#WereHungryToo – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On the last city before my final destination on my #OBBRoadTrip was Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This city surprised me. It is by the river, has bridges to cross, the sports stadiums are close by and I had the most fun there as a solo traveler. I thought Chicago was going to be the winner. Pittsburgh, you take the cake! Darn, I didn’t have any there. I had shark, whiskey, pierogis and a massive sandwich. Plus, saw where history was made! It was a good place to stop.

Social House 7

After quite a few days on the road and eating way too much fast food, I was looking forward to some sushi. Pittsburgh had a few options and I wanted to walk to the spot. I decided on going to Social House 7 and was happy to find that their storefronts were open to the sidewalk. Walk in the entrance and there are koi fish under the walkway. As usual, I decided to sit at the bar. Unfortunately, it took awhile to get service. Eventually, a much more attractive Theon from Game of Thrones came to assist me.

I decided on a Philadelphia Roll because when near Rome, the shark robata, wasabi BBQ and quinoa salad and a sake cocktail. I have had shark before but it was quite some time ago. It’s a bit tough but still tasty. I didn’t eat the quinoa salad. Unfortunately, the cocktail wasn’t anything write home about.

Butcher and the Rye

Full on a Saturday night, the nightlife in Pittsburgh was pretty decent. People were walking the streets having a good time. You could hear sports fans enjoying the baseball game. I found myself at Butcher and the Rye, a James Beard Aware nominated spot. They also had their storefront open on a nice night. It was two stories and it was busy. The best solo seat at the bar was against the wall in the corner. It was better than being squeezed between two men that obviously knew each other.

The cute bartender alerted me that Angels Envy will plant a tree for every photo posted on social media with the hashtag #toastthetrees I had three. Three trees should be planted, Angels Envy.

Stuff’d Pierogi Bar

Not ready to head back to the hotel, I made my way to the pierogi bar. Many years ago, I had my first pierogi in Pennsylvania with some extended family. It was delicious. I even attempted to creating some on my own at home. It wasn’t as good. At the supermarket, you can find frozen pierogis as well. They can cure your craving temporarily. Stuff’d was a good choice. I was not the only one that thought so. It was pretty busy.

The staff was fun and had so much personality. The bartender was pretty proud of her apple concoction. Sitting at the bar and a supporter of women in the industry, I opted in for her sweet apple pie cocktail. I normally don’t do sweet but I thought I would try something different.

The pierogis were a bit much for someone that already had dinner. I didn’t expect them to be so big! I got six pierogis for with sour kraut and sour cream. I believe I asked for them fried but they came out boiled. I didn’t bother making a stink about it, I wasn’t going to finish them anyways. I got what I couldn’t finish in a to go box. It was perfect #OBBRoadTrip food.

Primanti Bros.

When I asked my own network as to where to go in Pittsburgh, Primanti Brothers was the only spot that was mentioned more than once. Before I hit the road to Arlington, Virginia, I stopped at Primanti Brothers. I parked in a neighboring lot and walked in to find the the grill to the left next to the long counter. Tables and chairs went all the way to the back. The menu and advertising boards are on the back wall.

When asked the tall lad behind the counter as to what he recommends, I went with the Pitts Burger and it is insane. I wasn’t even hungry but I had to try this. It is a towered sandwich with two hamburger patties, french fries, tomato and cole slaw. It was also under $10! Burgers are at least $15 in the Bay Area. This has two patties and then some. I was amazed. I also took this on the road along with the pierogies. By the way, they are open 24 hours with multiple locations.

Heinz

I recently watched The Food That Built America and Heinz‘ story was great. It is amazing when someone creates a product and it is in every single American household. I was geeking out to be on the grounds where history has been made. I drove thru the area and took some photos and took off to Arlington.

More to come from this #OBBRoadTrip. It has been a great experience.

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Brussels & Chili

Brussles and Chi-lay have made it to Hayward. Sadly, I haven’t been to either destinations but perhaps someday. In the mean time, I have channeled my inner cook and saved some money with buying groceries and making food at home. Check it out!

I remember trying brussel sprouts for the first time as a kid. It was a frozen brussels and cheese sauce meal and it was terrible. I didn’t try this cabbage family vegetable again until my roommate at the time made some in the oven. She simply had olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. It is so simple and tasty. I used garlic salt and I should have added a bit more vinegar but it was good regardless. It was a perfect meal to eat on a Meatless Monday while catching up on The Mayans with my current roommate.

It is now Wednesday and I have had my buddy, Nelson’s, chili for the past three meals. I am not one to eat the same thing over and over again but this was good. I also am not that big a fan of chili. The last time I had chili was in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. The Uber driver recommended I go to that fast food spot, Skyline Chili. It was definitely interesting. Chili was formed into bricks and heated while on the trails. A trip from California to Indiana is quite the trail. Be sure to pack your chili, pot and spoon.

I was honored to have been given my friend’s recipe and I customized it to my liking. I used ground turkey, which is quite rare for me. And I added a lot of chili powder. I continued to taste it while it was cooking in the crock pot. I joked with Nelly, aka Nelson, that there wouldn’t be anything left by the time it was done cooking! It was really good. Can you guess what’s for dinner tonight? Nelly also sent me a brine recipe for some chicken. I’m a lucky girl. Contact him to inquire about his catering services!

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The Saddle Rack – Fremont, California

Back in the Bay Area from Paris for my birthday, I wanted to celebrate with my friends. Last year, I didn’t travel for my birthday as I had a wedding the weekend before in Fort Bragg. We did a spa day and dinner in San Francisco and then Napa and a Michelin star dinner afterwards (38). This year, I had a few friends join me at The Saddle Rack in Fremont, California. I love country and this was a fun place to do it.

The Saddle Rack was the spot when I used to work at a place called City Beach on the other side of I-880. Coworkers and I would go every now and then and it was always a good time. We would watch the line dancing on one dance floor, dance on main floor, on stage and in the cage. The blonde, raunchy lead singer was replaced by a male lead singer and he hit some impressive long notes.

There are three bars, a barber chair where shots are poured into your mouth, a bull to ride, a patio and plenty of rest rooms. It’s a large venue with a parking lot to match. There’s a lot of space in the East Bay. You may have to drive or take an Uber (use code ‘cmo4h’ to get $2 off your first 3 rides) to get here but it’s a bit more affordable than the city. As long as you’re with good company, you could make any place in the world a good time.

Good times is exactly what we had that night. I am incredibly thankful for friends and coworkers who came to celebrate with me. It means a lot when friends cross bridges for you. You hear that people that live in the city (aka San Francisco) do not leave the city. My dear friend did and even rented a Zipcar to make it. Other friends crossed over from the Peninsula. My former Roomie has moved farther away to Pleasant Hill and left her toddler son at home. And my current roommate leaves the house at 5:45 every morning and was planning on waking up at 4 AM the next morning to walk 15 miles. None of these ladies had to do any of this but I am so grateful they chose to. I was definitely feeling the love. I even got into my car the next morning for work and saw someone has left a message on my window.

OBB Weekly – 10/1/19

Where has the year gone? It is officially October and third quarter brings quite a bit of uncertainty. Where will I be by the end of the month? Will I have a new job? Will the US President be impeached? What isn’t uncertain is that life goes on and there is so much to be thankful for. Life will always be a little bumpy but just ride it out.

TRAVEL

I have just returned from Paris for my second birthday in the City of Light. After my visit in 2017, it wasn’t one of my favorite cities for some reason. This time, my perspective changed a bit and I am not positive as to its reason. Regardless, my dear friend and I had a great time. We stayed in three different hotels, ran a half marathon at Disneyland Paris and had an amazing view of the Eiffel Tower for two nights. We enjoyed being able to stay two nights in one location. Thankfully, public transportation was close by as well.

EVENT PLANNING

While in Paris, it was nice to have received an inquiry from a wedding couple. The Groom’s location said Djibouti. “Oh, a destination wedding.” After confirming, the couple is located in the East Bay. Information was exchanged including availability, typical structure and rates and next steps. I look forward to following up with them today. They found me on Facebook. Thank goodness for social media!

Now taking 2019 and 2020 events!

FOOD

A spot that was highly recommended to us to go to in Paris was Angelina’s. With multiple locations, we ended up at the cafe next to the Luxembourg Palais and Gardens. We both ordered the multi-course brunch for 39 euros and it was completely worth it. I am not a big chocolate fan but I had to try their hot chocolate. The selections were incredible. We were pretty happy and ready to chase the meal with a walk around the gardens and the city. You’ll need it!

MOTIVATION

I finished my second half marathon! It definitely was not pretty. I definitely did not train as much as I did the last time. I ran six miles a few days before and I felt good. What’s another seven? This time, I took my time. I wasn’t going for a good time, just to finish. At mile seven, I thought “Oh, I could do another half.” Come mile 9, “I’m definitely not doing another half.” My calves started to tighten and I stopped when I saw my friend Nikki stop on our last mile. I didn’t know she was in that much pain until I saw the panic in her face and I started to cry trying to talk her through breathing with me. She apologized for making me cry but I couldn’t help it! My friend was in pain. With the help of many other runners, we eventually got her back on her feet and we finished. I met her at the finish line and we saw the medics. Her vital signs were fine. She just needed to rest.

Nonetheless, we finished. Nikki would like to possibly train for a full. I am going to stick with 5 and 10Ks. I could do those without too much strain and I still feel its an accomplishment. I have decided to trade in half marathons for golf. I work at a golf course on the weekends and I might as well take advantage of the benefits of free golf and access to the facilities. See you on the course!

Hangin’ with Stanley at the Safeway Open at Silverado, Napa

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Happy National Tourism Day

Visiting the Statue of Liberty for the first time. – February 2019

In honor of National Tourism Day, I want to thank my clients for their business, the opportunity to help them make new memories and their trust in me to guide them in the right direction, which is sometimes off the beaten path.

I want to thank my social media followers for their support. The likes, shares and comments has hopefully inspired you and your loved ones to travel, seek adventure and explore corners of the world you have only read in books or have seen on Instagram.

I want to thank my dear friends and family for their support and understanding as I seize the day and travel the world at every opportunity I can take advantage of. I am gone often and I sometimes miss important family events. Though funny sometimes, I appreciate friends not touching their food unless I have taken a photo of it first or standing out of the way when I want to take hotel photos of the room untouched after a long day of traveling. Yes, this is part of traveling with a Travel Agent and Travel Blogger. Thank you and I love you!

Travel Agents are rich in travel and experiences. We don’t make a ton of money so I appreciate those that understand that the service we provide is indeed a service. Calls to vendors, research, creating a customized itinerary within outlined constraints takes time and has value. Thank you for supporting your Travel Agent.

Now, where to next?!? It will be Maui for me for the Hawaii Food & Wine Festival.

The Brooklyn Bridge – September 2017

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#MeatlessMondays While Traveling

It has almost been a year and a half since I started participating in #MeatlessMondays. From previous posts, it is definitely doable. It is definitely doable while traveling. I was in London in August, Nevada, Utah and flying into the Bay Area from Washington D.C. earlier this month and a day of travel meatless returning from Paris.

Yes, they’re vegetarian in London.

You even do it while traveling?” Yes, with so many options available everywhere, it is easy to do. You just have to curb your cravings when you smell certain proteins roasted or served to the table next to yours, or even your dining partner. Just look away!

Nikki‘s burger at Le Montignon in Paris. Not meatless.

During the #OBBRoadTrip, I found myself in Elko, Nevada at a Burger King to try their Impossible Burger that is advertised during my SimsFreePlay game on my iPad. I enjoy a Whopper. I am definitely not anti-fast food as it is convenient and reasonably priced. It isn’t the healthiest but even salads aren’t the best choice if you drench it in dressing and topped with fried chicken. (Mmmm, fried chicken.)

The friendly gal at the counter handed me the familiar brown bag from the drive-thru window and I parked my friend’s Ford in an open parking space. The Impossible Whopper was huge! I can’t remember the Whopper being as big as it was. I like my Whoppers with mustard and opened the burger to reveal its contents. I would say it looks the same however the patty had very defined edges, not curved like a normal burger patty would be. I replaced the bun and took a bite. Honestly, it tastes just like their regular Whopper but maybe just a bit drier and tougher. I would definitely have it again if I was in the mood for a burger on a Monday.

In Lindon, Utah, my dear friend was so nice to have changed her dinner plans to accommodate me. She originally was going to make tacos but I said I couldn’t have meat and I would figure something out. She made homemade pasta alfredo with broccoli instead. Isn’t she a dream? Just look at that face! The whole family ate it and we had tacos the following day. I didn’t take any photos but I assure you it was tasty. Who doesn’t like butter?!?

Jewelry by Stella & Dot

One week later, I was traveling from Washington D.C. to the Bay Area. I needed something to eat on the plane and accidentally slept thru the food service portion of the flight. I rang for the United attendant and ordered a sandwich after an unexpected rude “What do you want?” response. I apologize for my inconvenience, Flight Crew, but it’s a long flight across the country. My sandwich came with meat. It was removed and then became meatless and OK to eat that Monday. I apparently also made it OK for the tone but there was no reason to start a scene. Maybe she hasn’t eaten herself, who knows?

Back in the Bay Area, my awesome coworker picked me up from the airport. We had an afternoon out to lunch and working together at my house. We went to Three in San Mateo. See post HERE from my previous visit. I assure you, it’s still a good spot to go for brunch. My coworker had the delicious fried chicken and waffle sandwich. I had a meatless salad and I ate every single morsel. It was devoured.

I plan on continuing with Meatless Mondays. WeWork just posted an article on how your food choices can reverse climate change. Have you noticed how hot it has been with record setting temps? Read article HERE. Wont you join me? It’s easier than you think, I assure you. Leave me a comment below if you’re already participating, considering it or committed! I would love to cheer you on!

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OBB Weekly – 9/24/19

Another year, another birthday, another birthday in Paris. If you have spent your birthday in the City of Light, please comment below. Unless I am in love with the city, I typically wouldn’t go back so soon. I last went to Paris in 2017. This trip was to do a RunDisney half marathon at Disneyland Paris. This city has grown on me. I am glad I gave Paris a second chance.

TRAVEL

In 2017, friends and I stayed at different locations. One was the Hotel Du Louvre and unfortunately it was going thru construction. I wanted to see how it turned out and it was gorgeous! They just reopened in May. I was jealous that it was not this shiny and new on that last birthday.

This trip, we stayed at three different hotels: Hotel Gabriel, the Vienna House Magic Circus and Accor’s Pullman a block away from the Eiffel Tower. For a boutique hotel, Hotel Gabriel was wonderful with friendly service to kick off the trip. Complimentary breakfast was also delivered to your room at no additional charge. The Magic Circus was not our first choice of hotel near Disneyland Paris. Don’t be surprised if your room comes with a bunk bed. The Dream Castle had water issues and we were relocated. Lastly, the Pullman Hotel was spacious, comfortable, classy and a great view of the Eiffel Tower. You can’t go wrong with its location.

EVENT PLANNING

My cousin met his fiance while stationed in Japan and they just posted their engagement photos in France. They were tastefully done. There are so many picturesque locations for this romantic city. The numerous bridges, the boats on the Seine and plenty of cafes to sit out front and feel alone together as the world walks by. I would love to do an event in Europe. Referrals are appreciated!

Luxembourg Palace and Gardens

FOOD

Oh, my, the food! My travel partner, Nikki, tried escargot for the first time which she loved. Sebastian at Le Lutetia also made the experience great. Thank you for the complimentary birthday champagne. We had crepes at Creperie Chez Georges. Don’t mind too much that they frown upon the whipped cream. They do offer it so, order it if you like. I did and it made the crepe so much better. Angelina’s is a must. And Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower is a pretty penny but so worth it. Each of these places will have its own blog post so be sure to come back!

Langoustine – Prepared as ravioli, parmesan cream, fine truffle flavored gelee.

MOTIVATION

Well, I finished my second half marathon in one year. After a terrible 5-miler a couple of weeks ago, a decent 6-miler earlier this week and feeling pretty good at mile 7 in Paris, I thought for a second that this WASN’T going to be my last half marathon. Then, when mile 10 was soooo very long, I confirmed, it was my last half. Now that I know I can do it, repeatedly, I am going to move on and try something else. I will probably continue doing 5Ks and 10Ks but I have decided to put more time into golf. It may not be fast paced enough for me but it takes practice and a different kind of movement and concentration to do well. My good friends, Stan and Nelly, have helped me already. I am looking forward to becoming decent and maybe have it help my business. Planning golf trips would be great! Golf courses are great wedding venues as well.

Second medal is for running two halves in one year, one in the US and one in France. Castle to Chateau Challenge.

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Paris Prep

My birthday weekend nails are drying as I write this before my Norwegian flight from Oakland to Paris takes off. My dear friend and fellow entrepreneur, Nikki, will he meeting me there and moreso on the later side. She is coming from wine country – from new world to old world in wine talk. It is her first trip to Europe. She is a Spanish Language Coach and majority of her travels have been to Spanish-speaking countries. I am looking forward to her joining me on my second trip to Paris.

Lunch in Walnut Creek, California – Stella & Dot Necklace

If you are following this blog, we are also going to be running a half marathon at Disneyland Paris. Do wish us luck! Nikki had surgery last week to remove a toenail after an accident while on a road trip with family. I also had a minor toe injury and frankly I have had some difficulty training. We both had to have basically emergency doctor visits the last two days just to complete a medical certificate form for RunDisney France. It was ‘if needed’ when we registered months ago and a checklist a few days ago said it was ‘required.’ We both got it done in time. It’s been quite challenging but I’m now a little hopeful to do a decent job on this run.

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The nails turn out alright, right? Thanks, Rose!

Let’s Hike – Pacific Grove & Lake Chabot

Members’ Lounge at TPC Stonebrae – Hayward, California

One Busy Bee strikes again! With taking on a weekend job in June, my weekends are full and I hit 10,000 steps in my eight-hour shift alone. The job also limited my training runs for my upcoming half marathon at Disneyland Paris. The combination of these obligations and traveling has made me also put my hikes once a month on the back burner. However, this month, I was able to get two hikes in. It helps when your roommate is training to walk 60 miles for her third Susan G. Koman 3-Day walk benefiting breast cancer research.

The first of two hikes this month was in Pacific Grove, California after my Bride and Groom’s wedding rehearsal at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Course in Seaside. I met my roommate for a hike along the coast and we were supposed to get three miles in, I think. Knowing I was going to be on my feet for ten+ hours at the wedding the following day and I did hill drills and jumped rope that morning, I wanted to take it easy.

People were enjoying the warm weather and were even in the water. My roommate and I climbed some rocks at Lovers Beach and there were an incredible amount of squirrels hanging out. They weren’t even scared of all the tourists.

The path was paved, on gravel, dirt and sometimes you were on the road. Drivers should be driving rather slowly along the wavy road and stay focused. The views are amazing so be sure to pull off every now and then, take a selfie and look for seals.

See the squirrels?
Yoga

The second hike this month was at Lake Chabot Regional Park again. Working from home majority of the time, Kim invited me to join her for her 5-mile hike. It was a very hot day and I previously had a terrible 5-mile run. Going on a hike was not appealing to me. I sent Kim a few texts saying that it was too hot and it was bad for our health. Hoping to go later, I bought me some time and prepped a Banana Cream Pie as our reward. It was delicious!

It was a very warm day and my water canister didn’t hold a lot but it kept it cool. I had to ration my water. The route was easy and I felt pretty out of shape but I got it done. The sun setting behind the hills and the water of the lake made it a nice day.

Now I have to catch up on other hikes to meet 12 hikes this year. I have to figure that out.

OBB Weekly – 9-17-19

Disneyland 2018

Can you remember the last time you were on a roller coaster? Was it at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom in Vallejo, California like me? How about the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk? Or was it the Guardians of the Galaxy ride at Disneyland? You anticipate the inevitable drop and rise again. Most people come to end of the ride laughing and is worth waiting in the long line again. Some will never do it again. Regardless, people learn something about themselves. This One Busy Bee is definitely on a roller coaster of uncertainty, fear but excitement. Comment below if you are experiencing something similar.

TRAVEL

Traveling cross-country for the first time was filled with highs and lows in terms of elevation, boredom and excitement and experience. Starting out in Monterey County California, going thru Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia, you see quite a bit of different terrains. I was in love with the sedimentary layers in the west, the cornfields were ongoing in the middle and the east coast was full of twists and turns and greenery.

I for sure thought Chicago was going to be my favorite destination on the trip, but Pittsburgh, Pennsylania was a pleasant surprise with great people, a cute and convenient downtown and good food options. For sports fans, the baseball and football stadiums are convenient. For party people, drink and help a group bike move around the city. See my #OBBRoadTrip video HERE to see it for yourself. More to come on each individual spots and experiences.

LGBTQ-friendly Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

EVENT PLANNING

Planning a road trip across the United States is an event in itself. I had to coordinate with family members and loved ones. I participated on conference calls as I was admiring long strips of road ahead of me and hills to the left. I even had to book another Marriott property when my plans changed with a friend. The Gwen was great. You can definitely have a wonderful cocktail party out on their rooftop bar.

Rooftop at The Gwen, Chicago, Illinois – September 2019

In Chicago, it appeared to be a triathlon was taking place as I was leaving. Road blocks were being set-up the day before and maps of black streets appeared on my phone. Be sure to plan ahead. Races take place all over the world and quite often. I will be participating in my last half marathon this coming Sunday at Disneyland Paris. Oh, boy. I surely didn’t plan and train well for that. Isn’t it funny how event planners can organize a wedding but sometimes their own personal life comes secondary?

13.1 miles of being in my own head. Oh, boy!

FOOD

Oh, the weight that has been gained eating fast food while on this #OBBRoadTrip. I have had McDonalds, Taco Bell, Burger King (their Impossible Burger tastes very similar!) and even a place called Sodalicious in Lindon, Utah. Fat and sugar, fat and sugar. I did manage to get a delicious salad at Zupa’s, also in Lindon. The roasted pepper soup was also completely devoured. BBQ from Smoking Jay’s in Omaha, Nebraska was quite tasty as well. For someone that wasn’t very hungry at the time but had to try something, it was an almost $30-meal with ribs, burnt ends, corn, cole slaw and a drink. Even in your food choices, there are things good for you and not so great for you. Bottom line, it was my choice as to what I consumed so there’s no one to blame but me. But, oh the temptations!

Zupa’s Cafe, Lindon, Utah
Smoking Jay’s – Omaha, Nebraska

MOTIVATION

During this trip, a lot of uncertainty has been occurring back home for me in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m a planner and have goals in mind. When things deter the plan from reaching those goals, it’s a little stressful.The end goal is to have property on Maui by 40. I turn 40 in September 2020. I technically could allow myself another year and still obtain the property by August 2021 but I am pretty eager. I have some decisions to make and I need to prepare for what it takes to make those decisions become a reality. I may not be J. Lo’s Hustler status, but the hustle is on. I just need to remember to enjoy the ride. Thank you for your support!

My gear for my birthday half marathon.

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Stella & Dot – yes, I sell jewelry too!