NATURE'S BEAUTY. Tip toe through the tulips...HOLLAND

Special two BLOG week because last week I was enjoying everything Amsterdam had to offer.

It’s my favorite time of year…SPRING. And Springtime in Holland does NOT disappoint. It’s time! It’s time!!!! Time for the tulips to bloom. An hour outside of Amsterdam is the town of Lisse. It’s small, the house are beautiful, and the flowers...well, judge for yourself:

NOTE ABOUT TOUR: ONLY OPERATES APRIL and May of 2019

AFTER the tulips will be gone and you’ll have to wait until next year. This bus will get you closest to the park minus walking a few hundred meters. Booked via THIS IS HOLLAND- Tour: Keukenhof booked via This is Holland. Cost: about $42 USD. (this includes “skip the line” entrance, transport to and from the park.

We are ALL Becoming...the day I met my Big Sister (in my head) Michelle Obama

I’ve always thought people who fanned out (or worse STANNED out) were just a bit obsessed. I live in NYC and have worked in some part of the entertainment industry for over 20 years so I see people ALL THE TIME. So much that I NEVER notice anyone anymore. I’m just trying to respect folks on their “down time”.

That being said, I am OBSESSED (in a GOOD way) with Michelle Obama. First it was her education, then it was her demeanor, and then THE ARMS. For years I have coveted her arms. I still don’t have them but I’ll get there.

Seriously, her health initiatives changed my life (and it’s still changing). When I began my journey I was well over 335 pounds. I am now a little under 200, with more to go until I’m at my personal goal. I always knew I was to meet Michelle Obama. I put her and her book on my vision board. I didn’t know how, or when or why but I knew the meeting would happen. And then…

Amsterdam…

one of my favorite cities in the world. THE one that inspired LOLA.

one of my favorite cities in the world. THE one that inspired LOLA.

I really wanted to hear Mrs Obama speak when she was in NYC. However the Gods of timing were not on my side, and tickets were sold out all around. Then one of my sisters in an Amsterdam small business group I belong too reached out. She had an opportunity for me. It was a longshot, but I took a chance, and it paid off.

Which led to one of the best days of my life so far to date. The opportunity to meet someone who has changed my life just by living her truth. She shows that I (a little brown girl from Tulsa, OK can have JUST AS MUCH AS ANYONE ELSE at the table). She also shows/ and spoke on the reality which is that I will have to work harder and faster to be considered half as good; as not ONLY a woman but a woman in the minority. This is reality but I don’t have to let it be my reality.

I still believe WHEN THEY GO LOW, WE GO HIGH. (Thanks Mr. O for that, your wife let the cat out of the bag that one belongs to you).

Mrs. Obama was an absolute delight. Warm, funny, and she gives the best hugs. I felt like a pre-teen girl seeing her favorite rock idol, except I’m a middle-aged woman.

Some have asked me and maybe one day I will tell, why we laughing like cousins reminiscing about the time when great Aunt Gertie drank waaaayyyy too much punch.

Aaaaahhhh family….

JAL (Japan Airlines) First Class Product Review

Well, today was a first of firsts….My first experience in FIRST CLASS. It was all it was cracked up to be but is it really worth 11-13K? I’ll let you decide.

Let’s start with the lounge at Narita. The first class lounge was under construction so while it was less crowded, if I really wanted anything like a shower, massage chairs or to take a nap, I had to go downstairs to the Business class lounge. It was a nuisance but not a deal breaker. One bonus about the first class lounge was the sushi bar (note: only 3 pieces per person at a time) but the fish is so fresh it literally melts in your mouth. Honestly, if you have been to one airport lounge, you have been to them all.

Let’s get to the main event…the flight: JAL #4 from NRT to JFK…FIRST CLASS.

The boarding process: was a joke. And to be honest a bit unorganized. In the beginning, First Class felt almost feels like Senior Business Class. All classes trampled through, no real line-up process. Everyone seemed in a clump, not a line. The boarding process was erratic at best, and the flight was delayed by almost an hour.

At this point I was not impressed, but still willing to give it a shot because the seats were soooooo BIG and comfy. Imagine a super big lounge chair that your grandpa would read the paper in. Seriously, the seat width between armrests was 23 inches, while in bed mode it was 33 inches wide and 78.5 inches long, so my lil 5’3in self was in Heaven.

I’m not gonna lie, one of the MAIN reasons I love the leather seats is because I am afraid of a British Airlines incident. (for those that don’t know, a Business class passenger sat in a seat full of URINE. I have no desire to be soaked in urine and it’s easier to spot, as well as clean leather. AND, I am THAT person with the Wet Ones and Lysol. #nottodaysatan 

Biggest Drawback: THE POWER OUTLET. It’s near the television monitor,(you can see it’s where my little toes can’t even reach), not CLOSER to the passenger as in most aircraft. It’s far enough away that if you are using an iPhone and standard cord, it will not make it back to your seat within a matter of mere centimeters.

Seating was a 1-2-1 configuration, 8 seats total in first class.

Next: Let’s Talk Amenities aka Face Masks, and Toothpaste and BOSE…OH MY

The meal service is what I read most about on the blogs. And the menu was simple, clean lines, like the decor. The service is known as JAL BEDD and after all the hype I couldn’t wait to try the food and of course the champagne.

The ENTIRE menu:

First the drinks…which was just changed March 1, 2019 …so I got to try the current selection.

and trust I tried ALL the champagne…

The Signature Champagne is EVERYTHING…and at a retail value of around $600 a bottle it should be. Light and fruity, and very crisp. It demands your attention. I almost feel as if it should be enjoyed without food, however their food is so delicious, it’s like Sophie’s Choice. #icant

2nd The 2009 Cristal (about$250 per bottle) while good, it really did pale in comparison that i didn’t even write any notes. WOW! Sorry Cristal.

3rd:Comtes De Champagne Welp ($200) …I’m back in the groove. And I must admit I enjoyed this champagne alot, maybe because I was about 4 glasses in but this one had a dry and crisp taste, like new money.

Then there was the food, and of course Lexie decides to make an appearance. She only shows up for the booze and upgrades, but back to the food….and I can’t lie the menu was TOO extensive for me to post, and I was a bit sleepy. I however chose the “Japanese Menu” and have pics of that plus some of the dish


While the entire meal was delicious and filling a few things stand out…the seasoned rice was delightful to my tummy. The caviar with wafer cake melted in my mouth. I loved it. The Steamed Savory Egg Custard was so good, I asked for another…the food was DELICIOUS.

Now I’m sleepy, so I go to the restroom to change into my pajamas, and before I go in the cabin attendant asks if I’d like her to make my bed and if I would prefer “hard or soft”. I chose soft and stepped into the loo. Which was a basic Premium class loo. Tidy with tons of toothpaste and mouthwash. There was one thing that puzzled me:

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

A Bidet ? On an Airplane? Ummmm…NOPE. I know certain airlines have used them since early 2000 but #Hardpass

And Now time to get some sleep.

The 12.5 hour ride while long I never went hungry, or thirsty. The attendants were quick to come pour you a glass. The movies were current enough to keep me entertained, however the main attraction was the bed. I have never slept so soundly on a plane.

All in all, a stellar 1st time experience. Only thing is now I want it AGAIN. #aboutthatlife

Budget Travel in your 4o's and Beyond, and it's COMFORTABLE!!!

Wake Me Up, When I’m Famous: let’s be honest, we all like a little luxury now and then, some of us like it a lot more than that. I mean I don’t know when it will happen again but I’d love to take another first class international flight. The goal is Emirates.

Granted, even travel in business is lovely with the flat beds, champagne, and even the comfy jammies, but sometimes we are talking a pricing difference of thousands AND THOUSANDS of Dollars. I mean how can one justify a $12000 ticket versus an $1200 one…but then the champagne:

Qatar Airways Boeimg 777-300ER Business Class Product

Qatar Airways Boeimg 777-300ER Business Class Product

I wondered if I could do it. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I mean, a week-long European holiday, WITHOUT having to check a bag and for $850 or less. And that MUST INCLUDE plane ticket. Piece of cake…sigh.

To be honest even IF it could be done, I DIDN’T want to do it. I mean how could I get a week’s worth of clothes in a backpack? What about shoes?

But I did it. And now at the airport with my backpack on as well as three sweaters and two pairs of pants, well because …weight restrictions. #thestruggle

Two destinations were set for the week-long European Adventure. First up Amsterdam for 4 nights/4.5 days. We chose a budget airline as we just needed to get there as inexpensive but as SAFE as possible. We chose Norwegian. (pro tip: when using a NON US Carrier always use the airlines website in THEIR language and LOCAL CURRENCY. Use a Chrome or Safari if you need translation. This can save you anywhere from 25-50$ a ticket). During this time of year the JFK to AMS ticket was super cheap. I scored a one way “crazy ‘$99 Dollars to Europe for Winter” so yeah it was about $115. The flight is a little over 7 hours from NYC to AMS. You leave at midnight, arrive aroun 7am (ET) but it’s actually 1PM Local time, by the time you arrive at hotel it’s check in time, you can refresh and hit the streets. The money we saved on traveling, we made up with food and fun:

The Housing Situation: we stayed in a charming Dutch AirBnB for four nights at the cost of $145 a night / (72.50 pp), and it could realistically sleep FOUR. It was an entire apartment for half the cost of a hotel. Perfection!

Next up, London. We flew again. This time it was an hour long flight on British Airways, for the low, LOW cost of $30!!!! #WINNING! Stayed at an Airbnb that was $130.50 per night (65.25pp) for a decent size studio in a lovely area for three nights, and saw some friends and theater. Plus a little champagne of course:

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Then there was the situation of returning home. It was right before Christmas and NYC so we braced for the worst…which was about $170 via good old Norwegian once more for the win. As well as the Victoria Station bookstore where I picked up my book to read on the plane ride back, however I was so excited I decided to start the night before with a little night cap:

The perfect ending to a perfect trip….

The perfect ending to a perfect trip….

Summation for flights and accommodations :

Airline ticket JFK to AMS: $120. Carry-on ONLY. No more than 10 KG! (I wore a lot of sweaters that trip)

Accommodations in AMS: Airbnb $580/290 pp

AMS to LGW: Flight on BA $30.00

Accommodations in London: Airbnb $391.50/195.75 pp

Airline ticket LGW to JFK: $170. However this time I was allowed 12kg.

Total: $805.75 pp for a WEEK IN EUROPE!!!! It can be done.

BONUS: Nothing needed but a passport if you are an US citizen!!!!







Japan Airlines Economy Class kicks A$$

Flying Japan Airlines has always been on my radar as many rave about the service, the food and the space.

Welp...I had the opportunity to try it out from Bangkok to Tokyo.

And well it was better than most US Carriers version of economy.

In Japan they haven’t jumped on the “basic”, “reg economy” “premium economy” band wagon and it shows in a VERY good way.

The flight time is about 5 hours, and I chose an evening flight in hopes that I could sleep. I sat in 25D an aisle seat. And honestly I’ve sat in Domestic First class US seats with LESS space. I had plenty of room to stretch my legs. Then entertainment system while dated with their tv shows, the movies were current. I was kept quite entertained. AND they serve all booze, all free.

Now the cons and there are many...the way they turned on and off the plane lights was VERY annoying especially on an overnight flight. There was no warning. No gentle...”hey sleeping passenger the lights are coming up” just a BAM ...we have lights. Also they did not collect trash often so my area was littered with empty glasses, but not two many as they only ran the beverage cart through twice.

The plane decor seemed dated. I noticed the business class seats with dark woods just seemed “old” like the plastic on the couch at grandma’s type of old.

And the food was ok. They gave a chocolate croissant and some Japanese snack mix at the start of trip along with a small bottled water.

For dinner was a soupy rice with beef mix, salad, some sort of pudding (that I avoided like the plague) and fresh fruit. Luckily for me I wasn’t very hungry, and we would be landing soon.

So overall I would STILL chose this carrier over a US carrier for all the amenities included that on domestic US international carriers (American, Delta, United etc) you would pay extra for. On a scale of 1-10...I give the experience an 8.

Stay tuned my next post ...as this leg was economy but my Tokyo to NYC is the coveted Japan Airlines First Class. I’ve heard that they don’t have apartments on private suites( like Emirates or Etihad) but the food and drink are supposed to be phenomenal and you best believe I’m gonna have the champagne.

And big apologies ZERO pics of the previous flight. My phone and I were both dead on arrival for that flight. But once I got to NRT I perked up real quick.

Japan Airlines First Class Flex is coming soon.

January the month of Compassion in Travel aka TSA Ain't Makin $h*t so Be NICE

Hello luvs. Happy Tuesday. I know some of you may have been upset as I said I’d post every Monday, however yesterday was a holiday (MLK Jr) , so here were are ….Tuesday.

Yesterday was full of reflection. Various news programs, the internet, and even national newspapers giving him a day of reflection, remembrance and acknowledgment. However I couldn’t spend the day watching the telly as I have to pack for an extended trip to Asia.

In the beginning of the shutdown, I assumed it would last only a few days maybe a week, but never long enough to effect my trip…and now here we are, granted it "could theoretically end before next Monday, but… let’s be real…this standoff is like we (as a country) have never seen.

Luckily, for us the TSA workers are being AMAZING about this whole debacle, where they are NOT being paid but in the words of Dr. King "The time is always right to do what is right.". And they are doing exactly that, MANY are still coming to work every day, and do their job WITHOUT PAY! Some not exactly certain if they will receive any or a percentage of their actual pay. YET they are in the airport working to protect YOU/US/ME the “the traveler/ frequent flier/”. YES the lines are LONG, but according to data released by the TSA on actual wait times last week were still well under an hour with the longest being in MSP and ATL for 41 minutes. And to be honest I’ve waited in longer lines to get into the country when I fly to London via Gatwick . So the lines aren’t THAT long folks. True, about 10% is calls out sick in protest but overall not very long wait time.

However, a little advice JUST BE NICE, but not overly nice. A pleasant hello, and a heart felt “thank you” when you retrieve the last of your items and have completed screening. Is A-OK!

What can be seen as NOT OK! : saying “Thank you so much for doing your job in these unfortunate circumstances” or anything to that effect. Who REALLY wants to be reminded ‘hey you are working without pay. Hope that mortgage thing works out for you” . The people affected by this shutdown are working WITHOUT pay ; and are pawns in a political game of cat and mouse. Let’s be clear…saying thank you means nothing when you can’t pay bills, buy food for your kids, or even a tube of toothpaste. Many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and they will soon be missing another one. At then of the day…they like all of us just wants this shutdown to end, and life to return to normalcy.

LOLA-Travel Bargain of the Week aka Dear Humidifier- I love you. xo

I am a shopper, meaning I like to buy stuff…fun stuff, practical stuff, ordinary stuff, and some pretty neat stuff, however today’s stuff is much needed during these wintry months. Today I found a small, QUIET cool mist humidifier that actually DOES everything it claims to do Check it out here:

This can be found here. However be leary of the bad reviews as I can say I haven’t had these issues, and I believe some may be due to operator error. And don’t forget to use your 20%off coupon. You can find them anywhere but just in case, click here.

This little baby is perfect for stuffy hotel rooms and runs on plain ol 20oz water bottles for up to 8 hours. How awesome is that!

New Year...Who dis?

First Monday of the year, first post of the year!!!! HOLLA!!!!!

With a new year comes new resolutions, or as I like to call them: VISIONS! Plans of hopes and dreams to travel more, step outside your comfort zone, lose 10 pounds so you can wear that special outfit during your getaway. #travelgoals

The year begins with grandiose vacation plans; a trek in the safari, Ice fishing the Northern Lights, sleeping in an Igloo, even something as tame, as one night in Bangkok. Promises made of being at the airport on time, taking public transportation and ride-shares to save money, seeking the best flight deals, joining allllllllll the travel groups, all while taking a new foreign language. By the second week in January, you’re already burnt out by the numerous posts from people who are ALWAYS traveling. I mean don’t they have a job? A cubicle or office space? SOME place they report to for 50 weeks out of the year? By Feb 1 you figure you will never save enough to go as far your bathroom., and you have resigned that you aren’t meant to travel and that a “staycation” isn’t that bad…WELL F THAT NOISE! That’s when you’ve got to have a VISION.

I’m a firm believer in “the secret” and putting positive energy into the universe, name it and CLAIM it I say. Also , numerous studies have cited that people who write things down have are 1.2-1.4x more likely to successfully accomplish their goals more than people who don’t. So instead of jaunting around the globe, or drinking myself silly, I got together with two lovely LOLA ladies and we worked on our vision:

Hard at work..

Hard at work..

and we took more photos:

vision2.jpg

And the final outcome:

I’m all about going to Africa in 2019…and flying first class…from my vision board to reality

I’m all about going to Africa in 2019…and flying first class…from my vision board to reality

I am putting everything I want out into the universe, now it’s time for me to put in work. Happy New Year peeps!!!!

Qatar Airlines from Economy to Business Class aka Started at the Bottom Now We Here

I’m not lucky, nor am I fortunate. I am a hard and diligent worker who takes chances, and have made sacrifices. I am not rich, or even well off. I am like the minority of Americans. No, not the 1%. The middle class poor…we make just enough to pay our bills and buy a pair of shoes at the end of the month, or maybe splurge for a night out at the movies.

Yet, there are the days when the flight Gods smile upon me, and says UPGRADE!!! One day it will be a first class seat but until then, Qatar Business Class will do nicely…thank you!!!

It has taken a couple years, a few thousand miles and dollars but I’ve done it. I’ve ridden the entire Qatar Airlines Business class international fleet. And it has been glorious.

First how I did it:

When I started the flight game I was a wet behind the ears pup of 37 years old. I had no idea about how points worked, and frequent flier what? Then I joined a FB travel group geared toward black solo travel, another more women centered, another for women 35+, and then another. THEN I lurked, and lurked and lurked some more. Just reading and seeping up the vast amount of knowledge as much as I could.

For my initial flight to Thailand I chose Qatar for three main reasons:

  1. flight time (was the shortest around 19.5 hours)

  2. Cost- the economy ticket was on sale via their website for under $600 (THAT’S STILL a steal)

  3. Even their economy class was touted as part of the Five Star Service so you better believe I tried it out as well.

The Cost:

First, the cost of a International ticket JFK to BKK Business class can run between $9G-10G. That’s right around TEN THOUSAND UNITED STATES DOLLARS. Is it worth that much? I can’t justify it in my mind, but I also don’t have THAT kind of money. If I did, I’d still look for a bargain but yeah I’d do it. Besides, business class tickets from the states to Asia are costly. I however need SLEEP. Seriously to lay down.

Is it cheaper to book three economy tickets. YES. But we all know me…so

Two weeks before my flight I got an “OFFER” email. It seems I could bask in the Joys of Qatar’s Five Star Service in their business class for the low low upgrade cost of $1200 for the 12 hour flight from NYC to Doha, and an additional $850 for the Doha to BKK. AND I could use all lounges and services for the entire flight. Qatar Airlines was the ONLY airline that actually let you utilize this privilege. Something they don’t do anymore, FYI.

Well $2150 was a bit too steep for me so I opted for the NYC to Doha portion. I was NOT disappointed. It was everything I thought it would be. It was a 777. The seating is nice and the flatbeds seem to be larger than the American standard business class seats.

My first experience was delightful. Ok it was fruitcaking AMAZING. I had to have more. The food, the amenity kit, the pajamas, and did I mention the food? I spent 12 hours not wanting for a single thing. It was Heaven, and I was spoiled.

From the Q Suites in the 350, to the 777 spacious layout, to the Grandpappy of em all the double-decker 380 with it’s on COCKTAIL LOUNGE. So NOT kidding.

(SLIDESHOW ALERT: and by slideshow it’s eight pics, just click on image to see next one.)

The Q Suites are my favorite as it gives you the ability to be private but also social, and great if traveling in a group/team for work or a family. I love the little privacy door. You can actually shut the world out.

The entertainment system on all flights is the ONYX system. I did not notice a difference in programming between economy and business class, as I have noticed on other carriers. And while award tickets can be a BEAST to book with miles, it can be done for about 70,000 miles, BUT THAT’S A POST FOR ANOTHER DAY.

More and more I find myself flying to Asia and Qatar being my airlines of choice. Maybe I can work out a LOLA special with them. I mean everyone needs to try Qatar Airlines at least once.


Moody Monday Blues aka OMG GUYS THIS LIPSTICK!!!!

Mondays are hard. Mondays coming back home on an amazing getaway even harder. The hardest is being so jet-lagged that you find yourself writing the post a week after the event but hey it’s a Monday so it’s a win.

One of the perks of travel is seeing all the cool trends around the world, sometimes even before New York…gasp! The weirdest…sometimes it’s at the airport. The Hamad International Airport has EVERYTHING and I mean EVERYTHING a girl could want that she never knew she wanted.

Last Monday, it was lipstick.

One of the coolest perks with traveling all the time is sometimes I catch the hottest trends before they hit the states.

I walked towards my gate. I saw her. At first, I looked and thought “no” and looked away. But I just couldn’t leave, she called me back. “It’s blue” , “you are over 40” and then “it’s blue” again in my head. But not that Monday, Satan..NOT THAT DAY:

That time I spied with my big brown eyes Guerlain and the number 333; and THAT hue of Blue IS magnificent.

This lipstick applies in the most splendid fashion, smooth, creamy and crease free. The color? It absolutely POPS no matter your skin tone. Granted, the luxurious feel comes with a price tag of around $55 USD for the lipstick and case.

However, blue has a special place in my heart and it reminds me of my daddy. So Daddy this Blue’s for you.

(ps: the last pic is a hint about the next blog post. Are you thinking an entry about Qatar’s Q-Suite? Get out of my head. (wink, wink)

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#Airportthoughts

I love seeing the world and learning about new cultures. What I don't like is actual travel. Like sitting on a plane for HOURS. I take books, iPads, watch movies, sleep and of course drink but I still am bored AF. Sometimes I wish a hottie (or a cutie) or a man who has good breath would be seated next to me and makes me a member of the mile high club...oooo a girl can dream. #airportthoughts

RAGE...I sit and wait and wait to be boarded like cattle. Next to me a crying child. Just give him the damn iPad I pray to a God I I don;t believe is listening. If she were, she would do something about this woman next to me with shoes off that are uncomfortably close. It's only an 8 hour flight you say. Great. FML. #airportthoughts

No I will not trade my aisle for your middle so you can sit next to your boyfriend...I DONT CARE.#airportthoughts

Are we F**Ki*& there YET?!? #duh

 

 

 

SS: A Tokyo Love Story

I met him on Tinder with one and only one thing on my mind.

I've often wondered when I became attracted to their culture. True, I loved their food but was that/is that enough? Was it the mild soft-spoken manner in comparison to my loud boisterous one? Their delicate frame to my solid dancer's build with a bunch of midwestern meat and tater's over my belt? Or was it that they too have flawless anti-aging skin? True, "Black don't crack" but "Asian don't raisin". The Japanese skin regime is on point. And he was no different. Also, there was his hair...he was in his early 40's and has a full thick luscious head of hair. The times I have stroked that hair, GOD, the times I've pulled that hair. The beautiful babies we would have made.

I had it planned. It was to be one night and one night only. So different from my other Sabbatical Smooches stories as I was gonna try for a little bit more than smooch.  

He was sweet, soft-spoken, and while English was not his strong point, he had something quietly sensual about him.

He... was the one, and surprisingly he knew of the perfect love hotel. Hence, the adventure began.

 

It’s a Ryokan Life

A couple of years ago I went to Tokyo for the first time. While I was there I met a guy who was awesome and we dated while I was there, and when he'd come to NYC. The thing with dating across the ocean is you get lonely. One day I asked him to send me a pic. He did. The difference is in this pic he looked totally relaxed and very Japanese formal yet informal. Like some sort of Japanese Tea service.  He explained to me he was staying the night in a ryokan...a ryo..what?

A Ryokan is a traditional Japanese Inn which stems from the 8th century. They are hard to find in a big city like Tokyo as many of the Japanese have taken to western culture and hotels, however in the smaller towns you can find them, but be prepared they are EXPENSIVE.

As a treat my friend surprised me with a two-day trip to Kyoto as well as a Ryokan. It was so charming, seeing old world Japan.

A Ryokan: The Traditional Japanese Setting

My apologies as I was so excited I did not get pics of the bathroom, and because of other clients no pics of the Japanese baths, but it was glorious.

Definitely an experience but for the price and sleeping on a floor...well I prefer the St.Regis.

Ladies On the Lam is now a LLC...I Own a Company Y'all!

When I originally launched LOLA I always wanted to make her a company but cost and time were major factors. Actually,they still are however over the next several months we have many great new adventures coming up and becoming a company was the best way to go. Main reasons: financial. I have been using my money and moving money around like a slick day trader for years trying to keep LOLA afloat but the time has come for my little LOLA to stand on her own two feet.

It's so overwhelming at times but with baby steps, it's becoming a reality.

Actually, it already has:-)

It's Official cause the IRS says so...

It's Official cause the IRS says so...

Taking Chances...Part 2,923,309,434,343 ....

The kick-off of my birth month was a treat. And not an apple pie and vanilla ice cream kind of treat either...It a was sinful, decadent, sexy, shop-filled and gastronomical delights all in one...  Italy. It was perfection. 

I flew into Rome on a Sunday morning. Hopped the train from the airport to the city, checked my bag and walked for a bit. Destination: Breakfast and the Trevi Fountain. Trevi Fountain Tidbit: There is a belief that if you go to the fountain and throw in a coin you will return to Rome. Well, the first time I was in Rome was five years ago and I did just that, and here I was back in Rome so it must have worked.  Near the fountain, Lexie made a new friend.

The afternoon flew by, and soon we were off to our next destination:

Rome was just port of entry the real fun was to begin in Florence.

Rome was just port of entry the real fun was to begin in Florence.

Italian men are handsome, and make me h---yAF! It's been five years since I'd been to Florence, but nothing has changed. They are still sexy and it felt like home. I wanted  to have sex with all of them. The whole city. Well, the whole city over the age of 30 and under the age of 50.

Florence was about wine, food, fun, and frolic. My first night was filled with all of these plus a late night Vespa tour of the city that ended with me kissing on the sexiest men I've ever met. That was the kind of night that RomComs are made of. (more of this story in the book)

I spent my days walking the cobble-lined streets, shopping, eating and drinking my way around town. It was amazing.

Florence was so short but what was even shorter, however, one of the most perfect parts of the trip: Milano!!!!!

First, I have to amend my earlier statement about the age requirements on men I'm interested in 35-50 does not work in Milan. Mainly because ALL the men are gorgeous. Seriously, made me consider dating men in their 20's all the way up to 75. The men are too much.  If that isn't enough to make a girl swoon, it's Milan! The fashion capital of the world.

 I stayed in a delightful Airbnb which was adorable. I had lunch, (a light yummy margarita pizza)

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then went on my main mission. To shop until I dropped...some cash. I went to a (read: THE) vintage store: Vintage Delirium. Click on the link because the store is classic. Better yet if in Milan go to the store in person. So freaking worth it. I found the most beautiful dual tone leather travel bag, a 1940 back and white dress, and a 1980's brooch that would make Patti LaBelle's voice go up yet another octave, sunglasses and more.

Next up, evening cocktails. I mean I can't be a lady who lunches, shops till she drops and then not complete with a cocktail..how uncivilized. I went to one of the world's top 50 bars...Nottingham Forrest.

This place was lovely, the service was quick and attentive, everything was edible and the drinks were STRONG. I barely got thru the first one, but I did it. (check out picks below. It's a slide show so just click and the next pic will cycle through...five in total)

This birth year for me is about re-birth. It's scary, new, different but I am embracing every minute. Check back in a week or so when I go on my end of the month birth trip, becuase why the fuck not?

I travel to see the world, but also that I can be seen. 

 

 

 

 

 

Living My Best Life ...

This has been a hard week for us at LOLA with the death of icon Kate Spade.

We launched in Amsterdam because of bags and purses. Kate Spade was a major influencer in my love of a nice purse. Then today, travel guru and icon Anthony Bourdain. He showed me places I would never have ventured out on my own.

They both seemed so strong and to have it all, but that's just it, even the strong have moments of weakness. I am learning that self-care is first and foremost in my life. Granted this is not the life I planned for myself but it's the life I have and it's a good one.

June is a hard month for me: it the's ...it's just... bad.

This year I decided to take it back. Kicking off the summer in Italy.  Life is too short to "wish I had time to travel." or "if only I had the money". Sometimes you just have to go for it. Work out the details later.

This trip was all food, wine, fun and perfect.

Please remember, words hurt; pain is real. Please show some respect for those who appear strong but may not be. Compassion and love.

Canada Suicide Prevention Service: 1-833-456-4566

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (USA): 1-800-273-8255

Save The Dates- Thailand Dreams Tour- September 22-30, 2018

The trip of a lifetime awaits. You are welcome to do as much or as little as you like but we think you will want to do it all. Ever dream of a vacation with white sand beaches, 5-star accommodations, food glorious food all while getting the workout of your life?

If so Thailand Dreams is for you. You will arrive at the lovely island of Koh Samui, Thailand. Upon arrival, you will be greeted by a car and driver who will whisk you off to your deluxe accommodations at the lovely Ammatara Pura Pool Villa . 

The accommodations are worth the trip alone.  The hotel is located directly on the beach where you are just inches from the deep blue warm waters of the ocean. The hotel has a luxurious outdoor pool with bar and restaurant where you can sunbathe, have drinks, or just lounge in one of the mini cabanas...HEAVEN ON EARTH:

The rooms are beautiful and include everything your heart could desire:  HUGE outdoor shower with sunlight peering in, and TRUST total PRIVACY, a ginormous bathtub fit for two, kitchen, washing machine, and more so much more. Did I mention all the rooms have a personal pool? Rooms are billed with double occupancy however single supplements can be arranged.      BONUS: The room also has a twin day bed. So could possibly sleep up to three in a room...which makes your cost even cheaper if you are a party of 3.

This is only the beginning. Koh Samui is a lovely little town that is known for it's Muay Thai training and exercise in general. So yes relaxation is involved but if you also want to drop a few pounds on vacation THIS is the vacation for you. This is where I began my weight loss journey almost three years ago, and I have teamed up with some of Thailand's top fitness professionals and will include: beach walks, hikes through the jungle, yoga, Muay Thai classes, Weights, Strength and Conditioning and MORE. A typical daily schedule:

630 AM: Morning beach walk, jungle hike or view points. Usually 5-10K (3-7 miles)                    9:00 AM: Breakfast provided by the hotel (included in package). This is your vacation. Eat as much or as little as you want just make good decisions. (and of course,we will always answer questions and assist when needed)                                                                                               10:30 Yoga- Get your zen in. We swap between Yin and Vinyasa every other day, so all muscle groups are covered                                                                                                                          12:00 noon: healthy organic lunch consisting of fish of the day/chicken, veggies, fresh juices or smoothie (included)                                                                                                                            1-3:00 PM- free time. Hang out on the beach, get a massage (one thai massage and one sports massage is included)                                                                                                                         3:30-4:30 Time to get physical with Strength and Conditioning                                                  5:00-7:00 PM: Muay Thai with the folks of Lamai Muay Thai. This facility changed my life. They will do the same for you.                                                                                                                          Dinner: your choice. So get out and ty the local cuisine or some of the other great eateries around town. (yes I have faves..and will advise)

Again, this was MY schedule and so far I am down 100 pounds, but you can do as little as you like and if you want even more, we can arrange private classes of Muay Thai, weight training swimming and more.

Best part...all classes and food is available along the main beach road so you don't need a car or motorbike UNLESS you want one. They are available for rental.

Schedule for week is as follows:

Saturday, September 22nd- arrivals. Your day to sleep, hang out on the beach, and if not too tired an excursion to Fisherman's Village for an early dinner.                                                                   Sunday, September 23rd- YOUR day. I will however be taking a group down to a couple of viewpoints and you just have to go to the Sunday Market. You can try every food that Thailand has to offer, pick up gifts and more. A definite must do in Samui.                                                   Monday -Friday: we eat, sleep, train (or maybe a little of everything in between)--*note: Muay Thai Lovers Thursday Night is Fight Night. So if you want to see a real Muay Thai fight this is the time we do it. Van and tickets are under 40 USD and can be purchased from Lamai Muay Thai Camp.    Saturday, September 29th : Excursion of choice...a trip to the elephant sanctuary, snorkeling, temple visits or all of the above. Whatever you want to do this is your day to get it in.               Sunday, September 30th- the end...NOOOOOOOOOOO. I know it will be hard to say goodbye but think of all the fun you've had.

********Pricing depends on how many are interested. I am aiming to keep it between $1500-$2G per person but mainly depends on rooming costs. Flights are NOT included but if you need assistance I can offer suggestions. Especially since you will more than likely need to fly into Bangkok (BKK) then take the hour flight to Samui (USM) via Bangkok Air or Thai Airlines.

Also, you can always stay a while longer. I can assist with finding a place to stay,  excursions, workouts and more. I love Koh Samui, it is like a second home to me. I know the area and people well. Let LOLA help you have the best time ever.

Questions? Please post below in comments section or email ladiesonthelam@gmail.com. In the coming weeks, I will have a page where you can get more info, make a deposit, as I will have payment plans available but trip must be paid in FULL by September 1st.

Since this is the first trip to Asia as a group, size will be limited so act quickly. If you are traveling alone but willing to share a room, there will be a questionnaire in effort to match personalities.

Please note: YOU are responsible for your own health/travel insurance, flights and anthing that is not listed or included. Shoot me a note with questions, and let's get ready to LOLA.

Thailand Dreams 2018

Kit (and Lexie too) because you already KNOW she is coming.

You Can Always Go Home Again...Amsterdam

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind, from parts of SE Asia to Japan to Amsterdam.

Amsterdam has my heart unlike no other. It was one of the first (of two) places I ever visited outside the United States. The other was Paris. I called the trip the "Kittykat Olympics". It only made perfect sense as the trip included the iconic shopping mecca that is Paris, as well as the ahem, 'recreational" activities of Amsterdam. Seriously, if shopping or smoking EVER became an Olympic event...I'm READY. No need for training. SEND ME IN COACH!!!! (especially if it's the shopping)

Amsterdam is a city no matter when you go you can always find something new or interesting. This trip was a last minute, "let's go see some friends for a couple of days" and that's exactly what I did. I strolled the canals with Lexie, we shopped, drank a lot and ate a little:

And the highlight of this little excursion was the pleasant surprise of the "My Name Is Prince" exhibit. More details and pics on my next post.

Remember...there's no place like home,

Love,

Dorthy aka Kit n Lexie