Week in Photos #21

What did you do Memorial Day weekend?  I know quite a few people that headed up to the New England area to spend the long weekend, us included.

The week started off with a Monday night dinner at the Oxenburg’s – Amanda and I both missed a bridal shower that we were invited to last month so we decided to get together with the bride to be and have a home cooked meal…Amanda prepped the lasagna the night before so all she had to do was pop it in the oven and wait for everyone to arrive! She’s become quite domestic since she’s gotten married!  😉

I had a buy one get one free code for Moe’s…home of the Coke Freestyle machine!  So on Friday before our long weekend I went out to lunch with some coworkers.  Chicken burrito for me…tacos for them.  I think I like this place better than Chipotle!

Since Friday was an early day for me I had time to do a set of my own gels at home.  I knew a manicure wouldn’t last me through the long weekend and I didn’t want to bring a bottle of polish with me for touchups so gels were the way to go.  Glitter included!

We spent Saturday and Sunday in Cape Cod on a family trip.  After heading out to dinner at which I didn’t take ANY pictures because I forgot my camera at the hotel…the adults hung out and did adult things and got ready for bed while the kids hung out for a little while doing…uhh..kid things?  The boys had to be up at 3AM to prep for their fishing trip so it was a relatively early night for all.

My pj’s for the weekend:

The boy packed lucky boxers in hopes that it would lead to a good fishing trip!  And it worked!  Everyone went home with coolers packed with fish!  I *puffy heart* seabass :)

Since we wanted to get back home as quickly as possible on Sunday, we decided to skip a real lunch and just stop by the 7eleven in town to pick up some snacks for the road.  Corn dog and a cheese stick for me and a sandwich for the boy.  And one can’t go to 7eleven and not get a slurpee, right?!  We even had our own slurpee bartender mixing it up for us!

When we got home we came back to find Milo with this on his back and tufts of fur all over the floor.  This was the first time he’s been left alone without humans or another cat around over night so we think stress might have caused it…

Slightly panicked, we called the vet the next morning and made an appointment…he said it was an allergy…to what, no one knows.  A shot, a bottle of pills and $120 later we were all back home.  How one feeds a cat pills is beyond my comprehension…but I guess we’ll find out tonight.  Side note: the turkey gained over a pound since his last visit in Jan!  Thats 20.6 lbs of cat hiding between the boy’s legs!

We must have brought home at least 30 fish from this weekend’s trip!  I decided to try to cook one up for dinner last night Chinese style…it came out pretty good for a first time try!  I probably could have stopped cooking it a few minutes earlier…it was a little overdone and the oil that I put over it could have been a little hotter.  At least we have plenty more for me to practice on!

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booked!

No time for my weekly picture post…work and Mr. Grey have been eating up most of my time!
But here’s a quickie to hold you over for now!


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62 days until the boy and I park our asses on the beach for 9 days!  We haven’t been on a Caribbean beach since August 2010!  This is a much needed break from reality!

I plan on drinking lots of pina coladas and fruity drinks while relaxing by the pool!  I’m more of a chlorinated water type of gal…but under persuasion of the boy I’ll occasionally go into the ocean…


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Some might say 9 days is too long…but if you take away travel days (which don’t really count as part of your vacation!) its only 7 days…we live such busy and hectic lives that sometimes we need a long, relaxing vacation like this to bring everything to a screeching halt!
looking forward for some QT with him…

:)

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Atlantic City Getaway Recap! Part 1

WARNING: Long winded and picture filled post ahead!  Settle down and get comfy…its gonna be a long read!

This might be a new record of the time between getting the pictures up from when they were taken!
Here goes our little vacation recap!

I had it all planned out.  Neatly mapped on an excel sheet like I always do for our trips – activities, meals, plans and alternate ideas all plotted and color coded (its the PMP in me I can’t help it!).  Only this time I had a slight hunch that things just MIGHT be different…

Our original plan was to leave early on Saturday morning and get to the condo around noon to drop our luggage off and then get right back on the road to head down to Cape May for lunch, sightseeing and dinner…That plan quickly went into the crapper.  :(  The day we left the region got a record snowfall for the month of October!   That made driving down to Jersey quite a trip.  At some points it was blizzard like conditions with little visibility.  By the time we were half way there most of the snow was just rain.  But we decided that even if it was just raining, continuing onto Cape May would be a waste since a lot of the things I wanted to see/do were outdoors.  Our plan was to reschedule that for another day during the week.   It ended up being a good decision since we were able to take our time unpacking our luggage and organizing the place to our liking for the week.  I also like to wash all of the sheets and towels on the first day since the apartment only gets used a few times a year…I think the last time my aunt was there was Easter!

We settled in and cooked dinner.  Since the weather was crappy, some comfort food was in order. String beans with ground pork, steamed spare ribs and melon/pork bone soup.


Since the boy had the nerve to complain that whenever I cook, I always make the same thing…so I thought up some new dishes to make this time around.  There were some definite hits and misses. Recipes to follow!

I must say that I am most proud of my soup!  Its my first pot of ‘Chinese soup’ that I’ve ever made!  *pats self on back!*  Although its a pretty simple one, I still think its delish!  I remember my grams always making this with her bounty of melon from the garden in the summer.    And it couldn’t be simpler…bring some pork bones, a few slices of ginger, and a few slices of Chinese salted turnip to a boil.  Let it boil for about 15-20 minutes and reduce to a low simmer for 2-2.5 hours.  During the last 30 minutes throw in some dried shrimp and your melon.  Let the melon cook until tender and add salt to taste.  TA DA!  :)  I actually didn’t need to add much salt because of the turnips!

After dinner the boy helped me clean up and we settled down and watched Cars 2…a nice eding to a long day.

The agenda for our second day was to go running on the boardwalk and then hit up  Hooters for lunch since the boy had to watch the Giants game.  Running was important for us because we didn’t want to be complete sloths all week.  :)  The morning runs were gorgeous!  We headed out about 10am each day.  Its so peaceful and scenic on the boardwalk in the off season!

picture of the beach snapped from my phone before our run

Lunch was pretty uneventful…Hooters wings were good as usual.  Hooters has the DirecTV NFL Sunday Ticket package so they play every game every Sunday.  It was pretty crowded in there and plenty of people were in their jerseys cheering on their teams.   The waitress we had was slightly over attentive and would ask us every 15 minutes if we needed anything so we decided to pack it up and leave.  The boy ended up watching the end of the game on the 2nd floor of the condo where they have a big tv in the common area.

Also on the plan today was to check out Steel Pier.  I haven’t been there in years and during the off season they are open on the weekends.  Instead of driving we decided to walk (I just mapped it out and its 1.5 miles each way!) that way we could snap some nice pictures on the way.  They had a giant Monopoly board in front of Caesars so of course we had to stop and horse around a bit!  Did you know that the board game was based on places in or around Atlantic City?  :)

As we got closer to the pier the boy and I noticed that it didn’t look open…no flashing lights…no rides were on…we got to the gate and there was a sign kindly notifying us that it was closed for a private party!  BOO!!!

Since we walked all the way down to the end of the boardwalk we went into Trump Taj Mahal for a bathroom break and to wander around a little bit.  After a little froyo stop we were pleasantly surprised to see a  White House Sub Shop had opened there!  It worked out nicely since we had planned on going there once during our visit anyway!  The boy had the bright idea of getting enough for two meals – he wanted to try the hot sandwiches as well as the original.  These babies are enormous!  We got 2 halves of the hot variety and one whole of the original.  This probably would have lasted me a week but the boy can eat like a linebacker so it was a good amount for two meals for us.

On our way back we passed by an arcade that had the boy’s absolute favorite…CRANE GAMES!  A row of at least 15 games lined both sides of the place.  It wasn’t a question.  We WERE going in!  They had everything from domos to smurfs to care bears…to our favorite – angry birds!   He ended up winning two – the yellow one and the black one.

Camera and sandwiches in tow, back to the boardwalk for the 1.5 mile trek back to the condo!

When we got back we parked our asses in front of the TV and spent the next few hours watching Fringe as we munched on our sandwiches. :)

We thought that it would be a good idea to avoid the outlets on the weekends so we saved it for Monday!  Leftover sandwiches for lunch and then off to The Walk we went!  We got some pretty good deals…but the best of the day was by the boy – he got a pair of cashmere lined gloves from Coach for $48!  I was able to pick up some air freshener refills from Bath and Body Works and some sweaters from Banana Republic.  Overall we got what we needed and not too much impulse buying!  :)

Since we did a lot of walking I decided that I wasn’t in the mood to cook dinner so we decided to take the car out and drive to Harrah’s to hit up the Waterfront Buffet.  So far this is my favorite one that I’ve been to.  They have a huge variety of food and more importantly its CLEAN!

Fast forward to Tuesday…we woke up for another morning run.  The agenda for the day was to check out the AC light house, aquarium and The Pier Shops at Caesars.  After our run the lazy bug bit us.  Hard.  We decided to skip the light house and aquarium.  I cooked a quickie lunch of instant noodles and wontons and then we parked ourselves on the couch for another few hours of Fringe!

 Before we knew it, the sun had set and our tummies were rumbling again!  I had mapped out 4 Viet restaurants near the condo that we could try.  The first one we walked to was closed for renovations!  So off to our second choice.  Our hopes weren’t that high since our favorite Viet restaurant in Brooklyn still hasn’t been matched!

The boy got the equivalent of what would be a #1 at most restaurants.  He said that there was a little more tendon in there than he would like and he also found some meatballs in there which we’ve never seen in a #1!  I tried the broth and it tasted very herbal as opposed to the usual mix of spices in pho broth.

I wanted something on the lighter side so I ordered the ban xeo which was actually much better than the one I get from our fav spot at home!

The springrolls were a fail.  They used regular egg roll wrappers instead of the rice paper wrappers that is normally used.  The insides were a bit flavorless and they were pretty greasy.

The summer rolls on the other hand were yummy!  Freshly made (wrappers were still slightly warm!) and the ingredients inside were at their prime!

After dinner we walked back to the boardwalk and back to the condo to watch more…you guessed it Fringe!

Wednesday marked the half way point of our vacation….we went for another morning run and then stopped into Starbucks so I could FINALLY get my first red cup drink of the season!  I made another quickie lunch of snow cabbage, pork and bamboo shoot soup noodles (I’m getting good at this!) and we watched a few more episodes of Fringe before heading out to The Pier Shops.  No picture of lunch because as delicious as it is…this dish was horrifically un-photogenic!

I’m a bit of a MAC junkie so I collected all of my empty containers and brought them with me since I knew there was a MAC inside The Pier.  I had enough to get 4 free lipsticks with their recycling program!  I probably could have found enough empty containers to get 5 lipsticks if I really tried!   I decided on just two lipsticks for now.  :)

We walked into Caesars from The Pier and found that they had a video roulette table there!  The type where its a live dealer spinning the wheel and dropping the ball, but instead of the table with everyone reaching over one another to put their chips down and such, you sit at your individual screen and place your bets there instead!  Just my style!  No one to invade my personal space!  No dirty chips!  Too bad about half the screens had “out of service” flashing on them!

Dinner this night was Cornish hens and pasta.  Big FAIL here… :(  And I was so excited about cooking my little hens too! :(   Flavor wise it was fine…it is just that the oven at the condo wasn’t accurate and I didn’t have an oven thermometer to check the temp.  In the end, two little hens took over 90 minutes to cook!  Resulting in overcooked pasta as well.

I cleaned and dried the hens…put a little butter under the skin and sprinkled the top with Mrs. Dash salt free seasoning.   I stuffed 1/4 of an onion into the cavity, placed a slice of pancetta on top and laid them down on some carrots and potatoes in the pan. After an hour in the oven the juices were still not running clear!   So back in they went.  In the meantime I had made some pasta – just an olive oil and garlic sauce.  Here comes the fatal mistake…I hadn’t timed it out well….so the pasta had gotten cold by the time the hens were ready.  So I put the pan back on the heat so it could heat up….but since it was an oil based sauce it made the pasta super crispy!  FAIL! :(

The pancetta was probably the best part of the meal….like a porky potato chip!

 

eyes tired from reading yet?
stomach growling from all the food pics yet?
…to be continued
:)

 

 

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The Ritz Condo Tour – Atlantic City

Just a quickie post while I continue to go through the 1k pictures we took last week…

A lot of you ask what my aunt’s condo is like and wonder where we stay when we go down there…so here it is!

Don’t ask about the yellow walls….I’m not sure what the heck she was thinking!

I know I mentioned that the condo was a hotel twice in the vid…but thats because I recorded this on two different days and I couldn’t remember what I said previously….and I was too lazy to check :)

 

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Our Morning Run

Just a little quickie post from my phone as I sit in Hooters while the boy watches the Giants game. I brought a tv tuner for my laptop along with us but he forgot to bring a coaxial cable and the dinky antennae that it came with doesn’t work that well.
We went out for a morning run on the boardwalk today and this was a view of the beach…I can’t wait to come back with my real camera!
I could wake up to this evey morning!

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Vacation! (sort of)

Next week the boy and I are going on vacation…sort of…

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I guess this could be considered more of a ‘staycation’ (who invented that stupid term anyway!?).  We don’t really consider it a ‘real‘ vacation unless we are hopping on a plane and heading somewhere hot and sunny and we sip fruity drinks with umbrellas in them…know what I mean?  Since we didn’t plan a beachy getaway this year and our vacation days are piling up, we will be spending a week down in Atlantic City at my aunt’s condo on the boardwalk.   At least this will be MUCH cheaper than an actual vacation since we don’t have to fly anywhere and lodging is FREE! :)

This will be the longest time we are spending down in AC…I think prior to this my longest stay there was about 5 days or so.  The boy and I are not big gamblers but we will most likely try out luck out at the casinos this time around – he learned how to play craps when he went to Vegas last year and he said he’d teach me!  I’m sure the week will fly by quickly since I have plenty planned for us.  There’s so much down in AC that we haven’t done for one reason or another.  In addition to doing a lot of shooting I plan on dragging him to two light houses (one in AC and one in Cape May), walking along the boardwalk and the Pier Shops at Caesars, checking out the Atlantic City Aquarium, doing some shopping at The Walk, going to Steel Pier (I haven’t been there in YEARS…maybe he can win me another obnoxiously large stuffed animal!), spending an afternoon on the boardwalk in Cape May, taking a Victorian Estate Tour and having dinner at the Lobster House afterwards!  So uhh…yeah…I’m sure the week will fly by!   And we will be packing our swimsuits and gym clothes as well…the fitness center and pool at the condo have been newly renovated and I plan some early morning runs along the boardwalk since I’m still on the fence about the Turkey Trot.  The good thing about all of the activities planned is that most of them are dirt cheap!  Admission to the aquarium is only $8 and the lighthouses are $7!  I will just have to hold the boy back and take his wallet when he is playing the boardwalk games!

We plan on eating out about half the time and cooking the rest.  Recently the boy complained about my cooking – the nerve right!?  Saying “You always cook the same things but you follow so many cooking blogs!”  I should have thrown the stack of takeout menus at him that instant!  The TWO meals he has cooked me were tater tots and chicken nuggets, and a tuna/egg salad sandwich.  HMPH!  So over the next few days I’ll be browsing the blogs to find some new recipes.  Our dining out meals haven’t been finalized yet but I do hope to squeeze one casino restaurant in there…there’s so many to choose from!

Time to figure out what to pack!

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Aruba Part 2!

Anddddd we’re back!  Now where did we leave off?  By day 5 I was pretty much recovered from being sick.  My sore throat finally went away and I was able to eat again.

Day 5…Wedding Day!  We had to be at the pier by 5:15.  What pier do you ask?  Why Y&F had rented out Marriot’s private island to hold their wedding!  AMAZING!  We had to take a little shuttle boat over to the island.

Since we had to start getting ready by 3pm, we decided to stay local and just hang out at the pool.  Lunch was at the hotel’s outdoor restaurant again.  Why?  Because during lunch the day before, I saw that the guy at the table next to us had this GIANT hot dog so I decided that I NEEDED to have one too!  It was only ehh…I did like the fries though!  :)

After some more lounging and sun by the pool, we got ready and headed to the pier downtown to catch our boat!  Since we were early again I picked up a few more souvenirs before heading over to the boat as I was not planning on returning downtown during the remainder of our stay.

The wedding was so nice!  Once off the boat we were shuffled to the right side of the island where the ceremony was being held.  There were tables set up with servers handing out rum punch.  And a flock of flamingos greeted all of the guests!  The ceremony was gorgeous and the officiant was great!  The Mariott timed the ceremony perfectly with the sunset.

After the ceremony and some group shots we were scooted over to the left side of the island for the reception.  YuChing’s details were amazing!  Invitations were sent as boarding passes…and escort cards were luggage tags!  Her monogram tied everything in nicely as well.

Dinner was delish!  Probably some of the best food we had in Aruba!  It was set up buffet style and we were able to pick and choose as we please.  After dinner we were off to the bar for the first of many rounds of shots and drinks!   It was a good time for all! :)

The boat ride back to the pier was way scarier than going there…because 1. it was pitch black 2. I was a little drunk!  But that didn’t stop me from stopping at the hotel bar for a nightcap when we got back!  Vodka on the rocks for me.  Water for him.

Day 5 Expenses:
Lunch $51 (including tip)
Cab to downtown $15 (including tip)
Souvenirs $10
Starbucks $10
Bar $12
Cab to hotel $15 (including tip)

Day 6…

We are drawing close to the end…:*(

This was our first day where we really had NOTHING planned.  No dinners, no weddings, nothing!  We were a little tired of the hotel food so we decided to venture out for lunch.  We walked back to the main strip and found NOTHING open!  I was getting cranky so we finally settled on Wendys.  Yup.  Wendys.  End of story.

Most of the afternoon was spent lounging by the pool and then in the later we took a walk on the beach to see what the other hotels looked like.  It was so nice because there are NO annoying vendors on the beach harassing you to buy this..or to go on this excursion..etc.  And the beaches are really clean!

A few happy hour drinks later and we decided we should research a place for dinner.  I had a bunch of brochures that I had collected from here and there and a place called Gasparito caught our eye.  The place touted itself as an “art gallery and restaurant” in one.  So we decided to give it a shot.  It was local Aruban food too so we were kind of excited to try that.  The menu looked decent.  The concierge told us that we couldn’t walk to the restaurant from the hotel…and I’m glad we didn’t try!  It was so dark and scary!!!  There were no street lights or sidewalks!   Dinner was pretty decent.  I wasn’t too crazy about my soup that I got for appetizer…but the rest was good!  It was a dead night at the restaurant – there was only one other table dining in there!  and they were eating outside!  So we had the whole interior to ourselves!  The staff was so nice…but that is a common trait that we found of people all over the island!  Since this restaurant was a little far out of the way, there were no cabs waiting to be hailed so the restaurant had to call for a cab to come pick us up.

1. self explanatory
2. appetizer – ravioli stuffed with Kerry Kerry, a local delicacy…I think it was fish?
3. art gallery
4. the boy’s entree – he got a combo dish of some of the Aruban specialties so we could try a little bit of everything
5. the bill arrived in a little wooden box with some candy inside
6. french onion soup – delish!
7. more gallery shots
8. my entree – I was not as adventurous as the boy…so I just got shrimp cooked with a cream sauce :)

Day 6 Expenses:
Lunch $15 (what a steal!)
HH drinks $18
Cab to dinner $11 (including tip)
Dinner $95 (including tip, 2 soups, 1 appetizer, 2 entrees)
Cab to hotel $11 (including tip)

Day 7…

Our LAST full day  ::sadface::

Breakfast at the buffet downstairs again and then we headed to the pool.  The boy was tired of laying out so we decided to take a walk on the beach again.  Our newest vacation habbit is to bring home a container of sand and some seashells that we find.  We spent about 3 hours walking up and down the beach looking for shells!  It was a great way to work on tanning my back because I hate lying on my stomach on the lounge chairs!   Back to the pool bar for our last round of happy hour drinks and back upstairs we went.

We decided to stay in the hotel to try out the Italian restaurant onsite.  It was surprisingly good and a great way to end our vacation! :)

Day 7 Expenses:
Breakfast $50 (including tip)
HH Drinks $17 (including tip)
Dinner $95 (including tip, 2 appetizers, 2 sodas, 2 entrees, 2 desserts)

Day 8…

This shouldn’t even count as a real day!  We got a late 2pm checkout because our flight wasn’t until 5pm.

After we woke up, we went downstairs to the outdoor restaurant to have lunch.  It just wasn’t the same.  We were both pouting the entire time!

The cab ride to the airport was uneventful.  The driver was very nice as all of the cab drivers in Aruba were.

Overall we loved Aruba!  Despite being sick, we both had a great time!  This is an island where we can see ourselves returning to.  And as always, the Westin did not disappoint!  Things in Aruba are very expensive.  All restaurants charge a service charge and you are supposed to tip on top of that.  Dinners averaged around $100 for the two of us.  This was our first time staying at a non all inclusive place in the Caribbean.  The Westin did offer an all inclusive option, but we felt that because we had so many plans outside of hotel, it wasn’t really worth it.  The AI option would have raised our rate to almost $500/night!  We also find that when we are on AI, we feel the need to be little piggies and eat breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday!  Normally, I only eat lunch/dinner…I know its not good to skip breakfast blah blah…but breakfast for me is never a real meal…it usually consists of a fruit or a slice of toast, etc.

One plus we found was that the cab fares are all regulated from zone to zone.  So if you are traveling from one place to another, you will be charged the same flat fee as the next person.

Now where to go next?…I guess I’ll think about that as I go out and chip off the ice from my car! :(

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Aruba Part 1!

Full Album pictures available here: www.misstsien.com/banana/aruba2010

As I sit here in the midst of an ice storm, I reminisce about the awesome week I had in Aruba just a short 5 months ago.

The boy and I were off to YuChing and Francis’s (Y&F) wedding in Aruba!  They had blocked off a number of rooms at the Renaissance Marriot for their guests, but being the point whores we are, we decided to stay at the Westin about 15 minutes away.

As luck has it, I caught a terrible cold (in August!) a few days before we left…I guess it was karma for taking a vacation when normally that week is blacked out for everyone from taking off!  But it was a wedding!  And it was a good friend of mine!  And I had everything (almost) under control at work!  So I HAD to go, right??   Yeah, like I said – karma!  The cold lasted a good 3 days into vacation with a fever making an appearance as well!  But being sick on vacation is still better than being sick at work/home!

Day 1…

We had an 11:30am flight on JetBlue out of JFK airport…so our paranoid asses got there at 8:30 (thanks dad!)  One thing led to another and our flight didn’t take off until 2:30pm!  It was almost 8pm by the time we checked into the hotel.  The hotel wasn’t the cheapest around…but we <3 Starwood brands! The rate we got gave us the 5th night free and $150 credit towards food and beverage.  I guess it sort of makes up for the $30 “resort fee” they charge.  We were both starving and tired…too tired to go out exploring for a restaurant…so we just went upstairs, changed into some presentable clothes and headed down to one of the hotel restaurants – Pago Pago (steak and seafood).

Before I continue…let me mention…Aruba is EXPENSIVE!  I thought Hawaii was expensive…but Aruba far exceeds it!

Day 1 Expenses:
Cab to hotel $30 (including tip)
Dinner $130 (including tip, 2 appetizers, 2 entrees and 2 sodas)

Day 2…

I’m not a big one for excursions…I don’t like being tied to a tight schedule when I’m on vacation.  So I usually just schedule one or two.  After reading up on this ‘submarine tour’ I knew that was the one excursion that we were going to go on!  Everything was booked online prior to arrival, so I printed out all my confirmations and off we went.  We had to check in at 12:30 so I asked the front desk how long it would take a cab to get downtown so I could budget enough time to go exploring.  When we got downtown, we walked around a little bit and found ourselves to be MELTING!  We found a good old Starbucks and decided to just grab a drink and sandwich from there.

Now off to the submarine!  It was amazing!  The company that operates this tour also has excursions in Hawaii and Mexico…I would def go again!  You board a ferry that takes about 15-20 minutes to get to the submarine location…then you file off the boat and down the hatch!  I was wearing a dress that day so the boy had to go down before me so I wouldn’t flash anyone else.  They took us down about 140 feet and the view was just awesome!  So many fish!  So much coral!  they even took us to two different ship wrecks!

1. The submarine that was waiting for us
2. A guide showing what types of fish we could possibly encounter
3. Everyone gets their own little port hole to look through
4. The pier from where the ferry departed.  The Adventure Center is the main building where you check in.
5. It was a tight fit in there!
6. Our tour guide
7. One of the shipwrecks that we saw
8. Goofing off in the downtown area  :)

Since it was hot that day we decided to go back to the hotel and relax in the pool for a bit.  It was already pretty late in the day…3ish by the time we got changed and went downstairs so we missed most of the sun!  The bar by the pool had a daily happy hour from 4-7 so we grabbed some drinks…and then a few more to take up to the room while we got ready for dinner.  We decided to go exploring and check out the main strip of restaurants/businesses by our hotel.  After a short 5 minute walk, we were right in the middle of all of it!  Going by Lili’s super helpful restaurant list, we narrowed it down to a few places and walked over to check out their menus.  We settled on a seafood restaurant called Aqua Grill.  The interior reminded me of a seafood restaurant you might find here on the north east coast…very nautical…but tastefully done!  If I was feeling better, I’m pretty sure it would have been awesome, but I was still sick and my throat was killing me so I picked at most of my food.

Before going to Aruba, everyone warned me of the trade winds and how windy it was and to make sure I brought enough rubber bands/clips for my hair etc.  Well…apparently this applies if you are on the BEACH side of the hotel!  While walking at 10pm on the strip, we were dripping by the time we got back to the hotel!  Enough so to warrant another shower!  My only guess would be that all of the high rise hotels blocked the nice breeze!

Day 2 Expenses:
Taxi to excursion $15 (including tip)
Lunch $13 (Starbucks – what a steal!)
Excursion $178
Picture that we got suckered into buying after excursion $10
Souvenirs $18
Misc $15 (candy, cough drops, ponchos in case of a downpour – had to protect our cameras!)
Dinner $120 (including tip for 2 appetizers, 2 entrees, 2 sodas)

Day 3…

I was taking nyquil before bed every night, so between that and heat exhaustion from the daytime, I never really had a problem falling asleep.  When I woke up I remembered that I NEEDED to make an appointment at the spa for a pedicure!  Because….the night before, after we got back to the hotel, we decided to go walk on the beach for a little bit and the nail salon I went to at home must have used a cheap ass primer because the polish on one of my toes completely came off!  The whole thing!  O.O I know right?! I didn’t notice it until I got back upstairs, so the first thing I did when I woke up was made an appointment at the spa!

After we showered, we decided to try out breakfast downstairs – it was a buffet style breakfast complete with an omelet and waffle station and some hot and cold foods.  Again, since I was still sick, I didn’t eat much.  My appointment was for 1pm so we went to lay out for a bit by the pool.  Before I headed inside, I reminded the boy to reapply sunblock…more on this later.

The spa sucked…$35 for a pedicure + 17% service charge + 3% island tax + tip left me $60 in the hole!  But I suppose it was worth it because I wasn’t about to walk around with polish missing from ONE toe!

A round of happy hour drinks later and we scooted back to the room to start getting ready for the sunset cruise that Y&F set up for the wedding guests.  While we were getting ready, I noticed that the boy had begun to develop a bright shade of lobster red.  Apparently he had fallen asleep and forgot to reapply!  The pier where the cruise was taking off from was right next to the pier where the submarine tour took off so it was easy to find!  The cruise was great!  Two hours up and down the coast of Aruba. The first hour we watched the sunset and enjoyed the nice ocean breeze.  As soon as the sun was gone, the deck lights came on and the music was turned up!  Sunset cruise transformed into BOOZE cruise!  Being the seasick fool I am, I had to pass on the alcohol since I was feeling quite queasy already.

After the boat docked, we all split up.  Since it was getting late, the boy and I decided we should try to find a place for dinner.  Iguana Joe’s it was!

Day 3 Expenses:
Breakfast $50 (including tip…yeah thats right $50 for BREAKFAST!)
Spa $60 (including tip, service charge and tax)
HH Drinks $10 (including tip)
Cab to downtown $15 (including tip)
Dinner $60 (including tip)
Cab to hotel $15 (including tip)

Day 4…

Plans for today was just a scheduled dinner with Janie and some friends at El Gaucho.  Apparently everyone that has been to Aruba raves about this place so we had to go to see what all the fuss is about.  Its a steak house.  I don’t eat steak.

Since our reservations weren’t until 8pm, we had plenty of time to do a whole lot of relaxing!  After sleeping in, we decided to try the hotel’s outdoor restaurant for lunch.  This was my first encounter with the island’s lizards! YUCK!  They’re completely harmless and non aggressive and probably more afraid of me than I am of them…but apparently i despised them enough to not take ANY pictures of them!

After lunch, the boy decided to go back up to the room and hang out in there because his sunburn was getting pretty bad.  I hung out by the pool some more…I wish they had lounge chairs in the pool because after about 5 minutes in the sun I felt like I was burning up and had to go dip in the water to prevent myself from frying to a crisp!  Eventually I just hung out in the shallow end of the pool by the steps with a drink and my gossip magazine…ahhh vacation…how I love thee! :)  After the harsh sun went away, the boy came back out and we hung outside for a little while longer.  The hotel had a little ice cream shop on the lower level so we got some ice cream and went back to the room to get ready for dinner.

El Gaucho is an Argentinean style steak house.  The food was overall pretty good there.  We all ordered a bunch of appetizers to share and the boy made me order a steak since we were at a steakhouse.  It was ok.  Over seasoned and salty, but edible.  Others thought it was good…I’m just not a fan of the moo.

Day 4 Expenses:
Lunch $45 (including tip – cheaper than the previous day’s breakfast!)
Misc from hotel store $15 (water, snacks, etc)
Ice Cream $8
Cab to dinner $25 (we paid going there and Janie paid on the way home)
Dinner $102 (including tip)

Stay tuned for part 2!

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