Friday, February 22, 2013

Funky Friday ~ National Margarita Day!

Today is National Margarita Day! 

The margarita ~ a most delicious cocktail made of tequila, Triple Sec or Cointreau (my personal fav), and fresh lime juice, has been around since the early 1940s.

There are many legends of who actually came up with the recipe, but no one person has been credited as the true margarita mixologist.  One thing we do know is the margarita is one of the most popular drinks of all time!  I've been known to throw back many different versions of the drink, and I will say it's all in the tequila.  The better the tequila, the better the margarita.  I prefer silver tequila and believe me...Patron is worth the money!  Whatever your tequila preference, make sure it is 100% Agave tequila.
My favorite way to consume it is the 'Margatini'.  

2 ounces Patron
2 ounces Cointreau
Freshly squeezed lime juice

Mix all ingredients in shaker with lots of ice and pour into chilled martini glass.  

Delicious, huh?  And it's Friday ~ the perfect day to celebrate National Margarita Day!  Head out for a Margarita Happy Hour or invite some friends over, mix 'em up a few Margatini's and get the weekend started off in a most delicious way!!!

Until next time....

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Royal Babymoon

As we saw in my post about the Royal Honeymoon, Kate and William know how to pick gorgeous locations for their private getaways. Just a few weeks ago they selected another luxe locale: the private island of Mustique which is part of St. Vincent and the Grenadines in the West Indies. With a jam-packed schedule, a challenging first trimester and only five months until the royal bundle makes his or her appearance, I assume the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were very much need of a quiet retreat, as many other celebs are when taking their babymoons.

Here are some snapshots of Kate and William's latest accommodations at the five-bedroom, Balinese-style villa 'Serenissima' located on a beautiful hillside...

Serene living areas are surrounded by a lily pond

One of the five bedrooms~ Each has it's own private veranda

Bathrooms feature double vanities, bidets and walk-in showers

One of the dining areas that overlooks the on-site tropical garden

Serenissima is a 5-minute walk from Macaroni Beach

Here's a partial view of the 64-foot pool!

A glimpse of the secluded gazebo and sun-deck 
with additional stunning views of the ocean

Wondering why there are no pictures of the kitchen? It's because the villa comes with a household staff of six (including a private chef) who collect all shopping, food and beverage orders prior to your arrival on the island.

Kate's parents graciously picked up the tab for their daughter's February stay at Serenissima, for just $25,000. Wonder what they're going to give as a baby gift!!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

14 Famous Love~Filled Movie Lines

Happy Valentine's Day!!  As Andrea recently mentioned in her 25, one of our (mine and Maria's) favorite things to do each day is quote movie lines.  Or better yet, randomly throw a movie line out there and have the others try and guess what movie it's from.  We are SO good at it too!  As I was doing my morning news surfing know, People, Us Weekly, Huffington Post etc. I came across an article, '14 Famous Love-Filled Movie Lines'.  I'm happy to report that I knew 11 out of the 14!  Not bad, huh!  Now it's your turn.  Here they are and NO CHEATING!!
  1. "You Had Me At Hello" 

  2. "Love Means Never Having To Say You're Sorry"

  3. "I'll Never Let Go, Jack"

  4. "If You're A Bird, I'm A Bird"

  5. "When You Realize You Want To Spend The Rest Of Your Life With Somebody, You Want The Rest Of Your Life To Start As Soon As Possible"

  6. "I'm Also Just A Girl Standing In Front Of A Boy, Asking Him To Love Her"

  7. "Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner"

  8. "To Me You Are Perfect"

  9. "I Wanted It To Be You, I Wanted It To Be You So Badly"

  10. "So I Can Kiss You Anytime I Want"

  11. "We'll Always Have Paris"

  12. "Choose Me, Marry Me, Let Me Make You Happy"

  13. "I Like You Very Much Just As You Are"

  14. "You Should Be Kissed, And Often, And By Someone Who Knows How"

And the answers are... 

1.  Jerry Maguire

2.  Love Story


3.  Titanic


4.  The Notebook

5.  When Harry Met Sally


6.  Notting Hill


7.  Dirty Dancing

8.  Love Actually


9.  You've Got Mail


10.  Sweet Home Alabama

11.  Casablanca


12.  My Best Friends Wedding


13.  Bridget Jones Diary


14.  Gone With the Wind

How did you do?  Have one of your own favorite love-filled movie lines?  Share it with us in the comments!

Until next time...

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

W.A.T.W. ~ The Bachelor in St Croix!

Love Monday nights! I get home from the office, eat a quick dinner and volunteer to do the dishes so everyone gets out of the kitchen and I can watch The Bachelor without interruption!  I was really excited for this week's episode as Sean and the remaining 6 women were visiting the island of St Croix!

St. Croix is the largest of the US Virgin Islands. Formerly the Danish West Indies, United States purchased it from Denmark in 1916 for $25,000,000 in gold. The capital of St Croix, Charlotte Amalie, is located on the island of St. Thomas. Although English is the most common language spoken on the island, a native English-based creole known on the island as Crucian is also spoken by the majority of the population in informal situations. Tourism is one of the main sources of income on the island and that's where I come in! I love doing my part to help support the community and approximately 51,000 Crucians that call St. Croix their home!

Now, back to the Bachelor. Sean and the girls arrived on the island via a Seaborne Airlines sea plane. The girls were whisked to their home for the next few days, The Buccaneer Hotel.  Founded in the 17th century and family-run for generations, Buccaneer is the Caribbean's and Virgin Islands' longest running resort. Both historic and modern, the resort blends old world charm with warm hospitality and the amenities expected by today's traveler. Why am I telling you about this fab resort?? The Buccaneer is offering us the same package, including a romantic and private dinner in the sugar mill, as Sean experienced with Tierra!!  The five-night package includes: a Luxury Beachside Doubloon for two, full American breakfast buffet for two, his and her bathrobes, welcome bottle of champagne and a rose (of course!), private half-day BuckIsland trip for two, a private lunch at secluded Whistle beach, a private island tour, a private dinner on the Mermaid Dock, his and her infinity bracelets by IB Designs, a Jeep car rental for one day, and a 50 minute in-room couples massage. Whew ~ Sign me up now please!! Bachelor Package rates are $7,250 through April 15th and $5,900 through December 19th, per couple (paparazzi not included!).

Now on to the dates!  AshLee received the first one on one date. Her and Sean spent the day on the Zingara Catamaran, a 76 foot sailing catamaran with a crew of 4. They sailed to the private island of Buck Island where they swam and hung out for the day. Dinner is served on a private beach where AshLee professes her love for Sean. Sidenote: the way she chose to profess her love was a little weird for me but he seemed to like it...

Sean's next one on one date is with Tierra. Man, this girl is nuts!  I go back and forth wondering if she is for real or is she a plant by the producers to make the show more interesting and frustrating, both at the same time! Watching her alone, makes the 2 hours fly by each and every week. Anyway, they spent the day in the center of Christiansted eating, shopping and taking part in a carnival-like street parade. Although she told the girls she hated the heat and having sweat/her make-up run all over her face, she told Sean she was the happiest girl on earth! She was 'sparkling' all day long (those of you who watch the show know what I'm talking about)!

The next date was a group date with Catherine, Desiree and Lindsay... They had the coolest date in my opinion. Sean woke them at 4:45 am to travel to the farthest East point of the island, Point Udall. They were the first people on American soil to watch the sun rise that day! They then headed to the most Western part of the island, Sunset Beach to watch the Sunset. Along the way they spent time at a Sugar Mill, Jungle Treehouse and a few other adventures.  Although they were seemingly on a date with their 'boyfriend', there were 2 other girls along as well.  They made the best of it and we saw some pretty cool areas of St. Croix!

Sean's final date was spent with Lesley. Their (I thought) awkward date was spent at Mount Washington, an old sugar plantation. The whole day was somewhat boring and unremarkable.  My favorite part of their date was her skirt! She is my favorite dresser of all the girls and I loved the skirt she wore on their date!  The photo does not do it justice at all but you get the idea.

How cute is that!  Although the actual skirt she is wearing is no longer available, I found this one online at Kohls.  And - it's on sale!!

That brings me to the end of  The Bachelor stay on St. Croix.  Oh, one other thing as long as I was on the subject of Lesley and her clothes, I also fell in love with the dress she wore to the Rose Ceremony (right before she got the boot).  I was bummed, not because I liked her for Sean but because I love her outfits!  

I thought it was the perfect dress for an evening in the Caribbean!  It's currently sold out, but I'm hoping  Foley + Corinna will produce at least one my size of course!

And, in case you were wondering care, Tierra was the other engagement-hopeful sent home Monday night.  It was entertaining watching her try and muster up some actual tears!  All I can say is Thank God she is gone.  It restored my faith in Sean, and humanity in general, to see that good always conquers evil! Tune in next Monday to see the hometown dates and who is 3 weeks closer to a possible proposal.

Until next time...

Friday, February 8, 2013

Funky Friday ~ My Grammy Picks!

A few months ago I wrote about 25 Things to get to know me better. Well, Sunday night is Grammy night, and it reminded me of an important detail I left out about myself.

26. There is always music playing in my head.

Think about the times when you hear a catchy tune on your way to work, and it plays over and over in your head all day. Drives you crazy, right? That's what it's like for me all. day. long. And if I'm really stressed out, in my dreams as well.

It could be anything. A commercial jingle, a tune from The Sound of Music, the Dirty Dancing soundtrack, a Top 40 hit, or something silly my kids made up. But everything that comes through my ears throughout the day reminds me of a song, and then it plays over and over until it gets kicked out of my head by another phrase that reminds me of another song.

I never thought this was odd. I guess I just assumed everybody had this thing going on, until one day when Theresa and Andrea and I were on a cruise about four years ago. We were laying out on the Lido Deck reading quietly and sipping cocktails when Theresa suddenly said to me, "What are you doing?"

Me: "Reading, why?"
Theresa: "No, I mean, what are you doing with your toes?"
Me: "Nothing, what do you mean?"
Theresa: "What do you mean, nothing? You're bending them, like this..."

It was then that I realized that my toes were bending, for lack of a better word, to a beat. I don't remember what song my head was playing at the time, but I told them about it. "Oh, that's just (insert song)." I thought they would understand, but little did I know I was totally alone in this quirky habit.

Theresa: "Well, just stop."
Me: "I can't just stop."
My brain: "I just can't stop loving you! And if I stop, then tell me just what will I do..."

We continued on reading, but by then it was really bugging her.

Theresa: "Stop!"
My brain: "Stop! In the name of love..."
Me: "Alright, alright, but it just happens, I swear!"
My brain: "And I swear, by the moon and the stars in the sky, I'll be there..."

You get the idea. It's not only a problem with my toes, but also my thumbs. I'm weird. I know. But to put a positive spin on it, I really love music, so I guess it's better than hearing voices or spontaneously screaming obscenities. So, in honor of my funky little habit, here are some of my picks for the 2013 Grammy Awards on Sunday night.

Record of the Year
» The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"
» Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger"
» Fun. feat. Janelle Monae - "We Are Young"
» Gotye feat. Kimbra - "Somebody That I Used to Know"
» Frank Ocean - "Thinkin Bout You"
» Taylor Swift - "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together"

This is a really close one for me, with "We Are Young" coming in a close 2nd, but in the end I am a sucker for an awesome bass line, that can really get my thumbs and toes going in an offbeat sort of way, so Gotye wins this battle.

Song of the Year
» Ed Sheeran - "The A Team"
» Miguel - "Adorn"
» Carly Rae Jepsen - "Call Me Maybe"
» Kelly Clarkson - "Stronger (What Doesn't Kill You)"
» Fun. - "We Are Young"

 I know "Call Me Maybe" was all the rage, and if I were 16 I swear I would have made 28 videos featuring myself lip-syncing that song, but "We Are Young" just strikes me as an anthem for this generation, and I think it has staying power.

 Best Pop Duo/Group Performance
» Florence and the Machine - "Shake It Out"
» Fun. - "We Are Young"
» Gotye feat. Kimbra - "Somebody That I Used to Know"
» LMFAO - "Sexy and I Know It"
» Maroon 5 - "Payphone"

Oh, Adam, how I hate to vote against you, but how can you argue with LMFAO? The way those guys make fun songs without taking themselves too seriously cracks me up. They probably won't win, because the Grammy's tend to go to more serious artists, but it would be fun if they did.

Best Rock Performance
» Alabama Shakes - "Hold On"
» The Black Keys - "Lonely Boy"
» Coldplay - "Charlie Brown"
» Mumford & Sons - "I Will Wait"
» Bruce Springsteen - "We Take Care of Our Own"

Who does not love this song??? And I am not a banjo thumping, knee slappin' gal, but this tune gets me going!!!

Best Rap Song
» Nas - "Daughters"
» Wale feat. Miguel - "Lotus Flower Bomb"
» Kanye West Featuring Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz - "Mercy"
» Drake feat. Lil' Wayne - "The Motto"
» Jay-Z & Kanye West - "N---as In Paris"
» Snoop Dogg & Wiz Khalifa Featuring Bruno Mars - "Young, Wild & Free"

No questions. Best song. Wanna get pumped up? Play it.

Best New Artist
» The Alabama Shakes
» Fun.
» Hunter Hayes
» The Lumineers
» Frank Ocean

One of my fav songs this year is "Hey Ho" by the Lumineers, but since they only really have one hit so far, my vote goes to Fun., who has proved that they can produce multiple hits with the kind of songs that really get your toes moving.

I guess we'll see on Sunday! Enjoy the performances and the dresses, and rest assured that I won't be watching with Theresa, so my thumbs can freely bop to the beat. ("To the beat of the rhythm of the night, dance until the morning light. Forget about the worries of your mind, you can leave them all behind..."

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Real Vacations ~ Now Jade Riviera Cancun!

I believe one of the most important aspects of our business is client feedback.  We love when clients return from a getaway and contact us to fill us in on how their travels went.  It's so rewarding to find out the experience was everything they were hoping it would be!  The best is when it's even more!  That's what truly makes us happy!  We love to hear your thoughts!  Even in the unfortunate event everything wasn't as you hoped or expected it would be.  As much as we hate hearing that, we want to.  We'll investigate to see if there is something that can be done to make it right.  Regardless of how big or how small the issue may have been, your happiness and satisfaction is our main concern!

We received the following feedback from one of our most esteemed clients!  You may recognize her beautiful smile if you've attended any of the fun and informative Wedding Fairs put on by Twin City Bridal Association.  As Director of Operations, Kim is always there to lend a hand and make sure the day runs smoothly.  No easy task!  We knew that all of that hard work deserved a wonderful vacation experience!  We're thrilled to say that's what she received during her recent stay at NOW Jade Riviera Cancun!
"I just had to tell you how much we enjoyed our vacation at the NOW Jade Riviera Cancun! I would recommend this property to anyone looking for a relaxing vacation. The NOW Jade is a beautiful property and the staff is all about service and making you feel right at home. We had a Preferred Ocean View room that was large and beautifully appointed. We loved spending time out on our balcony in the Jacuzzi tub while watching the waves! The food was great with tons of variety. We also loved that there were 2 pools at this hotel - one for everyone with lots of activities and another for adults only where it was always quiet and relaxing. It was great to have to have the option of relaxing all day or taking part in daily planned activities that they offered as well as nightly shows and theme nights. The beach was a bit rocky in places but it did not bother us. The sand there was like soft! We would definitely go back to this area and this hotel. Since it's not near a bunch of other properties, you just have that feeling of being in the middle of the ocean amid palm trees and sand instead of rows of hotels and beach peddlers. We definitely enjoyed it and look forward to going back some day.
A big THANK YOU to Afton for her great recommendations! We felt we could not go wrong with the choices she gave us based on her knowledge of the area. Can't wait to plan our next vacation!"       Kim and Shashi 
She was even kind enough to share with us a couple of their favorite photos from their experience!

Kim and Shashi ~ you are adorable and we're SO happy you enjoyed your getaway!  Thanks so much for sharing your experience with all of us!  We look forward to being a part of many more great, well-deserved and memory-filled vacations!!  

For more info and photos of Now Jade Riviera Cancun, check out this previous blog post and our facebook album.  And most importantly, don't forget to share your vacation experience with us!

Until next time...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Funky Friday ~ Brief History of the Bikini!

It's that time of year that most of us for a winter getaway swimsuit!  Recently, I was searching the racks of tankini's, (passing by all the teeny, tiny bikinis with a quick thought of 'some of these are so small!'), and it got me to thinking.  What would people of years ago think of how time has changed the sizes and styles of the bikini!  And how it has changed!  Come along with me as I give you a glimpse into the revolution of the bikini.

Who would have thought that the bikini went back as far as 300 AD!  This mosaic  from Villa Romana del Casale in Sicily, Italy shows women looked great in bikinis even then!

Here is a photo of French engineer Louis Reard who is credited with designing the bikini in 1946. He decided to name his creation the bikini, after the nuclear testing the US military had just completed at Bikini Atoll.  He was hoping it would be as 'explosive' as that test!

Bridget Bardot is widely credited with the popularity of the bikini.  He she is at the Cannes Film Festival at the ripe old age of 18!  In my opinion, the age that the tummy looks best!

1960 This popular song reaches #1 spot on the Billboard hot 100!  Can you name it?

1962 - Ursula Andress emerges from the Caribbean as 'Honey Rider' in the James Bond Flick, Dr. No.

1964 - Sports Illustrated debuts it's first Swimsuit Issue.  The story behind it is the editor at the time was having a difficult time finding a decent sporting event to write about so he asked his fashion reporter to fill some space, including the cover.  The rest is history!

1966 - Raquel Welch wears a fur bikini in the film, 'One Million Years BC.  Years later she was quoted as saying she never wanted to wear it.  For the life of me...I can't understand why!  She looks gorgeous!

1983 - Carrie Fisher as Princess Leia in 'Return of the Jedi'.  She referred to it as 'the titanium thing'.

1997 - Miss America contestants were allowed to wear 2 piece swimsuits during the swimsuit competition.  It was the first time since they had been banned from the competition in 1947.

2002 - Another James Bond stunner emerges from the Caribbean.  Halle Berry looks amazing as Giacinta "Jinx" Johnson.

There you have it!  I'd post a pic of some of the more recent versions of the bikini but since this is a family friendly site, I'll let you go research those on your own!  My moral of the story (blog) is, not all of us are bikini ready and some of us never will be!  Be courteous to others around you.  Bikini's are NOT one size fits all!  Wear it only if it fits!

Until next time...