Cabo vs. Phuket

The beauty of being an Entrepreneur and Travel Agent is that I can work from anywhere that has WiFi. I have been in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for a few days with a dear friend and business partner. We are here doing research on a language experience program we hope to launch in 2020. As it is my third time here, I fall more and more in love with it. While I am doing research, I am also able to communicate with my honeymoon couple in Phuket, Thailand. I am glad to hear they are having a good time. Thank you to WhatsApp for that capability. It is part of my job to make sure my clients feel supported during their vacation.

Pool at ME Cabo

My Bay Area couple have stayed at two properties in Phuket, will be doing an elephant sanctuary tour and then heading to the Maldives. Let me plan your honeymoon!

Aside from confirming and changing transfer times for my honeymoon couple, I have managed to gain blog-worthy experiences, work on my day job, encourage friends to come out to the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival this October, talk cruises and even participate in the weekly #InspireToWander chat on Twitter. It’s nice to sit on the balcony of your hotel room with a great view of the pool, ocean and the famous rock formation that Cabo is known for.

I cannot personally say I have been to Phuket but from what I booked for my honeymooners, it is quite more affordable than Cabo. I could live like a queen out there and so can you! Affordable food can definitely be found in Cabo and there are properties for every price range.

Contact me to book your next getaway. Search for a location I may have blogged about on the right hand side and/or Like my Facebook page. Much appreciated!

Saltwater Spa at Casa Dorada – Cabo San Lucas, MX

If you need a getaway from the popular Medano Beach and the individuals selling jewelry, hats, blankets and even dinnerware everywhere you turn, consider a spa treatment and day pass to relax. At the Casa Dorada Resort in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, you can find the Saltwater Spa. Get massages, facials, beauty treatments and even fish therapy. Enjoy the spa’s amenities of a sauna, steam room, cool plunge pool and hot tub. Stay as long as you like. We did.

Two sports massages were scheduled for 9 AM and my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Nikki, could not wait. After a challenging day before getting into our accommodations, we were ready relax and boy, did we need it.

We were greeted and escorted by Arianna to behind the side doors of their reception desk. Thru those doors was a shallow pool with candles on islands and steps in between the walkway. It was automatically a soothing and calming environment.

Through another set of doors was the fruit-infused water station, the changing area with lockers, showers, bathrooms and large mirrors, sinks and stations to get ready prepped with deodorant, hairspray, combs, cotton swabs and more.

In the relaxation area, there were three beds with dividing curtains, four chairs with ottomans, a tea station, cool plunge pool, hot tub, steam room and sauna as already mentioned.

I was retrieved by my therapist, Alberto. He led me back to the shallow pool area and down another hallways where the other treatment rooms were. In my room, it was dimly lit and calming music was playing. Ready for the treatment, you can expect medium pressure and a lot of stretching. Prior to your treatment at check in, you may also select cream or oil products for your treatment. I went with the oil and it was perfect. If only the table was heated, then again I didn’t ask if it had that capability.

The hot tub was wonderful. Don’t mind the thermostat changing from 64 to 101 degrees. It was warm enough. Nikki enjoyed the cool plunge pool. I passed, along with the sauna and steam room as they aren’t my thing. The lounge chairs were comfortable and the roll pillow fit perfectly underneath our knees just as it did while we received our treatments. We slept well there until other guests didn’t practice proper spa etiquette in using their inside voices. The spa is a quiet and serene place. Be considerate to other guests paying $150+ for some time to relax.

Not having breakfast, I had ordered food to the spa. I ordered the steak fajitas and they were delicious with a lot of flavor. Be prepared to provide a credit card as it cannot be added onto your spa bill.

On a separate visit, Nikki and I tried the fish therapy. For $45, we had these little fish eat away at the dead skin on our feet that left them feeling very soft. Plus we received a massage during the treatment and a pina colada afterwards. I had Carmen and she really worked those knots in my shoulders, traps, neck and even my head. It was the perfect thing to get before going to the airport. Thank you, Carmen!

I have been to several spas and this would be my first one in Mexico. I would love to try them all! Wouldn’t you? Make time for to improve your mental health and yourself. You deserve it, I assure you.

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Baja Brewing Company – Cabo San Lucas, MX

It seems I am drinking quite a bit more beer lately. Is that your alcoholic beverage of choice? I am currently in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and my beer-loving lady-friend, Nikki, enjoys a good beer. After a challenging arrival, we definitely we needed a beer. We headed to Baja Brewing Company at the Puerto Paraiso Plaza.

We sat outside at a table for two as the band was setting up. I was given the menu en espanol, y mi maestra was given the menu en ingles. Like my broken espanol? Nikki had the IPA and I went with the stout and it was perfect. The brewery is in San Jose, not at this location.

In terms of food, we ordered the ceviche platter with three different kinds with plantain chips and tortilla chips. Their appetizer platter came with chicken wings, guacamole, cheese quesadillas and onion rings. I loved the ceviche in coconut milk. It was just like the kokoda dish I had in Fiji. It was delicious!

Nikki, Owner of ACT Language Schools, recorded her Spanish Saturday video right next to me. See her Facebook page and get some Spanish practice in. Our first day together in Cabo San Lucas improved due to this trip. The band warming up also started playing Heaven by Los Lonely Boys, mi favorito! I was officially happy.

More to come on Los Cabos! Stay tuned!

Related posts:
Puerto Paraiso – Cabo San Lucas
Travel Tips – #1

Travel Tips – Post #1

Hopefully you are always learning on the job. I am finally relaxing laying in the hotel room that I didn’t request. I am in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico for my third time. This was planned to be a very short trip with a dear friend and potential business partner to do research. I used the gift from a timeshare presentation to come down here, requested the ideal property and ended up at their less-appealing sister resort. The first of a total of three days has definitely been a learning experience. Here are five tips from Day 1 in Cabo.

Tip #1 – Pre-arrange transfers
Before departing, reserve your transfers or rental car. In Cabo San Lucas, a line of fellas will be asking if you need hotel transfers, taxi or a rental car. They will welcome you to Mexico and say they work for the airport to draw you to the many counters. Once you are at the counter, they will delay you and talk all about the great things your property offers and probably at ‘low rate’ thru them. Say ‘No, gracias’ and move on. Follow the directions your pre-arranged transfer or travel agent has provided.

Tip #2 – Pre-book and pay for your car rentals to ensure exact costs.
Great rental deals may be found but when it says that you will pay at the counter, they will lock you into a rate you can’t refuse. Since it took you so long to get the shuttle to the rental office, what else can you do? Make a car reservation that you have a loyalty program with. They will do what’s necessary to continue to keep you as a customer and guarantee or match quoted prices.

Tip #3 – Learn a little bit of the language.
Knowing common phrases in the country’s language will be beneficial. Learn how to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ at the very minimum will show you’re a respectable guest in their country. Consider signing up for an online course with ACT Language Schools.

Tip #4 – Stand your ground.
Being a tourist, you are a target. You are a target with disposable income and someone in a new land. Offers to buy a shuttle ride to your hotel, hats on a sunny beach, handmade necklaces draped from wrist to elbow on both arms by an older woman will be aplenty. Politely say, ‘No, gracias.’ Your response to ‘What time would you like to attend this presentation?’ should be ‘Is this required?’ If not, get your room key and start your vacation without another hard sales attempt to take up your time.

Tip #5 – Timeshares are great but try before you commit.
If you follow Tip #4, you won’t be out thousands of dollars on a timeshare. You’ll actually be up if you take advantage of their gift offerings. Timeshare presentations vary but you can get a lengthy trial period if they really don’t want you to walk out the door. They want to close the sale. Counteroffer, tell them what you want, remind them why you’re worth it, how you operate and let them say no. Not you.

It was a challenging four hours from the plane to eventually our final hotel. Mislead by so-called airport employees, hotel front desk personnel were rude, helpful front doormen were disguised as timeshare salespeople, abrasive timeshare sales manager chimed in without introducing himself, hotel on-site medical clinic was not helpful with an attitude, the condo that was promised turned into a hotel room with several things wrong with it and then spending the first hour on the phone with the company I booked this trip through. As a Travel Agent, I am on the exact trip I would like to help avoid for my clients.

On a positive note, I now know more than I did before which I can pass onto my honeymooners, solo travelers and family travel clients. I know more about transportation, how to deal with sneaky salespeople and rudeness, and what properties and vendors I do and do not want to work with. This visit to Cabo was about research. I definitely learned a lot today. Cheers to that!

Hampton Inn & Welk Resorts – Truckee, California

Visit the Oakland Zoo, get a night stay in Truckee, California at the Hampton Inn & Suites. Walking towards the giraffes with my dear friend and nieces, I was stopped at a booth with this inviting offer. The Cabo trip I will be on starting tomorrow is thanks to a similar offer I signed up for during the Walnut Creek Art & Wine Festival. I booked my quick trip up to Truckee, California and my hotel reservations were at the Hampton Inn and Suites and a tour and presentation was at the Welk Resorts at Northstar.

After a 5.5-hour drive in a lot of traffic from Palo Alto, I finally pulled up to my accommodations for the evening. Though the temperature displayed on my dash said 44 degrees, it didn’t feel like it at all. I parked in front of the hotel and went inside to check in. The gent, Scott, I believe was his name, was helpful during the process. He also helped in directing me on the best place to park. On the counter was a map with a list of places to eat and things to do. It seems like I travel just to eat. Anyone else?

I parked behind the building and not much surrounded the hotel. There was plenty of parking so I parked as close to the rear entrance as possible. With my key card, I entered and found the single elevator. Floor 2. To the right, and other right, down the hall, I found my room.

As usual, the bathroom door was immediately to my right. The curtains hinted that the place was a bit older but it didn’t have that cabin feel. I had a King-sized bed all to myself, a sofa chair, desk and window looking down at the parking lot where I just parked. The bathroom was stocked with plenty of towels, a hairdryer and shampoo, conditioner and bars of soap. The room was spacious.

Amenities I did not have a chance to check out was the pool and hot tub area and the gym. For breakfast the next morning, I was pretty impressed with their spread. They had an assortment of cereal, toast, pastries, eggs, hard-boiled eggs, sausage patties, made to order waffles, milk, juices and coffee and tea. Not bad.

Thanks to Twitter, I just happened to be staying at a Hilton property when it was Hilton’s 100th birthday.

The purpose of coming up to Truckee was to do a site tour, and get free gifts at the same time. I drove up to Northstar and memories started flooding back. I haven’t been to this property since I was a teenager! I always thought it was a nice spot but when I did the tour with Welk Resorts, the two/three bedroom layouts were pretty darn sweet. It came with a full kitchen, nice rooms, large bathrooms, a dining room, balconies and more. You can definitely get comfortable here.

Catch me at one of their properties in San Diego, Palm Springs, Cabo San Lucas (again) and more! Kauai properties are also coming soon! Let me know if you want to know more!

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

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#WereHungryToo – Truckee, California

#FlashbackFriday – First Trip to Europe

My cruise to Europe was supposed to be my honeymoon. Instead, it turned into a cousin trip. My interesting story of a 6-week marriage earned me this adventure in a new country. I remember convincing my cousin to go with me by saying “I already told my Papa Bear that you were coming with me.” He recently went thru a break-up and there was no one else I would rather go with than with someone I grew up with.

Provence, France

Our Celebrity Reflection itinerary included:

Venice, Italy
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Athens, Greece
Kusadasi, Turkey
Malta
Sicily
Naples, Italy
Rome, Italy
Livorno, Italy
Provence, France
Barcelona, Spain

Ephesus, Turkey
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast, Italy
Cruising and games – this is where we got hooked on bocce ball.
Pisa, Italy

To follow up on my previous post, here is what Celebrity is doing to decrease its carbon footprint.

Contact me to book your next cruise.

Cruising & the Environment

With the recent disappointing news of Carnival being slapped with a $20 million fine for continuing to pollute our oceans, you think about how your desires to travel are impacting the environment. Small changes can help. Cruise lines have stopped putting plastic straws in their beverages, encourages guests to reuse water bottles, recycles, donates linens to be reused, creates educational programs for children aboard about water conservation, etc. and have created or partnered with non-profit organizations to give back. (Green Cruising – Cruise Critic 11/14/18)

Royal Caribbean is starting to build the world’s next largest cruise ship stating it will have the latest technology. What does that even mean? I am hoping that means it aims to NOT get slapped with a fine of its own. Richard Branson and Virgin Voyages is ‘developing clean energy technology.’ He is also partnering with a Swedish startup to convert the heat from the engines into electricity. Follow Virgin Voyages and support the leader in cruise lines making a statement in reducing its carbon footprint, even if the price tag starts at $1,400 per person.

I am a Princess Certified Travel Agent and hope the cruise line market will continue to make improvements. I have been on three cruises with my first one being aboard the Reflection by Celebrity Cruises. I have enjoyed cruising since 2012 and feel it’s my job to be aware of what travel partners are doing to save the planet.

Cisco, my new Puerto Rican friend from Brooklyn, New York in Dunedin, New Zealand via the Golden Princess.

Making a difference starts with you. I will make an effort to propose itineraries with travel partners that help preserve the same world we are all trying to see. Small changes in your lifestyle will also help. I recycle, compost, use reusable bottles and support wildlife and forests and parks. See Lonely Planet’s article on How To Go Green When You Travel for some great tips.

Baby turtles were protected from predators in order for them to have a better chance at survival. Then were released into the waters of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. Came via the Oosterdam by Holland America – Jan. 2017
The Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony gives the smallest penguins a place to call home and be safe. Dunedin, New Zealand.
Tauranga port, New Zealand
Tauranga port, New Zealand

How will you do plan on saving the planet at home?
At work?
And when you travel?

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Earth Day 2017

#73 – LLB at Cache Creek Casino

With 14 years of seeing my favorite band, Los Lonely Boys, of course I would work from home – aka a pub in Davis, California – and head up to Brooks and Cache Creek Casino Resort. This was my Valentine’s Day present to myself, though a day late. I have had so many memories here, including staying in the hotel and the Boys singing a song to me on my birthday weekend. Good times.

Concert #73 was no different, besides the lack of the Onda By the Bay concert goers. My friend, Laura, who I met thru these concerts was in attendance but we didn’t get to spend too much time together. Nonetheless, it was great to see her. She’s a mommy, wife and friend of Karen Garcia, a young mother that was found dead in her car in a parking lot. Her boyfriend is on the loose. Please visit Just for Karen.

The Boys were on fire and having a great time. There was fancy foot work, they interacted with the crowd as they usually do and they made me happy. Their set list was as follows.

Bayou – a cover I’m sorry I don’t know by who.
I Never Met a Woman
Don’t Walk Away
Blame It On Love
Give A Little More
So Sensual
Crazy Dream
Hollywood
Rockpango
Nobody Else
Oye Mamcita
Heaven

I believe this was also my first Facebook Live streaming. The friends I have made thru the music of Los Lonely Boys loved it! Be sure to check out my videos of their performances. They are amazing live and I highly recommend getting an affordable ticket every chance you get. It’s so worth it!

See my LLB Concert Log. Maybe we were at the same concert! They have quite a bit of California dates but I’m not sure I’ll be able to make them. Get your tickets HERE.

In regards to Cache Creek Casino Resort, you can gamble, golf, go to concerts obviously, drink, eat and dance. They were in the process of a renovation and were expanding with another pool, multipurpose conference and concert space, meeting space and more. I would love to try the spa! Cache Creek, let’s talk!

Related posts:
LLB Concerts #47 & #47
I WON Two Free Tickets

#WereHungryToo – Truckee, California

What would you do if you got into a town you haven’t been to in over twenty years? After a 5.5-hour drive from Palo Alto, I needed a drink. After checking into my hotel, I grabbed the Truckee magazine in the lobby and to see what establishments were advertising. As a Travel Agent, I should know and experience what travelers are tempted with via these publications.

Advertisements that stuck out to me were breweries. There were a lot of them! My roommate just went to Bend to do the Ale Trail and I have brewery friends that take beer-cations. And I enjoy checking in on Untappd.

My first stop was Truckee Brewing Company. It was in an industrial looking lot and had a small tasting room. Art hung from the walls, including a TV that was playing the Warriors game, merch for sale by the windows and the offices were above the fridge. Workers had to climb the tall ladder to get up there.

It seemed like I was the only non-local in attendance with just an hour left til closing. I was also the only one on my laptop working. I had a flight of four beers at four ounces for $12. I had the Truckee IPA, Baltic Porter, Strawberry Sour and Sour Ale. Hands down, the Sour Ale is one of my favorite beers. If I wasn’t trying to save money, I would have left with a growler and some merch.

Instagram @werehungrytoo

I needed to eat and Old Town Tap was another place that advertised. I looked at the reviews on Yelp and it looked pretty decent. I made my way there and the short drive thru old town was adorable. How do I not remember any of this? I found prime parking right out front for a Thursday night and a near empty restaurant. I opted in to sit at the bar as usual and found myself in the middle of the long bar. I was immediately greeted by Michael and we immediately got to talking about beer, the restaurant world and Hawai’i. He was headed to Oahu to live on Monday morning.

Beer samples, a delicious Caesar salad and fantastic bone marrows were delicious. I was pretty impressed with all of its offerings, the customer service and the cool employees.

Auburn Alehouse – Berry Smack Sour

And finally, a complimentary breakfast at the Hampton Inn & Suites was surprisingly good. I had sausage, scrambled eggs, hard boiled egg and fruit. Not bad, Hampton.

It is likely to return to Truckee soon. Though there’s snow still on the mountains in late May, by the time I am ready to return, it will be nice to hit the slopes and try more establishments.

#WereHungryToo
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OBB Weekly – 6/4/19

Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Hello, June! May just flew by, didn’t it? It was an eventful month, hopefully for you too. Change is inevitable. Seasons change, people change, menus change and aspirations change. How do you deal with change? Do you welcome it? Struggle with it? I imagine it’s a process. Everyone has their own way and go about dealing with change at their own pace. Regardless, we survived whatever it was to be at this very moment. I thank you for choosing to spend it on my blog.

TRAVEL

Comment below if you agree, but there’s nothing like the sound of the ocean on the beach to help me escape and deal with my problems. I have escaped to Santa Cruz to sit on the sand of Seabright Beach after a fight with my then boyfriend. While in Maui, I make sure I touch the water one more time before returning home to remind me that I will be back someday and all that I’m working for is to do this as often as possible. I also have video of me sitting on a dock in Venice, Italy hearing the water beat against the wood below me. It was going to be a honeymoon destination but after two visits, it still has yet to be, but that’s OK. Not everyone can say they’ve been to the City of Bridges. A change of scenery, can help you escape the situation temporarily, give you a moment to think and hopefully realize that there is beauty and good in this world. This Travel Agent would be happy to help you with your escape.

Katie & Jeremy – Kauai, Hawai’i
Maui, Hawai’i

EVENT PLANNING

One significant change in a person’s life is getting married. I love working with couples wanting to get married near the water like at Pacific Star Winery in Fort Bragg, California or The Beach House in Koloa, Hawaii. Honeymoons to Venice, Italy would be incredible romantic. My recent honeymoon clients will be heading off to Phuket, Thailand and the Maldives. Feel free to ask me to plan your trip.

Happy Travel Agent client!

Or, I would be happy to set you up with a fantastic photographer in Kauai and do a Trash The Dress photo shoot when you finalize your divorce like I did.

Kauai, Hawai’i

FOOD

Unfortunately, my favorite pizza and salad from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California is now off the menu. Bijou, also located in Hayward, is now called Playt. The menu is different and now has a seafood ravioli made with large won ton wrappers. In Menlo Park, the Menlo Grill & Bar is now called the Menlo Tavern. The menu has changed and it’s not bad! Get cocktails from my Cugino, Ron, and get salads, sliders on Hawaiian rolls and dessert. Tell Ron Bernadette sent you and comment below on what you think of the new menu.

New appetizer
Crisp a la mode
My Cugino, Ron, the Bartender

MOTIVATION

It has been a couple of months since I switched this blog from Blogger to WordPress. I have been averaging 16 posts per month and my hits have increased by 40%. My goal is to continue this growth, this positive change. The point of blogging often was to get my photos on my phone down from 11,000. As I continue to travel and eat out, my phone says very little progress has been made. Videos have been uploaded to my YouTube channel, photos have been uploaded on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and I have randomly deleted photos that are not needed. Make the best of your June, set some goals and let me know how I can help. I’m a great ReTweeter for supporters. You never know who is going to share what I post! Do you know Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block? Have you been to the Silverado Resort and Spa? Or Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz?

Danny has 191,000 followers
@napavalleyluxury has 8,745 followers
@thepennyicecreamery has 3,817 followers