Bakersfield in Over-the-Rhine, Cincinnati, Ohio

For this One Busy Bee California girl, Bakersfield means something different. Bakersfield is something you pass on your way down to Los Angeles from the Northern California. In Cincinnati, Ohio, Bakersfield in the Over-the-Rhine district means tacos and strong margaritas. Coming here was a recommendation I was given by the Executive Director at one of my customer sites. I completed all my site visit and I needed a cocktail. I will have to tell him that he pointed me in the right direction.

Between the skyscrapers of Cincinnati, the streets will turn into one-ways like most downtown areas have. The parking lot on the same block is $9 for any period of time. Be sure to enjoy the beautiful mural as well.

I grabbed a seat at the bar as I usually prefer. The gentleman to my left wasn’t very much of a gentlemen at all by allowing me room to scoot into the open seat. He also continued to elbow me without apologizing. Sorry, Friend. I asked if anyone was sitting there before I moved in and no one contested. The other guy next to me was having a good night and was very colorful. His name was Joseph.

“Are you a basic bitch?” asks Joseph.
“No, Honey, I’m not.”
“Well, I am.”
“Well, rock it, Man!”

Saving the evening was the nice gal behind the bar. She explained the menu, provided her recommendations and made the experience. I went with four small tacos and a house margarita with salt.

The margarita was made with El Jimador tequila, triple sec, agave nectar and fresh lemon/lime for $9. I would like to think that I can handle my alcohol, but this cocktail was pretty strong and well made. I know it was because I didn’t finish it as I have been exhausted and I had more work to do that evening.

The food was fantastic. I am trying to do a better job of not over ordering. My eyes are usually bigger than my stomach and as my bartendress stated they were small, I ordered three tacos originally. I eventually ordered four tacos in total.

I had the bistec, al pastor, baja shrimp and vegetarian huitlacochie with corn truffle, roasted poblano, corn, onion, cotija cheese and cilantro. The vegetarian one was definitely my favorite one. They were all delicious and the tortillas are housemade daily.

Another place I dined in Cincinnati back in November is called Boomtown Biscuits and Whiskey. That will be for another post. Come back and visit soon! I will be in the Midwest for a few weeks.

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A Long Day 1

Taking a red eye flight from San Francisco to Cincinnati would normally be my time to get knocked out and sleep. I even slept on the hour-long flight from Oakland to Las Vegas earlier this month without a problem. This time, it was different. Having a lot on this One Busy Bee‘s mind plus a combination of the lady next to me elbowing me periodically, the lady behind me pushing my seat and a baby crying in front of me led me to not get the greatest of sleep. It was going to be a long day. Thanks, United, for making it an easy flight with no delays. Other coworkers weren’t so lucky.

Landing early at 4:50 AM East Coast time, I collected my bag at CVG in Kentucky and called for my Uber to our AirBNB in Petersburg, Indiana. How appropriate that the theme song from Orange is the New Black was playing as I retrieved my luggage.

James, my Uber driver, was informative and recommended going downtown for breweries and the one thing to get to eat here is their chili. I have relayed these ideas to my coworkers and it might become a reality. On this drive, James accidentally missed my exit and we went across the Tanners Creek Bridge and I saw the multiple stacks of the Tanners Creek Power Plant lit up with the dawn approaching in the background. I needed the powers of these two sources combined to get me thru the day ahead.

Eventually making it to our cute AirBNB, I was greeted by two coworkers in the kitchen. I was directed to a large bedroom with a king-sized bed and a separate room with a twin bed as my sleeping quarters for the next four nights. I freshened up a bit and was out the door with the ladies in less than 10 minutes. It was 6:15 AM.

We arrived at our new customer’s site and got straight to work. We provide a cloud-based service and product for long-term facilities. We were here to make sure Day 1 goes well and set the facility up for success. So far, it has been a really good experience with this company with 100+ sites. I have only been on one other deployment in Albany, New York in February. There it was snowing and cold. Here, it is hot and humid.

The day logged in only 7,400 steps and I am currently in second place for my Workweek Hustle Fitbit Challenge with friends. Arriving at 2 AM California time, the 10.5 hour workday on-site didn’t even allow me to hit my daily step goal of 10,000. It was mostly sitting around and tending to what I needed to on demand. It’s an office day off-site in Indiana.

After some successes, we were ready to get ‘breakfast’ at 4 PM. We have eaten chips and beef jerky I picked from Starbucks at the airport and cheese and salami from a Walmart run a coworker did in the middle of the day. We stopped at Valle Escondido Mexican Grill. I returned from the restroom and they were taking drink orders. Apparently, I was the only one that wanted a margarita. Granted! Along with a triple meat fajita plate. Delicious.

An errand was made for last minute things needed for our stay and I declared I was going to take a shower and go to sleep. Looking out the window from my bedroom, I spotted a Kentucky-resident driving with their baby hanging out the driver’s window. I am pretty sure I was delirious by this point but the camera doesn’t lie. It was definitely time for bed. It was 7 PM. I successfully got 10 hours of sleep with waking up at 5 AM on Day 2 to do it all again.

Please comment with any tips to do in Lawrenceburg, Indiana or Petersburg, Kentucky. Lawrenceburg used to be nicknamed “Whiskey City.” You know I love that!

OBB Weekly – 7-16-19

Flight at Sons of Liberty Alehouse (SOLA)- San Leandro, CA

This weekly post was to get blog posts up and summarize changes over the week. They can be planned changes or they can spring up at any moment. This past week has been full of these modifications and all for the better. Another week has passed and I appreciate all the unknowns it has brought.


Stopped mid-step as I was walking out of the room, “I’m what?” I was planning travel for a coworker and was told I should attend as well. They went back and forth whether or not I would go over the last two weeks. Now it’s confirmed. Majority of those going will be gone for 10 days to Lawrenceburg, Indiana and Englewood, Ohio with us staying across the river from Lawrenceburg in Kentucky. There are three states I haven’t been in! This is definitely an opportunity I am okay with. I look forward to exploring what I can and we might even go to Lexington, Kentucky. Can you say whiskey?!?! Stay tuned on social media for updates.

Whiskey cocktail at ME Cab0 – Cabo San Lucas, Mexico – June 2019


This past week, Stella & Dot held its annual sales conference called Hoopla. I have been to two of these conferences, one in San Francisco and the other in Las Vegas. Announced via social media, a new incentive for a 6-day trip to Lake Como, Italy for two is available! I have yet to earn one of these trips. I would love to! With that said, I am looking for trunk show hostesses to earn free jewelry. This trunk show can be in person or via online. All you need to start earning rewards is to have at least $300 in sales and four unique orders. Adding Stylists to my team doing this as well will also help me get to Lake Como. The best time to sign up is now!

Please sign up HERE.

Please shop at Kim’s 3-Day Trunk Show Fundraiser where a percentage of net sales goes her fundraising goal.


It’s been an interesting journey in trying to save money and stop spending as much as I normally do on food. I love to eat! Lately, it has been eating salads for lunch, meal prepping chicken and having cereal and other cheap processed or frozen foods just to save money. The cost of going out to lunch or dinner could be at least $20. With going grocery shopping, I can eat a meal for a quarter of the cost. This week, that changed.

I was able to enjoy pork adobo sliders and popcorn and cocktails from The Treasury SF, French cuisine at the new One65 restaurant at Union Square San Francisco and a sweetheart of a cutie brought me sweets. Did I mention cocktails too from Bar 587? It’s been a nice change.

Duck breast from One65


With traveling, I have to keep with my gym efforts. I am no where near my 2019 body fat percentage goal and I need to make some progress. In addition to being a 24 Hour Fitness member, I am now a Planet Fitness member as well. For $22/month, I have access to all their gyms nationwide, extra amenities like massage chairs and tanning (not needed for this Filipina) and bringing a guest for free. While in Ohio and Indiana these next couple of weeks, there wasn’t a 24 Hour Fitness located within a reasonable distance. If there was, I would have extended my current membership instead of just one location. Work out clothes are packed and I have recruited a coworker to go with me while we’re out and about. It does cost me more but I couldn’t just run all week long. It would be really bad on my knees, although I still need to train for my RunDisney half marathon in Paris in a couple of months. I hope this motivates you to keep moving while on your travels.

Let’s connect!

Pizza, Beer & More in the East Bay

It’s always good when you have great options to dine at in your own town. As a Blogger and Travel Agent, I should do a better job of highlighting some local spots in Hayward and neighboring towns. My friend runs the E’vill Eye News blog for another East Bay city called Emeryville. Do check out his blog when you have a sec! But stick with me for a second. Here are some great spots.

Buffalo Bill’s Brewery

Located downtown Hayward across the street from the theatre, it is said to be the oldest brewery in the country. This is walking distance from my house so this is usually a go to spot. Sit outside on their heated patio or inside at a table or at the bar top. Parking is available on the street, in the lot behind the building or the parking structure behind the movie theatre. I always get the sausage, apple and pesto pizza. It is delicious! For beer, get a flight of house beers or their seasonal ones. Try their Orange Blossom Cream Ale or the Pumpkin Ale or Oatmeal Stout. So many options!

Russell City Distillery

If you like Buffalo Bill’s, next door visit the Russell City Distillery tasting room. They off vodka cocktails and sells bottles of their liquors including vodka, rum and tequila. The tasting room isn’t big but they can open their rolling door to allow some outdoor space. It is dog friendly as well.

Norm’s Place

In downtown Danville, you have many options. Auburn Lounge is a relatively new bar and lounge and they are often closed for private events. Revel Kitchen & Bar is a good spot with a nice bar, tasty salads and an outdoor patio. Across the street is Norm’s. A popular bar for sporting events like the Warriors games. Have Kara pour you your usual of Jameson whiskey with one or two rocks and order the tuna appetizer. It’s basically a deep fried sushi roll. And it was tasty.

Sons of Liberty Alehouse

What we call SOLA. Isn’t it hard not to think of Jax Teller and Sons of Anarchy? This is one of my favorite spots to go to even it means I have to jump on the highway to get to San Leandro. You can make reservations via Yelp, be prepared for a busy parking lot but it’s a great spot for beer and snacks.

Come out to the East Bay and check out what we have to offer!

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Curry & BBQ

The Bay Area is crazy about the Warriors, Stephan Curry, his daughter, Riley, that would steal the show during his interviews and his beautiful wife, Ayesha. Mrs. Curry is out with a cookbook and a restaurant partnered with Chef Michael Mina. After being in the south and enjoying BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina at Poogan’s Smokehouse, I had to come back home to see how we compete. Actually, my reservation at International Smoke was made at least a month in advance as it’s a popular spot.

I made a reservation for four not knowing who would be able to make it but I know a lot of foodies and folks in the industry. I could fill my reservation no problem, and I did! I invited my roommate, my Team inTraining team made, Nelly, and our friend, Sandra, who was diagnosed with Hodgekin’s lymphoma. Nelly is also a BBQ fan and does catering for friends and Raider games on the side.
The four of us were coming from all directions – I was coming from work at the Argonaut Hotel at Fisherman’s Wharf, Sandra was coming the peninsula, Nelly via boat from Alameda and Kim from our house in Hayward. Regardless of how we got there, we arrived and were ready to eat and drink.
We met at the bar first and had delicious cocktail made by a tall lady named Elizabeth. Under the list of Boozy & Bougie, I had the Southern Charm  – $14 – (as I can’t stop thinking about my recent trip to the South). It was peach-spiced tea, lemon, mint and Wild Turkey Bourbon. You know I love my whiskey! Kim chose a winner with the Voice of Tansen  – $14 – with pineapple, tamarind, Suntory Whisky Toki (mmmm, Japanese whisky) and Averna Amaro. It was so good that Nelly chose that after trying all three of the ladies’ cocktails. Sandra had the Gina Jamaica – $14 – with cucumber, basil, grapefruit, Ketal One Vodka and Barsol Pisco. I don’t do vodka cocktails as I need a bit of flavor in my liquor but Sandra enjoyed it. I thought it could be a dangerous cocktail as it went down easy for me. In our cocktails, Kim and I broke in our metal straws that we purchased from Shed in Healdsburg the day before. Save a honu! The Hawaiian bartender behind the bar agreed!

We were sat at the other end of the restaurant at a table for four in the middle of the dining room. Wood was all around, simple lighting hung from the dark ceiling and the floor to ceiling windows let a lot of light in. We were greeted by Bianca, our friendly and smiley Server, and she explained the Ayesha’s Tasting Menu ($58/pp) in front of us. Unfortunately, the entire table needed to participate so I didn’t get to try it but it had a bit of everything. Kim mentioned she’s allergic to tomatoes so Bianca made sure to let her know which items she can have or modify. I asked her what her favorite items on the menu were and she mentioned the Smoked Rib Mac & Cheese, Kalua “Instant Bacon” and Wagyu Shaking Beef. We started out with the Instant Bacon and the M&C came with the rest of our food. 

Boy, does that bacon make an entrance! Servers brought two orders covered in a glass dome then, when our phones were ready for that action shot, they were lifted. Smoke was released. How perfect for the International Smoke. And not to mention it was damn good too. In a soft steamed bun, bacon was covered with teriyaki, pineapple and macadamia nuts. We almost licked the 

Not being able to choose which of the three rib styles we wanted (American, Al-Pastor or Sesame Cochujang), Nelly and I decided to split a combo rack for $48. Sandra had the American style half rack of ribs, I believe. It looked like the size of our combo rack for $21. What a deal! My favorite was the American and Nelly let me take those leftovers home. We dined on a Sunday and after Meatless Monday, I had them for breakfast on Tuesday. Don’t judge me. Kim had the Hawaiian Kanpachi with garlic fried rice, a chicory salad and black bean vinaigrette. I wasn’t too crazy about her dish. Perhaps it was because I had the rare presence of delicious ribs in front of me.

The winner at the table was definitely the Smoked Rib Mac & Cheese. Kim and I even went to the Mac & Cheese Melt Off at SparkSocial SOMA (South of Market neighborhood.) That event deserves another blog post. This dish was fantastic! We ate it all! Not a bit was left. It was better than anything we had at the Melt Off. The cheese wasn’t too thick or too runny. The spiral noodles were al dente and the rib pieces were flavorful and didn’t add too much oil.

We also had the Duck Fat Fries that Sandra said I would be all over. They looked appealing on the menu but the flavor didn’t come out in the fries. It was the only thing we left on the table that didn’t make it in a to go bag. The Green Papaya Salad was good. I finished it off as the table wasn’t too crazy about it. It needed a bit more spice
to it and though the papaya had a crispiness to it, some of the crushed macadamia nuts or peanuts could have been added to add a dryness to it.

Plates were cleared, Nelly and Bernie bags were made and we looked over the dessert menu. They had creme brulee and a cheesecake, I believe, but we passed. We were happily stuffed!

The staff was incredibly friendly,they do private events and Ayesha’s book is on the display. You may eat at the bar if you do not have reservations and there is availability. Find parking on the street of use my SpotHero link for $7 off your first parking reservation. If you’re too early for your reservation, walk a block and explore the rooftop of the Salesforce Transit Center. Yet another post will be available soon. But first, some group shots. 

How does it compare it to Poogan’s in Charleston, South Carolina? I guess you’ll have to read that blog post when it’s up!
Photo by Nelly
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Unless You Got Buns, Hun

Asians aren’t known for their rear ends. Trust me, I know! But China Live would be lacking if they didn’t have their Char Siu BBQ Pork ‘Dutch Crunch’ Baked Buns. It’d be like Sir Mix-A-Lot without ‘Baby Got Back.’ But praise Jesus! They do!
Like the recent visit to Curio, Concierges were offered a credit to try out China Live. I send a whole bunch of folks to this restaurant on Broadway in San Francisco and am so happy to have had the opportunity to stuff my face with their delicious offerings. Again, I took my foodie #Instafriend, Julia. She has been to China Live before and was so excited to go even though her stomach wasn’t 100%. That makes it very clear to me that this restaurant is quite spectacular.
I arrived from the East Bay via Bart and partially went thru Chinatown where you’ll see the red lanterns hanging across the streets, the jewelry stores with a lot of gold, cheap San Francisco t-shirts and groceries including jujubeans. The doors I came into the restaurant lead me to believe it was a retail store but then I saw the host stand. I checked in and was escorted down the steps, seeing the variety of items in the store, past the bar and grabbed my #Instafriend that came in thru another entrance. We had a corner table and instantly eyed the dishes of the two gentlemen sitting next to us. We were famished.

Hugs to seeing each other again twice in one week and it not being Meatless Monday and then we got to business. What are we going to eat? Everything looked amazing and I was down to try anything, especially since Julia has been there before. However, she noticed that there was a lot of different items on the menu since she was here last. Repeat orders for her were the Char Siu BBQ pork buns already mentioned and the Charred Chinese Broccoli with King Oyster Mushrooms and Roasted Sesame. I love vegetables so the broccoli aka ‘Little trees’ as I call them were great.

Other small plates that we enjoyed were the Peking Duck, Kumquat Glaze, Traditional Condiments in a Sesame Pocket and the Shiang Jian Boa ‘SJB’ (Pan-Fried Dumplings) with a hot and juicy inside. Duck isn’t my favorite but these pockets were incredible, crispy and not too fatty. A lot of flavor was in that duck. The SJB was best with the dark vinegar that was on the table.

Oh, and our drinks! They arrived and captured our attention for some time! Julia had the Sweet and Sour Mischief that came in a tall glass shaped like a barrel. It had Sichuan Peppercorn infused Cazadores Blanco Tequila, Fresh Lime and Pineapple, Honey and Almond Syrup. It was pretty potent and not too sweet. My drink came half made with a rock glass with a few pieces of ice, clear liquid and a mini-glass water bottle with a stopper with the good stuff. It was called the Szechuan Starlet with barrel aged black tea infused Angel’s Envy Bourbon, Cardamaro Amara, Campari, Szechuan Peppercorn Bitters and a splash of Bubbles. Did you say Bubbles?!? Hence, the attention.

We couldn’t part without dessert. We like to share everything. We went with the Coconut Rice Pudding with passionfruit boba and candied ginger. It was light fantastic. Coconut has been a recent favorite of mine since Plated had me make coconut rice. I will never eat just plain rice again! The dessert was a small portion, only because we both wanted more of it. The boba popped in your mouth and this non-ginger-lover didn’t mind the topping.

Since going to China Live about a week ago, I have been telling all of my hotel guests to go there and in the most charming way possible, saying how much I love them if they’d bring me an order of pork buns. Sadly, no doggie bag has come my way. I guess that just means having to go back soon! Let’s go!

Curious About the Mission

It’s nice that some people think I would know where some of the new and hot places are. Thank you to those folks, but in fact, I have a lot of places to try. The list is long. I do not have to add Curio to that list, however, I do need to go back and try their protein dishes as I went on Meatless Monday.

The invitation to preview Curio at 775 Valencia in the Mission district came to the Concierge team and we jumped on getting a reservation. Because of my schedule, I typically miss out on quite a few of these events but it was great to attend this one! I invited my #Instafriend, Julia. (What’s an #Instafriend? I should probably do a blog post on that.)

We both arrived via our separate Ubers (use my code: cmo4h) and sat at the bar. The location is attached to The Chapel, a music venue I have yet to go to as a live music lover. It has two bars, three separate dining areas and a patio. The windows bring in a lot of natural light, the decor is a mix of wood, deep colors, neon, an assortment of clocks and bronze chandeliers.

The establishment was full of staff, standing around awaiting customers to come in, an extra attention to detail was made to every cocktail, dish and arrangement of the furniture. I know all about opening a restaurant and first impressions and I think they were doing a good job. They had their big smiles on and were very attentive. My first impression was of the hosts. Silly me, I didn’t book the right date in OpenTable but they let me in anyways and I was happy to sit at the bar for front row seat to the bar action.

I waited for Julia to arrive and chatted it up a bit with Marjorie the Bartender. She was busy making drinks but smiling the entire time. I decided to get started on a cocktail and order the cheese board so Julia didn’t have to wait to snack on something. I ordered the Unicorn. 1) because my Sunshine calls me that. 2) because it sounded pretty delicious and I typically don’t order vodka based cocktails. It was vodka, pisco, strawberry, szechuan, lemon, amaro, benedictine, rainbow bitters, egg whites and strawberry dust. It was tasty and foamy.

Julia arrived and ordered the Banshee with light and dark rum, makrut lime, pineapple, coconut, turmeric, pebble ice, angostura bitters and fresh nutmeg. A bit sweet for my straight whiskey loving donker. I ordered the Mermaid because I just bought tickets to the SF Symphony showing of The Little Mermaid. It was another vodka cocktail with grapefruit, raspberry, mint, lime, seltzer and peach apertif. It wasn’t my favorite but the Mermaid was left dry in no time. 

We went to town with ordering food. We ordered the Impossible Burger (my first!) with crimini mushroom, tomato jam, fried onion and raclette cheese. The Baby Kale Salad with yellow wax bean, brussel sprouts, parmesan dressing and sourdough garlic bread. The Seasonal Fried Vegetables were beer battered and served with a sour cream and pepperconcini sauce. The cheese board of four cheeses, delicious lavash crackers and pita bread also came with honey, pickled vegetables that were very hot and beer mustard. 

Hands down, the Impossible Burger was my favorite dish. I could not put it down. Julia and I split it so it was the perfect size but I’d go back again. She said Epic Steak’s is pretty phenomenal. I’ll take her word for it but hope to try it myself someday. My next favorite dish was the salad. I am a salad freak and I almost ordered one to go. It was delicious, flavorful and with different textures. I love me some garlic bread and bread in general but felt the bread was too hard. The vegetables and the sour cream mix was my next favorite. Veggies are so good for you, minus the fried and sour cream part but let’s not dwell on that. The rammies full of goodies that accompanied the cheeses were great. But my favorite was the lavash crackers. They were like, well, crack. I paid no attention to the pita bread. They shouldn’t even had pita’d on the board! OK, I’ll stop.

Two friends showed up, a cocktail and wedding photographer and rep for San Francisco Magazine. Attending these sort of events are pretty common for them so they’re always a great time. More the merrier. We then got to try more drinks on top of Marjorie’s off the menu Negroni made with rum for Julia. That was tasty! I’m not a fan of Campari so well done, Marjorie. Jasmin ordered the Leprechaun with Bummer and Lazarus gin, apple, tarragon, lemon, pineapple, bay leaf and cochi americano. It was tasty! Then the man, Adam, had to show up these Eves and order the best cocktail of the evening, the Jackelope. Remembering that time I sat on the Jackelope at the Jackelope bar in Austin and always wanting to go to the Jackelope Bar here in San Francisco. His tasty cocktail had tequila, honeydew, tangerine, aloe, lemon, bianco vermouth, orange bitters and pink peppercorns. Wow. Get this one if you’re only “going to have one drink.” Good luck with that at Curio.

We were introduced to the talented Chef Mario Tolentino, formerly at Betelnut and The Market and one of my favorite shows, Chopped. And we got to chat with their Bar Manager, Darren Crawford. Great drinks and very friendly staff. This place is going to do well. Go check it out yourself if you’re curious! You won’t be disappointed. 

Orlando Bound for Lolo – Week 2

Following up on Week 1 since I signed up for my first half marathon in Orlando with Team in Training benefiting the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I have committed to run 13.1 miles in memory of my late Lolo, Victor Manzano, and in honor of my friend, Sandra.

And here’s to Week 2!
I ran 6 miles the day before so I needed a break. No work out. For a planner, I seem to fail on picking places to meet up with Instafriend on Mondays. We were going to go to the view bar at the top of the new Loew’s Regency aka the Chopsticks building for the two points at the top. But they were not open on Monday. I walked by Wayfare Tavern and suggested that but we ended up for a drink at Tadich Grill. They did not offer dining at the bar, just their snacks which were not vegetarian. We had one drink and left. I will have to come back for dinner there sometime to experience a popular spot.

We then headed over to Pabu. My first time at this Michael Mina location was with Instafriend a bit ago for her friend’s event. (Pabu – San Francisco, CA) It’s a delicious spot and Instafriend told me they had a secret whiskey cocktail menu. YES! Right up my alley. The menu came in a rolled up scroll stuffed in the opening of a bottle covered in paint. I passed on the Japanese whisky flight and went with a Wandering Samurai with Akashi white oak whisky, rose tea and creme de violette. It came in a wine glass with one sphere ice cube. It wasn’t my favorite cocktail but it will do.

For food and Meatless Monday, I enjoyed the mushroom tempura, futumaki and the dessert cookie with mochi and fruit. The dessert was not shareable so we ordered two. It was delicious. Great company.


Not Meatless Monday began with a burrito that my new roommate brought me. It was delicious. And followed later on by a workout at home. No run. I really need to get a hold on my diet. The day followed with a walk from Embarcadero Bart station to the Fisherman’s Wharf for work. I was a bit early and went to get a smoothie on Jones Street. Missing the islands as usual, I went with a mango or pineapple smoothie. It was a bit tart. With more time to kill, I stopped in at Pompei’s Grotto and ordered their happy hour menu items: mussels and tacos. Sadly, not only do they not spell the city correctly in my opinion as it is used with and without the double i, the food was lacking that I didn’t even finish it. It’s sad to say that it won’t be the first place I recommend hotel guests to dine at.

To further add to the disappointment, I received a media pass for the New Orleans Wine and Food Experience but it was for the upcoming weekend. I had planned to attend a friend’s wedding in Madera, California and the flight alone was for $800. I had to pass. But contact me to attend your event for a write up!

Before work was full of appointments so no major work out was done. One of those appointments were to get three pieces of furniture removed using Got Junk? They do not give you a quote or even know exactly what you are trying to g
et rid of. They make an appointment, waste your time as you wait for the movers to arrive and give you an astronomical quote hoping you would just go with their quote just to get rid of your stuff. It’s pretty terrible. I spent my day before work scheduling another appointment with a local company. I think I rewarded myself with two al pastor tacos from Taqueria El Farolito on Beach Street in San Francisco. Get the strawberry aqua fresca too. Tasty! No run again but did walk my usual route from Bart to the Fisherman’s Wharf.

My sister was in town for training and was staying with me. With our schedules conflicting we didn’t have time to catch up. On her last night in town and my Friday, she came out to meet me at Pier 39 and I took advantage of my coupons from Landry’s for sending folks there from the hotel and being a new Landry’s member. Check out the VIP sign on the table. Nice touch. I had their salmon with an avocado, corn and shrimp topping. Delicious. My sister went with the mud pie for dessert. Thankfully I didn’t enjoy that too much or the Chenin Blanc and Viognier wine. I think I was just tired from the week.

I did get a workout at home with Bevo. That was good The Vietnamese sandwich from the counter outside the Slanted Door was probably not a good idea. And at $14! I won’t be doing that again. 


Then I kick the workout into high gear. I meet up with Nelly, who is also fundraising for our half marathon, at Lake Merritt. This was our first meet up and I was scheduled to run seven miles. That would be two plus laps around the lake. I was running in my busted Brooks and in my Section36 tank. Nelly was ahead of me the entire time and I made it to 8 miles! My goal was to make it Sidebar who follow my We’re Hungry Too Instagram account. I made it! It hurt but I did it and kept an OK pace. It was no where fast but the goal was crushed and new personal records were made.

Lunch at Sidebar was fantastic. We sat at the bar and Marco took good care of us. I was eyeing his fruit bowl and asked for some oranges. He cut up a whole orange for me. For free! He’s my favorite. I love fruit. I went with the trout salad as it was the latest post on their Instagram and it was delicious. I will have to try their other items and cocktails.

No time for a nap to recover, Kim came home and we headed off to Downtown Hayward for happy hour at Brews and Brats and to see the Deadpool movie. Thanks to the Monopoly game at Safeway, I saved $5. And had a pint of 21st Amendment’s Hell or Highwater Watermelon. I didn’t need the beer to find Deadpool hilarious. The legs scene! OMG.

Still not ready to go home, we went to get sushi from Tomadochi. It’s all about the Fire & Ice roll. And more oranges!

I had a full day ahead and had to get some sort of workout in. I did what I could. My knees hurt from the run the day before. I picked up my handsome wedding date and started our way to the Central Valley. We made a stop at two tasting rooms and had a great time. Then it was to change in the park as we couldn’t find a place to change and walked in a bit late to the wedding. The wedding reception was full of whiskey, laughs, meeting new folks and dancing. We had a good time and the date was a success. Best wishes to Janey & Ryan!

On two and a half hours of sleep, I was draggin’ ass. I paid extra for a parking spot closest to work so I could sleep during my lunch break. I didn’t bother eating until the end of my shift at 4:30 PM and then I went home to sleep.
In summary, according my Fitbit, I walked over 100,000 steps, burned nearly 2,000 calories and on average have 6 hours of sleep. 
I have been logging my food as well on MyFitnessPal and hoping that keeps me aware of what I am putting in my body as a I train.
It’s hard to lay off the booze! Maybe I need to cut liquor to just special occasions or special company.
Thanks for reading and please support me in training for my first half marathon in memory of my Lolo –

Onto Week 3!

The Mexican Riviera via Holland America Line – Day 1

Hayward to Santa Cruz, brunch, Santa Cruz to Hayward. Nap, gym session and finish packing. This One Busy Bee was ready to board a Southwest flight from Oakland to San Diego to catch my first Holland AmericaLine cruise to Mexico. My friend, Catherine, arrived. We chit chatted, got my brown leather couch ready for her brief overnight stay and attempted to go to sleep. Unfortunately, I couldn’t relax

With very sleepy eyes, my Sims on the FreePlay version were all occupied for well after I left for the airport at 4 AM, I was all up to date on social media, made my posts for my several social media accounts (ex: Facebook) and my email has been checked. This is why I typically do not go to the gym in the evening. My body is being told to get the day started. So, I didn’t sleep at all.
We were on time on hitting the road at 4 AM. It was a short drive to the 98th Street exit near the Oakland Airport and was able to self-park and keep my key at the AirPark parking lot. I normally park at Park N’ Travel on Doolittle but they were fully booked unfortunately. The shuttle bus that was there when we arrived took off and left us in the cold which felt like ages. There is no inside or covered waiting area near the exit. Perhaps we should have waited in the car, but would they have come to get us? Our driver showed up, was friendly and greeted us. There was a small flat screen TV facing us and it had the stickers on it as if it was for sale. A mobile-Best Buy! We stopped at the shuttle drop off and the driver failed to take the second piece of luggage. We said our good-byes and walked to Terminal 2. There was a terrible smell in the air. Good thing we were leavings.
Check-in was done the day before, luggage tags were printed at the kiosk and they were taken to a counter. Then we had to go thru security. It was much quicker at 4:30 am. Also, this time I didn’t encourage Catherine to do something silly in the scanner. When Mercedes and I were at JFK in September, I jokingly told her to ‘do that thing I taught you.’ She moved too much while getting scanned and she received a nice, personal pat down. I don’t think Catherine was awake enough for my silliness.
One thing we forgot to do was get cash to spend at ports. I normally get change beforehand thru my bank. I was without pesos. We both took out cash at the ATMs conveniently located at the top of the escalator. If you’re a Wells Fargo or Bank of America customer, no fees for you. Or, if you’re like Catherine and banks with Mechanic’s Bank. ATM fees are refunded. We can exchange the cash in Mexico. I’m not worried about the exchange rate. But after all that, we didn’t need pesos. Vendors took card and US dollars.
I was hungry, Catherine needed caffeine. Nothing was open except for Jamba Juice and I went with a bottled water, an Apple Cinnamon Pretzel which was unfortunately stale and a packet of fruit snacks in case I need something to eat on the plane. Catherine waited in the yet to be open Starbucks line, along with many other folks. They took too long for her and she opted in for a bottled water and a snack bar. The pizza spot also opened at 4:45 AM.
In travels past, I usually wait til the very end to board. I prefer to not stand in line, just to wait more while boarding the plane. Travelers take a minute to get settled in, put their carry-ons in their desired places, etc. I am not that kind of traveler. I’m small enough to not be too much of an inconvenience going thru the plane to my seat or climbing over folks to get to the desired window seat. However, I have recently had my name called a couple of times by the airport saying that the plane is boarding. Thankfully, I have never missed a flight but I have had a few close calls. It may or may not have been due to whiskey. OK, a lot of whiskey.
Exhausted, I got situated in my seat and passed out before the safety presentation began. I even dreamt! That deep sleep was much needed. I didn’t wake until the plane landed in San Diego. I looked to my left and it was grey. Was it grey from the smoke from the fires in Los Angeles County or was it just foggy? According to the taxi driver we met later that morning, it was just foggy.
With hours to spare, Catherine and I contemplated going downtown or to the Hilton nearby and sit at a restaurant with a view of a marina. To avoid some extra costs, we just camped out at the Pacific BreezeCafé and had breakfast, read our magazines and chit chatted in between. I love me a croissant breakfast sandwich but this was mediocre. Though I also love the croissants by Pillsbury, the croissant here was flaky but way too dense. I didn’t eat it. Who needs the extra carbs anyway? The egg was under cooked and the potatoes were covered in ketchup and Tobasco. Catherine had the just two eggs, bacon and potatoes and toast. I learned that she doesn’t like her eggs any other was except scrambled, she doesn’t like tomatoes or mushrooms, or olives. Olives, I agree with. While in Santorini, olives were served with everything. My travel partner there, Papichulo, and I always left them uneaten. This is my first time traveling with Catherine. We will be learning a lot about each other over the next seven days.

Catherine read her People magazine, I picked up the Exquisite Weddings magazine focusing on San Diego. A Bride of mine considered San Diego as her wedding destination. I would be happy to travel down to this part of Southern California  to add another beach wedding to my list of experience. I browsed through the magazine, found the vendors mentioned on Instagram and followed their accounts. It helps to follow these vendors and see what they have to offer and photos of past events they have held. Of the images in the ma
gazines, I loved everything about this Bride pictured below. The hair, the gorgeous bouquet and dress. Stunning.

Hours have passed and we caught a taxi to the nearby Port Terminal #2 to board the Oosterdam cruise ship by Holland America Line. It was a large ship from afar and it was to be our home for the next seven days. I have always been fascinated with hotels and how they function. This ‘hotel’ had the capabilities of floating on water and has everything you could ask for. I was excited to be on my second cruise. It has been five years since I sailed on the Reflection with Celebrity Cruises.

The $10 cab ride took us to the terminal, unloaded our luggage and we met with a porter immediately. He handed us a luggage tag to write our information on including our room number. I had to log into the account in order to reconfirm the room number. The tags were attached and we left them behind as we went thru security, filled out a health form stating whether or not you’ve been vomiting, had diarrhea or a headache due to those symptoms. NOPE! We made our way to the check in counter. The nice lady eventually found our room. Odd that in their system, we had two extra people in our room. We did not have room for that and no, we are not sharing staterooms. They found the error and confirmed our room, took our photo and handed our keys which acted as our boarding pass, card to order beverages on beverage package and credit card for items not pre-paid. We were given a boarding number and took a seat with the rest of the travelers.
The demographics of the travelers on our ship were definitely 40-50 plus, couples or families and Caucasian. There were a handful of Asians, one or two African Americans and little to no Latinos. I remember meeting a family of six of Latinos from Los Angeles on my last cruise. Here, I don’t see any. I would be more than happy to increase the number of people of color to cruising. I enjoy it.
Boarding the ship was easy. After a picture taken in front of a blank screen, we made our way up the stairs, zig zagged down corridors and used our card for the first time boarding the ship. We were greeted by employees and asked if we needed to take the elevator up. Sadly, we headed down to the first floor to room 1104. No elevator needed. We took the stairs down. To our surprise, our room was quite spacious. We had a lot of closet space, a full bath with tub, storage space, a queen sized bed near an unobstructed window and a breakfast corner with a booth and small table that raises up or lowers. We are given two awesome bathrobes, a television with movies, TV shows and live programs like the news.

Our luggage was not delivered yet so we went to explore the ship. We found the incredible selection of food, the decks, pools and more. We hung out at bars and I had bubbles. Not tired from not sleeping much and excited to be on the ship, I was happy to be on the boat. 

At 3 PM, a drill was mandatory for all passengers to go to the designated part of the deck and listen to instructions and learn how to properly put on the lifebelt. This training is much more bearable with a glass of champagne in hand. We met a friendly older gentleman named Cornelius. We would continue to see him every day during our trip and slowly meet more and more of his family.
We went back to our stateroom to find our luggage has arrived. We put on our bikinis and were the first to hit hot tub and waited for the ship to depart the port. The playlist of songs were a bit off and the same four songs were repeated. The speaker systems are bit out of date and you can never really hear what the Captain is saying. Only one 15-year-old boy was brave enough to come talk to us in the hot tub. He was Vancouver, Washington, where I lived for about nine months during my sophomore year of high school. He was very bright and communicated well with answering our questions with his answer and asked a follow up question. Quite impressed. The city of San Diego started to fade and we said good bye to Derrick and got ready for dinner.

In dinner attire, we sat at a table with two other couples also from California. Tom and Susie were the first people we met while still at the port and were from San Diego. Garry and Cathy were from San Jose. Both couples were older but we had awesome conversations and a few laughs. The gents were Vietnam vets and Catherine was saying that she isn’t exposed to people of that kind of background Susie stated she thought it was great that we were so young and well-traveled. That’s the goal, Susie!
The food was incredible. I definitely had an appetite, even with the rocking of the ship. It was a three-course meal and I had the Caesar salad with delicious sardines, the New York strip cooked medium with a cauliflower gratin and greens and an apple crisp with vanilla ice cream for dessert. I ate every single morsel except the clump of fat on the steak, including a taste of Catherine’s French Onion Soup which they should have every day and her spinach and fruit from her entrée. She enjoyed her bread pudding but I didn’t have a bite. I am going to eat very well on this cruise.

We were going to go to the Singles meeting at 7:30 PM but we were pretty tired. We later heard from another guest that there were nine single women and one male. Lucky him! We said goodbye to our dining companions and made our way back to room just a floor below. I changed into my Section 36 tank top and skiing penguins pajama pants my best friend gave me and climbed into bed. I had no problems knocking out. I am extremely excited to be on this cruise and the first day was amazing.
 Day 2

Friday SOMA Adventures – July 2017

We love Hooch. My Instafriend and I used it twice this week. Hooch is an app where you pay $9.99 a month and redeem free cocktails once per day at participating bars and restaurants. DW uses it and I signed up. I signed up Instafriend and I earned a free month. If you use my code ’94aeef’, your first month is $1. If you’re in San Francisco, this app will pay for itself in one visit. Most cocktails are in the $12 -$14 range, so happy Hooch-ing and saving money. Don’t forget to tip your bartender!

When Instafriend and I go out, we try to go to different places to try new spots and use our Hooch free drink! We wished Hazel was a participating restaurant. We love that place. This time, we decided on trying Elixir in the Mission at 16th and Guerrero.  I walked towards her house from DW and ‘picked her up,’ if you will. It was such a warm day and walking after about a block, I joked to see if she would rather take an Uber. She considered it because it was so warm. Or, we could go to Wish between 11th and 12th on Folsom. We opted for Wish.
On our way to Wish, we stopped off at a boxing gym and inquired about classes. We took a look at the schedule and the one that would fit my schedule and would be more interesting to me would be the boxing class on a Thursday at 5:30 PM. The first class would be $15, normally $25 per day, and depending on your package, the cost could be $130 per month. That sounded pretty steep for me with doing more yoga and just increasing my 24 Hour Fitness membership to more than one location. Then David gave us class passes for our first class being free. We took the card and headed towards Wish.
Another detour had us inside City Lights, a showroom for, y’know, lights. They had a lot of interesting and cool fixtures but as big as their showroom was and as many CSRs that were present, no one said hello or goodbye to us the entire time we were there. It takes two seconds to say hello.
We got to Wish and it looked closed. We were 9 minutes early so we went across the way and went to The Willows. I have been there once before and remembered they had two bars. See thru the glass wall to where they stock their back up liquor. Turn left and you’ll see tables and chairs, a pool table, a TV, pinball machines, their bar and a DJ area.


We went with two cocktails, the pork belly donuts and the carne asada fries. My cocktail was a beautiful purple color, made with whiskey and hibiscu sand heavy on the foam. Instafriend’s Impeachment cocktail was lacking ginger beer. The pork belly donuts were obviously friend but sadly, disappointing. The dough was not cooked thru. Majority was left behind. The carne asada fries were a hit. Good choice, Instafriend!

Next stop was what should have been our first stop: Wish. I jokingly said hi to City Lights as we walked by again as I was positive they wouldn’t say hello either way. Wish was now open for almost an hour and a few guests were already at the bar. We grabbed a seat along the wall and went to the bar to order our Hooch drink. The blonde gal behind the bar didn’t know what we meant. The woman wearing the Bond Bar shirt knew. Bond Bar was another participating Hooch bar. Our orders were placed and we picked them up. The Honey Comb cocktail was made with Four Roses bourbon, lemon & bitters. It wasn’t mind-blowing but hey, we tried! Girl chat continued, left our tip and went our separate ways.


This was the adventures with Instafriend and I Hooching it up! Stay tuned for future posts.