“Do you need jewelry too?” asks long-time Stella & Dot Ambassador.
When one of your best friends is headed up to Lake Tahoe for a girls’ trip, you set her and the ladies up! They look great, right?
My friend, Karla, also rocked the popular Zoe Lariat ($98) when she went down to Laguna Beach, Southern California. She got it for a deal at my sample sale party and Women Wednesday event.
Some pieces are available on my Poshmark closet “OneBusyBeeBlog” and some are still available at my Stella & Dot site.
Thanks, Ladies! Lookin’ fantastic! Let me know if you need me to style you for your next vacation! I enjoy it! Or contact me to host an in-person or online party to earn a free product credits. Folks will be shopping for the holidays. Might as well help them out!
My roommate calls my phone while I am in the shower yesterday morning. It must be important. I dry off and call her back, even though she should be in the next room.
“I have Covid.”
Given she’s fully vaccinated and showed no symptoms as of the day before, “Are you f-ing serious?” She seemed fine but sad that she has put me and her friends in this position. I had my birthday gathering two days later and two trips back to back starting the following week. I also just had dinner the night before with a friend in from Maui who is older and at higher risk. Ugh.
I booked a rapid test as soon as possible and drove a few blocks to get tested. I was told I would get results in an hour. I went to the grocery store fully masked and overly sprayed my hands with hand sanitizer. I touched only what I bought and the cashier was wearing gloves. I purchased my roommate’s wish list – raspberry Emergen-C, saltines and two cans of chunky chicken noodle soup. I got home, made her soup and her ‘cocktail’ and left it outside her bedroom door with her box of saltines and a tissue box. I asked her to wear a mask if she were to go out into our common area. She said she would.
My results came back and I was negative. I am being told by friends that these rapid tests aren’t always accurate or it could take some time for the virus to be tracked once infected. Given I have a plane to catch on Tuesday, I plan on taking another test on Monday. I removed myself from my own house and checked into a hotel nearby to avoid being infected. I didn’t feel right asking my roommate to leave given her state, nor did I want to increase the probability of her infecting the workers of a hotel or a restaurant if she went to go get food. I just hope this doesn’t happen again. I am confident she will make it thru. As of this morning, she is doing better.
I alerted my friends that will be attending my birthday outing on Sunday regarding this and left it up to them to decide what they wanted to participate in. I am sure we’ll still have fun.
I booked a room at the cheapest rated Marriott hotel in the Bay Area. It was the Residence Inn in Newark, California. It is conveniently located right off the freeway and walking distance to Sprouts and other dining options. I was allowed to check in early and was booked a corner studio unit. It is spacious, with a mini kitchen and the desk is right up against the window. As a Gold Member, I was told I could inquire after a one bedroom unit after 4 PM. I looked online to see what the upgraded room would look like but the desk wasn’t near the window. Although the view is of the Courtyard Marriott next door, I liked where the desk was now so I stuck with the studio room. At $96 a night, it was fine.
Mostly using the time here to work and quarantine myself, the space and quiet is welcomed. The bed is not the most comfortable and there is no offer of Showtime. Due to Covid, the fitness center is under construction and the hot breakfast isn’t available. I did pick up a paper lunch bag and stocked my fridge with some goodies. My visit to Sprouts stocked me with chicken tamales, a water jug and fruit.
Three more days here, stay tuned to what else I can tell you about Newark and the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area.
Please be safe, wear a mask, get vaccinated and social distance. I took to Twitter to request Oracle Park and Shoreline Amphitheater to do a better job of checking for proof of vaccination and a negative test result. No one was wearing a mask and it seems no on was asking for proof. I presume these events are how my roommate got infected.
I have tickets to the June 2022 New Kids on the Block concert and spent a pretty penny. Although it states they are taking precautions, I hope SAP Center in San Jose, California will do a better job than the other venues. Kudos to Club Fugazi in San Francisco for checking vaxx cards and IDs for the October 6th show of ‘Dear San Francisco.’
I have supported breast cancer non-profits for a very long time. I have many friends that have been diagnosed with it, have lost a cousin and friend and my sweet aunt is in remission. Every October I do some kind of fundraising event. Why not? These events keep us moving, create awareness and hopefully one day, a cure.
This year, I am walking 35 miles for the second year in a row. I have done so in my hometown of Hayward, on the coast in Pescadero during a one-day wellness retreat and soon around Newark, California to explore their parks. Last year, I raised $371. This year, I am not doing as well as it conflicts with my second End to Walk Alzheimer‘s efforts. So far I have walked 19.5 miles and I will be headed out for another 5-miler today. Please consider sponsoring me HERE.
I am also doing 25 burpees a day with my family members, Cugino & Tiffany. We have been posting our videos on the Facebook group benefiting the American Cancer Society. I am also compiling the videos on TikTok. Check them out – username: bappletree. I did not create a separate fundraising page since it’s all cancer related. Please support me HERE.
For jewelry lovers, Stella & Dot is giving back for purchases of selected items to Bright Pink. There are some cute stuff!
Above all, get healthy, move and understand your purchases make a difference. You support businesses that support change for the better. With that said, I appreciate your travel business. Thank you.
A six-day trip to San Diego ended with happy hour at Cafe Sevilla. I just completed an amazing spa day at the Pendry Hotel downtown and thought I should eat something before I headed to the airport. This spot was on the next block over.
They had outdoor seating on the sidewalk and in a parklet. I sat inside and at the bar as usual. The huge chandelier caught my eye and it was dark with hints of red everywhere. The bar stools were unusual with a high, sheet metal backing. They weren’t the easiest things to move but I managed to get in.
The menu looked good and offerings were plentiful. I wasn’t terribly hungry so the happy menu would suffice. The San Diego Restaurant Week menu looked really good but it was going to be too much food.
I went with a mojito for $8, the Tortilla Espanola for $5 and the Maiz de Queso for $7. My mojito was OK, about the same level as the one from The Pool House.
The Tortilla Espanola was listed as a cold tapa but it came out warm. It was topped with an olive tapenade. I am not a fan of olives so that got swept to the side. Overall, I wasn’t impressed with the dish. I pushed this aside when the Maiz de Queso arrived.
This dish was more of a soup and was better than the first appetizer. Sadly, I didn’t finish any of the items I ordered. It was my last meal in San Diego and it was pretty disappointing.
As your Travel Agent, I wouldn’t recommend any spot I wouldn’t dine at or visit myself. This is an example of me giving a place a try on your behalf. I don’t post many reviews like this as my intention is not to hurt businesses. It is obviously surviving so there are people that enjoy their food and drinks. First impressions are everything. Mine was nothing to write home about. If they someone else was hosting, I would give this place another try. I do really dig their huge chandelier though!
I dined at many amazing spots during this trip. Stay tuned for that! In the meantime, check out the Juniper & Ivy post.
Entering the last quarter of the year, I wanted to take a moment to say how grateful I am for my customers, repeat customers and their referrals. My biggest year in booking sales continues. Sales have tripled since I launched my travel business in 2018. From the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU!!! I am enjoying traveling the world and sharing my experience and recommendations with you to better customize your itinerary.
A lot of travel is coming up and I hope it inspires you to book the fancy hotel, the all day spa day of pampering and that adventurous tour.
“Live with no excuses and travel with no regrets.” – Oscar Wilde.
If you don’t book your dining reservations ahead of time, you might miss out! After researching the must places to ding in San Diego, I had my itinerary of where I was going to eat nailed down.
My solo birthday dinner at Juniper & Ivy was absolutely amazing! I was able to sit at the counter to watch Chef Jason Franey command his kitchen and alll the gorgeous dishes I didn’t get to try. The hosts were friendly and welcoming. The pretty hostess even complimented me on my dress. My menu even had a birthday greeting on it. The little touches make things a bit more memorable, don’t you think?
I was greeted by my tall server, Ali. “Like the Prince,” he said. I already knew it, he was definitely going to be the perfect server for my birthday. He explained the layout of the menu and pointed out his favorite dishes. Before I decided what to drink, I wanted to decide on my order to pair it well.
At first glance, I knew what I was going to get. Thanks to their Instagram page and other users’ posts, I actually changed my mind from mostly seafood to primarily meat. I went with the Paperback Pork Ribs. Even Ali said it was similar to a lumpia. This Pinay was alll over that! For my main entree, I selected the Zabutan – American wagyu blade short ribs, veal jus, gold bar squash, cherry tomatoes, guajillo, cotija and cilantro. Knowing that was going to be a heavier dish, I selected the Heirloom Tomatoes with lemon curd, pickled shallots, mint, and a pine nut and pink peppercorn vinaigrette.
I was celebrating my birthday so I wanted bubbles. I selected the Charles Heidsieck brut rose Champagne to cover my first two cases. I then went with the 2017 Carinena garnacha blend from Vall Llach from Spain.
Needless to say, everything was delicious. I was also going to have dessert because why not? I opted in for their yodel that had hot chocolate poured over it. It was heavy but I am glad I experienced this unique dessert.
During my meal, the two empty seats next to be filled up but two other solo diners. I met Ray from Florida and Abe from Los Angeles. Abe’s brother is a member at the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course where I worked. I must have served him as a Members Only Bartender once or twice. And Ray ended up becoming a mentor with some great advice. Great food and insightful conversation and new connections. You can’t beat it.
Four courses later and I was stuffed! It was a successful birthday dinner. I highly recommend Juniper & Ivy!
What would you order from the menu?
Please let me know if I can help you plan your San Diego itinerary.
Are you waiting for Covid cases to decrease and travel restrictions to be completely lifted before booking a cruise? I completely understand. There are cruises scheduled two years out. That gives you plenty of time to save for an amazing cruise – perhaps with a balcony or even a suite. Unpack once and enjoy a long list amenities and fantastic food.
Get onboard credit on your next Princess Cruises cruise when you book with me now thru November 2, 2021. Spend it on a special dining, at the casino, spa or to shop on board. What would you spend it on?
I have a room block for a 10-day Alaskan cruise in July 2023. I would love to have my clients join me! Or pick a Mexican Riviera, Caribbean, Asia or European cruise.
I look forward to hearing from you! See my other posts on cruises if you want to read about my personal experiences.
Have you ever seen a piece of art that took you to another place? One of my best friends introduced me to one of his good friends that made custom furniture. I browsed the Next Bevel website and immediately fell in love with the Acacia Waterfall End Table and Rapids Table. It took me to the waterfalls at Hanalei in Hawaii and to a cross-country road trip seeing the beautiful Colorado River for the first time. I just had to have them. Now they’re mine and they are absolutely gorgeous!
Now full time back at home and leaving my Pandemic Partner, I am home with a desire to clean, organize and minimize my possessions. It has been years since I moved back to the condo after my divorce and I don’t need to settle on my belongings because they were free. I decided to upgrade several things.
My China dining set from Williams Sonoma and knife set from Global Cutlery have arrived. I also love Boll & Branch sheets but their ‘plush’ floor mats and towers weren’t so plush. I also organized the kitchen drawers and spice cabinets, got rid of items in my garage and even donated a lot of clothes. I feel like I’m finally getting this adulting thing down. And now this beautiful piece, the Waterfall End Table, is in my living room!
It is made of acacia wood and handmade by Gabe of Next Bevel in the East Bay. The Rapids Table is made of walnut and will be modified to made into a dining table. The other piece is custom and I cannot wait to share it with you in February/March. I look forward to enjoying these one of a kind pieces for many years to come and handing it down to someone else who will appreciate it as much as I do.
Please visit, follow and support local, small business, Next Bevel. He is also on Instagram and Facebook. His shop and showroom is located in El Cerrito, California. Tell Gabe I sent ya!
Also visit Zola in Palo Alto to enjoy his work over dinner and delicious cocktails.
To help my clients, potential clients and industry contacts see the quality of properties and quantity of bookings I have booked, please see below list. If you are interested in staying at any of these properties, I would be happy to book you. I also note which properties I have personally stayed at with an “OBB”.
-FRANCE- – Beaumarchais – Clients: 1 – Grand Hotel Leveque – Clients: 1 – Hotel Gabriel Paris – OBB: 1 – Pullman Paris Tour Eiffel – OBB: 1 – Vienna House Dream – Clients: 1
-GREECE- – Amaya in Santorini – OBB: 1
-THE MALDIVES- – Angaga Island Resort and Spa – Clients: 1
-MEXICO- – JW Marriott Los Cabos – OBB: 1 – ME Cabo – OBB: 1
-THE NETHERLANDS- – Edison Hotel – Clients: 1
– THAILAND- – Villa Praan – Clients: 1 – The Vijitt Resort Phuket – Clients: 1
-UNITED KINGDOM- – Ambassadors Bloomsbury Hotel – OBB: 1
California American Canyon – Fairfield Inn & Suites – OBB: 1 Anaheim – Francis Marion Hotel – Clients: 1 – Sheraton Garden Grove – Clients: 1 Brooks – Cache Creek Casino – OBB: 1 Calistoga – Carlin’s Cottages – OBB: 1 Escondido – Welk Resorts San Diego – OBB: 1 Half Moon Bay – The Ritz Carlton – OBB: 2 Jenner – Jenner Inn – OBB: 1 Milbrae – Fairfield Inn & Suites San Francisco Airport/Millbrae – Clients: 1 Monterey – Intercontinental the Clement – Clients: 1 Napa – Napa Valley Marriott Hotel & Spa – OBB: 1 – SpringHill Suites Napa Valley – OBB x2 – Travelodge by Wyndham – Clients: 1 – River Terrace Inn – Clients: 1 – Senza Hotel – Clients: 1 Newark – Residence Inn – OBB: 1 Sacramento – Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel – OBB: 1 San Diego – Andaz San Diego – Client: 1 – Hotel Republic San Diego, Autograph Collection – OBB: 1 San Francisco – Argonaut Hotel – OBB: 2 – Hotel Sir Francis Drake – Clients: 1, OBB – 1 – Huntington Hotel – Clients: 1 – Le Meridian – OBB: 1 – Park Central – OBB: 1 – The Clancy, Autograph Collection – OBB soon Santa Cruz – Dream Inn – Clients: 3 – Inn at Pasatiempo – OBB: 1 Sonoma – The Lodge at Sonoma Resort, Autograph Collection – OBB soon Truckee – Donner Lake Village – Clients: 1 – Hampton Inn Tahoe-Truckee – OBB: 1 – Welk Resorts – OBB: 1
Florida – GLō Best Western Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport Hotel – Clients: 1
Georgia – B Historic Savannah – OBB: 1 – Marshall House – Client: 1
Hawaii – Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel – Clients: 1, OBB: 1 – Courtyard King Kamehameha’s Kona Beach Hotel – OBB soon – Grand Wailea – Clients: 1 – Halepuna Waikiki – Clients: 1 – Hyatt Maui – Clients: 1, OBB: 1 – The Westin Maui Resort & Spa, Ka’anapali – Clients: 1 – Waikiki Beach Marriott Resort & Spa – Clients: 1
Illinois – Fairfield Inn Kankakee Bourbonnais – Clients: 2 – Fairfield Inn & Suites Effingham – Clients: 1 – The Gwen, A Luxury Collection Hotel – OBB: 1 – Hotel Julian – OBB: 1 – Virgin Hotels – OBB: 1
Indiana – Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Indianapolis – Clients: 2
Kentucky – SpringHill Suites Louisville – OBB: 1
Louisiana – La Galerie Hotel – OBB:1
Nevada – Caesar’s – OBB: 1 – Planet Hollywood – Clients: 1 – Treasure Island – OBB: 2 – The Venetian – Clients: 1, OBB: 2
New York – Moxy Hotel – OBB: 1
Ohio – Fairfield Inn & Suites, Anderson – OBB: 1 – Four Points, West Chester – OBB: 1
Oregon Bend – Riverhouse on the River – Clients: 2 Portland – Canopy by Hilton – Clients: 1 – Four Points by Sheraton, Portland East – OBB soon – Hotel Vance, Portland, a Tribute Portfolio Hotel – OBB soon – Moxy Portland Downtown – OBB soon
South Carolina – Francis Marion Hotel – OBB: 1 – South Bay Inn & Suites – OBB: 1
This is a sponsored post on the behalf of Paragliding San Francisco. All opinions are my own.
There are paragliding tours? I always thought it was only for trained professionals. Thanks to Mike Fifield of Paragliding San Francisco, I was able to fly as a guest. He also allowed me to bring a friend. My dear friend’s initial reaction was hesitation, which was quite different from my excitement. He didn’t say no and he didn’t cancel. Looks like we’re going paragliding!
Having been a Concierge in San Francisco booking local tours, I was happy to receive Mike’s invitation. This is a unique experience that I would love to offer my travel clients and be able to speak about from personal experience. Mike and I booked a date and time. I received an email of details for the event and what to expect. My friend and I decided to make a full weekend in San Francisco out of it. I booked a room at the Le Meridian hotel, planned to visit the Legion of Honor Museum, dinner at his favorite restaurant, Bix, and meet up with friends in from Chicago to visit Muir Woods and lunch in Tiburon.
After a full weekend, we got to Pacifica early and decided to grab a coffee a few miles from our meeting spot. Looking up, it was funny to see paragliders fly right above us at the cafe. In the distance, you can see almost a dozen paragliders with a variety of different colors decorating the sky. I started to get nervous. As usual, my friend didn’t express his excitement, nor nervousness if he anxious.
It was time to head over. The road to the meeting place was a bit rough on his Porsche so we drove slower than usual. Parking could be a challenge but we found a spot. It was breezy at the coastline and I was glad I brought my The NorthFace jacket. Will it be colder up there?
We took the trail to where most of the paragliders were hanging out and stopped just shy of where there was an incline. I texted Mike that we were here. We were still early for our appointment.
We observed a paraglider attempting to launch near us. The many lines attached to him looked like it could be quite time-consuming to unravel. I know I have the same problem with some of my necklaces sometimes. Multiply one chain by twenty!
There seemed to be two launch areas. One close to where we were and another higher up. Observing the ones in the sky, one paraglider had a shark kite trailing him. As a tandem guest, I was trying to see if I could spot how exactly two people are participating. “Are you sitting in his lap?” my cousin asked when I posted this on my Facebook page. Keep reading to find out.
My phone rings. It’s Mike. He says he sees me and to look up. He’s calling me from the air! He says he’ll be right down. He must be a professional if he can make a call and manage a guest at the same time! We watch him land with his guest. It was nice and smooth. By the smile on the young lady’s face, she really enjoyed her experience. She wished me a good time as I was next.
We met Mike and he was so easy going, just like he was on our initial phone call. He introduced my friend to Chris. I thought Mike was going to take me up, then my friend. No, we’re going to be in the air at the same. How cool! I asked my friend if he could take pictures of me if he felt comfortable taking his phone out while he was up in the air. Not being one to take photos or be in them, I had to accept that I will be taking a bunch of selfies. This is when Mike offered up his GoPro and selfie stick. Awesome.
Without having said more than a greeting to Chris or know how much experience he has, I reluctantly released one of my best friends into his care with a ‘No, I’m not worried at all’ kind of “Have a good time!” farewell. Because of the heavier weight, they walked up the hill to launch from a higher point. I just had to trust Mike.
Mike fitted me with a helmet. He outlined emergency protocols, which he has never had to use in his many years of experience, and explained how to use the GoPro, the two-person harness and how we are going to launch. Yes, we are going to basically run off the cliff. Together.
I stepped into the harness and was buckled in, attached to Mike. No, it wasn’t uncomfortable or too close for comfort. It was like a front baby harness with a lot of room.
Mike got the paraglider up and we walked together back and forth a few times and he was ready. And just like that, we were running towards the cliff and we took off. No beige dirt was underneath my feet and it was the smoothest take-off I have ever experienced. We were quickly gaining elevation or was it that the new grade was the ocean below me?
I couldn’t help but smile. Only a few seconds into the experience and I couldn’t help thinking how amazing this was. It wasn’t cold at all. I thought my face would be cold and my nose would be running but the temperature was pleasant. Look towards the horizon and it would be an incredible way to watch the sunset. Look to the North or South and see the never-ending coastline that grace the front of millions of postcards. Look towards the wall of earth we ran off and see just how far the drop would be had we leapt from the very top. It is a long way down.
Mike warned me of an upcoming bump I would feel and to not be alarmed. He also was OK with not doing any spiral tricks I saw other paragliders did earlier. I felt safe the entire time. He did get me close to my friend and I was able to get him in the shot via the GoPro. I flashed him a shaka and it made me happy that he even gave me a smile. He looked very relaxed and was enjoying the ride. He works so hard. I am happy I was able to bring him along to experience this. We both have never paraglided before.
As much as I looooved being up there, I was starting to feel a little sick. I am prone to motion sickness. I have had to sit in the front of a tour bus on the Amalfi Coast, prayed for land while trying to swim with dolphins in the open water in New Zealand and I don’t even like swings. It is common to get motion sickness while paragliding. I felt uneasy for a few minutes but felt it was time to let Mike know how I was feeling. It was best if w landed. I would have stayed up there forever if I could!
Mike understood and took us down with a smooth and easy landing. He helped me get unbuckled and invited me to sit down to relax in one of the chairs to the side. He had other appointments and I felt bad that he could have filled this time with a paying customer. But thankfully, business has been good.
Relaxing, I looked up and watched my friend fly. That’s what good friends do, right? We support them and watch them soar. Chris also provided a safe landing and we both were on solid ground. I hope me coming in early didn’t cut their flight short. Regardless, we loved the experience. We expressed our gratitude, said our goodbyes and Mike said he would get me the GoPro video soon. See it HERE.
My friend stated he would definitely recommend the experience. He enjoyed himself. That makes two of us.
Please contact me if you would like to cross this off your bucket list. You won’t regret it! Mike is also an instructor! Learn to paraglide on your own!