Inauguration Day 2021

A Facebook memory from 2013 popped up on my timeline. We were at Hooters at Tanforan Mall for a 49ers game. It was a game that determined whether we were headed to the Super Bowl. It was a lot of fun and made me miss being able to socialize like that. The whole place cheered and celebrated our win! I reposted it wishing we could celebrate Joe Biden and Kamala Harris just like that.

I set my alarm to make sure I watched this moment in history live. Sitting in bed and watching it on my phone thanks to Hulu, it gave me chills and a few tears were shed when Kamala Harris took her oath. It gave me hope and made me so happy to see the first woman, a woman of color, a woman of Asian descent and a woman from not only the Bay Area, but from the East bay to make history as the new Vice President of the United States.

I also love that Biden is pledging to be the President for all Americans. Not to divide but to unite. He’s a man with experience in the Oval Office and has an amazing friend for support, former President Barack Obama.

I look forward to what positive changes this administration will bring.

Shout out to Lady Gaga for her amazing performance, for JLo making the inauguration ceremony bilingual and Garth Brooks, a country boy rockin’ his jeans. What captivated me was Amanda Gorman’s reading of a poem. She was strong, moving and a leader for today’s youth. WOW. She blew me away.

Good luck to President Joe Biden and Madam Vice President!

My First 1Up Nutrition Fitness Challenge

There has been no traveling. Therefore, no legs workout on the Spanish Steps in Rome, no climbing the staircase from the ocean to the peaks of Santorini, no walking 13+ miles from the Tower of London to Notting Hill in London and not even using the hotel gym in Muncie, Indiana. This Travel Agent and One Busy Bee misses the gym almost as much as traveling.

I know I am not the only one that has gained the ‘Quarantine 10’ during this pandemic. I hear it all the time. Even my sweet nephew has gained a bit with being cooped up in the house, distance learning and preferring Fortnite over riding his bike outside. With an attempt to stay active and hopefully win some cash, I have signed up for my first 1Up Nutrition fitness challenge. If you are following my blog, I have had some success with challenges and I hope for similar progress to be made.

The challenge is free. The only thing is that you need to use their products. I purchased the Vegan Protein in the vanilla flavor and the box came with many other samples I am looking forward to trying. It also came with a handwritten note. From a customer service perspective, that was pretty impressive.

A Facebook group is available and you can interact with others on their own fitness journey. You sign up, post a Before photo with a special Week 1 sign during the week of January 25th and then the challenge starts on February 1st. Your before photos are not public but on your private profile for the challenge. Note that there is a separate login for the challenge and one for their regular site to order products. Bookmark the challenge page for your convenience.

I have two friends ready to do it with me and am trying to get one more to confirm! C’mon, Best Friend, get with it! Wish us luck! Follow the journey here and on Instagram and Twitter! Maybe I’ll feel better about posting a bikini photo from my travels, unlike the birthday trip to San Diego in December.

Rancho Bernardo Inn Spa – San Diego, California – September 2020

#1UpNutritionChallange #BecomeBetter

Will you join?
Do you participate in fitness challenges like these?
What are you fitness goals?

MegaMillions Please!

Wouldn’t it be nice to quit my seven jobs? I spent $15 on Lotto tickets on Tuesday. The MegaMillions jackpot was $625 million. Fifteen dollars was nothing and you just never know! I sadly didn’t win anything, but I wouldn’t even have had the opportunity to win something if I didn’t play at all. No big deal. It was fun. I bought tickets with a coworker at the Chevron station on Mission Boulevard in Hayward. I had to support my city.

Friends I shared this effort with wished me luck. Others were shocked I work that much! One friend wished me luck in obtaining my GoalBy40. I told her I would fly her and her family to come visit my new house on Maui!

Two days of not a single winning number. Darnit!

But apparently, I am not the only one! The jackpot is still available! I think I’ll play again. Why not?

Oh, the things I would buy and adventures I would have. But,

“Happiness is not having what you want, it is appreciating what you have.”

What would you do with the winnings??

In Love with Rome

Now at level 82 on ScrabbleGo, I am rockin’ a new Colosseum tile because I absolutely LOVE Rome! (Pay me! – bappletree). Although I have posts from 2016 from my second trip to Rome, I thought I would re-post my write-up while I was in Italy in 2012. Oh, it was amazing. Enjoy!

I was still feeling a bit under the weather and it got worse as the day went on but I had to see Rome. The port was about 40 minutes away but the traffic to get into the city was horrendous. We just missed a major downpour of rain and the rivers and streams were much higher than usual. We stopped just outside Roma and I bought a 12-pack of travel size tissue packages. There were three left when I got back home to the States.

Our first stop was the Colosseum. It was massive. It took 6 years to build it with the manpower of slaves and donkeys. It was amazing to lay my eyes on such a structure, to see it still standing and to think about the events and sadly, lives lost, in this building for the entertainment of the people. The size of it was incredible. I wish we could have gone down to walk around under the main floor.

The next stop was lunch. There was so much traffic that we had to be rerouted. It took quite some time. I was dying for a pharmacy but there wasn’t one nearby the restaurant. OH, and on the way to the restaurant, we damn near killed a woman. It totally wasn’t our driver’s fault, the woman wasn’t looking in our direction and was looking at her iPad. We were sitting near the front of the bus and saw the woman’s palm slap against the windshield and a thud. She was OK and knew it was her fault. Pretty eventful drive in Roma so far.

Then it was off The Vatican. The city is its our jurisdiction, not part of Roma. Inside was warm, filled with tourists, history and art. I couldn’t help but think about Dan Brown’s Angels & Demons, the book. The movie blew. And seeing with my own eyes all the things he described was truly amazing. But I felt so sick and it was getting worse. The hall leading to the Sistine Chapel was covered with amazing art and statues. You look up and you’d think that the ceiling has moldings and carvings. No, it was an illusion. The painter was so skilled to make you think this on a flat surface. Looking up, I felt bad thinking “get me out of here” because I felt like garbage. I have studied art in back in college and fell in love with Michelangelo and his work. My health cheated me as I stared up at the amazing ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I needed to sit down. Better yet, they should make a lay down section so you can just look up as long as you want without a neck cramp. Inside, you can’t take photos or speak loud. But of course, there are those disrespectful people that took photos and spoke loud anyways. No respect, I swear.

Next was the church. It was massive and beautiful. It housed the bodies of former popes. It was the home of Michelangelo’s Pieta of Mary holding the body of Jesus. He completed that at the age of 26. Well, damn. What have I completed at 26? The Pieta stands behinds a glass now bc another disrespectful person ruined Mary’s face. Now it has been restored.

The alter was incredible and massive. Again, Angels & Demons comes to mind. And then it was out to walk into St. Peter’s Square where you can see the balcony where the Pope would bless the people, the chimney that would release the clear or dark smoke during conclave (the election of a new pope), the obelisk in the center, and the window where the Pope lives. All overlooking St. Peter’s Square. I just walked around, taking in the sounds, the smell and the amount of faith that people this place revived in people just by standing here. It made me question where’s mine most of the time. It was truly amazing and beautiful.

You go across the street and you are out of Vatican City. And that is where I made my biggest purchases. I bought a few rosary bracelets with the Pope’s sign of peace. There, in Vatican City, I realized I am truly not at peace within myself. I was going thru a rough time but there’s nothing like travel to give you the space you need to breathe and think.

I would love to go back to Rome. Who’s with me?

Grazie mille!

57 Hearts

For fun, put a ❤️ next to the places you have been. Apparently the average is 8. What’s your #? Mine is 57.

Abu Dhabi
Athens ❤️
Australia ❤️
The Bahamas ❤
Barcelona ❤️
Boston ❤️
Canada ❤️
Cancun ❤️
Cabo San Lucas ❤
Cape Town
Cape Verde
Carolinas ❤️
Cayman Island
Chicago ❤️
Channel Islands
Cinque Terre
Costa Rica
Cozumel ❤️
Croatia ❤️
Cook Islands
Costa Blanca
Czech Republic
Denver ❤️
Dominican Republic
England ❤️
Fiji ❤️
Florence ❤️
Florida ❤️
France ❤️
Galapagos Island
Gran Canaria
Grand Canyon
Grand Cayman
Greek Islands ❤️
Hawaii ❤️
Hong Kong
Ireland ❤️
Isle of Man
Isle of Wight
Ivory Coast
Japan ❤️
Kuala Lumpur
Las Vegas ❤️
London ❤️
Los Angeles ❤️
Malta ❤️
Massachusetts ❤️
Memphis ❤
Mexico ❤️
Milan ❤️
Naples ❤️
Nashville ❤
New Orleans ❤️
New York ❤️
New Zealand ❤️
Northern Ireland
Ohio ❤️
Paris ❤️
Philadelphia ❤️
Philippines ❤️
Pisa ❤️
Portland ❤️
Puerto Rico
Rhode Island
Rome ❤
San Diego ❤️
San Francisco ❤️
San Juan (Capistrano?)
San Salvatore
Saint Vincent & the Grenadines
Santorini ❤️
Saudi Arabia
Sicilian Isles ❤️
Seattle ❤️
Sicily ❤️
South Africa
Spain ❤️
St. John
St. Louis
Sri Lanka
St Kitts
St Lucia
St Maarten
St. Petersburg
St Thomas
Texas ❤️
Trinidad and Tobago
Turkey ❤️
Turks and Caicos
Vatican City ❤️
Venice ❤️
Virginia ❤️
Washington ❤️
Washington, DC ❤️

Copy and paste into your Facebook status and remove previous ❤️. I love being reminded of the places I have been and the places I still need to visit!
So many places to see…
Take your mind off of 2021 for 5 minutes but still thinking of our nation. Yesterday was tough.

Dreaming of an Adventure

We are all anxious to travel again safely. Are you dreaming of adventures like I am? I have points and to use to go back to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico and Kauai, Hawaii. I hope the US can get this pandemic under control so we can make these adventurous dreams come true.

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Last night’s dream started near the back of a Hummer with a tour guide. The bin of gear in the back of the Hummer was for me. I had to change and prep for excursion. I think I was in Australia. No tall skyscrapers, just flat land and dust.

Melbourne, Australia

Changed, I opened the rear passenger side door. I saw my friend, Sandra, sitting there playing on her phone. Sandra is one of the ladies I ran my first Team in Training event for in January 2019 at Walt Disney World. The funds I raised benefited the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Are you going to sit there?” as she took up the whole backseat not wanting to move. I saw there was the ‘b*tch aka middle seat open in the front. I don’t see this seat actually existing in Hummers so it was a dream. I opened the front passenger seat door and there was my roommate, Kim. If you’ve been to my blog before, she has definitely been mentioned here. Actually, both Kim and Sandra were our cheerleaders at Walt Disney World. What fun.

My first half marathon was completed at Walt Disney World – January 2019.

Unfortunately, I do not recall the adventure I was prepping for. The dream I do recall was being back at a house. I was advised to take a pill to help with the symptoms I was about to experience. I was told I was going to heat up and have a cough. I think this was a way of the universe telling me to stay home. It’s still not safe to adventure out with more case of the new strain reported here in California. “Waiting on holiday case counts, California leaders say they’re bracing for an even worse situation in the coming weeks.

Until it’s safe, I will continue to save money and dream about travel. Stay safe, Readers!

The Fiordlands – New Zealand – March 2019.

Where have you been traveling to you in your dreams?

Goal Reached!

Happy New Year! I hope 2021 brings you amazing and beautiful things to your life.

I wanted to express my gratitude for those who have visited this blog. 2020 was the first full year it has been on WordPress and it has been great. I still get most of my visits on Blogger but it is slowing growing. I had a 2020 goal of reaching 27,000 page views. I surpassed that by 4%. I’ll take it!

My blog has increased 35% more page views in 2020 versus 2019. I published 113 posts in 2020 versus 150 in 2019.

My visitors are mainly from the United States, then India, then the United Kington.

Traffic has been mostly from Facebook, then Twitter.

Header graphic from The Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay.
Header graphic from Santorini, Greece.

For 2021, I raised the page view goal by 500. Let’s see if I can surpass that goal by another 8%, double what I achieved in 2020.

Again, thank you for visiting!

A special thank you from my best friend for the flowers. Lilies are my favorite!

Happy New Year!

Before the last day of the year comes to a close, I wanted to say thank you for your support by stopping by this blog. There wasn’t a lot of travel to share but the miles and the funds are there to travel as soon as it is safe to do so in 2021. I hope we all can make new memories with friends and loved ones in the up coming year.

I wish you health, love and memorable experiences. I look forward to blogging from who knows where in 2021!

Photos from Paso Robles, Alamere Falls, the Louisville Slugger Museum and San Diego.

Let’s Hike – Windy Hill – Portola Valley, California

I woke up a bit grouchy on a Sunday morning and was even called out on it. After a trip to the Cal Ave Farmers Market, we went for a hike to get some exercise in. Being in nature and breathing in some fresh air would definitely do me some good.

Thankfully there was some parking near the trailhead. It wasn’t terribly cold for a December morning but it wasn’t exactly warm. We both took our winter jackets with us and my Pandemic Partner said he wouldn’t mind carrying it in the back pack. It didn’t take long before we both decided to take them off. I’m glad there was no wind yet and I had a second to take a photo.

The paths were dry. I rejected the idea of going for a hike the previous week due to the rain. I have hiked in the rain and mud and it’s not really my cup of tea. The paths were also compacted due to the other hikers. Sadly, I would say 50% of the hikers were wearing masks. We would always put our masks on when our paths would cross.

Switchback after switchback, person with mask after person without a mask, we continued to climb. The views of Palo Alto and afar were in view. You could see Stanford University, the Dish and of course Mt. Diablo. PP needed to fix his sock and he knew of a lookout with a nice view. We stopped and it was pretty windy. I didn’t want to take out my jacket just for this because I knew that once we started moving again, I’d get warm. Squats in place would have to do to stay warm.

After a few more switchbacks, a lot more moss were seen on the trees. Trees with trunks with large circumferences made us stop to observe them. You could hear the wind through the trees and the cars racing on skyline.

Reaching the top, there were hang gliders and people flying their mini airplanes. The views were incredible, but I bet it was even more amazing from these adventurers and machines. You could see all the way to San Francisco to San Jose and all the smog that was hanging over the Bay unfortunately. But wow.

The descent was a bit chilly and although it was sunny, it wasn’t enough. I started to run and it has been months since I have ran a 5K. It felt good. But for the few miles down to the car, the knees reminded me that they probably cannot handle training and running another half marathon. Reaching the signs to stay on the path due to a private road, I was ready to get off my feet and give my knees a break. But it was great to get out and hike and be with my favorite person. We definitely haven’t hiked enough.

Get out there but please be safe and courteous of those that you cross paths with.
Oh, and see my video on TikTok from the hike. (bappletree)

Dumpling Time – San Francisco, California

It’s our spot for dumplings. A trip to Tartine was our way to take a drive during quarantine. We would pick up a country loaf, a morning bun for him and sometimes a croque to share at Delores Park when the weather was nice. Since I was first introduced to Dumpling Time by coworkers this summer, it is now a must when we go to San Francisco.

They had two sections with outdoor seating. Now with the current stay at home order, all outside seating in San Francisco are prohibited. We now place an order while waiting in line at Tartine, go pick it up and have our dumplings in the car. It’s location makes it easy to jump back on 280 to head back to the house.

What should you order?

The pork and shrimp siu mai. This is my favorite. It comes with four pieces and are perfectly prepared.

Two orders of the tofu. One wasn’t enough between my Pandemic Partner (PP) and I so I now get our own order. It is flavored well, a bit crispy and super soft tofu inside. It is my favorite way to enjoy tofu.

Seared pork baos are great. Fluffy and tasty. You can also get them just steamed.

The Beijing noodles are also great. The beef is super flavorful and extra sauce or oil is not needed. I would only like more meat!

My PP loves the chili pork dumplings. It’s a bit too spicy for me so this is all his! He likes to add the tofu squares to the remaining oil and eat with the extra jalapenos.

We have also tried the ginger snap peas, shrimp toast, shrimp balls and milk dessert baos but the above items are our favorites. And we always leave with the plates clean. I just don’t like ginger. *gasp*

The staff is always super friendly and your food is delivered quickly. Park on the street. There is metered parking or you can find free parking around the corner. They have a three locations in San Francisco. Funny, the Dumpling Time Express is one block away. Happy eating!

Dumpling Time
55 Division Street
San Francisco, California