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.

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.

To Detox or Not To Detox is NOT the Question for Me

Over the last two years, I have tried various things in effort to improve my health. My two biggest mistakes have been choosing anything with the words "detox" in them because in all honesty they just don't work. Well let me rephrase this..they don't work for me. Not the energy or the results. Sure I look great for a few weeks but when you go back to life you realize you can not survive on less than 800 calories a day, and just juice. Whole foods/clean eating yes...but to live the rest of ones life on just juice is not feasible for me and about 96% of the free world.

Currently, I am in Thailand where the first part of my trip was spent with my best friend and some LOLA ladies. It was a great time for me and my friend, and I had a blast with my new friends. I did not have a blast at the detox camp. Mainly it was the energy of the place. I was unhappy with a few things and like an adult, I went to the management and believed we had a direct and upfront conversation. I had no issues with him after or so I thought. Then a few days later he calls me and my attitude negative. I was anything but, as I thought we had a conversation, but his words stuck with me. If he thought that was negative and this judgment was made off one conversation then what else was he holding back. That creates distrust. Then he would tell me what his staff said (all opposite of what they were saying to me. Granted, I could easily have told him the truth but in the end WHY? I didn't come here for drama but to get my health and my life on track. So I left...early...way early.

Why? There was Muay Thai camp down the street. I've stayed here before, never had an issue, always had fun and everytimeI left the healthy choices I made there STUCK. The people in general are happier here. The minute I moved my first bag onto campus a guest greated me with a huge smile. I was singing. I was at peace, even though my neighbors are half my age, love their music and hanging out outside during the day..come time to train or go to bed and they are right on time. It is amazing how my energy has changed for the best. I added more calories to my food plan and lost over 5 pounds (2.2kg) the week after I left. They even have working wifi and comfortable beds. Something the owner of the detox place tried to tell me wasn't really available in the area we were in. Granted, he did TRY to fix my bedding as well as the internet, but it was more than that...it was the overall feeling. I never felt like they ever actually CARED. It's money. They would take group walks and leave guests on their own. I just don't approve of this ..as one woman was in remission from cancer. What if she had an episode? So I would slow down my own exercise progress to watch someone else. THAT was NOT what I signed up for...but that was the way it was.

At the end of the day, detox no matter where I go just doesn't seem to work. Not physically nor mentally. And that's ok. It's also OK if it works for you. Different strokes for different folks.

However, this lead me to work on something I have toyed with for about a year. At my highest RECORDED weight, I was 343 pounds (156kg) and currently 197 (89kg) making a grand total loss of (67kg) 146 pounds. When I started this time (June 25, 2014) I was scale shy, I'd estimate that I've lost 104pds of those over the last three years. I lost weight with diet and exercise. Starting with Muay Thai and yoga, and running. I found what worked for me and did it in beautiful surroundings. I have a way to go as I still would love to lose another 37 pounds, but if it's 25...I'm ok with that too. I also want to help other women do the same and live their best life.

Currently I am working with a CERTIFIED Yoga/Exercise trainer, and we have decided to launch a retreat in Thailand Jan 2019. OUrs will be different as while we focus on healthy eating, there will be FOOD, as well as yoga, meditation, Muay Thai and tons of time for the beach. And we will host at a FIVE STAR Resort...this will not be a little cabin, with hard beds, and gecko like lizards in your room like many places in Thailand. I'm trying to work out a deal with a place on the beach, and all rooms have a private swimming pool. The property also has two huge main pools, a gym and more. I'm thinking the week Jan 13-20 or 23rd depending on cost. As a LOLA woman I know that health and LUXURY is key...and what a LOLA woman wants...A LOLA woman GETS!

I'll post more when details are clear as well as pics of location. Or if you really can't wait shoot me an email: ladiesonthelam@gmail.com and I'll add you to the Thailand LOLA Retreat 2019 Mailing list.

Ciao for now

Kit

48 Hours in China...A Kitty's Tale

The Great Wall has been on my 'bucket list' since forever. Actually I have quite a looooonnnnggg bucket list but traveling is one I have been fortunate to obtain fairly easy over the last few years. With this being said I had put off China as I was waiting for a good time to go, or someone who wanted to go, however as I have learned DO NOT WAIT ON OTHER PEOPLE, even if they say they will go or can go. If you have an opportunity just GO. My own sister promised she would join me on a trip, I bought the ticket and guess what...life happened and she didn't join me. After that I learned not to wait...just do it.

After a wild time in Bali, tours, swinging over the jungle, getting sick as a dog with Bali belly and the worse being in the same city in a foreign country with former President Obama and still not getting the chance to meet him...I was heartbroken but the show/trip must go on...Beijing, China was next on my list.

Beijing was overwhelming to say the least but thanks to the lovely folks at Tour Beijing made it easy as 1,2,3. I took two tours with this company. Both days I had the same guide 'Lucy' as well as driver Mr Chia (not 100% of the spelling of his name, but I believe Lucy is correct or at least the pronunciation). They were punctual, polite and all around great people. Both tours were private, so we got to know each other quite well.

The tour on the first day was amazing and short. I arrived at 558 am, made it through customs and made it to my hotel (St. Regis Beijing) by 715am. The staff their is lovely but as a world class hotel I was hoping for a few more bilingual/english speakers. It was quite aggravating. However I made my voice known and management listened. And when in Beijing, I will return. Back to the tour:

Day 1: The Half day Cooking tour. We began early morning around 930 am. Lucy was in the lobby when I arrived. We drove to a lovely neighborhood and went shopping at some of the local vegetable markets. It reminded me of bodegas back home in NYC. We walked for a bit and she gave me an overview of the streets as well as Chinese culture and dynasties. It was very interesting. Soon we went deep into the Hartongs (streets) and she took me to the house where we would learn how to make authentic Chinese dumplings and have lunch. She explained that dumplings are the simplest of dishes and many Chinese mothers use it as a litmus test for women who want to marry their sons. And well...while I had a grand old time, Lucy and I both agreed that I should be glad that it's 2017 and many Chinese men cook, as my dumplings..well let's just say they were not on fleek. But I had a great time:

I can cook too, on top of the rest my dumplings are the best in the town...ha!

While there, we met a wonderful artist who hand painted the most beautiful designs inside of glass bottles. I fell in love and of course Lexie had to have one. (and by Lexie I mean me)

Lexie buying this beautiful blue hand painted bottle

Lexie buying this beautiful blue hand painted bottle

The next day was the day I had been waiting for...THE GREAT WALL...check!

We Did this...A girl and her frog

We Did this...A girl and her frog

Afterwards I took the toboggan down as I was tire, hot, old and pudgy...I did not have the heart to walk anymore...mama was done. As luck would have it. I got the "Michelle Obama" car. I will happily put my rear end where hers has been any day of the week. I love her. I wanted to add a pic but squarespace is being a bit dicey. You can see it on my INSTAGRAM tho.

The day was also spent in Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City:

Side Note: TWB- Traveling While Black in China can be a bit oppressive if you aren't ready for constant staring, and picture taking. I honestly felt like an animal at times. Some people (especially in that part of the world) have NEVER seen a black person, and are curious. THAT I understand. They would come up and talk to me and ASK to take a picture, which I have no problem with. It was the people who tried to sneak photos, or would physically put their hands on me and force me to be in a picture. I had a few #jesustakethewheel moments, but all in all it was a wonderful experience.

 

 

 

 

F__K I just cheated on SPG and I really, REALLY LOVED IT...Mandarin Oriental

I adore SPG hotels, I'm in love with the St. Regis. It is MY hotel, like seriously, but this past week I had the opportunity to try the Mandarin Oriental and well. Do I dare say the words: if I would have married the St.Regis;  we would be in divorce proceedings right now, as I have a new lover...the Mandarin Oriental. MO takes customer service to a new level. for instance I had my laundry done by the hotel, and THIS is how I get my underwear back:

Are you kidding me? They look like I just bought them from a store off of 5th Ave in NYC. #dead #icantevenbutIamandLOVINGit

Are you kidding me? They look like I just bought them from a store off of 5th Ave in NYC. #dead #icantevenbutIamandLOVINGit

The above is what sent me over the edge, but it all started with the check in. First, and here is a hint when checking into high end hotels. CHECK IN AS LATE as possible, even if it may mean missing a part of your first day. Remember the early birds are getting their worm, sure they check in early, then next thing you know the hotel is oversold in your price range, so the only option is FREE UPGRADE. This seems to happen to me more often than not when I check in late, so play around with it. I bet it works for you. So instead of King bedroom with park views, I was upgraded to a corner room PLUS executive club privileges. OMG...the executive club is beautiful with a great morning buffet, afternoon deli lunch, high tea followed up with an evening cocktail service. The staff is amazing and every day they said hello and welcome back. It was awesome, well actually better than awesome. Sad to say I was too busy eating and making new friends to take pictures. But Lexie did not miss an opportunity and I found her in the club for high tea:

Lexie Loves Luxury

Lexie Loves Luxury

 

The room was twice the size and less than half the cost of my NYC apartment:

My new home away from home but better....

The place is not onlu beautiful but the staff is first rate and the concierge had me a reservation at Nobu withing an hour, and the hotel also has a great Japanese restaurant called "Wasabi" where the fish literally MELTED IN MY MOUTH. I also tried the gym and spa which includes sauna, steam room, plunge pool, whirl pool and regular pool.

The pool in paradise...

The pool in paradise...

 

It was absolutely spectacular. This was how I stared every morning followed by breakfast in the executive club, followed up by a tour or shopping, back to Executive club for lunch or high tea, nap, then exec club for cocktails then dinner. All in all a wonderful day in and out.

Also, I decided to live my best life and had a choice between tennis or golf. Honestly, I thought golf would be something that I would work on so I decided to take a couple of lessons. And I think I have found my new sport:

All in all, my entire time was amazing. And I'm not going to lie. I went a little overboard and bought one little treat in the jewelry gift shop Amee Philips. I saw it, it fit and had to be MINE:

A beautiful little trinket for me :-)..now my trip is complete

A beautiful little trinket for me :-)..now my trip is complete

 

 

There are hotels, and there is SPG Properties...There IS a difference

The LeMeridian in New Delhi, India is absolutely MARVELOUS.

There are no other words to describe it.

Last week, I was fortunate to spend a few days in Delhi for work, and was booked to this property. Days like this ...I love my life and my job. The service is impeccable from first encounter. I arrived in Delhi tired and hungry. I got off plane, thru customs and out to a car the hotel sent for me which was a lovely and huge all terrain vehicle. Upon arrival, people begin to whisk around me. One came and opened my door to usher me inside, while another gentleman grabbed my bags to take to my room. The check in process was painless and quick. Within minutes they took me up to my room. I loved it, except it did not have a bath tub. I made a mention of this and the greeter who took me to the room made a call. Within 5 minutes she took me to another room on the same floor WITH a tub. It was Heaven. And if it’s anything less than that, you can tell them because they call you and ask “if everything is up to your standards”, even if you order a simple drink from room service they call to ensure that you are happy.

Everything was as I requested, from high floor (16th out of 20 floors), car to and from airport, and full access to health facility and Club Room where I could have breakfast in the morning and a happy hour in the evening. The staff did everything within their power to ensure I was comfortable and all needs were met.

 

 

While it was a bit expensive for Delhi, it really wasn't that bad especially for me as I'm a New Yorker and used to paying outrageous amounts for pretty much everything. The cost per night was around $238usd including taxes. However that was just a room with king size bed, the suites are a bit more costly.


But my God the customer service was out of a movie. I was so sad when it was time to check out. I did NOT want to leave. Seriously, the Starwood hotels across the board are amazing but this hotel was SPECTACULAR.

Mexico City ... Yesteryear Flashback of elegance and decadence

As an effort to begin writing more, I decided to try something different. My screen saver changes daily. And I've decided that for now..every 2-3 days I will blog about the trip or event of the photo. (always with a travel tip/angle)

Today's cover photo is the reason for this post. It's J and I at a Mexico City Hotel playing in the elevator. I loved this hotel. It was all the rage as the James Bond film "Spectre" had just premiered early Winter 2015. The opening scene was filmed just to the southwest of the Zócalo. at the Gran Hotel Ciudad de México, With Art Nouveau stained glass, beautiful and crafted vaulted ceilings and an ornamental delight for the eyes, and so worthy of its name, it transports you to a loss era of beauty, fashion, plush and lush. The devil is in the details.

(hint:Just click on the pic to see the gallery of 8 hotel pics)

 

 

 

LOLA...2017 is coming and it's gonna be EPIC

Well 2016...was one heck of a great year, mixed with some sorrow. However 2017 promises to be epic as I have a HUGE stateside adventure planned...that will include my sissy, and two uncles. I don't know how this will work, so I'm thinking a lot of booze and prayer.

However, I can't just say goodbye to 2016 without remembering how much fun I had and how much of the world I need to see...from the coast of Africa to Asia and behind. Enjoy!

Press Play and see 2016 and some of the places we've seen