Sunday, June 7, 2015

Stripped!

632 reviews
57 first to review
908 photos
45 followers
517 friends
743 compliments
107 tips
5,000 check-ins
8 years of Yelp Elite status, now officially 7

I'm sad to say that I have been stripped of my 2015 Yelp Elite status due to now being a business owner. It's ok, I completely understand.


It's been a fun road and I have met some cool people, been exposed to great products and was able to attend fun events. But it's time to move on and welcome my fellow Yelpers to my establishment. It will be great to see you, my friends. Just as I have done as a Yelper and Yelp Elite, I trust the reviews will be honest and creative. I wouldn't expect anything less. I look forward to meeting those I haven't yet had the pleasure. Please do not hesitate to introduce yourself to me and/or let me know of any issues. I will personally address them.

So goodbye, Yelp Elite status. I have motivated and encouraged many others to strive for that title and badge and I will continue to do so. Yelp on, Yelpers! It's been Fun, Useful and Cool. 


I guess I'll go strive at Influenster a little bit more.

Do you Yelp?
Are you a Yelp Elite?
Do you find Yelp useful?

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

First Month Transition

It's been one month since I have left my position as Office Manager of a law firm. It was bitter sweet because I just love, love, LOVE my staff. I handpicked some wonderful people. I have created wonderful relationships and friendships with most of my clerks and it has been wonderful to see them go onto law school, or into completely different fields and succeed, move across the nation, travel and even get married and have children. Now I am back to working in San Francisco with a whole new crew with a whole new role.


My business partner and I have known each other for almost a decade and we have gotten thru some challenging situations. Based on our success of getting past the hard times, there's no doubt there will be more of them ahead, and once again, we'll pull through.

November 2006
Majority of the rest of the team is entirely new to me and it's refreshing. Of course, I miss my old staff. That is clear, communicated and reciprocated but I am also loving my team. Each one of them has unique, different backgrounds and brings something special to what we're creating. I love seeing them smile, making them laugh, and all of us working together with limited light, loud drilling or sparkling metal work going on behind us, or using large boxes of furniture as desks and tackling tasks we have never had been asked to do before.


"You want to get a quote from who to do what by when with what limitations?"

There's no whining about the task, we just get it done. If we can't do it ourselves, we find someone that can. The same amount of experience and new things I have learned since December 2013 was just crammed into a single month. It's challenging but oh so exciting!

Working with obtaining permits and licenses and the city have been incredibly interesting. Though there are many requirements and procedures to follow and approvals to obtain, the personnel is very pleasant to deal with. They have been helpful and patient and understanding. I wrongfully presumed they would be more like folks at the DMV. They definitely are not that.

I had the pleasure of meeting our extended staff yesterday and like our management team, each one has their own strengths and unique personality. I am looking forward to working with each one of them. I am seeing more of our construction crew on an almost daily basis and I love hearing the random musical notes that are belted from these men while they are walking down the halls or on top of a ladder. I have made a request for one of them to sing The Four Tops 'Bernadette.'




I have had more on-the-job interaction with people in just this one month than I have had in the past few years. I believe that is why I love the food and beverage industry. In a law firm, I was always at a desk, interacting with my vendors via the phone or email and rarely in person. I infrequently interacted with our clients. In this new venture, I have a larger personnel, am IN the great city of San Francisco, am bottom floor of a large, international social media, tech company and will have clientele that are locals and tourists. Every day is going to be different and I am looking forward to meeting a vast array of people. I am beyond ecstatic.


Thank you, SF Eater!

Thank you for reading and letting me share this journey with you.

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Blog Goals

Write them down.
Because I'm a...

Credit to Anastasia Amour. Found this on Pinterest.

I was inspired today by a post I found in the Blogger Outreach group on Google+ posted by a young, Ms. Brooke out of Seattle, Washington. I was on the hunt to surpass the number of page views I had last month. I was shy of doing so with just under a hundred views. I was close! But June will be much different.

I realized that I didn't have any blog goals. Blogging has taken a backseat to everything that has been going on lately but it has gotten some increased attention without much effort and I am not sure why. Just in May, my posts on Beer, Wine, Fitness and Shopkick have received the most hits. Readers in the United States view my posts, then people from Germany. Hello! Perhaps I should learn some German. My posts on the reality show, the Bad Girls Club, continues to be posts the ones that have received the most hits of all time since 2009. And I must thank Google for being the search engine that brings me readers. I am grateful!

So goals... I have added to my existing Excel sheet to track my progress but also incorporated current stats on Twitter followers, Pinterest posts, likes and followers, Google+ followers and views, and Instagram followers. My URL to this blog can be found on all three of those social media sites/apps. The goal is to increase the numbers by 10% each month. That is a lot of activity but I'll try! Since this is strictly blog post goals, I will focus on growing blog hits.

June 2015 Goals 
 - post at least 10 times.
 - 50% of those posts need to be food and beverage focused as DWSF will be my entire life
 - 20% of those posts need to be San Francisco related, ideally Mid-Market area
 - hit 10% more views than in May

2015 Goals
 - Have a food and beverage focused post be on the list of Top 10 posts of all time
 - Increase the blog followers by 60%
 - Increase Bloglovin followers by 1000%. Just signed up today, 5/31.

Think these are attainable? 
Too easy? 
Not challenging enough? 
Do you have any suggestions?

Off I go!

#StillInIt But Still the Same?

Six weeks ago on April 20, 2015, Justin and I did a second Bodybuilding.com fitness challenge together. This time, I got Megan Z. and Dylan to participate. The 12-week #200KTransform challenge was great. I saw some changes, I was dedicated and felt out of it when I didn't work out. I had a goal in mind and I think I kicked some butt. This time, it was more of a challenge to stick with being #StillInIt even though I had more support. I was still on the Shredz supplements with Angela and Marissa and was able to lose the 4 pounds I gained after a week in Playa Del Carmen, Mexico, so my body did bounce back.

Week 1 - April 20, 2015
Weight: 114.2
BMI: 21.6
Fat: 19.4
Muscle: 35.1

Besides drinking a whole lot of Mezcal and beer and eating all the ceviche in Playa Del Carmen for 7 days, I had other distractions. I was preparing to leave my job to work for DWSF, and the below opportunities also presented themselves.

St. George Single Malt Whiskey was available in the tasting room. It's hard to find. My friend, Brian, gave me a heads up that on a particular Thursday, this was going to be available to taste. It wasn't available for sale but as my future is destined to be all things food and beverage, I had to take advantage of this opportunity. So I did. And it was honey on my tongue. Dylan wanted to try this when he, 'Best Friend' and I came in for a tasting and tour a few weeks earlier. Definitely take the tour if possible. Sam is incredibly knowledgeable and makes the experience super fun. And if you own the movie Deep Blue Sea like I do, you'll want to check out the prop they have back there.


And I have been craving donuts...and pizza, and banana cream pie, and sour strawberry belts. What you put into your body plays a big part when trying to reach your fitness goals. Justin, my fellow #StillInIt contender, and my favorite, annoying lawyer and friend, Ivan, were no help. After we had pizza and beer at Lanesplitter's in Berkeley, there was a donut shop next door. Oh, SnapChat. (@bappletree)

It was a lot of work trying to get the law office I was working for ready for the transition. Mostly because I had all the tasks I do on the regular for the past seven years were procedurely in my head and not on paper, the transition wasn't as smooth for the new Office Manager. My bad! Doing what I could caused me to drink. Thank goodness I was able to convince my 'Sobrino' and silly Clerk, Albert, to join me. He calls me 'Tia Bernie' because he found out that my niece and nephew call me that, and also because he knows I was around when email was invented. The little shit. And I say that in the most loving way possible. He's hilarious, a good guy and off to law school in Boston. We have a good time and know how to kill a seashell full of liquor at Trader Vic's.

Then there are moments that remind me of what I want and it keeps me motivated. My second cousin, Ricky, participated in his first fitness competition in Hayward. I worked that morning, went to the show for preliminaries, tried to go into the city to work but Bart was too much a pain in the ass, then came home to work more and unexpectedly went back to see if he placed. Ricky didn't but he looked great out there and was calm and confident. And you can't beat that smile! His uncle, my Cousin Marvin, was a fitness competitor as well so it's in the blood. People have asked me if I will someday be entering my own competition. Hmmm, one day. But so far, this challenge tells me I have A LOT of work to do. But congrats to Ricky! Keep at it! Follow his journey on Instagram at "_r1ckyg_"

Another way to motivate me is too get some cute work out gear like Cali Muscle. This California girl has a new love for pink, but have always loved muscle and lately have been dating men more on the fit side. I bought these two pieces at Ricky's competition. I also have Shredz and Bodybuilding.com gear. Love it!

Then the challenge continues at home when Bevo thinks it's playtime when I'm on my yoga mat. Lately I have been working at home because I just don't have the time I used to drive to the gym and spend over an hour there. I have dumbbells up to 30 lbs but would love the BodyRock HIIT bar and 35-lb. set of weights. PLEASE! :) The HIIT videos are great and are really challenging. If I can't master those, then I still have a lot of work to do. Nikki B. and I will be starting the 30-day fat burn challenge tomorrow. Let's see how that goes!

So no more excuses! Another challenge begins June 1st. I have to try to push harder, eat better and make the time.

They say it's best to have a partner on this journey. Nikki, Angela, Marissa and now Christy and I are still sharing photos post work out. Love my Victoria's Secret sports bra, my Bodybuilding.com tank and my Shredz BCAAs. Yes, they get the ugly, all natural, sweat dripping photos. 

AND they get silly ones like the one below. Don't mind the messy room and look at Bevo's face! So funny. I actually like this one, tho it's a bit dark.  I think the pictures do help the girls and it has been a really fun exchange. Some nice things they have been said:

"Haha, I owe you a huge thank you for tonight. I would not have gotten off the couch if it wasn't for knowing that I owed you a post workout pic, and that if you sent me one and I didn't have one to send back when I should, I would let my partner down! You got me to the gym tonight and I'm so glad. I may feel crappy but I would only have felt worse if I didn't go. Now I feel accomplished and like we're still in it together, every day!"

"Seeing results is a definite motivator! Thanks so much for getting me into this!"

"I don't do Twitter (to get the Shredz discount) But thanks!! You motivate me!"

"This is the longest I've stuck to exercising and eating right, regularly, it's definitely a lifestyle change."

Then this Little Love of mine is a motivator as well. She is not even two-years-old and she's independent and lifts weights like her Tia Bernie.  I have pictures of her carrying full gallon water jugs and other heavy items. She's going to lift like her mommy and Tia. Here I am rockin' my new Cali Muscle gear and getting a work out carrying and tossing her around just to make her smile.

So, post #StillInPics were posted on Bodybuilding.com and there's really nothing to show here so I'm not going to. You can't see a difference. The stats aren't drastically different but they are better. I just need to get that body fat percentage down. So here are the numbers:

Week 6 - May 31, 2015
Weight: 112.6
BMI: 21.3
Fat: 18.6
Muscle: 35.3

Week 1 - April 20, 2015
Weight: 114.2
BMI: 21.6
Fat: 19.4
Muscle: 35.1

Thanks for reading. I hope this has motivated you to get off the couch and get on the floor and do some crunches while watching your favorite TV show, to take the stairs instead of waiting for the elevator in a parking garage or even stop yourself from complaining about parking too far from the mall entrance when hello! you're just going to be walking all around the mall anyways. When I first started this post, I thought I didn't really have anything worth mentioning. But in reality, I do! Small changes are still considered progress. Now go and make the change, no matter how small.

Next goal: Lower that Body Fat %
What's your goal?

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Let's Hike 2015

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

This post is long overdue. This year has been quite hectic with opening up DWSF, the #200KTransform challenge with Bodybuilding.com, and traveling. Poor me, right? The goal was to hike once a month. It's a new activity I started with my ex-Roomie in 2012. The activity allows me to be social and catch up with friends and meet new people while exploring hills, streams and valleys in my own backyard and get a work out in. And we usually reward ourselves with some grub and a beer afterwards in the same neck of the woods. Here is 2015's log, a continuation of the last few years' found here.

JANUARY
Purisima Creek Redwoods
Such a pretty and hilly route. Good times with Nikki, Tatiana, Jeremy and Tanya. Tanya brought her selfie stick so that alone was pretty funny. We even ran into a large group and Tanya was being her friendly self. We thought the group was an Events and Adventures outing. Perhaps it was! I remember seeing someone wearing a Boston Terrier beanie. I've never seen one before so that person was pretty cool in my book. After the 7.5-mile hike, we went to the Half Moon Bay Brewery for their delicious crab sandwich and beer. What a great day.



FEBRUARY
I have never been on Angel Island and what better way to explore it than to go for a hike. Coordinating this was interesting because there are limited ferries and when they fill up, they take off. The group was coming from all different directions. Nate really enjoyed going hiking with us in Palo Alto last year so he was excited to go again with me, Cugino and Angela. I know it's hard to pack up a family of five and travel across the Golden Gate Bridge but we missed our originally scheduled ferry to the island. I know Christy was driving like a madwoman to make it, but we made the next one. I just felt bad that I had to rush Christy and Cesar so we didn't miss our return ferry, otherwise we would have been on the island for an extra hour. Drill Sergeant role to keep them moving. Nate ran most of The Dish last time. I had to pick him up for a big hill but he had a lot of energy. This time around, he wanted to be carried so he was on his parents' shoulders and I pushed Arya in the stroller. Christina and I jogged when we could. #200KTransform was still happening! Needed to burn some calories!

The views were gorgeous, the company was wonderful. Cugino brought his selfie stick and we had a a really good time.

I love this one. All the offspring of immigrants running for the border. Someone commented on this pic on my Instagram. They actually saw this pic being taken. Love these people. So much fun!


Really cool but probably haunted buildings, but loved the open windows. Thought it'd be fun, creative shot for the ladies. Plus Nate.

Golden Gate behind us!

We topped off the day with a late lunch in Tiburon and celebrating Christy's birthday.



MARCH
Mt. Tamalpais - A trail I haven't done before with Nikki, her mother and Tatiana. The year before, Christina and I went to the peak of Mt. Tam. This one started off in the middle, went down to Stinson Beach and then back up. We had a great time. I met Nikki thru my aunt and Nikki's mother also knows her, as well as my cousins, Shanti and Nolan. It was great to hear nice things about my loved ones from someone I have never met before.

Watch out for the cyclists on the road while traveling up to and out of the area. I dated a really cute cyclist so be careful! It might be him! I now have a different opinion of these lean, spandex wearing folks and try to be more patient while they take up room on such narrow, windy roads that I enjoy driving in my Si.

The hike was beautiful. Anytime I get a peek of the ocean, my breath is taken away and I push further  wanting to see more of it. It's definitely rewarding. 

The hike had stairs. How cute is Nikki's mom flexing as well. Nikki, Tatiana and I were doing the #200KTransform challenge.

And a ladder! A first for me!

Since we weren't going to see each other again after this and the #200KTransform challenge was going to end soon, we had to take an after picture together. Check out the guns! 

APRIL
Oops. Was too busy. Fail.

MAY
Redwood Regional Park - This was great quality time with my Nikki B. and Bevo. Since things have been crazy hectic with DWSF and I missed April entirely, I HAD to get in a hike in May. And I love spending time my Nikki B. Two years ago, we started a list of things we can do together. We can explore things in my neck of the woods that is the East Bay, and she can show me what the North Bay is all about, plus we can explore San Francisco together. I resent the list to her last week and we have not been able to make a dent in it. However what we have accomplished is something I don't have with any other friend. We made it a point to schedule time, at least once a quarter, to see each other and catch up on each others' lives. We take turns going up to each other's neck of the woods. She has been a wonderful friend, full of good advice and life, is funny, spontaneous, active, adventurous and open minded and flexible, which means understanding of the craziness that is my life sometimes.  And she's motivating as hell. I signed up to the 30-day fat burn challenge on BodyRock.tv with her. It starts June 1st.  It's on, Chica!

The hike was nice but it was a little muddy. I actually found it thru a Tweet by Oakland Parks and Rec, highlighting 365 Dog Hikes.com This hike is perfect for dogs. There were so many dog walkers and dogs off the leash. Unfortunately, I don't trust Bevo enough to stick with me so he remained on the leash. I was worried that he'd pull me down the slopes like I felt he did at the Black Diamond Mines in November but he was pretty good. We went for 6.7 miles. I thought I was definitely going to have to carry him the last quarter way but he did really well and hope to take him on more hikes. He definitely deserved joining us because I have been really busy. He needed some good exercise, fresh air and social time. Usually when he's tired after some time at the dog park or at Happy Hound, he'll head straight to the floor on the passenger side of my car and wait for me to turn up the AC real high. He did that same thing after the hike and occasionally had a hard, almost drunk-like, time getting up and down from the passenger seat. Poor thing, but it was amusing to me.

We reached the Redwood Bowl. This was our point to start heading down.

But first, let us take a selfie. LOVE this girl to pieces.
Reppin' Bay Area teams!
More hikes to come! Which ones do you recommend?

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Do You ShopKick?

Everybody likes free stuff right? My frugal friend, Megan Z., has turned me onto apps like ShopKick and Cartwheel, but I have also added Ibotta to that list. Use these apps to earn points, discounts and rebates on things you do everyday and purchase.

With ShopKick, you get points just for walking into a retail location like Target, Safeway or Best Buy. Scan the barcodes of certain products and get even more points! 
Scanning magazines for points at Target!
Earn gift cards to stores like GameStop and Old Navy or use the points to earn free products like headphones, a Coach purse, jewelry, a scooter or even a Princess Cruise. I'm going for the cruise! I only need 6.2 million points. LOL. That's quite a bit and it will take forever but I'm aiming high!

I have a Safeway right across the street from my condo complex so I earn walk in points and can scan products there often. I used to work across the way from a Target, Best Buy, Home Depot and Sports Authority so I would get points just for walking over there, scanning products and getting some fresh air and some fitness points. One time, I ran my ShopKick 5K around Emeryville. I ran a route to three retail spots that were offering walk-in points. Fitness activity and just a tiny bit closer to that cruise! It was motivating.

Some days they will have promotions and offer 100 points for walking into certain stores and recently there was a bonus for scanning all five different kinds of bags of potato chips at Safeway. A 400-plus points earned and not a dollar was spent. I'm ok with that. Sometimes the products aren't there but not all stores will carry every single product.

You can also earn points for spending money there. For instance, at Best Buy, get a $1 for every dollar you spent but 1250 points if you spend $200. I recently purchased an all-in-one printer for my home office and the latest Adobe Acrobat. I liked the points I earned. Next, I want a FitBit. I might as well buy it as BestBuy.

I recently won the below contest and won 1,000 points just for posting the below graphic on Instagram showing what I purchased to earn ShopKick points and how much I earned. Not bad, right? Easy-peazy. I love my new Michael Kors bag that I use as my laptop bag and for commuting back and forth to San Francisco. Plus I got it for 45% off at Macy's and also earned Plenti points. 


Want to try it? If so, please sign up thru me. You'll get 50 points to get you started and for every three people that sign up thru me HERE, I get 2,000 points. Come on! Help me get that cruise!

Happy ShopKicking! And I am also all for supporting SF Bay Area companies. Shop local, support local.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

So Much Talent

What an honor it was to work with Dylan Douglas Photography again in January. See our 2014 photo shoot HERE. This time I introduced him to Hair Stylist, Jasmin Rouse. I met Jasmin while at a mutual friend's wedding in Kauai in October. We immediately became friends. Her husband was the Best Man and I went stag so we had some time to get to know each other.  She is a mother of two, also lives in the East Bay and is quite the beauty. You can't miss her. It makes sense that she would have the talent to make people look and feel beautiful.

While house and dog sitting for friends over Thankgiving weekend in Brentwood, Ca, I thought Jasmin and I could catch up. We met up at my favorite spot in the area for sushi, Shirasoni, and had drinks, sushi and teppenyaki. I used to do a Stella & Dot jewelry display on Thursday nights there so it was good to see some staff I used to see on a weekly basis. Plus, I am always willing to help folks that have helped me. 

Jasmin and I got to know each other a little better and continued our evening discussing her ambitions and dreams at BJ's at The Streets of Brentwood. She works at Changes Salon & Day Spa in Walnut Creek and has a love for color and is in the process of obtaining additional training. I personally haven't colored my hair since I was in high school and have never invested the money in a professional dye job as I would be terrible at maintaining it. I said I would love to be a hair model for her but let's start with a cut first.  Plus, I would love to introduce her to my friend, Dylan. I loved the photos that Dylan took of me the year before. I am sure I would love what Jasmin had in store for me. I was just trying to grow out my hair but was open to her cutting it however she wanted to.

I introduced Dylan and Jasmin via email and thought we could all do a shoot together. We figured out a date and I stepped into Changes for the first time. I am FB friends with a girl from high school and this is her spot. This was a new experience for me and though Jasmin said they just renovated, I didn't have anything to compare it to.  I sat in her chair and thoroughly enjoyed getting my hair washed. Then it was time to let her do her magic. 

A cut was long overdue. It felt great. But I wasn't done yet.  We traveled out to Livermore, CA where Dylan has a studio set up and I had some wine while Jasmin put my hair in her Kevin Murphy rollers and did my makeup. She knew what she was doing. She had everything she needed. I'm not as 'girly' so I don't put too much time into my makeup because I never took the time to play or watch tutorials like many lovers of all things beauty do. I did go to a pin-up hair and make-up class by Pachuca Cosmetics with my ex-Bride client turned friend, Kristin (find her at Valdeezie_Glam on Instagram). And still use the gel jet liner to this day. I haven't come across a product I like more for my eyes but then again, I haven't looked very hard.

During the shoot, Jasmin had really great ideas, continued to touch up my make up, move my hair in certain ways, and even suggested modeling poses. I have to say my fierce and inner and deeply hidden BeyoncĂ© didn't want to come out. Dylan asked me to hold certain poses, angle my body in different ways and used different lighting and hair blown effects. I think the below photos turned out pretty well.

If you agree, please consider making an appointment with Jasmin at Changes in Walnut Creek, CA, and booking Dylan Douglas Photography. They are both good at what they do.


Can you tell which Stella & Dot necklace I am wearing?

Dress by Hot Miami Styles



And here are some other photos of how I have done my hair after the shoot. The second one is all natural with absolutely no product in it and it was washed the night before. I just realized these are very sporty shots. GO GIANTS! GO NINERS! See other ways I have styled my hair post Jasmin's hair cut HERE.