Life with thatgirlcarmel: March 2016

Life with thatgirlcarmel: March 2016

Well, the first quarter of 2016 is officially over! I was just telling someone that it seems like Christmas was just last month. Time is flying!

March has been as challenging as it’s been successful. First, the challenges…

My workout plan


Yeah, so remember how I said I ordered PiYo and I was all ready and determined to implement a consistent workout regimen? Yeah – well, I failed miserably this month. I did my PiYo workouts for about a good 1.5 weeks, if that. I feel pretty badly about it.

I used to really like home workouts in between dance classes, but I’m quickly realizing that I’m not so into home workouts anymore, or any workout that actually feels like a workout for that matter. It’s definitely time to get my butt back to Saturday samba classes, and I probably need to squeeze in some other dance classes so that I’m consistently getting a good cardio workout at least three times a week.

I keep telling myself that someday, I’m going to hire a personal trainer who’ll actually come to my house and do fun workouts with me that don’t actually feel like workouts. My ideal trainer will be my personal hiking buddy, my dance partner, my swimming coach, and my cycling friend. I basically want to pay someone who’ll keep me company and hold me accountable at least five days a week while we do fun things that burn calories. Lol! Do you know of any trainers like this? Seriously, let me know.

My websites

I ran into several website hiccups this month. First, this blog went down – literally disappeared from the Internet – for a few hours. When I called my hosting company about it, the tech calmly told me, “Your website files are missing.” Like, with no further explanations. Although I back up this site pretty regularly, I kind of panicked at first because the thought of over three years’ worth of documenting my travels going down the drain naturally didn’t sit well with me. My site was eventually restored…obviously. But still…

Then, my business website went down – a few times. And when it was restored, it appeared all funky. Thankfully, for my business site, I have WP Curve on standby, and they always come through like champions. Turned out it was a faulty plugin. I can’t recommend WP Curve highly enough (and no, I’m not getting paid for this recommendation), and I send them job requests all the time to fix anything from design issues and bugs to configuring my sitemaps (whatever those are) and keeping spammers at bay.

My grandmother

My grandmother hasn’t been doing too well. On the one hand, you know the people you love won’t live forever (and she’s pushing 90), but on the other hand, you’re never really prepared to lose them. I was a bit of a mess about the whole situation a few weeks ago. Fortunately, after a few weeks in the hospital, she’s eating again and back at home. It just goes to show that no matter what doctors may say, God ultimately has the final say about when he’s ready for us to come home. But I’d love it if you’d send positive thoughts and prayers her way.

Now, on to my wins for the month…

Local explorations


Just because we cancelled our spring travel plans to Asia doesn’t mean that Jave and I haven’t been making the most of our time being local tourists. Earlier this month we took a day trip to restful Ojai which I’ll be writing about next week.

We also took some time to explore the San Pedro community here in L.A. It’s not that I haven’t been to San Pedro before, but I never really took the time to explore San Pedro, and you know what? During our day there, it felt like we weren’t even in L.A. anymore. I love knowing that there are certain pockets of L.A. where you can escape to for a day and feel like you’ve been transported to someplace totally different.

Walked past this colorful parking garage en route to lunch downtown last weekend
Walked past this colorful parking garage en route to lunch downtown last weekend

Last weekend, we also toured the Walt Disney Concert Hall downtown. I’ve always admired the architecture from the outside, but until last weekend, I’d never been inside. I told Jave that I’d love to go to a concert there; our guide said that their Halloween concert program is the best, so I hope to check it out later this year.

Upcoming travels

We finally decided where we want to go this October and December! I’m hoping we can swing it. I won’t say where we’re going just yet until we book our tickets, but if all goes as planned, we have some amazing travels in store.

Also, I’m surprising Jave with a quick getaway for his birthday towards the end of June. Because I want to make him happy, there’ll be golf involved. Golf getaways are definitely becoming a birthday tradition for him.

Dream Trip Challenge

April is going to be a busy month in the best possible way because I’m launching a new round of the 10-Day Dream Trip Challenge to help you plan and book an amazing dream trip on a budget. The challenge will launch in mid-April, and I’ll be sharing more about it in an upcoming blog post, so stay tuned.



I’m so excited to have my article featured in Nia magazine, a relatively new lifestyle and empowerment publication for women of color. In my piece I share tips for how to use “travel therapy” to reignite the spark in your relationship. Please give it a read and share it with a couple who could benefit from some travel therapy.

March Travel Deals – Time Card Express®


Leading private adventures through museums in NYC, D.C. and San Francisco, Museum Hack’s guides focus on “un-highlights” including kooky, wild, and sexy stories throughout the museum that would otherwise go unnoticed. The company’s renegade tour guides are on a mission to keep you engaged, enthralled, and entertained! Click here for full details and to get this deal.


Book a vacation to Lima, Peru and stay in trendy Miraflores, a coastal residential neighborhood popular with tourists. While there, book a room at Casa Andina Select Miraflores, a hotel in the heart of all the action where you’ll enjoy a stylish room, onsite dining, and access to the hotel’s gym and hair salon. Join Time Card Express® for free to get this deal. Get the full deal deets here.


Soak up the sun and experience affordable luxury at an Ayres Hotel in your SoCal destination of choice. A collection of family owned and operated boutique properties, Ayres Hotels are where California chic meets European elegance. Whether hanging with Hollywood hipsters in L.A., or heading to Disneyland for a theme park adventure, there’s an Ayres Hotel in Southern California with your name (and a discount) on it! Read more about this deal here.

By the way, I’ve stayed at a few Ayres Hotels – one in Huntington Beach and the other in Laguna Beach – and I can vouch that this hotel epitomizes affordable luxury. So if you’re heading to SoCal, don’t miss out on the chance to save 15% on your stay.


Melting Pot Food Tours, L.A.’s original food tasting company, offers guests the chance to discover some of the city’s offbeat neighborhoods while sampling the best of their ethnic eateries. Explore East L.A.’s rich culture and street life during the Latin Flavors Tour where you’ll sample a variety of dishes including handmade tamales, pupusas, fresh tortillas and tres leches cake. Or, spend the day in historic Old Pasadena where you’ll get to sample everything from Indian samosas and falafel to Venezuelan chocolate and ice cream. Let me tell you, I treated my mom to the Old Pasadena food tour last Mother’s Day, and I was beyond impressed, and pleasantly full. Get the full deal details here.

If you’re a savvy traveler who likes saving money on hotels and tours around the world, signing up for discounted travel deals through Time Card Express® should be a no brainer. Join now to get a travel deal a week delivered straight to your inbox!

Buh-bye March…helllllo April! How was your month?

  • Sending extra prayers for your Grandma. She is pushing 90 what a blessing and getting better? Yes God has the final say speak life into her life!

  • Thank you for the recap. I’m sorry G’ma was sick but glad she’s doing better. I understand your feelings. Give her a hug and a kiss for me.

  • Tyra

    So sorry to hear about the grandma but I am so excited to hear about your next adventures. And in the meantime, I need to look into Piyo for sure.

  • Valerie Robinson

    Glad grandma is doing a little better. So sorry to hear she hasn’t been feeling well. I enjoy hearing your updates and you have me curious about PiYo.

  • Aww hugs for your grandmother! Praying she has a speedy recovery! I keep hearing about Piyo! I really need to check it out. I need a new workout routine!

  • Frank Thomae

    Its tougher for women. Spanky and I started working out pretty heavy back in December and I’ve lost about 20 pounds and getting too skinny…I’ve realized that doing the same workouts AND being on the same diet as her not healthy, I need more proteins. She on the other hand has lost about 7 pounds during that time and it is still a work in progress…not fair but that’s biology. You on the other hand, well, I’ll just say it starts with breaking a sweat 🙂
    Frank (bbqboy)

  • MJ

    Hugs and prayers for your grand! Ugh I feel the same about home workouts. I am a SAHM so I really just want to get out of the house sometimes. I need to get back to walking and eventually running.

    • Thanks so much for your well wishes for my gmom! Hoping you get back on track with your workout routine.

  • Sorry about your grandmother. Praying she has a speedy recovery. I should check out that Piyo workout. I could use something like that.

    • Thanks so much for your well wishes! And PiYo is great – I just need more discipline when it comes to my workouts.

  • It sounds like you had a VERY exciting month. Heading to LA at the end of this month for the second time and I cannot wait to get back 😀 My 2016 workout plans have been failing as well. Now that the weather is getting warmer though, I really need to get outside!

    • See, my plan was to really work on getting fit while the weather was cooler because I hate to sweat in hot weather…lol. Yay – excited for you and your return trip to L.A. Hope you have a great time! Let me know if you need any recommendations. 😉 By the way, not sure if you’ve been to Roscoe’s, but if you haven’t or if you want to return, you should probably prioritize a visit since they recently filed for Chapter 11 and who knows if they’ll stay in business. :-/

  • Your plate is all the way full. I’m looking for the same kind of trainer you’ve described above. When you find them please let me know.

    I started taking Zumba, three days a week when life permits. I’m loving it too.

    • I used to take Zumba at a gym I used to belong to before I made up my mind for once and for all that I hate gyms…lol. I really enjoyed Zumba though. Hope it works out for you.

  • Kemkem

    You’ve been one busy bee 🙂 . March seems to have flown by for everyone, really feels like a blur. The month was nice, we got to play in our backyard so to speak. Gearing up for another trip so very excited. Sorry about your website problems. Mine went down because of something l did, but thankfully Bluehost was able to restore other problem was also plugin induced, fixed that myself as that is the first thing l always look at.. Jave is going to love his birthday..knowing how much he loves golf.. 🙂

    • I’m excited to see where you guys are headed next. Safe travels! Jave better love his surprise bday getaway…it ain’t gonna be cheap!


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