Travel Girl's Journeys

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  • Name: Andrea N
  • City: Boston
  • Region: Massachusetts
  • Country: United States

My Calendar

May '15
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Before After

Wow...can't believe it's still here!

I am simply amazed that EP is still here, and so is my blog!! It even seems that people have been looking here from recent visits. I can’t believe it’s been almost 6 years since I’ve posted! That’s insane!!

I don’t even know where to begin with what has happened between then and now. I quit my job in September, 2010 and decided to start my own business doing what else, booking travel.  I’m my own best client.

In the past 6 years I’ve visited every continent, twice! Australia was my 7th continent. Jerel and I went for a few weeks in October, 2011. I went back to South America and Antarctica in January, 2012. In 2012 I also went to Hong Kong and Bangkok for the first time and fell in love with those cities. I’ve been to Thailand 3 times now and Hong Kong twice. I’ve been to every country in Europe with the exception of Moldova and Ukraine, but I’m planning on visiting them in April of this year.

Which brings me back to EP. I am going to be 50 years old on September 10th, and I would love to lose 50 pounds by my birthday. Unfortunately, with all the travel and the fact that I’m so lazy, I’ve packed on most of the weight I lost. I haven’t worked out in YEARS! The most exercise I get is when I travel and do some site seeing. A lot of my trips involve the beach or a pool, so the most strenuous thing I do is move from my lounge chair to the pool and back again!

I have already lost about 12 lbs from the beginning of the year. I went to my NP, who is worried that I’m going to stroke out and die. I promised her I would lose 20 lbs before I see her again in May, so I think I’ll be able to keep that promise.

My trainer Tara is now an Arbonne representative, and Jerel and I are currently doing the Arbonne 30 Days to Wellness Challenge. It’s going great so far. Basically it’s clean eating – no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, no sugar, no caffeine. There is a shake mix you use as a meal replacement for one or two meals a day, and you can eat a healthy meal along with it if you want. There’s a fiber supplement too. We have been having a shake for breakfast, and a healthy lunch and dinner. In the first week I lost 6.3 lbs, but I also feel so much better. I’m not feeling as swollen as I did before, and my knees aren’t aching. I really need to start getting some exercise, but this has been a brutal winter so far in Boston.

Yes, we are still in Boston in the same place. We’ve lived here for almost 18 years! I’m not sure if any of my old EP buddies will be reading this, but if you remember our dog Tigger, he passed away in May, 2013. We now have a Shiba Inu named Jackson, who is absolutely wonderful.

I really enjoyed writing about my experience losing weight, so I’m glad my blog is still here. I think I will update my photo albums a little so things are more current. I hope to make lots of new friends here too!

Back to Blogging?

I know, I's been months since I've blogged.  I guess I didn't have anything inspiring to say - and I'm still not sure if I do, but I guess I need to try.
It was a long & awful winter in Boston.  I haven't been to the gym since January 13th.  Sad, just sad.  I did, however, complete the Mardi Gras 1/2 on Feb. 1 and the Disney Princess 1/2 on Mar 7.  Other than that, no exercise whatsoever, unless walking to & from connecting airplanes can be counted.
Earlier this year I became obsessed with gaining Executive Platinum status on American Airlines.  Since 1/31 I have flown 105,000 BIS (butt in seat) miles and yes, I am now EXP.  I still have a few MRs (mile runs) booked because they have a special offering of 3x miles between Boston/LA/San Diego/SFO.  I even got Jerel talked into doing a few of the trips with me!
So, since 1/31 I've been to:
New Orleans
Dublin, Ireland (twice)
Frankfurt, Germany (4 times)
Brussels, Belgium
Los Angeles (twice)
San Francisco
Jerel & I even went to Tokyo over Easter weekend, because AA is also offering double elite qualifying status, so with everything else we have booked he will make Platinum this year.
Anyway, I really need to make an concentrated effort to get back to the gym.  My job is still majorly sucking, so that has a lot to do with it.
I did go to San Francisco last weekend and was supposed to run the Big Sur 10.6 miler with Shelley, but I woke up at 2:00 am sicker than a big dog.  I decided it was better to take the DNS rather than the DNF - and the fact that I would have been on a bus for 30 mins or so to get to the start didn't seem like a good idea either.
I tried to get on an earlier flight back to Boston, but sadly still ended up taking the redeye home.  Even worse, by the time I got back home I had a migraine, so I decided to take the day off.  I have a couple more redeyes booked in the next few weeks, so I really hope I don't get any more migraines.
It was great to see Shelley & her husband - we went to dinner and spent a couple of hours catching up.  Jerel & I are going to San Fran Memorial Day weekend so maybe I'll get to see her then.  Of course, we are planning on doing the Nike 1/2 in October.
Looking back at my goals for 2009 I see one of them was to run the Flying Pig Full.  Hard to believe, but that race is this coming Sunday.  I knew in late January there was no way I was going to be able to train for a full, so I am registered for the 1/2.  I'm leaving for Cincinnati in about 10 minutes.  Hopefully there won't be any flight cancellations due to weather, and of course, I hope I can finish on Sunday.
I know I haven't even been commenting on your blogs - yes Angela, I know I owe you a response - but I have been reading.  Hopefully I'll be inspired to keep blogging.

New Hair

Not the best photo, but it gives you an idea of my new haircut.  Hopefully I can replicate it on my own!

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day!! 


On Wednesday morning I had a personal training session with Tara, my first since November.  We did some basic stuff – nothing too fancy, but I really felt it yesterday.  Almost every muscle in my body ached.  I could hardly move.  Jerel had to give me a little push when I needed to get off the couch.


Of course, I could have been more achy than usual because it snowed about 6 inches on Wednesday, and after dinner we (meaning me) decided to walk up to Copley Place to look at the ice sculptures, specifically the polar bears that I saw them creating when I was watching the news.  We walked up to Copley, and then over to the Boston Common, but never found them.  It was FREEZING, and I just had on a thin pair of black dress pants.  When we got home my legs were so red – they looked like they were sunburned.  It took a couple of hours before they were warm again.


Our NYE dinner was very nice – we ate at Hamersley’s like we did last year.  Yesterday we had planned on going to brunch, but with an air temperature of 6º and a wind chill of -11, we decided to just stay home and keep warm.  We cleaned out most of the stuff we had taped on the DVR and then watched the Bones marathon.


Tara sent me a message on Facebook wondering if I wanted to train today, and even though I was super sore I figured why not.  I had been planning on going to the gym anyway.  I did 15 minutes on the crosstrainer and 15 minutes on the treadmill, and then had a really good session with her.  I figure with the bootcamp that starts next week I should back to my previous strength level by the end of the month.


I am so excited about tomorrow – I am getting my hair cut & colored!!  It has gotten really long and has moved to the unmanageable stage, along with looking fairly crappy.  I’m thinking a longer bob - a brunette Kelly Clarkson, with bangs.




I will take some pictures - I'm hoping it turns out well.  It's time for a change!

2009 Goals

Here is what I would like to accomplish this year:


  • Run 1000 miles.  Over at the Runners World beginner’s forum I signed up for their 2009 in 20009 Challenge.  In 2008 I ran 416 miles, but didn’t start tracking until April, and wasn’t really consistent until June.  It’s a lofty goal, but I’m going to do my best.
  • Complete at least 3 half marathons:  Disney’s Princess Half (March 7), San Diego Rock n’ Roll Half* (May 31), St. Jude Half (December 5?)
  • Complete 2 full marathons: Flying Pig (May 3), Nike (October 18?)
  • Balance running with strength training.  My strength training went by the wayside when I started training for the Nike Marathon, so I need to find a way to balance both.
  • Get back to onederland.  No other major weight loss goals – I just need to get back to under 200 lbs, and stay there.
  • Blog more consistently, and comment/give support to my friends more often.

2009 is going to be a great year!!


*I am planning on mentoring with Team in Training for the San Diego Rock n’ Roll Marathon.  They don’t technically offer a half marathon, except for TNT participants.


2008 – The Good, The Great & The Not So Great

Ah, reflections on the year gone by.  Here are the goals that I set for myself a year ago:

  • Run at least 5K (3.1 miles) without stopping. *Updated 1/4/08
  • Do at least one full body pullup.
  • Do yoga at least once a week.
  • Continue to go to the gym at least 5 days per week.
  • Spend less money at Starbucks.
  • Get to my goal weight.  I would love to get there before we leave for Tahiti on May 31st.

Yep, I ran 3.1 miles without stopping – a least a few times.  I did go to the gym or out running fairly often, and I may have spent less money at Starbucks.  Probably not though!


There wasn’t very much yoga, I can’t do a full body pullup, and I’m further away from my goal weight than I was last year at this time!


Other small accomplishments (aka The Good and The Great):

  • Went to Antarctica.  In doing so crossed off 2 more continents (only 2 more to go) and visited Chile, Argentina, The Falkland Islands and S. Georgia Island.
  • Made it through another year at my job.  Year # 4 begins on 1/18/09 – 67% vested in the 401(k).
  • Started running races.  Ran in 17 races.  Finished all 17 races.  Oh yeah…one of them was a MARATHON and three were half marathons.
  • Joined Team in Training and raised over $7800 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
  • Met some really great EP’ers in person – Shelley, RBR, Txlass, Kimquilts55, TaeboDiva & Bridget1961

The Not So Great:

  • The fall of Bear Stearns & Lehman Brothers
  • Plummeting stock market
  • Oh yeah, we’re officially in a recession
  • Jerel’s mom & grandmother passing away
  • My coworker who got fired
  • Hiring freeze at my company
  • Crushing mental burnout after the marathon causing me to stop working out and gain about 20 lbs

So farewell 2008.  You are a year that will be remembered - for the good and the bad.  Bring on 2009.  I am SO ready!!

One More Day of 2008!

I am so ready for a new year!!  I am working on a post reviewing 2008, and what I'd like to accomplish in 2009, but I wanted to let you all know I made it to & from New Orleans safely.

Oh - I almost forgot about Christmas.  It was okay - sort of crappy.  We didn't do anything except go out to dinner, and the service was bad - the food was good though.  We probably won't go there next year.  Actually, if I have my way we'll be on a cruise.  I'm thinking Sea Dream would be good.

My whirlwind trip to NOLA was fine.  No travel delays on the trip down.  I actually took the bus from the airport into the city - $1.60!  I only had my gym bag packed with a change of clothes, my jammies (got to have my jammies), my makeup & a few other necessities and my laptop.  It was about a 15 minute walk from where the bus dropped me off to my hotel - the bag was feeling pretty heavy by the time I got there.  It was super humid too - my hair looked like crap the whole time I was there!

The humidity also helped me make a decision to not participate in the Mardi Gras half marathon.  I don't fare well at all running in humidity - plus, after talking about it with Jerel it's too much of a risk to try and fly out of Boston in January/February just for a couple of days. 

Anyway, I had a nice time in NOLA.  I got to the airport early on Saturday, just in time to find out that my flight was going to be delayed and wouldn't get to Miami until 11:00 pm, meaning I would miss my connection.  I've had to stay at the Miami Airport before - not pretty.  I was able to have the gate agent reroute me through Dallas, where I still ended up having to spend the night, but I booked myself a room at the Omni Mandalay in Las Colinas (where Txlass and I stayed back in May before the Heels & Hills 5K), so now I'm only 1 stay away from being an Omni Select Gold member.  Woot!

Got home Sunday morning - I was pretty exhausted.  Didn't sleep very well - I was worried I would sleep through the alarm since my flight was at 6:55 am - so I took a nice nap while Jerel went grocery shopping.

I actually went to the gym yesterday for the first since - I think - Thanksgiving.  I ran a mile on the treadmill and thought I was going to die.  Hard to believe how quickly conditioning can disappear!  I am seeing Tara tomorrow morning - it's time for her to start whipping me back into shape!

We're supposed to get about 6 inches of snow tomorrow - what joy.  We are planning on having dinner at Hamersley's again, like we did last year.  No brunch on New Year's Day with Jerel's dad and new mom at the Four Season though - they are down in Naples enjoying their new villa.  

I think I'm going to take Friday off - need to get mentally prepared for next week, because I am quite sure it's going to be insane at work for the next 5 months.

I did sign up for a bootcamp at the gym on Tuesday/Thursday nights for the month of January.  I figured I should have no problem leaving here by 5:30 so I can get there - it's at 6:30 on Tuesday nights and 6:00 on Thursday nights.  I also need to decide if I'm really going to do the Flying Pig, because training will need to begin asap.

Hope you're all doing well - and are as excited as I am for 2009!

Ready for 2009

Seriously?  Almost 3 weeks since I’ve blogged, and I was only gone for 5 days?  That’s ridiculous!  My blogging has gone the same way as my exercising.  Here I am supposedly the great role model, but I have to tell you, burnout has finally hit me.  I haven’t been to the gym since November 10th, although I have run a few times.  The horrible weather here has really put a stop to any running outside for the last few days.


I’m just not feeling it.  I keep hoping to be inspired and to get my motivation back.  Not sure what it’s going to take.  At least I haven’t gained very much weight.  As long as my size 12’s still fit, I’m okay.  There’s just been so much going on that I don’t feel like watching every bite of food.


I think it all started going downhill when I went to Ohio.  The trip was great – my mom and sisters were very impressed with my weight loss.  I was sad to see how much weight my youngest sister had gained though.  She has had to put on about 30 – 40 lbs and it’s all in her upper body, exactly where I gained it a few years ago.  I can only hope she gets motivated to start losing some weight soon.


My biggest problem while I was there was the hotel I stayed in only had soft pillows – no foam pillows, nothing firmer.  Well, I tossed and turned for the 3 nights I was there, and let me tell you, I am no good with sleep deprivation.  It took me the next week to recover and catch up on my sleep.


The next weekend (December 13th) a good friend of ours was getting married in Carmel.  Well, I kept checking flight prices and we were really tempted to go, but in the end we decided not to, just because we really didn’t need to spend the money.  I was still recovering from my trip to Ohio.


On the 14th I ran my last race of ’08 – the Jingle Bell 5K in Somerville.  Turns out it was my slowest 5K of the year.  It was bitterly cold, and I had a lot of trouble breathing.  That motivation thing wasn’t really there either.


On the 16th we had our holiday party for my group.  One of my coworkers helped me to arrange everything, and we had a great time.  I even drank a few beers.  This was the first holiday party I’ve been to in the last couple of years, and I’m glad I went.


On the 18th, I finally had my gyn appointment to talk about my whacked out menstrual cycle.  Well, let me tell you.  The experience I had there?  I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.


In order to make sure there’s nothing wrong (i.e. cancer) she did an endometrial biopsy.  Holy. Shit.  I have NEVER experienced the kind of pain I was subjected to – and let me tell you, I’ve had some fairly painful procedures done in my 43 years.  Not to mention a 7 hour marathon.  It was unlike anything I could have ever imagined.  I felt like my uterus was being ripped out.  Anyway – just waiting on the test results.  After I get them back then we have a few options to consider that will hopefully make my periods less painful. 


On Friday we had Big Snowstorm #1 for the season – about 9 inches of snow in our neighborhood, and yesterday we had another 5 inches or so.  Today it is COLD – only about 16° right now.  Brrrrrr!


Saturday night we went to the wedding of one of Jerel’s coworkers.  It was at the Intercontinental Hotel, and it was really the best wedding we’ve ever been to (other than ours, of course).  Great food, great party.  We didn’t get home until around 1:00 am Sunday morning, so yesterday we slept in late and just hung around the house.


So, here we are in the last week and a half of 2008.  Work sucks – I’m thinking that has a huge part to play in my burnout.  I’m going to have to make some changes in 2009, that’s for sure.


I am doing something a little insane this weekend.  After I got back from Ohio I found out I was only 3,084 miles away from becoming a Gold AAdvantage member on American Airlines.  Well, after much searching of their online booking system, I finally found a trip that would give me enough miles and didn’t cost too much money.  On Friday I am flying down to New Orleans, staying overnight and most of the next day, and will be back in Boston around 1:00 am Sunday morning.  I will have earned enough miles to be Gold for 2009, meaning that I won’t have to pay that pesky $15 bag check fee (and neither will Jerel since we are usually ticketed on the same itinerary).  There are other perks of course, including getting to board the plane early.  I decided this trip would be worthwhile since we have at least 2 or 3 trips that we’ll be making on American next year.


I need to start figuring exactly what traveling I am going to do for races next year, other than the Disney Half in March.  I was seriously considering the Mardi Gras Half, but I read that Bridget isn’t going because it’s Super Bowl weekend, and that’s a big travel weekend for some of my people as there is a big conference they all go to in Arizona, so I’m still on the fence about it.  I want to do the Flying Pig in Cincinnati on May 3rd, either the half or the full, but the cost of flying there is simply ridiculous.  It would be less expensive for me to fly to Columbus and then drive to Cincinnati, but it might be a lot more annoying.


I might go out to California to do the Napa to Sonoma Half that Shelley is doing, but I’m already planning on tackling Nike again in October. 


The other trip I need to make a decision about is our big cruise vacation to Greece & the Baltics in August.  I know we will definitely do the Greek Isles portion.  I am on the fence about the Baltics portion.  I’m just not sure I want to spend 2 weeks on this trip, and it is pretty pricey.  Jerel’s not really that into the Baltics idea anyway.  One of my coworkers suggested spending a few days in Croatia, but the Greek Isles cruise disembarks in Istanbul, and there aren’t any really good flights from Istanbul into most of the Croatian airports.


Well – that’s my update on the last few weeks.  I probably won’t post again until after my quick trip to New Orleans, so I want to wish you all a very Merry Christmas.  I hope you have a wonderful holiday!

Off to Ohio

Just a quick post to check-in and let you all know I'm heading to Ohio tomorrow after work for a long weekend.  Not sure if you know this or not...but I haven't been home to see my mom in...4 years. 

It was August, 2004 the last time I visited.  I went home once a month from January - August in '04, and I was pretty burnt out.  Then, I got laid off that November, and when I got my new job I only had 10 vacation days the first year and most of them were used up from our trip to St. Barths.  Of course, I also didn't want to go home because I had gained so much weight, and didn't want my mom to see me.  Don't misunderstand - my mom has never had anything bad to say about my being overweight, but you know how moms can be!  Anyway, I'm pretty sure she won't recognize me!!

Work has been completely insane, and I'm glad I'm going to have a couple of days away from the office.  Hopefully I'll be able to get in a few runs too - Cambridge City Park awaits.

I will try to check in since I'm taking my laptop - need to keep up with the work emails and requests.

Take care everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving!!

It's been a trying week - work is crazy, TOM arrived yesterday and I've been really sick from it, and I'm just not feeling like myself.  Hopefully I'll be able to shake it off soon - I think it's just the low point of my emotional chart!
Tomorrow I'm running in a "turkey trot" - the Gobble Gobble Gobble 4 Miler - over in Somerville.  Then in the afternoon we're going to the movies, probably to see "Four Christmases".  We are having Thanksgiving dinner at Excelsior like we did last year, and Jerel's younger brother will be joining us.  Then back to work on Friday.
I am thankful for all of my friends here at EP, and I wish each and every one of you a very Happy Thanksgiving!