Product Review: UpNature Cinnamon Leaf Oil

UpNature Cinnamon Leaf Oil

About Cinnamon Leaf Oil:
✔ Reduce disinfectant: The Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil has very strong germicidal properties. You can use the oil to clean your home (Toilets\Kitchen\Refrigerator) naturally and avoid any toxins in your house.
✔ Get Rid Of Foot Fungal Infections: Mix our Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil with water (You can add other essential oils too), and simply soak your feet in it for some time. You’ll see results quick.
✔ Improve Hair Health: Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil is perfect for hair use. Simply add a drop to your shampoo. This will help keep your hair & scalp healthy and shiny.
✔ Soothe Your Aching Muscles And Joints: Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory substances, so by inhaling it and using it, it helps in removing stiffness of the muscles and joints. It’ll reduce your stress on the way as well.
✔ Say Goodbye To Viral infections, Such As Coughs And Colds: A big health benefit of Cinnamon leaf oil, is it will kill bad germs due to its antibacterial, antiviral properties. It is best used in a diffuser mixed with other essential oils.

Ingredient: 100% Pure, Gentle and Effective Natural Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

 

My Thoughts

I really enjoy essential oils – though I’m not one of those crazy oil people who’s going to try to convince you to drop all conventional medical and housekeeping products and only use oils. I mean….if that’s you, then go for it. I’m always slightly in awe of people who use nothing but essential oils. Mainly because I’m a skeptic, but in all seriousness, if it works for you then I think it’s awesome.

Skepticism aside, I’ve had success with all the oils I’ve tried, so when I had the chance to add Cinnamon to the mix, I jumped at it. (Read my Lavender, Peppermint, and Tea Tree oil reviews if you’re curious.)

Cinnamon leaf (there’s a difference between leaf and bark) oil has a handful of uses, plus it smells delicious. I’ll be honest, I’m probably going to douse some pine cones in this stuff in a month or two, and use it to make my house smell amazing. Otherwise, I’ll most likely use it the way I use my other oils – primarily as diffusers. You can use cinnamon leaf oil as a disinfectant, though, so I might add it in next time I make a batch of my yoga mat spray. (Which isn’t really getting used because I’ve seriously slacked off on the yoga-ing.) I’d like to try it in a facial scrub with olive oil and brown sugar, but I’m terrified that’ll break my skin out, so someone try that and tell me how it goes. I did use it in a foot soak, and while I didn’t notice any major difference (probably because I don’t have a foot fungus), my feet sure did smell nice. *grin*

This seems to be a pretty high-quality oil, and the price is certainly right at $16 for 4 ounces. Essential oils can be pretty expensive, especially if you’re getting small bottles – so this one is a great addition to your collection. Plus, it smells like fall. So really….you can’t lose, right? Right. Get yourself over to Amazon and grab one!

I received this product free in exchange for my honest review.

Cocktail Creations: Peppermint Patty Shots

The shark proudly wearing her glow stick on the 4th. Isn’t she adorable?

Jenn, this post is for you.

Over the 4th of July weekend we had lots of partying, which equated to lots of drinking. Someone more cultured than I am brought his “bar” to one of the shindigs. And by bar, I mean twenty-some bottles of various liquors in Rubbermaid tubs. No judgment here, just awe.

Anyway, since I had access to booze I don’t typically have, and everyone was much drunker than me for once – and thus prime for trying random concoctions – I set out to make a cocktail.

I should preface this by saying that first I tried to make Red, White, and Blue shots, Red, White, and Blue Shot. Congrats to all of the Team USA athletes! This is also a great shot to remember for Memorial Day Weekend and 4th of July! #recipe #shot: following DeKuyper’s instructions, but I couldn’t get the layering to work. And yeah, I tried the spoon trick, so if anyone has any ideas, let’s hear them. I ended up with a black shot that was way too sweet for me to drink.

But back to my concoction.

I’ll admit that my knowledge of mixology is limited at best, but I do like to drink, so there’s that. That makes me qualified, right? Right.

I started with a blue curacao and creme de bananas mix. That was….interesting. Not terrible, but I knew I could do better.

I pulled out the trusty vodka.

What to add next……

We didn’t have peppermint schnapps, so I couldn’t make a polar bear, but we did have creme de menthe. So I added that. And that wasn’t terrible. But then I realized….if I added just a little splash of Kahlua, it would probably take it next level.

And it did. (Surprisingly, I wasn’t able to find this on Pinterest, which means I CREATED IT.)

I present to you….the Peppermint Patty shot.

Peppermint Patty Shot Ingredients

Or rather, the ingredients, because there’s nothing beautiful about this shot. But who cares, because it’s delicious.

And yes, that’s a giant bottle of vodka. Because I like vodka, and Summum is the hands-down vodka king. Trust me, I did the research to back up this claim.

The best part? You don’t even have to layer it. Just pour the Kahlua in first, and then add equal parts vodka and creme de menthe. It tastes just like a peppermint patty. It would probably also be delicious with a little bit of chocolate syrup around the rim of the shot glass, but we didn’t have that, so feel free to try it and get back to me.

Happy drinking!

White Bean and Turkey Soup

Spinach Turkey SoupWe’re on a recipe roll! I blame Instagram and my propensity for taking pictures of my food.

This is a great way to use up leftover turkey – so keep this handy for Thanksgiving and Easter, friends! Back in March when turkeys were on sale I bought a couple and stuck them in the freezer. On a side note… have you ever noticed how difficult it is to get turkeys any other time of year than Thanksgiving and Easter?

When we adopted Luka 5 years ago, he was severely underweight and had some GI issues. We thought he just needed to get some weight on, and we thought the GI issues were food sensitivities or stress or worms or something that’d go away. We adopted him on New Year’s Eve, and after a month or so of him not gaining weight on dog food alone, we started experimenting. We cooked him chicken and rice, and then – since it was getting into Easter territory – we bought him a turkey and made turkey and rice.

At this point we were working with the vet to find out what was wrong with him – because it was clear there was something wrong with him. We must have cooked that dog 6 turkeys before we stumbled on an EPI diagnosis. Which leads me to back to my point…Easter came and went, and we were still trying to find turkeys. It’s near impossible. I finally had to resort to turkey breasts, which are really expensive when you’re feeding them to a dog.

Anyway, eventually we figured out it was EPI, got him on enzymes, and he started getting fat. To this day, though, he gets super excited whenever we’re cooking turkey.

Where were we? Oh. Yeah. Recipe.

A couple days ago I decided to get back on the meal planning train, and make myself a batch of something for lunch. I didn’t want to spend tons of money, and I also knew I was bordering on freezer hoarding. So I raided our giant freezer to see what we had.

We still have one turkey, but we also had a bag of cooked turkey meat and 4 bags of turkey broth from the one turkey we DID cook a few months ago. (I’ll work on that second turkey.) And yeah, before we go on – I said months. I know there are “freezer guidelines” and blah blah blah, but let’s be real. If it’s not got freezer burn, I’m eating it. And let’s be even more real…if it does have freezer burn I’m probably still trying to eat it. For the record, this turkey meat was freezer-burn-free.

We also …I say we, but really it’s me, because Jimmie’s freezer contributions are frozen pizzas and popsicles….we had several bags of cooked beans from that time I decided to fill up my freezer with cooked beans. Since I know now how. (If you missed that journey, you can read about it – and get another recipe! – here. Bear with me – it was an early post.)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups cooked Great Northern beans
  • 16 oz shredded cooked turkey
  • 4 cups turkey broth (homemade is nice!)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3 cups spinach
  • Brewpub chicken spice
  • Pepper

Combine everything in the crock pot. Let it simmer for at least 8 hours on low, until your beans are soft. (Seriously, that’s it.)

For those following Weight Watchers, one cup ends up being 3 smartpoints. It makes 12 cups.

Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Onion Gravy

Hamburger Steak

You guys. You have to make this meal.

It’s been a hot minute since we had a recipe, and I’m fairly certain I still owe you some taco recipes, but I had to share this one. I just made it tonight for the first time, and OH MY WORD. I could eat like 6 servings of it. (If I didn’t think I’d explode, that is.)

It’s super simple, and it tastes like a restaurant meal. Seriously.

I didn’t take pictures throughout the process, because I didn’t know I’d be blogging about it. But you don’t really need them. It’s fairly straightforward.

Hamburger Steaks with Mushroom Onion Gravy

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 pound lean (93/7) ground beef
  • 2 tsps Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp garlic salt
  • 2 tbsp Dale’s Marinade (I used the reduced sodium)
  • Pepper (totally up to you on this, I used a lot)
  • 1 10.5oz can French Onion Soup
  • 1 packet brown gravy mix
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 8 oz mushrooms, sliced
  • Half a vidalia onion, sliced

Combine beef, mustard, garlic salt, Dale’s, and pepper. Mix well, using a fork (that’s important, just trust me) until just blended. Don’t overmix! Shape into four patties about half an inch thick.

Heat skillet over medium heat. Once hot, place patties in and cook 3 minutes each side. You want them to get brown on the outsides. Remove from heat and set aside.

Leaving the drippings in the skillet, add in mushrooms and onion. Cook until slightly translucent, about 4 minutes. Add soup, gravy mix, water, and Worcester. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to low and add in hamburger patties. Cover and cook until your desired doneness. I cooked them for about 7 minutes and they came out medium well.

Serve with mashed potatoes (or cauliflower!) and a green vegetable. Enjoy!!

I’m too lazy to search the nutrition facts, but it comes out to 8 Weight Watchers SmartPoints, so it’s fairly decent. 

Another State Down! Whirlwind Wisconsin

A few weeks ago – ok, maybe more like a month ago – I got to cross another state off my list! That brings me to…34 I believe. Time to update my Up In Smoke map.

I traveled to Wisconsin and Illinois for work, and as usual, it was a whirlwind trip. I did have a little time to prowl around Milwaukee and Madison, and of course, try some beer. (Let’s be honest…my number one goal in a new place, which I take very seriously.)FlightatMaders

Milwaukee was first. We flew in around lunch, got our rental car, and headed over to the Safe House for lunch. Safe House is a really cool place – it’s a spy-themed restaurant and bar. SafeHouseMKEYou have to know the password to get in….or you have to prove you’re not a double agent. We tried to guess the password, failed miserably, and had to cluck around like chickens for 10 seconds.SafeHouseRecon Turns out, everyone in the place can see this….which just adds to the fun.

Once you get inside, you’re bombarded with spy paraphernalia. The servers address you as lady spy or sir spy, the food is all spy-themed, and you’re given a “mission” to complete while you wait. It sounds cheesy, but it was perfect for us. I’m not sure I’d go at night, because then it probably would be silly (or at the very least, super crowded), but lunch was just fine. That said, apparently they have a signature cocktail that they send through a tube all over the bar – I’d have liked to see that.
SafeHouseMKE2

I had the fish tacos, and they were just ok. The sauce was a little weird. I also had my first fried cheese curds…which were way too salty. Go for the atmosphere, not the food….or at least not the cheese curds and fish tacos.

SafeHouseMKETacos

The tacos didn’t actually come with fries, I’m just a weirdo.

We worked the rest of the day, but then I had a chance to prowl around before and after dinner. I asked the hotel staff where to go for local beer, and they sent me to Who’s On Third. It’s a sports bar with female bartenders. I appreciated that since I was by myself. I took my Kindle and chatted with the brand new bartender. Plus, I lucked out with $2 pints, and got to try a couple Wisconsin brews. I had the famed New Glarus Spotted Cow, which I enjoyed (that’s it below), and then a couple of Lakefront Brewery beers that I wasn’t impressed with.

WhosOnThirdMKE

Dinner was at Mader’s, my first German food experience. I ordered a German beer flight and the German sampler. I screwed up on the flight – I should have ordered another local beer. Turns out, I’m not a fan of German beer. Good to know, since I had 6 of them.

As for the food, I liked most of it. The sampler came with Wiener schnitzel (breaded pork – LOVED it), kasseler rippchen (smoked pork – good, but nothing special), and Rheinischer sauerbraten (braised beef – liked it). It also came with a potato dumpling (that lumpy thing in the back which I just COULD NOT do), sauerkraut and red cabbage, which were both delicious.

GermanSamplerMaders

Mader’s is a Milwaukee institution, and I’m glad I got to try it. It’s expensive….my entree was $35. (Thank you, business travel.) I don’t know that I’d go back. The atmosphere was cool though, and the history of the restaurant is pretty neat.Maders

At this point, you’re probably picking up on how much I loved Milwaukee, but just in case….this is what I texted Jimmie that night.

Screenshot_2016-06-13-20-53-19

After dinner I prowled around some more, since we were right in Downtown Milwaukee. I walked the River Walk, found the Fonz, and tracked down Gertie the duck. Now…..Gertie. When you look her up online, she appears huge. She’s not. (She’s the same size as Millie, who I took a picture of instead because she was sassy.)

MKERiverWalkMKEFonzThis is Millie, who's right next door to Gertie.

To say I was underwhelmed by Milwaukee is an understatement, though the view from the River Walk is pretty at sunset, and there’s some interesting sculpture art all around.

MKERiverView

Oh, and it was borderline COLD in Milwaukee. Guess that’s because of the lake and all.

As for the hotel, we stayed at the Fairfield Inn Downtown Milwaukee, and it was….tiny. I’ve never been in a hotel room that small. It was fine for one night, but any more than that and I’d have gone insane. Also, I had a lake monster ghost living in my vents, and she sloshed around all night.

CaseynKristinDoMadisonThe next day we drove over to Madison to meet up with the other half of our team – totally out of the way, but it meant I got to see Madison, so I was fine with that. Plus, they brought me fresh cheese curds, which is apparently a Wisconsin staple, but is really just kind of strange.Screenshot_2016-06-14-16-52-24

This is the part of the trip where Untappd tells me I’m an alcoholic. >>>

I liked Madison a whole lot better than Milwaukee.

Madison is funky, and there’s a lot of beer. We ate at the Old Fashioned on a recommendation from a local, and holy smokes was it delicious. We had more fried cheese curds (they were much better). Three of us ordered beer flights, for 20ish beers total, and we just sampled all evening.

My favorite was a juniper porter...loved it. Wish I could find it here!

My favorite was a juniper porter…loved it. Wish I could find it here!

I had the tacos – one of each because I couldn’t decide – and they blew me away. Actually, the veggie taco blew me away, and the rest were just delicious.

OldFashionedTacosMadison

Sadly we didn’t get to spend much time in Madison before we had to head down to the Chicago area, but I did get to run in a grocery store. While there, I found this.

Because why wouldn't you buy this??

Because why wouldn’t you buy this??

Of course, I bought it. And it actually wasn’t terrible. I also bought these.

This happens pretty much every time I go on a work trip.

This happens pretty much every time I go on a work trip. I’m a pro at packing beer in my luggage.

Chicago was pretty uneventful – we stayed out by the airport, and drove around a lot. I have family there, WildChicagoNightso we met up for dinner the night we were there. At Joe’s Crab Shack. Which is fine and all, but taught me a very important lesson – people confuse “local” with “nearby.” Ah well. After dinner I came back to the hotel and had a very wild night in my room with Snapchat, beer, and cheese.

This is my "ya'll don't know hot" face

Oh, one funny story….Joe’s was about a mile from our hotel, on the other side of a business complex. There was a sidewalk, so I figured I’d just walk it. No fewer than 5 people told me it was too hot to walk. It was 90 degrees, and 42% humidity.

Let me just say right now…..for those of us in the South, that’s a walk in the park.

<<< That’s my “ya’ll don’t know hot” face.

The day we flew out (Day 4 if you’re keeping track), we had lunch at Portillo’s. I had the French Beef or whatever it’s called. It’s huge. And delicious. And you totally don’t need fries. Fun little place, local to Chicago, and worth the trip.

Portillos

PortillosBeef

And that pretty much sums up my Wisconsin adventure – food, beer, and being underwhelmed. Oh, and lots of time on Snapchat.CaseySnapchatCollageBut, this cutie greeted me with exuberance when I finally got home….and then promptly turned on the “WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME” face.Screenshot_2016-06-17-01-43-42

It’s good to be loved.

Book Tour: The Mind Gut Connection

The Mind-Gut Connection coverAbout The Mind-Gut Connection

• Hardcover: 320 pages
• Publisher: Harper Wave (July 5, 2016)

Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with the latest discoveries on the human microbiome, a practical guide in the tradition of The Second Brain, and The Good Gut that conclusively demonstrates the inextricable, biological link between mind and the digestive system.

We have all experienced the connection between our mind and our gut—the decision we made because it “felt right”; the butterflies in our stomach before a big meeting; the anxious stomach rumbling we get when we’re stressed out. While the dialogue between the gut and the brain has been recognized by ancient healing traditions, including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine, Western medicine has by and large failed to appreciate the complexity of how the brain, gut, and more recently, the gut microbiota—the microorganisms that live inside our digestive tract—communicate with one another. In The Mind-Gut Connection, Dr. Emeran Mayer, professor of medicine and executive director of the UCLA Center for Neurobiology of Stress, offers a revolutionary and provocative look at this developing science, teaching us how to harness the power of the mind-gut connection to take charge of our health and listen to the innate wisdom of our bodies.

The Mind-Gut Connection describes:

• Why consuming a predominantly plant-based diet is key for gut and brain health

• The importance of early childhood in gut-brain development, and what parents can do to help their children thrive

• The role of excessive stress and anxiety in GI ailments and cognitive disorders

• How to “listen to your gut” and pay attention to the signals your body is sending you

• and much more.

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Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About Emeran Mayer, MD

Emeran A. Mayer, MD, has studied brain-body interactions for the last forty years. He is the executive director of the Oppenheimer Center for Stress and Resilience and the codirector of the Digestive Diseases Research Center at the University of California at Los Angeles. His research has been supported by the National Institutes of Health for the past twenty-five years, and he is considered a pioneer and world leader in the areas of brain-gut microbiome. He lives in Los Angeles.

Find out more about Dr. Mayer and his book at his website.

My Thoughts

Erm.

Where do I start with this?

I’m a nerd, I totally admit that. I like learning stuff, and I really like learning health stuff. So this sounded right up my alley.

The word “provided” is used 5 times in the first 3 paragraphs.

Ok, I was willing to overlook that.

Then I got to the part where he’s telling me I have gonads, and I ACTUALLY HAD TO LOOK IT UP because I was pretty sure I didn’t have gonads. In Dr. Mayer’s defense, this is really society’s fault and not his, since technically gonads means either testes or ovaries, but the world sorta leaves that out and just uses it with reference to the male species. Anyway.

I eventually got past that, and kept reading. And then realized I’d read three chapters, and all I’d taken away from it was that I do in fact have gonads, and the brain and the gut do a lot of talking.

The rest of it is science mumbo-jumbo about microbiota, hormones, cytokines, the enteric nervous system, and gut sensations.

Have I lost you yet? (Now you know how I feel.)

Actually, that’s not entirely fair. There’s a little smattering of interesting historical information, and a few anecdotes about how different cultures have different diets and how they’re healthier than Americans.

In truth, there’s a lot of good information in this book…..if you’re someone who wants to know all the sciency stuff. If you actually want to know why certain foods are good, how to listen to your gut, and how to be healthy….it’s there, but you have to get through 7ish chapters of science first.

Your call.

Thanks to TLC Book Tours for the chance to join this tour. Check out the rest of the tour stops here!

All-Inclusive Resort Showdown: Valentin Imperial Maya vs. Catalonia Royal Tulum

Thought this would be fun!! Since I’m now an expert on two Riviera Maya resorts (hah!), I thought we’d do a showdown. Pretty simple rules – looking at both resorts equally, just the basic amenities. Nothing you have to pay extra for, such as spa services, upgrades, or packages.

Sorry I don’t have pictures for everything – I’ve got lots of food from VIM, and very little food from CRT! And I didn’t want to only show you one in this showdown, cause that wouldn’t be fair. Look back at all the VIM posts (there are four total from 2014 and 2015!) and the recent CRT post for other pictures.

Full disclosure: We loved both resorts, and highly recommend either of them. It all depends on what you’re looking for from an all-inclusive vacation.

The Contenders

Valentin Imperial Maya (VIM) and Catalonia Royal Tulum (CRT)

Beach

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: Super long, which is a bit of a hassle when you’re trying to find a place to sit. Palapas are spread out, so you’ve got a bit more privacy for your lounge chairs (which are nicely padded). Lots of seaweed, and lots of waves. Drink service was consistent.

CRT: Small, with horribly uncomfortable chairs close together. No palapas, but the entire area is shaded by palm trees so you can usually find some shade. No seaweed, super calm water. Drink service was consistent.

Winner: CRT

 

Pool

VIM quiet pool on left, CRT on right

VIM quiet pool on left, CRT on right

VIM: Two main pools, one party pool and one quiet pool. Seating around the main pool is difficult to find shade. Swim up bar in main pool, walk up bar in quiet pool, drink service at both. Not enough seating, so expect to play the towel game at the main pool especially.

CRT: One pool. Nearly every seat has shade. Walk up bar, drink service. Plenty of seating available all day.

Winner: Tie

 

Room

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: We’ve stayed in the middle tier, Golden Suites. Room has a separate sitting area, balcony, and large bathroom with dual sinks and a huge shower. Toilet has a glass door. Also has a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom.

CRT: Upgraded to the top tier, Junior Suite. Room has a small sitting area next to the bed, balcony, and single-sink bathroom with rain shower. Bathroom is all in one room with a wooden door.

Winner: VIM

 

A La Carte Restaurants

VIM: 6 – Italian, Steakhouse, Indonesian, Asian, Mexican, and French. Smart casual dress code (long pants and closed shoes for men). We ate at all of them.

CRT: 5 – Italian, Steakhouse, Tapas, Asian, and Mexican. Casual dress code (shorts and sandals allowed for men). We ate at two of them.

Winner: CRT simply for the dress code

 

Buffet Restaurants

VIM: Breakfast and lunch only, in the same locations. Lunch selection changes daily. Breakfast has smoothies, omelets, crepes, and other made-to-order items.

CRT: Breakfast, lunch, and dinner, though in different locations. Lunch and dinner selection changes daily. Breakfast has omelets, crepes, and other made-to-order items.

Winner: CRT

 

Snack Bars

VIM: Lunch service at quiet pool, plus daily changing grill lunch served poolside at main pool; ice cream machine available at beach

CRT: Sandwich/pizza restaurant at pool, plus occasional burger lunch served poolside; sandwiches and popcorn available during the day in lobby

Winner: Tie

 

Room Service

VIM: 24 hour selection; lunch and dinner menu available all day until breakfast begins; wait time up to an hour depending on when you order

CRT: 24 hour selection; after 11:00pm four to five choices available; wait time around 30 minutes

Winner: VIM

 

Drinks

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: Top shelf liquor (Grey Goose, Baileys) available; very few drink menus; wide selection of spirits, beer, and wine; Coca-Cola; extensive coffee menu

CRT: Mid-range liquor (Stoli, Bacardi); drink menus at every bar; limited selection of spirits, beer, and wine; Pepsi; coffee or espresso; smoothie bar on beach

Winner: VIM

 

Ambiance

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: Very luxurious, spread out, lots of open spaces; often noisy

CRT: Jungle-feel, no wasted space; very quiet

Winner: Tie

 

Activities and Nightlife

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: Nearly constant activities ranging from water sports to cooking classes to pool parties; nightly shows and live music; daily schedule delivered at turndown service

CRT: Sporadic activities pool and beachside ranging from volleyball to jenga tournaments; single-performer in lobby and once a week pool party (there is a disco, but we never went in so I won’t judge on that); weekly schedule posted in each building

Winner: VIM

 

Staff

VIM: Consistently good service throughout; rooms cleaned at roughly the same time each day

CRT: Consistently adequate service throughout, with a few standouts; rooms cleaned at all hours of the day (we had turndown show up at 10pm one night)

Winner: VIM

 

Check-in/Check-out

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM on left, CRT on right

VIM: Champagne on arrival, called up one by one to check-in; no wristbands; taken to room via golf cart; check-out a somewhat lengthy process

CRT: Fruit juice on arrival, standard hotel-style desk for check-in; wristbands; free to roam after check-in; check-out as simple as turning in keys

Winner: CRT (though champagne would be nice)

 

Guests

VIM: Primarily American and Canadian; mix of groups and couples; ages tend to range from early 20s to early 70s

CRT: Primarily European and couples; ages tend to range from early 30s to early 60s

Winner: CRT (guests were much less obnoxious)

 

Which Should You Choose?

VIM: If you want to drink (a lot), eat (a lot), and play (a lot). Overall more luxurious, abundant, and energizing.

CRT: If you want to swim (a lot), sun (a lot), and read (a lot). Overall more romantic, intimate, and relaxing.