Sunday, December 8, 2013

Happy Hostess & Photography

Happy Sunday! Check out former hostess, Christina V., wearing the Sutton Necklace she earned for free with her hostess credits.  She's rockin' it. Her photo submission has also entered her to win a $25 gift card, only for those that Like my Facebook page. Go check it out and add a comment. Enter by December 31, 2013.

Photo taken by http://www.dylandouglasphotography.com in Livermore. 





Here is Christina V. also wearing the Lucia Necklace that is now sold out! The matching Lucia Bracelet is available and on sale. Grab yours before it's gone for good. Also, I have many samples on sale on my Facebook page or email me for the inventory list.



I have considered blogging some of my Outfit of the Days. I know some fashion blogs are really popular that do that. What do you think of my style? Should I do that? I sometimes post outfits on my Instagram account at 'bappletree'. Feel free to take a peek and I'll consider posting Outfit of the Day here. I would appreciate any feedback.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Giving Tuesday

There was Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday and now the second annual Giving Tuesday. Last month, I donated to the World Food Program USA to help get the Philippines food after the typhoon that killed thousands of people. Today, I helped out the Berkeley Humane Society by placing an order thru their Amazon Wish List for their Dog Program.

“Our Amazon Wish List is filled with supplies that we need to save the lives of homeless cats and dogs in our community. While in our care, our feline and canine friends need attention, love, and enrichment, and of course food and supplies.  The better our supplies, the more complete and wholesome care we can provide the animals. The better their care while at Berkeley Humane, the more adoptable they are. The more adoptable they are, the quicker they find homes. The quicker they find homes, the more lives we can save.”

Bevo, my Boston Terrier, was purchased thru a breeder in the Central Valley in 2008. I was overruled to even consider looking at shelters. The other party only wanted a full-bred animal. My Bevo is now five-years-old and as healthy as can be, per his vet who asked me if I was willing to give him away. Absolutely not! Though Bevo does not have the typical facial markings of a Boston with his half a blue eye, he’s nothing but perfect to me. And you can find your new, perfect, furry, family member at your local shelter.

Halloween 2013
My comforter. He always knows what to do when I'm sad.
I have a loved one that has worked in placing dogs in homes for years and two neighbors in my complex that regularly fosters dogs. If you need assistance in choosing your next family member, I am sure they would gladly assist you. Just let me know.

Have you participated in Giving Tuesday?
How so?

Monday, December 2, 2013

Cyber Monday!

Our Cyber Monday deal! Spend $50 today and get the iKat jewelry roll in Espresso for $5.95 (reg $39). Keep the roll for yourself or as a gift!  

Also, your $50 purchase will earn you $25 Dot Dollars. Spend $100 and get $50 worth of Dot Dollars! You can apply the $25 Dot Dollars to every $50 you spend between January 3rd and 10th of 2014.  On January 3rd, you will receive your promo codes.

Happy shopping?



Sunday, December 1, 2013

My First Opera

2013 has been a year of a lot of 'firsts.' I have traveled to many different places, had my first Valentine's Day as a single woman, participated in my first race with obstacle courses, have been to more than one 49ers games and Sharks games, first time taking a motorcycle outside the parking lot and going 75 mph from Oakley to Tracy, drove a 4-wheeler, and now my first opera.

I received a Groupon notice for tickets to see The Barber of Seville for half off. I have never been to an opera and remember the advertising agency I was working for, Y&R, had the San Francisco Opera account. Some employees usually get free tickets or discounts but I was never that lucky. I asked Megan, my aspiring actress friend, if she wanted to go and she enthusiastically said yes. I also didn't have to ask her if she wanted to dress up. It was an excuse to have a girls' night and get dressed up.


I decided to wear a white BCBG dress that I haven't worn since my 29th (?) birthday to see Wicked. And it fit just fine, maybe even better. I paired it with my gray snakeskin strappy heels from White House Black Market, one of my favorite stores. I couldn't find my gray snakeskin Stella & Dot wristlet that I love so I had to borrow Megan's Jessica McClintock silver clutch. Megan wore a dark blue  and black satin dress, a faux fur jacket, black flowered stockings and black low boots. She borrowered the discontinuing Gigi Studs in black and gold.

We made reservations at Absinthe but all that was left was one for 7pm. The show started at 8pm. We decided to go early and maybe squeeze in for an earlier seating. Before that, I had to take Bevo to Happy Hound because I didn't want to go all the way home to take him out just to head out to the city. I just had to make sure I picked him up before midnight. The production was a 3-hour and ten minutes event. Stay tuned for the evening dash details.

Absinthe was great. We were able to be seated inmediately but in the bar area, which was fine because it was just far enough away from the door. We wanted to just sit and be able to enjoy our meal without being rushed. We started off with wine. I was craving a glass of Pinot Noir but with wearing all white, I didn't want to risk it. I went with a reisling, while Megan returned her first glass and was happy with her second choice. She never sends back a glass of wine but she wanted to fully enjoy her meal. I totally understand. 

We decided to split an appetizer and the chicken liver was calling her name. I was fine with that. It was a first for me and my God, it was tasty. It came with sliced toast and darkened quince, a fruit I have never had before. More firsts! I went with the ahi tuna and Megan went with the duck. Both of our entrees were delicious and it was seasoned even better with humorous conversation. We definitely were below the average age of the patrons in the establishment and thankfully we weren't treated differently. Our money was good there. We finished it off with a chocolate dessert that was so rich I gave up majority of my half to Megan.



We had just enough time to grab a drink at Jardiniere. It is right across the street from the War Memorial Opera House and I have always wanted to eat there. There wasn't anywhere to sit except the low handicap spots at the bar. Ha, why not! The bartender was very nice and gave us the drink and dessert menu. Megan was stuffed so she decided not to get anything. I went with the Honey Parfait, it came in an expected form, and the recommended Moscato. Both were tasty under the starlit ceiling, and I convinced Megan to try it. I knew she had room. 



Then it was show time. We finally had a chance to get a photo of the both of us where the lighting wasn't prepped for a romantic dinner.



We had to climb four flights of stairs. The cheapest tickets were for $17 but I went with a bit more expensive tickets as I am kind of blind. But we still had to climb those flights. The seats are narrow and there's not much room to cross your legs comfortably. But the show was great. The incredible talent of these singers were mind blowing. They sang in Italian but there were English subtitles above the stage. Thank goodness because my Italian is not so good. The use of the stage was not as impressive as other productions I have seen such as Miss Saigon or even Wicked. Nonetheless, it was entertaining. We enjoyed ourselves, as always. I would like to see Phantom of the Opera someday. There's a Cirque show in San Francisco now. I'm not sure if I'll be able to see that but I would love to!


Intermission

It was 11:08 pm when the show ended. Will I be able to make it to Happy Hound to pick up my pup in time? With Warrior Dash under my belt, jogging in heels from the opera house to Civic Center Bart, trying not to twist my ankle down the escalator and around a standing person in my way to catch a train that was just about to close its doors, was a piece of cake. I made it to my Beeves with 15 minutes to spare.

Here's to new and exciting adventures!

Pistachio & Broccoli Pesto-Crusted Salmon

Taken from Shape Magazine's January/February 2013 issue from Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook by Jessica Goldmab Foung.


Serves: 4
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes

3/4 cup shelled unsalted pistachios 
1 garlic clove
2/3 cup broccoli florets, stems trimmed
1 cup fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon pine nuts
4 3- to 4-ounce salmon fillets (can be subbed with chicken breasts)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Place pistachios in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Add garlic, broccoli, basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and 1 teaspoon water to food processor and pulse until consistency is a thick and chunky purée. Add more water if necessary. 

3.  Put salmon fillets on prepared baking sheet, skin-side down. Use a spatula to evenly distribute the pesto over the fillets and top each with a quarter of the crushed pistachios. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until salmon is just pink.

4. Remove baking sheet from oven and place each piece of salmon on its own plate. Serve immediately with the pasta or grain of your choice, if desired.


This is a tasty dish and changes things up for me in the kitchen as I make a lot of chicken dishes. It is Roommate approved and will be tried with chicken tonight as I made too much toppings. And I'm OK with that.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

I Survived Warrior Dash!


I was so nervous leading up to the event. In my initial post, I mentioned that I am not a runner. I jog and not for very far. I use the motor cross machine, bike and do incline walking at the gym. I do not run. When I jog around the complex while trying to wear out my pup, I sometimes get a sharp pain in my foot and my knee and then I stop. I also thought I was going to fail in fundraising $300 for 'The Princess Package' as one of my clerks calls it.  When you raised $300 for the St. Jude Children Hospital, you have access to private restrooms, showers and are provided food. They also check your belongings for you so you can enjoy the festival post-Dash.

I baked those amazing Cookies and Cream cookies well over a month ago. I brought in donuts to work. I used social media. I tried to get jewelry lovers to help out as well. What really worked was giving folks a sense of urgency to help me raise the money the day before. And I did! Well, mostly thanks to my Papa Bear. Since I was a kid, he hated me being dirty. It's a rule to always take a shower before you crawl into bed so you always go to bed clean. He made a generous tax-deductible donation to put me right at the $300. I called him and thanked him. His main reason: "I want you to have your own bathroom." Daddy to the rescue. The last few times I've seen him, he asked me how I was doing and if I needed anything. I just shook my head and assured him that I wasn't doing great. My head and heart were in the right place and I don't need any financial assistance whatsoever. Help with getting clean was the only thing I've asked him for and he came thru without hesitation as always. I got the news that my father turned my fundraising efforts into a success while at work. It was just so funny to sit at my desk, surrounded by my young staff, and think, "Wow, even at 33-years-old, my father still can make everything better." I'm a lucky girl. I actually ended up raising $390 total. Thank you to everyone that has donated. It means so much to me.

The event was on a Saturday morning and my family, We R Pamily Team, were already up in Woodland, CA having a great time. I had to stay home with Bevo because he can only be in his crate for a certain number of hours for the following day and financially, it was best that I didn't pay for a room plus a pet fee. I stayed home with him and tried to carb up. I got a Safeway fresh baked loaf of bread and slathered on the butter while watching the tube. I could live off of bread and butter. Soo good. I tried to go to bed early per my father's recommendation  Eventually, I went to bed. I had to get up at 4:45 AM. I was planning on hitting the road at 6 AM because we had a wave time at 9 AM.

The drive up to Woodland to meet up with my family was a nice one. I was definitely tired but it was nice to watch the sunrise as I headed West. I arrived at the hotel and it was cold. Everyone was up but not ready. We even had time to get some breakfast in the lobby of the hotel.


They had pancakes, oatmeal, cereal, toast, eggs. Even as a non-guest, I partook a little. But I didn't want to feel full before the event. So even though we had a wave time of 9 AM, you really can go at any time. We eventually hit the road and TMM was en route to the event. We didn't have any plans to do the event together, just to meet up a little bit. We had to drive thru downtown Woodland, my nephew, RJ, brought up random topics out of left field and ended up at the event space, thanks to Hank, my Cugino's girlfriend's navigation system. We had to park on the dirt and then take school busses to the event. I can't remember the last time I was on a school bus except times I have had to hide behind our garbage cans at the bottom of our hill to catch the school bus while living in Fairfield, CA, because our dog, Scorpio, a half German Shepherd and Chow, would chase us down and want to play. He was much bigger than us at that point, but I sure do miss him.

When we parked, we had to bring everything we needed for the day with us. Some people dress up for the event and I just had my devil horns, a long devil tail pinned and carried around a small pitchfork. My cousin Tiffany was Polamalu with her fro-y hair and Steelers jersey. We're a fun group. Here she is attempting to pin my tail on.


We got in line and TMM texted me to wait for them and we'll do the event together. Oh, boy. He's meeting my family. I gave them a heads up that he was coming and they knew who I was talking about. He arrived with his brother and you just have to expect it from your family that they're going to put you in an awkward spot so Polamalu said, "So you're The Mystery Man?"Ah, jeez.

We make it onto the bus and I feel ginormous trying to get down the aisle with my bag, while I'm talking to our Cousin Jenny because she and her kids are going to meet up with us later.  I sit next to TMM and give him the download on who's who in my family. He hears me talk about my Cugino all the time so it's nice that he finally gets to meet my favorite cousin. 'Favorite' just because he's one of my closest male cousin. Shanti, would be my closest female cousin. I have always been able to talk openly with her about everything. It's no holds barred with both of them.

The bus made a stop at the top of the hill and we disembarked towards sign in and check in stations. I took photos while TMM carried my San Jose Sharks bag that I got last season on Appreciation Night and I have to say, I love our Team We R Pamily. So glad we got new recruits too! You checked in by your sex then last name. I was given a shirt and a warrior hat. You're given your number, pins to pin this number to your clothes and a tracker to tie onto your shoes to keep track of your location. At the end, turn in the tracking device for a free beer. That ended up in Doug's hands as I don't drink beer and TMM doesn't really drink. You then can check in all your gear for free. It was cold that morning but the sun was doing its job and warmed us all up. My Adidas jacket came off and I checked it in with the rest of my gear. No sunglasses either. I can't risk my Pradas getting messed up.





We regrouped and made our way to the starting line. Roars came from people, trying to get hyped up to start this journey. I looked ahead and the trail started uphill. Oh boy. I'm going to die. But I could do this. Right?

High flames spewed above us and We R Pamily was off. Angela, Cugino, RJ, and TMM are runners. The rest of us? Not so much. I tried to keep up and was doing A-alright. It was congested at first and my long devil tail kept finding it's way to the front of my body. I now have compassion for you men that have this same problem during your run. The first hill was steep and I had to stop and walk, among other people so I definitely wasn't the only one. I was already so damn hot and I had to keep going.  Even if I jogged tiny steps I was still making progress and not giving up. It was tough but there was no way I was going to stop here. My cousin Laurie was such a trooper. She has asthma and had to walk up the hill. We waited for her at the top and cheered her on when she made it. It was so nice of TMM and Doug to stay and wait for us. They definitely could have gone ahead and tackled the course. But we were definitely a team.

Many more hills were next and I could see that I was already getting darker. Thirst was building too. I wanted shade. We were wondering where our first obstacle was. So far, all we were doing was running. Need water. From one of the hills, we can see an obstacle, which didn't look very challenging. Going down this particular hill we were overtaken by two bananas. Yes, bananas. Grown men in banana costumes. And then we found our first obstacle which wasn't challenging whatsoever. It was just bending down under barbed wire.Then our first photo opp. Then there was water!!! Yes! Then there was an obstacle to climb over some elevated low, walls and slide or run down some slopes. My shoes didn't have much traction left and I knew they were going to be trashed, so I didn't use a better pair. The next one was a wall to climb with rope. That was fun. Angela and TMM ended up doing that twice. I didn't want to over exert myself with not know what was ahead. We found another water station and a water fight broke out between RJ and myself, and TMM and myself. They got me pretty good. But I welcomed being wet. It was so hot!


More obstacles but no mud or water. We saw a man dressed in a Teletubby costume. God, he must've been super hot. People were Minions from Despicable Me and grown men had bubble wands leaving a trail of bubbles of all sizes. Another water station and I missed splashing RJ. Damnit! I think I kept up pretty well with the joggers. They definitely had the speed and stamina but I wasn't too far behind. When I had to walk, I did. Many conversations were had and some people loved the devil costume. Two girls said I was 'one fabulous devil' so I pranced around in front of them as I ran for a little bit. Some guys urged their team members to hurry up or the devil will beat them. I tried to playfully stab my team with my pitchfork but it was not so stiff. So sad.

No bathrooms were to be found on this route. Angela thought she saw port-a-potties in the distance and ran towards it but found nothing. There was three large cement sections to the right, maybe 30 feet from the trail. I told her I'd go with her if she wanted to go together. Hey, when you gotta go, you gotta go. But we didn't and remained ladies.

Another photo op was available after the rope obstacle. TMM and Doug wanted shots as a brothers but Polamalu majorly photo bombed it. Cugino got many heel click opps, even over the fire strips. There were monkey bars that I went thru without a problem, though I thought I was going to slip off the last one. They were were pretty far apart. My wingspan isn't that big. I am definitely the year of the monkey. Mono, mono, mono. That was Cousin Laurie's best obstacle too.

The final obstacle was the mud pit. We waited for everyone before we all jumped in. And ohmigod it was super thick! It was definitely not like the mud bath in Calistoga. TMM took me down and thank goodness he didn't dunk me but my hair was definitely going to be full of mud. Payback was just riding his back as long as I could. I eventually was left to fend for myself and it was sooo tough to get across. You're tired, you want to put your feed down but all you're doing is digging your feet deeper into the mud. There is no bottom. You just have to swim towards the end. And there, near the end, RJ and I get in a nasty mud fight. He takes me down, I pull him down, he gets a handful of mud in my face and I try to do the same but it ends up on the side of his and in his ear. My bad, Nephew!! And eventually we make it out of the mud. My white Skechers are covered in mud and I feel like a Munster with mud platforms. My pants are weighed down with mud and I could be flashing people my bottom but it's hard to keep it up. I cross the finish line and a medal is placed around my neck. I later see that it's a "I Survived Warrior Dash" bottle opener. I have mud in my eye and Doug helps me wash it out. TMM goes to get his phone for a photo and we regroup to go towards the Warrior Dash sign for a group photo. I jump on Cugino and wrap my legs around him. Muddy Cuginos! We take our photo and I have to show that my horns and tail were still in tact. My pitchfork didn't survive.


TMM helped me find my way to redeem 'The Princess Package.' And it was sooo worth it. You first get in line to get hosed off a bit with not-so-warm water. I had some pretty good conversations with people while in line. Then I was able to go into the private restrooms which were still filthy with mud but it was nice to take as long of a shower as I wanted. I was able to wash majority of the mud out of my hair and all over my body. The clump of mud that fell from the attempt of taking off my sports bar was definitely the sexiest. The bra, shoes and socks were tossed. How nice that the shower was stocked with soap and shampoo. It felt good to put on clean clothes and flip flops. I was in there for quite some time and when I was ready with my Niners shirt, put lotion on my face, placed my Niners hat on, then put my devil horns on top and then went off to look for my team. Cell service wasn't so good and I did two loops around the quad until TMM spotted me. As long as I made contact with someone, I went back and had a hot dog and chugged down a Gatorade. I was famished.


I met up with the rest of the team and there were turkey legs and beer in hand. The turkey legs were piping hot from my bite of TMM's and it was kind of hard to swallow. There was beer, cocktails, fries, pretzels and other items. The DJ on the stage was pretty was good and kept the crowd entertained. There were contests and the kids were mostly the winners. They did a line dance and Cugino and I got out there and danced. They played country and hip hop and we all had a good time dancing, hanging out and laughing. TMM and Doug took off shortly after getting something to eat but it was great to do this event with them. We eventually made it back to the hotel after a ride on the muddy bus. It was a good day and I survived! Unfortunately I couldn't spend much more time with the family. I had a long drive back to The Beeves who was sitting patiently in his crate at home. And I was exhausted. I wanted to shower again. I had to wring out my sports bra and my pants at least 5 times before I threw it in the washer.





The event was super fun and I completed my first run. I was proud of myself. It looks like Cousin Lynn, Laurie and Polamalu aren't going to do it next year. But Melyssa and I have already signed up. She's been wanting to do it but her training with the National Guard has interfered. Next year, Sister!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Praying for the Philippines


10,000

They expected the death toll to reach that number. The Red Cross has ordered that many body bags. It's the same number of the population of the city of Emeryville, where I work. The Philippines have numerous typhoons a year and they predicted this to be worse than the US' Katrina. Hopefully that number is inaccurate. It is currently at 2, 275 according to Katie Couric, as of November 13, 2013 at 6 AM.
Update 11/21/13 at 1:15 PM - 
National: 3,976 confirmed deaths, 1,598 missing and 18,175 injured, according to the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.



The video and images are heart breaking. People are left without food, water and shelter. Some even stormed a rice plant in desperation, and some just want to leave the country as nothing is left of their home now. Look around you. Imagine your home left unrecognizable. Where would you go? What would you do? This is a reminder to everyone to prepare for the unexpected. 

Manny Pacquiao, a professional Filipino boxer and Congressman, dedicates his next fight against Brandon Rios to the typhoon victims. The event will take place on Sunday, November 24th in China, but aired live in the US via PPV on Saturday, November 23rd. He has decided not to visit the area but concentrate on the upcoming fight. 

''I really want to visit the area and personally do what I can to help our countrymen who have suffered so much in this terrible tragedy. But I'm in deep training for a crucial fight so I regret I cannot go.''
''I will send help to those who need it the most,'' he added, ''and I enjoin all of you to pray for our country and people in these trying times.''
I am unaware whether or not any of my family members were directly affected. I am planning on going to the Philippines early next year with family and hope they can bounce back.  Though it's a small donation, I have donated to the World Food Program USA. There are so many organizations to help make a difference. Please consider visiting any of the below sites and make a tax-deductible contribution.

 

Architecture for Humanity
Doctors Without Borders
Save the Children
UNICEF

My nephew works at this Walgreens in Pinole, Ca. Starting tomorrow, November 14, they will be accepting non-perishable food items. 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

FOR SALE: Wedding Items

The below items were used for one wedding and available for purchase. Pick up may be arranged in Hayward or Emeryville, CA. Or mailed at your expense. Cash upon pick-up or Paypal. For purchase or ask questions, email me

Card Box - $15
This box is in great condition and in the same plastic container when it was originally purchased. Use it to have guests place their greeting cards or as a box to receive marital advice.





Eight 9"-Tall Cylinder Vases - $20
Vases were used once as center pieces for a wedding. In great condition. No chips or cracks. In original box. Width a 8.73 cm. Height - 22.86 cm. Buyer must take all 8.


Twelve 6"-Tall Cylinder Vases - $20
Vases were used once as center pieces for a wedding. In great condition. No chips or cracks. In original box. Diameter a 8.7 cm. Buyer must take all 12.

Twelve 7.5"-Tall Cylinder Vases - $20
Vases were used once as center pieces for a wedding. In great condition. No chips or cracks. In original box. Buyer must take all 12.

72 Clear Votive Holders and used candles - $15
Vases were used once as center pieces for a wedding. In great condition. No chips or cracks. In original box. Diameter a 8.7 cm. Buyer must take all 72 with candles as is.

Wedding Veil 3.5' in Length - $50. Originally purchased for $125.
A cascading wedding veil that frames the face very well. Comb top, beaded trim.. In perfect condition.



White Garter from Frederick's of Hollywood - $10
Lace garter with a gold heart.


Lace Ring Bearer Pillow - $10
7.75" x 7.75"


Two Flower Girl Baskets - $10
9" tall with calla lillies on each side
4.75" diameter


 
 
NEW "And they lived happily ever after" sign - $10
Still in original packaging, unopened. Makes for a great gift or for the big day.