OBB Weekly – 2-11-20

Chicago International Airport – November 2019

The Democratic candidates are on the road and just finished up in New Hampshire with Bernie Sanders taking the lead at 26%, with Pete Buttigieg slightly behind. I am packed and mostly booked for being on the road myself to go back to the Midwest for the day job. I look forward to sharing what I come across in Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Tennessee, at a wine event in Bourbon County, exploring the food scene and still hitting the gym and staying motivated during this time. Here are some past experiences that may inspire you to hit the road as well.

TRAVEL

In 2019, I had the pleasure of going to Chicago for the first time and ended up going two more times in the same year. In October as the snow lightly fell, I was finally able to meet up with a friend I met at my first job in advertising in San Francisco. She was originally from Chicago. She picked to meet up at Bernie’s. It was nice to explore an area of Chicago I didn’t get to.

Virgin Hotel – Chicago, Illinois. Our room had a guard dog.

Yes, with the help of social media, you can see what your long-time friends are up to. But there’s nothing like re-connecting with that person in person. So great to see you again, Anne!

Do you travel annually to see a particular friend or family member in a location that is…
Too expensive?
Difficult to get to?

EVENT PLANNING

My friends and I are definitely planning on attending the Hawai’i Food and Wine Festival again this year on Maui. It is an amazing event. Please see my other blog posts on the event and write-ups from interviewing some talented chefs. Maui is an amazing location to hold an event. Venues and amazing views are aplenty. This is Merriman’s Maui. It has one of the most amazing views and a patio perfect for a ceremony, cocktail hour and a first dance under the stars.

Which do you prefer: outdoor weddings during the day or at night?

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

One of my favorite things about traveling is eating and trying local cuisine. Having the joy of merging being a Travel Agent with a food and beverage background, I take advantage of every opportunity to try something delicious.

Birthday dinner at Le Jules Verne at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, brunch at Tavern on the Green at Central Park in New York City and kokoda at Tropica Island Resort in Fiji have been incredibly memorable.

Locally, there’s plenty to enjoy. The best beef tartar I have ever had was in Florence, Italy. In the United States, Zola in Palo Alto, California is amazing. And say hi to Walter!

What is one of the most memorable meals of your life?

MOTIVATION

I have worked out on the Spanish Steps in Rome, Italy, ran my second half marathon in one year at Disneyland Paris on my 39th birthday and have done yoga near the bow of the Golden Princess between Australia and New Zealand. Hitting the road for ten days, I will be at four different Marriott hotels. I am thankful they have a fitness center.

Fairfield Inn & Suites – Anderson, Indiana

You can work out anywhere in the world. If your hotel doesn’t have a fitness center or you do not have the FitOn app on your own phone, there are ways to make progress. Take the stairs, go for a walk around the town or take advantage of complimentary bike rentals.

Bike ride down Haleakala on Maui, Hawaii

Good luck on your fitness goals. Keep at it!

Where and how do you prefer to break a sweat while you travel?

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Let's Hike – Alamere Falls

Do you chase waterfalls? Literally? Alamere Falls outside Bolinas, California is a great option. Prepare yourself for beautiful views of Point Reyes, the Farallon Islands, boats passing by in the distance, Bass Lake and the sound of the wind in the trees.

You could see the Sutro Tower in the distance.
Point Reyes at the far left.

Past the gravel road, park in the free, limited lot if you arrive early and start your trek. The 8-mile hike consists of mostly shady and easy trails. A few are moderately steep but nothing unbearable if you have some back issues. I would recommend a light Camelbak to stay hydrated and to carry snacks and personal items. Be sure to wear appropriate shoes and a long-sleeve top to keep yourself covered from the poison ivy leading to the falls. Dressing in layers is always recommended in the Bay Area. Also pack toilet paper. The restrooms are not stocked.

Go early and it won’t be so crowded. We started at 9 AM and started to head back at 10:45 AM or so and there were small and large groups that we had to share the paths with. If you’re a greeter like me, that is a lot of people to say hello to. Save yourself the breath for the hike and less people in your photos at the waterfall by going early.

At the waterfall, prepare yourself for a treacherous way down to the base of the waterfall. Be sure to keep your hands free to help climb yourself down. The shale wall to climb down is dangerous and unstable. Please take your time going down.

This particular visit, the high tide did not allow us to get a great photo in front of the falls or be able to have lunch on the beach. Two ladies and a child that attempted to go down to the falls told us that the tide was coming up to the wall and we should turn around. My group continued on anyways. We scaled the wall. Dropped down and ran across the dark, rounded rocks and jumped back onto the wall as the waves approached to avoid getting wet. It was a little crazy and it could have been bad should the power of the ocean swept us away from the wall. I went as far as I would allow myself. I raced back to safe ground. In rushing, I slipped and fell on my bum on the rocks and bruised my left hand. Again, please be careful and do not do what I just did. On a nice day and where the tides didn’t take over the beach, the hike is well worth it.

For fun, try some yoga poses with friends.

I really need to learn new poses.

Friends in beautiful places make them gorgeous. So grateful.

Do you like to hike?
How do you pick your hikes?

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OBB Weekly – 2-4-20

The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

Happy Travel Tuesday! One month down in 2020 and there’s a lot of time to make things happen this year. Who has travel plans? Will you be attending any weddings? What upcoming restaurant opening are you looking forward to? And what motivates you? Whatever you have planned, I hope these weekly posts inspire you!

TRAVEL

January had me exploring my own state of California. You can find new, great things to explore in your backyard. Yes, many people save for an extravagant and long vacation. A less expensive and maybe a 2-3 hour drive to a new but close location can serve the same purpose: getting out of town!

Niner Wine Estates in Paso Robles. Perfect for this Faithful.

Paso Robles was a New Year’s Eve getaway with the roommate. Then, I was lucky enough to crash her room at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton in Half Moon Bay. What a treat that was! Heaven knows I can’t afford that room on my own. Perhaps one day, I’ll be able to not blink when hitting that reservation button. If you have an opportunity like this, take it! My roommate was barely in the room as she was busy with her company meetings. I made my office in the hotel room.

What are spots near you that you love or would love to go to?

The dream. The goal. – The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay

EVENT PLANNING

Well, congratulations to the Kansas City Chiefs. They beat my San Francisco 49ers 31-20 on Super Bowl Sunday this past weekend. I honestly can remember the last time I watched the Super Bowl. The planning and event production of the half time show is always impressive in such a short time period. Jennifer Lopez and Shakira put on quite a performance. I have always been a fan of JLo and am listening to her songs now while drafting this.

Having a love for live music, the ballet and other performing arts, I have always considered learning and understanding what goes into the production of a performance like this. Perhaps one day.

Have you had experience with this large of an event?
What was it like?
Did/do you love it?

#WEREHUNGRYTOO

As much I love trying a new restaurant and a creative cocktail, I am also enjoying cooking. My friend gave me a cookbook from The Slanted Door quite a few years ago when I helped open my restaurant in San Francisco. I made my first meal: Shaking Beef with coconut rice! And it was amazing. A Bordeaux wine definitely added to it.

I enjoyed the sauce so much, I made my Meatless Monday dinner with cabbage and a stuffed pepper. “Well, this is a way for me to eat cabbage!” says the roommate.

Do you participate in Meatless Mondays?
What is your favorite meal to make for MMs?
Is there a cookbook you swear by?

MOTIVATION

As mentioned, I am on the stationary bike drafting this post. JLo’s performance may have played a part in getting up early this morning and getting a workout in before another busy day. She’s 50 and looks amazing. Talk about goals! Thanks for the motivation, JLo.

I did finally have an improved weigh-in on Saturday. Weigh-in usually takes place on Sundays but I didn’t know where I was going to be and I was happy to report I haven’t been this light in four months. I still have a lot of work to do and to keep it off but it will take some time.

My dear friend, Brittany, invited me download the FitOn app. When this One Busy Bee just can’t make it to the gym, it’s nice to have workouts at my fingertips. They have challenges like completing 10 workouts in one month. I need to get started. I am pretty bummed that bodybuilding.com aren’t running their 250K Challenges. They really helped me go after it. And it was fun to do it with friends.

Gym ready wearing my Myrtle Beach tank

Good luck on your February fitness goals!

How are your 2020 resolutions going?
If you have a fitness goal, what is it?

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The Right Environment

Up before 7 AM to prep for a presentation that never happened, this One Busy Bee stopped working for the day job at 10:15 PM. Arriving at the beautiful Ritz-Carlton at Half Moon Bay, California, at 4:30 PM, I happily plopped on the bed with a view of the Pacific Ocean. I then placed a couch pillow on top of my legs and topped it off with my laptop. How appropriate, right? I worked for five hours, not leaving this inviting and relaxing hotel room. I didn’t leave for dinner or that glass of Malbec I remember having the last time I was here. I was not going to be distracted trying to make new friends with the many people here for a conference. I was focused.

I was a guest at the Ritz-Carlton Half Moon Bay last year for the same conference. My roommate’s company sets her up with a room and I get to crash it. The stay was so memorable that the property is the main reason I will fight for my Marriott points. I want to move in. Or, at least, I want to stay here for free. Not a bad deal, right?

The views are incredible. The property is right on the cliff and you can hear the waves coming in. The rooms are luxurious, the food is delicious, the spa is fantastic and the customer service is top notch. It is a dream to work on my own business with a view of the ocean and the crashing waves as the work day’s soundtrack on repeat. I am happy here.

In the right environment, I am focused, calm and ready to work. Today has been a great day and I have no complaints.

What kind of environment do you need to be in to stay focused on work?
If you work from home, how do you stay focused?

Related articles:
Work environment tied to rushed, missed care tasks in nursing homes.” – McKnight’s Long Term Care News, 1/29/20
How to create a healthier workplace environment.” – BenefitsPro, 1/24/20

If you are thinking of coming to California and staying in Half Moon Bay, please reach out. I would be happy to plan and book your entire trip. Travel Agents are basically free to customers.

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OBB Weekly – 1-28-20

Now completely working from home, this is my view. – Hayward, California.

Well, I can’t really call this a weekly post if it’s not posted weekly, now can I? Well, in true One Busy Bee form, I have been crazy busy this year, complete with a near meltdown (pun was unintentional, for those who are in the know.) Therefore, I am presenting my first OBB Weekly post of 2020. Thank you for visiting!

TRAVEL

The first month of the year started out in Paso Robles, California with wine tasting and checking out the new Springhill Inn & Suites. I stayed home last year for New Year’s Eve and I wanted to get out of town and fulfill my monthly goal of traveling once a month. December was full of not getting paid but still working and trying to save money. Thankfully, January will come to an end with a two-night stay at the gorgeous Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California. This hotel is the whole reason why I want my Marriott points. I would like to move in and be able to hear the waves crashing as I fall asleep each night and awake to that same amazing sound with a smile on my face each morning. That’s the dream. Hopefully we get another great room.

Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California
This view!
Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California

EVENT PLANNING

I am looking for wedding clients this year! I have not aggressively been looking as my future is a bit uncertain as to what I am doing and where. I have committed to travel but I have not sought after event planning work. A meeting with a potential client did take place this month but I felt what was needed did not absolutely require my services or at my rate. If it is a good fit, I would convince my client I was needed.

During my Cugino’s birthday celebrations this month, I did come across the private dining space in San Mateo. At Porterhouse, they have multiple private dining areas. I had no idea. Not bad a of a space, eh?

WE’RE HUNGRY TOO

To add onto the section above, Porterhouse offers very large portions. I wasn’t very hungry at the time and was looking for a salad topped with some steak. This is what I had to get. The next day, the leftovers were still good. I just added McCormick’s Bourbon & Brown Sugar seasoning to it. Yummmm.

I had the pleasure of participating in San Francisco Restaurant Week. One, I met up with Nelly after a long day of moving out of a warehouse for work for a 9 pm five-course meal at Maruya. I initially cancelled until I actually got a hold of someone at the restaurant and they were going to charge me $65 per person if I cancelled my 5:30 pm reservation. They had an opening at 9 pm. I would rather literally eat $65 worth of food instead of throwing it away. So I finished the work, drove thru traffic to Oakland to meet Nelly, we hopped on Bart to the Mission neighborhood and enjoyed our delicious meal. It was well worth it to see my dear friend. I am so appreciative of those that understand we all go thru something. I am glad we were able to make this work and not waste money.

Beer!

See another post for my first time to Spruce.

MOTIVATION

That mouth-watering menu I enjoyed this month is enough to keep me on this stationary bike as I draft this post. In terms of my fitness goal for the year, I have also been slacking. I ended last year with a four-mile run plus dancing the night away. I woke up the next morning sore, stretching and playing Christina Aguilera’s “Keep Singing My Song.” No one is going to bring me down.

Boy, was I wrong. I brought myself down by not putting up boundaries, giving too much of myself, my peace, my energy and my time. I had a pretty emotional week and a half and I had to reset. A weekend with my family helped but I needed more. I had to make the switch and I had control of that. I am better now but I am being more cautious and saying no to what doesn’t serve me.

My friend, Frank, my niece and Godson.
El Dorado Hills, California

I am hoping February will be a better month. I think it will start with the 49ers winning the Super Bowl! GO NINERS!

To those going thru hard times, acknowledge the problem, take your time to feel what you’re feeling and decide if you’re going to sit in it for a little bit longer or make a change. When you’re ready, take the step towards that change and keep going. Ask for help if you need it. When the ones you want most to help you do not come to your aid, there are other people that truly love you and will drop everything to be there for you. Don’t give up hope.

I am so thankful for those dear friends. You know who you are!

My best friend & I – Jan. 25, 2020
Simms Ink, Hayward, California
San Francisco Restaurant Week at Spruce
San Francisco, California
American Bull Bar & Grill
Cugino’s 40th Suprise Birthday – Jan. 25, 2020
Burlingame, California
Wine tasting in Placerville, California with my cousins – Jan. 12, 2020
Catareenie & I during Oakland Restaurant Week
Mua

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First Night in Paris Ends in Crepes

From CDG airport to Hotel Gabriel in Paris to walking to the Notre Dame to a boat ride on the Sienne and a long walk back to our hotel on Day 1. We were ready for crepes. We were about to gain all the calories we just burned. I was OK with that.

Creperies are aplenty in Paris and this was the treat we needed to end our evening. Step up and order the blue canopy after reviewing their long list of options on their menu board. I had the nutella and banana crepe and asked for whipped cream. Don’t mind too much that they frown upon the whipped cream. They do offer it so, order it if you like. I did and it made the crepe so much better. I just wish they had strawberries or ice cream.

Chez Georges
11 Place de la Republique
75003 Paris
France

I found the above review I wrote on Yelp and wondered why I didn’t post it on my blog. It’s where it belongs after all! More to come because…

What is your must have thing to eat in Paris on Day 1?

Related posts:
OBB Weekly – 9/24/19

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Black Friday 2019 in Napa – Stop 2

Full on delicious bites from SolBar at Solage next door, a quick drive to Brian Arden Winery was next. We pulled into the gravel lot after we passed early vine plantings, dogs playing in a grassy area and a modern building with large windows. A gnome is sitting in the gravel at the start of the pathway from the parking lot to the building. “This way” he says to me.

Upon entering, a private tasting room with a small bar is to your immediate right with floor to ceiling windows and glass door dividers. Further down the hallway, more tables and chairs are set up, with a few in front of a gas fireplaces. To the right is the main tasting bar. There, we meet Angel, a lovely brunette in a light colored padded vest. We are offered tasting menus – the Thanksgiving edition.

We both have our own tastings which consists of five wines per the menu.

The 2017 Riesling was bright on the tongue. The 2012 B.A. Red was tannic, earthy and made with sangiovese, cabernet sauvignon and syrah. Angel invited to show us another private tasting area with a kitchen. The room had a table for six, a love seat, a table made out of a barrel and another fireplace. We were introduced to Chef Ben, a NorCal local. The winery is offering a 5-course meal with wine pairing for under $100 per person. What a steal! I would love to be able to enjoy that experience.

Continuing onto the wine, the 2013 Zinfandel seemed more drinkable than the 21012 red we just had. The grapes came from Kelseyville, about 50 miles north. Along with this, the Chef sent out two Kewpie Deviled Eggs (valued at $2 each) with a bacon jam on top. The eggs were raised on the property. The chickens occupied the same space at the garden just beyond the parking lot. It was delicious.

The 2014 B.A. Red was had a deep, garnet color and a bit softer. Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 and 2014s were poured side-by-side. The 2014 was not on the tasting menu but Angel allowed us to try it to compare. There was sediment along the base of the neck of the bottle caught my eye. Angel said they never fine filter the wine. It’s part of the wine. Sediment or not, it was tart. The 2014 was drier.

Cali, the golden retriever, was let into the tasting room and she got lots of love from the guests. Kim came back from the restroom and of course took a selfie with her. Also lightly colored was the dessert brought out by Chef Ben. It was like a lemon ‘muffie,’ the top of a muffin, topped with whipped cream and a few nut shavings. Thank you, Chef! We were getting stuffed. Happily stuffed.

“Do you like rose?” Oh yes, yes, we do. Angel was very generous with the extra tastings. What was poured for us was the Kay. Brian’s mother, Kay, passed away due to a rare form of ovarian cancer. Kim tried not to cry. Her mother passed away due to ovarian cancer as well. A percentage of proceeds goes to cancer research. Kim bought a bottle.

Thank you to Angel, Chef Ben and Cali for the hospitality. The winery is owned by Brian, Arden the father and Brian’s wife. They purchased the land in 2010 so it’s a rather young winery. Check them out!

Related posts:
Black Friday 2019 in Napa – Stop 1
Wine Country on Netflix
Wine Log 2014

A 49er Faithful Far, Far Away

I am usually wearing San Francisco 49er gear when I travel. I am a Faithful, born and raised a 49er fan. I scream at the television just like my Lolo used to and I remember watching football games by myself when my mother and sister were not interested in watching. Now traveling, I proudly wear my Niner gear. They are currently having a successful season and it has been a rough few years. Nonetheless, the Faithful and Niner Gang live on. Fingers crossed we will make it to the Super Bowl!

In all honesty, this is a photo dump post as I watch the Niners play the Packers.

Paris, France – September 2019
Home in Hayward, California
SFO, San Francisco, California – November 2019
Greenfield, Indiana – November 2019
Jewelry & top by Stella & Dot
Greenfield, Indiana – November 2019
Jewelry by Stella & Dot
Louisville, Kentucky – November 2019

GO NINERS!!! Looks like I need different Niner gear, doesn’t it?

Bellisima Nashville

It has been six years since I have been to Nashville. On a day I was not scheduled to be at a customer site, I drove from West Chester Township, Ohio, to just outside Nashville to Nolensville, Tennessee. My niece, Isabella, is 18 -months and I have not had the chance to meet her yet. Bella was worth the drive.

Traffic? Am I in the Bay Area?

Driving thru their neighborhood, it looked as if they lived on a movie set. Before that, drive thru Brentwood, Tennessee and the Governor’s Club and try to focus on the road while your jaw on the floor. The houses are mansions with grand staircases leading to an even magnificent double set of doors. I arrived and was able to catch a glimpse of my beautiful niece before she went down for the evening. She was beautiful. Half Filipina, half Southern Belle.

I kept the cousins up a bit to catch up. They are both doing very well, able to work from home and they seem very happy. It’s a wonderful situation for my niece to grow up in. My cousin works for a large automobile company. His wife, my new cousin, had many successes in a male-dominated industry and now turned-entrepreneur. She’s brilliant. Of course, my cousin is too. I am always impressed, motivated and happy to hear when other women are doing great things with their lives AND being a wonderful mother.

After a couple of glasses of Cakebread red wine, I headed up to the beautiful guest room with my own full bath and worked. This time, this One Busy Bee got to enjoy two snuggly cocker spanials to join me. Peanut and Charlie, made me miss being a Puppy Momma. It will be one year since Bevo passed on December 18th.

“Puppies & Spreadsheets” – my next company – saving pups by the numbers (pending trademark😉).

The following morning, I slept in. I needed it. I was able to spend some time with Bella after i grabbed the family some lunch from Martin’s Bar-B-Que Joint. It was tasty! When Chef Nick Tramonto follows their Instagram, it has to be good. And it was!

Oh, Bella. What a fun, cute, smart, talkative and all-around good girl. Besides the waves, another favorite sound in the world is a baby’s laugh. She’s got a good one with a darling smile to match. I loved hearing it echo thru their beautiful home. She warmed up to me pretty quickly with just plopping down on my lap. She of course loved my phone and the SnapChat (bappletree) filters were too funny. She cleans up after herself, puts her toys away, laughs, speaks and is a very fast walker.

I loved to see the Manzano family growing. Lolo’s blood runs thru her veins. Lolo never got to hold her but as I wear Lolo’s wedding ring. Maybe in some way he did. If the cycle continues, the Manzanos are due for another little girl. Who’s it going to be??? Is it in the cards for me? There’s nothing like instantly falling in love with the idea again when a baby is in your arms. Everyone I have met during this trip think I am in my twenties. When they are told that I will be 40 next year, some say it’s not too late and to consider it. Kind of need a partner to consider that partnership with me first.

Pure happiness. “These conference calls are more bearable with my niece on my lap. Adding that to my requests from the company.” “We can’t steal a child for you to sit with, B” “Steal? Borrow!” “I mean… that’s not much of a kidnapping defense.” That’s why he’s my lawyer. What would I do without him?
Definitely related.

I said my goodbyes to my family with hopes to visit again soon. Before heading up to Lousiville, Kentucky, I stopped off at Downtown Nashville for a bite to eat. I absolutely love the music pouring out of every window of every honky tonk as you walk down Broadway. I remember being the only Asian girl at these spots knowing every word to the country songs musicians were playing. What a fun town. My goal was to head to Jason Aldean’s Kitchen & Rooftop Bar but it was dead at about 1:30 PM. Kid Rock’s Big Honky Tonk and Rock n Roll Steakhouse was busy, Florida Georgia Line had a place but this Elvis lover stopped off at the Sun Diner, a Sun Records themed restaurant. I had the donut breakfast sandwich with pork belly. I had to. And it was worth every calorie.

Of all the cities I have visited during this trip, Nashville brought beauty to my world. Thank you, Bella.

HFWF19 – Keiki in the Kitchen

An event specifically for the children/keiki during the Hawai’i Food & Wine Festival is called Keiki in the Kitchen. It is a free event with a celebrity chef at Whaler’s Village in Ka’anapali. Parents must register their children if they would like to participate in the activity. Last year, they had Rosanna Pansino and I showed her the dog cookies I made my late Bevo. This year, they had Duff Goldman of the Food Networks’ ‘Ace of Cakes.’

After Duff instructed the keiki on what to do for their creations, he took photos with fans. While waiting, I saw Chef Alan Wong and Chef Lyndon Honda, the Executive Chef of Sheraton Maui. Lyndon remembers me every year and that’s always nice to know. I had to grab some selfies with them.

Next, chefs for the La Pasta Vista dinner were signing autographs. Little had Chef Michael Chiarello know, he would be doing something special for all three of my party later night. Check out the link, but first, another selfie.

And for some fun, the girls and I had to do the photo booth. Yes, I love Spam. I was raised on it and especially love my aunt’s fried rice for it and I usually have it with rice and chopped tomatoes and onions with patis, a fish sauce. So good, but so salty.

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