November 26, 2010-present weight loss

2012 weight loss

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Our Recent Travels- Part 1

Seeing that I am (or was, not sure how this traveling thing will work out now that we are in the States) a Traveling Bandita, I thought I should talk about our travels over the past few months.  We knew that our time in Europe was coming to an end, so we left London whenever possible.  Anyone who has followed my blog knows that Kenny and I don't need much of an excuse to travel; once we were pretty certain of our move back date, we had a real incentive to fly away on a (near) weekly basis. 

In early June we spent a long weekend in Milan and Lake Como.  We had heard terrible things about Milan from just about everyone but thought it would still be worth seeing.  Plus, Lake Como is an easy drive from the city.  We only spent two nights in Milan, and that was honestly enough time.  The main thing I wanted to do was see the Last Supper.  Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible for people who don't plan their trips months in advance to view the Last Supper.   Tickets are inexpensive but book up very quickly.   The easy alternative is to take a group tour of Milan that includes the Last Supper.  Sorry, but I don't like being trucked around like a bunch of cattle.  Instead, I arranged a few hours with a tour guide in advance, and we were able to have a private tour of the Last Supper. 

Our guide was a very chic Milanese woman who loved my dress.  She incorrectly assumed that I had purchased it in Milan-- a compliment I was happy to receive!

From Milan we drove to Tremezzo, in Lake Como, for the weekend.  Milan was wonderfully warm and sunny; Lake Como was significantly cooler.  It was still beautiful, but I would have welcomed a slightly warmer experience.

We had a wonderful lunch at Vill@ D'este on our first day... we enjoyed our visit so much that we had lunch there on our way back to the airport as well.  The property is amazing-- click on the link to see how perfectly manicured the grounds are!

The obligatory photo after lunch:)
Multiple towns sit on the lake, connected by a fantastic ferry service.  We spent a cold, rainy day hopping from town to town.  The owners of our hotel suggested a little restaurant for lunch.  It consisted of four tables, a little glass-enclosed kitchen with the chef and one waitress.  The establishment was so small that the wine was kept at a neighboring property!  In true Italian form, we started our meal with pasta and then moved onto a fish course.  I loved my pasta but could sadly (or happily?) only eat a little.  Thank you Band.  The chef cleared our plates and incorrectly assumed that I didn't enjoy the dish.  I have refined the art of complimenting the dish/meal immediately rather than explaining, defensively, that I really enjoyed the meal but just don't have much of an appetite. 

The view from our hotel

We had such a great time and were thrilled that we missed the madness surrounding the Queen's Jubilee.  We ate well and drank like fish.  Still, I came home weighing the same amount as when I left!

Monday, September 24, 2012


Hi there Blogland.  I am back, or at least I think I am back.  Sorry I have been MIA since May, but I have just had too much going on to focus on blogging.  Here is the short of my spring and summer...

Remember when I was all happy about the house Kenny and I planned to buy?  Well, that became a debacle.  One week before the closing my attorney called (yes, I was in London, and yes, the house is in New Jersey) to tell me that the seller was $50k light for the closing and that the house would be going to a shortsale.  Fun times.  Luckily his bank was willing to proceed with the closing on the condition that we agreed to give up a small credit the bastard seller had previously agreed to.  As annoying as this was, giving up the credit was a lot cheaper than losing the house entirely.  So a month later than expected we flew home and closed on the property.  The next morning we had locksmiths come in so Senor Shady couldn't get into what was by then OUR home.  This was the last weekend in June. 

Since then I have been flying back to NJ for about a week a month to deal with housing issues.  We had to change about 90% of our electric from aluminum to copper, we've redone the hardwood floors and installed wood where we had really ugly tile, installed new garage and fire doors, and so on and so on.  Luckily my mom has been really helpful with letting my contractors in when I have been in London.  Without her, only a fraction of this would have been accomplished.

The exciting conclusion is that Kenny and I moved from London to NJ on September 15th.  We are not yet in the house, but I spend most days here dealing with contractors.  We hope to be moved in by the middle of November.  We shall see.   

I have a lot more to catch everyone up on, but this is a decent start.  Most importantly, I am OK and I am back in the States.  I did not fall off the blogging wagon because I was gaining weight (promise- my weight is pretty stable).  Balancing travel, life in London and the house was just all I have been able to focus on.  Now I need to catch up on all of your blogs.  I have something like 15,000 posts to read, and that just isn't going to happen.  I will try to figure out the big things that I've missed in the last few months. 

More to come:) 

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Who Says You Can't Go Back

Been all around the world and as a matter of fact
There's only one place left I want to go
Who says you can't go home?

Yesterday I mentioned that Kenny and I are buying a home.  We are, and we are VERY excited! 

When we initially moved to London on Halloween 2009, I made Kenny promise that we would leave in two years.  His contract was for two years, and I thought that would be more than enough time living overseas.  Kenny had never liked London (he had done frequent business here in his former role), and my mom and I are too proudly Irish to think that anything good could ever come of living anywhere near the queen (lack of caps done for emphasis).  I moved to London with great hesitancy, and Kenny thought for a while that I would likely live at mom's for two years and just fly over to see him on occasion.  But I was a good wife.  I packed up my stuff and moved- more like I had corporate movers come to our condo while pointed at everything and told them A. air shipment, B. boat shipment, or C. storage, but you get the idea. 

Two years came and went, but we didn't.  It just made sense to stay here for professional reasons.  We are now in our third year and have decided that it is time to move back to the States.  If we stay here any longer, we will really have to commit to living here for a minimum of 5 years.  We need to start focusing on having children after all, and I don't want to be disrupting a small child's routine if it can be avoided.  I also want the support of my family, mostly my mother, with the whole baby thing.  Kenny works obscene hours, and I would be stuck in our flat alone. 

Enter- stage left- house hunting... we still don't know when we will be moving, but Kenny suggested that I schedule time out with my realtor during my March trip home.  He had initially said that we would not consider purchasing anything until September, so I had no interest in bothering my realtor.  I already receive daily MLS emails from her listing all homes in our price range, so I know the market.  I also know what I like.  I told him that I would go out with her when we were closer. 

Clearly that changed.  Interest rates are very low, and the town we want to live in has very little on the market.  Towards the end of February, Kenny told me again that I should go out with the realtor and said that we should buy something if I find something wonderful.  Music to my little ears.  So I had my realtor book some appointments, and I started my house hunting extravaganza.  I found a home I liked on the first day (mom came to see it with me), and the following day I brought in my builder to give me an estimate of what it would cost to make some very necessary changes to the structure.  I put a bid in, a bidding war ensued and we lost out to a cash buyer (damn you people with that much cash).  I found out that we lost the home the day before we went to the Maldives, and I was very bummed.  Luckily two other homes came on the market one week into the Maldives trip.  Mom went out to see them with the realtor; she then gave me a report and told me to fly in to see them both.  This is what precipitated my one day trip home between the Maldives and Portugal. 

I have typed A LOT and have written absolutely NOTHING about our soon-to-be home.  The structure is somewhere between an expanded ranch and a cape (I might post a picture after we close, but I feel that doing so now is a bit premature).  It is just over 4,100 square feet.  It has 5 bedrooms, 4.5 bathrooms, a formal living room, formal dining room, great room (kitchen and family room area), a sun room, a large office for Kenny, a multi-colored slate patio, and a two-car garage.  The master bedroom suite is downstairs, as is a second bedroom with its own bathroom.  The office is also downstairs.  The seller's realtor kept telling me how we could convert the office into a bedroom (it was originally a bedroom) if we were so inclined, and I reminded her that I am 33 and have yet to have an occupied uterus.  Unless I wind up needing in vitro and give birth to a litter, I am pretty confident that 5 bedrooms will be more than sufficient.  The house will wind up needing a lot of work in the next few years, but it is in move in condition.  The kitchen is dated for my taste, as are most of the bathrooms.  These are just cosmetic changes though, so I am not going to let them worry me.

As for the location, we will be back in New Jersey!!!  I know that poor NJ is the butt of many a joke, but I still love it.  My area looks nothing like the NJ Turnpike or Newark-- and Tony Soprano is nowhere in sight.  Our home will be 5 minutes from my beach club, and Kenny will be just a bit over an hour from work.  It is one town over from where I grew up and shares the same zip code.  My private elementary and public high schools are located in this town, so there is a good chance that our child/ren will attend the same schools that I attended.  I will consider going the public route for elementary school-- we have years to figure that out.  We will be 15 minutes from my mom and just about 10 minutes from my office (assuming I go back to work).  And for the BIGGEST news of the day, we are set to close on May 29!  Kenny is scheduled to fly back to London that evening, so I do hope we can close on time.   

Now that this is actually right over the horizon, I am having anxiety (not bad anxiety, just anxiety over making such big changes).  I will save that for another post.                    

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Pour Some Sugar On Me

Well hi there, Blogland.  It has (again) been a while since I have posted.  First, I am busier than usual and have been traveling since March 12 or so.  Second, I am not losing weight.  Combine these two reasons, and we see why I have been MIA. 

I just started working out this week after a two month hiatus.  Some of you probably read that I really messed up my body earlier in the year due to excess exercise.  It took me a while to get that sorted out, and during that period I was exhausted.  My body cried 'uncle'; luckily I listened.  From there I started traveling and really didn't have time to exercise (I am always active, but I mean gym/elevated heart rate exercise).  Just in case you don't really believe that I have been out of town for two months, here is my itinerary:

March 12-20- in NJ to deal with my doctor, sort out my body and start house hunting-- more on that later.  Land in London on March 21, unpack and repack, and fly to the Maldives via Dubai on March 22.  Arrive in the Maldives on March 23- stay until April 1.  Arrive home in London at around 11pm on Sunday, April 1.  Unpack and repack.  Have car service collect me at 7:30am on Monday and fly to NJ.  Land in NJ at 12:30 that afternoon, view a home I like at 1:30, put in an offer at 4, negotiate the price by 6:30 over dinner with my mom and some of her girlfriends.  Agree on price by 7pm and enjoy what is left of dinner.  Run some errands on Tuesday before catching a 7:30pm flight back to London.  Land in London Wednesday morning, unpack and repack, and fly to Portugal for Easter weekend the following day (Thursday for everyone who is completely lost).  Return to London late on April 8 (Easter Sunday).  See friends for a day or two before unpacking and repacking to AGAIN return to NJ the morning of April 12.  Mom and I went to PR from April 15-20, and Kenny and I attended the fundraiser for his boarding school on April 21.  He left for London the following day, but I decided to stay in NJ.  At this point we started to run into some issues with the house we were scheduled to buy, so I was busy looking for replacement houses.  Kenny came back to NJ on April 27, and we were in NYC from April 30-May 4.  Then we FINALLY flew back to London on May 7, arriving on the morning of May 8.  A friend visited from the US from May 11-13, and that brings us pretty much current. 

So now I am back to the gym but am operating at a much lower intensity.  I did 1 hour of cardio on Monday and 50 minutes on Tuesday.  Today I went to my first Body Pump class, and the girls in the class actually shrieked when they saw me after so long.  What a great feeling!  I will increase my workouts at some point, but for now I am just getting back into a routine. 

As for the sugar title, SUGAR is the devil and is another reason I am not losing weight.  When I became sick in February and March, I pretty much listened to my body.  When it wanted salmon, it got salmon.  When it wanted white beans, I served them up.  And sadly, when it wanted chocolate... I obliged.  That was fine for a while, but sugar is a slippery slope.  The same way a crack addict cannot smoke even the slightest bit of the stuff without risking a full relapse and an alcoholic can't have a sip of vodka tonic without (more likely than not) waking up next to a full bottle of tonic but a much less full bottle of vodka, I cannot bring that sweet goodness into my home. 

Up until recently I was SOOO well-behaved.  I would have desserts occasionally when I was out to dinner or at/hosting a dinner party.  Apart from that, I stayed away from sweets.  I stayed away from them for so long that I thought I was now fine with sweets and I could eat them responsibly.  More importantly, I thought I would save money by buying a larger quantity of that sugary goodness and rationing it out over time.  Rational Nora thought this was a great idea- a little bit of sweets per day- no more.  Sugar Addict Nora also thought this was a great idea- trick Rational Nora into thinking she was in control before diving head first into the sweets Rational Nora bought.  Sugar Addict Nora definitely won the battle.  Rational Nora WILL win the war.

I am back to life without my daily sweets.  I won't buy them on the fly or rationalize that just a bit would be A-OK.  Once I get the taste for sweets, it takes time to ween myself.  Today I had tuna salad and sauteed zucchini for lunch.  No chocolate, no ice  cream, nothing to ruin the hour I spent Body Pumping.  Today is a new day, and today is going in the right direction. 

**One thing on my weight, it is surprisingly stable given what I have been doing (eating) and not doing (working out).  I got down to 193.4 for one day, but that was a fluke.  I was up to 196.6 the following day.  I am bouncing between 195 and 200.  I don't like seeing any number starting with a 2, but I know it is temporary.  Blah.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

I Got Chills, They're Multiplying, And I'm Losing Control

Good morning blogland.  I have mentioned that I constantly have 'Nora theme songs' running through my head.  I wake up singing (quietly, I promise) and continue throughout the day.  So... I figured that I should start using song lyrics for the titles of my blog posts.  Let's see how long this keeps up for. 

Today's topic is being stuck.  It has happened to almost all of us, and we can all agree that it sucks.  I was banded for 6 months before I ever experienced being stuck and PBing (you can read about that trauma here).  In the beginning PBing was very violent and unpleasant.  Now I know why- I did not know what being stuck felt like, and I did not know what my body's little warning signs were.  Because of this, I would continue to eat slowly, so I had food on top of my stuck stuff.  When I PBd, it could take up to an hour to get fully unstuck- yuck! 

Now I know almost immediately if I am going to have issues, and it is because I get chills when stuck.  I can be eating a lovely meal, be 100% OK, and then poof- chills up and down my spine.  This is my body's little warning.  Once I get that feeling, I simply stop eating.  My one issue is that being stuck invariably leads to a PB.  I read that some of you can just wait a few minutes to become unstuck.  I am not one of those people.  Whatever is stuck will come up; this is just how my body likes it.  At least my PBing is much less traumatic than it had been.  It just takes a few seconds, and it is over.  I am very thankful for my chills! 

How about for everyone else?  Does your body give you any indication that something is wrong?  Are your PBs much more tolerable than they were in the beginning?

Continuing on today's topic of being stuck, I only get stuck right before or during my TOM.  My band is SO loose for most of the month, and then my period comes and changes things.  I have been contemplating a fill for two months and do have an appointment on Friday just in case.  I have not had a fill since September and think it is about time.  I haven't been losing much weight recently, and a little fill might help that.  Still, I don't like TOM tightness.  I am conflicted.  At least I have a few days before I need to make up my mind.    

Friday, April 27, 2012

Big Lights Will Inspire You-- Let's Here It For New York

Mom and I headed into New York yesterday, tickets in pocketbook, to see the musical that almost everyone wants to see.  For the non-New Yorkers, B*O*O*K of M*O*R*M*O*N is the hottest thing on Broadway.  Tickets are completely sold out for about the next year.  Luckily my credit card sent out an email last week offering tickets along with a pre-theatre cocktail party at Ruth's Chris.  How could I not take them up on such an amazing offer?

The cocktail party was a wonderful start to the evening.  I wasn't in much of a eating mood, but the food was fantastic and plentiful!  Four well-known Broadway actresses attended and participated in a Q&A before signing autographs. 

I snapped a photo for the blog (of course)

Mom tried to take a photo of me in front of the theatre, and this really nice stopped and took a photo (three photos actually) of us together.  I have no patience for people who say New Yorkers are unfriendly.  It is frankly untrue.  New York is one of the only cities where locals will take pictures for tourists, help tourists read maps and guide them through the subway system.  But I digress...

Just to prove that we were actually there!
Look at how cute my mom looks:)

We had really great Orchestra seats, and I felt the need to take a picture.  Unfortunately one of the workers there threw a bit of a fit.  I caught her in a left-handed heil Hitler salute, but at least I also got the stage.

She who takes her job very seriously

The show itself was laugh out loud funny.  From the first number to the end, the audience was convulsing in laughter.  It was also one of the most offensive things I have seen, but that is to be expected given the creators.  Other than the wow factor of seeing such a popular show, being there really made us feel like 'insiders'.  It was apparent that others felt this way as well.  Everyone I spoke with was a regular theatre goer-- still everyone felt almost honored to be part of the event!  I am not going to discuss the musical itself, lest I ruin it for anyone who has tickets.  What I will say is this: book your ticket to see this musical (as long as offensive religious humor doesn't offend you).  

Thursday, April 26, 2012

If You Like Pina Coladas

Mom and I had a fun week in Puerto Rico.  Our hotel wound up only being so so, but we made it work.  The place clearly caters to vacationers who want to go through their holiday piss drunk.  The pool bar was the most popular destination at the resort.  Not our scene.  At least we know to go elsewhere next year.  On the subject of drinking, the pina colada was created at a bar inside this resort in the 1950s.  It is the hotel's claim to fame.  And yes, the pina coladas are pretty damn good there. 

View from our bedroom

Really ugly art at a local restaurant