Afternoon tea at the Rittenhouse Hotel

I know I had previously stated that I was back but I was attacked again (on the internet). I am seriously back now and ready to blog again. I imported a lot of my old posts but they seem to be missing pictures. Just, forget about it. Let’s pretend that I’m starting over with this blog post 🙂

So in September I went to visit my American best friend, D. You can visit his blog at Milky Days. One of the things we did (I had to do), was go to afternoon tea. We went to the The Rittenhouse Hotel in Philadelphia.

We were 15 minutes late which is well within the grace period, at least in Toronto. They had told us off upon arrival. My mood turned sour immediately.


The tier. Yum. Actually, it’s been a while so I don’t really remember much but I remember commenting on how it’s surprisingly delicious. (Clearly, I had very low expectations for food in Philadelphia)


Sammies (No one gave a poop about my dietary restriction or whatever. Thanks for serving me chicken.)


Scones!


As usual, I am pretty sure I didn’t really eat much of this.


Their tea set is reminiscent of the ones at The Fairmont Royal York in Toronto.


Here is my American BFF looking posh as usual.

And I’ll leave you with a picture of Duffy & … some other Duffy who is not as cute because he has imperfections. Sorry.

If you are ever in Philadelphia, you should definitely go. Don’t be late unless you’d like to hear a sermon.

Rittenhouse hotel
Website
210 West Rittenhouse Square
Philadelphia, PA
T: 215-546-9000

I promise my posts in 2013 will be of the same calibre as my older posts. I’m just a little rusty and the fact that I am writing about things from a long time ago doesn’t help. TTYLXOX.

Hola (On cruise ships and hiking…)

I got back from my cruise trip on the Jewel of the Seas (Royal Caribbean) to Costa Maya and Cozumel a while ago but just never got the chance to blog. Prior to my trip I was extremely upset because I got a stye (some eyelid infection). FML! I couldn’t wear make up for a few days. I didn’t want to show my face to the outside world! It persisted until day 3 of my trip?

Anyway, blablabla (insert airport fiasco that I don’t really care to talk about because there’s a dedicated post over at my bff’s blog).

So the ship was bigger than I expected. And it was far nicer than I thought it would be. I mean, I heard what people have told me and what I’ve read on reviews so I was a bit apprehensive about the cabins, the carpeting, the quality of stuff etc etc.

Here is my green suitcase full of clothes and .. well Duffy clothes as well! I am definitely not one of those light packers. I try and get everything into the suitcase so my hand carry bag is just my passport, food, and Duffy. This time i packed a bunch of magazines too. In the end, I was too tired to read any of the magazines. I have read 3 out of the 6 I brought along. Two of which, I read in the airport before take off. And 1, I read at home just a few days ago. Mr. S and I, however, did spend a good amount of time on the crosswords, kenken, and logic activity booklet I made before we went. (There even was a colouring book section and I also bought crayons).

First off – here are pictures of the cruise.

There are 13 floors on this ship!


You had the option to eat at different places on the ship. Here is the main dining room where we usually have dinner. This picture was taken after breakfast.


The pool deck on the 11th floor. This is where the outdoor pool is and the hot tubs. There’s also another pool indoors for adults only, and a kiddie pool on the 12th floor). Oh P.S. If you are afraid of heights, going that high up in the darkness is not a great idea… It was windy when Mr.S and I went on the 13th floor – outside deck. I was pretty freaked out.

So there are a lot of things to do on the cruise. If I may say so – a lot more than a resort. Well mostly because we’d rather bask in the sun on the beach for the most part. Anyway, one of the days, they had a cake decorating thing.

One instructor, one guy who is a pro, one is a staff member who is not a pro, and an audience member.


I mean, it’s not what I expected. I expected fondant and whatever but I love me some Black Forest cake!


One of the things that is common with resorts or in this case, cruises are towel animals. Some fun hotels do it too but let me tell you, the Hilton does not. Lol.

I’ll leave you with a picture of me – ready for Tropical night! Yep, the cruise has theme nights for dinner! Fun!

Tell me, what do you do to keep yourself company on the plane? What items do you always have to pack?

🙂

Ronald McDonald House – Home for Dinner program

What is RMH? Ronald McDonald House accommodates families whose children are receiving treatment for serious illness at area hospitals. (read more here)

What is the Home for Dinner program? The families staying at RMH are living away from home and with all the stress that they go through, it would be tough to get in a decent meal, managing their time from the hospital, etc. So, RMH has the Home for Dinner program for companies to volunteer their time to cook dinner for the families.

I originally heard of it through my previous employment. I wanted to sign up but the date in which they were planning to go, I was meant to transfer to my new/current position. So, I gathered a group of my friends and we went sometime last year. It was a bit stressful only because it was an old kitchen, things didn’t work, and we also ran out of some items. (Though we had an abundance of some items as well) We definitely went over our budget.

The new Ronald McDonald House building was completed late in 2011. We really wanted to try our hand at cooking for a bigger group. We had an estimate of 70 people given to us. We really needed to plan this out. We haphazardly came up with a menu via e-mail and bought our ingredients and met the day of.


Here is the RMH kitchen. There’s chef Duffy! They actually have 12 kitchens (stove top ovens and sinks) but we were only able to use six. And at the end of the day, we only used 4.


While we waited for our friends, we had our lunch, which is quinoa with eggplant parm. (Although no Parmesan was used, it was actually Havarti) Very yum! I especially loved the quinoa. I cooked it with chicken broth instead of water to give it more of a flavour.

After Amanda arrived, we started with getting everything ready. Just to let you know, it was from 3PM and dinner was to be served at 6PM. Some prep work was done at home (e.g. washing and cutting the romaine lettuce, slicing bread). The three of us (Amanda, Mr.S and I) proceeded to place the bread on trays, pre-heat the ovens (because the new fan-dangled ovens don’t work and tell you the most obvious things – The door is open. – YES, I KNOW!!!). Then we garlic buttered some of the cheese and even included cheese in some of them. Cheese bread was the most popular and we ran out very fast. Eventually Chris came, and we started cutting up peppers, and stuff. Finally Danny and Kelly arrived (who had the tomatoes for us to stew).

Our menu:
– Caesar salad
– Chili
– Garlic bread
– Ice cream
– Fruits


Mr.S posing while stirring the chili pot.


Chris happily stirring another chili pot. (We had four at one point then they merged into 3)


Danny, just posing. 🙂


Amanda, drinking up the left over lemon juice. No picture of her sucking on the lemon though. LOL. This reminds me of the time where we went to dinner and she slurped the lemon water you wash your hands in… <3
Final results | Assorted bread: garlic bread, buttered bread, and cheese bread. We ran out about 15 minutes into the dinner. I assumed people would grab 2 slices, not a million. This will better prepare us for next time.


FInal results | The salad that we painstakenly washed/chopped and tossed on the day of. We bought way too much. Although someone did take a whole bowl-ful for herself so maybe 7 heads of lettuce for the whole group of people. I will remember to bring more dressing (but they have their own so it’s not a big deal)


Chili!!! (this is from scratch btw)


Slightly spicier chili ahaha!


Plateful of yum.


Icecream!

It was a success. There were about 50 people who showed up. We were out of chili by the end of the night. It seems that the dinner the night before was also chili. Although probably not as successful because we saw their leftovers in the fridge. (smirk)


Their industrial dishwasher. Cleans your plates in under 2 minutes. “It was really fun” to quote Kelly, whose picture I did not post because it would’ve been just a picture of her head covered by her iphone.

Just to give you an idea of how much was spent, here is our tally:

I hope my post inspires you to volunteer for your local Ronald McDonald House! You can also volunteer for movie nights (that’s a weekly commitment though), and lots of other things. I don’t do these things for the thanks we get but it’s always nice to hear compliments from the families after dinner.

Introduction to a new family member + PTR (pre-trip report) part 1

Yeah, I caved and bought Shellie May from ebay. Sure, I could’ve waited til I went to Japan to TDS etc etc but who knows when that will be. SO, I bought her off ebay for $68USD + $15USD shipping. Well worth the money if you ask me. I mean if you truly want something, you shouldn’t be afraid to treat yourself. Although buying her clothes online would’ve been excessive and my bank account would not like it especially with a trip coming up (details below). So, a dear friend of mine offered to take me to Build-A-Bear tonight. 🙂

I don’t know if I’ll be bringing her along to my trips. I mean, she’s not the travel companion bear, it’s Duffy. She’s the travel companion’s companion on those lonely nights at home. HAHHA.

Anyway, here are pictures of her.


Their first introduction. He brought her a rose. Aww <3

Follow Duffy on Twitter (@itsduffybear) for more updates on his life.

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Part II | Pre-trip report No pictures to distract you from the cuteness above.

Stole this idea from my travel companion, Yuki.

What | A cruise from Tampa Bay, Florida on the Royal Carribean Cruise Line – Jewel of the Seas for 5 nights. Accompanied by a trip to Disney World’s Downtown Disney for shopping and dinner.

Where | Tampa Bay, Florida is where we will be embarking and disembarking. The stops are to Cozumel and Costa Maya. Lastly, a tiny trip to Downtown Disney.

When | From February 27, 2012 to March 4, 2012.

Who | Me, of course. Mr.S, Duffy, and our couple best friends Yuki and YC (it links to his web comic, you should check it out!) – Quatchi is also coming along but he’s never in pictures and I rarely mention him according to my tag cloud.

Notes | We reserved this via a travel agent that Yuki is familiar with. However, that is entirely up to you. I mean, to be honest, I think I can do without the hassle of a third party coordinating it for me. That’s just me. I proactively go over everything in the website, and read everything I possibly can. As long as you do that, you shouldn’t need one. Unless they are offering onboard credit then by all means, take advantage of that.

As per my friend who has been on a cruise, she mentioned that taking the excursions offered on land rather than by the ship would be cheaper. I personally don’t mind paying the extra if it gives me extra comfort at night. But of course, feel free to take her advice and do so. As well, don’t feel like you have to take an excursion. Some people stay on the ship and some even explore the ports themselves. For example, if you took a Disney Cruise to the Bahamas, they have their own island Castaway Cay and I can safely say you won’t get lost there. But be warned that depending on where you go, you could be kidnapped or something. Said friend actually got stuck on a military base due to unforeseen circumstances.

Regarding specialty restaurants. I have been to an all inclusive resort before and the nights are themed. The foods change so you won’t get bored. That’s the same with the ship. THere is a different menu every night BUT it won’t hurt to go to a specialty restaurant. Yes, you need to book ahead. And yes, it will cost you extra. Yuki and YC are not participating as she has heard negative reviews. Well, to be honest, I just wanted to get away from her. HAHA just kidding! I just figured it would a nice extra little treat. The friend mentioned before only went to specialty restaurants during her entire trip and loved it. So you really have to take people’s reviews (including mine) with a grain of salt.

Cruises also offer air travel and ground transportation for you. I suggest booking your own or let your travel agent do it for you. The ship offered $40/pp shuttle from the airport to the port. Yeah, I found one for half the price. I don’t think so!

That’s all for now. Next PTR will include a description of the excursions we plan to take!