You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘married life’ category.

I’ll admit it:  “Cellfire” as the name of a Web site automatically makes me think of companies spamming my phone.  Luckily, first impressions are not always correct!

If you shop at Shop Rite, Kroger’s, Safeway, Giant Eagle, Shop’nSave or Foodtown, you should be signed up for this site.  Jared and I first discovered it through Fios TV, and I think the concept is awesome.  By registering with the site, you are able to register your store loyalty cards and add coupons directly to the card.  No more coupon clipping or searching for coupons you’ve misplaced (Disclaimer:  I’m still a coupon clipper, and my system is so organized it would make your head spin.  But I digress).  Simply log on, add the coupons you want to your card, and the discounts will be automatically taken at checkout.

The site has a multitude of ways to keep consumers connected to the coupons they choose, whether it’s online, through your TV or through a mobile app.  The offers are for popular brands that you might shop for anyway, making it worth the time to sign up and browse.  The site also features a section that allows you to print coupons by installing an App onto your computer.

I’m desperate to use this site and all its features, but for some reason Jared and I are having a problem with our Shop Rite card, where the site doesn’t seem to recognize it.  We’ve noticed this before too in Shop Rite when they try to look us up, so I think the problem is on our end.  Once I’ve got it up and running properly, I’ll be sure to share any hints and tricks I’ve found when using the site!

Anyone else currently using this with success?  Or have you had trouble as well?

I don’t know how many other people do this, but every time we visit a new area, we always think we’ll just find restaurants as we’re walking around to wander in to and enjoy.  Sometimes, that’s easy.  However, during off season in Cape May, it’s not!  I had done a bit of research before our trip, and written down a few restaurants, however, many of them ended up still being closed for the season.   After asking around at the Cape May Winery, we decided to have dinner at Axelsson’s Blue Claw Restaurant.

Funny enough, Jared had actually also been here with his parents when he visited Cape May years ago.  To be honest, in my research I had been avoiding strict seafood restaurants, as I’m not a huge seafood fan.  Not easy to do when you’re visiting a shore town.  I was a bit nervous that Axelsson’s wouldn’t have anything that would not only fit with my Weight Watchers plan, but that would also leave me feeling satisfied.  I was happy to find that the menu was diverse enough to include seafood options that weren’t too over the top “fishy” so to speak.  We settled on the Fromage as an appetizer (because who can resist brie??).   For an entree, I had the crabcakes and Jared had the seafood kabob, a totally new pick for him!

The food was fantastic at Axelsson’s.  The man we talked to at the winery had told us that “you can’t go wrong with anything you get there” and he was right.  The service was friendly and attentive without rushing you through, although it was a busy night.  They did seat us right by the piano, which I thought would annoy Jared, but the music blended in nicely and wasn’t overpowering to the point where you can’t talk.  While we did skip dessert, we had a full view of the station where these were being made, and they looked wonderful!  Although Axelsson’s is about a 5-10 minute drive from where we were staying, it was definitely worth the trip (however, if we had to give up parking, I might change my mind about that!!).

After our fabulous dinner, we returned to the Carroll Villa and hit up The Mad Batter for dessert.  Jared had been talking about a white chocolate mousse for days that he remembered having as a kid, and lucky him, it was still on the menu.  The Mad Batter bar was alive with groups of people hanging out, listening to the live music, so we ended up sitting at an actual table.  Jared was correct about the White Chocolate Mousse-it was worth the points.  Topped with whipped cream, strawberries, and a light strawberry sauce, the mousse was creamy, with bits of white chocolate in it, and so rich I almost couldn’t finish it (and I never say that!).  Definitely worth it!

Our trip included a voucher for brunch at The Mad Batter, so we returned the next morning to sit in the “sun room” type portion of the restaurant.  The Mad Batter had a great assortment of brunch-type libations, such as mimosas and bellinis, along with a pretty extensive menu.  The food was your typical brunch fare, but I’d certainly go back to check out the dinner options.  All around, a great experience with The Carroll Villa and The Mad Batter!

While The Mad Batter did not take reservations while we were there for brunch, it’s worth an ask in the summer if they do.  The restaurant was pretty busy for off-season, so I’d call ahead if you’re visiting during a busy time.

Looking for more options?  Find more Cape May restaurants here.    Happy eating, travelers!

 

Thanks to Living Social, Jared and I recently had the opportunity to check out Cape May, New Jersey for the first time (well, my first time-Jared was there as a kid).  As we walked around, I started thinking about all the great places we’ve been to in New Jersey that might get overlooked for those of us that live in-state.  Hence my new mission to tell you about them as we go along.  🙂

We covered a lot of ground while we were in Cape May, so I’ll start today by reviewing the lodging that we used.  The next set of installments will cover dining and area attractions.  We don’t want a super long post, after all!

The Carroll Villa Bed and Breakfast
The deal we purchased included a one night stay at the Carol Villa Bed and Breakfast, located less than a block from the beach.  Upon arrival, we received our complimentary bottle of champagne, as well as some coupons to area attractions (all part of our deal).  The check-in attendant was very friendly and made us feel welcome.

While the room we stayed in was certainly a bit small, it worked fine for us since we didn’t spend too much time in it anyway.  The shower had great pressure, and the bathroom was very clean and well kept.  Our room was right above The Mad Batter, the restaurant at The Carroll Villa, and during the live music, it was a bit noisy.  As in we could hear the specific songs the singer was performing.  However, we got back to our room around 9:45 p.m., and it all seemed to stop by 10.  If you’re sensitive to noise, though, as I know many are, this may not be the place for you!  I believe there are rooms on the other side of the hotel, so I would ask about those just to make sure.

Given that it was off-season, we were able to find parking about a block away.  In the summer, I can definitely imagine that parking is a challenge for guests at The Carroll Villa.  If you’re planning to stay in the summer, I would recommend calling ahead to find out what is recommended.

As mentioned, The Caroll Villa does have a restaurant, The Mad Batter, which is a great restaurant with a modest bar as well.  I’ll talk about this more in dining, but our deal did included a breakfast voucher, and we liked the convenience of having something right there.

Overall, The Caroll Villa was a beautiful place to stay, with an at-home feel that made even our short stay relaxing and comfortable.  If you’re thinking of vacationing somewhere this summer, I’d call early-I’m sure they book up pretty fast!  Thanks to Living Social and The Carroll Villa for helping us find out what Cape May has to offer!

I typically avoid blogs about coupons and deals, because I usually find them either irrelevant, or spammy.  Sometimes I’ll find relevant deals on them, but most times, I’m not really interested in having someone regurgitate what they find in circulars.

Hip2Save bills itself as “Not Your Grandma’s Coupon Site”.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with regular coupon clipping-it’s an activity I engage in each week, and is pretty much one of the only reasons we get the Sunday paper.  However, Hip2Save does put a fresh spin on saving money and having fun seeking out deals and more.

Hip2Save focuses on Freebies, Coupons, Stores, Online Deals, Restaurants, Rewards and Contests, so it really covers the full spectrum of ways to save.  The Freebies section is updated pretty frequently, even alerting you to when older deals have expired.  The links are easy to follow, and the rules for redeeming freebies are spelled out so there’s no surprises.  For the Coupons section, it looks like Hip2Save links over to Coupons.com in most instances, where you can print deals and coupons.  I haven’t tried Coupons.com yet, because I believe you need to install something to print them, but perhaps one of these days I’ll get around to doing that.  Coupons.com seems like a great alternative for those that don’t receive paper coupons.

The Online Bargains section is one of my favorites.  Hip2Save does a great job of alerting readers to timely deals and sales, instead of you having to do the legwork yourself.  They find some great stuff, like an Amazon deal on a KitchenAid mixer and more.  It’s fun to check in every now and then to see what’s new online.

I’m huge on Contests, and am convinced that one of these days I’ll win one.  By keeping up with the Contest section on Hip2Save, I’m able to see what’s new besides my usuals.  I won’t enter contests from brands that I don’t normally interact with, just because I think that’s cheating, but it does introduce me to some new things.  And contests are fun.  Seriously.  Even when I don’t win.

There’s a lot more to explore on the site.  Hip2Save is a really well done site that makes coupon hunting and online deals fun and meaningful.  Even if you just check in once a week, it’s definitely worth adding it to your list of must-read blogs and sites.  Thanks to Collin Morgan, the brains behind the site, for providing such a quality experience!

As I’ve mentioned before, there’s more that goes into maintaining a healthy lifestyle beyond eating right and exercising.  Relationship health is a major contributing factor to staying on the right path.  If you’re not happy in your relationship, a lot of other areas of your life can suffer as well.

I recently came across an article that described the 6 habits that keep couples happy, and was happy to see #3 on the list:  Nurture your separate selves.  I’ve found through various message boards and other couple related sites that we can be a bit cruel to one another when it comes to desiring independence.  We often accuse those that desire to remain slightly independent from their partner of being selfish.  In fact, there are a lot of people that believe that in order to maintain a healthy relationship, all interests must be shared 24/7.  Forget going off alone for a girls weekend-if you’re not bonding with your partner over every turn, something must be wrong.

I’ve always been a big advocate for having individual interests and activities.  As the article states, taking “couple breaks” relieves your partner from having to “provide” happiness and enhances your relationship, allowing you a deeper appreciation of one another and your talents.  Imagine that…

I’m not going to pretend it’s easy to take time for yourself.  Since I’m away at the office for 10-12 hours a day 5 days a week, it can be tough to justify running off to a  solo shopping adventure or drinks with the girls.  However, it’s important to let go of that guilt and remember how refreshing independence can be.  In fact, I feel most refreshed in my relationship and personal life after a girls weekend or any other independent activity.  And that doesn’t make me a bad wife, or mean that Jared and I are drifting apart.  In fact, in the end, it only serves to bring us together. Even just an hour or so once a week spent doing separate activities can make a big impact on how you feel about one another, and ultimately, yourself.

As most of you know, over the weekend I completed my 8th and final move into our new home.  8 times is a lot of times to move, whether it’s been via the DC Metro or through a professional moving company, and I’ve learned a few things along the way.  Whether you’ve moving soon or in a few years, here are some tips to keep in mind!

1.)  Maintain an organized packing system. Hands down, this is the #1 thing that kept me sane during these crazy 4 years.  Knowing what’s in each box saves precious time and effort, ensuring you’re not opening every single box to find that bottle opener.  😉

As I’m packing boxes, I maintain a list of what I’m putting into each one.  Each box then gets a number that matches my list of what’s in it.  For instance, the first box I pack is #1, and on my list, I have a list of everything in Box #1.  It’s ok to be vague and put “Kitchen” next to Box #1, but if you know you’re going to want certain items, the more detail the better.

This really came in handy this past weekend.  We had the movers put all the boxes in the living room so we wouldn’t have to clutter up other spaces with our 70+ boxes.  Obviously, this created quite the pile.  Once the movers were out, Jared, my sister and I went in, list in hand, and were able to move each box to it’s appropriate room, clearing up the living area and allowing us to assess what rooms needed the most work.

If you follow no other tip on this list, FOLLOW THIS ONE!  It’s seriously a life saver.

2.)  Be realistic about what should come with you. I’m not a very sentimental person.  Nor am I a pack rat.  In my opinion, it doesn’t matter how much storage space you’ll have on the other end of your move-if you aren’t going to use something, it shouldn’t come with you.

My general rule of thumb has bee if I’ve moved a box from place to place and only taken it out when it was time to move again, it’s not coming again.  Take this time to weed through old documents, receipts, college memories, etc.  Donate what you’re not using, and move on!  I promise you won’t miss anything too much…I never have!

3.)  Don’t save everything for the last minute. There are definitely items that need to be saved for the last minute, such as things you use every day.  However, don’t wait too long to take care of these random items.  Doing so wastes a lot of time on moving day that could be spent loading up the truck.

Start in the rooms you spend the least time in.  For me, this was our office and guest bedroom.  Take the time to assess what you’re really going to use between now and your moving day.  Sure, it doesn’t look pretty, but it will save you some precious moments the day of your move.

Seaking of precious moments…

4.)  Don’t start packing at the last minute! Everyone’s busy, I get it.  In fact, our recent move came at the worst time professionally and personally for me.  The fact that I started packing even before we closed on the house saved me a lot of stress later.  If I had waited, things would have gotten ugly very quickly.  As I mentioned in #3, start as soon as you can!

5.)  Give yourself plenty of time. I know sometimes it’s hard to plan exactly when your move will take place.  Leases and other factors certainly can be inflexible at times.  However, if you know you’re not going to renew your lease, regardless of whether you have signed the dotted line for a new place, START PACKING.  I started packing up random things and clearing out crawl spaces long before our closing day.  Once again, it saves time and helps you chip away at the small stuff so you can focus on the big stuff.

As the day approaches, keep in mind it’s perfectly fine to give yourself some time to move in.  My preference has always been to start a lease mid-month, but not move in until the end of the month.  This gives you time to clean both places and start taking things over yourself.  Sure, there’s a reason why you’re hiring movers/getting a truck, but it doesn’t hurt to take little things over yourself, such as plants and other valuables.  For me, I wanted to take over all of our wedding things myself, just in case.  Saves valuable box space too!

6.)  Enlist help. This is something that I’m very bad at.  I like doing everything myself, but I’ve learned over the past 8 move times that help can be invaluable, whether its help with cleaning out your old place, or help the day of.  Enlist a close family member or two to be with you the day of to help you handle last minute things.  I say a family member or two, because there is such a thing as too  much help.  When you’re moving, sometimes it’s hard to figure out what you need to be doing next, let alone what other people can be doing.  Limiting the amount of people around on the day of will create a stress-free environment and help you focus on what you actually need to be doing!

Coming up next….some helpful unpacking tips!  Happy Moving!


Since I’m WAY too lazy to upload all of these photos to Facebook (actually, I never turn my home computer on long enough to do that) I figured I’d share them through my blog.

We went to Bermuda after our wedding for a 7 day cruise with Celebrity!  I’m wishing I was still on the ship!

Enjoy!
Click here to view photos

All of us have seen or heard of Consumer Reports, but to be honest, this is never a magazine I would have gotten a subscription to.  For the one time every few years I need to buy cars or major appliances, the magazine seemed to really only serve a once in awhile purpose.  And to be perfectly honest, the covers always had a bit too much of a male focus for me.  Then along comes Consumer Reports hipper little sister, the ShopSmart magazine.

Jared’s mom has this magazine sitting out often, and from the looks of the cover, it’s almost hard to believe it’s under the Consumer Reports name.  Hip, modern, and definitely attractive to a newly married, almost homeowner female in their 20s, ShopSmart is actually a magazine I’d read.  And Jared’s mom was nice enough to lend me her copy!

Although I just started the magazine yesterday, I’m already hooked.  From advice on what jeans to buy to grocery shopping hints and tricks to save money, this is really the perfect magazine for people who desire to be educated about their shopping choices, but don’t necessarily need advice on large items all the time.  From home renovations to lunch ideas, ShopSmart really covers a wide variety of needs in a modern way.

Still not ready to subscribe?  ShopSmart is probably one of the only magazines I’ve seen recently with full PDF versions of their articles on their Web site for those modern ladies that read everything online.  While the magazine is a bit more pricier than some of the ones I already receive (current promo advertises 6 for $18) I still think this is an investment worth making.

Normally, I wouldn’t feature a site like this as part of my Friday series.  However, as you know, Jared and I are in the midst of our house search, and one of the main reasons we went with Weichert had a lot to do with their Web site.  So, let’s take a look!

Weichert is very heavily concentrated in our area, so I can’t lie and say we only went with them because of the Website.  However, I do find their search features to be among the best of all real estate Web sites.  When we were first looking and were not ready to commit to a particular group, Weichert was one of the only sites that would let us see as many details as possible without logging in and being harassed with phone calls and emails.

The best part about Weichert is the search functionality.  My biggest hangup with other real estate Web sites was how long it took the photos to load and the flash-type platforms they would use.  I really don’t have time to click in 1,000 different places to find out information about a house.  Weichert keeps everything within 1 click, allowing you to scroll through pictures in the same screen you’re already in, avoiding pop-ups and flash sites loading and slowing things down.

The only trouble we did experience with the search functionality was that it would often give us listings that didn’t meet the criteria we had selected.  For instance, we wanted 2+ full bathrooms, and we would still get listings with only 1 full bathroom.  There must be a reason behind this, but I have to admit it was annoying.

Once you do establish an account on the Weichert Web site, you’re able to have email alerts sent to you with new listings within your search parameters.  Once the email arrives in your inbox, all you have to do is click on the link to the new house, and you’re taken right to the page without having to log in again.  Love that.  Made looking at new listings so much easier!

In addition to providing a great way to look at listings online, Weichert provides a lot of great area information on their site as well.  We were particularly interested in the school and community information.  By doing simple Web searches, I think that information is hard to come by.   It was nice to have it all in one place.

As we approach our potential closing date of August 30th, I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to say about the service we’ve received from Weichert….stay tuned!

Here’s a confession:  I’ve never had my hair or makeup done before.  Yes, it’s true.  At the tender age of 26, I’d never gone to a salon to have hair or makeup done for an event.  So, needless to say, choosing someone to take care of this on one of the most photographed days of my life was a big deal.  However, I’m happy to say I chose the best two ladies in the business!

I found My Cinderella’s Dream where else but TheKnot.com.  I got in touch with Mari who I liked right off the bat.  She provided all the information I needed in a timely fashion to make the best decision possible.  At the time, I wasn’t sure about makeup, and Mari never pressured me to add this as a service, which I appreciated.  Her prices were fair, and she wasn’t going to charge me a fee to come to The Madison Hotel to help us out!  Furthermore, her son went to Susquehanna, so it was pretty much a match made in heaven!

Getting my hair done and my makeup touched up!

I had my bridal trial with Mari in December.  She was so wonderful and patient with me.  I had just switched jobs, so I ended up having to reschedule my trial and had to leave early the day she came to get back to work, but Mari got the job done quickly, efficiently, and exactly how I imagined it!  By this time, I had decided to go with makeup, so I scheduled a makeup trial with her partner, Rita.  Rita did a great job listening to my fears that my makeup would look too heavy.  We had a great trial, and even later when I emailed Mari to ask if the eyes could be a bit lighter day of, Mari and Rita understood and were very accommodating.

The day of the wedding, we had a blast getting hair and makeup done!  I had booked a conference room at the hotel so we’d have lots of room.  Mari and Rita went right to work at 6:30 and we were all camera ready by around 9:15!  There were 8 of us that needed hair done, and I was the only one that had makeup.  I couldn’t believe how quick they worked!  All of my girls were very pleased with how things came out.  My mom even remarked that she’d never seen someone take a picture of a hairstyle and replicate it on someone’s hair.  All of my bridesmaids got compliments on how great their hair looked-even from the guys, who hardly notice that stuff!  Finally, everyone kept remarking on how natural my makeup looked, which was exactly what I had wanted!

Some great handiwork!

Mari and Rita and truly a dream to work with.  From the trial to the wedding day, I couldn’t have asked for a better group of ladies to help me and my girls look fantastic on my wedding day.  Thanks so much, Mari and Rita!

What am I Tweeting?