OBB Weekly – 6/4/19

Academy of Sciences, San Francisco

Hello, June! May just flew by, didn’t it? It was an eventful month, hopefully for you too. Change is inevitable. Seasons change, people change, menus change and aspirations change. How do you deal with change? Do you welcome it? Struggle with it? I imagine it’s a process. Everyone has their own way and go about dealing with change at their own pace. Regardless, we survived whatever it was to be at this very moment. I thank you for choosing to spend it on my blog.

TRAVEL

Comment below if you agree, but there’s nothing like the sound of the ocean on the beach to help me escape and deal with my problems. I have escaped to Santa Cruz to sit on the sand of Seabright Beach after a fight with my then boyfriend. While in Maui, I make sure I touch the water one more time before returning home to remind me that I will be back someday and all that I’m working for is to do this as often as possible. I also have video of me sitting on a dock in Venice, Italy hearing the water beat against the wood below me. It was going to be a honeymoon destination but after two visits, it still has yet to be, but that’s OK. Not everyone can say they’ve been to the City of Bridges. A change of scenery, can help you escape the situation temporarily, give you a moment to think and hopefully realize that there is beauty and good in this world. This Travel Agent would be happy to help you with your escape.

Katie & Jeremy – Kauai, Hawai’i
Maui, Hawai’i

EVENT PLANNING

One significant change in a person’s life is getting married. I love working with couples wanting to get married near the water like at Pacific Star Winery in Fort Bragg, California or The Beach House in Koloa, Hawaii. Honeymoons to Venice, Italy would be incredible romantic. My recent honeymoon clients will be heading off to Phuket, Thailand and the Maldives. Feel free to ask me to plan your trip.

Happy Travel Agent client!

Or, I would be happy to set you up with a fantastic photographer in Kauai and do a Trash The Dress photo shoot when you finalize your divorce like I did.

Kauai, Hawai’i

FOOD

Unfortunately, my favorite pizza and salad from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery in Hayward, California is now off the menu. Bijou, also located in Hayward, is now called Playt. The menu is different and now has a seafood ravioli made with large won ton wrappers. In Menlo Park, the Menlo Grill & Bar is now called the Menlo Tavern. The menu has changed and it’s not bad! Get cocktails from my Cugino, Ron, and get salads, sliders on Hawaiian rolls and dessert. Tell Ron Bernadette sent you and comment below on what you think of the new menu.

New appetizer
Crisp a la mode
My Cugino, Ron, the Bartender

MOTIVATION

It has been a couple of months since I switched this blog from Blogger to WordPress. I have been averaging 16 posts per month and my hits have increased by 40%. My goal is to continue this growth, this positive change. The point of blogging often was to get my photos on my phone down from 11,000. As I continue to travel and eat out, my phone says very little progress has been made. Videos have been uploaded to my YouTube channel, photos have been uploaded on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter and I have randomly deleted photos that are not needed. Make the best of your June, set some goals and let me know how I can help. I’m a great ReTweeter for supporters. You never know who is going to share what I post! Do you know Danny Wood of New Kids on the Block? Have you been to the Silverado Resort and Spa? Or Penny Ice Creamery in Santa Cruz?

Danny has 191,000 followers
@napavalleyluxury has 8,745 followers
@thepennyicecreamery has 3,817 followers

OBB Weekly – 5-7-19


Summer is basically here. Kids will be out of school. They will be wanting to hang out at the pool all day long. That means bikini season. Who else doesn’t feel like their body is ready? How’s your fitness game? What are you doing about it? Before you know it, you will do some sort of traveling to a warm destination, attending an event outdoors and eating the likes of funnel cakes at the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk or enjoying a glass of champagne in hand watching the sunset. What is your motivation?

TRAVEL

I have just returned from the warmest days I have ever spent in Seattle, Washington. The sun was shining and tank tops bared brown shoulders. Up ahead will be Memorial Day weekend in Santa Cruz cat and house sitting, ‘research’ in Truckee and Lake Tahoe and again in Cabo San Lucas. Then Las Vegas. Short sleeves, short shorts and bikinis are required.

Photo by ACT Language Schools

Where are you headed this summer?
And what are you packing?

EVENT PLANNING

Summer weddings are very popular. Last year, Susie and Frankie, tied the knot at the Stable Cafe with an outdoor ceremony and reception in San Francisco. It turned out to be a gorgeous day. Should you wish to have your destination wedding in the city by the bay, consider September or even October when we have our Indian summer. It’s wonderful. That way, if you’re a bit behind in getting fit for the big day, you can add some time to go hard and diet. Napa is always a good idea. Or, consider Lodi for warmer temps.

Whitehall Lane Winery – St. Helena, CA

Michael David Winery – Lodi, CA

Stable Café, San Francisco, CA

What are your thoughts on a destination wedding?
Are they an inconvenience or an adventure?

FOOD

Summer brings so many food festivals and fairs. The San Francisco Bay Area county fairs will provide full turkey leg and deep fried just about everything. Breweries and wineries will be incredibly inviting to sit outside on their patio or beer garden in the warm, long offering of daylight. Clif Family Winery‘s Bruschetteria food truck offers amazing brussels sprouts if you can get them. Get their roasted chicken if you need your protein. Cleophus Quealy will have tator tots and participate in supporting a local nonprofit every Saturday. Drink for a good cause.

Snacks from the food truck at Cleophus Quealy in San Leandro, CA.
A blind pup available for adoption from Nobody’s Perfekt Dogs.
With Robert Irvine at the 2018 Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival on Maui
The apple, pesto and sausage pizza from Buffalo Bill’s Brewery – Hayward, CA

Which foodie events are you most looking forward to?
Is there a summer salad that’s your favorite?

MOTIVATION

Do you have a pair of jeans deep in your closet for when you do get back down to that size? I do. My motivation to keep at trying to be fit is that jiggle I feel when I run. That was never there before and now it won’t go away! Frustrating, isn’t it? Well, as I said, summer is here and I better face the music: I can’t eat like I used to and not gain a pound. Some people are blessed with that metabolism forever. So here I am, writing this weekly post while on the stationary bike. I have managed to not gain any weight on my last two cruises but I am still at a body fat percentage not to my liking. Thank goodness for great friends. My dear friend and I are back to exchanging post work out photos no matter how ugly. And it’s nice to have someone to work out with in our travels. Get yourself a Nikki B.! Motivation won’t be lacking.

Working out at the Hotel Max in Seattle, Washington – Cinco De Mayo Weekend 2019

Stretching during April’s trail walk (not really a hike) in Santa Cruz, CA with my roommate

With Nelly before my first half marathon ever at Walt Disney World in Florida – January 2019

What are your summer body goals?
What friends help you out on this endeavor? How?

The Inn at Pasatiempo

Off of Highway 17 just before reaching the beach town of Santa Cruz, consider staying at newly renovated The Inn at Pasatiempo. Play golf nearby, finish up at the Back Nine Grill & Bar Restaurant and stay the night in a hotel room with a king size bed. For special events, they have outdoor event space for weddings and indoor reception areas with a patio.

Being from the Bay Area, I toured four venues in December 2017 as an Event Planner and Travel Agent. Location is very important. Santa Cruz is not San Francisco but couples can still have a destination wedding near the coast for a reasonable price. Every time the Sales Rep told me if there was a site fee and/or food and beverage minimum, I was shocked at how affordable it was. Do consider Santa Cruz county for your special event.

SPECIAL OFFER

The Inn at Pasatiempo is currently offering $500 off their $1,500 site fee for 2019 weddings. Let’s plan your special event!

HOTEL

During my tour in December, I was able to see a suite and standard room. They have a few buildings, a pool area and as already mentioned a restaurant and event space. Their rooms are spacious. After a wedding I worked on an April evening, I stayed in a standard room with king-sized bed. The bed was a bit stiff, the room was clean with high ceilings and exposed wooden beams. The bathroom fan was quite loud and the shower pressure strong. Parking was easy and there was one right in front. When reviewing photos and reviews on Yelp, be sure to take a look as to when it was posted. There are a lot of terrible photos of the property. Remember, they have just renovated and it’s worth it to give them a shot. Let me help you book your room. Room prices vary but for Memorial Day Weekend, a standard room is $186.00 per night or $325.00 for the suite. Travel Agents may have access to cheaper rates.

A nice touch. Thank you, Joanna.

Be sure to see my other posts on what to do in Santa Cruz, California. More to come!
Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk

LIKE my Facebook page.

OBB Weekly – 4-16-19

Isn’t it nice when you go to Hawai’i and it is consistently a good time? The weather is amazing, beach options are a plenty and the aloha spirit is all around you. Travelers can expect paradise. It has been proven over and over again. Selecting repeat vacation destinations, vendors, what you put in your body and who you choose to surround yourself with fulfills expectations. And how satisfying that is. I appreciate consistency but change is also good too to keep things fresh.

TRAVEL

Everyone has their preferred airlines when they travel. They might like their friendly customer service, feel more comfortable or spacious or like the complimentary cocktails. I do love Hawai’i so I usually fly Hawaiian Airlines when I go to Hawai’i. When I travel within the country or even to Cabo San Lucas, Southwest Airlines is easy and mostly affordable. Plus you get two bags free. For international flights, British Airways has it all. Comfort, friendly service and so far, no problems. They are consistent in what they deliver.

Maui sunsets

To change it up, Qantas and Alaska Airlines are great as well. Qantas has a USB to plug in your dying iPhone on a 15-hour flight and plenty of movies to keep you entertained. I would also like to mention Alaska Airlines. They now to go Hawai’i and they had a 24-hour sale last week where I grabbed round trip flights to Seattle for $120. Not bad! Come Cinco de Mayo, I will revisit Pike Place and wherever my lady companions would like to go.

CONCIERGE

A good concierge will always direct you to the best restaurant to fit what you’re looking for. Yes, some restaurants kick back free meal vouchers for X amount of groups they refer. But in honestly, Concierges will not send folks to establishments they do not think would be a good fit. After all, the guest could come back to the Concierge with their feedback. Always ask your Concierge or possibly visit the city’s welcome center for customized recommendations and possibly coupons. I would recommend Cioppino’s at the Fisherman’s Wharf. Get their clam linguine and a 10% off coupon from the Concierge at the Argonaut Hotel. If it’s Matthew, tell him I said hello. For a change and something out of the ordinary, the Wine Train experience is certainly different. Enjoy a delicious three-course meal on a working train with views of Napa’s vineyards. You won’t regret it. Book with me!

Doughp makes a vegan cookie dough.

EVENT PLANNING

It would be shocking if I had a repeat client for his/her wedding. I have however assisted with multiple holiday parties, a wedding and birthday parties for a single couple. Repeat clients are always appreciated. They expected a certain kind of service from me and I was happy to have been able to deliver. They referred me to other repeat clients as well. That’s when you know you’re doing something right.

Star Winery, Fort Bragg, California

As a Planner, details and schedules are confirmed. However, changes do occur and some more serious than others. One wedding I did in Fort Bragg, the caterer showed up late. Guests need to be fed. Thankfully everyone was having a good time, including the happy couple, and they weren’t too worried about it. We Planners have to roll with the punches.

FOOD

As mentioned from a Concierge’s perspective, Travel Agents work the same way when it comes to food. Drafting an itinerary of where to eat in the beautiful town in San Francisco was so simple for me. Though, there’s an abundance of options, I like to mix it up. I would add very popular restaurants like The Slanted Door or The House of Prime Rib. Then I would recommend Manila Bowl for a quick and very casual luncheon at The Market or a pop-up dinner by the likes of Big Bad Wolf. Ch-ch-change it up with some Latin flavor with Cha Cha Cha in the Haight. The sangria is strong. You’ve been warned.

Cha Cha Cha, San Francisco

MOTIVATION

“If you want to identify someone’s character, examine the friends he sits with.” – Imam Ali.

We all have friends we don’t keep in touch with anymore or they have mysteriously fallen off the face of the planet with no explanation or good-bye. Perhaps our relationship has served its purpose and it was time to move on. I would never wish ill upon these people so I wish them well. I am thankful for the memories we created and the friends I do have. Maintaining those relationships seemed so effortless. Sometimes, it was challenging but it made it stronger. Consistency and change occurred but there was always love. May you be that friend to someone and deserve them in return.

Long lasting friends I met at a Los Lonely Boys concert.

OBB Weekly – 4/9/19

One quarter of the year has already passed and time is flying by. Spring break and prom is happening around this time, taxes are due and my almost 13-year-old nephew doesn’t want to hunt for eggs this year. It is a reminder that there is no time like the present. Carpe diem. Don’t let opportunities pass you by. Let’s talk about some ways to do just that.

TRAVEL

You have plans to go to Las Vegas and need someone that also loves your dog to stay over and house sit. Thankfully my Bevo was a lover and super easy to watch so I had a few folks I was able to call. I am now returning the favor. If you love dogs and can house sit for people, do it if you can. It is always nice to have people you can trust to take good care of your home and your fur baby. You will never know where it will take you.

Bevo went everywhere I could take him like 21st Amendment in San Leandro, CA.

I have house sat and dog/cat sat for friends in Brentwood, Palo Alto, Emeryville, Sonoma and Santa Cruz in California. I am completely open to traveling abroad! Hint. Hint. You can’t go wrong with wine country and a beach town, right?

Don’t own a dog but love dogs? I have been a Wag Walker. It’s an Uber like dog-walking service. You can set up the range of areas you can serve and you can also dog sit overnight. I have done a couple of those. Dog sitting for new puppies while the owners have to work is also easy money. This can at least build your list of experience with dogs. For me, I have a 5-star rating, 84 reviews and have Wag walked over 100 miles. (Use code Bernadette9307 to get $50 in Wag credits.) With this experience, I’m sure friends and colleagues will think of you when they need someone reliable to stay at their beach house when they are off to Hawaii for a long weekend.

CONCIERGE

In my experience as a Concierge, you need to take advantage of the opportunities tour operators, wineries and attractions offer to experience their products. They put on events, networking functions, tastings and offer free trials so you can speak on it from a personal level to your clients. Popular tours all around the world are walking food tours. I have done one in Charleston, Sourth Carolina with my nephew. Along the lines of that are cooking classes.

Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on the food tour. My second one on this short trip in Charleston, South Carolina.

From my dear friend’s Mexico City solo trip, Julia took a cooking class. I almost spontaneously booked my trip to go with her but couldn’t get the time off. I then booked a cooking class while in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico in November 2018 because her experience was so amazing. I booked with Cookin’ Cabo (juanmoretacooking on Instagram). I was a solo attendee as Julia couldn’t make the trip after all with me. I couldn’t not go so I took advantage of the opportunity of making new friends and learning new dishes. Now, with this knowledge, I am hoping to bring you a special and unique experience. Stay tuned!

Cookin’ over open heat on a gas stove in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

EVENT PLANNING

The Knot released the 2019 wedding trends we wedding planners should be aware of. One we love is that there’s an increase in couples hiring wedding planners. Thank you! Another trend is that couples are breaking the traditional rules. Ninety percent of couples don’t care about having a bride and groom side. Less and less couples are holding their ceremonies in religious institutions. I like to tell my couple that there are no real rules to their wedding. It’s never happened before! Couples want to bring in their own personality to the event and make it fun. And they should! After all, when would they be able to host this type of event at this level together again? It’s now or never.

FOOD

There is a lot of exotic food in the world to try. There are also interesting ways to save lives by going meatless. I have been participating in #MeatlessMondays for almost a year. There was one day earlier this week that I accidentally ate a piece of beef jerky from my coworker’s desk after my stomach growling. I failed in that one day but continued the rest of the day meatless and continued it on the day after just to make up for the day. With my participation, it has opened my eyes to alternatives.

At Coconuts in Palo Alto, I have had the grilled tofu platter while the rest of my coworkers had the jerk chicken. At the SFO airport, I enjoyed a big bowl of the Avocado and Citrus Salad from Gott’s Roadside while my roommate had the fish tacos. On the Golden Princess, I opted for the futomaki rolls as a starter. The header photo above is a brunch dish from Tavern on the Green in New York City. There are always vegetarian options available. Simple cooking at home options could include pasta with sauce or butter and parmesan cheese, quesadillas with jalepenos, a cucumber salad or broiled strips of bell peppers with lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper. It’s very simple and less weight sitting in your stomach when you’ve eaten too much. Try Meatless Monday. It can be done!

Yes, we ordered wine with it as well to kick off our vacation.

MOTIVATION

Ever since the Hellyer 10K just over a week ago, I have been itching to book another run. There’s a cool run available on the peninsula at a private airport where you can do a race on the runway. I have never heard of that being done before. I have gotten dirty twice with Warrior Dash so I’m not interested in bathing with a garden hose. I have done a half marathon at Walt Disney World. I am thinking of doing a run at Disneyland Paris for my birthday and joining my roommate on the 60-mile Breast Cancer Walk in San Diego in November. But raising $1,600 was stressful. What would you do?

About to go for run along the beach outside the JW Marriott, Los Cabos.

My goal is to travel for my runs. I might register for the Napa Women’s Run in March 2020 and I already told Nelly, my running partner, that we’d do the Giants triple event starting during spring training in Arizona. I have been wanting to do a run in Hawaii. Even on early morning runs, it gets so warm! I usually want to jump in the ocean immediately after the run. I am clearly undecided on what I want to commit to this year but at least I want to continue running, ideally for a good cause.

Scheduled:
May 17, 2019
Foam Glow 5K – San Jose
September 2019
Teal Run once they announce the event – South Bay
October 12, 2019
Walk to End Alzheimer’s – Silicon Valley
January 11, 2020
RunDisney 10K – Walt Disney World

OBB Weekly – 2-12-19


BULA! I have returned from a week-long familiarization trip in Fiji and it was incredible. It was so amazing it is all I want to write about in this weekly post. Apologies for missing last week. I was touring amazing resorts, stood at the bow of a boat and eating kokoda, my new favorite Fijian dish. Read on to learn more. I hope this inspires you to go to the South Pacific. I would be happy to help you plan your trip.

Travel
When I received the invitation to apply for this familiarization trip, aka Fam, I didn’t hesitate. Fiji? The location wasn’t even a top 10 spot on my list of places to visit next. But if it was going to be educational and a business expense, sign me up! I was one of six Travel Agents selected. I couldn’t wait to go.

Fiji did not disappoint. Expect to be welcomed every morning, at every resort and even in passing on the highway or thru a village. You will see warm and welcoming Fijian smiles and a loud “Bula!” and/or wave. The landscape is beautiful, the water is warm and the food is delicious. But nothing compares to how strangers are welcomed.



When I returned to the States, going thru the gate doors, I immediately missed the Fiji spirit. I’m sure you will too.
See the video above of the welcome we received from the team at Tropica Island Resort. They were closed for renovations but welcomed us as if we were incoming guests. What an experience!
What other place welcomes you like this?
Have you been to the South Pacific?
Concierge
Your trusted Travel Agent can set you up with tours to experience what Fiji has to offer. We can partner with operators like Rosie’s Holiday for transfers and unique excursions. Our team went on the Off-Road Cave Tour via an ATV. We went across a river that looked like chocolate milk, drove thru villages where the adorable children ran to the ATV to get high fives and explored a cave with only our headlamps on our head. We were in water up to our waist! Bring water shoes for this adventure! A change of clo
thes is also helpful. Don’t even let a flat tire ruin your trip. This company had us back on the road in 15 minutes.

How adventurous do you like to be on your vacation?
Are you a thrill seeker?
Or prefer to visit the spa instead?
Event Planning
If you want a destination wedding, Fiji has it all. Exchange vows up on a hill overlooking the beach, at the beach or in a beautiful garden. The Outrigger Fiji Resort has a property with a chapel on a hill next to their spa. The Hilton Fiji Beach Resort & Spa has plenty of beach event space including a banquet hall with a wraparound patio on the second level. The Garden of the Sleeping Giants has an open lawn space just after walking across the platform over the pond. Say hello to the frogs on the lily pads and stop to smell the orchids.

Would you marry your Frog Prince in a garden?

On the beach?
On top of a hill?
Food 
In California, it is common to see ceviche on the menu. Diced up fish or shrimp is cooked with the acid in limes or lemons. Add a variety of vegetables like onions, celery or tomatoes or other fish, plus coriander and salt. In Fiji, they have kokoda. It is basically the same concept but with coconut milk. And it is tasty! I had it with lobster for the first time at the Intercontinental.

Next, we were served tastings of it in soup spoons at the Tropica Island Resort. Then again, we had the pleasure of having a mini-cooking class at the incredible Liku Liku Lagoon Resort. See video below. I will definitely be making this at home.

Would you try this dish?
If so, which fish or kind of seafood would you use?
How would you make the dish your own?
Motivation
With all this travel, eating and stunning scenery, it makes you want to book your trip to Fiji, right? I would love to go back! Maybe with you! There is so much to explore, taste and experience. As a Certified Princess Cruises and Hawai’i Tourism Specialist, I think a Fijian Tourism certification makes sense for me to conquer next. After all, we did visit 12 resorts and ate at twice as many restaurants and dining establishments. 


By the next OBB Weekly, I hope to have more news to share with you. Until then, think of Fiji, its sandy beaches, warm waters and an infinity amount of infinity pools to dip into. Maybe put a few bucks aside to start your fund. You have to start somewhere. Money returns. Time doesn’t. Let’s go to Fiji! Get jumpin’! Like these Fijian frogs.


Is Fiji on your top 10 places to visit?
When you think of Fiji, what do you think of?







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OBB Weekly – 1-22-19

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

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

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

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

Share the Love – Stella & Dot
TRAVEL

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

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

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

CONCIERGE

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

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

EVENT PLANNER

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

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

FOOD

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

Parish Café, Healdsburg, California

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

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

MOTIVATION

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

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

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Susie & Frankie – June 28, 2018

“We’re thinking about having the wedding in Oaxaca.”

Inside I am screaming with excitement, sitting in one of the lounges of where I worked full-time. The place was killing this One Busy Bee with working 60+ hours a week and I needed something to look forward to. Susie has been a friend of mine since we had a business class together at San Francisco State University and is one of the sweetest ladies I have ever met. I remember the story of how she met her future husband. She’s happy, therefore I’m happy. And excited! However, they decided to have the wedding locally. But it turned out beautifully.

The venue was in the Mission area in San Francisco near their home called Stable Cafe. It’s a darling spot with indoor seating on two levels, an outdoor patio with fruit trees and greenery on the walls, a greenhouse area with a fireplace and a private room with easy access to the kitchen. Minah took good care us. Some rentals were needed based on the headcount but it was handled by Hil’s Cooking Catering


The wedding rehearsal was scheduled the day before and we nailed down timing, where to stand, pause, when to walk and how to stand. Their daughter, Sofia, was adorable and Nikhol, the photographer, was going to capture some great shots of this little girl. We went thru the rehearsal a couple of times to make sure everyone was positive they knew what to do the following day.

I love incorporating a moment for the Bride to have a couple of seconds to have it all about her during the procession. Susie was a little hesitant but I wished someone had recorded how loud 85 people shouted and cheered when she stepped into view as Jill Scott’s ‘He Loves Me.‘ My Brides are typically a little nervous about this moment but when I see that smile, I know they are glad they did it. Once she had her moment, her mother and father came on opposite sides to escort her to husband-to-be. 


Post ceremony, the Bridal Party, a close group of friends gathered in the cafe for a celebratory glass of champagne and group photos in the neighborhood as the guests enjoyed cocktail hour with a beautiful Latin band. It was great to see familiar faces. Susie and Frankie are very much loved. This was when we had to make sure the guests stayed in the greenhouse and dance floor area to transform the ceremony area into the reception area. Tables were moved into place from their secret areas by Stable Cafe and Hil’s. The ceremony backdrop was dismantled and stored. The Bridal Party returned, enjoyed some of the cocktail hour then it was time to line up again for introductions and start the reception. 


The buffet menu by the caterer was filling and when the head table wanted more fried chicken, it was granted. Folks enjoyed the food and I personally liked the mac n cheese, because who wouldn’t! Hil’s also had friendly service staff and handled the bar. Speeches were made and tears were shed, but laughs also filled the air.

The Bride and Groom didn’t want to make cake cutting an event so they slyly did so before they started with their very sweet first dance. You can feel the love. The cake by by Soul Desire Bakery was devoured by the guests. While guests were having a great time on the dance floor, I did what I could to stay productive and get things cleaned up.

Another beautiful event and another step in their life together was taken. So happy for you, Susie, Frankie and Sofia!


Custom artwork by the Groom, Francisco Franco



Gabe & Maria – Thomas Fogarty Winery

The last wedding of the year for this Event Planner and Coordinator is complete. I am so happy for Gabe and Maria. This lovely couple tied the knot at the gorgeous Thomas Fogarty Winery in Woodside, California on December 1, 2018.

Gabe and Maria did a beautiful job of doing majority of the work of planning this memorable event. They were very organized and stress-free and made the wedding day one of the easiest I have ever worked. I reviewed their work, brought up tasks and ideas for them to think about, put some ideas together for their honeymoon and recommended periodic status meetings to help with anything they may need. Otherwise, they did a really fantastic job. I didn’t have a lot of pre-wedding work to do and my car wasn’t filled with wedding items to where I couldn’t see out of the windows. Yes, this happens.

The wedding rehearsal took place at 10 AM the day before the wedding on a windy and chilly morning. The initial thought of how the wedding party would perform the procession was rethought during this time as it didn’t flow as I liked and there was a chance of rain the next day. We moved the starting point to inside the reception area, timed where they would start, stop for a photo, start, where to stand, how to angle themselves, how to hold their flowers and of course smile. “Don’t be that Bridesmaid/Groomsmen.” We ran thru it twice, made modifications as necessary and timed it just right. I figured out where I was going to stand, how I was going to queue the parties involved and more. We nailed it.

I relaxed the rest of the day as I knew it was going to be 12-hour day on my feet the next day. However, I was sure to pack my bag of usual goodies and items in case of an emergency – scissors, tape, markers/Sharpies, pen, lighters, lady toiletries, etc. I was out of my mini first aid kit and a mini sewing kit I had thanks to the JW Marriott in Los Cabos. Funny how that I needed both of these things on Wedding Day and came up short. I know better than that! I need to be better prepared. One thing the Bride and Groom did need were easels for their signage. I had three wooden ones and I laid down the backseat seats and loaded them in. 
As it was a rainy day and about an hour drive to the venue, I took off a little early just in case. I had time to spare so I took some time to review my timeline and other documents. Then it was showtime.

The photographers, McElvy Photography, beat me to the venue and Mike McElvy was up on a ladder adding lights to make sure the ceremony photos came out with the brighter background. I was super impressed with this husband and wife photography couple. Jack, I mean Mike, (inside joke) and Jill even came to the wedding rehearsal. They were so easy and a pleasure to work with. I hope to work with them again.

Kaitlin of Thomas Fogarty Winery introduced herself and looked incredibly relaxed. I was about to find out that it was because of their list of preferred vendors. She knew that the selected group for the day knew exactly what they had to do and knew the venue inside and out. Kaitlin was available for any of my questions and answered via text and/or came to find me with assistance. In the evening, Sherie took over and she also had the same demeanor. Over a break, (yes, I got not just one, but several!), she, Tony, the DJ and I had some time to chat. Some laughs were made but there was another reason why this venue was so great. Amazing people!
Toast Catering was also there unloading and prepping. I met their lady in charge, Mam (unsure of the spelling), and she was all over it. The schedule was taped to the fridge and things were being moved and progress was being made. I was introduced to Laura and Walter. They answered all of my questions, fulfilled my request for moving workers to the reception area to put down tables per the florist’s request and moving the heaters into place. I then later saw them running the show during the reception and killin’ it, plus making sure my Bride and Groom’s sweetheart table was perfect, they had their entrees along with their salads as requested and more. They were awesome. I even got to sit down at a table and enjoy the meal. The filet mignon and sauce was fantastic! The to go plate I enjoyed the next day of their salmon, massive stuffed chicken, veggies and rice was filling and flavorful, even as leftovers. That means something! I was super impressed by the quality, reliability and professionalism of the service staff. We had one boo boo where a tray of glasses hit the floor but thankfully nobody got hurt. Toast was also in charge of rentals. One
less additional vendor to worry about!

Tony V. with Elite Entertainment was great. He knew exactly what to do, hooked up the Officiant, also named Tony, with a mic for the ceremony even though he wasn’t aware of the need. He had a great personality and did great on the mic. He even spoke Spanish and kept the party going. He had Spanish versions of songs I didn’t know was around! I now know and want them as part of my music library. Por supuesto!
The Officiant Tony was also on top of it. He has experience and was a friend of Maria and Gabe’s. It was Uncle Tony to be exact. He was good, voice great ideas and took the lead well during the ceremony. May I also add, he was stylish in his deep purple suit.

The florist was made up of family members and were friends of the family. The arch was constructed and flowers were attached. The bouquets and bouttainaires were pretty.

TIP: If you want to save money on flowers. Fake ones are OK. Especially when they’ll only be seen for 20 minutes.

Corinthian Ground Transportation shuttled guests from the Courtyard Marriott Palo Alto to the venue. For an almost 200-person wedding, there wouldn’t be enough parking for each guest. Two trips were made and they were on time, reliable and friendly. 

The three layer cake was delivered and set in place. Only one layer was an actual cake.

TIP: The Bride and Groom were smart and saved money by ordering two sheet cakes to serve to guests. 

Walter of Toast called it a “cake weave.” I’m sure the couple’s pocketbook was A-OK with saving some money.

I love my job, my business. It is experiences like this and working with great vendors that make my job so easy. It was a pleasure to be a part of this special day.

Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart, you totally rocked. Everything was flawless thanks to you. It was a long day and yet you always had a smile on your face. Everyone loved everything and they were very impressed with how it all turned out” – Maria, the Bride.
Just want to say Thank you for everything!!! Idk what we would’ve done without you!! Sorry for the late text. But you’re the bomb!!!” – Gabe, the Groom.
Maria also says “I’ve never seen you in the zone like that before. You rocked it! Thank you!” I met Maria and most of those in the below photo maybe ten years ago through our love of music, specifically for the band Los Lonely Boys. Now she’s married! And the band Liked my Tweet to them that it was them that brought us together. I am thankful for their trust in handling their special day, but mostly for their friendship.

So happy for you, Maria and Gabe!

Wait, I’m not putting on the Bride’s shoes or bustling her dress? That’s what that silly face is for.

Money dance! Paying to dance with both of them. 
Had to do an example for the guests. Happy to be the first one to sign.

Are we in Hawai’i?

A Texan Elopement in San Francisco

This is why I need Bernadette!” exclaims my Bride to her new husband. He nodded as if saying “Whatever makes you happy, my Love.

What does a Day Of Wedding Coordinator do? Duties may or may not include, but not limited to: Button the dress, fluff the dress, straighten the veil, share your candy with the Bride, get just as excited when it’s time to get married (see SF Mayor Breed’s excitement too!) and much more, including try to stay out of the Photographer’s way. She also leaves them a nice note to welcome them to San Francisco.


I received a call at the Concierge desk I work at from an incoming hotel guest that were eloping from Texas. The Bride needed assistance finding someone to help on day of. “Well, I am one.” Next thing I knew, I was hired.

My Bride was on top of it! She was very organized and solely needed help finding cleaners to get her dress pressed after the plane ride, a vehicle to escort the Bride, Groom, Photographer and I around the city for photos, the ceremony and the dinner with cake and champagne. I also helped finalize the timeline and made sure her sister’s gift arrived on time and was placed at the best time and location as I saw fit. It was delivered to Epic Steakhouse with clear instructions on the boxes. I also aided with carrying whatever she needed, ran a quick errand for her and help flowers, helped her use the restroom, hold important paperwork, etc. 

I sent sneak peeks to someone special and he said I had a fun job. I do, indeed. 

Thank you to my Bride, Victoria, for trusting me with such an important day in her in life. Please contact me if you need assistance with your destination wedding. Willing to travel.

Happy Bride  = Happy Wedding Day for this Coordinator. I arrived to meet my Bride in great spirits and in even better hands with Felicia at Bun Bun Bridal on Grove Street. Felicia had my Bride’s hair styled and make up done. Felicia was friendly, sweet and personable. She gave me tips on how to put her veil in and ways to remove it. She also set her up with tools she would need for touch ups throughout the day and recommendations on products to remove the make up. I hope to work Felicia again!




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