Sunday, May 29, 2011

Where in the World Day 9

I've been gone so long that it's getting hard to keep track of days, Kim! I don't have anything explicit on the agenda for today or tomorrow. Actually, most of the time in Majorca is "free time". Madame trip planner thought we might be tired of sightseeing and plans by now so we can go with the flow on the island. I plan to read and lay on the beach. I really want to hike, as well, but the hiking company never emailed me back so we will just have to see what happens. I know we will be enjoying nature and exploring the charms of the island. There are some caves that you can take a boat in and they play classical music. I'm not big on caves but that sounds pretty cool. The other girls may go snorkeling but I think if you have snorkeled once, you are good. I have checked it off my life list and am content to opt out.
I'm sure I'm a little homesick by now. Do you miss me?

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Where in the World Day 8

It may be the weekend, but there is no rest for the sightseers!
Today's excursions include the Plaza de Espana, Parque de Maria Luisa, Pabellon Mudejar, Plaza de America (think there will be a McDonald's for authenticity?) and the Queen's Sewing Box. Again, I don't know what half of these things are but I am particularly intrigued by the last one.
Tonight we fly to Palma Majorca.
Hubby will be going to his friend's wedding solo tonight. I feel pretty bad about that one. I would love to be dancing with him right now!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Where in the World Day 7

Happy Friday! TGIF for all of you back  in "the States", no?
Today is a big day for me....we are getting flamenco tickets for tonight!!!!! I totally dream of them inviting me to dance on a table or up on stage. In said dream, they loan me a big, boldly colored skirt. I am overjoyed.
Before I can get there, though, madame trip planner is hoping we will visit Iglesia de San Pedro to find a bird, Iglesia de la Magdalena, Iglesia San Jose, Salvador, Plaza Nueva, Casa Pilatos, Roman Columns and Plaza de Toros.
I just had a moment of language awakening...doesn't "iglesia" mean church? How many churches are we visiting????? Did I mention the trip planner is super Catholic? I'm seeing a pattern here:)

Sneaking in a post from Espana

The itinerary changed a little bit but I am keeping a travel journal to keep you all abreast of the excitement...when I get home.
Flamenco show tonight!
We were trying to cram a trip to Morocco in from Seville but I don´t think it´s going to happen, sadly.
I think I need to sign off from the tourist free 15 minute computer stall.
ps. I got mooned from an alley in Barcelona day 1.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Where in the World Day 6

Dear Kim,
I will be in Donana National Park all day today. Siobhan will loan me some binoculars and I will try to put in contact lenses.
Almost a week in, I hope we are all still talking at this point:)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Where in the World Day 5

The party of three adds a member today! A friend flies in from the DC area to join the fun this afternoon.
Sights to see today: Plaza Virgin de los Reyes, Hospital de la Caridad chapel, Seville Cathedral and Giralda, Alcazar Palace and Jardines de Murillo.
Oh, and Kim, I didn't forget you.....

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Where in the World Day 4

All Aboard!!!!!!!!
Today I will enjoy a 6 hour train ride from Barcelona to Seville, home of Flamenco dancing!
Here, we leave behind our days of hotel stays and check into an apartment with a rooftop deck. Yes, please!
We will be seeing the Hospital de los Cinco Llages, the Basilica de Macarenca (I will try to do the dance outside the front door), Muralles, Iglesia de San Luis, Monolitos Romanos, Plaza de San Lorenzo and maybe Torre del Oro.
I'm sure at some point on the trip we will enjoy some night life. It's just not written on the itinerary.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Where in the World Day 3

Good Morning! Today we will be visiting la Boqueria, the market. The pictures I have seen of the fresh fruits and veggies are enticing. Also on the agenda for the day: Parc Guell, Monument a Colom, walk along marina boardwalk, air tram to Montjuic and gardens, Castell de Montjuic, the Olympic Stadium (which I think might be closed) and Palau.
If this is hard to understand for you, imagine what it feels like writing out that I will be going to these places I don't even understand:) Who am I kidding? It will be thrilling and surprising! I don't know a lick of Catalan and can really only say "hola" in Spanish. I can ask where the library is in French, do you think that will help? Ya, me neither.
In the afternoon we are visiting a monastery, Monastir de Sant Pau del Camp. I don't know what we get to do there but it sounds cool!
To wrap things up, we will visit the magic fountain, aka Font Magica, at night.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Where in the World Day 2

Today the agenda calls for exploring Barri Gotic. We will visit the Cathedral de Barcelona and cloister/gardens. We may even attend a morning mass. I thought about trying to find a Mormon ward to go to for the day because that would be cool but I speak no Catalan (the language in Barcelona). My friend, the trip planner, already had a full day scheduled for us, too.
At noon, we will see the Sardana, the national dance. In the afternoon, we will sightsee the Sangrada de Familia, probably the most famous site in the city. It's the unfinished church designed by Gaudi, with signature curves. We will also see La Pedrera, Casa Batlo, Casa Amatller, walk along Pasieg de Gracia Street (the block of discord), visit the Arc de Triomf, Parc de la Cuittadella, maybe row a boat in the lake there, see Parliament, walk along the Psg Del Born and maybe hit up the Picasso Museum. Whew! I don't yet know what half of those things are but I am sure they will be lovely!
Finally, in the evening we will be seeing the Santa Maria del Mar Cathedral.
After all of that, I hope my friend the tour guide will let me sleep!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Where in the World Day 1

Last night I took a red eye flight to land in London today for a layover long enough to get out and see a bit of the city. I might be more excited for the afternoon in London than the whole two weeks in Spain. I'm so pumped to see the Tower of London. I have read enough Philippa Gregory books and others in that genre about the Tudor court that I can't wait to see the real thing. I asked my friend if we could wear fake halloweenesque slashes on our throats to channel Anne Boleyn but she vetoed that idea. After the Tower, we hope to also visit Westminster Abbey and view Big Ben and the London Eye. By tonight I will be in Barcelona!

Friday, May 20, 2011

While I am gone....

I will be departing for my trip to Spain tonight. I have set up posts to show what I will be doing each day I am gone! These are meant for the purpose of time suckage when you should be doing something at work or around the house but would really rather not. They are also for my buddy Kim so she knows I  am not abandoning her while I am away without cell service for two weeks. Because it tickles me, I will be addressing my posts to Kimmy, herself:)
I have been getting really sad leading up to my trip. It's inevitable that I almost always cry before I travel. The idea that I won't see my husband/cats/bed/tv/mom for two weeks makes me appreciate them so much more. So I gleaned from that sadness that another reason to travel is to greater appreciate the comfort, safety, and general pleasantness of home. It's great to see other places and absorb their culture a bit-it rattles us up and helps us see the world through fresh eyes. But as Dorothy said, "There's No Place Like Home". That girl was ahead of her time.
I hope while I am gone and on hiatus from publicly complaining about the world, you will plan your next trip or do something really nice for yourself! I would now sign off in Spanish if I knew any.....

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Been around the World and I, I, I

"I can't find my baby". Do you remember that song? It's in my head for some reason. Maybe it's because I am leaving tomorrow for my big adventure.
As for today, I am cranky. Work stuff has kind of been blowing my mind today. I won't get into it and you're welcome for that.
I have a lot to do tonight including packing, although I have been trying on clothes since last weekend. Because someone else planned the trip and I don't even understand half of the things on the itinerary, I'm just hoping I have the appropriate attire for all of the activities. I'm no fashionista but I am overly preoccupied with the clothes I will be wearing.
Tonight I need to give Hubby lots of hugs and spoon with the cats.
The DVR is cleared enough to accommodate the shows I will miss while I am gone. Check.
Me and Madame trip planner, as my friend who organized the trip is now being called, have added another tv show reference to the mix. We already have our Sex and the City  names, our Golden Girls names, our Jersey Shore personas, or as autocorrect just taught me "personae". I suggested Mob Wives identities, too, but not enough people are into it yet for it to be fun. The newest addition is from Ru Paul's Drag Race 3. The cool girls are "Heathers" and the lamo-s are "Boogers". It can be our little inside joke.
I hope I bring the right books to read, too! Isn't it the worst to bring books on vacation or to the beach and then not really be into them? I always travel with two books, just in case. I also worry that I will blow through my book and then I will be book-bare. I actually went book shopping when I was in Iceland, for the next book in my series. It was awesome to have a pricetag in Krona on the front of my book.
Ok, enough from me. Ta ta for now!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Countdown to Spain

“To my mind, the greatest reward and luxury of travel is to be able to experience everyday things as if for the first time, to be in a position in which almost nothing is so familiar it is taken for granted.” – Bill Bryson

As I am just days away from seeing London and Spain, I loved seeing this quote on the blog "Everything Everywhere" today.

I spent Saturday trying on summery clothes to wear in the warmer Spain has to offer. I learned that most of my wardrobe is brown, black, or blue. Oh, with some gray interspersed. I just hope I pack everything I need!

Saturday, May 14, 2011



I try to make my posts entertaining but sometimes it's more important to just get down to business. I am pretty sure I have found a miracle product and I think it's only right that I share the news. On a more selfish level, I figure if more people buy said miracle product, maybe it will get easier to find.
Skyr is one of my finds from Iceland. It was one of the only things I could eat, actually. It's very much like yogurt but it's technically a soft cheese. That sounds gross but go with me on this one. It's 150 calories and 16 grams of protein!! (Actually I found one that is 100 calories and 14 grams of protein).
I don't love to eat meat so getting that much protein in one place is pretty amazing to me-that's more than tuna!
The best part is that it's really yummy. I don't love most yogurts. The whole Greek yogurt movement is totally lost on me. Skyr is smooth and creamy and filling. I prefer strawberry, fyi.
So, here's where I have found it: the brand I prefer is and I found it at Whole Foods. I couldn't find any brand at Trader Joe's, another healthier grocery store. It's not carried many mainstream places but I stumbled upon a brand called Siggi's at Stop and Shop this week. They didn't have any plain strawberry; they had more exotic flavors. I will be trying that later in the week.
Oh, I think I forgot to tell you why it's a miracle food. Everyone in Iceland looked like a Viking to me and Hubby. The first day we were there, a group of high school kids was on a field trip to the same tourist attraction as us and they were ALL (no exaggeration on this one) taller than us. Then, one day while watching Icelandic TV, since we didn't get anything else, we saw this competition they do there with 12-15 year olds doing like 100 push ups and rope pulls and other beastly feats. Natives eat tons of skyr and they can do this stuff. I ate some on Monday for breakfast and lifted weights for an hour that night, increasing my weight on almost every body part. I also ran 2 consecutive miles, which I haven't done in a couple months due to my laziness. I just felt like Thor!!!
So, I think you should run out and buy some and try to scale a building or run a marathon-it will help.

Friday, May 13, 2011

I made a new friend today. Bravo, I say!

It's a hard time of year.
All of the good tv shows are coming to a close. Last week I said goodbye to RuPaul's drag race. This week I bid farewell to the Bad Girls Club and am anticipating the Sunday finale of my beloved Survivor. Next week seals the deal with the naming of America's Next Top Model.
Of course, I always have the Golden Girls to stick with me through thick and thin via reruns but for something that I can't quote along with yet, what is a girl to do?
So, I made a new friend last night. Bravo.
No, I'm not just patting myself on the figurative back. I tried on the Bravo network last night and it fit quite well. I watched my first episode of Pregnant in Heels. I caught the episode where the couple wants their baby to have it's own 'brand'. They are their own variety of crazy, if I do say so myself. I got a recommendation from a trusted source that the Housewives of New Jersey will bridge the gap between the two chambers of my heart: Jersey Shore and Mob Wives. I have it set to DVR so cross your fingers for me that it fills all my Jersey stereotype dreams!
Anyone out there in TV land have a recommendation for me to add to the playlist?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The name game

I should start this post by saying I am not pregnant. For a 30 year old woman who has been married for three years, this is the first question I get every time I am hungry/don't feel good/am tired/wear a non form fitting sweater/cry/am less nice, etc. So I will just answer your question before it forms in your cute little head.
Moving on, MTV posted about names from their hit show Teen Mom influences name trends today. I decided to do a little research and am going to call BS on all of this because when you go to the social security site that keeps track of trending names, you can actually only search up to 2010 and the top names are not at all what the link above shows. While I was there, I looked up the popularity of my own name. It kind of felt like a slap in the face when the page popped up saying that my name has not been in the top 1000 (!) in the last 11 years. It's not that I'm shocked, even. But the top 1000???? That's a whole lot of wiggle room to still not make the cut for over a decade. Ouch.
This hearkens back to the trauma of being a kid in the Christmas Tree Shop, looking for some cheap stamp/magnet/keychain thing with my name on it and never finding it because they only make those for Kims, Sarahs, Donnas and Rachels. By the way, I'm pretty sure those are the  names of 4 of the 5 confirmed readers of this blog:) You guys just wouldn't understand my pain because your names ranked in at 68, 30, 984 and 100 (or 701 if you spell it with the second a) respectively last year. Check, check, check it out.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In case you are bored and need a laugh...

I am going to be your fast track to entertainment today. I love the Cracked website/blog pretty much always but today I read two gems there.
 Check out this article on things everyone wants to write but no one wants to read. I disagree with a lot of them, actually, and then confirmed that I'm just an oddball. I like seeing people's lists and LOVE reading about people's drama. I have one facebook friend who is going through a divorce that is pretty much being entirely mitigated online or at least that's how it seems. I have another who announces when she gets UTIs. Both are hilarious to me in a ""REALLY?" kind of way.
There's also one on cute thngs your cats do that are actually evil. I laughed out loud at some of it.
Finally, a friend pointed me in the direction of This guy appears to respond to ads on Craigslist or the like with the most obnoxious comments. Imagine engaging in one of these dialogues with this guy and thinking it's for real! I particularly recommend the racist microwave one. Hubby is black and I am white and we both laugh so if you are offended at all, that's my escape clause. You can also refer to the information block on the right side of this blog: I warned you!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Did you know?

That armpit hair only grows to be an inch and half long?
That spit can help clear up a zit?
Icelandic Skyr is sold at Whole Foods?
Appendicitis can be caused by a virus and, therefore, contagious?
The Situation is getting his own spin off show?
(I learned the first two from Allure magazine while I was at the hairdresser-I'm not a weirdo researching armpit hair. I like to give credit where credit is due when I can)
Just some food for thought as you head into your weekend.....Hope it's a great one!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011


"Education, prosperity, opportunity, food, jobs, health, safety and justice for all=peace"
This was Michael Franti's facebook post on Tuesday night. Now do you see why you should be listening to his music?
Does this make me sound like a hippie??? I did go to Woodstock 99 (and if I ever get a scanner, I would so share those pictures because some are hilarious!). Alas, I also get my hair highlighted, which I think eliminates me from that circle.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Wednesday TV Roundup

Wednesday is the best day for TV, for sure. My DVR gets a lot of exercise between 8-10. The night's agenda: Survivor, America's Next Top Model and.....drum actual sitcom: Happy Endings. It's new. Only 3 episodes in. The characters fill every prototype for a tv friend group in their late 20s/early 30s but the humor is on point. Even if you don't like the actors, you want to be friends with this group. Well, I do.

Oh! Breaking News!! Old Spice has a new commercial with "the Old Spice Guy" and a bunch of puppies. Hooray!!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fast Five or Mob Wives?

Which passion makes me more laughable?
As I thought of what to write about, I realized that when my work life is extra crazy I have a harder time writing. I think it's because what takes up most of my mind those days is stuff that's confidential and can't be written about. I can say that I went to a round table today that presented a really interesting case on stalking via technology. And to sum it up: wow, some people are crazy!
So to escape the hard stuff, I try to keep life light the rest of the time. Sooooo, tonight I went to the Premium Cinema to see Fast Five.
"What's the Premium Cinema? " you may ask. Well, it is a fabulous place is what it is! It's a 21+ movie theater. You pay more (but I have a free VIP pass, which pretty much makes me the most popular girl in town) but you get free unlimited soda and popcorn. They also have a restaurant and full bar. The seats are leather and plush and have individual pull out tables. But let's be real, the best part is not having to deal with loud teenagers. (Yes, I know that's a granny comment.)
Me and Hubby usually only get one or two nights a week that one of us isn't working so those nights need to feel used up, not squandered. Still, those nights add up so the free movie pass gets a lot of use. Plus, I'm in a competition with a friend who also has one to see which one of us can see more movies this year. It's good to have goals. haha.
All that aside, I really wanted to see Fast Five, which is the fifth installment of the Fast and the Furious movies. In high school, all the guys I hung around fostered in me a great appreciation of cars. And let's not beat around the bush, Vin Diesal is fun to look at. He also makes a very likeable criminal. The Rock also has a big role in this movie. I don't think he had a good line the whole 2 hours, poor thing. Here's a tip if you go see it: make sure you sit through the credits for the follow up scene. Scandalous!!
And to bring it full circle: Mob Wives. It's a good NY/Jersey persona fix in place of Jersey Shore. I'm only two episodes in but I'm already wondering if me and my girls need Mob Wives personas to add to our SATC, Golden Girls, and Jersey Shore personas for our upcoming trip. I recommend you give this show a try and you may just add it to your guilty pleasures list.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ding Dong the Witch is Dead

It kind of feels like we are all living in Munchkinland in the Wizard of Oz this morning. It feels so odd to celebrate a death.

That being said, in my opinion, Osama Bin Laden was a very evil man and the world is a better place today for his loss. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night watching the crowds rejoice on television, as people gathered at Ground Zero, in Times Square, outside the White House, and even on Boston Common. While nothing can begin to remedy the pain that the United States and it's citizens suffered almost a decade ago, this death brings some measure of closure and justice. And hopefully peace.

It was interesting to me to watch some of the crowds, which seemed to be filled with mostly college students, except for at Ground Zero. The college students of today were pre-pubescent when 9/11 occurred. They have few memories of life without war and before the daily knowledge of the threat of terrorism. I was in my senior year of college in September of 2001. Like many Americans, I remember what I was doing on the morning of September 11th. I was eating cereal before class and watching tv and saw the second plane hit. I still had to go to school. It was a Psychological Research Methods class. We pleaded with the teacher to let us go home, as everyone just wanted to be with their families at that time. Finally, the state school closed for the day and we all returned to our televisions to watch the horror unfurl.

As I was driving in to work today, the song "I'm proud to be an American" played on the radio. I drove carefully as my eyes brimmed with tears. I sang along, thinking of my elementary school teacher, Mrs. Conway, who taught me that song so long ago. I remember the enthusiasm we all had back then; at the part where he sings "and I'd proudly stand up next to Her and defend Her still today", all of us would kind of half jump to mimic standing up. I felt that same enthusiasm this morning. God Bless America and I wish liberty and justice for all.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Health and Fitness: Splurge or Save?

I come from big people. My family is intimately knowledgeable about procedures such as gastric bypass. I'm not a hater but it's definitely something I have to be aware of for myself.
I was not an athletic kid. I didn't do much by way of teams in high school. I have what famous female triathlete Sally Edwards coined "adult onset athleticism". I have had very positive experiences training for things with groups. First, I raised funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and hiked in the Grand Canyon (I'm strongly considering fundraising and hiking with them again). I met great friends that I still see frequently five years later. The best thing about those friends is that we share an interest in hiking so we can get together on the trails instead of just going out to dinner.
Right on the tails of that experience, I signed up for a training group for my first triathlon. I paid for the training group, which I attended twice a week. I went the all women route for comfort for my first race and I loved it and was totally hooked. I have been a volunteer workout leader with the same coach every summer since then. Again, I have made a wonderful group of friends who I can meet up with swims, bikes, and runs, as well as a few dinners.
Through my experiences, I came up with a little list of things I think are worth splurging on and other things I think you can save your money on.
  • Gym membership. I currently have two. One I love for it's classes. I, myself, am more motivated to get to the gym if there's a specific time I have to be there. The other gym I go to for it's total convenience. There are no classes but it's open 24 hours a day and I can walk from my house. Of course, you can totally do amazing workouts without a gym but I think if you are just starting out, a little structure can help.
  • Healthy foods. Produce can get pricey but if you love strawberries so much and you know you will eat them, they are worth buying even if they are not on sale. Since for me the alternative would be snacking on something that will make me need to go to the gym for, it's better to just spend the extra dollar or two.
  • Fitness magazines. I get three of these sent to my house. The articles and tips give me new ideas and help get me back on focus. Just seeing the cover of my Runner's magazine reminds me that I need to schedule a run.
  • Proper footwear. I get fitted for my sneakers to make sure I am buying the kind that best suit my run/walk. Knock on wood, I have never had a foot/knee/leg injury thus far from running.
  • Music. I get excited to workout if I have new songs to listen to on my Ipod.
  • Race entry to an event you really want to complete. Having a day on a calendar that you have to work up to is extremely motivating. Don't set an unrealistic goal; start small. But it's doable!! Races can be expensive so don't go overboard and sign up for a ton. Pick wisely-read up on what kind of goodies you get, look at pictures to get a sense of the race environment and pick something that fits your style. I think women's races are super supportive and I try not to do a race that doesn't have a shirt I want:)
  • Fancy workout clothes. Unless buying a snazzy new outfit motivates you to go, I find I have collected a ton of wicking fabric shirts from the races I have done. You will likely find there are a few specific items you really want to purchase. For me, it was tri shorts, which are like bike shorts with a little less padding but they really help the comfort on the bike. But the first year I hiked, I didn't go out and buy fancy moisture wicking underwear and gear. I wore wool sweaters and casual swishy pants instead of the high tech zipper pants. 
  • Supplements. If you do a tiny bit of research, you can find natural food sources that replenish you as well, if not better, than workout products. For example, chocolate milk after a muscle workout. I now use a powdered drink mix on my bikes and runs that I love but it took a good amount of learning about what my body needed before that was a good purchase. When you are starting out you don't need to load up on products.
  • Fancy equipment. Again, don't spend a ton of money on a hobby that you aren't sure you love yet. If you start biking and love it, you can buy last year's model for a cheaper price. I started on a cheaper bike my first season and only upgraded year 2 or 3, when I knew the hobby was going to stick around.
  • Name brand stuff. Kind of back to point one, you can get a good sports bra at Target for a fraction of the price you would spend at one of the specialty stores in the mall.
  • Workout videos (if you don't actually use them!!). You can also try a bunch of them out on Netflix.
  • Personal training. Ok, this one is controversial. I think personal training is great and motivating. I just think that you should get to the gym and try out some of the cardio machines to see if you can really roll with this environment before you spend big money on something you don't want to stick to. 
  • Low fat foods/Frozen yogurt/diet products. Low fat foods tend to have more sugar than the original. Get the foods you really want, regardless of whether they are low fat or not and eat in moderation. If you deprive yourself of something entirely, you will go nuts focusing on it. And diet products are generally not healthy and are just gimmicks. I knew a woman whose sister dropped dead in her 30s from appetite suppressants. They mess with your heart. Do it the healthy way and load up on fiber and water.
I hope this helps some people who are starting out! I'd love to hear from other people about what works for them, too.