Saturday, March 25, 2017

#BecauseGoals

The hashtag comes from Fit & Thick and the beautiful Nicole Mejia that I follow on Instagram. I use it when I'm feeling motivated and determined. Let's be real, this #250KChallenge thru Bodybuilding.com isn't going so well with one week left but I'm trying. I have had successes, a poor diet with lots of whiskey but I have managed to still work out at least five days a week. Not bad. I just wish the progress was noticeable. I write this after reading a part of the Spring 2017 issue of On Investing from Charles Schwab late last night. Friday night party animal, right here!

Two headers caught my attention that I shared via Snapchat (bappletree) and my Instagram Story.

"Start saving and investing today."

&


I posted the above Instagram with caption:

"On my late night date with Chuck (reading Charles Schwab on #Investing mag, that is) after prepping to do my taxes, I thought I'd share this. I have/had so many students on my staff and those not so great with money. I would liek to say I have encouraged many to start somewhere no matter how small. For instance, I suggested stop buying their daily $5 +Starbucks Coffee and put that money aside in savings and/or invest it. You're really not going to miss $5. Green tea is better for you anyways. :) For em, I want to continue to the live a certain lifestyle, have my #goalby40 that I'm working on and always hustlin' doin'  what millionaires do: have at least seven streams of income. I'm downsizing in unnecessary physical stuff (thx +Close5+Poshmark), earning savings by doing next to nothing via #tech (mPlaces, +Shopkick) and taking advantage of #free tickets and opportunities for new, fun experiences as much as I can. Need help? I am no financial advisor but I'll do what I can! Seems like a great #blog post to write. Stay tuned!"

And so the blog post is up. 

See the disclaimer? I am definitely no financial advisor. I am making an attempt to get familiar with the different ways to invest, the terminolgy and understand the tax implications with certain decisions and what's best to reach my goals. My father is my financial advisor and he does pretty well for myself. He's living the life I want. As the independent woman he has encouraged me to be, I eventually want to make smart decisions about my money on my own in terms of my investments. With the ridiculous raising cost of healthcare and the money I would need for my retirement, I feel I am well behind.

However, I can say I am ahead of the game of some people I know. I was young once too and was terrible with money. I had multiple credit cards and didn't feel like I could get ahead. However, at the time, I also had my first big girl job with benefits and started my first 401K. I started at 19 years old. Seventeen years later, the funds have increased however had I saved more, I would have had a lot more by now. "Start saving and investing today.

Do you know what your net worth is? I have calculated my value and I want that number up! How do I plan to do that?

1) Seven streams of income - keep these going, improve my businesses, make my numbers and grow, Baby, grow! Advertise on my blog!

2) Save - I have an amount automatically taken out of my checking account and dumped into an investment on a monthly basis. I also have a minimum for my savings account to be at and each time it is reached, the original minimum increases. Eventually I will take that excess and reinvest it.

3) Minimize - as I get older, I am finding that I don't need stuff. I solely desire shoes more than anything if I do buy something materialistic. I have splurged in Milan, Italy with my first Gucci and Georgio Armani purses and I now have no need for anything that costly. I can't remember the last time I purchased a pair of shoes. I value experiences more than anything nowadays. I love to travel. I want to try new restaurants, unique cocktails. When wanting to celebrate love or special people in my life, I would rather give them experiences as well. 

I am trying to minimize by selling fashions on +Poshmark (onebusybeebolog - use invite code UPSCY for $5 credit after your first purchase) and have even sold my first item in two days, which were a pair of Grace in LA jeans that I didn't even buy for myself. I am selling dresses, shoes and retired Stella & Dot jewelry for cheap. After all, these items are just sitting around, not being used. I might as well get something for it! I also have items listed on Close5.


4) Free stuff - I went to two comedy shows this week for free. When the opportunity presents themselves, take it! My girlfriend had an extra ticket to see Bill Burr in San Jose. Yes! Ticketmaster also sent out an email giving away two tickets to see Erin Foley at the Punch Line Comedy Club in San Francisco. I submitted a request and I was chosen. See autographed CD by Erin and the Punch Line also reposted my Instagram image to their 4,660 followers. Free exposure! Yes!

Contests - it takes two seconds to enter contests. I play the Safeway Monopoly game and have already won free bread, an avocado, yogurt (hello! Who doesn't love free food!) And a $5 Fandango discount I used for this Sunday to see the new Beauty and the Beast movie with Court Court.


I have won a trip to the Grammy's in Los Angeles, movie and concert tickets, DVD, CDs and more. I hope to win another trip soon.

Then there's tech - I just redeemed my first $25 Amazon gift card by getting 62,500 coins via mPlaces. I have earned numerous Target gift cards as well but am a recent lover of Amazon because I don't have time to go do errands for everyday necessities. I purchased Bevo's Iams dog food and two Oil of Olay lotions that Target sometimes doesn't have. With mPlaces, you also earn entries to win other gift cards and random goodies like wireless speakers, drones, make-up and jewelry.

Don't forget about Shopkick. Unfortunately they got rid of their Hilton reward gift card. That would have helped with additional travel. I did use my last earned Hilton gift card when we went to New Orleans in 2015. I guess I will just continue earn towards another Amazon gift card.

Both of these apps are explained more in my '5 Apps I Use Before Getting Out of Bed' post. Check it out. 

I can't forget about my Hawaiian Airlines card to free airfare. Yes, please! I put everything on that card, use the site to get bonus miles when booking other travel and when my friends that love to pay in cash, I will gladly get the points and take your dolla dolla bills. Please and thank you! 

I hope this post encourages you to start saving, investing and preparing financially for your future, as well as the future of your loved ones. Good luck!
Beach at Kiahuna Plantation, Poipu, Kauai, Hawaii - February 2017



Tuesday, March 21, 2017

St. Patrick's Day 2017

My best friend is Irish. My boyfriend is Irish. And Jameson is pretty much my liquid boyfriend lately. This Catholic is all for celebrating St. Patrick's Day this year.

The day started with what to wear - the color of shamrocks of course! I put on my Banana Republic button up and paired it with the retired Contessa Jade necklace by Stella & Dot. I received many compliments on the necklace. I remember the time I sold the same necklace off my neck at the bar The Wishing Crab of in Brentwood, CA.


Then it was time to work. The long day started with a lunch private party, then working an addition eight hours for a late dinner of 60 guests of Italianos! Italians eat late so it was understandable. A break was needed in between. Located one block over, Alta CA is open. Court Court and I headed over there to get a bite before we fed the next group.

Court had the Barbera and I tried their Flawless cocktail with mezcal, tequila, blood orange, vanilla, pecan, nonino and Galliano. It was served over crushed ice. The cocktail was pretty and Court was very happy with her glass of wine. For food, Court had their burger and I went with their Brown Rice Puffs served with an avocado dip with espelette. I have had their beef tendon puffs before with a malt vinegar powder (as reminded by The Dapper Diner) but these were much different. I asked for more dip and they were about to charge me but they hooked it up. Perhaps they knew we were neighbors.





We knocked out the private party and we deserved a reward or two. The kitchen broke out a bottle of the High West Double Rye Whiskey that we are pairing our dish with at the upcoming Whiskies of the World event on March 31st in San Francisco. Too lazy to walk to the bar for shot glasses, shots of whiskey were made from what ramekins we did have.



Six of us headed to Odd Job and I had three other friends join us as well. Yes, two visits to the same bar in 72 hours. We had a good time, almost made it to a strip club but ended back at DW for a smaller party. I had my first Irish Car Bomb in years with Teeling Whiskey, Guinness and housemade Irish cream. It was tasty and like the old days, it went down easy.

A bottle of Pol Roget, a plate of cheese and charcuterie and country music took us into the early morning, St. Patrick's Day or not. It was a good time. I slept until 1:30 PM on Saturday. I needed that.




Chances Are... 2017

It's that time again. I want that vacation home! Safeway's Monopoly game is on and I know of more friends playing along as well. Nelson is playing too! You know, that guy that threw a bunch of them away last year! GAH! (Chances are...) After learning that I play, he used to give me all of his game tickets. Not anymore. Will, my roommate, is my main contributor. I look over to where my game board is and more and more tickets appear. I asked him what he would do with his share of the $1 million.

"Pay bills."

And he's not alone.  I would like to say that I am not coming into work. I do love my job but I probably wouldn't work as hard as I do. I would buy myself my Hawaii home and start my new life.


I am missing just a few pieces from each prize but aren't we all!


So far quite a few winners have been announced via their app which is a major improvement. When I first started playing a few weeks ago, the biggest prize that was won was a 1 in 50 $20,000 college tuition prize and that person was from San Jose, CA. Someone from Concord, CA won $5,000 cash, Congrats! The biggest prize won so far is a $40,000 home makeover. I want to win!

Besides the app providing a list of winners, you can now scan the bar codes on the pieces to see if you have won smaller prizes such as additional tickets. This year, they also have a progressive jackpot. When bar codes are scanned, losing scans increases a jackpot that began at $1,000. One person has won $7,000 with the jackpot. The jackpot caps at $250,000.

Wish me luck! And if you aren't playing, please collect the game pieces and I will take them from you. And of course, reward you with sharing the winnings. *Sharing terms are mine. :)

In other news, Monopoly is getting rid of game pieces like the thimble, wheelbarrow and boot are getting, well, the boot.(Monolopy Booted the Thimble, Purists are Sew Mad - Wall Street Journal). Apparently, four million people voted online for the change. New pieces will be a T-Rex, a rubber ducky and a penguin. I cannot wit until Nate grows up to play Monopoly with me. He loves dinosaurs and I love penguins. I am not mad at this change.I think I'll schedule a game night.

I'm also game at entering contests online. As mentioned in last year's post, I have won a lot. Lately I have been entering many contests that are travel focused. I would love to see the world, drink and taste absolutely everything and create more content for this blog.





Monday, March 20, 2017

Davis, Ca - Good Friends, a Monsieur & Ice Cream

Davis is a cute college town just before you hit California's capital of Sacramento. One of my best friends, Matron of Honor and friend from middle school has moved back this 100-year-old town. I haven't seen Tara, her husband or my niece in over a year. Life happens but it's so wonderful to have remained friends these 24 years. When I put it that way, that's a very long time.

Tara offered to come down my way or meet half way but I haven't seen their new house and I know it's more difficult to move around with a child. I made the drive up there and remembered how I used to spontaneously drive up to her house from Pacheco, CA when I was having a bad day, that one Halloween clubbing downtown and even coming out there for my first country bar when I was dating my Marine. Good times. I was happy to make the drive to make more memories with her.

I found their new house and it was a different side of town than where they usually are. Streets were quiet, parks were aplenty and it was warm, as Davis often gets. Tara came to meet me at my car and it was so good to see her. I stepped in their home and found that my baby niece Emma is nothing but a baby! She was tall, formed perfect sentences and had style! I was shown around the house and found that a crib has been replaced by an actual big girl bed, her Belle princess gown was hanging nearby for a transformation at any moment and that Emma is now the owner of her mother's Stella & Dot jewelry frame for her own possessions. Style.

We sat at the dining table to catch up for a bit. Gizmo, their shih tzu, has gotten much older but still a fan of Bernie! He let me pick him up and he got some love and attention from me. We chatted about the crazy costs of homes in the area, their schedule and them trying for Baby #2. Emma declares she wants a baby sister so there are more girls in the house than boys. Majority rules, doesn't it? While we caught up, Emma was drawing me a picture. When she was finished, she came around the table to show me. We had curls in her hair. I was in a grey dress, she was in pink. Quite accurate. We were having a picnic, a butterfly made an appearance and a shooting star was above us. I will treasure it forever.

We then decided on food. It was a beautiful day and I wanted to see how much Davis has changed. I suggested we sit outside and I remember a spot where we would sit next to a fire pit and talk, pre-mommy time. Bistro 33 was still in business. Despite their service, the food was still good, according to Tara. Emma got ready after some contemplation on what to wear and we were in the car headed for brunch.

By choice, Emma held my hand all the way to the restaurant. Oh, the little things that just make me love this little girl more and more. We sat outside under an umbrella but were sat without a whole set of menus. We had to ask someone's waiter for some assistance. Ah, Tara, I see what you're saying. Shocker, I was the only one drinking. I had the Lime in De Coconut with Hendrick's Gin, orgeat syrup, fresh lime juice, coconut water and Coco Lopez. Kenny, Tara's husband, said that there isn't much alcohol in their drinks. He was right. They know this town inside and out. The drink wasn't bad. It was refreshing on a warm day.


I had the Croque Monsieur with smoked ham, Swiss cheese, sourdough bread, requested over medium eggs on top and a side salad. My darling niece that was sitting next to me was coloring her sheet and ordered the pancakes with bacon on the side. What a wonderful idea. I did too!


Oh, there was so much to fill each other in on! Travel, work, next steps and a new boyfriend for me. Job, moving, Emma and the plans to expand their family for her. My goodness. We are living completely different lives and different paths but that doesn't make it hard at all to remain as good of friends over these many years.

I ate my entire salad, one half of the croque entirely but just the insides on the other half. My bacon was gone and when Emma was finished her with her pancakes, Auntie Bernie finished them. I can't remember the last time I had pancakes. And so worth not eating the bread to make room for pancakes!

Emma was the one to make the decision on where to head to next. Were we going to get ice cream at Baskin Robbins or Sweet and Shavery that serves Italian ice, frozen custard and crepes. Emma chose ice cream. The girls headed that way as Kenny checked out a record store where they gave additional discounts on sales made on Sundays. Tara gifted him a record player and he has been collecting records since! How very cool.

Baskin Robbins has their 31 flavors, cakes, cake pies, frozen beverages and more. Emma went for a sprinkled sugar cone with a purple and pink flavor, which went perfectly with her outfit, Cotton Candy. But like the bacon, I followed in her footsteps and got the same cone with their Icing on the Cake flavor. I was hoping it was like Cold Stone Creamery's Cake Batter ice cream. It was definitely different. We sat outside, chatted about making plans to go to the SF and Oakland Zoo with Christy, my Maid of Honor, and the kids, how they were going to stay low key this year and basically prepare for being pregnant. I enjoyed how Emma continued to be sweet and loving with me as we at our similar ice cream cones side-by-side.


Emma was ready to go home but I wasn't ready to head back too early. We ended up watching Moana with freshly popped pop corn. I love Hawaii and they pointed out that this was one of the first Disney films where the Princess didn't have a love interest. Well done, Disney.

When the movie was over, Emma asked if we could watch a Barbie movie next. The adults laughed a little and I had to tell Emma I had to head home but that I would love to see her again soon. She understood. I said my goodbyes to Gizmo and they walked me out to my car where several hugs were exchanged. I do hope another year doesn't pass before we see each other again.

Home, I went.



Saturday, March 18, 2017

Odd Job - San Francisco, CA

It takes a lot for me to want to walk far from work to get a drink. I have access to everything you could ask for and I could often ask someone to bring it to me if I wanted. But, I should leave my office and workplace every so often. It'd be good for me. By this blog and the thousands of pictures that are my phone just waiting to be added here tells me I'm not that deprived. I was happy to try somewhere near the office and go with a few on my staff. Odd Job is located at 1337 Mission Street between 9th and 10th Street, just like DW. It is so convenient, we went twice in three days.

The first time, we went to Odd Job was with some ladies after their shift. We went to SRO (Standing Room Only) which will be on your left after you get carded at the door. The room has two tall cocktail tables, a small bar, a chandelier, drapery on the ceiling, glassware that you would think to find at Goodwill or an antique shop in the mountains and a liquors I have never heard of before. Aaron, the Bartender, liked that I noticed.

SRO does not have a cocktail menu. The cocktail that is made specifically for you is based on what you want to share with Aaron. I went first as I had some things on my mind that day that I didn't like dealing with. Aaron and the girls heard me out. Aaron immediately began creating my cocktail and stated that I needed clarity. YES! I do! My cocktail was not clear but tasty and before it was placed in front of me, a path of dried pieces of flower petals were sprinkled in my direction. And it was delicious.

Jewelry by Stella & Dot
We called Rachel's drink Dreamy Vacation, Nicky's Life in General and Nicole's More Bourbon Less Bullshit. Cocktails in SRO are $16, cash only. Don't forget to tip your bartender!





The bar has a few booths, lounge and bar seating and had a DJ play when we were there a second time on a Friday night. Their bathrooms are unisex with fun artwork on the doors and a photo booth on the way there. Photos will not print but may be shared by the bar via their social media accounts. We had some fun taking some silly pics.

Thanks, Odd Job, for being so conveniently located, friendly and have some talent behind the bar. I'm sure we'll be back.

Saturday, March 11, 2017

San Jose - Sharks & Old Wagon Saloon & Grill

A day off? Whiskey? Sports? Girl time? Sounds kind of awesome.

My spontaneous travel partner, Christina, is a big San Jose Sharks fan and she had extra tickets. We went to the Sharks and Predators game at 1 PM with kicking it off at the Old Wagon Saloon and Grill at the San Pedro Market Square. Parking is conveniently located across the street and the restaurant is walking distance to The Shark Tank or SAP Center. Sit at the bar, at a table or on the patio. I just had a shot of Jameson on the rocks while the girls had a Bloody Mary and a house cocktail that was too sweet and is better as a double.


Christina got great seats at the game with access to restaurants with actual white, cloth napkins and servers at your seats. I had the Prime Rib sandwich, pretzel with warm cheese, a Sierra Nevada and Lagunitas IPA. The sandwich was actually pretty good, the pretzel was too salty and the beers were eventually completely consumed.


Silliness
Prime Rib Sandwich
I forgot how fun hockey games can be. The game was entertaining and there was one fight. Hockey is non-stop action and there isn't a bad seat in SAP. The company was great. Christina's friend, Beth, is from Chicago and moved to the Bay Area late last year. We hit it off with laughs so hard that I cried. Christina's coworker, Amy, was fun too and we like the same music and love fashion. New friends are always good.


After the game, we made the walk back to the Old Wagon Saloon and Grill. One more Jameson for me and as usual, I was craving a salad. Their Caesar Salad was pretty good with a creamy dressing. The steak was thinly sliced, peppery, half of it left on the plate and cost an additional for $6.99. The croutons were happily enjoyed by Beth.


Not bad of a day.


Related posts:
Congrats, San Jose Sharks!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Hoochie Mamas

You know the song. I have found my Hooch girlfriend, Julia, and we are now out and about 'hooching it up' with our free drink app. Get to know these faces!


Hooch is an app with a monthly membership of $9.99 that earns you a free drink at a participating restaurant once a day. It pays for itself in one visit as the three drink options you may choose from has a value of $12 or more.

How to use it? Download the app, search for local participating restaurants and plan your visit. Decide on which of the three cocktails you would like to order and show the bartender. And they will present you with your drink! Easy! Please don't forget to tip your bartender for these drinks. 


It gets even better! When you sign up using my code, you'll get your first month for $5 and I get a free month. Invite friends and you will earn free months as well. You can earn a maximum of six months for free.

It's has been fun trying new spots and having some social time with my Hoochie Mama. And I'm adding to my clicque of hoochies.

Here is the list of participating restaurants we dined at:


One improvement needed is the location feature. Some restaurants appear closer than they really are.

I would love for East Bay and more parts of world would participate. Please inquire! I'd visit you AND tip your bartenders! Believe it or not, some guests get their free drink and do not tip. Shameful!