Monday, January 31, 2011

Super Bowl!

It's Super Bowl Week!!  Every year, Matt and I throw a big Super Bowl Party at our house.  We started the tradition 6 years ago in our apartment, and we always have so much fun.  But my favorite part of the party?  All the yummy cooking I get to do!!!

Tradition (at least, since we moved into our house and I had room to make it) has been that I make home-made stromboli.  It's a recipe I got from my mom and it's super easy.  And always a big hit.  I make the dough, and then once that has a chance to rise, I layer the meats and cheeses on - hard salami, provolone, pepperoni, mozzarella, and boiled ham.  Top it off with some mustard and oregano.  Yum-o! 

I also make a few different dips, including spinach dip with water chestnuts and buffalo chicken wing dip.  The chicken wing dip is amazing and usually gone within about 15 minutes.  It tastes just like wings and is seriously one of the best dips ever. 

This year I'm also making chili.  We usually order pizzas to go with the stromboli, but I came across this amazing recipe for chili so we decided to make that instead.'s so good.

I also decided to make cake balls this year.  Black and Gold, for my Steelers.  I already make those this weekend, because they'll keep for a while.  The black turned out more grey, but I had already been playing with the colors for 5 minutes and was losing my patience.  So, Steel Grey works, right?  For the Steelers?  I say it does. 

Once I start making all the food, I'll post pictures and recipes.  Remember, this is not a food blog, so they won't be super drool-worthy pictures.  But I love any opportunity where I get to cook and bake a lot, so I always love the party.  

Matt's birthday is tomorrow and I have no gift for him.  Oops.  Bad Wifey.  I didn't plan his birthday so well this year.  Gonna spend my day today brainstorming what to get him....

In the meantime...  HERE WE GO, STEELERS!!!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

I work in a hospital.  Not sure if I've mentioned that.  So I see some absolutely craaaaazy stuff.  Seriously.  The human body is a weird, fascinating, scary thing.  Did you know...

I like how he/she is standing with a 'tude
Dimples are caused by the attachment of skin to a muscle.  Not so cute, now, are they?

The link between diabetes and sugar metabolism was first discovered by a French chemist in 1815 when he realized that the urine of a diabetic was similar to grape sugar.  I so don't want to know how he figured that out...

During one lifetime, the average human will grow 590 miles of hair.  Ewww...

A human thigh bone is stronger than concrete.

A sneeze generates a wind of 100mph.  A cough is 60mph.

Source, source, and source

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Blessing of Family

Family has always been important to me.  And that's one of the (many) things that attracted me to Matt - his famly is very important to him.  Once we started planning our wedding, it became even more obvious to us that family is extremely important to both of us.  I mean, we'd always known that.  In fact, our biggest fights have been about holidays and where to spend them because neither of us wanted to give up our family time.  I think we've got a pretty good system down (for now, pre-baby) but it took a while to get there.  Since the wedding, though, it's become glaringly obvious that our families are very very different in how they support each other. 

When we first started talking about readers, we agreed on three readings.  And we thought we'd have someone from my side, someone from his side, and then a "mutual" person (my brother-in-law, Anthony, who is also good friends with Matt).  Matt thought about which cousin he wanted to ask for his side, but I knew immediately who I would ask.  I have always looked up to and admired my cousin, so there was no doubt that I would ask her.  But when I called her, she declined because she didn't want to have to leave her kids at home.  Even after I offered to hire a babysitter for her.  I was heartbroken, but forged ahead and ended up asking Matt's cousin's wife, with whom I've grown very close.  [We're both social workers.  It was an immediate bond]  After the wedding, I didn't hear anything from my cousin.  Not a call, not a card...not even a facebook message.  That was rough.  I mean, we'd asked her to do a reading, which clearly meant that I thought she was important part of my family, of my life.  The idea that she couldn't be bothered just....well, it sucked.

Last weekend, Matt's Pop Lou passed away.  He'd been sick for a while, and his body just finally gave up.  He was able to make it to the wedding, and I know that Matt is really happy about that.  While the funeral was, of course, sad, it also really spoke to me about the strength of family.  Matt's cousins and aunts and uncles have always been close.  They all grew up together and have been not just cousins but friends for their entire lives.  And on the day of Pop's funeral, they rallied around and supported each other.  It was beautiful.  It really made me realize how important it is to have famly around.  I didn't have that growing up, and seeing Matt's family like that...I'll be honest, I get a little jealous.  I'm jealous that they all know each other so well.  That they all constantly know what's happening in each other's lives.  I'm jealous that they share so many memories from childhood. 

As I sat there listening to the eulogy that Matt's brother gave, and listening to all the cousins exchanging stories, I started to wonder if me or any of my cousins could do the same at my grandfather's funeral.  Morbid thought, I know.  But the conclusion I came to is that, no, we couldn't.  I barely know my extended family.  At this point, I think it's pretty safe to say I know Matt's family better than my own.  I see my cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandfather once every other year at Thanksgiving.  It's been that way for 10 years.  Before that, we went out to Michigan every year.  Instead of getting closer, with all the technology and social networking available to us, we're drifting further apart.  And that's just one "set" of cousins.  I haven't seen my other cousins (on my mom's side) in probably 10 years.  And my cousins on my dad's side?  I've seen them 3 times.  In my entire life. 

That makes me sad.  But I'm lucky that I married into such an amazing family.  And they have all accepted me into the fold and made me feel like I belong there.  So while I don't have my own family to lean on, I have a new family to lean on.  And that's pretty freaking great. 

Friday, January 21, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

Some weird facts about animals...

Dalmations are the only breed of dog that gets gout.  This is because they are the only mammal, other than humans, that create uric acid.

Golfish lose their color in dim light.  Guess we're not the only ones who like to tan!

Albatrosses only need to land once every few years to mate - they can travel hundreds of thousands of miles without stopping!

Dolphins can hear up to 15 miles underwater.

Most elephants weigh less than the tongue of a blue whale.  The tongue.

Mosquitos are attracted to the color blue twice as much as any other color.  I know what color I won't be wearing anymore in the summer!

Crocodiles can't stick their tongues out because they're attached to the bottom of their mouths.

Dude, animals are funny.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Say A Prayer...

I apologize.  This is not a fun post.  But I promised to bring you my life, and this is my life at the moment.

When I was in high school and just graduated, Hershey experienced a lot of loss.  Of young lives.  Between 1997 and 1999, 5 kids were killed in car accidents.  It was a rough couple of years.  The high school and the town were profoundly affected.  As a high school kid, it's so hard to understand how this happens.  Why this happens.  People walked around like zombies.  The funerals were absolute nighmares.  I will never forget it.

On Sunday morning, a high school near Hershey lost 4 kids in a car accident.  I cannot even imagine what those students and faculty must be feeling.  It's so tragic.  So senseless.  My heart aches for everyone in that school district. 

I can't stop thinking about the students that Hershey lost and how difficult those times were.  But the school pulled together.  For a few days, there were no cliques.  There was just a student body, grieving together.  Leaning on each other for support.  Crying together in the hallways.  I pray that Manheim Central can do the same.  They will need each other. 

Every time I drive by the spots where those students were killed, I blow a kiss and say a prayer.  Still.  It's been over 10 years.  And yet, to this day, the community of Hershey misses each of them.  Every day.  It will feel the same for Manheim. 

The students, faculty, and families of Manheim Central are in my thoughts and prayers today.  May they all find strength in each other to remember the smiles of their friends and concentrate on the good memories. 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Weighty Issues

You guys.  This is kind of weird territory for me.  I don't usually like to address weight concerns or body image issues, but....this is seriously getting tough for me.  Since the wedding (in fact, since a week or so before the wedding), I have been steadily gaining weight.  Not much, but enough that I notice when I look in the mirror, my pants are not quite fitting correctly, and I feel extra sluggish.  It's probably been a total of 6-8 pounds, but on my small frame, that feels like a lot.

I'm not sure what initially contributed to the weight gain before the wedding.  Probably stress.  I'm usually a stress-starver, but recently have noticed that I'm stress-eating.  Neither one is good, but given the direction my job is taking, stress-eating could end up really hurting me.

In the days leading up to and immediately following the wedding, it's simple: good food was everywhere and readily available.  Two days before the wedding, my parents had a small party - lots of food and booze.  Then there was rehearsal dinner.  Then the wedding day - I made sure to eat plenty throughout the day, in fear that I wouldn't get to eat at the wedding.  Big mistake.  I should've known that David would make sure that Matt and I sat and ate most if not all of our meals.  So on our weddnig day, I had an egg and cheese bagel and coffee for breakfast, then some trail mix, then 2 big pieces of stromboli for lunch.  Then our enormous wedding meal - salad, steak, potatoes, asparagus, and, of course, cake.  Oh, and more booze.  The next day, another party at my parents' house.  Two days later, we were on the honeymoon.  Open bar and pretty much all-you-can eat.  Yeah...I was not looking as good in my bikini at the end of the trip as I was on our first day or so.  I thought it was just bloat.  And the fact that I couldn't really "go" the whole time we were there.  [I know, I know...that is a whole other issue in itself!]  But once we got home and things got back to normal, it was like I had stretched my stomach and now neede dmore and more food to feel full.  Then it was the holidays.  Thanksgiving.  Christmas.  New Year's.  I think every single one of our vendors at work brought us cookies and candies.  Junk food was available all the time.  And I simply couldn't say no.

I'm trying now.  I'm making myself salads for lunch.  Eating protein bars for breakfast.  Trying to make dinners with smaller portions.  And yet, I'm not dropping weight.

Ok, what about exercise?  Well, here is another noticeable problem.  Prior to the wedding, we had only one car.  I take the train to work.  So in the morning, Matt would drop me off, I'd take the train, then walk 8 blocks from the train station and back in the afternoon.  Then I would walk home from the train station at home.  It was a mile walk.  Not a strenuous walk, but a mile.  All told, I walked 2.5 miles a day - about 45 minutes.  But in December, we bought a second car.  So now I drive myself to and from the train station.  Shave about a mile off my exercise.  That hurts.

I belong to a gym.  I haven't been there since the wedding.  I used to have to go in the mornings, so that I could use Matt's car to get me there before he got up.  Once we started talking about buying a car, I said I'd just wait until then so I could go after work, cuz I hated having to get up at 5am.  Then we bought the car.  But then I was busy cooking and cleaning for Christmas parties, shopping for Christmas gifts, wrapping Christmas gifts, eating Christmas food....lots of terrible excuses.  Then it was, "I'll start after the New Year."

Well, here we are, 3 weeks into the New Year.  Haven't been to the gym once.  I'm going tonight.  I decided that I needed a class to help get me motivated.  Our gym just put out a new schedule, and they have a Yoga class on Tuesday nights.  Not only will it help motivate me to get back into a routine, but it'll also help with the newly-added stress at work.  At least, I hope.

As I said, I'm not usually one to obsess about my weight.  But lately I have been feeling pretty low about it.  Especially after one of my coworkers told me, "Oh, I'd noticed your little baby bump since you got back from the honeymoon!"  Yeah.  After picking my jaw off the floor (and restraining myself from smacking the shit out of her), I walked back into my office and cried.  I don't like to address weight issues because I think that having a healthy body image is super important.  I worry about people who count calories and exercise cumpulsively.  I guess maybe that stems from having had 2 roommates with anorexia.  And really, for me, it's not that I'm worried about how I look.  It's more about how I feel.  Like I said, 6-8 extra pounds on my 5'3" feels like a lot of weight.  I feel sluggish and my body just feels....I don't know, out of proportion.  I just feel off, and I want that feeling to go away.

So I'm hoping that if I keep doing what I've started (and start doing more), I'll start to shed that extra weight.  I'll continue to eat better.  Drink more water.  Get back to the gym.  Use the balance ball my dad got me for Christmas.

I'll keep you posted...

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fun Fact Friday

So you guys know the Hubble Telescope had is 20th anniversary in orbit last year, right?  [Don't worry, I didn't either] 

Here's a couple of crazy facts about the Hubble:

It completes an orbit of the Earth in about 97 minutes.

It travels at a speed of 5 miles per second.  If a car could drive that quickly, it would only take 19 minutes to drive from New York to Los Angelos. 

It uses 2800 watts of energy.  That's 28 100-watt light bulbs.  Less than it takes to run just the floor I work on in the hospital.

Check out some of the pictures the Hubble has taken over the years.

Saturn's Rings

Star Cluster NGC 290

Jet in Carina

*photos from here*
*facts from here*

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Honeymoon - The Reviews

We liked the Halcyon.  It was very pretty, quiet, and serene.  In that sense, it lived up the reviews we'd read.  But somehow, I was underwhelmed.  To be fair, we did have much of our trip affected by the hurricane.  Yes, we got lucky compared to much of the island, and maintained power and running water for the whole time.  But I still felt like things could've gone much more smoothly.  When I write this review (like I did for TripAdvisor), I feel kind of like maybe I'm being a spoiled brat.  But I promose that I'm trying hard to keep my review of the resort separate from my review of their handling of the situation. goes:

The Halcyon was beauiful.  For a laid back, easy-to-please, not-too-picky couple, it was just right.  It wasn't a loud party spot.  They didn't try to force you into group activities.  There were plenty of places you could hide out to be alone. 

The restaurants were a bit of a let-down.  The Pier was written up as having "the best Caribbean food on the island."  I'd have to disagree.  Don't get me wrong, it was really good, but it certainly didn't rock my socks off.  Same with Mario's.  I was actually really disappointed in Mario's.  I ordered a penne dish with chicken and spinach in a garlic creme sauce - the creme sauce was runny, there was no garlic that I could taste, and I'm pretty sure it was tuna.  Good thing I'm not allergic to seafood, cuz that could've been a huge problem!  The Bayside was good.  Breakfast was a buffet and it had pretty much everything you could dream of.  Dinners were sometimes buffet and sometimes a la carte.  I probably would have appreciated it more had we not had to have it for 5 days straight after the hurricane. 

The beach bar was good.  They had all-you-can eat nachos, and the ham and cheese sandwich was actually quite delicious.  For a casual, quick meal, you couldn't really go wrong there.  The Irie bar and the pool bars were good - drinks were made well, they were strong, and you get them quickly. 

The staff were all pretty nice.  The bartenders were great, especially Aaron and Rita.  Aaron bounced around a bit (at the pool bar or at the Irie bar), but we usually only saw Rita at night at the Irie bar.  Rita was the only one who knew how to make a good dirty martini, so she quickly won our favor.  The waitstaff in the restaurants were kind of slow, but then again - it's the Caribbean, and everything moves a bit slower there.  So that didn't really bother me.  It's kind of nice to be able to sit and relax and not worry about all the hustle and bustle. 

I definitely think communication could have been better.  About everything, but especially regarding the hurricane.  We didn't even know a storm was coming, let alone a hurricane.  They certainly spent time printing notes and slipping them under our doors, so I think a note on Friday afternoon warning "A storm is approaching the island.  We will take all measures necessary to ensure your trip is not interrupted" or something along those lines would have gone a long way.  Once the storm hit, I still felt like communication was lacking.  We had absolutely no idea, until we got to the other resort, that our flights were cancelled.  We had no idea how we were going to get to the airport.  We basically had to beg for help.  And every time I approached the desk with a question, I felt like they were annoyed.  I'm sympathetic that they were overwhelmed and that they were concerned for their homes and families.  But rather than huffing and giving me a nasty response, just smile and tell me you're working on it.  When the shuttles weren't running, and we asked them to call a cab for us to take us to one of the resorts, they basically tried to talk us out of it.  It's not like by staying there we're spending any money or anything! 

Same goes with the tours desk.  We went to discuss our cancelled tours with the person at the desk and kept being told "Check in tomorrow."  Finally, on our last day, we said "It's clear we're not going to do any of these.  What do we do?"  And he just said, "I'll let the operators know you're cancelling your reservations."  I had to kind of fight with them to get our money back - we didn't cancel the tours, we weren't able to do them because of weather!  And their policy says that you can get your money back if the tour is cancelled due to extreme weather conditions.  So that was annoying.

However.  I know that this sounds mostly negative and like I wouldn't recommend it.  But I would.  Like I said, I think a lot of our negative experiences were due mostly to the hurricane.  Had Hurricane Tomas not hit and wreaked havoc on our honeymoon, I'd probably have some different things to say about the whole thing.  So, would I recommend the Halcyon to other honeymooners?  Absolutely.  It really is a beautiful resort.  And even though it's small and the dining options are limited, you can go between the 3 resorts for free, which opens up your dining options from 4 restaurants to, like, 20.  They offer a ton of excursions.  They have games and group activities available but you can decline or completely avoid participation if you want to. 

So that's it.  Our Caribbean honeymoon.  I really want to take Matt back to the Caribbean sometime soon so he can really do some snorkeling and see the true crystal-clear turquoise waters.  Someday...

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Year's Survey

A survey to reflect on the year:

1. What did you do in 2010 that you’d never done before?  Planned a wedding, got married, went to St. Lucia, survived a hurricane

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn't make resolutions last year, oddly enough.  This year I want to eat better, drink less, spend less, save more

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?  Oh my goodness!  Stephy had Christian in April, Melissa had Gianni in June, Kathryn had Abby in July, Brookie had Aiden in September, Abriel had Cal in September, Meghan had Sophie in September, and Susan had Logan in November.  Plus, Beth is due in February and Liza is due in March!  Needless to say, it was a very exciting year!

4. Did anyone close to you die? No, thanks goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?  St. Lucia, in October/November

6. What would you like to have in 2011 that you didn’t have in 2010?  A better attitude.  And healthier body

7. What dates from 2010 will be etched upon your memory, and why?  October 23 - our wedding.

8. What was your biggest achievement of this year?  Planning/throwing a successful wedding.

9. What was your biggest failure?   Not seeing all of our family at the wedding

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?  This was a relatively healthy year for me

11. What was the best thing you bought?
  Our honeymoon.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?  My bridesmaids.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?  Someone who I thought I could count on but who really disappointed me this year...and continues to do so.

14. Where did most your money go?  The wedding and the honeymoon.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?  Our wedding.  Abriel's baby shower. 

16. What song will always remind you of 2010?  "Chasing Cars"

Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?
a. Happier
b. Fatter
c. Richer (barely)

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?  Going to the gym

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?  Placating

20. How did you spend Christmas?  My mom's house on Christmas Eve, then to my dad's, then Matt's parents' the next day

21. Did you fall in love in 2010?  With Matt.  Every day.

22. What was your favorite TV program? 
True Blood.  United States of Tara.  Dexter. 

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?  Hate is pretty extreme.  But there is definitely someone who's been building some strongly negative feelings.

24. What was the best book you read?  "Faithful Place," by Tana French.  Read it.  It's awesome.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?  Mumford and Sons

26. What did you want and get?  A husband

27. What did you want and not get?  USB-heated slippers

28. What was your favorite film of 2010?  Harry Potter 7.1, The Town, Black Swan

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?  I turned 31.  I think we went out for dinner.

What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?  Less nonsense at work

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2010?  The same way I always describe it.  Comfortable classics.

32. What kept you sane?  Matt.  And my mom.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?  Oy.  The Tea Party.  I know that in and of itself is not really an "issue," but they made everything into an issue.  And that annoys.

34. Who did you miss?  Abes, Mish, and Liza.  None of that is new, though

35. Who was the best new person you met?  The 18-thousand babies I met this year were pretty great.  Also, my brother-in-law's new girlfriend is kind of awesome.  And our "new" social worker, Stacy.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010.  People will let you down.  You don't need to apologize to them for your feelings about it. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Honeymoon - What We Did (Post-Hurricane)

As I left off, Hurricane Tomas hit St. Lucia on Saturday.  Hit hard.  What they thought would be a passing tropical storm ended up just kind of parking itself on top of the island for a full day and gaining strength to become a Category 2 hurricane.  Category 2 hurricanes have sustained winds of 96-110 miles per hour.  Yeah.  

So anyway.  We realized that the storm wasn't going anywhere, and neither were we.  The rain got worse and worse and we decided to hunker down with other guests in the Mirage.  They were showing movies and had board games out.  We watched more (terrible) movies than I care to think about - Grown Ups, Machete, Piranha 3D, Legion...a few more.  The only good movie we saw was Charlie St. Cloud.  We played Battleship and Boggle.  We ate our meals in the Mirage, bringing them over from the Bayside (it was mostly covered between the 2).  And we definitely took advantage of the open bar!  By the end of the evening, they were having a hard time keeping the rain out, having to sweep it constantly out the doors.  The rain was coming down in sheets.  I've never seen anything like it.  At one point during the afternoon, I ran back to the room for something.  The rain was just barely covering my feet.  When I returned, about 30 minutes later, the water was up over my ankles.  It was incredible.  Just after dinner, we decided to go back to our room and sit on the balcony and read.  Because of the overhang, we were actually able to do that - we stayed pretty dry!  But the rain and wind were so loud, I couldn't sit there for too long.  It was scary!  We finally went to bed, but I couldn't sleep.  I just layed there, waiting for the roof to rip off or for a tree to fall on us.  I finally was able to fall asleep by listening to the Harry Potter soundtrack on my iPod.  

Inside the Mirage.  Not sure which movie that is.
It's hard to see, but it's pouring.
The next day (Sunday), it was still raining.  So we spent another day in the Mirage.  Finally, Sunday night, the rain slowed and the sky started to clear.  We ate all meals at the Bayside again.  Just to keep track, that's 2 full days of nothing but buffet.  

Sunday night.  The clouds parted.
Monday the sun was kind of out.  We spent the morning exploring the resort and taking in all the damage that Tomas had caused.  It was really sad.  But we (the guests of Halcyon) were pretty lucky.  The resort never lost power and though they made us conserve water (no showers/toilets in our rooms from 10am-5pm), we had plenty of water.  Much of the island was not so lucky.  Anyway, after we explored, we spent the day at the Paradise pool.  The lounge chairs were wet and the pool was closed for most of the morning for cleaning.  But it was nice to be outside again!  On our way to dinner, we saw that Mario's was open, so we went in.  We were so excited to finally get to eat there!  Alas, it was still the buffet.  Boo....

A tree that fell on our building
Down at the Beach Bar
Some of the grounds, down near the Beach Bar
On the other side of the resort.
On the beach.  Yeah, that's a hubcap.
At the Paradise pool
Tuesday the sun was actually out, so we spent the day at the Sunset pool.  For dinner, we finally ate at Mario's!  For real!  Yay!  After dinner, we had drinks at the Irie Bar.

Taken by our favorite bartender, Rita!
Wednesday we had enough of the Halcyon.  We wanted to take a shuttle to one of the other resorts, but were told that the shuttles still weren't running.  Luckily, another couple heard us asking, and told us that they had taken a cab the night before.  So, we packed our bags and took a cab over to the Sandals Grande St. Lucian.  That resort was fully up and running.  Their beach was completely clean and everyone was out there!  We had a great day at the Grande.  We ate lunch at the Barefoot By the Sea restaurant, where you eat right in the sand!  I don't know why, but I was absolutely enthralled with this.  After lunch, we explored the resort a bit.  When we got to the lobby, we discovered a big board listing all the flights that had been cancelled.  Wouldn't you know?  Ours was cancelled!  I had checked my email that morning and gotten nothing from AmericanAirlines, even though I had signed up for e-alerts.  Grr...  So we rushed back to the Halcyon so we could start making calls to reschedule our flights.  Luckily, we were able to get on a flight just one day later than our original flight.  There were other people there who'd been stuck for 4 or 5 days!  Once we had that taken care of, we played some shuffleboard.  Finally, we got ready for our special night - our private candlelit dinner!  We had a full 4-course delicious meal and our own private waitress!  We also had a kitty guest with us throughout the entire meal.

The beach at the Grande
Barefoot by the Sea.
I beat Matt both games.
Dinner.  Best meal of the trip.
And finally, Thursday.  Our last day.  We woke up to delivery of our breakfast in bed.  It was quite lovely.  But we were still pretty over the Halcyon, and hadn't seen the Regency yet, so we got another cab and headed off to the Regency.  That resort was pretty nice, too.  We had lunch (pizza!) at Neptunes over-looking the beach.  We went to sit by the pool for a bit, but it started to rain.  So I scheduled an impromptu massage at the Red Lane Spa and left Matt to fend for himself.  Turns out, it stopped raining not long after I disappeared into the spa, and Matt sat back out by the pool.  We had dinner at the Regency, at the Cricketers Pub.  It was really yummy, and they had Guinness!  We had a great time there, but headed back to pack our bags and get ready to take off the next day.

Kisses!  On our way home from the Regency.
Friday morning, we woke up, finished packing, and gave our luggage to the porter.  We had breakfast and then just hung out, waiting for our taxi.  Around 11am, the taxi came and we were off to the airport.  Sad to say goodbye to the Halycon and our honeymoon.  But excited to get home and start our married life!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

I'm Dying

The night before Christmas Eve, Matt and I stopped in at the photographer's to pick out the frame for our ridiculously-sized-over-the-mantle-hey-everyone-look-at-us picture.  We also had to pick up the 8x10s we ordered for our parents for Christmas gifts.  While there, I asked about our album.  She said it'd probably be done in a couple of weeks.  Meaning, like, any day now. 

So, you guys...I'm dying!  Just dying!  I reeeeeaaaaallllly want to get our disc of photos so I can look through them all again and start our recaps!  And I want to see our album!  And the ginormous picture!  Aaggghh!!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Honeymoon - What We Did (Before the Hurricane)

I told you all about the Halcyon here.  But what did we do on our honeymoon?

Well, on our first night, we took it easy.  We were tired and gross after our long day of traveling.  We checked in, got acquainted with our room, and then had drinks and watched the sun set at the Beach bar.  After a couple of drinks, we went to dinner at the Bayview.  After dinner, we went back to our room and sat on our balcony for a bit, then went to bed early.  We slept a lot on our honeymoon.

On our second day, we were still feeling pretty lazy, so we just layed around the Sunset pool.  We were invited to play a couple of games, but declined, and weren't bothered much after that.  It was a relaxing day, and we really needed it.  After a few hours at the pool, we needed to get out of the sun, so we went and relaxed on one of the beds in the garden.  Then it was back to the room for a shower and dinner at the Pier. 

Sitting on the balcony of the Irie bar, waiting for the Pier to open for dinner
A small storm off the coast.  I tried for about 5 minutes to get some lightening.
Dinner at the Pier
We tried to play chess.  I don't get it.
Day Three (Thursday) found us on our first (and only) excursion.  We took a catamaran down the coast to Soufriere.  From the port, we were driven up into the volcano, where you get to see/smell the Sulfur Springs.  Then we went to the Botanical Garden to see the Diamond Waterfall.   After that, they drove us up to this amazing restaurant with what has - hands down - the best view ever.  Once we had a our fill at lunch, we went back to the boat and headed up to Marigot Bay for some snorkeling.  It was Matt's first time snorkeling, and I'm pretty sure I was more excited for him than he was for himself.  I just couldn't wait to see his face when he got to swim right with the fishes!  And it was so worth it - he absolutely loved it.  When we got back to the hotel, we were greeted by a bottle of champagne chilling in our room!  We split our bottle of champagne and then had dinner at the Bayview.

Our catamaran
The Pitons
Our captain took a picture of every couple on the trip!
The town of Soufriere.
When we got there, there were 3 women bathing in this hot spring was stinky!
Mineral springs.  People were bathing in this.  They say it's good for you.  I'll just take their word for it.
Cocoa beans!  Our tour guide even talked about Hershey!

Us at Diamond Waterfall
It's multicolored because of the different minerals in the water

At lunch.  Seriously.  Best. view. EVER.
This is the restaurant
I still haven't decided if this is natural carvings or not.
Yay!  Champagne
That was easily the best day of the trip.  It's sad, though, because Soufriere and the entire Southern end of the island was destroyed by Hurricane Tomas.  The road we drove up to get into the volcano basically doesn't even exist anymore.  It was entirely washed out by the rain.  Much of Soufriere was under water.  We were very concerned about that restaurant where we ate lunch.

Day Four (Friday) found us back at the pool, but this time we tried out the Paradise pool.  And we ate dinner at the Pier again.  
Matt at the Paradise pool swim-up bar

Friday night, during the night, the rain started.  It woke me up at one point, but since it had rained a bit every day, I didn't think much of it and went right back to sleep.  We were scheduled to go on our Zip-lining excursion on Saturday.  We were awakened by a phone call Saturday morning from the Tours desk explaining that a Tropical Storm had hit St. Lucia overnight, so our excursion was canceled for safety reasons, so they could check the lines and such.  We were disappointed, but figured we'd reschedule for later in the week, and headed out for breakfast.  We quickly found out that the Tropical Storm hadn't just "hit" overnight, but instead had parked itself on top of St. Lucia and become a Category-2 Hurricane.  More on that experience and the days after the hurricane next...