Time With My Little Loves

With trips to Disneyland, the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the Bay Aquarium and more since Nate and Arya have been born, we have created a lot of memories. They know Tia Bernie is One Busy Bee but I do drive out an hour just to spend a couple of hours with them when I can. It has been a couple of months since I have seen them with traveling to Fiji and New Zealand, etc. But today, I was able to see Nate play baseball for the first time.

Nate and Arya are my best friend’s kids, so we’re going to be close. It’s been great being able to see them grow up. I made the drive to the coastal town of Pacifica from Hayward across the San Mateo Bridge. Through Highway 1 and twists and turns thru the hills, I finally made it to the school. There were two baseball games going on at the moment. I had to carefully walk thru a little mud to get to the stands, aka the rough dirt patch next to the diamond. Being there reminded me of my days as a supportive wife-to-be of a traveling umpire. It was time to make new baseball memories.

I passed an adorable little girl with a unicorn hat and a long ponytail with wavy light brown hair sitting on a red folded up blanket. I had to do a double take and make sure I didn’t scare the wrong child with some love from Tia Bernie. The sweet sound of my name from my Princess Arya and a hug around my legs is a love I will never get sick of. I said hello to her daddy, her abuelo and the scorekeeper, her mother. I finally spotted Nate in the outfield and it was great to see the guy in uniform and playing with a team.

The blanket was eventually rolled out and Arya’s shoes were kicked off after we went to the snack tent for Sour Punch straws and Gatorade. We made a picnic along that fence adjacent to the baseline to first. Arya and I talked about how school was, that there’s a mean girl but that she has many friends so she’s not phased by this one individual. She also told me that she had a dream about Bevo. She and Nate really loved Bevo. They had Boston gear as well and gave me the wristlet I use all the time and the Bevo blanket I sleep with every night. They miss him too.

I loved spending time with them and they are growing up so fast. They aren’t babies anymore and you don’t have to use a certain tone with them. They understand everything you’re saying just fine. They’re silly, social and still want to ditch watching their brother play baseball and go to the play structure. When you decline as its your first time seeing him play, they understand and go ask daddy.

Nate played well. His mom loves baseball so I’m sure he gets pointers post practice and games. All the kids rotate and play all positions, he’s not afraid of the ball, can read the pitch and take instruction. I am pretty impressed. I look forward to watching him more thru the years.

I walked them to their van and Arya was attached to me. She clung to me and didn’t want get in the van. Christy mouthed ‘She really misses you‘ as she was not letting go. I handed all my stuff to Christy and picked up my 5.5-year-old princess. She held on and I teared up a bit. She checked on me every day in the early days of me mourning Bevo. She lost a friend too. This little girl is so full of love and I am lucky to be her Tia Bernie. We have plans to see each other again in the next couple of weeks so I promised her it won’t be too long.



Penguin Love

Never thought of myself a bird person. But those tubby, waddling black and white cuties that are called penguins are undeniably adorable. In fact, I love them even more because my late Boston Terrier, Bevo, looked like a penguin from behind when he was sitting down. I miss my guy. While booking excursions for my New Zealand cruise aboard the Golden Princess from Melbourne, Australia, the major thing I wanted to do was visit with the yellow-eyed penguins. Thankfully, I was able to see many penguins during this trip. If you love these funny guys as well, read on.

My traveling partner and roommate, Kim, and I love animals. Have you seen my post on getting free cuddles from the SF SPCA? We both miss Bevo very much and because she was good to him, I invited her to join me on this cruise. Besides my required penguin adventure excursion, we had many other animal related trips. We actually went to two zoos on this trip, saw penguins in the wild, attempted to swim with Hector dolphins and we even petted a bird while in the middle of the ocean! A friend spotted a tired bird on the promenade and comforted it while it rested.
After a non-stop flight to Melbourne, Australia from San Francisco via Qantas, we stopped at the Sea Life Aquarium. At first I wasn’t too excited about going as I could see animals at home. I wanted to see what else Melbourne had to offer but nothing was calling out to me. Behind a long line as we did not pre-pay for tickets, we eventually made it in. I have never seen that large of a crocodile before! Huge sting rays and sharks occupied the same tank. And then I saw it! A large amount of emperor penguins behind a glass. The area was much larger than what we have at the Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. I have never been so close to these large birds. Thru the glass, I was only a couple feet away. They were so awesome and quite big! Much bigger than Bevo. I watched them waddle towards the pool in groups for fish and saw how they swam and dove in the water. I was about to walk away but spotted a momma bird and a baby gray penguin in it’s own area. OMGoodness! Cuteness overload. How smart of Sea Life to save the best animals to the end. Of course, I had to take a photo with the HUGE stuffed penguin. That would be quite the carry on.


Missing our opportunity to explore Melbourne’s nightlife with an 11-hour nap, we had the energy to walk from the Empire Apartments on Elizabeth Street to Vincent the Dog for brunch, then to the Melbourne Zoo. There we booked an experience of meeting kangaroos. They were such cool animals. And what better mammal to visit with while in Australia. But you know what I really wanted to see, right? The penguins! We again saved it for the last. At the entrance of the area, there was a sign up sheet to promise to blow balloons and not balloons at your next outdoor event. As an Event Planner, I signed it. That’s a good idea. So much plastic ends up in our oceans that it ruins the home of many lives. Very sad.


And then I saw this guy. I have never seen a blue penguin and they’re the smallest of the species. He was alone, out of the water, speaking and waddling. So darn cute I couldn’t contain myself. See video of him soon on my YouTube channel. Penguin sightings two days in a row. Melbourne highlights, in my opinion!

We then boarded our cruise ship and had four days at sea before our first excursion. Two nights before we saw land, we received a notice at our door that our yellow-eyed penguin adventure was cancelled due to not hitting the minimum required attendees for the tour. WHAT?!? Why wouldn’t a few more of the 2,000 guests on board want to go see these cuties? I was pretty upset, even dropped to my knees at my bed and asked why. Kim found another tour available that did allow you to see penguins. We booked that immediately. OK, that made me feel better.
Finally reaching port, I fell asleep on the way to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony. We parked and probably awoke due to my excitement. We all stopped off at the toilets, then met in the gift shop. We were moved into a screening room for a short intro the colony. We passed through large photos outlining facts about the penguins, how they mate, their diet and their feathers. We were then taken outside to meet our guide. The birds are nocturnal so they were not out and about waddling around. The colony is a safe haven for them and they have little huts they come home to after being out in the water nearby. We were taken to a shed that allows you to peek in these little homes. You are asked to be quiet and not use your camera so unfortunately I have no photos of these adorable little things. Most of the huts had one penguin but there was one with two penguins in the hut. They were so cute and looked so peaceful. One thing I didn’t expect to discover was how stinky they were. I had to plug my nose as I adored them. You’ve been warned.





The colony has evening tours where guests can sit in stands and watch them as they come in from the water. We didn’t see any traveling in but did see some seals on the rocks relaxing and scratching themselves against the rocks. Not that they weren’t also adorable, we see several sea lions in San Francisco, especially at Pier 39.
The next time I saw these adorable blue penguins were unexpected. At our first port, Akaroa, we were scheduled to swim with the smallest dolphins in the world, the Hector Dolphins. We took the tender from the ship to the dock on an overcast morning. We explored the shops and cafes along the water. Our ticket as to where to meet our group on the pier wasn’t very clear. Thankful for a Princess crew member, he escorted us to where we needed to go. Several people were waiting there and we took a seat. We were then later advised that we needed to check in in the other room. Moving back into the original room, we were introduced to the staff and given wet suits. Use of the restroom was recommended before getting into the suits. You wouldn’t want to swim in your own urine, right? Putting on the wetsuit was a first for me. Those things will make you feel like a sausage!
All suited up, notified of the dos and don’ts, we jumped on the boat. We traveled slow at first out of the dock, then picked up some speed. We hit some bumps, people squeeled with excitement with every leap and paused when we spotted something in the water. The first thing we spotted were two sets of three blue penguins! I was so excited to see them out and about in the wild. How awesome. It was definitely a penguin filled trip so far.
With the main goal to swim with Hector dolphins, we did see a few. However, they didn’t stick around the boat long enough to swim with. We left the cove entirely and went out into open water. It got really rocky and I started to get a little sick. I did my best to keep my eye on the rocks at the distance to minimize the sickness but I was not happy. We spotted more dolphins and it was great to see them but I stayed seated and let Kim try to take the photos. At one point, we did find some and decided to get in. There were about six of us that went into the water. Oh boy, the water would have been really cold without the wet suit. I was impressed. Some water snuck in thru the neckline and traveled its way down to the lady parts. It was a shock! Then it ended up at my feet. The dolphins didn’t stay to hang out but an albatross with its beautiful, long wingspan was very interested in us. We got back in the water and all I wanted to do was get back on land.

Back on land and in Wellington, we opted out of an excursion in the capital city of New Zealand. We decided to explore downtown, check out their cable car that took you to the top of the Botanical Gardens and go to the Wellington Zoo. Unfortunately, no penguins but they did have their own area. I would have been super spoiled to see even more of my favorite animal but a girl can’t have everything. Thank you, Australia and New Zealand, for the encounters.
Where have you spotted penguins in the wild?
Which are you favorite penguins?
Book your animal loving itinerary with me.

OBB Weekly – 1-22-19

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King Jr. 

Every time you turn on the news, do you feel it’s often depressing by the terrible things that people do? Or even reading your social media feed, why do the good people you call friends fall victim to unexplainable acts? Does it make you angry? Sad? Motivated?

Our current President wants to exclude and divide, while I have been raised to believe that America loves and accepts all. My parents are immigrants, as majority of us are or are descendants of one. Had they not immigrated and taken advantage of the land of opportunity, I wouldn’t be writing with the same perspective today. With yesterday being Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday and Oakland-native Kamala Harris announcing her running for President in 2020, it is time to fight back and make changes with love.

Heading quickly into the month of love and Valentine’s Day cards and candy already stocked on shelves at your local supermarket, here are some things that have embraced change that people love.

Share the Love – Stella & Dot
TRAVEL

Sadly, I have a friend and fellow blogger that I have not yet met IRL (in real life) that was scared when President Trump was elected. He lives in the South and it seemed the white supremacists came out full force. Threatening and rallying pamphlets and flyers were distributed and I feared for him. You must have seen the crazy, multiple videos on social media of open acts of racism recorded in public places! How about the recording of a mother not wanting her child to play with another kid at the public park because of the color of her skin. I have seen many videos of verbal altercations between shoppers at a grocery store and orders to ‘go back to their country.’ I recall one even taken place in Daly City, the city where this 100% Filipina was born. That’s US territory, FYI. This Pinay visited the South last summer and I was pleased.

Not to say there isn’t still work to do, a lot has changed since the days of slavery. It made me feel extremely uncomfortable to walk the grounds and see the slave quarters were, then take a tour of the grand Boone Hall Plantation. I was with my 12-year-old nephew and he is half Filipino and half white. Though a sad place to be and he is now immersed in the South as a resident of North Carolina, I hope he can see that times have changed for the better and he supports further progress. We also toured Charleston, South Carolina and had a spontaneous trip to Savannah, Georgia. Besides good food, that Southern Hospitality is very real. For an area and people with so many scars, it’s astounding at the level of warmth and welcome we received. I am a big fan. We didn’t get to visit Atlanta but after all, tomorrow is another day.

Do you travel to places specifically for its historical significance?
Did you have a physical or emotional reaction when you did? 
If so, what was that like?

CONCIERGE

What should we do? Where should we go?” This was a constant question from hotel guests at the Argonaut Hotel in San Francisco to me as a Concierge. My response was a rapid fire of questions to help me narrow down an endless number of options. I would sometimes go into describing the different neighborhoods and what to expect. Rebuilding after the 1906 earthquake and again from the 1989 earthquake, the city has gone thru some changes. Long before the tech companies built bullet-shaped (or however you interpret it) buildings downtown, the Summer of Love in 1967 brought young folks from all over the world. I would always suggest the SF Love Tours for an intimate city tour in a VW Love Bus. It’s a groovy experience. I would definitely mention to guests of the Haight & Ashbury. Some hippies had political agendas and were against the Vietnam War, some hippies came for the music and art and/or both. But it was about love. That love was brought back to their cities, states, countries and invoked change. San Francisco and the Bay Area is definitely a city where change can start. Thank you Oakland’s own, Kamala Harris.

What city have you been to that embraces its history but was nothing like you imagined before arriving?
What kind of cultures or traditions have you brought back home with you?

EVENT PLANNER

There is nothing like same-sex marriage that goes hand-in-hand with change and love. Am I right? Or am I right? As a Wedding Planner, and one that has yet to work with an LGBTQ couple, I am in love with the amount of fierce support and persistence for it to be legal. Permanen
tly. Having a total fear of commitment, it was so hot and cold for a minute but thankfully, California now offers same-sex marriages since June 28, 2013.

Were you always pro same-sex marriage?
If not, what made you change your mind?

FOOD

“You have a good appetite!” says my Papa Bear on my most recent visit to Maui for the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival. I was trying not to take that as “Oh, Sweetheart, you’re getting fat.” My Lola on the other hand would say it without hesitation and a smile. What can I say? I love to eat. And I love to eat well. But I also need to change my eating habits if I am going to see major changes during this bodybuilding.com #BBComChallengeSeries fitness challenge. I am on my 9th month of doing #MeatlessMondays and I even tried going vegan two days a week for two months. I decided to stop the vegan efforts as I was going thru the sickness of my Bevo, my Boston Terrier. He actually ended up passing away the following day and I wouldn’t have been able to go thru the stress of thinking about what I can and cannot consume (if anything) as I was just trying to keep it together emotionally. You can change what you put in your body for the love of your body, then it’s crazy how the love and loss for your long-time companion and heartbreak can make you avoid food entirely. Just remember to love what you do, know that change is inevitable and possible and know that beignet isn’t going to eat itself. Plus, it’s not as tasty the next day. Seize the beignet!

Parish Café, Healdsburg, California

The Blue Mermaid, San Francisco, California
Greens Restaurant, San Francisco, California

What diet changes have you made this new year to help love yourself more?
Been to Cafe du Monde in New Orleans?
Did you go twice in one trip? Guilty.

MOTIVATION

I’m still thinking about those beignets. Aren’t you? I am also still thinking about how much I am going to love the list of accomplishments from 2019. I have my list of goals for 2019 published, I am back to hitting the gym or being active at least six days a week post-half marathon, I have a plan to eat better (less the beignets), I have revived my Stella & Dot business and am working with my coach and I have to do my part to get some changes made in next election. Along the way, I am hoping to make this motivation contagious. It does make me even more motivated when friends tell me that I have inspired them. Thank you, Girls!

Inspired? Looking to meet other like-minded women? I am picking up my Women Wednesday events but it has to be in the Palo Alto area as my day job is now located there. Join us on Wednesday, January 31st at 7:30 PM at NOLA Restaurant. Contact me if you’d like to join! Limited seating available. Not hosted.

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OBB Weekly – 1-15-19

Every day is a gift. I lost my Lolo, grandfather in Tagalog, six years ago. He lived with leukemia for many years. In his memory, I signed up for my first half marathon with Team in Training benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that took place Saturday, January 12, 2019. It was at Walt Disney World in Florida. As a Certified Disney Travel Agent, it was perfect for this One Busy Bee. I was able to visit parks I have never been to before, do something big to keep Lolo’s memory alive and hopefully find a cure and help fund treatments for those with blood cancer. It has been an amazing journey.


TRAVEL

Florida gets cold! I initially packed shorts and planned to run the morning after our arrival with my running partner, Nelson, who also signed up with Team in Training. Our friend, Sandra Eudy, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease last year. With the time difference, I didn’t make the run. It was a bit ambitious of me. With the long day ahead of exploring the Magic Kingdom Disney Park. It was best that I didn’t and avoid the risk of getting sick for the half marathon. I doubled up on layers for that day and eventually rocked my unique Disney Princess tank tops the following two days. Thankfully it wasn’t 46 degrees the morning of the run. The sun came up and it didn’t help my time but I’m glad it wasn’t super cold. Be sure to check the weather often and pack accordingly. Like in San Francisco, dress in layers. It’s better than bringing a big North Face jacket everywhere.


Are you cold like me all the time?
What is the hottest and coolest place you’ve been to?

CONCIERGE

My time as an on-site Concierge has come to an end. However I am still able to sell my employer’s products. At Walt Disney World, there are so many options. One thing I did notice was Cast Members, what Disney calls their employers, walking about the park as personal guides. If being a Disney expert is your desire, let’s talk about adding this to your trip.

Another thing I saw were groups, besides the Team in Training, groups. I was traveling with a total of four adults and it was a lot of fun. I saw groups with matching but personalized shirts, backpacks and even groups from Brazil and Italy. Be sure to think about recruiting friends and family to join you your vacation. Group rates usually include discounts and special incentives. Plus, dividing the cost of a more spacious hotel room or suite helps keep costs down. Let me help you with this. More the merrier!


Solo travelers are big trend recently. Do you prefer it?
If so, what kind of travel do you like to do alone?

EVENT PLANNER

I would LOVE to work a Disney wedding! Disney does such an amazing job of creating a unique experience and having your dreams come true. Everywhere I turned had beautiful backdrops, space that didn’t need too much work to transform into a fantasy destination and their customer service is great. Whether you’re looking for a small elopement, grand wedding or elopement, Disney has it all. I even saw a couple on the half marathon that stated they were on their honeymoon. Quite the active future is ahead of them. I would be happy to be your Wedding Planner & Coordinating Cast Member.


If you HAD to choose, would you prefer to have a Disney character or Elvis marry you?

FOOD

Plan to get a Dole Whip if you haven’t had one. I first tried it at Disneyland in November as my roommate, Kim, loves them. I got mine as a float with pineapple juice. This time at Animal Kingdom, I opted of not getting one as I wasn’t too thrilled with my initial experience. But I had several bites of Kim’s and finished off Sandra’s as I think it’s better without the extra juice. I now know how I like it. I also recommend pre-ordering the all food items at the parks if it’s available. Why wait in line? You’ll just hangry!

Other spots I recommend getting reservations at Be Our Guest in Magic Kingdom. Dine in the grand hall, the West Wing or another room, plus you get to meet the Beast! I was super excited. It’s an excellent costume. The food was fantastic and three courses with the gray stuff. It’s delicious!

Outside of the park, go to The Boathouse at Disney Springs. Kim has the best crab cakes I’ve ever had. The poke, mussels and my filet mignon was fantastic. Cocktails were creative, service by Scott was fantastic, there was live music and we sat in a speed boat! So cool. I can go on and on about Walt Disney World’s food like the lazy river. Sign up to get notices of these posts in your inbox by adding your email using the form on the left hand side.


What is the most unique dining setting you’ve encountered?

MOTIVATION

Now that I have been to four Walt Disney World parks and Disneyland recently being more knowledgeable with first-hand experiences and finished my first half marathon without stopping, I am motivated and feel I can do anything when I put my mind to it. I went far – far east on the other side of the country and 13.5 miles to be exact. What now? Well, a Disney Cruise Line experience will most likely take place in 2020 and Nelson will be joining me on the next Bodybuilding.com challenge. I have a week-long Fiji familiarization trip in a few weeks and Melbourne, Australia and New Zealand cruise aboard the Princess cruise ship, Golden, in March. I am motivated to get this body in great shape. I have made it a goal to get back down to 18% body fat but I want to see some major changes. Once I have recovered from this soreness, I will be back at the gym before work. Want to join us on this journey? Before photos are needed to posted to your bodybuilding.com account by the last Sunday of January. Join us!

In regards to fundraising and supporting a non-profit, I am still waiting to hear back from Wonder Dog Rescue in San Francisco. They do a lot with Boston Terriers and I miss my Bevo so much. I might do another Team in Training event but I’m not sure. I will sign up for the Teal Run again benefiting ovarian cancer research. Kim’s late mother had ovarian cancer and there are very few fundraising events to support this particular kind of cancer. If you know of any, please do let us know. Kim has already signed up for her third 60-mile Susan G. Koman walk later this year. Sponsor her HERE.

It wouldn’t be One Busy Bee-like of me if I didn’t mention other recent goals. Besides my #goalby40 of having property on Maui, I have added buying myself a white 911 Porsche. And I have a goal of earning that incentive trip to Mexico from Stella & Dot. Would you like to host a trunk show and earn $100s in free jewelry and accessories for having a girls’ night? Contact me! My best friend said she’d love to be my plus one. We would leave on her birthday but she has to help get me sales. Maybe that will really motivate her to get her passport! If you haven’t gotten yours, what are you waiting for???

What is your dream car?
What motivates you?
Would you like to go for a spin in my (soon-to-be) new Porsche sometime?


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OBB Weekly – 1-8-19

It’s a new year and a lot of changes have occurred. My draft for the OBB Weekly post for December 18th was made the day before my beloved dog, Bevo, passed away. This post in a step in moving on and forward as it crushed me. A part of me will always be missing and searching for his love, heavy breathing and snoring. I have modified that posting and adapted it here for the first OBB Weekly post of the new year. At the time, we were house and cat sitting in the beachy town of Santa Cruz for friends vacationing in Mexico. From their social media posts, they look like they’re having a blast. Bevo and I always enjoyed getting out of town. Learn what you can do in Santa Cruz County! Thanks to the VisitSantaCruz Twitter and Instagram accounts for love on my posts.

Not Santa Cruz but not too far off. Bevo’s last trip to the beach. His favorite.



Travel
I have been coming to Santa Cruz County for ages. My dear cousin swam for the Banana Slugs of UC Santa Cruz, friends and I have had beach days at Seabright and dinner dates on the pier took place with sightings of sea life below us. There is so much to do!

You can camp, hike, go to Roaring Camp for a private event and ride trains including meeting Thomas the Train. There are wineries, a downtown area where you can watch the Santa Cruz Warriors basketball team and visit Capitola where I send guests to see the beach house version of the colorful San Francisco Painted Ladies. Looking to learn how to surf? This is totally the spot.


What do you expect to do for a beach vacation?

View of the pier and the Beach Boardwalk from the Dream Inn.


Concierge
Now, no longer working a desk at the Argonaut Hotel as of Sunday, January 6th, I can still provide the same products I did as if I did. Hotel guests from all over the world mostly want to visit wine country, Napa and Sonoma, when they come to California. We offer tours to Yosemite, Monterey and Carmel and Muir Woods. Sadly, Santa Cruz doesn’t get as much attention.

When guests want to do the coastal drive down to Los Angeles, I definitely recommend them stopping in Santa Cruz and visit the Boardwalk if they have children and Harbor Cafe to dine at a spot where locals go. Their huevos rancheros are delicious and they’re always busy and dog friendly. Get their peanut butter cookies for your pup.

I had the pleasure of touring the Dream Inn located right on the beach, has the tallest tower in Santa Cruz and is walking distance to the Boardwalk and the pier. Talk about convenience!

When you travel, do you take advantage of the Concierge services if they are available?


Event Planning
If you’re looking for a unique venue for a company dinner, intimate wedding and dinner reception, consider Shadow Brook Restaurant in Soquel, California. Way south of San Francisco’s cable cars, take the restaurant’s 6-person cable car down to the venue. You may take the stairs as well and enjoy the greenery and fountains along the way. 

Shadow Brook has many different rooms with a cabin but greenhouse like feel. Get married under large skylights or near the Soquel Creek, have a company dinner in the cellars room or have a romantic table for two on a landing on a staircase with a view of their stone fireplace. They do not have room for a typical standing reception and dancing but a first dance and father/daughter dance has been done in the space near their proposed sweetheart table.

More write-ups on my Santa Cruz Co
unty venue tours are to come! Plus, they are much more affordable than San Francisco venues if you’re looking to save money. You can have a destination wedding without having to book a flight.

Have you been to a wedding in Santa Cruz county?
If so, where?



Food
If it’s not a funnel cake from the Beach Boardwalk, I seem to be consuming Mexican food. Upon arrival, I stopped at El Jardin and ordered their special of the day, a pulled pork tamale with rice and beans. What I really longed for was my favorite dish already mentioned, the Huevos Rancheros from Harbor Cafe. I called in an order and Bevo and I walked down to pick it up. It was just as tasty as I remembered it.

Not hankering for a deep fried Oreo or Twinkie? Other spots worth checking out is Oswald’s, my friend’s favorite spot. The Crow’s Nest for sunset views and a busy bar with occasional live music. Lago de Como for Italian, who has the best carbonara I’ve had outside of Italy since I was there in 2016. Find out what else I thought was delicious there by clicking the link. This list of 50 Foods to Try in Santa Cruz Before You Die by Spoon University is also a great resource. Sounds perfectly fattening.

Are you a funnel cake fan?
If so, how do you like it?


Motivation
Some days I don’t talk about my blog to anyone or on social media. Then I look at my stats and I have a good day. I would say I am putting quite the effort to add unique content and using my own photos given my One Busy Bee schedule. I have had some successes but would love to have the attention of other bloggers without paying for the attention. How do I do it? I have received some tips from successful bloggers and it takes a lot of time. Reading this article of 9 Proven Tips to Get More Social Media Followers is a good reminder (Search Engine Journal). 

Almost a month ago, I invested some time in growing my Pinterest. I have 1,700 pins. Verbal Gold Blogger has 16,000 Pinterest followers. I have a sad 173. Verbal Gold Blogger pins graphics of her blog content. I don’t have a header on my blog posts. Should I? I should also update my Advertise page. 

What tips do you have to increase your followers?



ALSO, HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my late Lolo.
I miss our silly times like this. But definitely miss and think about you every single day. With wearing your wedding ring every day since you left to doing my first half marathon on Saturday in your memory (and in honor of other strong people like you.) I hope you’re proud of me and I will try to remember just how blessed I am because of your love, faith and you praying for me multiple times per day. I love you.

Honolulu Airport – 2006




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Hike Once a Month

Climbing mountains on the daily.

One of this One Busy Bee‘s favorite thing to do is kill two birds with one stone – be productive and have fun, drink wine but get educated, or travel to hike. I completely slacked in 2018 in getting many hikes in. But as it is in writing, one of my 2019 goals is to hike once a month. I have also signed up for the Bodybuilding.com challenge #BBComChallengeSeries and I want to be in the best shape of my life come March and boarding that Golden Princess cruise ship in Melbourne, Australia to New Zealand. January’s hike is scheduled for Sunday, January 27th in the East Bay. Let me know if you’d like to join the group. The more the merrier!

Montara Mountain Trail, Pacifica, California

Lake Chabot hike with Bevo, supporting Kim in getting some miles in in preparation for her 60-mile Susan G. Koman Walk in San Diego, California. – Castro Valley, California

Bevo tuckered out in the heat.

Kim & I with goals to hike to the Hollywood sign. We were just a tad bit off. – Los Angeles, California – March 2018

Hikes: DONE
January 2019
February 2019

Happy Hiking!!!

Related posts:
Kauai – Day 3
Let’s Hike – January 2017
Let’s Hike – 2015

Yoga n Champagne

Not a typical combo for yogis or wine-Os but it happened. I can’t take it back. I am so far behind in posting on my travels that I need to catch up. Saved as one of the first photos in the Favorites album on my phone are these beauties. Yoga in Champagne, France.

I met my friend, Lisa, through one of the monthly Women Wednesday events I used to throw at my restaurant in San Francisco. There isn’t anything this girl doesn’t do. She’s a yoga instructor, aesthetician and sommelier. I attended an event she was working and she mentioned she and her boyfriend were going to Paris. I jokingly asked if I could crash her vacation. No joke, I did, but I brought my dear friend, Mercedes with me too, plus mi Papichulo (a nickname I call a dear Puerto Rican friend of mine).

Before I fainted on the airplane to Europe (that’s another story for another time), I thought it’d be good for Mercedes and Lisa to meet. Papichulo lived in Orlando so that we would be difficult to arrange. We had lunch at The Rotunda restaurant at the top of Neiman Marcus in San Francisco. Lisa invited us to both participate in a 30-day yoga challenge. Far from being a yogi and always down for a challenge, I accepted. As did Mercedes. We finished the challenge and holy moly my poses did not look cute whatsoever. Mercedes is always adorable so see her photos, not mine. But that is how these photos came to be. I have not progressed in my yoga practice but I do have fun taking photos in fun places, and getting my girlfriends to do it too.

Lisa & I, Mendocino, California – February 2018

Venice Canals, Los Angeles, California – March 2018

With Bevo – Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California – March 2018

Forestville, California – March 19, 2018

Lisa & I – Madame Tussuads, San Francisco, California – March 23, 2018

Taking a break from the segway night tour – Pier 5, San Francisco, California – May 3, 2018

Harder while balancing on a log – Yosemite, California – May 2018

First time this native has been to Mosaic Steps – San Francisco, California – July 4, 2018

Polka dots & heels & a wine glass – Grigich Hills Winery – Napa, California – August 10, 2018

Hearst Castle – San Simeon, California – August 11, 2018

Boone Hall Plantation – Mount Pleasant, South Carolina – August 2018

Teal Run benefiting ovarian cancer – Campbell, California
September 29, 2018

Yoga or Champagne?

2019 Goals

Fort Bragg, California
2018 has had its highs but sadly it ended on a very low low with losing my dog, Bevo, that has been by my side for 10 years, to being deceived by a man I loved for several years. I loved him more than the man I actually married. But my dog, my co-pilot, the closest thing that would make me feel like a mother is gone. When you are so down, it’s hard to look at the positives that has happened to me this year. But tomorrow starts a new year.

2019 will be my year and I will welcome whatever the universe has in store for me with open arms. But you better believe that I will be doing my damndest to get what I want. I may not have the best dog in the world, the love, the ring, the marriage or the Princess that that man promised me, but I will strive to live a full life as if Bevo is still here reaping the benefits. He was a very loved, spoiled and well-traveled dog.

Here are my goals for 2019.
  1. Down to 18% body fat by the cruise in March in New Zealand and keep it there. Currently no where near this as of 12/14/19.
  2. Pay off credit cardIn progress as of 12/14/19.
  3. Build savings amount back upComplete
  4. Do at least three more weddings – 2 of 3 booked
  5. Book at least four cruises for clients1 of 4 as of 12/14/19.
  6. Get media passes for two more eventsHFWF19 & Rock Wall Wine Company Urban Paradise
  7. Get at least 27,000 blog hitsCurrently at 19,123 a of 12/14/19.
  8. Hit 1,000 followers on OBB twitterCurrently at 483 a of 12/14/19.
  9. Hike once a month – Done: Jan., Feb., Mar.,
  10. Volunteer to benefit Boston Terriers/dogs and keep Bevo’s memory aliveDid so with Wonder Dog Rescue.
  11. Do at least one other 10K race – Scheduled for 3/31 in San Jose, CA.
  12. Empower more women – Women Weds., be more involved and be a promoter/supporter of women in/fresh out of bad relationships. – WW event scheduled for 1/30
  13. Travel at least once a month – Done: Jan – Orlando, Feb – Fiji, Chicago, Albany, NY, NYC, Mar – Melbourne, Australia, New Zealand, June – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, July – Las Vegas, NV, Aug – London, Sept – Paris, Oct – Maui, Nov – the Midwest, Dec – TBD
  14. Heal, be patient and ready and love myself
Downtown Sonoma, California

What are your goals?

Bevo Manzano – October 14, 2008 – December 18, 2018

Bevo Manzano

10/14/08 – 12/18/18





Tuesday, 12/12/18
This smiling cuteness that is @bevotheboston has been at my side loving me unconditionally for 10 years. He’s my road dog, my co-pilot, the ONLY snorer I can sleep thru, he knows my every secret, the only one who knows when I cry myself to sleep and comforts and understands me without saying a word. He puts his paw on me and gives me a hug when I’m sad saying ‘It’s ok, Mommy.” Mind you, I have had to come to grips that I would never have a child of my own. So when people say he’s just a dog, they don’t understand. He’s not JUST a dog. He’s as close to a child I may ever get so I might as well love him as hard and as long as I can. I’m his whole world. It’s the least I can do. This year has been a lot to handle with his development of separation anxiety, getting hit by a car (miraculously walking away without a scratch!), shoulder issues, ear infections, a UTI and now trembling and shaking, unable to go up and down the stairs without assistance, falling, walking and pacing in circles like a gold fish and not wanting to play with his toys. The fact that the latest symptoms developed in just the last few weeks seems like things are happening very rapidly. It wasn’t until the doctor called last night for an update and recommended that we see a neurologist as the meds he is on have not helped the trembling and his mobility. A consultation has been scheduled for Thursday in Campbell. A loved one will be joining me as I have been a complete wreck. I can’t do that appointment alone. I’m housesitting with him in Santa Cruz and normally I’d be out and about exploring. Instead, all I want to do is be with my Puppy Love and make sure he has the best life and I’m not leaving him when he doesn’t feel good. Thank you to those that have reached out and commented. Your support and positive thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Fingers crossed for some positive news come Thursday.


Sitting like the King of my Heart in Santa Cruz, California
December 13, 2018

Saturday, 12/15/18
10:58 PM
This smiling cuteness has been at my side loving me unconditionally for 10 years. He’s my road dog, my co-pilot, the ONLY snorer I can sleep thru, he knows my every secret, the only one who knows when I cry myself to sleep and comforts and understands me without saying a word. He puts his paw on me and gives me a hug when I’m sad saying ‘It’s ok, Mommy.” Mind you, I have had to come to grips that I would never have a child of my own. So when people say he’s just a dog, they d
on’t understand. He’s not JUST a dog. He’s as close to a child I may ever get so I might as well love him as hard and as long as I can. I’m his whole world. It’s the least I can do. This year has been a lot to handle with his development of separation anxiety, getting hit by a car (miraculously walking away without a scratch!), shoulder issues, injuring himself getting past his baby gate, ear infections, a UTI and now trembling and shaking, unable to go up and down the stairs without assistance, falling, walking and pacing in circles like a gold fish and not wanting to play with his toys. The fact that the latest symptoms developed in just the last few weeks seems like things are happening very rapidly. The doctor called last night for an update and recommended that we see a neurologist as the meds he is on have not helped the trembling and his mobility. A consultation has been scheduled for Thursday in Campbell. A loved one will be joining me as I have been a complete wreck. I can’t do that appointment alone. I’m housesitting with him in Santa Cruz and normally I’d be out and about exploring. Instead, all I want to do is be with my Puppy Love and make sure he has the best life and know I’m not leaving him when he doesn’t feel good. Thank you to those that have reached out and commented. Your support and positive thoughts and prayers are appreciated. Fingers crossed for some positive news come this Thursday.

The day I decided to call the doc and see what’s going on with my Baby’s shakes and drunken walks.
December 6, 2018 

Socks from Kim. They’re perfect and will be worn during my half marathon at Walt Disney World on January 12, 2019. He will be with me.

My iPhone wallpaper. Love his smile.

Catching up with Stan at Tower Grill in Danville, California.

Visiting Lola. She said, ‘Let him run around!’

Princess sighting.

Big truck, little dog

Selfie

My goofy love

In Santa Cruz and always at my side. After he passed, I returned to my spot on the couch a couple of days later and I could have sworn he snored under my feet like he was there again. 

Bevo update:

Monday, 12/17/18
6 pm
After Kim found him Superman’d out on the bathroom floor and looking like he was unable to move, blood on the floor, broken water bowl too, crunchy fur from excessive drooling they say from stress. Thankfully I had just pulled into the garage when she called. We took him to Sage emergency in Dublin. CJ, the BF (details given another time), met us there. We waited for 3.5 hours to be seen and the doc said it could be a brain tumor or inflammation in the brain. I had already scheduled a neurologist appointment for Thursday morning but the doc said it’d be best to go now. I took him down to Sage Campbell, crying uncontrollably, apologizing for leaving him alone today and that I loved him so much. In Campbell, I got another opinion from another doctor that it could be a brain issue. He was drooling, he couldn’t stand up, he keeps knuckling his left foot unable to walk, paces in circles to the right if he does get up…it broke my heart. In order to be seen right away by the neurologist, he has to stay overnight and they would give him a Valium and some fluids. I carried him like a baby, heart to heart, kept him close to me til it was time for him to go in the back. I painfully had to consider options and sign resuscitation paperwork as the fluids could put more pressure on his brain and he possibly wouldn’t make it thru the night. I had to hand him over to the the vet tech and the memory of him being carried away from me can make me shake. I couldn’t turn the ignition key bc I didn’t want to leave him. Christy recommended leaving the sweater I was wearing so he could smell me and hopefully not feel alone. I went back in and they delivered it to his kennel. I eventually made it back to the house in Santa Cruz where I’m housesitting and snuggled with one of his toys CJ got him for his recent 10th birthday. It was 1:30 am.

Heart to heart with my Heart.

My first night without Bevo as he had to stay over at Sage. I only had his alligator to hold on to.

Tuesday, 12/18

7 am
Woke up sad and to the neurologist saying she observed Bevo and recommended an MRI to see what was going on with my baby, possible diagnoses and next steps. We proceeded with the MRI. I needed to know exactly what was wrong with my fur-child and what would be the next best course of action. Christy recommended I don’t wait for the call of the results but be at the ER waiting so I don’t get a call but get the news in person. I also wanted to see him if they would let me. I left immediately. Thankfully Christy met me there just in time for the results.
My Bevo definitely has a brain tumor – glioma. Devastated. It looked massive on screen and I was even more heartbroken. He could maybe have a year with radiation treatments or a few months on meds. He’s not in pain she says, just a little dazed and frustrated why he’s not functioning right. I decided to go with the meds route and I am monitoring him to see if there is any improvement as the doc says it could take 3-7 days. My biggest fear is that he has a seizure and passes alone. I was so scared to what I was going to come home to after going to work yesterday. I was not myself, very concerned and almost every coworker asked if I was ok.
We’re home and sadly, I honestly don’t think we have that much time. He’s not doing well and it’s scaring the shit out of me. So I am home thru tomorrow, 12/20 morning and will be in Santa Cruz until Christmas Eve. Please come by and give my Bevo some love. If you want to meet in Santa Cruz, I plan on taking him to the beach and spoiling him with whatever he wants to eat…

Coming home from Sage.

My Baby’s last photo. 😦

9pm

As I drafted that last paragraph, Bevo finally relaxed after drinking some water I had to hold up to his mouth for, he circled and fumbled, didn’t want any cookies but did eat some shredded cheese. My baby looooved cheese. He continued to drool and I would catch it with a towel.
He finally laid down and closed his eyes. I grabbed my pillow and my brown blanket I had since childhood and laid down next to him near the dining room and stroked his head telling him I loved him. His breathing started to be sporadic. I had a flashback to yesterday morning at 3 am when it seemed like he stopped breathing as he let me cuddle him (which he NEVER let’s me do at bedtime) and it seemed like he stopped breathing for 8 counts until I said his name loud in fear. He would breath again. This time, on our new carpet, his breathing lightened again, his front legs were in a tight stretched and stiff position. I tried to get a reaction out of him and nothing. I put my head on the left side of his rib cage as he was laying on his right and there was still a faint heartbeat. I loved on him a little more, kissing his head, saying his name, telling him I loved him and then he was gone. No more heartbeat, no life behind his half blue eye. It was just after 3 pm.
I went to the vet but held his heavy, lifeless 26-lb body until his warmth was gone. I couldn’t let go. I’ve loved him so long, I can’t. My Bevo is gone. My adorable, sweet, funny, energetic, loving, social butterfly, snore-master, fart monster, Bevo Butt, Bugga, Bevokins, Puppy Love, #BevoTheBoston@bevotheboston My Baby is now resting. Christy said he held on and waited for me to return, til we got home to pass with me and he didn’t want me to make the hard decision. I believe he did wait for me. Thank you, my Bevo Love. I didn’t want you feel any pain, to suffer or to pass alone and without me. I’m glad you went knowing how much I love you. I think he had an amazing life with love, spoiling, travels and adventures. And so much food from the table! So spoiled.
A part of me is gone. The house is not the same. Tonight, I remained on the floor where you took your last breath, trying to be close to you. I wanted to call out your name to come to me and interrupt whatever kind of trouble you were getting into the other room, but then I remembered you were in doggie heaven. You wouldn’t answer. I am a complete wreck without you. Going to sleep without you snoring at my side is a new norm I don’t want. Mommy’s sad. You were an amazing Christmas present we brought home exactly 10 years and 2 weeks ago. Thank you for making the previous years’ holidays not so lonely, and enduring posing for what was going to be our
holiday card photo this year. You looked extra adorable!
Thank you, Kim, for being an amazing roommate and taking care and loving Bevo as if he was your own. We were lucky you came into our lives.
Thank you, Christy, for being there for me when I received the worst confirmed news of my life about the closest thing I have to a child. This woman never sleeps, takes care of her two kids and protects your community and strangers but managed to come down to spend an hour with me with a coffee and food in hand.
Thank you, CJ, for being there when I needed you most, holding and loving me and taking Bevo and I to his last trip to the beach, his favorite! Just like Mommy.
Thank you, Nelly, for working with me thru some thought processes, reminding me I also need to take care of me too and sharing your experiences with your pups.
Thank you, Sister, for picking up during your busy day and being on the other side of the country, calming me down and advising to take it one step at a time.
Thank you, Catareenie, for coming by tonight for dinner and taking care of Bevo. You’ve known him since he was a puppy!
Thank you, TNT, for taking such amazing care of him when I traveled and loving him like he was your own, even though Princess the cat wasn’t thrilled. I’ll never forget the pics of him at a bar with you and Tim taking him to work. I’m sure your Boyfriend is bummed he didn’t get to kiss you goodbye.
Thank you, Everyone, for your comments and texts and concerns and friendship. Sooo many of you have met my Bevo at least once thru the years. I was planning on having you all come to the house to come say hi and give Bevo love as I have received so much concern. I wanted to have Bevo personally feel the love too. With his passing, we will have a celebration gathering at the house at some point soon. I hope you can make it.
If you have a memory or photo of him with you, please post it in the comments below. It would make me smile to know he touched your life as well.
Such a happy puppy.

12/26/18
Christmas was terrible. My beloved Bevo @bevotheboston passed away at home in my arms on Tuesday, Dec. 18th, one week before Christmas. We just confirmed he had a brain tumor that morning but he was already in bad shape. He declined rapidly in only a couple of two weeks. Devastated, heartbroken and depressed, it’s been a rough week of mourning. Still unable to go a day without crying, friends say I gave him a good life, he loved me and he wouldn’t want me to be sad. I plan to keep his IG account open, keep his memory alive and do what I can for dogs to have their chance at a good life too. I am also waiting for #volunteer info fr @wonderdogrescue As for now, I’m going to try to pick my life back up, make my Bevo proud of me and live like he would also be reaping its benefits – he was spoiled and a very well-traveled dog. So as I couldn’t sleep all night and 2018 is coming to a close, I decided I’m done settling and just getting by. In 2019 – I will start a new job, complete my first half marathon, travel as much as I can, still go after that Goal By 40 of property on Maui, have a goal of returning to 18% body fat and take care of myself: physically, mentally and emotionally. No more settling. I miss you so much, Bevo. Mommy’s gonna kill it in 2019. I wish you were here to give me love, hugs and kisses every day when I got home.

Celebrating his 10th birthday doing the Belmont Water Dog Run.

His last trip to the beach. CJ took us to Monterey/Pacific Grove. October 2018.

He loooooved selfies with Mommy. Not really.
My little baby with a big trunk – Fort Bragg, California
February 2018

I took him wine tasting as often as possible. Clif Winery, St. Helena, California
February 2018

Classy puppy at the Sir Francis Drake Hotel with his own bed. San Francisco, California.
February 2018

Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California
March 2018

Griffith Park Observatory, Los Angeles, CA
March 2018

Sooo Hollywood. Los Angeles, California
March 2018

I love his expressions. “She has ears but where are MINE!?!?”

“What do you mean you’re not staying home on your day off???”

Clos Pegase Winery, Calistoga, California
May 2018

“I MET SANTA!” My Christmas card 2009

Christmas 2009. He was the only thing good I got from the ex-husband. Bevo was worth it.



Bevo Manzano

10/14/08 – 12/18/18

HFWF18 – Chef Stephen Pyles

That Southern Hospitality is real! And you’ll feel it the instant your eyes meet Chef Stephen Pyles from Dallas, a fifth generation Texan. I have a love for Texas. My dog is named Bevo after the Texas Longhorns and my favorite band is from San Angelo, Texas, the Los Lonely Boys. I just returned from visiting five cities in the South. I fell in love with Charleston. And you’ll feel warm and welcomed when you sit across the table from Chef Pyles if you have the chance. I can still vividly remember his smile.

Comfortable with sitting across from this talented chef on Media Day at the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival on Maui, we get to it. This is a man that has a weakness for travel. Inside I scream, “Me too!” Fellow Chef Wolfgang Puck also encouraged him, he says. Chef Pyles has opened 22 restaurants in five cities and has a new partnership with Delta Hotels by Marriott. His partnership with Benchmark Hospitality also has him running a culinary program. Benchmark works with a Woodside Hotel Group location, Dream Inn, in Santa Cruz, California, where I will be touring next month as well as the Menlo Grill in Menlo Park, California. I visit my Cugino aka cousin that works there every so often. I will be asking if his program has rolled out to the West Coast.

When asked if Chef would consider opening a restaurant in San Francisco, he was confident in his answer. He stated that San Francisco is a mecca, has a bit of everything but it’s so expensive. As a former San Francisco restaurant co-owner, we discussed just how expensive it is – rent, labor, insurance and more! Goodness. Unfortunately, the Founding Father of Southern Texas Cuisine will not be coming to the City by the Bay. I guess I need to plan a trip to Dallas. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Texas.

Just as Texas is big, as some chefs carry salt (and chili flakes), famous chefs tend to give back. The entire HFWF is a program of the non-profit Hawaii Ag and Culinary Alliance. Chef Pyles is in the board of Goodwill Industries and The Art Institute. Funny, as The Art Institute in San Francisco seems to own the most property here. I wonder if he could get a deal on space here with that relationship. I can wish. The lease itself and dining at his restaurant, Flora, also benefits the Arts District. It’s a win-win for sure. It was recently named one of the top 20 restaurants in Dallas by Conde Nast Traveler.

With so much success and sitting pretty on top, I asked my usual question as to if there were any women in the industry we should be on the look out for to possibly follow in his footsteps of growth and accolades. As a man that Julia Child ‘scared the hell out of’ when Chef met her in France, this Chef of the Year (2006, Esquire Magazine) says the name Misti Norris. Chef Norris was named the 2016 Chef of the Year by Eater. She left Texas to stage in New York. She returned and opened Petra and the Beast in Dallas. Lauren S. of Columbus, Ohio on Yelp says “The chef, Misti Norris, is truly creative and a master of her craft.” It’s great that women from across the nation are supporting lady chefs. We need that. And thank you, Chef Pyles for spreading the word all the way in Maui and to me here in San Francisco. This 49ers fan hopes to visit both, Flora and Petra and the Beast, on my first trip to Dallas.

Related articles:
Chef Misti Norris Returns to Dallas  — 2016 Eater Chef of the Year Dallas  — now opens Petra & the Beast – Eater –
Benchmark Partners with Acclaimed Chef Stephen Pyles to Create Ground Breaking Culinary Program

Related posts:
HFWF18 – Spiked!
HFWF18 – Chef Rick Tramonto

HFWF18 – Keiki in the Kitchen
HFWF17 – Jennifer Ackrill of SKY Waikiki & Top of Waikiki
HFWF17 – Chef Floyd Cardoz of Paowalla
HFWF17 – Chef Chris Kajioka of Senia
HFWF17 – Hank’s Haute Dogs & Chef Henry Adaniya