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!


August 10, 2015 Update:
So I miserably failed at making my June Goals. I just haven't had the time. I am working at least 70 hours a week, commuting, taking on new roles, doing a variety of tasks, I need time to study for the Italian Wine Specialist course beginning in November and have just started the #MyNextLevel fitness challenge with I'm not sure how much time I will be able to blog but please follow me on Twitter or Instagram - both usernames are '@bappletree'. One day, I'll more time to blog. Wish me luck!

#StillInIt But Still the Same?

Six weeks ago on April 20, 2015, Justin and I did a second 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 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 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 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

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This post is long overdue. This year has been quite hectic with opening up DWSF, the #200KTransform challenge with, 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.

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.

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.

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! 

Oops. Was too busy. Fail. But did two in October!

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 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 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!
JUNE? - DWSF opened it's doors on June 26th. But will be doing two hikes in December!
JULY? - Busy
AUGUST? - Busy. Right? I can't remember. Have to go thru my photos.

Land's End and a beach day with Nikki B. It was my birthday month and my sweetheart of a friend brought me an iced mojito from Philz, a breakfast burrito and met me out by the beach. We were going to have a day at the beach but wandered around and found ourselves exploring around The Clift House, the Sutro Baths, found ourselves at the Labyrinth at Land's End and completed it, found ourselves a golf course and wandered around the grounds of a Veteran's hospital. We then definitely worked up an appetite and went to eat at The Clift House. While we were waiting for our table, we went next door and spent majority of our time looking at old photos of the beautiful city of San Francisco. She is going back to school for engineering to 'build shit' and we saw photos people standing in not-so-safe places while building the Golden Gate Bridge. The protective friend in me said she is not allowed to do that. She made no promises. 
After our lunch, we grabbed the cooler from my car and our stuff to hang out on the beach on this beautiful day.
God, I love this city.
Love my Shredz supplements. And the free bag...and being on the beach. No better place in the world. And of course I love my Nikki B. She's been an amazing friend. Will still try to convince to take the 'safe' engineering gigs.

Hike #1 for October
So this woman, my ex-Roomie, the woman that can do Mission Peak without any water and Cross-fit chick, is now pregnant! Not in these pics but is now! I am going to be an auntie. Again! :) Pregnancy is going to be a walk in the park for her. Or a hike to Mission Peak, that is. Well, this hike was after a nice brunch in Oakland. We then headed up to a different part of Anthony Chabot Regional Park for about a 5-mile hike. The trees were so tall, the weather was wonderful and we even ran into horses! I fed them both! I can't remember their names for the life of me but I had to be instructed on how to feed them carrots as one was pretty grabby. But it was a success. 

Pigtails seem to be my hiking hairdo.
She's going to be a great mom. That makes two of my friends that are pregnant now.

Hike #2 for October
Did it finally slow down at DWSF? Possibly. I was clocking in 80 hours a week so major fail onthe previous months to even get a hike in. There was news that in early November, a part of the old Bay Bridge was going to be blown up. I have been wanting to do this trail and it wasn't very long or hard at all. I should have ran it but nah. It was a big group and it was a bit chilly. I had three layers on. Ji-Young came to meet us on her bike since she lives just in Emeryville. Cugino, Angela and the boys came from Burlingame. Tanya and Ana from San Leandro and Oakland. And Nikki B. came from the North Bay but picked up Tatiana in the city. And off we went after a pain in the ass to get to the parking lot. The security switched up so they were sending some folks on the wrong path. But we were on our way.
Walking alongside the old bridge was kind of spooky like walking thru a graveyard. We all have crossed that bridge countless times. I remember reading in the back of my mom's Sprint as a kid going over to Treasure Island or to the family house on Bonview, I remember my rear swing and hit the railing in my '87 Nissan Sentra on a rainy day but corrected it just in time and who could forget a portion of it collapsing during the '89 earthquake?

Walking along the traffic is so loud and it gets breezy so layer it up!
And we made it to the tower! Love my Cugino. #SHRIMPS!
And my fitness inspiration and motivators, Nikki B. and Tatiana. They do squats, I chill out. HA!
The gang. We made it. See how bundled up we are. But that gorgeous sky!
We went off to Plank at Jack London Square afterwards for beer and games. DO NOT bowl there. You'll twist your knee, says the bowling snob.

Another hike in the Oakland hills. This time it was just Bevo and I for a 4 mile hike at a different section of Anthony Chabot Regional Park. It was cooooold! I had to bundle up and Bevo had his normal snauzeberries during the hike. That's what I call the white bubbles that form around his nose when it's cold. We parked at the Chabot Equestrian Center off of Skyline Blvd. Here's the Beeves checkin' out the horse.
Reppin' my Giants. It was cold! Another three layers were needed.
It was just us on the trail and came across a handful of people. One guy scared the shit out of me when we were going up a hill. He was running and I didn't hear his steps or breathing, except for a late 'excuse me' as I got in his way thinking I was all alone. My bad, Over Achiever. Speaking of, then two men on bikes were killin' it up the hill. Oh man, I was thinking I was seriously out of shape. But the views were beautiful! 

Anytime walking up and down the hills of San Francisco is a hike. Had a wonderful date with Kaptain on a rare weekday and we took advantage. We ended up at the Presidio. I haven't explored much of it. Apparently there's the George Lucas museum? It has definitely changed a lot. The last time I was on these grounds were to watch Fourth of July fireworks with KJ several years ago so I was excited to explore. Being born and raised in the Bay Area, there's so much I haven't seen.

We took an Uber from MidMarket and was dropped off in a deserted area. I thought I would definitely see zombies coming around the corner of a building in a distance. I blame Will for getting me into The Walking Dead. We stopped off at the Log Cabin which would be cool for a picnic or group outing. It had a great view of the city.

We walked and walked and came across the cemetery. It was peaceful but crazy how old these headstones were. The ones I looked closer at were from the 10th and 11th century. 
We went further around and saw the typical military housing that reminded me so much of Cugino's house on Treasure Island when we were kids. I vividly remember the units' floor plan and how we used to play out front, climb the tree and the large open grassy area on the other side of the fence of their little patio. We watched an older gentleman tee off at the golf course. I dodged cyclists in Spandex and we found an old playground with a view of the bay and watched the sunset fall behind the hills of Land's End

More hikes to come in 2016! 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.