Sunday, July 24, 2016

Greece - Check!

Ever since the 5th grade, I have been in love with Greek Mythology and have always wanted to go the Acropolis and standing on the grounds where Grecian Gods once stood, where beautiful Greceian Goddesses and nymphs captivated the hears of man, and where they believed int he almighty Zeus, Poseidon and Athena.  Greece was one of six countries on our two week itinerary in Europe. I was happy to go with my Cugino, my Cousin Ron. The ship had technical difficulties and we were traveling at a slower pace, so we had to bypass Rhodes, Greece, but we didn't miss Athens. If we did, I'd want my entire trip refunded because it meant so much to visit there. I felt bad for the economic troubles that was occurring there with the riots. However the riots only happen Monday thru Friday. We arrived on Saturday, November 10th, 2012, so we lucked out. Traveling through town, it wasn't the cleanest. Graffiti was everywhere. Trash and they had many strip clubs. It was the first city we visited in Europe that we encountered them. The city was prepping for a marathon that was taking place the next day.

I thoroughly enjoyed the Acropolis. I only wish we had a better tour guide that made it fun and you wanted to stick with it. We basically left her and our group behind. Of course, I did my research before coming but took photos of the informational plaques as back up.

I love the detail and the fact how long these structures have stood.

After the Acropolis, we sat in so much traffic and decided to go on and explore Athens by ourselves. We had lunch at a restaurant called In Town and sat outside under trees with lanterns and met a friendly server, Julia. She said it was her dream to come to California. We are now friends on Facebook. It would be lovely to see her again. The food was great with the stuffed calamari being devoured. It was nice to sit outside with some live music.We shopped and took the bus back to the ship. Along the way, we had a companion escort us there. In Greece, even at the Acropolis, dogs wandered around. When we got to the port, our dog friend met up with her other companions.

I have been craving Greek food lately. Court Court and I went to a Greek restaurant a couple of times after our cardio boxing class at Boxing4Health in Oakland called Ikaros. The grilled octopus was amazing! Of course we had to have the gyro meat. I have to go back soon.

After an adventure, Cristen and I ended up at Orexi in West Portal of San Francisco after a failed attempt to attend a fundraising event due to a lack of parking in the Mission. Silly me. The restaurant has been around for four years and the inside was not what we expected when we walked in. It was very modern, very busy, had a long communal table in the narrow restaurant and beehive octagons on the wall. Honey used in the restaurant is sourced by bees of the owners as well. It reminded me of Jardinere and how they have beehives on the rooftop. We asked if we could sit at the bar. We're in the industry so need for a formal table. I like interacting with the bartender anyways.

We sat at the counter, were presented with menus by one do the owners and greeted by the good looking bartender, Nick. He mentioned the specials and offered us tastes of Greek wine. So much for not drinking! I only wanted Greek wine and ordered the rose with grilled octopus and the kabob platter. Nick had us taste other wines and didn't mind the silly and shocking girl talk we were having. It was funny to see him smile via his profile. We clearly didn't care if people heard us talk about work and dating. It was a great night. We also met the other owner as we were devouring the dessert. I invited both Nick and John to DW. We hope they come by some time.

Was sent to Court Court vis Snapchat. We'd always get the grilled octopus.

My Greek cravings continued. I stayed home one day this past week and didn't feel well. I ordered a few things via Eat24 and wanted to try something new. An opportunity to create more blog content? Yes, please! I selected Pita Love Grill in Hayward and ordered the Gyros Pita Sandwich, Chicken Kabob Plate, an extra order Tsaziki and baklava. Hey, when I don't feel good, the diet goes out the window. Delivery didn't take the hour and a half the app estimated it for and thank goodness. I enjoyed the sandwich and added more sauce. I wish the pita was a bit softer but perhaps it wasn't as fresh with it being delivery. I had one of the two pieces of baklava as a treat and was too full to have more than a bite of the chicken kabob. The day or so after, I did enjoy the hummus. It was flavorful. I'm glad they are available via Eat24. Now if only they would get some Thai restaurants on the app.

But back to Greece, Santorini has been on my list to visit since my father sent me a post card from there when I was in high school. It is absolutely stunning. It was going to be a honeymoon stop but that marriage wasn't meant to be, thank the Gods. One day, I will go back.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Gym Etiquette

Ooooh, if I could I tell your momma....

I am a constant work in progress so I am at the gym often and have been at it for years now. It's a lifestyle. Some believe their momma is still going to clean up after their sweaty a$$. News flash, you're a grown up now. Clean up after yourself and be respectful of your surroundings.

1) Wipe down the machines after your set - You just up'd your personal record on that last rep. Congratulations! *Ahem* A personal record I'd like you to break is your track record for being disgusting. Please wipe your sweat off the machine for the next person. It's so gross. I don't need your bodily fluids absorbed into my CaliMuscle or Shredz tank. This means wipe down the seat, the back, the knob to select your weight and the bars. It takes two seconds and your other gym friends would appreciate it.

2) Put your toys away - Remember where you got that dumbbell, plate, ball and bar? Well guess what? It's not going to walk itself back to where you found them. Oh, you think someone else is going to use them? You mean, in the exact spot where you used them? I don't think so. Put them back where you found them. 

3) Why you gotta yell? - I don't give two hoots about how much you lift, what you thought about the last Real Housewives of wherever episode and I certainly don't care what girl is lookin' hot up in here. Well, of course, unless it's me with all my hot messness. Now shut up. Why do you gotta yell? You are two three feet away from each other. The decibels are unnecessary and I could hear you through Adriana Grande's 'Dangerous Woman.'' And its interfering with my road to sexiness. Seriously. Save it for the dive bar over a beer as you ruin what you just accomplished in the gym, Run your mouth there.

4) Laziness - So you got your a$$ out of bed and decided to hit the gym...but you also decided to park illegally on striped pavement because it's the closest 'spot' to the gym entrance. Can you be any more lazy? You're about to sweat in this gym, presumably, but you don't want to be a good citizen of this town and park where you're not supposed to just to be close to the entrance. It doesn't make sense. Park farther away and add those extra steps to your log. 

5) Don't bathe in your perfume or cologne before the gym - By all means, if you're naturally a stinker, I think we'd appreciate deodorant instead of you covering up the fact you haven't showered today with the strong scents of Victoria's Secret body sprays or the cologne bottle in your glove compartment. Want to get noticed at the gym? This will have a negative effect with making people's eyes water from the overwhelming scent. I sneeze uncontrollably when my sense is overstimulated. And not in a good way. Please don't do this, at the gym, at the office and for god's sake, not on a date. That's automatic disqualification. Less is more.

6) No staring! - There are some beautiful bods in the gym and they've worked hard to get there. Didn't your momma tell you that it's rude to stare? Yeah, I get it. Those glutes are on point but please don't make us all feel uncomfortable. Focus on you. The gym is not a place to pick up on the other sex. Mind your business before you hurt yourself. 

7) Proper attire - There are signs for some of these above but proper gym attire is requested. Extra clothing can get caught in the machines and cause injury. There's one guy at my gym that wears jeans and rather loosely. Poor thing doesn't know how to properly lift weights but kudos to him for being here every time I am. He was doing some sort of arm curls on a machine and he had his booty crack exposed. I just had to move and leave the area entirely. Please don't scare the members.

No environment is perfect but come on! I am glad to see these folks in the gym and not being part of the statistic that we are an overweight nation. These folks are actually doing something good to live a healthy lifestyle. Like me, there's always room for improvement.

I hit the gym before work and the guy that works the front desk is appreciative of me. He gets annoyed when he has to pick up after people. He sees me constantly going to the paper dispenser and use the spray bottle to wipe down my machines. "You're one of my good members," he says. That's right! 

Now what about you? Are you one of them? Or are you a good member? Don't be one of 'those' cause if I could call your momma... 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Women Wednesday - South American Wine

On August 3rd from 5-8pm at Dirty Water, we continue with our monthly Women Wednesday event. Tara, our Wine Director and Sommelier, has recently returned from Argentina and Chile. She says part of being a Sommelier is telling stories. Since DW has opened, the rest of us have wished her a fabulous trip with envy to expenses paid (minus the airfare) trips to France and now South America. Some days she'll come into work a bit exhausted and her reasoning is 'so much wine.' Poor Tara, right?

Well she deserves it. At such a young age of 26, she is now studying for her Advanced Sommelier exam. Go get 'em, Tara.

Please join us for Women Wednesday with a special South American wine flight and meet Tara's recent travel companion and owner of Copa Fina Wine Imports, Shelbi Herring. One dollar of each purchased goes to La Raza Community Resource Center, a non-profit with programs such as a Mother's Support Group. It provides a 'safe place for communal support amongst women int he Latin community' and 'they learn that help comes in emotional and social forms, and that seeking and providing such support, by way of camaraderie is not only beneficial, but uniquely empowering.'

For more information, visit the Facebook Event page.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Sexy In Her Skin - Boudoir with Angie Capri

No matter what color your skin is, how much you weigh or how old you are, every woman is beautiful and sexy. Angie Capri helps you remember that.

Angie Capri in Concord, California is a photographer with wedding and now boudoir experience. I met her at a shopping event with other small businesses and entrepreneurs in Antioch, California many years ago when I was putting much more effort in my Stella & Dot business. Her photos were beautiful and I have followed her work on social media since then.

She sent out an email looking for models to test her new skills and tips she learned from a workshop on boudoir photography. I haven't had a shoot since working with Dylan and Jasmin HERE. It was fun. Every lady loves getting all dolled up and a chance to feel beautiful so why not? I applied and scheduled a shoot for July 18th.

Angie is very well organized and provides you all the information you need with time to think about it and prepare. She communicates well and during the shoot, her enthusiasm makes you want to hold that uncomfortable post just a tad bid longer. I was sore the next day for sure.

My hair and make up was done by The Makeup Movement LLC in Dublin, California. Annie Lim and Angie have worked as a team for years and they now have 11 photo shoots scheduled together to build their portfolios. I left Annie's town home feeling beautiful and glamourous. I'm sure you will too.

I am so impressed with these businesswomen and their set-ups. The front living space of Annie's town home was her work space with a director's chair for makeup application and using natural light from her large front window.  Then a swivel chair for hair and a vanity and a Nespresso machine that officially makes you friends with George Clooney and Danny DeVito. I don't know make up so I had no idea what brands like Lura were about. Annie sure did and had a lot of different brushes, powders, compacts and hair products. What caught my eye was the bling in the corner of headbands and headpieces that is very in in the bridal world. She placed on on me!

Angie's work space is near the drive-in and an area with an office, bathroom and a studio with tinted windows. She assured me that we'll see anyone approaching before they see me in my 'unmentionables,' as a long-time guy friend also refers chonies to. She has purchased unique furniture from thrift stores and has an old tub she got from a family member that was planning on throwing it away. I have some awesome shots in these tubs in my Jimmy Choo's and a sexy garter from the South.

I brought four pairs of shoes, four hats, my mask from Venice, many of my roommate's ties, newly purchased lingerie from Victoria's Secret, Macy's by Heidi Klum, DKNY and Lily of France, plus my girlfriend's Army camos but we didn't use them. Tip for shoots when you are using your own wardrobe - more is better! Having a lot to choose from is better than not having the right gear. It was fun to see Angie's creative mind at work as she tossed my bras and panties around and paired them with the hats, jewelry and heels. Her giggle is quite adorable.

We had so much fun that I was there for four hours. I think I want to do more shoots! Angie showed me some pics during the session and I was amazed at how awesome they looked. I was self conscious about my not-so-toned tummy but most of them looked really great. I can't wait to share them soon.

If you would like to work with Angie or Annie, please contact them! You won't regret it. These pictures are proof and will remind you that you are sexy and beautiful just the way you are. It reminded me that on days I feel like I'm getting older or my pants are feeling a bit tight, through someone else's eyes, I am beautiful and I should think the same thing and love myself. I'm not perfect but nor are the touched up models in magazines or filter Instagram images. Remember that. The more I can love who I am and appreciate the reflection in mirror, the more confidence I have and people will see it. I hope I motivate others to have the courage to also love themselves. 

Here are some really old photos from previous shoots when I was younger. I didn't start doing shoots because I thought I was beautiful. I just wasn't afraid of the camera. Today, that's still very true.

Cannot wait to get Angie's photos!

My first photo shoot in San Francisco with

Along the Embarcadero in San Francisco. Apparently there's a painting of my legs somewhere in Los Angeles.

My first shoot with a mask. I still have that top & choker.

I still love those kind of wedges.

I believe this was taken at Santa Clara University.

I still have this dress.

I still have this top.
My sister & I - a present for my father. 

Doing extra work in San Francisco. Funny story with this one.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

"To make each girl a CEO"

Call it my Throwback Thursday (#tbt) as I my goal is to attack that stack on my nightstand of things to read, the March 2016 copy of Glamour Magazine has fellow divorcee, Gwyneth Paltrow, on the cover. An Oscar-winning actress, singer and now beauty mogul is the owner of I honestly have never visited their website but I am now following it on Twitter because of her quote:

Gwyneth Paltrow & Partner's objective "to make ea one of these girls (on their staff) a CEO."

YESS!!! I usually like to give the small companies a chance but this is inspiring. As stated in other blog posts, I am realizing that I am a mentor. People, mainly my staff, are watching me. My former Office Manager made me cry when she expressed how I how motivate her before she made her departure. I don't want to disappoint. And like Gwyneth, I do want to see all of my staff do amazing things with their lives. Maybe being a CEO isn't what they want and that is OK. I do want them to be the CEO of their lives though and choose to be happy.

I had a lovely evening with my new Office Manager, a 22-year-old, bright, young lady and fellow San Francisco State University. Though there's a big age gap, we are finding that we have many similarities. Perhaps both being Pinay, perhaps going through the same struggles together at a one-year-old company. I am looking forward to us learning from each other, and seeing what this experience leads her to.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#TravelTuesday - Swarm Challenges

I love the new Swarm challenges to be entered to win trips. I believe these started about a month ago. It's really easy to enter. If you're a Swarm user, fulfill their requirements to enter the week's challenge and enter to win vacations. We all can use a vacation. According to studies, as in the statistic from July's Women's Health magazine, 40% of Americans have unused vacation days. Uhm, can I have them?

Earlier challenges included a trip to Italy. I am going back in October and I sure wouldn't pass up another opportunity to go again soon, even if I have to pay taxes on it because the value of the trip would be considered income. I absolutely love it there. All you had to do was check into restaurants and bars a few times by a certain deadline. Check! I did it. I also go one of my new lunch Managers to sign up. Now he can tell when I get to work. Like at 6:50 am for this One Busy Bee!

This week's challenge is to get your booty moving and check into a gym at least twice between July 11th and July 17th to enter to win a $5,000 relaxing weekend. I just had a 90-minute massage at Massage Envy in Castro Valley this past Saturday and I already could use another one. This will also be easy to enter if you're participating in the 8-werk #MyNextLevel challenge. Consider it done! If you win, send me a postcard!

Let's be friends on Swarm! Send me a friend request 'bappletree'

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Menlo Grill & Bar - Menlo Park, CA

The owners of the Stanford Park Hotel are a client of a law firm I worked for seven years and now my Cugino works there as a server. This was my second time visiting and it's mainly because I wanted to see my Cousin. It's been quite a bit of time.

It's a beautiful hotel and part of a chain with locations in Lafayette, Bodega Bay, Monterey, CarmelSan Francisco, and Napa. I went to a Yelp Elite event at the one in Lafayette and my aunt got married at the one in Bodega Bay. Check out my other post of a recent weekend getaway in Bodega Bay. It was wonderful.

My cousin has been the lounge the two times I came to visit. I did bring my other two cousins the first time and we sat by the fireplace. I had a custom fruit bowl and a whiskey cocktail I had to pass onto my cousin. It was making me sleepy as work has been draining me. They had the kale salad and a beer. This is wear my cousin Leslie told me that she was pregnant! I felt honored to be told before it was officially announced. She's now due in the next few weeks. 

This time I sat at the bar as Leslie and Scott were busy. I kind of invited them to join me late as I wasn't exactly sure when I would be there. I also invited my former Executive Chef and sweet friend. Sweet and Chef in the same sentence? Yes, to me, he is. I'm lucky. I miss working with him. But he had a late table arrive at his Michelin-star restaurant and had to stay. Another time.

So it was just Randy, the Bartender, Raphael, the Manager and my cousin. I was starving and ordered the Asparagus and Prosciutto starter with arugula and balsamic vinaigrette. It was delish. 

And then my Sea Bass arrived in a tower atop a bed of broccolini, a fried square of rice, the fish and a taro chip. A mushroom broth was poured on top of it in front of me. It was absolutely perfect. For a Pinay, I don't need to have rice with every meal. The rice was a wonderful surprise and I saved a quarter of it to the end to let my tastebuds have that as the last thing it would enjoy.

I wasn't planning on drinking but I enjoy restaurants specialty cocktails. The Angela is on the menu. A drink my cousin had me try at his last job and is named after his wonderful girlfriend that was currently enjoying Miami like other girlfriends of mine partying it up for Layla's bachelorette party. I went with Randy's Purple Rain cocktail with bourbon and muddled blueberries and lemon. It was tasty. My lightweight ass of not really drinking felt the effects of the liquor half way thru the drink.

They all were told that I am one of the owners of DW and I was chatting with Raphael about their event space. They're patio area is beautiful with string lights and fire pits. A room equipped for presentations for about 50 people is on the same floor near the door. Thru an outside entrance, a back room with windows that let in natural light is also available. Raphael took me up to the third floor and showed me a conference room where Jerry Rice typically has his press conferences. "Did you say Jerry? I love Jerry."

It's a nice spot and is quite popular for business guests. Regulars would stay there to avoid the traffic if they lived in Marin. By all means, if you have the resources to avoid the commute, more power to you! I met a funny, British gent and his family from Toronto. We got to talking about Ottawa and Buffalo. Or ex-guys I used to date. We also talked about ice wine, inappropriate jokes and men from Mars. Another patron was in town for vacation, went to a beach south of Half Moon Bay, left the car for 20 minutes and his belongings were stolen out of his car. So sad. We also saw two newlyweds towards the end of the evening. Congratulations! It was a fun, relaxing, easy evening out with seeing my loved one and fun bar talk with strangers.

Check out the Stanford Park Hotel for events, dining and be nice to my Cugino Ron. Also, don't forget to tip your bartender!