The following are our recommendations for people to work with on your home-buying journey, businesses we rely on (including food!) and products we like.
FOOD & DRINK
Mario’s Classic Pizza
Our go-to pie in the area. Mario’s is located in Hoboken but we pretty much solely rely on them for delivery for when we don’t feel like cooking, are busy or trying to feed a lot of people at once. It’s a perfect and reliable slice, with just the right amount of grease. You can find them on Seamless, too! And make sure you keep a little garlic powder, red pepper flakes and oregano around for some proper garnish.
We found this place on Reddit, in a desperate search for good Thai food in Jersey City and were drawn in by the promise of khao soi (I only know one other place in the area, in Brooklyn, that makes it). This place does legit Thai food and darn good bowl of khao soi, a northern Thailand specialty. It’s not on the menu but they will make it for you and you can get it with chicken or tofu.
Located in Hoboken, this is our second-favorite go-to pizza for when we have a hankering for thin-crust brick oven pizza. Stick with the classic margherita, you won’t regret it.
We finally tried Tony’s for the first time at the end of a long moving day and it was a the perfect mix of carbs and calories and the best mozzarella sticks we have ever had. It’s high-quality drunk food and they have vegetarian/vegan options.
HIKING & CAMPING GEAR
Enlightened Equipment Sleeping Quilts
Definitely our biggest investment for hiking and so worth the $$$. We shaved three pounds off each of our packs with these (after a test hike hauling our regular sleeping bags) and with a compression bag they shrink down to the size of a melon. We went with the Enigma 850DT, which keeps you warm down to 20 degrees. I got the regular width, short version, while Joe got the regular length, wide width. We used them for the first time in the Smokies and they were perfect to use as blankets in the warmer nights. If you’re on a budget, Amazon has some significantly cheaper versions.
Mountain House Meals
These kept us fed and happy in the woods. They’re freeze-dried meals, so just add some boiling water and let sit for 8-10 minutes and voila! We can recommend with confidence Spaghetti with Meat Sauce, Chili Mac, Mac & Cheese, Beef Stroganoff with Noodles, Rice and Chicken and Mexican Rice & Chicken. We had the 2.5 serving bags for dinner, and the single servings for lunches.
Osprey Exos 58 and Osprey Aura 50
We’re definitely an Osprey family. I’ve had my Aura 50 backpack for about seven years, and it’s been with me backpacking through Spain and South America, and through many camping trips, including music festivals, and it’s as tough and convenient as it was when I first bought it. Joe bought his backpack before we left for the Smokies since he didn’t have a good hiking pack, and he went with the Exos on the recommendation of a friend and couldn’t be happier with it.
Bona Floor Cleaner
Bona is a Swedish company that specializes in hardwood floors and my mom has been using their cleaning system in her house for as long as I can remember. I finally invested in one for the new house and I’m so glad I did. I don’t know what took me so long! Once you buy the stick, it comes with a refillable container of cleaner and three washable pads – one for dusting, one for cleaning and one for polishing. It’s so much easier than a traditional mop and makes keeping dust particles off the floor regularly much simpler than dragging the vacuum out.
Coop Home Goods Hypoallergenic Memory Foam Pillow
I’ve coveted this pillow that Joe has had since we met, and for my birthday this year I finally got one of my own! They are super comfy, great for your neck and back and you don’t sink into them and sweat like other posturepedic items.
Neato Botvac D80 Robot Vacuum (Pets and Allergies)
Yes, a cleaning robot. Not only has Neato become a psuedo-pet but is worth every penny since both of us are not fond of sweeping. We run him once every week or two and he can complete the apartment in one charge (we’ll see if that holds true in the new place). The Neato is much smarter than comparable options like the Roomba in how he maps his route and the square front helps him get into corners and hard-to-reach spaces. Plus, there’s something luxurious in turning him on before you leave for work and returning that evening to a clean floor.
Serta Raised Air Mattress with Insta-Pump
If you’re like me (and every other New Yorker) who loves having houseguests but doesn’t have a guest room or enough space for a second sleeper sofa, having this air mattress is the next best thing – or honestly, just as good, depending on how crappy that sleeper sofa is. This air mattress is super easy to set up and take down, folds up nicely into the back and easy to transport. And it’s mad comfortable. You barely feel like it’s an air mattress. We’ve slept on it for a week at a time and still weren’t tired of it.
Shark Ultra-Light Rocket Vacuum
I bought this vacuum during my last move when my mom and I walked into Home Depot and she pointed at it and said, “I think that’s going to be your new vacuum.” She was right, of course. It’s a great value for the cost and I love that the top part detaches and can be used like a dust-buster and for cleaning the couch. Even though we have our Neato (see above) it’s nice keeping the vacuum around for heavy-duty cleaning and spaces that aren’t the floor.
This is the team of people who are guiding us through the home buying process. We have had a great experience with all of them, and have found everyone be very knowledgeable, responsive and thorough, especially if you’re buying in the Hudson County, N.J. area.
The Sanderson Group (part of Keller Williams Realty)
We worked with agent Yuan Zhang twice – in our first rental together and then on our first home purchase – and we can’t sing her praises enough. We also had a really great working relationship with Andrew Sanderson. Overall, we’d trust working with anyone on his team, and Andrew will always make himself available to you.
Scanlon & Scanlon P.C.
We worked with Joseph Scanlon for our purchase and he has been nothing but professional and diligent on our behalf.
We worked with Chris Gallo on our mortgage application and loan. We have had such a good experience that we’ve already recommended him to friends of ours.
John Losquadro, Home Inspection
John is a highly rated and recommended inspector in the area and is very professional. You can reach him at 732-822-0864.
Eric Rivera – Floor Sanding / Staining / Finishing
Eric was amazing to work with. He is very responsive via phone or text and his team is efficient and does excellent work. And all for a reasonable price. He also talked through our stain options with us and gave us some good feedback when we accidentally mussed up the finish. You can see some photos of Eric’s work and can reach out to him at 201-303-9841 or firstname.lastname@example.org for your own flooring needs.
This mapping app has gotten us through some tricky situations. It’s perfect for when you are in places where WiFi and data are tough to come by. Download the section of map you’re going to need to your phone, and then you can use it just like you use any other mapping app. It lets you find locations and route your trip from one place to another. We used it in the hills of Thailand and hiking through the Smokies. It’s great for hiking as well as many of the trails, even in the backcountry were clearly marked for us.
Modem + Router
Renting a modem + router combo from your cable or internet provider sounds convenient but over the long run it’s much better and more financially sound if you invest in your own set. Thanks to a recommendation from a network engineer friend of mine, I invested in my own set a few years ago and I’m so glad I did. He gave me suggestions for the following items that are high performing for the general user and a good value for the cost. My speeds increased significantly from the old Time Warner modem/router I was renting and it paid for itself after a year.
- Modem: ARRIS SURFboard SB6190 Cable Modem
- Router TP-Link AC1200 Gigabit Wireless Wi-Fi Router (Archer C1200)