Brussels & Chili

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

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

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

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

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OBB Weekly – 8-13-19

London, August 2019

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.

TRAVEL

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.

Near where they say executions occurred at the Tower of London
A less-morbid kind of outing – Electric Tour Company, San Francisco

If you could travel to any time period, when and where would that be?

EVENT PLANNING

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.

Buttercup Cakes & Farmhouse Frosting

Would you use a Wedding Planner to help plan your event’s timeline? If so, I know one.

FOOD

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?

MOTIVATION

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!

Post 4-mile jog.
Angie Capri Photography

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A Long Day 1

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!

Puerto Paraiso – Cabo San Lucas

Going to a mall isn’t even on my list when I travel. To be honest, I would stop into the Mall of America if I ever found myself on that side of the country. During my second visit to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in November 2018, I found myself at the Puerto Paraiso next to marina. It was the meeting place for a Cookin’ Cabo cooking class, which I highly recommend.

Tour the shopping area for clothing, jewelry and restaurants; some with views of the marina. I sadly left my entire Stella & Dot make up bag at home and I needed make up. I went from MAC eyeliner and more to Shiseido and Lancôme products.

It paired well with the beautiful JW Marriott Los Cabos.

I just happened to be in Los Cabos during the International Film Festival. I have been to the Sonoma International Film Festival a couple of years ago so why not do it internationally? Showings were taken place at the movie theater on the top floor and there were interviews being done. I purchased a ticket to see Feral, a movie about a fire that took the lives of a priest trying to prepare three wild children suitable for society. What happened was shown thru video tapes the priest made and thru interviews. It was really interesting. I should see more foreign films. Do you enjoy them?

After shopping and a movie, I dined on the patio at La Central Cocina and Bar. I had a nice view of the marina and very attentive service. I had to get the grilled corn on the cob and the Lobster Salad. It came with watermelon, avocado, edamame beans, spring onion and a tequila lime vinaigrette. The food was delicious and the size of the salad was perfect.

Complimentary chips and a variety of salsas

You will have to pay for parking or if you’re staying at a local hotel, this is a great place to stop in for shopping, entertainment, a rooftop bar and dining.

I will be returning to Cabo San Lucas for the third time for more research, this time with ACT Language Schools. Check them out if you’re looking to learn or improve your Spanish. Please follow us on social media for posts while we are there!

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Seattle, Washington – May 2019

OBB Weekly – 5-21-19

Dubrovnik, Croatia – November 2012

It’s the end of an era. The popular books turned show, Game of Thrones, is over. For eight seasons, we watched the people of Westoros battle for survival and the Iron Throne. I have a niece named Arya. I have unofficially named my new Honda Civic Si Drogon. My cousin named her dog Khaleesi. But now, I cancelled my HBO subscription. GOT was the only reason I had it for six weeks. And now what? Yes, life goes on. I’m sure Bran would agree. Thank you for the memories, Game of Thrones!

SPOILERS ALERT!
Do not read on if you haven’t completed the series.

TRAVEL

One of my favorite characters is Arya Stark. Though small in size and even blind at times, she’s a bad ass and strong as hell. My little niece, Arya, was rightfully named. I remember her picking up gallon jugs of water as a toddler. A little tom-boyish like her mommy, I’m sure she’s going to be a fierce and bold little one like this character. I love that Arya Stark sets off to see what’s west of Westeros and travels! I can relate to the look of happiness and excitement when she stands at the bow of the ship as she starts her adventure. Exploring, going somewhere new and not exactly sure what the future holds is pretty exciting. Get on that ship and see just how far you’ll go.

Just got onto the Golden Princess in Melbourne, Australia and we’re already hitting the spa!
My sweet Princess Arya – Yosemite – May 2019
Who my niece was named after, Arya Stark.

EVENT PLANNING

The Red Wedding will make your jaw drop. (Don’t forget to get wedding insurance!) Sansa Stark’s coronation as becoming the Queen of the North was perfect. My Queen, Daenerys Targaryen, unfortunately never even got to sit on the Iron Throne. Her final speech to her soldiers was strong yet not from someone who wanted peace. There were events of tragedy and loss but also for celebration, whichever side you were on. Many decisions, feasts and gatherings were made around a table. An event worth planning for filled with memorable moments…plus a Starbucks cup.

The table could be in a speed boat. The Boathouse at Disney Springs in Orlando, Florida during our half marathon weekend – January 2019
Wine tasting in Lodi, California. – June 2018
Sergio was full of useful travel tips at the Starbucks at Pike Place Market in Seattle, Washington – May 2019

FOOD

Young Khaleesi eats a horse heart. Cersei’s walk of shame included food being thrown at her. And Tyrion drinks wine and knows things. Sweetbreads were probably the grossest thing I have ever had. Powdered beignets from Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans would make me happy if they were thrown at me. And wine? Oh, I have had plenty and there is so much more to try across the Seven Kingdoms…or most of the seven continents.

“You got a little something on your face, Angela.”
So good that we went twice – New Orleans, Louisiana – November 2016
Domaine Carneros – Napa, California – January 2017

MOTIVATION

Deception was everywhere. Advisors write scrolls of secrets. Promises of support are broken. Or getting stabbed during an act of love by your nephew! Some make you earn their trust, some give it away freely. Severing relationships that has served its purpose in your life is healthy. “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” Thanks, Dr. Seuss. There may have been happy times but now it’s over. Acknowledge what life is trying to tell you, learn from it and pass it on. Maybe in a more loving, honest and less painful way.

Quotes of the Day are posted on my fridge and shared on SnapChat – bappletree

Wine Country on Netflix

On an outing with my roommate and my Boston Terrier, Bevo, on Cinco de Mayo, we stumbled upon the movie set of Wine Country in Calistoga, California. We also met up with new friends from out of town that we met up at Pegasus Winery. They were a good time.

We ate at the now named Bosko’s restaurant and saw Amy Poehler on a bicycle and took photos with her set chair. That scene was a whole two seconds in the film. My roommate and I ended up watching the movie on Friday night thanks to her Netflix subscription. We just had to crack open a bottle of wine. We went with a Simi 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon.

The movie had some pretty funny parts. I especially laughed at the fact that Amy had a full itinerary booked and distributed to the group of ladies. This Travel Agent and Event Planner totally does that! Am I alone? I also related to the character that was constantly on the phone and checking email and looking for signal. Yes, I’m One Busy Bee.

Another movie night will be planned at the house, I’m sure. It’s a lot cheaper than going out and the town. It leaves more money for traveling!

See the California Winery Log here!

‘Favorites’ Photo Dump

This One Busy Bee is still working on cleaning up her phone of over 11,000 photos. That many photos have been collected in a year and a half. To do a photo dump on the blog real quick, I am taking photos I have saved as ‘Favorites’ on my phone for some particular reason and placing them here so I can delete them. Oh, it will be so freeing! Thanks for enduring this unstructured post but full of travel.

Fiji – Troprica Island Resort and Travel Agent friends on a FAM trip. – Feb. 2019

In September 2017, three girlfriends and I had September birthdays. We went to Paris together. And we brought some friends. I invited my friend that I call Papichulo and Lisa brought her boyfriend, Branden. I believe it was the day before, Branden proposed to Lisa at the Temple of Love at Versailles. We were lucky enough to witness it. This photo was taken on our last night in Paris together but in the region of Champagne. See the wineries in the background. There are also photos of us doing yoga in dresses. Good times.

This is aboard the Oosterdam by Holland America Cruise Line. It is a bar with great view. I have worked on blog posts in this area with a glass of La Marca prosecco. I have many other posts during that cruise to the Mexican Riviera. Please check them out if you’re curios about real experiences on an HAL cruise ship.

Red Donkey is my favorite beer when I was in Santorini. Papichulo and I tried all the different beers they had to offer and this was my favorite. I liked it so much I bought a large t-shirt that I ended up turning into a muscle tan for my gym sessions. I never buy t-shirts. It must mean I realllly liked that beer.

I used to work at a law firm down the street from Rudy’s Can’t Fail Café in Emeryville, California. This is their breakfast special. I don’t believe I have been there since as they raised the price of this special and the dressing for their Asian salad changed as well. There is also a location in downtown Oakland. It’s pretty convenient when you’re partying or just finished a concert at the Paramount Theater.

Hello, Mighty Leaf tea.

At the Press Club, go downstairs from Market Street in San Francisco across from the Marriott that they call “the jukebox” and find a wine bar with a lounge-y feel. It is used as common workspace during the day and serves up great wine and bites.

During a trip to Southern California for my first Travel Agent seminar, my then soon-to-be roommate and I went to Universal Studios. I have never been and am a California native. We did the typical ride thru movie and television sets and experienced their ‘earthquake’ simulation at an underground BART platform. I was really excited to go thru The Desperate Housewives set.

On this trip, I realized that I cannot do the simulated rides. I even felt a little sick on the Despicable Me ride! It was absolutely confirmed while on the Harry Potter ride. It was a coaster and simulations. I read one book in the series and I almost didn’t make it off the ride without getting sick. I actually had to close my eyes and tell myself it was almost over multiple times. HAD I liked them, I know this would have been an awesome ride. I can see why people like it. Unfortunately, it’s just not for me.

I’ll end this post with a picture of my Papa Bear and I at the 2018 Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival. I do have the most amazing father, and not just because he lives on Maui! There are so many reasons but mainly he just accepts who I am and is actually happy that I am living life to the fullest. I love my Papa Bear.

I need to do more than just these photos but at least I can now take them off my phone and have them live on the world wide web forever!

Roommate Anniversary in Wine Country

Oh, Man, what a year. From our first trial trip to Los Angeles County with Bevo, my late Boston Terrier to down under in Melbourne, Australia and 15-days straight of each other on the Golden Princess, my roommate and I remain among the living. We haven’t killed each other yet. We actually have had a lot of laughs and she’s made many appearances on this blog, in case you haven’t noticed. On her first official day home, I walked into the house and Snap’d as I entered the door. “This is Kim! Everyone’s going to know Kim.” She waves to the camera. I’m glad she’s not camera shy. We celebrated many laughs by having more laughs in wine country that is the Napa Valley.

As a Blogger and in the food and wine, media and travel industry, I typically get the industry discount of complimentary tastings. Kim has grown accustomed to that. I have spoiled her and now she could never go wine tasting with anyone else. As I have goal of hitting as many California wineries as possible, I warned her that I was going to plan our Roommate Anniversary with visiting wineries where appointments are necessary and we may not get a discount. She OK’d the itinerary. On the schedule was Hyde, Saintsbury and Etude. All are wineries located in the Carneros region and was mentioned in my Napa Valley Wine Expert Certification course. All were wineries I have never been to.

It was a long weekend in terms of activity. A sexy male friend came over and made me dinner Friday night and we stayed up until 4 AM. Don’t you love it when a man feeds you? This foodie does! A slight hangover remained throughout Kim’s Susan G. Koman Bowl-a-Thon fundraiser in Fremont and a bit thru a Nobody’s Perfekt fundraiser at Cleophus Quealy Brewery in San Leandro. A nap afterwards turned out to be bed time to get ready for more drinking the next day.

Homemade carpaccio by J
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We hit the road at 9 AM because it gets busy heading up to Napa thru American Canyon. Our first appointment was at 11 AM at Hyde. We arrived, drove thru the open gates to the property and the doors were locked. We waited in the car until it was closer to 11 AM. Maybe they don’t open the doors unless they have appointments. We tried the doors again when it was time. Still locked. We went back to the car to stay warm. I checked my email and realized I never send in my credit card to create the reservation. Doh! I can plan the heck out of a wedding or launch products anywhere in the country or plan a detailed travel itinerary, but when it comes to my personal life, I don’t put in the same effort. Are you the same? Oh well. Hyde will not be added to my winery log this time.

Back in the car, I thought I would wing it and run into a winery we can visit. Most we came across needed reservations. We passed Saintsbury and kept going. That was going to be stop number two. I have been to Bouchaine and ended back up at what was Liana Estates, then L.E. and now Calmere Estate Winery. I love this place. I have been there twice before. Once on a rainy birthday visit with my good friend, Nikki, and the other time via a tour I sold with my #Instafriend. Both, good times.

We walked up the barrel with a host and they asked if we had reservations. Again, reminded that I failed in making reservations! They squeezed us in with an appointment in two minutes. Technically, the space requires them and apparently it depends on the region. Oh, Carneros, why do you make it so difficult? We were given freedom to sit where we wished. I picked the love seat on the patio closest to the view and in the sun a bit. It was a bit breezy and the sun kissed our skin.

We enjoyed our time, chatted, talked things out that were on my mind, etc. Our host and I geeked over wine, beer, whisky, food and the whole industry. He ran restaurants and was burnt out. Pouring wine at a winery was a nice change of pace but like me, he also missed the rush. He asked if I would ever want to open a restaurant again. My answer remains the same, “Only if it was in Hawaii.” Of course, travel talk came about and I gave him my card.

We were having such a good time that I had to call our next winery to let them know we were going to be on our way shortly. Thankfully, they understoood. We said our goodbyes but not before we took three bottles with us. We went over to Saintsbury.

It was another outdoor tasting area under large trees and near low fences protecting gardens surrounding the circular tables equipped with menus and bread sticks. If you have the group size to sit at the 6-top closest to the vines under an orange umbrella, you’d be in luck. Friendly service, beautiful grounds and of course, non-stop conversation. We left without bottles and headed off to the next stop, Etude.

Etude was very close by and the wind started to pick up. There is plenty of parking and you get to the main entrance of the tasting room walking along the lawn and thru the outdoor patio. Inside, the counter is to your left and many high top tables for three or four are scattered around under high ceilings. The brightness of the room is not as nice as the natural light that we were enjoying but it was clean and modern. A private tasting room is also available in the back. By this time, we were feeling pretty good and getting silly. Michael, our pourer, was handling it all very well.

Getting hungry, we decided to make reservations at Charlie Palmer’s Steak downtown Napa. Parking was easy to find and the restaurant was pretty quiet for a Sunday night. Was it because everyone is having Game of Thrones viewing parties for the premiere? Warriors playoffs? I had a salad, an 8-ounce filet mignon and the potato gratin. My appetite has not recovered from the liquor-filled weekend. I didn’t put my steak away like I know I could. Kim even at more than I did!

Then we headed home. I relaxed to the premiere of the last season of Game of Thrones and called it a night. Kim and I are next headed off to Seattle and Las Vegas. Stay tuned for that.

Let me help you plan your wine country itinerary, along with hotels, possibly the Wine Train experience and more.

Top 5 Things to Do on Sea Days

Do you think that you’ll get bored on a cruise ship? Many cruise virgins think they would as you would be confined to a ship for at least one day. In reality, there are many things to do when all you see is ocean to the horizon. I have been an a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean, 7-day cruise to the Mexican Riviera and a 13-day cruise around New Zealand. The below highlights my most recent cruise in the South Pacific aboard the Golden Princess but you may do any of them on any cruise line. I assure you, you won’t get bored. In fact, if you are a One Busy Bee like me, you’ll be tired with doing all the ship has to offer.

EAT

Aboard the Celebrity Reflection, I gained 10 pounds in the first week. The abundance of food options 24 hours a day will have your taste buds souring like the many birds you’ll see outside every cruise ship window. Be sure to bring loose fitting clothes if you do not plan on hitting the gym on board. On the Golden Princess, there are 10 locations to eat at. You have your buffet serving breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner. I typically used the Horizon Court for breakfast for ease and its convenience. Plus, their smoked fish, cream cheese, red onions, capers and lemon was my favorite thing to have for breakfast. If pastries are more your style, there’s plenty on a daily basis.


A casual lunch can be picked up at the Prego Pizzeria or Trident Grill. Two pizza options are available plus a daily specialty pizza. I had a slice with vegetables and sardines. The Filipino in me loves salt and vinegar. On the Golden Princess, they added it to pizza. Selecting this was a no brainer for me.
Go to the counter on the opposite side of the neighboring bar called The Mermaid’s Tail to find the Trident Grill. There you can get a hot dog, hamburger and French fries. A perfect and close spot to get food while you watch Ryan Gosling in the First Man as you watch a movie under the stars. It was pretty amazing to watch a movie about landing on the moon and seeing the moon above us.
Are you more interested in a three-course fantastic dinner? Dine in one of the formal dining rooms and tell the hostess whether you would like to wait for a private table or join a table with other cruise guests. Unless you like to eat a certain time every day and possibly with your group, I would select what they call “Anytime Dining.” With the many activities available on the cruise ship and the plethora of tempting consumables, a commitment to a eating time will be challenging to keep. The menu changes nightly and there is something for everyone, even if you are participating in Meatless Monday like me. Start with options such as the Tempura Vegetable Sushi with rum-wasabi, emulsion, Korean kimchi. For your main course, get Grandma’s Coq Au Vin with burgundy wine simmered chicken, bacon crisps, pearl onions, croutons and forked potatoes. Don’t be surprised if your crouton is heart-shaped. For dessert, try a Chocolate Journeys selection: Chocolate Hazelnut Bar with Citrus Cream. The ‘finest hazelnuts from Piedmont, Italy and freshest citrus flavors of Florida.” It was to die for. And an Instagram must!

If you’re on a 10-plus day cruise, you might want a change in scenery or dine on your own at a private table. On the Golden Princess, I would highly recommend the Crown Grill. For $35 per person, you can select a 3-course dinner. For $10 more, you may select two mains. I went with the Surf n Turf for an additional $12. It came with an 8-ounce filet mignon and TWO lobster tails. I was only expecting one. It is a great deal. Besides the main, the table is presented with sides of cream of spinach, sautéed mushrooms and asparagus. Try the salt selections as well – Hawaiian Black Salt, Smoked Applewood Salt and Himalayan Mountain Pink Salt. I enjoyed the smoked salt from Yakima. Save $6 off the base price and make a reservation at Sabatini’s Italian Trattoria for $29 per person. This is another option if you prefer cibo di Italiano.

Should you survive a food coma, work off the calories and dance the night away.
PARTY

If you can’t find me, I’ll be on the dance floor…attempting to dance off the Fruit Tartlets and bottles of prosecco. It’s common to be mistaken as a crew member. My Cugino and I were at the night club almost every night aboard the Reflection while in Europe. My video of him dancing Gangam Style is a popular one. We had no problem recruiting people to the dancefloor as they were just watching. They looked like they wanted to have fun too! Dancing the night away at the jazz club and near the pool on New Year’s Eve are unforgettable memories on the Oosterdam on the Mexican Riviera. On the Golden Princess, find the Skywalker’s Lounge on the 17th floor and located at the very end and top of the ship. The décor is unlike I’ve see on a ship and is very different from the rest of the ship. From the elevator, jump on the belt to take you up just below the dance floor. Look up and see stars, bronze couches and chairs. On the dance floor, get your Billie Jean on with lights flashing below you. DJ Nick will have themed evenings. I particularly enjoyed the Elvis Presley night. I knew 99% of songs. It was such a good time. Torch those calories!

Before dark, get tempted to dance with First in Charge live band throughout the cruise. If you have great Cruise Directors/MCs like we had with Alex and Tavo on the Golden Princess, you will be invited to the dance floor several times. It’s their job to encourage other people to dance and help you gain confidence and have some fun. Don’t worry about who’s watching. Just live in the moment.

I was fortunate to see how Princess Cruises prepares for a holiday. Holland America had the band propped up over the pool for the dance party to ring in 2018. The Golden Princess did a good job in decorating for St. Patrick’s Day. The cruise ship was decorated with green and white balloons, flags and bottles of Irish whiskey and Guinness on bar tops. The day was filled with Irish themed activities including a dance party and a sing-a-long hosted by our favorite Irish entertainer, Laura Callaghan.

Follow along if you still need to be convinced out of your cruising boredom.
ENTERTAINMENT

All aboard, there is constant entertainment on several decks. Besides the dance club and opportunities for dancing, you will find music everywhere. As you board the cruise ship, you usually enter at the grand piazza, which is typically the center of the ship where you can see three levels. You are greeted with smiles and music and the excitement of other passengers. Aboard the Reflection, I loved string quartlet. On the Oosterdam, I loved the dueling pianos. They even fulfilled a request for The Little Mermaid’s ‘Part of Your World.’ Then on the waters to New Zealand, I discovered Laura. She’s a young beauty with dark curly hair with an Irish accent. From her first song, I was a fan. My travel buddy, Kim, and I were officially called her groupies as we came to support her every day. Since day one, I have requested my favorite Disney tune. She’s much younger than me and she has never seen the movie. We will see if she will learn it for me!

A pianist is available, as mentioned the band, First in Charge, plays and there are shows on the Princess Theater that has rows of seats. The Reflection also had their theater. I vividly remember a beautiful blonde contortionist taking the stage. At the theater on the Oosterdam, a lady comedian even pointed me out because I laughed the hardest. I got a shot glass out of it. On the Golden Princess, there have been Buddy Holly and Dolly Parton shows. I enjoyed the ‘Born to Dance’ show. The piece showcased a medley of Broadway choreography while dancers of the past would speak on their experiences. I was captivated by a blonde dancer, Tori Edwards. She had that fire. Another show was with a Comedian and Magician, Sam McCool. If you don’t try to figure out his tricks and allow yourself to laugh, you’ll enjoy the show a bit more.
The Crew will have host trivia on various topics including music time periods and TV show tunes. You can participate in comedic games and of course karaoke. Kim and I got up several times and even competed for the onboard version of The Voice of the Ocean. We didn’t make it to the finals but it was fun and something we both have never done before.
Not interested in embarrassing yourself or conquering a fear, relax.
RELAX

Get every part of your body massaged at The Louts Spa. Located on the 15thdeck, choose from a variety of treatments to Come Back New. The busiest days at the spa are sea days. They usually have a daily special and have a Medi Spa doctor on board for serious anti-aging procedures. I visited with the doctor from Mexico and was quoted $300 – $3,000 for treatments for my personal concerns. I opted out but have purchased many of the Elemis products. I enjoyed four treatments – the Elemis Aroma Spa Seaweed Massage, Ionthermie Cellulite Reduction Program, the Biotec Firm-a-Lift Facial and Keratese Fusio-Dose Hair Treatment. All of the treatments were incredibly relaxing. The staff, Charlotte, Josie, Courtney, Elizabeth and Teresa were fantastic.


Continue relaxing in one of the many hot tubs with a book you brought or one you’ve borrowed from the library. Grab a couch or chair by the windows and watch the ocean go by. I finished “Where’d You Go, Bernadette”? by Maria Semple. It was a bit of an annoying book as I wanted to escape and not read emails or back and forth correspondence. However, the characters also go on an adventure on a boat, see penguins, sing to the Beatles and escape! I donated my book to the library and added my name to the inside cover. Did you pick it up?

Reading makes me sleepy. I slept quite a bit on this ship and allowed myself a nap every so often if not every day. Port days could be tiring and a nap is always a good idea. I found myself napping on the rides to and from destinations during excursions. Sometimes you have to meet just before 8 AM. With time changes, there is no real sleeping schedule. If you have a busy life at home with work, school, kids, family and all of your ambitions, take advantage of the wonderfully comfortable beds Princess provides. I have slept well every night. I have dreamt very vivid dreams every single night. No, it’s not because of the drink package I purchased.
Would you prefer to lay under the sky and recline on deck chair with provided blankets? Watch a Movie Under the Stars. Be sure to grab a bag of popcorn at the Sundaes stand. The sound system in great and there are a selection of movies like The Green Book, Grease, First Man, Mamma Mia and concerts. Depending on the weather, it may drizzle a bit or be windy. Double up your blankets or find a snuggle buddy. Sit back, relax and escape to the days of the mafia, summer love and the moon, wherever the movie takes you.
GET FIT

When you feel antsy, there are many ways to get moving. The easiest way to get fit is to visit the gym. Watch the waters go by while on a cardio machine or feel the waves rock the boat and keep your balance a bit as you pump some iron. Sign up for TRX training or health seminars. There is tai chi, Zumba and line dancing. A few laps around the upper decks and promenade are also good options. Instead of waiting for the elevators between decks, take the many staircases. I promise you it’ll save you time and burn a few more calories.

Whether you do one, two or none of the above, it is guaranteed that you will meet people from all of the world and possibly life-long new friends, especially on sea days.

Contact me to book your next Princess cruise.

First Time Via Qantas

We have just arrived in Melbourne and are currently sitting at the café at the Jasper Hotel. The reception desk for our hotel doesn’t open for another forty minutes. Here, we are able to sit with our four pieces of luggage, use Victoria region’s complimentary wi-fi and stay connected. We were also able to Coconut and Macadamia Nut Waffles and an Avacodo Smash post our first flight on Qantas. My roommate, Kim, and I safely flew for 15-hours from San Francisco. An exciting video is posted on my personal Instagram at @bappletree.

SFO was easy to get thru via security. Having Clear helped (let me send you a free month), but I am most likely going to get global entry when I return to the states. We ate at Gott’s pre-flight and did some yoga while our phones charged until we were ready to board. We waiting just past our boarding time as there’s no need to wait in line just to sit down. It was nice to see that there was no longer a wait when we finally reached our gate. The staff was friendly and welcoming. Be prepared to show your passport and your boarding pass at least three times.

It was a large plane and we sat in row 41. Our seats came with a welcome pouch with ear plugs, an eye mask, a toothbrush and toothpaste. I still use my eye mask from JetBlue. But a third eye mask could be useful! The seat also had a red blanket in a plastic bag. I brought my own so this left unopened.

I sat down, got myself situated and observed what will be available to me for the next 15 hours. I had my own personal screen for entertainment which I didn’t have to pay for. It was touch screen as well. You did not have to press hard or repeatedly to recognize your commands. Lucky for me and the child sitting in front me. No hard and frustrating pressing was going to be taking place at the back of my head either.

Just underneath the screen, find a pull down shelf if you will where you can prop up your electronic device (tablet or iPhone) to view your downloaded videos or books. Inside that compartment was a USB power outlet. YES! American and Southwest experiences lately did not have this available. I think every plane should have this. Don’t you?

The screen was filled with movies, TV show options, music and games. My screen was occupied with A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody and Vogue: My Sponsored Life. Grammy nominated movies and some educational shows definitely kept me entertained.

In the same compartment was a band to hold things in place against the back. I securely placed my phone there when I wasn’t using it. It helped avoid it falling out when you abruptly open this compartment. As well all know, contents may have shifted during the course of the flight. I thought that was a great feature.

The food was decent. I had the chicken salad with a cherry vinaigrette. I don’t think I was that hungry to devour some nice-sized pieces of chicken. I did enjoy the chocolate mousse when I was actually hungry. Candies were offered about an hour before breakfast. I chose my favorite: the Kit Kat. Breakfast was also offered. I selected the bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs and hash browns. The roasted tomato was good and the hash brown was crispy.

The staff was great. Very friendly and they looked like they enjoyed their job. It truly makes a difference. There wasn’t very many interruptions to our entertainment viewing by the cockpit. Bathrooms were fully stocked as well.

Perhaps it was because I was sitting in a middle seat, but it seemed a bit cramped for my 5’1″ body. You may shape the headrest. This helped me not irritating Kim as I slept.

It was a great experience so well done, Qantas. We will be taking the same airline for our return in two weeks. I also applaud your social media attention.

Let me help you book your trip to Melbourne, Australia or New Zealand. Kim and I headed out to see via the Golden Princess tomorrow afternoon.




We are ready to explore Melbourne! Please follow me on social media (Instagram, SnapChat @bappletree) for real time photos and videos.