Thursday, March 30, 2017

Last Minute Show Tickets

We've arrived in Iceland and so happy to be back here!
However as we were flying I remembered I wanted to share my ticket deals. I'm a bargain traveler. My round trip tickets with a 4 day stopover in Iceland was $620. If we could've left the day before it would've been $450. My son and I narrowed it down to London or Ireland in October. I checked airfare regularly then in January Iceland Air did a three day flash sale I jumped  (bonus Icelandair offers up to a week stopover in Iceland without being charged an extra leg). Next, find a hotel that included breakfast. Our dollar is probably the best it's been to the pound but things are still expensive in London. Iceland this is crucial, everything is expensive.
Ok shows! When I go to NYC I always buy day of tickets at TKTS. I like the whole process of getting there, lining up, waiting for the screen to light up what's going to be on sale and then picking from that. Plus they are anywhere from 30-60 percent off. For those Broadway's junkies like me, that means more shows! I've seen many shows I otherwise wouldn't have by doing TKTS. Imagine my surprise when my first day in London I discovered a TKTS booth right across from our hotel. I scored School of Rock and Les Miserables for 35-45 pounds each, a 30% discount. Both were in small theatres, we were row 7 and 9 stalls (that's what we call main floor in the U.S.). It was fabulous, and a great way to end a couple of evenings!
Ok onto bed for a full day of enjoying one of our favorite places tomorrow!


Wednesday, March 29, 2017

London

It's hard to believe we've been in London a week. My plan was to blog regularly so I wouldn't forget details, however by the end of the day we've been exhausted.

So for now a quick little glimpse of what we've been up to.

First on the advice of a friend that lives here, we took the tube to get to the hotel. I'm not a huge fan of underground transportation but see the value in busy cities for the speed and efficiency in which they run. There was a direct line from Heathrow to Piccadilly station making it super easy. Only 6 pounds, versus a cab ride of 70. Anyone hesitant that they can't figure this out, do not worry. There were so many kind people that work for the tube willing to help. In fact that's a common theme here in London, kindness.

Our location in London has been ideal. We are in Soho right between the Piccadilly and Leicester Squares. I like to walk (a lot) when on vacation! This location has been ideal, we seem to be no more than 2 miles away from anything we've wanted to do, but most is within a mile.

My only plan for this week was the first full day to figure the layout of this city. From other major cities I've found the best way (as touristy as it may be, but that's what we are) is jump on the double decker bus tour. They really are amazing, you have a 24 hour pass of hop on hop off so if you're really organized you can maximize this. I typically prefer to stay on and ride the entire tour first, especially if you have a good guide. The history and side notes on these tours is something you wouldn't get just walking on your own.

 

We ran into a little hiccup, but it all worked out ok, fortunately we got up and got an early start. There was a demonstration (anti Brexit) gathering at the time we got on the bus, there were going to be modified routes later in the day, as 25,000 people were marching (peacefully I might add) . After the first part of the tour we came to the tower of London (this was top of my list as I love history) and because of the bus delays already happening and the tower being the furthest sight from our hotel we figured it was a good to jump off and spend some time.

 

The tower was impressive. Well worth seeing, actually I'd put it as a not to miss!

After a few hours we hopped back on completed the tour and walked over to the National Gallery (museums in London are free).

We spent the next few days visiting Westminster. The flowers are laid in remembrance to those that died or were injured last week in the attack.

 

Walked down a closed street right onto the set of the Crown. They were very gracious about our ignorance and lack of realizing the entire street was closed, and people had film crew vests on ALL over.

The street was apparently closed because the changing of the guards was about to happened (again unbeknownst to us), and they took the opportunity to film during this time.

So when these guys walked by, we followed

 

To here, and watched the changing of the guards ceremony

We went to the British Museum another day, it's huge. I'm not even sure we saw it all. Of course we've had to take in a couple shows. School of Rock (Luke's pick and it was excellent) and my all time favorite Les Miserables.

Lots of shopping has been happening for my son. Thank goodness he works!

Yesterday we went to the Warner Bros Studio and took the making of Harry Potter tour. Truly amazing but I'll do a separate post on that.

I would definitely say London has far exceeded my expectations. It's beautifully old, very clean, and the people are so polite. I am impressed.

 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Yogi Speak

You know you're a yogi when.....I'm pretty sure when you start using words like mindful, energy, intention all while binge yoga(ing)!

I realized I may be a yogi a week ago, when I sped down to yoga to get there my standard 15 minutes early. I like the warm studio, laying on my mat, mediating and stretching before class. However this time I was chatting it up with a new instructor, I would describe as having amazing "energy". We talked about our day, it wasn't a particularly nice day, yet I was describing it as a relaxing, non pressing, overall awesome day. That's when the instructor confirmed my yogi suspicion and made the comment that anyone listening would know we are a bunch of yogis. I almost wanted to high five her! Before I started practice regularly I had my doubts. The owners they speak it, but did they really live it? Absolutely! For me this evolution has taken over a year and a half, but I love everything about it.

I am the least likely regular, and make progress at the speed of a snail, but it doesn't stop the warm reception I get from both instructors and others practicing!

There are downsides though. Before heading to Europe for two weeks I wanted to get in as much yoga as possible. I essentially avoided packing until late the night before because I had been packing, in my mind for days during savasana when in reality I should've been packing days before. Next time!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

She Rocks

My girl, she's amazing. Granted I know, or at least hope most people feel that way about their kids, but my daughter really makes my world an awesome place.
She's currently doing five elite team dance classes. Since January putting in 10-15 hours a week at the studio. She's taken three in the years past. We talked about the financial commitment of adding two more dances and decided she would pay the difference each month for the two extra classes, plus all of the competition fees. How does a 14-15 year old earn that much, she works. She takes all the babysitting jobs she can, and works three mornings a week at 6am before going to school. Tuesday's she leaves the house at 6am and gets home at 8:30pm. But that's not all, she's maintaining a 3.8 GPA, and put in the 145 volunteer hours to letter in it. Her work ethic and positive attitude, makes this mom so proud.
Weekend 1 in CDA was my weekend. Weekend 2 was her Dad's weekend (he's a pretty good sport about it), however last minute I rearranged work, picked my sister and nephew up and drove down as well. I've never really considered myself a dance mom, but man I love watching her perform. Plus she loved having everyone there supporting her!







Thursday, March 9, 2017

Love and Trust

I can't tell you how many times a woman after going through a tough break up has asked me if it was hard to open my heart to love and trust another post divorce.   This is why I share my story.  After my divorce I looked to my best friend. She was with (and now married) to this amazing man that loves her and her son dearly.  She was very clear about the struggles she faced after her divorce, she was open with the fact that it takes time and work to get through,  yet she gave me so much hope as well.  Good was still to come.

The answer is no it wasn't hard to open my heart to love and trust again.  It definitely wasn't something I went right out and sought, but after my divorce was final I pulled up my big girl pants and made myself be open to dating.  I went on some really great dates with great guys.  None that I felt a connection that I wanted keep dating....until I met Rick.  I didn't know this guy at all (although when he picked me up he let me know he had in fact been to my house a few years before when we all met for a group ride). I remember feeling a connection and excitement when we talked on the phone those couple days leading up to our date.  Our first date lasted 13 hours and we were on the phone the next morning making plans to see each other again.   We had something special from the get go.  I knew I was in love a few months later when we were at a little beach house in Manzanita.  There hasn't been a single moment in our relationship where I didn't  trusted him.  I'm certain he always has my best interest at hand.  Love and trust came easy, because it felt right.  I knew things could end, and if they did I would be heartbroken, but the love I felt wasn't worth ending to save potential heartache in the future.  I wanted to feel it, and so glad I embraced it.

I truly believe we all get the chance to live a fulfilling life.  It just takes time and a lot of little lessons placed before us before we can truly find and appreciate that great feeling of loving and being loved.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Reflection


I recently shared this on Facebook. Most of you that have followed my blog followed this journey and offered love and support along the way as well.
It feels good to be where I am in life. Complete. There are no  thoughts of what if, my life just IS, in the most beautiful way.
The relationships I have with people in my life are because I want to. They work both ways, and are
not one sided relationships. This includes my Ex, to give credit where credit is do. My issue co-parenting with him has always been communication, once he truly understood where my frustrations came from, he worked to improve, additionally I allow more grace in delayed communication.
I've shared my story and all the emotions along the way because they are real. I know many people find themselves in the same situations and if it hadn't been for my friends openly sharing their stories, I might have sunk into utter dispair, but knowing they got through, and allowed happiness and love in their lives, gave me hope.
There is no timeline for grief in any form. Be it a death or a relationship that ends. We are individuals and we all grieve in different ways and lengths of time. Let's respect that amongst our fellow humans. Be comfortable grieving, it's ok. In a relationship that ends the way mine did, the parties that hurt me would've rather I had just swept everything under the rug and moved on, but I didn't really feel like they had my best interests at hand anyways, so I followed my own course. It's been 6 years since my divorce was final, I am truly happy with where I am today, happy I had the chance to grieve in a loving and supportive atmosphere amongst friends and family.
Those that have reached out recently, there's is no easy path, however the path is ALL yours. Just take comfort in knowing it does and will get better and better.
I guess my one last piece of advice would be to find yourself again, while honoring and loving those around you that allow you to do so.
Be well my friends.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Semi-Natural

The older I get, the more comfortable in my own skin I become. My teens and 20's I struggled, but there was something that happened when I became a mom. I created two of the most beautiful people, and that to me made me feel beautiful. I'm approaching 40, years of tennis in the sun show the wear on my face, yet I'm gravitating towards less and less make up. I have a decent head of hair that I embrace just as it is. Stylish, not so much, simple and low maintenance most definitely.
What I have noticed is a disturbing shift in our online (social media) appearances, this is something I have talked about at great deal with my daughter. With instagram filters, and apps like face tune, people are actually taking away their wrinkles, smoothing their skin, whitening their teeth, sometimes to such degree when you do see them in person you hardly recognize the person in front of you. They gather (or perhaps rather look for it) validation and praise on the social media, but shy away from showing the real self. I understand everyone wants to look good, but let's work on continuing to leave some of the real ness in. Don't get me wrong, I love IG filters as much as the next person, however when I run into the grocery store after a good workout (as I often do), I want people to recognize me as that's who I am.  Sometimes sweaty and no make up with fine wrinkles and hair that forms to one giant dread.  Beauty is different for everyone, but for me real beauty usually accompanies a genuine personality as well, and for me that's beautiful.
A couple weeks ago at my yoga studio I was approached going into class if I would mind taking a picture and saying a few words after class. I instantly said yes, but within a minute it dawned on me I was walking into hot yoga (a 75 minute class done in a studio heated to 110 degrees), what I wanted to do upon that realization was turn around and ask if I could do it another class, but decided I needed to meditate on it the next 75 minutes. Throughout the class I thought of my excuses, hoped I could sneak out "forgetting", but by the time we got to shavasana, I had decided to suck it up. This is who I am, I have no problem heading to Safeway after hot yoga why should I avoid FB looking the way I do after doing something so good. This was an exercise in being placed right in front of me. I decided to embrace it and embrace myself.
So this is the photo that appeared on Facebook.
Cheers to being the closest thing to the real you, you can be!