I don’t know about you but I haven’t worn makeup in three weeks. I am now living in my favorite yoga pants and writing this post from my bed. Having climbed the same stairs in front of The Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York City where many celebrities have struck a pose for the annual gala, I can honestly say it was difficult to climb my three flights of stairs to my condo in Hayward yesterday. Being quarantined doesn’t allow you to put on your best outfit or stay very active. Even though the museum is closed and we are all encouraging people to stay home and be safe, let me share with you what I saw at the fashion exhibit when I visited the weekend of March 7th.
No joke, I forgot about my weekly post yesterday. It was the end of the month and a lot was going on. At the end of the day, I was excited to see the page views on this blog improved by 174%! But it is a new month and a whole new month of Shelter in Place (SIP). Let’s see what was done in the last month and what may change this current month in regards to my normal topics.
Well, last month began with a lot of travel. I was scheduled to return to the San Francisco Bay Area from the Midwest on the 14th of March. When my customer closed its doors to vendors, I immediately booked a United flight back home that day. Thankfully I was able to get one quickly at no additional cost. I was so happy to see this view of the Bay Area. There’s no place like home.
This month, we are on lockdown so no travel for me. I would rather be safe, keep people I love safe and encourage people to do the same. I will save my pennies for potentially a nice stay in a castle in Scotland for my 40th birthday trip in September. Fingers crossed I will get to go by then.
What plans have you had to postpone? Where are you most looking forward to travel to once travel bans have been lifted?
The only event I participated in during lockdown was yesterday’s SommCon webinar on how the restaurant and wine industries are dealing with Covid-19 and what can be done now and in the future. With knowing we will get thru this and I have a love for the food and beverage industry, I want to be informed. Thanks, SommCon, for the invitation.
April will be uneventful for me. I have seen couples get engaged during this time via social media and they say plenty of babies will be born in December, given all the time couples have together and at home. I have been to my share of baby showers. I would be happy to help in any way.
What kind of events are you looking forward to when SIP is lifted? What events online are you participating in?
SIP mostly had me cooking at home. We are eating salads are almost daily. I have made chicken in a spicy Korean marinade, ceviche, BLTs and cabbage main meals for Meatless Mondays. Nutella cookies were also a nice and easy treat and they are already gone. We have ordered out a couple of times from pizza to a giant quiche to pastries to donuts. Main meals have mostly been made at the house. We did luck out and got a 4-pack of toilet paper on our last trip to Safeway. That was a huge success!
April will be about the same – cooking at home and ordering out occasionally. I will continue to share my blog posts on restaurants I have dined at to show them social media love. I will also be increasing my Yelp reviews. I want that Elite status back and as a Co-Owner of a restaurant, I always appreciated notifications of positive reviews by guests.
Is your favorite dining establishment closed and not offering take out or delivery? If so, which is it?
Having to stay at home should have given me more time to work out. I am unfortunately not winning at this. I have ran two 5Ks though. I have not ran since my birthday and running a half marathon at Disneyland Paris. It is nice to know that I can just get up and run 3.1 miles. I didn’t say it was pretty but I got it done. Like the Done is Perfect Challenge I did over the last few weeks, I am happy to have done it. I love seeing my friends Tweeting that they are getting their fitness in outside or via apps like FitOn.
April, I will be continuing my runs and hope to get to a point where three miles isn’t a struggle. The weather has been great and a chance to get outside the house for some exercise is good for you. I will be pulling out that yoga mat more and using the foam roller as I am in bed quite a bit working. I hope to see your tweets of your fitness progress.
What is motivating you during this SIP? What have you seen you friends post on social media that makes you want to do the same? Make homemade masks? Make a donation? Cook? Start a course?
As much as I like whiskey, Louisville, Kentucky was never on my list of places to go to. My trip to Lousiville was supposed to be a 2-day trip, turned to 10 days to 28 days. I had a lot of time in the Midwest.
On my way home from Louisville via a United Airlines flight, I came across a list from a girls’ trip to Seattle last year. It made me think I should do similar lists for everywhere I travel. People love lists! Comment if your favorite spot make the list?
Fave Louisville Restaurant Week Meal Neighborhood Services at the Omni Hotel – I almost never order the chicken. It is the simpliest meat to cook at home so I usually want something else to eat when I dine out. The chicken was on their special menu with no other choice for an entree. It was surprisingly good and moist. The combo of a big salad, chicken and ‘mini’ baked Alaska was delicious and quite the deal! Plus, it was walking distance from my hotel during the winter.
Fave Meatless Monday Meal The Chopped Salad and Mac & Cheese Bites from Great Flood Brewing Company was one my favorite meals during my stay. I had it once a week and it had to be my last meal in Louisville. I had to tell the bartender how much I enjoyed it. For once, I went to a brewery for the food, not the beer.
Most Memorable Restaurant Le Moo steakhouse was advertised at the Louisville airport. It’s a funny name and has an interesting decor. I had a cocktail and the Steak Diane with delicious mashed potatoes. What made it really great was the friendly customer service. It has been slow and the bartender and bar back were open to chatting with me.
Fave Cocktail At the end of the tour at Michter’s, they took us up to the third floor at the bar. Our little group had a reserved area and we were instructed on how to make a cocktail. As a Bartender, a cocktail with only two ingredients is easy as pie. It was nice and refreshing.
Fave Whiskey Tour Old Forester was just two blocks from my hotel and it was quite informative. With having gone to a handful of distilleries, what set made OlFo’ stand apart from the other distilleries was the size of the facility, the modern space, the advertising on the wall, how stacks of barrels were in the middle of downtown and the very tall still.
Fave Beer According to my UnTappd profile and log, I really liked porters in Louisville. The bartender at Great Flood Brewing Company gave me a taste of the Maple ’37 Porter at 6.4% ABV. I also liked the Dark Star Porter from Bluegrass Brewing Company downtown. At 5.6% ABV, it was a tasty companion to the fish tacos. Cheers!
Best Hotel Feature For two weeks, I was given a nice corner suite at the SpringHill Inn & Suites downtown. My room had a view of downtown but the space was nice. I was to do yoga in a living room and the room had a large television. I angled the TV from the desk where I worked to the bed where I watched Billions thanks to the free Showtime on demand they had.
Best Part of the Louisville Slugger Museum With the museum, batting cages, an opportunity to hold bats profession baseball players used during games and the gift shop, I enjoyed the factory the best. Your group could be large so listen in. In some spots of the tour, it could be rather noisy. You will see how the bats are carved and take in the smell of fresh wood. See my full blog post HERE.
Best Part of the Muhammad Ali Center If you’re a boxing fan, stopping at the Muhammed Ali Center would be great for you. As a bonus, if you’re a AAA member, you get a discount. That wasn’t my favorite part. As an Elvis Presley fan, I really liked seeing the robe he gifted the boxer in traditional Elvis showmanship. A lot of history and interactive exhibits. I just thought it was a little busy in terms of placement, not in attendance.
Most Memorable People My main reason for going to Louisville was to attend a wine event and network with a local company we hope to work closely with. It was so much fun and I may be one of the youngest people there. Nonetheless, we had many laughs, toasted many delicious Italian wines and I met a lot of wonderful, friendly and welcoming women. It made me miss my Women Wednesday events. I hope to one day be able to do those again.
Memorable Moment During my first full week of being out in the Midwest, my dear friend, Dr. C. Zapata challenged me to participate in the #DoneIsPerfectChallenge. It was a challenge to stop waiting for the best lighting, when you feel you look the best or for the perfect environment to get something done. What often happens is that it doesn’t get done at all. I did the challenge and majority of my videos were of myself during my travels to talk about anything I want. I was often in my hotel room but sometimes I would be at distilleries, near the river or even at two places mentioned above. It was fun to do and I haven’t done videos often before. Now that it’s done, I wouldn’t say I increased my videos but I did get something new done. See the videos via my Facebook page.
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What other categories would be of some interest to you?
One week in, two to go. That is, if an extension of the quarantine is not in place, But it seems Trump wants to reopen America. Too soon? I think so. Per a live video I watched of my dear friend, Dr. C. Zapata, in Seattle, she is encouraging people to lead and share informative posts and videos during this time. You have gained so many skills in your years of living. Believe it or not, not everyone in the world knows what you know. You might as well share this useful information for people to decide to follow your lead or modify it somehow to customize it to their life. Share what you know!
“Jerry, did you know that the human head weighs eight pounds?“
Let me see how I can enlighten you in Travel (again, not encouraging travel right now), Event Planning not encouraging gathering in groups), Food (no, outside dining) and Motivation.
My Places I’ve Been board on Pinterest currently has 303 pins. I can say that not all places Pinned are linked to this blog but that’s the goal. Again, I am not encouraging travel right now but if you are thinking of a destination that you have been wanting to go to that I have visited, I would be happy to chat with you about my experiences. Being your Travel Agent would be a bonus.
Being from the San Francisco Bay Area, one of my favorite things to do is recommend what to do in San Francisco. I enjoyed my time as a Concierge at The Argonaut Hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf and speaking to future guests about planning their itinerary for a romantic getaway or a family trip. I loved the notes (the tips were appreciated as well) from these happy guests. It really does mean a lot to us in the service industry when we are praised by our customers. Management doesn’t always see it and often times, the pay isn’t great. I think what we do is a valuable service.
Again, please abide by the shelter-in-place orders and stay home. Another way to escape is to get lost in a book. I am not a fast reader and feel there are so many articles released that I need to keep up with so I often am reading online instead of holding a hard copy book in my hands. Last night, I finished “Becoming” by former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. It is the closest thing we have to a Queen and royalty in the US, in my opinion. It was wonderful to read how a girl from Chicago living in a small home with multiple family members achieved in school, as a lawyer and survived as a mother for two terms in the White House. No one would know exactly what it was like for her unless she shared what she knew. Thanks, Michelle.
I have been working events for many years. It started with my days in Advertising where every advertisement that was launched was an event. My biggest success there was helping to relaunch the Texaco brand in the Southeast. I was still in college, commuting from Pacheco, California to San Francisco every weekday and had a restaurant job on the weekends. I know how to balance my time and get things done.
I may not have had the time to do events lately with my commitments to a day job, but I am open to 2020 events once we are allowed to gather in groups. I am happy to say that my Brides and Grooms have valued my assistance. Please see my Raves. If you have ever hosted a party at your home and were pulled away from conversations with your guests because you needed to refill the ice, reheat or re-fill the apps or take out the trash, having party helpers will allow you to enjoy the event. Communicating, reconnecting and enjoying yourself was the whole point, right? If you can afford the assistance, please do reach out.
I will never claim to be a Chef but I do know what I like. And I like all food and beverage. I love dining at hole in the wall spots and I love beautifully plated tasting menus. If I know one thing, it’s that my taste buds rule me. I had another successful Meatless Monday yesterday with a salad and a homemade kumquat vinaigrette dressing and quesadillas with green salsa plus chips and hummus for snacks. Then this morning, we had no dessert in the house and I went to get donuts. Sugar donuts are my favorite. Who’s with me?
If you love to eat as much as I do and do not have loads of disposable income, when the dust settles, consider working in the restaurant industry. If you aren’t into serving or bartending, consider being a host or hostess or back office needs. It is a great way to get exposed to what happens behind the scenes of a great restaurant and try new food. If you make friends with the kitchen, they will often ask your opinion on some dishes, you will have to try every single dish in order to sell it to guests and you are often offered family meal, a free communal meal for the staff, or a free or discounted meal during your shift. Hourly pay and a singing taste buds – it’s a win-win.
I am lucky to be quarantined with one of my favorite people in the world but some people are by themselves or are really struggling being with their own family. “If I wanted to be a 4th grade teacher, I would have been a 4th grade teacher,” one of my friends post on Facebook. I am not a mother so I cannot imagine what they’re going thru. I wish you mothers continued strength! What you can go thru is a connecting with new and old friends through social media. Dr. Zapata also spoke about being useful in your community. I normally am not out and about and know many folks that live in Hayward, my community is mostly via social media. I have my roommate and my coworkers but the people I can connect with that are far away, I can do so via social media. I spoke with my cousin in Kauai via FaceTime and friends are connecting via new platforms like Snapchat (‘bappletree’). New friends can be made via Facebook groups.
The same doctor friend invited me to a Facebook group called This Girl is on Fire. You had me from “FIRE.” I was able to introduce myself and what I do and am now chatting with some local ladies. I also took some time to visit the other Facebook groups I am a part of and commented and got involved. When all you have is time, there are endless possibilities to connect with folks. I would just recommend being genuine about it. It goes a long way and you may find yourself with a long-time but distant friend. Ain’t that right, PD?
PD and I have never met in person but we know quite a bit about each other’s lives. Sometimes, you just need someone unbiased to vent to.
“You should read this.” A business partner recommended Setting The Table by Danny Meyer. We were in the middle of opening up a restaurant in San Francisco. The restaurant has come and gone but not the opportunity to dine at one of Danny Meyer’s restaurants whiles in New York City. It was a Sunday afternoon and fears of the coronavirus hasn’t completely taken over Manhattan yet. I stopped in for a drink.
Up the front steps and through the single door, you find yourself in a small square of a waiting area. The hostess asks if she can be of some assistance with a smile. Like always and solo traveling, I ask if the bar is open seating. I get my answer and weave through the low, circular tables to the bar top. I grab a seat at the end next to an enormous stick arrangement propped on the bar top. With an attempt to avoid over eating and just walked a block from Cosme to celebrate International Women’s Day, I reviewed the drink menu and inquired after bar snacks.
The menu listed cocktails at $19 a pop and a few snack options at the bottom. What called out to me, coming from quite some time in Louisville, Kentucky, was the Four Roses bourbon cocktail called Cruising Altitude. With the decrease in travel due to COVID-19, I thought it was appropriate. It was made of Four Roses Bourbon, Forthave Apertif, Michelberger, Absinthe and lemon, served up. Tasty.
I also ordered two servings of the perfectly pickeled veggies that they conveniently had behind the bar. One day, I will have a full meal here.
Like many restaurants in the world, they have closed down due to the virus. Danny Meyer has laid off 80% of his staff, he is donating his salary to a fund to help his workers and it will take a month to hire and train staff (CNBC article 3/20/20). Being from the hospitality world, my heart goes to the hard workers going through a tough time, being laid off and concerned about how they will pay for rent. I look forward to dining out again on a regular. Hang in there!
This is not a post to encourage going out and disregard lockdowns. However if you can financially support your local restaurant through DoorDash, UberEats or pickup, please do so. And when it is safe to travel and dine out again, please let me know if Gramercy Tavern is on your list to dine at.
Travel note: Kill two birds with one stone. Gramercy Tavern is on the same block as Theodore Roosevelt’s birthplace is.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As my roommate would say, ‘Happy Beer Day.” Unfortunately, the world has been greatly affected by the coronavirus outbreak and I draft this from the comfort of a bed in a quarantined county in the Bay Area. We are on lockdown. Many bloggers are posting lists of what you could with your time at home. Here, I will try to keep your spirits high and something to look forward to. The world has gone thru worse times and as long as we take the precautions, we will get through this. And when we do, we can get back to traveling the world, be social at events, dine out and go back to the gym!
A year ago today, I was aboard a cruise ship and had a day in wine country in New Zealand. Today, I am still dressed for the holiday but not in wine country. I do not think I am alone here with the wineries shut down as well. With hopes of being able to travel in September, an itinerary for Ireland and Scotland is in progress. Thanks to Google and Pinterest and a dose of Amazon Prime playing Irish documentaries, I am gaining a lot of information regarding these new regions to me. As I enjoyed working on New Business in advertising, learning new things is enticing to me.
Have you been to Ireland or Scotland? Do you have any tips or blog posts on your travels there?
Did you know that Hobbiton has event space? Lord of the Rings fans would love it.
One day, when we have overcome and are able to have gatherings of 10 or more people, think of the events you will be able to attend! Tickets for multiple concerts have been purchased with hopes it won’t be cancelled. And an Airbnb cabin has been reserved for a family reunion in South Lake Tahoe in August. A friend’s family wedding has been postponed as well. Companies have been doing well in reacting well to the cancellations so far. It will help when it is time for them to be rescheduled. If these companies treat you fairly, please do re-book with them when the time comes.
What is the first event you are looking forward to participating in once the ban is lifted? What events online are you participating in?
With many friends in the hospitality industry, I see so many posts of concern. Workers rely on tips, on being busy, turn those tables. With mandatory closures and offers for drive-thru, pick up or take out available, the sales is something, but it won’t be enough. Dining out is an experience.
My most recent meal out was at Fey in Menlo Park, a great Chinese restaurant. With no fear and a welcoming smile, we enjoyed the dinner as usual. Before that, I was in Lousiville and enjoyed a steak Le Moo. Dining at the bar came with great conversations with the bartender, Erin, and the barback, Andrew.
If you are stocked with Top Ramen and cereal for days, consider ordering out once a week. It may mean the difference of closing up shop for a local small business. Please see any of my #WereHungryToo posts on places I recommend. Use the search box to the right if you are searching by city.
What are your favorite local eateries? Do you know you’re a regular?
As much as I love dining out, I love to work out. With the Bay Area Lockdown, I am more than happy to stay at home and work out using the FitOn app. They have monthly challenges to do X amount of workouts in a month. They have just launched the WFH Challenge of doing 15 workouts by April 30th. The app is free and even has celebrities to work out with like Gabrielle Union. Watch out, though. She talks a lot during the work out. She is saying things that we are all thinking so it’s a bit humorous but it could be distracting to some. The pilates videos with Cassie Ho is always a challenge for me. No weights needed. Try it out! Just because you’re stranded at home is no excuse to not work out.
How are you staying active during this time? What online fitness stars do you follow?
If you are looking for the perfect gift for the baseball fan in your life, consider a personalized Louisville Slugger baseball bat. The idea came to me during my long-term stay in Louisville. Many days with rain, snow, wind and chill was worth it just to get the video and photos from my best friend of my nephew opening up his gift.
Nate has played in a few seasons of baseball and it was about to start up again but due to the coronavirus, the season has been cancelled. I look forward to watching him play when I get back to the Bay Area and we can live our lives as normal. The kids are growing up so fast!
The museum offered kid and adult size bats. Since this was a bat for display, I got him one for adults. I am sure he has grown another inch or two since I have been home. I just love his reaction.
I am so happy he loved his gift. I watched the video of him opening it while at The Met in New York City. On the opposite of the country, I am glad I can still make him smile.
Get a personalized bat of your own with your favorite baseball team’s logo and a name. If you need assistance with planning a trip to Louisville and Bourbon County, please do not hesitate to reach out. See my other blog post on the museum.
Louisville and Kentucky is commonly associated with whiskey and bourbon. For sports lovers, it is where Major League Baseball bats are made. Family-owned since the late 1800s, Hillerich & Bradsby have been making bats for professional athletes and fans. The museum has 35-minute tours often starting at $16. Tour the front of the museum while you wait for your tour. Take as many photos as you would like in this area as photography and videos are not allowed inside the factory.
See all things baseball with statues, historic photos and a display of bats used by your favorite players. You also have the opportunity to hold and pose with actual Louisville Sluggers used during games. The listing of available bats said Willie McCovey’s bat was available but when it was my turn to step up to the plate, his bat was retired from the exhibit due to wear and tear. In its place was Puerto Rico’s own, Orlando Cepeda’s, bat. As a Bay Area native in Louisville, I didn’t complain.
Every baseball fan knows Babe Ruth. A bat and signed documents are on display including one that states “All of my records have been made with Louisville Sluggers.” You can even see the dents in the bat!
During the tour, you will learn about the forests where the trees are grown for the bats, how they’re selected, processed and made. They are carved via a machine, sanded, polished, engraved, painted, stamped and packaged. Right now, they are making bats for the upcoming spring season.
The tour will end with an opportunity to ask questions. You will also be given a mini bat. You can explore the gift shop or hit the batting cages. I decided to take a photo on top of the limestone glove that was carved by a member of the Hillerich family.
This is a must stop for baseball fans. I have specially ordered gifts for my nephew who is currently playing baseball and a gift for my Cugino, who works closely with the San Francisco Giants. Get custom made gifts on-site if you are willing to throw it in your luggage. And I just discovered that they will have event space available soon. Smart move.
What is your team? Would Louisville be on your list of places to stop now if it wasn’t already?
Two years ago, my family was ready for a beachy area and a cabin for the family reunion. I scoped out accommodations to rent and a place on the water for a fun day together in the sun with BBQing, games and of course, a few drinks. Then, fires swep through Northern California and the family decided to cancel the reunion in case of fires spreading to Truckee, California. The air quality was been so bad. Unfortunately, the cancellation only gave us 50% of the payment returned. We are now keeping our fingers crossed we are in the clear this year.
I have been planning our family reunions every other year since 2004, rotating locations to spread out the travel inconvenience between the family. It started in Pacheco, California, just up the street from my house, then to Monterey and then Southern California. My generation of cousins remember the aunts, our mothers, pulling us all together when we were kids at our Lola’s house (grandmother in Tagalog.) Now that time has passed since the family got together as a group in some time, I decided to start it. It is nice not having to wait for a wedding or sadly, a funeral, to get together. It is on the same weekend every other year to plan accordingly. The proposal for a reunion in the Philippines didn’t get the reaction I wanted. Maybe another year!