Below Deck – Season 1

Having watched a few episodes of Below Deck Mediterranean and a way to get some travel education while we cannot travel right now, I decided to start the original Below Deck series with season 1. As someone who gets seasick, I know I could never be one of these yachties. This season takes place in the Caribbean in 2013 on the yacht Honor worth $20 million.

I haven’t been to the region in quite a few years but hope to get back soon, maybe on a Disney Cruise Line. I have recently booked a repeat customer for a 10-day cruise on Celebrity Cruises for August 2021. I am excited for this family to enjoy the Caribbean, preferably less stressful than this young cast.

Though it’s been several years since it has first aired, here are my thoughts on the season 1.

The Boat

Before my years at a real estate law firm, I interviewed with a San Francisco law firm with superyachts. This would have been my closest experience to being on a yacht or working with one. It would have been great to experience a yacht like The Honor even while docked. It looks amazing. Of course the living area for the guests is gorgeous and spacious, but the quarters for the staff are tight and confined. My first cruise was on the Celebrity Reflection for 14 days in the Mediterranean. It was an inside cabin with two twin beds. I’m sure the guests’ smallest room is way bigger than the staffs’ cabin below deck.

Captain

Captain Lee seems like a hard ass. His brief appearance on the reunion episode clearly shows that he wasn’t adored or missed since the end of the season. It’s tough being the boss and being in charge of a mobile $20 million yacht plus all those on board. With the amount of pressure, I would probably be a bit high-strung as well. In comparison to Captain Sandy on Below Deck Med, I think she was able to connect a bit better with the crew. It makes all the difference.

Staff

There are a lot of issues that come up, otherwise this wouldn’t have a show, right? Not to focus on romantic relationships on board, other topics for discussion include drinking and boss-employee relationships.

Drinking on the job is a big no-no for me…unless you work for the entertainment and restaurant world like I have. A lot of these reality shows provide a lot of liquor to get cast members intoxicated in front of the camera to entertain viewers like us. Kat, a Stewardess, got plenty drunk off charter. And let’s be real, on charter as well. Most of us have had a bit too much too drink at one point in time. During the reunion show, it is nice to see that Kat has reflected on her experience and is making healthier decisions for herself. Good for her! I wish anyone on the same path a lot of success.

The power struggle between Adrienne, the Chief Stew, and Sam, the other Stewardess is frustrating. As much as I love Sam’s name, the lack of respect and constant smirk would get under my skin as well. Clearly, customer service is not for Sam. It is challenging when someone like Adrienne needs a good worker but can’t get the results after attempts of finding a solution. I think Adrienne just wanted to do a good job but I do agree she could have lead by example more. Perhaps pick up a rag too, take the time for training and re-training (which they say they didn’t have time to do), etc. I am not sure if it’s the show and timing, but perhaps the show was creating these limitations to prevent things being done correctly and creating these unnecessary struggles.

My favorite crewmember remains to be Chef Ben Robinson. He’s just a cool cat and makes funny comments. I have dealt with many Chefs in my day. There are ones that seems to hate their life and strive to make everyone else around him miserable. Then there are those that are sweet and sane and kind, but like anyone else, has a breaking point.

Side note, one episode did start a craving for pancakes. Thanks, Chef Ben. I have been enjoying 1Up Nutrition protein pancakes once or twice a week now.

Crew

I don’t think I can work, eat, party and sleep with the same people for weeks on end. It makes sense why this show makes good television. People are placed in unique living situations and filmed almost every minute. During the pandemic, I am finding that I have become a bit anti-social. I have grown accustomed to my space, the quiet and doing things on my own, when I want or with my favorite person. I think the person I would be able to live with from the show would be Ben. What about you?

Guests

Oh, people. They can be absolutely terrible, can’t they? We have all heard about the Karens and the Kens of the world during this pandemic. If you’re rich, poor, middle-class, there are terrible people everywhere. The charter guests are rich. They can spend $200,000 for a week-long charter on the Honor. They get 5-star, customized meals 24-7 and they can treat the crew with very little respect. One charter guest this season sexually harassed the ladies in front of his own female guests. They bring drugs aboard. And they just want the sun and the moon at the snap of their fingers. Working in the service world myself, I feel for this crew. But it is the job you selected so you have to roll with the punches.

One couple did get married on the Honor. As a Wedding Planner/Event Planner, I found this episode fun. I would ask Adrienne to step aside and let me do my thing.

Location

The area was great. Most of the season was shot on board. Below Deck Med showed a lot of the Mediterranean. I was hoping to see more than just the dock and local restaurants. I didn’t learn much about the Caribbean during this season.

Food

Again, well done to Chef Ben. Everything he plated looked delicious. At the end of the season, it stated he was taking an vegan education course. I am sure he has green juice recipes a hundred miles long. I was hoping they would have showcased more local, unique food offerings from the local stalls. Maybe some conch, guava berries or local fish. But, this isn’t the Food Network.

Money

As mentioned, you have to have a lot of money to charter a yacht like the Honor. Unfortunately, I am not in that tax bracket. But wouldn’t it be nice to have? A big part of the show is when the tip from the guests is distributed to the crew. Three-hundred dollars a day on top of your salary is not a bad gig. If you can deal with the sea sickness, the demands, WANT to learn and can respect your superiors, check out how to get casted!

I am about to start Season 2 and I have no idea what I’m in for.

Are you a fan of the show?
Who’s your favorite crew member from this season and why?

#1UPTransformationChallenge – Week 3

Kicking off week 3 of my first 1Up Nutrition Transformation Challenge in Napa Valley soaking in hot springs and getting a massage. Not bad, right? As mentioned in Week 2‘s write-up, the Galentine’s Weekend was a bit rough. Attempts to not over eat and get in a workout was a must. In Week 3, I had another outing scheduled for my best friend. It was going to be low-key.

MONDAY

Having to leave our cute cottage in Calistoga with treatments the next block over, I had to make sure to get in some kind of workout. With the help of Cassey Ho and FitOn, I got in a pilates workout. I was able to relax in the hot springs tub before and after my massage. I think my body needed this after the work I have been putting in on a daily basis.

A spontaneous stop at the Napa Valley sign called for yoga poses again. It was then time for lunch at Gott’s Roadside and I have to say, their meatless burger for Meatless Monday was delicious. And our last stop was at Caymus. A MUST stop for us. Sooo good if you love wine. Then, more yoga in the mustard greens. Total calories: 1,722

TUESDAY

Attempting to redeem myself from a high caloric weekend, I went with cardio FitOn videos that were low impact. My knees were still giving me problems. Our usual stop to San Francisco, Tartine, Dumpling Time and The Butcher Shop included our friend, Walter. It was nice to get him to the city and experience what we do almost on a weekly basis. Total calories: 1,183

WEDNESDAY

Needing to make sure I get a workout in, I did one FitOn workout. Breakfast was a hard boiled egg. Lunch was quinoa and eggs.. Then dinner was roasted cauliflower. Total calories: 1,442

THURSDAY

Having a busy day before I picked up my best friend for our little getaway, I didn’t have a chance to do a workout. However, we did play cards. For every game lost, the loser did 50 squats with bands. We each did three sets and Christy was feeling it the next day. It wasn’t much, but it was something. Breakfast was overnight oats and dinner was Sol Food in San Rafael. It is amazing! Total calories: 1,189

Our view during workouts.

FRIDAY

Naturally waking up at 7:30 AM and letting Christy sleep a bit, she eventually woke up and worked out with me. I tried the sample of the peanut butter vegan protein by 1Up Nutrition and I have to say, it’s much better than the vanilla protein I did purchase. Next order will be peanut butter.

Eating leftovers for breakfast had us ready for an adrenaline rush with ziplining from tree top to tree top with the Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental, California. Yes, yoga poses again. Total calories: 1,190

SATURDAY

With checkout at 11 AM, two FitOn videos were done followed by another 1Up Nutrition peanut butter drink. It was Christy’s birthday so she opted to NOT workout. She had to work that evening so being even more sore wouldn’t be a good idea. Lunch was a crab sandwich with delicious pickles for $12 at Cafe Aquatica, then, I had to get the birthday girl some sweets. We made a detour to Santa Rosa and went to Sift Cupcakes. Sooo yum. Total calories: 1,378

SUNDAY

After 5 days of adventures, I think the pandemic has turned me into a homebody. I was happy to back home and back to my routine. Sunday, we slept in til 8 AM, went to the farmer’s market, Whole Foods and tried a new restaurant in Redwood City called Kemuri. I had the garlic shrimp bowl and it was full of flavor.

FitOn workouts consisted of cardio with Kenta and an ab workout we haven’t done before with Cassey. It’s nice to switch it up. Dinner was almond flower pancakes with nutella and fresh strawberries from the market this morning. Total calories: 1,334

And next, Week 4.

#1UpTransformationChallenge – Week 2

Week 2 of 8 of my first 1Up Nutrition Transformation Challenge is happening. Here is how it went with daily workouts and logging meals. After the FitOn, I typically do a bit more with free weights and bands. I don’t log those as it just takes extra time. But I am trying to tighten up my lats and by the change in measurements, I think it’s slowly working.

MONDAY

After a deflating Week 1 and trying to pick myself back up with a new outlook to begin Week 2, I decided to weigh and take measurements on Monday morning. From measurements taken on Saturday, there was a 2.1 pound decrease, no change in body fat but decreased measurements in almost all sections. How it was done in two days, I don’t know. With the upcoming Saturday’s measurements, we’ll see if something’s not right.

Monday’s workout consisted of a quick walk around the neighborhood with my Pandemic Partner. He didn’t feel like working out but to get him up from the desk, I proposed we take a walk to stretch our legs. Back at the house, I invited my best friend to do workouts with me at the same on FitOn. We were able to do a “party” during one workout where we could see each other moving during the video. It was pretty cool. We tried to do it again for another workout but it didn’t allow us. Perhaps we need to subscribe.

Food consisted of 1Up protein with water and frozen mango, half of a Caramel Almond & Sea Salt Kind bar, a hard boiled egg, a delicious veggie burrito for Meatless Monday from Los Panchos in Pacheco, California. Total calories: 1,070.

TUESDAY

As it was Travel Tuesday, I shared this photo of some September babies doing a yoga pose in Champagne, France. Oh, to travel again.

Three FitOn videos were done and we had homemade chicken tacos again for dinner. Fage greek yogurt instead of sour cream is a delicious idea! The chicken was marinated in a Korean spicy BBQ sauce and baked in the air fryer. Avocado toast for breakfast, and leftover air baked salmon with white rice. Total calories: 1,046

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday was good with two FitOn videos. The Lower Body Torch with Danielle was good. I had wrap my knees up as I have been hearing scraping when I bend for quite some time now. I should get it looked at eventually. Then we did Yoga Core with Vytas. Oh man, I have never done side planks on my forearms before with palms up. It definitely takes the move up a bit. A funny pic of my sweaty bum on the mat had to be posted.

Breakfast was overnight nights, this time made with strawberries from the farmers market. They were delicious! We still had leftover chicken so tow more tacos for lunch then dinner was sautéed bok choy and white rice. Total calories: 1,157.

THURSDAY

For some reason, I was tired today. Probably it was because I haven’t had a rest day. I took a nap. My load is also lightening with getting rid of 1 of 3 jobs so there’s some relief there. The fact that I was even able to take a nap was great. I think my body appreicated it.

However, when I woke, I was not feeling like getting a workout in. I turned to the feed from the other 1Up challenge participants and it got me to change into my Fabletics gear and unroll the yoga mat. I did it by myself today and it’s OK. Two FitOn videos were Serious Arms & Abs and Core Blazer. It was the first video I tried with The Chainsmokers. The commentary with these celebrities are pretty distracting. I probably won’t do any of their other videos. Another celebrity on there is Gabrielle Union. I need someone to keep me motivated thru the workout. These celebs are most likely used to attract users by taking advantage of their fanbase but I’m not a fan.

In terms of food, I gave in. I had an Sconehenge English muffin with butter. Bread and butter is my weakness! Keep it away from me! Lunch was the remainder of the veggie burrito from Los Panchos. I feel I am doing better with portion control. My taste buds rule me. Instead of finishing something just to finish it, I try to stop when I’m starting to feel full and drink more water. Dinner was roasted cauliflower and shallots, plus avocado toast. Total calories: 1,272.

FRIDAY

Friday was the start of a Galentine’s Day Weekend and celebrating a deer friend. The plan was to stick to eating decently and exercising. I did a quick HIIT workout before a friend came over. With neighbors downstairs, I had to do the low-impact version but still managed to sweat. Breakfast was overnight oats, lunch was 1Up Nutrition and frozen mango and dinner was sauteed cabbage and mushrooms, quinoa, topped with parmesan cheese. Total calories: 1,154.

SATURDAY

Saturday was weigh-in for me. I am making progress, just not as quickly as I would like. But progress is progress. Annnd, it’s been awhile since I actually did my hair and applied eyeliner. I thought I’d do a non-post workout selfie.

Top from Vintage Alley in Hayward, and necklace by Priscilla Presley that I got at Graceland.

I was definitely over my calories for the day. Total calories were 1,955. It’s the wine, mimosa, grilled octopus salad, pita and hummus, gyro salad, bread and butter and cheese at the winery. Dinner was a pan seared salmon with a buerre blanc sauce and one churro. And, I didn’t get to work out. I actually had to take a quick nap because I had a headache from the wine. I haven’t drank in a few weeks. It was delicious but not good for this challenge. We did do yoga tho! And I jumped!

SUNDAY

On Valentine’s Day, I did do a workout video and got the birthday girl to stretch with me. My roommate, who typically works out with me when we’re together, didn’t want to. I had to. Even with a 45 minute workout, I was still over my calories for the day. Total calories: 2,164.

Brunch was delicious at SolBar, the two wineries we visited in Calistoga was filling and dinner at Olive and Hay was okay. The highlight of the day was the lobster omelet.

I knew these days away were going to mess with my progress so I am acknowledging that I chose to participate. See next week’s post as I tried to burn those extra 1,400 calories.

Related posts:
1UpTransformationChallenge – Pre-Week 2
1UpTransformationChallenge – Week 1

#1UpTransformationChallenge – Week 1

It’s officially on! This 8-week transformation challenge with 1Up Nutrition started February 1st and I am in it! As mentioned, I’ve participated in quite a few fitness challenges and have mostly seen some changes. I am pretty proud of myself for that one time in 2015… I was actually 15 pounds lighter and felt good. I hope to get back to that this year. The 2021 goal is to be at 18% body fat again. I have a long way to go. My first goal will be down 2% body fat. I will then reward myself with a delicious pastrami sandwich from Refuge here in Menlo Park, California. It’s amazing. I’ll be throwing in a beer as well. I look forward to cheering anyone during that meal.

MONDAY

No weigh-in today as I normally do. I didn’t make it back to my house. I usually leave my PP’s (Pandemic Partner) house once a week to visit with my roommate who I left during this pandemic…and to give PP and I a break and alone time. But my roommate went to a wedding in SoCal of all places. Double whammy in my opinion. But when she comes back, she’ll be quarantining. So maybe I won’t be doing weigh-in for a bit. Regardless, last week was pretty good. No liquor consumption, I worked out every day and I was eating pretty well.

On this first day of the challenge, I stuffed my face with an egg bagel by Izzy’s. Work was busy and only had a few dried mango pieces by Solely. Meatless Monday‘s dinner was vegetarian tacos with roasted cauliflower, Greek yogurt with Frank’s Red Hot, cayenne pepper and paprika, chopped greens and cabbage and pico. Yummm!

But before dinner, I had to work out. PP joined me this time. We did a 44-minute Full Body Strength and Cardio session via FitOn. That was a good one! Then, we did Core Crusher, one of our favorites.

I’m enjoying befriending others also on a fitness journey via social media. It’s pretty cool supporting those that are like-minded. We’re all after that $5,000 prize money but a change for the better would be amazing. My coworker, Diana, joined a boxing class, while my poor friend, Lana, had a foot energy today. I hope she’ll be able to catch up!

Gear is a top from my yoga friend, Lisa and bottle by Blender Bottle.

TUESDAY

Someone woke up sore and I had to tell Cassey Ho. How funny that she saw and Liked it on Twitter.

Tuesday’s meals started with overnight oats. I threw in some vanilla protein powder by 1UP Nutrition as well. Lunch was a lox sandwich on an egg bagel from Izzy’s, creme fraiche, capers, tomatoes and red onion. This is one of my favorite sandwiches ever and Izzy’s is delicious. Dinner was Santa Cruz Pasta Factory‘s cheese ravioli and tomato basil sauce with parmesan cheese. A total of $1,268 calories.

Workouts consisted of a circuit with Bod by Breann, Quick Abs with Bree and additional work with 360 mountain climbers, side planks, deadlifts, hammer and cross curls, back flies and had an opportunity to stretch.

Gear is a top from Dick’s Sporting Goods, bra by Victoria’s Secret and bottle by Blender Bottle.

WEDNESDAY

Breakfast consisted of overnight oats again. Lunch were a few cheese and crackers and a couple of pieces of salami. But dinner was a delicious flank steak and homemade chimichurri. Oh, that sauce is a labor of love but it is sooo damn good.

For my workout, I went a bit lighter. I tried the 1UP Nutrition BCAA in guava nectarine. Not bad. Light flavor. Then it was Yoga Booty Sculpt with Kenta and 150 heel touches. My pre-workout was recording myself doing 20 pushups for my 6-year-old nephew in Arizona. His mom posted a video of him asking for donations that goes towards the American Heart Association. I said I sponsored him for $40 so I wanted 20 pushups. I did it for him and posted the video. I almost wanted to do them on my knees but I thought I would challenge myself. I didn’t go as low but hopefully soon!

THURSDAY

Something to look forward to during a long day of work was our first dining experience since outdoor dining was closed down in early December. We were going back to Ramen Nagi off of University Avenue in Palo Alto. It has been beautiful in the Bay Area so we decided to walk. It is just over 3.5 miles round trip. The ramen was delicious but it didn’t sit too well with my stomach. I made a quinoa scramble with mushrooms and leftover flank steak for lunch. That didn’t upset my stomach. I took the rest of the night off and started the show Outlander. I had to listen to my body.

FRIDAY

Breakfast was another quinoa scramble before a long day of work visiting sites in Campbell, Hayward and a minute at the office. At the office, I tried Hint water for the first time. It was not carbonated, which I liked. The flavor was subtle. I guess it’s another way to stay hydrated but I wouldn’t pay for bottled flavored water. I usually just water straight, no lemon, mint or cucumber. Lunch was half a steak salad from Texas Roadhouse. Delicious! I also gave in and had a few of their irresistible bread rolls. I don’t even need their cinnamon butter. I gave the rest of the bag of rolls to my roommate when I got home. She’s not doing the challenge and she likes presents.

But being back at the house, we worked out. We did the 40/20 HIIT and Lazy Girl Booty Burn FitOn videos. As a finale together, we did a video of 1 minute of burpees with a Bosu and 1 minute of jabs with dumbbells. Kim, my roommate, did a great job. It was fun to laugh and smile during this workout. After she was done, I continued with more moves like mountain climbers, arm raises, bent over rows and deadlifts.

Post-workout was frozen mango and 1UP Nutrition vanilla protein powder mixed with water. I finished the rest of the salad from lunch and a bag of popcorn by Cousin Willie’s.

SATURDAY

This was my first weigh-in since I took Before photos 12 days before. I was disappointed that little to know progress was made and I was the heaviest I have ever been. Yes, I know muscle weighs more than fat and my bodyfat went down by a hair but it was still frustrating. It was not how I wanted to start my weekend.

I made another quinoa scramble, did some abs and a stretching video on FitOn and headed back to Menlo Park. There, I worked and we had a friend come over. He was bringing chicken from Vons in Redwood City. I have never had it before and I opted in for the oven baked chicken. I’d make us a salad and air fry some fries. The chicken was absolutely delicious! I’ll be honest, I had one fried chicken thigh. Oh, it was heaven. I have a thing for fried chicken.

After dinner, I gave the boys a present. I got us matching tank tops that said “I flexed and the sleeves fell off.” Our friend joined Noom so we’re all on some kind of fitness journey. Unfortunately, all three of us really love food and wine so it’s a struggle. But at least we have each other.

SUNDAY

After giving in to my day of disappointed, I woke up on Super Bowl Sunday with a re-energized mindset. I posted on Instagram:

“Thanks to @sharkie_girl82 for helping me deal with making not enough of a significant change as I would like. People in this #1uptransformationchallenge are already making huge changes! So happy for them and cheering them on their posts, etc. But I’ve been non-stop for two weeks straight with multiple @fitonapp vids a day (mostly #cardio & #hiit) plus additional #weighlifting, tracking all my meals in @myfitnesspal, eating #healthy and still gained almost a pound, minuscule decrease in BF and .5 an inch change in that problem lat area. Kim said not to compare myself to their journey and it was like a much-needed slap in the face. What a good roommate! Now what’s the plan to make some major changes? Any suggestions? I have my supplements, #bcaas during workout and protein afterwards and no alcohol. Now incorporating a burner and need to incorporate even more #cardio. I’m reluctant to get back to running as my knees are so bad. You can hear them grind when they bend 😬 Guess I need to get back to improving at #rollerblading with my @roces_official I miss the gym so much. I can lift heavy and read the news or study on a cardio machine. Any recos you have on workouts, recipes, motivating playlists, tips, words of encouragement, etc would be awesome. Hoping for a kick ass official Week 2 of this @1upnutrition challenge. #fitness #becomebetter #quoteoftheday #girlswholift #fitonfam #onebusybee bernadettemanzano.com”

I got out of bed and did 300 core moves from leg lifts, heel touches, cross crunches and roll ups. We went grocery shopping and picked up healthy items for the week and decided to go have brunch as the weather was nice. We went to Left Bank and enjoyed the sun. I have been craving an omelet. It was vegetarian, came with country potatoes and fruit. It was great.

Back at the house, I boiled 8 eggs for the week for us to eat as snacks and to top our salads with. We watched the Super Bowl while I did some back extensions, leg lifts and band work. I also convinced PP to do the Workday Arm Sculpt on FitOn.

I was rooting for Mahomes although he beat this Faithful‘s team last year. He was defeated, I was defeated. I am hoping for a better Week 2.

#1UpTransformationChallenge – Pre-Week 1

I am now up for another fitness challenge. My birthday challenge between my roommate and I didn’t go so well but I am hoping this 8-week challenge with 1Up Nutrition will be better. I have my friend, Lana, and new co-worker, Diana, doing it with me. My roommate and I work out when I’m home and my Pandemic Partner (PP) and I get our sweat on when I’m with him thanks to FitOn. It’s more fun with friends. This is how the week before the challenge went.

MONDAY

Oooh, those Before photos are hard to keep and post. Thankfully I only posted it on my private account on 1Up. You had to have the personalized check-in card in each photo – one from the front, back and side. Thanks to my handy light ring, I didn’t need to prop phone on top of boxes on top of a stool or anything. That part was easy. Looking at the pics were hard to look at but hopefully in eight weeks, there will be a significant change.

With a full day of work and my roommate’s rest day, I worked out alone. I had to wait to work out until after my interview with a potential Bride and Groom for a June 2022 wedding. I am also an Event Planner/Wedding Coordinator. I did FitOn‘s Low Impact Cardio Crush, Savage Sweat and Quick Core plus additional moves with heavy weights. At my PP’s house, I have bands, 5 and 15-lb weights. I need heavier weights. I’ll just have to do more reps.

Food on this Meatless Monday was a 5-cheese ravioli and tomato basil sauce with parmesan cheese. The serving from Santa Cruz Pasta Company was enough for lunch and an early dinner. I skipped breakfast. After I showered, I had a handful of assorted nuts. I just had water to drink and had about 4-5 mugs full.

Surprisingly, I was able to fall asleep at my normal time after such a late workout. I thought it was going to keep me energized but maybe I exhausted myself.

TUESDAY

I woke up to meal prep for the day. I made an egg scramble with Ancient Harvest quinoa, corn and parmesan cheese. It was great! I added some dried onion to add some crunch as well. One cup of quinoa was enough for three meals. As a snack, I had a few pieces of Solely’s Dried Mango. Some packages are delicious with fruit soft and others are hard and hurt to eat. This particular bag is a hard one so perhaps it’s a good thing. Less calories to consume…and burn. I also split a bag of white cheddar Cousin Willie’s popcorn my father sent me for Christmas. It’s a nice treat.

The day was busy with work so it was a lot of sitting. Workouts consisted of FitOn‘s Total Body Toner with Christine Bullock and Ultimate Core with Breann Mitchell. Christine had me breaking out my sliders. They make moves quite challenging. I NEVER use the sliders but I do own a set. And Bree exposed me to a new move I haven’t done before. So very good workouts and of course, had some laughs with my roommate.

I am also back on MyFitnessPal tracking my food. I have also just completed logging 20 meals to be entered to win a $250 Sprouts gift card and one $250 Visa gift card. Seeing that I spend $400/month on groceries, I would gladly take this gift card. As a Visa stockholder, I’ll take that as well! With 48,000 participants and 10 winners and it was free to do, it would a good prize.

Typical grocery purchases include what is needed for my overnight oats recipe that I found on Pinterest. It’s old fashioned oats, honey, milk, sliced bananas and blackberries or strawberries. Mix them all together and let it sit overnight in the fridge. I top it with granola to add some texture. Breakfast will be already be ready to eat in the morning. This helps my biggest craving – bread and butter. And this bread is from Tartine in San Francisco. Sooo good.

WEDNESDAY

Hump day was busy but I had to get a workout in. Workouts with Bree on FitOn were good. I did the Cardio Core and the Cardio Chisel Camp videos. On top of that, I added deadlifts to curls to shoulder presses, single leg deadlifts, dumbbell swings, close grip chest presses and lower ab moves.

Dinner was delicious and healthy. Teriyaki marinated salmon baked in the Pampered Chef air fryer. Bok choy was sauteed with a Volcano Spice from Aloha Spice Company that I bought while in Kauai. Very good! Check out the video on TikTok making this meal. (bappletree)

THURSDAY

We had a break in the rain so my new coworker and I got a few steps in after a site visit. We were out for 30 minutes and covered 1.3 miles. She also joined in on this challenge looking to make some changes.

I can’t remember why I didn’t work out during my normal time but dinner was made early. I roasted some cauliflower and air fried some parmesan crusted zucchini spears. Not bad. Cauliflower is a normal thing to buy nowadays from the farmers market. It’s tasty!

Then more FitOn videos to get me sweatin’. I did Kenta’s Ab Assassin, Quick HIIT Booty with some bands and EMOM Express with Danielle. Very good videos.

Fabletics top. Let me send you a referral code!

FRIDAY

Friday was a busy day out and about for work. Breakfast was a slice of Tartine toast with butter (I know!) and a scramble made with leftover salmon and topped with Wise Goat Organics sauerkraut. Sooo good!

I only had a latte for lunch and worked out a bit earlier than usual because I was getting hungry. But first, I did the Total Body Yoga Flow and the Serious Six Pack videos on FitOn. I love that I get to switch it up with these videos. I’m just missing heavy weights at my Pandemic Partner’s house. At home, I have 20 and 30-lb dumbbells, my sliders and Bosu ball.

I had marinated chicken breasts in soy sauce and vinegar. I threw those in the air fryer to bake and made a salad. Logging in my meals and workouts on MyFitnessPal has me under my calorie goal and I like the range of weight I’d be at once I submit for the day. That’d be ideal.

SATURDAY

To take advantage of the dry sidewalks, I convinced my Pandemic Partner to go for a walk and pick up some lunch downtown. We had a 3-mile walk and enjoyed a bahn mi sandwich from Pho Bahn Mi on University Avenue in Palo Alto. I almost ordered spring rolls as well but I decided not to. Though healthy, I also have to watch portion control. The sandwich was probably the heaviest thing I’ve eaten all week.

Then it was time to work out. I did a 40-minute circuit with Bree and FitOn called the Full Body Burn. It was a good one!

SUNDAY

No rest day yet for this One Busy Bee. Sunday was the normal routine and then some. We had to go to the farmers market, Whole Foods plus two other errands. The sun was out and it felt so good to soak in the rays on the park bench. Someone arrived from their own shopping from the market with a bag of fresh out of the oven, egg Izzy’s Bagels. I haven’t had breakfast yet that day and I was hungry. Without too much hesitation, I took a bite out of a heavenly, warm bagel. I offered PP half of it. He took it. When my half was gone, I went for another bagel as long as he took the other half. I tried but did not succeed in passing on consuming these. Bread is my weakness. Bread and butter? I don’t stand a chance!

Annnd, PP also got me a blueberry pastry from Frog Hollow. They didn’t have pastries the last two times so I didn’t think to remind him NOT to get me one. But I ate it. It’s one of many things we do together is eat our Sunday pastry together. And it’s soooo tasty!

The plan was to make dinner after my monthly family Zoom call took place and I worked out. We are a family that loves food. We’re not the healthiest group but we do know good food. All the talk of cake and fried chicken made me so hungry. I took my family into the kitchen and continued our chat as I prepared dinner.

Chicken breasts were being marinated in an IPA by Bare Bottle Brew Co in San Francisco. My buddy is the Head Brewer there so please support my friend, John! The chicken was thrown into the air fryer and shredded. Taco tortillas were thrown on the pan to warm up, lettuce and cabbage were chopped up, Greek yogurt was mixed with Frank’s Red Hot, paprika and cayenne pepper, lime wedges were prepared and Whole Foods’ pico was on the table. These tacos were delicious!

Letting the food settle, I had to do something. As we watched Your Honor, we did Cassey Ho’s Workday Arm Sculpt. If you need a weightless arm routine that you can do anywhere, do this. It’s a killer! Her Core Crusher video is one of our favorites too. PP loves it, as in he knows what’s coming and is always reluctant to do it at first with me.

Soooo, that’s pre-challenge prep. Not bad! I think I can keep it up. However, this weekend I planned two weekends in February to celebrate birthdays. One is a weekend in wine country with massages, wine tasting and Italian food. I will definitely be working out while we’re out. Then the following weekend is my best friend’s birthday. We’re going ziplining and will be enjoying the coast in a cute town called Jenner. They all know I am doing this challenge and need to work out and eat healthy. It’s always nice to have that support.

And now onto Week 1 of the challenge! #becomebetter

Fit Together

Though we can’t go to Disneyland or the zoo together, we can get some fitness in together at home with FitOn. Due to the pandemic, working out at home is a must. The app is free and no gym membership fees means I saved $30 a month. I had a few workouts with my roommate and worked out with my Little Loves, aka my niece and nephew. It was fun to do this together.

Walt Disney World 2019 – Finished my first half marathon.
Disneyland 2017

My roommate is signed up to do TWO Susan G. Koman walks next year. This year’s events were cancelled. She hikes almost every weekend and we sometimes rollerblade together. We share workout pics via my Facebook group and it’s fun to get her moving.

My real motivation is to get her exhausted ‘gym face.’

During a sleepover at my best friend’s house, working out with Tia Bernie was part of the deal. I have been working out 6 days out of the week at 5:30. I couldn’t break my routine because I was not home. It was hilarious.

“This is torture!” Nate whines. We did the Low Impact Cardio videos with Jeannette Jenkins and the Weightless Arms Workout with Cassey Ho. Pilates is difficult but hurts so good! I loved helping them improve their form and it’s been ages since Christy and I worked out together.

Arya is really flexible. She was in gymnastics. Nate played baseball but it was a long time for both of them to do something pretty active. My other visit had us doing laps around the park in their neighborhood. The adults walked and chatted while the kids rode their bikes.

Haha, Arya is pooped.

It definitely helps when you have someone to work out with. I have my Pandemic Partner and it’s great to see him sweaty. He has even used pots to do a move when we didn’t have the right amount of weighted dumbbells. The sighs, heavy breathing and profanity is great. We’re doing it together.

My new coworker signed up for the 1Up Nutrition 8-week challenge with me. We are challenging each other to see who can lose the most body fat. And while we are out doing site visits for work, we’ll work in at least 30 minutes to walk and get some steps in.

According to Runkeeper, I logged 222.4 miles, 87 activates last year, burned 16,184 calories, climbed 10,952.4 feet and spent 71.5 hours on the move. I want to beat all those stats!

Get yourself a friend to workout with! Or join the challenge and see what changes you can make! Good luck and be ready to reintroduce yourself!

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 bodybuilding.com 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!