Friday, December 14, 2007

Should I get Lizzie a Laptop Backpack?

Lizzie, much like any woman, is difficult to buy a gift that she will really adore. She has been saying she wants a new laptop bag, and I thought this meant a laptop backpack, since they seem so practical for traveling.

But she just IM'd me four bags from Luggageonline that she has in mind. Not one of them is a computer backpack, and Luggageonline has a slew of laptop backpacks for her to choose.

Below are all of the bags she has picked out, which as you can tell, are all designer briefcases.

Kenneth Cole Laptop Briefcase

Kenneth Cole Laptop Briefcase

McKlein Ladies Breifcase

McKlein Ladies Breifcase

Kenneth Cole Ladies Briefcase Collection Leather Flapover Computer Tote

Kenneth Cole Ladies Briefcase Collection Leather Flapover Computer Tote

Lodis Audrey Collection Large Tote Brief

Lodis Audrey Collection Large Tote Brief

So those are the bags she has picked out. Which one should I get her? I have no clue. I myself am still partial to the laptop backpacks like these:

Piel Leather Goods Slim Computer Backpack

Piel Leather Goods Slim Computer Backpack

McKlein Leather Backpack Briefcase

McLein Leather Backpack Briefcase

After looking at her selection and my selection, I realize the bags I selected were a bit too practical and masculine. So I guess I better chose a computer briefcase as opposed to a computer backpack.

Which Would You Choose?

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ireland: Cliffs of Moher

cliffs of moher
Originally uploaded by carrie227

Pictures like this one make me want to visit Ireland. Lizzie has wanted to visit Ireland for some time, since one of her life long friends has deep roots in Ireland. She also says that everyone she has talked to that has either lived their or visited have raved how beautiful it is.

Because of places like Ireland, Lizzie and I will be obtaining our passports this year. It will now be a written goal to be obtained in the first part of 2008. We actually printed the forms in 2007, but have not gotten them. 2008 will be the year for us to get our passports.

Have you been to Ireland?

Anyway, we both would like to visit Ireland. If you have been there, what places do you think we should visit?

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

New Orleans Weekend

New Orleans is a great town that two years later is still recovering from Katrina. Well over half of the population as of yet has not returned, and it will be years until the recovery will be anywhere near complete.

We arrived in New Orleans on Saturday, without our luggage. This makes it the second time I lost my red Riccardo bag, the first time being when Southwest Airlines lost it when we flew in to PHL from Los Vegas. This time however, it was US Air in Philadelphia's mistake. After waiting in a line for almost half an hour, we took a taxi to LePavillion Hotel, checked into hour luxurious room, and hot footed it down to the French Quarter for some grub.
I am not going to go into detail about the food we ate, but will be blogging about the New Orleans food on The Grub Hound.
Restaurants we visited included:
Acme Oyster

Bourbon House
Bourbon House Restaurant
Mr.B's BistroMr. B's Bistro
LePavillion Crystal Room
Beignets at Cafe Du Mondebeignets at Cafe Du Monde

What we Did Besides Eat

  • Walked around the French Quarter especially Bourbon Street.
  • Checked out some art galleries.
  • Did a tour of New Orleans with Cajun Encounters.
  • Took the Free Ferry to Algiers.
  • Lost money at Harrahs Casino.
  • Shopped for souvenirs.
  • Relaxed in our LePavillion Room.
  • Took lots of pictures which can be seen in my New Orleans Picture set.
  • Used LePavillions in room Wifi to write several short blog posts and check email.
I plan on doing a few more posts about our New Orleans vacation, but for now,
read the previous New Orleans post in addition to this one.

Sun Set on Lake Pontchartrain

The highlight of our trip to New Orleans was the Cajun Encounters Katrina tour we took.
We cruised through New Orleans and saw the different types of architecture, visited the City of the Dead, stopped at the New Orleans Botanical Garden, then went through the part of New Orleans were the levy first gave out during Katrina. Passing through this area, we were led to Lake Pontchartrain, were this photo was taken.
We also were able to see several of the new Pumping Stations and one of the new gates which are designed to prevent the lake from flowing back into the city, which is what happened during Katrina.

The tour then went back through the garden district and ended up back at our hotel by about 7pm.
We highly recommend the tour, but suggest taking the earlier tour rather than the afternoon tour because of visibility towards the end of the tour, which nevertheless was very informative as well.

Check out our New Orleans Pics on Flickr.

Friday, November 02, 2007

VW Bus Bike

vw genius
Originally uploaded by Baby Skinz
I just saw this and had to post about it.
Lizzie has been a fan of the VW Bus for quite a long time and one day hopes to cruise around in one. I don't think this is what she has in mind though, since it doesn't have a

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Going to NOLA for the weekend!

Our house has been under construction for many, many months now, at least it seems as if it has. We went away to Canada two weeks ago at the request of the contractor so he could get in the house and resurface the hardwood floors. 99% of the entire project was to be completed by the time we returned from our trip.

Well it's now two weeks later and the floors still haven't been finished, the bathroom's not finished either AND we need to leave the house again. So we're making the best of the situation (any excuse to travel works for me!) and heading down to New Orleans, Louisiana!

We wanted to go to a place where we've never been, but we only have two nights and three days to take it all in. I went to NOLA about 20 years ago when I was in college, to visit a friend who attended Tulane University. It was a really quick trip and I only remember really loving New Orleans and thinking that I have to get back there some day. Well, 20 some years later and I'm going back! Unfortunately, this trip will be as brief as the first trip - but it's better than never going back. AND Adam has NEVER been there!

We're staying at Le Pavillion Hotel in the French Quarter. I have no idea what this hotel is like - I'd love to hear other people's opinion who've been there. We'll arrive on Saturday, November 3rd at noonish and fly home to Philly on Monday evening. Short and sweet.

I scheduled the trip on Last Minute I've never used that service before, but I looked around on other travel sites and I have to admit, being a last minute trip - their prices were fabulous! Hope the entire experience is positive!

Needless to say, I'm seriously excited about this trip and I'm sure Adam will have an abundance of photo opportunities!

See ya in NOLA!

Update: Here are the New Orleans trip posts.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thousand Islands : Red Horse Lake as a Mirror

Several weeks ago we had taken a short vacation in the Thousand Island region of Ontario. This was the view of Red Horse Lake early on Sunday morning. A short time later the wind picked up and the mirror was lost.
As it turned out Sunday was the best day we had in the Thousand Islands. After getting up, we headed out to take a cruise around Boldt Castle, which is actually in NY. I also got some photos from that as well.
Check out the rest of my Thousand Island pictures on Flickr.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

CheeseCake Satisfies the urge to Travel

CheeseCake Galore
Originally uploaded by Emperor Anton
Lizzie and I were thinking about taking an overnight trip to Atlantic City, but instead decided to just get some cheesecake at the CheeseCake Factory at the King of Prussia Mall. Click the link to see my review of the Cheesecake.
So you could say that Cheesecake prevented us from gambling. But in reality we probably would not have gone anyway, because it was Columbus Day weekend, and there were no decent places available.

Having been at home for a number of months now, Lizzie is taking the family to Red Horse Lake this coming weekend for a nice little getaway. We are not quite sure what we will do in Canada, but I am sure it will be very relaxing. But be sure to keep an eye out for some Canada posts about the trip.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Philadelphia Trips and Planning Others

Since our Maine Vacation in August, we have not been on any long trips, but have taken several shorter trips in the Philly area.

The first trip was on Labor Day, when Lizzie took the family to Brandywine Creek State Park in Delaware for a short day trip that involved a picnic and disc golf...An awesome park with two disc golf courses that wander through woods and fields.
Lizzie at the urging of her father who wanted to have a picnic, picked up some hoagies at the local pizza shop, and we headed out to the Delaware park at a little past 3pm on Labor Day.
While Lizzie and I played 9 holes of disc golf, the others hung out by the picnic tables and enjoyed the beauteous scenery of the park.

The other mini vacation we had was last weekend when Lizzie and I attended a wedding at the Cairnwood mansion of Bryn Athyn, PA which is a very upscale suburb of Philadelphia.
Both of these trips shall be written about more extensively in their own posts which shall be completed at a latter time.

Lizzie and I are also tentatively planning a trip to Las Vegas for the
BlogWorldExpo in Las Vegas which is going to be held on Nov 8-9 2007. Sounds like a great excuse to go to Vegas to me.

Another trip that is in the works is a trip to West Palm Beach, Singer Island Florida that involves seeing a time share presentation from Marriott that we got roped into when we attended the Learning Annex's April 2007 Real Estate and Wealth Expo in Philadelphia. "Roped in" maybe a little strong, because as Lizzie says, we could have said no, but for $250 for a 4 day 5 night stay in our choice of Marriott hotels, how could the travelers in us refuse.

Well that is about it for this quick update travel post. The two extensive write ups of our two Philadelphia trips mentioned above are in the works.

Update:Does not look like BlogWorld is going to happen for us, but I hope everyone who attends has a wonderful time.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Queen of the Surf Pirates: Sammy's Back

Queen of the Surf Pirates: Sammy's Back

Glad your doing better Sammy, I'll have to talk about you on my pet blog.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Thinking of going to Hilton Head, South Carolina?

There's something spectacular about southern beaches – and Hilton Head, SC is undoubtedly one of the finest beaches on the east coast. South Carolina has 187 miles of coast and Hilton Head Island is the largest barrier island, in fact Hilton Head is the second largest barrier island on the east coast.

I've always planned on retiring to a southern beach and my goal is to visit one southern beach each year until it's time to retire. We've spent a good deal of time at the Outer Banks of North Carolina and several years vacationing in Florida. It's time to start exploring Hilton Head South Carolina – and I've found an excellent source for information about Hilton Head, vacation rentals, oceanfront villas and real estate – I was able to find a variety of oceanfront and near ocean homes to choose from. Each home has an assortment of pictures, a list of amenities and a calendar to check on the availability.

Unlike many other east coast beaches, Hilton Head, SC offers a milder climate year round. In addition to world class beaches – Hilton Head is known for its golf courses and there are over 20 public golf courses on Hilton Head.

South Carolina has miles of ocean front beaches and with out a doubt – our next vacation will be on Hilton Head, SC.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ledgelawn Inn of Bar Harbor

Lizzie and I really had a wonderful time in Bar Harbor last week. It was a welcomed get away, even though we were already away. Just under a 3 hour drive from Lisbon, Maine where we were staying, the drive was very relaxing.
The Ledgelawn Inn is a huge old mansion that now serves as a Bed and Breakfast. Lizzie was not anticipating a great place, because it did have a vacancy when so many other places had none.
The bed in our Puffin room was very uncomfortable. It seemed like a really old mattress that they had placed a feather bed upon. Not having WiFi was another let down, but it did give us more of a reason to be out checking out Bar Harbor and the rest of Acadia Park.
Below is a video of me walking to get coffee in the morning. The outside of LedgeLawn Inn is visible at the beginning. I had made several other videos but this is the most suitable for the blog.
Our general opinion of the Ledgelawn Inn is that we would not stay here again because there are so many other places to stay.
Next time, Lizzie says she will not make reservations ahead of time if we are just coming up for a day or so, but will wait until we are in Bar Harbor to find lodging.
I myself would like to stay at the Bar Harbor Inn or one of the other places that are down closer to the water.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Maine Vacation:Bar Harbor

Lizzie was online for almost half an hour looking for places up north, and she finally found a place for tomorrow night at a Bed n Breakfast in Bar Harbor, which is about a four hour drive from our present location in Lisbon, Maine.
She was not able to use any of our affiliate programs(darn) because they don't have bead and breakfasts listed.

We are staying in the Puffin Room of the Ledgelawn Inn in Bar Harbor. I am sure we will have more to say about it, but Lizzie does not have high expectations, because it was available when nothing else was vacant.

Well anyways, we are looking forward to the drive north to Bar Harbor, and will certainly have a wonderful time.

Check out our Maine Vacation Pics on Flickr

Maine Vacation | Lobster Feast

Our weeklong vacation in Maine is halfway through, and we have had sea food of one type or another almost every day.Lobster and Clams
One night my bro and I went down to Lewiston and bought lobsters and clams at Gendrons Seafood. Altogether, we got 17 lobsters and 17lbs of clams.
It was some good eating for sure. I had not had lobsters for quite a few years, and was only able to eat a little under 3 before stopping. I also was a bit rusty on what parts to eat and what not too eat. I did remember not to eat the brain, but cleaning the tail slipped by me on my first one.
The steamers, which I polished off a couple of plates worth, were quite tasty as well. Once I remembered to rinse them in hot water I was golden.

Lizzie, who is not a seafood fan, had a taste of my lobster, but was happy to eat crab cakes. She did have half of a lobster roll, which is lobster and mayo on a toasted roll.
Other Seafood meals other than lobster included haddock platters at LL Beans in Freeport, and Fish n Chips, and clam chowder at a place in Portland. But the Lobster feast tops the meals that we have had since being here in Maine.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Maine Vacation

Lizzie, my brother, and myself are heading to Maine on Saturday night to visit relatives and check out the scenery. My brother talked us into going, since I have not been up to see my Dad's side of the family in quite a few years.

While there, we are also planning on attending the Great Falls Balloon Festival
which starts on the 18th and runs through the 20th.

Other activities include working(we will be bringing computers), swimming, eating lobsters and clams, and visiting the LL Bean outlet. We may do a few other things while there, but this is going to be an unorganized vacation.

Further Maine Vacation postings will follow.

Rehoboth Beach - Brighton Suites

Rehoboth Beach
Lizzie and I had a short little trip with her daughter to Rehoboth Beach. We left for the beach on Monday morning about 630am, and were at the Rehoboth by 11am. The day started out raining, and upon arriving at Rehoboth, it seemed to clear up quite a bit. Since it was raining we started out our Rehoboth trip by visiting the Factory Outlets that line Rt 1 outside of Rehoboth. We both got shoes at the Clarks outlet store, and Lizzie also bought a cook book at the hot sauce outlet.
Being we had Lizzie's daughter and her daughter's friend a long, once the sun started showing its head, they started bugging us about heading out to the beach.
At the beach, we were greeted with a 72 degree ocean, with high tide at about 330pm. The waves were really small at about 2' to 3' ft, but occasionally a big one would catch us by surprise and throw us about.

At 330pm, we were then able to check into our room at Brighton Suites Hotel, which is about a block and half away from the beach and located in the middle of Rehoboth's shopping district. Many restaurants are with a block of the Brighton Suites, so food choices were plentiful.Brighton Suites - Rehoboth Beach
The hotel also has a pool, small fitness center, and restaurants in the same building.

Brighton Suites Hotel has beach chairs and beach umbrellas for their visitors to use for free. In addition to this, another great feature for the beach going guests are changing rooms and a shower for use after the beach which can be used before check-in and check-out. We did not take advantage of the chairs or umbrella, but we most certainly did take advantage of the shower before heading back home.

The hotel does not have the newest furnishings, but it was more than adequate, and far superior to some 2 to 3 star hotels that we have visited. One superior feature about BrightonSammy's Kitchen Suites is that the entire hotel is non-smoking(applause).
Our room had a king size bed, with another room for the girls that had its own TV and a sleeper sofa that house keeping came and made around 8pm.

While the girls were eating their dinner we got from Sammy's Kitchen(Chicken fingers and Fries), Lizzie and dined across the street at Cafe Zeus.
Cafe Zeus has gourmet cuisine at its finest, and a mighty fine cheese cake that won the best Cheesecake award in a Rehoboth Chocolate Festival. Lizzie agreed that it was a mighty fine cheese cake. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera that evening because the dinners were artistic master pieces that tasted as good as they looked. Lizzie and I both would visit the friendly Cafe Zeus again. Next time I am going to have to try their Absinthe, just because it seems so sinful.

Other restaurants that we ate at during our short beach trip included Thrasher Fries(the girls), Grotto Pizza, Louie's Pizza, and Sammy's Kitchen.

Several stores that we stopped at included all the five and dimes on the board walk, but in particual we liked Ryan's Gems and Junk. We also stopped in at the Zach's Deli and Convenience shop numerous times for drinks.

In spite of all the people at the beach(the most Lizzie had seen in twenty some years), we both would still visit Rehoboth again. Lizzie loved the town because it was so artsy, I just liked it for its family atmosphere.

Be sure to check out the Rehoboth Beach Picture set.

Got any good Rehoboth stories, let us know.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Eve's Lunch

Eve's Lunch so it seems is still in the process of moving. The hyper link goes to the Eve's Lunch site. I called the phone number on the site 610-277-6600 and the message said they will be opening around the third or fourth week in July.

Lizzie and I were in the mood for a Zep on the third, when we scheduled a business meeting at Eves, but had to relocate to Houlihan's in Plymouth Meeting...not quite the same.
Anyway, hope Eve's is up and making those fabulous Zeps which according to Eve's Lunch site are made of "provolone cheese, cooked salami, tomatoes, onions, oil and oregano. Unlike, the hoagie it has no lettuce and only one type of meat."

And don't forget the famous Conshohocken rolls....

When they open, hope to see you at Eve's for Lunch.

First post were I wrote about Eve's Lunch was entitled Cheese Steak Again. Yes I know, a Zep is not a cheese steak.

I tried to send them an email via the email on the site, and it was bounced back. I also was going to leave a message on the phone, but the voice mail box is was full.

Update: 11/7/2007 called the number and the message says that Eve's Lunch is still closed due to delays beyond their control. My mouth is still watering in anticipation of a Zep.

Update:1/8/2008 Eve's Lunch is now open and serving those wonderful sandwiches. Check out the Eve's Lunch post on Thegrubhound by clicking the previous link.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Spanish Language Schools... Now that's a Good Idea

Traveling is definitely a passion of mine, but there was a time that there was fear behind the passion – especially when traveling to countries that don't speak English – such as Spain. Silly me --- there are a number of Spanish language schools online and off. I believe that Spanish is still the most spoken language in the world – but, I could be wrong about that fact. Even so, there are many great countries – which I still need to visit – where Spanish is spoken. From my experiences in non-English speaking countries – fear of communication is no reason to not visit those countries.

But, if you happen to know that you will be visiting a country where Spanish is the language spoken and you give yourself enough time – take advantage of the opportunity to take some Spanish courses before you embark on your adventure. Planning for these types of things in advance has never been a strong suite of mine, but taking courses would be very beneficial.

Then if you happen to know that you will be able to stay at your destination for a good bit of time – what could be better than to actually learn Spanish in Spain. I spent a semester of college in Rome, Italy. I did take a course on Italian before I left for Rome – but, what really enabled me to learn to speak Italian was actually leaning by living there. I was forced to speak the language to survive. So, if you are fortunate enough to travel to Spain – take a look at the Spanish courses offered at Babylon Idiomas – one of the Spanish language schools online.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lizzie Joins the iFollow Movement

We have disabled the "no follow" tag in the comments on, so if you stop by and leave any comments, your link in your comment will count towards your link love. However, comments will still be monitored for spam.
The badges can be found at on If you would like to join the iFollow movement check this Pixelheadonline iFollow update post with links to some posts that offer detailed info on how to go about removing the tag from both Blogger and Wordpress blogs so you too can join the movement and increase your blogs comments.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Puerto Rico Honeymoon | Friday Through Monday

The next day was Friday. We went back to Rosemary and canceled our Vacation Club, and then hung out at the pool until it was time for our Spa.
The Spa was well worth the time we spent listening to the lovely Rosemary. Lizzie and I were escorted into our separate changing rooms. Inside the changing rooms we were able to use the steam room, sauna, jacuzzi, and showers. After about half an hour of using these facilities, we were then escorted up stairs where our massages would take place. We were together in a room and had to lay down on the massage tables without any clothing on, but covered with a sheet. The two girls then proceeded to give us two amazing 45 minute massages.
We also had been planning on going to the evening Kayaking, but had a mix up with the time to meet the bus which was to take us to Kayaking. We should have been out in front of Gran Melia at 530pm, but were told to be there at 730pm. Regretfully, we rescheduled the Kayaking for the next night.
Since we had missed the trip we decided to head out of the resort for dinner. We ended up going to McDonald's off of Rt 3. The staff of the McDonald's were very friendly and helpful. Funny thing, I tried to order a vanilla milk shake using the name on the menu, but they seem to know it as shake as well.
On Saturday, we got up early and were planning on going to one of the islands off of Puerto Rico, Culebra, which we were told was a cool little artist type community. However, we met the owner of the local Avis car rental in the parking lot, and she advised against it since today was the holiday of Noche de San Juan and the beach on the island would be very crowded. Also, we were a little late as the ferry to the island leaves very early. It was about 9am, and we should have left at about 6am to make the ferry.
On the night of San Juan, at midnight, there is a tradition of stepping backwards into water and taking seven steps and flipping into the water. We did not participate in the event, but chose to go back to our villa. I was still a bit under the weather, so were asleep by 10pm.
Taking the advice of the Avis owner, we decided to head out to Rincon instead, which is at the other end of the island. We were told that the waves at Rincon were some of the best on the island. We had a nice drive, but had a little trouble locating the beach in Rincon. We did eat lunch in Rincon at El Cerdito del Cielito the only Barbecue pit restaurant on the island. I had a great sandwich, but Lizzie, not being a meat lover, was not pleased, especially since her sandwich arrived with moldy bread, which was replaced with a much fresher role. But at that point, Lizzie's appetite was affected badly.

After lunch, we headed south on 115 or the main road out of Rincon and saw a beach sign which is where we headed. We ended up going to the beach outside of Rincon on a public beach which cost us 3 dollars for parking. Very nice little beach. The waves were pretty small, but the sand was very soft. This is also were Lizzie took the coconut pictures. We were only at the beach for a short time, because we had to make it back to the resort so that we could meet the bus at 530pm for the Kayak tour.
We made it back to the resort without getting lost since we are now pretty familiar with the roads and the Avis map.
At 530pm we board the bus that would take us to the town of Fajardo for the Kayak tour. This was a very enlightening experience for us, that thankfully did not end up with divorce. We had to pat ourselves on the back, because we were by far the worst Kayakers, having had to be pulled by our guide. The lure of going kayaking at night is the fact that the waters of the bay that we went into were filled with bioluminescent plankton that lit up when disturbed by your hand or paddle. This is one of less than a dozen places on Earth that this occurs. If you ever have a chance to go during a rain storm, I hear it is spectacular.
We had a really good time on the Kayak tour in spite of our difficulties. We would highly recommend going with Enchanted Island Eco Tours, which proved to have a very knowledgeable and capable staff. Note: Take waterproof camera on kayak trip to take pictures.

The enchanted Kayaking was probably our last planned activity out of the resort. The rest of the honeymoon was spent as Lizzie wanted, hanging out by the pool relaxing. We also did a little gambling, mostly slots, but a little roulette also. Lizzie ended up being the big winner of the two of us.
Monday morning came all too quickly. We had very little trouble getting to the airport, and found the lines at the airport to move pretty quickly. Other than having a two hour delay of our US air flight, it was pretty much a smooth sailing flight.
We got into Philly, and seemed to have to wait for ever for our bags. Finding the location to pick up our luggage ended up being another little trip that involved going outside of the airport. After getting the bags, we quickly got on the shuttle to parking and eventually located our car.
Side note: never leave your car with a nearly empty tank.
We ended up stopping at The Boat House in Conshohocken, PA, and then headed home to Boyertown at about midnight.

View the other posts in our Puerto Rico Honeymoon series.

Also please check out our Gran Melia honeymoon photo's on Flickr.

Puerto Rico Honeymoon | Wednesday and Thursday

The next day was our first excursion out into Puerto Rico on our own. So with the map from the concierge, Sergio I believe, we headed out to Old San Juan. The first bit of confusion we had was with the directions. After getting over a bit of confusion about East

and West which are a little different in Spanish, we did make it into Old San Juan, but missed one of our turns so, we ended up driving around Old San Juan. We eventually found parking and then walked around Old San Juan. We had lunch at Tamarind Steak a Latino Steakhouse. Loved the Cheesy Black beans. We also had two drinks: Sangria for me, a delicious margarita for Lizzie.

After lunch we proceeded to walk around Old San Juan hitting up the shops for gifts and what not. Love the streets of Old San Juan because of the lively colors of all the buildings.

We eventually made our way up to the Old Fort, but were unable to tour it because it was closing at 5pm and it was then 450pm.
So we then headed back to the car, but not before stopping off at the casino in the Sheraton to use the bathroom. Feeling a bit guilty for using the bathroom, we decided to spend a little money in the slots. We ended up leaving the Sheraton Casino $10 ahead. This was more than enough to pay for our parking.
Leaving Old San Juan proved to be a little more confusing. We ended up on a highway that was leading us away from were we wanted to go, and got off of that highway to be on another highway. We eventually did get turned around, and remembered our concierges advice to head towards the airport.
Prior to going back to the resort, we stopped off at Pizza Hut for dinner then got gas and bought some water and beer for the room.
The next day, after Old San Juan, I woke up feeling dizzy and feverish. We did make it down to the pool, but I ended up spending the day either on the bally bed or in the room bed. Lizzy had to occupy herself the best she could. At one point she did venture out by herself, but came back frustrated due to language difficulties and she also may have been feeling a little ill herself.
The next day was Friday. We went back to Rosemary and canceled our Vacation Club, and then hung out at the pool until it was time for our Spa. We also had been planning on going to the evening Kayaking, but had a mix up with the time to meet the bus. We should have been there at 530pm, but were told to be there at 730pm. Regretfully, we rescheduled the event for the next night.
Since we had missed the trip we decided to head out of the resort for dinner. We ended up going to McDonald's off of Rt 3. The staff of the McDonald's were very friendly and helpful. Funny thing, I tried to order a shake using the name on the menu, but they seem to know it as shake as well.
Check out all of our San Juan Pics on Flickr.

NEXT:Puerto Rico Honeymoon |Saturday, Sunday, and Monday

At Gran Melia Puerto Rico

Lizzie had made our reservations so that our villa was garden side, but on the side of the complex nearest the ocean. Our package was a Royal Service package, so upon arrival, we were escorted by a butler to the Royal Services Lounge were our check-in was expedited and were we received our Royal Services Bracelets(see photo to right). Royal Services BracletThese bracelets enabled us to have access to the kid free Royal Service pool,as well as some other groovy features to include continental breakfast in the morning, cocktails and snacks in the Royal Services Lounge, and our own butler. We really did not take full advantage of the butler service, but it was nice to know we had access to a butler.

Our very first full day at the resort, we had no idea what we were going to do. So we headed up to the lobby and talked with the concierge who hooked us up with some maps, and a tentative activity schedule. He also was the one who asked us if we would like to check out the Gran Melia vacation club, were we were to meat Rosemary.

After our initial meeting with Rosemary, we then scheduled to meet with Avis to rent a car the next morning and made other activity reservations to include the Enchanted Kayaking on Friday, which ended up being on Saturday due to a mix up.

The rest of the day was spent hanging out at the Gran Melia's adults only Royal Services pool sipping coctails and floating on rafts in the tempid water.

BlogPhiladelphia Unconference

Lizzie has made reservations last week at the Radisson in Philadephia for two over nights during the BlogPhiladephia Unconference. The scheduled activities start Wednesday night from 6-8pm and then Social Media sessions will be held all day Thursday and Friday.

The event should be quite interesting and should provide ample opportunity to network with lots of influential Philly bloggers.

Further posting during the event will be done here, on Pixelheadonline, and on

Hope to see you there.

The Trip to Puerto Rico

Our Honeymoon in Puerto Rico has been over for over two weeks now. We are back on schedule with our daily grind. I just realized I had not done one more Puerto Rico post that I had been planning on doing. So this is the first of several review posts that started out as one, but are ending up as a series.

Flight to Puerto Rico

In spite of our fears, we did make it to the Gran Melia with very little confusion or trouble. Our trip actually started out the night before our US Air Flight departed. Since it was a 930am departure, we decided to avoid the Philly morning rush hour traffic and stay over night near the airport. Lizzie booked a room online at the EconoLodge, which might have been a 1 or 2 star hotel. The good thing about staying in a place like this, it made our final destination seem all that much better. I know neither of us was able to sleep in this dingy room, but it was what it was.

The next morning we got up and hot footed it to the airport. After dropping our car off at the econo parking, we got to the airport. At the airport we had breakfast at The Famous Famigilia restaurant. The huge sandwiches are quite a bargain at 5 bucks.
We then waited for a short time and boarded the plane. The entire trip lasted under 4 hours. At the airport, we got our bags, and then asked were the shuttle was located. After purchasing two round trip tickets for $120, we boarded the shuttle and proceeded to Gran Melia. One little tip. If you are traveling in a group, it might be cheaper to take a taxi from what we were told. By 5pm we were in our resort villa, checking out the facilities.

Other Posts in the Puerto Rico Honeymoon series:

Pictures of our honeymoon in Puerto Rico and other travels are available on Flickr.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Gran Melia Puerto Rico Vacation Club

While staying at the Gran Melia in Puerto Rico on our honeymoon, we were asked to attend a sales meeting for the Gran Melia vacation club, which is similar to a time share, but not a time share.
A flexible plan that allows anywhere from 1 to 2 vacations a year for up to 50 years at any of the Gran Melia resorts, which are located on some of the worlds most pristine beaches.
The sales meeting was not really high pressure sales, but it was not a low pressure sales meeting either.
The first part involved taking a tour of the vacation club villas with our sales person, Rosemary Febus. Below is the video that I took on Friday when we went back. The first time we went through the villas, we were able to go through three villas with Rosemary our agent. On Friday, we were only able to see two of them, and another couple was in the one villa touring it as well.Gran Melia Villa Kitchen
Let me just tell you before watching, that my video does not do the villas justice.

After seeing the villas, we were informed about the vacation clubs other features, which included access to not only Gran Melia resorts, but also being able to work with a partner company that has hundreds of resorts across the globe.

We ended up writing them a check and purchasing a vacation club package.

The Friday Return

We had scheduled a return meeting for Friday, as we needed to review the paperwork, discuss any questions we had, and I also wanted to get a video of the villas.
On Thursday, I had been sick, and this gave Lizzie plenty of time to mull over the paper work and come to the conclusion that we should not keep the package.

So we return with our paperwork, and tell our lovely agent Rosemary that we don't want the package. Our main reasons were very valid. Don't get me wrong the package was awesome, but for us, at the present time it just did not fit.
Currently, we are looking to buy a new home, so we need to be a little more frugal with our funds. We decided this on the plane trip to Puerto Rico.
Next, the club requires a little more vacation planning than we are used to. Most of our vacations are made at most a month in advance. Most of these require 6 months notice.

Anyway, we told Rosemary this, she was a bit disappointed, but she did understand our reasons. After going through the villas making the above video, we went back down to the office to meet briefly with a supervisor that attempted to talk us out of it, and even offered to sweeten the deal a bit, but we were not in the market. After less than five minutes, he graciously accepted our reasons and Rosemary took back the packet of papers, and we signed the required forms. That was it.

Spa Tickets

For attending the presentation, we were given two massages at the resort spa, which by the way were fabulous. Lizzie and I after signing in to the Spa, were escorted into the individual locker rooms and were able to utilize the spa facilities prior to the message. This included a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna, shower, and various creams and lotions. Then at the appointed time, about 45 minutes later, we were told to put on nothing but a provided robe, and we were escorted up stairs to separate sitting rooms. Then a short time later the masseuses escorted us into the room were our couples massage would occur. We then had a 45 minute message given by two wonderful ladies.

Gran Melia Vacation Club Wrap UP

So for watching the sales meeting, we were given a bottle of wine, and given two $135
spa visits, which we would probably not have done on our own. The packages are fabulous, and if the resort is incredible. For us it was not right, but for others it could be a very sweet deal. As Rosemary said to us, your going to go on vacations anyway, so this allows you to do more with your money. If you get down to Gran Melia, talk with Rosemary or one of her associates and see what they can do for you.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Wedding and Honeymoon

It is the day before our wedding, and the plans are coming to a close. Lizzie verified the Honeymoon reservations; made reservations through at the Econo Lodge near the PHL airport for Sunday night since we have a 9:30AM departure and don't want to contend with Monday morning rush hour traffic.

I called Gran MeliĆ”, the hotel we will be staying with in Puerto Rico and found out what we need to do get the airport shuttle, which will cost another $120 for the round trip.

Well as the time comes closer, I will post more info about our Honeymoon.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Puerto Rico Blog

As the date of exchanging our vows is rapidly approaching, the thoughts of our Puerto Rico honeymoon are growing. I had been on a couple of older blogs that said one of the greatest problems was not having any signage at the airport or on the roads for that matter. I also know that Lizzie did not make arrangements to get us from the airport to the resort, which is about 30 miles from the airport. At the moment, she is still waffling (not sure it's the right word, just wanted to use it) a bit about renting a car while in Puerto Rico. We might just end up renting one after we get there.

Well after our OBX vacation last week, I certainly hope we did not get so spoiled that the luxury accommodations of our Puerto Rican Resort don't seem special.

I will be doing some blogging this week, and seeing what I can find out about activities in the blogosphere while we are in Puerto Rico.

Update: We did rent a car from Avis. The hotel does offer a round trip van ride for about 120 bucks. I was told that if we had a larger party, that a taxi would have been cheaper. Read our other Puerto Rico posts and check out our Puerto Rico Flickr pics.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Looking for a Vacation Rental Property on OBX

Yesterday, Eddie from Sun Realty came over and talked to us about buying a vacation property here on the Outer Banks. He wanted to find out what our goals were... huh, hadn't thought about that yet. We told him, we were thinking that we'd like to move here permanently in about 10 years and from now till then - we'd like to rent out the place. Out of the six kids between us - the youngest should be through high school in 10 years.

I know it's been my dream to move to the Outer Banks when the kids are through school. But, I think I need to talk to Adam about what his dreams are instead of dragging him along for mine.

Anyway, Eddie seemed to be encouraging us to buy a lot and build a house. He says that a rental property doesn't ever pay for itself 100% - but that we may only need to pay about $500 per month for a 400K house. He recommended looking in Waves, Salvo and Avon - which are all towns that I really like. He left us with a lot of literature and things to think about.

Monday, May 28, 2007

OBX to Convalesce

Lizzie is making arrangements to Convalesce in the Outer Banks (OBX) for the next week. Not so much for her, but she feels it would be good for her two youngest children to get away for the next week due to the passing of their father. Read this Fatladysingz post for more details.

Now would seem to be a good time to go to OBX, not OBX Rentalonly to convalesce, but the rental rates are low and the crowds are minimal.

We will have to get some advice from Paula the Surf Mom, about things to do with kids while we are in OBX. According to Paula's surf report, the water maybe a little chili. Good thing the place Lizzie just rented not only has Wifi, but also has a pool and hot tub. The pic seen above is of our place from last summer in Avalon**, and not our future rental.

More details of the trip will follow.

**oops thats Avon...Avalon is in NJ, and sure would not want to go to NJ to convalesce.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Puerto Rico...

I just have to post another picture of the Hotel. Here is the room where we will be staying in Puerto Rico:

Update:Except for the white canopy, that is almost exactly what our luxurious Gran Melia room looked like. Just behind the wardrobe would be a flat screen LG tv.
One note of caution, if you stay at Gran Melia, be careful what you send to the laundry. We were left with quite a hefty bill because Lizzie let me fill out the laundry form.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Puerto Rico Honeymoon!

We really thought that Hawaii would be a great place to Honeymoon - but, after talking to many people about this... the general consensus was that - more time would be necessary for Hawaii! We only have one week and travel to and from Hawaii would take up two of the seven days. So, if we weren't going to Hawaii - then where would we go?

There were several issues that would help in this decision. First, since we had to make this happen fairly quickly - the location couldn't require a passport. I have to get mine renewed and he doesn't have one. We wanted a beach, warm weather and the east coast was out. I've spent my entire life up and down the east coast beaches - which I love, but I was ready for something a little different. Second, we didn't want to spend to much time getting to and from the location. Last - we didn't want to spend a fortune. With this in mind - we talked to a lot of friends and the consensus was Puerto Rico.

I got online, did my due diligence and found the best deal at We found non-stop flights each way - and only 3 and a half hours to Puerto Rico! We found a great looking 4 and a half star resort - Gran Melia Puerto Rico. All guestrooms at Gran MeliĆ” Puerto Rico are luxurious suites offering separate seating areas, terraces or balconies and bathrooms with full-sized marble baths. This is a description of the room/service:

Garden View Royal Service Junior Suite features include:

  • Direct line telephone with Voicemail
  • Free high-speed Internet access
  • Cable TV with Pay-Per-View and video games
  • Butler services
  • In-room minibar
  • Pillow menu
  • Individual air conditioning and ceiling fan
  • Full bathroom with vanity mirror and bath amenities
  • In-room safe deposit box
  • Daily newspaper delivery upon request
  • Coffeemaker and fresh morning coffee delivery service
  • Outdoor shower
  • Plunge pool
It sounds good to me!
June 18th, 2007 - we're going to Puerto Rico for the honeymoon!

Friday, May 04, 2007

Wedding and Trip Plans

The week has flown by in a blink of an eye. Since becoming engaged we have gotten the marriage certificate. Well we really have not gotten it, we applied for it yesterday, but in PA, there is a 3 day waiting period, so we will be able to pick it up on Monday. The Marriage certificate is good for 60 days, so we have a little time to plan the wedding.

Just in time for honeymoon planning, Lizzie got a phone call from Hilton Hotels and they wanted to offer us a sweet package that we might have to take them up on. The salesperson said the offer was good in NY, Florida, and Las Vegas. Lizzie did not ask about Hawaiian Accommodations, so she will have to inquire further.

We might be taking them up on the offer, but for the NY location, because my brother just sent me an email to see if we wanted to go to to the Big Apple BQ this coming summer. I briefly thought about seeing how I could be a vendor for Earthinhand selling Corn Grills at such an event, but that might be a bit too big of an event for Earthinhand. I am pretty sure this will not count as the honeymoon trip though. As Lizzie has been planning or thinking of a remote location for the honeymoon, and NY is anything but remote.

A wonderful site BackTrip Travel Directory has lots of travel resources.

Big Island Super Guide - It's more like entertainment!

Island Source Free Online Hawaii Travel Brochures

Monday, April 30, 2007

We're Engaged .... Hawaiian Honeymoon????

We are finally engaged - so, let the honeymoon planning begin! #1 pick for a romantic honeymoon? - HAWAII!!

So, I've just checked out this site: Deep Hawaii - Hawaiian Directory - A Hawaii portal and comprehensive directory of websites. It all looks good!

Lots of planning to do. Never mind the wedding - it's all about the honeymoon.

Perhaps we'll charter a boat...
Hawaii Fishing Charter - Experience heart pounding big game sport fishing. Oahu, Hawaii - with Capt Rusty Spencer: blue marlin, wahoo, mahimahi & yellowfin tuna. Friendly experienced crew aboard well equipped 31-foot Bertram

Kauai Activities and Tours - Kauai fun things to do - An online guide with the best prices on Helicopter tours, Tubing, ziplines, and much more.

Hawaii Vacation - A directory of Hawaii vacation and travel information for the state of Hawaii including Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, and The Big Island.

Kauai Vacation RentalsKauai Vacation Rentals, Condos, Cottages, Homes, Accommodations, and Condo Hotel Resorts available for nightly rentals by owners.

Kauai Condos at Kuhio Shores
Beautiful 1 and 2 Bedroom Oceanfront condo rentals in Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii.

Vacation Rentals, Condos, Homes, and Villas
Vacation Rentals, Condos, Homes, and Villas by Summit Pacific.

Cabo San Lucas
Resorts, Condos, Villas, and Accommodations available for vacation rentals in Los Cabos Mexico.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Make Money Online in Order to Travel

In order to support myself and travel as much as I do – I need to make money – and lots of it. To make money online is what I've set out to do. If some search engine marketing techniques are applied to blogging – it's definitely possible to make money – and lots of it.

Search engine optimization has changed dramatically over the years. What worked well years ago to have a site rank in the search engines - no longer works. Today a website needs to have links from other quality websites – in order to be visible in search engines. I've been using Linkworth for several years to find websites offering text link advertising. Unlike web directories, which can be like link farms, Linkworth has a large selection of quality websites offering text ads. Links can really help a site rank in the search engines – and ranking well in the search engines – is an excellent way to make money online.

Sponsored Ad: Linkworth

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Dreams of Going to Hawaii

What could be better than a Hawaiian vacation! We try and travel as much as possible, in fact whenever time and finances allow - we go away. There a many places we'd love to travel to - but, we know they have to be put on the back burner for the time being. I spend a got bit of time researching places on the Internet of where we can go next. Hawaii is on the top of the list.

I never really thought much about Hawaii, but recently I've come across several websites about Hawaii travel, that have me very curious. Here's a list of some of these sites:

Search the Hawaiian Islands
Big Island Super Guide - It's more like entertainment!

Hawaii Shark Adventures - Hawaii Shark Encounters gives you the opportunity to experience the beauty and excitement sharks in their native waters. Proud partners in a worldwide effort to improve the understanding of sharks.

Maui Homes and Townhouse Rentals - Choose oceanfront or ocean view homes and townhouses that offer the best combination of privacy, comfort and amenities for your Maui vacation as well as easy access to restaurants, shopping, golf courses, beaches and Lahaina Town. View photos and descriptions of the unique features that make our homes special.

Vacation Rentals By Owners

Oahu Travel Guide - Travel guide and planner to the island of Oahu.

Vacation Packages from

I also found a great site for planning my Hawaiian travel -

Always a good idea - Travel Insurance - Obtain cheap annual medical health travel insurance now.

I'm sure we'll get to Hawaii one of these days - hopefully soon. I went to visit my brother in Atlanta recently. He went to Hawaii a few years ago and he's planning another Hawaii vacation for this summer. I asked him about Hawaii and he says everything you see in brochures and magazines that looks so amazing and you couldn't believe that it's really like that (they only photograph the best of Hawaii) - it's even better than it looks. There are private waterfalls, beautiful ocean views and more.

So, I have to start looking for a Hawaiian vacation package soon!

Monday, April 23, 2007

Philadelphia Hotels During the Learning Annex Expo Weekend

Lizzie was in Philadelphia this past weekend for the Real Estate and Wealth Expo at the Convention Center, which was held by the Learning Annex. This consisted of a bunch of Coffee Cup Artspeeches and classes on different investment vehicles. Although Lizzie and I did not buy into any of the packages, we did get a lot of info, and will be exploring some of these investment options in the future, and will be doing some blog post on the Pixelheadonline blog about these financial endeavors.

Lizzie made the arrangements for the weekend back around November, and we were planning on staying overnight only one night. But a friend of Lizzie's wanted to hang out in the city, so a month or so ago, Lizzie made reservation at another hotel, The Club Quarters for Friday night, since our Saturday hotel, The Sofitel Philadelphia had no vacancy. This worked out great, because it gave us the opportunity to review not one but two great Philadelphia hotels.

The Club Quarters Philadelphia

The Club Quarters can be described as a unique hotel with a club like atmosphere, which
specializes in short to long term residential stays for business people. If we had been on an extended stay, our accommodations would have been very acceptable. The only problem that I had, but Lizzie did not was the noise. Our room was on the second floor, and the noise from the street woke me numerous times. But then again I am not a very sound sleeper. But the room was not like any other hotel room that I have ever stayed. The ceiling was height was well over 15 feet high, the windows which stretched to the top of the ceiling were old style arched windows.
The room also had came a small kitchenette, had a fridge, microwave, and coffee maker as well as dishes for warming up meals.
The bathroom was very simple, but very modern and clean.
The bed was ultra comfortable, so much so that in spite of being woken up numerous times by the noise of the city, I was easily able to fall back to sleep.
Lizzie and I would definitely go back to the Philadelphia Club Quarters again. I however, would like to stay on one of the upper floors to see if it would be less noisy.

The Sofitel Hotel

Of the two hotels that we stayed at this past weekend, the Sofitel was by far the better Philadelphia hotel. It was very plush and highly decorated. The bathroom which had both a tub and shower also had French Doors. This makes sense since Sofitel is a French Hotel. While staying the night we(well I did at least)enjoyed watching The Good Shepherd. Lizzie actually was asleep after the first 15 minutes. It might have been a little too boring for her. The next morning, at 8am, we were awoken by the room service who was delivering our morning coffee and juice.
According to Lizzie, the Philadelphia Sofitel was on the same level as the Philadelphia Lowes, which was Lizzie's favorite Hotel of 2006.
In addition to posts in the blog about the Expo, the restaurants that we ate at during the Real Estate Expo weekend will be reviewed by Lizzie on, as well as

Monday, April 16, 2007

Courtyard Marriott - Knoxville, Tenn

Lizzie headed north in the afternoon after stopping off at Atlanta's Varsity for Slaw dogs and Chili dogs. Not wanting to come back the same way, we headed to Knoxville, Tennessee and then over to the Blue Ridge Parkway today, which we will take further south.
Upon reaching the Courtyard Marriott in Knoxville, Lizzie was very unhappy with the accommodations. The furniture in the room was very dated and limited. The chair and desk are not well matched, making typing very awkward, and tedious at best. Thankfully, we won't be staying here for an extended period of time, because if we did, Lizzie would surely come down with a severe case of carpel tunnel.
The bathroom was little more than a box with a shower. The normal curved shower rod found in all the updated hotel rooms was no were to be found. The expected patio was little more than a window over looking the parking lot. The entertainment center which consisted of a TV on a dresser, much like the bathroom was reminiscent of a cheap motel rather than a 3 star hotel that is expected when staying at a Courtyard Marriott.
If not for the friendliness of the staff and the splendid swimming facilities, our stay would have hopefully been easy to forget.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Corn Grills At Emory

Lizzie cooked for the Emory students on a corn grill on Friday 13th of April. The hot Georgia sun gave us a good sun burn, and brought out a fair number of Emory students, for whom Lizzie eagerly grilled several hundred veggie burgers, veggie dogs, and chicken dogs. The Earthinhand corn grill worked splendidly, and many of the Earth festival visitors were very impressed. The hospitality of Lizzie's brother was very much appreciated. Lizzie, her daughter, and I were treated like royalty.
We also dined out on more than one occasion, and these events will be written about on at a latter date.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Corn Grill Goes to Atlanta

It appears that we're taking an unexpected trip to Atlanta. We were just contacted by Emory University to bring our Corn Grill from EarthinHand Corn Stoves to the GA Earth Fair at Emory University on April 13th. So far all we really know is that the fair is Friday April 13th from 12 to 3:30 on McDonough Field, in the center of campus.

A few days ago we receive this message from an undergraduate student - "
Emory Environmental Alliance is currently organizing an Earth Fair on Friday April 13th. I know that is really soon but I would love to have the Earth in Hand Corn Grill represented some how. Your business is amazing and it would be great if we could educate our campus on alternative fueled grills."

Of course, we're always excited to travel just about anywhere, but being able to help out with the corn grills and stoves is an added benefit.

So, we'll probably head out on Thursday morning before sunrise, with the grill in the back of the Honda Odyssey and drive the 800+ miles to Atlanta, Georgia. We undecided about a few things as of yet... do we take the two kids that would really like to go? and do we stop Thursday night or drive straight through? Most of the time that we travel - we fly, so we don't want to take the children, but now we're driving and I do have family in Atlanta that the kiddies would love to see. As for the hotel, we may just have to stop and the kids may drive us crazy and we'll need the break.

More to come....