Tag Archives: shopping

Cinderella Needs The Mall

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It’s now been a few weeks since I started my drop to shop campaign – and to my surprise and delight I have a small group of friends who have joined me. Strength in numbers is definitely helping me out. 

The Drop To Shop campaign itself now has followers from Philly to Florida, Sweden to South London and Austin to Israel. The knowledge that my actions and goals are motivating others is what is keeping me from slipping up.

So how is it going you ask? To be honest my weight is swinging more than Mohammad Ali in a title fight.

This week has been hard – I may not be the most fashionable girl on the block but with Fashion’s Night Out and New York Fashion Week – I have never wanted to hit the mall and my credit card so much. I sat at home with my frozen Kashi low-cal microwave meal playing the role of Cinderella while my friends shopped til they dropped and I felt sorry for myself.  Speaking of Cinderella – have you seen the new Cinderella inspired Louboutins?

 Shoe A.D.D. aside, I took my Cinderella attitude and forced myself to do some crunches, and then some more, and another set more and a couple of plank exercises just for fun, I felt better about myself and played the Rocky theme tune in my head. Cinderella you shall go to the mall….I mean ball.

Follow me on Twitter & Instagram and #DropToShop

Join the Drop To Shop campaign on Facebook

Join the Drop To Shop Campaign on Facebook

Follow the Drop To Shop Pinterest page for recipes, work out tips and motivation

Follow The Drop To Shop Pinterest Board

 

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#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

From Rule Britannia to God Bless America (pt2) – Ordinary Observations

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I have mentioned before that my time in the US has been interesting. Five plus years of American life and living the American dream. There are a few things which really stand out to me – three that won’t get me in trouble with political or religious agendas. Because the major, really major learnings I have had come from hot topics that I don’t feel are right for this blog.

So keeping it clean, I present to you – the London’s girls ordinary observations:


1)      Accents & Sayings – Y’all speak funny.

Every day people ask me about my accent. Frankly, I don’t think I have an accent. I sound pretty darn normal to me. It’s everyone around me who sounds funny. Although England has some incredible changes in accents as you move through the country, America isn’t too far different. When I first moved to Texas, I thought all Southerners sounded the same. Y’all’ing and drawling all over the place, but now I can detect a definite difference between Georgia and Texas and even East Texas and West. What could be more bizarre is that my very Texan fiancé who has only been to England twice can do a very convincing Brummy (Birmingham) or Scouse (Liverpool) accent, having never been anywhere near there.

As a Brit, I have learnt that I can get away with cursing. Which is good, because I am a frequent potty mouth.

My top 3 British curse words:

  • Bollocks
  • Bugger
  • Wanker

(Sorry Mum)

None of my English vocabulary comes anywhere close in comparison to the crazy arse sayings that I have heard since living in the South.

Top 3 Crazy Texan sayings:

  • Ticklin’ my tater
  • Like a goose on a June bug
  • All hat and no cattle.

I am still unsure as to the meaning of some of them. If you are interested in seeing more – here is a fun link

2)      Weather – It’s not normally like this

The stereotype of London is that it’s foggy in London and always raining. To be fair one of the main reasons I always state for leaving England is the weather.  (Although this weekend in England has been in the 80s and the highest recorded temperature in October ever). Where I ended up when I landed in the States wasn’t much better. New York. Cold winters, hot humid summers and a lot of rain, so, I loaded up my truck and I moved to Beverly, Hills, that is. Where it never rains. Or hardly ever. People say that Southern California has no seasons, it’s not true – California has  earthquakes, mud slides, flash floods and wildfires – some very distinct seasons of which I have experienced a few. Taking out the ‘force majeure’ – Southern California is a perfect climate most of the year.

When I first moved to California, I laughed at the people in their wooly hats and gloves and big warm winter coats when it hit below 60. Seriously – 58 degrees and you are walking around like we live in Buffalo during the winter. Then the joke was on me, just two years in to living in LA and I would have the heat on high, and be complaining of being “freezing” when it got to low 60s. I became a soft southerner, a California southerner.

The craziest weather has to be in Dallas though. Summers over 110 degrees, winters with ice storms and snow, hail stones as big as golf balls, electrical storms and of course, tornadoes. I never knew when I moved to Dallas, that I was moving to such a meteorological mess. This place is insane. People in Dallas are STILL trying to tell me “it’s not normally like this” – uh huh, apart from 100% of the time I have lived here.  So forgive me when someone tells me that the weather in England is awful, or how smoggy LA is. I’ve never had to huddle under a sink in an airport bathroom as a tornado touched down in London, or worry about my car being smashed in by weather in LA. Dallas takes the prize for crazy.

 

3)      Fashion – Style, trends and flaunting it

Clothing and fashion is really the main thing I miss about living in Europe (after family and friends of course). I miss being able to shop in TopShop or Kurt Geiger and spending Saturdays browsing Selfridges– a shoppers mecca (quick time out to mention how much I want some Miu Miu heels this season).

Miu Miu Curbed Heel pumps

Black suede and glitter - curved heel Miu Miu pumps

I miss the people watching on the streets of London, wishing I could pull off the latest styles. The more and more I live in America, the more I have become average in my dress sense. My weekender wear is simple and boring, my office attire – not a stitch on my old style. It’s not because America doesn’t have style or a sense of fashion. It’s because, unless you have the disposable income of a celebrity, or are young enough to shop in Forever 21, there aren’t really any cool stores to go to. In Dallas especially, I miss H&M and Bloomingdales. So, lately I have taken it upon myself to spice myself up a little. The crazy boot wedges, the bright green brocade mini skirt or the mustard yellow heels. Im bringing myself back. I have learnt that I don’t need to be a skinny Minnie to look good. I am embracing my curves and flaunting my God given assets…one European clothing item at a time.

The Queen’s English, a gruff New York accent or a Southern Drawl. Come rain or come shine, Gucci, Pucci, Escada or Prada,  my main observation is that I have learnt that you can recreate your life, reinvent yourself, and be whoever you want to be. Live the American Dream. There is opportunity everywhere.

My Life in Travel – An Interview With Myself

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My flight last weekend had me reading  The Independent – Travel Section – I enjoyed reading the article so much, I thought I would make my own ‘My Life in Travel

First Holiday Memory?

Meeting Mickey Mouse at Disney Land, when I was 3. I remember standing on Main St, waiting for the parade. The Flying Dumbos my first ever ‘roller coaster’ and getting ice cream in Vegas with my parents.

Havana

Best Holiday?

My feelings have always been split between Cape Town and Havana. I’ve blogged before about how incredible my experiences were in both cities. I’ve made the connection that both Cape Town and Havana have similarities: extreme poverty and governments that either were, or still are troubled but beyond those issues, are two cities and countries that are beautiful. Cape Town has it’s beautiful coast, vineyards and such motivational history that empowers you to do great things and to think beyond your four walls – you can do anything you set your heart and mind to. Cuba’s people show such generosity, honesty and warmth. The decaying architecture has a charm that I don’t think I will ever find again and I cannot begin to recount the incredible evening I spent in the presence of members of the Buena Vista Social Club, sipping Havana Club daiquiris and enjoying a Cohiba.

Favourite place in the British Isles?

Britain has some beautiful scenery and wonderful sites and things to experience, but hand on heart, my favourite place in the UK, has to be London – my home town. London has so much culture. I discover something new every time I’m in the city. The architecture is so diverse – from 500 yearBig Ben old structures to incredible new buildings such as the Shard. London continues to impress me – and I feel that I love it more and more with each trip home that I make. One of my favourite things to do when I am in London is to enjoy the fashion. Although shopping is a lot more economical in the US, I don’t think you can beat the variety and selection of style and fashion that London has to offer. If you are thinking of a city holiday in Europe, London has to be on your list, from history and culture, to fashion and food – London has everything you need in a vacation.

Quick tip: Make sure you tour London by night – it’s incredible.

What have you learnt from your travels?

  1. Always budget for more than you think you will need
  2. If you can, don’t scrimp (point #1 helps with this) – it’s usually a once in a life time experience, and you don’t want to regret what you didn’t do, so you could save a few bucks.
  3. Remain respectful at all times. Always leave somewhere in the same or better condition that you found it in.
  4. Lastly – If the locals do it, it must be good – enjoy the local cuisine and embrace the culture that you have chosen to experience.

Ideal travelling companion?

Some travels call for your best girl friends (weekend shopping in NY or a girls trip to Vegas), others call for some Mother-Daughter or Parents-daughter time (I adore my time with my parents – especially, since we live so far apart) and for the rest of the time I can’t think of a better travel partner than my incredible fiancé. We always manage to laugh through the stressful times (delayed flights, dragging heavy suit cases across airports, parking lots and hotels and hairy flights) and enjoy the good times together. I cannot wait for our honeymoon together.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

Yes, yes and ehhhh not so much.

I love the beach and seeing the ocean, but I need more than just catching rays to make my vacation time count. I love experiencing new cultures and learning all that I can behind the local area or region.  However, saying that…if my time is limited – I’m all about lazing by the pool, enjoying the spa and taking in the views. Nothing is more calming and relaxing to me that hearing the waves crash against the beach, or surrounding myself with gorgeous scents and flowers, mountains and peaceful environments.

As far as the adrenalin junkie goes – I will leave that to others.

Hilton Los Cabos, Mexico

Greatest travel luxury?

Time! Since I have moved to the States, I have really learnt to appreciate my time off. It has become a luxury that I adore.

Holiday reading

I have good intentions when I go on holiday. I pack 2 or 3 books, but unless I have no other distractions the reading just doesn’t happen. I have now started to use the Kindle app on my iPad to avoid lugging around heavy hardbacks that I won’t actually read unless I am on the plane. I actually read a lot more at home than I do on holiday now.

Currently reading: The Thank You Economy’, by Gary Vaynerchuk

Where has seduced you?

Marbella, Spain. It’s stunning. Mountains, palm trees, ocean, fresh food and beauty every which way you look.

Better to travel or arrive?

Unless I am fortunate to fly first class, then it’s always better to arrive. I have so rarely been on a flight in the last year that has been on time, if it hasn’t been cancelled – so I’m all about ‘just get me there’.

Worst travel experience?

I think the worst travel I have ever experienced was as a teenager – travelling around Eastern Europe. As a student the history that I got to walk through and places I explored were fantastic and so crucial to my learnings, we went to Belgium, Luxembourg, Prague where we stayed in a haunted, converted prison, Berlin and on to Krakow to visit Auschwitz. An experience I can never forget.

What made it my worst experience was that we travelled all across Europe by coach – sometimes over night, cramped in to a coach with 30 other girls for hours upon hours upon hours. Definitely not the luxury standards I had become accustomed to. 😉

Best hotel? La Quinta Resort & Spa

I have been very lucky, at a young age, with my parents and as an adult now, with my work, to be able to stay in some incredible hotels in some wonderful locations. My all time favourite hotel is one that I discovered outside of my parents and work and I make it a goal to make sure I get there at least once a year, although I wish it was every weekend.

Which hotel, you ask…. my all time hotel destination of choice is La Quinta Resort & Club. The resort has everything I love about Spain and California rolled in to one. 5* luxury, Waldorf Astoria name tag and old world Spanish charm with golden era Hollywood history. Adobe inspired casitas, in-room fire places, small swimming pools dotted around the resort, on property restaurants & bars and an incredible spa.

I should probably insert here, that I work for Hilton Worldwide, yet my opinions about the resort are my own and I am not taking any kick backs for waxing lyrical about how heavenly I find the hotel. (same goes for my image of the Hilton Los Cabos – above)

Favourite drive?

Pacific Coast Highway, California. Nothing beats driving along the coast in California. It’s iconic and far from a letdown from Northern California and the 17 mile drive all the way down to San Diego.

Dream trip?

Good question – we are working on that right now as we discuss where to go on our Honeymoon. Koh Samui, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, Greek Islands, Bora Bora, Maldives or Fiji – I’m dreaming big.

Favourite city?  Chicago

I have a passion for Los Angeles. I feel like it’s my home away from home. Scrap that – it’s my adopted home. I never feel more like I belong than when I am in LA. The ocean, the sushi, the wide, palm tree lined boulevards, full of world class people watching.

After LA which is a given, I do love Chicago. Having never been there until a few years ago, I have been making annual trips since 2008. A real city with a buzz about it that warrants a mention. My top hotel for style, views and rooftop dining and drinking is The Wit, A DoubleTree Hotel (another obligatory disclaimer that this is my personal opinion and I am a Hilton Worldwide employee). If you happen to be in the Windy City the rooftop is a must.  With my sushi obsession, I have to add in here that Sunda is incredible for sushi and cocktails. I hear that brunch there is good enough to write home about.

Where next?PCH - Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, of course!