Category Archives: Travel

I’m not a “Mommy blogger” 

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When we told people I was pregnant, friends and family who were parents told us how amazing being a parent was. How fulfilling and incredible it is. I may have rolled my eyes at times. Cliché after cliché of parents lamenting about how great kids were. We wanted to create a human but I don’t think either Joel or I would say we were children people. We don’t dislike children. We just don’t gush. I didn’t get it. I knew instinct would kick in and I would love my own. But I couldn’t understand how sleepless nights, no down time. No quiet time, expenses, messy houses, messy children, human whirlwinds could make you happy – as in, gushy happy. I just knew everyone said it so it must be true. I was (kind of, somewhat) a believer. 
  
Flash forward to today. Liv is 20 months old. Her and I are in Miami. Mummy and Daughter trip. 

We have had a fun few days. She’s an incredible human to be around. Cliché bias but I love her company. When she takes her nap or goes to bed I’m happy for some ‘me’ time but I also can’t wait for her to wake up as I miss her. 

  

We had a few minutes of quiet time as we drove on the freeway and from the back seat… A sweet “Mummy?” I reply and she says “are you happy?” I don’t know why she asked or what made her ask but it was so sweet and thoughtful and it hit me how this baby that we created understands emotion and feelings and cares enough to ask me. A selfless question. Wise beyond her years. Actually. She’s too young for years. Wise beyond her 20 months. She goes on to tell me “Mummy makes me very, very happy”. 

And there you have it. Cliches backed up. 

Fulfilled. 

A love like no other. 

This tiny human. My best friend. My travel buddy. My heart. 
And with all the sickly sweet gush-iness in the world…. It’s time for me to go to bed because the sooner I sleep the faster it will be morning and I can hug her again. 

Being a parent is amazing. I’m in the gushing club with a life time subscription. 

 
  
 

How To Live In The Now – social media, content and unplugging

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We live in a world of now, now, now, gimme, gimme, gimme.

How did we become so obsessed with now. We don’t even have time to focus on the futuresome, it seems do not even care about the past, we just want it all and we want it now.

We are so in need, in lust for the now that anything else makes us impatient.

We are surrounded by the ‘instant’ – Twitter, Facebook. Vine. Insta(nt)gram

I primarily connected my figurative life line to social media in 2007 as a way to connect with my family and friends at home in London and across the globe, an easy way to share what I was doing and get the social reach easily to everyone I cared about when I was on the run and didn’t have time for a call or to write a letter  – technology has allowed me to face time with my Mum while I am out shopping to get her buy in on a dress I like or some shoes I’m contemplating adding to the collection. While I am connected to my family, I am also, now, so conditioned to getting everything out there right now – real time sharing, real time experiences.
I want to know if I’ve won – now. I want to know what people think – now. Who is liking my status, who is viewing my blog, what is my friend in another part of the world doing right now, I want my food order in 3 minutes.  I need the information and I need it now.

Capturing the moment

Capturing the moment

Don’t get me wrong – I love social media and what it has enabled us to do as individuals and as a global community, I like a fast pace, I like to have everything at my fingertips, but I’ve become so motivated by instant gratification that I’m not stopping to smell the flowers. I’m not taking in my life – the memories. Yes; every inch of the memory is captured in 140 characters or a heavily filtered and edited photo stored in a virtual cloud for the future, but am I living in that moment? Or am I merely capturing it?
Am I really listening or am I merely hearing?
Am I missing what’s really going on around me, now, because I’m so obsessed with the now.

My husband has created a social (media) experiment for us, mainly me, but us – can we, one day a week, tune out, shut down and turn off – can we leave our iphones, our ipad and our computer alone and just live in the moment, see the world through just one lens.

It’s time to take my moments. To realise that to really appreciate the now. I need to stop, inhale and absorb. Otherwise, my life will have flashed by in a series of uploads, tweets and posts.

Life is too short to not really LIVE in the now.

For more on our figurative life lines and our constant connection here is a great article on Huff Post – Disconnect: A New Movie Sounds the Alarm About Our Hyper-Connected Lives.

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Just Let It Go

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If December is the season of good will, then January is the season of resolutions made and broken.

I don’t really make resolutions – but I do make choices – I chose last summer to Drop To Shop and I followed that plan to a tee.

With January – comes winter – the most depressing time of year for me. I don’t like the cold, I hate snow and ice and I really don’t like bundling up just to take a 2 minute walk to my car and I live in Texas – it shouldn’t even be cold here. Generally I’m happy, but also miserable – a grumpy mess of whining, complaining and negative thoughts until the thermostat shows a pleasing number above 70 degrees. I’m pretty sure my friends in Dallas are fed up of me complaining, I know my husband is, so in an effort to make everyone around me less annoyed by me, I made a choice, not a resolution – to be more positive.

I have only just started my trek in to positivity. The more I thought about it, the more I realized that, I, like most people, find it easier to criticize, complain and speak badly of people or things, than compliment, be positive and smile. As I read in one of the books I’m reading –“ it’s easier to complain than to laugh”* – and it’s so true. How often will you gossip about someone than compliment someone – or for that fact even take a compliment – us girls would rather put ourselves down about our weight, what a mess we think we are or be self-deprecating, than take the compliment about our hair, our dress, our amazing presentation at work or dinner we just made.

My first step in to positivity was recognising I needed a rule for myself – something that was quick to employ and easy to remember – one of my wise, wonderful friends, one day, said to me “you just have to let it go” and there it was – ‘Let It Go’. It’s so simple , a basic concept – take what is bothering you, what is just winding you up, stressing you out and making you miserable, and just let go of it. It’s my modern day version of the much quoted prayer**

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

Work hard, make it happen – when I can, but know when to Let It Go – be smart enough to know the difference.

I started using Let It Go as my mantra – when something happened that I didn’t like, when I would normally rant and vent to anyone who would listen, I just said “Let It Go” it’s not important. At first it was hard – so I decided I needed to visualize something – I found an image of a balloon with the phrase on Pinterest and thought it was just perfect – so now, when I find myself on the verge of negativity, I just let go of my balloon and let it float away….far, far away.

How are you letting it go? Let me know.

#LetItGo

Let It Go

*Quote – Gretchen Rubin, The Happiness Project

**Quote – Reinhold Niebuhr

Join me/follow me:

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A Day in the Life of The Men in My Life

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Right:The Don – Naughty Billy    Left: The Don & Mr K

In other news– my father has now joined twitter and in the same 24 hour period has requested that as the eldest man in the family, he is now referred to as The *Don/ Don Billy. We shall see which new interest lasts longer. My money is on the new nickname rather than twitter. Although learning that he can vent and complain at companies in just 140 characters has provided him with a new challenge in his nonexistent workaholic down time.

*Side note – when I retold this story to a friend of ours – she asked why my dad wanted to be the Dom of the family.  Apparently her reading Fifty Shades of Grey has really had an effect on her hearing.

The Don & Mr K

In more ‘other news’ – my husband has a new toy – a food saver – the joy – we have everything you could possibly think of in its own little pouch – herbs, melon, fish, cherries, energy bars, reindeer all with the life sucked out of them and stored in the freezer. My father’s comment in relation to learning that Mr K is vacuum packing anything he can get his hands on…. “Well if we come over and we can’t find you darling – we will look to see if he’s vacuum packed you and stored you in the freezer”. Sigh. 

#DropToShop

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Ive been going to a gym for 8 months and 9 days. Yes, I know to the actual day because I do not enjoy it – I treat it like a life sentence. I am not one of those people that just gets all hyped up to work out. Not only do I work out but I also have a trainer (see here for the man I have to face off to)– a luxury that I pay for – or should I say, a punishment that I pay for. I get through it because my trainer ‘gets’ me and knows just how to motivate me and I see results. Seriously, you should check out my guns next time we meet (and let me know if you need his number).

In the lead up to our wedding my trainer and I were working to a goal…..his was for me to lose, what I thought was an insane amount of weight, mine was to just fit in to my dress.

I worked out at the gym near my home, I worked out at the hotel on a business trip to Orlando and even managed to get my whole team at the hotel fitness center, I worked out at 11pm after business dinners in DC, I skipped fun team activities to hit up the gym and even got up at 6amon my bachelorette weekend in Beverly Hills and Palm Springs to get my cardio in before the fun each day.

I switched chocolate for walnuts and almonds, bread and cheese for fish and avocado, soda for iced tea and champagne (the hardest of all these) for no more than 2 glasses of red wine a week.

All the acting like a crazy person and the constant motivation, nutrition advice and need to not disappoint meant I hit my goal, I didn’t quite hit his.

Obese German woman lifted from house by crane

Now that the wedding goal is over (– he actually wanted me to lose 30lbs, and I lost 22), I no longer have a specific need to work out, other than, of course, the need to not be one of those women that is so fat that, before she gets air lifted out of her house, they have to pry her skin off the sofa that she has started to literally become attached to. With that being said, I need to be healthy and I need a motivator. It seemed that the actual number of pounds to lose was not working for me, but the realization that I wouldn’t be able to wear something really hit me hard.

Wedding Dress

The Wedding Dress
Photo credit: David Toms Photography

After our honeymoon I lost all motivation to walk back in to the gym. They say it takes 27 days to build a habit, but apparently it only take 2 weeks to lose it. Within those 2 weeks and subsequent to that, I have kind of pigged out and skipped the cardio and then switched the hour sessions for 30min sessions, I am spiraling out of control. I wondered what I would need to do to get myself back to the daily gym-going,  healthy eating freak that I was – and decided I would take myself shopping to buy new workout clothes to spur me on. Like a light bulb moment, that’s when it hit me. I love to shop (that isn’t the realization) I love to shop and shopping makes me happy (also not a realization)– the realization was this – I made a promise to myself, I set a goal that was hard but it had to work, I mean it HAS to work….. No clothes shopping… until I drop ten pounds. If I gain weight, then I just add that on top of the 10 pounds.

To make sure I would somewhat be held to this goal I told my trainer, I told the twitterverse and I told my friends and family on Facebook. (Although this doesn’t always mean anything, because only last night I said via all social media channels that I was going to go Vegan and I didn’t even make it through one meal before I gave up) This goal, this, I will stick to. I even have a couple of friends in on the goal too. So there’s Kristin in Philly, Liz in DC( @BenderLiz) and Diana (@DianaP)  in Miami – all on the same plan. Strength in numbers.

The Hot Mess Post Work Out Look

Being the marketing geek that I am I decided to produce a whole campaign and buy in around it. You are all now part of it to – communicating the goal/campaign – ‘I need to lose 10 pounds before I can shop’ doesn’t really have a good sound to it, so after some brain storming, we came to ‘DropToShop’

You can follow us on twitter as we discuss our success and failure, watch our hashtag stream #DropToShop on twitter or follow on Instagram to see how we are changing our diet, work outs and nutrition all with the goal to shop again.

You can never underestimate the power of clothes shopping to women – wish us luck, send your tips, join us in the plan and like Team Drop To Shop on Facebook or Instagram, follow my DropToShop board on Pinterest  and tweet #DropToShop.

Follow me on Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram @LondonGirlinLA

Flying too much (part 2) Are you a flying dumb-o?

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In my follow up to “fly too much” I felt it’s necessary to point out that as a frequent flyer we see a lot of idiotic things.

Airplane illustration

I will give the benefit of the doubt to people who have either never flown or been in an airport or those who are only fly once a year, but the rest of the flying population are always providing me with ammunition for my case that people are dumb and in some circumstances self absorbed and bloody stupid.

Top 10 ways you show me you are dumb, idiotic or just self absorbed:

1. When you are told to remove all metal items for the x-ray machine, that includes the coins in your pocket, your belt with the big honking rodeo champion belt buckle and the 27 bangles on your wrist.

2. When the gate agent says there are no available upgrade seats on the flight you throw in one of my favourites: “don’t you know who I am”

3. When the gate agent calls first class passengers only to board and 120 people all get in line to board. Trust me honey. If you had a first class ticket you would know about it.  Sit the heck down til she calls group 4.

4. When you can’t push, squeeze, squish or force your bag in to the overhead… It means your bag is too big. Over head bin - luggage

5. When you can’t slam, push, force the overhead bin door to close – it means your bag is too big.

6. When you board late and there’s no room in the over head bin, you take someone else’s bag out to fit yours in. – it means you are an arse hole. (and your bag is probably too big)

7. When you are the only one still using your phone as the plane pushes away from the gate, because the rules don’t apply to you – it means you are an arsehole….it also means you are making my fiancé freak out thinking your actions will cause the plane to crash in a fiery ball of flames. So, still a self absorbed arsehole.

8. When the pilot has the seat belt sign on and you think it applies to everyone but you. Sit the heck down.

9. When you allow your kids to kick the back of the seats, pull passengers hair, run up and down the aisle and throw toys at other passengers or, worse still, let your kid throw drinks over other passengers lap tops (uh huh I am speaking from experience). Control your kids. Please.

Passenger taking up 2 seats

10. Snoring, farting, belching, spitting, stinking…. If your wife or girlfriend won’t put up with it why do you think I should. If you can’t get a wife or a girlfriend- think about it buddy. The clues are there.

So if you see yourself in any of my top 10, a word to the not so wise, take note and make flying a happier experience for us all.

Let me know your top flying pet peeves.

Together we can clean up the skies one dumb ass at a time.

 

For further reading – The Lonely Planet –  How not to behave on a plane – A passenger’s Bill of Rights:

Frequent flyer issues - passenger bill of rights

Flying too much (part 1) what’s your score?

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I fly quite a bit. I’m by no means anywhere close to some of my friends who seem to be up in the air more than they are on the ground, but I would consider myself a frequent flyer. Being a frequent flyer affords you some vital skills:

I can pack a week’s clothes in to a carry on, including 3+ pairs of shoes (impressive huh).  I have a clear plastic bag of liquids of 3oz or less, ready to go at any moment and I have racked up enough miles to hold an elite status with an international airline every year for the last 4 years. I can pick the quickest security line at a glance by summing up the passengers in line and turbulence can rock me to sleep.

Frequent Flyer Image

10 signs you travel a lot, or in some cases too much:

  1.  Your carry on is never put away
  2.  Your dog has developed a complex and falls in to a depression when he sees the suitcase on the bed.
  3.  You travel with a seat power adaptor in your bag at all times
  4.  You are the foursquare mayor at one or more gates in any airport terminal
  5.  You are forever on the upgrade list. For every flight. (Damn those warm nuts are good).
  6.  Immigration ask you to replace your passport because it’s too worn to work in the scanners
  7.  When you check in on foursquare it says “congratulations this is your 10th consecutive week of being at this airport/at a hotel”
  8.  TSA agents at your home airport know you by name
  9.  You know the flight schedule of every flight in and out of your home airport to various destinations.
  10. You have circumnavigated the globe…. More than once…… In a year.

So how did you score?

Frequent Flyer