Relax & Unwind at Sydney Albert Salon Spa

Nestled in The Shoppes at Windsor Green in Princeton, NJ right off Route 1 South is Sydney Albert Salon Spa. I’ve been going there since it’s inception which was once known to local’s as Bernard’s Day Spa, but later changed their name to Sydney Albert Salon Spa.

When you walk into Sydney Albert you are greeted by someone at their concierge desk. Everyone there is super friendly and their customer service is unlike any other. The manager Dan is always around to answer any questions, and help you out in any way he can. I swear the man never sleeps, he is always there. Besides Dan, you can always see Lori, who is the owner, running around and lending a hand wherever she can.

Ok, so I’m writing this after my visit to the spa this afternoon. Let me say that I have had a number of services at Sydney Albert over the years. But I have to tell you about the massages with Monica. After I learned that one of my fave massage therapists left after being at Sydney Albert for so many years, I thought my world had ended. JK but seriously, I didn’t know what to do. Dan recommended Monica. I was a bit nervous, as I had never been to her before. I went to her after Dan’s recommendation and have never turned back. Besides the fact that Monica is super nice, she gives the BEST massages I have ever had. I tend to have a lot of knots in my upper back near my shoulder blades and she works them all out. Often times she will stretch me out, while massaging me at the same time. She is truly AMAZING! If you are looking for the best massage you could possibly have, look no further, Monica at Sydney Albert is your girl.

Prior to my massage with Monica I met up with Joan for a mani/pedi combo. I figured it’s Valentine’s Day weekend and I was already going to be there for a massage so why not. Let me preface this by saying, I typically go to my local nail place in a mini mall around the corner from my house. It’s not the cleanest place and when they give me pedicures it either tickles uncontrollably or they rub to hard that they hurt my feet with the scrubby thing.  I thought this was normal, tickle then torment. But after today’s pedi with Joan, I quickly learned a great pedicure can occur without the tickle and torment. Joan used what looked like almost a larger nail file to scrub and soften my feet and it neither tickled nor tormented me. In fact I barely noticed it was happening. And my feet turned out almost as smooth as a baby’s tushie. After my pedi we headed over to the mani station and I warned Joan about a hangnail I had bitten but a little bit was still there. I thought ok this was gonna hurt. WHenever I have a hangnail at my local joint, they pull it and I bleed. Joan got it, I barely felt it and there was no bloodshed. All the years I’ve been coming to Sydney Albert for massages and the occasional bikini wax, I had no idea I should have been getting my mani/pedi combos there. I missed out on pain-free beautiful mani/pedis. At least I finally figured it out. Local joint, no more. Since it’s Valentine’s Day weekend I opted for my fave red “I’m Not Really a Waitress”. Not only is it my fave, but a fave among many fashion mags and rated the #1 polish color from Allure magazine a number of years in a row.

Looking for a facial or bikini wax? Gina or Manana are your go-to girls. They even have a service called “The Sphinx” (think Brazilian but more). Sydney Albert Salon Spa also offers great cut and colors, makeup services and more. They always have packages and specials, just call them and get the deets or check out their website at http://www.sydneyalbert.com/ or  Become a Fan of them on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/sydneyalbert-salonspa/193415485328?v=wall&ref=ts.

Dublin Square – Bordentown NJ – Where Irish Eyes are Always Smiling

“H-A-double R-I-G-A-N spells Harrigan. Proud of all the Irish blood that’s me…” Ok, so I may be a DeVito now, but Kelly is my blood. And I couldn’t be more happy that Dublin Square opened up in Bordentown, NJ (right near Mastori’s and Chickie N Pete’s). We’ve been to Killarney’s in Hamilton and many other Irish pubs throughout the state, but none compare to that of Dublin Square in Bordentown. Besides the fact that it has the feel of being at an Irish Pub in Ireland, the food is classic Irish fare. The owners imported the bar directly from Ireland (ladies there are hooks to hang your purse at the bar). Their beer selection is vast and menu items bountiful.

We’ve only been there a few times. The first time we went I ordered a Smithwicks (pronounced Smittick’s) and ordered the Whiskey Boxty (as it was recommended to me by our server). It was out of this world! Extremely rich, buttery and flavorful. Even the hubs loved it and he’s a simple man. After a busy day today, and the fact that my chicken never defrosted, we decided to head over there. The place was hopping and we sat at the bar til we got a table. I ordered the Smithwicks again and the hubs a Guinness. You would think he was the Irish one, the way he loves Guinness and his desire to go to Ireland to do a tour of the Guinness brewery. We ordered the chips and curry sauce at the bar and waited to be called to our table. Our server was great. I ordered the fish and chips and the hubs ordered a reuben sandwich. My fish and chips were out of this world. The best fish and chips I have ever had. They fry them in a black ‘n tan batter and it was fried to perfection. I decided to go with the side salad since I already had the fries. They also just might have the best balsamic dressing too. The hubs reuben was good and he ordered the mashed potatoes and the gravy was out of this world.

If you are looking for a place to grab some awesome Irish grub, look no more. Got kids? No problem! They have a playroom, complete with a Wii station. How convenient! Check out their traditional Irish brunch on Sundays. Who else offers that?

They are counting down the days to St. Patty’s Day and so am I. From now until the big day, they are doing $4 Guinness pints on Friday’s with collectible glasses. Collect them all!

Until then…

“May luck be our companion
May friends stand by our side
May history remind us all
Of Ireland’s faith and pride.
May God bless us with happiness
May love and faith abide.”

The Boston (Bahston) Getaway

After the craziness of the holidays, along with the hubs birthday and the fact that I had a few comp days, we decided to take a long weekend in Bahston (Boston). We decided on Boston since the hubs is a HUGE Cheers fan, beer aficionado and history buff. We started looking into hotels and found The Bulfinch Hotel which seemed like a cute boutique hotel right in the center of it all, and the price was right. (*Note to all and to self, you get what you pay for.) We couldn’t wait to get to Boston and see the history, drink the beer and just enjoy each other’s company. As always, I developed a full on itinerary of where we will be visiting, eating, etc. along with our reservation times and address. I’m a little crazy like that.

Thursday – We drove through a blizzard, arriving late (according to my itinerary) to our destination, The Bulfinch Hotel. We pulled up in front of the hotel next to the valet parking sign. We waited and waited. Finally I got out of the car and went inside to say “We’re here and we are parked right outside by the valet sign, now what?” The gentleman looked up from his iPhone and said “Valet parking means, unload your stuff, drive to the stop sign, turn left and turn left again, park in the parking garage and walk back”. Hmmm… I mean I knew people in Boston had accents, but didn’t realize that not only  the pronunciation of words were different, but so were the definitions. I walked back to the car, told the hubs. We brought our stuff in and he walked up to the gentleman and said so now what do we do? His reply was “Like I told your wife, blah blah blah”. Ok not off to a great start. We have Mr. Personality at the front desk and have to park our car, walk, etc. We finish unloading, the hubs goes to park the car I turn to check in and the gentleman is now on the phone. So I wait. And I wait. My husband returns asking if I checked in and I say nope he’s been on the phone the whole time. Other people are now waiting in the lobby. Finally a gentleman named Corey comes out from behind a wall, he was early to work and able to help us all. We finally check in. Later on that evening we expressed our concern with the way we were handled during check in to Corey who assured us he would forward the information to his manager Liz. We had lunch at the Cheers Replica bar which had surprisingly good food. Took a nap and then headed to dinner at Turner Fisheries which was great. The food and service were wonderful. The maitre’d even walked us through the hotel to show us where we could catch a cab. What service!

Friday – We woke up to get ready and realized we have no hot water in our shower. Grabbed lunch at the Union Oyster House which is the oldest restaurant in the US. Of course we had to grab a cup of Clam Chowder (or chowdah). Went about our day, did the Boston Super Tour which was a fantastic way to see the city and I highly recommend it. So did @BostonTweet. If you don’t follow him on Twitter, you should. He is the be all and end all of everything you need to know Boston. I felt like he was my own private virtual concierge. One of our stops was the Original Cheers Bar, so of course we had to grab a drink. We did some shopping and then got ready for our dinner at Lucia Ristorante. Lucia Ristorante is on Hanover Street in the Italian section of Boston. It is the spot for Italian food. Everything we ordered was out of this world and all made to order. Our server’s recommendations were right on. I ordered a chicken dish and the hubs ordered the veal chop special. Even the coffee was wonderful. We will definitely be back there next time we are in town. At some point during the day, we met John the manager of the Bulfinch. He came over to meet us at the bar since we had chatted with them on Twitter. Turns out someone else does their Twitter, but big deal. (Oh forgot to mention… they promised us a special treat at check in for being a Twitter follower, yea that didn’t happen.) We told John about our experience checking in the day before and he seemed to feel bad, kinda.

Saturday – Another cold shower. I called to order room service for breakfast. They offer room service, but they don’t put menus in the rooms so you have to ask for one at the front desk. I wanted to order a waffle, but their waffle maker was broke. They were also out of a lot of wine the night before and waiting for a shipment. We ended up ordering their continental breakfast which was yogurt (which arrived not as described), bagels and coffee. It arrived after an hour and without sugar for the coffee. So the hubs went down to get me some. We ventured over to the Sam Adams Brewery by subway (super easy) and had a great lesson on the history of Sam Adams and beer in general. The hubs loved this part of the trip. We even ended up sitting with a guy who shared a birthday with the hubs. Crazy right? We travelled over to the Freedom Trail and grabbed a bite at The Purple Shamrock. Had a great reuben. Our arms were heavy from shopping and were carrying a number of bags. We went up to our room at The Bulfinch Hotel and guess what? Our keys don’t work. None of them. Luckily there was a phone in the hall so we called the front desk. Liz the manager came up and tried other keys, nope they didn’t work. She tried using some special machine, didn’t work. Finally she got us in. She went back down to the front desk to get another machine. She played around for a while on our door and finally was able to get keys to work in our room. Time for a nap! We rested and got ready to have dinner at The Oak Room at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel. Let me just say we almost stayed there. Every President has stayed at the Fairmont Copley Plaza and most of them have eaten in the library of The Oak Room. The place is beautiful! We were ushered in and brought to the far back room, the library. It was quaint, charming and elegant. I put my purse on the floor and our server Pasquale said “wait let me get you something for your purse”. I thought he was going to come back with one of those purse things you clip on to the table so it’s not on the floor. He came back with a beautiful ottoman for my purse. I had a chair for my purse! The service was impeccable, the food was good but overpriced. You pay for the ambiance and the service there. But it was a great way to end our trip.

Sunday – We checked out and headed home. I messaged The Bulfinch Hotel on Twitter to let them know of our disappointment, but no reply.

Since then I have tried to reach out to them, but not only does the hotel have “great customer service” but so does their Twitter consultant who blocked me from writing them.

Word to the wise… you get what you pay for, not everything is what it seems, if it seems too good to be true… it probably is. Don’t stay at the Bulfinch Hotel. There are plenty of amazing hotels in Boston that are so much better, have better customer service, prices and hot water. Oh and valet does mean valet everywhere else in Boston.