Category: Wiggins’s Words

Before I add detail to the mountain of work we have done to clean our place up, I wanted to provide some context with a set of “before” pictures. Fortunately, our house was very clean upon move-in. Especially considering it was a townhome constructed in 2006. Most mid-2000’s townhomes were build with good-but-not-great materials, and start to show serious signs of wear 10 years in. Not ours, though! The pictures below were actually part of the original realty listing, and are very representative of the overall cleanliness we saw upon purchase and taking possession.

Without further adieu, the “before” shots:

Breakfast Nook

The Kitchen and Dining Area (stay tuned for major updates!)

Family Room

The Family Room (also stay tuned for major updates!)

Front Room 2

Front Room

Kitchen 1

Alternate Kitchen View

Master Bedroom 1

Master Bedroom

Master Bedroom 2

Bonus Master Bedroom Nook (AKA – the “Woman Cave”)

Upstairs Bedroom

Upstairs Bedroom

Downstairs Bedroom

Downstairs Bedroom (AKA – the “Man Cave”)

Til Next Time,

Michael

Exterior

I’ve been preoccupied lately with (work and personal) travel, wedding planning, and home renovations. I decided the latter would be a good series to run here, mostly so that I force myself to get back in the habit of documenting the journey we’ve been on. A few months back, we purchased our first home, and are really happy with the decision. We knew coming in, though, that there would be a boatload of things to do. Not because the (town)home was in bad shape (it was in fact in great condition)… But because we knew we would want to make it our own. And we were both used to living in one bedroom. As such, we were void of a mountain of things required to make a house a home.

So far, here are some of the things we’ve done or purchased in the last three months that I’ll try to document in greater detail in the coming weeks:

  • Replaced Kitchen Backsplash and Counters (with Subway Tile and Marble, respectively)
  • Painted Kitchen Cabinets
  • Painted Common Living Spaces and Bedrooms
  • Carpeted Downstairs Bedroom
  • Replaced Main Floor Fixtures (Ceiling Fan, Pendant Lights, Dining Room Chandelier)
  • Replaced Garbage Disposal and Instant Hot Water System
  • Purchased Farm Table (sourced locally from a boutique rural craftsman)
  • Purchased Couches, Coffee Table, and End Table
  • Purchased Leesa Bed
  • Purchased and Mounted TV Above Fireplace
  • Whitewashed Fireplace
  • Purchased and DIY-Styled Entertainment Console
  • Created and Installed Wine-Cork-Backed Dartboard
  • Re-Upholstered Barstools

The good news is, we did most of this at very reasonable rates. Which is the main reason I think documenting this will be so fun, and possibly a learning experience for others in similar positions. In retrospect, we are so happy with the things we’ve done, and are eager to do more. The HGTV aficionado in us has helped guide us along the way, and even the most intimidating tasks actually proved to be rather simple (and only in some cases, a huge pain). Stay tuned for more!

Til Next Time,

Michael

Rather than go through individual dining reviews like I did last year, I opted to go for the bulk upload this time. As such, this post will cover a wide array of places (with photos), including: Casa Jaguar (again), Hemingway’s, La Cocina de Corina, La Famiglia, La Oñda, La Suerte Del Coyote, and Mateo’s (again, duh).

Here are my thoughts:

  • Casa Jaguar: This place was as great as the last time. We heard a lot of other people in the area knocking it as “nothing special” – but we firmly believe this place is legit and checks all the right boxes for the area. The tuna tostadas are still out of this world!
Casa Jaguar Kitchen

The open air kitchen at Casa Jaguar is still an amazing sight.

  • Hemingway’s: I was actually fairly ill for this (I got food poisoning from a rogue piece of raw tuna on our second day down there), but the food and price were both definitely on point!
Hemingways Restaurant

The view from the deck at Hemingway’s.

  • La Cocina de Corina: This place was a treat. We sat right next to the kitchen, and therefore got to watch the delicate preparation of all of our dishes (an added bonus). The food reminded us of Posada Margherita (fresh, surprisingly delicate Italian fare).
La Cocina De Corina Kitchen

The view into the kitchen for my “sneak peek” at our chef’s preparation regimen at La Cocina de Corina.

  • La Famiglia: This place was my favorite meal during this trip to Tulum. The server recommended we try the pasta sampler since Katy wanted to try gnocchi and I wanted to try bolognese. The gnocchi was as good as I’ve ever had, and the bolognese was out of this world good. The tuna appetizer and other accompaniments were delicious as well. I was surprised this place was not more crowded (perhaps a bad omen for long term success of this restaurant). I would absolutely recommend a trip here if you’re ever down that way.
La Famiglia Dining Room at Night

The dining room at La Famiglia.

La Famiglia Daytime

The exterior of La Famiglia in the daylight.

  • La Oñda: They claim to have the “best pizza on Earth”. While that may be a stretch, we really did enjoy this spot. An added bonus was that they had live flamenco dancing and music that evening. The older gentleman who was playing/singing was delightful, and the lady who was dancing was fantastic!
La Onda Flaming Tequila Shots

Complimentary (and unexpected) tequila shots at La Oñda.

La Onda Sign

Exterior signage at La Oñda.

  • La Suerte Del Coyote: We actually went here hoping to find our favorite place from last trip (MamaMuu) but were sad to find out it had changed ownership. The new place (La Suerte Del Coyote) was a great treat as well though! While they no longer do mezcal flights, they still do great drinks. And we only had corn to eat (mid-afternoon snack), but that corn was terrific – a lime corn with spices and a cotija cheese sauce.
La Suerte Del Coyote

The sign at La Suerte Del Coyote. Rest In Peace, MamaMuu!

  • Mateo’s: I have said enough about this place. It’s awesome, the food is great, the drinks are cheap, and the atmosphere is so chill. Sit back by the TV to catch futbol (soccer) or rugby, and get better bar service!
Mateos Hecho Con Amor

The wall art is still on point at Mateo’s!

Mateos Coco Loco Sign

One of our favorite parts of any meal/visit to Mateo’s: Coco Locos!!

Mateos

Mateo’s just feels like (our Tulum) home.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Mi Amor Restaurant

The architectural dream of a restaurant at Mi Amor.

On our final night, we ended up at Mi Amor (again, because La Zebra had burned down). Let me be the first to say that I am truly saddened about what happened at La Zebra (fortunately – nobody was hurt!), but feel SO LUCKY to have gotten the opportunity to be put up at Mi Amor for no added cost. This place was MAGICAL.

Here’s the review:

  • Location: The location is off the beaten path, actually North of the majority of the other resorts – almost all the way back up to the Tulum ruins. Given that this was our final night and we just expected to basque in the luxury, we were totally fine with this. But be warned that if you’re wanting something that is pedestrian friendly and “in the heart of it all”, you’re going to have to trek a ways from here to get there. An oddity of the location is that there is no real beach in front of the property – rather, it is built into natural rock/cliff formations (again – a great change of pace and something that proved to be extremely majestic).
  • Facilities: The facilities are unreal. Everything from the dining room (pictured at the front of this post), to the rooms themselves, was top notch. You can tell the staff takes great pride in the level of quality in this property. While we did not partake in spa activities, those facilities looked unbelievable as well.
  • Amenities: The amenities were outstanding. It all started with our “welcome” cocktail (prosecco), and progressed nicely where it seemed like every turn – there was something waiting for us. First off, the property utilizes miniature hut/cabanas that are a huge upgrade from other properties that just have palapa roof huts and daybeds. This is the best of both worlds as it incorporates both (picture below). The restaurant was terrific as well. We opted to dine on site (a change from our usual pace of exploring other resorts/areas for food due to lofty prices in some resort facilities), and did a sampling of 6 or 7 of the appetizers which turned out incredible.
  • Staff: The staff were top notch. Even a level higher than we had come to expect in other areas.
  • Rooms: The rooms are stunning. We had our own private plunge pool that was jetted and heated. A great way to relax. At night, they brought around hibiscus tea to go along with turndown service, which was a phenomenal touch.
Mi Amor Cliff Cabana

Mi Amor cabanas were tucked into the terrain and provided comfort and a sense of privacy.

Mi Amor Seared Tuna

Seared tuna – lunch with a view!

Mi Amor Jetted Plunge Pool Plus Bohemian Rattan Hanging Chair

Our Jetted Plunge Pool Plus Bohemian Rattan Hanging Chair

IMG_2785

Stunning sunset panorama from atop the cliffs at Mi Amor.

Til Next Time,

Michael

El Pez Pool Rules

On Thursday, we ended up at El Pez because our original property at which we were set to stay (La Zebra) burned down the weekend before our arrival. More to come on that experience (ultimately, a great one) at another time. But now – on with the review!

Here’s the review:

  • Location: The location is great. It’s closer to the entrance/North end of the beachfront road, but still very accessible to many key attractions for us (including Mateos’s!).
  • Facilities: The facilities are a step up from others in my opinion. I believe this is probably related to the fact that this hotel is part of a professional hotel group (The Colibri Boutique Hotel chain). The service, the appointments, and the views were definitely a step up.
  • Amenities: The amenities were great. Aside from an expanded selection for our “welcome cocktail” (something each property does give), the inclusion of other elements (e.g. beach bag for towels, etc) were all nice touches. The included breakfast was by far the best here; the yogurt/fruit/granola plate was outstanding.
  • Staff: The staff were great. Check-in, Check-out were a breeze (perhaps even easier than Viento de Mar), and the service in the restaurant was a bit quicker than others.
  • Rooms: The rooms are spacious and comfortable. Each room has stunning ocean views, so it’s hard not to like.
El Pez Welcome Cocktails

Our welcome cocktails at El Pez.

El Pez Pano

Stunning views out into the bay (where sea turtles come to lay eggs once a year) from the restaurant deck.

Til Next Time,

Michael

Viento De Mar Sign

For the next few days of the trip, we opted for a more central-beach spot closer to some of our previous favorites (Mateo’s, Posada Margherita, etc). The hotel was Viento de Mar.

Here’s the review:

  • Location: The location is very ideal. Right in the middle of the beach road – close to any and all types of food and neighboring resorts of differing vibes. We did a lot more biking this time, so having a central location from which to ride bikes (to get massages, or grab lunch or some drinks) was clutch.
  • Facilities: The facilities are on par with a Rosa del Viento. Very clean and well-kept. The breakfast area (with all-inclusive breakfast, similar to all resorts in Tulum of this caliber) overlooked the ocean with stunning panoramic views. The daybed setup was fairly extensive and allowed for everyone to have a great spot with a great view.
  • Amenities: The amenities are proper for the price. Bike rentals were in line with other areas (~$10/day to rent), and a nice added bonus was the plunge pool in the center of the property. You never really realize how nice a quick dip in a temperate pool is, but it’s definitely a relax in comparison to the choppy waves of the ocean plus the seaweed that interferes.
  • Staff: The staff are great. Check-in, Check-out were a breeze, and the service in the restaurant was in line with other areas (in other words, pretty slow and spotty for our liking – but that’s all part of the charm of the area that forces you to slow down and enjoy it).
  • Rooms: The rooms are well-appointed and the vaulted ceilings were a great touch. As with our other choices, the fact that there was AC is a huge plus for me (again, about half the resorts in this specific area are more “eco-resorts” which means they only have a fan and generally do not have AC at all, let alone electricity for most of the day).

 

Viento De Mar Pano

Panoramic view back into the property at sunrise.

Viento De Mar Sunrise 2

Looking out into the ocean at sunrise.

Til Next Time,

Michael


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