As a hiker and one that enjoys views from the top, going to the top of The Shard in London was on my list of to dos. It is research as a Travel Agent and I want to be authentic with my clients as to whether or not it is worth doing. I enjoy standing near the top of architectural marvels and this modern building is eye catching when you’re in London. I had to do it.
The ticket was 32 GBP. You go thru security, opt in for a photo in front of a green screen and take two elevators up. I shared the elevator with a couple and the woman was holding a single rose. Well done, Fella. Nice day date location. Apparently, proposals were made at the top of The Shard as well. Photos in the lobby proved it.
I have dined at the top of the Freedom Tower in New York City and was hoping for a spot to dine and enjoy the view while up the 96-story building. They did provide multiple bars and ice cream. The Shard offers several dining options including Aqua, Oblix and Hutong. Being on a budget and the #50GBPaDayChallenge made me say no to splurging.
The views were incredible. You could see for 40 miles, per their website. I had just come from the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. It was nice to be able to look down onto the courtyard and to think that one day, it was one of the tallest structures around. You can see the many train tracks leading into London Bridge train station below. On the other side you can see tall commercial skyscrapers, the London Eye and in the distance, Notting Hill, my end-point for the day.
Is it worth visiting? I would, and clearly have. With heading off Paris next month with summit tickets in hand and always recommending travelers to go up to Coit Tower in San Francisco, if views are of interest to you, do this. Be sure to share photos! Also, as one without an international data plan, they offer free wifi. How convenient!
“I fear that I won’t have time to do everything I want to do in life.”
Standing in front of 125 Europeans at the 3.5-day Landmark Forum in London, this One Busy Bee voiced one of my fears. I do as much as I can as often as I can so I can experience as much of what life has to offer. You can always make more money but you can never get that moment in time back. What are you thoughts on time? How do you manage yours? How do you keep from wasting time? Here, I take the four areas I write on, in this week’s OBB Weekly.
Big Ben is currently unrecognizable with all the scaffolding surrounding the Elizabeth Tower. There was nothing to do but wait to die if you were a prisoner like Anne Boleyn in the Tower of London. Then there’s a moment in time when you dodged tragedy by not being at a certain place in time. I was just in Dayton, Ohio the week before the mass shooting. Holidays and vacations are not typically this morbid. I was hoping my blog would have inspired you to travel, use that earned vacation time off and go out and explore. If not, check out Adele’s recent vacation photos HERE.
If you could travel to any time period, when and where would that be?
The news of Liam Hemsworth and Miley Cyrus separating after less than a year of marriage takes over the internet. A ten-year timeline of their relationship was released by Billboard HERE. I had the pleasure of talking about timelines and all the details of a Seaside, California wedding taking place on Labor Day weekend. I have my fingers crossed and am sure my Bride and Groom will make it through and stand the test of time. With two little ones growing like crazy, it seems like marriage will be a piece of cake.
Would you use a Wedding Planner to help plan your event’s timeline? If so, I know one.
Cooking, baking, marinating – all takes time. Waiting for dough to rise or waiting for a dish hot out of the oven takes time. Now working from home majority of the time, I am hoping I will have more time to try new recipes. I know my roommate will enjoy being my test bunny. I enjoy cooking and Plated was a good way to use ingredients I have never used before. However, if you are also trying to save money like me, buying your own groceries and buying only what you need will help. I have saved time with snacking on fresh fruit, making salads at home and picking up some frozen meals like meat and cheese piroshkis or the Indulgence mushroom risotto for Meatless Mondays. They are ready in 90 seconds and it takes me back to my childhood! Happy time and money savings! I am using #onabudget on my social media posts. Check it out on Twitter and Instagram.
What are you favorite quick and easy dishes to make at home?
Three weeks straight of traveling is normal for some people. Not this One Busy Bee / Travel Agent! I was three to eight hours ahead and coming back home, I didn’t know what timezone I was in. Traveling also didn’t allow me get in a regular work out. Coming home, I didn’t even bother weighing myself or taking measurements. I knew I was going to have the time to make up for the time I lost to work towards my fitness goals. I had no excuse and I was going to get back what I have lost. With working on the weekends as well and 16 hours on my feet, I managed to get in four Bodyrock videos in on Saturday and chest day and cardio on Sunday. Monday, I logged a four-mile jog with my second mile under ten minutes. It definitely did not feel like a below average time achievement at the time. Today, I did leg day and cardio and I am pretty sour. I am investing the time to get back on track. Putting on my Seafolly bikini last night for some hot tub time with the roommate was also a motivator. I could feel a bit more confident in that two-piece. In the mean time, check out this article: Eight tricks for boosting bathing suit confidence without losing weight Also check out Bebe Rexha’s response to an executive saying she’s ‘too old to be sexy.‘ Excuse me! She’s 29, I will be turning 39 next month. You’re never too old to be sexy, Ladies. Rock it!
I know I am late and out of integrity in producing my weekly post, but I am acknowledging it as a breakdown and getting it back on track. If you have participated in the Landmark Forum, you would recognize the language I just spoke. I was in London to participate and it will change my life for the better. And the show goes on with some new possibilities.
I have created the possibility to travel for a living when I quit my job, accepted no matter what I did it was going to be a failure and enrolled in the Ashworth College Travel Agent course. I travel once a month and love sharing my experiences via social media and this blog. I hope to inspire people to get off the couch and explore their own backyards or go to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and zipline in New Zealand. Once you book it, you’re already on the holiday. It gives you something to look forward to and something certain in your future. It took an action.
Please contact me to help you with your itinerary. It would be my pleasure.
I have created the possibility of a romantic relationship for myself. This divorced One Busy Bee has been single for seven years and have dated. However, if I were to be authentic about anything is that I went into dating pessimistic and closed off, expecting the other person should blow my mind in order for me to care. Realizing that I am doing that, it is a possibility I can plan my own private event in the future with a partner. The action I took was acknowledgement, making peace with my past and making dating a priority instead of an option.
Traitors need not apply.
I have created the possibility that I will be ready for this half marathon at Disneyland Paris next month. I have six weeks until my 39th birthday and I got pretty tired walking 14 miles from the Tower of London to Notting Hill this past weekend. I need to seriously start training. That includes my diet. It is difficult to eat healthy when fresh vegetables and homemade dishes cost more money and time than processed food. Committed to not stopping on this half marathon, I need to figure it out. Though the #50GBPadaychallenge was mostly a success, it wasn’t the healthiest. Fruit was had and M&S Supply Food was a great spot to get snacks. I was even able to participate in National Watermelon Day!
I have created the opportunity to motivate and inspire others. I have had friends share with me that I have inspired them and that makes me feel happy. What they are doing about that inspiration includes primarily making progress in their fitness goals. I love seeing my friend Nelly posting pics of his gym sessions. I love seeing my roommate’s gym face when I’m training her at the gym. And I love my Nikki B.’s posts about her also training for our half marathon!
The world is full of possibilities and this One Busy Bee has her hands full! What possibilities would you like to create for yourself?
With some news landing on my lap the eve before taking off to London, I have to be on a budget during this trip. If you are following my blog, one, thank you. Two, you know that I like to eat. And I typically eat really well. Traveling on a budget is not my style. I have my Kelty backpack packed to save myself from paying the checked luggage fee for this 7-day trip. If I can do that, I can do anything. Except dine at fancy restaurants in London. I am trying to hold back my tears.
I have challenged myself to spend only 50 GBP per day on food and beverages during this stay. I will be in town beginning August 1st thru August 7th looking for specials, cheap bites and the bonus of it being DELICIOUS! I will also be in London on a #MeatlessMonday. I foresee a salad in my future. Photos will be posted on social media. Please follow along and send any recommendations on affordable places to grab a bite at.
Budget. Not my favorite word, especially when I am headed to London tomorrow. Life can definitely throw you curve balls and achieving goals can be delayed. Regardless, I am booked for this trip and will get the most out of it. Thanks to fellow bloggers, Two Scots Abroad, their article HERE has some great tips. This weekly post will be some tips on how to save you money when you travel.
Well, the obvious tip to save money is to use a Travel Agent like me. All agents work differently but our goal is to book you with our preferred vendors. This is because we have already established a relationship with them and they pay agents a commission. As clients, you do not. We can save you time, money and the headache of dealing with vendors. When things go awry, we often have Travel Agent designated phone numbers that can hopefully address and correct any issues that may occur.
Whether a Bride and Groom are staying local or doing a destination wedding, there will always be guests from out of town. Creating a room block at two different hotels can give your guests options and an opportunity to save with locked in room rates. They will be given a deadline to book by to take advantage of these rates under your group. Be sure to provide options in terms of kind of hotel. Some may be on a budget and need a cheap room, some guests may want a bit more comfort and convenience and may extend their stay to see the tourist sights. A hotel with a Concierge desk can offer discounts as well. I, as an Event Planner and Travel Agent, can help with all that. Please do not hesitate to contact me.
Choosing a hotel with complimentary breakfasts is always an added bonus. It will decrease your dining costs to cover one less meal for the day. I was quite impressed with Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott while I was in Noblesville, Indiana. I had an early start to the day and rushed through breakfast. I was shocked to find that they had paper bag breakfasts to go waiting at the front desk. It contained a bottle of water, an apple and a breakfast bar. I made myself a coffee to go. They offered flavored creamers I liked. They had juices, bagels and the best was real eggs, biscuits and gravy. The gravy was quite impressive. You can’t go wrong with free food.
Other way to dine cheaply is to redeem coupons found in tourist magazines, at Concierge desks and look for signage for Happy Hour specials and deals. Stay tuned for next week’s OBB Weekly to see what offerings London has!
Whether you travel on a budget or luxuriously, I would recommend just getting out there. There are an incredible number of benefits from travel. See “This is Your Brain on Travel” by Forbes Magazine. I personally like the finer things in life such as $180 bottles of wine from Caymus Vineyarads and spa days at The Crown Towers in Melbourne, Australia. This will be my first attempt at a budgeted travel experience. I have my Kelty backpack packed to avoid luggage fees, will be taking the train to my hotel, walking and may pick up a bike as my main way of transportation. My client is spending ten days in Europe with a backpack. I can do it too! And guess what, so can you!
Everyone knows about The Eagles’ song, Hotel California. A popular stop in Todos Santos, Mexico is their own Hotel California. It is a historic filled with a full restaurant, large souvenir shop and a lot of art. It is not the Hotel California in the song. Head north down the street and make a left turn you will find the amazing and cozy Todos Santos Inn. After a yoga pose with papeles picados above us, I wanted to go in and explore this small, corner hotel. And what a wonderful surprise!
At the corner entrance, you encounter the La Copa Bar with a large wooden bar, high bar stools, antique decor and large mirror above the assortment liqueurs. Check out the large jars of infusions on the bar top. Something unique is waiting to be added to your cocktail. Read more about the bar and what we enjoyed.
Go thru the walkway on the right and you’ll find Jose at the General Manager’s desk. This One Busy Bee Travel Agent introduced myself and a business partner and her husband. I explained what we were doing in Todos Santos and he took hospitality seriously and gave us a tour.
The mural in the lobby and where you would check in is original and should be examined. The property added on with improvements and expansions two different times. You could see where the original property stopped and the new was added on. The design matched well where you can see the difference but you still get the same look and feel.
Before visiting the rooms, an outdoor, rounded seating area was a perfect space to gather. Nikki, an Online Language Coach and I already had ideas on what would happen there. This was just one of outdoor spaces of this lovely property we look forward to utilize. There is even a small pool and lounge chairs.
The rooms vary in sizes but even their standard room is incredibly comfortable with large beds, high ceilings with exposed beams, large and comfortable bathrooms. Rooms with two bed are available.
The larger villas have a sitting area and outdoor seating area and again, a large bathroom. The windows can let natural light in and I don’t foresee it being a loud property, unless the entire property is bought out. Don’t let me grab the date before you do!
The dining area has indoor and outdoor areas. Look up and a small balcony from the La Copa Bar can be seen past the hanging lights. The wallpaper with birds and pineapples, a sign of hospitality. It is said that these birds would come into the space thru the side door. How nice to remember these animals.
We enjoyed our cocktails in the bar, just passed the sitting area and library. We left pretty excited about coming across this property and how to make this work for our business idea were flowing. Stay tuned!
Greetings from the lounge chair from the lobby of the Courtyard Marriott in Dayton, Ohio. This past week has taken being One Busy Bee to a whole other level. Long days on-site is exactly what my employer is trying to avoid and it is failing miserably. I have had a couple of nights of having eight hours of sleep or more but so far it’s been non-stop. I’m not even the one that has it the worst. But costs to travel and there are always benefits once you’re conscious long enough to appreciate them. Check out what you can expect in the triangle of Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio.
AirBNB is definitely a good way to save money while traveling, especially for a group. Hotel costs can add up with taxes, resort fees, parking, etc. and are normally not equipped with microwaves should you dine out and cannot finish your meal. Our group got lucky with a great property on AirBNB in Petersburg, Kentucky. It was a block away from the river, had three bedrooms, two bathrooms, full kitchen, washer and dryer, wifi and AC. It was needed because it was humid. What a great property. I wish I took more photos.
A Dayton, Ohio AirBNB was a big dud. Going thru a part of town with boarded up windows on retail space, we parked in the driveway and walked up the steps with a very unstable railing to the front door. Upon entering, it smelled a bit funny. The padlocked closet next to the front door was the first of at least five doors locked. The refrigerator door had mold on the side and inside was a pizza box from a month ago. The ceiling was boarded up and stained with water damage, the dishes in the sink weren’t clean, open boxes of cereal bars were offered to us on the counter. The rooms were not what was pictured in the listing and the bathroom should not be used. Upon entering, the first tile slipped under my feet and only one of seven of the bulbs surrounding the mirror worked. How to turn off this one bulb was unknown to me. The switch could not be found. Thankfully AirBNB was very helpful and we were refunded our money. Good luck on your search.
Before this post was written, I had written two posts about food consumed in first couple of days on this trip. My first full meal was from Valle Escondido in Lawrenceburg, Indiana. One of my first meals in Dayton, Ohio was at El Toro on Miller Lane just down the street from our hotel. I had the mixed fajitas again and they didn’t disappoint. The meat was incredibly flavorful and again, it was incredibly filling.
On the slightly lighter side, check out Hairless Hare Brewery in Vandalia, Ohio, about a 12-minute drive from the hotel. I recommend getting the Pineapple Tang, a wheat beer, and the pretzels with beer cheese. The beer has an 5.3% ABV and tasty. I typically don’t like wheat beer so this one was special. The pretzels were soft and were $4 for three pieces. The cheese sauce was $1.50. Worth it. Friendly service is also nice.
So far, the only site I have come across that would be great for a private event would be Orchids at The Palm Court at the Hilton Netherland Plaza in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. The art deco design and Great Gatsby feel made it amazing. The lit bar, high ceilings, well-dressed service staff and elevated platform housing a piano was spectacular. Three spaces are available. Read more HERE. Don’t forget, I am an Event Planner & Coordinator. Willing to travel!
With the lack of time to work on my own business over the last week, when I had a moment to relax, what do you think I did? I sat there outside Hairless Hare Brewery, a Ciderboys Hard Cider in hand and thought about the goals I have. I haven’t made any progress besides get a few blog posts up and I need to make more progress. If I had my laptop with me, I would have gotten started on trying to get more clients. I thought about going to explore more of Dayton but there wasn’t much to do that I could do at that particular hour. I packed up, enjoyed the country music on the radio on my way back to the hotel, retrieved my laptop and set up shop in front of the TV on the comfy lounge chair in the lobby. I participated in the weekly #InspiretoWander Twitter chat and interacted more on other social media channels. In true One Busy Bee form, I worked as soon as I was done with work and couldn’t stop thinking about it. It must mean I want it to be successful and can’t stop thinking about it. Thank you to those for your support.
Bites, as in a good way, as in bites of food. As I scroll through my cell phone of 10,000+ photos on my phone, I am seeing majority of the photos are of food. I have enough to share some bites in the East Bay of the San Francisco Bay Area. I hope this post helps put the East Bay on the map, entices San Francisco residents to make the trip across the Bay Bridge worthwhile and maybe to California in general. Enjoy!
THE CUPCAKE SHOPPE Located in Downtown Hayward, my first experience with this shop located next to The Turf Club and Domino’s Pizza, was for mini cupcakes to be brought to a party. I was in awe by what they had and sadly I didn’t get to enjoy any of the mini cupcakes. Recently, my roommate has brought me cupcakes from there on two occasions. I tagged her in an Instagram post and she surprised me with limited edition Chicken and Waffles cupcakes. I have been craving fried chicken since my trip to the South in August 2018.
Another time, my roommate bought two cupcakes in addition to a set she was going to bring to her staff. One was made with champagne and the other one was a margarita cupcake. I preferred the pink champagne. What girl wouldn’t?
HAWAIIAN POKE This is the spot for my roommate and I when we want poke. I have also signed up for their rewards program so I get free drinks and discounts when I come in. Today, I got a lilikoi drink for free. I don’t mind the text message offerings as they’re not sent very often. Located in San Leandro next to a 24 Hour Fitness, you order at the counter, customize your bowl and be on your way. I have had their bowls several times but recently ordered their sushiritto and it was something you can customize in terms of their sauces, not its contents. It was also strange that they added avocado to the sushiritto but told Kim and other guests that they had no avocado for their bowls. That’s a strange. But, the bowl is still very good and is quite filling.
SONS OF LIBERTY ALEHOUSE SOLA has made an appearance on my blog quite a few times. It is one of my favorite places to go for a beer and to sit outside. My roommate and I have been several times, have brought Bevo, met other locals and enjoyed their beer. On our most recent trip, I enjoyed a flight of beer, we shared the pretzel balls, Kim had the fish tacos and I had the chicken fried sandwich. Keyword: fried chicken. Sadly, I didn’t keep the photo of the sandwich but the beer options are great and the pretzel balls and sauce were hard, but good. They are only available on the weekends so we were finally able to try them. Come to watch the Warriors game or visit for fundraising event, such as one they had for Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs.
TELEFERIC BARCELONA In Walnut Creek, this is a great spot to go on a nice day. Sit inside or on the deck and see all that happens downtown. Order delicious cocktails, Spanish wine or tapas. On our way back from Napa, we avoided the rush hour traffic and stopped here to take a break. Brussel sprouts, a kale salad and cocktails were a must. If you’re like my buddy, Stan, you can request your cocktail without all the fluff. Be sure to check out their happy hour menu as well.
SLOW HAND BBQ In Martinez and after a 10K run on Mare Island, beer and BBQ is needed. With my running buddy and BBQ caterer, Nelly, we were ready to eat. I had a platter of ribs and the many sides including pimento cheese and crostinis, cole slaw and mac n cheese of course! If you ran before lunch, you will definitely be replenishing all the calories you’ve burned and more. Sit inside, watch TV or dine out to their patio. Apparently there is another location you can get your hands sticky at in Pleasant Hill, the next city over.
I have already had two coffees from Dunkin’ Donuts in my 36-hour stay here in Indiana/Kentucky. The donuts, I don’t really care for. Stan’s Donuts in Chicago or your good ol’ Krispy Kreme, that’s more my jam. Just don’t put jam or jelly in my donut. Another discovery in the food offerings in this part of the world is that Skyline Chili is better than Lawrenceburger.
Skyline Chili was recommended by my Uber driver early yesterday morning. The spaghetti on the bottom reminds me Jollibee. I just don’t do it. Today I did because when in Rome, or in Lawrenceburg. I ordered via the drive-thru and they stayed true to the fast food expectation. The bag containing a container of spaghetti and chili was in the bag, along with a container of chopped white onions and a bag shredded cheese. The nice young lady also mentioned she added some hot sauce in there for me. I told her she was the best.
First impressions were questionable. I added the cheese and onions and had my first bite. It was hot and not bad. I added a packet of hot sauce and it made it better.
For lunch, we picked up burgers and fries at Lawrenceburger. The floor was greasy and the mat just inside the door definitely needs a thorough wash or be completely replaced. My Michael Kors flats were sinking into them.
I ordered a Lawrenceburger with bacon and blue cheese, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles. It was only $6.95. For $3 more, get sweet potato waffle fries. While waiting, the small restaurant and bar was a bit. As the smoke filled the room, I turned around to discover the grill was in the same room. Well, I knew what I was going to be smelling like to the residents I was going to come across at the long-term facility: dinner!
Unfortunately, this thick patty’d burger was not appetizing. There wasn’t any flavor to the meat and the bun just soaked up all the grease. The sweet potato fries were also not very crispy or salted. I took one bite of the burger, took off the bun and tried to eat the meat and nuked bacon but I couldn’t. I barely ate the fries, which helps me out in the end anyways. Friendly staff so it’s definitely not their fault. I’m sure my coworker tipped well for our to go orders. Do keep in mind that they do not have avocados or gluten free buns. Watch out for us Californians wanting these things.
Sorry, Whiskey City, it just wasn’t a good day in food options. Will try again tomorrow.
Taking a red eye flight from San Francisco to Cincinnati would normally be my time to get knocked out and sleep. I even slept on the hour-long flight from Oakland to Las Vegas earlier this month without a problem. This time, it was different. Having a lot on this One Busy Bee‘s mind plus a combination of the lady next to me elbowing me periodically, the lady behind me pushing my seat and a baby crying in front of me led me to not get the greatest of sleep. It was going to be a long day. Thanks, United, for making it an easy flight with no delays. Other coworkers weren’t so lucky.
Landing early at 4:50 AM East Coast time, I collected my bag at CVG in Kentucky and called for my Uber to our AirBNB in Petersburg, Indiana. How appropriate that the theme song from Orange is the New Black was playing as I retrieved my luggage.
James, my Uber driver, was informative and recommended going downtown for breweries and the one thing to get to eat here is their chili. I have relayed these ideas to my coworkers and it might become a reality. On this drive, James accidentally missed my exit and we went across the Tanners Creek Bridge and I saw the multiple stacks of the Tanners Creek Power Plant lit up with the dawn approaching in the background. I needed the powers of these two sources combined to get me thru the day ahead.
Eventually making it to our cute AirBNB, I was greeted by two coworkers in the kitchen. I was directed to a large bedroom with a king-sized bed and a separate room with a twin bed as my sleeping quarters for the next four nights. I freshened up a bit and was out the door with the ladies in less than 10 minutes. It was 6:15 AM.
We arrived at our new customer’s site and got straight to work. We provide a cloud-based service and product for long-term facilities. We were here to make sure Day 1 goes well and set the facility up for success. So far, it has been a really good experience with this company with 100+ sites. I have only been on one other deployment in Albany, New York in February. There it was snowing and cold. Here, it is hot and humid.
The day logged in only 7,400 steps and I am currently in second place for my Workweek Hustle Fitbit Challenge with friends. Arriving at 2 AM California time, the 10.5 hour workday on-site didn’t even allow me to hit my daily step goal of 10,000. It was mostly sitting around and tending to what I needed to on demand. It’s an office day off-site in Indiana.
After some successes, we were ready to get ‘breakfast’ at 4 PM. We have eaten chips and beef jerky I picked from Starbucks at the airport and cheese and salami from a Walmart run a coworker did in the middle of the day. We stopped at Valle Escondido Mexican Grill. I returned from the restroom and they were taking drink orders. Apparently, I was the only one that wanted a margarita. Granted! Along with a triple meat fajita plate. Delicious.
An errand was made for last minute things needed for our stay and I declared I was going to take a shower and go to sleep. Looking out the window from my bedroom, I spotted a Kentucky-resident driving with their baby hanging out the driver’s window. I am pretty sure I was delirious by this point but the camera doesn’t lie. It was definitely time for bed. It was 7 PM. I successfully got 10 hours of sleep with waking up at 5 AM on Day 2 to do it all again.
Please comment with any tips to do in Lawrenceburg, Indiana or Petersburg, Kentucky. Lawrenceburg used to be nicknamed “Whiskey City.” You know I love that!