A sister for Chief

We had been talking a lot lately about getting another dog. Joey always had multiple dogs growing up, and he insists that two dogs are easier than one. I knew in my heart that Chief needed a companion, but was extremely nervous to take the plunge. We couldn’t handle another puppy, and it’s hard to know how to predict whether an older dog will fit in with all the different personalities in the house. From day one, our trainor advised us to wait to get another dog until Chief is older, closer to a  year, and then to get a female that’s around 2 years old. She believed that this would be the best mix for our household.

new dog2

The facebook photo that stole our hearts

Well….the week before Martin Luther King Day, this little Lady came into our lives…My mom saw her on facebook, a friend of a friend of a friend of hers had found a stray dog in her neighborhood, and was unable to find her owner and was not able to keep her. Joey and I jumped at the thought of a free female golden retriever mix. I emailed the woman, and after begging her to take the dog to the vet to check for a microchip just in case(she wasn’t chipped), we went and picked her up that very night.

We brought her home and she and Chief hit it off immediately like old pals, and we held our breath that she was healthy. We got a clean bill of health from our vet the next day, and we got our little Lady vaccinated and brought her home with a huge sigh of relief.
Lady ArchOur vet thinks she’s about two years old, in great health, and has a great temperment. He wasn’t sure whether she was spayed or not, he didn’t feel a scar…we later learned that she wasn’t and had to rush her in for an emergency spay right before she went into heat.

You can see in this picture we already had her spayed. She's missing her belly fur so her nipples are extra visable... it's Lady "gone wild" up in here!

You can see in this picture we already had her spayed. She’s missing her belly fur so her nipples are extra visable… it’s Lady “gone wild” up in here!

But she’s absolutely been worth the trouble. She is much calmer than Chief, less impulsive, but frisky like a puppy. In fact, she runs laps around Chief, and he thinks she’s the best new toy mom and dad have ever brought him! They’re totally in love, and even though we’ve had a lot of battles for dominance, things are getting better every day, and we’re all learning pretty fast that Lady rules the roost!

Pardon the sand, the dogs are destroying our yard

Pardon the sand, the dogs are destroying our yard


So one of the most exciting things about moving to our new house was that we officially got tapped to host our first Thanksgiving dinner! It was also going to be our first combined family Thanksgiving with Joey’s family as well as mine!
Fried TurkeyMy family typically always does a big Thanksgiving with my mom’s side of the family, so of course all of them and more were in attendance, as well as Joey’s parents, brother and his cousin came up from the Tampa/St Pete area. In total, I believe we had 17 guests! Pretty intimidating for a first Thanksgiving….but we were so blessed in that both of our parents handled the meat portions,  so we had a baked turkey, fried turkey and a honeybaked ham, and I didn’t have to stress out about ruining the biggest part of the meal (or get up at 4am to start cooking-thanks again for that mom!) And everyone else brought a side dish, so I didn’t have to cook too much at all as a matter of fact, it was terrific!Sides editBut I did have to figure out how to serve 17 people….lol. We decided that instead of trying to cram two big tables in the dining room along with the rest of the furniture in there, that we would clean up and utilize the craft room since it’s so open with the dining room. And amazingly, it worked out just fine. I had almost everything I needed. Except silverware. We only had service for 12 and Crate and Barrel had our style on backorder until after Christmas, that was a slight panic…but it turned out that Walmart had an identical set, lighter weight of course, but otherwise identical, so I was able to make up the difference for cheap.

Dining Room

Dining Room

Also, I ran out a couple of days before and bought another gravy boat since we were having tables in two rooms. Funny story about the gravy boat, a girlfriend of mine teased me for years over my belief of the importance of gravy boats, and she, of course, was the one who bought me the gravy boat that I registered for on our wedding registry…she told me we’d never use it…And yet, I went out and bought a second for Thanksgiving, and honestly if we do it again next year I’ll probably need a third (one for each table). Although as a shout out Christi (if you ever read this post), I will give you credit that I only use them once a year…and they’re awful to try to store. 🙂 hehe.

Tablescape using burlap and milk glass wedding items

Tablescape using burlap and milk glass wedding items

Overall, Thanksgiving was a hit I think. Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, and for the most part, I think our house accommodated that amount of people pretty well which was a huge relief. We love to entertain so having room for large parties was important to us, so I’m glad the house delivered for us.

Joey carving his first turkey...it was a high pressure situation

Joey carving his first turkey…it was a high pressure situation

Joey’s family stayed for a couple of days after Thanksgiving and it was wonderful having them here. Jason, Joey’s brother had been up before to help us move (god bless him), but it was Joey’s parents, and cousin Melissa’s first time seeing the house and we were so happy they came!

Jason really went above and beyond helping us out before the party, and Melissa was a cleaning dynamo after the party, which was awesome cause I was waay too full to feel like cleaning. 🙂 They were also amazing and helped us accomplish something we’d been meaning to do forever which was plant the Meyer Lemon Tree from our wedding. It was very close to death, and the lime tree was certainly dead, but they dug the hole and planted that baby for us, so hopefully we’ll have some blossoms this spring to commemorate our anniversary.

All and all we had a fantastic weekend celebrating with family and friends, and I can’t wait for more functions like that in the future!!
Desserts edit


Typically, my friends Dan and Celeste host a Halloween party every year, it’s always a good time, and a great excuse to get together with friends and get costumed up! Sadly, this year, Dan and Celeste moved away and we were left without a party host. So, my best friend Julia and I cooked up this plan to host a Halloween party at the Meyer Manor. Julia and I should really start a side business in party planning. We love it so much, and tend to be of the same mindset when it comes to that sort of stuff. Maybe one day one of us will win the lottery and we can actually start that venture.

A crazy old photo of Julia and I. Not at all Halloween related...but somehow we avoided taking a photo together

A crazy old photo of Julia and I. Not at all Halloween related…but somehow we avoided taking a photo together

This party was no different, we had a ball shopping for supplies and decorating. We legitimately started planning in August. This year it was a bit of work because we weren’t fully moved in….we still had a lot of things displaced (a TON of wedding stuff) and the craft room and dining room were ground zero for all this stuff. So it took a lot of effort to get the dining room into shape for the party, I gave up on the craft room and covered it with a plastic tarp Dexter-style.
But the rest of the house came together pretty nicely, and although we didn’t get to do all the details we wanted to do, we look forward to next year’s party. And maybe next year I’ll actually finish my costume. Or get smart and just buy one like a normal person.

There were a few different tablescapes going on that night but I think the drink table was my favorite.

The drink table

The drink table

The candelabra was a $5 find from Goodwill that we spray painted ORB, we actually picked up two from GW but I don’t think I took a picture of the other one. You can barely see it in the photo, but there is a little silver stand that is covered in eyeballs. I found them at Target, and they were delightfully disgusting, they were sticky! The bar menu was a large frame from Ikea that we inserted some orange chevron fabric into and used as a dry erase board.
Halloween10Julia made this bird-cage, and I really can’t stop gushing about it. I hope that it survives storage so we can use it again for future Halloweens. There is just something so creepy about it!!
Halloween12She also tea stained the cheese cloth, which we used not only on this table, but also as curtains in the kitchen and living room. One of those things you can’t really tell from the photos, but was a really cool detail in person.
We used my grandmother’s old Ouija Board as a serving tray, and I love that detail too. Joey actually banned it from the house, it was only allowed the night of the party and I had to promise to hide the planchette so we wouldn’t get into trouble. 🙂 It’s fair though, this particular Board actually works and is super creepy.  So it was used a serving tray, and was pretty spectacular. I kind of want to actually convert it into a real tray, like add some wooden sides and a base to it, but I’m still thinking about it. I’m nostalgic about it because it was my grandmother’s, so I don’t want to rush into anything…but it might not be a bad idea to retire it from its intended purpose.
Halloween11Onto the next tablescape…This is the food table which we set up in the dining room. Please forgive the lighting in these pictures, we dimmed all the lights we could and hung colored lights in places to up the creep factor. It worked in person, but looks kind of odd in photos.
Halloween3Halloween13We played around with the food presentation and served a few things out of plastic cauldrons, and on platters that were labeled “Poison”. I got the idea of the skeleton meat and cheese tray from Pinterest, and it was a pretty big hit. We used fondue skewers for added effect instead of tooth picks.
Halloween5Matt made these delicious garlic breadstick bones, they were tedious, but sooo delicious!
Halloween6On the dessert table we had a variety of goodies, including red velvet vampire cupcakes, oreo truffles and white chocolate skeleton pretzels.Halloween2 Close ups…
Halloween8Halloween7There were a lot of other fun details that went into the party, although unfortunately I didn’t photograph them…I managed to snag this picture a couple of days later of the guest bathroom…
Halloween14I really wish I’d taken photos of the bathroom…it was set up like a murder scene and was pretty epic. We attacked the mirror with gel blood splatter and hand prints, and smeared white towels with red blood hand prints. We also hung a blood stained shower curtain, and backlit the bathtub with red led lights. I’ll get pictures next year I promise.

Another thing I wish we’d photographed was the explosion of spiders on the garage door. Julia had bought a Enter At Your Own Risk which we attached a magnetic strip to, as well as cut apart what felt like hundreds of those black spider rings to steal the spiders from them which we glued magnets to and also attached them to the door. It was creepy, and really stood out on the white door.

And finally, for the living room we dressed it up haunted mansion style, and draped the furniture in cloths, cheese cloth from the windows, cobwebs, etc. But my favorite part was that I secretly asked my friend’s mom Sharon (a photoshop wizard) to zombify photos of our guests for me, and we framed those and put them in the living room. They were a serious hit, and I’m kicking myself for not photographing them. They’ll be repeat decorations next year for sure, and I promise I’ll do better at documenting. But at the very least, I’ll give you a preview of the zombie pics below. The wedding zombies…

Bride and Groom Zombies

Bride and Groom Zombies


Julia and Matt zombies

And that about wraps up Halloween 2012! I’m not going to upload pics of our costumes because I’m disappointed with myself and how I didn’t finish my own costume. We went as characters from the movie UP, Joey was “Russell the boy scout”, Chief was “Doug the dog” and I was going to be “Kevin the bird” and it could have been awesome if I’d had more time. But I will leave you with Joey as Russell, because his costume turned out kind of adorable if you ask me. He’ll probably hate me for posting this…so forgive me if it disappears before you get a chance to see it… haha.

Our baby is growing…

Things have been crazy busy at the Meyer Manor here lately. And I’m very behind on posting.Sticks

Chief has been growing like a weed, and while we love him endlessly, he’s been quite the handful. He loves to chew on anything and everything…ok everything except for the endless supply of toys we buy him. He much prefers cardboard, paper, plants, and mom and dad’s flesh to toys. In fact, I’d venture to say that mom and dad’s flesh are the #1 favorite item to chew on. Bowtie

We enrolled in him puppy school, which is his very favoritest thing to do. He absolutely ADORES his trainer, and getting out to see other puppies. I tried to take pictures during the very first day and this was the best I could get.

Chief with Marshall the Mastive puppy, and Baxter the Boxer pup. These pups went through more than a couple classes together...

Chief with Marshall the Mastive puppy, and Baxter the Boxer pup. These pups went through more than a couple classes together…

I’ll say that the Puppy Ladies, and in particular our trainer Jean, legitimately saved our sanity. I highly recommend them to anyone with a puppy. They’re all about positive reinforcement and behavioral therapy instead of negative reinforcement, which we love. I joke frequently that they’re the Puppy Social Workers. But Jean really went above and beyond to help us out with Chief, and kind of hold our hand and walk us through our first puppy. Baby Chief5

And while of course he could always be better trained and behaved, we’ve seen remarkable differences in his training and he’s pretty darn well-trained for a young golden retriever pup!

I love to eat plants...

I love to eat plants…

In September we went to Joey’s parents house to introduce Chief to his grandparents on his dad’s side. He LOVED them!!! And I think they liked him pretty alright too… 🙂 Although he seems to want to play the roughest with Joey’s mom and my mom who really don’t have tolerance for that kind of play. But both grandpas love to get him riled up and rough house with him, which I suspect works against us with our effort to train him. But being spoiled by your grandparents is inevitable I suppose.

Look at all these pillows! Mom and Dad never let me play with pillows!

Look at all these pillows! Mom and Dad never let me play with pillows!

Chief also got to go for his first swim…he wasn’t really a fan. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.

What is this??

What is this?? Can I drink it?


I’m not sure if I like this…

Oh god!! I definitely DO NOT like this!!

Oh god!! I definitely DO NOT like this!!


Seriously Dad, this is not fun...

Seriously Dad, this is not fun…

Oh well…we’ll try again next summer.

Our family has grown

We have a new addition to our family…someone we’ve been waiting a very long time for…and his name is Chief Fluffybottom!!
Yes, we FINALLY got a dog! We’ve been aching for one for years, but never had the space until now!And we’d been looking for just the right pup for quite awhile…even before we moved…but one night all the stars aligned and my mom saw a listing for a litter of AKC Golden Retrievers in Marianna that were for sale at a fair price. So I emailed the breeder that night to find out if they had any left. She responded the next morning stating that she had two puppies left, a male and a female, so that afternoon after work we hopped in the car and took a road trip to Marianna. I feel like some of our best purchases have resulted from hurriedly jumping in the car and racing to Marianna, it’s also where we purchased our first piece of furniture together as a couple…our loveseat…how fitting right?Anyway, we drove up to the breeder’s beautiful farm, and were shepherded in by the most handsome and gigantic Golden Retriever I have ever seen, and we knew instantly that we were a few short minutes away from being dog owners. The handsome guy that waived us in, was Mighty Moses, and it was his litter of pups we would be looking at. The mom’s name was Ruby and she was also a beauty, and had the sweetest temperament. But Moses really stole the show, from his gorgeous coat, to his gigantic stature. We met with the breeder, who really seemed to eat sleep and breathe for the dogs, which was encouraging. We could tell instantly that all of the dogs and puppies were extremely well-loved.

Chief’s dad Mighty Moses

And then she brought out the puppies and our hearts melted, there’s just something about Golden Retriever puppies that make me weak in the knees. There were three on site, two boys and one girl, but one of the boys had already been spoken for. We had initially planned to pick the girl, because we’d heard that females are typically more mellow, and are easier to train. And the female was adorable, but honestly she really wasn’t into us at all. But Chief and Joey had a love connection at first sight, and I knew he was the dog for us. The breeder assured us that there was virtually no difference in training between the two sexes, so we chose our boy Chief!
We had been planning to go out of town that weekend, so the breeder offered to hold him for a couple days until we could get back in town and have a chance to pick up supplies for him. It was really difficult to leave that night without him, but necessary, and I think it gave us a chance to mentally prepare for a couple of days what we were getting ourselves into. We were so happy and excited to pick him up on Sunday, and when we arrived Chief seemed happy to see us and ready to go to his new home!!

He seems pretty happy in his new digs

I’m really behind in this post…we actually got him in mid-July. It turns out that having a puppy completely turns your life upside down! But he is growing very quickly, and you’ll see the changes pretty dramatically in my next post or two. We are so happy to have our little Chief Fluffybottom, he brings a lot of joy into our house, and has really made our new house feel more like home.

Moving Meyers

We’ve slowly but surely begun to move into the new house. We opted to use a box rental company instead of using cardboard. The company is called Bungo Box, and I completely recommend it! They rent two different sizes of boxes which hold a myriad of items, and they’re plastic which means they’re re-useable (so good for the environment) and it means they’re sturdy so they don’t collapse on you. They also stack perfectly since they’re all the same size, and they come with little dolly wheels so you can stack a bunch, and roll them away.
But the best part about the Bungo Boxes for me, was that they rent by the week, which means that I had a week to pack and unpack. It was a little unfortunate that we only had a week to pack, but having to be unpacked was worth it’s weight in gold, cause I’m the kind of person that would let things sit in cardboard boxes for years without unpacking.

Our amazing friends were generous enough to help us pack, move and even unload many of the boxes!

Joey’s brother Jason, and his friend Rob came up the following weekend after our move to help us with some odds and ends at the new house and helped us finish getting everything out of our previous house so that we could get it on the rental market. They are the very best for coming up here for such a boring weekend where I acted like a crazy loon. Hopefully they had a decent time at least. 🙂

We’re basically moved in now…and room by room we’re trying to finish putting things together and getting organized. One day maybe I’ll do a post with it all decorated room by room, but for now our dining room and craft room is being over taken by wedding stuff and other crap we don’t know what to do with. Maybe one day soon…

A New Home for the New Meyers

Although we were very lucky that Joey already owned a townhouse, with the wedding happening and our new life as a married couple upon us, we were really feeling the itch for a fresh start in a new home.

Our biggest priorities in a new house were that it had a good sized kitchen with lots of cabinet space, a larger master bedroom than we currently have, and a good sized backyard for future puppies and babies. Another high priority was that it had wood floors, or bad enough carpet that we wouldn’t feel bad about replacing. We secretly coveted a garage as well, but it wasn’t on the must-have list.

We contacted a realtor that came very highly recommended by some friends of ours, named Kelly Vinson, and set up a time to go look at a few houses. We saw four houses on the first day, the first three were terrible, terrible houses. The last house we went to was amazing! It was larger than we ever could have imagined we could afford, had four bedrooms, three bathrooms, a commercial kitchen, circular driveway and a three car garage! We were in love, and put an offer down on the spot. Twenty four hours later, the owner countered and we accepted. We were even more thrilled when we found out that our bank would be able to do an expedited closing, and we could close two days before our wedding! We were over the moon with excitement, and everything really seemed to be falling into place.

And then inspection day came…the day when all of our hopes and dreams were crushed. The house had a multitude of things wrong with it, the biggest being a water drainage issue because the house was on a hill, and water was draining straight onto (and into) the house. There was mold growing in the crawl space because of it, and bats living in there too! We were deflated, we contemplated buying it anyway and putting the money into regrading and sealing it. But in the end, and after a few days of depression, we finally decided it was time to let that house go, and put the house hunt on hold until after the honeymoon since things were beginning to get hectic due to the wedding.

As the weeks passed, we began to feel better and better about our decision to walk away, and more and more hopeful at our future possible homes. After the honeymoon it felt like we looked at a million homes. We both searched everyday online, and went at everything that seemed to have potential with our realtor. We looked at things at the top and bottom of our price range, and even one house that was WAAY over our price range. And then we began to get discouraged. I worried that by looking at houses on both ends of our price spectrum, we were having higher expectations for the pricier houses, and grossed out by the ones on the lower end. We were coming to a point where we needed to choose whether we were going to spend more and virtually all of our “renovation” budget, or buy a fixer upper and put in a lot of blood, sweat and tears (and money, don’t forget money) to make it our home.

On the eve of this discussion of narrowing down our options, our amazing realtor sent us a new listing that had just come on the market. We both looked at the pictures separately and thought to ourselves that it had potential, and that we could look at one more house before making a decision on which direction to go. We set up the appointment for the next morning and prayed that the house would be the right house.

And it turned out to be the home of our dreams!! We fell in love with it the minute we walked in the door, and put in an offer minutes later. It was the first day the house was on the market, and only one person had seen it before us.  It passed the inspection with flying colors, and virtually everyone that came in told us this was a good house. And on June 14, 2012 we closed on our house, and started to move in!!

It fit all of our qualifications and more!! It has a fantastic sized lot for the area, almost 3/4 of an acre! It also has a garage,a large master, gorgeous wood floors, and a brick front with hardy board siding, which was the next best thing to having all four sides brick. Our favorite part about the house was that it was completely move-in ready! It was crazy clean, and freshly painted in a pretty vanilla color. And the trim!!! Can I rave about all the gorgeous trim in the house, it has nice chunky base boards, and even more gorgeous crown molding throughout the entire house!! It also has a great kitchen that has lots of cabinet space and has good quality cabinets. We’re kind of excited that the kitchen was the only space that truly needs to be updated, and not so badly that it needs to be done immediately. But we’re excited to put in the work on it, and really make it our own.

So now without further ado, some gratuitous pictures of the new Meyer Manor!!

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Adventures in St Lucia

We waited 5 days after our wedding to embark on our honeymoon, and I’m quite glad we did. The wedding itself was such an exhausting event, that it was nice to be able to have a few days to rest and finish up the one event before starting the next. Unfortunately we did have to work that week, but that was good as well because before the wedding we were a little bit distracted, so it was nice to get some real work done and things wrapped up before leaving the country.
We picked a Sandals Resort in St Lucia, the La Toc resort, to spend our 7 day honeymoon. And it was phenomenal! I highly recommend it, and although we had a few ups and downs, we’d do the whole thing over in a heartbeat. We picked St Lucia for several reasons, but the biggest reason was that we wanted to choose a country that neither of us has ever been to, and somewhere we would be unlikely to ever visit by cruise ship. We had already cruised to Mexico and the Bahamas together, and Joey had been to Jamaica before as well so we decided that the coastal mountains of St Lucia would be just the right place for us.

We knew we wanted something very private, and decided to splurge on a private pool. Originally we were looking at the Sunset Bluff rooms which overlooked the bluffs and had an amazing ocean view. However, by the time we booked the room these rooms were no longer available. But we were able to book a Honeymoon Hideaway with private pool and “rainforest view” so we were pretty excited about it.

Another splurge we went with for our honeymoon was flying first class. It ended up being a necessary splurge because the long flight was booked up in coach, so we would have to sit separately, which just didn’t seem right on our honeymoon. So we spent the extra $$$ and we’re SO glad we did!! The seats were nice and comfy, we got to sit together, and we got in-flight drinks and food! We were feeling pretty spoiled by the time we got to the resort.

We did have about an hour and a half drive from the airport to the resort. But it was cool because we got to see a lot of the St Lucia countryside, drove through the rain forest, saw tons of banana trees, cocoa trees, and gorgeous ocean views. We also saw some children walking around with swords on the side of the road, which further reminded us we should probably not try to venture outside the resort on our own. I wish I’d gotten a picture, it was frightening.
When we finally arrived at the resort, it was every bit as pretty as you would expect a Sandals to be. The landscaping was very lush and had some amazing flowers.
They showed us to the concierge lounge where we sipped champagne with another couple that was also checking in and completed a little bit of paperwork. When concierge gave the other couple a key card and an old school key on a keychain to us, we got a little nervous and asked if we had an older room. We had heard that the La Toc resort was the oldest resort on the island and it had some mixed reviews online. She laughed at us for asking and said that it was a very nice room, but that it was a little more out of the way than the other rooms. And with that our baggage guy showed up and said that our room was ready, so we loaded our luggage into the van and went up to our room. We started getting even more nervous when we left the security gate at the entrance of the resort, all kinds of weird things enter your head when you’re in a foreign country and you’re addicted to horror flicks. So when we drove through the security gate to leave the resort we started having visions of “Touristas go home” but our driver assured us that it was still on the property and that it was a short walk but a little more difficult to reach by car since it was up the mountain. And sure enough we were quickly at our destination, which was a full villa!
It was essentially a little house up a little further on the mountain, it was called the Lucian Suite, and the driver stated he knew we’d be pleased. He said that this suite isn’t advertised online, and that it’s not used very often, but that when the CEO of Sandals comes, this is where he stays.
The suite was two-story, upstairs featuring a living room, kitchen, bathroom and gorgeous balcony with a beautiful view but distant view of the ocean.
Downstairs was a bedroom, walk-in closet, large bathroom with soaking tub, and another living room.
Then it opened up to the back deck which sported a large pool, hot tub and sunbathing deck. It was amazing! And we couldn’t wrap our brain around this amazing upgrade, we didn’t even ask for it!!
Almost immediately after we arrived to our room we decided to venture back to the resort to get some food because we were STARVING. We were recommended the Cricketter Pub, which is an English themed pub that had some truly amazing food! We spent most meals at this restaurant, our favorite dishes were the Shepard’s Pie, Guinness Hot Pie (think of a cross between pot pies and beef stew), Fish and Chips (this was Joey’s favorite-although one night we got adventurous and had the chef batter some chicken wings in the beer batter for me, which was delicious!!) and our favorite I think hands down, was an appetizer called a Dog Bowl, which were fries, covered in cheese, bacon, grilled onions and mushrooms! Truly delicious.
And on that first day there at the Pub we met a sweet couple from Pensacola that shared our wedding date, and went to college at Florida State. Joey and I have an uncanny knack for traveling in FSU shirts, every single time we travel we are both in FSU gear I think it’s subconscious but it never fails. I think maybe it gives us a little piece of home wherever we go. So when they saw our shirts they tomahawk chopped at us, and we had a good time talking to them, and swapping Seminole Football and Tennessee Strip stories.

After the Pub that night, we went back to our room, and enjoyed the beverages left by concierge, and our private hot tub. Our villa was very private, however we were assured when we saw a security guard & dog patrolling the area every half hour or so, although I won’t lie, we definitely called to the front desk to make sure they were really Sandals security. Lol. We’re those paranoid travelers…I guess it was the images of the children with swords earlier that day.
The next morning we got up and had breakfast in our dining room, which had been delivered by the concierge. And then we went for a quick swim before getting ready for our couples massage we had booked through the resort. The Red Lane Spa was really nice, and had a true spa feel. Our Masseuses introduced themselves and left us to get situated in the beds before returning to start the massage. It was a little comical because they do the massages in the dark. So we were in pitch blackness trying to arrange ourselves on the massage table, which was a disaster for someone as clumsy as me. I could tell it made Joey a little nervous too cause he talked virtually the entire hour we were there for the massage. He said later it was to keep me from falling asleep, which probably would have happened…so well played. 🙂
But despite the silly awkwardness, it was a wonderful massage, and I’m really glad we did it. Although it was interesting to experience the difference between a massage in the US which of course is highly regulated and requires a license, etc. and a massage in the islands, I’m pretty sure the masseuses were not of the same qualifications as US massage therapists. But either way it felt great and it was some much needed relaxation after the wedding and the long flight to St Lucia.
After the massage we hit up Neptune’s for lunch, which is a restaurant right on the beach that is mostly vegetarian dishes, although it was also a pizza parlor, so of course that’s why we were there. And the pizza was pretty delicious, although nothing to write home about, but it certainly filled our pizza needs for the week.

Joey forgot to bring his hat to the pool that day so he borrowed mine…

The rest of the day/night I’m embarrassed to say, we spent reading the Hunger Games series. We actually spent most of the week reading this series. Joey’s brother, Jason, bought us two copies of the first book as part of our wedding gift and loaned us his copies of the second and third book.
Joey started reading the first book on the plane ride over, and was pretty into it by the time we arrived in St Lucia. But because we only had 1 copy of the second and third book, I tried to pace myself slightly behind him so we wouldn’t finish at the same time. So I fiddled with setting up the wi-fi and uploading honeymoon photos to facebook while he read the first night.

This is my job while I’m in the pool, I’m neurotic about it! So I was happy to find that a skimmer came with the pool…

On the third day, we planned to lay out and read and enjoy our pool and lounge chairs. The morning started out great, played in the pool and made ourselves some Rum & Cokes poolside. We’d had trouble with the upstairs air conditioner from the moment we got there, which didn’t matter too much since we mostly lived in the downstairs portion of the villa. But we mentioned it to anyone that would listen that worked for the resort, and FINALLY they sent a maintenance person to come and look at it. They came around 1pm or so, and the maintenance man met us out at the pool to let us know he would be inside working on it. Awhile later Joey went inside to go get a hat or something from the closet….what he found was a flooded closet. After yelling upstairs for the maintenance man, it was learned that the hot water heater had burst. After a little bit he came out to let us know that we should probably go ahead and pack up, because we would need to move rooms. With heavy hearts we finished our drinks and headed inside to pack up again. Joey was very concerned that we would not be able to find a room to rival the villa we’d been living the high life in…I agreed, however it was a necessary move and I decided not to worry about it until we at least saw our next room.

We packed up our stuff and called over to concierge to find out what the new plan was. The woman at the desk seemed as though this was the first she had heard of our “move”. She said she would call us back shortly. About an hour later we were starving and stressed out, so we decided to walk down to the resort, check in with concierge and then get lunch. The concierge desk said that they were moving us to the Sunset Bluffs, and that the room wasn’t ready yet but that they would send someone to get our bags and then we should go back to the desk when we were done with lunch. So on we went to lunch at our favorite English Pub, and went back to the concierge about an hour later. The room was ready but they had not moved our bags. They were sending a shuttle to take us back to the villa to retrieve the luggage, and then take us to our new room. At this point Joey was seeing red, he was tired of the poor service we had been receiving (which I haven’t elaborated too much in this post cause it’s not worth the breath) and was convinced that our new room was going to be terrible. I was secretly looking forward to the room because the Sunset Bluff suites were the reason we picked the resort. We fell in love with the pictures of them on the website, and at the time they were all booked, which is why we settled for the Honeymoon Hideaway, but in the end it was better because the room we bought was about a thousand less than the Sunset room.

When we got there I will say that it was a little disappointing given our previous digs. However, the room was gorgeous and really more well suited for our needs. It was still two story, and had a private pool, although much smaller and less impressive than the original. However it did have an AMAZING view….How can you be upset with this view???
But aside from the amazing view, we also felt a lot safer in the new location, since it was actually on Sandals property….and while we were a little concerned that we’d lose some privacy due to  neighbors, in the end it wasn’t a big deal. Except we could see our “senior” neighbors to the left sunbathing naked from our bedroom window…but once we figured that out we tried to stay away from the window…lol. The maid prepared a pretty bedscape for us too!
The only real complaint we had with the whole trip was that the concierge desk was not super helpful…but in their defense, both of the rooms we stayed in were designed as butler rooms but because we didn’t pay the butler price we didn’t get the butler service. And since it was typically butler rooms, concierge tended to forget about us. So if we had to do it all over again we’d probably splurge and get the butler suite. But all that being said we had an amazing rest of the vacation.
The next few days we spent lounging around in our pool and reading the Hunger Games. We ate most of our breakfasts at the Italian restaurant near our room, and had a few lunches there as well. We also had reservations at a Japanese place named Kimonos which was a hibatchi style restaurant. The restaurant was gorgeous and the food was good too. Although the servers were very militant so we were a little afraid after we’d already been yelled at when we arrived late to our reservation (we were there promptly at 6:30 which is what time we thought we had reservations, but it turned out our reservation was at 6pm) which is understandable since it’s hibatchi so it’s more like dinner and a show…but they were able to work us in at 7pm and it was no big deal. The chef was awesome, his name was Myer which we thought was funny since that’s so similar to our last name.
We also had dinner reservations at the La Toc restaurant which is a dressy French restaurant that we really liked. They had this amazing chocolate mousse dessert that was to die for. I also found out that I didn’t like crème brulee, but luckily I had ordered the chocolate mousse as a backup second dessert.

I think our favorite thing we did in St Lucia was the Joe Knows Tour. I had read reviews about it, and they were all very positive, so I was glad we were able to book it through Sandals. It’s a tour owned by a man named Joe, and as you can guess Joe knows St Lucia!  They shuttled us over to the harbor where we loaded onto a speed boat with 9 other couples from our resort. The boat took us on an ocean tour of the island where they showed us where they filmed various movies, and took us by the celebrity homes of Oprah (hers was still in construction), Mick Jagger, and George Foreman.
All while sipping on delicious rum punch and rum & cokes. Then they drove us out to the Pitons, which are the volcanoes on the island.
Then we docked and took a van to the foot of the Pitons to take a dip in the sulfur springs. Yes, it smells just like it sounds. The island legend is that bathing in the sulfur springs will take 10 years off, our guide told Joey it would make him grow dreadlocks like his. Joey gave it his best shot to rub it in good on his scalp, but still no dreadlocks for poor Mr. Smitty.
Next stop was the waterfall. Please excuse the unfortunateness of these pics, the sulfur mud was really heavy and weighed down my bathing suit, making it a little indecent. Also, it should be noted that the ground underneath the waterfall was gravel and crazy painful to walk and stand on in bare feet, hence the painful look on my face and the falling down picture.
Then we went to lunch at a local restaurant that was really good.
After lunch we got back on the boat and drove around for a bit. This is when the real drinking started…They had brought two bottles of the locally made rum that’s called Bounty (“The Spirt of St Lucia”) And it was delicious!!! So delicious that we ran out shortly after we got back on the boat. The guides said this is the first time they had ever run out during a tour. I guess they under estimated the age group that was on board. So, shockingly they docked us outside of a small village on the island while one of our tour guides hopped off and went on a liquor store run which took FOREVER. But when he came back, he came back with this:
Yes, that is a bottle of 160 proof rum. I didn’t know that this existed in life, and it probably shouldn’t. It is lethal. And we took shots from it. Looking back on it I cringe, as I’m sure that Joe Knows’ insurance company would cringe too. It burned soo bad I thought my tastebuds and throat would never be the same. It was painful. And also pretty disgusting since we drank it straight out of the bottle with 9 other couples. Sigh. I guess when it’s 160 proof it self-sterilizes…but still gross.

It burns….

Haha that photo of Joey really sums up that 160 proof rum. And we knocked it back pretty fast, and then the insanity commenced.

Our tour guide BK who made the pit stop to get the rum

We had a blast, and I highly recommend the Joe Knows tour to anyone who goes to St Lucia!!! We saw a lot of cool stuff, like one of the places they filmed Pirates of the Caribbean (photo below)

One of the caverns where they shot Pirates…I recognized it immediately when we arrived

You’ll notice the people standing on the side of the cliff in the picture above, those were children that were cliff diving and swimming up to the boat to get tips for their “entertainment” it was awkward.

Joey taking a pit stop at the Pirates location 🙂

Something that I should note when I talk about our Joe Knows Tour, is that they took us snorkeling…which was awesome, and better than any tour based snorkeling trip (or really any snorkeling trip I’ve ever been on)! They took us to a marine reserve, which was awesome because we didn’t have to worry about boats driving over us, and there was a lot of great sea life. However they passed out the snorkeling equipment and explicitly said “These masks were made in China, they sink, do not drop them….” Immediately following, what does Little Smitty (nickname for Jessica) do but promptly drop them overboard before even getting it on her face. In a panic, I immediately dove off the ship after the snorkel. However, because I have contacts and can’t open my eyes underwater without said mask, this was entirely unproductive other than to inhale a large amount of salt water. This wasn’t my first rodeo, so I am very ashamed that this happened, but I chalk it up to the drinking. I’m sure the Joe Knows sponsored insurance company would cringe to hear that, and they’ll really cringe when they hear the rest of the story. So I jump over board impromptu, which gets Joey (aka Big Smitty) anxious. I turn up empty handed with my mask/snorkel, however luckily the tour guide and others have masks and can quickly find my mask and dive to the depths to retrieve it. Big Smitty, in his anxst, jumps in after me, but doesn’t quite clear the ship….his knee hits the side of the ship, and on impact with the water he screams. One of the tour guides on board freaks out, and asks if he’s alright. Joey says he’s fine, but that he definitely did not clear the ship when he leapt. The tour guide looks at the boat, and looks at Joey and is like “Seriously, are you ok?” Joey’s like yeah yeah I’m fine, and we continue on with our snorkel, with Joey leaving a trail of blood behind us. The whole time we snorkel we’re a little concerned about sharks what with the trail of blood he’s leaving. Finally, we decide to return to the ship due to the amount of blood he’s leaving and the salt water sting he’s feeling. And not a moment too soon, because around that time they start calling us back, probably due to the increased number of shark fins the captain started noticing…just kidding. Anyway, we get back on board, and I see where Joey hit the side, and god how I wish I’d taken a picture, because it was epic!!! The side of the boat had a sand paper like texture where he hit his knee, and it was covered in hair, skin, and blood. It was disgusting but also kind of amazing, and I’m still kicking myself for not having a photo. They kept telling us “Joe Knows no paperwork…” haha. They were sure we were going to sue, so they were extra nice to Joey for the rest of the trip.

Sandals beach

They dropped us off at our resort at the end of the trip, and we swam back to shore just before the storm rolled in. We went back to our room and went to bed early after all that rum. The next day we slept in, had a leisurely breakfast and soaked up some sun in our pool for the last day at Sandals. And of course we spent our last meal at the Cricketer, our favorite English pub at the resort.

Cheers on our last night

The flight back was uneventful, other than the plane ride back was longer due to the winds, and I had neglected to pack any entertainment for Joey, not expecting him to have finished the three Hunger Games novels, which he did during the trip. And unfortunately our flight back did not have personal televisions, and while it had an in-flight movie of Mission Impossible Ghost Protocol, which we we wanted to see, it was basically on VCR and had really bad tracking and messed up volume, so we opted out. So the flight back was NOTICEABLY longer than the flight there, but still not bad in the grand scheme of things.

And once home, we luckily had the weekend to decompress, and be happy to be back in the states before returning to work. Now that we’re three months passed, we really miss St Lucia, and lovingly say we’ll return for our five year anniversary.
Time will tell if that will actually occur, but in the meantime we dream of St Lucian sunsets

The Reception

A gallery of the notable wedding photos

Courtesy of J & J Weddings