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.

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.

Mimi’s Nails – Castro Valley, Ca

The spot where I have been going to for nine years is consistently good. That is Mimi’s Nails in Castro Valley, California. Located in a little strip mall with Nation’s, Subway and Little Caesars, it is the only nail shop in the center.

Hello, my friend. How come you have not come to see Mimi?” Mimi knows when you haven’t been in awhile.

Before my week-long #OBBRoadTrip across the country, I knew I had to get a pedicure as I was going to be wearing my Reef slippahs everyday. Though I was sitting on my bottom for at least seven hours a day, I was able to get seven miles in Washington, D.C. so these toes were exposed.

TIP: Bring a check or cash. They appreciate it. Bank of America is across the street if you forgot cash.

I think the below check-in may be inaccurate but I have been trying to save money. But I am still the Mayor! Mimi also asked for an updated review. I can’t believe it has been six years since I did.

Let’s be friends on Yelp

Another tip: Rose is my girl! She takes care of my shellac tips.

Get your wedding nails, special event or pretty nails for a girls’ night out. Call for an appointment. They also can do waxing.

65!

A very special happy birthday to my Papa Bear! You have worked hard all your life and sacrificed so much to give me a good life. You have continued to be supportive, my financial advisor and my hero. I am forever grateful and strive everyday to make you proud. Enjoy your day. I love you!

I just love that smile!
Birthday Cake
Cookies & Cream, my personal favorite
Cupcake of the Day – Raspberry Cheesecake.

Cupcakes and candles from Smallcakes – Danville, California location.
2008 Pinot Noir by Flowers Winery.

East Bay Bites

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.

Related posts:
Puesto! Cousin Time.
Pizza, Beer & More in the East Bay

Norwegian Live Training

Norwegian Cruise Line hosted a series of speedway events at K1 Speed Track in many different cities. I was lucky to have been invited and participated in the one at the Dublin, California location. Norwegian‘s three new ships have outdoor, multi-level race tracks. Imagine racing in the middle of the sea!

Dining area. Event space.

The evening started out with checking in and getting in line to race. The last time I was on a course like this was in Livermore, California may eight years ago and they used gas. I felt very sick and I had to have my boyfriend at the time pull over while on the way home. I needed fresh air. At this event, the carts are battery operated.

Participants were able to race more than once but the buffet of pizza, sliders, chicken tenders and salad were offered. I had a good time racing and I came in third in my group and was the fastest female. Being a race car driver would be a fun job, on top of being a Travel Agent.

During the presentation, they showed us the new features of the new cruise ships and how to attract different demographics.

Norwegian Joy has been their prime marketing focus. It has a wrap around lounge which would be nice for those in Alaska wanting to stay warm. There are three main dining room and has elevated menus as they have merged with Oceania and Regent.

Activities available will be the race track for a minimal charge, say around $15. There is a height requirement to ride. There is lazer tag and the Galaxy Pavillion where you can create and virtually ride the roller coaster you created.

Millennials like to stay connected. Free wifi minutes is an offer to choose from when you book during certain promotions. This group care about the environment, culture and local experiences. Studies show (How Travel Agencies Avoided Extinction and Became a Luxury Service – Vox 9/21/18) millennials also trust the experts. Call me!

Sixty-two percent of active families are said to choose their vacation based on the ship. They want the bells and whistles the ship offers. Also, cruise ships are best for vacations with multi-generation family travelers. There is something for every body, children can be save in one place and everyone comes together for dinner every night. Babyboomers are active explorers. They prefer luxury and pampering.

One thing that resonates with this Hawaii Certified Travel Agent is that they mentioned the Pride of America cruise ship that tours the Hawaiian islands. It has been voited the best itinerary for 13 years and you can add on overnighters in Maui and Kaua’i to give you more time. Add on extra days before as well. This will give you time to visit the island of Lanai as well, something I have been personally wanting to do.

If your time is flexible, consider making it more of a package deal and add air to your reservation. Flights may be booked 6 months out, they will be direct and not too much of an inconvenience. Costs will most likely vary between $99 – $299 depending on your departure and destination. Unfortunately, no business class is available and your preferred airline is not guaranteed. However, with booking your flight thru the cruise line, you will be guaranteed to make your cruise ship, either at the original departure or at another port, depending on circumstances.

For you solo travelers, Norwegian also has studios. No more double occupancy requirements. The cost is slightly higher than one person but at least it’s available.

Offers galore! Every cruise line has a special offer to book. Norwegian has a Free at Sea. A reservation of a Studio or Inside stateroom allows one free offer such as Free Unlimited Beverages, Free Shore Excursion Credits, Free Speciality Dining, Free WiFi and on some sailings, friends and family sale free.

For fun, the marketing materials included these facts on Alaska. Consider Alaska to be your next cruise!

Denali is the highest peak in North America, towering at 20,320 feet.
The weight of one humpback whale is equal to the weight of 8 African elephants.
5% of Alaska (29,000 square miles) is covered by glaciers.
As part of the biodiversity program, Norwegian is proud to partner with the Alaska Raport Center in Sitka, Alaska.

In response to how Norwegian is different and their commitment to the environment, see a list HERE of how they are making a difference.

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Let’s Hike – Lake Chabot

With a new job taking over majority of my weekends when I’m not traveling, this One Busy Bee had to squeeze in my June hike on a Friday morning. My route to this new job keeps me off the busy streets of Downtown Hayward and I pass signs for Greenbelt Trails. A customer of mine confirmed that there were many trails in Hayward to hike. I had no idea! However, my attempt to start this trail didn’t begin. The lack of cars parked near the entrance and the mountain lion territory warning sign deterred me from even beginning.

I was running out of time as I typically start work at 10:30 AM, though I was working from home today. I decided to head to a park I was familiar with, the Lake Chabot Marina. I parked on the street and later found out state parks entrance fees were free today. No big deal. I quickly looked at the map and made a loop along the lake, onto the Cameron Trail, Ten Hills and then down to McGregor.

It made me sad to be there. The last time I was there was with Bevo, my late Boston Terrier. He passed in December. We were there in August 2018 when Bevo and I were helping Kim with her training miles for her second Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Walk. It made me miss him even more. I saw smiles on dogs’ faces that walked by and they were lucky to be out on a beautiful day with their owners. I am glad Bevo had these experiences as well. He deserved them.

My route today was 4.13 miles in 1.25 hours. This was my fastest 3-5 mile hike due to my Runkeeper app. July’s hike should be something similar but who knows!

Golf, anyone?
And the climb begins.
The view of Castro Valley and the Bay.

Related posts:
Let’s Hike – Paths in Santa Cruz
Let’s Hike – Coyote Hills
Let’s Hike – Briones and Bonehead

OBB Weekly – 6-25-19

Summer is here! In the east bay of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s already warm before you leave for your commute to work. Posts of families going on vacation, summer weddings, bar-b-ques and cocktails by the pool and efforts to get that summer body are aplenty. What does summer mean to you? Do you have traditions you do around this time of year? What do you look forward to?

TRAVEL

This summer, my clients have visited Phuket, Thailand, the Maldives, Walt Disney World, and even Indiana for work. I was just in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, will be heading to Las Vegas, Nevada, London and possibly a cross country road trip to Maryland. It’s warm and my credit cards with travel benefits are ready.

Happy client is headed to Walt Disney World
Get these bands when you stay on property at Walt Disney World.
Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World
Casa Dorada, Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

What vacation plans do you have?
Which credit cards do you have to help you travel?

EVENT PLANNING

It has been one year since Susie and Frankie got married at Stable Cafe in San Francisco, California. I am wishing my friend, Bride and Groom and their adorable daughter, Sophia, another amazing year together.

Have the gown but still need assistance with your wedding? LIKE my page here.

Flares Bridal, Walnut Creek, California

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

My condo complex doesn’t allow barbecue sets to be on our balconies so I don’t have a lot of experience grilling and will be without again this summer. The most memorable dining experience in regards to BBQ is International Smoke in San Francisco. It has been some time since I have been and will need to go back. I also have to try my friend’s BBQ. He does catering now. Follow my friend, Nelly! For now, I enjoy the grilled chicken on top of my salad at The Dormy House at TPC Stonebrae in Hayward.

Follow him on Instagram

MOTIVATION

How many scales have you gone thru? I am in complete denial of what my scale showed me on Sunday’s weigh-in. There was absolutely no way I gained more than I did in two weeks on my Princess Cruise to New Zealand and weigh more than I think I ever have. There is just no way. I just don’t look it or feel it. I’m giving my scale a pass and will revisit the issue next Sunday before a 10K race on Mare Island.

Ok, if that weight gain is legit, it should be a motivator and clearly I’m still at it. I’ll prove you wrong, Scale! As a matter of fact, I’m on the bike right now at the gym as I write this and will log another six miles walking around the restaurant for my second job. Because I’m One Busy Bee.

Follow on Instagram and view my stories of some gym sessions or doing what I can to work out at home on busy days. It counts.

I did 6.2 miles that day.

Until next week! Thanks for reading!

Up in the Hayward Hills

Interested in moving to the San Francisco Bay Area? Prepare to pay quite a bit! I have friends and family moving out of California because it is very expensive. I am fortunate to call it home.

This is in the Hayward Hills at the gated Stonebrae community. If you’re a golfer, the TPC Stonebrae Golf Course is nearby. Come see me at three Members’ Only Lounge. Homes start at nearly $1 million. Ask for Lety at the property. Happy shopping!

As a kid, I used to tour model homes with my father and sister. I would run around the beautiful homes like it was Christmas morning and pretend as to which bedroom would be mine. Funny, I was considering getting my real estate license when I was looking at a career change. I obviously went with Becoming a Certified Travel Agent instead. Perhaps one day…