England 2015 (EuroTour Leg 1)

The three of us arrived in London, Heathrow on a Wednesday morning and awaited our fourth party’s arrival flight.  Luckily after an hour we realized her flight was delayed several hours.  We went to our day room not too far from the airport and waited for her to arrive.

My Godbrother picked us up from the hotel and we went back to his house about 2-hours away not too far from Cambridge, UK.  Although the original plan was for us to stay with him, we ultimately got two rooms at nearby hotel (Worlington Hall Country House Hotel).

 
The room I stayed in was a suite, a 2-level apartment almost, looked as though it hadn’t been rented out in months, had a slight smell of mildew/mold and it was outside of the rest of the hotel.  It was sooo cold we slept in our clothes but because we were unsure of the cleanliness we slept on top of the sheets.  Man I almost froze that night. I woke up congested and irritated.

He came to get us after we ate the traditional English Breakfast at the hotel and we went back to his house to shower and get dressed. There was no way I could shower in a room that cold.


After 4 women got dressed we were off to Cambridge to sight see. We visited a museum had lunch at Revolution Bar and took a ton of selfies and usies. Here are some pictures of our afternoon.

The next day my bro grilled the best chicken wings and later we roasted marshmallows and s’mores on the fire pit at his house. We booked a different hotel for that night.  After chatting with the manager we thought that it was 2 double beds and because the price was so high we agreed to make it work (2 in each bed). But when we later got to the room, we realized it was actually two twin beds pushed together.  They had given us the keys earlier in the day but told us the room would not be ready until much later.   Four women in what is essentially a queen size bed was NOT fun!  I didn’t sleep much at all.On the third day we went to London and got another hotel.  We dropped off our bags at the hotel before heading out to sight see.  We saw Big Ben, London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace.  We followed that with dinner at an Irish Pub where most of us got the Fish and Chips, which was much better than the first time I had tried it years ago in another England Pub.


  

We had planned to go out to the club scene that night but were pretty tired by the end of the day so we just headed back to our hotel for the evening.

The next day we would be leaving for Paris but that didn’t go quite as planned…

 

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Booking the EuroTour

Actual travel dates were August 4-16, 2015.  It took weeks to solidify the entire trip. But ultimately it was decided to do a roundtrip flight from Philadelphia to London and piece the rest of the trip together from London.

Although I know waiting just a bit longer to purchase the that flight would have been much cheaper, the majority of my friends had the money ready to purchase this trip and wanted to get that leg of the trip out of the way. In hindsight, I should have set up a shared account or had them just send me the funds via Paypal and purchased the ticket a week or two later when it dropped by $100 dollars.

Unfortunately, I purchased our tickets at $985 USD direct from PHL to LHR on British Airways. I love British Airways because they serve free alcohol.

The next step was booking the intra-Europe travel. After searching across flights and trains it ended up being cheaper to take flights for most of the remaining travel. (At least the upfront travel costs…) in hindsight, it is really important to calculate baggage fees, baggage weight limits and the cost of the airport hassle when doing this comparison.

I was able to score a flight from Gatwick, London to Charles De Gaulle airport in Paris for $66 USD. But it ended up being cheaper to take the train from Paris to Amsterdam at only $39 USD.

From Amsterdam we flew to Ibiza for $69 USD. But finding a decent priced flight to get to our return flight out of London from Ibiza was a bit more difficult. I waited a few more weeks to book that flight and got it for $186 USD.

So let’s recap for travel:

  • $985
  • $ 66
  • $ 39
  • $ 69
  • $186

Total $1345 for travel.

We had a few hours layover in Germany on our way back to London from Ibiza.

Here is a snapshot of our travel path for the trip.
Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 12.02.09 PM

In the next post I’ll detail our lodging and recommendations.

I’m Planning a EuroTour!

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Planning a 12-day European trip was no easy feat.  Usually I find the planning phase exciting but this was almost overwhelming.  Possibly because I was coordinating the budget, dates and desires of 3 other individuals.  Getting four-opinionated women to agree on something of this magnitude was no walk in the park.

This might sound a bit “bougie” but personally, I’m not the biggest fan of repeating foreign countries unless I’ll be visiting different sites or cities.  So the first hurdle was deciding on which countries/cities we’d visit.

I had visited England and France before but for the sake of the group I agreed to make that trip again. Partially because I have several friends and family in England and lodging would be free.   AND since I wasn’t thoroughly impressed with Paris during my previous trip, and felt that most Parisian sites could be seen in one day, we agreed to spend the least amount of time in France.

England–check   France–check

So where to next…

Amsterdam! I’m excited about this city and have heard great things.  And finally Spain, well sorta–when I think of ‘vacation’ I think of blue water and sandy beaches and for all the money I’m spending I definitely had to hit a beach.  And after all of the city/country hopping, what better place to relax and end this trip than the gorgeous beaches of IBIZA off the coast of Spain!!!!

Ibiza is the city I’m most looking forward to visiting.

Stay tuned for details on booking this and trip details.

What Being the Only Single Childless Person at Work Means…

Being the only single and childless person in my office means:

  1. Whenever we go out for lunch I’m usually the driver. Why? Because everyone else drives a car with 1-2 car seats so no one else can fit, or they’re in a mid-life crisis and rode their motorcycle to work.
  2. I’m the first person asked about my weekend. The weekends of co-workers with spouses and don’t usually compare to my eventful 3-day weekday breaks.
  3. That I’ll be the one folks turn to in order to find out whats going on around town this weekend.
  4. I’m usually the only one with an unpredictable arrival time, since I don’t have to take the kids to school or pick them up by a certain time. Or cook dinner for my spouse. Or walk the dog on a schedule

What Every Strong Woman Needs from Her Mate

womens Needs

I believe that if you have the below four things in a relationship you have the foundation for a great union:

  1. Faith (God-based union)
  2. Integrity
  3. Financial Maturity
  4. Mental Compatibility

I saw this on Facebook the other day and did a quick praise dance. It captured everything I’ve ever said about identifying a great mate…

Subject: SELF WORTH (Very Deep!!!) In a brief conversation, a man asked a woman he was pursuing the question:

‘What kind of man are you looking for?’

She sat quietly for a moment before looking him in the eye & asking,

‘Do you really want to know?’

Reluctantly, he said, ‘Yes. She began to expound, ‘As a woman in this day & age, I am in a position to ask a man what can you do for me that I can’t do for myself? I pay my own bills. I take care of my household without the help of any man… or woman for that matter. I am in the position to ask, ‘What can you bring to the table?’ The man looked at her. Clearly he thought that she was referring to money. She quickly corrected his thought & stated,

‘I am not referring to money. I need something more. I need a man who is striving for excellence in every aspect of life.’

He sat back in his chair, folded his arms, & asked her to explain. She said, ‘I need someone who is striving for excellence mentally because I need conversation & mental stimulation.

I don’t need a simple-minded man. I need someone who is striving for excellence spiritually because I don’t need to be unequally yoked...believers mixed with unbelievers is a recipe for disaster.

I need a man who is striving for excellence financially because I don’t need a financial burden. I need someone who is sensitive enough to understand what I go through as a woman, but strong enough to keep me grounded.

I need someone who has integrity in dealing with relationships. Lies and game-playing are not my idea of a strong man. I need a man who is family-oriented. One who can be the leader, priest and provider to the lives entrusted to him by God. I need someone whom I can respect. In order to be submissive, I must respect him. I cannot be submissive to a man who isn’t taking care of his business. I have no problem being submissive…he just has to be worthy.

And by the way, I am not looking for him…He will find me. He will recognize himself in me. He may not be able to explain the connection, but he will always be drawn to me.

God made woman to be a help-mate for man. I can’t help a man if he can’t help himself. When she finished her spill, she looked at him. He sat there with a puzzled look on his face.

He said,

‘You are asking a lot.’

She replied,

“I’m worth a lot”.

Why The Cheesecake Factory Should Banish the White Bread from their Tables.

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The Cheesecake Factory should probably just ban the white dinner bread from their restaurant. I mean seriously the wheat bread is what everyone at the table always reaches for.

I must admit that I was prejudice against the brown bread for years until that was all that was left on the table and I tried it. This probably stems from being a kid and going to grandma’s house where they only had the healthiest, i.e. the nastiest brown wheat bread. So i was conditioned to dislike any bread brown in color and not chocked full of bananas and nuts

I was so upset with myself that I had gone so long neglecting this seemingly hidden gem.  But you know what they say… “Once you go brown”… you never frown?

Who knows what they say I just know they should just never bring me the white bread again.

I Broke My Fast on Day 6 of the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Reboot

I woke up knowing that I was in no mood to juice a truckload of fruits and veggies.  For several reasons I knew that I would be breaking my fast today, on Day 6.

  • I just was no longer motivated to spend the time required each morning to juice.
  • I was almost out of the fruits and veggies I needed to make a decent juice.
  • But lastly and most importantly my stomach was not dealing well with all the roughage.

I’ve had stomach issues since high school, when I swore I had a stomach ulcer, but later found out it was gastrointestinal issues.  Nevertheless, after a few years of suffering I finally got diagnosed and got educated about triggers and foods to avoid or minimize the intake.

Those foods include broccoli and excessive leafy greens.  I don’t normally have issues eating salads or broccoli, but when I’ve consumed those foods on a consistent daily basis, it has never ended well. Luckily I’ve been successful at monitoring my diet to ensure I don’t have to take pills to help with symptoms etc.

Anyway, I say all of this to say that I think that juicing is good, but for me I’ll need to incorporate it into my diet in a more moderate way.  One juice daily, vice all juice. One thing is for certain, you will definitely consume more veggies by juicing them, than it would be comfortable to eat normally.

Also, it takes time to find the right balance of tastiness while maintaining a healthy balance of fruit to vegetable ratio.  The sugar consumption from the fruit for me, is likely part of the reason why I don’t think the pounds dropped as fast as I had anticipated.  In addition, I’m not quite sure how many calories I consumed during the days that I juiced as compared to my normal diet. So that could also be a contributing factor.

Anyway, I ate an apple in the morning. In the afternoon after finishing some errands I was hungry but wanted to eat something not too heavy or greasy and still veggie-based. I decided on Thai food.

Since I found myself in Annapolis, Maryland. I decided to stop at Lemongrass (on West Street) and ordered the Green Curry with a bit more coconut milk to dial-down the heat/spice.  It’s a green curry sauce with coconut milk, eggplant, which I love, bamboo shoots, basil and I ordered it with chicken. It comes with white rice. I felt fuller quicker, so I imagine my stomach shrunk a bit over the last week.

Green curry

So that was how I broke my fast. Not sure if that was the best thing to eat to break my fast since my stomach still needed to adjust but that was my choice in that moment.

Lessons learned from juicing:

  • Juice in moderation
  • Vary the fruits and veggies
  • Monitor the caloric intake if hoping to lose weight.

Ultimately, I lost no inches on my waist, but I did loose 4 pounds.

Were you on this journey with me? How has it gone for you? How have/will you break your fast? Share your thoughts with me below.

Day 5 of the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Reboot

Sorry for the delay.

I had 3 juices on day 5. I had some of the green detox soup and an apple in the afternoon.

I went to a friend’s birthday party and was hungry, so I ordered the only pseudo healthy thing on the menu…Glazed carrots.
I’m not sure what it was glazed with but it looked and tasted like grease. So I limited my intake of those carrots.

Day 4 of the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Reboot

 

Day 4 was… Bananas!!

I started my day with a whole banana. Not necessarily on the meal plan, but I didn’t think it could hurt.

bananas

For a bit of a change, I found a few new recipes on this website and tried those today.  I altered some of the recipes based on the ingredients I had and my taste buds.

 

 

 

My first juice of the day was my take on the Pineapple Cloud:

  • 1/2 a pineapple
  • 1 head of romaine
  • 1 zucchini

I liked this juice, it was a slight twist from the Mean Green Juice.

My second juice of the day was the Funky Monkey:

  • 2 pears
  • 3 carrots
  • 1/2 inch of ginger

This juice wasn’t too bad, but I definitely could taste the cabbage and that ‘dirt’ taste, but it wasn’t overwhelming so I was able to finish it.

The last juice I made was my take on the Sweet Spice Cider:

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1/4 a head of red cabbage
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 inch of ginger

 

I don’t know if it made a difference that I didn’t start drinking this juice until after 3pm, but it was not as tasty as it had been when I sipped it in the morning as I bottled it.  It tasted like baby food.  The sweet potato taste was so thick.  I drank maybe a 3rd of this, before gagging and throwing it out.

We had a going away lunch for a few co-workers today at Mission BBQ and I had to attend since one of the guys, works for me.  But I was strong, and just drank my Funky Monkey and suffered in silence while pulled pork and bbq trays floated around me.

Since I didn’t finish the last juice I was a little hungry by the time I got home from work.  I ate two bananas.  Shortly after eating the second banana, I could literally feel the banana digesting.  And about an hour later decided to make the Green Detox Soup. I followed the recipe below minus the broccoli.

Green Detox Soup
Ingredients:
2 garlic cloves
1 leek
small head of broccoli
6 kale leaves (Tuscan cabbage)
1 zucchini
2 celery sticks
2 tbsp olive oil
4 cups (1 liter/32 oz) vegetable stock
handful of parsley, chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions:
1. Chop the garlic and all the veggies.
2. Warm the oil on low heat, then add the leek and garlic and cook slowly for 3–5 minutes.
3. Add the stock and the remaining vegetables and bring slowly to a boil. Cook for just
a few minutes, until the zucchini is soft. The less you cook the vegetables, the better.
4. Add salt and pepper to taste, then blend or process the soup to the desired
consistency, from smooth to chunky.
5. Serve the soup in bowls and sprinkle with parsley.
Note: You can make your own veggie stock using leftover pulp from your juicer.
Visit the soup recipe section of our website (rebootwithjoe.com) to find instructions.

Day 3 of the Fat Sick and Nearly Dead Reboot

I tried a new recipe today, it is called Fog Cutter:

Apples – 2 medium

Cabbage (red) – 1/4 head, small

Carrots – 4 medium

Ginger Root – 1/2 thumb

Lemon – 1 fruit

Spinach – 4 handful

I really loved the Fog Cutter recipe.

It was hard today, coworkers brought in donuts.  But luckily I resisted all day. And I had a strong craving for chocolate…Still I rose above the temptation.

This morning I weighed myself and I’m only down 3.2 pounds.

Dinner I ate another salad, kale, spinach, avocado, lemon, cilantro, cherry tomatoes, and red onions.

No headaches.

Stay tuned for day 4, it’s a bit more interesting…

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