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Joey and Sandra’s Guide to Where to Go and What to Do in Riviera Maya, Mexico PLUS Joey’s Advice for Proposing on Vacation *Exclusive*
We need to apologies for the late blog. Let’s just say this year is really stressing us the hell out! Ok, so its not a bad stress, its actually a good stress, but when we said that 2011 was going to be a big year for us, we didn’t realize how BIG it was going to be. We aren’t quite ready to spill the beans, but lets just say, good things do come eventually, and you just really need to hold on for the ride because its exciting, bumpy, scary and nerve wrecking. “Good stress” has consumed our lives, and apparently, its only going to get better from here. So we continue to wake up everyday and say “holy shit” and are grateful for the wonderful chaos that has been bestowed upon us. Its not everyday we get good fortune, that’s for sure. We may be taking our time with our risks, but the end result will be worth the wait. By weeding out the bad energy that surrounded us for so long, we think we may have found a path that works for us. Winning? Yup, you betcha…
OK, well this blog is about our vacation to Riviera Maya, Mexico, but the truth is, it’s also about the vacation where I did the inevitable and lost a bet; I proposed to Sandra. Yes, I lost a bet (I gave in, what can I say…) and I did what every single guy out there dreads and what every girl fantasizes about: I asked Sandra to marry me. I planned this vacation knowing that I was doing this. I mean, I didn’t go into this blind sided or whatever, I knew that she was obsessed with the same things I am: Beach, Sand, and relaxing, so I wanted to “do the right thing” and propose where she would feel most comfortable. We went to our travel agent, Carmen, whom I have known for a long time, and we decided that we wanted to go there. What Sandra didn’t know was I was in cahoots with Carmen planning the biggest moment of Sandra’s life and it was a serious secret operation to carry out the surprise. Sandra is like a friggin’ detective; she figures everything out and you can never surprise her because for some reason she puts things together very quickly, and of course there are “rats”. That’s why no one but Carmen and Sandra’s father knew what my intentions were.
Ok, which brings up a side note: I asked Sandra’s father for “her hand in marriage”. It’s a respect thing. I respect her father very much, and I think that it’s absolutely necessary to do this. Why? Because, Sandra is very close with her dad (or as she calls him Daddy) and I think it was not only out of respect, but also in my opinion, I was looking for his approval with taking care of his “princess” for the rest of my life (why me?). When I told him what I planned on doing on a ride to Home Depot, he simply turned around asked “Are you sure? She didn’t pressure you did she” (I love the brutal honesty). The truth was she didn’t pressure me. A number of factors did affect this decision 1) I do love her. 2) I was turning 30 3) She really is my best friend 4) She tolerates my antics, and gives it right back. So while I thought only Carmen the travel agent and her father only knew, I was wrong. Because the minute we got on that plane, her whole family knew (her daddy is a rat, LoL). Excited much? You better believe it. Now back to the story.
Riviera Maya, Mexico (Playa Del Carmen) is a gorgeous place with luxury resorts compacted into a touristy and Americanize vacation spot. We decided to go here because it wasn’t Cancun (nothing wrong with Cancun but I wanted a spot not party infested. I was proposing, so you need to be romantic. Ugh nauseas again), and it was really appealing with the whole luxury thing. My philosophy is this: if I’m going to do something big, it’s going to be done right or not done at all. So we booked a weeks vacation, and I began planning the big surprise. Now here’s my tip for all you unfortunate suckers (myself included) looking to do what I did; Get a replica of the engagement ring made. Sandra’s ring is not small and not cheap. And I wasn’t about to bring something that costly to a foreign place and have her lose the stone or worse, have it stolen. So what was suggested to me by Carmen was to have a replica made (which was CZ in a white gold setting) and bring the fake with me. This way, now when we travel, she wears the replica and the real one stays home locked up in a safe. I also made the replica a little smaller too. It was an evil trick. I wish you could have seen her when we got home and I gave her the real one. Priceless. Gentleman, its not a joke, Diamonds are a girls best friend. Clutching her heart as I told her the Diamonds characteristics still makes me laugh to this day.
So when planning a proposal on a vacation, I recommend you book through an agent. For one, you have a confidant. Secondly, it’s someone who will help you with the preparations for the trip, and they help with making sure the hotel executes the plan perfectly. The day after the big night, we returned to our room to champagne, strawberries and a towel baby. Yes, a towel baby. I guess they were being funny. Everyday we had towel animals, that Thursday we had a towel baby. Good times. But that’s why you should book through an agent. She knew my plan, she shared it with the hotel and the hotel made the event that more special. All I had to do was pay and be there. That’s another thing with the travel agent. When Sandra and I booked we booked another type of room, the next day, Carmen and I changed and upgraded everything. I know; I went behind her back and spent more money. But I wanted this vacation to be memorable. I didn’t mind spending the money because it had a real purpose behind it. It’s ok to go all out with the intention of something like a proposal. By the way, the hotel was in on it. They said they upgraded us for free, (bullshit) and it threw Sandra off completely.
Sandra can tell you the date and time I proposed. She tells me it was Wednesday, July 23rd, at 11PM in the evening. See that. I did it right. She remembers the event perfectly. Oh and she also remembers the fight I had to fake with her 4 hours prior to that. I had to fake a fight in order to get the ring out of my suitcase, so don’t be mad at me and I better not get emails about how typical that is. We had just gotten back from the beach, and I know she hates when I pull the whole “jealous boyfriend” act, so I pulled a fast one and started an argument. She really hates that shit. To the point that she tends to storm out of the room to get away from me before she turns into Sandrazilla. She locked herself in the bathroom to get ready for like an hour. Which was perfect because it took me that long to get the ring box out of the suitcase. By the time I got it open and hidden away in my pocket, she showered, did her hair, makeup and cooled down. And yes I said sorry. After I proposed and I told her it was a fake fight, she said she wanted to kill me for doing something so stupid. But it was the only thing I knew to do that wasn’t obvious.
We will tell you all about the resort in a bit, but after having a Mexican dinner and downing a few Mojitos, we went for a walk. Tradition for us is to take a picture at the typical gazebo that usually is stationed on or near the beach, and sure enough, that was where I planned on having it go down. So I tell her to go stand in the Gazebo so I can take a picture, and she does. Now here comes my slick moment; I remove the box from my pocket and I say “I think you should put this on and than take a picture”. Well everyone, Sandra is a girlie girl who can’t catch to save her life. The box bounces off her face, and drops to the ground. I can see her face expression change too “ Joe! I told you not to buy me jewelry! What the hell is wrong with you?!” She thought I bought her earrings. I tend to buy her jewelry, and since we were going on this trip she said no extras. Well if you saw her face when she realized for the 1st time in her life that she was actually surprised and that in fact it was an engagement ring, than I’m sure the “awwwwsss” would be over abundant. The best part was she wouldn’t let me get a word in edgewise; “Ohmigod,” laughter ”Ohmigod” crying ”Shut up” laughter “shut up” crying. Before I could even ask she said Yes. My job here is done. Bring on the 2 years of wedding planning, a reality TV show and tons of headaches.
So here are my tips for Proposals On Vacations. Trust me, if she is anything like Sandra, you need to plan this out and be sneaky about it.
1) Work with a trustworthy travel agent. That person will take care of the hotel for you while you plan the rest
2) Take her to a place that she will love and remember forever
3) Make a replica of the actual engagement ring. Your spending enough on the real one, so be smart and bring the fake
4) Make sure you have a camera. Because Sandra’s face was priceless. But I wish I videoed it instead so I can show you how funny it was.
5) When in doubt, fake a fight lol
Riviera Maya, Mexico
Hotel- Hotel Riu Palace Riviera Maya http://www.riu.com/en/Paises/mexico/playa-del-carmen/hotel-riu-palace-riviera-maya/index.jsp
Joey and Guide to Where to Go and What to Do in Playa Del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico
1) We mentioned this when we wrote about Jamaica, but we really want to mention it again: Book a room at an all-inclusive hotel. The benefits are endless. Spend the extra money and book the Riu Palace while you’re at it. The room was beautiful, spacious and there is a mini bar with premium liquor at your fingertips. And if that’s not enough, check out the Riu’s gorgeous hotel. You feel like your staying in an actual palace. The landscape is exquisite; tropical, lush and worth every penny. Ok, there are a few things to know. The entertainment at a place like this is a little cheesy, with lip-synching performances and over theatrical dances, but you have to hand it to them, those people bust their asses every night with there over the top stage shows. So you just drink and enjoy it.
2) Ok here is one our favorite tips: You must take an excursion and Swim with the Dolphins! We can’t begin to tell you what an amazing and awe inspiring experience that was. Dolphins are one of the creatures in the world that somehow relate to humans. They are kind, sweet and so incredible. We went to a great place where there were seals, walruses, dolphins, string rays, and sharks. No we didn’t swim with sharks. That would be stupid of us. When you go, they put you in a group of 6 (9 is the max) and put a life jacket on you. Than the dolphins are introduced to you. You learn about them, and like dogs and cats, they warm up to you. Than the fun starts. Besides the dolphin kiss (Sandra- Yes, they peck you on the cheek. So cute!) they perform tricks with you. They lift you out of the water (ladies, bikini tops better be tight) and they toss you and it’s an experience! They sing to you too! For all those animal activist out there, they are treated better than most humans we know (Sandra- ok I’m going to clarify this now too. I personally do not believe in animal abuse. I think it’s disgusting what some people do to animals. So I spoke to the trainers and they told me that these animals are literally their children. They are loved, treated with love and affection, and if that’s not enough, they habitat for which they live in resembles their actual home. They rescue sea animals too. Its very humane, and if it weren’t, trust me, I wouldn’t be telling you about how great this place was. Joey and I are animal people. We would have hurt someone if we saw anything we didn’t like.)
3) The hotel allowed the locals to come on special nights to sell artwork, jewelry and other amazing things. Tip: Support the locals! We met a sweet man who sold us the most beautiful paintings, made of paint, wax and fire. We told his son how we collect beach paintings, and we wanted him to paint us images of the beaches from Mexico. With that, the son told his father and we received, within 15 minutes, the most detailed, romantic paintings we ever got. We spent twenty dollars American Money. Twenty dollars American money can go so far in a foreign country.
4) The staff at the Riu was wonderful. We had a great time hanging out with the staff and we made a friend for life from there (we aren’t going to say his name because he may get in trouble for us saying this but he knows who he is). He made sure we were never thirsty lol. And he would always, one way or another; make it a point to do a shot of tequila with us. Between the tequila and Mexican beer (coronas!!) we learnt that we could never out drink him. And he breaks records by the way, for drinking beer the fastest we have ever seen. We would like to see someone down a pint in less than 15 seconds like he can. Without choking. The staff is usually amazing at these places. Tip: Ask them for their drink recommendations and get out of that Pina Colada Mindset. When in Mexico, drink the Mexican beer (which is so refreshing, and its not just Corona’s people) and drink tequila. “Una cerveza por favor!”
5) Sandra- ohohoh this is my FAVORITE excursion EVER!!! Ok so Joey and I decided to go on an adventure and visit a Mayan temple. I have a sick obsession with that kind of stuff. Anyway, you travel about into the jungle to an ancient Mayan village, and yes, you learn about their “doomsday” calendar (I am not getting into that by the way. Don’t really believe it) and you learn about their culture. They use to have these great warrior sports (Joey is doing a warrior run this summer, and its nothing compared to what they once did) and they had all these rituals and sacrifices. But the real kicker, the big “what the hell were we smoking” moment was when we climbed one the temples. Stupidest thing we have ever done, hands down. First you have to go deep into the jungle, and this man on a bike with a wagon takes you. Than you see the signs “Climb at your own risk…” Yeah… did I mention how stupid we are? We arrive, and there it is, this huge Mayan temple. Joey and I thought we had this, being that we are gym goers and pride ourselves on doing things that push our limits. Going up was the easy part. We made it up there no problem. We just didn’t realize how far up we were. We sat at the very top and looked down. Dumb move on our part. We realized that it was steep and that this was the dumbest thing we ever did lol. Eventually, we started the climb down, on our butts, one steep step at a time. Was it worth it? I would say yes. Was it dumb? I would say yes. But sometimes you need to do dumb things to get over fears in your life. And it was an adventure. So my tip: Embrace the adventure! Because you have one life. So live it.
6) While in Mexico we were able to sample some of the finer imports, and one being Cigars. Joey- well not Sandra, but I did. I normally don’t smoke cigars, just on a rare occasion. This was the night after I proposed and I decided that since I did “the right thing” I deserved one. From what I can remember, it was pretty good, and I really enjoyed it. Just enjoy what they have in Mexico.
7) Our resort was located in a touristy part of Playa Del Carmen. So were able to enjoy Carlos & Charlie’s and Senior Frogs one night. Sandra- Ok ladies, listen very carefully. Senior Frogs has some great drinks, but there is a nasty drink that I think I should warn you about. A shot girl was coming around offering shots, and I figured “why not?” Yeah, well after I got my shot, which was strong to begin with, she blew a whistle, grabbed my boobs and shook them. I don’t have very large breast, I’m known for my ass. Joey thought it was the funniest thing he ever seen. I didn’t know what to do with myself. It was kind of funny because I’m tipsy, a chick just grabbed my chest and if that’s not enough, Joey is laughing so hard he’s crying. But I’m a good sport. I told her she should have grabbed my butt; at least I have that. And I tipped her lol. Tip: Go to Carlos & Charlie’s and Senor Frogs. And let your inhibitions go.
8) Legends and Myths are everywhere. So when we landed in Mexico, we were determined to find “el chupacabra”. No, just kidding, we would never want to find that thing. We saw this large rat/dog/ant eater creature one night. The employee was laughing at us because we ran from it. He said it’s their version of a mouse/squirrel and its harmless. Well, sorry, we grew up in NY and we run from rats (because usually they are the size of cats.) But in all do seriousness; make it a point to listen to the stories. It’s actually really interesting (Um, hello, the Mayans had a Doomsday Calendar. That caught my attention!)
9) Lets set the record straight. Mexican Food is different than the American Mexican food we get here. In fact, it’s so different; we prefer the authentic version to the American. And don’t expect it to be anything like Taco Bell. Think cornmeal, rice, beans, seafood, spices, and fresh vegetables and fruit. If you can, get your hands on fresh avocado, coconut and homemade cooking. You will be pleasantly surprised by how different the flavors are. And it’s not a bad thing. We worked out and ate clean for 3 months prior to this trip and any vacation. It’s nice to enjoy a meal and not worry about the calories. You don’t feel bad eating it because it’s so fresh, and overall, it’s healthy. So trick your mind and succumb to the foods the Mexico produces.
10) Ok so as of lately, Mexico has gotten a bad reputation, and it really has made some people shy away from going there. Well, can we suggest something? Respect the land and their people and the laws of the country. And above all travel where it’s safe! Places like Riviera Maya strive off of the tourism. So if you want to be technical, its Americanized and safe. If you are told to avoid certain areas, why bother going there? Stay where they advise you to stay. It’s that simple.
Joey and Sandra’s Top 5 Things to Experience in Mexico
1) Swim with the Dolphins
2) Visit the Mayan Temples
3) Go to Carlos & Charlie’s (http://www.carlosandcharlies.com/playadelcarmen/index.htm ) and Senor Frogs (http://www.senorfrogs.com/playadelcarmen/index.htm )
4) Drink Mexican Beer and Tequila (http://dosequis.com/)
5) Enjoy the locals and embrace their talents for art and crafted goods
Mexico is one of those places that we will never forget, because lets face it, a lot happened there for us…We got engaged there lol. We sometimes talk about going back, and we may just do that someday. As always, you can visit trip advisor for more details. Next time, we want to share with you a place that is very important to us. We want to share our heritage, and bring you to Italy. It was one of the most influential trips of our lives, and we feel its imperative to inspire you to visit a magnificent country such as Italy.
What’s Good Everyone?
Ok so a little about the website. For starters, we are trendsetters. We wanted to promote ourselves with a website that would inspire and keep you party ready. Now we know for a fact we will have our, well, haters and imitators and that’s all good. But in the end, those who think ahead prevail. We wanted to expand past the whole Facebook world. We want you coming back to this website time and time again, by providing you a soundtrack of loud, outrageous house music, visuals like pictures and video (both candid and professional), and insider access to the show. Facebook was just the beginning. This was the next phase. And like we said before, we think ahead so there’s plenty more where that came from.
So the show premiered without a hitch. I think it’s safe to say that Joey and I look pretty friggin’ good on camera. MBFW is going to be a great show that’s for sure. And there’s TONS of exciting things coming that may benefit our fans! We were able to provide both LIVE tweets and facebook post and thats just the begining. We hope you enjoyed our commentary…
Much thanks to Di Re’s Tuxedo in Franklin Square, NY. Joe, the owner, is the perfect character for a wedding show. Literally, I think Joey drove them insane but in the end, Joey found something unique, fashionable and perfect. Not going to tell you what color vest he got though. You’re going to have to wait.
And we want to thank Mario and Danielle at the Electric Beach Club, in Lynbrook, NY. They have the best tanning beds and by far the best selection of lotions ever. A tan is something that we thought was imperative in preparation for the wedding. I mean, you don’t want to be orange, but you don’t want to be pale either. Moderation people, moderation… If you must know, we prefer to use “Black” a tanning lotion that enhances your tan. Don’t ever tan without a lotion. You won’t get color and you will likely burn.
Ok, so in case your were wondering, yes, we had to have a blackout party. That was the 1st day of filming. We won’t begin to tell you the drama surrounding the first day of filming. We must have had a hurricane or something because not only did we lose power for almost 9 hours, but half our guest list couldn’t even get to our house! Trees were down everywhere, there was flooding, thunder, lightning, freezing rain and it was dangerous. You would have thought the world was coming to an end. However, we still partied strong, in the dark nonetheless and it was all good. We know how to throw a party that’s for shit sure. Ask anyone we know; we are the king and queen of parties.
Some interesting information and advice:
We started working on My Big Friggin’ Wedding prior to the other couples, with Johnny and Megin right behind us. We never met the other couples until recently at a photo shoot for the ads that you are seeing EVERYWHERE (supposedly). The both of us took this project on to show America (and some other parts of the world) what wedding planning was really like. Its not all fairy tales and hearts; it’s a second job. So you can imagine the stress that is involved when planning a wedding. Now add cameras. Yeah, it was rough.
We always tell everyone to enjoy being engaged. It’s the best time of your life. With several of our friends recently taking the plunge (congrats! We love you guys and we are there for you!), we understand the feelings and emotions that they are going to experience along the way. It’s the most exciting, exhilarating and wonderful thing in the world! But there will be days when you’re ready to kill each other over something as stupid as a tuxedo vest color! And let me tell you, it’s NORMAL. Don’t let those idiots out there tell you otherwise. They happen to be living in a dream world. And they need a therapist.
So if you’re a bride or groom to be, and you have questions or need advice, post it on the wall at www.facebook.com/joeyandsandra or post it here. We have seen it all. Trust us, sometimes it’s not pretty! Just take Joey’s advice and “Don’t Do IT!” j/k >;-)
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Ciao Ciao. ~ Sandra and Joey C