New Zealand Dining in San Francisco: Waiheke Island Yacht Club

a1Waiheke Island Yacht Club is the pop-up restaurant that has opened up on Pier 29 this summer to celebrate the America’s Cup. It’s supposed to be fine New Zealand Dining in San Francisco.

Let me save you time and money. It stinks! Here’s the first thing that came to mind when my entree of free range pork came out. Thank God this place is temporary! The entree was appetizer-sized and looked like sliced vienna sausages. It was disgusting. Every single food item we put in our mouths was horrendous.

Think about it. The food that’s being brought in is not local. The chefs were cutting the fish out of freeze-dried packages. Duh! Not sure what I was expecting, but let’s just say I was sorely disappointed.

They’ve got their marketing and PR cranked to ultra-high because everyone knows about this restaurant. Very sad that the poor food quality doesn’t match the expense. The one great thing about the pop-up restaurant is that they are required to serve California wine because of a partnership between the America’s Cup and Napa wineries. Hallelujah, at least we could wash down the yucky food with damn good wine.

A look at our $99 bill:

$9 bottle of sparkling water

$19 glass of Hall merlot

$4 bread

$15 prawns

$20 pork (vienna sausages)

$32 rib-eye fillet

After we left, I was jonesing for pizza. How bad is that? Go for happy hour, diss the food!

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Weekend Getaway: What to Do in Santa Cruz

We are taking advantage of the summer and bopping along the Bay Area, doing everything you can possibly do within a 150 mile radius of San Francisco. Check out this itinerary that Angie Picardo from NerdWallet put together as inspiration for this trip. Below is what we ended up conquering.

What to Do in Santa Cruz

Friday

Checked in to the Beach Street Inn, which happened to have a room open up when I called them. Not that expensive and centrally-located by the Boardwalk.

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Strolled along the pier on our way to Stagnaro Bros for dinner. Unremarkable. I wouldn’t recommend it, although a lot of locals said they loved it. Beware the tourist restaurant traps.

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We were like teenagers on a date, walking up and down the Boardwalk, riding roller coasters, and happened upon Cracker live in concert. We had an upper-level unobstructed view for free. What luck!

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Saturday

Hiking at Henry Cowell Redwood State Park. We were so happy to find this swimming hole! Swimming holes are the ultimate sign of summer!

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We topped off our day in the sun by wine tasting at Hallcrest Vineyards. So good! We finished the night having dinner at 515 Kitchen & Cocktails which was surprisingly good, but I didn’t get any pictures from dinner. I say surprisingly because living in SF, you get spoiled eating damn good food. So when you go anywhere else, you tend to be disappointed.

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Sunday

We went to mass for the first time since the miscarriage, so yeah, kind of a big deal for us. We went to Holy Cross, formerly Mission Santa Cruz. The pastor, hailing from Brooklyn, was excellent. Totally hilarious and had a good message about bringing God into our daily lives. At the end of the day, take 3 minutes to think of the following: 1) What happened during the day that you are grateful for? 2) What happened during the day that upset you that you can ask the Lord to help you heal? 3) What can you do and think about to make tomorrow your best day? Just 3 minutes!

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After church, we walked all along Natural Bridges State Beach.

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Royale with Cheese: Thoughts on the Royal Baby

royal-baby-boy-kate-middleton-leisure-workplace-ecards-someecardsCongratulations to the royal family on the new heir to the throne. All newborn babies are a gift from God and should be treasured whether they are born into wealth and prestige or not.

But seriously, people, the fact that the monarchy still exists in this day and age drives me bat-shit cray-cray. This is nepotism at its finest. Does anyone else have a problem with nepotism?! Maybe if you’re born into it, you’re as happy as a lark, but for the rest of us commoners, it just ain’t right!

Does anyone in Britain care that their hard-earned, tax-paying dollars go to funding the royals’ extravagant, polo-playing lifestyles? Hello, can we please get a reality check on this outdated and useless form of government?

Apply this scenario to America. Let’s say the Kardashians are American royalty. That means we’ve got Duchess Kim and Duke Kanye and their baby Princess North. SICK! Like seriously disgusting! Sure they’re trashy reality TV stars, but just imagine if that were the case.

Ex-Princess, Weight Watchers spokeswoman, scandal-loving Fergie is a shoe-in for the Real Housewives of Windsor.

Can you imagine if every single Bush, from George H. Bush to George W. Bush, just ceremoniously by birth were elected President of the United States? Yeah, it would be wrong. It would be disastrous.

Call me a stupid American, but I have a message for the monarchy: Off with your heads!

Money Monday: We Saved $1,605,179

money-monday-bannerUpdate on the house. We didn’t get it. But that’s ok because that means we saved ourselves from committing to $880,000 in lifetime debt, which in reality totals over $1.6 million in mortgage payments and interest.

The listing price was $975,000.

We offered $1.1 million.

The sellers are looking at offers well over $1.2 million. I’m curious to see what the final accepted offer price will be.

Oh well. Too bad, so sad. But seriously, I’m not sweating it. It just wasn’t meant to be.

We went to a pricey restaurant on Sunday night and Dean frowned at a $20 glass of wine. I laughed, “Go for it. We just saved over a million dollars!”

Alt SF Conference: Not for the Faint of Heart

altlogoAlt Summit is one of the most prestigious blogging conferences. It’s the only one I’ve ever gone to, so I cannot compare it to BlogHer or Bloggy Boot Camp or any other blog conference for that matter. The Alt Summit conference headed to the West Coast for the first time July 17-18 to my very own city, with a registration of about 325 attendees.

Here are my thoughts on the Alt SF Conference.

When I say Alt SF is not for the faint of heart, it’s because you have to BRING IT! This is not a conference for someone who is thinking about blogging. Your site needs to be fully-functional, and up and running. You need to have a crisp understanding of your readership and following. What makes you unique? What do you bring to the table? I felt like I was back in business school at a career event, vying for face time with prospective employers. You need to be salesy and you have to have your pitch down cold.

And you know what? That’s not me! To be completely honest, I struggled at the conference. I was so overwhelmed that I shut-down at times, opted to go home early the first night, and became keenly aware of how much of an introvert I am.

What makes Alt amazing is its cache, which means primo sponsorships and celebrity-status speakers. Even before the conference, you get packages in the mail from sponsors: candy, stationery, jewelry. Alt NYC had Martha Stewart and Garance Dore. Alt SF had Mariam Naficy, the founder and CEO of Minted, and Mike McCue, the founder and CEO of Flipboard. The first night, I went to a dinner sponsored by Bing at Boulevard, one of the top restaurants in the city. It was superb. Acura sponsored the post-dinner, dessert party at the Fairmont Hotel. Again…totally amazing. But the biggest highlight for me was the Alice in Pinterland Party at Pinterest’s downtown office on the last night of the conference. It was friggin’ unbelievable. I didn’t want to leave.

Spending time with the speakers and attendees made me realize that blogging is the real deal. We are all running businesses with a P&L. My biggest take-away was on blogging full-time. I’ve had dreams of being a full-time blogger, thinking it was easy-peasy. Umm, think again. The money doesn’t just fall into your lap. We had a panel comprised of a part-time blogger, a full-time blogger, and a venture capitalist. The full-time blogger talked about managing finances, hiring/firing employees, writing performance reviews, and all the things that go into running a business that you don’t think about when you’re “blogging.” So if you’re thinking about being a full-time blogger, then start thinking about being an entrepreneur because that’s what it will take.

Some pictures from the conference and parties below.

Here is the menu from the Bing-sponsored dinner at Boulevard. The food did not disappoint.

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This was the post-dinner, dessert party sponsored by Acura at the Fairmont Hotel.

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All the presentations were held here at the Fairmont Hotel.

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I set aside my introversion momentarily to stalk Victoria, the blogger behind one of the only design blogs I read, SF Girl by the Bay. She is amazing. I absolutely love her blog. If there’s only 1 design blog to follow, this is it.

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Alice in Pinterland Party at Pinterest headquarters.

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