiest to apply first with a Spackle spatula and then use the trowel to put the tracks into the mortar. Apply mortar to the back of the tile to get better adhesion. Place the tile in the space and slide it back and forth to allow the mortar to grip the tile. Use level to make sure the tile is even and adjust as necessary. If the tile is not installed level, it may crack again.

Once the tile is leveled, put spacers in and clean up all of the mortar on the tile and in the grout lines. A small flat head screwdriver is useful for getting in between the tiles. Let the mortar dry 24 hours before you grout.

We used a premixed sanded grout that is stain-resistant. Since it was a small area, I packed it directly into the grout lines with the spackle spatula and then smoothed with a wet tile sponge. (For a larger area, you would use a Float to apply and remove excess grout.) Make sure you get as much of the grout up as you can, because once it dries, it's hard to get up. Let the grout dry for 24 hours and after that, it's safe to walk on.

Happy remodeling!

Restaurant Review: Caffe Aldo Lamberti

I'm not even going to bother posting the address/link because it was that bad. We went here with 4 other couples for Restaurant Week on a Sunday night. Our original dinner reservation was at 4pm and they called the day before to move us back 2 hours to 6pm. Everyone arrived by about 7pm and up until then the service had been horrible.

We had at least 3 different waiters come over and take drink orders, but none of them ever came back. We didn't get any water on the table until after 7:30 and the bread didn't show up until after we asked for it. The bus staff was horrible too; half of the table ended up with wet laps from the way they were tossing the water into glasses.

We all finally ordered by about 8pm and some of the people at the table still didn't get their drinks. We actually had to waive a waiter over to specifically tell him to bring the drink orders he took at 7pm. The first course wasn't bad. I got roasted red peppers with mozzarella and Mr. B got Caesar salad. Nothing to write home about...

For our second course, I got lobster ravioli in a blush sauce and Mr. B got homemade gnocchi in a cream sauce. My ravioli was good, but it was cold by the time I got it. The gnocchi was really soft and kind of gross.

For the third course, I got the salmon and Mr. B got the short ribs. The salmon was so dry...completely overcooked. It was also a really small portion with barely any side dish. Mr. B said the short ribs were good, but there was literally a teaspoon of mashed potatoes on the plate.

Dessert was horrible. We got two sampler plates and there weren't nearly enough cannoli's to go around. Everything was warm. Warm cheesecake tastes like a dirty foot...very gross. One of the desserts was a mousse and it was so warm that it turned into a puddle when you touched it.

Overall, I would never go here again. Service was horrible, food was poor and the chairs were unbelievably uncomfortable. Don't go here because it's an absolute waste of money. Taco bell is better.

0.25 stars out of 5

Saturday, March 14, 2009

So my parents are moving...

...and I'm kind of sad about it. I've been out of my childhood house for 3 years now, really 7 with college, but it's still a big adjustment. No more Sunday night dinners at their house or quick trips just to hang out.

Yesterday I helped them move some things to their new house, which is about an hour and a half away. It was sad going through all of the old stuff. Mr. B and I are looking forward to getting a house soon so we can host some family stuff up here.

Best Man gets a baby

So Mr. B and I found out fairly recently that his best man (BM) in our wedding is going to be having a baby with his girlfriend. I thought we'd be the first out of his friends to have a baby, but his friends surprise me yet again! LOL

I haven't seen the BM or his gf since October, but I heard that they got a place together and are starting to get ready for baby. They just found out it's a girl, so I'll have to start making a blanket for their little bundle of joy soon.

Mr. B and I are still waiting quite awhile to have a little one of our own. We both want to finish school and get a house before we even start trying. We're both enjoying just being married right now :)

Monday, March 9, 2009

Restaurant Review: Bar Ferdinand

Bar Ferdinand
1030 N. 2nd Street
Philadelphia, PA 19123

Mr B. and I went to Bar Ferdinand after a particularly hard week at work. We had both heard alot of good things about the restaurant and wanted to try it our ourselves. Getting there was pretty easy and there was plenty of parking on 2nd and some side streets.

The inside of Bar Ferdinand really reminded me of Spain. It was very rustic looking and the walls and floor all had tile and some of it was even Moorish. We didn't make a reservation, but at 7pm on a Thursday it wasn't that crowded. We got a seat in the back room right by one of the big french doors. I can't wait to go back in the summer when it's warm enough to have them open!

We both ordered a glass of red wine; I got a Rioja and Mr. B got a Tempranillo recommended by our waiter. We started out with Patatas Bravas and Gambas al Ajillo
. The Patatas Bravas were amazing...they tasted just like they did in Spain. I could have eaten the entire plate myself and then ordered another one! The Gambas (shrimp in garlic) were also very good and they came with some toasted bread to dip in the garlic oil.

After that, we ordered Calamares Rellenos (Grilled squid stuffed with shrimp, leeks, and brown sage butter) and Pollo Asado(Roast organic chicken, spiced applesauce and wild mushrooms). The calamares rellenos was my favorite dish of the night. It was absolutely delicious! The chicken was good, but a little on the dry side. The applesauce it came with was really chunky and had really good flavor. The wild mushrooms were very good too.

Our next order was for bocadillos. I got the vegetarian and Mr. B got the chicken with chorizo. Mine was very good, but I think Mr. B's was a little better--the chorizo made it. Our final tapa order was the Mejillones con Chorizo and Fidoes (Mussles, chorizo, tomato, fried capellini pasta and beer). This wasn't my favorite dish, but the mussels were very fresh and the chorizo was scrumptious.

Our waiter brought us the dessert menu and we got the Fried Cider Bread with Cinnamon Ice Cream and Candied Orange Peel. It was one of the best desserts I've had. Ever. The bread was nice and warm and it melted the ice cream just enough so that it started to soak into the bread, but the outside of the bread was still crispy. The orange peel added just enough tartness to the dessert.

Overall, we had a really good meal. The service was also really great and the waiter didn't seem to mind that we took 2 hours to eat and ordered 2 tapas at a time. The bill was pretty hefty for just the two of us and half of it was the wine. We're looking forward to going there for a happy hour soon because the sangria is half price :)

I would give Bar Ferdinand 4.5 bulls out of 5. As compared to Amada, I liked the atmosphere here better but the food might have been a little bit better at Amada. We'll have to go back to Amada for dinner to be able to make a true comparison.

Restaruant Review: Amada

217 Chestnut St
Philadelphia, PA 19106

Mr. B and I went to Amada with two of my coworkers for a long lunch during the week. We didn't get there until 1pm and we waited about 15 minutes to get a seat. Between the four of us, we decided to get a pitcher of red sangria (sangria tinto) and it was delicious! It was just enough for about a glass and a half/two glasses each.

The lunch menu is not very extensive, but everything looked good. We each ordered one or two tapas and a sandwich. I got the Piquillos Rellenos, which are crab stuffed peppers. The red peppers were sweet and the entire thing was filled with lump crabmeat...soo good! Mr. B got the Shrimp a la Plancha, which are garlic shrimp and they were ok. One of them did have it's eyes and legs still attached, so beware! My coworkers ordered the mixed olives, which I didn't have any of because I'm not an olive fan. They also ordered the Aged Manchengo and I could have eaten it all day long. It was absolutely divine! We also got an order of Chorizo and the Chipirones and they were both amazing.

They guys got the Serano Ham sandwich and it was overflowing with meat. They all said that it was delicious. I got the Chicken sandwich with bacon, tomato and parmesan was also delicious. All of the sandwiches came with patatas bravas (spicy potatoes) and I was really disappointed with them. They were one of my favorite tapas in Spain and it was really a let down. They were just overcooked fries with a little bit of sauce on them...blah. They weren't even spicy. That was honestly the only negative of the entire lunch.

I can't wait to go back to Amada and I highly recommend it! I give it 4.5 bulls out of 5.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dublin--Last days

Our third full day in Dublin we went to the Guinness Factory and the Jameson Distillery. I absolutely loved the Guinness Factory. We spent a good 4 or so hours in there going through the self-guided tour. That place is amazing! N and I both got to pour our own pints of Guinness and I think we did the best. We even got certificates!!

After drinking some beer we headed back to the hotel to drop off all of the Guinness propaganda that we bought and then quick caught a bus back into the city for some fish and chips. I had some lemon sole and it was delicious!!

The Jameson Distillery isn't in the best part of town, but we took the tram over there to get our drink on. The distillery isn't where they make the actual whiskey anymore, so it's more of a museum with a bar. We both volunteered to do a taste testing, which was fun. I'm not much of a whiskey drinker, but I like Jameson! I bought a bottle of 12year old whiskey for Mr. B while we were there. We also took some glasses from our tasting ;-) Gotta love free souvenirs!

We did some more shopping afterwards and got some food in the room. The next day we were on a mission to find everything that we couldn't find before. We ate at Lemon again--love their chai! We were able to find the Dublin castle, which was very cool and we also found St. Patrick's Cathedral :) N and I also made a stop at Temple Bar for a drink and had a nice conversation with an Irish guy that claimed to be an ex-pro golfer. On the way back to the hotel that night we almost got into a scuffle with this supremely rude guy on the bus. He pushed past N even though we were obviously getting off of the bus too, so we gave him a Philly-style verbal beat down. He didn't like that too much and ran far, far away from us. It was pretty funny.

That night we just did some packing. We had alot of 'free' souvenirs to pack and my luggage got a nice heavy tag on it, but no extra charge, which was nice. I'm so glad that I went to Ireland. It was a blast!

Dublin--Day 3

On our second full day in Dublin (day 3 of our trip) we decided that we had spent enough time getting lost in the city that we had found our way around. We took the train up to the town of Malahide to see the Malahide Castle. The round trip train ride was pretty inexpensive and the train was pretty nice. The ride there only took about 30 minutes.

Right outside the station there was a really pretty church. We took some pictures and then headed towards the castle. The walk there was never ending, but it was pretty cool because you're just walking on a paved path through the forest. The castle was really pretty and had really lush green land around it. I was upset that we weren't allowed to take pics inside, but N snuck some pictures in some of the rooms. The entire place was really small and I found myself ducking down in alot of doorways.

We were just leaving the castle to make the trek back into the town of Malahide to get something to eat and this lady came up to us with her daughter, her bike and a dog. We thought she was going to ask us to watch the bike, but she asked us to watch the dog. I was amazed by how trusting she was. I guess she figured that alot of tourists visit the castle and what are they going to do with someone's dog while they're on vacation? The dog was really cute and her name was Oscar, which is the same as N's doggie :) She must have been some kind of pug mix because she kept doing this snorty-grunt thing. So cute!!!

N and I tooled around the town a bit, but decided to eat at one of the first places we saw, Duffy's. We were just about to cross the street to go in and we saw this guy trying to parallel park. A cab driver was behind him and kept inching up even though the guy was obviously trying to park. The guy parking opens his door, leans out of the car and starts yelling, "Are you trying to be an asshole, or were you just born that way?!" at the cabbie while STILL parallel parking. The cab driver parks his car and gets out to ask the guy what he said and yell at him some more. I'm not lying when I tell you that the guy in the car parked his car perfectly while having an argument with this guy. Now they're both out of their cars yelling at each other and then the next thing you know they throw their hands up in the air and go their separate ways. I wish we would have taken a picture or video. It was so hilarious!

Our lunch at Duffy's was very good and not at all what I was expecting. I had a wrap with some spicy chicken, cheese and red peppers, which came with crisps (potato chips) and N had a grilled cheese with chips (french fries). We both got a pint of Bulmer's, which is a delicious hard cider that tastes like apple juice. The pub was really empty for lunch time, so we still don't know when people from Ireland eat their meals.

We took the train back to the city and tried to find St. Patrick's Cathedral, but to no avail. We did find Christ Catholic Cathedral and this really delicious pastry place called, Queen of Tarts, which I highly recommend!! After that we were both pretty tired, so we went to Spar and got some booze for the room. Booze and cookies...mmmm....

Dublin --Day 2

Now we have about 6 hours before we can actually get into our hotel room and pass out, so we hop a bus into the city center. We walked around and saw a few sights and then we got lost in the never ending loop of Indian restaurants and Trinity College. We also found this really cute little crepe cafe called Lemon. I had a Chai and a scone and N had some tea and a chocolate croissant.

Trinity College was a really pretty campus, but they had absolutely no bathrooms. We went to see the Book of Kells at Trinity College, but alas, it didn't open until noon and it was 8euro to see it. We did see a big shiny gold ball and a SHAG week sign, which was quite interesting. We also saw the pub, The Hairy Lemon. It too was not open yet. I'm really not sure what Ireland's work hours are, but I think I should move there. No one works during the day and everything closes at 6 or 7 pm. On Sundays it's a ghost town. We were able to find a Pizza Hut, but it definitely wasn't the same as US Pizza Huts. No breadsticks :(

Center of Dublin

The Hairy Lemon

Oh yes, SHAG week!

Trinity College Campus

We decided to go to a free museum to see what kind of art Dublin had in store for us. There were these trecherous stairs that I fell up and then I fell asleep on a bench. The curator guy kept giving me dirty looks because we were sitting in front of these little kids drawing. He probably thought I was some kind of petaphile or something. I was so tempted to just lie down on the bench, but I figured that getting kicked out of a museum on your first day in the city isn't wise.

We took a bus back to the hotel and I proceeded to tell my mom the whole arrival story and then I laughed until I was crying. I was absolutely delirous! We decided to take a nap, which turned into 6 hours. Nothing was open for dinner by that time so we walked down to the convenience store called, Spar. We would frequent this place at least once a night. It was awesome because they had food and booze! We got our goodies and headed back to the hotel room. Mmmm...chocolate wafer cookies...I had them in Spain and had been craving them since :)

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Big Weekend Plans

I have zero big weekend plans, so I hope to be able to update by blog with Ireland stories and pics. I must also tell about the drama of the best man and his baby's mama.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Dublin, Ireland--Day 1 and a half

I got back from a 5 day trip to Ireland a few weeks ago, but I've been so busy since that I haven't been able to post. I went with my friend, N. because her mom couldn't go and I'm so glad I decided to go!

We left on Valentine's Day out of JFK airport and flew Delta airlines. Checking in was a PITA because they didn't have all of the booths filled and people were being obnoxious. When we finally got up to the desk to check in, we were told the flight was overbooked and that we didn't have an assigned seat. Wonderful.

We make it safely through security and to our gate, and the Delta guy at our desk tells us that they'll call our name for our seat assignments. We're both starving, so we go to get a sandwich. We went back to the gate and just as we sit down they announce that they're boarding in 10 minutes. That's great, but we don't have seats!!!! We run up to the desk and the guy that we just talked to 15 minutes before is wondering why we look so scared. Umm, maybe because we don't have seats?! The idiot had the tickets right there and never called our names.

So we get on the plane and I'm excited because I have a window. I like my arm room and I like to be able to put my leg in the aisle. So N is in the middle seat and the window seat person hasn't come yet, so I'm thinking maybe it will be empty. WRONG! This girl that looks like she's going to hurl any second comes stumbling down the aisle and stops at my arm. She wants to know if she can sit on the end because she's not feeling well. How about you sit somewhere else because you're not feeling well?!

Being the pushover I am, I scooted over and ended up in the middle seat. Thank god N is small because sick girl kept pushing over in my seat and I had to lean half way in N's seat to be comfy. There were 2 good things about the flight though: free booze and in-seat TV's with free movies and games.

We arrived at Dublin Airport at 5:30am on Sunday the 15th; 2 hours ahead of schedule. We take a bus to the hotel and have to cram in with all of our luggage. The stop before our hotel an older woman gets on with a little cart and stands right in front of us. The bus stops at our stop and I tell her we need to get off. She moves her cart sideways and tells me to squeeze through; not likely lady. I have a huge piece of luggage that is bigger than you and there's no way I'm getting through. After numerous attempts, she realizes that she needs to move completely out of the way, except now all of the people that wanted to get on the bus have gotten on and blocked the exit. It takes another 5 minutes before they actually realize that they have to move, but it's only because they got forcibly pushed out of the door.

We trek up to the hotel and are told by the front desk clerk that they are fully booked--see a pattern here?! They tell us that we can't check into our room until 2pm. It is now 7:45am and I haven't slept in forever. So we leave our bags with them, grab our umbrellas and head out into Dublin city.