Dolce Does…A Trip Around the World for $177.

At the end of May, I spent a Thursday evening (leading up to Memorial Day weekend) catching up on the last few episodes of Scandal on my DVR. It was getting to be quite exciting, so as the clock clicked past 11 pm, I reasoned I could put on the last episode because the next day was a half day at work, before a 3 day weekend. I could manage an easy, quiet day, off of a couple hours less sleep than I normally need to function.

At about 11:30 pm — right as Olivia Pope was in the midst of a lecture, or someone was getting tortured, or we were finding out who planted a bomb (sorry — spoiler alert) — I got a text from a friend. It included a link to a random blog, and text reading “THIS IS STILL WORKING — WANNA GO?!?!”

Intrigued, I clicked the link, to find a post about some crazy Priceline.com “glitch” that was allowing people to book flights to Europe, then to Asia, for as low as $130.

No. I’m not missing a zero there. $130 to fly to Europe, AND to Asia?! Let me read further…to find the catch.

There ended up being no catch. I looked at my husband, told him that we could fly around the world for under $200 each, and asked if he was game. I don’t think I even waited for an answer before I jumped on my laptop (after pausing Ms. Pope, of course), and started looking up flights.

And there it was staring me in the eye. Flights for November to Europe and Asia starting at $159. You had to select “multi-city destination” and plug in New York to Milan, then 7+ days later, fly out of Prague into Asia. The options at the time were Tokyo or Bangkok, and eventually folks found flights out of Lisbon, and to Singapore and Shanghai as well.

First — I have a confession to make. The first step is making the admission, right?

Well…

My name is Dolce. And I’ve never been to Europe.

Yes. I’m 30, I spent 6 years studying French, and I’ve never. Been. To. Europe. I know, I know. Shocking.

Now can I continue? So. I’ve never been to Europe, we were trying to plan a trip this year, AND I’ve ALWAYS dreamt of going to Thailand. Ummmm did I wanna go? Hell yeah I wanted to go!

Because I can’t turn a good deal down — I mean, we couldn’t afford NOT to go! — by midnight, the Mr. and I were booked. We’re going to Europe! And Asia! And…ohhh yeah….we are literally, flying around the world!!!

So. Our flights from New York to Milan, and then 8 days later from Prague to Bangkok, with a 24 hour layover in Paris, were $177 each person — for both flights, taxes and fees included. Because it sounded way too good to be true, we paid the $34 each for trip insurance, agreed it would probably be cancelled, and called it a day.

And then I stayed up until 3 am googling “airline glitches” to see the likelihood our flights would get cancelled before I got too excited.

2 months later, and our flights are still honored! So I’ve spent the last 2 months saturating my brain with all things Eurasia. 4 months from today, we’ll be in…Austria! So excited.

And now I leave you with travel porn of some of our destinations….

 

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Duomo, Milan, Italy

Prague, Czech Republic (and a cool travel article from the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/travel/my-hidden-prague.html?_r=0)

Prague, Czech Republic
(and a cool travel article from the NYT: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/18/travel/my-hidden-prague.html?_r=0)

Dolce Does…A 5K!

Yesterday morning we got up earlier than normal for a Sunday and headed down to the Chargers’ stadium.  We live only a mile from the stadium, but what separates us is a daunting hill, which is quite easy to walk down, but not so easy to walk back up.  We ended up leaving our car at the stadium parking lot, because we conveniently caught the trolley downtown on Saturday for a Padres game, following race packet pick up.  After imbibing in probably a few too many alcoholic beverages, we cabbed home and agreed we’d just get my car after the race.

So, we got in a good mile, mile and a half, even before the race started!  It was a nice warm up, and we got to the start line  just a couple minutes before the race began.

We had a couple groups of friends all running the race, and were able to “run” into them (no pun intended?) before the race and after!

Given the shenanigans we partook in Saturday night, and the fact I just began training this past week, I can’t say it was my best effort at running 3.1 miles, but we got a good workout, had fun, supported a charity, and even better, the finish line was at the 50 yard line on the Chargers’ field!  As a huge Chargers fan — you can’t beat that.

Some pictures from the morning…

 

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Before the race began! Someone isn’t looking so thrilled…

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A not so high quality shot of us on the jumbotron crossing the finish line!

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At the finish! We made it! On the Chargers’ field 🙂

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Someone looks a little bit happier this time. All done, selfie on the field.

 

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Found some friends after the race!

Group Shot!

Group Shot!

All in all it was a great time — but showed I have a long way to go with this running business.  Time to get serious about training for the half marathon in November.  I’ve been following the training schedule, but I gotta get my butt in shape on the off-run days.  I’m planning on signing up for a couple 5ks between now and November so I can hopefully see progress!

Dolce Does…An Update on Thirty

Image from my fabulous 30th Birthday Bash, featuring some dear friends, and a fave President of mine!

 

Hello again — every few months I tend to pop back in, and it’s about that time, again. 

I signed in and re-read my last blog, about turning 30.  Here I am, three months later, and still adjusting to 30.  Honestly, age really is just a number — except last night at dinner when our very, spunky, waitress, was a reminder that I’m no longer 22..but I digress.

When asked how old I am, I have to pause and think about it.  I’m not yet trained to say 30.  But so far, I have no complaints.

This year is turning into an exciting year of firsts.  A year of growth.  A year of challenge. While I’m still working on the weight thing — more on that later — I’ve definitely been saying yes to things.  Number 1 item, definitely being travel.

I’ve always been enamored with travel.  But I’ve never had the time, or the money, (fill in the blank excuse) etc, to really do the travel I’ve wanted.  This year that changes.

I have little trips sprinkled throughout the year (Napa for a girls’ weekend, Vegas for a BFF’s 30th Birthday, Palm Springs getaway with the Husband, a random weekend in Houston, possibly followed by a Caribbean cruise, thanks to a silent auction), and then we finally have a big trip on the docket.

In November we will be taking a round the world trip to Europe and Thailand. I. Can’t. Wait. I’m beyond stoked, and every couple days I get that giddy “is this really happening?!” realization.  And then I profusely google what to wear, what do I need to pack, how should I pack, where should we go, etc in each destination.

Let’s just say, there’s nothing I love more than planning trips, or schedules.  So I am in heaven.  And I get an amazing travel experience in the end.

So, in addition to travel, work and training for this half marathon are at the forefront of my life these days.  I’m still active with the Tone It Up plan, and I have a 5k this weekend — which I’m expecting to do terribly, but hey, I’m counting it as a “training” run. 

I also hope to get back on the home improvement train over the next year — which my husband keeps kindly reminding me that the more we travel, the longer until we have new bathrooms and a kitchen.  I personally expect that money will just magically appear, and it will all be fine and dandy.  Maybe I should go buy a lottery ticket…or get a second job….Nah.

So for now, I’m certainly enjoying this little thing called life, and I really can’t complain about how 30 is treating me so far.  Cheers to a wonderful life.

Dolce Does….Turning Thirty

I’ve always believed saying yes is a good thing (within reason, and as long as it’s legal, of course ;)).  I especially believed this during my time in Washington, DC. I said yes to every opportunity that came my way– I didn’t regret it.

For the last 10 years I’ve struggled with weight.  As a former athlete, as the pounds kept coming, I struggled with my identity.  If I wasn’t an athlete anymore, then who was I?  I felt like a sham when I spoke of my past life as an athlete.  Instead of being a member of the “athlete” club, I now belonged in the “former athletes who gained a lot of weight” club.

Over the last 10-12 years I’ve done the up and down weight game.  As each year goes by, however, I find myself less and less disciplined.  I used to be able to stick with a diet/exercise routine, drop 20-30 pounds, and move on.  Even when I gained that weight back (and some) I knew if I just focused, the weight could come off.

I felt really good while in DC.  I moved out there at my highest weight, lost a good 30 pounds, and moved back feeling motivated, happy, and the best I’d felt in several years.  Settling back in with the boyfriend (now husband, of course), the weight started coming back on slowly but surely.  Then I started a new job, we got married, went on an all-inclusive honeymoon, and hit the holiday season, and in January I found myself back to the weight I was exactly 3 years earlier when I arrived in DC. I thought, oh, I put it on so quickly, I can get it off.

I started 2014 off with the Tone It Up Love Your Body series, and felt good about working out – I was moving again.  I challenged myself to 100 days of movement.  For Lent I promised I would break a sweat every day.  But, per usual, I stuck to those things for a while, but started to slack off.  And even worse…I barely lost 5 pounds.  I currently sit 20+ pounds over what I was on my wedding day 6 months ago and those pounds just won’t budge.

My mantra of always saying yes has fallen short in the active category.  I tell myself I can’t do things because of my weight.  And I put goals off until I lose the weight.  But I’ve waited 10 years — and the weight is still there.  Which mean — I continue to put goals on hold.

So.  I turn 30 in 6 short days.  As 30 has quickly approached, I’ve found myself saying yes again.  In fact, I did something absolutely crazy and signed up for a half marathon in November.  I’m saying yes to other races between now and then.  And I’m going to keep saying yes.  Hopefully in the next year or two I’ll say yes to a sprint triathlon — a goal I’ve had for many, many, many years now.

I don’t want to spend my 30’s the same way I spent my 20’s.  As I get older, I know it’s just going to keep getting harder and harder.  And now, as I get closer to starting a family, I want to be healthy for it.  I want to enjoy it.  I want to set a good example for my future children.  And I want to live a happy, fulfilled, active, healthy life with my future children.  So, I’m saying yes.  And maybe this time saying yes will help me meet my goals.

The Tone It Up 2014 Bikini Series starts conveniently on my 30th birthday, and continues for 8 weeks until the first day of summer.  The plan will enhance my half marathon training schedule (I’ve started early, since I’ve got a long way to go and don’t want to set myself up for failure), and I can’t think of a better way to start my 30’s.  This birthday doesn’t just mean a new decade, but also means a chance to start fresh.  I don’t want to wake up in 10 years wishing I’d started earlier.  Instead, I want to wake up 6 days before my 40th birthday proud of my accomplishments, and feeling the best I’ve ever felt before.  I want to think back to this moment and be proud of myself for making the commitment and following through on living a healthy, active, happy life.

30 scares me.  I’ve been in a bit of denial about how quickly it’s arrived.  But, 30 doesn’t have to be scary.  I want to make 30 my best year yet.  Here’s to the improved me, and here’s a healthy me.   I am (almost) 30 and hear me roar. 🙂

Dolce Does…The Name Change

I officially began the Name Change process in February with visits to the Social Security office and DMV.  I was then motivated to change everything I could possibly think to change, while it was fresh in my mind.  Which — knowing myself — was a smart thing, because then I lost steam for a bit.

I finally made it into the bank this past weekend to change the last of my bank accounts/credit cards.  I think all I have left is passport.  I filled out the paperwork but now either need to find the pictures I took a short 6.5 months ago, or take new ones and send it in.  At least I won’t have to pay the fees since I got my passport in the last year.

The process really is a pain in the rear, and I’m still not used to the idea of my new name.  I wasn’t motivated to do it at first, until we checked into a hotel in Vegas in February, and trying to explain we’re married, but have different names, when getting the keys to the room.  Now, I know a lot of women choose not to change their name, but knowing I was going to get to it eventually made me feel like I was in limbo.  I never knew what name to give, especially when signing up for new things knowing that my name would be changing soon enough.

Plus, I thought I was going to need my passport updated a lot sooner than initially planned — I’ll save that topic for a post another day — so I finally was motivated to move forward.  It is still weird not knowing what name I’m listed under for smaller things, like rewards programs, my Nordstrom debit card, and other less important accounts.  And, as I mentioned, I don’t know when I’ll get used to the name name.  But, I have ease of knowing all the important documents are taken care of.

Growing up I always automatically assumed I would take my future husband’s last name, but now that I’m actually married, and actually had to go through the process it’s different from how I imagined — perhaps because my name was my identity for my entire life until now.  It feels like I’m playing pretend, and I wonder when it will become natural.

Quick update…

I have a draft sitting, waiting to be completed. It speaks to a current challenge I’ve given myself. Alas – I have not had the time to sit down and finish it and post it — nor have I had time to write about 5 other posts I’ve had floating in my head.

This challenge is of the physical variety, and despite an unbelievably hectic month at work, I’ve kept on track – for the most part.

I’ll finish the draft hopefully in the next day or two. But in the meantime my pillow is calling.

Until then…

Dolce

Dolce Does…Love Your Body Update

Typically when I’m not blogging, it means I’m not doing.  I can proudly say that is not the case with getting Toned Up so far!

My work day today started at 6 am and included traveling 180+ miles round trip.  Plus back to the office.  I. Was. Exhausted.  But the good husband that he is, D acted as my “voice of reason” (his words!) and I reluctantly trudged to the gym.  I hopped on the treadmill and elliptical for my 100 Miles by Valentine’s Day.  Nothing like a good treadmill run to remind you that it’s been several (oh like, 4??) months since you last ran, and you’re currently carrying a good 20 extra pounds on you.

I haven’t, however, been great about completing the workouts and the cardio together, but something’s better than nothing.

I’m down 6 pounds so far — which I’m kind of not really counting since the scale went up so much over the holidays, but closer to where I was before.  In the end though, I guess this should be considered my starting weight, since with my many fluctuations, it’s on the higher end of where I’ve ever been (tough to admit that, but the truth).

I’m loving the Tone It Up community so far.  It definitely helps with the motivation and accountability.  Just like with my blog, if I’m not checking in, I’m not working out or eating well, so I definitely need to be held accountable.

6 down, a million to go 🙂